To The Mama Who Just Can’t See It Yet…..

 

” I believe God is good even when I don’t understand all the particulars of his decisions. I don’t say this flippantly. I say it as a woman who has stood in a cemetery while her daughter was being buried. And with the thud of every shovelful of dirt that separated us, I had a decision to make about the God who allowed it: either He loves me or He doesn’t. Either He is good or He is not.”   ~ Angie Smith

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I remember that Sunday as if it was yesterday. July thirteenth, two-thousand fourteen. It was exactly seven days from Audrey’s death and three since her funeral.

I woke up that day feeling like I had every single day, moment….second since I found my sweet girl lifeless in our bed.

Shocked.

Broken.

Angry.

Empty.

….and this Mama. This exhausted unable to make any more decisions Mama….had a decision to make.

Church or no church?

Ughh the “C” word I thought. Thanks to God, I have spent the whole week deciding on colors of minute wooden boxes to place my precious child in. Thanks to this God I have been barely unable to decided whether to feed my children peanut butter or grilled cheese sandwiches for dinner for the millionth time this week because this pain has left me so completely broken and paralyzed.

If I am being entirely honest there was not one bone in my body that felt the need to go praise the very God that took my daughter away from me. I found no sense of logic that convinced me to enter a place where I had sat happily with my little family of five just two weeks prior only to go back with empty arms.

But as I began to pull the covers back over myself to hide away from the world, I  realized by not going I was choosing to stay trapped in this place. In this four walls and a roof of a home where pink blankets still draped the arms of my furniture and missing tiny socks still showed up in the dryer.

In a moment of panic and feeling the need to escape I somehow managed to put clothes on my body and make my way through the maze of my home where every room oozed with memories of that devastating morning…. and feeling I had nothing left to lose, I left my house for His.

As my husband carried me in to the very sanctuary that our daughter had been carried out of three days prior, I began to question why I had thought this was a good idea in the first place, and as the entire church began singing “He gives and takes away, Lord blessed me his name”  every ounce of my body shook in pain and anger as I stared at the very place at the front of the stage where I had kissed my Audrey goodbye for the very last time. There was absolutely positively no way that I was going to speak those words.

……and guess what?

I didn’t.

I actually spent that entire service looking around at peoples faces wondering how they could be so happy and questioning God on why he would make others lives so easy and mine so hard.

I didn’t walk out of my white church with the giant steeple feeling miraculously healed or more favorable towards Him.  I was in the midst of the storm and I was unable to see it yet.

See. It’s not solely about what we are going through in this moment…its how we choose to use it in His timing. The blessings are always there…sometimes hidden in the darkest of places but we have to choose to take them. Sometimes our “unanswered” prayers are not unanswered, they are just not instantaneously answered.

It has been almost two years since Audreys death and I am still finding or realizing blessings I missed while I was knee deep in the trenches. God’s goodness has been intertwined in the painfulness of my story it has just sometimes been harder to see or even admit to.

That Sunday of July thirteenth I left feeling even more distant from God in some ways because I was there expecting him to fix me without me having to do none of the work, but years later I look back and can see his works in that morning and only recently have been able to see that He used that painful-to-face hour to begin to restore what I thought to be the un-restorable.

   I am so thankful that in knowing I had nothing to give I still ran towards Him instead of away because the amazing and life-changing blessings that have poured out of Audreys death has been far more than I would have ever been able to see in the blurriness of the moment.

    I now look at those faces Sunday morning….knowing their not – so – easy stories and am no longer able to see the goodness in their live, but HIS goodness in their lives, and I am now able to look in my Audreys eyes and instead of  just the pain, I can see  His greatness packed so gently in to that twelve pound little girl that he used for so much good.

     So to the woman who is smack middle in the battle. To the Mama who sees no way out of the painful situation they may be in.  To the one who is holding on by a thread and unsure of what this next chapter in life is going to mean……

Hold on.

He is there with you.

Even if you can’t see it yet.

That’s okay.

You will.

 

Love,

A Mama who never thought she would ever see it again….but did!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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The Truth About Christian Women; and why we’re failing miserably at it.

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“The things you wish were most removed from your life are often the very things that God is using to shape you and make you into the believer of character He wants you to be.” ~ Unknown.

Chad came home around six that night. Just in time for me to head out the door to a bible study I had just begun to attend. We greeted each other quickly as he entered the door and I exited it. I had had a crazy day and I sighed a sigh of relief as I closed the car door and sat in complete silence for a moment.

    I entered in to the bible study and was greeted by smiling faces and cheerful glances. My evening was spent eating yummy food, catching up on worldly issues, and being filled with truth. I left feeling a fuller woman then the empty-tanked one that had walked through the door only hours earlier.

    I walked through my door expecting to kiss my girls goodnight, and spend a few quiet moments with my husband.. but instead my house was in chaos. In an instant my desire for order and routine caused everything I had heard about that night to fly right out the window.

    My anger towards my husband completely blinded me from the fact that my husband had left work and walked in to our busy household while I had walked out of it. With both of us feeling unappreciated for different reasons and our tiredness from the day, our anger escalated quite quickly in to an argument.

   In a moment I had gone from a Christian woman into a full fledged “monster” on a war path. What had I done. Why was I like this…..and as I climbed in to bed the regret and embarrassment of what had just happened in my household consumed me entirely.

    I may have been able to hide what happened between my husband and I that night from the world. I may have expressed to the world on social media that I was attending a bible study or post a picture of our family helping out the community… but I am least likely to plaster the walls of my Facebook page with family arguments, marital troubles, or misbehaving children.

Why?

The answers simple…

Because its easier.

    Now that being said, in no way am I encouraging you to use social media as a way of expressing your struggles openly to the world. (That would be a whole other problem.)But I am saying we only see half of peoples lives….the pieces that they choose and allow for us to see, and in todays world social media is one of the biggest influences on how we not only view…but compare ourselves and lives to others.

But see, this is exactly where we are failing.

      Not only are we being tempted on a momentarily basis to adapt our lives towards other families morals and values off what we are able to see, but we are also hiding our own troubles.

      In todays time where Christian women are struggling so hard to raise their family in an un-godly world, we are being watched more than ever. Eyes are looking to us not just in judgement but also in a non-understanding…..and by continuing to show only our accomplishments and triumphs and hiding away our challenges and struggles we are pushing people…women…just like us away towards the world because they feel more accepted out there.

     Pretending to be good doesn’t mean that we are….it simply means we are good at pretending.

     Truth is….I am a Christian. I believe in God. I pray with my children, I attend church, I try to regularly read the word. I attempt to help others in need. I believe in life after death, and I try to love on everyone regardless of circumstances.

……But I also sin. I mess up. I fall down. I struggle in my marriage. I become frustrated with my children. I sometimes find myself caught up in gossip. I worry about what others will think about my beliefs. I struggle with my weight. I am afraid of death. I am insecure, and sometimes I find myself judging others in ways I would not want to be.

     Sometimes I doubt God. Sometimes for seconds and sometimes for days. I struggle with every single worldly issue as any other woman the only difference is I believe in a God that is there to help guide or haul me out of a hole I sometimes place myself in. 

    My life is far from perfect. I think that as Christian women we spend way too much time trying to hide our brokenness when in reality it is through that same brokenness and mistakes that God uses to encourage others. To offer hope, and love, and truth that we are all in the same fight together. There is something so beautiful (and scary) in being forced out of our comfort zones and being vulnerable.

    Our ugliness can turn in to such a beautiful story of faith and redemption if we could just allow ourselves to let go of the fear of being “exposed.” So why can’t we just be real and lift one another up as we relate to others circumstances. We are currently raising the next generation of woman who is watching us with curious eyes,  and who is going to need this even more than we do.

    Choosing to become a Christian didn’t give me a stamp of approval to walk the rest of this life free from struggles and in perfection. (I wish it did.) It came with a stamp of responsibility to allow my life…every single part of it to show Gods love and presence in it. Being a Christian meant here I am…broken, lost, hopeless, struggling, imperfect, and un-whole. Here I am a mess, messing up…sometimes over and over again. But there he is loving me whole-y in my imperfection and guiding me to be the best that I can be. It’s about always having a cheerleader by my side.

Isn’t it time to be each others?

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