Deal With Your Junk

Those who know me well know that my car is pretty much perpetually messy.

One of my goals for the year (I hate the whole ‘new year’s resolution’ thing because they’re so easy to break) was to keep my car clean, to the point I could drive friends around and make use of my trunk when having to transport things like groceries, luggage, etc. With one of the little brothers coming to stay with us soon, it needed to happen sooner than later, and Monday was it.

My trunk was a challenge because, if I’m being honest, I don’t think I’ve cleaned my trunk out in about…9 years, given what I found. The task of cleaning my trunk out…man. I’m not kidding when I say that it look a LOT longer than I’d anticipated. A LOT. My husband has offered multiple times to help, but I’ve turned him down. He wouldn’t know what to do with everything in there, I thought.

In the too-full trunk, I found:

  • Multiple notebooks
  • School notebooks from college classes
  • textbooks
  • a pail and shovel for building sandcastles
  • multiple DVD’s
  • shirts of mine that I’d long forgotten about
  • Three pairs of men’s jeans
  • Three vases
  • many other things

This pile-up had accumulated to the point that I literally had no idea what was waiting on me when I started. By the end, I was exhausted. My hands and clothes were dirty (we lived down a dirt road for a period of time, so dust had accumulated).

But it struck me: This is how life is for many of us. We go through things and, instead of giving it to Jesus and letting Him handle it, we throw it in the trunk. We say we’ll deal with it later, it’s not ‘that big of a deal.’ Maybe it’s the sting of rejection, of words that cut us, of someone else’s actions that damaged a heart, a wish fallen through. We throw it in the trunk, and we go about life. Out of sight, out of mind. When something else happens, we add that to the trunk. Life is busy, we’ll unpack that later. We’ll deal with it when we have time. So the trunk gets full. Our mess starts interfering with our day to day life, starts inhibiting us from living to our full potential. Sure, we can deal with the stuff in our faces, that’s the easy stuff. But by the time you’ve piled on so much mess in your trunk, you know it’s going to take time to deal with. You put it off. You let it linger. You let it be. And the mess, inexplicably, gets bigger. Even when you hear the gentle voice of the Savior urging you to let Him help you, you hold onto that junk. And, that junk holds you back.

Y’all. It’s time to unpack our junk.

I don’t know what your junk is. It could be bitterness, anger, resentment…it could be rejection, addiction, fear, codependency…either way, it’s time to unpack your junk. Give that junk to Jesus and let Him deal with it. Jesus wants us to live life abundantly, and we can’t do that carrying around that junk.

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A different sort of week

Had things gone the way I wanted them to go, things would be drastically different this week.

I sometimes catch myself thinking about what I might be doing if my plan played out-would I be walking compulsively, trying to urge the process along? Or would I have already gone into labor, holding my sweet little one? Would I have already bought a Christmas ornament, prepped the spare room, bought presents?

Had my plans played out, this week would be drastically different.

My plans didn’t play out. God had different plans.

I don’t know why I lost my little one. I may never know this side of heaven. I do know that the first thing my little one saw when they opened their eyes was the face of Jesus. How amazing that must be! To have the first thing you see be the One who created you…what a wonder. And, I know I’ll see my little one again. I’ll be able to hold them, cradle them, tell them how much I loved them and still love them.

But the past few weeks have been hard.

My emotions aren’t pretty. I’m still grieving, in many ways, especially since we haven’t gotten pregnant yet.

I am truly happy for the no less than 83208 people on my facebook feed/in my life that have either had a baby recently or are about to give birth (I’m using hyperbole, obviously, but it seems excessive). I know several of them who had struggles similar to mine.

But it doesn’t take away my own sorrow. My loss is still real. And it hurts. I mean, HURTS. Deep down in the pit of my stomach.

I know God has a plan. I’ve been a believer since I was a child. I believe that His ways are good. I cling to the hope that He is a good, good Father who gives good gifts to His children, and that He is going to use what Satan intended for harm for His good and His glory. I know all the verses and truths.

But, I’m still hurting. And, this may always hurt a little bit.

This definitely isn’t the path I would’ve picked for my family.

But, He is good. Even through the tears, He is good. Even through my questions, He is good. Even through the sorrow I feel, He is good.

He. Is. Good. 

Psalm 40:1-3
I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
    and he turned to me and heard my cry.
 He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
    out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
    and steadied me as I walked along.
 He has given me a new song to sing,
    a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
    They will put their trust in the Lord.

Unraveling

One of my hobbies is knitting. I love following the pattern of the stitches, the movements, the order…it calms me. It’s a way for me to work out frustrations while also having something to occupy my time.

I’d found this really pretty color of yarn, and I was working on making a throw. I had to use tools that I wasn’t used to using (bigger needles). While I was finishing up, I realized I didn’t have enough yarn to finishing casting off, so I had to go back and unravel part of it. It was the only way I could finish my blanket.

In my daily bible reading, I’ve been going through the book of Mark. The first few chapters are packed full of truths, but they feature something that stuck out to me. People had to get out of their comfort zones to ask Jesus for help. They had to unravel from their pattern, whether it be sin or cultural norms, so He could heal and complete them.

Maybe God’s led you somewhere you don’t want to be. This season isn’t easy for me, and I’m sure it’s not easy for many. But, maybe God’s unraveling us to complete His work in us. Maybe He’s trying to create the work He wants us to be, not the work we want to be. Don’t be afraid to be unraveled. ❤

Thanksgiving, Part 1

Oh give thanks to the Lord, for He is good; His steadfast love endures forever!-1 Chronicles 16:34

 

This week, I want to reflect on the good. I want to reflect on the things I’m grateful for. I want to choose joy in every circumstance. I want to make expressing gratitude a habit.

Yes, church friends, I listened on Sunday. 🙂

So, part one of the thanksgiving post:

I’m thankful for my salvation. I’m thankful for the agape love, the love that doesn’t come with an ‘if-then’ statement, the love that never changes, the love that God extended to me through Jesus Christ. I’m thankful for that forgiveness. And, I’m thankful that resting in that enables to me to love others. Even the ones that have hurt me. Even the ones that have hurt those that I love. Even the ones that don’t want my forgiveness, don’t acknowledge hurt they’ve caused…because of that great love, I can love them like Jesus.

I’m thankful for a good, Godly husband. He loves the Lord, loves me, and loves serving others. He’s an amazing picture of Jesus. He loves the church and the people there, and he’s aware of his calling and looks for ways to use that to pour into others. He’s growing, in his walk and as a husband. I’m, to say the least, a self-professed handful, so he’s definitely grown in grace. ❤ I’m so thankful that God put us together and has sustained us, especially looking back on what we’ve been through from August of last year until now (two miscarriages, losing two grandparents, a totaled car, etc).

I’m thankful that, even though my life looks VASTLY different than I imagined it looking ten years ago, I wouldn’t trade it for the world. I know my parents both love me. And, even though my parents aren’t together anymore, God blessed me with stepparents that I know love me and love my siblings.

I’m thankful for my life group. We are probably the most vastly different people to walk the planet. That doesn’t come without its challenges, but we love each other through it. These people love us, unconditionally, and have walked with us through two miscarriages, and I know they’ll celebrate with us whenever the Lord chooses to send us the child(ren) He has picked for us.

“As long as thanks is possible, joy is possible.”-Ann Voskamp 

He didn’t ask me to plan the details

I’m a planner by nature. I like to have a game-plan in place for everything. I want to know where the teachers I work with keep their most-used materials, where they store makeup work, and what they’ll have the students doing if they’ll be out that day. I like having a schedule for when bills get paid. I haven’t color coded my planner yet, but it’s crossed my mind quite a few times, let me tell you. I like my normal. I like my comfort zone.

But, as a quote on Pinterest reminded me, nothing grows in my comfort zone.

Our church, a place we both needed and love, has many partnerships with churches all over the world. Part of the reason we picked this place is because of how missions-minded they are. My husband was blessed enough to go on a trip to Ukraine this summer. This is the third year I’ve felt the pull to go to a certain place and stared at the application until I’ve talked myself out of it. I, unintentionally, love giving the Father excuses. “What if we’re expecting a baby (either through adoption or biologically)? What if I’m back in college? What if we get to adopt? What if one of my grandparents gets sick? What if something happens with one of my siblings? What if something happens to one of my parents or one of my steparents? What if I have health issues pop up?”

You know what God spoke to me in my spirit? A word that none of us like, if we’re being honest.

Obedience. 

I still have all of those excuses in the back of my head, trust me.

What word comes to mind?

Obedience. 

God didn’t call me to plan the details. Those are up to Him and Him alone. God called me to be obedient. So, I was obedient. I filled out my application. And today, my application was approved!

I’m ready.

Here I am.

Send me.

Seven Year Olds and Messages from God

October, for many reasons, has meant a depressive swing for the past few years. Those that have dealt with depression can understand-it takes a physical and mental toll on your entire self. Couple that with other factors (gotta love being a woman, let me tell you), I just wanted to go to bed on this night instead of going to church.

I almost called our children’s pastor. I thought about it more than once, but I never did, so off to church we went. We attend a large church, and it’s not uncommon to have as many as 30 kindergarten, first, and second graders in my Wednesday night class (I’m thankful for my fellow flexible volunteers, who lessened the load for me, since my normal partner in crime wasn’t there). It’s chaos that I love-it’s my sweet spot. After some (frantic) rushing to get last-minute preps finished, I made it into the large group room in time for worship. I was frazzled. I was flustered. I was every word for frustrated that you could possibly find in a Thesaurus, trying to sing a worship song and get my mind right for our small-group time. In the middle of my frustration, I felt two little arms hug me, followed by this:

And, while she held my hand, she sang. She sang about the goodness of her father, the love that he has for his children. She sang at the top of her lungs, swinging our hands back and forth.

In that moment, tears stinging my eyes, I understood. Through my frustration, God is still good. Through my sadness, God is still good. Through the pain, through the storm. Through infertility and miscarriage. Through exhaustion and fatigue. Through the waiting and the questioning.

He. Is. Still. Good.

And, He loves me. And, He loves you.

I don’t know what you’re facing, but God is still good. God is close to those who trust in him and is a refuge when trouble comes (Nahum 1:7). Run to him. Listen to the nudges of His Spirit in your struggles. Look for the reminder that He’s holding your hand, that He’s with you. You’re not in this alone.