Catch up with me…

Wow! It’s been a long time since I’ve written anything here.

Uh-oh…that must mean it’s time to unload the million thoughts that have flooded my mind over the last 5ish months…

Let’s do this in list format:

1. I have amazing children who are unique, drive me crazy some days, and delight my heart always.

2. I love my Mom…she and I are so different and yet so the same, but I look into her eyes these days and I realize some things about her that make me smile…I see the raw beauty in her that most don’t get to see…I see the questions and concerns in her eyes that she won’t dare share because she’s too busy trying to shoulder it for everyone…I see the mom in her and I love her.

3. I’m not the same woman I was 2 months ago and you know what? I really appreciate the woman I was then because it’s made me the woman I am right now.

4. Life sucks, but it’s really sweet when you can give life a swift kick in the butt by resolving to smile and pray through it knowing God’s got this.

5. Miracles happen when one fully surrenders…don’t mistake surrendering for giving up because that’s far from it….surrender just means being okay with the results no matter what because God knows best. Surrender is saying “yes” to God even when you don’t quite know what the outcome will be and especially when saying “yes” takes you outside of your comfort zone.

6. If you don’t understand why God’s allowing doors to be shut, just trust…doors shut so others can be open and new doors yield a much better blessing than the door you’ve been clinging to….as the song says…”let it go…” (that’s for you, Rosalinda).

7. There is beauty in the broken…take the time to find it and you’ll find treasure.

8. Everyone needs a good dose of reality accompanied by a mighty circle of influence who will pray with you and for you…the circle of influence who will also say the hard stuff you need to hear even if you don’t want to hear it.

9. Don’t settle for fast food when you can hold out for the full banquet…in other words…don’t forfeit the real blessings for a quick fix that doesn’t nourish you or serve a purpose other than to momentarily fill a void.

10. Live in such a way that others can benefit from what you have to sacrifice or suffer…someone ought to benefit from the tough stuff, right? There’s a blessing in watching others make good of what once seemed not so good.

…there’s a bit of random thoughts for now.

XOXO

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Sharing Wisdom from Life Experience

I was messaging with a friend tonight and being caught up in myself (how selfish!) I completely forgot that today is a HUGE day for her. Today she celebrates a 2 year commitment to break a cycle and embrace herself as God sees her.

I realized what today is when I read a post she had on Facebook and with her permission I am sharing her post because there truly is so much to learn from the experiences of others. Sometimes we can take it all and sometimes it’s just bits and pieces of nuggets, but what my dear friend wrote tonight is truly something to take in and apply. Enjoy!

So…..many of my close friends know that today, December 1st, is a very special day for me.

One, it’s the two year anniversary of me officially starting this phase of my life as a single mother….again.

Two, it was also the beginning day when I chose to make a vow not to date for two years. I figured with the track record I had in regards to relationships, it was time to do some major work on ME. You see, I could only blame the other persons so much until it came time to take a hard long look in the mirror at ME. What’s that definition of insanity? Doing the same thing over and over and expecting different? That fit me to a T.

So that is what I have been doing for two years. And it has sucked and been one of the hardest things I have ever had to do. And it has been amazing and one of the most rewarding experiences ever! Am I fixed and perfect? Heck, no! But I am eyes wide open and I would like to think much wiser. There is still a lot of work to be done, but I know what it is and am taking those strides to get me there.

What have I learned over these past two years? Here’s a few highlights:
1) It takes a village. Relationships are so key. We are not meant to do this thing called life alone. Make friends. Join groups. Don’t isolate.
2) It’s okay to ask for help and/or to accept offered help. We are not and were never meant to be super-humans. We can’t do it all. We need help. (see #1). This also means to seek out good professional help as needed. There is no shame in speaking to a professional. Get over yourself.
3) I don’t need a man to “complete” me. No man, thing, or person can make me happy, fulfilled, complete, whole, etc. It’s just not possible. It’s not fair to them or me to put that expectation out there.
4) Faith is THE foundation. Sure there will be those who are rolling their eyes reading this. But hey, if you don’t have faith, you don’t have hope. Plain and simple. Plus faith gives you a pretty good set of guidelines to go by when in doubt.
5) Wise counsel is not only a good idea, but it is crucial. You need people in your life that will tell you that you are messing up. You will need people that will listen and then tell you what you don’t want to hear, even though you know they are right. You need good people to bounce your ideas and emotions off of. This ties into #1.
6) Birds of a feather flock together. Or better yet, if you lay down with dogs, you’ll get up with fleas. Make sure you are hanging with the right crowd.
7) Marriage is not meant to meet my needs. It’s meant for me to meet someone else’s needs. To completely get over myself, get past my ego, and put someone before me. Wow. Total reality shift there. That’s why it is so, SO important to get your head on straight before getting back out there and rebounding with the first man that comes along.

That’s all that is coming to me right now. There is so much more that I learned, but it is hard to put it to words. I do want to say thank you to each and every friend and family member who has stood beside me along this journey over the past two years. I couldn’t have done this without you. I love you all!

Table for One

As I drove home tonight, my tummy growled at me signaling that I had only consumed coffee for the day…no good. I sent out a few text messages and nobody was able to join me so I continued driving all the way home until it dawned on me…why do I need a buddy to dine with?!

So, I made U-turn, parked at one of my favorite sushi places and walked in with book and journal in hand. “Table for One, please”. As I sat and ordered my plum wine, I crossed my legs, opened my book and inhaled a deep cleansing breath. As I took a look around I saw the normal chatter, the cute couples on dates, and the annoying crowd too loud for the atmosphere they were in. I couldn’t help but smile!
For an hour and 15 minutes I sipped my wine, took bites of my dinner, and indulged in a good book. As I read I found myself pausing to write notes, scribble out questions, really take in points to ponder, and at some point I realized…this wasn’t a table for one…I was on a date…a God date.

As usual, he met me right where I was. I wasn’t alone…in my singleness…at my table for one I was in perfect company.

Love Notes in Disguise

In a woeful moment in Pity City I journaled my memories from my past that have resulted in my hurts of my present so that I can work to keep them from seeping into my future.

These moments in Pity City are no fun. They’re challenging because they cause me to remember things I try not to think about. This is part of the process of my 6 month journey to my heart’s desire so I found myself pouring it out in writing in my most favorite owl covered journal (because journaling in this journal makes it better…to me anyway). I paused for an ice cream break because ice cream made Pity City easier (insert #fatkidproblem) and after indulging in the last bite I resolved to continue journaling.

Lord, I feel the hurt from…and it just doesn’t go away. What went wrong? How is it fair that…and there is no consequence?

Just then the phone rang. I was expecting this call so I took it (relieved to get out of my own head for a moment). This beautiful woman and I talked about some fun business things and then the conversation turned a bit. Lovingly she asked about how I am doing. I shared some revelations without telling her what I had just been journaling and in a 30 minute conversation I was met with the Lord’s answer to my cry out for reassurance, understanding, comfort, and encouragement in the form a love note named Melissa T.

I experienced two major blessings from this love note…

1. God wants to be included in every part of my life so that HE can rush in to be my knight in shining armor and/or send in someone or something that gives me just what I need at just the right moment. He is always on call with an abundance of love notes, love songs, love stories…LOVE…unconditional, unwavering, unending love.

2. When I walk with the Lord and strive to truly make him my focus, even in my imperfections (or flatout FAILS), those watching me see the good and God uses that in many ways. These people don’t have to be in my life daily, but people notice and are moved  by God at work in me and through me…in you too!

I’m thankful for love notes in disguise. They’re the sweetest surprise that fills my heart even in the deepest, darkest moments.

Pity City is no fun, but even there God delivers love notes to encourage me on to the next stop on my journey.

You’re Doing What?!

Definitely not the first time I’ve been asked this question.

All the other times I’ve heard those words I’ve almost always sunk to a place of doubt, but this time around, each time I hear, “You’re doing what?!”, I just smile. I honestly become more and more sure that this is right.

What is this? Well, it’s my 6 month pledge to no dating. Yep! 6 months of no dating.

The question that normally follows is, “why?”.

So here’s my answer…

I had my first boyfriend when I was 15 years old. I met him online in an AOL chatroom (yes, a “you’re doing what?!” moment). We were a long distance couple for 2 years. We did see each other from time to time. I’m sure from the moment my parents found out they were hoping it wouldn’t last long, but I’m a committed gal and I stuck it out til it was time to be done.

That ended and my next boyfriend was a friend I had known for a couple years. We were an official couple in October of 2001 and were young and in love (naive).  We ended up pregnant (not a “you’re doing what?!” moment, but definitely a “YOU’RE WHAT?!” moment). We made a decision to be married in June of 2002 and miscarried that baby in April of 2002. We were married anyway and after 6 years and 2 kids we separated and then divorced. But wait! There’s more! A month after our divorce was final I realized I was carrying the baby of my ex husband (another, “YOU’RE WHAT?!” moment).

Stellar record, right?!

Thank goodness God is a redeeming God. I am thankful that somehow he takes my tarnished past and uses it for good.

So from the time I realized I was pregnant with my daughter until just recently there has been an ongoing battle within me. the Christian woman with MY plan, MY vision, MY wants kind of battle.

God wants a family restored.

Kids want family together.

I love him even though he’s hurt me.

Things are different. Things will be different.

This is the right thing.

This isn’t the right thing.

Who else will want me with 3 kids?

ENOUGH.

So, for months now I’ve had friends and family praying for me and my forever husband. I’m on two dating sites  (I’ve tried others too). My closest friends have started their own mission of marrying me off ASAP. I’ve been on dates, emailed numbers of maybes. I’ve avoided and blocked many scary people. A week ago I read a blog that mentioned a book called You’re Knight in Shining Armor by P.B Wilson. The same night I read this blog I happend to flip back a few pages in my journal and reread an assignment from a study I am in the process of completing. You can read that entry here .

I came to the realization that I as much as I dislike dating (seriously do not enjoy dating), for the last month, I’ve made it a focal point in my life and it was getting ugly. I reflected back to times when I was most carefree and fulfilled and it was when I was so busy being mom, career woman on a mission to bless as many people as possible, and enjoying the company of some really incredible people in my life. I wasn’t focused on finding my forever husband because I was focused on being who I should be for my forever husband. It’s time to get back to that.

In You’re Knight in Shining Armor, the intro talks about “The Manhunt”. P.B Wilson points out that Proverbs 18:22 says “He who finds a wife finds what is good and receives favor from the Lord”. This verse makes me think back to days when girls weren’t out pursuing guys. Guys were out courting ladies. If they were out courting it meant they had something to offer her. If he was courting her it meant she had something to offer him. Fantasy? No, the way it should be.

I’m not interested in the manhunt. I want a true love story and that’s going to begin with the love story between me and God. He knows my heart’s desires because he’s written them on my heart.

6 months…what’s there to lose?

Single ladies, join me.

Men in pursuit of me…call me in 6 months.

My Vision Assignment

I’m currently co-leading a small group for You’re Made for a God-Sized Dream Opening  the Door to All God Has for You  by Holley Gerth. The first chapter encourages readers to create a vision board. I enjoy writing much more than creating boards with cut outs so I wrote my vision. Here it is…

I am a happily married woman. My husband is a God fearing man who loves my kids and shares the same heart for ministry as me. Together we keep God at the focus of our lives and work to promote peace within our home.

I joyfully provide for the needs of our household by creating a space our family enjoys to dwell in. My husband knows I adore him and strive ot make his role head of our family smooth and enoyable. In return he adores me and treasures me like Christ does the church. He desires to provide financially as well as in example. He loves our family and nurtures us while protecting and defending us. We feel incredibly secure.

The Lord is glorified in all we stand for.

My husband and I work hard while balancing the priorities God has laid on our hearts. He understands my passion in my work and encourages me to be my best and provide my best. I too understand his passion for his work and encourage him to be his best and provide his best. Our children are blessed by this example.

Even when times are hard, we press on together taking whatever measures necessary to stay together.

Our home is beautiful. It welcomes all those whom the Lord sends our way. There is never a turnaway for God’s children are our family. God always provides enough. The focal point is the table – large and sturdy- a pictures of the Lord’s bounty. Many witness the love of Jesus at this table. The artwork that hangs by its side is simple, but meaningful – a memorial to the lives touched by Jesus at this place – a reminder that it isn’t about us – it’s about the Lord.

I’m learning that sometimes the vision in my mind isn’t exactly God’s vision, but God knows the desires written on my heart and even if details of this vision change, God will provide me my forever husband to create God’s perfect picture of our lives together.