My Easter Story :)

Easter is a holiday filled with decorating eggs, family gatherings, and ham. Tradition for years was just what we did.

Through tragedy I was brought to my knees. I cried out to a God I didn’t know “do something!!”. It took a while, but He did. I had heard the Easter story many times as a kid.

I heard this…You are bad. God sent His one and only son to pay the price for you. Be grateful..

When I was at my weakest point I heard a completely different Easter story.

It began with Christmas. God loved us humans so much that he couldn’t stand to be apart from us. This whole burning sacrifices and only talking to his people through priests was getting pretty old. God wanted to know us intimately.

He had a plan. He sent Jesus to walk amongst us. To experience life. To face the same challenges and struggles we do. To fully understand us.

This is what made the difference for me. God cared enough about me to walk where I walk. He gets it! He tore the veil making the way for us to go to Him directly.

The story continues with Jesus giving up his life on a cross. He willingly paid the price for every sin I have and ever will commit. After seeing and experiencing life on earth, he chose to do this for me, and you.

On Easter we celebrate that he rose again. God made a point. That nothing was more powerful than He, not even death.

For the first time I saw God as a loving God. Not some ruler in the skies with an iron fist.  I saw God as someone who really cared. He understands. He stepped down from heaven and walked the walk.

He went to great lengths to pursue me. Though life may be hard at times, God has and never will leave. He stands with arms open wide. My debt is paid. There is no more condemnation.  Just a loving God who cheers us on from above.

Now he is waiting for you….He wants a relationship. All it takes is a simple cry. No fancy prayers, just a genuine heart. Go ahead ask God to reveal himself to you. You might be surprised 🙂

Happy Easter everyone!!!!

Daily Grind

Have you ever watched someone accomplish great things? Maybe they start a really cool ministry, or pursue higher education and go way farther than you have. Or maybe you watch someone face something really tough with grace and even make it look easy!?

I have spent the last 2 weeks sick. I spent way too much time on the couch! I was really down for the count. I think the ridiculously long and nasty Minnesota winter is getting to us all.

This made me think about my impact on this world. How is it that I can be taken out for TWO weeks and yet nothing fell apart?

Sometimes this makes us question where we are at. I know this is true for me. Now, I have faced great tragedy and successfully survived, but what have I really done? I haven’t saved the world. I don’t have a PhD. I am not even a well known writer yet.

So what or who am I? I am a single, stay at home, homeschooling mom of two kids. I am an aspiring writer. Glorious huh?! (It’s ok if you just laughed) Even with this, I am sure that I am right where I should be.

Many times we perform the ordinary day to day. We do menial tasks. Sometimes these are training lessons. For some, our time has simply not yet come. I like to think that something really great is happening. Guess what!? That’s ok. Sometimes the really great things we do are in the small things.

Maybe as I do the daily grind and teach my kids about the world, math, and character I am really shaping a great leader. I could be teaching a future missionary. I could be shaping someone who will go on to accomplish great things.

No matter where you are or what you are doing, you are exactly where you should be. So, enjoy the ride!!! If I look at it this way, then maybe these ordinary days are not so ordinary.

Forgiveness

Forgiveness has been a paramount lesson I have learned so far. It is not an easy word and even harder to practice.  It was a long standing word and concept that I did not understand. I had a very warped idea of what forgiveness really was.

Matthew 6:14-15 For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, our Father will not forgive your sins. Seriously!? Did he not see what that person did? How can I forgive what that person did? Honestly, I like to think the things I do are a lesser offense. In God’s eyes sin is sin, period.

First I think we need to look at what forgiveness really is.  According to Merriam-Webster Forgive means…

1a: to give up resentment of or claim to requital for

b: to grant relief from payment of

c: to cease t feel resentment against (an offender).

Notice it doesn’t say anything about forgetting. It does not release them from the natural consequences or justify their actions. Forgiving does not excuse the hurt.

Forgiveness is the refusal to let the hurt consume you! It is releasing the hurt to God and allowing him to be the judge and jury. Hebrews 4:13 Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. He saw. He noticed. He will take care of it.

It also means that we don’t have to walk ourselves back to the hurt. There are people in our lives that we will have to part ways with. Sometimes we need to forgive, learn from it, and not walk ourselves into unnecessary hurt.

So, what hurt are you carrying around? Are you ready to give it to God? Will you allow him to work it out? Hard to do, but I have to tell ya it really is one of the most freeing experiences!!!

Friends

No matter what season of life we are in, who we choose to spend our time with is crucial. Think about it, time is our most valuable commodity! If we waste time on the wrong people we won’t have time for the right people in our lives.

I think it is good to have four types or groups of people in our lives. We need wise people who are more knowledgeable than us (a mentor of sorts). We need others who are walking through life about where we are (if you are a mother of an infant, teen, etc. It is nice to talk to someone who understands!). We need to be reaching out to others who need us. Last, but most important we need to choose our closest friends. These are our confidants, the few select who we will share our deepest thoughts with.

I have come to realize that it is a privilege to be in someones close circle of friends. I have also learned that I don’t need to share my deepest secrets with anyone outside my core group of people.  It is important to learn discretion in regards to what we share with others. Remember, you don’t owe anyone full access to your life!

There is a balance that needs to happen. We cannot give all of our time to those who need us and our wisdom. We need to be filled and inspired by those who have walked the road ahead of us. To keep us humble and thankful  we need to spend time on someone other than ourselves.

We also need to choose our core trusted friends wisely so that we can have a safe place to share our most intimate thoughts. We need to have those who understand where we are at in life and can identify with our current struggles. Sometimes these people fall into more than one category. Other times not.

It is important for us to think about our friends. Think about their life, their wisdom, and ultimately their role in our lives. If we want good solid advice, we need to seek wise counsel. If we want to help others it is important to have boundaries and understand our mission or goal.

Use your time wisely, you will never get it back. Have someone you can look up to, someone you can pull up, and someone to walk with you. Remember what an honor it is to be someone’s confidant and choose your inner circle with care. 🙂

Happy Birthday

Ok, so today is my birthday. A few years ago I decided that I would only celebrate the anniversary of my 30th birthday. For some turning 30 is a big deal. For me, my 20’s were a painful time. I had faced some really significant tragedies and I was more than ready to turn 30.

This year is a bit different though. I have been reflecting on what a blessing it is to see another year pass by. I may have had some rough years, but I am still here. I have made it through in one piece (well sort of 😉 ) I know that despite the struggle I have become stronger. I see the character that has been developed in me only after walking through some of my toughest moments.

So, I am thinking I need to embrace my true age (33). Rather than looking at it as I am getting old, look at it as a sign of victory. That is until I turn 40! 🙂

Well, I am off to renew my drivers license…today, cause I am totally cool like that!

I don’t have to be…

Knowing who you are is really important. I think knowing who you are not is just as important.

When I look at who I am I think of all my good qualities. I am tender, caring, funny, and adore newborn babies! We go to job interviews and we want to emphasise our good qualities. In our relationships we want others to see the best in us.

Sometimes looking at our not so great qualities is difficult. Sometimes we feel ashamed that we are not more like others. Comparing is such a dangerous thing!! It never benefits us.

I have done this all too many times. I am not an animal person. Like, not even a little bit! I tried, believe me I tried hard to like animals. I am not soft spoken. I lack a filter all too often. Not everything that comes out of my mouth is a bible verse.

You see when I became a “christian” I thought I had to instantly be an all loving, tender, soft spoken woman who constantly quoted the bible. What!?!? Who decided that? That is an unrealistic expectation. I don’t believe God expects that of me.

In 1 Corinthians 12 the bible talks about the body being made up of many parts. If we didn’t have ears how would we hear? If we didn’t have eyes how would we see? Each part of our body is vital to us being effective. Each part has a different quality and duty. They are special because of the qualities they bring to the table and the things they do not!

So, whether as an individual,a christian, or a woman in general…knowing who I am is important. If I am a nose, am the sense of smell. If I am an eye, I see things and transmit the information to the brain. But, I need to know who I am not also!

It is ok to not be something or have a particular quality. I think it is time to embrace our good qualities and our not so great. So, how about you animal lovers keep your animals…I will stick to rocking newborn babies. And maybe someday I will be a soft spoken bible quoting woman, but for now I will just be ready to apologize for my lack of filter.

So embrace your not so refined qualities. Take the pressure off yourself and just be you!!! The world needs you just as you are!

Where do I start?

Sometimes when life piles it on us we just get overwhelmed. For some, it is a crisis. Maybe you have experienced a trauma. We deal with the death of a loved one. For others it may be a lot of little stressors that when put together have created a mountain. It is hard to know what to do or where to start in any of these circumstances. So when life serves you up a big one here is what to do….(Thank you to all the firemen and women who taught me this 😉

Stop. Stop what you are doing and just breathe for a moment. Don’t make any moves or decisions. Just take a time out and allow yourself time to process whatever it is that is going on. (Believe me, the laundry and housecleaning waits for you!) Any strong emotion can lead us into poor decisions.

Drop. Drop to your knees and seek the wise counsel that will never fail. We can think of a million solutions. We can rationalize. We can think until our heads feel like they will explode. But I want to get my advise from the one who sees the past, present, and future!

Roll. Roll only with the things you are certain of. When Brian died I knew I had to feed the kids. I knew I had to go to work. I knew I had to sustain life. That was about all I knew in those days. Start with the basics and slowly add in responsibilities and tasks as you heal.

In times of trial or crisis we need to slow things way down. We want to make good decisions that will not further add to our not so favorable circumstances. It sounds simple, and it needs to be. Just Stop, Drop, and Roll!! 🙂