FREEDOM FEELS GOOD

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Freedom feels good friends!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pray and slay!

xx .. LB

FENCED IN

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

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

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

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

Or can you?

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

Here goes..

  1. What are you listening to?  

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

  1. What does your support system look like?

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

  1. Are you taking care of yourself?

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

  1. Do you love this place?

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

And lastly, number 5- DO YOU !!

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

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

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

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

Be encouraged, Momma. You got this!

xx… LB

PURSUE

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

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

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

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

I’ve been passive.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

xx LB

 

Learning the ‘Let Go’

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Ask yourself who do I trust the most? 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Letting go is good. So, SO good.

xx.. LB

FROM TWO TO THREE

It’s been just over 5 weeks since my newest princess, Ella Paisley, was born and let me tell you, it’s been a crazy 5 weeks! Starting from the morning of her birth day, everything has been a while and crazy ride like I’ve never experienced! The transition to becoming a family of five has been nothing short of eventful.

Since her birth, I’ve been home with Ella and her two big sisters, Savannah (5) and Rylee (2).

Recovering from surgery, caring for two toddlers and adjusting to the demanding needs of an infant has been interesting. Some days I felt like Wonder Woman & other days I wonder how I’ve made it this far! Between wiping butts, nursing, cleaning, cooking & everything else- I feel like a crazy woman! I mean, does the laundry every end?!

In the madness there’s one thought that stays on my heart day and night, the days are long and the years are short. I must say this to myself 100x a day, literally. Sometimes it encourages me, other times it saddens me, but every time it reminds me to slow down and enjoy the ride, because before you know it, it’s over.

I still remember the day my oldest daughter was born, I mean, I can still remember the day I found out I was pregnant!! Yet here we are, five years, two siblings & one tired Momma later… Gosh, time sure is flying.

Reminding myself of this very thing everyday has helped me adjust in ways I’m not sure I can explain but I want to try. If you’re a Momma, you know that motherhood can also be known as ‘lonely-hood’ at times and my hope is to in some way, even the smallest way, minimize that. Whether your kids are 2, 22 or 42, I’m sure you can relate.

Be patient.

This is a tough one, but patience is everything! I would like to think at this point in the game I’ve mastered this but yet somehow this seems like the skill I need to learn every- single- day !!! Be patient with recovery, be patient with the baby, be patient with the toddlers, be patient with your spouse, be patient with the entire process and adjustment period. NONE of it comes easy. This is my third repeat c- section so although I’ve been here before, this one seemed much different then the others and I had to be patient! It took me much longer to recover which was frustrating, I didn’t feel like my spouse or kids could really understand how difficult this was for me (understandably) and life was moving way to fast while I remained slowed down and frustrated. Patience was essential to my peace!

Be organized.

I like to plan! But in the words of OutKast, ‘you can plan a pretty picnic, but you can’t predict the weather’! Gosh, this is tough. How do you balance planning and preparation with the fact that you can’t control everything and things don’t always go how we expect them to? Well for me, I’ve realized that the more I plan & prepare, the less impact I feel when things do derail. I can’t change the fact that life happens and things get messy, but staying organized has helped me to handle those obstacles better. For example, my daughter was born 3 1/2 weeks early. The morning of her birth I did not have the slightest idea that she would arrive later that day. I’ve never had a pre-term baby so in my mind, I had time! But yet at the time of her birth, my hospital bag had already been packed, her car seat was ready, bassinet assembled, clothes washed (etc, etc, etc) leaving me little worry or concern as I got wheeled into the OR nearly 4 weeks earlier then I expected.

On a day to day basis, this means packing diaper bags and picking out clothes the night before, setting my alarm a little early to get myself ready while the kids are asleep, meal planning & using my calendar to remember important dates or to do’s as well as ensure I don’t over commit or extend myself. As much as I can help it, I just don’t wait until the last minute to do anything. I can’t avoid life interruptions, I can’t control every situation but I can plan, prepare and organize my life in such a way that when those hiccups come, I’m as prepared as I possibly can be and this minimizes the impact!

Embrace it!

Nothing looks the same, NOTHING! I’ve resolved in my mind that my hands will ALWAYS be outnumbered from this day forward and the best thing I can do is roll with it. I can’t be the same person I was before Ella’s birth. I can’t give of myself or time the way I did before her birth, everything has changed and rather then striving to keep things the way they were, I embrace our new normal. I think one of the ways we set ourselves up for failure is by putting far too much energy into trying to keep things the same rather then adjusting to the differences. Embrace the change, embrace the differences, embrace the crazy! It’s here! And any time you spend trying to fight that will be wasted, but the time you spend evolving into the new normal is invested into your future!

I wish I could slow down time, I wish they could be little for just a little longer, I wish I could bounce back faster each time but the truth is it can’t, they can’t and I can’t. This is life! Messy, full and beautiful. I want to encourage you to love those long days with all you’ve got because one day those long days will become short years and faster then we know it, it’ll all be over. Fix your eyes on your path and ride it till the end!!

I hope you’re encouraged, I hope you know you’re not alone and I hope you know there are miracles in the mundane. Look for them, you’ll see it.

In an upcoming post I may share some of my best baby purchases and the things I just can’t live without during this season of life. Comment below if that’s something you’d be interested in seeing!

Xo.. LB

WHAT’S NEXT?

Anyone else ever ask themselves this question? Or maybe you haven’t asked yourself but someone else has asked you. Depending on the stage of life you’re in (or state of mind for that matter) this question could prompt excitement and anticipation or fear and frustration.

You graduate from high school or college, what’s next?

You get engaged or married, what’s next?

You have a baby, what’s next?

You go on an amazing trip across the world, what’s next?

Or maybe you find yourself in a more difficult season of life.

You’re facing divorce or a bad breakup, what’s next?

You’ve been fired or laid off from your job, what’s next?

You’re kid ends up in rehab, what’s next?

You’ve lost a loved one and you’re gripped by grief, what’s next?

You’re faced with the sobering reality that life is short, not promised and fragile at best, what’s next?

Maybe you’re facing something that isn’t so externally obvious to others, but it’s slowly killing you on the inside.

You’ve been fighting depression for months to no end, what’s next?

You’ve been anxious for everything and everything, what’s next?

You’ve been struggling with insecurities and now it’s beginning to effect your relationships, what’s next?

 

For me personally; I’m about a year out from graduation, I’m pregnant with my third child, this year marks my 3rd year at the company I’m working at and my 10th wedding anniversary. I find myself stagnant on my own personal endeavors which leaves me frustrated (and slightly annoyed) so I often find myself asking the question ‘What’s next?’

 

I’ve noticed that no matter where I am in life, whether good, bad or indifferent, this question remains; what’s next? This year I’ve been asking myself this question ALL- THE- TIME. I sound like a broken record!! I realized the depth of my dysfunction when my little girl, Savannah who’s just four years old began to ask me ‘Mommy, and then what?’ meaning, ‘what next?’ … I remember gently nudging her and saying ‘Savvy don’t worry about what’s next, just enjoy what’s now. Enjoy this moment.’

How many of you know that sometimes as you speak to someone else’s situation, dysfunction or concern, God is able to speak to your own?

I realized that moment that I’ve been so busy asking myself ‘what’s next?’ that I totally miss out on WHAT’S NOW moments of life.

What’s happening now?

What am I doing now?

How am I feeling now?

How can I live in this moment?

How can I better enjoy this season?

I want to ask myself more often, not what’s next, but rather ‘What’s now, Lori?’

 

Life is so fragile, I want to live with expectation of the future, yes, but also with a commitment to experience the present.

What’s next? I’m not sure. I might never be, in fact, it might never even come… But what’s now? That I do know, that I can see, that I will live in.

This post isn’t to belittle the planner, the thinker, the goal setter; I am that person. It’s more of an invitation to this awareness that while we can expect great things in the future, we can also appreciate this moment now.

I don’t want to be so farsighted that I miss this moment looking into what could be the next. I also don’t want to be so focused on what was that I miss out on what is.

I want to enjoy this season of life, of love, of marriage, of ministry, of mothering. What’s next? I’m not completely sure, but I do know that what I do now, how I invest now, what I believe now, what I live now, will determine if the next ever gets here.

For me, my now is embracing this place of amateur writing, embracing the sleepless nights, the toddler tantrums, the stretching belly, the extra pounds, the routine of life and marriage. I’m embracing the unknown yet very familiar, steady season I’m in.

I don’t want to miss a moment of it. I don’t want to leave an ounce of opportunity for this season because I’m fixed on what’s next. I want what God has for me now.

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

GET BACK UP

Have you ever heard of the smart phone app called ‘TimeHop’? This app links to your social media accounts as well as your camera roll and every day it hops back in time to show you what you posted and/ or took pictures of that day the previous years.

I love TimeHop because I get a moment to reflect on how big my kids are getting, how much they grow and changed in a year and even large milestones that I may have forgotten. For example, today my TimeHop populated this adorable picture of my oldest daughter holding an ultrasound picture. On this day, 3 years ago we announced the pregnancy of our second daughter. Usually the memories are bright and light hearted like this one but this past Sunday, TimeHop made me feel all sorts of {negative} ways about my life!

You see Sunday, December 10th, was my one year- vlog-iversary!! One year ago I finally committed to doing the video blogs I had been longing to do for some time. When the TimeHop came up it was a reminder of such a great night, a night I faced all my fears, a night I pursued purpose, a night I really just let go and walked into my daydream. But what that TimeHop also revealed is that it had been one year since I actually did a video blog. Yes, you got that right! My vlogging journey started and ended on December 10, 2016.

How sad is that!?! When I saw this Sunday morning I felt all sorts of feelings but later that evening when I received a screenshot text of this same post from a close friend, all my feelings came to a boiling point.

She quoted me saying ‘What does it look like to live out the very thing that sets your soul on fire?’

Well, for the single day I did it, it felt amazing. I looked at the pictures I took succeeding that post and let me tell you, the amount of joy in my eyes is unexplainable. I never felt so good, so alive, so thankful, so expectant then that moment that I stood up, stepped out and did something I always wanted to do!

But then….

‘But then what?’ you’re probably wondering. The answer is; I don’t really know.

But then life?

But then fear?

But then busyness?

But then priorities?

But then kids?

But then work?

But then school?

But then….

We all have a but then moment or season that derails us. It might be a moment that is marked in your life forever or it might be like a wave that comes suddenly and slowly but surely pulls you out of place over time. It could be a decision you make to step back but it could feel like a moment that you can’t even recall yet it changes the trajectory of your life forever.

I won’t act like this moment is over for me, I’m still kind of working through the muddied thoughts I have towards myself and this particular moment in my life however what I can tell you is Monday morning, as I drove into work, still feeling the sting from the night before I felt the Lord remind me of a portion of scripture in Proverbs.

‘Although a righteous person may fall seven times, he gets up again….’ Proverbs 24:16

Gosh. These words hit me harder then the defeat I felt, harder then the frustration I was carrying, harder then the disappointment I was working through, these words hit me in the best way possible.

The Lord began to whisper; it’s ok to fall, as long as you get back up again.

I want to encourage someone today who’s feeling like they’ve fallen too many times; it’s OK to fall but to stay down, that’s the problem. When you slip, get back up. When you fall, rise again. Never, ever think that your success is measured based on the number of falls. The story isn’t over until you stop rising again.

When you’re a Christian, meaning you follow Jesus and believe that He defeated it all, even death, for you and for me, you know  that there’s nothing too hard for Him and although we fail and falter, we are ultimately walking from a place of victory and strength, not defeat and weakness.

Gosh, I’m so thankful for that reminder. That moment when I realized even 366 days later, it’s ok to get back up and try again. There’s no shame in the process and there’s no victory in submitting to defeat. The only way to lose is to quit. As long as your living, rising, walking, moving, trying- you are operating from a place of strength and victory.

I encourage you today to rise.

Rise above defeat.

Rise above hate.

Rise above your frustrations.

Rise above your limitations.

Rise above it all and move on.

The moment you move, you’re going back to a place of strength and victory.

The lie is ‘you’ve fallen too many times’ the truth is; you can still get back up again.

As always, I hope you’re encouraged to know you’re not alone in this journey!

xx… Lori

BOSS BABE

If you follow me on social media you’ll often see me post a picture or a status update with a hashtag ‘bossbabe’ after it. It could be a picture of my daughter playing in the backyard with a caption like ‘Fun in the sun. #bossbabe’ or maybe a pre-work selfie with a coffee cup in hand and the caption ‘Caffeinated and ready for the day! #bossbabe’ 

I love the term BOSS BABE! But what does it mean to be an actual ‘boss babe’?? Is it something you do? A status you achieve? Or is it simply just a state of mind. I would like to believe it’s the latter of the three. 

To be a boss babe isn’t about what you do it’s all about how you feel. 

A boss babe has contrast. She is bold and beautiful, strong yet sympathetic, confident, secure and unrivaled in her approach to life. She lives, loves and laughs out loud. Faith is her foundation and her possibilities are endless. She is without compromise.

A boss babe doesn’t compete for the spotlight, she simply shines amongst the darkness. A boss babe isn’t afraid of collaboration, she loves her sisters and honors her brothers. She isn’t afraid of living and loving out loud.

A boss babe is the everyday girl with endless possibilities because she is confident in her Creator.

She is married.  

She is single.

She is widowed.

She is the everyday mom.

She is the working professional.

She is the dreamer.

She is the doer.

She is the go getter.

She is faith filled.

She is bold.

She is a visionary.

She is you.

Over the next several weeks I’m going to be doing a mix of blogs and vlogs that talk about this idea of being a boss babe! If you’re desperately looking for something to wake up the boss babe within you, I encourage you to subscribe to my blog and join the journey!!

Also- if you have a particular interest or need, let me know! I would love to hear from you and I would love to have the opportunity to write in a way that is intentionally edifying for my readers.

I hope to hear from you soon.

xx.. Lori 

OPEN THE DOOR

Do you ever wake up with a feeling of ‘there has to be more to life’ in your heart? I’m not talking about a discontent or frustration with your current circumstances; I’m talking about a deep feeling of I was created for something bigger, a feeling of there has to be more.

I believe that feeling is heaven’s purpose for us, crying out from within. Heaven’s purpose can’t be filled with Earthly possessions or accolades. When you have a heaven sized hole deep within you, only heaven can fill it.

This morning I was walking into work thinking exactly this. Contemplating this thought, the feelings I had and how that would translate into something more. As I’m doing this, I got off the elevator, followed a man to the exit door and with just about a step and a half of space between us, he just releases the door (rather than holding it open as good manners suggest) and it slams right in front of me.

Boom. It was closed.

Slightly offended, I lifted my head, extend my hand and as I pushed open that door the Holy Spirit whispered;

The door will open whether they hold it or not.

Far too often we associate closed doors with dead ends but did you ever think maybe, just maybe the door wasn’t closed to stop you but to insure you opened it yourself, you put in the work, you blazed the trail. Yes, it’s polite and even expected that the person in front of you would hold the door for you, but that’s not always how life works.

Imagine in that moment if I looked at the closed door, dropped my head in disappointment, turned around, got back on the elevator, went back to the second floor, got in my car and drove away. All because someone didn’t hold the door for me. How silly would that be? How upset would my boss be? ‘They didn’t hold the door for you? Really? That’s why you won’t be in work today?’

I wonder how many times God looks down on us thinking ‘Really? They didn’t hold the door for you? That’s why you won’t walk in destiny today? That’s why you won’t fulfill purpose today? That’s why you’re going home for the day?’

Not everyone will hold the door for you, but that doesn’t mean the door is closed and locked for good. Sometimes God closes doors in our life intentionally, but other times we walk away from destiny simply because we’re afraid of a little more work.

It’s a silly concept when you think about it, but this silly concept could be the reasons many of us will never feel that sense of heavenly satisfaction.

Not every door is meant to stay shut, some we just need to open for ourselves. Today I encourage you; open the door. Take the step. Make the move. Even if every person who has gone before you has slammed the door behind them, it doesn’t mean it was meant to stay shut.

It’s time to open some doors for heaven’s sake!

xx.. Lori