Joy and Peace in an Imperfect Life

Thursday, March 28, 2013

It's interesting to me how hard we are on ourselves.

We see what appears to be perfection all around us. Magazine racks are full of it; most people only post, instagram, and tweet their best moments, not their worst. And as a result we often find ourselves feeling inadequate.

As Steven Furtick would say, we compare our worst moments to everyone else's highlight reels.

I make a list of things I want to get done every single week and every single day, and ultimately many items on the list get put onto the next week's list.

So is life.

We're human. We're not perfect. And sometimes we sit on the couch too long; sometimes we hit snooze too many times; sometimes we eat double chocolate chunk cookies instead of bananas.

But why are we so hard on ourselves?

I'd like to advocate that we can find peace and joy in the imperfect lives we live.

I'm over perfection. Done with that. I used to beat myself up about not getting it all done.

I'm learning that when the important things get done the little things don't matter as much. They'll get done. Eventually. And I'm not going to beat myself up about them.

I'm also learning that I am most happy when I'm doing what I feel like I was made to do.

I'm happiest when I'm strong physically, when I'm in His word, when my family is 1st on the list.

When I'm not strong, and connected to the Word and putting my family first, I feel guilty, frazzled, and unhappy.

Joy and peace exist when you're doing what you feel the Lord has called you to do, and when you're not too worked up about everything else.

That's it.

Just a little joy and peace in an imperfect life on a day that made an imperfect life okay.

Today, I am incredibly grateful for a man who died so that I could live. Typing it brings tears to my eyes. To love someone that much is amazing. And he loved me and he loved you enough to die for us  thousands of years ago.

Today I'm grateful that because of the cross I can find peace and joy in imperfection. What a glorious, glorious day.

The Nooks and Crannies

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

I heard someone say once that they make their business fit into the nooks and crannies of life.

Oh how incredibly true!

When I look at my day, it is so far from the typical work day. A little here, a little there.....and so goes the day.

I think moms who work from home often think they need to have business hours and try to work how they would if they sat at a desk for 8 hours a day.

There is no way.

The beauty of working from home is getting to enjoy little bits of joy all day long.

The same is true for working out, reading the Bible, doing laundry, and the list goes on.

So dont give yourself such a hard time.

Being a mom is hard work. Being a mom that works from home is even harder. And being a mom that works from home and homeschools her kiddos, that is the ultimate victory.

It's a messy, unexpected, didn't see that coming kind of work, and it's worth every second.

Making your work fit into the nooks and crannies is perfect. Not easy. But perfect and true.

What more could you ask for?

Here's a glimpse at our nooks and crannies from today.....and somehow it all gets done.

The Return of the Sunday 7

Monday, March 25, 2013

I'm a planner. It's not a secret anymore.

To that a lot of people say, "you're so busy!"

It's not that I'm busy, it's that I'm intentional, and there are times that I absolutely keep sacred to my family. I do not text or call or chat at all hours of the night. I am not a slave to my phone.

I want my kids to remember what my face looks like, not the top of my head bent over a phone all day long.

I believe in service and serving but not when it sacrifices time with my family.

I try to be intentional with my time always.

Since adding baby #3 to the mix, it's been rough going getting back into the swing of being intentional with my time.

But it is time to get it together people!

I have this theory that really successful people are not any better than anyone else, they just work harder at managing their time. So I figure if I want to be successful, I should keep working at being better with my time.

Hence the return of the Sunday 7! {On Monday!}

Let's be intentional this week. Won't you join me?

Here's how it works:

  1. You come up with the 7 most important ares of your life. It can be more than 7 if it needs to be. I have a dear friend who has started what she calls The Faithful Eight. You make it work for you. My areas are the things that I value. You'll have to determine what you value the most. 
  2. Once you have your core values listed, you start listing out the most important things that need to happen in the coming week in each of the areas of your life that you value. 
  3. Lastly, you determine when each of those things will happen each week. Put a date and a time to it. 
And off you go! After that, you're on your way to a more balanced and peace filled life. 

So what does your Sunday 7 look like? As always, feel free to post yours below to keep you accountable. 

Here's what mine looks like this week (I added an extra category this week):

This time I went through and put a check mark by things as I got them added to my planner. 

And there you have it. A peek into the inside crazy of my mind. : ) 

Wishing you an intentional week. Happy planning! 

They called me Grace

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Growing up, my nickname was Grace. It was not one of those "you are so grace-filled" kind of nicknames but rather one of those "you are such a klutz" kind of nicknames.

Ironically I spent the majority of my afternoons as a junior high and high school student in a dance studio.....teaching littles how to tap dance and point their toes and learning how to get rid of teenage emotion with nothing but a wood floor, a ballet barre, and music.

I learned a lot about myself on the dance floor.

Unfortunately for me, the rest of my free time in high school was too often spent with boys. I wouldn't call it "boy crazy." I think it was more of me "looking for love in all the wrong places" as the song so appropriately goes.

And ironically, I also spent nearly every Sunday morning at church.

I grew up in a Methodist church believing that I was going to heaven because I was confirmed and baptized. I didn't read my bible. I had about a zero prayer life, and God was rarely talked about in my house.

But I thought that I was golden.

The reality was that I had no relationship with Christ and had no clue what the word "grace" actually meant.

I also had no clue that when I was 19, my one day husband would give me the first bible that I would really delve into with my name delicately etched on the cover in silver shiny ink.

Nor did I know that 4 years later, my daughter would enter into this world and we would appropriately name her Addison Grace, partly because of my ironic high school nickname and largely because of what the Lord had done in our lives and would continue to do in our lives.

You see, grace is it.

It's all that really matters.

I had it wrong in high school thinking that if I did this and did that and I checked all the appropriate boxes, I would be saved.

It doesn't work like that.

When I look at my life now I wonder how I ever thought I could have been enough for heaven. I couldn't have. And neither can you.

That's where Jesus enters the picture.

We are not good enough.

We can't ever "do" enough.

You can't earn grace.

It was a gift given to world full of sinners freely. No chains attached.

Jesus entered the world to live a perfect life and die a sinless death so that all of us, a world full of undeserving people, would be able to be free in Christ.

And the key to it all? Grace.

He extends it to us over and over and over again because we will never measure up. And it's not our faults. We live in a world full of sin. There are no perfect people. But the good news is, His love is deep and wide and it covers us. Every time. Through every mistake and every slip up.

His grace covers us.

So if you're tired of trying to do it all and trying to measure up to what the world wants you to be. Stop. The world is broken and weary because of sin. You can't measure up to what you think your life should look like.

Entering into a relationship with Christ will not make you perfect or mistake free. Far from it actually. That's why the Christian world often gets a bad rap as so called hypocrites. Just because you enter into a relationship with Christ does not mean you'll never mess up again. It means that garce will follow you wherever you go.

It's not a crutch, but a peace that can cover you. You'll still mess up. You'll still never quite measure up, but what you can do through the power of Christ in you, is so much more than what you can do on your own.

There are no works that can get you to Him. There is only a relationship. An acknowledgment that Christ was the son of God and that he died on a cross for you and for me.

It's a lot to grasp, I know. But the Lord is pursuing you. He reveals himself to all of us.

Forget about denominations and religion. You can't work your way to heaven, but you can let the spirit of the Lord work through you.

If you want to know more about the grace that covers all your sins both past, present and future, and a God who wants you as you are, I would love to pray with you. Message me on facebook or send me an email.

It's grace that covers us. Grace and grace alone.

Listen to this song about God's love, and be sure to tune into the Bible series tonight on the History channel at 8/7c.

In [Christ] we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace.                                                  Ephesians 1:7 
Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.     Romans 8:1 




Settling in

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

My house smells sweet. Of fruit. Kiwi and cantaloupe to be exact.

There is a canvas that my sister painted hanging in the hallway leading to my bedroom that I am keenly aware needs to be raised a good 6 inches.

I finally put a lamp, a few books, and a Scentsy warmer over the mantle in my bedroom.

And after too many months and a daily schedule that doesn't seem to allow for pictures to be hung on the walls, I'm settling in.

This house is starting to feel like home.

{Except when the heat or air is on, when it continues to smell like something died or sewer or trash. I can't quite put my finger on it.}

But besides that unaccounted for smell, this house feels like home.

There is a Bradford Pear right outside the front door covered in beautiful white blossoms, and every night at dusk the sky turns a beautiful pinkish orange color.....seriously every night.

Our neighbor across the street told us that our house sits on one of the highest points in Oklahoma county which apparently equals beautiful sunsets every night. I have no clue if that's true or not, but I'll take it.

As I'm typing, I'm wishing I had this urge and desire and yearning that I have right now to write every single night. I love looking back over my year of writing. There are so many memories. So much life lived and recorded.

It's weird how it comes and goes with me.

But back to the house.....

For someone who loves to entertain (one of my spiritual gifts is hospitality), it's taken me much longer than usual to settle in. I'll blame that on the precious little upstairs who happens to be stirring at the moment.

It feels good to settle in. It feels good to feel like home....even if that baby is waking up at midnight. : )

The least of these

Monday, March 4, 2013

Lately I have had this "I can do so much more" itch.

Not in terms of doing busy things throughout the day, but doing things to make a difference. I don't feel like I'm sacrificing much right now.

I think you could easily call me a dreamer. In my good moments, I have these lofty thoughts about doing these great things to change the world. I think it's that childlike view of being able to fix things.

Couldn't we just fix things by loving more, hating less, letting the Lord truly lead us.

But as adults, we know that it's not as easy as it sounds or looks. So when I have these feelings....when I get the itch to do something great, I have to write it down. Express it. Remember it.

I love my work. Seriously love it. I love the relationships I have built, the lives that I have helped to change. I love all those things. But I also look at my work as a tool to do great things. Greater things than what we're doing.

Our business has given us resources and time and courage, and it has made us better people. No doubt about it.

And I want to use those resources and time and that bravery that I have to do great things. Don't get me wrong. I know full well that being a mom and loving my children well and raising them to be followers of Christ is enough and more than enough. But I just feel like I can do more.

I think I often get in this slump because I know there is more that I can do, but I'm often not willing to sacrifice the time or energy to do it.

I know that I can do more and be more. It will just require more discipline on my part.

I love discipline, routine, a plan. I thrive in it.

I realize that I'm just rambling. And I'm perfectly fine with that. If rambling is what gets me writing again, then so be it.

All this thought of great things was jump started by our foster babies new foster momma texting me about some of the things they are walking through right now.

The day those babies showed up on my front porch truly changed my life. It made me a different person. And many of you walked through so much of our daily struggles of having 4 children under the age of 5 by following along here.

I was challenged, frustrated, in love and scared all in a second. And there is a huge part of me that wants to walk it all again.

I am beyond frustrated at the foster care system at this moment knowing what our babies are going through. The system makes me crazy. I don't understand it.

But I will never in a million years forgot their faces when I opened the door the first time. And I will forever be changed by them.

As Brian and I listened to this song over and over again tonight, he said to me, "Does this make you want to foster again?" And my answer was immediate..."Yes. I have no doubt that I want to again. No doubt."

I don't know when. But maybe soon.

I know that we all walk busy, busy lives. But I have to could you be greater? Yes, it would take sacrifice. And yes, it would be uncomfortable and maybe even painful, but as a follower of Christ, I know that the Lord never promised me it would be easy. But He did promise me that He would never leave me nor forsake me.

After all, Life is either a great adventure or nothing at all.

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