down in the dirt

In 2015 I was prayed over in visions, and the Father showed me a wolf that was chasing me as I ran to a mountaintop. I was fearful until a brave welled in me at the top of the mountain as I was able to turn around, look into his yellow eyes and kick him in the face. I got that wolf tattooed on my hand with Genesis 50:20. Because the enemy is always after our story. he wants to bite our throat before we make it to the mountaintop, where we can scream it out loud. There’s some sort of healing in ourselves when we speak out our story, then that same healing flows through to others. The wolf was catching up with me again the last few years. I was believing that what I said was just pointless words and I was believing that my story didn’t matter. I was hiding behind my husband and motherhood and anxiety and the fear of (wo)man. Then yesterday, my sweet friend gave me a prophetic letter with the mention of that wolf. I immediately looked at my tattoo and remembered the first time I kicked him in the face. I remembered what he is after. And that I’d rather lay my head deep in the dirt next to Jesus than to please anyone with silent words just to make them comfortable. There’s a time to walk quietly in the deep of the woods to heal and let go and there’s a time to turn around, kick the wolf in the face and use your voice. 🌿 you intended to harm me, but God’s using it all for His good..

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Walk before run

My son had his one year appointment today. I can’t believe he is one. Everyday he wakes and he is doing something new. He’s been walking for the last month and a half, and with each day he grows more balance, he walks a little faster, he needs my hand a little less. Today at his appointment, his doctor smiled as he showed off his walking skills, and said “He is getting the walk down, soon he will be running!”

And my mama heart is in no rush for that. I’m in no rush for him to need me less. To let go of my hand. Though I’m so proud of every accomplishment he makes, I love him being my baby. I love watching him slowly plant his feet firm on the ground, gain his balance and walk. And I know, soon he will run. Soon he will chase his brother off without needing his mama’s hand. It made me think of where we are at in life. I was getting so frustrated with our walking season. I was ready to run. But today the Father reminded me, walk before run. He is in no hurry in teaching us to run. He loves holding our hand in the walking season. Full of compassion as He watches us fall, and loves watching our determination as we get up, gain our balance and walk off again.

And I ask, Lord don’t give us the things we aren’t ready for. We don’t want a single thing prematurely. We want to hold Your hand in the growing season, we want to learn from You and walk slowly with you, though there are moments when I try to run ahead. Your hand picks me up, and we start again. Thank you Father, for those you’ve surrounded us with that walk with us, believing in us, and calling out the best in us. This season is a treasure as we walk before run.

Photo by the lovely Anna Moos

I’ll never recover

when you know you’re loved you walk differently. You look at the world differently. When you believe you are loved kind words flow easily. Confidence comes naturally. Hope feels accessible.

As we got ready for church this morning I heard my husband singing a song as if he were trying to convince himself of its truth:

I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am

This last week I could feel that on edge feeling creep in. I could feel frustration leave my husband’s lips from a heavy week and I could feel my patience run dry. When you’re in the midst of a pressing place, I’m learning how important it is to hold onto the identity of His love. So when I could feel the tension in the midst of my little family on our way to church this morning, I grabbed my husband’s hand and prayed to the Father. Asking Him to remind us of who we are. Of whose we are.

When we bought our home last fall we overlooked the tree in our backyard. But as it started to come back to life this spring, I thought I was going to puke from what I saw. A magnolia tree. We prayed for years over the home we would one day buy, and I would always mention how I’d love a magnolia tree. So when I saw that The Father remembered, it felt like just an above and beyond moment. I remember telling the Lord, “you already did all of this, you didn’t have to…” but He wants to. And I’ll never recover from the goodness of God.

When a season calls for stretching in all areas of your being, of your families being, the enemy doesn’t want you to pass the test. He wants to cloud your vision. Destroy your identity. He wants you to forget the promise the Father has given you. He wants you to feel abandoned and alone.

So I prayed in our car on a warm Sunday morning. The sun woke our bones and I asked the Father to let His creation be our reminder. Of how loved we are. We weren’t walking as people who are Fathered by God, but like we were abandoned. And I remembered our sweet magnolia tree blooming in our backyard. What a gift, a promise. That He remembers every detail in the deep gardens of our hearts. And He remembers us all the more.

And I asked the Father to let us remember, every time we sit under the shade of that tree, every time we look out of our window into the blooming flowers, may that be our promise. We can walk in the identity of a remembered child because we are Fathered by the God who remembers it all. Even when it’s been so long that we have started to forget. And every promise He has ever made will come to pass.

Before we got out of our car I tell the Father, we don’t need any special words, but Lord today let it be special. Let us be reminded.

So I lean into my husband during worship and my sweet friend starts to sing,

I am chosen
Not forsaken
I am who You say I am
You are for me
Not against me
I am who You say I am

I look to my sweet husband with tear welled eyes, as if to tell him, He remembers. Oh how loved you are, my love. And The Father remembers you. And I’ll never recover from the goodness of God.

10

10 years old. It’s hard to even try to imagine life with a 10 year old. But that’s how old you should be this January. That number feels significant to me, and my heart and mind are jumbled with a thousand thoughts surrounding you and your 10th year. I remember the first January that rolled around 10 years ago when you should have been born. Each day I woke and I wondered, should this have been the day? Your day? I remember a dream I had when I was struggling internally with my abortion. I remember being at a store and I had a son that I had just met that I couldn’t bring myself to love. He had been with a father who was loving him deeply. I watched them interact with each other and it pained me to see how loving their relationship seemed to be. And I didn’t know how to do it. The father showed me how to love my son, too. I woke up and I knew it was you.

I’m much different than I was back then. I’ve grown much and I know better. I close my eyes and imagine sitting across from my younger self,10 years ago. She who was consumed with confusion and lonely and secrets and grief. I reach for her trembling hand and I imagine she’d pull away behind the wall that surrounded her for years to come. I know her and she lives in a desolate place. But I’d call her out of it. I wouldn’t look away when she couldn’t look me in the eyes. When I’d tell her I know what she did out of fear and I’d remind her that she is loved and forgiven. And oh how I know her so well. Oh how I know she wouldn’t believe it. But I’d speak it over her again, and again, and I’d hope she would really hear me this time. I’d tell her it won’t always be this way. That there’s going to be harder days but I’d promise her there will be a Rescuer and He is on His way. That He is already here, just waiting for her to let Him break down all of these walls. I’d wrap the younger me in my arms and reassure her that Healing is on His way. That it feels like abortion stole her story but oh sweet girl, this is not the end. I’d declare victory over her and call out the mother heart in her where she felt like all she was is destruction. And I know her so well and I know her broken. But I’d tell her I’m so proud of her, because in 10 years she will look back full of wonder for what could have been, but so much gratitude for what He has done. There’s so much to say about what He has done. And I know she wouldn’t believe it then, but I’d tell her there will come a Sunday in January where she will stand in a church that feels just like home, and she will sing to the Father about His goodness. So much goodness. And there won’t be a single wall left. Just freedom.

And I’m thankful for the promise of sitting with my baby on his side of Heaven one day, it will be a warm January day, and we will be eating birthday cake.

You were here.

You existed.

You are remembered.

When Waking Up is Hard to Do.

Waking up isn’t easy when you don’t see a way out. There’s no way out of the hopelessness and depression you feel. Loneliness is just behind those covers and so you bury your face within them for just a few moments longer before the alarm clock goes off. You wonder what’s worth it. You wonder what’s worth standing out in the cold. What’s worth facing a world that continues to knock you down? Maybe you’ve lost a loved one and it’s still too hard to walk passed their picture hanging in the hallway. Maybe you’ve failed at something you’ve put so much effort into and you just can’t bare to try again. Maybe the bills are piling up and you don’t know what to do. Maybe there’s an addiction that keeps knocking at your door. Or someone has hurt you right down to the core and forgiveness seems so far away.

The snow falls and it gets hard to go out into the world. It gets hard when it looks dark out there. The snow falls hard but it melts away. The Earth doesn’t let the dark of the winter define it and so it makes beauty within the snowflakes. It always melts away and let’s new things bloom into life.

Whatever it may be that makes waking up hard to do, whatever burdens or failures that are pressing against you, they don’t define you. You can lay in bed until 3pm because it’s safe, because there you won’t fail. There you won’t walk passed that picture in the frame. There you won’t get hurt and you won’t feel the cold, brisk air burn your cheeks. But there you miss out on falling in love. You miss out on meeting someone new for the first time or helping someone who needs you. There, hiding in that bed, you are safe but you miss out. Put on your scarf and face the cold and make something of the day.

You can rejoice in the memories of your loved one and when the missing gets too heavy to carry you can lay it at Jesus’s feet. You can cry until snot drains from your nose but you can laugh hard until your belly aches and know that the world is still turning. A failed test doesn’t reflect a failed life. Just because you haven’t met “the one” doesn’t mean you have a terrible love life. Love is in helping an elderly woman find her dogs in the freezing, cold weather. Love is holding your newborn niece for the first time, staring at her in awe because you can’t believe God put this all together. Everything doesn’t always go as planned. Life isn’t always perfect. We can stay miserable or we can accept that we don’t always get the life we think we deserve. We aren’t perfect but we can accept that because He already has.

Waking up can be hard to do and things aren’t in our favor. We try our best and sometimes we fall down and it hurts. But sometimes we don’t. Sometimes it goes our way and we are waiting for something bad to happen because life just isn’t this good to us. Sometimes the stars align for us so we wait for a meteor to come crashing in but it never does. The stars align and our babies laugh and our cups overfloweth. We are just a week sober and that is enough to make us dance. We truly forgive and we forget why we were ever upset. We see someone in need so we give them all we have to offer and feel their overwhelming thankfulness in a hug. All because the chance of something good happening finally outweighed the bad that is keeping us in our safe beds. We faced the brisk, cold air on our cheeks for a chance that our stars might align, and eventually, without fail, they align. All because waking up was hard to do but we did it anyways. And for this, we rejoice.

  

 

Misery Has No Hold On Me

Your alarm goes off and you hit the snooze button, but today is different. You don’t fall back asleep for a half hour longer, risk running late and having to go 10 miles over the speed limit. You get out of bed (you might even make the bed) with a little pep in your step. “Today is going to be different.” You tell yourself. 

You make yourself what you believe will be the best pot of coffee you will ever make, and you smile at the rising sun and the way the light is beaming through your window. Usually you would push your cat away as she snuggles on your lap while you try to read the morning paper, but today is different. And the way your cat is purring over your now crinkled paper brings you back to being a small child. The way you would sit on your mothers lap as she read her favorite magazine. Her breath smelled like morning coffee as you lay your head on her chest and hear her heart beating. Yes, this is a memory of joy. 

Now you go outside, thermos in hand, and face the world. You’re singing to every song on the radio and you smile at strangers at the gas station. You give change to the homeless on the corner of the street and you don’t think twice about what they will do with the money. “Today misery will not overcome me.” You tell yourself. “Today I choose joy.” Because the routine of getting caught in rush hour has finally outrun itself and allowing others thoughts and opinions and allowing others problems affect you severely has run it’s toll. 

And even when your boss asks you, “Can’t you do better?” And even when your friends would rather not be by your side. Even when you can’t afford that beautiful coat I’m sure you deserve. Even when for once your spouse lovingly tells you “No.” Even when things just aren’t going your way. Yes, even when you aren’t treated with respect. And even when the entire universe feels as though it is laying all of itself on your shoulders. You choose to sing. You choose to skip through the grocery store with your small child. You choose to kiss your mate in public because you are shamelessly in love. 

When you spill your morning coffee all over your pants while you’re already running late you choose to laugh instead of cry. You choose to dance in church because you finally let the glory of The Lord permeate your entire soul. And instead of always venting about your problems you choose to put effort in changing them. You choose to be the best friend, mother, father, sister, brother, lover, that you could ever possibly be. Not because you want something in return but because today you decided to choose joy. You decided that no matter what disappointments came your way today you would choose to be happy. That you will not react out of anger. And today you choose to not let emotions control you. 

  You choose to seek wisdom and answers. You stop wondering why things aren’t in your favor or why you haven’t found a husband or wife yet. You stop worrying about money and you stop posting all of your dilemmas on Facebook. You break the bondage of misery because it has no hold on you. You have that choice. Yes, today you choose joy.