And I’m (still) Celebrating

Can you believe it’s been two years? 

Two whole years.

On one hand it seems like nothing. Just a blink. On the other, so much has changed. 

Today, I woke up grateful. 

Grateful that two years ago you decided to leave me. 

I knew when I met you that you would change my life, but I had no idea what that would look like. 

But you did. 

You changed everything. 

And I am so grateful. 

It’s funny, but I look forward to this day. I take it all in. 

And then you know what I do next? 

I celebrate. 

I celebrate all of it. 

The high’s. The low’s. The times when I wasn’t sure how I was going to get back up. And the times I never thought I’d come back down. 

You have given me an opportunity to grow and to find compassion in places I thought impossible. 

Without even knowing it, you have taught me grace. 

I have grown closer to Him. Setting an example to our kids that it is easier to love than to hate. 

I won’t lie and say it’s been easy. It hasn’t. But it’s been worth it. 

So, today I’m gonna celebrate. 

Still. 

I Prayed for You

I prayed for you. 

Almost every night, I prayed for you.

When I couldn’t remember to pray for myself. I prayed for you. 

The truth is, I never thought He was listening. 

Like, ever. 

I was tired of the disappointment. And I didn’t think you’d ever come. I was convinced you wouldn’t. I didn’t even believe that guys like you existed. Because the thing is, I kept looking. I looked everywhere. And you were never there. 

Oh, I found everything, but. Everything, but. 

But I still prayed for you. 

I would sit and imagine what our life would look like. The things you’d say. The way you’d make me feel. I never knew it would be this good. I never knew that it would be better than what we had talked about in those quiet moments just between the two of us. 

Turns out, He was listening. And He knew better. 

It was hard not to get lost in my own imagination. Because I prayed for you for so long. 

And I could have sworn that I had found you before. I convinced myself I had. I think I was so desperate to meet you that I found you wherever I could. 

But it was never you. 

So I just kept praying. 

Every time I got hurt. I prayed for you. Every time I felt alone. I prayed for you. Every time a boy made me cry. I prayed for you. Every time I found myself on the other side of a bad decision. I prayed for you. 

And it wasn’t that He wasn’t listening. Oh, He was. The thing was, I was so determined to find you, but I had to find myself first. 

So I did. 

And when I least expected it, there you were. When I had stopped looking for you, there you were. When I had given it to Him, completely, there you were. Right in front of me. 

And it was like you had been there the whole time. 

Because I prayed for you. 

Don’t Feel Sorry for Me, Okay? 

I am a blogger, a writer, and more important, I am a testimony to Christ and what He has done for me. What only He can do for me. 

I may share too much. I may be too open for some, but it’s not my story, it’s His. And so I share it. 

There have been so many high’s and so many low’s. There have been days that I would love to forget, and days that I will always remember. 

There are moments where you will find yourself uncomfortable. Unsure of what to say or how to act. I know because I can see it in your hesitancy. I can feel the awkward between us, but don’t. Don’t be uncomfortable. And whatever you do, don’t feel sorry for me. 

Yes, my husband left me. Yes, he walked out on me on our 5 year anniversary. Yes, he cheated. Yes, I was miserable. Yes, I am a single mother. Yes, I get a little nervous sometimes about doing it all on my own. 

But look at me now.

Don’t feel sorry for me when I talk about starting over. Don’t feel sorry for me when I worry about providing for my family by myself. Don’t feel sorry for me when I don’t have any time alone. Or when I can’t find a babysitter. Or when I feel like the weight of the world is on my shoulders. Or when I’m convinced I’m doing it all wrong. 

Just don’t feel sorry for me, okay? 

Because here’s the truth. The truth is I am so happy. I am so blessed. I am so loved. And I am living my dream. I prayed for this. For all of this. I prayed hard, thinking that He wasn’t hearing me, but He was.

He heard everything. 

Don’t feel sorry for me because my marriage didn’t work out. Or because I’ve had to make some really tough decisions. Be happy for me that He got me out. Be happy that He changed my life. Be happy that my ‘suffering’ wasn’t for nothing. 

It was for everything. 

Because I am happy. I am the happiest I’ve been in a long time. Because all that anger I used to have, is gone. 

Because I have discovered love and compassion and forgiveness. And it’s beautiful. 

Because this might just be the best relationship me and my husband have ever had. 

Don’t feel sorry for me because things didn’t work out the way I thought they would. Be happy that they worked out better than I could have imagined.

Because remember, I’m not the one writing this story, He is. So stick around, because it’s a good one. 

XXOO

Balancing Act

The other day a friend texted me and asked me how my day was going. I responded quickly because I always have my phone close by as I am pretty attached to it with work.

Busy. I answered. I’ve got this and this and that and oh yeah this to do.

He responded ‘Do you ever take time to just relax? You’re always busy.’

I thought about the question for a minute. Well, did I?

I looked back through our texts. He had asked the question before. ‘What are you doing?’ ‘How’s your day?’ ‘Any plans?’ And my answer was always the same.

Busy. Lots of things to do. No break. Always doing something.

The more I thought about it, the more I realized I didn’t take breaks. I rarely relaxed.

When people ask me what I do for fun, I honestly don’t know the answer.

Fun? I’m a newly single mom who works from home, homeschools, blogs and does a little web designing on the side. And oh, yeah, I hardly ever get any time to myself. Pretty much doing it all on my own. So no. No fun.

Somehow, somewhere down the road,  I’ve confused the word ‘fun’ with ‘irresponsible’. So what does that mean exactly?

As I sat in my Al Anon meeting last night, listening to the people talk about ‘balance’ I realized I had none.

Not even the slightest clue.

So, I began to do a little soul searching. A little praying. And a little bit of listening.

I stay busy so I can maintain control. Because if I do this and this and this and that then it will go exactly the way I want it to.

You don’t really trust me. 

Crap.

Back to square one, I guess. Honestly? I don’t. I say I do. I want to. But I don’t.

I trust myself.

Not only that, but I don’t believe Him. I search and seek approval and worth from everything and everyone else, but Him.

I find it in my work, my parenting, social media, here on this blog. Everywhere. But Him.

Oh yes, I know Jesus loves me. I do. But I also want to know that everyone else does too.

And when I complete this or cross that off my list and I am recognized for doing a good job, well there’s my value. There’s my worth.

So the other night I sat down and I ‘relaxed’. I turned on the TV. Found a show on Netflix and hit play.

It was painful.

To sit there and not do anything productive. I had a thousand things I could have been doing. Packing for my trip, catching up on emails, making phone calls. You name it.

I could have even filled my time with reading recovery books or the bible or praying, but He insisted I just watch Netflix.

So I did.

Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Matthew 11:28

I’ve shared with you how nervous I’ve been about my trip home that’s coming up. I have been anxious and worried about everything. The money, the time, the what-if’s.

But I think this is Him. Actually, I know it is. This is Him giving me the break. Giving me rest. Even if I don’t know to ask for it, He still knows to give it.

And I don’t know about you, but that brings me comfort. I don’t even have to know what to ask for and yet, He knows exactly what to provide. 

I guess I can trust Him.

He also has a sense of humor. Because today, even though I took a small break last night and watched another episode of ‘Friends’, He knew my heart and mind.

He knew it wouldn’t last long. He knew that when I woke up I was going to go back to the list of things to do. I was going to control and manipulate. He knew. And so today, I woke up not feeling so good.

Not completely sick, but worn out. Knowing that if I don’t rest, it will get worse. So today, it’s not just one episode of ‘Friends’, it’s a few.

It’s setting the phone down and spending as much time as I can hidden under the covers. Drinking hot chocolate with marshmallows and sipping hot tea. Not checking emails. Not making phone calls. Probably still checking Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, but mostly resting.

And just in case you’re wondering, in my free time, I like to watch ‘Friends’ on Netflix. And heck, I think I might even grab the gummy bears.

XXOO!

And Just Love.

Last night, my feelings were hurt. Maybe I shouldn’t have let it bother me. But it did. For a long time I have struggled with the idea of not being good enough. This is a problem in all areas of my life, from being a daughter, to a wife, to a mother, to a friend, to an entrepreneur. You name it. I never feel like I’m enough.

Now, I’ve been working through this with healing prayer and counseling and the truth is it’s really just a choice that I have to learn to make. I have to recognize that I am good enough.

I am good enough because I know how hard I work. I’m good enough because I know how hard I try. I’m good enough because I really do give it my all.

But most of all I’m good enough because He says I am.

I woke up this morning hoping that I wouldn’t think about the things that were said to me the night before, but of course I did. They were the first things that I thought of when my eyes opened.

As I made my cup of coffee and sat down to spend some quiet time with God I quickly prayed that He would change my heart and my reaction to getting my feelings hurt.

You see, my first reaction is, well, you hurt me so now I have to hurt you. Tit for tat. But after spending so much time with God while my husband and I were separated I’ve come to realize that while hurting people hurt people nothing good comes out of it.

So I prayed.

And just like that something ‘clicked’.

This person who hurt my feelings had begun our conversation talking about someone who had hurt their feelings. They had grown up never feeling like they were never good enough.

Wait? What?

They shared that no matter what they did it was never enough.

All they wanted was acceptance, approval, a pat on the back, but it never happened.

I sat back and listened. It didn’t click then. I just listened. Nodding my head. I felt bad for them. My heart broke for them. But then the tables turned.

Not two minutes before they had been sharing their hurt and then they did to me exactly what had been done to them. Tit for tat.

Hurting people hurt people.

It would appear that we had switched places and taken a step back. I was them. They were the constant disapproval. Suddenly they forgot what it had felt like to never amount to anything in someone else’s eyes. They forgot how awful it felt to never get the approval they so desperately wanted. Needed.

I didn’t get upset. Not visibly. I kept quiet just kind of going along with the conversation until it was over.

So as I began to listen to what God was saying to me I lost all of my feelings of hurt. I didn’t want to hurt them back. I realized I was enough to Him.

And then something else happened. Suddenly, I was filled with compassion. Suddenly my heart ached even more for them. I could see them through His eyes. They were enough too.

As I thought back to the stories that had been shared I realized I could now see where He was during all of it and He was right there beside them. Every single time. Trying to get them to realize that they were enough. That He approved. That He was proud.

Too often we don’t see Him. We ignore Him. We set our standards on something else besides Him.

If we just had this job or this amount of money or if our family looked like this or if we lived in this kind of house.

But really we are enough because Jesus made us enough.

That’s all there is to it. He doesn’t care what we drive, where we live, how we dress, how much money we make, He cares about who we are as a person. What our heart looks like.

And because of a simple, selfish prayer, I can see what He sees. I am enough. I don’t need to hurt. And I don’t need to hurt others.

I am enough because He says I am. You are enough because He says you are.

So have compassion on those who hurt you. Be the difference. And just love.

They need it the most.

“I just do.”

I just got done listening to yesterday’s sermon from my church. Funny, before listening I had prayed to God to really speak to me. To let me know He was here.

The truth is, I haven’t felt very close to God lately. I’ve been busy. I know that’s an awful excuse, but the truth is I can get pretty caught up with life that I just, kind of, forget about Him. Really, it’s the little things. I still pray. I still do my devotionals everyday, but it’s the mundane life that usually keeps me away.

Like, when my marriage was falling apart and I had reached a place of utter desperation, it was easy for me to lean on Him. I needed Him. I couldn’t do it alone, but when it comes to things like my job or my paycheck or how I’m going to pay the bills this month, those things I kind of depend on myself for. I know I shouldn’t. Trust me, I know.

But I’m always trying to prove myself. Most people think that I am super cool and super confident all of the time. From my tattoos and my piercings (back in the day) to my ‘don’t give a sh*t’ attitude you would think, because that’s what I wanted, that I had it all together. That I didn’t care what other people thought.

Truth? I care a lot. Probably too much.

I live everyday of my life trying to prove to myself and to complete strangers that I have got it all together. My life. My family. My career. All of it. It’s perfect and it’s exactly how I want it to be.

Is it bad? No. I’m very blessed. I really do believe I have it all, but I certainly don’t have it all together.

I remember one time while Justin and I were separated I went to the grocery store by myself. I hadn’t been out for a few weeks. I felt like everyone knew that my marriage was falling apart. I couldn’t manipulate the situation to make them see what I wanted them to see. I was vulnerable and exposed. And I didn’t really care for that.

It felt good to get out of the house. To drive the car. To get a break from the kids, but as I walked up and down each aisle I became increasingly angry.

Liars! All of these ‘happy’ couples walking around the store or the singles on the phone with whomever was waiting at home for them, they were all liars in my book. No one was that happy. How did I know? Because I, too, had been a liar.

During the 9 weeks we spent apart I did a lot of thinking. For so long I had convinced myself that if I had just done this or that or if I was this or that then we would have the perfect marriage, the perfect family. I would be the perfect mother. The perfect career woman. I would have it all.

As I listened to yesterday’s sermon I realized that I was on a hamster wheel, going, going, going, never reaching my destination. Constantly comparing myself to everyone else. Creating false images in my head of how it was supposed to look. And setting myself and my family up for failure because I had based our success on lies.

I still want to work hard. I still want to succeed in my business, family, marriage, looks, weight and more. I do. But a weight has been lifted.

He doesn’t look at those things. Those things don’t define me. In His eyes, I am enough. You are enough.

I don’t know how that makes you feel when you actually sit down to think about that. I still struggle to believe it. Because I don’t see righteousness in me. I see a very broken, flawed, individual who can never seem to get it right. I see failure and disappointment. I see screw up’s and mistakes. I see defeat.

But the truth is He already won. We can be victors too. We are actually already.

But our eyes are flawed. The only way to see what we really are is through His eyes.

We don’t need to understand it. We couldn’t if we tried because it just doesn’t make any sense. He shouldn’t see us the way He does. He should see us the way we see ourselves. We are broken. And flawed. We always fall short. But He loves us so much that He doesn’t want to see us that way and so He sent His only son to die for us, to bear all of those ‘truths’ for us, so He could see the righteousness of Jesus Christ in us.

Think about that. Every time He looks at us, at you, at me, He sees Jesus Christ’s righteousness. And that’s it.

It’s not just on somedays or on the days when we’ve really done a good job, it’s all of the time.

So why do we compare ourselves to others? Why do we make up these images of ‘success’ in our minds? Why are we wasting our time trying to prove to everyone else that we are something? He already knows. Like a father, He is so proud of us already.

Why isn’t that good enough?

With Him there’s no hamster wheel. There’s no earning it. Deserving it. It just is. He loves us so much that it just is.

My prayer for us today is that we get to see ourselves the way He does. Even if it’s just one time. I just want to know what He sees when He looks at me. What about me is so great? How can He even love me? I’m such a mess most days. And more often than not I don’t deserve His love or grace. I’m a terrible representation of who He is. I just don’t get it.

“I just do.”

Be sure to check out HopePointe’s sermon What’s Your Brand? In Christ you are Righteous. I can’t recommend the sermon series enough!

Wedding Ring.

It’s been 11 weeks since I’ve worn my wedding ring. 11 weeks. Oh, how I missed it!

When I wasn’t sure what was going to happen, when I had started to lose hope on the especially hard days, I remember being upset that you could still see the indention left from my wedding ring.

I hated the constant reminder.

But I missed my ring. I missed the comfort that comes from such a simple piece of metal. It’s nothing fancy. I’m not really a fancy-gal. But I love this ring. I love what it represents. Even if I don’t always want to be reminded.

It continues to remind me what’s worth fighting for. Even in the really annoying times. The times when my husband is snoring in bed or when he leaves his dishes out. Even during the times when he’s the last person I want to see. Or when I get scared that he’s going to hurt me again.

It reminds me of my own quirks and annoyances. It reminds me just how short I fall most days. It reminds me of our imperfections, but it also reminds me of the God I love and serve and how He makes this all possible. Even when it looks impossible.

Especially when it looks impossible.

It reminds me that my husband was made for me and I was made for my husband. It reminds me that marriage takes work, lots and lots of hard work, but it also reminds me that it’s worth it.

I remember when I was scared I would never wear this ring again. I hid it while he was gone. It became everything I hated and everything I loved all at the same time.

Now, like a newlywed, I can’t stop staring at it. I’m happy at the reminders. I’m happy with the story it tells. I’m happy that I get another chance at doing this. I’m happy to never lose the familiar indention.

And I never want to take it off again.

XXOO!

#cleancouponing 

Join me, @laurenfalber, tonight at 9pm EST for a #cleancouponing Twitter party featuring Beautycounter

Find out why we want to get safe products into the hands of everyone. 

Just RSVP by responding in the comments below this blog post, including your @twitterhandle there so we can all follow one another. 

Use hashtag #cleancouponing to join in the conversation and follow hosts @floursackmama and @cleancouponing both on Twitter during that hour. 

I’ll be giving away a little something too! So be sure to join us for your chance to win! 

XXOO! 

Stay Connected! 

I have got so much coming up over the next few months. I promise you will not want to miss out!

So be sure to stay connected!

Also! Be sure to ‘like’ and share Lauren’s Beautycounter on Facebook. And when I reach 300 ‘likes’ I’ll be giving away a FREE Beautycounter Pouch! (Just make sure to comment on my page to let me know you’ve participated!)

XXOO!!