A few weeks ago I took the best trip and I got to meet one of my newest favorite person in this world. Insert heart emoji here…
Guys, I am a mom of boys. I’m a grandma of…. boys. I know boys. I know their rough and tumble energy. I know their sweet spirits. Recently though, I became the grandma of a little GIRL! A Girl. And she is the sweetest little cuddle bug.
Just look at those eyes. I could get lost in them. I took this picture while face timing this little sweetie. I have always told my boys that they should follow their dreams and live where ever they want. That sounded great until the grandkids came along. I should have added the clause “until you have babies and then you have to live within driving distance from ME!”. I’m just kidding here, (sort of) but man it’s so hard being so far away from her.
I absolutely love snuggling tiny new little ones. The way they curl up in your arms. I just take it all in and this girl, oh guys- she KNOWS how to snuggle. Melt. My. Heart.
When I was in the middle of the early mom years, I was exhausted. Late night snuggles were a necessity and I needed sleep. Now they are such a blessing and I enjoyed every single minute. It’s funny how things really do come full circle.
As I look back at the pictures we took, I’m already planning my next trip. Leaving was the worst, going back will be the best. Isn’t that just life? Anyway, I just wanted to share this sweet moment with all of you. I treasure each and every one of the moments like these. My guess is you do too. Hope your life is sweet today as well.
Christmas is a holiday that should remind us to take a step back, relax, and enjoy the moment. It’s a time of gathering together with those we love and watching the little ones find the magic of the holiday.
But for many it is an anxiety filled time of year that causes stress levels to rise and wallets to empty. It’s cookie baking and gift buying (which should be fun… right?) and long to-do lists that as you cross off one thing five more are added.
It’s a season that many need a month (or more) to recover from.
If this is you it may be time to reevaluate the season. I know I had to.
I admit that in the past I would bake cookies until late at night and find myself wrapping gifts on Christmas eve instead of watching a movie with the family or reading a story to the kids. I had so many things to do for those I love that I wasn’t really there for those I love…
This year there are not nearly as many cookies ready for Christmas. I cut down on my budget and I’ve already gotten most of my gifts wrapped. Now, I’m not saying this to brag or to make anyone feel bad about all that is still left to do- I’m saying it because man, I needed this. I needed to find peace in the season and I needed to stop the insanity of it all.
I love the lights, I love the gifts, I REALLY love the cookies (maybe I love them a little too much- but we can talk about that in the new year) Oy vey.
Seriously though, how many of you are struggling this holiday? How many of you are watching the news and losing hope? How many are fighting an internal fight that no one knows about and it’s killing you? I’m not being dramatic here- I wish I was.
If that’s you please know that there is hope.
The gift I want to give you this Christmas is the gift that I paid nothing for. But instead, it’s the gift that Jesus paid for with His whole life. If you need hope and you need help and you need a fresh start and a new life- then please take this gift. You can’t find it in a store, you can’t earn it, you can never do anything too bad or too good for it- it’s not about you and I. (Thank goodness cuz this girl doesn’t deserve it at…all…) No more excuses, no more putting it off. This is the time to change your life.
So, let’s just get rid of all the normal arguments and just really be honest here:
Are you good enough? Probably not.
Are you going to “do better first”? Straighten some things out first? Stop thinking bad thoughts, stop swearing, stop…. (you can fill in the blank here) Probably not and neither am I. Jesus doesn’t want you as you think you need to be- He wants you exactly as you are right now and that may seem unbelievable but I promise you it’s 100% true.
What we need to stop is making excuses. We don’t need to change anything; He came as He was to accept us as WE ARE. Right now, in the midst of the mess, in all our ridiculous, crazy, and sinful ways. Don’t wait any longer. Life is short and unpredictable, but our eternity doesn’t have to be.
This isn’t a temporary fix. This is an eternal solution.
If you need Jesus and some hope in this crazy world, then pray this prayer today. It’s that simple. All you have to do is tell Him and mean it. He does the rest. I love you all and my prayer today is that you find the hope that I have found and that we will spend eternity celebrating the most precious gift of Jesus together. Let’s put the insanity of the season aside and take hold of the one gift that can literally change everything.
The prayer is simple, just like receiving a perfectly wrapped package from a friend, and the contents will literally change your life forever.
Jesus, I need you. I believe you died on a cross for me and I want you to be my savior. I want you to come into my life today and give me hope. I know that I’ve made mistakes, I know that I’ve sinned and I ask you to forgive me for all of them. I pray that you will come into my heart right now and save me. In Jesus name I pray- Amen.
Jesus is a gift I can never repay and a gift that I can’t live without, but He is also a gift that I can give to you and I truly hope you will receive this gift today.
What a long week. I have to be honest, guys I’m exhausted. As I sit here writing tonight, I admit that at one point this week I got on social media to get away from it all. You know how it is. I just wanted some mindless scrolling. I wanted to look at people’s family pictures and see what they had for dinner. I was planning to ignore the political posts and opinion pieces; I just wanted a break. As I scrolled though, the opposite happened. I found that a really kind hearted soul had passed away. I saw that some terrible tragedies had occurred, and some dear friends were struggling. I searched for hope, I searched for some positivity but the heaviness of the world just wouldn’t budge.
I immediately texted my husband and told him that I really needed to hear his voice. I just needed one minute of him telling me all the things I already knew; that God is still in control, that someday all our tears will be wiped away and that today it’s ok to feel the pain and stand in faith, even if we don’t understand.
And I did not understand.
I guess we all get too that place don’t we?
I was reminded that when life hits like this we have two choices to make- we can either run to God or away from Him. We can either get bitter or get better. Faith was never meant to be easy, but man is it powerful.
As Friday finally arrived, I finished my work day and called home. My husband answered right away. (He had a vacation day to shop with his mom which is one of his favorite Christmas traditions) He said “Listen, I want you to hurry home. I have a hotel room ready to book and a bag packed, we are going to a Christmas concert tonight.” I argued that we shouldn’t stay over, that it was only an hour and a half away and although it would be great to go, maybe we should drive home late that night. I’m so glad he stopped me and said Nicole this is going to be amazing and I want a night away with you. (I always know when he’s serious because nicknames are thrown out the window.)
I threw cloths in a bag, and got in the car.
Guys, I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I hesitate to even open up my email right now, but I do know who holds my tomorrow, and if there is anything I’ve learned it’s that when your husband says get in the car I want to spend time with you… you get in the car. Tomorrow isn’t promised and today- well, we have to make the best of it and love on those we care so deeply about.
And that concert. It was REALLY awesome. We sang Christmas carols, listened to incredible music, and were encouraged by who God is and what He has done for us.
I needed the reminder.
Now I’d like to say that when I got home things just felt better, that everything fell into place, but the truth is our hurts and hard times don’t just go away and getting home brought a whole new series of gut punches.
What I can say is this- I don’t regret our little spur of the moment get-away, and I don’t regret the few moments of peace I had in the midst of a very stressful week.
Guys, I don’t know what is happening in your life today. I don’t know if you’ve had an awesome week with your family or if you’ve been blindsided by life like I have. What I do know is this, life is unpredictable and when we have a chance to love- we better do it with all our hearts. We need to appreciate the little things and learn to brush off the dust. We need to fight for what matters and put life in perspective.
I really don’t know what tomorrow will bring, but I do know that each and every day is a gift and we should hold tight to the people and moments that really matter.
I had goals, I had expectations for life, and I had a plan. A really good plan by the way, and as long as everything went as planned then life would be perfect. Right?
Oh how wrong I was.
Nobody told me that no matter how hard you try, how meticulous you are with the details, life can still snatch that perfectly laid plan and disrupt the whole thing.
Disruptions were not part of my plan.
When I graduated High School (just a few very short years ago…) I planned to go to college, after college I would get married, and after 2 years of marriage I would have a baby. Now, I wasn’t actually dating anyone at the time but that was not the point. This plan was good and if I followed it to the letter I would be a successful, happy adult.
Oh how good life is with a carefully laid plan. (Insert sigh of relief here)
Then partway through my freshman year of college I ran into a guy I knew from High School. This was not just any guy, this was “the guy”. The guy who had been one of my best friends, the guy who I had dated a bit and had the most fun with, the guy who I really liked, and most importantly the guy who could mess up any carefully laid plan.
Dang, there he was, there I was, and there was that kiss in the kitchen that sealed the deal. I was toast.
BUT, don’t get me wrong. I still had a plan and this would fit so perfectly into it. In just a few short years I would graduate college and this guy would be the perfect husband to that perfect plan. I just love it when a plan comes together, don’t you?
If you are wondering where the punch line is- I won’t make you wait for long.
Every single plan I made changed, and I was not very happy about it. “The guy” was in the U.S.Navy and in case you aren’t aware, people in the service can be moved to locations far away from you, which by the way was not part of the plan.
Ok, so maybe I’d compromise a bit here. I mean who said you had to actually graduate college before you get married? Lot’s of people get married and still graduate right?
So I tweaked my plan and dropped out of college right before my junior year. We moved 18 long hours from home (In my plan I had ALWAYS said I would NEVER move more than 2 hours from home). Please, if you learn nothing else from me, please never ever ever say those two words. Because the truth is- following those two words are these two: Challenge Accepted…. Lord help me, it’s true.
My husband knew of my goals and my determination was unmatched. Once settled, I began looking for colleges to transfer to. I found one close, but alas, it didn’t have the major that I loved and again my plans had to change.
Did I mention that I hate change.
I really hate change.
I really really hate changes that I am forced to make.
I really really really hate changes that are out of my control. (I think you get the point)
Okay, so let’s look on the bright side, at least I can finish college… at least there’s that.
Then, a few months before our second anniversary I found out that I was pregnant. We were so excited. Plans were back on track, college was going well and life was good.
Why is it that curve balls get thrown when they are least expected? Just when you think you have it all together, bam, curve ball. Ug.
(Insert curve ball here…)
Sadly, we lost that precious baby on our second anniversary. (another blog for another time perhaps) Being in the hospital on our anniversary was definitely, not part of the plan. My heart was broken. My life seemed like one disappointment after the other.
Not being the type to give up easily though, we began to try again. I was determined to be a mother. Months passed. No baby. I began to get depressed. Friends were becoming parents and here I was wondering what was wrong with me? Then, on the very month our first baby was due, I became pregnant with our oldest son.
A friend once told me that although she had also had a very painful miscarriage, she realized that if it hadn’t happened, she would not have her daughter. My story is the same. Had I not had that miscarriage I would not have my son and I cannot imagine my life without him in it. Don’t misunderstand me here, I would never want to lose a pregnancy, but I did realize that I could chose to focus on the blessing instead of the loss.
Life has certainly not gone as planned.
No matter how hard I tried or how stubborn I was, life just had a way of knocking me right off course.
Life is so hard.
As you have probably already guessed, I did not graduate college as planned either. It took me a lot longer than expected. I transferred universities a few times and got discouraged more than I want to admit. When I did finally graduate, I had a 3 year old son and was 8 months pregnant with his little brother. My husband often reminds me that for as long as I was in college I could be a doctor right now, and he could be retired. I often remind him that it is his fault we moved around so much. We are at a stalemate on this one.
The point is- I did end up graduating. My goals were not met the way I thought they should be. Not one thing I planned has turned out the way I expected or wanted it to, but to be honest, (I can’t believe I’m admitting this) I really think it has turned out better. My plans were good, but the challenges and changes that life has thrown at us, has made me appreciate the outcomes so much more than if I had just accomplished them in my own way.
Change makes us uncomfortable but it also makes us see and experience things that we wouldn’t otherwise. And although some change can be painful, I can see now how it has all made me who I am today.
Change is the salt in our lives, it spices things up and takes us places we never thought we’d go.
It makes us regroup, re-plan, and refocus.
I can’t believe I’m saying this either, and I may not admit it later, but I have grown to really welcome change. I still don’t like it most of the time, but the outcome is always better than my own plans ever could be.
Maybe God really does know what He’s doing, and maybe I really need to just trust Him more.
So, the question is, do I still make plans? The answer to this one is simple, I most certainly do. I dream big, plan big, and then I ride this old roller coaster of life. It twists and turns my plans right upside down. Sometimes I win, sometimes I lose, and sometimes I just get sick to my stomach. My plans may change, I may accomplish my goals far differently than expected- but oh I do accomplish them. And along the way, I learn, I grow, and yes- I too change.
Change is good.
Life is good.
Hang on dear friends, change is coming. My prayer for you is that you can look back on your life the way that I do and be glad for every single unexpected turn.
What would happen if you only ate a meal once a week?
Even if the meal was perfect, nourishing, and wholesome, we know that our bodies would not function well. We would grow weak, tired, and eventually sick. Our bodies are created to eat every single day and when this doesn’t happen there is a consequence.
Have you ever thought of your relationship with Jesus in this way? We go to church once or twice a week and we assume that it’s enough.
Can I be honest with you? Most of us are spiritually starving.
No matter how amazing our pastors are they can’t possibly “feed us” enough of God on a Sunday morning to sustain us; certainly not enough for us to grow and change and become all that God intended for us to become.
Think about it like this:
We love our spouses but if the only form of communication we had was to listen to someone else talk about them once or twice a week, our relationships would quickly dwindle.
Now don’t get me wrong, friends and pastors are great. We need to surround ourselves with people who will lead us in the right direction.
The problem is many of us are relying on these people to BE our relationship with Jesus. We don’t dig in ourselves; we don’t spend personal time with God.
How is your husband? Well, my friend says he’s was doing well. How is your relationship? The pastor says he loves me, wants a future with me, so that’s good right?
If I treated my husband this way, we’d slowly drift apart. Our relationship would no longer be built on the quality time we spend together. Instead, it would be built on someone else’s word over our lives and that would never be enough.
This sounds so ridiculous to us, we’d never treat our spouse like this, yet we treat our God like this every day.
Do you really want change in your life? Do you really want peace and hope and love and all the wonderful things that Christ offers us?
If this is your desire then there is a simple formula. Treat Christ like you would someone you cherish. Spend time with Him, talk with Him, read His word, find out about Him.
We can’t expect our relationships to improve through someone else’s work. We have to be the ones to do the heavy lifting. Today let’s change the way we treat our relationship with God. Let’s grow in it and let it change us. Let’s quit relying on someone else and dig into the deep things that Christ has for us with our own hands and more importantly our whole hearts.
Sadly, there is an intimacy with Christ that few get to experience, but it doesn’t have to be that way.
All relationships take time, work, and commitment; it’s just the way it is. Today, let’s put the time in, let’s do the work, let’s make the commitment and watch as our intimacy with Christ soars. No more spiritual starvation, today we enter into the fullness of God.
When my husband and I began looking for a home years ago we decided on a fixer upper due the limited funds we had at that time. Excitedly we started the hunt.
I quickly realized that my husband and I had very different ideas of what this home should be. I wanted to make an offer on a nice little house in town, one that needed a bit of TLC, but was pretty move in ready.
Ryan chose other styles of houses.
His conversations always started with “Now Nick, you’re going to need vision for this one”… Ummm, I’m not a “vision” kind of girl.
I remember one particular house that he showed me. He said it needed a dab of extra vision and even some imagination.
He didn’t disappoint.
This house had the ugliest curb appeal I have yet to see. To make matters worse, you had to walk outside and down a hill to get to the first floor, and once there you needed a shovel to clear out the debris left by a previous tenant.
No exaggeration, a shovel.
I struggled with the vision needed for this gem. He persisted. In the end we bought the house. (Photo Via Pixabay)
I think sometimes we treat our lives this way. We meet people with hard exteriors and we often judge them, categorize them, and put them in this box that we’ve created for them. We never look past the exterior to see the gem within.
Can I admit something to you today? The house my husband picked out ended up being one of my favorites.
Once we cleaned out the debris, painted a few walls, and knocked down a few others- that house became amazing. Now, please don’t get me wrong here- this house took a ton of our time, and about as much of our money to make it happen. But, in the end it was completely worth it.
Finally, I could see the vision. It was just hidden in the dirt and unsightly edges.
Thank goodness my husband was willing to put the time in. He didn’t get discouraged when things didn’t turn out perfect, he didn’t quit because the job was too overwhelming or because mistakes happened along the way. No, instead he kept at it- one shovel full at a time.
Our lives with Jesus are much the same as that old house. Jesus can see the gem within each of us. He looks past the piles of garbage we have built around ourselves and is willing to work in us and for us, no matter how long it takes.
Where others judge us Jesus delivers us. Where others see harsh edges, Jesus sees potential.Most importantly, where others give up on us- He is in for the long haul.
The bible says in Isaiah 61:3 that God will give us “a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair.” I don’t’ know about you but that sounds a whole lot better than the life I’ve made for myself.
As for the house- we did eventually have to move and we sold that old house- but out of all the places I’ve lived, I still miss that one.
I think when you uncover something so special in the middle of a mess, when you work so hard for so long for something, you cherish it more.
I want you to know today that – that’s how God feels about you.
He is willing to take you where you’re at. No cleanup necessary, no need to change first. He is willing and able to do the work in you to uncover your beauty too. He doesn’t care how long it takes, or how much work is needed. You are so worth it to Him.
So, today, won’t you let Him give you beauty for your ashes?
Here I was watching the world continue on around me while mine seemed to be falling apart in every direction. I had found myself very seriously wondering if I was ever going to wake up from the nightmare I was in. I felt hurt, attacked, and watched almost like a spectator as my life literally changed in a moment and I was suddenly traversing waters I never intended to cross.
It was during this time that I began having anxiety attacks, attacks that rendered me useless and always seemed to choose the worst times to begin and would last for what seemed like hours. To say that an end was NOT in sight was an understatement. To make matters worse, I couldn’t find hope that anything good could come from my life.
Finally, I made the choice to seek God in a way I never had before. It was Him or nothing, all or none. I was at a crossroads and the direction I chose would change my life.
I told God that I would not give up and I would not give in, I would love Him if nothing in my life got any better. I admit, I wasn’t sure I was telling the truth.
Trusting anyone, including a God that had allowed this heartache in my life seemed like an impossibility. I mean- if God is so big and strong and loves us so much, then why had He allowed these things?
I had been faithful, I prayed daily, I went to church. I did all the “right” things- yet my life had still ended up here.
Could I really still believe that God cared, that He still had good things planned for me?
There is a scripture in the book of Romans (8:28 to be exact) that says “all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
I asked myself often how anyone could take this mess of my life and make anything good come from it. I chose against all odds and circumstances to believe this scripture.
It was this small decision that would carry me through the months ahead.
I would like to say that things got dramatically better. I’m sorry to say that the “better” would not come for many years. It did eventually come, and that is what I want you to know.
No matter the length of the road we travel- there is an end to our struggle. You see, our God is awesome, He never left my side. My road was very long and extremely steep but at the end I was freed from the hurt and pain. I was released from the anxiety and struggle. God was with me through it all and although at times I wondered if giving up would have been easier- I watched as God showed up in my life more than I had ever experienced Him before.
He carried me through it all and yes, He still had a purpose for me.
I want you to know today that He still has a purpose for you too. No matter what your life is like right now, no matter how long your road or what you’ve done, God still loves you, He still waits for you. He longs to talk with you and show you the way out. He longs to take all the mess and make something good come of it. It’s time to give it all to God, time to choose a new path, and time to see the good that God has planned for you.
I’ve been in the valley, and I’m here to tell you that as long as you don’t give up then your breakthrough is straight ahead. Dare to believe God even when it seems impossible. I’ve been where you are, I’m praying for you today, and I know that with God, nothing will be impossible.
No milk for breakfast, that’s ok we’ll just have toast today. One son doesn’t want to go school, no problem encourager mom to the rescue. Another son’s interrupting every single conversation my husband and I are trying to have. No big deal I just patiently tell him to brush his teeth.
What I’m really thinking is- “he won’t be able to talk with a toothbrush in his mouth”.
Then I realize we are also out of dog food, the sink is piled with dishes and there is a broken glass in the broken dishwasher that is now being used as a very expensive drying rack. One son can’t find underwear, and another can’t find jeans. I now inform my precious ones that they will either find said clothes or go to school naked, but either way they will be in that car on time.
Encourager mom has now left the building and the new mom who has taken her place has even the pets running in fear.
At this point I’m beginning to unravel, one tiny thread at a time. My plan of mother of the year will have to begin again tomorrow.
It’s amazing to me that even after determining in my heart to remain understanding, patient and kind, I can become defeated by 7am.
Now I realize I do have a choice in this. My reactions to the day’s events are all on me, and today my regret list is rapidly growing.
I started out good, I really did, and then inch by inch little things started adding up. None of which were life changing. None are that important. However, each has stolen a little piece of my patience, and I have turned a corner.
Philippians 4:6 says “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God.”
Had I done this? The truth is I had gotten so caught up in all I had to do and all that was happening this morning that I didn’t take the time to go to God. I skipped the only thing that could have helped me.
As I sit here typing I am thinking of Paul. In Acts chapter 16 we see a picture of him in jail. He had been stripped, severely beaten, placed in the inner parts of the jail and had his feet placed in the stocks. His attitude in this situation sets me back a bit. The bible says that at midnight he sings, and not a halfhearted song, but a song of true heartfelt worship that actually shakes the shackles right off- literally.
You see, when we truly come to God in all our moments, with all our hearts; when we worship Him with everything we have even when it hurts, things in our lives change. The shackles that are holding us down and stealing our joy- they have to go.
Let’s pause for a minute and reflect on my morning… Here I am losing my cool over a couple of half- naked kids and some dirty dishes. As I step back and really begin to breathe, I realize my mistake. I put all of my peace in my routine. I wasn’t worshiping in the storm, I was worshiping the storm. I am choosing now to take a new breath, to yet again change course, and get things back on track. I am going to pray and bring all these things before God, and then I’m going to worship with my whole heart.
It’s now a bit after 7am and I’m starting over today. I have God, I’m still breathing, and I just noticed that my husband has dressed the kids.
See, things are already looking up. I’m praying yours looks up too.
The bible says all things are possible if you believe.
I know it’s true. But I’m not sure God was talking about me when He inspired that word. I think He was talking about that girl down the street, the one with the clean house, the perfect kids, and the successful career. You know her; you know people like her. They can’t fail; everything they touch turns to gold. They perform brain surgery in the morning and bake a picture perfect birthday cake in the afternoon.
I am not that girl.
I’m the other one, on the other side of the street. The one with dust balls under the couch and a loaf of bread that is growing little hair like things all over it. The plants are dead, but the bread is growing. Which is why I am so glad God doesn’t choose me because of my abilities. He doesn’t choose me because “I can.” He chooses me because He can.
He doesn’t look at my outward appearance and say, “Hey, that’s my girl, she has it all together.” Nope, he probably looks at me and thinks to himself, “Wait till she sees what I am about to do. That girl who just spilled coffee all over herself and locked her keys in her car at the gas station, causing her husband to have to leave work to rescue her yet again… Oh yes, that’s the one. She’s my girl. And I am about to show the world what I can do through her little coffee-spilled, key-locked, bread-growing self.”
I’m the girl whose prayers always seem to start with, “Sorry, Lord, I’ve done it again…” and “it” can be anything from “put my foot in my mouth,” “yelled at my kids,” “lost my patience with my coworkers,” gossiped, ate the WHOLE cheesecake…etc. (Okay, enough dirty laundry for today) But seriously, that’s me, one mistake after another, and yet God wants to do something with my life anyway. He still has a good plan for me.
Now, I didn’t say it was an easy plan. I’d be lying if I said that. Life is hard, we make mistakes, we struggle and we spill our coffee–but we get back up, brush ourselves off and do some laundry, washing those stains right out. And I know that’s what God has done for me. He’s the one picking me up, brushing me off, and cleaning me up just when I need it, every single time. Then He puts me back on that perfect path He created for me, and I start moving again. I love that.
I want you to know that God has a perfect, unique path for your life, too. You are important to God, no matter the mess you’ve made, no matter the challenges you face. He has a plan for you.
It’s time we quit trying to fix everything ourselves and let God do it for us. He can, He will, and He wants to.
Besides, it’s less stressful that way.
Today, I want to challenge you with this: Let God do your heavy lifting. Let Him put you on the path He has for you, and let Him take you to new places. Places you never dreamed you could go.
From one simple coffee-stained woman to another, we can do this.
About a year ago, my husband and I made the decision that we needed to trade in our minivan for something 4-wheel drive, something that could handle our rough northern winters. After getting stuck numerous times over the past few years, we’d finally had enough, deciding that shovels and rock salt just aren’t cutting it. That, and the fact that I was becoming unglued every time a snowflake was even mentioned–and I do mean unglued–left us with no other option.
So car shopping we went. It didn’t take long for us to realize that prices had changed quite a bit since the last time we went on a test drive. And that wasn’t the only thing that had changed. I can now have my bottom warmed while Siri checks for directions and my car parks itself. It’s pretty unbelievable, to the point that I’m honestly not sure if my car even needs me for anything anymore (except maybe to pay for gas). And if I’m being honest, these endless options–the seat warmers and all the other gadgets–were pretty enticing as we wandered about the lot that afternoon. So enticing, in fact, that I soon realized my wants were quickly outgrowing my pocketbook. I began to feel like what I could afford wasn’t quite good enough, and the more we looked the less satisfied I became. (Photo Via Pixabay)
Eventually I opened my eyes and remembered why we had begun this process: safety in the winter. It was our sole reason for car shopping, but I had lost sight of it while becoming envious of everything I didn’t have. Isn’t this what we do more than we’d like to admit? We want what we see and forget to appreciate what we already have. A friend of mine just built the most beautiful house. Gorgeous stonework lines the front, the views from the windows are amazing, and there are more rooms than I can count. I was happy for my friend, and yet when I looked at my house it began to seem stuffy and small. It lacked the grandeur of her large house on the hill. Maybe I was looking at the wrong things. Maybe, just like the car, I was making mental lists of items I didn’t have instead of the things I did.
There is an old saying that I hear many men and women say today, it’s the “I can look as long as I don’t touch” mentality. This mentality says that I can be in a relationship with someone but still check out the opposite sex and that’s ok as long as I’m just looking.
What I’m beginning to realize is that there are enormous amounts of harm in “just looking,” so I decided to give myself a little challenge. I decided I would only look at what I had. I would not allow myself to focus on anything that belonged to anyone else, regardless of how innocent it seemed. And that’s when I truly started to see things differently. I began to recognize the peace I get from sitting outside on my back porch with my morning coffee, surrounded by woods in every direction. It became exactly the place I wanted to be. I realized how perfect that porch is for me, and I honestly wouldn’t trade it for anything. Not even a huge house on a hill.
As for the car, well, I found one that is going to get me safely where I need to be this winter. It isn’t fancy, and sadly it won’t be warming my bottom, but I really like it. It has a few extras, and the more I look at it, and the more I quit comparing it to what I don’t have, the more I am enjoying it. (Photo Via Pixabay)
How about our spouses? Now, hear me out on this. No matter who we are married to, there is always someone better looking, someone with more money, you name it, and we can find it.
As long as we just look, it’s all good, right?
Well, I really don’t think so. Just like the car and the house, the more we look, the more we can’t help but see what we have as not quite good enough. We start to make lists of what we wish our spouse could be like. We begin to crave what we don’t have, and that can be dangerous. When we refuse to look at anyone but our own spouse, we can begin to see the beauty in them in ways we probably missed before.
Now, I know that all this goes against the norm, but as women who love Jesus, I think it’s exactly what we should be doing. Proverbs 14:12 says that there is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death. Marriages fail because we think that someone better has come along, someone who has less baggage than our current partner. Checking accounts get depleted because we have to have the latest gadgets and keep up with the neighbors. Stress in this country has reached previously unheard of levels. Peace and joy have been lost in a sea of wants and wishes. People are shouldering baggage so heavy the weight is literally killing them. What if we put those bags down? What if we decide only to look at what we already have and appreciate it with new eyes? Wouldn’t it be nice to release ourselves from the burden of needing to keep up with everyone else and just focus on Jesus and the beautiful things He has given us?
Now, I don’t mean that we will suddenly have full bank accounts and husbands with washboard stomachs that hold on to our every word and talk to us for hours. No, I mean maybe we will see for the first time how the curve of his face is really perfect, or how he takes our hand right when we need him to. We will appreciate the things we forgot we had. Please don’t get me wrong here. I’m not judging anyone. I’ve made all the mistakes and believed all the lies, but what I’ve discovered in myself through this process is a renewed joy. I’ve found that I need less and love more, that the smile on my face is much less fake these days, and that is something to shout about. (Photo Via Pixabay)
So how about it? What are you looking at? How about trying something different and stepping away from the crowd and the pressures of society for a fresh start? How about focusing on Jesus and all He has done for you. Let’s look with new eyes today, and tomorrow I believe we will see things a whole lot differently.