The Step in Mother’s Day


Mother’s Day is coming up & in my network of Step Mom’s I have seen posts communicating both dread & of blessings. For those that call themselves childless Step Mom’s, as in they are a Step parent only & have no biological children, it is a day filled with a bit of grief. We live in a difficult culture of double standards, disrespect & harsh stereotypes. Most of the time I hear the same thing over & over again from my fellow Step Mom network, Mother’s Day is hard. It is hard for any blended family. 

You are seen, you are known. Everything that you do matters more than you will ever know. 

Too often we can place expectations on a specific day & have it end in disappointment. This year I advise my fellow Step Mom’s to realize their important worth while releasing their step kids from responding a certain way. Perhaps this year you can give a card to your step kids to tell them how special they are. Any way that we can give our kids permission to love every family member even if they are not ready to love you in return quite yet is a way to win the day. 

Through it all, how you choose to love is what matters the most. Even if you feel overlooked, or under appreciated know that you are known. Your love is being written on your kids heart whether they show any love back to you in return. They will remember how you made them feel. They will remember your embrace, your words, & how you treated their biological parents. 

You matter. God loves you. To love your kids is to reveal a piece of God’s heart for everyone. 

WOW!

“Why are you stuck in how you have always known it when I have set you free? Just walk in my freedom! Dance in my freedom. Joy is yours. Pick it up and live the way that I intended for you.”

2017 has been described to me as my “Wow” year.

Since January 2017 I have stepped foot from one victory to another. For the first time in a very long time my mind feels like it has been set free from cobwebs and tight fascia that once felt like it restricted freedom, joy and truth to reign. It is the reason for my lack in writing on this blog.

Perhaps I should not have kept my journey to myself? The reason why I question my silence is because God has literally done so much the past several months. I did not realize how long time had gone by since I last posted in any format. For this I am sorry because I am a writer and intend to share in order to encourage and help others.

There have been many freedom moments or “aha” moments since January. I found myself one day realizing that God had set me free and I did not change my thought process or habit. How often do we do this? We scream or yell, “I want to be free!” and instantly forget that God just walked us into victory. We have never needed to fight for it because it was already given to us.

Lies have been crumbling, and dropping to the floor like rain drops. In place of those lies God’s truth has filled in all of the gaps and holes. As this continues to take place on a weekly basis, toxic thoughts continue to die and a beautiful tree full of gorgeous blooms grows in its place. Freedom from bondage and heartache from holding on for too long is truly enabling me to soak up revelation of the truth that has always been right before me. It is a fun adventure!

2017 is my “Wow” year and I continue to walk in miracles and joy! I look forward to sharing more with you soon.

I am back! ūüėČ

 

Punching Pain in the Face (insert LOL here)

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Life with Jesus is the best adventure! It truly is.

In my life, I have been through some very hurtful and hard things. I have seen betrayal, loss and heartache over and over. So have many of you. One of the most interesting things about us is our response or reaction to the times where our lives are being hit with one painful process after another. Some choose to ignore the pain and let it rot within them. Others quite literally look pain in the face to meet it head on in order to let it go.

I have found that facing the pain head on is where you are faced with the decision to choose freedom. A year ago today I was physically ill (much more ill than I originally thought) and was experiencing grief as the holiday season was rearing its head full on. Looking back there is a complete difference within my heart as well as my body today. Part of my healing process has been a physical journey where I have made lifestyle changes as to what I consume and even how I care for myself. Another part of my healing journey has been confronting pain and kicking it right in its face! I am not even joking here. I literally have confronted issues, vocalized them out loud and then verbally forgave every single person that was involved, forgiving individuals even for how their action or lack of action made me feel.

When you hold onto pain eventually you get used to it being around. Pain can be a friend when its cause is to alert us that some action needs to take place immediately in order for healing to occur after. But pain can be our foe when we allow it to rot within us choosing to ignore the causes to the symptoms we are having. Some may not even realize how pain rears its butt ugly head in their lives but it eventually does manifest itself. It takes a toll on your body. Now just imagine for a moment what it does to your heart if you are not inwardly taking care of the issues that pain has caused. It gets more ugly the deeper in you get.

The beautiful thing about God is that he joins us in our healing journeys. When we look pain in the face and expose all the ugly, it is an opportunity for us to welcome our healer and our Abba God to come and do what he does best. He cleans us up and turns all the scars from our pain into something beautiful. When the shackles of pain release through the act of forgiveness freedom and joy like never before come to flood our soul. This is good for the body too! Forgiveness is one of the best self care protocols that everyone should practice regularly.

Be kind to one another. Be kind to yourself as you allow God to work deep in your heart to bring you into a greater level of freedom. Face the pain and get to the root of it so that you can punch pain right in its face. Do not harbor this any longer! Let it go. Forgive. As you do this it is sending long quenched nutrients to grow the fruits of the Spirit in your life.

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Let Go

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Let go!

For a period in my life I was holding onto ashes. These ashes contained many things. Pain and turmoil left a constant ache in my heart. I was holding onto words and an identity full of lies that I had allowed to penetrate what I did. It left me feeling anxious and doubting everything I said and did. One day I looked at my hands and realized,

“What am I doing? Why am I allowing this to rule my thoughts? Why am I allowing this pain over these ashes keep me from living in freedom?”

I decided then, that no matter how hard it may be to break the habit of holding handfuls of ashes that I would let go.

That day I chose freedom, I chose Jesus.

Too often we let what others say, a diagnosis, an ailment in our bodies, distance, or certain actions from others dictate and rule our lives to the extent of binding us. We were never intended to live this way. We were made for freedom! We were made to fly, to dance in joy, and to be so full of love that it literally overflows onto everyone and invades everything that we do.

What are you holding onto? What are you allowing to bind you?

Let it all go!

When you let go you are able to rest well. You are free to dance! Freedom grows and increases your faith.

I do not want to live a life limited but rather one that shows passionate living. Passionate living to me means to be bold in the Lord. I have no need to be anxious. I want to operate with him casting aside man-made boundaries of faith and man-made ideals of identity. It is in him that my identity lays. I can be me as God intends me to be.

Let go!

Raise your hands in freedom. Dance. Laugh. Love deeply. Rest in his peace. Fly.

 

 

Letting Go is Powerful

 

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With my own journey of grieving I have learned that letting go is a crucial part of living life abundantly. Sometimes letting go can be really hard. It can feel horrible, almost as if a part of you is going away. I have learned that God uses the process to bring about a better blessing. When this process happens I have realized how much God wanted me to be free from bondage and unhealthy perspectives. I would never have understood this unless I was open to letting go no matter how much it hurt.


 

Too often we hold on when we just need to release our grasp and fall to the ground in surrender to God. The greatest thing about God is that he understands this process is painful for us.  It is crucial we let go otherwise we will remain stuck, get sluggish, apathetic, or even become bitter. Sometimes we place too much of our time looking back when God wants us to strain forward and press on to our goal. The goal is in front of us, not behind. I am not saying that you should never reminisce or never remember fondly the things of the past. There is a time for proper reflection and honor of what the past has taught us while anticipating all that God has for us in the present.


 

God is so beautiful and so are his ways. He understands that this is a process for us. His timing is perfect and he knows just how much we can handle. He is also very gracious, giving us time to work through everything mentally, spiritually and even in the physical sense. Every action of letting go is powerful!


 

There are times when it feels like letting go is just too much, the weight too heavy, and the memory too deep. But from experience, anytime I have let go when it hurt beyond description, the freedom and grace brought about new wind to my aching wings in flight. Even though the tears flowed, relief came a few days later. Letting go is crucial for growth to happen, for fluid momentum to continue moving forward.


 

Letting go is a powerful action. It speaks of grace, of trust in God and understanding that it is the strength that comes from God that enables true release, true freedom. After all, it is in his strength that we find joy.


 

Letting go is a beautiful process. It reminds me that in the mess of us, God is there and loves us still.

What Do You Choose?

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Life is full of choices. We all know this. Many times we like to blame others for our poor choices and the attitudes we choose to have. Growing up my parents told me from the time that I could remember that I had a choice to be grumpy, and mad. This was such a hard thing for me to grasp because I felt so deeply. It surely could not have originated from my heart. Turns out, it always has.


 

Time and time again, God has placed me in situations where I have had to choose between my feelings or to look past them and see things his way. Through this past year of grieving, I had to constantly choose him over how I was feeling. Grieving takes you through exhaustion, sleepless nights, and bursts of emotions depending on the memories that come flooding into your life again. I have learned that just like love, joy is a choice and it is hardly based on feelings. Yes, there will be times where you feel an immeasurable amount of happiness but joy is always a choice.


 

I would have days where I would wake up, body aching, heart aching, and all I wanted to do was to curl back underneath my covers. But I had a choice to make. Was I going to live life? Was I going to choose to love my husband, my daughter, and those God placed in my life? Was I going to choose joy despite how I was feeling? My answer was always, yes. No matter how hard it was I did not want to get stuck where I was. No matter how much my heart ached, I still chose to embrace God everyday knowing that it was only through him that I could work past the grief.


 

Still to this day, as the grieving process has taken a different turn and a new normal has set in (somewhat… what is normal anyway?), I have a choice to make. Will I choose Love? Will I choose Joy? All of those things come from God. The more time I spend with him, the more of those things I will have in my life. It is not always an easy journey. More often than not, God shows us areas we must be willing to let go of and change. The moment you choose to let go of control and let God have control, your life becomes full of freedom. Misconceptions of who he is get thrown out the window when you spend time with him. Wrong thinking and wrong behaviors sift to the surface and then you have a choice to get rid of those or keep them and rot.


 

When I think of choosing to rot, I think of a video I watched where a six-year-old girl asked her parents to “not let the monster take over them”. I also have heard several songs talking about how sin, the monster, needs to be overcome. How many of us have chosen the monster to take over us simply because we wanted our own way? At one point in our lives, we have allowed this to happen. Our sin nature leans us to do so. But thankfully, when we choose God, to spend time with him daily, hourly, and with the intention to obey his every direction, freedom from the monster is what takes place. Only then, can true love and true joy become a part of daily life. Even when love and joy take root instead of bitterness and sin, we still have the choice to make it for ourselves.


 

God never forces his way with us. But he is in constant pursuit of us when we choose to ignore him. I see people make choices everyday that affect everyone around them more than they realize. And when we do not choose God, unfortunately everyone else suffers and loses out with them. It saddens my heart to see kids be so gravely affected. There are days where my heart aches over the loss that many of these kids suffer because someone in their life chose to rot.


 

Our lives will be the most stable and peaceful place it will ever be when we realize that we must give up our control for Gods ways to dictate every thought and action. Until we allow God to be a part of everything, will we realize that choosing love and choosing joy is a daily discipline, forever to be molded by our Creator.


 

What do you choose?


 

Lord, I want to choose you daily! Help me to choose love and joy and may it permeate everything I say and do.


 

Galatians 5:22-26

“22¬†But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23¬†gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24¬†Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25¬†Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. 26¬†Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other.”

Embrace the Onion Layers!

As I am watching a chick flick today I am reminded of many things that I miss.


 

I miss watching chick flicks with my Mom and my sister. I miss girls shopping days. There was never something so fun to recharge with coffee and pick out the perfect outfit. It took me several months after Mom passed before I was able to walk through the mall without tears rolling down my eyes. I had already worked through grieving our third person  prior to Mom passing but then to have both gone was a complete devastation to me. There are still moments I get misty eyed.


 

I miss enjoying the perfect cup of coffee with a freshly baked scone. I miss talking about life, family, and God. I miss her smile, her laugh and her hugs. I miss her encouragement, her perfectly timed words to usher in a reminder that God was always in control.


 

There are so many things that I miss. She or someone else like her will never fill the void again. As life continues on, the new people, the new changes right now enhance the void. It will take time but I know that these are all good things.


 

I have learned that grieving and healing has layers, much like an onion. It is a process and there are moments of relief when it feels like you have worked through many different things. Soon after this, God works deeper and helps you work on more. God loves to restore, reconcile and heal everyone. But we must be willing to continue to persevere through each layer. I could choose to stop right here and stay where I am, doing my best to ignore his voice to work through the process. To be honest, that never works and only causes more harm than good. It creates an infection and a bigger mess to be dealt with later.


 

As a kid I hated onions. I could find the tiniest onion in my food and dislike the entire bite in my mouth. But I have come to enjoy onions more. I might get more indigestion and some bad breath every now and then but onions enhance flavors. Onions bring out the best in the food. Onions are also very good for you, and have been known to help reduce inflammation and fight off infection.


 

So dear readers, embrace the onion layers! I know that it can hurt. I know that it can even take your breath away. But it is always worth it.

Choosing Love Daily

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There is nothing quite like having a heart full of gratefulness despite difficult seasons. There is power in your personal testimony when you begin to honestly describe your journey, not to gain sympathy but to praise God for bringing you through it.


I have had several people ask me how I have been able to come through a year so difficult and hurtful and not be bitter. To be quite honest, bitterness only causes us more harm than good. I have written about letting go several times. This is why bitterness is not something that remains in my life. Even though there have been moments that I could have rightfully justified harboring anger and bitterness towards certain people from a human perspective, I chose God instead. I am not stating this to brag but only to display his goodness when we choose him.


When we choose God daily, the things that hold us down, slowly are revealed to us. It is at that time that we have a choice. Will we continue to hold onto these things and allow ugly bitterness to grow? Or will you choose God and allow him to turn all things into something beautiful? When you choose him, beauty will shine from within even if you feel like the darkness is shoving you down.


This reminds me often of marriage. God has shown me so much of himself through my relationship with my husband. A huge part of this has to do with the fact that my husband chooses God daily and chooses me daily as well. When two people become one and follow Gods leading, there is nothing quite like it. When two hearts choose each other and follow God, the adventures are never ending. Love is also never ending.


There have been moments in our lives when so many things were up against us. In other people’s perspectives, we could have easily let it separate us because of the pain. Instead, we chose to listen to each other. We would hear and see the pain that we needed to let go. Through that, we allowed each other to have a part in the healing journey. We were two people unified through Christ learning what love was and what it continues to be. There have been countless moments that we would just sit and listen. Some of these moments were difficult but at the end our hearts were never so intertwined.


We still choose each other daily. I know that this makes God smile.


When you choose God that is what life is like. Even though it may be difficult, working through the hard things is completely worth it. It is worth it because your heart will become further intertwined with Gods own heart. When you heart becomes more intertwined with his own, bitterness is unable to take root. Love will grow deeper in your heart and gratefulness will make your heart want to sing.


When my husband chooses me and holds me during my most difficult moments, he is showing me Gods love. When we have both hurt each other and he chooses to love me rather than reject me, he is showing me Gods love. Forgiveness is a powerful tool. Letting go of anything that hinders us is crucial. Loving like it is our last day on earth is one of the greatest gifts we can give each other. The enemy would like nothing more than to split up marriages and families because it distorts what Gods love for us looks like. Together, we have learned that our marriage must come first after placing God in the center of everything. When we have a successful marriage, we will have a successful life. The success is all because we place God in the center of our lives. He is our foundation.


I owe so much of my own journey this past year to my amazing husband choosing God first and then choosing me daily. I have done the same in return. Choose God first every single day. Choose love. Let go of what hinders you. Be free. Live full of joy!


You can still choose God through the grief. The Holy Spirit will come to comfort you through every step. He is there holding you as you cry. But do not harbor bitterness. Let him hold you through it all and allow his beauty to take root from the pain. He is worth it.


Let us all choose God every day. Let us let go of anything that hinders us from loving God and loving others. After all, without love, this life would not be worth anything we go through. God is love. Choose him.


He is worth it!


Hebrews 12:1

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us.

Letting Go

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The past several weeks a few profound thoughts have helped me to understand what my journey of letting go looks like. I have realized that letting go does not mean forgetting; that forgiving does not mean that everything will go back to the way it once was but rather reconciliation is the next step. People often mesh these two together somehow and judge others based on the second half.


 

I know that these two examples can be big topics that deserve their own post. But for now, I would like to just mention them. It has dawned on me just how much judgment is cast on others if things do not look a certain way in someone’s journey of healing. The thing that matters the most is whether we are following and obeying God. Are we choosing him daily?


 

The other day I found myself swept up in the arms of God as I listened to a new song. It spoke about being wrapped in the arms of God and being able to let go. This sums up the past year for me. Having God’s arms of love wrapped around me has been what has empowered me. When you know how much God loves you and you are swept away by love rushing into every crevice of who you are, things that once may have held you in bondage fall to the ground as you release your grip on them. God is the only one that matters. His love changes everything. He is the safest place to be.


 

In his arms I have been learning what letting go looks like. When one has lost someone either by death or by separation of friendship, letting go comes in waves with the grief. It is important to recognize that one can let go of the things that hinder us from moving forward while remembering the individual’s memory. Just because you are letting go does not mean that you will be forgetting them or dishonoring who they are.


 

Letting go brings freedom. It does not mean that it will be an easy process. But it is worth it. Letting go does not mean attempting to duplicate the individual. You can still embrace the traditions that once were if it is healthy to keep them now that the person has gone on. What I mean by this is that often we can get caught up with trying to “bring” their personality or gifts into the void. The reality is, is that no one can duplicate or fill that persons spot in your life. We should not try to place other people in that position either.¬† Besides, no matter how hard I try to make my Mom’s chocolate chip cookies or cinnamon rolls, she was not the one that made them. The love ingredient that made them so special is now something I can remember fondly but not attempt to put in as if I were her. I must be fully myself.


 

There is a tricky thing about grieving. Sometimes you wonder who you are. Through this past year God has been reminding me who I am. And in his arms, I never doubt who I am. I am a daughter of the King.


 

 

I am his. Even in this mess, this beautiful journey, I am his.

 


 

I am HIS.

When Two Worlds Collided

Two worlds collided over Memorial Day weekend. It was a weekend that was full of many different emotions: heartache, pain, sorrow, yet full of joy for our Father. It is so hard to describe exactly every little feeling. It all felt so surreal.


 

It is most difficult to process two worlds that do not make sense quite yet. One full of memories of what once was, and the other that is now. The sorrow is ever present. It is a constant friend or foe depending on your perspective. Yet, there is joy, there is hope knowing that God is our strength. Life is bittersweet.


 

Our Mom was a most extraordinary woman. She loved us in such a way that no woman ever has. There was no doubt in each of our minds that she cared for every single one of us. She made sacrifices for us. She gave her life for others. It is this love from her that makes the void feel so deep. We can all be grateful that we had a taste of heaven through her in our lives.


 

Now, as our Father, whom we have only known with our Mom embarks on this new beginning it seems so strange to see him with anyone else other than our Mom. He loves each of us enough to want us to be a part of this new journey. It is a foreign way of living when it seems like all those happy memories of someone so dear to you feels as if it all is slipping away to be forgotten forever. Yet, I know that is not what is happening.


 

It is all these feelings that pollute being rational. I have learned to be slow to action during this time of grieving. To be perfectly honest, my husband has received the worst of these struggles within me. He has been so gracious as I battle through every emotion, rational or not. I am thankful I am not alone. He has learned to bring me coffee in bed (this is a nice perk!). For those of you who know me well, you can laugh knowing how amazing I think this is. I wish I liked mornings better.


 

Many have asked me how I was able to officiate the wedding for my Dad and Step Mom. To put it quite simply, Love. I knew from the beginning that this was God. It was more than evident to me that God brought my Dad and his new wife together and they gave me the greatest honor to be able to officiate it for them. I was able to talk through the tears because God gave me the strength I needed. God is strong in the broken places.


 

I also feel like I need to explain the tears. Some people thought I was just sad. Other people thought I was simply happy. It was both for me. Two worlds collided in that moment and I was overwhelmed with grief, and joy all in one setting. It was a definite and more solid ending to what our family once was and who my Dad used to be. But it was also a beginning to a new joyous journey with an added gift of a wonderful woman of God whose love and care for our journey up to this point has been rather remarkable.


 

My tears also represented a huge miracle for my husband and I personally. We saved the flower girl spot for our daughter J, for our wedding (for those of you who do not know, I am a Step Mom to a beautiful girl). When this did not happen because of unfair actions from the other party, it was hard for both of us. J was able to be a flower girl for my Dad’s wedding. I was crying because it was truly a miracle that she was there. I also felt like this was something that Mom would have wanted and prayed for herself.


 

God was showering us blessings in multiple ways. These realizations came upon me, wave after wave within the ceremony itself. I found myself shaking as emotion after emotion flooded my heart. And the tears just fell. It was beautiful.


 

 

Philippians 4:13

“I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”