Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The thoughts in my head today

Well, I started to post my thoughts in the status bar on Facebook and quickly realized there were way too many to post there. So many thoughts fill my head today as I sit here and type to the rhythm of new life tapping away in my tummy. On this day, one year ago, my husband, children and I (with our 13 lb. puppy in tow) boarded a one way flight from New York City to Southeast Texas. We were comfortable in New England. We were surrounded by so many things we loved. God was showing us favor and provision. He was using us and stretching us and life was good. We knew God had something big for our future, we just didn't know what....not yet anyway. One year later, we have had a minor glimpse into what God had been preparing us for, for many years. What a year it has been. The vision God has given us for our community and our region is far beyond anything we could have ever imagined. The road He is taking us on to get us there has been one we could have never planned. Many of you know that at the end of August 2017 our entire home and our entire church/school campus flooded as a result of Hurricane Harvey. We had been here for almost 8 months and I was 10 week pregnant. Thankfully, our family evacuated to Baton Rouge before the water reached our home. We were coordinating boat rescues and all kinds of other assistance from the hotel room several hours away. Those are days we will never forget. When we returned, we were blessed with a place to stay by an amazing family in our church. They did not flood and had an attached garage cottage that they willingly welcomed us into immediately. What a tremendous blessing. In December, one week before Christmas, our home was ready enough for us to move back in. We got a fake tree, put it up and celebrated being home! God is faithful. Through this time, we have been so blessed by our  church community, our friends and family out of state and churches around the country who have sent aid and supplies to our church for us to distribute to our community. We have been in awe at the hand of the Lord.
I still can't believe a year has gone by since we got here. We have gotten to love on so many new friends and family. Our hearts have been so blessed as we have spent our days and nights Pastoring a beautiful community of people. We are rebuilding the church and school campus. Today, our elementary students were able to move back onto campus and we are seeing progress everywhere we look. I believe in a year from now, everyone will look back with dropped jaws as we remember where we have come from. Even through disaster, we are seeing the Lord work. Every weekend, hands raise to say yes to Jesus. Families are being restored, a husband who has been prayed over for 10+ years came to church for the first time this past weekend! God is faithful people and we are beyond excited to see HIS vision come to fruition at Community Church.
Granted, we miss our friends, we miss our families, we miss the things that became familiar to us. But we know, to be chosen doesn't always mean to be comfortable. God has anointed us for this season and He focuses, equips and sustains us. He's a good, good Father!
We are excitedly expecting. We are expecting amazing things for our church and for our family. In March, we are expecting our third baby, another sweet little boy. We are thrilled. Not many know, but we have been trying off and on for the past three years or so for baby number three. Praise God for his answer to our hearts' desire. We cannot wait to meet Baby Ezekiel! Okay, I take that back. If we are being completely honest, we can wait to meet him. So far his room is stocked with his stroller, car seat, diapers and diaper bag! Haha. So he can wait for a little while so we can get all of his room done. When you are having to re-do your entire house, the baby room falls last.
Well, my lunch break is coming to an end. I am expecting great things for 2018 and I hope you are too. No matter where you find yourself today, know that God sees every detail. He wants to see you have your best year ever. Thanks for reading my thoughts for today. I will leave you with some pictures. Our last weekend in New England was spent in NYC, so this is Chris and the kids ice skating at Bryant Park. The second pic is them with their new school sweatshirts after we arrived in Texas. They have done great throughout the entire process and are learning and growing so much.

Thank you to everyone who has reached out to us during the last year. Many of you have called, texted, sent packages, sent gift cards, sent love notes and covered us in prayer! We could never thank you enough. Continue to pray as we rebuild and the Lord continues to pour the foundation of the excellently amazing vision He has for us and for our ministry here. Get ready Southeast Texas. Get ready, get ready, get ready! 

Saturday, November 26, 2016

I do these 3 things. Do you?

Where are you today? I don't mean physically. I mean, where are you in life? On a mountain? In a valley? Content? Daily going insane? Somewhere in the middle? If you made it here to this blog post, I invite you to get somewhere quiet and take a few minutes to read on. This is something I teach with ladies on a regular basis. It's also something I do on a regular basis. Sometimes when we feel like we are constantly fighting hurricane strength "life winds", our daily quiet time with the Lord just isn't enough. We have to structure in purposed "re-focus" time. It has to be intentional and it is OUR responsibility. Otherwise, it's like not getting your tires rotated for 2 years and then wondering why your car is constantly veering off your intended path. Knowing what to do is one thing. Doing it requires a continuously new level of discipline.
Sometimes changing our situation can be as simple as changing a few of our habits that reflect and affect the ebbs and flows of life. Every situation is different and we are all in different seasons. However, I would like to share with you 3 practical things you can do intentionally that can dramatically affect the way you respond as a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend. If you don't already, I encourage you to put these things into practice on a regular basis.
  • Monitor your breathing patterns.
Pay attention to how you are breathing. Do you constantly find yourself holding your breath? Are all your breaths short and shallow? Would you know if they were? Do you get still and focused enough to pay attention? When you feel the pressure of the world begin to weigh on your shoulders, stop and check your breathing. Purposefully take a few deep breaths and check your breathing posture.
Remember this, filling your lungs with ample air is what helps you to float. Waves will come. Life will happen. When a wave comes, you either sink below or rise above. Taking deep breaths and relaxing is key to rising above - physically and mentally. This enables you to take control of your focus and remind yourself that the God we serve is bigger than any mountain (or wave) we may face.

  • Raise your expectations.
Culture can condition us to expect very little out of circumstances. Small minded thinking runs rampant. We forget what we deserve and the power of the One who made us. Many times, before we have even scoped out the situation, we immediately expect the worst. It's the "why does this always happen to me?" attitude. We are thrust into our "mayday mayday!" mode before we have even stopped to think, breathe and pray. I will be honest with you, this is a hard habit to break. It's easier to put a diaper on a fish than it is to change thinking patterns that are cultural and generational. Ask me how I know--no I haven't diapered a fish--just squirmy toddlers. To look at day to day life and expect God's best is hard. Life is hard. We have a saying in our home. You can constantly find us saying, "Everything always works out for me (us)." We have ingrained that, we believe it with everything we are. This applies to random strangers giving us free stuff, favor following us with travel, traffic and everyday life, blessings at home, church, school and life. We fully expect everything to always work out for us. It's a powerful expectation. It isn't a statement of saying there will be no hiccups along the way. It's a statement proclaiming that no matter what, we EXPECT God's best. He knows better than we do and if we spend our time praying and expecting instead of worrying and freaking out---HE WILL work things out on our behalf. Hashtag Romans Eight Twenty Eight!!! 
Did you know you are the only one who can decide what causes you to freak out. You have been given control of your emotions and reactions. I dare you to make changes in this area this final month of the year. Set yourself up for change in 2017 by remaining calm through storms and hard days. It doesn't mean things won't completely STINK sometimes. Because it will. But how you react to the stink and expect through the stink attests to your character and the growth happening inside of you.

  • Give to yourself and give of yourself.
One of the best ways to stay focused is to regularly and consistently give to yourself and of yourself. 
Okay, so what does that mean? Let's start with giving to yourself, since this essentially has to happen in order to do the latter. The number one thing women need to be better at giving themselves is GRACE. Many times, when we are experiencing shallow breathing and tense freak-out moments, it's directly tied to insufficient grace. We haven't given ourselves enough grace. Our standard for ourselves is a friend, neighbor or Pinterest page instead of God's Word. When we don't give ourselves enough grace, it trickles over to not having enough grace and patience with our families, husbands and children. It can make us crazy, cranky wives and mommies. It's no way to live. If you are grace deficient, get into God's Word and let him remind you of your worth and remember that "His grace is sufficient for you + His power is made perfect in your weakness." (2 Cor. 2:19) Shout somebody!

The second part of this giving process is giving of yourself. This is a simple, yet essential one. We should constantly and continually be giving to life change. Volunteering, serving in your church, giving to food banks, blessing families with clothing, keeping a friends children (for free), mentoring teens at your church......the list goes on (and on). You know what fills your heart and God has wired each of us differently. There is something about focusing on ministering to others that balances out life. It helps us take the focus off of us and all our issues. It's good for your mind and your heart. God has called us to serve and his heart smiles when we do. The key in this is balance. Make sure you aren't serving more than what's healthy and that you aren't using that as a getaway from life issues that you should be working on. Don't let giving of yourself to consume you and keep you from the discipline and growth the Lord has for you. Everything is healthy in balance. 

Be encouraged today, God sees right where you are and every detail is important to Him. When you feel stuck in a fog, remember that the sun (Son) is what clears the fog. Cling close to Him and follow in His ways. His desire is for you to be the best version of yourself so He can use you to impact the world for Him. God has big plans for your life, no matter your gender, age, diagnosis or circumstance. Cultivate a desire for progress, not perfection. Let's join our hearts together to continue to pursue growth, giggles and God's best for our lives.

Until Next Time,

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Have a situation you need to get through?

We all do, right? Each of us is walking through a different season in life. Each of our stories is peppered with different victories and vulnerabilities. If we gave each of you a mic and allowed you to share we would see many differences and also highlight many similarities. There are many things required of us through each season. Sometimes it is praying until breakthrough, exercising extreme measures of patience, changing lifestyle habits, cutting wrong soul ties or just riding it out while clinging to the Rock! All of the above can apply + more. However, I am not focusing on any of that here today. There is one thing we have to do no matter what the struggle looks like. There is one key that applies to each and every season. Want to know what it is? Great, I am so glad you asked!
The essential key to making it through is "Owning It". Yep, take a minute to write that down or take a screen shot. This is an essential key to healthy personal development that many many people are never taught. When things are calm or when things are stormy, we have to own the fact that this is our life and we are each responsible for our own lives. Even if the situation you are in is the result of someone else's bad actions--it's still your life, and you still have to own it. We have to come to terms that we are each accountable for our words, actions & reactions-- no matter what. Many of you have been dealt some crappy cards over the years and have had to overcome many obstacles what were UNFAIR! However, until you step up and own it, you can never get over it! You can't move forward, you can't receive healing and you can't truly forgive. This is huge for some of us. Own the good, own the bad and own the ugly. If you just worked your backside off for a new car or a promotion or vacation-own it! You deserve it. Stop feeling guilty that everyone in your family may not have what you have, or do what you do. That is a generational curse that needs to be broken. If you have had the worst 3 years of your life and have fought battle after battle and are exhausted-own it. It's your life, it's your fight. Decide to become better for it instead of bitter for it. 
I will be honest with you. If this isn't something you already do and is a new habit you will be creating, you may have to do what I learned to do years ago. I had to physically say it out loud (or in my head sometimes). "This is my life and I take full responsibility for it!" At that point, then you can decide what you are going to do about it. You can't live as a victim to others for the rest of your life. There is no victory there, there is no peace there. If other people hurt you, then shame on them! But if you let it derail your destiny then shame on you!! If this is a new concept to you, then welcome to a new level of freedom and accountability. Life is too short not to own it. Codependency is crippling and blame is a ball and chain. Decide today what you want for your life. Get in God's Word and let him feed you. Take big steps toward positive change and watch the Lord use you to help others. 
Be encouraged today. I dare you to put this verse on your bathroom mirror:
"I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16:33

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

"They Hurt My Feelings!"

These words have echoed through my heart at times. It happens to the best of us. Often our expectations of people are deflated and we are brought back to reality. Things happen and for one reason or another, our feelings are hurt. So I want to share with you something I have to constantly remind myself of when it comes to interaction with family, friends, work associates, wait staff, retail cashiers, etc..... What you have to remember is that "what people say to you has more to do with them than it does with you!" When someone is short, nasty, hostile and degrading, it stems from something rooted in them and quite often has nothing to do with you! This is such an important point of purposed focus! Often we fall right into the trap of reacting to this nonsense and it really is just them highlighting a need, deficiency or hurt of their own. You may have heard the saying before, "Hurt people, hurt people."

It rings at timeless truth. So make up your mind along with me. We won't be quick to speak and get angry. We will be quick to listen [James 1:19]. We will step back from toxic conversations and encounters and see it for what it is. We are not required to react with haste or defend ourselves against nonsense that stems from a root of bitterness in someone else's heart. We are stronger than that, we are wiser than that. We are a generation who is better than that. We won't be defined by labels or stereotypes or drama. We will guard our hearts and in turn, guard our mouths. We will speak life in the midst of every storm and take every opportunity to show love to those who intend to provoke us or hurt our feelings. We will be strategic with the time and resources God has blessed us with and will use this focus to add to the legacy we will leave to our children.
If you have had your feelings hurt lately, forgive them. Turn your cares over to the one who cares for you [1 Peter 5:7] and know that it has more to do with them than it does with you.

Tuesday, March 8, 2016

The Truth About "Mom" Expectations

We had a busy weekend this weekend. We were out and about almost all day Saturday and then left our home for NYC at 9am Sunday morning. It was a great weekend, just busy. Normally, I try to do some grocery shopping on the weekend, but I had to pick things up yesterday after school instead. So there I was, without my list, trying to remember the essentials we need to get through the first part of the week. Normally my kids are a great help when shopping--but not always--and not this time. They were tired from their day and had that picky-brother-sister-whiny thing going on. You know, the thing that makes you want to lock your self in a room sometimes. So I was sending them to grab stuff from the list (that was in my head) and they were trying to help. They were more interested in tossing the grocery items to one another like a football instead of being of any real assistance. Finally, I'd had it and I pulled them to the sided and fussed at them. They both lost a point for their behavior (we use a points reward system in our home to reinforce good behavior). I was so embarrassed by how they were acting. Onto the next aisle and they were playing around with each other and I hear "Tag, you're it!" Just as I was about to lay into them, I saw it. There was an elderly couple not far from us and the wife was just standing there as her husband studied items on the shelf. She was staring at my kids and had a pondering look on her face. She had her weight shifted to one hip and had her right hand on her chin and a little half smile.Her small wrinkled eyes were smiling too. She had a "deep in thought" look on her face. I could tell by her expression she was enjoying watching them play and their silly little smiles. She was taking in their child-like freedom and giggles. I am sure she was remembering when her children were that age and was taking a trip through years gone by. At that moment, my perspective changed. I took a deep breath and became focused. The Lord reminded me that they are just kids, just a carefree innocent 2nd and 3rd grader who want to play and laugh and will occasionally fight like an old married couple.
The bottom line is that as moms (and grandmothers) we often snap, yell, lose patience and get frustrated because of the expectations we put on ourselves and our children. We are embarrassed by the way they are acting or aren't acting. We forget that they are only toddlers, 3rd graders, middle schoolers, high schoolers, college students, 20 somethings....We have to have grace for ourselves and grace for them. Instead of enjoying their laughter, I was allowing it to push me to the edge. It wasn't their fault we had a busy weekend. It wasn't their fault I forgot to stick my list in my purse that morning. Kids are allowed to have bad days and so are you--just don't stay there. 
"The goal isn't being perfect, 
the goal is being better!"
The Lord is constantly working on me and in me. Sometimes as He grows me and teaches me I feel like He is constantly bringing me back to a place of refocus. Have you ever seen those bounce house run things that attach your harness to a long bungee cord and then you run run run and it snaps you back? They are really fun, by the way and sometimes require an extra chiropractic visit. That is how I feel some times though. Life gets me busy and running and the Lord snaps me back into focus just like that bungee cord. We need that. I needed that sweet elderly grandma to enjoy seeing my kids laughing and remind me of where my motives were. Where are your motives today? Are you taking a step back from overwhelming situations and refocusing? I highly recommend it. Make sure you are taking time to refuel, don't get burned out. Don't let you talk yourself into being the victim----you are victorious! 
Give yourself grace and take purposeful steps to be better tomorrow than you are today!

Friday, January 8, 2016

My Thoughts On Getting High

I can't remember how old I was when I started this daily habit. I was barely a teenager. I was probably around 7th grade or so. I remember many things changing. A new school, new friends, the social pressure of being in Jr. High School. I also remember that around this time I was experiencing the infilling of the Holy Spirit in new ways at revival in my local church. The altar calls at my summer church camp were my favorite place to be. Even at this young age I began to experience the Lord doing something new in my prayer life.
My thoughts on getting high....yes, that's a catchy blog title and I am glad you clicked to read here. Since I am a pastor's wife, mother of 2 and Director of Operations at a very successful company, please know that I am not talking about smoking out! I am talking about a mental perspective that is higher than my current situation. I remember the Lord showing me this when I was young and I literally think this way EVERY DAY. In my prayer time, I see where I am in my circumstance and in my mind, I zoom out. When I zoom out, I see many things. The higher I get, the more I see. I see that the world isn't just about me. I see all those who are hurting, I see many far from God. I feel His pain for those who don't know Him. I see moms in 3rd world countries holding their babies as they die in their arms from starvation or disease. From that high perspective, I remember all the times God has fixed it for me. I remember all the times he has delivered me and come through on my behalf. In my mind I literally see the globe, almost like a google earth illustration. The clarity from this perspective brings balance! Write that down somewhere!
Please know that shifting your perspective doesn't discount what you are going through. Many of you are facing some really REAL seasons right now. What it does though, is it reminds you that even though you might be hurt or a midst drama---God still wants and needs to use you. If we let every storm disable us, the enemy wins! But if we learn to get high when the storm hits and we zoom out and stay focused--then God can still use us for his agenda no matter what we are facing in that current season.
The other reason I do this and encourage others to do the same is because a balanced perspective allows us to see things from God's point of view. Practicing this will allow us to tune in to the enemy's agenda. We will be reminded that

"We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." 

Eph. 6:12

Many times, just recognizing the enemy's agenda is half the battle. Calling it for what it is and doing spiritual warfare against it is imperative. It's hard to recognize it sometimes if we don't zoom out and see it from that higher perspective. From the Google Earth mode we can also be reminded of tactics the enemy has used before, we have a clear perspective of weaknesses that he may try to use. The view from the top is a great place to draw up a battle plan!
So I invite you to get high with me today. < This is hilarious for me to type by the way. 
I invite you to zoom out in your quiet time. See things from God's perspective. Let him remind you of the plans He has for you--the ways He wants to use you. Get clarity. Get vision. Get empowered. Draw up a battle plan. Be a warrior on a mission. You've got this!

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Newsflash! My inheritance wasn't public knowledge

Influx in my time management skills = a new blog for you to read. I am so glad you stopped by. For those who follow my blog to keep up with our family, we are all doing well. Justice (9 now) just finished his first season of playing football and Ashlyn (7 now) is finishing up soccer season. Mama is ready for a little break! My sweet 2nd and 3rd grader are having a great school year. Our daily discipline normally includes working on focus, completing tasks in a timely manner, what's expected of them on a daily basis, working together, dealing with disappointment.........okay, you get it. I was speaking with a mommy friend at a birthday party this weekend and she asked if it gets easier once they are my kids' age (hers are younger). I laughed. I told her, the older they get, the more mentally exhausting it gets! You are constantly disciplining and building that foundation and it's always something new. A new question, a new project, a new adventure, a new area of explanation. This world is complex and successful parenting is exhausting!-- No matter what the age.
Anyhow, we are all doing well. Church and work are going well, our schedules are full, but not too full to include all the things that matter. We are uber busy, but make sure we don't stay too busy to enjoy life. We are living it up and having fun with each season. All seasons come with challenges, but we strap up our boots and pull up our big girl panties face each new challenge with determination. Life isn't perfect, but it is grand. Remember, to an ant, a cheerio is grand. It's all about perspective. 
So you are reading here because you either follow my blog and read all of them faithfully (Thanks!) or you clicked on it because of the title. Either way, I am glad you are here. 
I didn't recently inherit a large sum of money, but if you are looking for some encouraging reminders that can add riches to your life, then please keep reading. In many places, God's Word speaks about our royal status as joint-heirs with Christ. It reminds us that we are sons and daughters of the King. There is something more important that knowing that truth!! It's speaking it!! There is life and death in our tongue. There is power in speaking that identity out loud! Don't believe me? Try it for a week. Nonchalantly incorporate it in your prayer life and daily conversation. I do it on a daily basis. You can ask my husband and my children. It's not uncommon for you to hear me tell people "Everything always works out for me, I am a child of the King." When my children say things like, "Mommy, what if this bridge above us broke?" (real honest 9 year old boy question, right?) My answer is always along the lines of, "We don't want that, let's focus on what we do want. Plus, we don't attract things like that, we are sons and daughters of the King."
Do not stop reading here!!!!!!!! If you do it sounds like nothing bad ever happens to me and if something bad happened to you then you must not be a child of the King. Let's not be silly. The enemy is real. Saying these things over your life doesn't give you a supernatural free pass. It's not a fad diet or insurance policy! It's a foundation, a covering and an expectation. When you speak these things you release the power of God. It means, crappy things happen, but we don't live life expecting them. We expect good and we focus on who we are in Christ. Just like if you focus on red front doors, you will start to see them everywhere all the sudden. It's a shift in thought and focus. 

"My inheritance wasn't public knowledge!"

My royal ties aren't listed on any legal documents--unless the Book of Life counts! However, I plan to declare my inheritance each day. I plan to make it known who I am in Christ. Keep in mind, everything I share, blog, preach and teach has a balance side. There's always a "Christian Common Sense" that is a given. Make sure you keep up with your Christian radar maintenance. For instance, practicing declaring who you are in Christ doesn't mean shouting these things at the Target cashier on a Wednesday morning. There is a time and a place for everything. Don't torch your testimony and drive people far away from Jesus because of spastic Christianese leakage. Be focused and speak purposefully! It has everything to do with your vision and purpose and nothing to do with being better than any one----because you aren't and neither am I.
Remember, there is power in speaking who you are and whose you are.

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