Put on your grace pants.

Let’s face it, relationships can be hard. Marriage can be hard. Whenever you take two broken people trying to have a relationship with one another in a broken world, you get some hard to deal with things. I’m a big believer that the enemy doesn’t want us to have flourishing relationships within our marriages, within out friendships, and within our families. I think we have to fight for these soul-filling relationships and it definitely isn’t easy, but SO, so worth it to have these kind of people in your life, fighting in your corner.

The Grace Pants Story. I told this story years ago, but felt the need to bring it back out recently. One night back when Daniel and I were newly married, we got in a huge fight. I said some unsavory things (that I really didn’t even mean). Needless to say, we went to bed angry. Now let’s get one thing very straight, I was in the wrong. I was being prideful and arrogant. I snapped, and I deserved his anger the next morning. But, what happened was very different. We woke up, both of us reluctant to speak to one another. We decided to walk down to the square for some coffee and brunch like we did a lot of Saturdays. We were waiting for the restaurant to open and Daniel popped in a store. He came back out and gave me a bag. He said, “Here, I got these for you because I knew you wanted some and thought they would look cute on you.” I opened the bag to find some adorable Nike workout shorts that I’d been wanting for a while. I immediately said, “Awe babe, are these my grace pants?” And from that point on, it became a frequent saying in our home. Are you putting on your grace pants? The whole point of this silly story is that I DESERVED his anger, and yet he gave me grace. I was wrong, and deserved to feel shame or at least suffer through a day of silence from my husband. But instead he CHOSE to forgive and show grace. The question is, are you showing grace to those in your home?

PRIDE. Our pastor often says, “You can be right or you can be married.” and I probably recite this to myself daily. In our relationships, we can be right or we can die to ourselves and show grace because at the end of the day WHO CARES who was right?! Pride is this little sneaky enemy that creeps in and wreaks havoc. We can stand alone in our righteous anger, or we can wake up and choose grace in every situation with our husbands, with our kids, with our friends or family. We can spend more time on our soap box about how things should be done, or we can praise our family for the things they do right. We can try and control every situation, or we can let go and let them be them (this one is especially hard for me).

Resentment. This is something my friends and I talk about often. It happens a lot in marriages especially. You’re doing life, everything is great, and then BAM, resentment creeps in. You know how it starts ladies, one little thought in our heads – I do EVERYTHING around here, the least he could do is XYZ. And listen, YES and AMEN we should both be giving 100% to the marriage, to taking care of the family in whatever way works for you, but resentment can be a silent killer in any relationship so it’s best to squash it when it begins. Scripture says that love keeps no record of wrongs. Ouch. That means we don’t keep a running list in our heads about how they are falling short. Yes, you should be able to talk through these expectations and figure out how to help one another better, but also don’t let that resentment grow and fester. Give those unmet expectations to the Lord, and continue to give your 100%, and watch how your kindness, your love, or your patience changes that other person much more than those passive aggressive comments you would normally throw out.

Prayer. Lastly, because relationships are hard, dying to ourselves is hard, putting on our grace pants day after day is hard, and we simply cannot do it in our own strength. We NEED someone who can do it through us. Prayer is like our lifeline to Jesus, it’s our way of tapping into the WiFi if you will. Prayer can move mountains if we even have the tiniest bit of faith or belief in the One who we’re praying to. So for me, I have to pray pray pray for myself and the way I choose to love those around me, especially my family. I have to pray for the ability to put on my grace pants, die to myself and my pride, and to have more patience and loving kindness towards the people I love. I have to pray God helps me to live out grace in my home on the daily.

So to all of my friends reading this, are you putting on your grace pants today?

She will not be moved.

“God is in the midst of her; she shall not be moved; God will help her when the morning dawns.”

So it’s been a while since I wrote my last blog. I usually feel the Holy Spirit stirring a new blog in me when one, I’m abiding in Him, and two, when I’m going through something myself that God wants to use to encourage others. This morning as I was making myself (yes, I had to make a choice this morning to on Netflix and start packing boxes because we’re moving in two weeks or CHOOSE to sit down and spend time with Jesus) and I was reminded of the verse that I literally have tattooed on my body.

I don’t know why I love this verse, it’s not even really referring to a woman per say, but it gives me POWER or strength when I read it. I had a friend design the tattoo for me so that it has a small anchor at the end of the verse. I did this because if I can truly understand and live out this Truth, then it will quite literally anchor my soul through any storm.

Though the earth gives way, the waters roar and foam. Preceding my favorite “girl-power” verse are these words: “God is our refuge and strength, a very PRESENT help in trouble.” It’s saying that even when the world is going cray-cray, even though our world seems upside down, even when we’re going through something that seems crushing, He is greater than any storm, and therefore we can have this HOPE that He will overcome it, that this too shall pass, He will redeem our situation and we will be stronger, better, more beautiful because of it.

I thought man, this is super fitting given the (I really want to say bat-sh#@t) crazy times we’re living in right now. I mean, we’re in a global pandemic; we all just came out of months of quarantine. EVERYthing is different for our kids with school. We’re amidst a nasty political campaign with media manipulating us at every turn, and on top of all of that there’s a race divide that’s heart-breaking to say the least. Really, during the quarantine, there would be days I’d be fine, and then there would be days I would just cry. Not to mention we are all going through our own personal storms too! I have so many friends who have lost jobs, their husbands have lost jobs, having to make hard decisions about their businesses, loss of loved ones, infertility is still a very present storm for many of my friends, loss of babies, and the list just goes on and on. So amidst these storms, there’s something we can grasp on to.

PEACE. People have asked me time and time again, how are you this okay given what you’re going through, and I can honestly say, I have no idea. But really I do have an idea, I know that my peace comes from Him. Even in the most crushing moments when I thought my marriage was over or we lost another baby, I had this weird peace about it all. I couldn’t even pray for myself because of the weight of it all, but I have the Holy Spirit inside me praying for me, and I had MANY friends praying (if you don’t have any friends who will pray for you, get them now.) on my behalf and I had a super-natural peace despite my sucky situation. The verse that almost seems cliché because we hear it so much is TRUE. Do not be anxious about anything…but by prayer, make your request known to God, and the peace of God which surpasses all understanding (meaning we don’t understand it or where the heck it comes from; it makes no sense) will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Y’all, I have lived this out MANY times and seen it to be true. 

HOPE. When we are in that storm, big picture or our own personal storm, we can have hope, even if it’s the size of a mustard seed. If we believe, even with a tiny bit of faith, that He will redeem our situation, we will one day look back with JOY and not take it back because of where it led us, then we can hang on to that hope for dear life, and it will get us through anything. It’s like our little tiny anchor that no matter how much the storms rage around us, we know we won’t be moved because we have a good Father who loves us and is making a way for us.

Beauty Out of Ashes. Can I just say, in a world of air-brushing, social media influencers, and the media, it’s easy to think we’re supposed to be perfect: Perfect moms, perfect women, perfect lady bosses, perfectly groomed with extensions and lashes (which I’m all for as long as it’s not about comparison or filling a void). But I’m sure you agree with me, the most beautiful women I’ve seen are the authentic ones. These women are raw, real and maybe a bit scarred. And this is the most beautiful because we can ALL relate. These storms we go through make us MORE beautiful because like a phoenix (oh man I just got so pumped and want to go be Mulan now), we rise from the ashes even more beautiful than before. I have weathered many storms, and I can honestly look back and see how much God has grown me through them. I’m stronger and more confident because of them. I have more faith, and care less about this world, and that my friends, makes anyone more beautiful.

To wrap this blog up because most of you probably stopped reading many paragraphs ago, is to say don’t lose hope. Keep your eyes on the One who can move mountains because He loves YOU, and will make a way through. Even if you can’t pray yourself, He is working in and through it all. Pray (even if half-heartedly) for that peace He gives so freely, and watch how your perspective changes. Have hope that this too shall pass and wow, I can’t wait to see how beautiful you will be on the other side.

Burn the Ships.

“Burn the ships, cut the ties, send a flare into the night. Say a prayer, turn the tide, Dry your tears and wave goodbye.” I just recently discovered this song and it felt so powerfully my ANTHEM as I step into a new year, new decade, I felt I had to share some of that hope and power!

I wouldn’t take any of it back. As you guys all know pretty well, I like to say God has put me through the ringer. I’ve experienced more heartache and what some would call tragedy in my 37 (almost 38) years of life than some well into the end of their years. A while back, I started praying this prayer, “God, use me and waste me on your Kingdom.” and now that I know what that means for me, I see that He truly answered that prayer in ways I never thought. I didn’t know when I started praying it that it would mean pain, but the crazy thing about it all is that I wouldn’t take any of it back. I wouldn’t take losing a baby, the miscarriages following, the agonizing wait, the pain or heartache involved, the brokenness I felt or even my marriage almost falling apart back because the oddest thing is that I feel honored. A friend reminded me recently that God doesn’t do that for everyone. He redeems His CHILDREN’S pain. He gives us a purpose beyond ourselves which brings us joy that nothing in this world could ever give. But I forget that He doesn’t do this for everyone. What an honor it is that I can say He literally has put me through the fire to burn away the things of this world and the parts of me that don’t look like Him. How special am I that God would use the broken things, even things I caused, to bring about MY good and ultimately His glory? He loves me THAT MUCH to not leave me where I was 10 years ago.

Worth It. I know now with full confidence that He always works out our own painful situations, whether we caused it, someone else caused it, or it was just the brokenness of this world that caused it, for His glory but also for our good. I’ve seen it so many times to be true in my life that it’s almost hard for me to look at another believer going through a painful situation and not just feel joy for them, because I KNOW what it looks like on the other end of the pain. I know the joy that comes in the morning. I know the growth and the deepened faith that happens. And most of all, I know that even though it sucks to go through it, you will look back and say, “Worth it.” You will soon be on the other side of the pain, looking back at it with a new song in your mouth. I hope that no matter where you are as you step into the new year, this gives you hope for whats to come. I hope it gives you strength to dig deep into the Lord in the pain because you know there’s light at the end of the tunnel. IMG_9029

My 2020 Battle Cry: I wanted to share this new 2020 anthem with you guys today because it’s a cry of HOPE. I’ve seen a lot of #battlecry stuff on Instagram lately, and well, this is my 2020 battle cry. Whether or not you’re in the fire now, coming out of the fire or about to go into the fire, you can look into that fire with a fierce confidence that your God is bigger than the fire. He will redeem your pain, set you free, and put a new song of joy and hope in your heart. God allowed me to go through all that we have because He knew it was ultimately for my good. He knew the kind of strength I would have, the kind of faith I would deepen, how my eyes would truly be opened to the fact that He is more than enough. And when you experience that kind of Truth, you really are set free because you know Who’s hands you are in. You know that you can laugh without fear of the future because of who He has made you to be. So as we leave last year and the past decade behind, shout it out with me, ladies: (I picture myself on top of a cliff with the ships below, holding a match, and the wind is blowing my perfectly blowing hair, and I might have on a warrior outfit too)

“Burn the ships, cut the ties
Send a flare into the night
Say a prayer, turn the tide
Dry your tears and wave goodbye
Step into a new day
We can rise up from the dust and walk away
We can dance upon our heartache, yeah
So light a match, leave the past, burn the ships
And don’t you look back!”

 

Bring it on 2020!! We’ve got this! 

As I was listening to this song, Scripture I’ve read a ton kept coming to mind too. Every time we’ve been in the fire, this gave me hope that He would bring me out of the pit I was in and set my feet back on a secure foundation in Him. I may be weeping for the night but He would bring joy in the morning. This too shall pass and I would sing a new song of joy in the end.

I waited patiently for the Lord;
    he inclined to me and heard my cry.
He drew me up from the pit of destruction,
    out of the miry bog,
and set my feet upon a rock,
    making my steps secure.
He put a new song in my mouth,
    a song of praise to our God.

Psalm 40:1-3

 

Burn the Ships – King & Country 

How did we get here?
All castaway on a lonely shore
I can see in your eyes, dear
It’s hard to take for a moment more
We’ve got to
Burn the ships, cut the ties
Send a flare into the night
Say a prayer, turn the tide
Dry your tears and wave goodbye
Step into a new day
We can rise up from the dust and walk away
We can dance upon our heartache, yeah
So light a match, leave the past, burn the ships
And don’t you look back
Don’t let it arrest you
This fear is fear of fallin’ again
And if you need a refuge
I will be right here until the end
Oh, it’s time to
Burn the ships, cut the ties
Send a flare into the night
Say a prayer, turn the tide
Dry your tears and wave goodbye
Step into a new day
We can rise up from the dust and walk away
We can dance upon our heartache, yeah
So light a match, leave the past, burn the ships
And don’t you look back
So long to shame, walk through the sorrow
Out of the fire into tomorrow
So flush the pills, face the fear
Feel the wave disappear
We’re comin’ clear, we’re born again
Our hopeful lungs can breathe again
Oh, we can breathe again
Step into a new day
We can rise up from the dust and walk away
We can dance upon our heartache, yeah
So light a match, leave the past, burn the ships
And step into a new day
We can rise up from the dust and walk away
We can dance upon our heartache, yeah
So light a match, leave the past, burn the ships
And don’t you look back

FEAR – the real 4 letter word.

It’s very strange to be back in this position of truly needing to muster that tiny, mustard seed-like faith to believe God can do the impossible. As many of you know, our journey to become parents has become a ministry for us, as we want to give other men and women comfort and hope through sharing our story. We’ve been through the ringer I like to say, and seen first hand how God can turn our waiting or tragedy into beauty and joy.

Recently, like a week or so ago, I finished and printed my first 10-day devo for women who’ve been in similar situations we have. The ironic thing about it is that the week after Pastor Joby challenged me to finish the devo so it could be used as a resource for women, I found out I was pregnant again. (Insert loud screaming mixed with a lot of hesitation and fear). Yep, you read that right, I’m preggers again, and mixed with a lot of joy, but I’m terrified too.

Background

We decided a few months ago to pursue having a biological child again. We went back to our fertility doctor to see if he thought having the same procedure I had before we got pregnant with Kennedy to remove a septum and endometriosis would be a good idea. He said absolutely, let’s try it! So we had surgery to remove endometriosis in September. We got pregnant the next month (OMG!). So after I took about 6 pregnancy tests mostly because I never thought I’d see another positive pregnancy test for the rest of my life, we confirmed it with the doc and I started the “Kitchen Sink” method like I did with Kennedy which includes prescription prenatal vitamins, extra folic acid (I have to take like 400 times what normal women have to take), extra progesterone, and heparin shots in my belly twice a day. SO, with that update out there, our first ultrasound was this morning and MAN did the fear, anxiety and doubt creep in fast! The enemy didn’t waste any time with whispering those things in my ear.

I believe, help my unbelief. If you know our story you know I have a lot of reasons to be fearful that this pregnancy won’t work out. I’ve had more let down in my journey to parenthood than I have had victories. But through it all, God redeemed it with a perfect, healthy baby girl named Kennedy (and man is she going to be a world-changer). So knowing that, now that this pregnancy is becoming more real for me, I feel very much like that dad in Mark 9 when he said, “I believe, help my unbelief!” I believe that God is a good Dad, that He loves me, and that He always keeps His promises. I believe that despite my own inadequacies, He can knit this baby together perfectly. But given my past experience, there’s also a lot of fear, hesitation to get excited or believe this will work out, and anxiety that could cripple me. So I’m standing before you guys today, basically feeling naked because I hate being vulnerable, and saying I am there with you, I understand the hopelessness, hesitation and fear. But let’s cry out together, “I believe God, help my unbelief!” IMG_7811

Casting out fear. If we believe that God can do all things, that He loves us, and wants good things for us as His children not just in heaven, but here on earth too, then His character alone should encourage us to have faith and tell that fear to go hell (which is where it came from to begin with).  Every morning, or every minute that fear or anxiety creeps in, stop and pray. Prayer is your direct line to God, your direct line to the peace that literally surpasses all understanding. Despite your circumstances, the stupid things people might say, the lies swirling around in your head, God has the whole world in His hands, including you. Give that fear back to Him, knowing He is the God of the Universe who also happens to love you and care about everything you care about. He’s a good Dad and He will take care of you, and that baby or future baby. Lay those fears at His feet every time you feel the fear rising again, and I promise you He will meet you there with confidence and hope.

God can move mountains. Do you believe in the power of God? That’s a big question you need to answer for yourself before this Truth can sink in to your heart and mind. I’ve seen His power first-hand time and time again, and I’ll never underestimate His power in my life again. If I truly believe God can move mountains, raise people from the dead, then I also believe that He can knit this baby together perfectly (or bring you that perfect baby however He chooses to do it) even if my body isn’t capable. When I was pregnant with Kennedy (our now almost 5 year old), I had this verse written out so I could see it everyday: “For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:20) Read it again, write it down, pray over it, because it Has POWER. God’s plans are always better than our plans, He loves us with a crazy love, and I’ve seen Him redeem any situation that seemed impossible when it came to becoming parents. So despite my past experiences, despite my own fears and insecurities, I can truly believe that God brought us to this place, and He will work in miraculous ways, because NOTHING is impossible for God.

All we need is a tiny faith in a BIG God. He has the power of life and death, and believe with me that He can and will work all things for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose. Need help believing that? Then you need to tap into it. He’s always there waiting for us to just BE with Him. Spend some time in prayer. Decide to stop and pray before calling your friend, mom or sister. Ask those people to be praying for you too because prayer is POWERFUL.

If you’re feeling fearful today, pray this with me: 

God, if I’m honest, I’m fearful. I don’t know how this will all work out. I’m trying to control things that are simply out of my control. I relinquish these fears to you and lay them at your feet. I will do this every day when I start to become fearful again. God, I trust you, I know that you love me and have an amazing plan for me. Help me remember today and everyday how deep your love is for me, and how much you want good things for me, not just in heaven, but on this earth also.

 

The Pain, Loss & Waiting – 10-Day Devotional

Over a year ago I began writing this 10-day devotional for women who had been though a miscarriage or infertility. I strongly felt the Holy Spirit’s nudge to share our experience becoming parents with others as a way to bring hope, comfort and healing. This devotional is for anyone who has experienced the loss of a child or experienced the longing and waiting for a child. My prayer is that God uses it in mighty ways to speak life back into your pain, and start to heal the broken places. Screen Shot 2019-11-18 at 11.43.49 AM

Click on the link below to download the Devotional. You can read it on your phone, print it out or purchase a hard copy on Amazon at the link below.

Also, if you go through the devotional, I’d love to hear from you so I can be praying alongside you! Email me at carol@carolgilham.com.

God Meets Us – Devo

 

Amazon Link: God Meet Us In Desperate Places: A journey through infertility, miscarriage or the loss of a child. https://www.amazon.com/dp/1672681510/ref=cm_sw_r_cp_api_i_Xqv8DbZT78SHB

 

Meek Means Weak.

I don’t know about you guys, but the very word “meek” makes me cringe. I want to be strong, a boss babe, a bad ass, super woman, a zombie slayer (just me?) and “meek” does not fit well into my category of bad-assery. To me, meek seems weak. Meek seems like the shy wall-flower who’s a literal doormat. Meek seems like someone who doesn’t speak up or share their opinion. Meek seems like someone who just goes with the flow and pleases everyone else. Meek seems like the opposite of what I want to be when I grow up.

So, when I read verses (MANY verses) in Scripture that mention this being a quality to be admired or work towards (through sanctification, not our own effort), I immediately get defensive (to no one in particular which is ridiculous) and then I start to wonder why I’m so far off from wanting to be what the Bible would say is Christ-like.

As I took some time to dig into what this whole “meek” things means, I found that much like many other biblical qualities, the world’s definition of meekness is very different than God’s definition.

The world defines it as…..

meek·ness (noun): the fact or condition of being meek; submissiveness. “all his best friends make fun of him for his meekness”

God defines it as…..

meek·ness (noun): righteous, humble, teachable, patient under suffering, and attribute of a true disciple following the gospel. 

So as I started to study this further, I realized that meekness in the Bible didn’t mean a doormat at all. Meekness is Scripture meant submission to the Lord, which if you are fully surrendered, means you are very much not going with the flow of the world. A friend of mine once said she wants to be so sensitive to the Holy Spirit’s voice in her life that she can hear a whisper and like a bit in a horses mouth, be obedient to that whisper without much resistance at all. THAT is what meekness in the Bible means. And as a believer, who wouldn’t want to be like that?! I mean, God usually has to put me through the ringer to get my full attention these days, and shouldn’t I be more mature than that after all these years (you would definitely think so, but I also still feel like I’m 20 and wonder if I’m going to get in trouble for buying wine at the grocery store.) IMG_5219So at the end of the day, meek doesn’t mean weak. Meek means surrender, and dependence on Jesus.

So with that said, I found 5 qualities a “meek” person possesses:

1. Meek people trust God. If we are fully surrendered to Jesus, we believe who He says He is, we believe He is a good Dad, and we believe He always keeps His promises. So if we believe all of those things, we TRUST Him. We trust that His way is better. We trust that His timing is better. And when we trust Him, it’s much easier to seek Him first because we know all of these other distractions are just that, distracting us from our real source of life and hope.

2. Meek people commit their way to God. Because they trust Him and know Him, meek people are committed to going where He wants them to go and doing what He wants them to do. If you’ve even experienced the joy from one act of obedience to the Lord, then you know everything else is just dry bones in comparison. Speaking as someone who is definitely “prone to wander Lord I feel it, prone to leave this God I love” I am astonished at my ability to stray from His plan when I know the feeling of true joy in obedience to what He’s called me to do (or not do too).

3. Meek people are quiet before the Lord and wait for Him. Being quiet before the Lord is like not going through my to-do list when I’m trying to fall asleep. I am NOT very good at it. I am a doer, I need to be productive. I like to-do lists and tasks to mark off. I DO NOT like to sit around and think about my feelings. I also am a control-freak which seems to be getting worse as I age. So waiting on the Lord, “Be still” and just listening is HARD. But, we know that all that toiling away, busyiness, and taking control or manipulating just makes us LESS at peace, so why do we even do it? (See #2 about being prone to wander like an idiot).

4. Meek people don’t fret over the wicked. Meek people aren’t insecure because their security is in Jesus. Meek people have no need for comparison or jealousy. Meek people are so grounded in who they are in Jesus that they have no need to prove themselves. So this means when Becky, the non-believer, is getting away with murder or maybe seems to have a better life, meek people aren’t worried about Becky at all (Sorry if your name is Becky).

5. Meekness is TEACHABLE (Thank you, Lord! I do have hope.) And lastly, praise Jesus for this one – this is a quality we can LEARN. We don’t have to stay the way we were, we can grow and learn to be more like Jesus, to be more humble, to be less focused on ourselves all of the time and to be confident in who Jesus called or made us to be. When we’re confident in that way, we’ll be a bad ass without even trying.

Spread the word, ladies. Meek is the new chic (insert cool guy emoji). 

“But let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God’s sight is very precious.”

1 Peter 3:4 

Mom Cliques

clique: /klēk,klik/
  1. a small group of people, with shared interests or other features in common, who spend time together and do not readily allow others to join them.
Finding your tribe is a very popular saying these days. “Every girl needs her tribe!” “I survive with my tribe.” “YOLO with my TRIBE!” But what’s been interesting to me lately is how we CHOOSE that tribe. We choose people like us to be in our tribes, people we relate to, people who feel the same way we do about things or people who don’t judge us for well, being ourselves. But seriously, are we in 8th grade? As Kennedy gets older and more involved in school and outside of school activities, I’m realizing that the whole cliques thing we dealt with in high school is still running rampant in my 30’s. My husband told me that there’s a psychological element to that actually. He said since cavemen, we innately move towards people or things we can relate to, and instinctually feel threatened by things or people that we perceive as NOT like us. I’m preaching this to myself, guys. I am queen of deciding almost immediately if I can relate to someone or not, and if I want them in my “tribe.” But here’s my pledge, because I want to grow as a woman, as a friend, as a mom, and as a Christ-follower – so help me, and all of woman-kind for that matter by pledging these with me….
Stop being threatened by people who are different than you. I think it goes back to insecurity for me. If someone is different, then I automatically assume they are judging me or think I’m wrong because I do things differently. It all goes back to the comparison trap. I think a large component around being cliquey or not including is out of our own insecurity. We feel safe in our clique where everyone else is just like us. We feel safe in numbers and safe in our judgement of people outside our own tribes. But we’re adults here, and we want to set a good example for our kids too, so let’s pray that God helps us be confident in who He made us to be, and walk in that. Once we stop focusing so much on ourselves, once we stop focusing so much on ME, ME, ME, then it frees us up to LOVE others more freely. When our focus is off of ourselves, protecting ourselves or comparing, then we can truly find connection with other women, and real connection brings real joy.
IMG_4501
Stop the Judgement. Stop snap-judging, and start snap-supporting. At the end of the day every woman needs a tribe, every woman needs some ladies in her life to vent to, get support from or just have adult conversations with. We would DIE (probably in a pile of laundry) if we didn’t have it. So instead of focusing on the difference or finding security (in our own insecurity) by being in the “in-clique”, let’s instead work on including those drowning moms, those moms that look too tired to make the effort of talking in the school drop off line. And while we’re at it, be the woman that’s confident enough in herself to not gossip. Let’s make a girl pact today to encourage and build up instead of gossiping and bringing her women down to make ourselves feel better.
Be Authentically You. If we can’t be ourselves, then we’ll never truly have any kind of real or deep connection with anyone else. Also, if we’re always trying to act like we’ve got it all together, then we’ll never relate to anyone else because we all know inside how very flawed and “not-together” we truly are. I’m not saying throw yourself a negative pity party everywhere you go. I’m saying be you, be real, if you’re struggling, say it. If you’re celebrating small victories, say it! We’ve all been there and authenticity breeds connection, and at the end of the day, connection to other women is what we truly need to get through this crazy life.
The Comparison Trap is fo’ real. My pastor recently said, “Comparison kills.” When we go down that road of comparison we are left to either feel puffed up and “better” than or insecure and less than. Neither are how God meant us to be with ourselves or one another. When we start to compare, we’re comparing what we know about ourselves to someone else’s highlight reel, and that always ends badly. Also, we think what that other person has is better, but we don’t know what they’re walking through or what they had to go through to get it. Getting that one thing, or becoming better in that one area WILL NOT finally satisfy us. We’ll always be left wanting and comparing if we live in this trap. But, if we decide to love ourselves, flaws and all, and to praise others for their strengths too, we’ll ultimately be happier and more satisfied (and have more friends too).
So with all of that said, I’ll need the reminder too! Every time I go on Instagram I feel the comparisons start to roll in. Every time I meet new people I feel the urge to accept or decide they aren’t in MY tribe inner dialogue loud and clear. But, ladies, let’s set an example for our kids. Let’s choose to include, choose to love even the different moms, choose to not focus on our differences or compare, but to focus on what we have in common (I promise you can find something if you try). Then, we can celebrate our differences and learn and grow together! I’m going to step out of my comfort zone too and choose to include and branch out and CELEBRATE differences instead of close myself off to only those I know are like me. Cheers to a new, better, more loving, and open TRIBE!

“It’s Just a Season.”

“It’s just a season” is a phrase that comes up weekly for my friends and I. It’s a phrase that carries a lot of weight, it has multiple impactful meanings. In one regard, it’s meant to give you a sigh of relief, “It’s just a season! You can do this, and this too shall pass.” Or, it can give you a nice pep talk, or inspiration to stop, dig in and choose joy in the season you’re in. I’d imagine that no matter where you are in life, a soaring career, small children at home, going through transition, an unwanted divorce or seeking your soul mate, it really applies to us all.

This too shall pass. This is another phrase that I use a lot. It’s usually when you’re in a frustrating or hard situation, because, it’s just true, it WILL pass. You may be suffering a loss, heart-broken, just exhausted or tired, and the truth is, this season will pass. One day you’ll look up and your kids are taking care of themselves. One day you’ll look up and be happy again. One day you’ll look up and find your partner or the spouse you’ve been praying for. One day you’ll look up and see your prodigal son or daughter come home. The fact is, that this season will be over before you even realize it. So in the moment, find RELIEF, find solace, find peace in the fact that this WILL make you stronger. This waiting will make you the wife, mother, boss babe, you’ve always wanted to be, it’s just a part of the process of becoming that woman you’ve always dreamt of becoming or admired. So even when it’s hard, just remember, this too shall pass. It just a season and before you know it, you’ll be in a new one. So learn all you can learn. Feel all you can feel. Stop and soak up those moments of longing, waiting or exhaustion because it won’t be here for long.

Choose JOY, because if you don’t, you’ll look up one day and realize you missed it all. IMG_4024You missed the season because you spent your time being anxious, dreaming about the next phases of life, being disappointed for where you are or keeping so busy that you miss it all together. A friend recently shared this on social media and it was so what I needed to hear, “God is not in a hurry. You are. It’s why you are tired. It’s why you are anxious, stressed and disappointed. Today, I pray you surrender your timeline in favor or His peace.” No matter what season you’re in, and we’re all in one, choose today to CHOOSE joy.

And listen, I don’t mean let’s all choose to ignore our stress, our anxious thoughts or choose more wine (which let’s face it, does bring lots of temporary happiness), but I mean choose JOY. Choosing joy in each and every season means choosing to embrace the season for what it is. For me, it’s choosing to work less so I can be more present for my child. That sounds super simple and like, oh yes, great choice Carol. But it’s HARD. I’m a 3 in the enneagram scale so I basically find meaning by working and accomplishment. So for me not to choose work and choose to be present for Kennedy while she’s young is for real a struggle. And listen, working moms, that’s not a knock on you, I see you and know you all and see you rocking it all. I truly believe God calls some of us back to work, some of us home, and some of us to do it all! So instead of waking up and being frustrated or tired or spending each day looking for the next, let’s today choose to embrace THIS season. For me, I’m going to ask God what HE wants from me in this season. I’m going to try and resist the urge to be busy or discontent and lean into the season God has me in, because I know if I don’t, I’ll look up and it will be over.

So ladies, today let’s stop and pray that God helps us to embrace the season we’re in, choose joy in this season, and decide to ABIDE in Him so He can show us all the amazing things He has for us in this season. I truly believe every season we’re in is God preparing us for the next. Get excited because God never wastes a hurt, He always keeps His promises, His timing is ALWAYS better than our own, His plans are better than our plans (I have to remind my control-freak self that daily), and He IS preparing us for great things ahead.

 

LIFE GOALS.

Yes, we only have ONE child. 

We’ve been thinking a lot about family planning lately. We started trying for a second child a year or so ago, but then after a couple months of the stress of it all, I was like, why are we doing this to ourselves when we’re happy with our miracle baby? 

The truth is, we put a lot of expectations on ourselves. We see our friends having second and third kids. We end up being the only couple with only one child when we’re at birthday parties. People ask us everywhere we go, “Is she your only child?” (Yes, Margie, she is our only child.) I don’t know if it’s society or our own selves, but why do we feel the need to be just like everyone else? I actually thought to myself this past weekend how happy we are with Kennedy. She’s always been the happiest and easiest child. She’s soared through every transition with flying colors and we’ve still never had a hard season with her. We’re a very mobile family and she’s a champ at adapting! After like the millionth person asked if she was our only one, I found myself wishing we lived in China, or on a space ship with limited oxygen, where it was totally normal and okay to only have one child. (See, I just did it to myself…”Only”) 

All of this got me thinking about the pressure we put on ourselves to be or look like everyone else or to be seen as acceptable to other people. The phrase, “You do you, boo.” is running rampant, but who actually does that? I think it’s time to start making some changes to my 36 year old self. 

Stop trying to fit in. In this culture of competing with the Joneses, it’s hard not to compare yourself to other people and families. But at some point, you have to realize we are all different, and praise God for that or how boring would life be? We’re all different, we all have different personalities, different things that fuel us, and different passions. So there is NO norm, and competing with the Joneses is exhausting. Be who God made you to be, focus on being YOU, and your own unique family. Then, we can start celebrating instead of comparing. 

Stop worrying about what other people think. I tell myself all of the time, and pride myself on not caring, but at the end of the day, I care a lot. LIKE ME is something always at the back of my mind. And really, what other people think of you is none of your business, and we should all spend less time worrying about what other people think and more time focusing on how we’re going to love others and love our family well. Comparing just makes us self-absorbed and insecure. So stop the comparing, stop worrying about your perception and enjoy life. The worst part about comparing your weaknesses to other people’s strengths, is that it’s a dead end road. We’re comparing what we know of ourselves to someone else’s highlight reel. We all have issues. So focus on the good, focus on loving and serving instead of comparing and judging. IMG_4485

Learn to say “No” without stressing over it. There are seasons and in certain seasons of life we have to learn to say “No” and “Sorry, I just can’t right now.” Who needs that kind of added stress, and everyone understands because we’re all in the same boat. A lot of us women want to pile on the activities, but at some point, we need margin for the most important things or we’ll be loving our families out of an empty cup. So learn to say “yes” to the things that fuel you, and “no” to the things that drain you. 

And hear me out, we still haven’t decided against trying again, even though the thought of it gives me anxiety because it’s literally never been an easy process for us. AND, we are seriously praying about adoption too. The point I needed to make to myself is that I can’t worry about these things because I feel like we are broken or flawed somehow for only being a family of three. I can’t feel like the abnormal one because our family doesn’t look like everyone else’s does. It’s time to stop worrying about what other people think, stop comparing and judging, and learn to say “NO” when we need to. Let’s truly live it out – “You do you, boo.”