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

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

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.

STOP THE SNOOZE

12 days into the New Year and can you believe I haven’t actually written down any ‘New Year Resolutions’ until now? Sinful, right!?

I guess for me; my own personal New Year is my birthday!! And that’s when I sit down, plan out my own personal new year, set goals, deadlines, expectations and prayer petitions. My birthday is in May so by the time the actual New Year rolls around I feel like I’m just getting over the halfway point of my REAL new year and I’m not really ready (or willing) to make new plans! Instead, I usually stop and reflect on where I am, how I’ve been doing and if I’ll meet my goals by May.

This particular year however has been different for me and I find myself thinking about resolutions more then normal. I mean, what’s the big deal?? Why do we give this big glass ball so much power and place so much pressure on ourselves to perform when the clock hits midnight?

I really don’t know. I think it’s a combination of hope and expectation and the belief that at the start of something new (a new year, a new day, a new relationship) things can be different. This idea that life can drastically change and all your dreams can quickly become reality.

So this year after not really putting much effort into my own, I was driving on the highway (after another semi- crazy morning) for my regular double drop off routine just thinking;

‘Why do I keep doing this?’

‘Why must I torture myself?’

‘Day after day, week after week, month of after month, I just can’t seem to get this one thing together!’

‘BUT WHYYYY?!’

You’re probably wondering at this point what I’m talking about, why do I do what?..

SNOOZE!! Why do I hit that horrid, chaos inducing, demon button called ‘the snooze button’.

Is the extra 9 minutes (x4) of restless, partial sleep really worth the rush? The frustration? The late start and hectic beginning to our day?

I would have to say, no, no it’s absolutely not.

During this internal contemplation, the Holy Spirit ever so graciously chimed in; Don’t you see what this is doing to you? You have no sense of urgency; you’ve become desensitized and complacent. It’s easy for you to put off for later what needs to be done now and it’s not isolated to your snooze button each morning either.

Can you say ‘shots fired?!’

WHOA! I wasn’t even asking you! (Ok, I’m so sorry Holy Spirit- I appreciate your love and correction towards me, I was just caught off guard)

But seriously- WHOA! I really wasn’t expecting that, at all. And as much as I felt the sting, it felt right; it felt like that correction fit my dysfunction.

I do snooze every- single- morning (literally). But I snooze much more than my alarm clock on a daily basis.

I snooze the dreams God has given me.

I snooze the plans He’s placed on my heart.

I snooze the purpose He’s given me.

I snooze the divine moments where He wants me to catch something, see something and I’m just ‘too tired’ for it.

I snooze those hard decisions I’m not ready to make.

I snooze the tough stuff that is easily over looked rather then addressed.

Gosh, I snooze a lot!!!

In that moment, I decided it’s time to stop the snooze. It’s time to arise, fully awake and ready at the right time. Not at my time, not when I’m ready but rather when the alarm goes off. When the Holy Spirit says NOW. When I feel the push, when I get that nudge, when there’s a little stir within me; that’s the time. Not 9 minutes or even 9 months later, the time is right in that moment.

I felt convicted that day because I realized how much I really snooze. Starting first thing in the morning. That’s literally how I start my day! That is the tone I set, the very first act of every new day is procrastination and procrastinator is the last word I want to be used when describing me or my life.

Motivated.

Determined.

Committed.

Consistent.

Persistent.

Relentless.

Those are the kind of words I want to describe me and guess what, none of them come from snoozing life away.

So there it goes; my one and only New Year resolution; stop the snooze. In every single way possible.

When the urge to sleep for five more minutes comes, I won’t fall for it.

When the Netflix prompts me to play another episode, I won’t sit for it.

When the Holy Spirit presses on my soul, I won’t ignore it.

I refuse to be a woman whose life can be described as lax or passive.

Change, success and all things worth something don’t come from a passive posture, they must be pursued. I promise stop the snooze and pursue Jesus, life, love and purpose with all that I have, in every single way possible. Will you join me? What have you been snoozing? It’s time to wake up, face the day, own your moment and pursue purpose with all that you have.

It’s time to stop the snooze.

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

MAKE ROOM

Have you ever had one of those God whispers that literally touches your soul? Your heart skips a beat, you’re suddenly smiling and you just feel lighter inside? Like someone literally shined a light into a dark place or pulled a lump of heaviness off your chest?

I had one of those moments this week.

Let me set the backdrop for you… Several months ago a felt the Lord wake me up in the middle of the night and He began to share a series of affirmations with me. He spoke to my marriage, motherhood, work, ministry and most importantly, just me as a woman and as His daughter.
It was beautiful. It encouraged me, it inspired me and it honestly, it stretched me because I don’t always view myself the way the Lord does. I typed it all down in my phone as it came to me and then the next day I read it, and re-read it and then read it again. I then transferred it into a word document, I printed it out and I’ve kept it with me ever since. I read it sometimes for inspiration or encouragement, on my worst days I want to remind myself of how God sees me despite how I see myself.

But as you can imagine, sometimes inspiring things can also be intimidating things. I went from really encouraged, to really discouraged. Really excited, to really exhausted. ‘How could God see this in me?’ I would ask myself. ‘Maybe I heard wrong’ I would reason. ‘How am I going to do all this?’

But deep down inside I knew that God does see me lovely, I didn’t hear wrong and it was never about what I could do but what HE can do. I was having a hard time reconciling my fickle thoughts with the thoughts of my faithful Father and I desperately needed some insight.

Since then I’ve sporadically prayed about this night, His intention and purpose for it. ‘What now, God?’ I would ask. I didn’t want to feel intimidated by Him, I wanted to be encouraged by the word of the Lord!!!

So fast forward, months later- I heard a still, small whisper.

‘Make room.’

That was it. That was the answer I was looking for. As I heard the words, I knew exactly what it was the answer to; how, where, what, when, why. All the questions I had answered in two words; MAKE ROOM.

Immediately I saw this vision in my mind of me literally moving things, making room for the Lord to do what He said He would do. I saw myself making space for the Father to work. Literally, figuratively, spiritually, emotionally; in all ways, in all things, I saw myself creating space for the Lord.

I want to ask you today, what are you waiting on? What prayers have yet to come to fruition? What promises have yet come to pass? What purpose has yet to develop within you? And now ask yourself ‘Am I making room?’

I know for me, this was a reminder that although we pray, although we believe, we must make room for God to work. Maybe that means making room in your schedule for the Lord. Maybe it means making room literally for a project or purpose He has assigned you with, maybe it means making room emotionally in a hardened heart for the Lord to work in you. Whatever it looks like for you, make room for Him. Create a space, in fact create many spaces the Lord can move in on.

My hope today is that you too would be inspired by the greatness of the Lord and His plans for you rather then being intimidated by them. We don’t need to know everything, we don’t need to have it all figured out, but we can make space for God to do what only He can do.

Be blessed & stay the path!

xx…Lori

PURPOSE.

Over the years I’ve heard questions like ‘What is purpose?’, ‘What is my purpose?’, ‘How will I know when I find my purpose?’ or ‘Do I even have purpose?’

All of these are great questions, the concern is valid and truth be told, most of us have asked ourselves these questions more than once.

So what’s the answer? How do you find purpose? Is it told? Is it showed? Is it discovered? Does it evolve? How will we ever know what we are placed on this earth to do?

At this point, I wish I had some profound answer to each of these questions. I wish I knew. I wish I could tell you! But I can’t… The only thing I can tell you for sure is that your purpose comes from God and was deposited in you before you even reached your mother’s womb. As for the rest of the questions, they are so personal to each of us, that the answers can only be found within ourselves.

What I can tell you are three practical truths that I have found on my journey.

  • Your purpose is for people, not in people.

Now this first one is going to be difficult for the Momma who’s knee deep in dirty diapers and believes she is only on earth to wipe butts or the woman who believes her purpose will be found in a spouse or the Pastor who believes his or her value is found in the size of their ministry. (All of these examples are close to my own personal story, yours might be different and that’s OK!) What you have to offer this world is not found in the form of another human. Period. Your purpose is for people, not in people. Be very careful not to confuse the two. As a mother if I believe that my purpose is changing diapers, doing laundry and reading bedtime stories, what happens when my little people grow? Does my purpose diminish? Of course not! Your purpose will outlast the people in your life. No matter how close those people are to you. Knowing that your purpose is for people, not in people will free you from the entrapment of people pleasing.

Have you placed your hope and purpose in people only to be let down? I’m certain that wasn’t God’s original intent for you. Don’t quit your purpose when people fail you, your purpose is for people, not in people!

  • You can’t find what you’re unwilling to face.

In my experience, purpose is usually tied to a strength disguised as a struggle and it isn’t until you’re willing to face both that our purpose truly begins to unfold. Through grade school I had two very specific struggles that now I can look back on knowing  they were actually intentional attacks on my strengths that would build walls of fear like a fortress around my heart and purpose.

They began when I was young and truthfully, I have struggled with these two things almost every day since then. First, I was rejected and excluded. When I moved to a new town and began a new school, I was just that- the new girl and it was clear that I would not be welcomed into the ‘in crowd’. I was left out, forced to ‘prove myself’ and yet, I never quite fit in nor was I accepted the way I had hoped.

Secondly, I was extremely insecure- not only about my appearance but my abilities. I still remember the first time I was made fun of for the acne on my face and the day that I realized that I could never and would never read out loud AGAIN! (Let’s just say this experience involved the word pesticides and resulted in a room full of young, mean and relentless teenagers laughing my soul into a state of panic!) I will never forget these experiences. I will never forget the journey that began on each of these respective days when fear, rejection, hurt and pain filled my heart and tried to wage war against my purpose.

What I didn’t know then is that I was called to stand out of the crowd. I was never meant to fit in with the group or flow with the crowd. My purpose would require me to ‘stick out’ in a sense because if I looked like, acted like and become like everyone else, what impact could I really have? What better way to attack my strength then to make it my weakness? To make me believe that I could not impact ‘the group’ because I wasn’t even worth being a part of ‘the group’?

For a very long time after this, I had a hard time facing people. I always felt like I would be on the outside, and often times I was! This only further validated my dysfunction. Once I began to realize that I had a purpose and in my purpose I just couldn’t fit in with the crowd, it became ok for me to be on the outside. Secondly, being made fun of for my inability to get through a basic paragraph in my school textbook without error made me think that I couldn’t, shouldn’t (and wouldn’t) speak out loud ever again. But that was also a lie. I am called to write, read and speak! My biggest weakness was my strength in disguise.

What is your biggest fear? Insecurity? Worry? Obstacle? I’m certain that if you would face your weakness, you will find your strength and your purpose will be nestled nicely in between the two.

  • Practice your purpose.

Don’t wait until you feel as though you’ve arrived to get going on your purpose. That day will never come. We will never ‘arrive’ on this side of eternity. We will always be what I like to call ‘a work in progress’ and that can’t be a reason to stay stagnant. You have to start!! Where are you right now? This looks differently for all of us but if you can begin to practice your purpose in a practical way, you will begin to see it unfold in a supernatural way. What does this look like? Well for me, I believe that I am going to be an author. I’m not (yet), but I do believe that is a purpose I have in life. Often times I get messages from friends or family, ‘Can you read this?’ or ‘This is what I’m trying to say, how would you word that?’. So what do I do? I practice my purpose and I write. I’ve become quite the ghost writer! Anything from cover letters to speeches to emails and more! I write on the boards at work, I write in my notebook, I write in my planner. I write as much as I can because I’m practicing my purpose in a practical way! Whatever your purpose looks like, make an honest effort to practice it, daily and it will grow.

Purpose is a beautiful thing and like any mosaic masterpiece, all of the pieces need to come together in order to make the full picture. The world is waiting for ‘your piece’ to arrive. Get started, right now, where you are, with what you have. Begin to explore, discover and practice your purpose. The world is waiting for you.

xo.. Lori