Sunday, August 23, 2015

From God to His People

A friend re-posted something this week that has really stuck with me. It said, "Regardless of the stress I'm under, most days, I'm managing blessings." We tend to get so wrapped up in this American lifestyle where everything is so readily available and in over abundance. It's too easy here. Don't get me wrong, I love that about our country. BUT, I also can't help but think of my kids in another country where there is huge excitement if it rains once every few months. There is excitement when the Water Truck comes to bring them fresh water. I can't help think of all the children in orphanages who don't get held or hugged at all, while kids here pitch a fit if they can't play on their Wii or Xbox or iPad or iPhone or Ninetendo DS. I think about how kids in third world countries would love to have books while kids here have to be forced to read 20 minutes each night for homework. It weighs on me. But it's also such a great reminder that even the yucky stuff in our lives are incredible blessings in the big scheme of things. So this week I am satisfied with the blessings I am managing.

  • a great marriage...it can be trying at times, but I have the best husband ever who always makes everything right.. 
  • my weight/health...its a struggle, but I'm overweight because we have food in abundance and I'm thankful for food.
  • sickness...because unlike other places, we have medicine at every street corner 
  • sickness again because we also have a doc-in-the-box in every city...which I am headed to as soon as they open! 
  • my classroom...I have a job. A good one.
  • finances...we have budgets that include starbucks, netflix, the gym, "spending money", and clothes...I mean seriously?! We are so blessed.
  • group texting...it can be obnoxious when I am trying to nap or sleep, but then I look at my phone and I see the people I love so much all having a conversation.
  • group texting again...my phone went off 371 times yesterday but I loved it because a group of my friends were all sending compliments about each other. It was so uplifting and I am so grateful to have friends that do that
  • chic-fila...I actually don't stress about this at all, I just added it to the list because it's a blessing sent straight from God to His people. I am 100% sure God has single-handedly blessed every.single. chicken sandwich
  • air conditioning...at school and at home I feel like our air conditioners just don't keep me cool enough and it makes me so irritable. But then I remember we could live closer to the equator in a country where electricity is for the rich and air conditioners don't even exist. I'm such a brat to complain about it being 73 degrees in the house when I would rather it be 70. 73 is such a blessing.
  • our house and all the things we are having to fix...we have a dadgum house!
  • my shoes that are falling apart...oh wait, I have 50 other pairs of shoes to choose from
  • my black skinny jeans are all faded (this literally upset me this week)...I guess I could wear one of the other 20 pairs of pants I own
  • adoption...I will gripe and cry about this whole thing, but in the end, I am bringing home two CHILDREN who get to have forever homes, forever parents, forever siblings, forever grandparents, forever aunts and cousins and uncles, and then I remember this stress is a blessing. Two little blessings.
There are so many more things that bless us daily and this week I got that great reminder about how all my stresses really are blessings. Who am I to stress and worry about what God has given me? However, you may still see me crying and stressing over the adoption. If you do, kindly remind me to put my big girl panties on and get over it. 

Monday, August 17, 2015

One Million Jillion

School has started and I am 100% overwhelmed with learning 49 new names, faces, stories, and modes of transportation. But beyond the stress, there is something refreshing and satisfying about the beginning of a new school year. All the pencils are sharpened and my library is nice and neat and everything is in pristine condition. Then I remember that these kids are strangers and they don’t know me. They are 49 little strangers all up in my bizz-nazz. They don’t understand my humor, my jokes, or all the quirky things about me (Like don’t bother me while I eat chocolate pudding at lunch). They don’t know that I like talking to myself. They don’t know I trip and fall a lot or that I run into things. They don’t realize that I am adopting two kids.

So I sat there today just staring at them. Waiting. Waiting for one of them to say something funny or cute or wonderful like my students did last year. Nothing happened. Nobody said anything. One kid told me I was his favorite teacher that he’s ever switched classes with. That was nice. Then he told me I was the ONLY teacher he’d ever switched classes with. So there it is. I’m his favorite only switch teacher. That kinda satisfies me.

I guess I will wait patiently for them to “get me.” I am getting good at this whole patience thing (Husband JJ would disagree). We have been doing lots of waiting. Waiting and waiting while my kids sit in Honduras away from us. The thought of my two kids engulfs my brain. It’s almost torture to think of them and not be able to see them or hold them. I’ve thought of this on my drive to work every morning these past 4 days. AND then, as if on cue, God reminds me of this song called, “Waiting Here for You” by Jesus Culture. Here are the lyrics that spoke to me this week…

If faith can move the mountains
Let the Mountains move
We come with expectation
We're waiting here for You
I'm Waiting here for You


You are everything You promised
Your faithfulness is true
And we're Desperate for Your presence
All we need is You


Waiting here for you
With our hands lifted high in praise
And it's You we adore
Singing Hallelujah

What I feel like God is saying to me is that it’s okay to wait and while I wait, I’ll lift my hands and praise. This big awesome Father has got this under control. I come with high expectations and then I wait. I am desperate and I see now that in my desperation, I seek Him more. I thought I was desperate for our children, but I am just desperate for God’s presence. So I am pulling up a comfy chair and a snuggie blanket and some Doritos and I will wait. I will sit here in God’s presence. I will sit here with faith one million jillion times bigger than a mustard seed and enjoy the view of God moving our adoption mountains. I will sit here and listen to my worship music. I will lift my hands out of my bag of Doritos and praise Him. I will sit here and adore Him. I will sit here with the knowledge that His faithfulness is true. I will sit here and wait. I will sit here and enjoy the show. And this satisfies me exponentially.





Sunday, July 26, 2015

I Have This Selfie


I accomplished a couple of important goals on Saturday. 3 to be exact…

1.      Lead a small group

2.      Run a 5k in under 35 minutes (I did it in 28!!)

3.      To feel comfortable in my own skin

This summer my sweet friend Julie J. asked me to co-lead a small group of women. We would be following the ‘Couch to 5k’ plan and ending the semester with a race. I knew leading a small group was a goal of mine, so I decided God was giving me a door I should walk through. I am so glad I did. I met some wonderful Godly women who struggled along with me while running in this Alabama heat and sometimes in the rain. It also held me accountable during my prayer time to lift up every single lady in our group and their needs.


Saturday was race day and I spent the morning working in the yard. The sun decided to shine in all its glory during those couple of hours and IT. WAS. HOT.

 So, I threw off my shirt and worked in my sports bra and shorts. WAIT A SEC. Let me say that again. I THREW OFF MY SHIRT AND WORKED IN A SPORTS BRA. In my neighborhood, where people could see me! So here’s a confession… when I started working out, almost 4 years ago, I envied the girls who could workout with no shirt and feel 100% okay with the way they looked. It was a goal I set for myself. Not to be skinny, not to be a body builder, not to be “hot stuff”, but to feel good and strong as a female. On Saturday, July 25th, I reached that moment. It was liberating. I looked up into the sky and thanked God for what he had helped me do.  I also texted my trainer and thanked him for pushing me and I took a selfie.


Working out can be such a vain business and the selfie felt kinda vain, but I took it as a reminder to keep on going. With that said, working out can also be a spiritual business. I have been on the treadmill and spent that time praying instead of time spent on Facebook or Pinterest. I have listened to worship music while working out. I have spent a lot of time during class at the gym fellowshipping with my Christian friends. We discuss sermons, books, blogs, scripture, podcasts, and struggles. I have cried at the gym and been consoled. I have been humbled at the gym. I have given and taken Godly advice at the gym. I’ve been encouraged and helped to encourage others (Yes, Nicole, you can do that one-legged squat!)


I think God put me here in this place, once again, to help me grow. So, yes, I am posting my selfie and showing people what I always try to hide out of shame. But this time, I am proud. I am proud of the self-discipline it takes to work-out every day. I am proud of the temple God has allowed me to have. I am proud of the hard work my God-Momma JT has been putting into me to make sure I never feel negatively about myself. I am proud that God is changing my way of thinking about myself and others while working out. I am proud of the balance in my life between body and spirit. This world is so carnal and materialistic and it’s so easy as women to get wrapped up in it. But…when I strengthen my spirit as well as my physical being, I feel like I am in a win-win situation. I feel prepared for anything God calls me to do. I don’t feel as easily swayed to give in to my bodily temptations anymore. I am trying to stay attractive for my JJ. I want to be ready to set a good example for my little Honduran babies. An example that states, “Hard work pays off and God gives me that strength and through Him, I can do anything (even 50 burpees).”


God gives me strength to keep going when the workout feels like death is upon me. God gave me the patience when I felt like I need automatic results. God gave me the right people to encourage me, yell at me, and convince me I wasn’t dying. It’s been a long, gradual uphill climb to get to this place. I still have a lot more goals to reach. But for now I have this small victory behind me. For now I have this selfie.

With this selfie, and the accomplishment of reaching goal #3, I am satisfied.

 

P.S.

I’m also satisfied with workout memes…





 

Sunday, July 19, 2015

I'm Drowning, Y'all.


I started the week off with some crazy news that sent my head spinning. The kind of news that told me I would be a momma to a biological child. The kind of news that told me no matter how careful Husband JJ and I are, if God has a plan, it’s happening with or without us! The kind of news that made me cry and laugh and freak out all at the same time. I thought about what a comedian God was. What a sense of humor?! BUT, as the story has gone for me in the past, it didn’t work out. God decided that at 5.5 weeks, he had a different plan for me. Again.

I share this for a few reasons and a few not-reasons. I am NOT sharing this for pity. I am NOT sharing it for attention. I am NOT sharing because I’m brave. I am sharing because I’ve learned that sharing my story allows others to open up. I am sharing because God shows his glorious face in my life at crazy times. Usually in my darkness. And sometimes, people need to remember that. Sometimes I need to remember that.

The whole situation was not an ugly one as it has been in the past. Maybe because we are mid-adoption. Maybe because I have grown in Christ. Maybe because I kinda asked for this and it was time to step up. I remembered that when I first started desiring the idea of becoming a Christian, the song Oceans by Hillsong United was THE song on the radio. I would blare it and sing. I would sing these lyrics for the whole next year as loud as I could…

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise my soul will rest in your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

 


I remember being in my car one day and allowing the lyrics to permeate me to my core. I was begging for God to use me. To take me to a place where my trust had no borders. I wanted to walk out in complete faith. I was begging God to take me deeper than I could ever walk on my own. I begged that the only thing to keep me strong would be my faith and God’s embrace.

 

Goodness gracious, WHAT WAS I THINKING?! It’s a beautiful song, but why was I begging for God to take me to such a scary place? I was asking for God to keep my eyes above the waves while he practically drowns me in deep waters and the only thing giving me air in my lungs was faith. DUDE!! That’s terrifying. But I immersed myself in that song and pleaded for God to use me.

 

So, He brought along more miscarriages and he brought along adoption. At times, I am drowning, y’all.  I’m drowning when the nurse calls to tell me that I will miscarry for a 4th time. I am drowning as I sit on the front porch of my momma’s house letting the nurses words sink in again. I am drowning as I try to walk into the kitchen and put on a brave face so nobody sees that I’ve been crying. I am drowning as my mom says, “What’s wrong? Talk to momma.”
 

But as I am drowning, God reaches into the waters and pulls me out just enough and breathes air into my lungs.

 

He shows me a mom who hugs me through my tears. There’s a breath.

He shows me a dad who lets me lie with him on the recliner like I did when I was a kid. There’s a breath.

He shows me a husband who talks me down and tells me it’s going to be okay. There’s a breath.

He shows me two angels in Honduras who need me and I need them. There’s a breath.

He shows me a group of friends who pray over me, check on me, and talk with me. There’s a breath.

He shows me a God-momma who sends me a devotional to read. There’s a breath.

He shows me a sweet friend who says she has a book about adoption for me to read. There’s a breath.

He gives me a week with the best family in the world. There’s a breath.


 

Before I know it, I am full of oxygen. My eyes are barely above the waves, but I am still alive. I am a part of a plan. A plan in the great unknown.  A plan to prosper me and to never harm me.  A plan of adoption. A plan to be a mommy, just not yet.

 

God reminded me over and over this week to be still and trust in Him. So I am going to be still and rest in His embrace. And I refuse to drown.
 
 

Sunday, June 28, 2015

It Just So Happened


 


I smiled as I left church today with the thought of how I came to be living in that specific moment. I had this thought of how things just happened and brought me to this very spot. This week I am satisfied with the phrase “it just so happened”

·         It just so happened that I stayed in an 8 year relationship that was unhealthy for the both parties involved, but led me to meeting my JJ…so I don’t regret a thing about it. 

·         It just so happened that through the 8 year relationship I met some friends in college who would help me alter the course of my life by a small trip to the casino.

·         It just so happened my girlfriends and I sat at the same blackjack table as my JJ and we met for the first time.