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

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.