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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Floating in His Grace

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If you were to tell me that you are having a hard time right now, and life just seems to be caving in on you I’d encourage you to be still and remember that God is there and that He is in control.  If you were being hard on yourself, I would encourage you to give yourself grace.  When people hurt me or say something hurtful about my husband to me, I try really hard to give them grace.

Yet, after thirty one years I can’t figure out how to give myself grace.

Instead of giving myself grace I let my mind wander and create expectations that aren’t real.  I fabricate judgements that don’t exist and certainly do not define me.  Sometimes the feelings I feel, usually self imposed, weigh heavier on me than the truth.

When you don’t give yourself enough grace, you can allow your thoughts to weigh you down.  Weight of worry and overanalyzing can be suffocating.  It can cause you put up barriers.  It can paralyze you from fully living your own life.  It can stop you from pursuing the dream God has given you in your heart, because what if I fail?

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Daily God is teaching me that He doesn’t want us weighed down by worry or fear.  His desire is for us to be floating in grace—-His GRACE.  His weightless freeing grace which doesn’t just cover our shortcomings, but frees us from the self imposed barriers we put up.  Grace frees us from the pressure we put on ourselves to be perfect; to have it all together.  The pressure to please everyone and constantly comparing ourselves to all the “perfect” around us.

When I can’t remember the last time I made the kids beds, I need to give myself more grace.

When I put work out clothes on for the day, only to never fit in a workout, I need to give myself more grace.

When I have to cancel on friends because I just can’t do another thing for one more person, I need to give myself more grace.

If my life isn’t as pretty and perfect as it looks on instagram, I need to give myself more grace.

When I am feeling disapointed in how I responded or how I reacted, I need to give myself more grace.

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His weightless grace removes all the heaviness of the world around us and gives us the space to be filled with His love.  This is the love I want my kids to grow up longing for, the love I want to show my husband, and the love I want those around me to understand.

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Training myself to be still

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Sometimes I am almost terrified to be still with God.

I worry a lot, about a lot.

Instead of going to God with my anxious feelings, I worry.  Somehow I think the worry will conquer something…it doesn’t.

I often think that if I am still long enough with God, he will want to show me things I need to change.  Most days I can’t even go to that thought of changing myself.  I am just tired, I’m overwhelmed, and just weary from life.  Change is often hard for me and just the thought of one more thing on my plate to work harder at is plain old exhausting.

Lately when I have been running and painting I have had a lot of time to think and sort of go over why I automatically think that God wants to tell me the things I need to change.

Why do I think he wants me to feel guilty about the things I am not “perfect” at?

What if God just wants me to be still and know that He loves me?  What if He just wants me to be reminded that today He is with me…  What is He wants me to be still with Him so I can hear His gently voice telling me He cares about it all, every small detail of my day?

I am practicing a new method of combating my worries and my anxious thoughts.  Super silly and ridiously simple, but I put on some music, sit down, close my eyes, and repeat His words.

I repeat over and over that He is God, the ruler of all.

I repeat that He is sovereign and nothing is out of His control.

I remind myself over and over again how He loves me unconditionally.

How his view of me is so different than how I see myself.

He sees me as whole and not broken, and rejoices in the fact that I am not perfect.  Because if I was He wouldn’t be needed.

I thank God that His perfect grace fills in the cracks in my broken life.

I let the promises sink in and breathe.  I breathe every word in as slowly as its needed.

I am daily retraining my fleshly view of God to be less about guilt and more about love.  Thankfully His love is more abundant than I could ever imagine.

 

my feet may fail

I am not a fan of the saying, “Just put one foot in front of the other”.   I am that girl that needs to physically see where I am putting my foot down as I take the next step.  I need to know what is around the corner.  I do not like surprises.  I try with all my might to prepare myself for the unknown.  Call it controlling, call it type A personality, to me its how I am wired.  I am wired in a way that I have to tell myself on a daily basis that I am not in charge.  I am not in control.  I will not always be prepared for the unknown.

To me, there is no fun in not knowing, there is no thrill in the new and unfamiliar.

Instead there are anxious thoughts that loom during the night keeping me from rest.

I am on a journey to understand that there is a God that knows where my feet will land.  He knows when the next storm is coming and how I will be changed by it, and what I will learn through it.  He is someone that never leaves even though the feelings of loneliness linger.

Even though I can’t always feel it….. I am being led.

I am not leading.

I am being led.

I am being led.

I am being led.

The more I say it the more true it begins to feel.

I am being led by the God who knew me before I was, where I am, and where I am going.

So I close my eyes and with faith, I lift up my foot and trust in His placement of it.

I will call upon your name

Keep my eyes above the rain

When oceans rise

My soul will rest in your embrace

For I am yours, and you are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters

Your sovereign hand be my guide

My feet may fail and fear surrounds

You never fail and you won’t stop now

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders

Take me deeper than my faith could ever wonder

Hillsong United – Oceans

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what truly matters

For me the struggle with writing a blog is does anything I have to say matter or even have value?  This is something that I have been wanting to do for years but yet the fear of not wanting to be rejected has paralyzed me.  It got me thinking into how much fear really paralyzes me from doing things that I love.  How many times I am more concerned about how others will view me than pursuing my dreams.  Its something I have struggled with all through growing up, and although even though I have told myself that I’ve grown out of it, here it is still staring me in the face.

what will others think…

Ahhh I just get so frustrated at myself that I still care about it.  I have read books, prayed and talked with people about letting it go, but yet this may be the first physical thing I have down in awhile despite my inward fear of rejection.

letting go of fear

Noah and I on his first day of first grade last year

As my son began school last year he had a lot of anxiety about starting at a new place and meeting new friends.  I prayed over and over for him, Joshua 1:9; “This is my command—be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” How ironic it seems now that a verse I prayed for my 7 year old son would speak so loudly to me.  Here God is telling Joshua to listen to his heart and follow God’s prompting to lead the people to the promised land.  How many times I sit and overanalyze decisions and promptings from the Lord because I am so filled with fear to step out.  Clear as day God urges us to not be afraid because thank you Jesus, He is with us wherever we go.

Turning thirty this year, has forced me to analyze what I am doing with my time and how my own anxious thoughts still have a steady hold on me.  Yes I am a mom and and a wife and I run this crazy house, but who am I beyond that? Is that all that I am?  I mean I love my kids more than they’ll ever know and I adore my husband and love watching him grow and pursue his dreams.  But my secret fear is that I will get swallowed up by all of it and ten years from now I will be turning forty and be wondering what I have done over the past ten years.

I want to do more than just plop in front of the tv each night, folding laundry and looking at pinterest, thinking I wish I could be that creative or envying people’s pantry organization skills.

Although —- truth be told that will still be my life majority of the nights.

I am committing to begin to carve out one or two nights a week where I give myself the freedom to reconnect with my creative side and the way that God wired me. Whether that’s by writing here or sewing up a storm or learning to cross stitch or even tackling my long list of DIY projects.  Life with kids is so much shorter than I even realize and I desperately want my kids to grow up in a house where creativity is pursued by everyone, even their mom.  How can I expect them to pursue their creative outlets if they aren’t seeing that example even in small ways by me.  So I am giving my self freedom to walk away from the mess and the dirty clothes and the cluttered dining room table.    I am pretty sure that I will be the only one who knows the sink was the only thing that got wiped in the bathroom this week and that the wet clothes stayed in the washer overnight.  I mean lets be honest folks it was only this one time!!  I never do those sort of things on a regular basis!

I am pretty sure that 98% of the time my kids, my husband, and my house responsibilities will come first, but I am going to fight hard to not let that 2% slip through my fingers just because I can’t have any more than that.

Step one in pursing an authentic life for myself is first admitting that I am in no way perfect, and removing the pressures I feel to have all things looking like they are perfect!  Thank goodness that we are loved by a God, that despite our fears and failures His mercies are new each morning.

-Tiffany