What Does Your Label Say?

 

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I’ve been peeling off a lot of labels lately… Some come off easily as soon as I see them. Some don’t want to budge and leave a sticky residue that I know will take some more conscious effort to fully remove. Some I didn’t even know where there until I removed one and found another one right beneath it, as if one was built on another. Some have felt so part of me for so long that I feel naked without them – like, I don’t even know what life is supposed to look like now that the label is gone…

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Guest Post: That Moment When I Was a Victim

I met Kala last year through a mutual friend and have been so inspired by her journey from extreme sickness to vibrant health! I love talking with her and being challenged by her to recognize beliefs, or as Kala calls them, “high places”, that are contrary to what God has said – tearing the high places down is hard but so, so worth it! On the other side of those high walls is the you God created you to be. I read this post that Kala wrote and it’s something I could have written about myself but I couldn’t articulate it as well as she did. She graciously allowed me to use it as a guest post and I’ve been so excited to share it. I hope you are inspired and challenged by what she has to say.

Confession… I used to be incredibly talented at playing the victim. Poor me. Sick. Tired. No one understands… no one cares that these things are happening TO me. Self-pity was my best friend and false comforter.

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Guest Post: What I’ve Learned About Healing

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I met Jess last year through a mutual friend and she quickly became like a sister to me. I have loved getting to see her walk into healing, freedom, and peace and join her on a journey of learning about Grace, faith, and what Jesus already provided for us. I have watched her decide that God’s Word is true and that she is going to live like it’s true – and I’ve seen the beautiful fruit of this in her life.

Some of what she writes about here can be controversial, especially in Christian circles. Because of my own experience over the last several years and because I see it is such an area of confusion (especially among christians), I am passionate about healing. It’s part of the reason Jesus came but so often when our own experiences don’t line up with what we see in the Word of God, we create various theologies for why healing isn’t really always God’s will or always possible for every person. I’ve been amazed at how much of what I believed was gospel truth has turned out to be “traditions of men” with no basis in the Word of God – or based loosely on one verse taken out of context. It has been so freeing to me to learn about how the Old Testament relates to the New! Regardless of your belief about these things, I hope you will be encouraged and provoked to think more abut this.

Enjoy!

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Site #288

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Where it all started for us. Site #288.

When we got our first camper and started out on the adventure of camping with three little ones, this quickly became “our spot”. I can still see my boy, two years old, climbing that tree on the right, smiling at me as he leans through the branches. He’s wearing his camping hat, he’s all cheeks streaked with dirt and big brown eyes. I can see our baby, playing in her play yard and giggling at the breeze. I hear the munchkin voices. I see our 4 year old in absolute wonder at the butterfly she found – it’s like it happened moments ago. I see her dimples and the wisps of wavy hair framing her round cheeks. I see Calen tending the campfire…

This is where we first traded hotels for the great outdoors and destination vacations for quiet evenings with nature. It felt so right, so true to our design, that it quickly became a new tradition.

It feels like yesterday and it feels like so long ago.

We were only a couple trips into this tradition when I got the first few diagnosis’. It was such a bittersweet time of watching small children so full of life and joy and yet this veil of fear and uncertainty laid heavy on me like a weighted blanket. Looking at this site today, I feel that we have come full circle in some ways. I used to look back each year and just feel grief for all those precious moments I wasn’t really there for – all the times I wanted to do and be so much more. But looking at this spot today I am just overwhelmed with thankfulness that we are here together again and that what was is not what is. That cloak of darkness has lifted and the future is so full of promise. I miss those chubby cheeks, small voices, and bodies small enough to tote around… I wish I’d known then what I know now. That time goes by too quickly. That God is a good God who has always wanted us well and living in the abundance Jesus provided for us. That I have a choice, every day, to focus on, speak, and act on life or death. I wasted so much time in grief, so much time on social media seeking a mindless distraction from reality, so much time believing I was someone different than who my Father said I was. But oh the faithfulness of God… so much to be said about that.

Today I am thankful that even though my children have seemed to grow too fast, they are still small enough to squeeze onto my lap and hold close. Even though I wasted a lot of time believing my circumstances were bigger than my God or that I didn’t have a choice, it’s never too late for a new beginning. Even though I wish with all my heart that I would have learned so many things so much earlier, I am learning in time. And I get to reach down into the pit I was in to someone else and offer them the hope that I’ve found. This is redemption.

Maybe it’s from reading Present Over Perfect. Maybe it’s the deaths in the family recently. Or maybe it’s just the sight of #288 and five years gone in the blink of an eye, but I feel more determined than ever before to savor this moment. I’m not ready for this. I’m not ready to see my children grow too big for me to carry or say goodbye to loved ones. Being face to face with the fact that ready or not, this is what is – this is how fast time goes – gives me a new perspective on life and how I want to live mine. Put down the phone, play with the kids, learn to just BE without having to do. Talk to the stranger, follow the prompting in my Spirit, look for ways to love and serve. Life is too short to waste time on things that don’t matter and when I step back and evaluate what fills my time, what I worry about, what I struggle with… 90% of it doesn’t matter in light of eternity. At the end of my life, the only things that will have mattered were that I loved well, shared the Good News of Jesus Christ to anyone who was willing to hear it, and agreed with God on His Word. I want to know that I didn’t wait until heaven to really know my heavenly Dad. I didn’t wait until heaven to walk in the health and abundance and freedom that Jesus died to give me. I wasn’t afraid to tell others about Him and how much they are loved. I was not ashamed of the Gospel – the full Gospel. And I want to look back and see that I didn’t waste my time believing lies, holding grudges, worrying about such trivial little things, or sinking into coping mechanisms that didn’t bring life. I don’t want to look up from my phone or the computer and see that my 5 year old is now a pre-teen. I don’t want to miss any more in this beautiful life because I identify with someone who is less than who I was created to be. I don’t want to use social media or the internet or anything else as a coping mechanism that distracts me from what’s most important – the people and the life and the purpose right in front of me. Maybe that means less life posted and more life lived. Maybe it will mean choosing to savor the moment instead of a picture of the moment. It will mean choosing the person I love instead of the need to be right. It will definitely mean choosing the gift of now – messy and chaotic and as it is – over the notion of perfect (seriously, what is that anyway?!). Will I forget the conviction I feel now and mess it all up again? Yes. That’s okay. I’ve learned do-overs and re-evaluating don’t mean failure and doing something well, even with steps backward, is better than doing it perfectly. One thing is for sure. I don’t want to waste any more time. I don’t want to forget what really matters. I want to live life like this is my only one and I have the power at any moment to say, “this is not how it’s going to be anymore.”

Site #288 is a reminder of what a quick breath of air we get on this earth. It’s a reminder to choose well – to choose life. And choose it again and again and again, every day, a thousand times a day if need be. Choose thankfulness over grief, choose to agree with who God says I am over what I feel I am, choose to exalt the promises of God over what my feelings or circumstances try to dictate, choose to look at the beauty in life, choose the person over the dispute, choose to grow instead of hide, choose to be an overcomer instead of a victim, and choose to be present over perfect.

In loving memory of Kevin Coria. February 5, 1959 – May 17, 2017

 

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On Mother’s Day

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I wasn’t planning on writing this but I woke up early today and all sorts of thoughts filled my mind.

It’s Mother’s Day.

Today sweet sentiments about moms are going to be plastered all over social media and television and America will celebrate motherhood. I am so thankful to have a mom who loved me (and loves me) well and whom I think the world of. I am thankful beyond words to have three children call me mom and get to spend my days with them. I am so thankful for what I have, and yet I realize that not everyone has this. This morning I’m thinking especially of those

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The Christ Who IS

“I am He that lives, and was dead; behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of death and hell.” Revelation 1:18

Today is Good Friday – on this day over 2,000 years ago the long awaited Messiah, the one who was supposed to bring salvation and set the people free, was laying lifeless in a tomb after being brutally murdered . The people knew He came to save them from oppression but they didn’t know He would die to do it and when Jesus drew His last breath and surrendered Himself over to death, the hope of the world died, too. The sun was darkened and all of creation felt the impact of the greatest loss the world has ever known.

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Seeds

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Our kids planted flower seeds not too long ago. They have carefully been watering them and waiting to see signs of life. A few days ago, our youngest was the only one who still didn’t have any sprouts in her flower pot and she was very distraught. She had been taking such good care of her seeds and didn’t see the results she saw others getting. I assured her they would come. Different seeds sprout at different times and sometimes even the same type of seeds given the same care will sprout at different times. But they will sprout! We can’t give up on them because we don’t see what everyone else has yet – what we know they were made for. We can’t see the changes happening beneath the

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Daffodils & Something New

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I decided when I was a little girl that Fall was my favorite season. As a Texas girl, I looked forward to the end of brutal summers and the first sign of cooler weather all year. I remember one year we were shopping at Best Buy (the most boring place EVER to me at that age) and my mom or dad mentioned a cold front coming in. I looked outside and saw the wind stirring up and that overcast look of “cold” creeping in. I was so excited that I grabbed a receipt and asked for a pen and started writing some sort of poem about Fall and how it made me feel (Anne of Green Gables strongly influenced my childhood!). I dreamed of living somewhere where it snowed and will never forget the feeling of euphoria I felt when the first cold front of the year came in. I would ask for a fire and hot chocolate and create a cozy cocoon with my fuzzy blanket, my dog, and my journal. In Texas, we don’t really get a normal Fall. Fall is when cold fronts come and go

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A Problem & A Promise

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I’ve learned something over the last couple years.

Well, if you want to get technical, I’ve learned a whole lot of somethings! Enough to turn this 31 (31? yeah, that’s right – had to think about it for a second!) year old on her head and make her go back to re-evaluate everything she’d been taught about what life in Christ should be. But since I hope you stick around until the end of this, I’m just focusing on this one thing for now. Like most things I’ve learned, I am not awesome at doing it yet but I am practicing and seeing more and more just how true it is.

We can focus on the problem or we can focus on the Promise.

It seems so simple, right? But it’s so profound.

What we focus on is what we will see manifest in our lives.

Focus on the problem breeds fear, anger, anxiety, helplessness, bitterness, and many times, ultimately leads to death.

But for every problem there is a bigger Promise – not a denial of reality, but a greater truth that trumps reality – and focus on the Promise leads to peace, joy, clarity, purpose, and an abundance of life.

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Off the Mat & Into the Waves

15875427_10154275737923861_4796126686990862708_oI asked someone I respect recently if they had a suggestion for what book of the Bible would be good for me to start studying for my situation. The answer: ask Holy Spirit where He wants you to read. So I’ve been doing that and it is AWESOME. I will be the first to admit that more often than not, I am so distracted by the voices calling out to me in this world that it is hard to hear what the Spirit is speaking to me. But what a comfort that He IS always speaking – always trying to warn, comfort, help, guide, and remind me of truth and righteousness. And what a comfort to know that if I don’t hear anything, it’s not because He isn’t there and speaking – it’s because I am not listening closely.

The other morning I actually got up a few minutes before the kids and decided to take full advantage of the quiet. I grabbed my Bible and asked God where He wanted me to read today and I heard “paralytic man”. Okay, yes! This is good! I can hear you!

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