I’m Never Satisfied

A funny thing about the fitness community’s pictures is that they don’t just look slim and muscular, they also have incredible hair, perfect make up and a remarkably flawless complexion.

A few weeks ago I bought some new clothes (which was necessary since I felt like my other ones were a little big on me), tried some new eye liner, and stressed about whether or not to cut my hair (but didn’t).

I realized what was happening. I had started to see results in an area that I thought would bring me happiness – weight loss. And instead that drove me further over the edge of dissatisfaction.

There is a funny portion of scripture in Proverbs that talks about some things that are never satisfied.

The leech has two suckers that cry out, “More, more!” There are three things that are never satisfied—no, four that never say, “Enough!”:

the grave, the barren womb, the thirsty desert, the blazing fire.

Proverbs 30:15-16

It hit me that “image” or the world’s standard of beauty can be like a thirsty desert. It always wants more. Just when you think you’ve attained something, you’re dry again and chasing after what you will never catch.

Ecclesiastes 1 offers a melodramatic account as well.

Everything is wearisome beyond description. No matter how much we see, we are never satisfied. No matter how much we hear, we are not content.

No matter what I see in the mirror, no matter how much praise I might receive, or how great my husband tells me I look, I AM NOT CONTENT!

Why is that? 

Because we are chasing the wind. Something impossible. There will never be this moment of satisfaction.

HOW DEPRESSING.

When I realized that I would never be happy, I said to God

“Lord, you have to show me my beauty. You have got to show me through your eyes because I don’t want to live in a state of selfish seeking.”

The weeks that followed were interesting. Almost embarrassing.

I was cleaning my house and I stood up and caught sight of a gorgeous smile in the mirror that stopped me in my tracks.

It was mine.

I feel like blushing just saying that. But I truly didn’t recognize myself in that moment. God gave me his eyes for a second. Eyes that weren’t judging, comparing or contrasting.

Little moments like this kept happening. Out of no where my kids came up to me and gently said how beautiful they thought I was while I was sitting there make up-less in my pajamas.

But the big one was on my birthday. I got a text from a friend who pretty much exposed everything in my heart. She said exactly what I had been feeling for weeks.

“Happy Birthday beautiful friend. I hope you know you’re beautiful. You’ve shared about your fitness journey this past year. I know that you know fitness is about being healthy and well. But I hope as you have journeyed to get fit that you haven’t felt the need to get “more beautiful”. Don’t know if that makes sense. You are so gorgeous.”

Oh did that make sense. I was a wreck. That came from her, but honestly, it was straight from the heart of God to me for that day. 

Please don’t think you will ever attain your imagination of beauty. It will never be satisfied. It will never say “enough”.

Ask Jesus to show you your beauty. You will be shocked at the beauty within you. Not vain, conceited, jealous beauty. No, it will be life giving, bright light shining, hoping inspiring beauty.

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{It is hugely for this girl that I battle for my confidence in Christ.}

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Baby Hope

You know when you have a dream that feels so big, it feels like it can never happen.

That’s where I am at with our adoption dream tonight.

Honestly, I’m not actually “ready” for another baby yet. Sometimes I freak myself out thinking that we actually told God “yes” to this call.

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It wasn’t until Eli was almost one that God reminded me of HIS call to take care of orphans.

Even just typing it out gives me conflicting emotions. It seems so overwhelming but so incredible. The opportunity to really “do for one what we wish we could do for everyone.” 

Caleb asks me about our baby sometimes. Where they will come from, what gender they will be (although Amayah is believing for a sister), what colour their skin, hair or eyes might be?

Each time I kiss Eli’s baby skin I wonder if my next baby will be older or younger then he currently is when they arrive to us.

The unknown can feel so beautifully haunting.

As I often do when I feel discouraged in where God has us on this journey, I looked at some adoption quotes and verses, just to remind myself of of His heart for the babies who are without family.

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When God starts to break you, he does it so deeply and wonderfully. I have never been an animal person, not ever. But suddenly if you put the word “orphan” before any living creature I well up with tears.

That’s so Jesus. 

A similar “breaking” happened when the Lord woke me up and told me we needed to move to Kipling to pastor. I had NEVER wanted to move back to my small town.

But God broke out hearts and we had an intense, burning passion to move and continue the good work.

Suddenly it looked like it wouldn’t work out and I said to God “why would you break my heart for something that wouldn’t come to pass?”

That’s when I felt a deep assurance that he would not deeply break me for something he didn’t need me to act on.

That situation felt so big, but nothing compares to adoption. That was just a picture of what I’m believing for now.

I daily remind myself of the words a wise friend spoke over me:

God cannot be delayed. And God cannot be rushed.

What are you believing for? Declare with me tonight that HIS timing is the PERFECT timing

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Four Years Ago Today

I love my “on this day” app for Facebook. This whole week has been flooded with memories from the past 8 years of getting ready for an awesome youth retreat that I’ve had a the privilege for by involved in for thirteen years.

So many of my posts are encouraging people to pray for retreat, excitement for the weekend to arrive and good reports of healing and miracles during the event.

Then there was one post from this day four years ago that really pulled on my heart.

I’m having my first major time when I realize I can’t just do whatever I want now since I’m a mom. It’s happened before, but never to the same extent as since Youth Retreat prep and now the retreat itself is going to begin. It’s a new season for us. Thankfully we’ll still be involved, it just definitely looks way different than in all the years past. Caleb’s so worth it though!

I threw the “Caleb’s so worth it” part in at the end to not sound like a bad mom, and I did believe it, but I remember how deep my pain really was.

This weekend was so monumental for my spiritual growth in high school and when I then got to be involved in putting it on it was like a dream come true to have the chance to give this experience to other kids.

And when it looked like I couldn’t do it anymore, my heart was broken. Motherhood was such a beautiful gift, except when it took away something I was deeply passionate about.

Well, that was four years ago, and today my emotions were definitely engaged because this year I have the deep priviledge and incredible honour of being the evening speakers for the retreat alongside my husband.

So in the midst of my nervousness for this weekend, and great sense of awe that we are actually speaking at this event that was so instrumental in my life…I am encourage today by the unfailing promises of the Lord.

I remember my pastor praying over me after I had Caleb and saying “the Lord put fire in your bones, he’s not done with you.”

It felt different in that season four years ago, and yes, it was so worth it. But he has been faithful to fulfill the desires deep in my heart that he has placed there.

I pray for you today, that where you feel your dreams are broken, or laying dormant, that you would be faithful to keep walking with Jesus. Do not give up. Don’t think about giving up. Not ever. BECAUSE at the time right time, these things will come to pass and you will reap a harvest for the Kingdom of God!

So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
Galatians 6:9

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Last year around youth retreat! No more newborn 😦 

Sunday Meltdown

Sundays are hard. I don’t know what it is about the after church crash for our family that always turns our house squirrelly.

We have a bit of a plan for Sunday afternoons and evenings to help ease the chaos, but it always seems to spiral out of control from over tired, socially drained kids.

My ears are still ringing. I didn’t know a child could scream as loud as I heard Caleb scream tonight. Over a bath toy. Or something. I couldn’t quite understand between the hitting, punching, yelling and crying.

I’m sure our neighbours thought he fell and broke his leg, or worse.

My two and half years old sweetheart dressed like an adorable little Minnie Mouse called me a “stupid mom” today.

She’s not a bad girl, only copying what she’s heard.

Yes, I admit it. Four and a half years into parenting and I still say the word stupid.

These are the days where it can be easy to believe the lie that I am a bad mom.

A friend once told me to look at myself through the lens of how I’m doing on a good day, when I’ve had sleep and when I’m feeling on top of my game.

That has stuck with me because it helps me to remember that I DO love my children deeply, I am good at listening to them, at caring for them, at speaking good words of life over them, at teaching them, at praying for them and at holding them tightly when they feel overwhelmed.

In the midst of making supper tonight I stopped at my cupboard where I had a verse written down from a friend. It said:

The Lord is my strength and shield.
    I trust him with all my heart.
He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy.
    I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.

Psalm 28:7

I hadn’t noticed those three precious words in the middle: He helps me.

Those words are like the deepest exhale for the soul.

He helps me. 

I’m not walking this journey alone. He helps me. With him, I can do it.

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How is my baby 1 on Wednesday?!

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Love her face here! She is so funny!

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This boy. No one sends me for an emotional roller coaster like him. The firstborn of two firstborns. So strong, so determined!

One Year From Now

Last year at this time I was eight months pregnant, almost immobile and extremely frustrated.

I hate feeling crippled by anything, and without much use of my left leg, still with all day sickness and other baby related ailments, I felt trapped in my own body.

It was this beautiful autumn time of year. The leaves were changing colours and I couldn’t even drink a pumpkin spice latte without wanting to throw up (and if you know me, that’s crazy.)

I felt like I was missing out on my favourite season of the year and that my pregnant state was robbing me of all that beauty.

One evening that I would have loved to have been out for a walk I looked at my husband and said “September 2015 is going to be my fall. I will be mobile, I will go for walks, I play in the leaves with the kids and I will drink pumpkin spice everything. The kids should be sleeping decently, and I will be walking out many of my dreams!”

Hard to believe a year has passed since I made that audacious statement. I was feeling aggravated by something the other day and I suddenly remembered what I said.

“September 2015 is doing to be my fall.”

Just remembering those powerful words I released seemed to spark a renewal in me to press on through the hard days.

I was suddenly thankful for my non-pregnant body, although not in the shape I maybe had hoped for yet, is still extremely mobile, and definitely not held back.

Each cup of steaming coffee that hasn’t made me nauseous feels like a new gift.

My nights aren’t what I expected by this point, I’m awake way more than I think I should be, but in general I have the energy I was longing, no, desperate for at this time last year.

It’s funny what just one year can do.

Think about a situation that’s really pulling you down. 

What could it be like in one year? What positive steps could you make today to be in a better place in that area one year from now?

Sometimes one year brings growth, and other times one year brings pain.

September of 2013 was also a fall I would like to forget, stuck in a terrible season of a colicky baby, way harder than anything I have faced since getting married. The year before that I wouldn’t have imagined the hardships that were coming.

I don’t know what another year will bring, or what will be happening in September 2016, but I do know that I want to position myself right now to have the best year possible!

Speak words of life over your situation today, that when the seasons change again you won’t be held down by the things that are stopping you now. Declare health and strength over your body and over your family.

Be encouraged today that one year from now, everything could be different.12047368_10156022065185431_882942097_n

{Two years ago this girlie just screamed all the time. She LOVES going for walks now.}12047732_10156022066755431_459767635_n

{the kiddos and their cake pops, while I drank my first pumpkin spice latte of 2015}

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{This guy is in school two mornings a week now.}

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{My baby. So grateful that he’s safely on the outside of my body. So much love for this bear.}

I am busy doing a great thing!

I am in the middle of a busy week. Like a really big week. The kind of week that if you aren’t organized with food, childcare and clean clothes, your kids will be starving, naked and alone and you won’t know which direction you’re supposed to be headed!

We don’t live like this all the time, but there are some moments in life that are more like “sprints”. We run hard and fast for a short amount of time, then the whole family gasps wildly at the finish line to catch our breath.

It’s in these times that my anxiety can get the best of me. I can get overwhelmed and question whether we should be doing what we are doing. Did we pack our schedule too full? Will the kids forgive us for this kind of push? Will they grow up to hate being “pastor’s kids”? 

But like I said, we don’t live like this all the time and when we do, we have heard from God on it. Clearly.

There is a story in the Bible of a leader who had to rally his people to work together to rebuild the wall that surrounded their city.

Without this wall they were completely open to attack and they could have all been killed.

For fifty two days, they lived one of those “sprint” moments, where it was all hands on deck to get this massive job done.

There was great opposition, and their enemies made fun of them saying they could never complete the task that was too big for their insignificant numbers.

But guess what? The Lord of Heaven’s Armies HIMSELF helped them to get the job done miraculously, giving them the strength, courage and favour they needed!

There is an incredible verse in the midst of this story of Nehemiah that speaks to my heart during “sprint” times like these.

Nehemiah’s enemies were plotting to harm him and stop the rebuilding of the wall.

This was his audacious statement:

“I am doing a great work, so that I cannot come down. Why should the work cease while I leave it and go down to you?” (Nehemiah 6:3)

There are so many things that try to pull me to come down to a level of discouragement and negativity when I am in the middle of a great work!

But why should the Lord’s great work he has commissioned me to do, be put on hold because of the enemies tactic to distract me from?

May the lies of the enemy be silenced and the tactics that aim to pull us off course be seen for what they are – schemes to disrupt the great work God has for you – and may you BOLDLY be an example to those around you in not giving up soon what the Lord has called you to do!

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This sign sits in our kitchen and reminds us to be radical for the Lord!

Which voice do I listen to?

“STOP KICKING YOUR SISTER!!!!”

Our drive home from camp was disappointing. I was sure they were all going to sleep after an exhausting week. Once the two younger ones fell asleep, Caleb was not cooperative with letting them rest.

Amayah was woken up way too early, and the fighting began much too far from home for my liking.

By the millionth time telling them to keep their hands to themselves, I started listing off what they would lose if they didn’t listen.

Caleb was distraught.

“My brain is telling me to mean to my sister, but God is telling me to be nice to her. I don’t know which one to do.”

Andrew and I looked at each other.

“Romans 7.” my husband says smiling.

“I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord.” Romans 7:21-25a

Oh my son, do I understand this struggle. The two choices, doing good and evil, and the battle to choose what is right.

Hearing Caleb say this in such a simplistic way increased my compassion for him.

He is trying. 

It isn’t easy for our kids to choose right. They are in a battle too.

In that moment, I recognized that part of my job is to help my kids understand that they will continue to to struggle with the power sin, but that there is one person, Jesus Christ who has the power to free them.

I pray my kids grow up knowing that “though our sins are like scarlet, He will make them white as snow”, and always feel they can crawl back to Jesus regardless of what they have done.

May we listen to the gentle nudge of the Holy Spirit telling us what is His good, pleasing and perfect will, and be an example to our little people that they can choose to follow God’s voice too.

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Best friends most of the time, enemies only some of the time.

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