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

TRIGGERED

Have you ever stopped in a moment and prayed something like this;

‘Lord, give me patience to deal with them!’

‘Jesus, please help me get through this meeting with this group of crazies!’

‘God, I am SO ANNOYED and frustrated, help me to be at peace.’

‘God, what is wrong with people!?’

If you’re like me, you pray prayers like this all the time desperately trying to get through the madness we face on a regular basis. Sometimes these desperate prayers just come out, quick and easy, without any thought or effort but lately, it’s been different for me. When I find myself praying these prayers, asking God things like ‘What is wrong with these people?!’ I feel the Holy Spirit nudging me towards a different kind of question…  Questions like ‘Why does this trigger me?’

Since I started to get this little leading from the Lord, I’ve been asking myself over, and over (and OVER) again- this very question.  ‘Lord, why does this trigger me?’

 

Asking the right questions has helped me to get to the root of MY ISSUE and become more accountable, rather then pointing the finger at someone else and expecting God to ‘fix them’ or change my situation.

Today I had yet another ‘God, why does this trigger me?’ moment.

I was dropping my daughter off at school already feeling frustrated that the morning derailed and turned into a yelling and crying match. I walk in and Sav’s teacher begins with the small talk, ‘How are you? How are you feeling?’ and then continues to tell me all about Savannah’s progress with her letters.

Now for the sake of back story, this wasn’t the first time I heard this. The first was via progress report that was sent home. After reading the progress report and the recommendations the first time, I was upset and frustrated.  I thought of everything I would say to this teacher. Things like;

‘I would like to see the curriculum you’re teaching.’

‘What’s your plan to give Sav’s letter memory more attention during the school day?’

‘How often are you doing letters throughout the week?’

But when she began to speak, I just teared up with Savannah, standing next to me full of smiles and totally unaware of what was happening. I think all she heard was the great job she was doing with most of her letters and totally disregarded the portion about the letters she didn’t know. In an effort to keep it together, for Savvy’s sake at least, I just nodded my head in agreement, kissed Savannah good-bye and then left to my car where I cried my way to work.

‘Why did this trigger you?’ I felt the Holy Spirit ask me in my no words, tear filled moment.

Why did this trigger me? Why was I losing my mind over this moment? I reasoned with myself that my husband and I sacrifice a lot financially to put her in this school, we wanted the best for her, isn’t this their job? And that’s why I felt frustrated. Then I thought about how she would be starting Kindergarten next year and I wondered ‘will she be prepared?’ Being that kindergarten is about 7 months out, this was a premature concern so then the question remains, what is it? Why did this trigger me?

As I drove, guilt the weight of this world began to crush me.

–          I should have more time to work with her.

–          If I wasn’t working full time, I would- I could!

–          If I could just be there for her more, this wouldn’t be an issue.

There it was, the trigger; the feeling of ‘being a full- time employee makes me a part time Mom’ guilt.

I was so upset because I felt like it’s all my fault, I felt like I can’t be there for her the way I want to be because I’m working, I felt like life will always make me choose and I can never, ever have the best of both worlds, someone or something will always feel the burden of this sacrifice.

Ugh. I hate this trigger. Of all the triggers, this is the worst because it attacks one of the things I hold dearest to me, motherhood.

I wish I could say in that moment, I shook it off, moved on and forgot all about it. I wish it was that simple, but it’s not. I felt frustrated, sad, even confused. Even as I pen this note, I’m asking the Holy Spirit ‘so what’s the answer?’

And all I hear is this; GRACE.

There is grace for this place. There is grace for this life. There is grace for this, not just for me but for my children, for my husband. I believe firmly that when you are called to something, anything – whether its motherhood, marriage, ministry, a job or career, school or training- whatever it is, when you are called to that, the Lord graces you for the journey as well as those who are meant to be on the journey with you.

For example, I know that I KNOW my husband is graced for me and my life as I am for his. Going to school, the personal aspirations I have, the fact that I was a dozen babies (joking- kinda), he is graced for that because he is meant to be on this journey with me.

Today, I’m reminded that my girls are also graced for this journey. Out of all the wombs that God could have placed sweet Savannah in, He chose mine. And that sweet and sassy baby girl is graced for this journey. She is graced to have a mom in the workforce, she is graced to be raised by parents in ministry, she is graced for this life because when God chose me as her mother, He graced her to be my daughter and when He chose her as my daughter, He graced me as her mother.

God didn’t slip, fall and drop her into my lap, or womb for that matter. This was a precise decision made in Heaven and if it makes sense there, surely it’ll make sense here.

Maybe you’re not a mother or this isn’t your struggle but I would challenge you that we all have triggers. This was my trigger today, other days my triggers vary. What’s your trigger?

I just want to encourage someone today who’s been triggered by something and it’s sending you into a spiral of frustration and guilt-  you’re graced for this! And so are your children, your spouse and the people who are meant to be on this journey with you.

Be a good steward of what’s before you. All of it. Don’t resent or despise it because God, in all His wisdom chose you for this path. Is He, I mean could He, ever possibly be wrong? I think not.

HIDING PLACE

Bedtime with my baby girls is always an adventure. Some nights I literally want to pull every hair out of my head in frustration but other nights, they are simply magical. My little ones will snuggle close, prompt us to pray and then thank Jesus for things like the day, Daddy’s lunch or our little family.

Moments like this melt my heart but with these unpredictable two, I never really know what I’m going to get! Anything is possible, anything can happen and a couple of nights ago my youngest daughter surprised me yet again.

‘I’m scared of the dark!’ she cried.

‘Are you really?’ I asked her.

Now I’m wondering to myself, Did she just today decide to be afraid? Because every other night she’s fine. So much so that we don’t even own a nightlight at this point.

‘I’m so scared!’ she cried again as she literally cocooned herself under the blankets and into even more darkness.

‘Ry, it’s not even that dark in here!’ I pleaded.

You see with the bedroom door open and the lights from our Christmas tree coming down the hall and a small illumination from the street light, the room was dark, but not pitch black.

Now Ms. Rylee B. has cocooned herself into the darkest of dark and is literally hiding from the dark, in the dark.

‘Rylee, come out from there. It’s darker under the blankets then it is out here!’ I tried to reason with her, but she wouldn’t budge.

‘Ok, ok- I’ll leave you alone, but Mommy is right here you don’t have to be afraid!’

And then, as I’m sure you can already guess; the Holy Spirit spoke to my heart.

‘Isn’t it so sad when our children hide in what they fear most?’

Ugh. Yes Lord, it’s so sad!

In that moment, as Rylee fell asleep in the darkness of her cocoon, I began to think about all the times I hid within my fears so much so that they became comfortable to me.

The times I let the fear of rejection keep me isolated.

The times I let the fear of failure keep me from even trying.

The times I let insecurities disable me from doing my best.

The times I let the fear of being hurt keep me from developing good relationships.

All these times I hid from my fears, in my fears and it felt totally normal.

All these times I let the darkness validate my fear rather than letting my faith validate my freedom.

Sheesh, the list could literally go on and on but in that moment I realized far too many times I’ve allowed fear to push me into a corner and I end up hiding in the very thing I fear the most.

When I saw my daughter do it, I just wanted to pull her up, take her out of the darkness and hold her safe in my arms. I don’t want her to live in fear; I don’t want her to live in hiding. I want her to live wide open in love and faith.

If that’s my heart for my daughter, imagine the heart of the Father for us. He loves us more than I could ever love Rylee. That’s a hard concept to grasp but it’s the truth. In all my heart, in all my life, I will never muster up more love then the love for her then our Father has for us. He is love so His love tank isn’t dependent on anyone, isn’t contingent on anything, His love just is.

Gosh I want to come out of hiding.

I want to live wide open.

I want to find shelter and safety in the Father’s arms even when I face the darkness and shadows of this world. I really, really want to let His arms of refuge become my default hiding spot rather than hiding in my fears.

I want to hear His words ‘Come out of there, you’re safe here with me’ and actually move, actually go, actually allow myself to come out of this hiding place and realize that I’m safer in the shadows with Him then in hiding without Him.

I let my daughter rest there that night. Not because I didn’t love her, not because I didn’t want to hold her and snuggle her to sleep but because I love her enough to let her learn. She came out eventually. I imagine when it felt hard to breathe in there and when that small space became confining and uncomfortable, she finally came out of hiding and rested in my arms.

If you’ve been hiding in your fears for too long, please know that God isn’t letting you stay there because He’s in agreement with you, He’s simply loving you enough to let you learn.

When you’re ready, right outside the darkness, right outside of your fears, right outside of your worry He’s sitting there waiting for you. When you finally break free from the confinement of that small space you placed yourself into, He’ll be waiting, arms open wide, with endless love and space for you to rest in.

Ironically enough, Rylee actually means courageous. That means even when she is afraid, I call her courageous, I call her brave. Can you hear what the Father is calling you?

I hope little Rylee B. has encouraged you as much as she has me. She’s a little treasure to me just as you are to your Father in heaven.

 

xx.. Lori

IT’S NOT A COMPETITION

Have you ever been scrolling down your timeline, looking at pictures or posts, trying to unwind with some mindless entertainment and then before you know it, you find your brain full of thoughts, questions and concerns that weren’t there moments before?

 

How did she lose all that weight so fast?

How are her kids already potty training?

Wow, her husband brought her flowers, again?..

Another date night!?

They are always going somewhere fun!

If I didn’t have all these kids, my life would be a little more adventurous.

How are they getting married?

Oh my goodness, I need those shoes!!

Look at that car!!

Why can’t I have a cool job?

What am I doing wrong?

Everyone around me is so blessed and then there’s me..

 

The list could go on and on and on. We all fall victim to it at one time or another. That feeling of ‘look at them’ that makes us feel like we’re just below the mark. It happens to me sometimes. I’ll be scrolling, trying to clear my mind and before I know it, my mind is full of junk!! It happens so easy, as if a simple crack of our hearts door allows for an avalanche of crazy to come flooding in.

For me personally, I get this feeling sometimes when I see mothers with their children. Working full time leaves me with less time than desired to be with my kids so sometimes when I see fun day trips or parents with their babies, it makes me sad! Not because they get to do it, but because I don’t.

Thoughts like ‘You’re such a bad mom’ or ‘Maybe you made the wrong choice’ flood my mind. I think about how I wish I could be with them more, how I should be with them more. I think about how I’m selfish for ‘putting my career first’ when my babies are little. Thought after thought comes in like a tornado taking down every truth, promise and revelation God has ever given me about my life, and my journey.

When I was in school, I could vividly remember the time and place God told me to enroll yet during times where I was stuck doing homework, when I had to decline invitations to study or I had to spend 4 hours in a classroom after a long day of work I literally could not see past that moment. I would forget that God had placed me on assignment. I would forget that He told me surely there would be enough grace. In the face of comparison, I would forget everything that mattered most.

It’s amazing that even with knowing I’m in the right place for this season of life everything, knowing that God has anointed me for this assignment, knowing that He is with me and for me, all that I know to be true just crumbles under the weight of comparison.

I’ve heard it said before that comparison is the thief of joy but it’s so much more destructive than that. Comparison robs you of your best life, the life that God has graced you for.  Comparison tells you that what you have is not enough and what others have is better. Comparison says that the road you’re on leads to nowhere while your neighbor is on a path to destiny. Comparison silences the voice of God in your life.

I remember several months ago, having an ‘insta-episode’ as I would like to call it and I looked at a picture of a gorgeous woman. Looking at her long hair, curvy body and gorgeous face I thought to myself ‘Dear God, I can’t compete with her’ and the Lord whispered back ‘You don’t have to’.

 

Insecurities tell you it’s a competition.

Insecurities tell you that you’ve got to compete.

Insecurities tell you that you have to do better, be better, buy better.

Insecurities tell you everything you have is nothing compared to what they behold.

 

But confidence in Christ reminds you that you don’t have to compete. You don’t have to fight for first place. You don’t have to look at your co-laborers as competitors. Life is a collaboration, not a competition and when you realize that, you’re released to simply be all God has called you to be. Someone else’s success does not equal your failure. There is more then enough purpose, success and destiny to go around. The idea that when someone else is doing well means your doing bad is a lie straight from hell that needs to be torn down.

No more looking to the left or to the right, no more comparing and contrasting, no more feeling sorry for yourself, just the freedom to be everything God desires you to be. The idea of beauty and success in our society is a moving mark. It’s one thing one moment and something different the next. But the purpose God has placed in you, the man or woman He destined you to be even before He laid down the foundations of the Earth, that does not change. That does not grow old. That does not go out of style.

God was and still is obsessed with you. God has always and will always delight Himself in you. God is not a moving mark, He is stable and secure, steadfast and strong, He is the one that claims you His and purposed you for Heaven’s sake.

Friend, look away from the screen for a moment- maybe not forever, but long enough to fix your eyes on things above. All the things lovely and admirable that God says about you, all things beautiful and steadfast, all things true and tangible.

God is obsessed with you, never forget it. Let Him be your obsession as well.

xx.. Lori

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.

SURELY

Most days I wake up and literally can’t believe this is my life.. I feel so thankful and blessed for everything around me. Grateful for how God has transformed my life and grateful that He has made the little I had into something more beautiful than I could have ever hoped for or imaged.

I look at my growing belly, past the itchy stretch marks, heaviness and discomfort I see the most precious gift I could ever be given. The gift of life. I wonder how God could have found me fit or suitable enough to place this miracle within me. I wonder how I could be so lucky to have such an amazing husband. He is so talented, supportive, caring and considerate. He’s given me a sense of stability and structure that my heart has always longed for, knowing that he is always in my corner, rooting me on has given me such confidence to pursue my dreams, words can not even describe how thankful I am for him. I wake up every day in such a beautiful home, a wonderful job, fabulous friends and family. Most times, I don’t understand how I can be SO blessed.
 
I know that it’s not because of anything I’ve done. I know that I could never do enough to make myself worthy of all that God has blessed me with. I realize that it’s by His grace alone I’m able to have more than I deserve.
 
When I stop and think about grace, a very simple picture comes to mind.. (if you know me, you know I need an illustration for everything!) I envision myself, standing, looking towards the heavens at all of God’s goodness and glory, His love and mercy, and it just seems so far from me, close enough to see it and yearn for it but too far to touch it! And then I see grace. I believe grace is the substance that bridges the gap from where I am to where God is. Grace fills in everything that I can’t. It makes a way to a destination that would otherwise be impossible to reach. It makes the impossible, possible.
 
With all that I have, I still wake up every morning knowing that there is so much more to come. I turn over and see the most amazing man I know laying by my side (in case you didn’t know, I think my husband is absolutely wonderful and I’ll never stop saying it), my daughter flipping in my belly and I think “wow, could it get any better?”..
 
Something inside of me always whispers, “Yes. It can and it will”.
 
Now, I don’t say this to brag, or because I’m arrogant or conceited. I don’t even say it because my life is perfect or because I have no lack or struggle, that’s not the truth either. I say this because I can look across the balance of my life, the good and the bad, and still know that each portion is a blessing, not a burden. I’m a woman who chooses to talk about my joys and not my struggles, my hope and not my fears, my future and not my failures. If that is offensive, that’s unfortunate.
 
As my pregnancy comes to an end I’m filled with excitement and anticipation about the newest addition to our family. Filled with awe and wonder, I think what will it be like? Will I be a good mother? Will my husband and I provide for our daughter? Will we lead and direct her in the ways that she should go? Will I be a good example of a Christian women? Will my relationship with God be something she is attracted to or will she try to deflect God because of my example? Will my marriage remain stable and strong? Will my house stay in order? Will I still be able to write? Can I possibly be as active in ministry as I believe I’m called to be WHILE raising a child? Will I be the mother my daughter deserves?

 

As all these questions run through my mind, I can honestly say, I don’t have much of an answer for any of them. I really don’t know what things will be like, I don’t know what’s going to happen, I don’t know where this road will take me. I can see where I am, I can see where I’m going, but the road to get there is still a blur.. In the midst of all the confusion, there is one thing that rings in my heart, loud and clear, the one thing that keeps me confident, the still, small voice that whispers:
 
“Surely there is enough grace.”
 
I realize that before I was a wife, a leader, a teacher, a writer, a mother, a friend, a sister, an aunt, an employee before I was any of these things, I was simply: Daughter
 
Realizing that being a Daughter to the Father is what I was first called to do, and being His Daughter will be my only eternal title, brings me peace that no matter what other “titles” I hold in between, Daughter came first and Daughter will be last. I may not know exactly what this journey will look like but I know that grace will bridge the gap of where I am, and where I need to go.
 
Maybe this life is impossible, maybe I do have unrealistic expectations OR maybe, just MAYBE I have come to the realization that with man it may be impossible, but with God ALL THINGS ARE POSSIBLE.
 
As I enter into this new chapter of life I’m convinced I will find success and balance, peace and joy. My prayer each day is “Not by my strength, but by YOUR grace.” and surely, there is enough grace……….