Your Will, Not Mine. 

I’ve started this blog about 15 times already, but I end up reading what I’m writing and deleting it just as fast because I just don’t know what to say.

Well, actually, that’s not entirely true. I know what to say, but I’m having a hard time saying it.

It wasn’t too long ago that I listened to a sermon about Pride

I’ve never really thought of myself as a prideful person, but turns out, I am.

A lot.

My pride was hurt when my ex husband walked out on me. It was hurt when I found out that he was cheating.

It killed me to have to start over. 

To live on my parents’ couch for 4 months while I tried to piece my life back together.

I work in a business where pride runs the show. Even this blog has made its own contribution.

The truth is, I pride myself on doing it all on my own. Being a single mom, who not only has a successful business, but who homeschools, who works out 6 days a week. Who really does her best not to depend on anyone. 

I hate asking for help. 

But more than that, I hate admitting that I need help.

And this is the lesson He’s been trying to teach me.

This is the lesson I’ve been avoiding. Pretending not to hear Him. Pretending to have a plan B, C, D…

Praying for discernment and wisdom, but really hoping that I’d figure it out all on my own. Or that He would just jump on board with my will, not His.

 So, here I am. I’m sure you’ve seen my many selfies and beach photos. Living it up in Florida over the last few weeks while my kids spend some time with their dad.

I’ve bragged about my life. Bragged about being able to take vacation after vacation. And on one hand, I’ve been completely honest. On the other, I’ve manipulated what you see. 

The truth is I have been blessed. Very blessed. Everything I have is a gift from Him. Everything. And while I work hard, none of this is my doing. It’s Him.

I think I forgot that for a little bit. Truly believing that I got myself to where I am. 

I didn’t. He did.

The truth is I’ve spent about $30 on this vacation. I have been blessed to be able to stay with friends and family during this time away. 

And thank goodness, because financially, I’m struggling. 

Money has always been a tough topic to talk about. With anyone. It makes me uncomfortable. And as much as I hate having a budget, I have to have one. 

I’ve done well on my own. I still can’t believe that I get paid to do what I do for a living. 

And I never thought that I could do this on my own, but I am (well, with His help, of course.) 

But what I’ve learned, or rather, what He’s trying to teach me, is that it isn’t all about what I can do.

And honestly, I can’t do it alone. 

It’s a lesson I’ve seen this entire trip. If you’re familiar with 12 step programs, it’s steps 1-3. 

Given my own history with recovery, I can’t help but find it ironic that these are the steps I struggle with. 

To sum it up:

  1. Admitted we were powerless.
  2. Came to believe that a power greater than ourselves could restore us to sanity.
  3. Turned our life and our will over to the care of God as we understood him.

Oh, how I go about each day thinking that I’m in control. That I’ve got it. 

Cue, eyeroll. 

So this trip has been all about acknowledging these steps.

Let’s have another eyeroll. 

I can’t get into the many details of what has happened since I left my house in April, but it’s Him. 

And the final lesson is that I can’t do it. Not without Him. 

My sales are down. My ex owes me money. I have bills that are due and, to be honest, I have no idea how I’m going to pay for them. 

I was sharing these things with my friend. 

“It’s like He has put up a wall on everything. Literally, He has blocked my way. The only way left to go is His way.”

I’m reminding myself of all the life lessons I’ve had up until this point because going His way is intimidating. It’s humbling. And even though I know it’s not, it seems so unsure. 

“The thing is, there is nothing scarier than when I can’t hear Him anymore. When He goes quiet. When I’m screaming out to Him and yet, I hear nothing…and then there are times like this, when I know His voice exactly. When I can’t pretend not to hear Him. When He’s so loud that there’s no escaping Him.” 

That’s where I’m at. 

I’ve tried plans B, C, and D, but it’s evident that no matter what my plan is, it won’t work. 

Therefore, this is what I will do:
I will block her way with thorns; 
I will enclose her with a wall,
So that she cannot find her paths.

                                          Hosea 2:6

As I shared what was going on with another friend, she approached me about setting up a Gofundme. Immediately, I cringed. 

I didn’t want people to know that I was having such a hard time. 

I was embarrassed. I AM embarrassed. 

She felt that God had put it on her heart to do this for me. 

I didn’t want to admit it, but I knew she was probably right. 

It went hand in hand with what He had been trying to do in my life. 

So, I let her. But I had a few conditions. I wasn’t going to share it with anyone I knew. She was not allowed to tag me either.

We should probably do another eye roll for good measure. 

We talked again after I got some more bad news.

“I think you should share it,” she said. 

I hesitated. Then quickly came up with a few excuses why I couldn’t do that. I told her I would pray about it, but what I meant is that I would briefly mention it during my prayers and move onto the next subject without waiting for a response.

I guess it is true that He knows us better than we know ourselves because I knew the answer to the prayer I hadn’t even prayed. 

Immediately, I knew.

“Lauren,” she said, “this is how He uses you. You go through your struggles and you share it with people and in that you bring people closer to Him. People get to see who He is through you. How do you know that He doesn’t want you to share this so someone else can be blessed?” 

I held back the tears. 

I knew she was right. 

This is what We did. 

I struggled. He blessed.

So was my ego really too big to do what we had always done? 

Over the course of this relationship did I really begin to believe that He had nothing to do with getting me to where I was?

So here I am. 

Finally finishing up the blog that I couldn’t write just a few days ago. 

Humbling myself to you, but mostly to Him.

Admitting that I am powerless. That my life had become unmanageable. And that the only way to change that would be with Him. Turning my life and my will over to Him. No matter if I think I have a better way. Or if my path is a little less intimidating. 

I’m not doing this because of the money. Or to make myself feel better after I receive encouragement for being so open and honest. 

Nope, I’m doing this because it isn’t really about me. 

Never has been.

But, because Your will, not mine. 

Bikini

So this entire trip has been about learning to not only step out of my comfort zone, but to be comfortable doing it. 

I’ve already begun to make baby steps. Doing things I never would do. Trying foods I would never have eaten. 

I’ve joked since Justin first left me about wanting my very own ‘Eat, Pray, Love’ moment, but the thing is, He listened. 

Because here it is. 
So the other day, in theme with my trip, I decided to buy a bikini. 
Now, some of you may not believe that He had something to do with something so silly and trivial, but I would have to disagree. 
Hear me out. 

There it was. In my favorite colors. It had not been in the same store when I was in NC nor had it been online. 

It was everything I could want in a bathing suit. Except that it was a bikini. 

It had been over 8 years since I had worn a two piece. And I’m not going to lie, the second I laid my eyes on it, I began to criticize the way my body would look in it. 
This bathing suit was meant for a ‘perfect’ body. Whatever that meant. But I grabbed it anyways and quickly made it to the checkout line before I changed my mind. 

When I got to my car I threw the bag into my backseat. And I left it there for a few days. Uncertain of what I was supposed to do with it. Puzzled that a bathing suit could bring up so many emotions and feelings that I had worked so hard to suppress. 

Memories of the way I felt about my body growing up were suddenly at the forefront of my mind. Never mind all the progress I had made in the last few years. 

Suddenly I was back to where I was. Embarrassed, ashamed, and full of self hate. 

The bag sat in my car for a few days. I pretended not to notice it when I would get in the car. 

But there it was.

Because I don’t give up on things and because I can be one of the most stubborn people you will ever meet, I knew that I would wear that bathing suit at least once. 

And so, last week, I put it on. 

Maybe I was hoping it was all in my head. That my body was ‘perfect’ for this bathing suit. But when I looked in the mirror, the full size mirror, I might add, I felt the same way I had when I held it up in the store. 

But then I realized something. Something big. 

Who really cares about what I wear to the beach? 

I was so nervous that someone would think ‘eww, why is she wearing that?’ Or that someone would say the things I was saying to myself. 

But let’s be real. 

People who are at the beach did not come to see what I would be wearing. They didn’t come to criticize me. To put me down. They came to see the beach. 

And if they did, it had nothing to do with me, and everything to do with the way they thought of themselves. 

The things that mattered were the things I was saying to myself. And it was time I started being a little nicer. 

So, I grabbed my bag and I made my way to the beach. Bikini and all. 

And I’ve done it more than once. 

Am I where I want to be? Not yet. But I’m celebrating every step forward that I take. 

Because stubborn or not, I did it. 

And no one can take that away from me. Not even myself. 

Hand Holding

Last week, God laid some pretty crazy things on my heart. 

“This is what we’re going to do,” He said. 

I couldn’t help but think He was a little crazy, but I went with it. 

And just to make sure I was hearing Him correctly I went on a 3 day fast. And y’all. I heard Him correctly.

So my fast is over. I’m back to my typical routine and life. And, to be honest, I’m back to my old ways.

I seriously can’t roll my eyes enough at this.

Because the truth is, last week I was so close to Him. Like, so close. I could feel Him everywhere. I knew Him in a way I hadn’t before. Our relationship had become intimate. It had become the relationship that I was dying to have with Him. 

Seriously, I was on another level. 

But like I said, I’ve fallen back to my old habits.

Let me explain.

Okay, so last week God had put some things on my heart. I saw a plan (even if I didn’t have all the details). I saw a purpose. It made sense. 

And I was all in.

So today, when the plan started to drift from what I thought it would look like, my first reaction was to embrace for impact. 

What do I mean?

I mean, telling myself that I probably didn’t hear Him correctly. That maybe I was mistaken. Maybe this wasn’t the plan after all. 

SERIOUSLY, LAUREN?? 

Did you guys see what I just did there? Because I didn’t. Not right away anyways. 

And I’m pretty sure that most of us do what I did, naturally. It’s our go-to because we don’t really get who He is. 

And if you read my blog from last week, you would see that today, I did my best to stuff Him back into that tiny little box. 

Because here’s the truth, y’all. When things started to go differently than I had expected them to, I immediately thought it couldn’t be done. 

The plan He had just couldn’t be done if He didn’t stick to the way I thought it should work. 

Because that’s so typical of me. Thinking that my way is the best way and if it isn’t done my way, well then, what’s the point? 

But here’s the truth. The truth is that my God can do anything. 

The truth is, no matter how hard I try I will never get Him to fit inside of that box. 

The truth is, that this Sunday we are celebrating the fact that my God overcame death. 

The truth is, that there is nothing too impossible for Him.

The truth is, He doesn’t have to have a detailed plan because at His command it will all fall into place.

The truth is, this isn’t really about Him and His abilities, but rather it’s about me, my heart, and my faith to believe that if He said He would, He will. 

And so today when I realized what I had done I had to dig deep and ask myself ‘Do you really think He can do it? Or were you just thinking He could if He did it your way?’ 

And y’all, that realization hurt me. Because at the first sign of it not going the way I thought it should I just believed that He wasn’t going to do it. 

And that is a bold faced lie straight from the pit of hell. 

That’s what the enemy wants me to believe. That not only He won’t do it, but that I never heard Him in the first place. 

Because the enemy would rather create doubt inside of my heart so that I would stop trusting God to do it and maybe take things into my own hands. 

But not this time. 

So what if He doesn’t show me the exact layout of His plan. That’s not how this relationship works. He wants me to know that He is good. And that His plans are good. And that everything He does is for my good. Whether it goes the way I want it to or it doesn’t. 

All I have to do is have faith in Him. 

He doesn’t ask me to collaborate on a plan. He doesn’t ask me for a plan B, if His doesn’t work. All He asks of me is that I have faith in Him and in who He is. 

He isn’t going to show us all the details. Because if He did that makes it easy to trust Him. If we see the details and we see the outcome, what exactly do we have to put our faith in? 

It’s trusting in the things we can’t see. Believing Him even when it looks like the odds are against us. 

It’s being willing to step off the ledge without seeing what’s underneath, but only being able to see who’s holding our hand. 

So today, I want you to join me and ask yourself ‘Do you really think He can do it? Or were you just thinking He could if He did it your way?’

Because I’m thinking He can really do it. 

He’s Got Me

You know, I have never questioned my faith. And I have never questioned my relationship with God. There are few things in this life that I am completely certain of, but those two, I know for a fact.

I know when I hear God’s voice. I know when He tells me ‘yes’ and when He tells me ‘no’. 

Of course, I don’t always instantly hear it, but for me, there’s a process. He’s been doing it since I first started listening, so when I hear Him, I hear Him. 

People don’t like that. I think it makes them uncomfortable.

And so they question it. 

‘Are you sure that’s what He’s telling you?’ ‘I mean, why would He tell you that?’ ‘That just doesn’t make any sense.’ ‘Are you sure you’re just not wanting to hear that?’

That’s the enemy. I know it. It’s eerily familiar to the story of creation, don’t you think? 

Genesis 3:1 …”Did God actually say…” 

And I’ll be honest, if I didn’t have the relationship I have with Him, I would be hesitant. I would doubt. I would wonder, ‘Am I actually hearing Him? Did He actually say that?’ 

Because that brings me to my next point. The basis for these words. 

Y’all, God does some crazy things. And they don’t always make sense. Not even a little. Definitely not a lot.

The first story that comes to mind is about another girl. A young teenage girl who was pretty much a nobody. A virgin nobody. Who was just minding her own business, engaged to her boyfriend Joseph and then BOOM. 

Imagine being her friend. Imagine hearing her story. ‘Yeah, um, so you guys, (I’m totally paraphrasing how she would talk) funny thing, but I’m actually carrying God’s child. No, I’m totally still a virgin. Oh, um, yeah, no the Holy Spirit impregnated me. Joseph? Yeah, um, well, an angel told him what happened, so I think we’re good.” 

Would you believe her? I’m not sure that I would. I know that sounds awful, but I get it, right? That’s crazy. Why in the world would God do it that way? Why would He make it so unbelievable? 

Well, I’m no expert, but I have an idea.

He calls us to trust Him. He offers no explanation. And more often than not, His way is not the way the world would do it or the way the world is even comfortable with. 

I know this, because what He has put on my heart is going to shock you. When you find out what He’s calling me to do, you’re going to call me crazy. You’re going to have opinion after opinion on why I shouldn’t have done this or why I should have done it a different way. 

It’s not going to make sense. 

And that’s okay. 

Because after a lot of thinking and a lot of praying, I realize it’s not really up to you. Just like it really isn’t up to me. 

Over the last week, He has been adamant in sharing verse after verse with me on trusting Him:

“Blessed is the man who trusts in the Lord, whose trust is the Lord.” Jeremiah 17:7

“And put your trust in the Lord.” Psalm 4:5

“Trust in the Lord, and do good; dwell in the land and befriend faithfulness.” Psalm 37:3

I couldn’t help but chuckle. “Okay, God, I get it. Trust you. Yep, I’m there.” But that was before He shared His plan. 

Fortunately, I am firm in my faith. And I know the relationship I have with Him. And so even afterwards, I was okay with it. (Even though, I may have thrown around the word ‘crazy’ a few times.)

Now, the world will tell me that there are a thousand reasons why I shouldn’t do what He said. Why this is crazy. Why this doesn’t sound like the God they know. 

But I am not of this world, remember? 

I remember when I came home to NC to visit in September 2015. It had been years since I had seen my friends and my family. Not to mention, it had been years since I had been happy in my marriage.

The truth was I hated my life back in Houston. I struggled. I was in a loveless marriage and I knew it. I knew that my husband was cheating on me and yet, I stayed. 

But a couple days before I was to go back home, I texted my husband. Asked him if I should even come home, because I was scared. He assured me everything would be fine. 

As I said my goodbyes to my friends and family the same feeling kept coming up. No one wanted me to go back home. They begged me to stay. And to be honest, I thought about it.

I mean, I had finally gotten away. I could start my life over. I had a support system. Aside from clothes and toys, I didn’t really need to go home. 

It would have been easier to stay.

As I spent my last day with my best friend, she asked me “why are you going back there?” 

I went to the bathroom. I could feel the tears coming. And as I shut the door I asked Him why I had to go back. 

“Because I said so.” 

It was such a typical dad response, but that was all I needed to know. 

And as I explained it to her, I knew she didn’t understand, no one did. Not even myself, but what I did know was that He was telling me to go home. 

And so I did.

You already know the rest of the story. I got home and my husband walked out the next day on our 5 year wedding anniversary. 

I remember asking Him what the heck the point was. And I still haven’t really gotten an answer, but again, it’s not my place to know His plans. All I need to know is that everything that happens is a part of His plan. And He is good. 

That’s it.

And I can’t help but notice that I did trust Him. And I obeyed Him and He blessed me beyond anything that I deserved. But that’s who He is. He takes care of it. 

So now we’re here. 

He’s got another crazy plan up His sleeve (assuming He wears a shirt) and people just don’t understand it. 

But can I tell you something else? Something I’ve just realized or recognized or acknowledged, I’m not sure which one just yet.

For so long I have tried my best to fit Him inside of this box. This nice, neat, little box. It’s the only way that I can make sense of Him, most days. But the truth is, He doesn’t fit, y’all. He is so much more than a tiny, little box. And I don’t have to understand Him in order for Him to be Himself. 

I don’t. 

And when I finally took Him out of this tiny box, y’all, it was the most beautiful thing I’ve ever seen.  

Gosh, it was beautiful.

And so, I’m just gonna trust Him. 

And y’all, I mean this in the sweetest way, but honestly, I just can’t worry about what you guys think. I just can’t do it anymore.

Because it exhausts me. 

And I know that most of you mean well and that you just worry because you love me, but y’all, He’s got me. 

And really, I just need to save my energy for trusting Him, because, well, He keeps telling me to do these crazy things. 

Reflection

Last week, I decided to jump in the car and head to Key West. 

The truth is, I had had a really hard weekend before. I was hurting. I was confused. And I couldn’t understand God’s purpose. 

Actually, I felt betrayed by my Father. Betrayed and hurt and lonely. 

And so I decided to escape for a little bit.

It wasn’t long after I got into the car that I realized this was His plan. I still couldn’t understand the whole thing. But I had a glimpse. 

The drive was long. But the conversations between the two of us were longer. 

Typically, in our relationship, I do most of the talking. I have a very hard time listening. I struggle in the quiet. I struggle just being in His presence, but when you’re stuck in the car for over 15 hours, you don’t have much of a choice. 

So, I listened.

I expected to be in trouble. I hadn’t been behaving the way I thought I should have been. I expected that He was angry with me. 

But He wasn’t. 

There was love in His voice. He acknowledged the mistakes I had made, but reassured me that it was okay. 

He reminded me that even though He sent His son to die for my sins, it was an ongoing act of love. I was never going to be sinless. But He died to pursue me. Always and forever. 

And so that’s what He did. On the car ride down. And every minute since I’ve been here. He has been pursuing me. 

I don’t know about you, but I can often seek the approval and the attention I so desperately need from everyone else, but Him. 

I can get caught up in the distraction of trying to be the best, the most put together. Maybe it’s because I’m the oldest child or maybe it’s something from my past marriage, I don’t know what it is, but my desire to be perfect is overwhelming. 

I strive to be the best I can at everything I do. I want people to look at me and notice that I have it all together. I want the clean house, the perfect job. I want the hours at the gym. I want to be the best single mom. I want my kids to be perfect. 

I want to be the perfect mess. 

Don’t let this fool you, I know I am not perfect. Not even close. But I strive to be. I exhaust myself to be. 

And it’s a race I know I’ll never win. 

And that was His reminder. I am never going to be perfect. Not according to the standards I’ve set for myself. 

The world’s standards. 

But that it’s okay, because I am perfect because He is perfect.

I am good. Because He is good.

I am enough. Because He is enough. 

I will always fall short according to the world’s standards. I will never have enough. I will never be enough. There will always be someone better. Or someone who is at least better at pretending to be better. But that’s not what this life is about. 

This life is about not wanting those things. It’s about wanting Him. 

So a week into this adventure and I’m ready to admit to you that I am not perfect. My house is not always clean. I yell. I get angry. I cry way more than I probably should. Sometimes I am the furthest example of Christ. Sometimes I find myself hating someone for no reason other than my own insecurities. And more often than not, it’s easier for me to point out your flaws than address my own. 

But those things are okay. And chances are you feel the same exact way most days. Because this world, despite it pretending like it understands the definition of ‘perfect’ is anything but. 

It’s broken. And so are we. But that’s okay because He isn’t. 

And we are made whole in Him. 

So today is the first day I stopped comparing myself. Today is the first day that I woke up and I didn’t care what anyone thought. Today is the first day that I looked in the mirror and was ready to love myself in spite of the many flaws that I could point out in that reflection. 

Because today was the day that I didn’t see myself first, but instead, I saw Him. 

Happy

People must think I’m crazy. 

I get that a lot. They take one look at me and they just don’t understand. 

I have been through so much. I have been through hell and back. I have been in constant battle with the enemy. I have a target on my back and I know it. 

I struggle. Everyday I struggle. With life. With finances. With worry. All of it. 

I am not immune to it, I promise. 

So then how am I so darn happy? 

You’d be surprised at how many times people ask me that. 

Well, that’s easy. I’m happy because of Him. 

What you see isn’t me. It’s Him. 

I have spent so much of my life being angry. Feeling sorry for myself. Being jealous. Hating myself. And quite frankly, I’ve had enough. 

Is my life perfect? Not even close, but He is. And because He is, He has graciously given me a heart of gratitude. 

Could I still feel sorry for myself? Absolutely. I busted my butt last month for work. Remember, I work in sales and solely for commission. And when my paycheck didn’t cover the bills this month I could have decided right then and there to be mad. 

And I did. For a little bit, I was mad. But want to know something? No matter how mad I was it still didn’t change the size of my bank account. But it did change my heart of gratitude. 

So I gave it to Him. He knew I was disappointed. He knew I didn’t like my situation, so I gave it to Him and He gave me His peace. 

So remember that when you see this girl. This girl who always seems to have a smile on her face. This girl who is so ‘glass half full’ it can make you sick. Know that you aren’t really looking at this girl, you’re looking at Him.

I would love to pray for you so please send me an email or leave a comment and let me know how I can pray for you today. 

In His Love, 

      Lauren 

Restoration

I’ve asked myself the same question for years, now. 

Because I remember how it felt every time I prayed for it. Because I believed that He could do it. And for a long time, I believed that He would. 

So imagine my surprise when I came home from a 3+ week vacation to celebrate our 5 year anniversary and instead my husband decided to walk out. 

It would be the last time he walked out. 

But even in those moments of not knowing, I knew. I knew that He would fix it. That He would make it better. That we would finally have the marriage that I had dreamed about and worked so hard for. 

I was constantly praying during those next few days. I think I had everyone praying for me. For us. 

So then, why didn’t He restore my marriage? 

He could have. 

He was capable. 

He could hear the desperation in my voice.

I had been faithful, both to Him and to my marriage. 

He knew I didn’t believe in divorce. 

He knew I couldn’t imagine my life without my husband in it. 

He knew the shame I felt as I watched my marriage fall apart and I knew that there was nothing left I could do, and yet, there had been so much that I did to get us there. 

He knew my pain. My loneliness. My frustration. He knew it all. 

He knew what it did to me to feel that rejection. To know that my husband had already found someone else. Someone that he wanted more than me. He knew how that crushed me. How I let it define me. He knew. 

And yet, He chose not to restore my marriage. 

Oh I prayed to give Him the chance to let me give Him glory and honor for the restoration. I told Him repeatedly that I would not take any credit, but instead give it all to Him. 

This was His chance to shine. This was a chance for my friends and my family and for those who didn’t believe in Him to see just exactly what He could do. 

But He never took me up on my offer. Despite my compelling argument.

Instead, He chose not to restore my marriage. 

Instead, He chose to show Himself through all the things I never imagined I would be doing. 

Instead, He chose to show Himself through starting over. He chose to show Himself in blessing me for my faithfulness. Instead, He chose to show Himself in answering my prayer to get me back home. He chose to show Himself through the strength that only He could provide when it came to raising these two kids all by myself. Instead, He chose to show Himself by blessing my business and allowing me to do all the things I loved without having to sacrifice any of it. He chose to show Himself in the way that I had finally fallen in love with who I was, not because of who I am, but because of who He is. 

Instead, He chose to show Himself in my story of love and compassion and forgiveness and grace. 

And with that, He brought Himself the honor and glory that I had so desperately pleaded for, on His behalf. 

Because by not restoring my marriage, He restored me. 

“For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.” Isaiah 55:8

It Had to End

Earlier this week, when I found myself on the phone talking to my ex there was something different about him.

It wasn’t that we were getting along. It wasn’t that he was finally saying all the things I had wished he had been saying. But it was that he was happy.

He was actually happy.

It had been a long time since I had heard him be that happy. I honestly can’t remember making him that happy in our marriage. I’m sure I did at some point, but he was genuinely happy. 

And it was because of her. 

I know that’s weird of me to talk about, but it was. 

It was her. 

He talked about her and you could hear the smile in his voice. 

I thought I would be upset. That it would hurt. Knowing that it wasn’t me who made him happy, but I realized that wasn’t my job. 

Let me explain.

Did I love my ex? Of course I did, but it was a specific kind of love. 

Oh, I thought we would be together forever. I had invested 10 years of my life into that relationship only to have it end through a text. I spent days and weeks and months analyzing everything I did leading up to that moment. Trying to figure it all out, but I couldn’t.

Until I heard how happy he was.

I know some people get into a relationship that ends and they can’t understand it. They can’t help but claim that it was a waste of their time. 

But I don’t believe that. 

Even though it didn’t work out the way I thought it would, I think it’s better. I think it served it’s purpose. 

Yes, my marriage ended. Yes, it was sad. But look at what has happened because of that. 

And I don’t think it was a waste of time. I think it did what it was supposed to do.

You guys, not only is my ex happy, but I am. I have found this man who is unlike anything I’ve ever known. 

Do I wish I had found him sooner? Of course. I’m crazy about him and now that he’s in my life, I can’t imagine a second without him. 

But the timing was perfect. 

Because not only has God given me an amazing guy, but He made sure to give me my amazing kids. And without my ex, they wouldn’t be here. 

I had to ‘waste that time’ so I could have them. 

Hard to be upset at that, especially as I sit here writing this watching them play on the couch. 

My ex wasn’t the love of my life. And I wasn’t the love of his life either. But what our temporary love did was give me two of the greatest joys I could ever have. 

And who knows, maybe it’s even introduced me to the love of my life. 

Sometimes it can be hard to understand God’s plan. Sometimes it’s hard to think that anything good can come from something that hurt so bad. But you guys, that’s when you go back to my favorite verse of all times and you read it, over and over and over again. 

“In all things, God works for the good of those who love him.” Romans 8:28

Because had my marriage not ended. I would be miserable. Had my marriage not ended I never would have learned to fall in love with myself. Had my marriage not ended I never would have met the man who has swept me off my feet. Had the marriage not ended I never would have understood the point of it all. 

So see? It had to end. 

Because how else would we have known how to be so happy? 

3 For everything there is a season, and a time for every matter under heaven:

 2 a time to be born, and a time to die;

a time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;

 3 a time to kill, and a time to heal;

a time to break down, and a time to build up;

 4 a time to weep, and a time to laugh;

a time to mourn, and a time to dance;

 5 a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together;

a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing;

 6 a time to seek, and a time to lose;

a time to keep, and a time to cast away;

 7 a time to tear, and a time to sew;

a time to keep silence, and a time to speak;

 8 a time to love, and a time to hate;

a time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

Love People. Trust God. 

I’ve never actually heard the voice of God before. 

I always talk about how He talks to me. It’s never been a voice though. Not His. Well, not what I would imagine His to sound like. But I’ve heard Him speak to me through people. Through books. Through posts on Facebook and Instagram

He can get pretty creative.

This past week I was struggling with insecurities. Lots and lots of insecurities. 

I got so lost in my own head. You ever do that? Start thinking and then suddenly you can’t get out. And then you become your own worst enemy? 

I’ve gotten to the point where I can even see myself doing it. I’m aware that I’m doing it. And yet, I still can’t find my way out. 

So I just stop and pray. And I keep praying. Long enough to distract me. Long enough to let me forget what I was thinking about in the first place.

Over and over, this last week, the enemy tried to make me doubt Him. The enemy convinced me that I needed to find the crisis. That there was a crisis to find and that I was just being naïve and vulnerable for not knowing that. 

Y’all know how I feel about being vulnerable. 

And just like that, I began to doubt. 

I reached out to my friend. The one I can count on to almost always speak on behalf of Him. That’s how I know. When they both say the same thing. 

I begged her for a word of encouragement. Begged her to help me get out of my own head. 

“Love People. Trust God.”

I studied those four words. I repeated them over and over. 

Love People. Trust God.

Later the next evening I was preparing to do my taxes. This was the first year I would be filing without my ex husband. And I’m not going to lie, I had my hopes on a refund. So you can imagine that when I finished with my taxes and it informed me that I actually owed the government nearly $500, I wasn’t entirely thrilled. 

I texted my ex. Oh, I was ready to have words with him. Because technically, we’re still married. So because we’re still married and we’re filing separately, I don’t qualify for a specific tax credit that I would have if we weren’t legally married. 

But then something strange happened. He called me. I was ready to be angry. But then we just talked. We talked for nearly two hours. We didn’t fight. We didn’t yell. 

We just talked. 

We talked about finalizing the divorce soon. We talked about the new relationships in our lives. We talked about being friends. 

Y’all. This was the man who I hated. The man who broke my heart. The man who has given me every reason to hate him.

And yet, I don’t. 

 Why is that? Yep, you guessed it. 

Love people. Trust God. 

Even if that person is your ex. 

And even if people might not get it. And even if people try to encourage you not to do that with him because of ‘all the things he did to you.’ 

So, I found myself in church the next morning where one of our Bishops was visiting. The first thing he said as he stood in front of our congregation was to expect to hear God talk to us. Not to pray or wonder if He would, but to expect it. 
My ears perked up. I needed God to talk to me. I had been waiting to hear from Him.

I was confused. Confused about the relationship with my ex. Confused about the insecurities I had been feeling. Confused about the reactions from others.

Now, y’all know I love reading the Bible. I love finding God’s truth. I love how it applies to my life. And there are certain books that I’m convinced were written just for me. 
So just imagine my face when I realized the Bishop was going to be leading a sermon on the book of Jonah and that I should expect God to talk to me. 

Through Jonah? Yeah, okay. 

I admit, I’ve never really studied the book of Jonah. I’ve probably only read it once in my Bible in One Year devotional. It is not a book that I would have said could do much for me. 

Boy, was I wrong.

Turns out, the book of Jonah isn’t just about Jonah and the giant fish. But really, it’s about God’s sovereignty, His grace, and His mercy. 

I totally encourage you to open your Bible, today, and read it. 

And when you read it, you’ll see exactly what I saw. 

Love People. Trust God. 

There it was. There He was. 

Now this Bishop could have preached on a thousand things. But that message? That was for me. Oh, I’m sure it applied to other people too. Especially the part where he read the words “Does it do you well to be angry?” 

And the part where he talked to us about holding onto anger. On not forgiving people. 

I’m sure he had everyone’s attention.

But I know that that message was for me. That was God’s voice. That was His reassurance. 

Maybe I do look crazy for forgiving my ex completely and actually wanting to be friends. Maybe it makes no sense from the outside. Maybe you’re right, maybe he does deserve me to hate him. 

But that’s not what God wants. 

I am simply to love people and trust God. 

Even if it makes no sense. Because let’s just remember one other thing. He loves you and I unconditionally. Despite our pasts. Despite those days when we do a terrible job of representing who He is. Despite always falling short. 

Because the truth is, we don’t reap what we sow, right? (Can I get an ‘Amen’?!)

Because we can make the worst decisions our entire lives, but that still doesn’t stop Him from loving us. 

Any of us. 

And if He can love me. I can love people. And trust Him. 

Because, no, it doesn’t do me well to be angry. 

“Why Women Suck”

Just stop already.

I don’t typically use this blog to rant. Or to stand on top of my soap box. But, if I can be honest, enough is enough already.

The other day a friend of mine did a live video on facebook about why women suck. 

Ouch, right?

But here’s the thing. We kind of do. 

Just like my friend, I have had just about enough of this cyber woman bullying that just keeps happening. 

You know what I’m talking about. The women who hide behind a Facebook app and troll their newsfeed looking for anywhere and everywhere that they can share their opinion and why they are right and why they are better than you. 

You know what I’m talking about, right? Maybe you’ve even been guilty of it a few times. 

I will never forget the time that me and the kids had been in a car accident. Hard to believe it will be 3 years ago, next month. I remember being a part of a ‘crunchy mom’ group in Houston. The night of the accident or the next day, I can’t remember, I shared how grateful I was to be alive in the group. And how grateful I was to God for not allowing anything to happen to my kids. 

What happened next was disgusting. 

I was accused of thinking that my kids were better than everyone else’s kids. I was accused of thinking that our lives mattered more than others. I was accused of believing that God loved me and my kids more than the kids He hadn’t saved. 

It got real ugly real fast.

And the truth is, the only way to be offended by what I had posted was to look for it. 

I didn’t think I was better than anyone. I certainly didn’t believe that my kids deserved to live more so than another child, but here I was being attacked and bullied right in the comfort of my own home. 

I felt targeted. Isolated. Confused. Alone. But what I’ve realized almost 3 years later is that this is a common occurrence. 

This happens more often than it should. And it needs to stop.

I don’t want to act like I’m better than anyone. I’ve not always had the nicest things to say about other women. I won’t pretend like I have. And I have been working on that. I have asked God to remove that from my heart. But what I won’t do is bully someone from behind a computer screen. What I won’t do is team up with other women to make someone feel bad. What I won’t do is say something behind my computer screen that I wouldn’t say to their face. 

But what I will do is pray for them. If it’s something serious, I’ll reach out to them privately. If I can’t find it in my heart to say something nice, I’ll pray for myself. If I can’t figure out what to pray, I’ll simply go to Him and ask Him to tell me how I need to pray. 

Because the truth is, I’m not better than anyone else. Neither are you. Let me repeat that, we are not better than anyone else. 

So who cares if someone wore a shirt you didn’t like. Who cares if their makeup made them look ‘cheap’. Who cares if they aren’t feeding their kids gluten free, soy free, non dairy pancakes for breakfast. Who cares if they’re wearing something that you wouldn’t wear. 

Seriously, who cares?! 

Because let me tell you something. Let me give you a little inside tip. When you start pointing out the flaws of others, it’s so you can avoid pointing out the flaws in yourself. I know that because that was me. 

Maybe I wasn’t doing it on Facebook or other social media outlets, but I was doing it in my marriage. I would tell you everything that was wrong with my ex husband. I would tell you everything that he did. And you would agree with me most of the time, but the truth is, I did that because I didn’t want you to see how messed up I was. I didn’t want you to be able to point out my flaws. 

My shortcomings. 

So when you find yourself thinking you’re better than. When you find yourself pointing out the flaws of everyone else. Maybe it’s time you to go to Him and talk to Him about your own flaws. 

Because I’ve said it a thousand times, hurting people hurt people. 

So maybe it’s not that women suck, so much, but maybe it’s that there are a lot of us that are hurting. And maybe, just maybe, we’re the ones hurting ourselves. 

And if that’s true, then I guess we do kind of suck, huh?