“So HOW’d you put em on?” you ask…

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Lying in the Emergency Room of choice…being asked “have you ever considered hurting yourself?” and “is there any abuse at home we should know about”…having nurses check my wrists for marks…my husband explaining that the pain gets so bad for me that I have said “if I come up missing, I’m in the woods with a bullet in my head” and how he knows I would NEVER do that but THAT’s how bad this gets at times…like, WHAT?!! What the crap is happening?!! Tears just stream down my face, I can’t actually cry because my head will explode so for the 3rd day in a row I just cry silently. I just want it to go away. Please…for the love…just make it go away. All of it. The headache FIRST because that’s the prominent problem at hand, but the pain next. Then the stress felt. Then the no sleep issue – that’s a big one doc! Make the thoughts stop. Make the missing people I feel end. Make the attacks stop. Make the mean people just quit. Make ALL of this just go away. Please.
A FAST…like not kidding you, this kid had wheeled a few people back before and knew the way to make that wheelchair scoot…ride to the ct scan room and back, the doctor comes in to say “well, everything medically inside your head is fine…no tumors or spots of concern.” TJ explains the occipital nerve issue I deal with. So, just as he knows how, the doctor says he will be willing to meet with me outside of the ER to discuss medical options to control my headaches and my anxiety/depression. Which I so appreciate because he is offering the help he knows. So I explain to him my utter fear of man made medicines and have Zilch-O desire to become dependent upon any. My dad suffers from bi-polarism and I have always been so terrified of suffering the same so I do NOT want to chance chemicals in my body messing up other chemicals. Doctor respects my decision and preciously gives me a shot to fix the inflammation in my muscles/neck, a medicine to control my nausea, and a medicine to relax me so I can sleep. One time deal. And in a “here’s your bonus award for coming in today Mrs. Bragwell” way, prescribed me a small dose 10 count anxiety pill. “Just to take the edge off at times…will help you sleep” he says. AND MAN WAS HE RIGHT??!! I didn’t say I would NOT take anything…just don’t want to become dependent on anything. Lol
So, did the shot fix me? Did the amazing good sleep I got that night? Maybe it was the sweet and encouraging nurses and doctors who were so lovingly concerned about me? …
No. NO. and NOOOO.
All behind the scenes of this 2 year, life changing, stressful, heart aching, and ultimately “DEPRESSION” causing “situation”…has been THIS constant and amazing and beautiful person working for my good. Holding me up, keeping me together, reassuring me in our God, picking me up off the floor, praying over me, praying for me, cheering me on, wiping my tears and holding my hand, correcting me when I’m wrong, holding me accountable to my responsibilities, reminding me of THE BIGGER PICTURE…and his name is TJ.
Now let me say this…GOD is the ever constant, ever present, all safe REFUGE for us. He doesn’t move. He doesn’t sway. He isn’t persuaded away from us. He doesn’t buy into the false stories and lies of people trying to make Him pull away from us. Others will. And that’s told to us in advance…see, He doesn’t allow any “surprises” to jump out of the woods and blindside us. He tells us: “you will be hated.” BUT HE LOVES US. He is sitting there just WANTING us to rely on Him. “SIMPLY TRUST ME baby.” “I will take care of you…just allow ME!” And I know that ONE way He takes care of me is through His creation, named by his mother and father,…TJ.
This man. Yall, he is THE most aggravating person in my life. He can drive me batty in a flat racetrack second. He snores. He can take WEEKS to do something I ask of him. He has his limits. He is the way he is and he has the hobbies and desires he has…I knew that at 13 just like I know it at 39. He likes junk. He is NEVER interested in throwing ANYTHING away based on the handed down philosophy of Bragwell men “I may need that one day.” (eye roll please). He shuts down easily. He has NO interest in talking about his feelings. He overthinks. He plans waaaaaaaay too far in advance for my taste. He doesn’t like spontanaeity. He thinks going out to eat and dropping $75 is ridiculous when you can just eat at home. He picks his toenails. He bites his fingernails off and leaves them lying around on the coffee table. (THIS I have threatened divorce over.) The point if HE IS NOT PERFECT. He is just like every other male, he is flawed and weird and set in his ways and different than his female counterpart. So I am not trying to portray that he is this perfect little creature who just sits and stares at me and tells me how beautiful and precious I am all the time. See, even THAT…he’s never really been good at. “Keeps you humble Tressa” is his “reasoning” hahaa!
BUT what he IS is this…He is a man who loves his wife. Not always in the “let me run my fingers through your beautiful and long hair” love…but ALWAYS in the love of God. Always. He knows what it is to love his wife as Christ loved the church. He believes that he is commanded to obey this and will be held accountable for his “performance” of it. He knows to lead her as he follows his God. He knows and does seek Him first in everything. He has this relationship with God that he doesn’t even have with his wife…he loves God more than he loves me. Just as he should. I made this statement in my vows to him on our wedding day (almost 15 years ago…wow) “No Christian wife minds being her husband’s 2nd love…when God is his first.” And I meant that. And TJ has only grown and grown and grown closer to God in his relationship with Him. As His servant, His child, His student, His representative, His disciple…TJ is committed to being what his God expects, commands, and simply wants for him to be. And ONE of the benefits in this is that he loves me. And THAT my dear friends…THAT is how I put my big girl’s back on.
Friday morning comes and I have had the MOST SOUND sleep AND rest. I am awakened to “I made you some coffee baby.” Once I rise, with the after effects of the headache still threatening me, he tells me to pack. He had asked me on Thursday “what do you need to feel better?” and we had kinda talked about getting away. But the headache HAD to go first. I had confessed to him I felt a real disconnect from him over the past year, from the stress he has – the stress of “church” – the stress of teenage daughter and preteen son still living at home lol – and that we survived the first 10 years of our marriage with the “hard stuff” of babies, nursing, toddlers, job changes, moving, moving states, etc. with flying colors but this part was HARD. And I related it to us not having time for the other. We took a week’s dream getaway in October of 2013 to Hawaii and that was the last time we had been away alone. So, he knew. He knew that taking his wife away to her favorite place in the whole entire massive galaxy would help her. To the beach we went.
We packed one bag, 2 beach chairs, an umbrella, and sunscreen. He had our children taken care of by friends who were standing by asking “what can we do?” Love. Tears. I mean WHAT would we do without them right?! Can’t even. So, a stop at the pharmacy and a 6 hour drive later, involving one stop in which I happen to see in the back seat the “take home copy” of the ER discharge papers which reads “Diagnosis – Acute Headache/Depression” and that depressed me. Like, I was depressed about being depressed. There’s something about knowing in your mind that you feel down…and actually being labeled as “DEPRESSED.” BUT… Big laugh about it now though. Anyway, we arrive, check in to the hotel we reserved on 65S 2 hours previously…he walks beside me, holding my hand, to the beautiful and majestic and I don’t care how many times I’ve seen it before it ALWAYS amazes me to tears beach. The sand was so cool. The winds were just a perfect breeze. The sun was barely peeking out from its friend the clouds. The waves were gentle with just a kiss of “come out here and I’ll getcha.” And my mind was quiet. My head was eased. My heart was full. My faith rekindled. My husband the reason.
As he placed my chair in the perfect spot and got my umbrella on the back, making sure I am just as perfectly comfortable as possible, he begins to walk.
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His ADD does not allow him to just sit for very long. Bless. And as he is walking, I’m taking all of THIS in. Like, I’m at the beach. On a Friday. With no planned out agenda. No anticipating weeks/months of excitement. Just there. Without a worry. Because my husband loves me and knows that my laughter was gone and I was big girl pantiless for far too many days. That’s it. It wasn’t about him. Or the kids. It wasn’t about a vacation. It wasn’t about anything or body except that his wife was in need and he recognized it and selflessly make it his aim to rescue her from the sadness and depression that had all but consumed her. And I began to cry tears of happiness…tears of joy…tears of ultimate amazement that if TJ loves me THIS much…HOW MUCH MORE DOES GOD LOVE ME?!!
HOW MUCH MORE DOES GOD WANT TO TAKE CARE OF ME?!! HOW MUCH MORE DOES GOD SEE AND KNOW MY PAIN?!! HE created this beautiful place where the water meets the sand in a controlled fashion and where the sky and the water meet and gave me eyes to see this beauty and ears to hear the waves crashing, the birds talking to each other, and feelings to sense the sun and its warmth and the coolness of the wind. And created TJ for me. And had arranged to have me rescued by bringing both gifts to my ever present need in this very moment. And as the overwhelming realization of how MUCH I am loved by my Father and my husband engulfs me…I immediately felt peace. I knew that all is well in this spiritual house the Lord dwells in. He is pleased with our efforts and desire to seek and know Him…to worship Him in spirit and in truth…to humble our hearts and open our eyes to His truth…to make whatever changes necessary to please HIM and to not allow the attacks of the evil one and those doing his work to distract me ONE. MORE. MINUTE. And I lift my eyes to heaven…and say “yes Lord, I know You are there. I hear Your still small voice. I will from this moment on trust YOU. I will fix my eyes on Jesus and follow His example of obedience so I can too be where You are.” And comically, because I know He has a sense of humor, I also say “oooooooK, I will put them back on!”
Then this “Romeo” romantic –and believe me, this is a normal AND yet very very sporadic trait of his– comes back from his “exploration” of the beach with this…a gift and reminder of God’s perfect timing. His perfect love. His perfect -untainted by the world and its effects- care. His perfect creation.
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And as the old song says…”and that’s all I need to know!”


I know WHERE my BIG GIRL panties are…I just don’t want to put em on!

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I have lived a great deal of my life buying, washing, drying, wearing, buying the next size up, and repeating the process of BIG GIRL panties. I know all about the “suck it up princess” attitude. I have for years had “hardships” and “difficulties” and “challenges” to overcome…I mean, haven’t we all?! And when I really analyze, really really think on what I as an American Christian consider “hardships” and “difficulties” and “challenges”…seems so spoiled, and pathetic, and cry babyish. HOWEVER, our lives and our situations are REAL to us and matter to us and make a difference for good or bad for us. When whatever it is happens to us, it is so easy to immediately sink into that “oh poor pitiful me” mentality and like my momma says “waller in self pity!” THIS has happened to me for literally the first time in my life and I know where my big girl panties are…I just don’t want to put em on!
Let’s see if I can comically paint this picture for you all…cause I like to laugh. About everything. Dad having cancer removed off a section of kidney? Laughing. Dad having THIRD heart attack in recovery AFTER said surgery? Let’s ask him “Dad, I mean come on…you’ve had 2 already. Do you not know what they are by now?!!!” Mother having BIG TIME like life changing liver transplant right?! Let’s be sure to paint her fingernails AND take the polish off immediately after ok?! And laughing with her all the way to the OR. Its’ what I do people. I laugh. I see humor, I can think on funny moments and remember hilarious scenarios in the seriousest of serious moments. I could give you a cagillion examples of how laughter and laughing and “seeing bright side” has assisted my sanity for years. I’m THE person everyone looks to for a smile, a laugh, a ray of sunshine to share and I LOVE that being “what” I’m known for by people. That is SUCH a beautiful compliment to me…I could care less about weight, beauty, hair, age, etc. Being known for being able to laugh and help others laugh…I’ll take it.
And then…I wasn’t laughing anymore.
Wait.What? Tressa doesn’t feel like laughing? Wait…can that be right?!! But she’s ALWAYS been able to do that…rise above…see the “bigger picture”…overcome…accept…and has grown through everything in her life to be the woman she is today. So…what do you mean she isn’t laughing anymore? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU TRESSA?
Let me just start this way…my sweet precious and God fearing husband and I were once half hearted, partially spiritually minded, followers of the teaching we had received, I’m humiliated to even call us…”Christians.” Hear me out here, everything we had done and participated in and practiced was done in all honesty out of a true belief we were doing what the Lord wanted. We know now…God saw us for the half hearted, partially spiritually minded, followers of the teaching we had received, CLAIMERS of following Christ. And we are in ABSOLUTE confident faith that He loves us, wants us to seek Him, desires for us to want to know more and more about Him, and will exhaust all measures to “get our attention.” Well, let me rephrase that…will exhaust all measures to prove to us how much He loves us. Like, for the point of this post…answering our prayers.
So there have been “those moments” -surely you can relate to these- when you just know that THIS is an answered prayer! And please don’t confuse this with physical desires like a new job, or a new car, or 10 pounds to magically disappear off of you and appear on the lady who has had 4 kids and still wears a size 4. (vomit right?!)!! I am talking about spiritual answers. I am talking about when you have those majestic and perfect beings born from your body and laid upon you and you cry out “THANK YOU GOD for this perfect gift!” And you realize in that moment (or maybe you didn’t) that this child is a soul. He/she is NOT a body who has a soul…he/she is a soul who has been given a body. And this soul has now been entrusted in your care. Just let that sink in for a moment. YOU just became responsible -physically, mentally, emotionally, and most importantly spiritually- for this soul who God loves enough to allow HIS ONLY SON to die for. Wow. Like, how many of us thought of THAT when having the fun to get that baby? Or how much time was spent on preparing for THIS in comparison to our baby showers, our nurseries, our maternity pictures, etc.? I, for one, did no preparing for THIS. At least…I thought I didn’t.
I immediately went into the “oh man, this is bigger than me isn’t it?! Like this is a soul…a living breathing beautiful perfectly untainted soul from heaven and I have named her Autumn. I had prayed for a healthy pregnancy, right, because that’s what we do. The typical “I don’t care if its a boy or a girl, just want a 10 fingers/10 toes healthy baby.” So yeah, I had prayed for her. I had thanked Him for giving her to me. I had asked Him to “give me and her daddy the strength and knowledge to be the parents for her she deserves.” And ya know what…He answered all of those prayers BUT the one prayer I now know -the one I had the “AHHHAAAAA” moment over- He answered with the purpose of proving to me how MUCH HE loves me was giving me and TJ the strength and knowledge to be the parents she deserves. And rightfully so right?!! He is, after all, THE perfect FATHER…He knows how much we love Autumn, He knows how much we want her to obey, and endure this physical life, and stay the course laid out for her. He felt all of that for His Son Jesus.

So being a prayer life for and over my daughter began. I prayed for her heart to be tender and to receive correction without rebellion. I prayed for her mind to receive the training in the ways of the Lord. I prayed for her obedience to His commands. I prayed for her future husband to be the man God intends for him to be. I prayed for her choices…for her hobbies…for her friends…for her thoughts…all to be centered around her God. I prayed that her daddy and I would rely on Him for guidance in doing this parenting thing. I prayed that we would listen, that we would study, that we would seek, for His ways for us AND for her. And these prayers were continual, sincere, heart felt, and from a lowly and honest place…the depths of my soul. Enter soul #2, a little guy we named Scout, and the same prayers were uttered before His throne for him.
And then…one day…”out of the blue” as we southerners like to say…these 2 souls did the most odd thing (sarcasm font applied). They obeyed the gospel!!! The training we had instilled in them in the way of the Lord had pricked their hearts. They understood Who Jesus is and what He did for them…and that THEIR sins had put Him on that cross. They believed every word about Him they read and heard was true. They wanted to be forgiven. They cried those tears of sorrow from a pricked heart and cried out “I want to be forgiven!” And lemme just say…oh my heaven stars…to witness this moment in time, to see the light come on, to then see the shame and the heartbreak they felt…was/is the most beautiful moment I will ever be a part of on this side of heaven. My baby Scout has these eyes, those who know him know what I’m talking about. They are just these precious and engulfing jewels on his face that will just melt you. And for those eyes to be weeping with tears of shame and sadness for the disobedience he had been guilty of here in this life (because he was trained to know that disobeying his parents by his own free will, is disobedience to God) and to look at me and pitifully plea “I want to be forgiven!” …I am in amazement that heaven will be more glorious than THAT!!! They were both baptized and we rejoiced with others around as we witnessed the “newness of life” come forth out of the water and my children were safe in Jesus. Oh happy day.
And with that day…April 21, 2013 -the best day ever-…came the changes in our 4 lives that would create peace which passes all understanding for us. AND the reasons I would find myself -2 years later and just for a time- not laughing anymore.

See, what happened for us in that moment was life changing. Spiritually changing. Socially changing. And the hardest of all for me…relationship changing. Those who rejoiced with us in their obedience would eventually turn their backs on all of us for doing just that. Some of my most cherished sisters in Christ would in time no longer speak to me. Our dearest friends, the couple we agreed would be our children’s legal guardians in the event of our simultaneous passing, would cease from even speaking to us. And only…only because we began -upon the answered prayer of our children’s obedience to the gospel- to truly seek God and His word. We had a new perspective on obedience. When I knew that I would hear myself say to God on judgment day “because they told me to!” … to God…THE Creator and Sustainer of all life everywhere…I would be confessing that I CHOSE to LISTEN TO AND OBEY the voices of people…weak and sinful just like me people…instead of the All Knowing All Mighty God. Are you kidding me?!! I mean, seriously. Sounds ludacris right?!
So pile on some chronic headache condition I have, mix with no sleep, and stir in a mass load of hypocrisy…and ya’ve got one hurt, sad, depressed, exhausted, overwhelmed, and tired Tressa. Who wasn’t laughing anymore. Who knew where the big girl’s were…and for the first time EVER just didn’t care. How did I overcome this? My husband. Well, The Lord of course but He used my husband. hahahahaaa. That post is coming soon :)

So let me please tell you this much…because this much I know….
When a soul prays for its Creator to guide it, to direct it, and that soul has humbled itself to the lowest of lows to say “not my will, but Your will be done” … that soul is pleasing to its Creator. Because hat soul will seek AND obey. And so will begin a journey that will be physically demanding, and life changing, and scary, and the unknowns will try and devour it, and the evil one will never rest in trying to change that souls direction away from its Creator. And as long as that soul stays in the path of light, listens to His voice, and seeks to be where He is…that soul is secure. Physically, emotionally, and mentally…that body and mind may be sad, hurt, tired, overwhelmed, and yes…even depressed. But that SOUL…oh that SOUL…rejoices in the peace which passes all understanding. It rejoices in pleasing its Creator. Like a child with only the approval of his/her parent as the goal. You know those moments mommies…”mommy mommy look what I did…I cleaned my room JUST LIKE YOU told me!!” The joy and excitement in their eyes…the pure obedience in their choices…focused solely on hearing “Well done baby….well done!”
That my friends….brings THE smile to my face.


Monkeys and mothers.

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Monkey see…monkey do. Right?! We’ve all heard it. We all know it’s intentions are to be funny…but have you ever considered HOW TRUE this simple silly statement is??
Think of it this way:
**Daughters see…Daughters do.
That put things in a little perspective? It totally does for me. I have realized more and more and more over the past several years that the things I nonchalantly do in my everyday life, things I’ve done for years and years and never given any thought towards, will more than likely be the things that Autumn repeats the pattern of in her life. And wow. I have got some major “house cleaning” to do.
If the opening quote is true, and I believe it is, my influence on my daughter is greater than any other influence of her life. Just let that absorb into your thinking….and I wouldn’t hesitate to add that how I am as a woman, a wife, a mother, a daughter, a sister, and MOST importantly a daughter of God will greatly determine how she will be all of those things as well. Just wow.

So knowing this, and letting this be in the forefront of my mind daily, I have to ask myself: “How are you Tressa?” And if you have never done this…may I HIGHLY suggest you do. Look at yourself in the mirror, and ask the reflection staring back at you this:
“Are you who God intended for you to be?”
And if you are like me, your honest answer will be “no.” A humble, embarrassing, humiliating “NO!” And then slowly, methodically, and totally on purpose…you begin desiring to be. You desire to KNOW the woman God intends you to be, you desire to transform into her, you desire to show her to your daughter.

I can promise you this young mothers, yet to be mothers, and young ladies not even considering motherhood yet…THIS decision, to be the woman God intends, will be the best and most important decision you will ever make for your marriage, your children, and yourself. She is not impossible to become, she is however WORTH every single change, struggle, sacrifice, and hard time you will ever make/go through. She will not be glorified by the world…she will be not beautiful in its eyes…she will not be important or rich or famous. But in His kingdom…OH IN HIS KINGDOM, she will be blessed…she will be loved…she will honored…she will be praised. Her husband will praise her and her children will rise up and call her blessed. You see, if you vow to be the woman of God NOW…you will train your daughter(s) to be a woman of God from birth and this will set in motion a path of obedience to His will. It will cause her to look for and pray for a man who will love her the way God tells him to…lead her…provide for her…dwell with her in understanding…and praise her for her submission, obedience, humility, modesty, and heart of service. She will have it within her to love her husband and praise him for his leadership. She will love her children and train them along with her husband in the ways of The Lord. She will have a modest heart and a gentle and quiet spirit. She will be pure.
And then guess what she will do when she becomes a mother of a beautiful little girl…

Monkey see…monkey do.
Just as she saw her mother.


Surroundings…meaning relationships…sisters/friends.

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On an average day…I will communicate via text, email, instagram, face to face, and EVEN the age old way of telephone, with my best friends. And yet, somehow, they are so easy to not even think about. Hear me out here. Do we realize how MUCH these relationships, our surrounding ones, really and truly mean to us?

I’m gonna look through my phone right now and give you a couple of examples of the convos I have exchanged in just the last 2 days…and I picked the ones in which I could make this point.

Me: “Random ? … Was “anti-sass medicine” the name of it when I told you about it or did you name it that? I’m writing about learning from older women and telling the story of the lady who told me about it and can’t remember if that’s what she named it or you.”
Lindley: “I honestly don’t remember…(On my defense…early stage dementia…)”
–she is so telling the truth people, like she remembers hardly anything. I can say “Lindley…put this in your calendar so that you will remember AND you won’t schedule anything else that day at that time!” and it doesn’t seem to fail that she will FORGET TO CHECK HER CALENDAR IN HER PHONE when making plans. She began having “forgetful moments” after her birth giving years. She acknowledges her issue and is completely ok with being called out on it…when she says things like “you know, come on now, help me out…ummm, like, ummmmm…” I will laugh. She knows. I love her. I pray she never forgets me, she is 6 years younger than I so she naturally should keep long term memory longer than me BUT at this rate…lol. She knows and believes in me. All of me. She is SO my right hand. She is an answered prayer.

My friend Shelana is an ADVOCATE for not texting and driving…like doesn’t even look at her phone while operating a vehicle (which almost got 991–hahahaha–called on her tail one day for not replying in a timely fashion) so she has started trying the voice texting. It’s been a blast people. Here’s yesterdays convo about me asking her if she and Gabbie would want to go with Autumn and me to pick out a dress for the Junior High Athletic banquet next week. I will alter these a bit due to the going on and on and on and on we sometimes do…
Here’s the short version:
I ask…hey you wanna go, she says she’s already over that way because she needed some stuff, she’s already mutilated like 3 voice attempts because it changes words and her texts make no sense, then this is where we will pick up:
Me: “Are you gonna be back soon?”
Her: “Well Sarah Grace may have a dress that Debbie would consent to wearing one evening”
Let me interject right here…she has children, none of which are named Debbie. Continuing…
Me: “Are you drunk?” accompanied with a photo of a tee that says the same and the two boxes for yes and no…the “X” is marked like to the side and underneath the boxes. Funny.
Her: “I had a stroke.” which is the truth. 2 1/2 years ago.
Her: “Debbie may have a dress that Gabby can wear” again, that Debbie.
Me: “I can’t wait to meet Debbie”
Me: “She’s up for whatever”
Me: “Want me to take G with me to town or leave her home?”
Me: “Aka Deb”
Me: “Debbie”
Me: “Little snack cake”
Me: “I’m laughing out loud like so loud”
Her: “It’s up to Debbie”
Her: “Me too I almost had a wreck”
Me: “Is Sophie, now referred to as Alice, with you? Just because Debbie needs a sister named Alice”

The result of this…Gabbie is now Debbie for like eternity and Sophie runs in her house last night after returning from the trip with us and yells…”ALICE IS HOME!!”
So Shelana sends this this morning:
“Shane thinks we have corrupted them beyond repair.”
Me: “When I think…she favors Alice in the wonderland. Shane and TJ may separate us in corners.”
–I laugh everyday with this woman. She is so good and lovable and raw. She is an answered prayer.

Lastly,
Me: “Listen to this song…the words.” Along with the name of the song. This is a very common thing for the 2 of us. One of her favorite “things” is knowing that “this world is not her home” and so we randomly will send each other reminders.
Anna: (7 hours later because she was at work and does NOT reply much, out of respect, while she is at work) “Holy crap!!!!! No freaking way!!!”
sends pic of her car radio with the song title showing
Anna: “I was like this is a good song!! Then I thought…wait…isn’t that what Tressa sent?”
It was the same song. She had read my message 7 hours earlier, didn’t have time to look up and listen, and then on her way home she heard it and it hit her! We have that connection. She is the most spiritually minded young woman (she’s 14 years younger than I) I have ever had the privilege of getting to know. She has been in my life for almost a solid year and she loves her Lord, her husband, and strives every day to be more of who she should be for both. She is an answered prayer.

Ok so who caught the common thread among these 3 relationships? They weren’t born in the same era of time, they don’t have the same goals and desires in life, they don’t have the same great/awful traits, so what makes them so alike to me, in my life?

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They. are. answered. prayers.
Lemme explain.
For years I have been in this committed state of change. Refining is the best description I guess. I have witnessed through the evidence presented to me through my own actions/choices that I am NOT the perfect person I spent so many years believing I was. Shocking right?! Like that moment you realize “I am crap.” Surely you know that moment. The “AHA” moment I guess, like “hey woman, THIS whole thing IS NOT ABOUT YOU and who you claim to be and what you claim to stand for and what you feel or think or believe or want!” If you’ve read previous posts, you are aware of this. I have seriously been focused on putting away the idea/notion that I can just be whoever I am by nature or whoever I simply choose to be. For instance, I am a very bluntly honest person. I have never had a “problem” telling someone the truth about something…whether it hurt him/her or not was not my concern because the truth is the truth and he/she deserves to hear the truth right?! Like, “honesty is the best policy” on crack. So when a friend/sister would come to me with whatever, I would just blast them straight up with the truth…”he doesn’t love you, get over it.” or “well you should’ve thought about the way your life would turn out if you made that decision BEFORE you made it.” or even “this is totally your fault.” And then walk away feeling justified because “I told the truth.” I mean, isn’t that “what we do”?!! We CHOOSE how to be and then JUSTIFY that choice by saying “this is just how I am!”
Which led me to think…”is it?”
I had no compassion. I did not listen well. I was way over opinionated. I was obnoxious. I was selfish. I was self centered. I was proud. I was confident. I did not care. I was rough. I was scarred (not scared but scarred, like with scars). I was a product. I was all about me. I used to tell people during my college years (there won’t be many posts about this era of time so pay attention. lol) “there’s nobody I’d rather be with than me.” And I was being honest. Because with me…I caused myself no pain, I couldn’t leave myself, I wouldn’t cheat on myself, I wouldn’t disappoint me, I wouldn’t be humiliated, I couldn’t neglect myself, etc. I was ALL FOR ME. I graduated high school this way, college this way, married this way, gave birth this way, and managed every relationship I had this way. Even my relationship with Jesus. And yet…WHAT about anything I just described to you reflects Jesus?

So fast forward a couple of years, events, things, and people, and we get to that “AHHAAAAAAA” moment for me. And with the saddest reality I had EVER experienced, came the ugly truth I had been missing.
Here’s what I thought previously: I was sure. I was good. I was spiritual. I was accepted. I was loved. I was a good friend. I had good friends.
Here’s what I realized: I was lost. I was ugly. I was over-confident. I was proud in the bad way. I was selfish. I was a crappy friend. I was a poor example for my friends.

I mean…HOW do you change right?! Like that’s the first question you ask. Ok so I know all of this, but HOW do I make it better? I do not claim to know HOW it will/should work for you, but here’s a start for how it did for me…
I asked God. Seriously. I looked up and said “ok sooooooooo…what?! What do you want from me? Because I don’t know, I’ve never asked You before!”
See, I had listened to myself tell myself I should be the way I was…I listened to friends reassure me that I was fine…I listened to brothers/sisters tell me that I was accepted by God…I was listening to all the voices I wanted to hear. Saying alllllll the things I needed/wanted to hear to soothe my soul. “You’re fine.” “You’re pleasing Him.” “You’re doing what you should do.” And I KNOW these friends/people were going on and making their decisions about me from a good place. They are good people. So, they weren’t doing anything wrong. THIS was totally my mess up. My wrong doing. And I would be the only person who could un-do it.

So ONE area of my refining process has been to pray for honest hearts. Honest, God fearing, God serving, selfLESS hearts who will know me -the true me- and accept that I was completely unaware of who that true me is and on my way to finding her. Friends who will believe in me. Sisters with hearts who have been changed by the belief in Jesus. Ones who will love me…NOT for who they think I am or think I should be…but love me for who I am so desperately seeking. Sisters who would need my insight and wisdom in the areas of life I have already been through. Friends I can learn valuable lessons from like forgiveness, mercy, kindness, compassion, nurturing, loving…all things I never was. Women who love Jesus and know that they stink at it sometimes. I prayed for truth. I desired and longed for women who I could laugh with and cry with and share intimate feelings with and express anger to and learn from AND teach about just. being. a. woman. I had never given any consideration, AT ALL, to the women I was surrounding myself with. I had never given any consideration, AT ALL, to the woman I was/was not for them. I had never thought “am I helping her be more like the woman she needs to be for God?” because I HAD NEVER THOUGHT IF I WAS THAT WOMAN!!! I was blinded by what I wanted to see, believe, feel, or accept. All that “I am fantastic” crap. But when I began to pray—years ago mind you—for truth, in every way, in every thing, in every relationship…THAT is just what has been answered…and is continuing to be answered. And prayerfully will always be answered.
AND please don’t miss my point here by thinking that I do not value ALL of my friendships, relationships, sisters because THAT is so far from the truth. I have forever friends and new ones I just recently met. I have those who I don’t see all the time and when we see each other it’s like we never have spent a second apart. I have those I would bail out of jail in a heartbeat. I have those who may be a little challenging to like all the time, just as I am not likable all the time. I LOVE THEM ALL. I have ALSO learned EVERY ONE has something valuable…something unique…some “reason” to be in my life…and I truly love (which is another whole post) each one of them. Everyone around me has something to offer and I am so focusing on learning what that is and then allowing God to use that in His way for my life. I am trying with my whole heart to be who I am supposed to be…and at the same time satan is trying so hard to deceive me as to who that is. It’s a battle. Everyday. And everyday I lean on HIM for answers. I take what I know RIGHT NOW and live that out the best I can and I pray for more and more and more and still more understanding of what He wants from me and my life in His service.

So, what has been searched for and prayed about by TJ and me…being in this together…is truth. And truth is, I want to be the woman who pleases her Father. I want to obey. I want to teach younger women about being a woman. I want to be taught by older women the same. I want to be selfless. I want to be a Jesus example of submission, obedience, love, kindness, compassion, purity, and forgiveness. I want to be only want what HE WANTS FOR ME…which is to be changed in my thinking and to see truth His way. I want to be encouraged by those around me in truth -HIS truth, not our versions of it- and I want to be an encouragement for everyone around me in the same.

We have friends. All of us do. We have those we talk to every day, every other day, once a week, once in a blue moon, and no matter the amount of communication exchange…we are all probably guilty of not being appreciative enough for the role in which they play in our lives. We probably don’t do enough praying about valuing people in our lives and keeping those relationships alive and well which encourage us in truth and letting go of those which do not. I have learned to seek out those souls committed to obeying and serving and to let go of those who are not…and continuing to set the right example for both. So, thank your friends. Tell your sisters you love them. Pray for relationships which are Christ centered. Be the woman the world of women around you NEED and the one God wants.

And then laugh. And text crazy. And prank call. And send funny pics. And MOST importantly…pray for her. And love her with every word you utter.

Friends-Best-Friends


“Anti-sass”… more reflections from Jen’s stories

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Agree with me or not…being taught by older women about “how” to DEAL with your children (which that cray cray apostle Paul uses “love” instead of deal…he was clearly never a mother –BIG LAUGH) is the ABSOLUTE best way to learn. For example: (short version…I know I can go on and on at times. my means well.)
An older sister- with one son, very respectful and polite- once told me “how” she “fixed” his little smart need to reply to everything with an attitude problem he once tried to develop. She told me that she had decided to introduce vinegar to him. Much better than the soap in the mouth you and I probably got right?! So her remedy was this…when he would smart off, or answer with shortness in his tone, or argue with her, or keep on when he clearly knew not to push…she would give him a teaspoon of vinegar. And she was smart and crafty as well, she kept a medicine syringe and a small bottle of vinegar in her purse, you know for the “on the go smart mouth.” It’s name: “Anti-sass medicine.” He hated it, it was actually good for him, and it lead him to change the way he responded to his mother. He is now a fine teenage God fearing young man.
So…could I take the advice of a godly sister raising a young toddler/boy who had already gone through what I was currently tackling (and yes I intended the pun lol) with my sassy 4 year old daughter and my ever following in her footsteps 3 year old brother? I absolutely could. And I am forever thankful for her imparting wisdom to me…a struggling with toddlers frazzled mom who was so overwhelmed at “my daughter’s mouth reminds me of someone…and how do I fix that?!!” haha I did not want to continue in a smacking of the mouth ritual as they grew older. And I refused to accept the notion “she/they will outgrow it” because I had witnessed others have that philosophy and well…they just don’t outgrow it. They outgrow shoes. Not smart mouths.
I sat both of my sweet and precious and very push to the limits humans and told them “this will now be how mommy will respond when you sass mouth me…you will open that mouth and I will insert a spoonful of this vinegar (let em smell) and you will swallow it.” I clearly gave the guidelines of what is considered unacceptable, my children were never in the dark of the expectations of their attitudes. And we were on our anti-sass medicine way. It was inevitable they would both be victims of the sour drink within minutes. Bless.
And I was committed. Like I said, and they both knew this was true at this point in their lives, “no matter where we are, who is around, or what people think…if you sass me or argue with me or back talk me (and c’on mommies–we know when they are doing this, and we know when they seriously need to say something) you will have to swallow this.” Had a bottle in my purse, syringe as well, and a spoon and bottle in the trunk…prepared. And yes, there were times I stopped the car…made them get out…hold their heads back with mouths open…and poured it in them. And lemme just interject this real quickly…I was a stay at home mother, I LOVE my babies for the precious souls they are, I appreciated early on the gift they were from my Father and I vowed to Him to give them back to Him…I never physically harmed or emotionally scarred them in any way but I took my responsibility as their mother (and still do btw) very seriously so we exhausted all measures to train them to be respectful and thankful and polite and to understand authority and what obedience is and WHY their God would want them to obey their father and mother. I talked to my children and prayed over them and for them and let them in on every decision we ever made as their parents. I never did nor do make decisions for correction based on humiliation or shame or abuse (see post “Soooo…whadaya do?”). Ok, so clarifying that let’s move on…With every spoonful of that awful stuff, they were reminded “now why did you have to drink that?” and with every spoonful swallowed, they ALWAYS knew. They could answer rightly every single time. It was awful to them. They hated it. They understood “why” mommy would not allow them to talk to her in an disrespectful way…”If you do not learn NOW as children to respect and obey your mother, you will not know how to respect and obey God when you’re an adult!” THAT was the motivation. That IS THE GOAL. And I can honestly tell you all, it did not take many times of making them open their mouths and intake the punishment in the form of sour and stinky and gross vinegar for the result to be that they learned to NOT SASS ME or DISRESPECTFULLY ANSWER ME or BACK TALK. They have been AND WILL ALWAYS be allowed to express to me in a respectful way how they feel about something or if they are mad or if they don’t agree with me. There IS an accepted and appropriate way to do that. But that smart mouth mess…naw. Just ain’t. Can’t deal.

Here’s how Jen Hatmaker feels about this subject, from her book “Interrupted” :
“That was it. Nothing before or after it, except me immediately telling my sons if they didn’t stop fighting, I was giving their Christmas presents away to poor kids. (And before we move on, this is just how I parent, okay? My kids get plenty of warm, fuzzy love from me, but admittedly, last week after my fifth grader opened up a fresh, sassy mouth to me, I told him to get a shovel, go to the backyard, and dig his own grave. In my house, back talk is grounds for homicide. He got the point.)”

So I am not alone.

Point being this…if my older and wiser and “been through this before and successfully taught my child sass is not accepted” sister had not shared this with me, I could possibly STILL be fighting this battle. It worked for her. She saw the evidence in her son. So, she shared with a young and fragile and exhausted and at wits end mommy going through the same thing she had already overcome. And, it worked for me. THAT sisters….THAT is what we are lacking. THAT is what we are not doing. THAT IS WHAT WE SO DESPERATELY NEED. The wisdom we can see (when we look with humble eyes) that God had in orchestrating the relationship between women who are wives, mothers, sisters, etc is EXTRAVAGANT. He wants us to be teaching and learning from one another about our amazing and beautiful and at the same time completely overwhelmingly exhausting roles. We need to be seeking out those women who are godly and befriending them and learning from them and growing with them and setting the right kind of example for our baby girls and the baby boys who will be marrying them soon. We need to seek out those new mommy’s who have NO idea if they are ever going to want to have sex again, because she’s tired and emotional and overworked and gross feeling and stretched marked and covered in poo. She needs to know that’s normal and ok and it will get better. The a little bit older mommy who is experiencing withdrawal because her baby started kindergarten and now she misses her every single day. The young son mother who is struggling because her baby now won’t hold her hand and she is so sad. The mother of a teenage girl who is developing feelings, strongly might I add, for her boyfriend. The mom of the going away to college child. The mother of the bride. The new grandmother. See, we ALL are/have been/or currently are in every phase of parenting and we need advice…we need prayers…we need shoulders…we need hands…we need tissues…we need play dates…we need babysitters…we need counselors…we need a “it’s going to be ok, you are doing great!” There’s no time like the present to be a presence in her life.

You could be JUST the person with JUST the wisdom at JUST the right time for her. I know my friend/sister was and I am thankful to our Father every day she cared.

Funny thing…Autumn and Scout both LOVE pickle juice — which is made of vinegar. But remind them of the anti-sass medicine and they gag. Silly kids.


Write it in stone.

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Ever wondered why a tombstone is usually made of stone of somekind? I haven’t. Like ever.
Until I wrote on one Saturday, April 11, 2015.

Picture this. A room full of women, sweet precious women encouraging and loving and supporting and shedding tears and wiping snot, are given an opportunity. This opportunity is to take a moment and just focus. Focus on what each knows God is saying to her…whether it’s giving something up, changing something, letting something go, saying “yes” to His will, letting self no longer be the driving force in her life, being ALL in, praying more, giving more, serving more, WHATEVER IT may be, and walking to a table supplied with a bucket of stones and sharpies. Pick out a stone and take a moment to transfer that choice –that commitment– that vow — from her mind to the stone. Making it permanent. Making it real. Making it visible for her AND for all those who witnessed it to see…”I choose _______” or “yes Lord” or “Your will is now mine!” A word. Maybe just one. Possibly 3. Once written on that stone of her choice, she walked it to a set of stairs and placed it down…at His feet. Gave “it” to Him. Finalizing her focused, thought out, emptying of herself vow.
Chills. Covered me. Tears, like the mass kind that you just can’t stop or do quietly, began to overtake my weak and pitiful attempts of holding them back. I in that moment got my phone and typed out to my beautifully spiritually filled husband how I am broken in how humbled I am by His patience and His understanding for weak and sad and pitiful sledgehammer personalitied me. I was there, in that moment, for a reason. My entire existence is for A reason. To draw close to Him…to love Him with my whole heart, soul, mind, and strength…to obey His voice of commands for me…to serve him and his fruit-our children…to serve those who are need…to set the example of Jesus’ traits of submission, obedience, kindness, compassion, purity, so that by wearing His name, I SHOW Him to everyone around me, and even those who aren’t…to desire Him and His wisdom…to admire Him…to teach other women to be humble and gentle servants for His kingdom. I was so MOVED by the sacrifice of Jesus that I was awakened to the reality I no longer can say “I can’t.” He did. The “impossible.” Then the “hard.” Then it “was done.” And I want my life here to be JUST that. A sacrifice of self for the will of my Father. I want to do the “impossible.” That then becomes “this is hard.” And is wrapped up with “it’s done.” Courtesy of Jen.
I showered TJ with a novel text. The kind he dreads. Lol. I am humbled by that man. He is so good. Selfless. Humble. Obedient. And SET on serving his God, leading his family, and making correction when needed. Seeks forgiveness. Desires truth. Loves his wife (which I’m prrretty sure is the MOST difficult of all! bless her little heart). I watched others pray, pick up, write, walk, and lay down. I saw my sisters weep with JOY and PEACE and a calmness for the release. I saw them commit. I hugged them and felt their bodies shake with tears of gladness and humility and thankfulness. I was touched. In the best and most awesome way since the moment I knew I needed Jesus.

Hatmaker said “you have an influence. In your home, your friendships, your community, your world, you have an influence. Use it. Use it for the furtherance of God’s purposes.” And I knew I did, but hearing it said to you in the place of thinking it in your head is sometimes very powerful. So many “why’s” are answered. So many “how did this happen” ‘s are visible. So many “what the crap was that about?” ‘s are plain as day. If you read the previous post, the fingerprints are clearly seen.
“Titus 2 woman” was my vow. In stone I committed. I wrote that promise on a beautiful and smooth stone that my Father formed and with my whole heart pledged to be His worker in His kingdom in His way…and laid it down at His feet. I will fail, I will disappoint, I will offend. You sisters I promise to you you will not always “like” what I express. And believe me, I don’t always “like” it either. But His truth is THE truth is THE truth always. I won’t give you interpretation, I won’t give you explanation, I won’t give you sermons. I will give you guidance that I have witnessed work. I will share with you wisdom in areas I have experienced…what works and what to absolutely not even think about trying/doing. I will love you with a selfless and Jesus heart. I will pray with you, over you, and for you. I will encourage you in whatever “phase” of life you are in. I will make you laugh, THAT’s a no brainer. I will listen. I will share. I will wipe tears and squeeze hugs. My life in not mine…it’s His, theirs, and yours.
Here’s a photo of the “day a group of Your daughters vowed to serve you in faithfulness.” :

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I am so excited. Like talking and writing and laughing are my favorites. I LOVE to share the funnies of my day, I love to talk about Jesus’ character that we emulate, I love to complain about my brats and praise them too. TJ…he’s a whole novel people. Straight up. So being a sharing soul is what I am commanded to be…and I want to share with you. We need each other.

There will never be a human race in which we all “agree” with everything the other one is doing…so since we know this, let’s be willing to support each other in what we know to be God directed…what we know God intends. I may understand something differently than you, or be working in areas you aren’t yet, or you may be more compassionate and selfless than I am currently…you may know more than I, I may be louder than you…but we are all His. We belong to Him, whether we recognize through obedience or not. One of the most challenging “things” I am committed to changing about myself is looking at souls who aren’t mine and judging whether they are spiritual or not. I have been so trained to look at a person’s actions/choices/life/church attendance, etc and conclude that that soul is accepted in those or if they are not. Here’s what I’m trying…leaving all that to God. HE alone knows the hearts and intents of His people. Even if fruit is spoiled and rotten hanging from their trees…those trees belong to God and I have no authority to judge them. I can see the fruit is bad just like I can see the fruit is good and can pray for them to produce good fruit and rid the bad…I can set a good example for them…but to condemn…not mine. Thanks for that too God because I would mess that whole thing up like off the charts.
So sisters, let’s be an example of support and encouragement and love and prayer for “where” each other is and help each other get to where we want to be.
Here…let Jen say it:

IMG_9442

Love her spirit.

If it takes “write it in stone” for you…then do that. I brought 2 stones home because I want to have this exchange with Autumn. She and I are going to commit together. To what? Don’t know yet…but I have absolute faith it will be pleasing to our God. This would be a phenomenal thing to do with your husband, your children, your sisters, your mother, your best friend. Or, if it need be a private matter between you and your Maker…so be it. Then use that stone as a reminder of the day you committed _____________ to Him Who is worth our all.


Fingerprints…

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imageI am not a person who has a clean car. Just am not. So, the times that I do have my car cleaned up all spiffy, inside and out, windows Windex’ed, it’s a deal. Big deal. Like we are heading out on a trip or I am driving people to an event, etc. And it NEVER fails that I never have to ask “Who has been touching the inside of the windows?” Fingerprints, some smeared and others clear as a crystal, are evidence of my youngest “wittle baby Scout” ‘s hands.

Sisters, do we recognize -clearly- when our Father’s hands have been at work in our lives? Do we see the fingerprints?

I had the blessed privilege to spend the weekend with sisters listening to the cool and amazingly talented Jen Hatmaker. She told us about how she didn’t recognize God’s fingerprints until she “got it.” Specifically, she used the life event of her and her husband adopting a brother and sister from Ethiopia. When their life was “Interrupted” (name of her book) by Jesus, they began to work in the lives of the orphaned, the widowed, the homeless, the extreme poor of their neighborhood. And one night when putting her youngest child, baby girl Sydney, to bed she asked “momma, why aren’t we talking about adoption?” Jen didn’t realize until after the adoption of their 2 precious souls was complete that that moment with Sydney was the first fingerprint of God.
So that leads me to think. Which I love. I choose to go to the conference for 3 main reason:
1) to support and grow with my sister
2) to hear from a woman how to be a better woman, wife, mother, sister, daughter, and friend
3) to laugh. and cry.
And all 3 were accomplished. There was plenty of hoop-lah and the what not, stuff I had never witnessed, and cool stuff to buy. It was kinda like a flea market of Jesus stuff and a rock concert combined. So, little lamb here took it all in, sat in silence, and was thankful for growth.
And got my new nickname…”sledgehammer.” It’s a honor.
Fingerprints. Evidence. The proof that God was there. Do you see any? Are there ones you look back and go “ahhhhh…now I see!” Cause I straight up do. I made TJ stay up last night til after 12 just listening to me tell him the weekends events. From the hilarious comment to my new angel baby to the tears that POuRED from me as I texted him in THANKFULNESS for the man he is for his God, his wife, his babies, and his world. Cup overflowed inside til I was DRENCHED in my own salt water and snot. Not a good look btw. Anywho, I can relate to Jen’s message to us as women of taking time in our busy lives filled with the alarm clock, the rush of the school morning, the running around, the laundry, the homework, the games, the suppers, the issues, the “do this/don’t do that” mess, to just stop and look for the fingerprints. To take a minute to see how God is working. For me, I see His hands all over my children’s obedience to the gospel. I can SEE how that moment in our lives was wrapped in His hands. That was the game changer. The “thing” that was needed to cause TJ and me to self reflect upon our own obedience. For me, I wanted to make sure I was the woman I was claiming to be for Him. And so began the “quest” of being a “TITUS 2 WOMAN!”
The fingerprints of God have been innumerable. But I finally am seeing them. I was enlightened by a woman wanting to serve her Lord and doing what she knows to be doing as of today. I am thankful for that. For her.

Lemme just say real quickly…in one of the MOST moving and beautiful and soul renewal moments of my life, I made a vow. On a rock. With a black sharpie and clearly…we all know those things are permanent. I told God and my husband that I was committed. I will use my influence for good. For the work of which I am to do. I want to teach the younger woman in my home, the younger women in my friendships, the younger women in my neighborhood, the younger women in my social media groups, and all younger women looking to be the woman God intends. I will teach them about what loving your husband looks like, requires, demands, and takes. I will teach them all facets I have experienced and can offer wisdom in the life of being a mother. I will teach them of conduct becoming a Christian woman. I will teach them about loving the home in which is theirs and creating a LOVE and WARMTH inside that fills her husband and children UP every day. I will teach them about being a woman. Because when I look out and view the world in which I see, I see the NEED for this. Young women need spiritual guidance from childhood on up on “how” to be a woman from wiser and older women in His kingdom. Our marriages need this. Our babies need this. Our homes. Just THINK at the difference it would make. So I commit. I promise. I vow. I will live my life to be a “Titus 2 woman” for HIM, for them, and for you.
Just please remember this…there are those in this world who walk into a room and are soft and precious and have angel like bosoms we rest in…then there are those of us who are “active sledgehammers!” Of which I am the following.
But I can see His fingerprints on the handle.


If it takes a village…

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“It takes village to raise children.” Heard this? Ever thought about why this would be true? A village needs to be protected to survive right? Hmmmm…I’m guessing all of us want our children protected.
Lets build an army. We are afterall at war. I have a strategy. It’s completely and utterly insane (to the world)…but I think it just might work :) Hear me out…

An army is defined as “an organized military force equipped for fighting on land.” Sounds intimidating. And for us mothers who are raising and training children, according to the instructions given to us in the scriptures, in today’s world of acceptance on every level, who thinks we need an army of women devoted to standing firm for the truth?! Just as assuredly as I loudly vowed “I do” to TJ on May 20, 2000…I shout “I do” to this. Women — WE NEED EACH OTHER!
Some of key words which jumped off the computer screen at me when reading the definition of an army are:
1) organized
2) force
3) equipped
4) on land
“an organized force equipped on land”…women/sisters/mothers do we realize that our babies need us? Do we realize how much we need each other? How much thought do we give to the ever present need to organize ourselves together and equip ourselves with the characteristics of a godly woman -instructions given from HIM- so that we will be prepared and be preparing our daughters after us to be a godly woman in the life we live…on “this” land. Or how we treat, talk to, respond to our husbands is training our sons on what kind of woman to be looking for. There is so much truth in this I confirm ahead of your reading that I will not do it justice. I am compelled to give it my best shot though (pun intended sisters…I could probably comedian it up on the side).

Ok so, let’s establish some of the issues we are currently facing in today’s upside down backwards world. Let’s just think for a while on what we AND our daughters/sons are up against that building an army to protect us/them would SO benefit them spiritually. Talking with and being involved in the lives of my friends/sisters/squad, I know these “concerns” are real and HERE in real time, not like awaiting us in 25+ years. Women in the kingdom are, in a lot of ways, on life support due to the lack of spiritual care-taking of our souls. We are alive and well when it comes to the worlds standard of us though…we are accomplished in what it tells us we should be. Talk about upside down backwards huh?! geez.

Text to my homegirls: “tell me some of your biggest challenges as a wife/mother that you would JUST LOVE to other women help you with…and what would you see wise to teach to younger women?”
Thoughts from my homies…
“Directing them to the good boys.”
“I don’t want them following MY example (in my bad choices I mean)”
“Selflessness”
“So how do I get it all done…and be still long enough to enjoy it?”
“effective lasting devotion time for my children”
“How do I organize this mess?”
“budgeting can be so stinking depressing”
“I just can’t be everywhere for everything everytime!”
“Submission is viewed as weakness”
“Um, she’s too young to date. Right?!”
“Hormones… for the love.”
“I. am. so. tired”
“I don’t slow down enough”

Real. Honest. Serious needs here sistas. Our besties, our sisters, our neighbors we don’t know that well, our co-workers, our friends friends, all have a common need. YOU. ME.
We cannot afford to miss out on this ladies. We are seriously missing out on some of God’s riches blessings here. We are so stretched to serve in areas of self, sports, the world, school, beauty (all of which aren’t evil in themselves, only when the focus is there and not Jesus) that we don’t have anything left to give to the insurmountable needs of our sisters/daughters/children SPIRITUALLY. We will train, feed right, push, motivate, and exhaust all measures to get our daughters/sons who love basketball to point that elbow down for sweet Mary’s sake. That perfect form is A MUST if you want that basketball to go from the palm of your hand high up in the shape of an upside down U and land in that pretty round orange circle. We demand it. We expect it. We will pay for her/him to learn and master it.
What about submission? Obedience? Kindness? Service? Being a wife? Motherhood? Modesty? Purity? Do we exhaust all measures so she learns and masters these and he witnesses this in us?
The world pushes us to be all…do all…have all…we are force fed the idea that “success is being rich, beautiful, skinny, put together, vacationed, pampered, accomplished.” Girls, listen to the words you are reading in this moment…
THAT IS CRAP.
It’s crap. Women are desiring peace. Fulfillment. Rest. Advice and counsel. Help. A shoulder AND a hand. A spiritual husband. A patient yet firm father of her babies. Ideas. And all it seems we are getting in return is pressure to do more/be more/go more/have more/get more. Lay all that down baby grown ups. Hear me again…lay it down. YOU are the queen of your castle and you have a natural need in you (by design) to desire that castle to be calm, organized, peaceful, beautiful, loving, and most importantly….spiritual. We desire for our babies to protected from the evil one. Our hearts YEARN for souls dedicated to God’s will. Our minds are at such chaos and we are begging for sisters to help us shut up the voices. Raise your hand in honest fashion if you have ever told those pressuring worldly voices of CRAP to “SHUT UP!!” !!
Here is where the army comes in peeps. Our villages (homes/children/marriages) need an army surrounding them. An army consisting of strong women willingly accepting the role of the weaker vessel (which our sweet Lord never ever intended to be used in a negative way…like, EVER.). An army built up of organized bees willingly teaching their organizational skills to the other members of the hive (and c’on…I know you women exist). An army of Jesus’ blood saved souls seeking to honor that Awesome Sacrifice by accepting our appointed roles as women in His kingdom. An army with a unified mission…
Saving our villages.
Our sisters are struggling…drowning…overwhelmed and at a loss of how to survive and stay above water.
Our daughters are confused and pulled in every direction by the world’s views for her.
Our mothers are flat out exhausted.
Our friends are lonely…needing a kind word, a kind gesture, and every now and again a “YOU ROCK” text.
Our wives are so pressured to compete for their husbands attention, time, and affection. Shouldn’t have to.
So sisters, let us be ever determined to strengthen ourselves for the war we are faced with every day in this dark and evil infested existence. Let’s pray for wisdom in how to be the servants He so eagerly desires for us to be! Let’s be growing and willing to learn more and more and more and more of His will for us. Let’s DO. Let’s stop talking about “we know we should be this way or that way or doing this or that” and. just. do. Listen, I guarantee you that if you will seek for opportunities to be a light for good…they will begin to pour out on you like the candy out of 4 year olds Halloween bucket.
I am currently facing this and have been witness to what works/what does not. I am ALWAYS willing to share advice AND listen to it as well. My dear beloved and incredibly amazing sister Lindley is not quite “here” yet with her boys so I am prepping her for the day:
*baby boys grow up. Those precious days of “mommy I want to marry you” and “can I hold your hand” don’t usually go past 10. Scout still (privately mind you so don’t go spreading this around…#embarrassed) will hug me for no reason other than pure and utter love he has for me. Those came at a rapid and steady pace for YEARS. Now, not so much. When a mommy who adores her baby boy doesn’t know to be aware of this truth…it can devastate her when it arrives. Share this with your sisters. Prepare her so she can pray for acceptance of that. That she will gladly embrace the growing up of her baby into the man God created him to be.
And this for mothers with small precious baby girls:
*your sweet beautiful little barbie playing princess will one day fall madly “in love” with a real life Ken. Her body is going to go into severe hormone overload and perfume and mascara and lip gloss and cute shirts are gonna be “omgah so dyingly necessary madre!” Her attention span when he is around while go from absorbing every single word you say to might as well be talking to your couch cushion cause it is listening more than she. She will write her name with his last name…and it hits you…”time with her as just my daughter is so almost over!!!”
Absorb. Be consumed. Prepare her. Be willing to fight through the worlds walls of teaching her to be lustful and desired and noticed and sexual. Sit down this Ken and you and your husband be willing to share with him your rules/concerns for your daughter. Exhaust all measures to protect her innocence and purity. He can lust and desire her and she can perfume up and ignore the whole world when they have united themselves in marriage to serve their Lord together. Totally appropriate and parent approved then.
And one to grow on:
*that friend who is “so over” the exhaustion of mommy/wife/sister/on and on and on and on the list goes…listen to her. go clean her house. cook her supper. go get her kids and take them to your house for the day/night. give her a gift certificate for a “date night” with her hubs. send her a text that simply says “you got this” or “you are so pretty” or “I adore you” or “ya know, I respect you” or maybe even the funny “let’s move to Florida” every now and again. And when her daughter is in severe pain and she is close to where you are and she sends you a text that reads “sending ____ to you for Advil. Tylenol. Whatever” and you reply “I have pain cream” and she replies “grease her down” …grease that baby down. Laughing the whole time.
Because simple words like “it takes a village. of women. to battle. glad to battle with you.” builds up a solider. It honestly doesn’t take much.
Be that strength for someone.
Be that friend.
Be that relief.
Be that comfort.
Be that teacher of good works for your daughter and the example of what kind of woman you want your son to marry. Share that with us.
If it takes a village…let’s build an army to protect it.


Realize and understand

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It may take some small somethingother … It may take a great big slap in the face … It may be willingly in this life … It may be forcefully hereafter … It may have opened your eyes … It may have caused you to look away … No matter, the realization of WHO He is and what you’re not will come.
His ways for you are some of the time against everything you’ve known/been taught/believe/think/want.
And yet His ways for you are ALWAYS better than anything you’ve known/been taught/believe/think/want.
Does it matter what I know?
Does it matter what I have been taught?
Does it matter what I believe?
Does it matter what I think?
Does it matter what I want?
Yes it matters!
Because if you line up everything with HIS Word…He will be pleased with your life, your worship, your sacrifices.
If you do not, and you choose to twist HIS Word to what line up with what you know, you’ve been taught, believe, think, and want…He will not be.
And sisters we know we want Him pleased. We wear His name because He is worthy of our hearts, our obedience, our lives. For ALL we KNOW He has done for us…makes us realize HoW BIG He is and then understand how small we are.
Let’s choose to obey. Simply. Humbly. Honestly. Let’s unite in being women for His kingdom. Let’s fulfill our roles of supporting, submitting to, respecting, and loving our husbands in everything. Let’s be partners in training our children and keeping them in line to obey us as we train them in His ways. Let’s train them that love is action…and then when we say it it’s already proven. Let’s be modest hearted women with gentle and quiet spirits. Let’s make sure our conduct is that of obedience. Let’s be chaste and pure. Let’s be serving those who need us. Let’s say “I’m sorry please forgive me” when we completely mess up! Let’s be women serving in the roles He created JUST. FOR. US!!! Let’s be honored.

He is Who He is …
I will do my absolute best to be who He desires for me to be.
I realize and understand that means it’s not what I know/have been taught/believe/think/want…it’s what HE SAYS. Him alone.

#think