Realization Light Bulb

Ya’ll,

We’ve all heard the phrase a gazillion times, “You are a child of God.” Have we not? If not… the Bible tells us that we are children of God. GOD. The creator of every single thing. Of the universe, the trees that we need for life, the cells that make up our own bodies. We are His children.

I was reading through my various devotions this morning, and for the very first time, this phrase stopped me. It made my heart jump. I am a child of God. Say that to your heart and soul this day. I am a child of God. Let it really sink in. Let your mind wander in the love that knowledge provides.

The same power that raises people from the dead, that created the entirety of life, that casts out demons and forgives sin, is the very power that made each of us. The very power we have running through our souls. Perhaps this goes back to the relationship Jesus had with his Twelve. He taught them. He showed them. He gave them His power. They doubted… and they SAW IT ALL. If they doubted, how on earth can we have the faith to move mountains and change lives and heal? Maybe I just found my answer, because we are really and truly God’s kids. He loves us. He calls us all to be His Light on this earth, His hands and feet.

I know there are so many of us who have grown up with dads who didn’t really take the time to be a part of our lives, who were too busy pouring out their souls into their jobs instead of being an involved and loving dad,  but that is ok. We have an eternal Father. He calls us by name. He calls us His children. He calls us. He chose us. He knows us. He made us. By the same power that made the stars, the sun, the ocean, the sand, the seeds that grow into what we need to survive on this earth.

I don’t think I will ever pass over the phrase, ” I am a child of God,” the same way ever again.

Till next time!

Genuine, Beloved, and Cozy

Ya’ll,

I am being ridiculously lazy this morning. And I am not ashamed. The coffee pot is half emptied, and I am the only one who is drinking it. I thank the Lord every single morning for my peaceful, quiet mornings spent with Him. In His presence. His moment in time. I take my coffee mug back to our bedroom, I cozy up with all three puppies, and I write out what my heart aches for the Lord to know and to hear. Even though He already knows what my heart longs for. There’s just something about talking and being quiet with the Creator of the universe, while sipping on the precious gift of coffee He gave us. It’s cozy, in a big way.

The Lord cannot be fit into a human box of understanding. The ability to come to Him whenever, wherever, proves daily and constantly that we are beloved. He loves us to the ends of the universe. He loves us unconditionally. You know how you feel when your husband, your wife, your mom, your dad, your siblings, your family, or your close friends wrap their arms around you and hug you tightly? Do you feel warm and loved and thankful? I surely do. I imagine cozying up every morning with Him and the puppies and warming my hands by holding my coffee mug, to be semi the same as that. We are beloved. Beloved and cozy.

Genuine. There are so few times and moments when we come into contact with a genuine soul. This world is filled with fake and pretend, and it breaks my heart. I know it breaks our Lord’s heart. The Lord has brought His faithful, genuine, people to my life to show me what a life given to the Lord fully really looks like. And that, folks, is genuine. Again, I reference what my Uncle Sean said when we visited recently. We, as believers, only have two rules. Love the Lord, and love your neighbor. We are beloved. We should genuinely love everyone in return.

Those three words; genuine, beloved, and cozy, were on my heart this morning. In the craziness of the holiday season, don’t forget, amongst the chaos, to find moments to be cozy with the Lord. The reason for the holiday we celebrate. Don’t forget that you are beloved by the Creator of… every single thing. Don’t forget that the Lord is genuine in His love for you; let that genuine love pour out of you this Christmas, so those around you will know whose you are. So that they will know that they are beloved.

Till next time!

To be Grateful

Ya’ll,

It’s been a hard month. A hard month of figuring out what it really means to be content in the madness. I just wrote an assignment for seminary about resting in the Lord, and what it means for all of life. I should take it to heart.

This world, ya’ll. We are all crazy busy. We are rushed, hurried, and worried. We forget to look up and realize all there is to be thankful for. We may not have all we desire, but the Lord gives us all we need. I have parents who let us come home after a disaster in the Caribbean Sea. I have a husband who loves me in a way I never could have imagined, the way the Lord commands us to love. I have friends who love me, who protect me, who care for me and check on me. I live in AMERICA, ya’ll. We have freedom to do as we please, unless of course we’re being hateful and harmful. We have so much.

Thanksgiving last year was quite different than it is this year. This time last year, I was preparing to leave the man I love, endlessly, to surprise my family whom I’d not seen in three months. For those of you who know me, I don’t go a day without seeing my family or talking to them. Especially my brother. He’s my partner in crime, forever. This year, we’re here. I’m at the COFFEE SHOP, completing homework assignments drinking apple chaider (apple cider and chai tea put TOGETHER). Ya’ll. It’ll change your life, that drink. It’s fall in a cup. Truly. And that’s coming from a basic pumpkin girl.

I think it is high time that we all pause for a bit to rest in the Lord. To rest in His arms that hold us all up daily. That rest will seep into every aspect of our lives, teaching us and reminding us that life is not all that difficult. There are two rules, as my Uncle Sean would say; to love the Lord and love each other. Everything else just falls into place. For that, I will be grateful. I love the Lord, and I try my hardest to love every person.

The holidays always seem to make folks either super grouchy or super excited and full of all of the goodness of life. I am the latter. The holidays brings so many people together, but it also emphasis those who would rather be apart. That’s hard. But the Lord will mend the brokenness. He will provide all that we need to get through this life on earth. The holidays are a time to be thankful, to lift each other up, to laugh and smile and breathe in the cool air. Have I mentioned it was FORTY degrees this morning?!?! Praise the good Lord for not hot weather!

My heart aches for us all, to be content and joyful in this life. To be thankful for every season of life. To be thankful through the hard times, the good times, and the in-between times. To be thankful in the middle of somewhere.

Till next time!

Forward

Ya’ll,

Life is… I have no words to describe what life is. There are too many words that could fit the job as a descriptor. You know how the Lord puts people, places, and opportunities at your feet and you can either acknowledge them and melt into His provisions, or you could stress out and dread making one more choice, one more decision, so you just freeze and do nothing? I have been frozen. For a month. I’m finally coming out of it. Now we move forward. I come back to life. Like trees and flowers in the Spring time. But it’s FALL and THERE ARE PUMPKINS EVERYWHERE. So, an even better time to wake up from a hazy, frozen soul sleep.

Let me tell ya’ll a little story. Will’s momma and I were not initially the kindest of people towards each other. It is really hard learning new roles of life. I have no doubt it was hard to learn that Will was going to be moving forward and leaning on his wife instead of his mom. It was hard for me to learn that it was ok to let down my guard once the Lord began healing our broken relationship. Now, we’re moving forward. We’re moving into a truly divinely sweet relationship; one of grace, forgiveness, laughter, and adventure. I could not be more thankful that we can smile and giggle and give each other looks when someone else is talking… our husbands… and know exactly what the other thinks. It’s SO fun, ya’ll.

My Mother-in-Law has had a rollercoaster life. She’s strong; she’s always up for adventure and new things; she’s silly and just wants to be loved. I’m honored she is letting me come into her life, her heart, her home, and her secrets.

She was a nurse. She cares for her husband. She aches for the moments they get to share and love on each other. They’ve been through a lot, too. The Lord has worked and moved mountains in their marriage, their words, their thoughts, and their times spent together, and apart. I am honored I get to watch them grow in His love and goodness and blessings and promises. Moving forward. It is what we have to do in this life, right? Moving forward… not letting ourselves become frozen humans because our focus is not where it should be?

My Mother-in-Law has started a fun business. A business that allows her true passions and loves to shine, through the way she spends her time. She’s no longer stuck behind a desk, or running around like mad for someone else. She’s prioritizing her time. She gets to spend quality time with those she loves, instead of only being able to give the leftovers of her time and emotions. Her joy radiates. I’m honored I get to be a part of it.

Her business provides time. Time for others to laugh, smile, to breathe, and to relax. Folks get to be creative, and silly, and meet new people. Her business is KimmieB and Me. Visit her on Facebook. She would LOVE to meet with you, visit with you, over paint and coffee. We bond with coffee, too. Coffee is the magic of life. Amen?

Forward. What a key word to life. A frozen heart, mind, and soul are not what God promises. He promises joy in the midst of suffering, direction in times of question, and comfort in times of need. Though God promises a difficult life when we follow His ways, His path for our lives, what other choice do we really have? I love Will so much… I followed him to an island in the middle of nowhere; sold everything, left everyone. To move forward. Forward in our hopes, dreams, and callings. If we love the Lord as much as, even more so than, we love those we call family, friends, our people… shouldn’t we move forward just as easily with Him to forward His hopes, dreams, and callings for our lives?

I’m preaching to myself right now, ya’ll. Trust me. It’s been a difficult month; we’ve made more decisions, had more questions, and more late night giggles this month than we have had in a VERY long time. But the Lord is working. He’s always working things out for the good of those who love Him. Move. Forward. Yes, Jesus, I get it. Thank you.

Till next time!

Pumpkin Spice and Life

Ya’ll,

It’s pumpkin all the things season! I am SO happy! Cooler weather, sweaters, blankets, and PSLs EVERY DAY. Praise Jesus for pumpkin season! It’s an actual season, ya’ll. It is.

We’ve been going through some heavy stuff this past month. My heart has broken a little, and my soul has been entirely too weary. The Lord took us to the Caribbean for a reason. What that reason was, we may never know. But we’re stronger. Our marriage is AWESOME. Now, the Lord has brought us back to good ole Mississippi. We may never know why He did that, either. However, I’m thankful we were not in the path of any hurricane. I pray for those who were. The Caribbean cannot handle those wretched moments of Mother Nature’s mood swings like America can.

Do you ever sit back and wonder what on earth the Lord is doing? Or why He’s doing it the way He’s doing it? Do you ever get so frustrated at life, that you wonder if God has even been listening to anything you’ve ever said? My emotions have been all over the place, and yet nowhere at all, for an entire month. I realized the other day that so much of my 20’s has been one ridiculous early mid life crisis. But yet again, I’ve learned a LOT. Go figure. Whatever Jesus. What. Ever.

Here’s something I’ve learned. We have NOOOOO idea what is going to happen no matter how hard we try or pray or move forward. The floor could fall right out from underneath you. What do you do then? Do you run? Do you grab on to whatever or whomever is closest? Do you run and hide under the bed hoping the monsters won’t find you in their own hiding spot? I’d really like to say I do none of these, but hiding under the blankets when life gets just to be just too much is really my cup of coffee. Do you remain faithful and trust that what the Lord does and says and is, is good and true? I floundered a little bit in this one; I will admit it. Sometimes it’s hard to continue pushing forward when ya don’t know where that forward is. Sometimes it’s hard to continue praying and straining to hear God speak when your heart is heavy and your soul is too weary to even comprehend the world.

I am a control freak, ya’ll. It’s the teacher in me, I suppose. Everything must be planned. Always. There’s a lesson plan for every moment of life, right? Wrong. Life is hard. The only guarantee, the only consistently solid ground we can stand on is the Truth of the Lord’s promises. Seriously. Why is the Lord always teaching me this lesson!? Why don’t I ever remember that one? Control. Freak. I like to be in control. I like to have all my ducks in a row. Who doesn’t? Those brave souls who live life flying by the seat of their pants. I envy them; I do. Yes…. I’m aware envy’s a sin. I’m in seminary, after all.

How do ya’ll do that? Just fly? All the time? And never wonder where you’ll land? I like to know where I’m going to land. And yet, no matter what has happened, or what will happen, the Lord always provides solidity in some way. A smile from my husband, a hug from my God-sent sister, a visit with my best friend since 4th grade (we’re now 29, do the math).  There are so many ways the Lord shows us who He is, what He aches over, how much He loves us. Do we see it? Are our hearts opened enough to Him that we can recognize those sweet moments from Him? Or are we too concerned with what the next step has to be that we miss His whispers and fleeting moments?

 

Till next time!

Rainy Test Day

Ya’ll,

Today was test day for Will. I have a love-hate relationship with test day, because it means one part is over, but then there’s the waiting to find out the grade. Always waiting to find out the grade. Med school is so hard. You can try with all of your might to get through it, but at some point, you get knocked to your knees wondering what just hit you. Seriously. Will learns so much information every single day, that I wonder where he’s going to put the information from tomorrow’s lectures. He’s my superhero. Test days mean one thing is down, but can’t be forgotten. There are two more tests, including the final, and we’ll arrive to three weeks of peace, beach time, conversations, dinner with friends, and quality time together… without reviewing or studying or talking about medicine.  Praise. The. Good. Lord.

I admire Will, ya’ll. He works so hard. He’s smart. Insanely smart. He says things that are so over my head I just nod and smile. But he can teach it to me in a way that makes my English brain understand. It’s really true what they say, you’re either a math/science person or an English/History person. I can talk about Jesus and Edgar Allen Poe and all the wars of history all day long… but helping Will all day review HURTS MY HEAD. He’s going to be a wonderful doctor. I’ll be a wonderful helper. The Lord knew what He was doing when He made us for each other, to be sure.

Tests keep coming, though. No matter how much we think we’ve conquered one block of information… another block of information comes like a dodge ball to your face. Reminds me of life, don’t ya think? No matter how far we come… there’s always a test. No matter how good life is, how stable it is, how peaceful and fun it is, there’s always another hurdle. Another test. Another ridiculous thing to conquer. I thank the good Lord He brought me Will. He makes tests and hurdles so much more okay.

Sometimes we forget the lessons. Sometimes we remember them always. But if we really learned the lesson, wouldn’t we remember it always? Perhaps those we only kinda payed attention to are the ones we forget so easily? I know sometimes I need a dodge ball to the face ( insert eye roll here ).

 

Till next time!

 

 

Something

Ya’ll,

Can I just tell you how awesome it is that I can watch my church from back home in the Caribbean?! Technology is really awesome sometimes! Also, we made sweet peach tea last night because I brought tea bags in my luggage this time, and it’s the best thing since we brought back deer sausage. Take that, not stocked grocery stores!!

The sermon this morning at our church back home was on doing something. Isn’t that cool? Will and I talk so often on this topic. Doing something in the power of the Holy Spirit. Trusting the Lord with your whole heart and going on an adventure. Life is SO much more than routines, the daily grind, the 9-5 job. The Lord instructed us all to do something. To be His hands, feet, and heart for the world. What happened to the miraculous faith of the apostles that empowered them to heal the lame and blind and possessed? No pressure, right?

I think we get so used to being comfortable, in knowing what to expect because we’ve planned every second, which quickly adds up to years. Years of not acting on the whispers our heart hears. Man. We’ve all been there. I’m there all the time. But when I do listen and give the Lord my plans… He inspires me, provides for me, and guides me in what He wants me to do. And words just come out. Words I’d never think of speaking out loud. People come who need help, a shoulder to cry on. Acting doesn’t have to be a super awesome action packed mission trip across the world. It can be in your own home, your own city, your own office, your own state, your own country. We just have to start. Start reaching out to your neighbor, your boss, your friends, your families. The folks on the streets begging for a bite to eat, a real conversation.

The hardest part in doing something is starting that doing. Saying the first word, taking that first step towards a stranger or a loved one. But the Lord gave us power, a power no one else in the world has. Holy Spirit. That Spirit gives us the power, the courage, the confidence, and the wisdom we will need when we step out. You’ll be SO shocked when you start doing stuff and the Lord just comes out. Kinda like when ya get older and your mom starts coming out?! Come on. I know you know what I’m talking about. My dad came out the other day when I told someone to adapt and overcome… because what else are ya gonna do on a tropical island in the middle of nowhere?!?!

Jesus is enough, ya’ll. What if we stopped getting stuck with our head in the clouds looking for Him, and started seeing Him in our relationships? In our co-workers? In our friends? In the ones who know there’s something else out there but just don’t really know what that something is?

The speaker this morning also said something else that hit me straight in the soul. Once you start, you will find something. Holy Spirit will nudge you, and the Lord will provide the way. Shoot. Straight to the soul, huh? What if finding your calling is really when you just start acting on the whispers, the nudges, the tugs. What if your calling finds you in the doing? Again I say, shoot.

Till next time ya’ll! Fix some sweet peach tea and enjoy your day!

 

 

 

 

 

Back to the Island

Ya’ll,

Let me tell you a little about our island. The airport always shuts down when there is a storm… or just a little rain shower. It had been raining all day yesterday on the island, and I just knew all day that we’d get to the island and wouldn’t be able to land, which would mean we’d have to head back to Puerto Rico until the island airport decided it was safe to reopen. Island. Life.

So many people were praying over my journey home. Even folks who never pray anymore. People will show you they love you; ya just have to keep your heart opened to it. The Lord has shown me so often who was meant to be my friend, just an acquaintance, or just a passerby.  In my experience, if someone genuinely has the feeling or desire or love to pray over me… that is one of the dearest people in my life.

My sweet taxi driver was there waiting for me, the first friendly face I saw when I landed. He told me he was even praying for me. He didn’t think I’d make it, but when our plane came into view, he said, the skies just opened and there we were. The moment I walked into the airport, the bottom fell out again. The Lord answers, ya’ll.

Sometimes I do begin to wonder if the Lord is listening. I pray all the time about everything. Little things, life changing things, friends, family, how the day will go, etc. Sometimes I wonder if I pray about too much, but if the Lord is our Father like the Bible tells us, then He’d want to talk about everything, right? As a Father should? Perhaps I just don’t hear Him as much as I’d like, or get to be a part of the answer. But then there are the times that He opens the sky and lets us land on solid ground. I swear I could’ve knelt down right there on the tarmac and kissed the ground. But it was wet. And I had linen pants on. So, I just thanked the good Lord and finally believed that He was going to get me home to my sweet husband that night.

As I sit here watching the rain fall through the palm trees, listening to Amos Lee Pandora, I just can’t help but to be reminded of His promises of love and provision, which should be all that we need to remember that He wants the very best for us. He opened the skies and parted the rain clouds so that I could know and remember it. He opens the darkness so that Light will shine in on our days of worry, longing, and doubting. He’s the perfect Father. He’s the perfect example of Love, Goodness, and Truth.

Ya’ll, I am so glad to be back on our little island. As crazy as it is… it ain’t as hot here as it has been back home in Mississippi!  Another reason to praise the Lord! I did enjoy the Southern food, a little too much probably. I’ll be hitting the gym this weekend for sure.

Till next time!!

Respect

Ya’ll,

My family is so good… well, for the most part. No one’s family is perfect all the time. Right? Our parents taught us to respect others, to open doors, to speak humbly and politely to everyone we meet. This world has made us cautious and bitter and distant. We fear more than we feel we are safe in our surroundings. We doubt more than we believe in the goodness and kindness of others. We wonder if the next person we meet will take us away or try to take our belongings.

But, the Lord has already triumphed the evil of the world for us. Our job is to be still and listen for the Lord’s whispers to act, to go, to be His outlet for the world. How cool is it, that we get to wander this earth knowing that no matter the outcome of choices, of the actions and words of others, we have a promise of eternity, of goodness, of forgiveness, and of Truth?

Out of everything going on the world, one thing stands out the most to me. What happened to respect? Where did that go? When did our society turn into one of greed, selfishness, disrespect and hate? Nothing will be solved in our land until we learn how to respect others again. At least, that’s my opinion. It doesn’t start with our President, our Senate, our House, nor our local government. It starts with us. Our hearts, our thoughts, our actions and reactions.

Being home has been wonderful, but the news is so harsh and depressing. I like our little island life where life is slow and small. We get to tune out the madness of the world and focus on our marriage, on what our callings are, and the love we get to share with each other. When folks ask if we like it there, I say we love it. We don’t love the heat and the no ac thing and med school is ridiculous, but we love the simplicity and the chance to realign ourselves with each other and our Father. Everyone needs that chance in this heavy fast-paced world, I think. Whether it’s on an island, on a road trip, or simply shutting out the world in your own living room.

Till next time!

Relationships

Ya’ll,

I’m home for a childhood friend’s sweet wedding. This girl has been my friend since before I could remember anything else. We watched Mary Poppins on a pallet Mom made with tons of blankets and sheets, all while our dalmatian made sure we all knew she was actually the boss of the house. We had only a few weeks a year to visit with each other; her grandma was our neighbor… the best neighbor ever. We’d see each other at Christmas and at some point every summer. Then once a year when she’d come visit America when she began teaching overseas. She’s a brave soul, to be sure. I’m so proud of her, of her Christ-centered heart, of her longing to make the world a better place. She’s getting married in just a few days, and I’m so honored I get to stand beside her as she vows to follow this man the Lord truly made to be her partner. A Song of Solomon kind of love. I adore it.

The Lord always completes his promises. He sends your partner at just the right moment. Your hearts link together, and one day you walk down the isle promising to follow each other, encourage each other, listen to each other, and work together. The Lord created man and woman to be each other’s helper. I love that God knew that man couldn’t handle the load all alone; he needed a woman. A creation made from his own rib. A part of himself. What a beautiful reminder that we were made for relationships.

I think that special promise of relationship is easily and quickly forgotten in this “go get ’em,” take care of yourself world we live in. But when we remember to fill our souls with visits with God-given friends, we refresh our souls and lighten our loads, so that we may continue functioning in this heavy place. There’s just something magical and holy that happens when you visit with those people God sent to walk this life journey with.

No matter the type of relationship; husband-wife, friends, co-workers, or family, when the Lord is the center, your step is a little lighter, and your shoulders are raised a little higher. These relationships that are built upon a Godly foundation will be a lighthouse, an anchor, a refreshing drink when life is heavy, dark, deep, and dry as a bone. I am vastly thankful for each person the Lord has brought my life. Each one has taught me something; whether they were here only for a season, years, or in it for the long-haul.

When life gets lonely, look to the Lord, and wait for that person to come to you. This person who is allowing the Lord to work through them, to be your partner in the season you are in. Someone told me such sage advice recently, but I couldn’t tell you who it was to save my life. Still not over the whole “sleeping in the airport journey” just yet, I don’t think. Anyways, this person told me that the Lord is working on someone’s heart to be His hands and feet and heart for you; just as He is working on you to be the hands and feet and heart for someone else. If you’re anything like me, I get so bogged down with being the “person” for everyone else, that I forget to check up and realize that I need to rest with my “person.” We all need our people. We were not created to live and walk this land alone. Why on earth do we insist on being so independent and self-sufficient that we forget about building God-centered, peaceful relationships with the people around us? I know when my days are heavy, it’s usually because I haven’t spoken with my God people. The minute I do, the Lord eases my soul, and envelopes me with all that is right, true, and holy.

Relationships are a huge part of my life. I think perhaps I have my youth minister/college minister/ Jesus mentor/ more like family person to thank for that. He taught me SO many times just how important relationships are in this life. If the very first person the Lord created to name the animals couldn’t handle it all alone… why do we think we can handle life in this crazy world, now? We are no different than Adam. I can guarantee you on that. We are always better and stronger and more joyful when our lives are filled with the people the Lord sends us to build relationships with as we live our lives on this earthly land.

Till next time!