Chronicling The Comerfords

Sunday, April 29, 2018

It's Tricky

I was texting with a friend today who lives entirely too far away and I miss dearly.  She said "How are you? How are your sweet babies and your precious husband?"  Sidenote: don't you love friends who build you up for more than you are?  Here in the south we are good at that.

I had a response and I deleted it.  My go to answer lately has been "it's SO hard" or "this is a tough season!" or sometimes I get real classy and respond with "This just sucks and I'm sick of it!" But honestly, the negativity I speak over my family on a regular basis is getting on my nerves. I'm sick of listening to myself. Lord help the people around me! Yes, this is a hard season but we have seen the Lord move mountains over and over again. What I'm realizing is the things of this earth are hard but as they are increasing so is the ease of depending on the Lord. And the more we cry out, the more He answers and our faith is building daily. What sucks about that?!

I am spending as much time as I can journaling all these little moments because they are too good to forget. But in all the things of life, at some point they may seem too little to remember. I don't journal as much as I would like but I need to get better.  I love going back and looking at trials and answered prayers, it's an instant faith booster.  The thought of that is actually what re-birthed this blog.


I just spent about 7 months going very slowly through all the details of the book of Acts.  Paul!  He suffered so well! I'm good at using my trials to encourage others and bring God glory... once they are over!  But in the middle of the storm I tend to hull up at home because there isn't much about this attitude that brings glory to anyone!  Blah! What spoke to me louder than anything else in the book is Acts 27:25-26

I knew when I couldn't let it go that this needed to be a verse that I had to imprint on my heart.  I put it on my car dash, my kitchen window and my bathroom mirror.


Then one of my sweet friends made me this water color art because she is PRECIOUS! It is now framed next to my coffeepot.  Because coffee and Jesus!  Can I get an amen?!

The Lord told Paul he would go to Rome and he never doubted Him!  This is from my journal on 4/12/18:
Life is hard. It is busier than I want it to be. But what to give up? I am short with my kids because I am tired and discouraged and not in your word. I just listened to three mini sermons on social media (it's not all bad) and Steven Furdick was saying "our attitude sometimes will not limit the presence of God but it will limit us from experiencing the presence of God." Then the next sermon was talking about a girl being so bold that she called out her fathers promises to herself, to her friends and she even reminded her father of the promise he made her.
I have not been in the word as much as I want to be and I'm taking it out on and blaming my kids. Priscilla Shirer reminds me in her words that you HAVE to be in the word, especially in hard seasons. Its better to have one verse on your heart for an entire week than to listen to someone else's sermon on what the Lord has done in their life.  Hear what he has for you!
I read a little this morning and Acts 27:25 reads "For I have faith in God that it will be exactly as I have been told." Believe in the promises your God has told you! I have a feeling in my spirit that the Lord is going to do something mighty with our business. The Lord called us to C12 and he will use it! The God that brings dead people to life can and will resurrect all things including our business! But why don't I have this peace and confidence in my parenting? Because I haven't involved Jesus into that space. I haven't given my kids over to him.  I haven't cried out for help from him in the storms of parenting. Jesus you know these children better than I do. You love them more than I do. You love me! Bring peace into our house. Give me time in my day for you and convict me to use it wisely. Use it for me to grow closer to you. To have more confidence in your abilities and to have a better sense of your presence. And help me to remember that as in vs 26 "But we must run aground some island." Islands, they feel off track, alone and scary, but you are still there and are still working on getting me closer to the promise you have for me.

Honestly, that morning blew my mind and I knew I had to share it with Ben when he got home. But they day got in the way and I was a miserable mess that afternoon!  If satan is not running rampant in your house, bless you! But also, if you haven't heard from him in a while I might question whether you are a threat to him? No offense, just suggesting a little personal inventory check.

Well, the next morning at 9:49 I got a text from a lady at our church.  A lady who knows our family but has no idea whatsoever of any struggles or trials we may be having. The text said
Good morning Nicole! I'm not exactly sure what this is about, but God gave me a dream last night. It was about y'alls business. I woke up and began interceding for y'all. I think God wants you to know He is with you and right on top of this "whatever this is...maybe my dream was just to serve as reassurance from our loving Father). Love y'all!
WHAT?!  I called Ben immediately and shared with him all the things!!  All the ways God has been speaking to me over the last 48 hours and we were both stunned. Also, why do things like this surprise us?  We profess to serve a living and loving father and then when He shows out we are all like "Really?! I didn't know you could do that!" We are crazy humans!

And then life got tricky again but God is still showing up and speaking to me in quiet whispers and big ways.  We were working in the yard this weekend and I was going around picking roses from all of Ben's grandma's flowers to put around the house.  When I was in the backyard I noticed there was a rose bloom on the arbor that is over our swing
It dawned on me that we moved out here five years ago this month.  Five years ago I moved out of town to this property kicking and screaming and over five years, the Lord has softened my heart and has made this place my home.
Even though you will hear me fussing all week long about how I do nothing but drive back and forth into town. Ugh!  That is still a struggle and probably always will be.
But for five years I have been nurturing that little rose vine Grandma planted that lives in the shade.  Pruning and feeding it rose food, begging it to bloom and take over that arbor.  And this weekend one little pale pink rose bloomed. Five years of obedience for one beautiful bloom.

Acts 27 came to mind again. A sweet little reminder that we will get to Rome as well.  Whatever "Rome" is for me and whatever "Rome" is for you. Paul knew without a doubt that he was called to Rome but he had to go through many trials and many stops before he got there. But even in the pauses and on the islands or in the prisons, he still had faith that his God was going to do as He promised. That one bloom is my reminder that I serve the same God as Paul. And so do you!  Our God works all things together for good, we just have to be patient while he works.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

He Is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!

Easter! It is my favorite holiday! Partly because it is in my most favorite time of the year.  I LOVE springtime.  I get winter blues in a pretty bad way so I welcome any signs of new life (even with all of the pollen it brings with it.)  Give me all the warm weather, allergies and all... I will suffer for your beauty and warm temperatures.

In my Bible Study we are going through a very detailed account of Acts.  We started in September and are now in chapter 26.  It's no coincidence that this week's verses included  questions like "Think about the resurrection of Jesus as if for the first time. Does resurrection seem incredible? Explain." "Read 1 Corinthians 15:20-23 and Colossians 1:18. Comment on the fact that Jesus was the first person resurrected who did not die again." "Now think about the various aspects of God's nature. Is resurrection an impossibility when one considers God's omnipotence, creative ability, justice, etc? Read Luke 18:27."

My answer to the first question was "Yes! And ridiculous!" It's ok to admit that.  When you admit that the resurrection sounds humanly impossible, you are acknowledging the power of God.  If you think about the resurrection and the story of Jesus long enough it sounds like the craziest storybook tell you've ever heard. Why?  Because nothing like it has ever happened.  But isn't that the way God always is?  How many things in your life has happened in a way that left you thinking "what in the world? How did that happen?!" God works in the impossible.  That is where He likes to show up and set up camp.

Our Easter service was titled the [Un]Expected Jesus. Also, stop now and go watch this video!  True and Better We talked about how Mary didn't realize it was Jesus speaking to her in the garden at the empty tomb. Many scholars discuss why this could have been but our pastor gave a strong assumption.... "could it have been because she was too focused on the worldly things around her to remember the things He promised?" (my words but the summary I took from his sermon) It was told that he would die and live again.  But did even the people closest to Him believe that He could really do it? Probably not. Their earthly surroundings looked pretty scary and bleak. Its a good story, but even for the God of miracles, this was a big one.  But He did!  And I hear you say, Well it's easier for their faith because they along with over 500 others actually saw Him. Ok.  But have you never seen Him?  If you are a believer (or I would bet even if you are not) you have had Jesus encounters many, many times. He showed up in big ways in my life in July 1997, February 1998, October 2014 and countless other days and moments of my life.

Here is the thing about Christianity and Jesus, either it is all real or none of it is real. How can you praise and thank God in the victories but doubt him in all of the silent Saturdays and storms. (I do it too, but let's make a pact to try not to. deal?!) I'm just guessing that the time between the crucifixion and the resurrection seemed like a really long time.  But God was still at work and He still is.  Every single aspect of my life is not amazing right now but our God still is! And that is worth celebrating every year, every day!

HE IS RISEN and summer is on it's way. It's the happiest time of the year! Not to mention the lake and swimming pools and dinner on the patio and bright clothes and swimming suits and flip flops for the next 6 months.


 
Look at these babies!  
See my instagram page for the behind the scenes video! ha!

I love these people more than I ever thought I could love anything!
I read a post Sunday from one of the most precious 
accounts I follow @hishandshisfeethisheart that said 
"We get dressed up all fancy to hide the truth of what Christ already won - our need to be rescued! It is finished!" Yes!  
The pictures and social media feeds are beautiful and funny and sometimes envious 
but never lose the truth of your need for a savior!

This boy!  He is the busiest thing I've ever seen! He stinks, he is sticky, he makes
me scream and cuss and cry but OH isn't he cute?! Sometimes I feel like we were
made to be God's own little sitcom of mishaps, drama and full on entertainment! If anyone wants to film us, we are for hire. You just have to sign a contractual agreement saying you will not call DFACS due to anything you see going on or not going on in our house! Kidding! Kind of...

Saturday, March 24, 2018

No Spend 'Til May!

I have posted a couple of times on My Instagram page about our No Spend 'Til May challenge and every time I get a personal message saying "tell me about what you are doing." "what exactly does this mean?"

First I would love to say that we just wanted to tighten up and were convicted to spend less but that's not the case. We run a small for-profit business that is not quite YET the most profitable. We are confident that it will be, we just aren't exactly where we want to be at this time.  That being said, Uncle Sam disagrees and we are going to have to pay taxes.  I am not the money person in our house so I'm not going to try and explain everything I don't understand but we got bills to pay and numbers seem like they aren't going to add up without us getting whoa tight! And let's mention that other than a business loan, we don't have a lot of debt.  No car payments, no credit cards... so where to cut?  I have joked for years that we $20-$50 ourselves to death.  Tops at Target, rounds of golf, after church gut filler at Arby's because we don't want to eat a sandwich.  So we are on a quest to see how much we can save if we spend some time only buying what is a need. "Nicole, those really cute $4 earrings at Walmart is not a need!" Having 3 young children, Easter baskets are a need so if you have any fun, low cost ideas let me know!

It can be very frustrating, and defeating if you aren't careful, when you feel that you are doing your best to live a life of obedience and know without a doubt that you are doing what the Lord called you to do but life still seems to be working against you.

 But what keeps ringing in my head over, and over, and over again is 1 Peter 5:7 "Casting all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you."

The first part of that verse was a lifeline for me for over a year in a season of uncontrollable panic attacks.  Sidenote: looking back on that season and seeing how far I've come still amazes me.  If you are currently in a struggle outside of your control, lean in and hold on. It's a season and it will pass.
The part that has been ringing in my ears over the past week is "He cares for you."

Care: verb 1. feel concern or interest; attach importance to something. 2. look after and provide for the needs of.

There are many people I like and think of often.  There are many people we are called to love but to care has a whole different meaning to me. I would be devastated if anything happened to my children because I have been caring for them their whole lives.  I care enough about them to feed and nourish them.  But I also care if they are happy and loved and thriving.  I care enough about their hearts and the glimmer in their eyes to surprise them with popsicles after school because it brings them joy and that makes my heart nearly explode. Care.  The creator of the universe and the trees and the mountains cares for you.  He cares for all of your needs and your wants and the things on your heart that put a glimmer in your eye. He also knows what's best for you and when to hold back, but He is not a God who deprives.

On Monday's Amelia has young singers, on Tuesday Amelia has dance, Annie has nothing.  She loves time at home without "her boss" here to plan all the activities and games. Every now and then I try to do something with her to make it about her.  This week I got a notification that the precious people at Chick-fil-a had treated us to a Frosted Sunrise! "Annie, would you like to go get a milkshake?" "YES!"
We ended up spilling it all over the car. But as I mentioned above, our car is old so whatevs.
And we still had plenty to drink.
If you don't have the Chickfila One app, you are crae! It is the best!

Then, we got the sweetest surprise in the form of a date night when we referred a client to a friend for a business need. Last night we were able to enjoy Longhorn and babysitting without costing us a thing! Steaks, dessert, grownup conversation on a Friday night....YES!
HE CARES FOR US!


Also, this week my parents and 2 friends have brought us dinner.  2 friends, out of the blue that know I hate cooking and who are both amazing cooks. And my mom who loves me the most.  This is such a simple act but having 3 dinners prepared for you stretches your grocery budget in a big way!  I did have a friend message me saying "This makes me mad at my friends. You always get meals!" HA!  I really do.  And there are no words to show my appreciation. There really is not! I have a kid that hates sleep and therefore is grumpy, one that is struggling with homework and another that sits in the middle and wants to snuggle. Cooking is my least favorite thing to do with no drama in our house, muchless right now with all this nonsense. (Is it summer yet? Give me all the slow, boring days of summer with no schedule)  There really isn't a better way to love me. That being said I responded with "You just need to complain more. And wear a face that looks as if you may be your very own episode of Snapped at any minute." This is also true.

I have no doubt that God surrounded us with the people He did on purpose for this season of life.  It is not coincidental that when you pray, "Lord, help us make wise decisions. Help make the budget work. Help us stay on the same page and not at each others throats during this season. Help us find nuggets of joy in this season." That he provides milkshakes, date nights, nights of homemade pizzas, dance parties and at home pedicures that bring more joy than we deserve.
Pizza Night & Dance Party!
He's cute!

He cares for us!  So, so, so much!  But don't be fooled!  Satan is prowling around like a lion and here's a few things he's using to try and cause me to stumble.....
How cute is this tshirt from thehomet?! 
Are you ready for The Masters? We are!

And how about this $17.00 dress from Walmart! (they are really stepping up their game!)
It looks to be the most comfy thing ever?
IT HAS POCKETS! 

Old Navy, will you send me this cute summer jumpsuit?
I'm too tall for Rompers. And since my rearend and thighs tend to
stay the same no matter how much I exercise, they have no business hanging out of things. 
But these wide leg capris have me drooling!

We aren't even going to speak of the Lilly Pulitzer home line at Pottery Barn...
Because I will probably cuss.


Not today Satan! Not today. Or tomorrow either! I am afraid I'm going to need all the prayers I can get and the entire Full Armor of God to get through though.  You got this! Right?! Please tell me I got this! HA!


Also, as I type this Seasons by Hillsong is playing on my You Tube station 

Your the God of seasons
And I'm just in a winter
If all I know of harvest
Is that it's worth my patience
Then if You're not done working
God I'm not done waiting!

Maybe you need to hear it. It's good stuff!  This is a season and He hasn't failed us yet so I'm expectant and excited to see what He does.

Disclaimer: this is my blog and simply my story. It's not a cry for help or for sympathy. We aren't desolate, just in a trial and excited to see what God does through our obedience. What I loved most about blogging in the earlier season of our marriage was reading back through and seeing the victories.  I share for my own reading and in the hopes that it may encourage you on your journey. Nothing more.














Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Annie Elizabeth

{A little sheepish, but quite confident} “Mommy, you know I look prettier than you. (Momentary pause) But it’s only because you are in your pajamas.” I know you do. And it’s not just because of my pajamas. And thank you for humbling me before I’m even done with my coffee. Oh Annie, you are about my most favorite thing on earth! She doesn’t make her bed, she’s the biggest mess but she tells me she’s had the best day ever because I buy her ice cream. She hugs me and kisses my lips and tells me how much she loves me on a regular basis. She knows what’s important in life and I pray she always does! Her humor and love is 💯and I want to be more of what she is! Her words do make me nervous but she gets that honest! 


I wrote this post a few weeks back. Annie!  She's named after me and many of her great and great-great grandmothers and she has all of their personalities wrapped up into one little body. And I LOVE IT!

This morning as I was blow drying her hair and then grabbed the toothpaste for her that she couldn't quite reach she said "hehe.  It's kind of like you are my maid." Amazingly enough I had the restraint not to pop her on the head with a hairbrush! HA! It made me laugh, but I think it's because of who it came from. I could write a whole book on Annie-isms.

Sunday leaving church the girls were fighting over candy and I said "none of it is 'MINE'! Everything we have in this family we share whether we like it or not. Even me" Then Ben got all biblical and said "technically nothing we have is any of ours.  It all belongs to the Lord and He's allowing us to use it." And Annie said "Even your underwears?" To which the spiritual leader of our house said "no, probably not.  I don't think the Lord wants anything to do with my underwear!"  

I the middle of all kinds of chaos, this girl can bring so much joy.  She is by far my favorite kid in this season of life.  If you have multiple children and don't admit to having seasons of favorties, feel free to judge me or quit reading because you have agree whether you admit it outloud or not.  I have a baby that has sleep issues and a 8 year old that has homework.  In the middle I have the funniest kid with the biggest heart who is so stinking proud of herself because she just learned to read.  She is my favorite right now.

I say all of this because if you are having trouble sleeping and feel the need to reading my blog from 2012-2013ish you will see that this is also the kid that sent me straight over the edge.  It was also during her second year of life that I broke down and got a wee-bit of medicine so I didn't completely lose my mind.  And now! Look at her. I prayed and cried and cussed and prayed and cried and cussed some more and The Lord Heard My Cries!  (and my cuss and He loved me through it all! He knows I try.)

Every time I look at Will and wonder "What in the world? Why? What is wrong with this boy?"  And I pray for his health (not that I think he's not healthy, I'm just covering all bases), for him to have a sweet spirit, for him to have a calming presence that allows him to rest.  I know that the Lord will answer those prayers because He is good.  And He is faithful. And He will answer our cries in His time.  And in the meantime, in the middle of all the crazy and the waiting, He gives me precious reminder of his faithfulness and her name is Annie Elizabeth Comerford.

For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end - it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. Habakkuk 2:3

"Of all the things the Lord could use to humble you, He gave you 3 beautiful children."


Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Reckless Love

I first heard this song when the Passion Band performed it at Passion 2018 and I LOVED IT!  The words are so powerful. Truthfully it's been hard listening to it on the radio after first hearing it in a live worship experience.

We have been on winter break, with amazing spring time weather, which means I've been walking a fine line of letting my children have an absolute blast and not completely wearing myself out. I teetered over that line at one point and was D-O-N-E!  Done with all of the things and people. The worst thing you can do when you are defeated with life is get on social media and look at people's perfect little squares of life.  The ones where the moms make themed meals (or just cook in general) for their sweetly dressed children who are sitting nicely on stools at the beautiful, clean and custom built island.  Oh and Mom is wearing makeup, a cute outfit and even better shoes!  But that's where I went. 

A feed of normally really pretty squares I follow wrote these words "Every night after I tuck my kids in bed and watch them sleep I go sit in my bed and I think about all the things I did wrong as a mom that day...Being a mom is hard... most days I feel like I'm failing as a parent. Most days I'm exhausted beyond belief. Many days I want to cry and some days I do cry. Being a parent is also rewarding. There is a new Luke Bryan song that says "most mamas ought to qualify for sainthood." So here's to all us Moms just doing our best trying to raise happy and well balanced kids. It ain't an easy job but nothing worthwhile is." WHAT?!?! Are you reading my mind?  Why aren't we friends in real life?? I mean obviously I'm small minded because if you have on pretty clothes, your children's hair is not a hot mess and you are involved with your kid long enough for one snap, you've got me completely snowed.

So other moms get it too.  But truthfully that doesn't help Monday morning drearies in my house. My stress relief is cleaning to good music.  It comes in handy to be honest because my house is pretty much always clean. Toys are everywhere but the floors and countertops under them are clean. I turned on YouTube and this was the first in the playlist Reckless Love - Live Oooohhhh it was good!  And all those pretty, Jesus loving people on stage.... yes!  Then at about minute 5:32 Cory starts speaking. And I sat on the rug at the foot of my bed and cried and then I replayed the video.  And then I prayed.  I love a good song! I really love a song story!  I love when God uses a song and a song story to encourage me!

I sent this text to a small group of my people. "Since whenever I texted y'all Will has hit me in the face with a golf ball, a stick and a plastic golf club. And he finally broke the remote throwing it.  His anger is ridiculous! School is a mess, 3rd grade is harder than it should be {and details of some other things that just simply are hard in life right now}. I turned on YouTube (in my bedroom bc we can not longer work the living room tv - remember the broken remote? and this song came on....He sees it all! He gives everything for the one!  It's so encouraging that we are always seen and never alone.  And even when it does not seem like it, he has his eyes on every situation and looks at it more intimately than even we do with it right in front of our face. So encouraging!"

There will be more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents than  99 righteous people who don't! God is not reckless but the way he loves is quite so. Sometimes down right ridiculous. He simply puts himself out there on the off chance that you and I may look back at him and give him the same love in return. Leaving the 99 to find the one is not logical concept for most practical adults. What if he loses the 99 in finding the one?  What if?  Finding the one is and will always be supremely important. That is where he lost me.  Listen to the whole thing for yourself as I left some things out. 

"Finding the one is and will always be supremely important." Life is hard. It's easy to feel like a lone solider in your own home or at work or school or everywhere you turn.  Being a believer doesn't make it any easier. If you have heard some kind of prosperity preaching that has told you this lie, I would encourage you to find your way into another body of believers.  Ones that are running the good race weathered and tired but with a glimmer in their eye because they know it's worth it.  That's where you will find true, gospel encouragement. On Monday morning "finding the one" for me was hearing Him say "I see you. I know all of this.  I know it's hard. I know you are tired.  Is it small in the whole scheme of life? Yes.  Is it small in the light of eternity? Yes.  But right now to you it is big and right now to me it is big because you are mine and I see you."

I love social media!  I hate that it gets such a bad reputation. I mean do I believe it's the devil's playground?  YES! But when used for fun, positive things and in a way to not take yourself too seriously, it's awesome.  Just keep everything in it's place. I was one with my instafriend!  I mean "I'm feeling you sister!"  "We are in this together precious friend who I've never met!" But my true comfort and true companionship came sitting on my floor with the one who created me and knows me more intimately than anyone else ever could.  The one who knows my thoughts before I speak them and is ready to comfort me as soon as I open my heart. The one who calls me to repent daily and reminds me of the dangers of living a righteous lifestyle.  Not to punish me but to show me his love.  I hope you have this hope.  And if you don't, how in the world are you surviving motherhood?  I need to know all the ways!

Also, if your toddler is violent and likes to hit you with sticks could you please help a sister out?  What do I do with this nonsense?  I have heard if you have a hitter, not to hit them have with your hand so I have a wooden spoon.  And Will said "I will see your wooden spoon and raise you a golf club." Jesus be near. So so near....

Speaking of love.  These are the things I love the most. The ones that do me in in all the good ways and bad ways.  A friend once told me "Of all the things the Lord could use to humble you, He gave you three precious children."  Those words have been a life line over the last year and a half.


He hits me with sticks and golf clubs. He has a temper that could conquer Hitler. He gives the sweetest kisses, has gross puppy dog breath and the sweetest chubby baby fingers I've ever seen.

They are space cadets who are often on another planet.  They love the social aspect of school and that's about it. They fight like sisters do and are 2 of my most favorite things ever. This is such a sweet sweet season with these two. Other than the messy room and constantly missing shoes, water bottles and socks. I'm praying it lasts long enough for me to get my crap together, chill out and enjoy it.

The one who helped me create all this chaos.  The Lord knew exactly what he was doing when He gave me this man.  I'd be an absolute mess without is balance, consistency and love in my life.







Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Patience

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, PATIENCE, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control, against such things there is no law. Galatians 5:22-23

For I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you. Acts 18:10

For still the vision awaits its appointed time; it hastens to the end - it will not lie. If it seems slow, wait for it; it will surely come; it will not delay. Habakkuk2:3

Patience, it's a tricky, tricky little thing.  It is needed in every season of life.  Working with youth you see them looking for the ones that God will put into their lives forever.  The boy that's going to be the perfect husband that completes every thing you could ever need and never cause you a moment of distress.  The BFF that you can tell any and everything to in true confidence and it never be used against you.  The young married wanting those babies to bring their marriage closer together and complete their family unit and perfect their Christmas cards.  If you haven't rolled your eyes yet, we probably aren't going to be good friends.  I mean you are welcome here, but it may not work out.

And then us grown ups... waiting for your career to finally get to the point where you are secure and can breathe a little. To have enough money in the bank to do that thing. For your kids to get older so you have more time to do whatever it is you do. Looking at the clock and/or calendar counting down the time until your children come back home because you miss them. Then, please Jesus, will he ever sleep so that I no longer look like the walking dead? Looking at all the people and waiting for your marriage/faith/kids/house/Instagram feed to look like that. Or waiting in the wings of that diagnosis. Trying to breakdown the walls that fear has put up around you.

At this point in my life I'm not having to practice a ton of patience. Oh I've been there. BEEN THERE! I mean I am in a season but not about big stuff. Perhaps I'm just too tired to worry.  That's not the worst thing in the world, right?! ha! But even still, the Lord is showering me with reminders. Probably because, if I'm honest (or as my youth kids say "TBH".  Every time I want to respond with "to be honest, thank you for being honest because it would make me crae if you weren't!), I am rushing through this season of life as fast as it will pass.  I know everyone says "you will miss this" well maybe so.  But right now I love very little about it.  I do not love: sleepless nights, toddler tantrums, 3rd grade homework, finding a meal every night that my whole house will eat, messy bedrooms, sticky floors, stepping on toys/shoes/crumbs every time I walk through the house, wet towels on the floor, all this laundry and yelling at at least one somebody every time we need to get in the car. So I think Jesus hears me say "be near" and He is.

I spend Wednesday mornings in a bible study of ladies who have children my age and older.  I love their perspective, wisdom and encouragement.  We talked last week about the second verse above.  Luke confuses me about the end.  I do believe the enemy is constantly after us and sometimes it does harm. Earthly harm. A lot of harm. But the bigger point is the beginning. For I am with you. (He should have stopped there in my opinion. But when the Lord gives a vision, especially to Paul, it's worthy of being written down in it's entirety. Amen?) That is really all that matters. If we truly believe that the rest is irrelevant.  Does the world, or this week or this season seem dreadful more days than not? Yes. Is this a blip in time in light of eternity?  Yes.  Does that make it any easier? Honestly, not every moment of every day.  Because when I'm running on 3 hours of sleep and one has cried over homework while another is asking me for their 15th snack and the toddler is sitting feet first in the toilet, all I can sing is "Even so come. Lord Jesus, come." But then he sends me joy. In the form of a Wednesday "seasoned ladies" bible study, or a trip to Target alone, or silliness from my husband at the dinner table. Or leading me to the book of Habakkuk to remind me that He really is the only one that can truly fill every void we have.  Patience is hard, but he is with us.




Monday, February 5, 2018

It's Complicated... Or Is It Really? Yes, It Is.

In order to get any sort of laundry done around here without cussing I have to listen to sermons online.  Usually people with A LOT of energy like Beth Moore or Priscilla Shirer.  And even with said sermons on auto-play on YouTube, my dining room still looks like this. They are all clean.

One of my middle school youth group girls was over here around the holidays and said "Ms Nicole, why do you have 2 tables?" She was referring to my breakfast table and dining room table which stopped me in my tracks.  If you want a reminder that we live a life of privilege, surround yourself with children.  My response was "well, some people have them to entertain friends or family.  Like we always sit in here at the breakfast table but when we have our family over we may sit in the dinning room.  But in my house the real reason is that if I didn't have a dining room table, I'd have nowhere to put all my laundry."  And that's the truth.  I hate it and I'm sure I will until the day I die.  I don't mind washing but folding and putting up is a struggle... Obviously.

Yesterday was my birthday.  It was the laziest weekend I've had in a really long time. I had moments of alone time. Then the rest of the weekend Ben and I spent on the couch watching a marathon of The Crown and completely ignoring our house and children. Once Amelia even fed her siblings. Good to know she is able. But the thing is, I over analyze birthdays.  How can I do things differently this year?  How can I better myself this year?  In some ways it's a lot of pressure to put on yourself, but it's also never a bad thing to self examine.

I woke up pretty defeated today.  39 and nothing has changed.  Part of it is having a baby that prefers very little sleep.  I swear I've been in a grumpy mood for the last 19 months, or 28 depending on who you ask. One thing I do know is I want more organization and efficiency in my life.  I have a friend who posted a chore/cleaning schedule a few months ago and I didn't know what I thought about that. I giggled and thought "how is she even friends with me?" I tell you what, I'm extremely jealous of that kind of organization and efficiancy.  I want a cleaning schedule and a daily schedule and a toddler that allows me to stick to my plan. Probably not going to happen.

This morning my Bible reading I read Acts 18:10 "for I am with you, and no one will attack you to harm you"  Is that true? Me personally, and we as a family, have been through many "attacks" and some of those were for longer seasons than I'd prefer. Long seasons more than once. And they hurt too.  Did God attack with intent to harm? No, I don't think so.  Maybe?  Did God allow me to go through things that felt like attacks and that hurt a lot to draw me closer to Him and in turn use it in my life to further His kingdom? 100% yes! So really, does the second part of the verse even matter? "For I am with you"  the end. At Passion 2018 this year Priscilla said something along the lines of "the enemy does not have the power to destroy you as a child of God but he will spend all of his days trying to discourage you."  Word! We got that down in this house.  Then during laundry, which I need to finish, Beth was talking about It's Complicated.  It's SO complicated.  Life on this earth is hard and we don't know the right answers and sometimes the right answers that came through prayer still feel like they lead you astray.  Did I miss it or is this God's way of keeping me close?  Lord, just give me strength for whatever it is! Amen?!
Beth.  I love doing laundry with her.  I can't sit in one of those 8 hour
Saturday sessions, but we can wash clothes together alllllll week long!


She went through different kinds of complicated and truthfully, some of it we can't do a dang thing about.  We may or may not get an answer in glory.  But some of it we can fix.  Am I making this complicated?   I'm specifically thinking about my life as a stay at home mom with 2 kids in school and a terrorist toddler at home.  Is there anything I can lay down in this house to make my life easier? That chore/cleaning chart.. would it help me or put too much pressure on me?  Meal planning... it helps a lot!  My budget and brain thanks me.  My brain thanks me once it's done, but meal planning and making a list is so daunting to me. Feel free to share all your favorite recipes with me.  Please!

So here's my thing and I'm serious, I WANT ADVICE!  Do you have toddlers at home? How do you survive AND keep your joy? The second part is important.  If you have already made it out, how did you do it?  And for the love of Jesus, do not tell me I will miss this.  I will miss the cuteness of my kids but I will not miss sticky floors and the mess that's everywhere and I will absolutely not miss all of these clothes.  So, what can I do or not do to make my daily life easier?  And don't tell me to let the house go because it's not in my chemical makeup.  I wish it was but it's just not.

And you know how I know Jesus loves us? Because when you go through all the efforts to make your grocery list to meal plan and stick to it and stay inside your budget, Aldi has roses on sale for $3.99 at the register.