I NEED A BREAK.

Having two toddlers, I can tell you one of the most challenging points in parenting is trying to deal with an overtired child who will not go to sleep.

A tired child cries over EVERYTHING, is bothered by ANYTHING and blows ALL THINGS out of proportion. There’s no logic or reasoning with a tired child, there is no resolve for a tired child and there is no peace for the poor soul who’s dealing with that tired child.

There have been times when dealing with a really out of control, tired toddler that I literally want to scream ‘Just go to sleep!!! Why are you fighting it?? Just lay your head down, close your eyes and take a nap!’

The struggle of an overtired child is SO real (along with SO frustrating and SO exhausting) and if you’re like me, it’s the last thing you want to deal with.

You might find this imagery comical but how many of you know that sometimes it’s much easier to point out (and even laugh at) the dysfunction in a tired toddler then it is to see the dysfunction in ourselves.

Over the past several weeks I’ve come to the sobering realization that I am that tired toddler. I am that kid who needs a nap! I am that child who’s crying over everything, bothered by anything and blowing it all out of proportion because my tired mind can’t process any issue effectively.

I am that tired toddler and here are some of the warning signs I’ve learned to identify.

Working for longer and longer periods of time without a break (or ‘nap time’) in between. This was my first warning sign. When the breaks in your days turn into breaks in your weeks and then into months, you have a problem. We can’t live for vacation. Vacation is great, but there should be regularly scheduled breaks along the way. If you find yourself living for the next vacation, it’s a good indication that you are falling out of a rhythmic routine that balances work and rest.

I’m very goal oriented but that can also manifest itself in the form of being a workaholic. There are times where I’m just going, going and going, without any signs of stopping and that’s just not good! Rest is good, rest is NECESSARY, rest is not for the weary or weak, rest is for the wise. When we rest before the work is done, that’s called laziness but resting AFTER you’ve put in work, that’s called wisdom. As productive adults, we must be aware of the difference.

Being bothered by essentially anything and everything. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you’re absolutely irritated by anything and everything that is said, done or implied? Or better yet, you’re irritated by anything and everything that is NOT said, done or implied? Yeah, this is a sign of being overtired. You can’t think or reason well (or at all for that matter) so you just take things much further then they belong going, all the time! I’m not talking about the occasional, stress induced freak out. I’m talking about the days that are filled with more irritation than anything else. That is a problem.

Being resentful towards the things I once loved. My daughters love certain things. Savannah loves lip gloss and tutu’s, Rylee loves the drums and her blanket, they both love Mommy and Daddy, but when they are tired… FORGET IT… They despise the things they normally love. ‘Ry you want your blankie?’.. WAHHHHHHHHHH! (INSERT CRYING BABY HERE!) You might as well have offered her a thorn bush.

When you’re tired; you hate the things you love, you resent the things you once enjoyed and you find frustration in the thing you once felt passionate about. Being tired totally skews your perspective so badly, that it’s almost impossible to see how far off you really are. You think that everything and everyone around you is out to get you, but the reality is, it’s just you! Don’t assume everyone is out to destroy you when you’re simply witnessing the effects of your self-destructive behavior.

Being overtired is an equal opportunity offender. Did I mention EVERYTHING bothers you? When I’m tired, it’s never isolated to one or two areas of my life. It will manifest in my marriage, my parenting, my friendship, my job and dare I say it, even in my ministry! Being tired leaves you open for offense anywhere and everywhere you go. You’re constantly thinking people are against you, the world is conspiring to destroy you, your friends hate you, your family doesn’t support you.. Blah, blah, blah. While many of these things could be true, it’s unlikely they are in this scenario. It’s all in your tired mind. You’ve past the point of functioning and you’ve entered into the land of delusions where nothing makes sense but it all seems real and valid to you.

So now what? What do you do when you realize you are that overtired child? How do you fix it? What makes it better? Well, the answer is simple. Take a nap.

No, seriously! Take a nap, have a break, rest, relax, recharge!!

For me personally, it’s usually a trifold ‘break’ that I require to get back on track.

1.) My soul needs a break, possibly even a detox and definitely some TLC. Whatever’s happening on the outside is a manifestation of what’s going on on the inside. If you’re feeling tired in your body, your soul is probably exhausted. Stop. Take a break. Read a book or a devotional, listen to a preaching or maybe just play some worship music but whatever you do, make sure it’s something that will feed your soul and not drain it. This isn’t a time where you stop and binge on Netflix, this is a time to feed your soul with something sustainable.

2.) I need a mental purge. Clear your mind & l let it go. Whatever it is, it has to go. Carrying excess mental baggage is enough to weigh anyone down. Take a few minutes to empty your brain of all the extra nonsense you’ve been carrying.

 

  • The way they looked at you.
  • The dishes that weren’t done.
  • The laundry that isn’t folded.
  • The report that wasn’t finished.
  • The apology you never received.
  • The friendship that ended.

The list could go on and on, but you get my point. Let it go. Just do it. Carrying it around doesn’t change anything, it just drains you of all the mental and emotional strength you need to function as a decent human!

3.) My body needs a break. If you’re like me, my ‘resting place’ is not a familiar place, it’s not a peaceful place and it’s not a comfortable place. Why? Because I rarely go there. This past weekend it took me nearly 45 minutes to take a nap. I just couldn’t do it. My mind was thinking of all the things I could be doing, my body was feeling weird, I wanted to get up and GO! But I knew I couldn’t. On my journey to total balance and well-being, I knew I needed to stay in this restful place, even if it felt uncomfortable in the moment. Your body needs rest, it craves rest and it should get to a place where it welcomes rest.

Being tired is exhausting (DUH) but dealing with tired, is even worse. Your spouse, your friends, your family, they need you to be well rested because whether or not they are willing to tell you, they are exhausted by dealing with you in this state. I’m thankful that my husband will tell me when things are getting out of hand, kindly and lovingly he’ll point me in the right direction and help me get back on track. I love this! But I’ve also realized, now matter what he say, if I don’t actually do something about doing nothing, I won’t see change.

Are you tired? Drained? Desperate for a break and becoming difficult to deal with? Well, you know what to do. Stop, rest, relax.

You know what the best part of my nap was this weekend was? Waking up and realizing the world didn’t end in the process of me napping. Life goes on, but it goes on better when you’re rested enough to enjoy it!

I hope you take some time this week to nap, rest, relax and enjoy life just a little more.

xx.. Lori

CHASING CHANGE

A few weeks ago I made a hair appointment. I haven’t colored my hair since May & I haven’t cut it since June!! Needless to say, it was time.

I scheduled my appointment, I started searching Pinterest for inspiration and I was totally ready and excited for a fresh look. I wasn’t unhappy with my hair, but it was time, you know?.. 

So the week or so leading up to my appointment the strangest things started happening. I had the BEST hair days, my color looked amazing, I was loving my length and I started to wonder ‘Do I really want to do this?’

I mean of course I did! And it was definitely time but for whatever reason, I felt like ‘maybe it’s not time’ or ‘maybe it’s not what I really want’. 

I almost considered cancelling my appointment until I was able to identifying the common denominator. Anytime I’m on the the brink of change (no matter how big or small) my mind goes wild. I over think, I over analyze and I almost always try to talk myself out of whatever I was doing. This could be for anything on a scale from hair colors to career changes. The pattern was enough to make me ask myself; Why is this always the case when I face an opportunity for change?.. 

My example might seem shallow but think about it; how often do you approach the threshold of change only to look back and think; 

‘Is this really necessary?’

‘Do I really want to do this?’

‘Maybe it wasn’t so bad to begin with.’

‘I know I haven’t grown in this position, but they are really flexible with my schedule!’ 

‘This relationship isn’t going anywhere, but do I really want to start over?’ 

‘I wanted to start working out this week, but do I really need to? I kind of like how I look a little thicker.’ 

‘I’ve always wanted a big family, but maybe it’s just not realistic for me.’

‘I would love to go back to school, but am I really the book smart type?..’ 

There’s something about being on the brink of change that makes you look back and focus on the past rather then looking forward to the possibilities.

It’s not until you give your two week notice that you remember all the good memories you’ve made at your job. 

It’s not until you’re ready to walk out of that relationship that you remember that one special night. 

It’s not until you’re ready to buy a home that you appreciate the convenience of renting. 

It’s not until you’re ready to move across the country that you realize you have more friends then you thought. 

There’s something about the fear of the unknown that makes you look back frantically for something familiar to hold on to. 

I’ve done this so many times in my life. Sometimes the fear merely intimidated me, but other times it immobilized me and kept me stuck in a places I had no business being. I’ve found that when I am most afraid of letting go, my fear isn’t based on what I’m leaving, but that where I’m going won’t be better. 

It’s scary to look into the unknown with uncertainty but we have to become uncomfortable with looking back to the once was when we have the opportunity to look forward to the what could be. 

I can’t be the only one who faces change with fear. I can’t be the only one who looks forward with excitement but inevitable shrinks back from intimidation. But I also know that I can’t be the only one desperate to break free of the chains of my past and more forward into the possibilities of my future. 

It’s one thing to talk about it, it’s another thing to plan for it, it’s quite a different thing to actually do it! I’ve come to the point where if it scares me, I’m going to face it. If it intimidates me, I’m going to do it. It might start off small, but I refuse to live in the false security that mediocrity provides. If I can commit to doing even one thing everyday that makes me even a little nervous, I know I can find growth. 

What can you face today? Maybe it’s as simple as cleaning our your closet, but maybe it’s as difficult as ending a long time relationship. Maybe it’s cleaning out your cell phone contacts or maybe it’s finally commuting to that job, that relationship or that move you’ve been procrastinating. Whatever it looks like for you, commit to being brave today. 

Push past the petty & step into purpose. Change doesn’t just happen, sometimes you need to chase it down. 

Make the appointment.

Plan the dinner. 

Set up ‘the talk’. 

Seek the help. 

Cancel the subscription. 

Skip the gossip. 

Make yourself accountable. 

Do what you need to do to get where you’re trying to go. One small change can be the catalyst to living the life you’ve always dreamt of. 

What change will you chase down today? 

Xo.. Lori

WANNA RACE?

The New Year is upon us and everyone has a new resolution, goal and plan for 2017. If you scroll through your Facebook timeline or chit chat with some of your closest friends, you’ll see that most people expect to grow in some way this year whether professionally, personally or relationally.

I’ll be the first to say that I love goals, I love planning, I love challenging myself and I love to hope and dream for the future! All these things are great, but in this process there is one simple notion I am very intentional about keeping in mind; life is a collaboration, not a competition.

Challenge yourself, push yourself, create goals and prepare for growth but measure your success by who you use to be and what you aspire to be, rather then what the person to the left or the right of you is doing.

Wanna race?

Thinking about this concept of ‘compare and contrast’ and our innate instinct to compare ourselves to those around us and contrast our success to theirs, I was reminded of a funny story. A few years ago I was fortunate enough to work with 2 of the most amazing women I’ve ever met. We went from being co-workers to friends quickly and it made for some of the best days at work.

We would laugh, talk and joke around to make the days go by faster. It was great!

Well one boring afternoon, one of my friends and I decided to play a trick on the third friend. The joke would be that I would challenge her to a race (yes, like a running race) around the building. She was much more fit then I was) but the plan was, once she took off from the front door, I would go back into the building, find my way to another door, go out that exit and essentially short cut to the finish line. In hindsight, I’m not sure why we thought this was such a good idea or even so funny for that matter, but I guess it goes to show how boring our days were.

Anyways, we’re lined up at the front, ‘On your mark, get set, GO!’ and we both took off. I quickly ran back inside, did my little short cut thing and then came back to the front door where we first started. She runs up a couple minutes later gasping for air (apparently she’s very competitive and took winning very seriously). As she approached, she said something like ‘YOU beat me?!’ and I said, something like ‘that’s right I beat you!!’ She looked around, ‘No way! I didn’t even see you pass me!!’ I said something to the effect of ‘That’s because I was running SO fast, I just whizzed right past you!’

It was honestly, hysterical. I laughed so hard that I gave myself up in no time. We both walked into the office, me laughing, her still gasping for air, it was seriously great.

As entertaining as this story is, I think the underlying principle is noteworthy; the only person you’re racing is yourself.

It’s easy to get on your mark the first of the year, get ready and then set off on this race to the finish line, hoping to whiz past every other person that crosses your path but the reality is, while you’re ‘racing’, others are simply doing their thing. They aren’t thinking about you, they aren’t considering you, they are simply running their race, doing their thing, their way.

During this time of year it will be easy to look at those around you and immediately begin to measure up to them.

‘How did they lose so much weight?’

‘What made her qualified for that position?’

‘How can they afford a new car?’

‘Why did he get that job?’

‘Did they really just buy a house?’

‘Did you see how many likes that post got?!’

‘Are they really getting married before me?!’

The list can go on and on, but the point is simple, another person’s success does not equal your failure. You’re not racing against them, you’re running with them.

When you feel temped to compare and contrast, don’t. That’s it, that’s the key!! Just don’t. Nothing good comes of that. Focus on your journey and realize those around you are just running their own race with you, not against you. It’s ok if we’re all going in the same direction, it’s ok if we have some of the same goals, it’s ok if some days those around you seem up while you feel down, it’s ok! The point isn’t to be better then the next person, by that standard, you’ll always fall short! The hope is that everyday we can be a little better then our own personal best.

Do your thing and do it well.

This year can be great for ALL OF US! There is more then enough success to go around 🙂

Xo.. Lori

THE UNDERTOW

Years ago my husband and I spent a week in Puerto Rico. It was just the two of us for our own little romantic getaway. We stayed right on the water at the San Juan Marriott Resort. Our hotel had a pool, a spa and a casino readily available to us and of course, the best part; it was right on the beach! And let me tell you, I couldn’t wait to get out on the beach.

I remember our first time out, the weather was perfect, the waves were subtle and the beach was practically empty. I remember easing in with caution because my dad had warned me of the reputation this particular stretch of shoreline had and the undertow it was known for.

I waded out; ankle deep, seems ok… Mid-calf, still seemed fine.

As I got about knee deep, it began getting a little rough & before I could even retreat to the shore (just a few feet away) the ground slipped from beneath me (literally!) and I was about waist deep in waved whipped water that literally pummeled over my head. The water came up, I went down and just like that, my body hit the ocean floor beneath me. I could feel the burn of my skin on the side of my face and the top of my shoulder. When I tell you I hit the ground hard, I hit the ground HARD. I wrestled with the waves for a moment. My hair tossed with sand, my face burning from the impact it made with the ground, slightly out of breath and borderline terrified, I finally managed to stand. I was just about knee deep in water and maybe 10 feet from the shore. While I was relieved, I was also shocked. For a moment I felt totally alone and completely helpless, but I wasn’t. The shore was close, my husband was there & what seemed like an eternity was probably less than 30 seconds of my life.

‘Did that really just happen?’

‘Did I nearly die in two feet of water?’

Anxiety is like undertow. Everything seems fine on the surface; it looks good, it feels good but then suddenly, before you even know what’s happening, the floor beneath you falls in, it pulls you under and it takes you out. It whips you around, it exhausts you physically, mentally & emotionally, a rush of fear comes upon you, a list of ‘I never should have (you fill in the blank)… ’ starts running through your mind and then suddenly, as quickly as it came, it’s gone.

That moment when you stand up, you realize you weren’t as far out into the chaos as you thought, you weren’t as deep into the mess as you felt and although you felt alone and out of control, you weren’t.

This morning I was driving into work as usual and I felt the pull of this undertow once again. I felt the security of the ground beneath me just fall out, I felt the waves of fear crashing over me, thoughts of worry, doubt & concerns just consumed me. A movie of possible, yet unlikely scenarios played through my mind lightning fast. My chest felt tight, my heart felt heavy and my breathing got shallow.

‘What’s happening?..’

Why is this happening?..’

I felt completely helpless in the moment but deep down inside I knew one thing for sure. ‘Lori, if you just stand up to this, it will be ok. It’s not what it seems.’

And just like that, I stood up.

I stood up to the fear.

I stood up to the worry.

I stood up to the doubt.

I stood up to the hopelessness.

I stood up to the feeling of loneliness and isolation.

I stood up to the irrational emotions that were trying to control me.

I stood up to every single scenario that had so quickly crossed my scattered mind.

I sat in my car and I began to sing ‘Pour it out, let your love run over… Here and now, let your glory fill this place’. Elevation Worship- Fullness

‘God, dear God, help me.’ I whispered.

Worship is my get up and prayer is what I stand on. When everything beneath me and within me feels frail, fickle and uncertain, I anchor myself back to what is faithful, constant and certain.

There are somethings that I will never understand, like how after all these years, anxiety still grips me like an old glove but I know this, I understand that the best way to get ‘over it’ is to go through it. Call it what it is, face it and deal with it.

For me today, the answer was worship, prayer & then finding a scripture that I could write down and focus on.

‘You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you,

 all those whose thoughts are fixed on you.’ Isaiah 26:3

Dear friend, I hope you know that you are not alone today, you are not helpless and you are not as far from the shore as your circumstances lead you to believe. The waves seem strong, but they will pass. You’ve lost your footing but you’ll soon feel the ground again. You’re heart feels heavy, but the burden will be lifted. You think you’re alone, but you’re not….

Stand up, you can do this.

We can do this.

 

Xo… Lori

JOIN THE JOURNEY

On April 24th 2011 at 3:00am my life changed forever. In the darkness of the basement, in the still of the night, I heard a voice, a call, a purpose. In that moment, from a deep sleep I was suddenly awakened.

‘It was never my will for you to live defeated.

It is my will for you to experience this for a season, conquer and share.

I am more than sufficient.’

Just like that, I knew my purpose in life wasn’t to just ‘get by’, it wasn’t just to survive; I knew that morning that my life would consist of more than the mundane and that through my journey and through my process, I would encourage and inspire others to see that we are all made for more, we’re all created to flourish.

I remember later that morning I went to church and I told my best friend what happened to me. I was terrified. I didn’t feel excited, I didn’t feel qualified, I felt terrified. If I remember correctly, outside of my husband, that was the first and last conversation about this night that I would have for years.

People would ask ‘What do you think God has called you to do?’.. Rather than respond with the truth, I would sheepishly shrug my shoulders and say ‘I don’t know’… But I did know. I knew exactly what God called me to do; He called me to WRITE!

I knew in the depths of my soul that I was called to a specific journey, at a specific time, for a specific reason and my mission would be to take those around me on that journey through my writing in a way that inspires and encourages change, growth and development.

This blog is an invitation to join me. Join me a journey through motherhood, marriage, ministry, continuing education & career exploration. Join me through life’s ups and downs, through the good and bad, we can explore faith, hope and love, relationships, disappointments, fears and failures together.

My life isn’t perfect and it’s definitely not easy, but my hope is that it will be inspiring to all those who think they are alone. Together we are better.

If you’re interested in joining me on this journey, please click the link below to follow my blog. I’ll be posting both traditional blogs as well as video blogs about everything and anything. Like what you hear? Drop a note, leave a comment, share a post! Whatever works for you, but I would love to know that you’re there, that you’re listening.

Xo… Lori

BECOMING

Have you ever been in a relationship that left you feeling disappointed?  Used? Unsatisfied? Hurt? Mistreated? Forgotten? Left out? Under- appreciated? Un-noticed? Judged? Or misused?

Maybe this stems from a parent who abandoned you, a sibling who rejected you, friends who disappointed you, a spouse that violated your trust or family members who felt more like strangers. Although this might look different for many of us, the reality is, we’ve all experienced relational disappointment at some time in our life. It’s that soul crushing experience that leaves our expectations unfulfilled and our hearts broken and half empty.

I’ve realized in the last several months that one of my biggest struggles has come from expecting far more from others then they were willing {or capable} of giving and because of this I’ve found myself stuck in the darkness of relational disappointment.

‘I thought they would understand.’

‘I thought they would have support me.’

‘I thought they would have been there for me.’

‘I thought they were dependable’

‘I thought they were loyal’

‘I thought they were a Christian!’

‘I thought they could be trusted’

My list could go on forever, and your list might look different but these are a few from my own personal experiences.

I love deeply, I’m loyal and I give my whole heart and mind to things and people regularly. My general expectation is that others would meet that same need for me and the standard would be reciprocated but far too often the reality has been something totally different and at times the results have been earth shattering to me.

My list of ‘I thought’ quickly turned into phrases like;

‘I should have known better’

‘They’re all the same’

‘I knew it’

‘How could I have been so stupid’

‘This is why I don’t let people in’

And so on and so on. Feelings of brokenness, regret and frustration overtake my mind and cloud my judgment. Before I know it, I’m surrounded by a sea of ‘should have, could have, would have’s [&] ‘they will never fool me twice’ thoughts.

Unfortunately relational disappointment is real and no matter how awesome a person is, they are still just human and they will disappoint you. The key is getting through this disappointment better, not bitter.

Through the brokenness, through the emptiness, through the hurt and through the pain I have realized that maybe, just maybe the ‘friend’ I was searching for, the relationship I was missing isn’t actually missing at all. Maybe what I’m looking for is just hidden within me. Maybe the longing I had was really a longing to see the woman deep within me revealed. Maybe the disappointment that I faced wasn’t because of what others couldn’t be, but rather an underlying feeling of what I should be and couldn’t seem to express.

Could it be that the friend I’ve been looking for all this time was hidden deep within me?..

Could it be that what I was looking in others was actually nestled deep within my own soul?..

The person who loves and encourages me, the one who motivates and inspires me, the one who sees the best in me and pulls it out. The person who is trust worthy, faithful and kind, fierce and strong, wise and courageous. Could it be that that person is within me, waiting to be discovered?

The world needs more love, more joy, more hope, more peace, more encouragement, more inspiration, more consistency. Could it be that you are the very expression of those things that this world is missing?

After countless disappointment and endless frustration, I realized something. If I couldn’t find her, I would be become her.

I would be the very expression of all things lovely that I desperately wanted to see within my friends, my family and my community. I would wait no longer to find it, I would simply be it.

While I am waiting, so is the world… I couldn’t find her, so I became her.

SHE IS

Lately I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed and slightly stressed about life. I’ve been thinking about all the things I need to do (or should stop doing), my personal ‘to do’ list has become a ‘to dread’ list and I’ve just been feeling different. Things that shouldn’t bother me, do and things that use to bring me joy, don’t. I began to reflect on a blog I wrote called Surely shortly before my first daughter was born. The Lord had strengthened me and enlarged my faith so much through that post, but today, I didn’t feel as strong as I did in that season.

Knowing that God is the same, I can admit the only difference between then and now must be hidden within me. Acknowledging that and realizing that these feelings and my perspective would take my life in a direction I did not intend to go, I’ve decided to make a very conscious decision to start my days earlier and fix my focus before life fixes it for me.

For me this process has been waking up before my daughters and having my first cup of coffee with Jesus. In the peaceful, quiet, stillness of my home I’ve been intentional about fixing my heart and mind heavenward before life gave me an opportunity to do otherwise.

This particular morning I decided to go back to the good and faithful Proverbs 31 woman. I love this piece of scripture because it embodies a woman that I do not yet know personally, yet my heart feels close to her. She inspires so many women and yet in her day to day duties, she probably had no idea anyone was watching her, let alone that people would be talking about her all this time later.

As I read, I began to write;

–          She is valuable

–          She lacks nothing

–          She is consistent

–          She is wise

–          She is an investor

–          She helps others

–          She is considerate and compassionate

–          She is a hard worker

–          She is resourceful

–          She is business savvy

–          She is diligent

–          She is prepared

–          She faces life like a boss

–          She gets her hands dirty

–          She is brave

–          She is wise

–          She is well articulated

–          She is fearless

–          She is resourceful

–          She likes beautiful things

–          She brings honor to her husband

–          She represents the Lord well

–          She takes care of others

–          She also takes care of herself

–          She is confident

–          She fills her life with things that have purpose

–          She is authentic

–          She is loved

–          She is honored

–          She is rewarded

–          Because she fears the Lord, she fears nothing else.

When I came to the end of the passage I felt the Lord whisper to my heart ‘Look at all that she is. There is no mention of what she is not’.

For me this subtle whisper gave me hope, gave me peace and gave me permission to exhale. I am constantly fixated on growth and progress which means often times I can fixate on what I’m not, what I need to fix and where I’m lacking. Yet here I read scripture after scripture not about what she doesn’t do, but rather all about what she does do.

This passage focuses on the strengths, not shortcomings.

I’m reminded this morning to focus on what I can do, what I should do, who I am, who I will one day be, and not on everything I’m not.

This women wasn’t perfect, she couldn’t have been, none of us are but she focused on the right things at the right time and because of that, she was successful. She knew whom she served and because of that, she knew who she was. Did she face confusion? Insecurities? Doubt? I’m sure but unlike many of us, it’s likely that she faced it and moved on. Those things may have been a speed bump on her journey, but they surely would not become a road block. She got over it, she moved on, and she focuses on important things, fruitful things an d because of that, she is a hero to women who never even knew her.

Today I’m encouraged to face ‘it’ but to move on. I hope you are too.

MY BEST YES

Seven years ago today my life changed forever.

I woke up like any other day, to the sound of “Amazed” by Lonestar on the radio alarm. I went to work at my first job, planning to work at my second job right after. It was a regular Friday, or so I thought.

After talking with my sister-in- law that afternoon I knew my second job wasn’t an option.

“I’m preaching!” She said. “I really want you to be there, I’m really excited about this message.” She added. “And besides that, it’s Reuben’s first night playing the drums. I’m sure he would love for you to be there.”

Later I got a call from my best friend, “What are you doing tonight? I want to come to church with you.” The story was; her and her boyfriend were fighting and she wanted to get away. I still don’t know if that was even remotely true, but in the moment I thought “SURE. I would love for you to come with me!!”

My parents and brother wanted to join us as well; they wanted to see Reuben play the drums for the first time. How could I say no? This would be a family affair and a night to remember..

Just like that, I swapped shifts and I was getting ready for Friday night youth service. I didn’t go to many of these, being a waitress meant I worked Friday and Saturday nights, after working my regular office job during the weekdays. But tonight seemed different, so I went for it.

The service ended and the Pastor called us up “Reuben and Lori will be traveling this weekend, let’s pray for traveling graces.” With every head bowed and every eye closed (or so I thought) we prayed. Then, as I opened my eyes there he was; on one knee, box opened, ring shinning.

“Will you marry me?” He said.

“YES!” I exclaimed.

Camera flashes going off all over the sanctuary, clapping, cheering; a roar of excitement irrupted in the sanctuary. We had been high school sweet hearts and had the spent the last 5 years together. We had loved each other, hated each other, laughed, cried, grew and matured and now we stood there, as adults ready to make the biggest decision of our lives.

He hugged me as tight as he could, and as he held me as close as I could get, and then he whispered; “The real question is, will you marry me tomorrow?”

“WHAT?!” I said abruptly.

I think he could see the panic in my face and the concern in my voice. Before I could utter another word he said “Just trust me. I promise, everything will be ok.”

And just like that, I said yes. Again.

Less than 24 hours later I was ready to walk down an aisle I did not lay down, in a sanctuary I did not decorate, surrounded by people I did not invite, in a wedding dress I did not buy, to meet my soon to be husband at the end of an aisle where we would begin the rest of our lives together.

Now, if you know me you know I’m a planner and never in my wildest dreams would I expect to get married, with a less than 24 hour engagement and a ceremony and reception I had nothing to do with planning, and yet, here I was. Standing in a church where the sanctuary was decorated, the room was packed; I had a wedding cake, flower girls, food, a dress, a bouquet. I had everything we needed for a wedding and I didn’t have a single thing to do with it.

I walked down the aisle with my father where I met my husband, brother, mother and soon to be brother- in- law (who married us, his FIRST wedding ever!!) We said our I Do’s and that was it!

We were married.

I thought that day getting married was my best yes, my craziest yes, my scariest yes and the most important yes of my life.

Yet 7 years later, marriage has taught me that it’s not about the first yes, or the second yes or even the third, fourth and fifth yes. It’s all about the daily yes you commit to saying for life.

The commitment to say YES when life doesn’t go the way you planned.

The commitment to say YES when the job is gone.

The commitment to say YES when the house falls through.

The commitment to say YES when the dreams are shattered.

The commitment to say YES when the house is a mess.

The commitment to say YES when marriage isn’t the solution to loneliness as you expected.

The commitment to say YES when the picture you see doesn’t look like the “box” you picked up.

The commitment to say YES when money is low and bills are due.

The commitment to say YES when stress is high.

The commitment to say YES when the grass looks greener on the other side.

 

The daily yes.

Yes, I will honor you.

Yes, I will love you.

Yes, I will cherish you.

Yes, I will pray for you.

Yes, I will support you.

Yes, I will be there for you unconditionally.

Yes, I will be by your side when no one else is.

If you spend your relationship waiting for the next milestone, you’ll always be disappointed. You’ll always feel like something is missing. But if you learn to love intentionally and without reservation, you’ll find that the journey is better than the destination and the daily yes is your best yes.

Today I celebrate that marrying my husband was my first yes, is my last yes and will forever be my best daily yes.

YOU TOO ARE LOVED

It’s amazing how quickly time passes us by. To think just one short week ago I was sitting in the hospital with my little one, staring intently at her, in awe and wonder of her beauty.

Reuben had left for church, the room was quiet and I just sat on my hospital bed staring at Savannah, admiring every last detail of her.

“Savannah, I love you so much!” I said with tears welded up in my eyes.

“You are amazing. You are gorgeous in every way! Savannah you came OUT OF ME! You are a special piece of me. I hope you get everything that is good from me, and bypass all the bad. Savannah, there is nothing I wouldn’t do for you! To keep you safe. To keep you happy and healthy. I promise you baby, no harm will come your way as long as I can help it! You are a treasure, straight from heaven& I will always hold you close and dear to my heart. There is nothing you could ever do that would make me love you any more or any less. My love for you is limitless and unconditional. You have my heart baby girl and that will never, ever change.

Tears running down my face it suddenly made sense.

God loves me.

He really, really loves ME. It felt as if during that time I spoke over my daughter, God began to speak the same words of affirmation over me. In that moment, as close as she felt to me, I felt to God. I knew that He held me close, and sustained me in every way necessary.

Years of church, loving God and knowing He loved me suddenly made more sense than it ever had before.

GOD LOVES ME!!! Not because of what I have or haven’t done, not because I love Him or because He has to, He loves me just because I am His. I am a piece of HIM!

As I looked at my daughter, I felt such an overwhelming feeling, I literally felt swaddled in love. The new found love for my daughter as well as this revelation of God’s love for me rushed through me, over taking and filling every last empty part of me.

It’s hard to understand this love.. Even as I look at her, I think of my husband and how many years it took for us to truly, love each other the “right way”, I think of all the people I’ve encountered whom I wanted to love, or should love, but just couldn’t. Love hasn’t always come easy for me. It was something I knew but at times, the reality escaped me. And now, suddenly, in a split second, it made more sense then it ever had before!!

It’s amazing how one moment, one touch, one look, one encounter could change all of that. In one single instant, it all made sense.

I feel like with this revelation, another piece of heaven has opened up over my life. I am now not only aware, but convinced that God’s love for me is like no other love I will ever know. It is real, tangible, unearnable and irrevocable.

I am His. And He is mine.

It is my hope and prayer that in someway, God’s love for you will be exposed in a real, tangible way as well. Maybe you have children, and you can relate to this, maybe you don’t. Either way, I know that God is big enough to meet you in this moment, in the exact way you need Him to and speak to your heart in a way that will make sense to you, just to show you that you too are loved. You too are cherished. You too hold a piece of God’s heart within you that He will always love and hold dear.

You too are loved.