Wednesday, September 30, 2015


This morning my plans fell apart.
I was supposed to have a prenatal appointment after dropping Coralyn off at school.  I was excited to hear the baby's heartbeat again, check in with our midwife, and officially be another step closer to meeting this baby!

BUT, my midwife texted me right before I was getting ready to leave.
She was at a birth.
We had to reschedule my appointment.
I GUESS that other baby can be born and his/her parents can have an AMAZING day meeting their new little one...

I, on the other hand, had to change my plans.
No biggie, really.

Library storytime it was!
We got there in time for the FIRST storytime of the day, but the girls wanted to play on the computers and do some of the other fun activities set out for the kiddos.  So we had a whole HOUR to wait.  After Kellah and Kyiah had done pretty much everything possible, I had them get a few books for me to read to them while we waited the last few minutes before the doors opened for us to go in for storytime.

Kellah innocently brought me this book:

Little did she know I would have to hold back tears as I read it to her and Kyiah.
I mean, it's a simple children's book about a baby chick.
I could blame it on the pregnancy hormones.
But I really think it's because the message of the book spoke to my heart and lined up perfectly with what God has been teaching me lately.

You see Peepsqueak wants to fly.  HIGH.
He was on the move from the very start.

And he was determined to fly.  HIGH.
BUT, he kept falling down, down, down.

That didn't stop him though.
He just got back up and tried again.
And again.

He didn't listen to all the other farm animals repeatedly telling him he could NOT fly.
He didn't let their doubts diminish his dreams.
He didn't let their negativity squelsh his desire to fly.
Instead, he kept trying. And trying. And trying.

Guess what?
Peepsqueak NEVER did fly.
Not once.
Not on his own, at least.

I LOVE the ending of the book.
A goose comes along and invites Peepsqueak to jump on her back.
He does.
And off they go.
HIGH up in the sky.
They fly over the farm and have a delightful time.

Peepsqueak DID get to fly.  HIGH.
All the other animals were impressed.
Guess they quickly forgot how sure they had been that he would NEVER fly.

Good thing Peepsqueak didn't listen to them.
Instead, he was consistent.
He was committed.
He was courageous.

EVENTUALLY, Peepsqueak achieved his goal.
It did take some time.
And lots of effort.
BUT, his dream became a reality.

Because he never gave up.
He believed there was a way.
And didn't stop until he found one.

REAL LIFE is the same way!
We are born with dreams and desires and passions in our hearts.
We have goals and ambitions.
We go after them.
Or at least START to.
Then someone tells us, "You can't do that."
Another person reminds us, "That's hard."
Someone else assures us, "That's impossible."

Before too long, we start to listen to these naysayers.
Worse yet, we start to believe their LIES!
And so we give up.
We abandon our dreams.
We settle.
We MISS OUT big time!

We end up getting by.
Barely surviving.
This is NOT how life is supposed to be.

We are made to THRIVE!
We are created to fly.  HIGH.

Just like Peepsqueak, we will look for ways to make this happen.
We will try lots of various things.
And we will fall.  LOTS of times.
And FAR TOO MANY people will discourage us, rather than helping us get back up on our feet and looking for something different to try.

I don't know about you, but I am committed to being like Peepsqueak.
NEVER giving up.
Determined to find a way.
And totally okay with the reality that I will need HELP to accomplish my goals.

I am the first to admit I can NOT achieve my dreams on my own.
NO way.

Yes, we are each made to THRIVE, to fly.
But we can only do this in COMMUNITY.
We NEED each other.

Best part is that God typically uses people, events, circumstances, etc. that we NEVER would have imagined or expected.

For me, He has brought It Works into my life to serve as the goose to help me fly.
I could have rejected this plan.
I could have kept looking for ways to fly on my own.
Climbing mountains and jumping off them.

I think Peepsqueak shows me a better way.
Get on the goose's back.
And enjoy the ride!
Fly higher than you ever would have been able to on your own.

I don't know what goose God will put in YOUR path.
But I KNOW He will bring one along.
He has promised in His Word that we will "SOAR ON WINGS LIKE EAGLES."

He NEVER breaks a promise.
Just this morning I read about Abraham and Sarah.  He promised they would have descendants that were more numerous than the stars.  Only problem - they had NO children.  And they were getting OLD.  Like super old.  Sarah was barren.  Abraham wasn't a young pup in his prime anymore either.  But God promised...

And about 23 years later, He came through and Isaac was born.
23 YEARS...
That is a LONG time to wait for God to fulfill His promise.
Best part - Abraham was almost 100, and Sarah was 90!
I do believe God has a sense of humor.
AND likes to show off His power, making sure there is NO mistake about WHO accomplished the impossible (or what was said to be impossible - God's really good at proving people wrong).

We MUST remember, however, God never tells us following Him will be easy.
He never guarantees a smooth path.  He DOES say He will prepare the way and lead us down it, every step of the way.

More often than not, though, the journey will be HARD.
Up steep cliffs and narrow passages.
Down valleys low and dark tunnels with no end in sight.

The journey will probably be LONG too.
And tiring.

We will want to quit.
To give up.
People all along the way will encourage us to do just that.
They'll be like the farm animals in Peepsqueak's story:
"You can't do that."
"It's too hard."
"You're crazy."
"Take a break."
"This way over here is easier."
"It's not worth the risk."
"Better to be safe."

Do NOT listen to them.
Keep going.
Just keep moving.
And I promise you God will keep HIS promise to us.
We WILL "soar on wings like eagles."
He WILL "do INFINITELY more than we could ever dare to ask or imagine."

Then, we get to go back to all the farm animals and share all about how HIGH we flew...

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Free to Risk

I was tired this morning.
As I am every morning.
Wouldn't it be absolutely lovely - and miraculous - if we could wake up totally refreshed and energized, eager to start each day?!  Jump out of bed, ready to tackle whatever may be on the agenda.
Until that day comes, we are faced with a CHOICE each morning.

Today, I chose to get up and groggily head downstairs.  I grabbed my book and journal then made my way to the porch where I have been spending my mornings with Jesus recently.

As if God knew I needed a cattle prod to get me going, He used the words in Erwin McManus' book Seizing Your Divine Moment to stir up my heart and set me on fire once more.

Lately, I have been praying for some pretty big things to happen in my life.
God-sized, humanly impossible things.
Some would refer to these as MIRACLES.
My husband and I like to describe them as "big ask" prayers.
Whatever you want to call it, I have been praying for God to work in my life in an Ephesians 3:20 sort of way.

So, when I read, "We all want miracles, but we try to avoid needing them," McManus has my full attention.  As I am asking God to make a way, to give me a breakthrough, to do something incredible and divine, I HAVE to first be willing to be in a position to NEED God.  As McManus reminded me: being Lazarus would have been pretty amazing.  Walking out of the grave would have been an AWESOME experience.  YET, for that to have happened, Lazarus did have to DIE first.  Yeah, that part wasn't as glamorous or fun.  At least I'm guessing...

We want the Lazarus moments, but not the death moments that have to proceed them.
We want the good times without any hardships or difficulties along the way.
We want the mountain top view without the climb.
We want the success and glory without the elbow grease and grit and grind and disappointments and frustrations that are ultimately part of the process.
We forget, "The road to greatness is paved with failure."

We ask God to make a way.
If we are honest with ourselves, we expect this (or would really appreciate it at least):

BUT, more often than not, God shows us this:

Or even this:

And we question or doubt if we really heard God.
Maybe we need to pause and wait for clearer direction, for a flashing neon sign, for a wide open, newly paved 4 lane highway.
We might spend the rest of our lives waiting.
In face, I'm pretty sure we would.
Sadly, though, many of us are at a crossroads and AREN'T moving forward.  We're staying put.  We're stuck. And we're missing out. BIG time...

We have this miscontrued idea that following God guarantees our success, that the journey will be smooth and lead us directly to where we intended to go.

We also tend to want all our ducks in a row before we make any decisions. We want to know every little detail, be assured everything is going to line up and work out perfectly.

McManus calls us out.  "God moves through motivation far more than through information."  
Yet, we are afraid to do anything unless we have explicit proof from God's Word that we are absolutely, positively, beyond a shadow of doubt supposed to do something.  We have this stirring in our heart.  God gives us a dream, a vision.  BUT, we're not 100% certain it's His will.  And so we wait.
And wait.
And wait.
And wait.

I don't know exactly what passion or stirring or vision or dream God has put within you today, but I am coming to realize that the BEST thing to do when He does something like that is to GO FOR IT.
NOT to wait.
NOT to analyze.
NOT to figure out all the details.
NOT to second guess yourself.
But to GO FOR IT.

Is your heart right?
Are you motivated by a love for God?
Do you want to further His kingdom?
Then, GO FOR IT.

We get so tangled up in the web of lies and confusion and misinterpretation we have unknowingly spun for ourselves in the Christian community.  Again, McManus sheds light on our situation and invites us to live differently, "Information in the Bible leads to our FORMATION.  God never intended to give us a Book with every detail needed to live our lives.  He gave us a Book with everything necessary to SHAPE our lives."

He goes on to say, "The fuel for a life of faith is more INSPIRATION than information."  
We don't have to know all the details.
God rarely reveals them all to us anyway.
It's more a step by step, one foot in front of the other, type journey.
That's called TRUST.
And Proverbs 3:5-6 is pretty clear:
Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart;
do NOT depend on your own understanding.
Seek His will in all you do,
and He will show you with path to take.

Just remember, sometimes - more often than not really - the path may look like this:

Is it safe?
Probably not.
As we learn from the Beavers in C.S. Lewis' Chronicles of Narnia, "Aslan (God) is not safe.  But He is good."  So good...

And so we TRUST Him.
McManus describes it this way, "Faith is trusting God enough to obey what He has said, and hope is having the confidence that God will do everything He has promised."

What has God promised?
To help you as you commit your life to Him 
(Psalm 37:3-6)

To give you the power to accomplish all the good things 
your faith prompts you to do 
(2 Thessalonians 1:11)

To do FAR more than you could ever begin to imagine 
(Ephesians 3:20)

Can I tell you exactly what this faith journey will look like?
Absolutely NOT.

I CAN, however, assure you with 100% confidence that it will be the ride of your life, the BEST thing you could ever do, and that you won't regret for a second the choice to follow hard after God and give Him your all.

Will there be hardship and difficulty?  YES.
Will there be pain and grief?  YEP.
Will there be failure?  INDEED.

Wait just a second!  Hold your horses!
I thought God promised to give us victory, to bless us, to cause us to prosper, to make His glory known in and through us.
He does.
BUT, let's not forget that even the army who wins the war loses some soldiers in the battles along the way.  Or that Lazarus had to DIE in order for Jesus to raise Him from the dead.

As McManus points out, "In between faith and hope, there is RISK."
We tend to view risk as BAD.
We want to avoid it.
With risk there is the possibility of failure.
And we don't want that.

Or do we?

McManus offers us this perspective and insight, "Risk that God respects is fueled by passion for His purpose and a willingness to subjugate our lives to His mission."

So, once again, we come back to that passion stirring up within you.
We take another look at your dream.
And we ask ourselves if it is in line with the heart of God.
Are we motivated by a desire to make God known?
Do we long to draw others into a relationship with Him?
Is our ultimate goal to bring God glory?

If so, then GO FOR IT.
Stop waiting around.
Stop letting Satan hold you back.
You've been set free.
So LIVE out your freedom.
And GO FOR IT!!!!

THIS message has become my heart's cry.
Helping people realize the importance and urgency of living out each day.
Calling people to THRIVE.
Encouraging them to recognzie the potential placed in them.
Equipping them to use the gifts and abilities God has specifically and purposefully placed in them.
To step up and live out the divine calling God has on their lives.

Like I said, McManus' words were like a cattle prod for me this morning.  Stirring up the embers inside my heart once more.  Setting me on fire.  And causing that passion to burn bright.

I leave you with these final words, hoping and praying they spark something deep inside of you today as well:

"To live outside God's will puts us in danger, but to live inside His will makes us dangerous."
I don't know about you, but the idea of being dangerous intrigues me.
Certainly sounds much more appealing that BEING in danger...

As does being FREE...
"When we begin to seize our divine moments, we do not begin to live risk-free, but instead become free to risk."

I would love nothing more than for you to join me on this rollercoaster ride, this life-changing journey through valleys low and mountains high, dry deserts and breathtaking waterfalls, and everything else in between.  I don't know where all we will go or how we will get there.  I DO know the end destination - JESUS Himself.

And I for one can't wait to run - or crawl with my last ounce of energy and sighing my last breath - into His arms to have Jesus pick me up, embrace me tight, and whisper in my ear, "Well done, my good and faithful servant.  I am pleased with you.  Come..."

For that, I will risk it all!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Calling All JoJo's

Have you ever felt like JoJo?

Did you even know who JoJo was?

As I was thinking about how to put this post together, JoJo came to mind.
You see, in the story "Horton Hears a Who," JoJo is the son of the mayor of Whoville.  The only son among MANY sisters, he is "different" than everyone else in his family, and really the entire town.  He feels ignored.  Passed over.  Unwanted.

However, as the movie (or book) progresses, we realize how very important JoJo is.
In fact, without JoJo, everyone in Whoville will be destroyed!
ONLY when JoJo joins in and shouts with all the other Who's are the animals able to hear the noise coming from the flower thingy Horton found.

Finally, after spending most of the story in hiding and going seemingly unnoticed, JoJo screams with all the other Who's, "We are here! We are here!  We ARE here!  WE ARE HERE!"

ONLY when HIS voice is heard is the town saved.

Maybe YOU feel like JoJo.
Left out.
Passed over.
Like you are talking, but no one is listening.
Like no one cares.
Like what you think doesn't matter.
Like YOU aren't important either.

Maybe you are so discouraged you have given up hope of things ever changing.
Perhaps you have become so accustomed to this way of life that you are a master at blending in, disguising your true feelings.

You have accepted the LIES that your dreams are impossible, foolish, silly.
You have come to believe different is bad, scary, weird.
You have fallen prey to the attacks of the enemy and lack the energy or enthusiasm to get back up, only to get knocked back down yet again.

JoJo never really stopped being himself.
But he also didn't share his talents or abilities with others.
Instead, he kind of became a recluse.
It was easier that way.

I get it.
When no one seems to be listening to what you're saying, after awhile, you want to just stop talking.
You stop sharing your heart.
Even worse - FAR worse - your heart starts to shrivel and you stop believing your dreams are valid, that they matter, or that they could ever come true.
And so you stop dreaming all together.
You put on your big girl pants, pull up your boot straps, and try to get on with life.
You do your best to smile and not let on about how discouraged or disappointed you are with life.

I am here to tell you something...
THAT is NOT how we are supposed to live.

We are created to THRIVE.
We EACH have a divine purpose.
We are here for a reason and have been given specific talents and abilities to accomplish the role we are meant to play.

We may FEEL inadequate.
Or that we're not very important.
That we don't matter.
Those are all LIES from the PIT OF HELL.
Our enemy wants nothing more for us to believe them and to push aside our calling.

We MUST NOT let him defeat us.
We MUST make our voices be heard.
Only as we ALL join together and shout out, "We are here!  We are here!" will be change the course of history.

Yes, it's that crucial!
And we are EACH needed to make this happen.
Even YOU.
Especially you.

No matter how ignored, looked over, rejected, or judged you may have felt in the past - or even today - I am here to let you know the TRUTH.

YOU matter.
YOU are important.
YOU are needed.
YOU make a difference.
YOUR life counts.
YOUR dreams are valid.

YOU are needed.
Just like JoJo, we can't make it without you.

Please, please, please don't stop being YOU.
Please, please, please don't run and hide.
Please, please, please don't give up.
Instead, stand up.
Be strong.
Be bold.
Take courage.

Someone IS listening.
The most important Person of all.
The One who created you in the first place.
He LOVES the way you are - and made you that way for a reason.
And He has a plan for your life.
A GOOD plan.
One that will blow your mind.

Yes, you are just one person.
So was JoJo.
Yet, his ONE voice made all the difference in the story.

I wonder just how important of a role YOU play?

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Fish and Chips

5 loaves.
2 fish.
MORE than enough food for 5,000+ people.
With 12 baskets full of leftovers.

If you have spent any time reading the Bible or heard anything about Jesus and his miracles, you most likely know the story.

Crowds of people flock to Jesus to see Him heal the sick, give sight to the blind, cause the lame to walk, and raise the dead back to life.  They sit for hours on end listening to Him teach and tell parables of lost sons and sheep.  And they get so caught up in the moment they don't realize supper time has come and gone.  Worse yet, they were in such a hurry to get out the door and find where Jesus was speaking today that they didn't think to bring any food along with them.  The nearest town is now miles away.  Stomachs are starting to rumble.

The disciples want to send everyone home.
Jesus tells them not to be rude, but to feed the people.
Now how in the world does He expect them to find enough food to satisfy 5,000+ growling tummies?!  And even if they should a bakery equipped to supply them with that much bread, how does Jesus think they are going to PAY for this massive potluck?  Doesn't He remember they are mere fisherman, not millionairres?!

Jesus doesn't give them any answers.
Just the seeming impossible task of feeding the people.
Find food or have a riot on their hands.
Easy enough.

And so they frantically - I am assuming - go off searching for some tree that miraculously grows loaves of bread and slices of cheese.

Andrew is the only one who has any luck, if you want to call it that.
He finds a young boy whose mother was a planner and thought ahead.  She must have been the only one that morning, for she is the only one who sent her son out of the house with a lunch.
Probably famished himself and completely unsure how his measly snack can do anything to help the disciples, the boy graciously offers his meal.

5 loaves.
2 fishes.

I'm not sure how the disciples presented their meager find to Jesus, but it was all they had come up with and didn't know what else to do.

Jesus doesn't mock them.
He doesn't laugh in their faces, asking where the rest of the food is.
He doesn't belittle their efforts.

Rather, He takes the boy's little lunch and thanks God for it.
He then instructs the disciples to have everyone sit down so they can pass out the food to them.
As if getting 5,000+ people to be quiet and sit a cirlce "criss cross applesauce" - that's how I picture it as a former elementary school teacher - isn't hard enough, Jesus then tells them to make sure everyone has eaten until they are full.

Does Jesus have some bread and fish hiding somewhere?  Has He been holding back on them?
He's looking at the same 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish they are.
BUT, as the disciples obey Jesus, the bread multiples.  So does the fish.
Not only does the hillside become like Golden Corral or Ryan's where everyone can come back for seconds and thirds and fourths, but the people simply can't eat enough.
Twelve baskets of food - one for each disciple to gather up - are left over!

As I read this familiar story to my girls before bed the other night, I was struck.   HARD.
If we give Jesus our "little," He can turn it into something BIG.
Bigger than we could ever imagine.
He will blow us away with what He can do.

I should know this.
Ephesians 3:20 promises me that God will do "infinitely MORE than I could ever ask or dare to dream."

In case I didn't get that idea from the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000, later He went on to provide supper for over 4,000 people in much the same way.

Or there is that time Peter didn't catch any fish, so Jesus told him to cast his net on the other side of the boat.  Why that would make a difference, who knows?  But apparently it did.  Because Peter brought in a boat load of fish that day.  His nets couldn't carry all the fish.  His boat actually began to sink it was so full of mackeral and tuna or whatever kind of fish live in the Sea of Galilee.

Way back in the Old Testament, we have the story of the widow whose oil never ran out, and she was able to make enough bread for her, her son, and Elisha to live on for months on end.

The Israelites never once went hungry the entire 40 years they wandered in the wilderness.  Every morning they woke up to manna and quail on the ground, ready for them to pick up and prepare.  All they had to do was get a basket and gather their daily portion.

You may also remember how God constantly came through for His people, time and time again.
The Red Sea.
The Jordan River.
Gideon and his 300 men.
David defeating Goliath.
Daniel having a sleep over with lions.
Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego hanging out in a fire.
Mary giving birth to a baby boy despite being a virgin.
Lazarus walking out of the grave to hug his sisters Mary and Martha.
A blind man washing mud off his eyes and being able to see for the first time in his life.
Naaman taking a bath in the river and coming out leprosy free.
Hannah finally having a son after years of infertility.
Sarah giving birth when she was 90.
Moses floating down the Nile and landing in the Princess' arms rather than the mouth of a crocodile.
Jericho's walls tumbling down at Joshua's feet as the Israelites shouted.

I could flip back and forth from one book of the Bible to another.
We could read the entire thing, beginning to end.
From Genesis to Revelation we would see countless times where God does "infinitely MORE than we would ever think possible."
God tends to excel at the impossible.
It's His speciality.

Feeding 5,000+ people that day wasn't an issue at all.
Not for Jesus anyway.
All that He needed was for His disciples to TRUST Him.
And for that little boy to graciously give up his lunch.
5 loaves and 2 fish might not have seemed like much.
But he had it.
So he offered it.
And God multipled it.
BIG time.

As I finished the story with my girls, I couldn't help but believe God was telling ME to be like that little boy.  To give my "fish and chips" up to God and trust Him to use them for His glory.  He can take my talents and abilities - however small or insignificant I think they may be - and use them to build His kingdom.  He can take my time or my words or whatever resources I may have and use them to change the world.

Just this weekend, a friend shared with me how 3 little words totally transformed their family.  All I did was take a second to pause and ask, "How are you?"  Little did I know those 3 little words would mean so much.  I hate to think what might be if I hadn't asked them...

I'm reading Erwin McManus' book Seizing Your Divine Moment, and he assures me over and over that God can use the mundane, the ordinary, the "little things," to make a HUGE difference.  BUT, we have to be willing to let God work.  To give Him our "fish and chips" so He can turn them into something so much more.  Only as we surrender to Him the ordinary can He make it extraordinary.  As we seek God in the mundane, He turns it into something miraculous.

What do YOU have to offer God today?
Don't let the idea of your "fish and chips" not being enough keep you from giving it to Him.
Don't let the enemy trick you into believing it won't make a difference.
Instead, graciously surrender what you DO have.
And watch to see how God does "infinitely more than you could ever ask, imagine, or dare to dream!"

Monday, September 14, 2015

A Fierce Flourishing

This morning fulfilled a life-long dream.
A simple one really.
But HUGE in my book.
I have ALWAYS wanted to be part of a MOPS group, even before I was ever a mama.

In college, I prayed almost daily with my best friend for our future husbands and children.  We prayed we would be good moms and raise precious children who love the Lord and grow up with a passion to live for Him.

The prayer of becoming a mama was answered almost 6 years ago.
But the longing and desire to be part of a moms' gorup like MOPS has gone unfulfilled.
Until today.

For the first time in my nearly 6 years of motherhood, I can both
1) afford to be a member of MOPS (it's only $75 a year, BUT in the past that has been something we simply couldn't afford)
2) have the freedom of time to attend (when I was doing in-home daycare there was NO way I could get 4 daycare kiddos AND my girlies all loaded up - not enough space, carseats, or sanity)

So, as I walked hand in hand with my girls to the church this morning, I held back the tears.
Such a simple thing.
Spending time with other mamas.
Making new friends.
Having an adult conversation.
Laughing together.
Knowing I'm not alone in the struggles of mommyhood.  Or womanhood for that matter.
Eating yummy food, prepared by someone else (except for the ONE meeting a year when my table group will provide the brunch items) and not having a child steal anything off my plate or sit on my lap while I enjoy my meal.
Feeding my soul.
Refreshing my spirit.
Resting, if even for only a little over an hour.

I didn't really know what to expect this morning since this was my first MOPS experience.
Of course, I did have a picture in my head of what the morning might look like, but was going in with both an open mind and some specific hopes.

Hopes of connecting.
Hopes of establishing new relationships.
Relationships that will be meaningfiul and DEEP.

I am an outgoing person and don't appear shy on the outside, but if you knew what was going on inside my head and heart, you might be surprised.  I am usually pretty nervous, worried about what other people are thinking abuot me, concerned if I measure up, always comparing myself to those around me.

I knew 2 of the other moms at my table from our Moms' Club, so I was put at ease a little as I sat down and looked around at everyone in the room.

I quickly began to get a sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach, though.
I noticed quite a few of the  women were dressed way more fashionably than I could ever be.  They actually have a sense of style!
They had perfectly curled hair.
Beautiful necklaces complimenting their adorable shirts.
I didn't think to look since everyone's feet were under the tables, but I'm sure they all had cute shoes too!

All I could think about for a second was that I was super relieved I had gone with jeans and a cute maternity shirt (that I realized as I was headed into the church didn't want to stay down and cover my 32 week baby bump).  Thank goodness I didn't choose the more casual yoga pants and long t-shirt.  And I was having a fairly good hair day.  Whew!

BUT, what about next month?
Am I going to have to pull it together this well again?!
How in the world am I going to find something adorable and fashionable and stylish to wear at 36 weeks AND have another good hair day on the SAME morning?!
I started to stress.
And compare.
And pre-judge.
And put these other mamas I don't know from Eve into little boxes based on their clothing choices, hair styles, hand bags, shoes, make-up, and other TRIVIAL matters.

Part of me wanted to run and hide.
To politely excuse myself from the table and never return, for fear I would constantly feel inferior.

I didn't.
I stayed put.
And am so glad I did.

As the morning went on, we got to know each other a bit more at our table.
We shared how we all had piles of laundry waiting for us at home.
Dirty dishes in the sink.
Unvacuumed floors.
We all agreed transitioning from working our "regular" jobs to staying home was a HUGE transition.
Some of us mentioned experiencing loneliness, and even depression.

We DIDN'T have it all together.
Not even the cutest dressed mamas at the table.

I was going to blog about giving our "little" to God and watching as He turned it into something so much bigger than ourselves or anything we could ever imagine on our own.  And I will get that "Fish and Chips" post up later this week, but for today I felt God asking me to share my experience at MOPS.
To be real and honest about my insecurities.
To be open about how I do NOT have it all figured out or even know how to go about getting it all figured out any time soon.

That's another BIG reason why I NEED to be part of this MOPS group.
To give myself grace.
To allow other mamas to give themselves grace.
To be encouraged.
To encourage other mamas struggling in the same day-to-day battles I am.
To link arms and stand TOGETHER - to hold each other up and become stronger and bolder.
To empower each other.
And as our theme for the year reminded us, to FLOURISH together.
Not just a tiny spark, but a FIERCE, raging fire.
Like one of my favorite songs as of late - souls on fire.
Mamas living passionately and purposefully.

When I saw the flyer with the theme, the words popped off the page.
They hit me square on.
God has been speaking to me, working on me, stirring up some dreams and visions.
So glad He turned my focus from the trendy shirts and "perfect" hairdos to something of more importance - the condition of MY heart.

God has called ME to flourish.
The words were a challenge, yes.  But more of a promise really.
As if God was assuring me I WOULD flourish, my goals met, my dreams fulfilled.

And I am here to pass on that same word to YOU.
God is at work in YOUR life.
You may feel like you are in a desert right now.
His LIVING WATER is coming.  The drought will NOT last.
You WILL flourish.
So, hold on.
Keep planting those seeds.
Keep pulling those weeds.
Soon enough, your garden (whatever it may be) is going to be breathtakingly beautiful.

Notice, I didn't say anything about the laundry, dishes, or floors.
Those might have to wait until heaven.
But, the FIERCE FLOURISHING of your life will happen right here on earth, admist the the piles of clothes and stacks of crusty plates!