our place to land

We sat in the middle of the living room floor, tears both streaming down her face and welling up in my eyes. We were both wearied from this struggle we were in the midst of; it had lasted at least an hour and a half at this point and presently, there seemed no end in sight. It began with a simple task that she does daily, but for whatever reason today, was just not going to have it. As soon as her first reply came out I had a feeling we were in for a tough one. Now, here we sat, both cross-legged and facing each other with Jack playing with toys around us. We were still working through it.

Then she looked up at me and said, “Mommy, why can’t I do it? Why is it so hard to obey?” My heart split wide open at these words. I wanted to wrap her up and comfort her, I wanted to explain everything all at once and fully, I wanted to relate to her and tell her “oh baby girl, mommy struggles with the very same thing!”. Most of all, though, the most present thought in my mind was wanting to give her hope. I didn’t want her to sit in the feeling that she HAS to figure this out all on her own or that she has to strive within herself for the rest of ever. I wanted to encourage her that she is far from alone; not only is in the company of others who struggle with that exact same question, but she has a Jesus who desperately wants her to know His perfect love and help.

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It’s in moments like these where I’m reminded of how much more motherhood is than the parts that so often sit forefront. I’m reminded that I need to rub the blur of scattered toys and meal preparation and homeschool and the ever present parental questions out of my eyes and remember that those sit on a foundation of so much more. The best thing I can give her each day is Jesus. The best thing I can show her that I need each day is Jesus. He must be the very life and breath of our home, the presence that the rest of everything flows out of. He is the joy that sits behind the unending cycle of tidying up those scattered toys, the love that spurs on the 3,496 meal prepared, the strength that brings rest and excitement into the school days, the wisdom that gives confidence in knowing He will give answers to the parental worries and questions.

I want to show her this Jesus in all His fullness and satisfying goodness. In all His enough-ness and His perfect ability to help us. In His gentle Shepherd posture, chasing us down when we go astray and keeping us close to Himself. In all His perfect grace to make Himself like us so that He might make a way for us to then become like Him, to be His own, and to never have to handle anything on our own if we simple believe. In those moments where she feels her own lack, facing that battle that wages so hard in our hearts, I want to point her, every single time, to the One who does not lack one thing and gave His very life so that she doesn’t have to stay in that tear-filled place. In those moments where my mama heart wants so badly to fix it and make it better and help it not be so hard for her, may I always be quick to fall to my knees before her, take her hands in mine, tell her “I understand”, and then turn both of our eyes upon Jesus. He’s the place where we both must land, and what a gentle, kind, loving landing place He is.

the contentment challenge

I think every single day that week I had made a comment about our carpet; and not the “oops, there’s some crumbs I need to vacuum up there” type of comment, but the “oh my gosh, I hate our carpet” type of comment, accompanied by extra-loud sighs or eye rolls for good measure. All of this pleasantry was followed by the thought, “Gosh, I can’t wait until we can get new flooring……it’s going to be forever, though.”

Now, it is true that the first time we walked into our now home we both thought, “yikes, cream carpet.” Not our first pick of flooring and we were moving in with a dog and a kid and, well….me, who is known for the greater amount of spills in our home. We knew this carpet was going to quickly gain the look of well-worn. Yes, it’s been impossible to keep fully clean. Yes, we can’t wait to change it one day. Yes, there’s nothing wrong with excitement in that plan.

This attitude, though. This attitude was springing from a much deeper place in my heart. A place where I wasn’t satisfied. A place where gratitude was not even a fleeting thought. A place where I told myself that changing our flooring was a key to contentment in our home.

A few days later I was scrolling instagram and came across a post by Nancy Ray which began, “Well friend, here we go again. It’s been over 5 years since God put the Contentment Challenge on my heart for the first time…….on January 1st, I’m doing it again!” This caught my eye, for obvious and humbling reasons. I clicked a bit more to get to the post on her blog and discovered the definition of her Contentment Challenge:

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This portion:

“More than just a bad habit, it’s an underlying spiritual issue. I’m lacking in self discipline. I’m finding my joy in material things, not in the Lord. I’m straight up distracted from the precious souls in front of me, and I’m tired of it.”

This portion brought the tears to my eyes because I saw it’s truth ringing loudly in my own heart. I saw all those moments of complaint about our carpet, the moments of comparison to those around me, the moments of making more of a material thing than the ones who the Lord has gifted me to live my days with, the moments of making much more of the undeserved graces He’s provided for me than of Him, the One who has given me my very life.

I needed this heart check. I needed this accountability. I needed this purposeful set-aside time to not just have a spending fast of sorts, but to plumb those heart depths a bit and consider what sat under those discontented thoughts, those moments of annoyance, that reasoning of why I needed to purchase that particular thing.

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So here I am, 17 days in, and loving it. It has been so freeing, friends! More than I imagined it could be. Freeing because I’m just not thinking about purchasing new things, but freeing because I’m seeing the Lord purge those sinful pieces of me and redeem them into what is better. It’s freeing because I’m learning to slow down and consider every single purchase. It’s freeing because I’m excited about staying within those budgets set up. It’s freeing because I’m learning how much is actually needed and how much is purely just for want. It’s freeing because I’m learning all the more to find beauty in simplicity. It’s freeing because I’m learning more of what is lasting joy, of WHO is lasting joy.

This has been the best way to start my year.

There have absolutely been moments of struggle. I will share more of those soon. But it has been far better than it has been hard, and the timing of it is so beautiful, in that way that only the Lord can do. I’ll also share on that, too.

I’m grateful. Grateful for Nancy and her vulnerability in this, her stepping out in this way, her welcoming others in it with her. I’m grateful for what I’m learning, for the stretching and redeeming that’s happening, for the joy I’m finding, for the sweetness that’s marking this season, and for how I know I’ll move into the next season with such a refreshed and renewed heart

It’s a marker in my life.



in the last 3 months.....

Hi, lovelies!

Oh, I'm so happy to be back filling these blank white pages with tiny black letters and putting the stirrings of my heart into words. How I've missed it. I'm in the midst of putting together my Friday post and it has made me so happy to sit and piece together some of my little loves to share over the past week. Ah, sweet routine. 

We have been slowly coming out of what was, truly, the busiest season of our lives. From the time we moved into our house on April 1st until the end of June our home has been a blur of visitors and roommates, wedding planning and showers, continuing to settle ourselves in the house, and the weddings themselves. We titled that season as thoroughly happy and unendingly busy. So much was wrapped up in those 3 months.

We watched our baby sis get married and gained the sweetest brother. We then watched one of our dearest friends marry the man we've prayed for years for her. We were able to see almost all of our precious family in a months time as well as many of our closest friends. We were able to host loved ones in our new HOUSE. We had extra special time with my oldest brother and sis-in-love and darling nephews which was so refreshing. We had a lovely visit with Momma Coobs and, thanks to her, a small getaway just the two of us for the second wedding. We found out about several new little ones that the Lord has gifted to friends who have walked through so much over the past years, hoping for this day. We celebrated, we were exhausted, we were stretched and tried, we had many laughs and happy tears, we lived the past 3 months to the fullest and were thankful. 

photo via pinterest

photo via pinterest

We did breathe a sigh of rest, though, when we could begin settling back into normalcy, and when it could just be us. We stocked our memory tanks full and we've carried them tightly back into our everyday. By nature, we are homebodies. We thrive in routine, we prefer when every evening doesn't have plans, when we have the freedom to just be us in a day. Constant going isn't easy for us, it stretches our introvert selves and pushes the limits of our little one. But this uniquely busy season was good for us, for a number of reasons.

It pushed us outside ourselves in many ways. It made us realize, again, that we are far from self-sufficient and we must must must depend on that daily grace and strength of our Father. It ripped out selfishness from our hearts and made us realize, "hey, we can do all things through Him!" It gave us greater insight into our Little and taught us to be even more bold in guarding her needs. It taught us to ask for help. It caused us to practice saying, "no" when we needed to, which isn't the easiest word for us to voice. We learned to find the beauty in the busy and focus on that, to be grateful for it and not wish it away. And we learned how to take the pockets of rest we were given and make the most of it. 

Even amidst the non-stop days there are those pockets. You have to pay attention to their coming and savor them when they arrive, we learned. And when they come other things need to be set aside: the cleaning can wait, emails can sit one more day unanswered, the phone can be left in another room. You take those pockets and you live them well, being with your people and taking in those moments you're experiencing with them right then. Then those little pockets quickly become the very best kind of hours and days that weren't written down on your calendar, and the ones that fuel you up for the next dose of busy. I love those pockets.

Each season of life brings its own unique mix of the beautiful and the hard, all of it having passed through the perfectly wise hands of a loving God. I want to live them all well, with honesty, with an eager desire to love those around me so well, and with "eternity stamped on my eyeballs" because that makes all the difference.

Thanks for letting me share. I'm just so glad to be back with you dear ones.