Wrecked

I have talked a lot about how I am a type A personality.

Which is a nice way of saying I like control – like a lot.

My perfect life would consist of a Q&A page where I can ask God any question about the future, and recieve a reassuring “specific” answer, in a timely fashion of course.  There would be no worrying, no doubting, no overanalyzing, no fear of the unknown.

Sadly in my real life- there is no Q&A page.  I am pushed to navigate through all my questions myself and have faith.  While pushing myself to surrender to a God that is in more in control than I will ever be.

This week, my husband told me about this sermon he had listened to, which he said pretty much wrecked him.  It’s called “Jesus and We” and its by Craig Groeschel.  Even at 4 minutes in, I could tell that this would be one that would challenege my inner thought process.

“You can have faith, or you can have control – you can’t have both” he said.  This is the exact moment in his message where I got wrecked as well.  I can have faith or I can have control, but I can’t have both.  Seriously I need to get a tattoo of this or something.  (Well I mean I’d  like to think I would get a tattoo if I was brave and not worried I would change my mind the next day – major control & fear issues people – one day at a time!)  But for real, when you start to say this over and over, and really let it sink in, it kinda does wreck you.

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It wrecks your thinking.

It wrecks the way you make decisions.

It wrecks your cute little pintrest perfect life that you’ve been striving towards.

It just flat out wrecks you.

I want so badly to have the kind of faith that pleases God, the kind of faith that doesn’t doubt, the kind of faith that has no fear of the unknown.  Most days I wonder if my desire for control outweighs my desire for that kind of faith?  I have some things on my heart that I truly believe God has placed there.  Things I can’t stop thinking about, no matter how hard or crazy they seem.  The amount of courage and faith it would take to put these into action overwhelms me because I know I would be loosing the “control” I think I have within my life.

If your wondering what one of my new signs will be for this year – you can bet a design is coming for this quote!

Because I need to be wrecked by this on a daily basis.  If I want to live this life that I believe God has called us all to live, I need to have faith more than I need to have control.  We all do.

Praying right now for God to give me a greater desire for FAITH than for CONTROL.

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I could write about how I have neglected this blog.

I could write about how life was busy and we worked hard the past two months, like really hard.

But really….

I don’t want to focus on that right now.  My desire this year is to seek out the joy that this life has and let it overflow my heart with gratitude.

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Life is teaching me that there is joy to be found everywhere – in every broken crack in my shiny not so perfect life – in every major stress that presses on our hearts – all around the chaos that three kids, a puppy, and a hubby in ministry bring.

There is joy.

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If I seek it – it is there to remind me that God is good.  His goodness and His joy are laced through every place of my life.  Most days it seems that my eyes are on auto focus, trained to focus on the stress; focus on how hard things are.  It has become my default setting – constantly consumed with how hard things are and constantly talking about how stressful life is right now.

There are so many goals I could have for this year; be a more present mom, a better wife, have a more healthy lifestyle, exercise more.  All of which are good, like really good.

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But more importantly, I want to be training my eyes to switch off of auto, and manually start focusing on the joy around me.  Begin to really start each day with gratitude, and remember that no matter what God places in our lives this year or this very day – we will remain joyful in knowing that He will keep carrying us.  Through the pain, through the tears, pointing us towards the immeasurable joy that will flood our hearts and fill us with gratitude.

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He has given me so much to be thankful for.  Why let another year go by focused on the stresses of life instead of the joy?

Follow me this year on instagram, @tgowesky and use #focusonjoy, as we start 2015 together with the right focus.

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swallowed up

When we finally reconnect at the end of the day, my husband and I will ask how each other’s day was.  Frequently, its a quick bullet point review of what the kids did, who he met with, what I picked up.  Sometimes, its just a sigh followed by just a few short words.

The other day it was,

“I feel swallowed up.”

Grammer aside, it was the exact thought floating through my head.

Swallowed up by all of the things I need to be directing in our life.  Swallowed up by the amount of fear I feel sometimes sending my kids off to school where I can’t protect them.  Swallowed up by the amount of stuff we have, that I am cleaning up, organizing, and putting away.  Swallowed up by the pain in people’s eyes around me.  Swallowed up by the pressure I have to keep our family connected to each other.  Swallowed up by decisions that I can’t even let myself think about yet.

Swallowed up by the heaviness of a life that seems unbearable to hold up.

Funny thing how even though I know that God is bigger than it all.  I still picture myself standing all alone holding it all up.  Watching the waters rise around me, feeling as if its about to swallow me.  Like an island about to be washed away, forever.

Why is it after years of seeing God’s goodness and recognizing His provision, I often avoid his refuge?  Why do I not run to His word and let those words cover me?  I need to be dwelling in Him instead of dwelling in my worries.

He who dwells in the shelter of the most high will abide in he shadow of the almighty – Psalm 91:1

Circumstances in life are so easily overwhelming, often leaving us feeling swallowed up.  Our eyes need to be upwards and less inward; bringing our eyes out of focus on the things around us and more into focus on His love for us.  We find strength when we adjust our focus on God’s character.

You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word -Psalm 119:114

There is not an emotion we feel that God cannot redeem.  As sure as my eyes close for the night and open for the sun I am reminded that His refuge is greater than anything I can provide for myself.  There is a longing in each one of us to feel taken care of,  and there is someone who will fulfill that longing for us.  Though His words may sometimes not seem like enough, they provide something this world cannot give; hope.

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Come thou fount

il_570xN.669933717_pfsjThere is something so comforting about a song that has been sung for generations, knowing the words have provided comfort to so many.  I grew up in a little church where I stood next to my parents singing the iconic hymns each and every Sunday.  I can remember walking into my grandmothers house and hearing the old hymns being played as she worshiped God right in her home.  We may not have the heavy burgundy hard cover hymnals in my church anymore but I know my kids need to hear those words that were so beautifully written by men and women before our time.

One of my favorite hymns is “Come Thou Fount”.  This classic points us right to the book of 1 Samuel, where Samuel is raising an Ebenezer towards the Lord.  I love how the Ebenezer, a stone of remembrance, is a reminder to have an attitude of gratitude.  Pointing us to recognize how God has helped us in our times of need.  Samuel writes in chapter 7, how we are to commit to the Lord – all of our hearts.  The Hebrew word, commit, means to be fixed, established, and founded.  He urges the Israelites who have just confessed their sins before the Lord and are about to be attacked again, to commit to the Lord.  This hymn continues with the iconic words, of bind my wandering heart to thee.  Showing us that Samuel knows how hard it will be for the Israelites to keep their hearts committed to God.

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When singing the words to this song, our voices still cry out for God to bind our wandering hearts to Him.  We are all prone to wander, we are all prone to leave the God whom we love.  We are still being delivered by the same God again and again, the very same God who saved the Israelites so many years ago.  Asking Him, to take our hearts and seal them for the courts above.

Let us grasp the importance of not only singing these words but actually raising our Ebenezers to God, the one who never ceases.

I will remember the deeds of the Lord yes, I will remember your miracles of long ago.  I will meditate on all your works and consider your mighty deeds.  – Psalm 77:11-12

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I love a good list

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Lists are my friends.

I make a list every morning before the day starts.  Every day people!  Sometimes I think its a good thing and sometimes I wish my brain could just shut off for a day.  I’m so scheduled that if I want to have rest or a day off I have to actually schedule it and prepare for it.  My planner is always out so I know what has to be done in the next couple of days.

The desire for a list can often consume me with feeling like if I make the list and it gets accomplished than I succeeded.  I did what I was supposed to do, and somewhere someone is applauding me and recognizing all of my completed tasks.  It doesn’t matter if I complained or had a bad attitude, the job got done.

Thankfully God doesn’t keep a list, he doesn’t keep track of what we have done.  (Lets be honest here, that would super stressful for me!)  He doesn’t have our weekly planners uploaded to His server, double checking if we have accomplished everything He intended for us.  He simply just wants our hearts – He wants our hearts to love Him and to love others.  No pressures to cross off the lists.  No pressure to be “doing” every day of every week.

I often confuse the two and think that if I just do more – than God is happy with how much I am “doing” for Him.  I start believing that I can keep God satisfied if the “God” box is continually checked off.  I served, task completed, God is pleased.

Every day I have to remind myself that its not about me.  It’s not about what I do.  It’s not about what I can accomplish for God.  It’s not about what other people see me doing.  Its more about my heart.

Its about me understanding that God is first pleased when my heart and mind align, and the purest form of love is passed to everyone around me.  My “being with God” needs to be right before my “doing” pleases Him.

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Courage

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Courage to share your whole heart- be who you really are.

Courage isn’t something that comes naturally to me, actually not at all.  Growing up I was not someone who acted like – who I really was.  I was constantly trying to morph into who I thought people would want me to be.  I think deep in my heart I knew who I was but struggled with the confidence to be that person.  I watched this ruin some long years of my life when I was a teenager.

I often wonder if I could go back and just be myself, how differently situations would have panned out.  I remember getting to college and I finally could act like myself thinking I had overcome my confidence issue.  It probably helped that I was around more people who were like me, and had the same values as me.  But sometimes our struggles have a way of hiding for a season, and creep up on us when we least expect it.

After having kids, when I thought my self confidence would be stable, I quickly discovered it began to crumble again.  I was easily persuaded by people with how they choose to raise their kids or even how they dressed, or how they lived.  Consistently feeling that if I changed one more thing about myself or the way I lived, then finally I would feel complete.  Like the thing I had searched for all of my life – suddenly would be found.256272e24a8be61d0fdec20843f3c872

Over the years, the lack of self confidence literally bled itself throughout my life.  Ever since I can remember I always felt like my brain was constantly thinking about new ideas, always desiring to be creative in some format or another.  Creativity though requires courage – and for years that was just something I didn’t allow myself.  Without even knowing it I had become chained by my own fears, held back by my lack of courage.  Things I would think of doing, would instantly be shot down by myself.   In the back of my head was the haunting thought, “what would people think?”

 

Wouldn’t it be great if I could say, I never think that anymore., but I do.  That I don’t really care what people think, that I don’t let it consume me.  It usually creeps up right before my best work comes out.  Right before I allow myself permission to just be me.

4fcea79892142cc1f76510d0a765acc2It is then I am forced to look at myself & truly accept the flaws and the cracks and remember that God loves this broken vessel that I am.  He is the glue that holds all these pieces together.  He is the reason that I have confidence.  He is greater than my fear, and He is the gentle push that reminds me that He created me to have freedom. Freedom to be who I am–at every second of every day.

 

 

 

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