My Heart, His Words

Let the Words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart be acceptable in your site, O Lord.


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Life is Complex, but Jesus is Complete!

We’re approaching the one year anniversary of my Daddy’s entrance into Heaven April 11th, 2016. On one hand it’s hard to believe a full year has passed, while on the other hand, it seems like just yesterday he was here laughing and giving words of wisdom and advice.

I miss him more than I ever imagined possible, and here I thought I had prepared my heart for the loss, but turns out this simply wasn’t something I could prepare for, regardless of how much I tried!

Life is so different without him.  Recently I watched a little old man shuffling in front of me and my mind went back to my Daddy and how I’d always envisioned caring for him as he aged, holding his arm as he walked, and slowing my stance just so I could walk beside him. Then I started crying as I faced reality: I will never get that memory with him!  It’s over, he’s gone and I had to watch him die a very slow and painful death.

His passing has made me view life differently… more finite than I have ever viewed it before. We grow up envisioning our lives as an infinite amount of time, dreaming of it turning out a certain way; college, career, marriage, family, house, supporting our parents as they journey into their silver years, and then growing old with our spouse. Alas, life doesn’t always turn out that way, it’s not cookie cutter perfect, predictable or even pretty. Life is hard. It’s tattered with pain, lots of pain, buckets of tears, as well as amazing adventures, loving memories, joyous celebrations and many blessings.

Life is complex

I am slowly learning that it’s not so much about making a perfect life, but rather about choosing to

enjoy each imperfect day as a finite opportunity to be enjoyed before it passes.

We tell ourselves “there’s always tomorrow” when it comes to setting aside time for ourselves, planning a trip away, visiting with family or friends, or wearing that special necklace or outfit. But reality is, there isn’t always tomorrow and it’s up to us today to determine how we want to spend that day if it were our very last one here on earth!

Life is finite-how do we want to spend it?

I may not have been able to slow my stance to walk beside my Dad as he aged, but I still have my amazing Mom who I get to walk beside and enjoy life with! I still have the opportunity to support her in her silver years and make new memories with her that last a lifetime! When her stance slows, I’ll slow mine just so I can walk beside her. When she forgets she told me something, I’ll smile because one day I’ll forget too, and patience is something precious. When she can’t hear, I’ll speak louder, laugh louder and love louder so she knows how much she is treasured by this daughter.

Trust me, this past year has been the absolute hardest year of my entire life. Sadness, depression, confusion and anger have all been part of my journey. Yet one thing has been a constant: God’s immeasurable love and mercy.

There have been days all I wanted to do was cry and lay in bed. Days when I was so angry I just wanted a punching bag because I was afraid I would use someone’s face as one! Days when I felt so insanely alone and misunderstood, and my heart hurt so bad I just couldn’t stand to look in the mirror or face another human being. Yet, in His infinite grace and love, God provided me with the support I needed. I may not have wanted to get through the pain, but God has carried me through. He has completed me!

I’ve always loved Footprints, but this year that writing became real-life for me, as I have literally fallen into the arms of Jesus and leaned, all in, completely and utterly broken and feeling unfix-able. Jesus has carried me through, day after day and amidst all the pain, He’s brought so many incredible blessings! God completes me.

I have no idea where you are in life or what you’re going through, but I don’t need to, in order to be able to tell you that while life is insanely complex, God is willing and able to complete you if you’ll lean in, all in and allow Him to comfort you and provide for all your needs. I only know this because He’s doing it for me.  So if anything else, just be comforted in knowing you are not alone… we’re in this together! ♥

love satin 2015

 

 


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When Your Dream Looks Different Than You Imagined

It’s funny how we imagine our dreams to look one way, yet they turn out looking totally different, isn’t it?

I imagined that working from home would give me a set schedule with set hours. Having a set schedule would enable me to pack my hubby’s lunch, and make his morning coffee, see him off to work and then do my morning devotions. I envisioned doing my morning exercise routine, having breakfast and getting myself ready for the day. After that, I’d be ready to work; stopping for lunch and taking breaks to play fetch with our two beautiful dogs, while doing laundry, keeping the house clean and prepping for dinner!

That’s not at all how my day looks! The dream of being an at-home business owner, while playing super-wife, super-woman and super-step mama, is not super-REAL! Instead, it’s super-HARD!

That schedule I thought I would have? Turns out it’s not as easy to maintain now that I don’t have an employer’s time clock to punch! Instead, my new schedule requires that I am accountable to myself. My new schedule requires that I set my own boundaries so I’m not answering business emails during meal time, quite time, or family time. Not giving in to the constant pull of social media, trying to dictate my every move in order to make a sale, has proven to be a big challenge to my boundary setting and my personal journey to rest.

If I’m honest with myself I have to admit, the dream I had in my head looks totally different than I envisioned. Is that bad? No. However, it’s certainly more difficult than I thought it would be.  All the people I worked with for the past seven years? I miss them; they became family to me and I miss that connection.  That time clock I punched? While I didn’t like having to punch in daily, now that I don’t have to, I miss the familiarity and consistency of knowing my hours and expectations.  That set paycheck? I miss that too; it’s no longer the responsibility of my employer, rather it’s become my personal responsibility!

Bottom line? I’ve been feeling as if the entire weight of responsibility is on my shoulders and it’s been killing me! I’ve cried a lot, stopped writing, or reaching out to my friends, all in an effort to not to be a burden to anyone, but the truth is, I’m sad and feel like I’m walking this journey alone.  While I know I’m right where God wants me, it still makes me feel like the new kid in town. This dream turned out to be very different than I imagined and this change is difficult and painful.

The amazing and beautiful thing about this journey is that, in my honesty before God, He always meets me in a powerful way.

The other morning while I was doing my devotions, as I shared my fears, worries and sadness, the Holy Spirit whispered these words to my heart:

“You don’t have to try so hard.
My provision is a promise I gave you;
It’s not something you can attain.
I will always provide~trust me”

Isaiah 43:19 has become one of my favorite verses, as I choose to cling to His promises.

psalm 43.19

I share all this with you in an effort to provide you with some encouragement. Regardless of where we are in our dream, if God calls us there, He will not only qualify us, but provide for us, and He will BE everything we need. He is doing a new thing & making a way where there seems to be no way.

Thank you for your love, support and encouragement along my journey; it is comforting to know I have you in my corner, praying for me and cheering me on; I hope to provide the same for you!

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What I Would Have Missed: #HandsFreeMama Series

handsfreemama

Picking up Hands Free Mama this week and reading Chapter 3 “Choose What Matters~Deliberateness”, was like striking a gold mine, except the reward for me, was far more precious than gold!

“Now that you are able to weigh the high costs of distraction
against the priceless benefits of connection,
the choice is yours”
{Rachel Macy Stafford}

After some hurtful altercations several years ago with my stepson Jackson’s mother, I chose to take several steps back and not to watch him without my husband, Tyler, present.

This past weekend Tyler was going out of town, so I was left with two options: either stick to my original “rule” of not watching Jackson without Tyler present, or lay that rule aside and watch him. Tyler left the decision up to me, so I prayed  about it and decided it was time to leave the past behind, and proceed with watching Jackson for the weekend.

The weekend started off great, then, as they sometimes do, things took a turn and Jackson ended up needing some correction for stealing toys from his neighbor friend. I took a moment to step away from the situation long enough to engage in a brief text with my mom asking for prayer.

I stepped into Jackson’s room, sat down with him, calmly and sincerely addressed the issue and prayed with him.

Then I looked into his face and asked him if he wanted Jesus to live inside his heart so He could help him to listen, obey, be good, and not steal.

With tears streaming down his little face, my precious stepson said, “yes”.

I had the honor of encouraging Jackson to pray, in his own six-year-old-words, and ask Jesus to live inside his heart, and help him to be good.

Talk about being more precious that gold!!

Choosing what matters most…

Sometimes our pride says no, but God says yes.

Sometimes our obedient “yes” turns into a gift for all of eternity.

What I would have missed, had I held onto my pride and said no.

What I would have missed, had I not said yes.

I am utterly humbled at the thought of being a vessel God can use.

He chose me; of all the people in Jackson’s life, He chose me…

As my friend Holley Gerth says,
“The enemy tries to trick us into believing we’re not enough

because he knows if we discover the truth we’ll be unstoppable.”

Today, I am thanking God for imparting His truth to my heart and for reminding me,
“You are not enough…in me you are so much more. {Holley Gerth}

Today, I am thanking God for His ability to honor my obedience and make something beautiful from something ugly.

Today, I look back at these past six years with Jackson and see only a glimpse of what God has in store for him, and our beautiful family.

The choice is mine…

Oh the utter joy that awaits those who love God!

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This post is dedicated to my precious Mother and Best Friend.
Today is her birthday and in honor of the beautiful life she lives for Jesus,
I couldn’t think of a better way to celebrate, than to print in black and white,
proof of her faithful prayers for my stepson and our family.
My Mom has been in the trenches with us, as we’ve walked these difficult years.
She’s witnessed the pain, the anguish, and the tears,
and offered countless hours of encouragement, hugs and prayers.
While I realize this is only the beginning of Jackson’s spiritual journey,
I accredit my mother for her tenacity in praying & assuring me that my work is not in vain:
to never give up on what GOD can do in an impossible situation!
Happy Birthday, Mom!
You are one amazing woman and I am honored to be your daughter!
I Love You!
XOXO


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Shine On, Friend!

sunshine begins

“He will yet fill your mouth with laughter and your lips with shouts of joy.” {Job 8:21}

Life is full of disappointments, stress and pain, but we have a promise that amidst our deepest valleys, there is One who will fill our mouth with laughter and give us JOY from deep within!

I know many of you are experiencing some extremely challenging times. You’ve lost jobs, lost loved ones, or received bad news about someone you love.  A spouse walked out, you’ve been diagnosed with a disease that has no cure, or you’ve even lost a piece of yourself amidst your pain.  Think of Job. He had everything. God had blessed him abundantly… then he lost it all.

What was Job’s response to his loss?

Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” {Job 13:15}

Did Job deny his anguish and pretend his journey was “peachy keen”? Absolutely not! He bore his soul to God, crying out for mercy, and with anguish, he begged for deliverance from his affliction.

Us, my friend, are called to do the same thing; to pour our hearts out to our Loving Father, who knows our hearts and longs to comfort us when we are hurting.

Amidst Job’s affliction he found these words:

“Look, I go forward, but He is not there,
And backward, but I cannot perceive Him;
When He works on the left hand, I cannot behold Him;
When He turns to the right hand, I cannot see Him.
But He knows the way that I take;
When He has tested me, I shall come forth as gold.
My foot has held fast to His steps;
I have kept His way and not turned aside.
I have not departed from the commandment of His lips;
I have treasured the words of His mouth
More than my necessary food.”
{Job 23:8-12}

Friend, when we hit our knees and pour our hearts out to God, He hears us! Often we do not see His hand at work, no matter what we do. Sometimes He doesn’t heal us, sometimes He doesn’t give us what we’re asking for and sometimes He allows more pain than we ever thought we could endure…

But He is always, always there.

He is REFINING us.

He is MOLDING us.

He is HOLDING us.

And when He is done, we will Shine like the Son, for His righteousness will shine through us like never before & we will behold his glory, in everything we do and say.

He IS our Redeemer.

He IS our Provider.

He IS our Everything.

May you cling to His promises, without seeing them come to fruition.

May you allow His JOY to deeply root within your heart, so His joy radiates within your smile.

Shine on, my friend, the Son is within you, Shine on!

love satin2

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Most Perfect Curve

curves of a smile

While reading Ann Voskamp’s post it made me think of my husbands words most recently when I asked him how he really feels about me quitting my full-time job to pursue our business full-time.

“I feel good about it! I finally get my wife back!” Those words spoke two things to me:

  • My happiness is reflected in the smile upon my face
  • My husbands happiness is directly affected by own happiness

On my Journey to Rest I shared of my struggle to relinquish control, to ask for help and ultimately to trust God to be my provider in all things. Now, as my husband and I have made this life changing decision, I am pursuing a life of more purposeful, less distracted living.

Reading Hands Free Mama is really opening my eyes to just how much the happiness of my husband, stepson, our family and friends are all directly affected by my own happiness or the lack their of! As I mentioned before, I am truly blessed, and my heart has never lost sight of that. However, my life choices haven’t lent to reflecting the fruit of my gratitude because I haven’t allowed myself enough time for rest, nor have I been living a balanced life.

“In one simple, beautiful gesture, my daughter cemented
my newfound pursuit to live Hands Free.

I realized with clarity that thisthis pausing,
when the whole world keeps on going-is living.
{Rachel Macy Stafford}

Friends, it is our choice! We can choose to keep saying yes to the people and things that don’t matter, while saying no to those we love the most, or we can embrace a Hands Free, life that yields abundant joy, treasured memories and tremendous peace and health!

1 Corinthians 16:14 says “Let all you do be done in love,”

How can we fully love, if we are not fully present?

For some of us, technology is our weakness; email, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest. While for others of us, it’s our jobs or work.  I know for me, it’s been both! I’ve spent the past two and a half years, busting my bottom at a full-time job while trying to build a business with my husband that will sustain our family.  I don’t consider it a bad thing by any means, but I have had to make sacrifices on this journey.  I’ve sacrificed personal time, fitness and health. I’ve sacrificed family time and time with my husband.

While sacrifice is necessary to achieve any goal we set, there has to be balance and that is something I’ve struggled with over the years.

“I need to be reminded that I could complain less,
cherish more, let go of the have-tos,
and say yes more often.
I need to be reminded that although
sunsets and goodbyes happen every day,
each one should be treated as if it’s the last.
I need to be reminded that real living happens
when I peel away the distractions and
hold my perfectly imperfect life
tenderly in my hands.
And someday, I’ll be grateful I didn’t miss my life.”
{Rachel Macy Stafford}

So how about those curves?

Are you smiling?

Is your life so busy, you find yourself frustrated, in tears or on the brink of a break-down at any given moment? That’s been me for the past year and if that’s you today, I can’t encourage you enough to embrace this truth:

The only person who can protect my time is me!

Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it.
Proverbs 4:23

 I hope you’ll join me on my #handsfree journey! I’d love to hear about yours as well!

love satin2

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Heart of Gratitude

psalm 118 1

Over the weekend, I spent some time shopping at my favorite Resale Shop My Sister’s Closet. While paying, the cashier asked about my weekend and if I had Labor Day off. I responded, “Yes I do, and I am so grateful.” Her response surprised me, when she had an expression of surprise as she said, “Wow! That’s not a term you hear much these days!” I smiled and replied, “Well, I have much to be grateful for; I am truly blessed”.

The cashiers surprise at my verbalization of gratitude really sunk deep into my heart as I began to think more about my own life expressions of gratitude.

If I’m honest, in the past two and a half years, I’ve become so consumed with starting and growing our business, that my life hasn’t always reflected one of gratitude, so today, I’d like to pause and give thanks to God for His tremendous blessings in my life during the past two years.

1) My heart is full because God has blessed me with a husband who loves me to the fullest. {Ecclesiastes 4:9-12} Two are better than one, because they have a good return for their labor:  If either of them falls down, one can help the other up.”

2) Two years and four months ago my dad was diagnosed with cancer. I am so grateful for the time we have shared and will continue to share together until Jesus takes him home. {2 Samuel 24:14} “I am in great distress. Let us now fall into the hand of the LORD for His mercies are great, but do not let me fall into the hand of man.”

3) Within the past two and a half years, God has expanded our business.  I couldn’t be more grateful to be fulfilling a dream of mine to be self-employed and serving along side my husband in our business. {Luke 6:38} “Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”

4) Oh the joy that has come from seeing another goal achieved together, as God provided the means and blessed us with a beautiful house we call home. {Joshua 24:14} “As for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

5) Late last year God provided the opportunity for my husband to have a vasectomy reversal, so we can expand our family.  I look forward to having a child of our own together one day… all in God’s time. {Psalm 37:4} Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart.

My life is truly blessed and my heart is truly grateful!

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In an effort to embrace a life of more purposeful, less distracted living, I am starting a new blogging series based on Rachel Macy Stafford’s book Hands Free Mama and am inviting you on my journey.  You may purchase the book here, or simply follow along as I blog through her Godly words of wisdom. After reading Bonnie Gray’s book Finding Spiritual Whitespace, my heart is longing for a lifestyle of balance and rest; Hands Free Mama is yet another tool God placed in my life for such a time as this.  Won’t you join me?

See you next week!

love satin2

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Choosing To Believe

butterfly on many flowers

My last two posts have been about my struggle to fully be where I am and to release my control and fear to Jesus, clinging to His promise to always provide.

The word God impressed on my heart as for 2014, was believe. (Read more here)  God whispered to my heart, that this would be the year to take my belief from a verbal statement, to an action; a movement, a calling.

It amazes me how God always prepares His children for what is to come, even with just a word, if only we will have ears to hear!  Eight months ago I had no idea that I would be quitting my job of seven years to pursue our business full time!

Two weeks ago when I tendered my resignation to my employer, I had full intentions of working full-time through October 31st, helping with training and transition.

However, last week was horribly stressful for me. I ended up at home with migraines 2 of the 5 work-days. The stress of resigning, while still trying to keep everyone happy was taking it’s toll on my body, and God’s direction became clearer than ever: let go & fully believe His promise to provide.

When my heart says yes, sometimes God says no.

My heart longs to please people, and to be secure, yet God is asking me to let go of both.

I’ve never fully understood God’s ways, I just know them to be the best, so I often find my self blindly following His lead, while shaking my head dumbfounded at why!?

Before tendering my resignation, I had looked over our finances and felt confident that we could afford for me to quit on October 31st. I knew, “in the future”, God would need to provide, but we were good “until then”.

Quitting earlier than I had intended, puts me in a tail spin of head shaking and questioning why God is asking me to quit now and not when it looks to be easier! I am smiling as I type this, because truth is, believing God isn’t about seeing the results today! Believing God is about seeing His direction today and trusting His promises for tomorrow!

So on Monday, I revised my resignation, told my boss that Friday (tomorrow) would be my last day working full-time and that I’d be willing to work 20 hours a week until the end of September, in order to help with the training & transition.

I had to let go. I had to choose to believe God’s promise to provide and I had to accept “no” from my boss. The initial rejection of my offer hurt at my deepest core. It made me feel worthless and unappreciated.  I struggled feeling guilty for choosing obedience to God & my overall health & happiness, over choosing my boss.

However, as a result of my obedience and acceptance of God’s no, God changed my bosses heart! He found value in my position and accepted my gracious offer to help with the training and transition, and on my terms (God’s terms!).

When God promised He would always provide, He never promised it would be easy to believe that promise, but submitting to His will and choosing to believe, always yields the best results!

I am so grateful for this current chapter of my life; the one where God is teaching me the beauty of believing! I look forward to this next chapter and all He has in store for me and my family!

Thank you for your words of encouragement, love and prayers-you’re such a blessing to my life!

How may I pray for you, friend?

love satin2

 

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