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

 

 

 

Advent (or lack thereof)

“Lord, You can’t POSSIBLY want ME to write ANYTHING tonight claiming anything about You. Seriously? You think I should write, Lord?? Even after the day I’ve had? Heck, let’s be real, the month I’ve had? Ok. Fine. I get it… I’ll write.”

Here goes…

I’ve shown my butt more this month than I have in the last 31 years combined I do believe. Something about the holidays and the clutter and the grief and the expectations and the umm, togetherness. It sends my OCD, tidy, closet introvert, idealistic personality over the edge.

I’m not an Advent practicer. I simply do not have the energy, patience or desire to do any of it. I ordered 3 Advent books this year in the hope that it would inspire me to start doing Advent activities with Fenley. And considering it’s the 22nd and we’ve done 4 so far, December 2016 is looking like a very promising time for me to get on the Advent train. I can feel it.

To go ahead and rub salt on the wound of not being an Advent guru, I am an avid lover of all things Elf on the Shelf. We have the cartoon recorded. “Sparkle TuTu” gets lots of credit around this house. She’s left us all sorts of notes and hot chocolate to drink and cookies to bake. We love Sparkle TuTu.

On top of that, I beheaded one of my Wise Men today. I knocked him over turning on my lamps to get my house lighting just right. The headless Wise Man. Gotta be a message in there somewhere about wisdom or something like that. Meh. Too tired to figure it out.

So when I felt like God was stirring in me to write tonight, I’m thinking no way. I’m a failure this Christmas. In abundance this Christmas… I’ve fought with Walt. I’ve been selfish. I’ve eaten too much cookie dough. I’ve gotten my panties in a wad about stupid stuff. I’ve yelled at Fenley. I’ve cussed more this month than all of 2015 combined. I’ve done very little abiding in the Word. I’ve spent too much money. I’ve fretted like Martha instead of listening like Mary. Period. There was just simply no way around this confession if I was going to write. So, no Lord, I don’t think it’s a good idea I write anything during the month of December. Let’s just glaze over that month and start fresh in 2016, mkay? I’d like to keep my highlight reel just that, a HIGHlight reel. Not a freaking LOWlight reel. But He prompted me a few times in my heart to write and gave me a few sentences and so here I am. Baring my dang lowlight reel.

Reminds me of someone else I’ve heard about…….and yes I just googled this verse.

“To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: ‘Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’

But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’

‘I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled and those who humble themselves will be exalted.’

Luke 18

This night, this tomorrow, this week, this Christmas, this new year I want to just get off of my high horse. I want to own where I am. I am the tax collector. I simply am. But He promises good fruit and abundant life. How does that happen? How does a tax collector like me get transformed? Instead of fretting and gossiping and complaining and yelling, could I maybe try praying and seeking and serving and abiding?

“Morning by morning He dispenses His justice, and every new day He does not fail.”

Zephaniah 3

Morning by morning He dispenses His goodness. He’s dispensing it but I am simply avoiding (yes, avoiding) Him. Letting that sink in. Ouch.

Are you avoiding Him too? What could you take OFF of that list to just go curl up with a cup of coffee and His Word tomorrow?

I’m officially signing off right this second to go spend time with Him.

(“I will NOT go heat up the glue gun to fix the headless Wise Man. I will NOT go heat up the glue gun to fix the headless Wise Man. I will NOT go heat up the glue gun to fix the headless Wise Man.”)

Good night lovely world… whatever you do tomorrow, be sure you carve out some time to ABIDE for apart from Him we can do NOTHING. John 15.

Merry Christmas!

Lauren

 

 

Sweet Wills

Sweet sweet sweet baby Wills. Or maybe I should say big boy Wills. You would be 2 now. I wonder how age is calculated in Heaven. Isn’t it wild that you know infinitely more than your mama and daddy? That thought makes me beam. When we get to Heaven, I feel sure you will be quite the know-it-all tour guide and I can’t wait.

You died two years ago this coming Sunday. Breaks my heart to type that out. As I held Emerson tonight and closed my eyes to remember what it felt like holding you, my memory was taken back exactly 2 years ago. Holding your warm life in my arms. Staring at you for hours. Then staying up til 12:01 the night of your dad’s birthday after literally begging God all day that you would not die that day. I didn’t leave your side except to serve your dad a quick double chocolate birthday cupcake. I am a huge birthday person (for myself and for anyone I love) and the thought of you dying on your dad’s birthday was just too much for this birthday loving mama heart. I knew we would never be able to truly celebrate it again. And you didn’t. You stuck around for 2 more days, hallelujah! God answered BIG in so many ways. Life with you was marvelous. Life remembering you is sweet. Life without you is hard. But life knowing where you are takes my breath away, in the best way. We grieve with hope. God-given-hope that keeps growing.

The last two years have been a doozie. 2014 is mostly hazy. The pieces are still coming together I feel like. God taught me SO much through your life and then through losing you and then through living without you. Learning how to live here with a huge chunk of me missing has proven impossible. Enter God. Who sent specific scriptures and the best of friends and amazing sermons and encouraging letters and marvelous testimonies… could go on and on. It’s Manna from His BIG gracious hand. Provision just like the Israelites had in the desert. They could not have survived the desert without God’s hand, literally. Water from a rock. Parting the Red Sea. He gets the glory for their desert survival. And He has provided perfectly in the desert of losing you and I will talk about it until I take my last breath.

I thought having Emerson would blur my memory of you. I was scared about that. But it has actually sharpened it. My mama heart somehow loves all 3 of you perfectly. I remember more things now. She jogs my memory of you. I love that.

We visited your tombstone on your birthday. Left a tiny white pumpkin. Wish we were carving pumpkins this October but that will have to do for now.

I would give anything to sit and listen to you tell stories about life in Heaven. I wanna know about your life there. Do you have blonde hair? Do you get to hang out with Jesus a lot or is he pretty busy? 🙂 Who is your best friend? Do y’all eat? Are you grown or a child? Do you know about Emerson? Please tell me you know Ruth well? Do y’all know what is going on down here? I have this mental picture of the day I finally get there. First, I sit at Jesus’ feet for what seems like an eternity and just weep that I made it there and that I am in God’s presence finally, whole and complete. Then I picture Jesus saying I have someone who has been waiting on you… I turn around and there you are grinning from ear to ear, knowing exactly who I am. That makes my heart sing. And I hug you for about 3 years earth time 🙂

In closing… I want you to know I’m learning more and more about God’s love for me. He used you to start that journey in my life. The depths of what He has taught me can’t be put into words. Your dad is awesome. He encourages me to read and to write and to bake and to do my mama gig well. He listens to sermons on road trips and takes notes in church and cries in worship – three things he didn’t do before you. We have a blast together – and when we fight, we make up quick. He is still my favorite person on this planet. Your big sister Fenley is HILARIOUS. And she still talks about you. Sometimes her eyes water when your name is brought up and I’m not 100% sure she knows those are tears. We love her innocence and cherish her little personality. She and I went through a list on your birthday of what all you would be doing now – she loved that list and asked me to repeat the list 3 times. Your little sister Emerson is a complete gift. We love her so much. The day she was born your dad and I both wept – remembering you and being overwhelmingly thankful for her. We sat in awe of God’s goodness on her birthday. And on your birthday this year we had family pictures taken. For the last few pictures we all ate a blue cupcake with a red heart, called the Wills cupcake. Thank you for being a strong little boy that hung on to this life for 15 days – a marvelous picture of fragile clay jars containing great treasure.

Miss you terribly,

Mama Bear

“Return to your rest, my soul, for the Lord has been good to you.” Psalm 116