Merry Christmas!

Trying to read through the Christmas story S L O W L Y this week so I can marinate in it a little bit. I’m on chapter 2. Ha! But it’s proving SO full of treasure!!!

Today I sat down for a quiet minute and picked back up where Mary visits Elizabeth. They’re both pregnant. They’re both seeing God’s hand at work in their lives. They’re both in awe. And they’re both probably trying to keep their pregnancies quiet. Mary was engaged and pregnant and that was just a recipe for a scandal back in Jesus’ day. And Elizabeth was well past her prime and I’m sure most of her friends were grandmothers already. Friends, can you even imagine the joy these two shared when Mary went to stay with Elizabeth??? I mean pregnant-with-the-Savior-of-the-world-Mary walks in and Elizabeth’s baby boy LEAPED in her womb and was filled with the Holy Spirit.

I know how much fun it is to be pregnant with a friend. My buddy Kelly and I were pregnant with our youngest baby girls at the same time – and it was like a crash course in getting to know each other and so much FUN and still is – an instant bond over the babies we carried and are now raising. Throw in that Mary and Elizabeth didn’t have social media, texting, doctor visits, FB support groups, tons of buddies, etc. They were a God send for each other!  The joy they shared visiting over their pregnancies must have been tangible!!! And the call of God on both of their son’s lives brings me to tears thinking about it.

As soon as Mary walks in she breaks out into a little narrative BRAGGING ON GOD. I read it three times and highly recommend it. It’s Luke 1:46-55. I read it out loud – home alone with babies sleeping 🙂 and I just wept!!!

At about verse 51 Mary starts into this detailed list.

“He has… He has… He has… He has… He has… He has…

just as He promised…”

FRIENDS. HE HAS. If there is a raw spot in your heart, could you sit and let that sink in?

I don’t know about you but I’m a lot like my 5 year old who currently has a “wish list” on our fridge. No longer her Christmas list as she knows that ship has SAILED. But a dang wish list now. We’ve spent every dime and then some that we budgeted for Christmas. She’s going to have more than she knows what to do with as it is. But still making another list……………………it’s all in this house, it’s all wrapped or hidden, it’s all waiting for her for Christmas morning, it’s all prepared for her, it’s all perfectly picked out just for her. But she’s still making that next wish list. She gets a pass because she’s a kid. I don’t have that excuse though.

How do we forget so often? HE HAS. He has done. He has come. He has loved. He has finished.

What more could we want?

Praying and hoping and reading for a more sober heart, prepared for His goodness and light, looking and waiting and watching and knowing that He does GOOD THINGS and HE HAS already done the very best thing by sending His son to be with us.

I have a lot of crutches – my health, my husband, financial security, my healthy kids here to name a few. But it was Jesus that said: “Martha, Martha, you are worried and upset about many things, but few things are needed – or indeed only one. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her.”

It. Will. Not. Be. Taken. Away. From. Her. The one thing needed – we can’t buy it, we can’t adopt it, we can’t birth it, we can’t manufacture it, we can’t fake it, we can’t attain it, but we can receive it and abide in it and share it.

Merry Christmas friends! Hoping you get some time to be alone and quiet and choose what is best for you this Christmas and the year to come!

 

 

Confessions of a Millennial

Well. I did not realize until tonight that I am actually a Millennial. I make the cut off by like a month and can testify to many of the terrible characteristics – idealistic, lazy, entitled, impatient. I’ve actually poked fun at Millennials. And then tonight while I was going through my nightly routine, I listened to a video about Millennials and was like hmm this sounds a lot like me. Yikes. Anyway, half way through the video and after googling what the generation Y/Millennial cutoff is I thought: “No way, I have more substance than this.” So I exited my Facebook app, went to my worship music and felt this little whisper to play one of my tried and true favorites.

Be Still My Soul by Kari Jobe.

“Be still my soul, the Lord is on thy side. Bear patiently the cross of grief or pain….”

Mmm. Hurts typing those words out. But as I pressed play my heart went back to my life over 3 years ago. I listened to that song nearly every night. Pregnant with a son that was not well. And a mama that was not well either. I had walked with God but still had so many questions. Am I the only one? To have been saved since I was 5 yet still wrestling with the big questions? Surely not. And now on top of all my original big questions, I now have to face questions like will he die while I’m still on the operating table? Will we live in the NICU for 8 months? Will we pursue surgery for him if he needs it? Will he die in surgery if we pursue it? Will I flat out lose my mind in grief? Will my marriage fall apart because we are going through all of this before we even celebrate our 4 year anniversary?

And in the midst of all of these questions – the big ones I had had forever and the new ones that scared me half to death – Jan Moncrief sent me this song. And it soothed me and challenged me. And I would listen to it and the questions would not go away BUT there was a peace and confidence that came as I began to really seek Him with my questions. There was a mustard seed of faith that started to take root as I asked. And although I did not get the black and white answers I wanted and I did not get any answers quickly – I did get a sense that it was all going to be okay. And that through FAITH in Him alone, we would see Him move mountains in us and through us.

All that to say, tonight, as I heard that song again and on the other side of the road from many of my original questions, I hear it and have the BIGGEST smile on my face. I understand the cross of grief and pain and I bore it patiently and I still do – to Him be the glory. And I know He’s on my side. I don’t wonder anymore if He’s safe. I don’t wonder anymore if He is actually going to come near and never leave me or forsake me. I don’t wonder if my faith is misplaced or misguided.

I feel like a huge piece of the puzzle of life here – is to keep asking questions. God wants us to learn and grow. How can you grow if you think you know it all? Be vulnerable and needy and hopeful and honest with your questions. Let cynicism die and let hope breathe. Just go ahead and get your hopes up in Him.

Y’all. To say He eventually answered my questions is an understatement. I’ll never be able to put into words what He did for my heart and our life here. But that doesn’t mean I’ll stop trying. Wherever you find yourself – take your stuff to Him. He is so worthy. And I know He may not (probably will not) give you clarity on your timeline, but trust me that His clarity is worth the wait. And until then play this song on repeat in a bubble bath with tear stained cheeks from ugly crying. Not speaking from personal experience of course 🙂 haha.

Felt like I needed to write this tonight.

Also shout out to my counselor who I got to see today – he’s coaching me and teaching me and I highly recommend finding a few safe places this side of Heaven where you can unpack things God is showing you. Every time I leave his office I grin the whole way home! It’s pretty awesome.

Update on the fam:

Fen loves Kindergarten. I love who she is growing up to be. She keeps me light hearted and laughing. Shopping for an almost 6 year old is FUN as evidenced by my Target cart today.  Emerson is walking everywhere and has about 3 or 4 words that are barely distinguishable. She’s cuddly and gave Walt a big sloppy kiss tonight! Walt is moving into an office next month. He’s been out of our bonus room for 3 years. So proud of him and all of his humble hard work. God provides through him and I love watching that relationship grow. I’m helping Walt and tending to the girls and our house and per my counselor today, working on turning my never ending homemaker duties into a spiritual discipline where I am serving the Lord and not griping about these people who mess up this cute house I keep trying to fluff!!!

I’m gonna go watch This Is Us now 🙂

LB

 

 

Acknowledgement

Well here I sit listening to Walt talk to a real estate client (shameless plug – he’s the best guy I know and would love to help you buy or sell your home!!!) staring at my computer looking for front door planters that are NOT in the budget from Terrain. And I was like hello Lauren… fourbowies is just sittin’ there collecting dust.  Why don’t you do something mildly productive (emotionally productive at least) instead of lusting over fancy planters for the plants you will kill this spring.

Speaking of killing things… I’m about ready to kill my social media accounts. I swear I have a mild stress disorder from a random scroll through. No joke, I saw an article the other day with a picture of Oreos that said: “How I Almost Killed My Toddler” WAHHHHH. WHAT THE HECK??? Oreos are lethal now?!

Christian or not Christian – there are SO MANY OPINIONS that we all have these days. We almost act like if you don’t have an opinion about something, that you are in the wrong.

Oh that we would be a people of fewer opinions!!! And intentionally become a people that acknowledge Him for what He has done in our lives. What if we talked and shared more about His fingerprints on our lives PERSONALLY than what we disagree with/get frustrated with/are sick of?

“She has not acknowledged that I was the one who gave her the grain, the new wine and oil, who lavished on her the silver and gold– which they used for Baal.” Hosea 2:8

WHAT IS YOUR PERSONAL TESTIMONY OF SEEING GOD’S FINGERPRINTS ON YOUR LIFE AND THE LIVES OF YOUR FAMILY? HOW HAS HE PURSUED YOU? HOW HAS HE COMFORTED YOU? HOW HAS HE HELPED YOU STOP SELF MEDICATING? HOW HAS HE GIVEN YOU THE BIGGEST GRIN YOU THOUGHT WAS LOST? HOW HAS HE FLOORED YOU WITH HIS PROVISION? HOW HAS HE RESTORED YOUR FAITH? HOW HAS HE BEEN PATIENT WITH YOU? HOW HAS HE TAUGHT YOU TO ABIDE? HOW HAS HE SHOWN YOU HIS LAVISH LOVE?

If you can’t answer any of those questions, then ask Him to show up for you with a gentle, humble and obedient heart and He will fill your cup to overflowing with answers.

If you can answer some of those questions, do you not think the world needs to hear about it? Not what God disagrees with. Not His pick for president. Not anything but simply His fingerprints on your life and how He has changed you for the better. The harvest is plentiful, the workers are few. Sometimes the work is as simple as sharing in any capacity (social media included) about how You have seen Him at work in your heart, home and life.

We have got to become a people that ACKNOWLEDGE HIM. It’s as simple as that if we are ever going to be a demographic that can get stuff done in the Heavenly realms while living in a world that is lost. Have a real relationship with Him that turns into a real testimony with Him that turns into bearing real fruit for His kingdom with Him.

I know our country appears to be in bad shape. But do you have access to a Bible today? Okay then I don’t wanna hear about the great United States of America being in bad shape.  Is that extreme? Yes. But I stake my life and my hope and my moral compass on the Word and I’m going to take Him at His and stand FIRM knowing HE’S GOT THIS. This world and this country don’t have to have perfect leadership (CLEARLY) for God and His people to GET REAL STUFF DONE! COME ON Y’ALL!!!

So. I’ll take my own advice and acknowledge Him.

I acknowledge His goodness in the restorative work He has done and is still doing in my tends-toward-anxiety-mind. Used to I would not travel without a bottle of Xanax. I would rarely actually take it but I found great peace in just having it with me. He has pushed me out of my comfort zone and shown me that He is enough time and time again. And as I was texting with a friend this week, after my most anxious moments are my greatest breakthroughs in the Spirit. And I am proud to boast in Him that I have not self medicated (excluding moderate wine!!! Haha.) since before Wills. I refuse to let anything but Him get the glory for my freedom and peace. It has been the fight of my life, truly, and I would not take anything for it.

I acknowledge His goodness in giving me time with my son. I will never be able to say enough about that gift from Him so I will just leave it at that.

I acknowledge His goodness in His provision. Every. Single. Time. He comes through. He provides through Walt and sometimes it’s down to the wire which makes us laugh all the harder at just how detail oriented He is.

I acknowledge His goodness in His pursuit of our daughters. Fenley has started to talk about wanting to live a life for Jesus. She has actually already prayed that He would live in her heart (by herself and then told us about it later) and I know she is extremely young but I want to trust Jesus with childlike faith that my child is trusting Him with her own childlike faith. What’s even crazier is Walt and I had noticed a difference in her and had commented on it to each other and then it lined up with the timeline of when she prayed the prayer to be “squeaky clean on the inside.” Not anything sweeter than seeing  a good God pursue my Fenley Grace in a real, tangible way. He is good.

I acknowledge His goodness in providing us with growing, healthy friendships that challenge us to dig deeper spiritually. Listening and talking for hours over coffee, to then have a friend respond with taking revelation a step further.

I acknowledge His goodness in His perfect timing. An encouraging text. A much needed break. A verse out of nowhere that totally puts wind in my sails. A fun moment with Walt after an exhausting week. Wills’ song on the radio after getting in my car from visiting the cemetery. I’ve seen too much, TOO MUCH, to doubt and to pridefully not acknowledge.

If you had told me in my preteen years (you know, that time in your life when you can’t wait to be grown and what all that will entail) that I would be living in this house, married to this husband, raising these 2 girls, being trusted to steward Wills’ story, sleeping in this dreamy bed, getting ready with this huge closet, baking macarons, watching my girls play in this backyard on that awesome swing set I would be ECSTATIC. But ask me anytime in the last few years how life is going, and I am sometimes too quick to say: how tired I am, how bad I need a break and how I am so ready for the next chapter of life.

That’s the funny thing about the enemy… he wants you snoozing at the wheel. He wants you mad about this and panties in a wad about that and depressed about this and put out about that.

But God says: Acknowledge me. Acknowledge that I am the one who provided the bed, the husband, the friends, the wine, the backyard, the finances, the green grass, the rainbows. Acknowledge me and I will be your God and you will be my bride.

DONE, DONE and DONE.

How can you acknowledge Him TODAY?

Love,
LB