A Surrendered Heart

I lay me down

upon the table

not knowing what’s to come

 

All my hopes

and dreams combined

are fighting for a single crumb

 

 

Inside of me

they push and pull

’til answers are revealed

 

But secretly

they know the truth:

tomorrow’s fate is sealed

 

Not in the hunger

Nor in the thirst

But only when I surrender

 

To the maker

of this starving heart

So bent on becoming fatter

 

He wants my hopes

He wants my dreams

to reflect the One above

 

I won’t be free

from longing for more

until I feast on His goodness and love

 

So I bow my head

but I lift my hands

in an effort that brings me rest

 

And I recognize

with teary eyes

that His ways are always best.

 

Photo Credit: Jamie Street

Let’s Get Our Hands Dirty, Church!

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I know, I know…where have I been? (Cue mysterious background music.)

Let’s see… first of all, I’ve been finishing up my last semester of college. By the way, I graduate in May with my Criminal Justice degree! Woo hoo! It’s been hectic and time consuming to say the least.

I’ve also been settling in to our new home in Texas. It’s been fun but exhausting since I have a preschooler running around at my feet every second of the day. #onetiredmama

Where else have I been? Oh yeah, I’ve been involved in an amazing local chapter of a global non profit organization called The A21 Campaign and I’m loving it! The local chapter is called The Freedom Chasers and we go around to different churches, schools, events, etc… to raise awareness on human trafficking through informative talks, fundraisers, and community involvement. You might recognize the organization’s name because I wrote about their Walk for Freedom last year in which I participated.

In that same vein, I am writing to you today from the perspective of two young girls who got caught up in the seedy world that is sexual exploitation. Their stories are fictional but the details are based on real stories that I’ve read about or actually encountered. I would greatly appreciate your views and shares of this piece as it is just another tool to raise awareness among our friends and acquaintances on the horrors of human trafficking.

Click on the quote to go to the post and thank you so much for reading! ❤

Our world is experiencing a love drought of epidemic proportions these days. Elicit billboards with sexy imagery line the highways in anticipation of men wanting a pleasure break from their long and lonely drives. Women (and even girls) get caught up in the industry of temporary satisfaction in search of the seemingly elusive concept called love. They are on the receiving end of an unwanted demonstration of imposter love that reveals itself through association and expectation. Someone lied to them and led them to believe that they had to work for it. And the only thing that is going to stop their accidental pursuit of unhealthy love is a purposeful response of healthy love.

Three Ways Frozen’s Elsa Taught My Daughter to be a Strong Woman

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Hi followers and friends. It’s December 1! Can you even believe it? I am still in shock over how fast this year has passed. Anyways…I have a fun post up on Red Tricycle about Disney princesses and how they influence our kids personalities. Would love some views, comments, and shares! This was a neat article to write and I really got to explore a more childlike side of myself while writing about my preschooler’s take on femininity based on Elsa’s character in Frozen. Hop on over and check it out. I promise that you’ll be super entertained!

As always, thanks for your faithfulness to read my words. I don’t take your loyalty for granted. I appreciate you!

Here’s a bit from the article:

“As you very well know, strong women are in dire need these days. The Elsas of the world need to rise up to their full potential and fearlessly behold their strength in the face of ice-cold circumstances. Take this challenge from my spunky three-nager and repeat these words out loud until you believe it: “I know I can!” Then sing your way into victory! (You know you want to.)”

What’s your fave Disney princess? Do you see some of her characteristics in yourself? Leave me a comment (after you have read the piece) and let me know for some good ol’ fashioned fun. 🙂 Happy Thursday!

(Read more…)

Photo Credit: Paul Green 
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Shared on Mom Life Monday’s Blog Link-up 

Moms, It’s Okay to Embrace Your Mushy Side

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Hi friends! I have a post up on my fave site, Her View From Home, for all my mamas out there. I have discovered a new side to myself since having children- sappy! (And I’m loving it, though it does make things awkward at times.) Come on over to HVFH and check out my newest piece if you’re constantly feeling that tug to tear up over things your kids do. I promise you’ll find some solidarity with other moms in my words.

 

“These opportunities come our way whether we like it or not. We have to decide if we’re going to let them steer us further into relationship with our child, even if that means shedding a few tears, or if we’re going to let them push us out of connection with them. Seeing life through our children’s eyes will evoke emotions from the hardest of hearts. Our children seeing life through our eyes will help them see that we, their parents, are simply human. Just. Like. Them.”

Read more… 

 

I’ve also linked up with Mom Life Mondays. 

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Photo Credit : Jon Flobrant 

Breast Cancer Stole My Sister

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Hey friends! It’s been a week or two since I’ve been on here. Life has been pretty busy! Fall is officially upon us- school activities are in full swing. As we celebrate the cooler temps and prettier colors, I have also been mindful of what October represents: Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Many of you know about my story of losing my sister to this awful disease. (Check it out here!)

While reflecting on this loss, I was compelled to write something in honor of her that brings awareness on the effects of breast cancer as well. Please hop over to Her View From Home and give it a read. It wasn’t easy for me to write but it was necessary for my healing journey. I encourage you to give it a try: writing brings healing in a very tangible way.

The National Breast Cancer Foundation says, “One in eight women will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime.” That’s like one gal in your mama tribe or one neighbor in your running club. One in eight means that every single one of us is already or will be eventually affected by this monster of a disease.

Do you know someone fighting this battle? Are you walking through it? Remember: you are never alone. Thanks for reading my personal story- there are so many other stories out there that deserve our attention as well. Go find one and read it today. Better yet, go write one. Your story matters.

Click here: Breast Cancer Stole My Sister

Finding Hope in the Mundane

“Turn your eyes upon Jesus

Look full in His wonderful face

And the things of earth will grow strangely dim

In the light of His glory and grace. “

Helen Howarth Lemmel

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I love this hymn. It’s probably my favorite one. It addresses the questions and uncertainties of this life with an answer of hope.

The Answer is Hope.

This Wednesday, this mid-week slump of a day, has me all caught up in the mundane. I need some renewed hope. How about you? So, here’s my rendition of this timeless hymn. I pray it brings you newness of spirit, soul, and body.


I slightly see you Jesus. But I choose to turn, to redirect the position of my body so that I am facing in a different direction, to change my course if it is not in line with Your perfect will.

I really see you Jesus. I desire to look, to use my sight or vision in seeking, searching, examining, watching, to gaze upon Your beauty more than I stare at my ugly circumstances. 

I only see you Jesus. The darkness of this temporary place can’t overwhelm my soul. It has to fade away, disappear, vanish without a trace of existence in your presence.

I live to see you Jesus. Your love shines on every part of my life causing me to run wild and free because of your beaming favor that welcomes me into fields of grace.


Whatever you’re facing today, just look to the Jesus. the source of all HOPE, the answer to every problem. He will meet you where you are. And always guide you home.

Childhood Fears as an Adult

The physical darkness in front of me doesn’t negate the heavenly Light I carry within me.

I am a grown woman with a childhood fear that just won’t let go. I am the mom who makes her kids have nightlights in their rooms because I’m scared that they might get scared in the middle of the night.

Am I a fearful person? Not really. I am very into confronting your fears and living on the edge. After all, the Bible even says in 2 Timothy 1:7, (and I quote this verse often to my tribe),
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear,

but of power and of love and of a sound mind.”

But when the room is pitch black, all of the blood rushes to my head and I instantly blurt out whatever expletive or shrieking sound I can muster to get someone, ANYONE, to turn the light back on.

I thought that maybe this was a major problem and I needed some counseling or something. I even considered forcing myself to sleep in my bedroom without the bathroom light shining in from down the hall to somehow face my fear head on.

Then it occurred to me recently as I was struggling with letting my youngest sleep (per her request) without a night light- The physical darkness in front of me doesn’t negate the heavenly Light I carry within me. Aren’t I called to be the Light? To be a flickering flame shining HOPE in the night hours? A glimmering speck of FREEDOM that guides the captives out of their gloomy cells?

My three year old knows this truth better than I do it seems. She sings songs like “This Little Light of Mine” and “Jesus Loves Me” to herself in her bed at night. What a picture of faith. She is worshipping the Light Giver even though her eyes only see darkness. That image preaches itself.

If I force her to have that night light, I would be enabling her to be afraid of the dark just like I have been for too long. I would, in essence, be passing my fear onto her.  Notice, I didn’t say that I want her to constantly live in bright, well-lit places and never encounter darkness at all. I think, many times, this is where we miss it. (I know I did!) But the cool thing is, my fear of the dark has actually introduced my heart to the safety of the Light. However, always living comfortably in the warmth of the sun by no means instills a longing for more light. In fact, it leaves you hot and a little presumptuous that life will always be full of sunshine.

No, the nighttime seasons make us long for the morning rays. I want my kids to experience the dark because it is in those moments when they will come to realize that the Light never left them. Isn’t that what hope is, after all? A knowing that the darkness will not fully overtake us because we have a Savior who lives inside of us and to Him, “the night shines as bright as day.” (Psalm 139:12)

 

They’re Always Better Together

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Courage. A word typically reserved for a person who noticeably goes out of her way to do something brave on behalf of others.

Compassion. A word generally attached to a person who selflessly helps others without even being seen or known.

To me, these two words go hand in hand. Like bread and butter, courage and compassion add something significant to one another.

The sweet spot of life is found in a combination of the two through private acts of kindness and public displays of bravery. Both are essential to making an impact on the world.

Now, before all the haters get up in my grill about my viewpoint on these two beautiful terms, let me be the first to say that each characteristic is important all by itself. But, like so many other things, when put together, they bring out the best parts of each other.

Let’s look at it this way: I can be the kindest person in the world to MY family in the comfort of MY own home. Behind closed doors. But when I go out and mingle with humanity, I keep to myself and never go out of my way to help someone else. To do that requires a different level of compassion. It requires some nerve. A willingness to be noticed if need be in order to lift someone else out of a pit that they may not be able to get out of on their own.

Our time here on earth is short as many of us know (including myself.) While good people die every single day, bad people keep on living. We can’t just sit by and watch it happen anymore. We need more good men and women to grow a pair, leave their comfortable existence of my family of four and no more, and love the heck out of people. (Yeah, I said it.) All people. Everywhere. Despite differences and opinions and cultures and baggage. This is where compassion and courage collide. An intersection of guts and glory if you will.

It’s so very necessary, don’t you think? The people who died too young would tell us to live each day with wild and crazy abandon sold out to a cause greater than ourselves. Can you imagine them saying that we should live a safe existence that only benefits us personally? Surely not. It’s in the giving away that we get so much given back to us.

How can you be daring in your efforts to help others on both the hidden back roads and in the bright lights of the city? It can be done. There are people waiting for you to overcome your fear of being seen so they can be seen. Being noticed for a courageous act doesn’t make you proud or egotistical. Humility is a trait easily noticed and hardly forgotten. When someone sees your hand outstretched towards another,they consider doing the same thing in their own magnificent way.

We can honor the ones who have gone before us by honoring the ones who are still here with us. Be kind to your families. Be gracious with your coworkers. Be fearless in your pursuit of the downcast, overlooked, and forgotten.

Then love them when noone is watching AND when everyone is looking. Let’s gloriously practice courage and compassion.

People over Plans

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Friendship is something we all crave. From playing on the playground in kindergarten to checking out the hot new club at age 22, we want a friend to tag along with us. Life’s just not as enjoyable alone.

Deep friendship takes time and investment. Time with eachother one-on-one and in social settings. Investment in activities and resources that encourage interaction on a regular basis.

In lasting friendships, prioritizing our relationship with the other person is so important. When we put someone at the top of our list, they feel valued and we feel connected. Without this kind of purposeful drive, our friendships will end up falling short.

It is never a waste of time to choose a person over a plan. Some of my greatest friendships have been forged on spontaneous trips and off the cuff remarks. We can’t overthink it. We have to embrace different opportunities as they come our way…even if they don’t fit into our neat little box of comfort.

Comfort is a

Doing new things with our friends allows us to see life differently. Sacrificing our plan for the sake of a friend’s idea of fun isn’t selling out. It’s giving ourselves a big ol’ fat chance to grow up a bit. Last I checked, growth is good.

When I make the decision to step out of my comfort zone and do something that I’ve never done before because my friend wants to, I learn something about myself. I can embrace a new level of boldness and challenge or I can sit back and watch my friends grow without me.

That’s what happens, by the way. New environments bring new perspectives. If we skip out on hanging with our friends because they do something we’ve never done before, they will eventually grow beyond where we are. They will be enlarged by the experience in some way, whether it was great or just so-so, because they chose to think beyond their norm.

Do you have a friend that challenges you to climb higher and reach farther? If not, get one (or be one!) A whole new level of relationship is waiting for you beyond your familiar routine.

The Grey Sweater

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Hey gang!

I’m over on Her View From Home today talking about the very personal topic of losing my Dad. I have been on a journey in and out of grief for the past five years. People say that time heals and, on some level, I agree. I also believe, however, that allowing the memories to linger even it causes pain is okay, too. I’ve learned how to trust in the goodness of God despite life getting more and more unpredictable. I’ve gone through anxiety and depression due to the very uneven terrain of my life.

But, there is one thing I know. I am stronger because of the pain. I am able to help others in their grief because I know what it feels like to endure hardship. I can be a voice for those who don’t know how to speak about their loss. And I will press through the feelings to get to the deep truth of security in Christ.

I will write until I can’t write anymore if it helps YOU. So, I invite you to participate in my journey of growth through grief and read my piece HERE. 

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The Grey Sweater