IS THERE ROOM FOR ONE MORE?

A little over a year ago, my husband and I laid in bed one morning as our kids piled in one after the other. First Rylee, then Sav and lastly, I could hear Ella calling from her room that she wanted to join us. I went to grab her from her crib and headed back to my bed for some last minute snuggles before we all parted ways.

I will never forget the moment as my body hit my bed with her in my arms; I felt the Holy Spirit whisper to my heart ‘Is there room for one more?’… Certain of what I heard, but quite confused by the notion that we would have another baby at this time, I went about our morning as normal but I could not shake the wonder of what I had heard. After three different drop offs, at three different places, with no other reason to believe I was expecting our fourth child besides that question on my heart, I stopped at Walgreens and picked up a pregnancy test.

Once I got to work I decided that I would take the test in the bathroom to rule out the possibility of pregnancy, clear my mind of this thought and then be ready to focus on the day.  Fast forward 15 minutes or so and there I stood, with a positive pregnancy test in my hand.

What is happening I thought? My body had such a hard time ‘bouncing back’ hormonally after the birth of my third daughter, I quite honestly didn’t think it was possible. Yet here I was, pregnant with my fourth baby.

I’m not sure if it was the fact that the Lord literally told me hours before that I would be having another baby or maybe I’ve learned my lesson about giving into fear in the past or possibly it was a combination of both, but during that moment I felt no fear, no worry, no concern- just confidence. And such was my pregnancy. During those 9 months I had more confidence and assurance then I did in my other three pregnancies combined. Although I didn’t expect this, no one on this planet could have convinced me that this wasn’t the most perfect next step for me and my family.

Last night I woke up with a similar experience. I’ve been working on a devotional for women and at times I feel like it’s a personal uphill battle as I fight myself about being just another voice, just another writer, with just another devo. I mean, there’s already like a billion out there, right?

So many thoughts of feeling like I’m entering an already saturated market and maybe I should just turn around. I wonder if you’re like me and maybe you feel a nudge in your heart to do something, start something, go somewhere, learn an instrument, start singing again, go back to school, switch careers- whatever it may be- and yet you stay stuck and stagnant because you wonder if it’s even worth pursuing.

Yet, I hear the Lord whispering again, is there room for one more?  But guess what- WE get to answer that question, WE get to decide. So what do you say? Is there room for one more? One more business owner? One more author? One more writer? One more blogger? One more child? One more musician? One more college graduate? One more – you fill in the blank here. I know what you’re thinking and yes, there are in fact plenty of all these things and more on this planet but I believe there is only one you and therefor only one expression of your purpose and only you have the opportunity to fill it. I also believe that deep in your heart, past the fear, worry and anxiety- the answer is yes.

So, what has the Lord spoken to you? What has He you called you into? Or out of? What has He whispered to your heart? Make the space. Start the journey. Do the thing because there is always room for one more.

Now, before you go off and get started, I want to share one more thing with you.  Before I even gave birth to my fourth daughter I was praying if she would complete our family. Uncertain that the answer was yes, my husband and I decided not to close up shop for good.  Following her birth, I would pray ‘Lord, what’s my number?’ Meaning how many children will I have in order to complete our family and I believe that the answer is 5! (Yes, I want more children!) Yet thinking back to that morning, and knowing that the Lord whispered ‘Is there room for one more?’ So now I wonder and pray, ‘Lord, why would you ask me if there’s room for one more if we were going to have more than just one more child?’… 

As I woke up to this thought yet again last night, I heard the Lord whisper; ‘Lori, I showed you the next thing, not the whole thing.’

*mouth drops*

Well duh. The Lord asked me if there was room for one more, because that was the next thing- not the whole thing. I wonder sometimes how often I don’t get to the next thing because I’m tripped up on this thing. How often the plan is cut short because I didn’t finish what the Lord had started. There couldn’t be two more, until there was one more. You can’t be an author, until you’re a writer. You can’t be a college graduate, without being a student. You can’t be a skilled musician without first being an amateur and so forth.      

I want to encourage you to take a step in the direction of the first thing and let that lead you to the next thing. We don’t always get the entire picture at once but this is where faith comes in. We’ve got to be ok with knowing the next thing, not the whole thing.

So where does that leave you today? What are you putting your hands to? What are you putting your attention to? What are you putting your efforts to? Work on this thing until you see the whole thing. One step, one day, one act of obedience at a time.

2020 Vision

Every year right before Christmas I start to think about the following new year. I usually spend some time asking the Lord what the next season should look like and literally just ‘daydream’ about all the possibilities that He’s placed on my heart. During this process one thing that’s really important to me is asking the Lord what my ‘word of the year’ will be. I believe that this word helps shape my focus and my attention as I cross into a new season.

This year as I prayed, I felt like He gave me the word ‘intentionality’. He began to show me how everything worth anything requires intentionality and this year, I have to be laser focused on that mission. I spent some time thinking about all the areas of my life and moving parts I have going on and began to pray about what intentionality would look like specifically in those places. 

Intimacy and closeness in my marriage, raising God fearing children, excelling in my new position at work, becoming a better communicator, cultivating the right relationships and maybe even cutting off the wrong ones (just to name a few) – all of which will require tremendous intentionality on my part.

I’ve never been more aware of the fact that the life I have engrained in my heart will not just happen. It must be sought after, fought for and pursued daily. To sit and wait for things to happen, specifically the things that God has placed within my grip and control, would be foolish.

As I sat down to write some more I saw the words ‘2020 Vision’ so, I wrote that down. Waiting for the next portion, assuming this was a title of sorts, I sat and pondered some more. 2020 Vision.  2020 Vision. ‘Ok God, what is it? What’s my 2020 vision?’ as I continued to pray I realized this- 2020 vision wasn’t merely a page title for the overall vision of my upcoming year. It was an area that required my attention and intentionality, it was about the condition of my perspective. 

I felt as though the Lord was asking me to refocus and regain the 20/20 vision He’s given me.

In that moment, God reminded me of a time in my life when I was working 7-8 hours a day behind a computer screen and I began to develop headaches of all sorts. In an effort to figure out what was wrong, I went to an eye doctor to see if my vision had changed and if I needed to get glasses. It had not, yet my doctor still prescribed the lowest prescription for my first ever pair of glasses. He said if I used them, despite my 20/20 vision, it would help me to see more clearly as it elevates the strain from staring at a monitor. It did not. 

What I realized in that time was simple; there would be no substitution for just taking a step back and looking away. Sitting so close, for so long- staring at the same thing for hours a day, wasn’t helping me and there was no solution for that besides; not looking so long and so hard. I needed a break.  

As He reminded me of this time He began to show me that I once again have had my attention and focus out of balance. It wasn’t that I was looking at the wrong thing, it’s just that looking at anything other then Jesus for too long, can effect your vision, and even worse, your perspective. So I decided to step away.

For me personally, that meant signing off social media for some time. I felt as though going into the New Year focused and undistracted would help me to see everything better. Stepping back, taking my focus off this thing that takes up so much of my time and energy has helped me to see so much clearer. I’ve been taking time to write, plan, prepare and most importantly dream about the impending New Year.

I believe that God is very clear in His direction to us, the problem is sometimes we are too distracted to see it or surrounded by too much noise to hear it. What the Lord showed me was that because my life is big, beautiful and oh so blessed, it would require immense intentionality to make sure that I don’t become distracted by those things. Keeping my perspective pure and my vision clear. Always taking two steps back to look at life from a broader perspective. 

I don’t know about you, but as much as I love my kids- sometimes I can get stuck in the rut of coming and going, cooking and cleaning and I need to step back to remind myself of the magic in the mundane. Sometimes I find myself so fixated on something that I literally begin to dread the things I once loved. My perspective often needs some sprucing up and being intentional to do so will make a world of a difference for me!

I’ve realized that your vision and perspective determines everything so before we can set our path to do all the things, we have to make sure our vision is clear enough to see the right things.

So for me, this coming year is about intentionality starting with my perspective. 2020 vision means keeping my heart pure and my mind clear. Being intentional not just about doing the right things, but also seeing the right way.

Do you have a word for 2020? If so, what is it? What are your goals, dreams and plans for this new season? If you don’t yet, I would encourage you to start thinking about it. For me I process through this with God, He’s one of my best friends! But for you, maybe you grab a cup of coffee, a notebook and a good friend to talk it out with. Even vision takes intentionality. So dream big, let your heart leap again! God isn’t done working in you. The best is yet to come.

Xo.. LB 

 

MANAGING MOTHERHOOD

I use to think that being a good Mom meant doing all the thing, all the time, on my own. In my mind, a good Mom cooks and cleans, does pick up and drop off, gets the laundry done, makes dinner, etc. etc.

I think in ways I wore my service to my family as a badge of honor. ‘Look how much I love you, look how much I would do for you!’ And then I realized, no one gets an award for doing the most, being the best or juggling it all alone nor does this behavior prove your love towards someone. Because let’s be honest Momma’s, sometimes we can do it all the things, with the nastiest attitude and who does that serve well? Not us, not our family.

Over the last couple of years I’ve realized Motherhood is a lot like Management and in order to be a good manager (or leader) you need to be brave, confident and innovative. Just because you’ve always done something one way, doesn’t mean you continue to do it that way. Just because something worked in one season, doesn’t mean it will the next. Just because you CAN do something doesn’t mean you HAVE TO do it. Sometimes management means getting the BEST person for the job and letting them do what they do well! Freeing you up emotionally and physically to do something else that requires your undivided attention.

This can look different for everyone but here’s a few things that helped change the pace of my days.

 

  1. If you’re married; BE HONEST and COMMUNICATE with you Spouse. This is huge. Here’s the thing, your spouse doesn’t know what you don’t tell them. As much as we think they can read between the lines, sometimes, they just can’t. I know personally, if things are done, my husband is grateful and will notice, but he doesn’t always have an understanding for ‘what went into it’. I found that in an effort to be a great wife and Mom, I wasn’t disclosing all the ins and outs, leaving him in the dark about the details regarding what was really going on in my own head and heart and in the literal day to day routine. I realized that when I started communicating my needs, wants and desires better, he well, RESPONDED TO THEM BETTER. Rocket science, I know. LOL but this is the truth. My husband became a better support system for me the moment I let him know I needed it. ‘Hey, can you do pick up today?’, ‘Hey, this weekend is going to be crazy, can you drop the laundry off?’ or ‘Hey, I really need a time out today- I’m going to the nail salon!’ The list can go on but communicating my need has opened up lots of opportunity for him to help. Also, I’ve noticed the more I communicate, the more he can anticipate. Meaning this; being honest and open about the day to day, in a kind and sharing way, has helped my husband pick up on the rhythm on his own. This means he might read the ques and bring home pizza one night so I don’t have to cook, or drop the laundry off so I can have an extra day to rest- whatever it might be. My communication develops his anticipation.
  2. ASK FOR HELP. I can’t stress this enough, asking for help isn’t a sign of weakness, it’s a sign of strength. Because anyone can go on pretending everything is ok- when secretly you’re dying inside. It take courage to face the facts and then DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. Outside of asking my spouse for help- this means that sometimes I reach out to my parents, a friend, or family member. When I need something- I say it. And let me be clear- I don’t always get the help I need. Sometimes, the answer is no. Sometimes, there’s no solution besides putting in an extra dose of grit and grace and getting it done myself. But listen, TRY. Ask for help. Last week one of my kids didn’t have school and my rule generally looks something like this- if the majority (2 out of 3) don’t have school, I’ll take the day off but if it’s just one kid, I tend to work and figure out care for the one. So I asked a friend, and unfortunately she was busy that day- so you know what I did? Asked another! LOL Don’t be afraid to ask, don’t be afraid to get a hard NO, don’t be afraid to try again!! Be brave enough to ask for what you need! I know some of you are thinking ‘I don’t have anyone!’ and to that I would say; YET! You don’t have anyone, YET. Develop relationship. You don’t FIND a community of people to do life with, you create it. So start creating your community. People who can love and support you, and people that YOU can love and support as well!
  3. ACCEPT HELP. Sometimes this means accepting the offers from people around you, sometimes this means utilizing the services available to you. If you know me personally, you know that I have three small children who have three different locations. Because of our work schedules (my husband and I), I’m the primary drop off/ pick up person. So when school started this year and I began my routine, leaving the house – dropping off one child, going across town to drop off the next, then across the OTHER side of town to drop off the last and then heading BACK to the center of town to get to work (late) every. Single. Morning. This 90 minute commute was slowly eating at me. I mean did we get it done? Yes. Was my job accommodating? Yes. Where any children harmed in the process? No. (Not normally anyways.. LOL – joking) But was there any easier way? Yes! I decided what might be best for our family was to put my oldest on the bus. Now, let me just say- I’ve always been one to say ‘I would never put my kid on the bus!’ I’m not entirely sure where I got this idea from, but, I thought it. Until, I realized the bus could really benefit us! And so we did, and so it has. We have been so blessed by utilizing one of the services available to us. It’s cut my morning commute by 30 minutes and countless frustration simply by utilizing the services available to me. Momma, you don’t have to do it all.
  4. STOP TRYING TO CONTROL EVERYTHING. I am a firm believer that a healthy culture, whether at home, church, work or anywhere else, is CREATED not controlled. Momma’s stop trying to control everything from what your kids wear to how their bedtime routine goes by the minute. If we’re honest, a lot of our desire to do it all stems from our deep need to control it all. And can I tell you, control is an illusion. You’re never really in control. You’re never really able to control your kids, spouse, family- etc. I mean let’s be honest, you can hardly control YOURSELF on some days! So let go of that need. Trust God that He has assigned you these kids and this household because YOU CAN HANDLE IT. Notice, I didn’t say ‘you can do it’, no, you can HANDLE IT. Whatever it is. You can manage it. You can make it happen. You can do exactly what you need to do. Stop fighting with your spouse because he does bath time differently then you do. I mean who says your way is the right way anyways? Stop nitpicking with your in-laws because ‘they let your kids do whatever they want’ – Are they safe? Are they carried for? Are they loved? Then let them be!!! You’re way isn’t law. It’s your preference but it’s not necessarily the ONLY way to get things done. Say it with me- I will let go of my need to control!

This isn’t an exhaustive list. But these are four things that changed my life drastically when I began to believe them and implement them! Listen on any given week- NOT INCLUDING myself, husband and school teachers- my ‘routine’ includes the help of at least 2-4 people! Sometimes I send my laundry to the cleaner. One day I hope to hire a cleaning service. This week I might consider a food delivery service. The more children I have, the more creative I become. My time is worth it, my sanity is worth it and most of all my family is worth it!! So Momma’s be creative, be innovative, be willing to look at your life and make adjustments! Being a Mom doesn’t have to suck the life out of you! It’s ok to stop surviving and start thriving! You’ve got this, we got this! Let’s do it!!!

What’s one thing you can do this week to help ease your load? I’d love to hear from you! Comment below or message me on social media!

xoxo, LB

I BROUGHT MY OWN

Do you ever have one of those moments that seems meaningless enough but actually changes your life forever?

I had one of those ‘Ah-Ha’ moments a few weeks ago. I was at church (SUPER excited to be there because week night services come far and few for me in this season of life) and just feeling, honestly- amazing. I had gotten out of work a couple short hours earlier, went home and packed my kids bags for their first day of school, made dinner, straightened up and then headed out to church. Now, that doesn’t seem like anything miraculous but for me, it was everything! I honestly didn’t think I would- or could- make it that day with the demands I had on my time at home.

Anyways, fast forward to the service and a young man walks over with a couple bottles of water that he leaves on the seats next me and as our eyes lock he said ‘Do you want a water?’ and I responded (with mucho gusto I might add) ‘No thanks, I brought my own!’

I’m not sure what it was in that moment, but when the words ‘I brought my own’ left my mouth, they quite LITERALLY echoed through my soul, over and over again. I kept repeating to myself with the LARGEST smile on my face, ‘I brought my own. I brought my own! I BROUGHT MY OWN!’

Now, by now I’m sure you understand, this has nothing to do with water and everything to do with the deeper needs I have in life. This was about my realization that whatever I need, through Jesus, I can bring it to the table. Now; before I continue, don’t go rogue on me. This isn’t a ‘I don’t need anyone’ kinda message, quite the opposite. Community and interdependence is a beautiful thing, what this is however is the realization that GONE are the days where I wait for someone else to give me what I need. GONE are the days where I am sitting empty waiting for someone else to fill me up. GONE are the days where I walk into a situation hungry or thirsty and waiting on anyone to satisfy me- physically, mentally or spiritually.

One of my favorite scriptures is ‘God is within her, she will not fail’ Ps. 46:5 This moment reminded me that God is within me and He has equipped me to be more then capable to bring my OWN peace, my OWN confidence, my OWN affirmation, my OWN reconciliation, my OWN forgiveness, my OWN purpose, my OWN encouragement, my OWN inspiration. I can bring my own. Each and every time, I can bring what I need because it’s already within me.

For a girl who has spent a long time trying to get out of my feelings, this is great freakin’ news!! Because now, I don’t need to wait for someone else to fill my cup, I brought my own. I don’t have to wait for someone to validate me, I brought my own. I don’t need to wait for someone to say something or do something that gives me confidence, I bought my own. Essentially- for a lack of better words- I am my own best hype girl. So what I feel (or don’t), what I experience (or don’t), what I have, do, say, accomplish (or don’t) is on me. I take back the control. I take back the responsibility. I, by the grace of God, am empowered to bring my own – whatever- each and every time! This is INCREDIBLE newssssssss!!!

Do you know how many times I’ve walked out of a situation feeling sad or frustrated because things didn’t go as I hoped or ‘I didn’t get what I needed’ from that situation?! I mean- too many to count! But guess what, God has made me well able to do it for myself and THAT I WILL!! If it feels like I’m yelling at you- I kinda am! This is my ‘very excited, I want you to get this’ voice. Gosh- I am so sick of being at the emotional mercy of others. I bring my OWN from now, on.

I’m not sure what that looks like for you, but I’d like to encourage you to take back the ownership of your heart and mind, don’t leave your life in the hands of anyone other then God. He is creator AND sustainer. And whenever we seek wholeness from anything or anyone other then Him, we are left empty.

So here’s to bring your own whatever! Bring it, baby! You’ve got this!

 

xo.. LB

FREEDOM FEELS GOOD

I remember going to church for the first time two weeks after having my first daughter. I got up, got dressed, did my hair and make-up and wore the cutest green dress with brown sandal heals. I remember people saying how great I looked for just having a baby and feeling so good.

Later that day I went home and changed out of my church clothes. Now if you know anything about a post baby body, you know that I took off my dress and like 3 layers of spanks! Then I put on some sweatpants and a t-shirt and walked into the living room to spend some time with friends.

WHOA! What happened?!’ One of my friends shouted (literally, he was shocked)

I looked at him, looked at me, looked at him.. ‘What?’ I said.

You see he saw me moments before all done up, layered in spanks, everything tucked and sucked away but now, I was in my truest, freest form, and there was a stark contrast between what I projected and what I really looked like.

I remember thinking that day, WOW. The efforts we go through to conceal, to hide, to provide an illusion of ‘put together’…

Hiding takes more effort than it’s worth. It’s restricting, it’s constricting and downright confusing to those around you.

It’s funny when we think about it like this, but how many of us are hiding within our own skin. We’re hurting, we’re offended, we’re broken, we’re scared, we’re confused, and the list goes on, but as long as it LOOKS good on the outside to others, we just keep on going.

We keep on showing up, with spiritual and emotional spanks on, hiding it all away and it might look good on the outside, but on the inside, we’re dying. On the inside we don’t feel good anymore.

Over the last few years, slowly but surely I’ve been putting in the work to deal with my inside. To find healing and freedom from things that have held me hostage for far too long. Facing things I never wanted to look at. Having conversations with God about myself that were tough but led me to the freedom I needed.

How exhausting is it to live at the mercy of our cover- ups? How exhausting is it to seek and search for something or someone to fill the void or to give us the confidence we need only to be disappointed when it just doesn’t last?

I’ll tell you what- I am not where I want to be in all areas of life but can I tell you that I have more confidence today than ever. Not because those ‘things’ that make us confident are in order, but because I’ve realized those things are accessories to me, they don’t define me.

So to you, living broken and tired, wondering if you’ll ever feel better, I say; YOU CAN, and you will! But you’ve got to be willing to put in the work!!

Freedom feels good friends!

When you no longer walk in fear of failure or rejection.

When you no longer feel insecure about everything from your body to your abilities.

When you no longer look to the people around you for affirmation but allow God within you to affirm you.

When you no longer feel the need to compete or prove something to someone.

When you no longer care what the whispers are saying about you.

When you no longer long to fit in but yet, you do! People love you because YOU love YOU!

When you can speak from your heart and not your hurt.

When you don’t hate the skin you’re in, you’re actually thankful for every part of your body, including the skin you’re in.

When you lift your eyes and know, it is well.

I’ve spent a lot of time in my life trapped. Trapped in my own thoughts and feelings, trapped in my fears, trapped in my insecurities, trapped in my offense, trapped by the idea I had of what things should be like. But can I tell you something? I’m not anymore, and freedom feels good. In fact it feels AMAZING.

I’m not saying everything’s perfect or that I don’t struggle, I do. But stuck is no longer my standard of living. I’m free from that! And when you’ve been stuck for long enough you know that ‘coming to the light’ feels so good. The warmth, the clarity, the beauty of it all.

Freedom feels so good, but you have to fight for it!!!!

Before I go I want to give you three practical steps you can take towards freedom. This isn’t an exhaustive or all inclusive list. Just 3 of the many things that have helped me tremendously.

1. Face It. Literally. In order to find freedom you’ve got to face your fears. Those things that linger in your heart and mind, face them.. and when you do, you disarm them. I’ve told myself a million times in the last several months ‘even so, God is still good.’

Why? Because it’s important to me to know that no matter what craziness life throws at me, God is still good. He’s still for me, He’s still with me, He’s still in me and when I can hold my faith, I can lose my fears.

2. Get moving! I’ve been ‘doing things’ lately. I’ve been getting my body moving, my heart racing, ladies if you’re married, have more… you know, fun, with your husband! Dance with your kids. Go for a walk. Get on a cardio machine. Do some squats. Actually move your tired, stuck body. And as you feel yourself begin to break free and move freely, you actually set your mind free to do the same.

3. Small and steady wins the race. It’s all about momentum ladies. Build it! I started with small steps, ONE BY ONE. And then built onto that. Don’t go trying to give yourself a whole new life. That’s not going to work… Start small. The first thing I did was start intentional devotional time in the morning, I did well with that and then built on. I started doing cardio 10 minutes a day, then making my bed every morning. Sounds small, right? But these small, consistent, changes have meant building momentum and gaining confidence.

So what’s your takeaway? How can you move towards freedom? What new practice can you implement? What old practice needs to be stopped? Think about it! Hold yourself accountable. And lastly, let me know! I’d love to hear from you.

Pray and slay!

xx .. LB

FENCED IN

I recently read this scripture and although I’ve read it a ton of times, this time was different. This time I stopped and thought to myself, ‘Well God, then who did fence me in? Where did this smallness come from?’

I remember towards the end of my first pregnancy, I felt as though God placed this impression upon my heart, that although I was walking into a season that could be (and often is) labeled as crazy, tiring and stressful, I felt like God was speaking a different story over me and as the voices spoke louder and louder, God whispered ‘surely there is enough grace”.

I have to say, Surely is by far one of my favorite blogs I’ve ever written because the conviction of that truth pierced my heart and changed my life. I’m not saying that I don’t struggle, I do. I’m not saying my days aren’t hard, they are. I’m not saying everything is perfect, it’s not. But what I am saying is through it all, I’ve managed with grace because surely there is enough of it.

Thinking about this made me realize this is not the common language associated with life, particularly motherhood and marriage. We are told to be strong means to be independent and submission is a sign of weakness. We are told that having a baby changes everything and it’s all a chaotic mess from here. We are told to say good-bye to our sanity and everything that matters to us because surely we can’t have that and children. Surely we can’t be happily married. Surely we can survive, but thrive? Not a chance.

Or can you?

In my hunt of ‘where did this come from?’ I’ve created a list, it’s not exhaustive, but it’s a list of areas to ‘check in on’ if your searching for the source of the ‘smallness’ you feel.

Here goes..

  1. What are you listening to?  

Literally. What are you allowing into your mind, heart and soul? Be mindful that if you take in junk, you will literally feel like junk. Society has a disturbing way of painting the picture of marriage, children and family. Do not allow them to redefine for you what God has spoken over your life. This isn’t just culture, this includes the people we do life with. Not everyone has God’s perspective on marriage and motherhood, make sure you’re not looking at life from that distorted filer.

  1. What does your support system look like?

Here’s the thing about support, it’s not quantity, it’s quality. And while many of us rave about the number of Facebook friends or Instagram followers we have, we have to understand that a large quantity doesn’t equal great quality. Surround yourself with people (or even one person) who will love you enough to challenge you, who will not feed your dysfunction, who will push back on your excuses. We all want to feel good, that’s why social media has become so addicting to many of us, but is good really God’s best for us? I think not. Social media provides a quick and easy affirmation but how does that really help us in the long run? We have to be intentional about our support system- who’s in it and why. Don’t surround yourself with people who only want you to live up to their reality. Some people just don’t want to see you doing well, not because they are horrible people but when we exceed there expectation, excuses lose their power. Make sure your tribe challenges you.

  1. Are you taking care of yourself?

I have to be honest, this one was tough. I think we glorify ‘sacrifice’ to the point that we believe that by neglecting ourselves, we are honoring others and that’s just not the truth. TAKE CARE OF YOURSELF! Mind, body and soul. You’ve got to be intentional about doing this because trust me when I say, it will not ‘just happen’. For me, I decided there are some things I just won’t leave the house wearing. It’s not to be vain, but I realize when I look like a desperate housewife, I feel like a desperate housewife. It’s important to me to keep myself together. For myself, my husband and kids. Past the surface stuff, I take time to care for my soul. I’m intentional about having my coffee with Jesus in the morning, I journal and I spend time in prayer. It’s important to me to know my heart is right because that’s where everything I do flows from. I read books, I follow podcast; I take time to care for myself and when I do, I’m a better woman, wife and mother.

  1. Do you love this place?

This one sounds silly but it’s the truth, do you love this place?? .. Do you love being a mom, do you love being married, do you love loving God? Do you love this place in life? Because if you don’t, it’ll be obvious. Enjoy the place you’re in TODAY. The days feel long but the years are oh, so short. Love them. Every long and tiring second of them.  I’ll say this a million times over; embrace the place you’re in.

And lastly, number 5- DO YOU !!

Sounds simple enough, right? It should be but in a culture where you can ‘see into’ the digital lives of hundreds of people in a moment, you can be easily influenced into believing the lie that you’re missing out, that their way is better and that your life doesn’t measure up.

Can I tell you? That’s a lie! Even as I type these words, my hope is that you wouldn’t try to do it ‘my way’ but rather that you would be inspired to do it YOUR VERY BEST WAY. What does that look like for you? What should you say yes to? What should you say no to?

Ladies, we’ve only got this one shot at life, we’ve got to enjoy it!!! Stop the dread, stop the hate, stop the bad- brain chatter. Be kind and caring to yourself and those around you! The smallness you feel, it’s not from God!!!!!

It’s time that we reclaim the territory of our hearts and remove everything (and maybe everyone) that contradicts what God has spoken to us and over us.

Be encouraged, Momma. You got this!

xx… LB

GRIT & GRACE

We’re two weeks into the New Year and I can’t help but stop & think; Wow! This is happening! Goals are being crushed, routines are being established, better habits are being developed and overall- things are good.

If you read my last blog post, you know that my word of the year (in other words, my theme of the year) is pursue. I want to pursue life, love and God more than I ever have before!

On this journey of pursuing my best yes and all that entails, I’ve realized this; grit and grace are everything and together, they change everything.

I know that I’m a hard worker. I put in work that no one sees to get the results I want. I know things don’t just fall into place for me, I put them there- strategically and intentionally. But I also know there’s a grace on my life that I didn’t earn and I can’t explain. That’s why some things just come more naturally to me and my hard work goes just a bit further then I could have expected. It’s also why other things, no matter how hard I try, just don’t work out. There are some things I’m graced for and some things I’m not. So it is with all of us! There are some things that you’re on Earth to do! And those things can and should be done eagerly and consistently, but there are some things that just aren’t for us. Success and fulfillment happens when you figure out (not by popular opinion, but by deep soul searching) which is which!

The principle of grit and grace is this; no amount of grit will pull you through something you aren’t graced for-  but no amount of grace will pull you through something you have no grit for.

You need faith and hard work, consistency and flexibility, grit and grace! You need the contrast each provides. You can’t just be graced for it, you’ve got to put some grit into it!! You can’t just passively let things pass you by, hoping one of them catches; you’ve got to pursue the things God has called you to. He may through you the idea, the dream, the vision, the passion, but it’s up to YOU to catch it and do something with it.

Whatever that might be for you, embrace it! It might seem big, they might seek scary, it might even seem boring and mundane but let me tell you, if it’s for you, it will not pass you! And until you figure that out and walk in it, you’ll be frustrated and fruitless.

I remember the night I was driving home from work with little Sav, about a year old in the back seat of my car and I heard the Lord explicitly tell me to attend the University of Bridgeport and obtain a Bachelor Degree in Psychology. He told me that together we would ‘bridge the gap between Christianity and Psychology.’

So, I did it.

It started with a Google search, then an info session, then an advising appointment and so on and so on. Soon (and by soon I mean nearly 3 years later) I was walking down the aisle, cap and gown to receive my diploma.

When I tell you grit and grace will take you places striving never can, I mean it, I know it, I live it.

Against all odds I completed an accelerated program with two small children at home (Yes, two. I got pregnant shortly after I registered!) and achieved something that I never thought possible for that season of life.

What no one saw was the late nights, the early mornings, all the times I said ‘no, I have to study’, the time I missed with my kids and husband, the times I sat through class with morning sickness or pumped in the bathroom to provide food for my nursing baby, the times I cried because I felt so lonely and detached from everything and everyone but God. No one saw that, any of that (except my husband of course, he’s the real MVP- love you, doll)

But what they also didn’t see is the grace that God gave me for that season of life. The way He strengthened me, the way He encouraged me, the way He sustained me. He called me to it, He brought me through it. Literally, and faithfully.

Grit and grace, it changes everything.

I want to encourage you today, you’re graced for this place. You’re graced to do more and be more then you could have ever imagined. You’re graced for the job, the kids, the spouse, the grief. You’re graced for the move, the ministry, the family, the offense. You’re graced to get through whatever it is standing in front of you.

I want to encourage you to take some time today and ask God two questions.

1.) What am I graced for?
2.) Where do I start? 

And then, do it. Whatever it is! Put some grit to His grace and get it done!!!!

Getting started, stepping past the fear and walking in faith is the HARDEST part. Probably because it’s one thing the Lord can’t do for you! You’ve got to do it yourself. But I promise you this, if you do, He won’t disappoint you.

So go on, get to it!! And be sure to leave a comment or send me a message about your thing. I’d love to hear what God is doing in your life and the steps you’re taking to walk in grace with grit!

Till next time,

xx.. LB

PURSUE

As 2018 comes to an end I’ve been spending quite a bit of time reflecting on the last year of my life.  Although some of it feels like a blur, I know that wrapped up in the crazy were some really amazing moments.

I started 2018 off pregnant with two toddlers, I delivered our third baby girl 4 weeks early via emergency c- section, I fumbled through the adjustment of being a mom of 3 and wife while trying to keep my identity as a woman intact. We sent our 3 year old to preschool for the first time and then our 5 year old to kindergarten. I went back into work full time, and continued working in ministry as well as a bunch of other miscellaneous things. We faced SO MUCH TRANSITION this year and needless to say, some days I felt like I was thriving, but other days I felt as though I was barely surviving. But such is life, right?

Going into 2019 I’ve been thinking a lot about my ‘word of the year’. For me ‘word of the year’ symbolizes what can be. It sets the tone for my year and I intend to shape everything I do around this one word. I do this every year yet, I couldn’t tell you what my word for 2018 was. At some point I went into survival mode and lost complete track but I can tell you what word would describe my 2018; passive.

Yup, passive. With everything going on in my life, my adjustments etc., I just became passive. Whatever happened, happened. I became very good at the day to day; cooking, cleaning, packing bags, wiping butts, doing laundry etc. but anything (and practically everything) above and beyond that, the things that make my soul come alive; if it happened, it happened – if it didn’t, it didn’t.

I’ve been passive.

But this year, my word is pursue. I believe so strongly that this is what God is speaking over my life. Pursue His presence. Pursue wisdom. Pursue divine instruction. Pursue purpose. Pursue dreams. Pursue relationship. Pursue reconciliation. Pursue healing. Pursue intimacy. Pursue writing. Pursue a clear mind, a healthy body and thriving soul. Pursue, pursue, pursue.

I know for me the dreams and visions God has given me for my life will not come from a posture of passivity. I honestly wonder how many things I’ve let die at the hand of passivity. The life I dream of, it’s not going to ‘just happen’, I have to pursue it with my whole heart, mind and soul.

It’s the little choices that I believe will make the difference. Opening my bible when I want to zone out on my phone. Writing when I’m inspired instead of over thinking too much. Loving my family fearlessly and enjoying the day to day hustle the way I once did. Connecting with new people. Being transparent and brave even when it’s scary. Caring about the me God created me to be and running after her daily. So this year, I will pursue. With all that I am, with all that I have, everyday I will make the decision to pursue purpose over comfort.

I know this last year was crazy most of the times but the truth is, circumstances only reveal the preexisting. I once had a tough conversation with my husband.. after complaining about my sleep deporvation and saying because of that I struggle to get up early, my dear (and honest) husband reminds me that I’ve never been good at waking up, even before kids. It got me thinking- ‘King Snooze Button’ has always ruled my life, this isn’t about my kids or this season, it’s about me.

My kids didn’t do this. Circumstances didn’t do this. A packed calendar or sleepless nights didn’t do this. This is just me. And those circumstances only exacerbated what was already there.  

Speaking for myself, I know having children and this season of life leaves plenty of room for excuses, but they are just that excuses. And excuses pave the road to mediocrity.

I think somewhere along the line the voices in and around me became louder then the voice of God. I began to believe the lies and forgot the truth. But not this year, this year I’m making the choice to choose well every single time. To PURSUE all that is good whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy— I will pursue such things. (Phil 4:8 remix)

As a side note- I encourage you to find someone you can trust and intentionally allow them to speak into your life but not only words of encouragement but correction. In a world addicted to affirmation, we’ve lost the beauty of correction. The challenging conversations that produce CHANGE and not just comfort within us. We need those people, we need those conversations if we intend to grow!

I don’t believe that the ball dropping truly changes anything however I do believe that this clear and defined ‘end of one thing, beginning of another’ can be a powerful moment. To intentionally look back and reflect, then look forward and dream. Letting go of the excuses, self reflecting, finding the root of the problem and allowing Jesus access to THOSE areas of my life, that will make all the difference.

So here’s to a new year and new beginnings. Here’s to pursuing the very heart of God for my life and family. Here’s to finding the TRUTH and clinging to it for dear life. Here’s to never letting another voice be louder then the Lord’s again. Here’s to thriving, in all ways, in all things.

I believe with my whole heart that God gives grace for this place- whatever that is! For me it’s motherhood, ministry & marriage.. What’s your place? Find your grace and walk in it! We can do it, this can happen.

So what’s your word for 2019? I’d love to hear! Comment below or send me a message via Instagram 🙂

xx LB

 

Learning the ‘Let Go’

Letting go is so hard. If you don’t believe me, just begin a closet clean up and see how hard it is to purge old things. 

Doesn’t fit = I want to keep this until I lose some weight! 

Four of the same black shirt = You can never have too many black shirts! 

Never wear it = But what if I NEED this one day and I don’t have it? 

The list goes on and on.  It’s almost comical, (totally true) and also light hearted but how many of us know that our inability to let go reaches far past our closets?! 

When I look across the balance of my life I realize that I’ve struggled with letting go in many areas. I don’t want to let go of my clothes, but I also don’t want to let go of my offenses. I want to remember how that person hurt me because remembering makes me feel like I’m guarding myself from experiencing it again. I don’t want to let go of my excuses. That’s a huge one because the longer I hold on to them, the easier my life seems (key word; seems! And we all know things are always how they seem) I don’t want to let go of my kids because no one can do it like me, my spouse because I know better, my responsibilities because I have too much pride attached to the things I DO rather then who I am. I can go on and on and given enough time I’m certain I could find the thing you’re holding onto as well. Letting go is hard and it’s scary! But it’s also necessary. 

I’m realizing that holding on is merely the illusion of control and control at its very CORE is a distrust in God. YIKES! No one wants to admit that, I know I surely didn’t. But hello somebody, if you’re constantly TRYING to control things, you don’t really believe that God is not only in control but also working on your behalf! 

Last week I went to the Big E with my kids and at one point they decided to ride this helicopter ride. The ride had two rows per helicopter and two seats on each row. The most dysfunctional thing about it; there was a steering wheel at EACH SEAT! I get the sentiment behind it; every kid wants to be the driver and rather than disappoint 3 of the 4 potential riders, we give each kid a chance to ‘steer the helicopter’. Seems innocent enough right? 

Wrong! It’s wrong. So wrong. That’s not real life. EVERYONE isn’t in control at the same time. Only one person can take the steering wheel. You probably think you know where I’m going with this; well only one person is in control, only one person gets the wheel… 

Wrong! The truth is, no matter which kid sits in the controller’s seat with the steering wheel, there’s an operator sitting on the sideline controlling the every move. 

We’ve got to understand that God is controlling this ride and the ‘control’ we think we have, is just an illusion. A ‘make you feel better’ fake steering wheel so you don’t feel bad about sitting there without control. 

Gosh I wish I would learn this faster. Although the head knowledge is there, my heart is struggling to get on board! I know God is in control, but I still sit in my little controller’s seat, gripping my inoperable steering wheel, pretending that what I’m doing makes a difference.  I am so deceived. 

Now, before I continue let me say this isn’t a ‘nothing you do matters’ kinda message! At all. What you do matters, of course it does. But it’s not all about what you do, it’s about whom you trust as well. 

Ask yourself who do I trust the most? 

The more controlling you are, the less trust you have. That’s just facts. Apply it to God, relationships, children, whatever it may be! If you’re constantly trying to control things and/ or people; you’re having a trust issue. 

So what happens now? You know better, you do better. Right? Here’s what I’ve learned; practice letting go. Don’t hold on so tight to everything and everyone, you want to know why? The longer you stay hands clenched, the harder it is to receive. 

How many opportunities, experiences, relationships etc. do we miss out on because we’re holding on to something that doesn’t suit us any longer for far too long. 

I’m writing this to myself. This is like an open journal to me right now because I NEED THIS. I need to practice the let go, I need to trust God and people more, I need to release the ILLUSION of control because I’m CERTAIN I’m missing out on so much based on my fear of letting go.

What do you need to let go of? It’s probably not one thing, it’s probably not two things, it’s probably a series of things so do it. Let go, move on.  God is good and He can be trusted. I think when we (and I mean ME first) really, TRULY get this, not as knowledge but as a revelation that leads to transformation, life will never ever be the same.

Practicing the let go in the little things. Watch your confidence in the Lord increase and see how your life changes.

Letting go is good. So, SO good.

xx.. LB

ANOTHER GIRL?!

After my husband and I got married I would always daydream about becoming a mother and I just couldn’t wait for my dream to be realized. I would envision us having a ton of boys in the back of a Suburban, heading home from practice, sweaty and smelly. I would imagine what they would look like, tall like my husband? Glasses or no glasses? Fair or olive colored? I literally couldn’t wait.

Although it took longer then expected, nearly five years into our marriage we became pregnant with our first child. I remember knowing I was having a boy, not because I ever felt anything inside to indicate so, but because of my daydreams, of course I would have a boy, and not only would I have a son, I believed I would only have sons.

I’m not sure where this idea came from but I believe it was from a deep rooted fear of girls. Growing up I didn’t have great relationships with other girls, they were mean! What if my daughter was bullied? What if she was the bully?! And what if she hated me??  All these prospects terrified me.

So needless to say, mid- January 2013, when I found out I was having a little girl of my own, I was terrified. I was in such shock I actually paid $100 to have a second, private ultrasound to ensure that what we saw, was in fact what was there. $100 later, it was true, a little girl.

My fear slowly turned into excitement (with serious come to Jesus moment with my husband) and I began to prepare for my little girl. (Now let me just say, I love my daughters more then anything but this is the real reality of how I felt in the early stages.) Fast forward less then two years and I was pregnant again, and yet again, everyone assumed THIS would be my son. Well meaning friends and family would announce ‘hopefully it’s a boy this time!’ but to everyone’s surprise, yet another baby girl for the Burgos family.

Now two girls later in the fall of 2017 I was pregnant yet again. (We really like to have babies around here! LOL) ‘This has to be a boy!’ people would say, ‘Reuben needs a son!’ (I mean, no pressure right?!) And yet, we received the news that we were indeed pregnant with our third daughter.

I cannot even count the number of times I have heard the words ‘another girl?!’ over the course of the last nine months.

‘Three girls?! Good luck with that!’

‘I feel sorry for you when they become teenagers!!’

‘Poor Reuben, he’s so outnumbered!’

‘You’re going to try again, right? You have to try for the boy!’

The list could go on and on of comments I’ve received from well meaning friend and family, as well as rude and ignorant strangers. I have to be honest, these conversations have gone from light and innocent to offensive and obnoxious. Don’t even ask me if I plan to ‘try for the boy’ or tell me you feel sorry for me. ‘Poor Reuben?!’ Really?? Is that what people really think about raising daughters? That it’s something to be pitied? The idea that daughters are somehow less then sons frustrates me (No shade to the boys! I love the boys, boys are great but they are not in any way superior to the daughters). Daughters are lovely, daughters are beautiful, daughters are a special gift from heaven and they should be treasured not despised.

Another girl…

I’ve realized these words are not a reflection of our perceived future but rather a reaction to our very real, unhealed past. It hasn’t been easy for the ladies. After the fall of man, which according to many was ‘Eve’s fault’ (you can read more about my thoughts on Eve here) women have been on a long road to redemption. Striving, proving and desperately wanting to be seen as equals to our male counter parts. Why do women have to be the enemy? Why is it that even women are terrified of other women? And how could it be that we view daughters as ‘just another’ to add to the bunch as if some how they can be grouped away when God has called each of us unique?

Over the last five years I’ve realized now more then ever that this is not the heart of our Heavenly Father towards His daughters and if He can’t make the women see it in themselves, He’ll force them to see it in their daughters.

It’s easy to see in my daughters what I can’t see in myself. It’s easy to love and value in them what I hide and hate in me. It’s easy to call them lovely and cherished even when I feel broken and overlooked. If God can’t make the women see it in themselves, He’ll force them to see it in their daughters.

Having little girls has never made me more proud to be a woman. Having little girls has never made my husband look more like Jesus. It’s amazing how daughters have the ability to pull out the unhealed parts of their mother while simultaneously brining out the unrealized heart of Jesus in their father.

I remember the Holy Spirit whispering to me one day “I’m raising up a generation of daughters that will love me with ease’. The Lord began to show me that daughters, raised by strong father figures, would not struggle to love their heavenly Father because their earthly father would make it so easy. Daughters so loved and cherished, not resented or feared, by their mothers would be able to love themselves well and completely. As the words ‘poor Reuben’ ring in my mind, my heart screams out he’s not only blessed, he is highly favored to be entrusted with the hearts of world changing women.

I want you to know something, how we feel about others is often a reflection of how we view ourselves. And while I could be offended by the heart towards the daughters of this world, I’ve realized it’s a reflection of the hurt, fear and brokenness we carry. It’s a reflection of the ‘not good enough’ mentality we carry. It’s evidence of the ‘a man must complete me’ mindset.

Daughters, you’re not just ‘another girl’ to your heavenly Father. He treasures you, He loves you, He honors you and you were not a second choice. ‘It is not good for man to be alone’ said the Lord. You were created for completion, not competition. Women don’t need to compete for space when we complete the Father’s perfect picture of humanity. You complete the picture the Father is painting in our community, you complete the picture the Father is painting in our homes, you complete the picture God wants to paint of humanity. He loves you! I was surprised by my first born daughter’s gender reveal almost 6 years ago but God wasn’t. He chose her, just as He chose me and you.

Although at times we look at children as just another….  God doesn’t nor does He look at you as just another. I think when we realize this, internalize it, live by it, walk in it- we can and will be filled with grace to live and not strive. We will be filled with grace to complete the picture God is painting rather then compete for space in it. You are chosen, lovely and sought after. Never forget it. Despite how you feel or what you’ve been told, you are not just another to God.

Xo.. LB