A little encouragement:

Some days are hard.

You might feel the tension of wanting to get past a certain obstacle, once-and-for-all.

You might feel like you just don’t have the energy.

You might feel like you’re.just.done.

You keep pressing forward, and put one foot in front of the other.

Then, the tides turn.

You realize that the things you have prayed, wished, hoped, and longed for- they are beginning to unfold.

All the things that didn’t make sense before are beginning to make sense, now.

Y’all know that I’m BIG on sharing what I’m going through in the hopes that it helps someone. That if someone else relates, or gets hope from it- than it’s important to share!

Today, I realized, that so many things I’ve prayed for over the last 10 years have begun to come to tuition- even if they didn’t look the way I intended- or according to my plan.

Today, I want to encourage you- if you are there, in the deep of it all.

If you can barely see what’s ahead of you.

If you are barely surviving- and holding on. . . Keep on keeping on.

Keep fighting.

Keep pushing forward- because- if you pursue the things that are on your heart.

Man, things will look different.

I can promise you the timeline. That’ll look different for each and every person. It’ll depend on how much of the work you put in- but, man. . .

Where you see darkness, now- you’ll see the light and beauty, later!

Keep holding on! Keep fighting. Keep making changes!

Growth in life

I’ve been contemplating lately on change and growth, and I have to keep reminding myself. . . So, naturally, I felt led to share.

Growth in your life, no matter the area, requires a few things:

* Getting out of your own way

* Overcoming obstacles

* Setting goals, yet being flexible on the time line- it’s also important to remember that it’s ok to set a goal down, and pick it back up later!

* Being honest with yourself

Growth takes change, and if you’re not ready to change- you’re not ready to grow.

So, if you’re feeling “stuck” in a certain area of your life- you might ask yourself a question!

Am I ok with staying where I’m at?! Or, do I want to do the work to change what is no longer benefiting me?!

For me, I know it’s time to start doing the work on some things I’ve been avoiding. Know that if you’re there, too- you’ve got this. It’ll be hard, but it’ll be worth it!

What’s Even the Point?

What’s even the point?

I find myself thinking this on a daily basis.

I’ve poured myself- given all that I can: mentally, physically, emotionally…I’m sure the list goes on..into a lot of aspects of my life over the years.

And, it currently feels like some of it was for nothing.

Don’t get me wrong- there have been a lot of positives, and a lot of growth.

And I probably need to do a journal to process through things…but I still can’t get the thought out of my head: What’s the point?

What was the point of x,y,z circumstance if x,y,z door was closed, or x, y, z growth didn’t happen. You get the picture.

Honestly, the only answer I have right now is that there is a season for everything. I may never know the reason why I’m feeling this way currently. Or maybe, I’m feeling this way and I just need to get out of my own head.

I also know that, if I’m feeling this way- there is probably somebody else out there feeling this way too.

I’ve always been a big believer in sharing what I have gone through, or am currently going through so others know they aren’t alone.

I know that things may seem hopeless or frustrating. But know, that you.are.not.alone.

In case this is just an: I need to get out of my own head moment. . . Here’s what I plan to do-

*Journal

*Talk about it- sometimes just talking through it helps me to process in a different way. And getting it off my chest helps me to let it go.

* Write to share (here)

*Pray about it and seek God

Feel free to join me! Or ask a friend, therapist/counselor/ professional or google and find your own ways to work through it!!

It’s all about creating your toolbox of resources!

Trusting God is Hard

Sometimes, trusting God is hard. For a while now, I’ve been waiting on God in some key areas of my life. And, it feels like He is ignoring me. Deep desires of my heart. I feel like all I hear is crickets.

If I’m honest, the lack of answers. . . The sitting in waiting. The doing the work, only to get knocked down 15 levels. It has been so painful. The kind of painful that you are at the end of patience for waiting, and into I don’t even care any more, so I’m just going to stop praying and stop drawing near to God.

And that is so much more frustrating. Because, now I feel even further away from who I feel like God has called me to be. So much further away than Him being at the center of my marriage and our family. Further away, from where God has said He called me to. Further away from what He promised. Like, it all feels impossible. No matter which way I look- I don’t see how He is going to answer these prayers. I don’t see how He is going to bring healing.

And with the craziness of this last year- nothing makes sense right now. Absolutely nothing.

I was so sure that if x,y,z would happen, then God would x,y,z in our lives.

I do feel like He keeps sending me little reminders of His perfect timing, but right now- it is so hard to keep the faith that He will turn things around.

All of this has been weighing heavily on my heart.

And if you are out there reading this, just know:

It’s ok to be feel this way while you are in the waiting. Lay it all out to God- Trust me, He can handle it.

Following God doesn’t all of a sudden make life easier, and sunshine and roses. If you are feeling like it’s you and you aren’t worthy. That’s not true. You are so worthy. God loves you through the trials. Even if it feel like you aren’t alone, and you don’t want to pray about it any more. He is right there with you, waiting on you! He is patient.

Whatever it is you are waiting on- whatever storm you are walking through. There’s a rainbow on the other side. It’s beautiful. It won’t be stormy forever. When it’s hard, keep take one little step at a time, and He will guide you!

Even when it feels foggy. Even when it feels hard. Even when it feels like life is upside down, and you don’t see how anything will improve. Just keep walking. He is faithful.

One Thing: Budgeting/Finances

Background:

Finances. Eck. Not my favorite subject…people get weird when finances get brought up.

My finances have gone something like this…

(From the time I moved out of my parents house and into my own apartment)

Work 3 jobs, go to school, eat. sleep.repeat. Just like I didn’t make time to go through all of the stuff I had accumulated…I also didn’t make time and attention for my finances.

I struggled…just like every other person, starting out living on their own.

When my husband and I got married…it is by the grace of God that every need was met.

And, as we continued on in our marriage…we did ok.

For a couple of years.

Then, as I started working part-time and eventually stayed home for a year…our financial situation has slowly grown into a giant needing to be slayed.

But, if you rewind a year or two…you will see that I had prayed for this…

And looking back now….I just laugh…and shake my head…because that’s all you can do. I literally asked for this giant.

A couple of years ago, as I was pursing a Network Marketing business…you would hear stories about how people were in this financial situation. They were hurting financially, and when they made the jump into Network Marketing…they needed a God miracle.

And one night…I remember praying to God. “Break my finances, God….and put me in a place where I need you. Break my finances and put our situation back together, help us start over from ground zero.”

I knew that I have never really been in that place of need and hurt. So, I never really jumped in like they did…because they had been in a different place than I had.

I also knew that, we honestly hadn’t been faithful with the little things. We hadn’t been faithful with the little bit we had been given, and if we couldn’t do that…how could we be trusted with the big blessings? If we weren’t faithful with the little, then when the big blessings came…it still wouldn’t be enough.

So, I wanted to be able to be trusted with the big, so that we could help others.

The Bible says: “If you are faithful in little things, you will be faithful in large ones. “ Luke 16:17

As I have mentioned before…I dream BIG. There is no small dream that crosses my mind.

And so, in that moment, I knew that I never really needed to depend on God in our finances in such a way that I had to worry in any way that it really hurt. I never needed to take a leap of faith, because I always leaned back on what was given in the natural.

Up until that point, we struggled, but we were comfortable- and God did always provide in some way or another, just when we needed it.

Over the last 2-3 years, God has shown us so much. We have learned so much.

And now, we are in a position where we are making the changes to set us up for long-term success.

And, waiting on God to slay this giant, once and for all.

Because, with prayer, action, and the Holy Spirit…God will have all the glory when this giant is slayed.

This is another one of those growth areas….

But, here is what we have done, so far…One Thing at a Time.

* A couple of years ago, my husband started working an extra part-time, work-from-home job so that I could stay home with our youngest when she was born.

* I went back to work for a year.

* We sold our house and downsized to Tiny Living. (There are other reasons for this, but that story is for another time.)

* I have started working jobs that can be on our time, flexible, and still contribute to household income. While also allowing for space to write, volunteer, and many others things that I love.

* Get rid of all monthly subscriptions or monthly bills that are not necessary and get back down to just the basics.

* Partner with referral and affiliate opportunities that come up- and I have to believe in their companies and products. I’m a big believer in multiple streams of income, and residual income. So, any chance I can take on that, and not have to invest a ton of money. I’m down. Again, as long as I love the product and company. What I love about these, is that they still take time to build. You have to put in hard work for reward…just like anything else. Anything worthwhile, takes time to build. And, as I do the hard work, the residual effect will take place in the long run. And if I do the hard work now, I don’t give up…the residual benefit will pay out later.

* I bought a budget wallet. If you want to know more about that-look up Dave Ramsey. Then look up a budget wallet on Amazon. Boom and done.

*Pray and allow God to do His thing. I literally asked to be in this position…(someone remind me next time to make sure I know what I’m asking for) and when He does…give the glory to God. (Again…I’m still learning how to do just that)

*Give faithfully- there’s a time and place for giving a God gift. A gift that is outside of what you can see there is room for. An outside of your comfort, I don’t see how God will make this work, but I’m going to do it, because He told me to gift. And then, there’s giving faithfully and consistently within your means. I’ve got the riskier one down-that one was hard. Now, it’s time to learn the latter. Equally hard, but in a different way.

There’s no way we could have taken all of this on at one time. We made changes slowly, over time.

If you find yourself walking along side me in this season, and you’re overwhelmed…

Remember…just one thing. Look up. Take a breath….seek God. And focus in on one thing you can change right now. Let God do the rest.

One Thing: Time with Jesus

Often times, we try to over complicate things. We look around at other people, where there are in life. When we do that, sometimes, we are hard on ourselves. We try to do things that they are currently doing, because if they are doing those things…they must have done those things from the beginning to get where they are. And if they are doing things, then I must need to do those things, too. Right. Right? Wrong.

We were each made uniquely. What works for one person will not work for each one of us individually.

We can get ideas from other people. We can look at what they are doing, study what they are doing, and practice what they are doing. But we can not copy what they are doing, exactly. We have to be true to who we were made to be. We can take ideas from different sources, and combine those together, and then spin them all around into what works for us.

That’s what this is intended to be.

As I share about my “one thing” that was a key to unlock the other things….know that this is just one of many resources.

If you are a person that finds yourself barely able to keep your head above the water…take what you can and practice it. Don’t try to make things happen that aren’t designed to be practiced yet. Some of the information you will find will be to hold on until later. Until you have unlocked other pieces in your life. Some of the information will not be for you, and that’s ok. Some of the information you will need to tweak and make it work for you, and that’s ok, too. Take solace in hope. I’ve been there. It’s hard, and as you keep pushing forward. You will come out the other side. That doesn’t mean that there won’t be other hard things. What it does mean is that you are stretching your perseverance muscle in this area. When you do that, you’ll be able to take what you learn and use that in other areas.

If you find yourself in a similar season, take solace in the fact that you are walking this road with someone beside you. I’m right there with you, in the trenches.

If you’ve been there and done that, gained a ton of wisdom, and this brings back fond or even painful memories. Thank you. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and thank you for the wisdom you pour out into others.

Background:

Growing up…I went through this process…

1. Confusion…Who is Jesus? Who is God? I don’t really understand any of this….during this time, I tried to make myself fit into a box that I wasn’t understanding, tried to do things I hadn’t built a foundation for, and did I say I was confused?

2. Ok…I kinda get it…if you want to be good….you follow God. Is that right? I do good things, I go to heaven…right? (I would later find out that this is not quite how it works…but its where I was at.)

3. Accept Jesus as my savior. I was about 13…and I had no idea what it meant or what I was doing….again, this is where there was still confusion and more of the trying to do things I wasn’t ready for….like reading my bible on my own. I didn’t know where to go what to do, how to do it….but, I also didn’t ask for help. I didn’t let anyone know that I needed help…so, I didn’t allow for a foundation to be built the first time I gave my life to Jesus.

4. Live life. Do things my way. This went on until I was about 27. I had lived my teenage years, ventured into adulthood. Early adulthood looked like, wake up, eat, go to school, go to work, sleep repeat with life events like getting married and having kids, graduating, and starting a career. From 24-27 is when I was having a ton of anxiety and depression. This was my rock bottom. I knew that I couldn’t keep going doing things my way.

5. Give my life to Jesus. For real this time. This time, I surrendered a whole lot more…not completely..because surrender has been a process for me. Honestly, its a lifelong process. Living life, continuing to go to church, allowing seeds to be planted…I understood what was happening this time. But this was the key. This was the one thing that unlocked the other things.

Out of my Daily 5, Time with Jesus is number one, because relationship with Him means that everything else falls into place. Not perfectly, but the way it should be with room for human error.

I had tried all the things first…journaling, reading my bible, worship, going to church, going to retreats and conferences. Those are all great…but without the one thing, its like putting a square peg into a round hole.

It’s ok to practice all of those things. They build a foundation, too. They build up your perseverance in other ways. But, I needed to realize that I needed to focus my attention on one thing. The key that I was missing was having a relationship with Jesus and surrendering my life to HIm.

Once that took place. I put my attention on that. What it looks like to have a relationship with Jesus and tell him day in and day out: Jesus, I can’t do this without you. Until then, there was tension in the other areas. This journaling isn’t working. I don’t know how to read the Bible and find your voice. Feeling awkward worshipping. And not even know what worship is or how to do it.

But once I gave my life to Him, the tension in that area released, and everything started slowly (for my time table- and perfectly on God’s time table) coming together and making sense.

From there, I was able to learn how to Journal with Jesus. Read the Bible looking for God’s voice. Worship. Praying. All the things that make up spending time with Jesus.

Here’s the thing. We get overwhelmed when we need to make it simple. What it boils down to, is pinpoint the tension. If there’s more than one source of tension, pick one that gives you peace. Practice them all here and there, but put your focus on one. When the tension releases, look up. Breathe. Now, tackle that next area.

You know where you are at in your journey. Maybe you have already given your life to Jesus, but praying is your tension. Put your focus on learning how to pray. Whatever your tension is. Learn how to do that one thing. Go to the conferences, the classes at your church, meet with mentors. Sometimes, you even have to put the basics of learning how to spend time with Jesus down for a minute to learn how to deal with giving your junk (you know- anger, sadness, all the hard stuff) to Jesus. Sometimes, that’s the key to go deeper. It’s like a wall- and you have to walk through letting him break that wall down, and that’s your tension. Then, you pick back up to adding those other things into your time with Jesus.

There’s no perfect way. There’s no one right way. This has just been my process, and one resource to you. Another perspective that hopefully breaks it down a little more and makes it simple. Stop trying to do it all, if it isn’t working. Focus on one thing at a time.

21 Days of Christmas: Days 8-15

Well, I lost track of time this past week, with it being the week of Christmas, and didn’t keep up with the 21 Days of Showing Kindness through Christmas, and into the New Year.

If you’re like me, you can get off track, and start again when you can! The goal is to keep going, even when you have to take a short break. . .

With that, here we go!

Day 8- Bring someone joy by painting a rock, and hide it somewhere in your community for someone to find.

Day 9- Leaving encouraging post-it notes in random places. Maybe at your work, the grocery store. Get creative!

Day 10- if you go out to eat, find out when your favorite restaurant has their weekly special. Order off of the special menu. Your bill will be lower. But don’t stop there! Leave a larger tip than you would normally be able to for your waiter, with an encouraging note on the receipt!!

Day 11- bring someone their favorite drink and snack!

Day 12- when you’re grateful for something that someone has done. Tell them “thank you”, and why you are glad they are in your life.

Day 13- compliment someone. Did they do a great job at work? Did they take out the trash? Did they go above and beyond? Did they show up? Let them know you noticed!

Day 14- bring the people in your office breakfast. Donuts, anyone?!

Day 15-going through the drive through? pay for the next person in line’s coffee. If you can only lend a small amount- that’s ok. Ask the barista if someone has ordered with the amount you can give, or pay towards someone’s order!

Times can be rough. Just remember to keep spreading the kindness!!

21 Days of Christmas: Day 7

You know that neighbor that gets under your skin? Their yard needs mowing. They leave the trash can at the end of their driveway too long. The list could go on and on.

Is it possible that they have a lot on their plate right now? Maybe they’re dealing with anxiety or depression. Maybe they have a newborn. Maybe a loved one is in the hospital. Maybe they are a single parent. Who knows what they are going through!

So, for Day 7- kindly reach out to them. Get to know them, sincerely. You’ll learn their story, and about who they are. Offer a helping hand, show up and let them know you care. Maybe help them by bringing in their trash can for them. Maybe mow their front yard for them. Do something to show you care. It could be a surprise, if you already know them well enough to know they’d appreciate the gesture. Or you could offer a helping hand, before doing so, if you don’t know them all that well.

Acts of service are a great way to show kindness this season!

21 Days of Christmas: Day 4

Our acts of kindness and compassion can bring hope to other people, chipping away at the anger and hardness in their hearts.

People go through so much. Often times, people need just a little bit of grace and love.

All too often, we are reallly hard on people on social media. Hiding behind the screen, it’s easy to call people trolls and snowflakes.

But, what if, we just kept on scrolling. People spend hours a day arguing with strangers on the internet. And I truly don’t understand why. I can guarantee that arguing with each other on social media isn’t going to change anyone’s mind.

So, for Day 4- let’s bypass that strangers comment. Just keep on scrolling if we disagree- or at least be kind in our conversations with strangers on the internet.

After all, we don’t know what other people are going or have been through. They just may need an extra dose of kindness today!

21 Days of Christmas: Day 3

I don’t know about you, 9x out of 10, if I’m in a hurry- my hands are full with kids in tow.

Most places I go, now, have automatic doors, curbside, or drive through. That’s because I tend to frequent places that help make life a little easier.

However, there was a time that I had: my large bag, a baby bag, and 1, 2, or 3 kids.

And, I don’t know if you’ve ever had your hands full, when a stranger holds a door open for you. . . But it’s small things, like holding a door open where people find hope in humanity.

So, for Day 3- Let’s do it. Hold open that door, wish them a great day, and smile!