Finding Faith

There have been countless times over the last year that I have sat down to write, and I’ve heard a familiar voice say “no one cares what you have to say” or “you’ll be judged for this” or “don’t be so self-consumed”.

I listened to that voice, and I stopped writing.

Funny thing is: I thought I had dealt with that voice. That I had learned to silence it.

Isn’t it odd how we *think* we are further along than we are? And how disconnected we can come from reality?…

Kind of like the social media images we post of our perfectly decorated houses and just out of the frame of the shot there’s unfolded laundry that we pushed aside so it wouldn’t show up in the picture.

Or the scripture we share about how Jesus wants us to live, and just seconds before we hit “share”, we yell at our kids for spilling cereal on the counter.

I felt disconnected from reality because I thought I had dealt with that voice telling me to stop, and that it was gone for good.

I thought I had overcome the fear of man and worrying what others think.

Friends, I had not. And it’s haunted me.

But then I had a beautiful realization… that this time when that voice crept in, life was very different.

I was grieving and vulnerable to rejection, and to be honest, I was afraid.

The level of fear that has been swept over humanity has been painful to endure and witness. And while I have never been afraid of getting sick or losing my life to a virus (including this one), the collective fear was felt. Frankly, it is hard to escape.

Please hear and believe me when I say that I am not insensitive to those who have lost family and loved ones and I am not minimizing those that had a hard time when they became ill.

But what I am saying is that we must acknowledge the emotional impact the last year has had on our lives, and we must be willing to give it credit for altering our perception of the world.

We’ve grieved. And to be honest, we’ve been traumatized.

“If grief is what comes after loss, what have we lost?” you may ask.

We lost familiarity. We lost hope. We lost faith. We lost loved ones. We lost routines. We lost jobs. We lost rights. We lost our joy.

But I think if we all take a step back and think about it all and really reflect, WE ALSO GAINED.

For many of us, we gained precious time with our children and spouses while we were “stuck inside”.

We gained a new pace of life that to be honest, maybe we didn’t want or even know we needed.

We gained an ability to adapt.

And whether or not we realize it, we gained a unity that frankly I think we are often unable to see.

We shared in an experience. Albeit it looked different for everyone, we went through it together.

Personally, I find that to be a beautiful thing.

On the flip side of this, I also recognize that many were alone and isolated and have suffered greatly because of this. My heart wants you to know that you were never alone, even if you felt that way.

Somewhere, someone was thinking of you. Praying for you. Wishing they could hug you and wipe the tears as they fell.

It’s taken great faith to get through the days, and we’d be remiss if we didn’t realize this. But faith is a tricky thing, isn’t it?

You can’t see it.

You can’t touch it.

You can’t tell if it’s working to change anything.

So you just keep on believing that it’s enough and do your best to put your eyes above what you see and trust that having faith is enough.

This tiny, fingerprint-laden jar sits in the windowsill of my office. Can you see what’s inside?

It’s a mustard seed.

Although tiny, when planted, it grows taller than the other plants and eventually becomes a tree.

Did you know that the Bible mentions mustard seeds a couple of times? This tiny seed can be compared to the kingdom of heaven. When it began, that kingdom was small, but is now much, much larger and continues to grow every day.

But my favorite reference to this tiny seed is when Jesus said in the book of Matthew in the New Testament, “For truly I tell you, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you will tell this mountain ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.”

We don’t need much, friends.

But that tiny bit that we muster up can do more than we realize.

We can have faith that our bodies are strong and capable of healing.

We can have faith that our circumstances are temporary.

We can have faith that our spouse can grow out of that bad habit.

We can have faith that our children won’t rebel when they grow up.

We can have faith that our nation’s leaders make good decisions.

We can have faith that our bank accounts won’t run dry.

We can have faith that that pregnancy we’ve been praying for will finally come.

We can have faith that God is in control of all things and that He is still good.

Let faith change the way you look at life. And if you need a tiny jar with your own mustard seed inside, I’d love to bless you with one. Say the word and I will get one in your hands and on your desk or in your windowsill, and together we can plant seeds of faith and watch them grow into miracles.

Thankful.

As I sit in my chair on this Thanksgiving morning and reflect on the last year, there is so much to be thankful for.

Growth.

Healing.

Surrender.

Friendship.

Rituals.

True miracles if I’m being 100% real about it.

God grabbed my pain and past and hurt and carried it to a new place. One where I could observe it and see how He was there the whole time. Continue reading

It is Finished.

Two years ago today, I did something. Something some of you know. Something some of you’ve wondered. Something some of you may be surprised to learn. And something some of you will question how and why I could choose share.

Two years ago today, I packed my bags and walked out of my house and I left my husband. I was only gone for 10 days, but I know wholeheartedly that those 10 days needed to happen in order for us to get where we are today. Continue reading

Sometimes.

Sometimes I get these urges to write that stop me in my tracks. Like now, when I should be studying but I can’t. Because there are words and stories in my head begging to be let out.

Questions I wrestle with, like should I say yes to that thing I haven’t answered yet? Have I been a good enough wife? Why did I bite my lip and talk through my teeth at my kids this morning? Continue reading

Why I Said Goodbye to Facebook

I remember creating my Facebook account. It was 2005 and I was in my last semester of college at NCSU. (I totally remember feeling like I was cheating on my My Space page when I joined. Didn’t we all?)

When it first came out, Facebook wouldn’t even let you create an account unless you had a college email address. It was different. Somewhat exclusive. And everyone was doing it.

Jumping on the wagon back then in my life never seemed like a hard thing to do. So this was just one more thing to jump into.

It’s crazy to think that was 14 years ago. Continue reading

It’s By Design

A few weeks ago, I woke up from a dead sleep and my right arm was extended into the air, toward the ceiling of our bedroom. It was as if I was worshiping in my sleep, and I heard God say very clearly to me, “It’s by design.”

All through the winter, I struggled to wake up at 5AM for my morning quiet time. My alarm would go off, but I’d choose to hit the snooze button once or twice before finally getting out of bed. Once I got settled into “my spot”, I always regretted the decision to sleep a little longer. Continue reading

The Best Advice I’ve Ever Gotten.

Yesterday was our 8-year wedding anniversary. Last night after dinner, the four of us sat down to watch our wedding video. As our girls sat one on each side of me and Reid lay on the couch behind us, we enjoyed moments of laughter, silence, and even a few tears (one guess who shed those). I found myself touched deeply as I listened to the words spoken over us, the words we spoke to each other, and I thought about how far we’ve come in the last 8 years. We are stronger, wholer, and happier than we have ever been. Continue reading

Real Talk.

Parenting is hard. Such a short sentence packed with so much truth and vulnerability…

Before I begin, let me say that I am beyond grateful for both of my children. As a woman who was told “children won’t be likely”, I can assure you that not a day goes by that I don’t thank God for them. I often look into their eyes and feel awe and a sense of wonder and feel just downright lucky that they are mine to care for. I often get a lump in my throat when I think about how far we’ve come. Continue reading

The Spirit of Sedona

I’ve been drawn to the idea of taking a solo vacation for about a year now. I don’t recall when I first felt it exactly, but I saw it in my mind many times. Beautiful scenery, rest, relaxation, reading, writing, outdoor exploration, disconnecting from the busyness of life. I didn’t have a strong pull toward any specific place, I just felt the urge to take a trip by myself. Continue reading

10 Things No One Told Me Before Having a Baby

This post won’t be for the faint at heart. Or for people who don’t like hearing (or talking) about bodily fluids, pregnancy and childbirth. If that’s you, I warned you.

If that’s not you, and you have a curious and open mind to the best mama advice I’ve got, I hope you enjoy the next 4 minutes of your life as you read over this list. And maybe share it with a friend who needs it. Lord knows I wish somebody had told me all this stuff. Continue reading