Dreaming Big, {praying bigger}

I still remember the drive to work. I prayed big prayers. I prayed things that I felt if others heard they would laugh at me.

I still remember one such day. I still remember the railroad track I bumped accrossed as I prayed on my way to work. A mundane job. God had called me to do. But I prayed like I did every day on my way in.

I still rememeber smiling at my own crazy big prayer and thinking I was silly. I still remember telling God “I want a cool, neat story that is beautiful and worth telling!”

I wanted to tell other girls about the faithfulness of God.

Well when my Jesse August flew me back and forth to the West Coast for the very first time ever I never dreamed that would be my story. When I look back I see the clear hand of God in every detail.

I never dreamed that my story would be one of the happiest stories to tell in all of the world. But God knew.

My advice to you today is whatever stage of life you are in pray big prayers. See what God WANTS to do. Whatever it might be.

We don’t serve and love a small god. But The God. Our Creator. He wants better for you than you want for yourself!

He will answer in ways you never dreamed… But they will be so so much better than you could have dreamed.

Keep dreaming beautiful ladies and pray bigger! God WANTS to write you a BEAUTIFUL love story.

Hugs. xoxoxox

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{advent: Our Hope} The Hardest Christmas

image“I remember one Christmas that stands out like a boulder in my life….” It was a particularly hard christmas. Words can’t explain everything. And for the sake of my Mothers pride I won’t. My Dad was a faithful Pastor with at that time seven young children. He worked hard and did all that he could do to make sure we were happy and healthy. I was the oldest daughter. That particular Christmas I remember well. I remember for many reasons but one that stands out in my mind…. was the image of my Mother sitting down in a chair and just crying. My Mom never cried. So when I saw her I knew it must be bad.
We didn’t have a place to stay that Christmas. Our lease had run out on our home. But someone found a tiny house that had no heat in the middle of the rolling hills of Ohio where we could stay. We all got sick. All seven kids. We laugh about it now… when we all get together. We debate about who threw up in who’s hair. Stuff like that.

I remember one sunny afternoon my older brother said, “We have to have a tree!” I said, “How are we gonna do that!?”
He looked at me with that smile he gets when he is up to something. He grabbed something out of the old barn and ran for the nearby wooded hills.
He came back a little while later dragging a little Charlie Brown christmas tree. He had cut the top pit of a pome tree!
We happily all followed him into the house and put the one strand of lights we had on it. It fell over. We all laughed as kids. I think my parents secretly cried.

Today my life is different at Christmas. I live in a gorgeous home on the coast. I have rooms that sit empty normally. I have lights and we will have two trees this Christmas. As I decorate I think back. I think back to those years. I look back and smile until the tears fall. That was the hardest Christmas. Full of people I love with all of my heart.

But most of all I am overwhelmed with Gods goodness. He isn’t just good today. He was good and faithful that hardest Christmas ever. He was faithfully leading us. Loving us. Watching over us. So as I set out my “Charlie Brown” tree in my beautiful kitchen I smile and I rememeber back. This God I serve is faithful. Even when life is hard and feels hopeless. HE is our Hope no matter the circumstances. As I stood in my home today I was overwhelmed with the goodness of the Lord. To the point of weeping. I said “God I don’t deserve this! I don’t” I felt his presence. He said in the quietness of my heart, “You don’t, that’s true but I love you. Now tell everyone about me and my goodness”. That was the impression on my heart.

Even during the hardest, coldest, darkest Christmas of our lives. Our God was faithfully shining like a bright Star of Hope in our lives. “What can I do but praise You? What can do but make everything I do a hallelujah”. This song has blessed me this advent week as I focus on the Hope of Christ. It has been playing here as I write..

Aren’t you just too perfect…

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“You’re just too positive on Facebook….”
I have heard this so many times on different blogs and comments lately. “Why can’t you just make everyone feel better and post pictures of your mess!?”

I come at this a different way. I am not the type to post when I am going to the bathroom. I don’t want people to know. That is my business. I don’t want to take a picture of my dirty home because it doesn’t make me happy and I don’t think it would make anyone else super happy to see it either. { maybe it would but sorry}. I just need to get busy cleaning. My Mother taught me to have some good “pride” if you will and make sure you cleaned up for pictures. Make sure you looked presentable. I won’t normally take pictures of my burnt meals, unmade bed and sometimes it does happen. {of course it does}!

Some of the most beautiful women I know have had hardship in there life. Behind the Instagram or fb pages are real woman with real hurts. We are all the same. Some more than others. Some unique situations. I have always been taught to see the beauty in the everyday. To make much of the little things. And ignore, don’t focus on the negative. I so appreciate beautiful instagrams, blogs, facebooks. I know that some Women are in encouraged by beauty and inspired by others! Why can’t this be? Why do we have to feel inadequate? If we see a beautiful home. Or a cute outfit. And why do we need to compare? It’s unbiblical and wrong. I know how it feels and have felt this way. We also need to realize it’s a sin on our part to compare or to be unhappy about ourselves. It’s not necessarily [we don’t know their heart] a sin of the person who posted about having a great day or their beautiful home, or outfit or perfect selfie. {They had to take 200 to get it right… As is popular to say. Maybe they got it in one shot?! You don’t know.}

What better thing than to glory on our homes? Love them? Make them special? Tell others? Inspire other to love home and love their husbands. Is your marraige perfect? NO!! Sometimes I cry. Sometimes it’s hard. Do I post about it?!? No not always. I want to build him up in the Lord and speak words of life to live up to together.

It is clear in the Word we are to rejoice with fellow sisters who rejoice! The trend of be “real” is true! They are real woman they have real world problems. But do they have to post and blog about it for you to know that?! No. You just know. Because we all are.

Have you ever thought that maybe this is their way of being happy in their beautiful mess? Focusing on and highlighting the beautiful?!

I also believe that if you want to post pictures of “real” life, you can! That’s you. I don’t judge others for posting what they feel is good for them. But let’s also not judge others for posting the “happy, pretty, light hearted, cozy, quant, peaceful, and successful” moments of life. It makes them happy to focus on the good in their life. That is what God has told us to do. “In all things give thanks for this is the will of God concerning you” 1 Thess. 5:18
Also if you watch close you might see some lessons learned and “real” life coming through. I believe in that! For today you won’t know about my throbbing headache, or my periods, or my dirty dishes. I like pictures and blogging about the pretty side of life. But their are life lessons to be learned and grow from daily! Yes of course! I don’t normally have to do go far to learn a life lesson.

So look! You might learn something neat from that styled Instagram photo or perfect home all decorated for Christmas {even though it got messy right after the photo}. That’s real life! We all know it. But the beauty is we are all uniquely and wonderfully made by God. We have beauty in our lives and we should all focus on the good. Everyday. So when you see that perfect status, or perfect picture rejoice with those that rejoice!

And, like I saw last night, that mom who struggles with her daughter having cancer and a tear slips down your cheek. You pray for her.

And together women love one another. Just like Christ has done for you in your mess. He gave you something beautiful. What a wonderful, beautiful Savior and we focus our eyes on Him. Our perfection.

{outside my back windows} The Light.

20141002-105117.jpgToday the sun is shining again so brightly! It pours in the breakfast area that is inclosed in windows in our kitchen and I just enjoy it as I read again 2 Corinthians chapter 4. What a passage. The light of the Gospel.

I sit here in my new home. I new wife. A new housewife. A new homemaker. I have many things to do yet but I know my need of the One. I look out on the grass, the dew glistens in the morning sun. On the outside of my window I see a masterfully, intricately designed spider web. The scary looking creature worked all through the night. The light reveals these things to me. The light shines in the pines beyond my picket fence. The light that shines so brightly into the pines now makes the woods not nearly as intimidating {as on a dark and stormy evening}. It might actually be fun to explore! The Light. Warms my skin. I see the plant in my window that needs the light to grow. The light. It hits the diamond on my left hand {now accompanied by a band with diamonds:} reveals such sparkling BEAUTY!!! that otherwise I would not see. The light that reveals such beauty around me.

I read it aloud again to myself. “The Light of knowledge of the GLORY in the face of Jesus Christ.” And I cry. And I thank Jesus for the gospel. I wipe the tears that flow down both of my cheeks. I sniff back my emotions and thank Jesus again. The gospel that is the LIGHT that was so mercifully shown in my desperate heart. I pray and ask Jesus to spread this light into every corner of this house. I write this passage out to memorize. And I think who else can I tell of this Light that is Jesus? This LIGHT that broke into my life and changed my whole world?