When we feel empty

There is an empty ache longing to be filled.

Then I get alone with God at the kitchen table with coffee, and He whispers the truth into the deepest part of me…

“You are a chosen and loved woman of God.”

He chose me just because. He pursues me and only His love can fill me. He loves perfectly and completely. When I let that sink into my soul I have peace and joy and I find who I am…I am His!!

My identity is that I am a chosen and loved woman of God.

When I look for who I am in other places I find emptiness. Only He can fill the empty places.

You are chosen and loved right where you are. He is pursuing a relationship with you. He wants to fill the deepest parts of your soul with Himself. He doesn’t promise answers or map of what great plans He has for us, but He fills us and leads us through life. He desires to give us an abundant life!

Wherever you are today and whatever you are facing know that He loves you and wants you to run to Him so that He can be your everything.

Lord, thank you for being my identity. That I don’t have to look to others to fill me up or to define who I am. That my job doesn’t define me or my finances or house or status. Thank you that you chose me , not because of anything I have done or am, but because of your grace. Thank you for your love that fills the deepest part of me and is all I need. Thank you that I am yours and that is all I need.

What blessings brighten your day?

As I sit in my van on a cold morning. I long for change. I long for the storms of winter to be behind me. I look out my window to see my children laughing and playing as they wait for the bus. They are so carefree as their breath comes out in puffs.

Then we see it.

My son rushes over to the brown grass by the tree with slowly melting snow around it and points to the most wonderful sight…a robin!

“Mom! It’s a robin! It’s a sign of Spring!” He runs to the van to make sure I see it out my window and we celebrate. You would have thought we saw a celebrity with all the excitement.

That little robin looking for food as he sings was a little blessing from my Abba father bringing hope to my heart this morning.

What little blessings can you see around you this morning that brightens your day?

Thank you Lord for the blessing of a tiny robin this morning. You are so good. Your mercies are new every morning. 

When the moments of stillness are precious

Psalm 46:10 “Be still, and know that I am God”

Early in the morning before the sun starts to peek around the trees I rise to meet with Jesus. In the secret place before the day has even started I sit with my Bible, journal, and start my day with Him.

Sometimes I use a study and sometimes I just read where my heart leads, but I spend time in His Word. This is where my relationship with God begins in the quiet, still moments before dawn breaks.

These are the moments when I learn more about Him. He speaks. I listen.

He shows me how to put my life down, to surrender all, as He lives His life through me.

He shows me how His life starts when I am at the end of myself.

These are the sacred still moments that change my heart and my mind. In the stillness of His presence I find that He is everything. I bow my head before Him and say, “I demand nothing and I surrender all to you Lord.”

Those beginning moments before kids get up, work begins, and the day gets busy. Those are the moments that fill me up for my day. They are the moments where my relationship with God becomes intimate and real.

But let’s be honest, sometimes those moments come after dawn too. In the few moments during the day when kids are at school and my little girl is playing or after everyone is in bed and the house is finally quiet. Once, I grabbed my Bible, ran into the bathroom and hid from the kids because I so needed Jesus at that moment. Life happens and sometimes we have to have those moments at other times.

So if that is you….know sometimes it’s me too. In fact lately other things have kept me from getting up early too. So, it’s more like moments at breakfast or moments before bed. However, God meets me no matter when it is. He knows my heart is to meet with Him and to know Him. So feel at home here…grab your Bible, coffee, and sit on the couch with me as we meet with Him today.

Lord, help us to find the moments of stillness before you each day so that we may know you. In Jesus Name, Amen.

All I Need

My heart has heard you say,”Come and talk with me.” And my heart responds, “Lord, I am coming.” Psalm 27:8 NLT

I feel the tugging to spend time with Him.
To lay myself at His feet
To open the Bible
To listen
To pray

How many times have I just said, “No.”
Too tired
Too busy
Too self-seeking to seek His face.

Yet He calls me
He pursues me
Come to me and I will give you rest
Yet I still insist on doing it my way, on my strength

Yet He doesn’t leave me or give up on me
He pursues me
When my heart says, “Lord I am coming.”
I lay myself down
I find true love

He is all I need

When my heart hears you call my name
I will answer, “Lord, Here I am.”
For You are all I search for and all I need
You are my all in all.

When Grace Is All You Need

God’s grace is such a wonderful gift. Often we don’t even realize how much grace He has given us until we come face to face with our sin. Until we see ourselves as we truly are and realize He loves us and has loved us while we were in the middle of our messes. He pursued us while we were so messed up. His grace is so precious.

I was about twenty years old. I had walked with God for six years. In those six years He made me new and set me free. I loved Him as my first love. I couldn’t get enough of God, His word, prayer and learning more about Him. I went on missions trips sharing God with others, worked at a christian camp to tell others about Him. I basically just wanted to tell anyone and everyone what God had done for me. I wanted them to know and experience a relationship with God. However, through the years I couldn’t understand something…why didn’t God change a bad circumstance in my life? It was so hurtful. It was getting worse. Why wouldn’t God change it?

I was mad at God because He wasn’t acting the way I thought He should.

I grew bitter in my heart and stopped spending time with God. I still went to church because my mom would notice if I didn’t, but I didn’t trust God. My heart hardened toward God until I reached a breaking point.  I decided I didn’t want God anymore. I couldn’t trust Him and I was hurt so I walked away.

I remember it clearly. I was standing in the basement alone. I was so hurt and mad. I shook my fist at the ceiling and told God (out loud) that I didn’t want Him in my life anymore and didn’t want to follow His ways anymore. I was done.

I wanted to do life my way. I ran toward what I wanted to do.

A year later I was a mess.

I was stuck in sin and I was anxiety ridden. I had anxiety so bad that I was in counseling. During the sessions I was taught breathing techniques for anxiety. I was encouraged to trust God, but the anxiety worsened until I couldn’t control my body. I would have anxiety attacks so bad that I would shake. My hands would shake and I couldn’t stop it. I would lay down, do the breathing exercises, and totally relax my body. Then as soon as I got up the anxiety would take over and I would shake again. It was awful!

Through all the anxiety, sin, and bad choices God was still there with me. I would go to church and I would feel in my heart God telling me to come to Him. I would be in a bad situation or directly sinning against Him and the Holy Spirit would remind me this was not best for me. I was made for more….for Him. I ignored God. I even grew annoyed with His gentle nudges.

Then a longtime boyfriend broke up with me. It tore my heart into shreds.

At that point I realized everything I tried to do my way failed miserably. I thought I found “the guy” and I didn’t. I tried to find a major for college and couldn’t. I took classes and failed them.  I couldn’t figure life out.  I was lost, hopeless, and heartbroken.

That night in my bedroom, I was on my knees bent over crying so hard, so broken. I realized I could keep doing things my way and I would end up in a really bad place or I could surrender and do life God’s way. I would have no idea where God would lead, but I knew His way was better than mine. I cried out to God. I told God I wanted to go His way no matter what it looked like, even if I didn’t see the road or understand everything. I told God I trusted Him. I needed Him. That all of me was His and I wanted all of Him. I knew in that moment God’s ways are better than mine.

God’s way is better every time.

I immediately felt peace that only God can give and was relieved. In that moment I also realized how sinful I am. I had pushed God out of my life, yelled at him, rebelled against Him in the biggest way I could think of, and kept pushing Him away. Yet He still loved me. He still offered me grace. He welcomed me back with open arms and restored me.

The anxiety melted away as I started to spend time with God again. It is still in my life, but it doesn’t rule my life unless I stop spending time with Him. If I start to let pride come in and think I can do it my way the anxiety is a reminder of where I have been and the lessons I have learned. It’s like a stop sign that directs me back to Him who gives peace. God who is love.

The anxiety reminds me of who I am and the grace and love God has given me. He didn’t say, “Fine, your on your own!” He kept reminding me I was His. He kept telling me He had better for me because He loved me. He kept offering me grace!

No matter where you find yourself today, know that God loves you right where you are in the middle of your mess. He is offering you His grace and mercy too. Take it from a woman who knew His love, walked away from it thinking my way was better and realized His ways are so much better! He is amazing! His plans are awesome! He wants to heal and restore your soul and give you a hope and a future.

 

This is part of Lisa Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday link up.

When God Surprised Me

Nothing has surprised me more than knowing how deeply loved I am by God.

I was fourteen. I was searching for love and hope. I was living in a situation that was hard. I felt alone and hopeless. Then I went to church on Easter with my family. Standing in the front was a pastor that talked about Jesus. He spoke about Jesus like he was real. In those moments I felt like he was talking directly to me…to the place that longed for love and hope.

I heard that we are all sinners. Basically, that we all do things wrong. No surprise there! I had been taught well by my mom and dad the difference between right and wrong. But let me tell you I did my fair share of wrong things. Lying, screaming at my parents, disobedience, bad attitude, and the list goes on. Everyone does things wrong. We all sin.

Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”

God is perfect, holy and just. He can not be with sin. So he made a way for us (everybody on earth) to be reconciled to Him. He created us for a relationship with Him. To know Him personally all the days of our lives and forever with Him in Heaven.

Romans 5:12 “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man, and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned-”

From Adam sin came into the world and death through sin. This applies to us all…but there is hope.

It’s like God is on one side of the Grand Canyon and we are on the other side. Sin has separated us from God. It doesn’t matter how many good things we do, how good we are, or how hard we try to reach the other side we can’t do it on our own.

Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Only through faith. Nothing we have done or will do can save us from our sins. Only faith in Jesus. God’s perfect son. God with skin on came down to live a sinless life, to die on a cross for our sins, and to rise on the third day. God sent His son to die for us. Jesus being all human and all God lived blameless and pure. He was crucified on a cross for my sin and yours because of His great love for us.

John 3:16 ” For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 14:6 “Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.”

I sat there and heard how He loved me. How He gave His son. That Jesus is the only way. Right there in that pew something inside of me knew I wanted that love in my life. I wanted that relationship with someone who would go through that much just to have a relationship with me. I wanted to know God.

Luke 13:3,5 ” I tell you,no! But unless you repent, you too will all perish.”

As the pastor spoke he mentioned repentance. To ask God for forgiveness for our sins. Then to turn from our sins, place our faith in Jesus and do things God’s way. It’s like we are going one way and then we do a 180 and start going God’s way. Admitting our sin. Asking for forgiveness. Placing our faith and trust in Jesus. Then doing life God’s way. We won’t be sinless, but desire God more than sin.

John 1:12 “Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God”

I could become His child. I couldn’t believe he loved me so much! I sat in my seat realizing I should have been on that cross, but Jesus took my place. He took all the wrath and punishment that was meant for me because He loves me.  And on top of that He wants me to know Him. He wants to give me hope, joy and peace. I wanted that more than anything!  The pastor asked anyone who wanted Jesus in their life to pray a simple prayer. So I bowed my head in that pew and prayed a prayer like this…

God, I know that I am a sinner. I know that I can’t save myself. I know that because of my sin I am separated from you. I believe Jesus is your son. That He came to die on the cross for my sin and rose again on the third day. I turn from my sin and I place my faith in what Jesus has done for me. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

1 John 5:10-13 “Anyone who believes in the Son of God has this testimony in their heart. Anyone who does not believe God has made him out to be a liar, because he has not believed the testimony God has given about his Son. And this is the testimony: God has given us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life.”

Now I had this testimony in my heart. I had eternal life!

1 Peter 2:2 “Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation.”

I went home that day and something changed. I was new. I had Jesus! I was set free! I got a Bible and started reading it. I went to church to learn more about God. I started praying. I started talking to God like He was my dad, my best friend, and God of all things. My life has never been the same since. I found a love like no other. I found hope. I found joy. I found the one thing I needed…Jesus.

Nothing has changed my life and surprised me more that knowing God and His love! Living life with Him is a daily adventure and a life changer!

 

 

This post is part of Lisa Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday link up.

When you let your words fall out

“Writing is like wrapping yourself up in words and giving yourself away.” Lisa Jo Baker wrote this on her website just a few days ago and it hit me right in the gut. It is like giving yourself away…which is why I don’t do it.

Writing is scary. What ifs come into your mind. What if people don’t like it? What if I’m really not good? What  if there was an American Idol contest for writers.. would Simon be telling me how horrible I am? What if I try to write a book and can’t? What if it’s not good? What if I never publish? What if no one ever reads it?  What if ….it kills…it stops you in your tracks and paralyzes you from writing.

Last week I heard a song by Sara Bareilles titled Brave. It is my anthem right now as I fight the inner pull to just go sit in front of the TV and relax after the kids are in bed sleeping. It is the song in my head when the what ifs come. It is what my heart really wants to do – be brave!  Let the words be your anthem today as you fight the what ifs that paralyze you from moving forward.

This post is a link-up with Lisa Jo Baker and the Five Minute Friday bloggers! Join us by writing unedited on the word write! You’ll love it!

Five Minute Friday: Fight

Friday is here! Hurray! I am so excited that Five Minute Friday is back for a new year! I love writing without editing for five minutes on the given prompt. It’s so much fun! You should try it! This week we are writing on the word fight.

GO

This evening my little girly was asking about our wedding and my pretty dress. She was curious if my dress was big and pink. My sons started asking questions and wanting to see pictures. So I proudly dug out our wedding album.

We all gathered on my bed looking at the pictures. They pointed out everyone they knew (making sure to point out how different we all look now). They saw the ceremony, kissing pics (ewww), the cake (yum) and the party with dancing!

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My oldest examined the year on the cover of the album. His fingers started moving and he looked up boldly stating that he was born two years after we were married. Then we looked at a second album given to us as a gift. On the last page it reads “and they lived happily ever after”.

“It’s like a fairytale mommy.” He smiled with wide eyes as he discovered the origin of the phrase.

“Yep, it is. Most people hope for their marriage to have a happily ever after.” I stated.

“Yeah, and it did!”

That moment washed over me as he smiled at me. In his eyes we live a happily ever after. Priceless!

He doesn’t know that we had to fight for our marriage. He doesn’t know that we had to fight for our happily ever after. We had to choose to love, forgive, and endure through tough times.

He sees a mommy and daddy that love God, love each other, and love them. He sees our life as blessed. He loves his life!

He doesn’t know that we went through challenges that should have tore us apart, but because we fought, prayed, loved, and sacrificed. He blessed our marriage. God taught us to love each other through all our challenges and to live each moment following Him with a surrendered heart. To pray together and ask God for His direction. Then act on the answer He gave. To follow God’s path and not our own.

Each little decision led to the life we have, which is the life my son loves! Each decision has led to God making our life into a happily ever after. His happily ever after that He planned from the moment we said, “I do.”

Stop

Fight for your marriage. Fight for your walk with God. Fight the feeling of wanting your life your way and surrender to the God who loves you and who has a wonderful plan for your life. You won’t regret it!

What are your dreams for 2014?

Happy New Year! You made it into another year! Hurray!

I am jumping with joy myself!

I can’t wait to see what this new year holds for my family!

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I also can’t wait to see what God has in store. I love walking each day with Him. Good or bad He will never leave me. He is my strength, my joy!

Last year I faced many challenges. The biggest was a health issue and fear. Fear was such a challenge this year.

During the year God also pressed upon my heart some things. Things I didn’t want to do because of the fear.

One person I love said to me, “Kelly you just have to take the little seed of faith God gave you and run with it. You can’t wait for God to drop a ton of it on you.”

That person was my mom and she is so right.

Sometimes a girl just needs to be told the truth and my mom knew I needed a good dose of it. Her words stay with me each day when I start to ignore that little voice that is asking me to act on what God has called me to do.

So I am taking this dream and the little faith I have and running with it! This year will be a year of action!

I would love to encourage you to act on your goals and dreams this year. My family has been through a lot and I can tell you first hand life is short. Take your dreams and run! I would love to hear your dreams for 2014!

When a Diagnosis is a Blessing

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I feel so blessed. I am no longer wondering what horrible thing is happening to me because I have a diagnosis!!

I have been suffering the effects of Migraine.

I couldn’t believe it! After going to so many doctors thinking about all the “what if” possibilities running through my mind I finally know and can deal with it. Hurray!

One of my biggest prayers over the last few months was for an answer. I know God knows exactly what is going on in my life at all times, even when I don’t. So I was praying He would show the doctors what was happening to me so I could deal with it, get some help, and move on.

Today I am in the process of trying to figure out a treatment plan that works for my Migraines. Being educated on Chronic Migraine and trying to figure out the best way to deal with the daily migraines. I am blessed that I no longer walk into walls, mix up my speech, or fight chronic fatigue. This experience has really opened my eyes. I take so much for granted each day. I don’t realize what a blessing it is to walk straight, drive a car, talk correctly, or even be able to stay awake and take care of my kids.

Each day is such a blessing and we don’t even realize it. Take a moment today to just breathe in and out and count all the wonderful things in your life. I usually count all the things that I don’t like or don’t seem to be going great that day. It makes me feel depressed about my life. The second I look around me and see all the great things in my life I really am amazed at how God loves me and has blessed me beyond what I deserve.

Today I am blessed by an answer to my illness and a treatment plan which has led me to realize how much God loves me each day! God loves you too…what blessings has He given you?

Presently Choosing Joy

Waking up walking into walls. Dragging my body around my house. Barely getting through each day. Needing help with my kids. Unpredictable symptoms come and go without warning. My body is against me. It is frustrating, upsetting, and hard. Waiting to see doctors to figure it out and praying for answers.

As a Christian, how do I live through difficult circumstances with joy?

I choose it!

Each day I get up and remember I am a daughter of the King. He knows my body and exactly what is going on with me. He has gone before me and He follows me…He never leaves me. He gives me the strength to make it. He blesses me with help in a time of need. He has set me free even in this.

Grace even in times that make me want to give up. He is there offering me joy!

Joy in another day to love Him, love my kids, love my husband. Joy in making meals when I can. Joy in laundry, sweeping, and scrubbing. Joy in walking, playing, and living each day. Joy in being a mommy, wife, sister and friend. Joy in it all!

So when my brain starts getting foggy, my balance is off, and my body is overcome with fatigue I think of all the reasons He has blessed me in the present and I smile through the limitations, frustrations, and tears to remember I can choose His joy through it all! Joy that I have Him. That there is always victory in Jesus and He is everything.

Today I choose joy that only comes from Jesus! Freedom in the One who has set me free. Living in the promised land and not in chains no matter what circumstances are trying to tie me down.

Presently choosing joy…today that’s me!

Join me in linking up with Lisa Jo Baker in writing imperfectly for the fun of it! Only five minutes on the word present!

It’s A Beautiful Life!

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My mini me who sings to me and dances the day away with me.

My little guy who loves to check how tall he is compared to his mommy.

My little superhero who just wants to hear how strong he is.

The tree they climb with daddy that makes me nervous, but gives them such joy.

Taking turns using the camera to take pictures of the life they love.

Laughing, crying, playing, and fighting together…the chaos that makes me a mommy.🙂

Our little vintage mobile home we love.

Living in the quiet country.

Riding bikes and cars outside

Taking walks around the neighborhood

When you add it all together it is our beautiful life!

Linking up today with Lisa Jo Baker and all the women who make writing for the fun of it so much fun!!! Join us each Friday for a new word(s) and enjoy writing whatever comes for five minutes. Then share and encourage the writer before you!!! So much fun…even on Tuesday!🙂

Listening to the In Between

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Well Five Minute Friday’s word was: In Between and I wanted to sit right down after driving home from vacation to do my FMF post. However, my mind got all these ideas and it became overwhelming to just sit and write for five minutes. So here I am on Tuesday…finally getting to my Friday fun!

Ready, Set, Go!

Initially I was going to write about the wonderful moments of in between times you have with your children. Moments of pure joy playing dress up with my girly or watching my boys swimming in the lake and playing in the sand. The childhood moments I hold in my heart (their in between).

Then I was going to write of the challenges of living in the middle of an illness. The in between of symptoms starting and going to the doctor and finally getting a diagnosis. How suffering can be so hard, but teaches me more about joy and contentment in Christ during the days I can hardly walk around my house or think straight. The hard in between trials that teach us how to be full of joy and realized we are blessed.

But this past weekend, I was going through my old boxes in my mom’s attic (from my childhood days) and I found a journal. I threw it in a box figuring it was a journal of “I think he’s cute and I hope he likes me” stuff. Last night I sat down and read it. It was a journal from 1994…I was 15 years old. I read poems. Wow! I was impressed with my 15-year-old self. I never remember writing.

In fact for a year now I have been second guessing that I am a writer or should be writing. Not anymore. This was my official start to writing I was holding in my hands. My in between self jotting down feelings and emotions on paper. Sitting on my couch I realized it was the beginning of my writing self. Pretty cool!

I listened to my in between self processing life, experimenting with words, and jotting down poems that touched my soul. WOW!

Stop

Come join me in linking up with Lisa Jo Baker at Five Minute Fridays!! You’ll love it!

Five Minute Friday: Fall

 

SAM_0096Ready, set, write!

Everyday I fall more in love with being a mom and my kids. I can’t believe how long the days are sometimes or how short the years are, but I know this I love it!

I get aggravated at little things and yell and lose my patience with my kids. I hate that and am forever trying to be more patient. But at the end of each day there are moments that I hold in my heart that are precious.

In these moments I memorize their tiny features, the way they smile, their laugh, or just the memories that are made in the everyday. Moments that when they are grown they will look back on. I fall more in love with them each day.

A part of my heart rips open when I think about all the moments that have passed, but it also is overwhelmed with joy at all the precious moments I have been given and the ones that are to come. ‘

I just want to scoop them up in my lap and hug them…never let go. But they must be let go. To have all the adventures that life gives them. And I will forever hold all the moments in my heart.

Each night we sing “I will lie down and sleep in peace for you alone O Lord are my safety. I will lie down and sleep in peace.” And I fall more in love with the little children He has blessed me with and the family that he has created… it’s a dream come true!

Thank you Lord for all the little moments!🙂

Linking up with Lisa Jo Baker’s Five Minute Friday! Check it out!