I woke up this morning at 6am to my Sully screaming for “Mum Mum Mum Mum!” After breastfeeding him back to sleep in the sofa chair, I had to let our new puppy outside to pee (oh yeah! We got a new puppy!), and by then it was 6:40am, so I figured I would just stay awake at this point and try to write something. And maybe it is the puppy biting my ankles or pulling on the charging cable to my laptop, or maybe it’s the 6 hours of broken up sleep throughout the night, or the fact that it’s the FIRST TIME in a couple weeks, I’ve had a moment to breath and just be me, but the words are just not coming to me. So I pray and ask God to lead this where he may...
I opened the morning up with prayer and my daily devotional, just as I’ve been doing every day for the last 2 weeks. I made a choice after seeing Beth Moore preach at the Living Proof Live event in Cincinnati, that I was going to make time for God and time for His word. Beth spoke about how she wakes up every morning and sits out on her front porch and reads the bible. That imagery of watching the sun come up and being filled by truth and light really spoke to me. While on vacation in Cocoa Beach, I often woke up early to sit out on my balcony and watch the sunrise over the ocean. Never have I felt more connected to the Earth and happy for the start of a new day. So, I decided then and there that this was something I was going to start doing for myself and for my relationship with my creator.
I also hadn’t realized until that event, that my mind had been in a downward spiral of fear and anxiety. After all, I had been to therapy. I had gone back to the gym - started eating better. I was taking care of me more. I had conquered THIS, right? Wrong. For days leading up to the event, the enemy worked to make sure I would not receive the message. I was riddled with fear of leaving Solomon for 2 days. I had enough milk frozen for maybe 2 bottles, not that he needs them any more, but he still feeds for comfort, especially at night. I didn’t want him to think I had abandoned him. On top of that, I was going on this trip with a handful of women from my old church that I hadn’t seen in quite some time, so I feared being the “outsider” of the group. It had been so long and I had grown so much in my walk with Christ since last they’d seen me.
I don’t know if anyone else ever feels this way when you go home after a long time away. When you run into old friends or acquaintances from high school or a past job. It’s the fear of people seeing you in that old, vulnerable skin. Like, you know who you are now, confident and happy in your life, but somehow going back home means facing who you used to be and how you used to feel and the fear that everyone there still sees you differently. Does that make sense?
I knew these women at the beginning of my walk with Christ. It was a time, I way over shared about my past and opened up to them like someone who needs a therapist, not a friend. I felt like I needed to be known and they couldn’t really know me without knowing all the dark, ugly things that led me to church and brought me to Christ. I never felt truly comfortable in my own skin. All of it had nothing to do with them; they always treated me kindly and included me in discussions, encouraged me to speak and applauded my input. It was me and my insecurities. Maybe I saw them as living these charmed lives, and I was just a project to be fixed. You know… sometimes you meet people that are so broken that you want to keep them at arms length, but you also want to minister to them and help bring them closer to Christ? I told myself that I was this person. The enemy told me that I wasn’t enough, and I believed him. I felt like they couldn’t possibly understand me, or like me, and so I had to try so hard to fit in.
When I moved to Newark, I begged God to connect me with good christian women. That I could make friends that would accept all the mess and with whom I could be myself without fear. I drove back and forth from Newark to Pickerington, Newark to Westerville, Newark to Grove City, all week long to connect with old friends and was not fully committing to my life in Newark. I was scared. I had started my journey at this church and with these people and even though I heard God telling me to make the move to Engage, I wasn’t sure I was ready. These people know me! They know my mess. If I move, it’s like starting over. What if I’m rejected? What if I still don’t belong? …
I learned this week that to live an abundant life… to thrive in your chaos… We have to make a choice. I can continue to ask “What if” and wallow in fear and anxiety OR I can CHOOSE to trust God and believe that he IS working for my good. We almost lost our newborn niece a couple weeks ago, and I was crying in the car on the way home one night, just gripped by grief for my sister and how God could allow something like this to happen. And Evalee asked me, “mommy, why are you so sad?” and I replied, “because death is sad. I am just so sad that Edie may die.” and what she said to me next, I will never forget. She said, “But mommy, what if she doesn’t?!” and when I didn’t reply right away, she just kept saying it, almost yelling it at me. “Mommy?! What if she doesn’t?! What if she doesn’t!!” The way she saw the situation shook me. I was focusing on the negative, focusing on the likelihood of pain and sorrow and suffering, and my four year old was focused on the power and awesomeness of God! What if she doesn’t die? It was like God speaking to me through her. Her little voice, booming and begging me, “Trust ME! Why can’t you just trust me? Don’t you know who I Am - what I’ve done before? What I am capable of doing now? What if I save her? What if she doesn’t? Trust me!!”
Too often I choose fear and let worry take over my day to day. It’s when I wake up to a messy, dirty house - clutter in every corner, on every counter - dinner plates from the night before still sitting out on the table - and laundry piled up so high on my living room couch that you may not even notice the fireplace behind, that I choose to start my day off with negativity and allow the enemy to dictate who I am. “This is so terrible, I’m terrible. Why can’t I just get ahead? Why can’t I keep up? I am not enough. I am not a good mom. How do other people with more kids do this and I can’t. I just can’t” on and on and on I go, and that sets the tone for the entirety of the day. But no more.
The day I chose to fully commit to my life in Newark - the day I chose to firmly plant both feet in Engage Newark Church and trusted God to sew all the pieces of my life back together like the tapestry artist that he is, was the catapult to an abundance of joy and life long friendships. The day I left Beth Moore, I chose God again. I choose to believe that no matter what may come, I will look to Him first and trust in his plan and in his hands that never stop working for my good. Like all things with faith, it is a journey. I have not just arrived at some holier than thou location. My life has not instantly changed. It is a daily choice. A moment to moment choice. To be able to recognize when I am experiencing fear and anxiety, and then turning my eyes to the Lord and to his word. Choosing joy when I want to choose doubt. In just 2 weeks, it has made such a huge impact on my every day.
What is it in your life that is bringing you stress and anger? What is holding you back from living life in abundance? Hand it over. Tell God you believe he is able. I pray today that you all can wake up in joy with me. Already clothed in light and holy armor. Ready to conquer your day.