Amen

Lord, thank you. 

Thank you for this man. This amazing and perfect man. This man I never realized existed. 

This man who changed everything. 

Lord, thank you. 

Thank you for sending me a man who loves You more than he loves himself. A man who knows You. A man who fears You. A man who isn’t afraid to talk about You.

Lord, thank you. 

Lord, bless this man. Bless this relationship. And bless this family. 

Lord, help us to live a life that brings honor and glory to Your name. 

Lord, fill us with your Holy Spirit so that we may walk in Your ways.

Lord, thank you for guiding us when we don’t know the way. For forgiving us when we fall short. And for loving us in a way that allows us to love each other. 

I pray that no matter where we find ourselves down the road, that our eyes will always be fixed on you, Lord. 

Hand in hand, I pray we will always seek you, together. 

I pray these things in Your name. For Your honor and glory. 

Amen. 

You Can Be

So recently I’ve been living or trying to live (verdict is still out on that) in a season of contentment. 

God has really put it on my heart that despite my best efforts this is where I am supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to be doing. 

I can stop trying to run. 

I can finally stop and catch my breath. 

As a single mother I am constantly thinking about money. Maybe that’s an unfair assessment? Maybe we’re all thinking about money.

I know I am. 

Always.

Whether I have enough. If I will have enough. How I wish I had more. What I would do with more if I had it. 

You get the picture.

Yesterday I found myself praying. 

My bank account had only $20 in it and payday was a long ways away. 

So I prayed. 

I prayed that I would get to a place financially where I didn’t have to worry. 

I even threw out a specific amount, you know, just in case He wasn’t sure. ;)

But before I could even say ‘amen’ I knew I was wrong. 

I was completely wrong in that prayer. 

He could answer it. I have no doubt that He could provide the exact dollar amount per my request. But it wasn’t really about the money. 

‘You can be…’ He answered.

I retraced my words wondering what He was talking about.

‘You can be…’ He repeated.

And He was right. 

I could be. 

I didn’t have to worry. 

Even with only $20 in my bank account and payday a long ways away. I didn’t have to worry. 

Because I can be in that place despite the size of my paycheck. 

Because I can be in that place by choosing to trust Him.

Because at the end of the day it comes down to me and where I put my faith. 

The truth is, instead of praying for more money, I need to change my prayer. 

What I need besides a bigger paycheck is a complete change in heart. 

A change in the way I look at money.

A change in the way I handle my money. 

Because, let’s be honest, I’ll never have ‘enough’. 

No one can serve two masters, since either he will hate one and love the other, or he will be devoted to one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. Matthew 6:24

But the truth is that I already do. 

I already have more than enough.

I have so much because of what Jesus chose to do for me on the cross when He gave up His perfect life for my messy, broken, imperfect life. 

And so do you. 

More than any dollar amount we could ever want. 

Lord, thank you. Thank you for sending your only son to take my place on that cross. Thank you for always giving me enough. Even when I don’t deserve it. Lord, change my heart. Help me to be content despite my circumstances. Despite the size of my paycheck or the size of my bank account. Remind me always that you are enough. You are all I need. And help to make you all I want. I pray these things in your name. For your honor and glory. Amen. 

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

Round Two

I have spent most of the day yelling. 

My kids are in that stage where all they do is tell on each other and fight. Maybe that’s a bit of an exaggeration, but a vast majority of our day is just that.

I try to be that calm mother. The one who doesn’t raise her voice, but ‘frustrated’ is putting it nicely. 

Like, really nicely. 

I try to hide somewhere, currently I’m in my bathroom, and I try to pray, but I struggle. 

I struggle because I can still hear the crying. 

The yelling. 

And all I want is one minute’s peace, y’all. 

Just. One. Minute. 

I’m frustrated because this single mom stuff is hard. It exhausts me. It defeats me. It literally cuts me to the core. 

I don’t get every other weekend off. I don’t get a break. I don’t get a moment to myself, unless it’s bedtime or I wake up early to soak in the quiet. 

I have no one who gets it. When I try to talk, to just be heard, I don’t want advice, I just want someone to talk to, instead, I get excuses as to why their life is just as hard as mine. 

Cue eyeroll. 

It’s not that I want to whine. It’s not that I don’t love my life. Most days I do. Most days I can’t help but be grateful. 

Even right now, I’m grateful. Grateful that I have a bathroom that I can hide in. 

But sometimes, sometimes, it just gets to me. 

Today is one of those days. 

I remind myself that this season will pass. I remind myself that life is good. I remind myself that this is exactly what I wanted when I spent years on my knees praying to Him, begging Him to ‘just listen to me’. 

But you guys, this is hard. 

Raising these two kids on my own is hard. Locking myself in my bathroom just to have a minute to myself so I don’t say something I’m going to regret is hard. Acknowledging the fact that there is a very good chance I could say something I would regret is hard. Doing my best not to be jealous of my friends who have no idea what it’s like to be in my shoes is hard. 

Finding the strength to pray when you are exhausted and completely at your wit’s end, is hard. 

But it’s still doable. 

So, as I sit now, against the bathroom door. As I hold back the tears that are so desperately trying to ruin my charcoal mask. (I’ve learned to multitask.) As I imagine myself anywhere but here, I pray. 

I pray because even though I feel alone, I’m not. 

I pray because even if I can’t be calm, He is. 

And I pray because even when I can’t take one more step, He carries me. 

Guys, do something today. Know a single mom? Send her a word of encouragement. Let her know that you’re thinking about her. 

Single dads too. 

Because this is hard. And sometimes she just needs ‘Jesus with skin on’. 

And you just don’t know, but maybe that’s what’s going to help her unlock the bathroom door and come back out for round two. 

Perception

It’s funny how a little perception can change a whole lot of the view.

Remember last week when I was talking about how I sometimes look around the house and I’m overwhelmed because I’m the only one who cleans. Or does dishes. Or laundry. Or kills really big spiders. 

Or buys a Christmas tree.

This was weird. If I’m being honest, it was really weird. Because this was something we did as a family. This was something that he did with us.

We didn’t do much as a family. Most of the time it was just the three of us, but this was something that we did. All of us. Something that we looked forward to. It was one of those rare occasions where we would go out as a family and actually enjoy each other’s company. Or at least pretend to.

We would walk around. Find the perfect tree. Gush about how perfect it was. Next, he would get it on the car, which was always pretty comical and resulted in a lot of explicit words that would have us laughing by the end of it. Worried that said tree would fall off the car, we would drive home with our hazards, creeping down the street. Making other drivers very angry. But it was our thing.

Then we would get home and he would put it in the stand.

Not this time though.

This time it was just the three of us. This time it was the guy at the stand putting it in my trunk. This time it was me unloading it from the car. And with the help of one of my very dear friends, it was me putting the tree in the stand. And me setting it up.

This time,  on the way home, instead of driving slow with our hazards, I got to answer awkward questions from my seven year old about his dad and Christmas.

He’s been doing that a lot lately. Asking questions. Accusing me, indirectly, of breaking up his family. 

I don’t take it personal anymore. I just let him ask his questions. I’m his safe place. 

But sometimes I hate being the only one who has to answer. 

So, as we made it home and as the tree found the perfect spot in our house. And as we placed our new lights and ornaments on it, I couldn’t help but look around and take it all in. 

Yes, I might be the only one who cleans. Who does the laundry. And the dishes. It might be very overwhelming some days. Most days, it is. And yes, I might be the only one who is being asked questions. Or accused. And while I hate spiders, it is up to me to kill them.

But, you wanna know something else? 

I’m the one who slept on her parents’ couch with her two kids for four months. I’m the one who got an apartment on her own. I’m the one who started out living on air mattresses. I’m the one who bought a used futon from Goodwill just to have something to sit on. I’m the one who moved in with no internet and no tv. I’m the one who had just a couple of plates and a few pieces of silverware. I’m the one who only had three towels and no shower curtain. I’m the one who built the bookshelves. And who put the TV together. I’m the one who prayed every single day for a miracle, even bigger than the one I was living. I’m the one who held it together and refused to cry in front of the kids because they needed to see how strong I was. I’m the one who slowly started creating the life that we had dreamed about. I’m the one who drove to Texas to pack up the last 10 years of our life into my car. I’m the one who drove back and forth with a basket full of laundry to my parents’ and to my friends’ house just to have clean clothes, even if I had no where to put them.

Me. 

I did those things. I did those things so that one day, almost a year later, I would be able to look back and see that I actually started out with nothing. I would be able to look back and know that all of this, was because of me. My faith. My strength. My determination. 

Because being the only one who cleans is a blessing.

Because being the only one who does the laundry is something to brag about. 

Because being the only one who does the dishes is proof that He is so good.

Because being the only one who kills big spiders is evidence that I am enough. 

Because being the only one who answers questions is nothing but an answered prayer.

Because I lived a very long time thinking that I could never do these things. The big things. The little things. The things in between. 

And, well, here I am. Doing all the things. 

And doing a pretty good job if I do say so myself. 

Good Times Key West

Okay y’all, we all know that I love to travel and that God has given me the opportunity to do a little bit of traveling with the kids these last couple of months. And the truth is, I love every destination. I can find beauty in everything that we do because it has been such a blessing, but I don’t always blog about it, it’s just not my thing, but I have to tell you about Good Times Key West.

Because it is that good.

Recently, me and the kids went down to Key West for vacation. If you haven’t been, you need to go. It’s gorgeous. It’s fun. And did I mention that it’s gorgeous?!

I have never been a huge fan of oceans or gulfs. Blame it on my obsession with The Little Mermaid, but I know what lives down there and I’m good.

Trust me, I’m good.

But even though we had access to a few pools during our stay, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the crystal clear water down there. Seriously, it was so gorgeous.

It may have even been the highlight of my trip, thanks to Good Times Key West.

(And yes, I’m even including that time where we ate true Key Lime Pie and it was to-die-for.)

On a Sunday afternoon, I found myself and the kids on a boat with Good Times Key West and it was amazing. The weather was perfect. The water was perfect. And it was the perfect day to be on a boat.

First, we found ourselves out at the sandbar. Now when I think sandbar, I think of walking from the shore out to the middle of the water, where the tide is low, nope! Not in Key West. Captain Justin Ferrell of Good Times Key West took us out in the middle of the ocean where the water was crystal clear and came just to my waist.

Seriously, it was so cool to just pull up and hop off the boat to swim, relax, have lunch and let the kids swim around. We saw fish and Starfish. And it was lovely.

And this is coming from the girl who only puts her feet in!

Captain Justin was amazing. He was knowledgeable. He was patient. He was friendly. And he made it easy for us to step outside of our comfort zone.

A few hours later, he took us out a little further at the request of my 6 year old to do a little snorkeling.

Here’s the thing about my 6 year old. He wants to be brave. He wants to try new things, but just like his mama he hesitates. He gets scared and he lets the fear overtake him sometimes.

He must have sat on the edge of that boat for 15 minutes trying to convince himself to take the leap. And Captain Justin was so patient.

Finally, Jaxsyn went for it.

Y’all the look on his face after he did. So worth the wait!

Captain Justin took him around, looking at fish, finding the perfect spot.

And as a mother, I’m not going to lie, I was a little nervous about my 6 year old being in the middle of the ocean, but I trusted Captain Justin. And that’s saying something.

Next, Captain Justin took us on a tour through the Mangrove Islands. Y’all, his navigation skills were on point! He pointed out the different wildlife and even gave the kids an educated presentation of sorts. I was impressed. And even I learned something.

Per request of Jaxsyn we also did a little fishing. Didn’t catch anything, but Jaxsyn was so happy.

As we rode back, Captain Justin was able to point out different landmarks and Key West attractions. Like the MTV Real World House, a personal favorite of mine. ;)

We must have spent 5-6 hours on that boat and I wouldn’t have known. It was so comfortable. Captain Justin made it the perfect ride. Even when the kids wanted to go fast.

I never would have been able to do this with my kids on my own. I have said since I became a single mother that making memories with my kids is my top priority. I want my kids to look back and remember fun things. Good things. Not the fighting, the divorce, the move. I want good memories. And that’s exactly what Good Times Key West and Captain Justin Ferrell did for us.

If you are ever in the Key West area and are looking for something fun and exciting to do, check out Good Times Key West. No matter your age, your family, your sense of adventure, I promise you, you will have an amazing time! And you seriously couldn’t ask for a better captain!

Can’t wait to go back in October!

For more information: http://www.goodtimeskeywest.com

 

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

But Maybe…

Well, it’s finally here. The end of 2015. What a year?! 

(Can I get an ‘Amen’?!)

I’ve thought a lot about this post. About what I would say. About my reflection on this past year.

I’ve been reading so many updates and Facebook statuses from friends who are wishing nothing but ending of this year. Grabbing onto the idea that 2016 has to be better than what they were dealt in 2015.

I’m afraid that’s not true though. Not necessarily.

I remember as 2014 came to an end I, too, had faith that 2015 would be better. 

After all, 2014, just a few months before the year ended, everything changed. 

I had found out my husband had been cheating on me. I can still feel the pain in the pit of my stomach. It is still the worst thing that has ever happened to me. When I think about it, I realize it is still very raw. And the truth is I’m not sure I’ll ever get over it. It changed everything about me. 

But then 2015 happened. And on paper it looks really bad. I mean, really, really bad. Husband walks out the first time. We are separated for 3 months. Reunited for 3 months where I was walked out on every single weekend. Living in misery, regret, anger, hurt, frustration, but still putting on a smiling face for everyone else to see because I was too embarrassed to admit the truth. 

Admit the truth that I was failing at marriage. 

Until our 5 year anniversary. 

After driving home 18 hours from NC to spend our anniversary with my husband, he walked out for the last time. That was a Saturday. The next Tuesday he let me know that he no longer wanted to do this anymore. 

‘This’ being our marriage. 

I was blindsighted. I knew our marriage wasn’t good, but I never knew that it would be over. I mean, we had spent 10 years together. We had built a family together. I kind of just imagined that we would just be miserable together forever. 

I never expected a divorce. Not once.

So see, I told you, on paper it doesn’t look so good. But what if I told you that I think 2015 might have been my best year yet? 

Yep, I said it.

Because in 2015, I finally started to pay attention to me. Who I was. What I liked. What I didn’t like. 

In 2015 I have learned to love myself. I have learned to give myself grace and mercy. I have learned to forgive. I have learned to love others too. 

In 2015, He gave me the opportunity to go home, not just once, but twice! It had been almost 3 years since I had seen my friends and family and this year I got to see them a lot! 

Including Christmas with my entire family. 

In 2015, He gave me a car. He gave me freedom. He gave me independence. 

In 2015, He blessed my business. He gave me a huge promotion. He showed me that we can do this together if I just let Him. 

In 2015, I found faith. Faith like I’ve never had before. The kind you get when you’ve got nothing else. When you’re lying on the floor and you don’t even have the strength to sit up.  The kind where He just has to scoop you up and carry you the rest of the way because you just can’t do it on your own anymore. You’re just exhausted. 

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9

So see, I think a lot of people would look back on my 2015 and think ‘Oh man, that sucked’ or ‘I’m glad I didn’t have to go through that’ and to those people I would say ‘you’re wrong’. 

While I don’t wish for any of the ‘bad’ stuff to happen to any of you, you might find that the ‘bad’ stuff is actually the ‘best’ stuff. 

The blessings. 

If those ‘bad’ things didn’t happen, I don’t think I would be writing this. If I was still in a marriage where I was being hurt and hurting someone else, I wouldn’t be able to point out all those blessings. I would be too busy feeling sorry for myself. I would be too busy listening to the enemy. I would be too busy trying to do things my way and getting frustrated when no one else was on board. 

So thank you Lord for these ‘bad’ things. 

I have just one more thing to share with you. I will share it again partly because it’s my favorite and partly because I feel like it is exactly how I would sum up 2015, but mostly because I want you to cling to it too. Because when things don’t make sense, ESPECIALLY, when things don’t make sense. And when we can look at those things on paper and think it’s hopeless. And when we can wish away a year thinking that the next has got to be better, I want you to cling like I did. 

White knuckles and all. 

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

Cling friends. Remember this verse. Repeat it out loud and remember the God we serve. 

Because maybe 2016 will be better. Or maybe it won’t. 

But maybe, just maybe, it just depends on how you look at it. 
Happy New Year’s my friends! 
With Love,

Lauren

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!

I’m Listening

I say it all the time, ‘God is good.’ I say it because He is. It’s true. All of the time. But one thing I’ve noticed, is that we can often only talk about Him. Our ‘religion’ tends to be one sided. And while I’m not suggesting we stop talking about Him, I think it’s important to acknowledge that while God is good, we also have a very bad enemy. 

An enemy who is out to destroy us. 

I’ve noticed over the past few years, when I begin to talk about the enemy, people become uncomfortable. I get looks. Whispers behind my back, but the truth is if we believe in Him we also need to believe in him.

And he is real.

I believe that we are in a spiritual war, always. Sometimes I can sense the enemy is around. I feel him. 

I felt him a lot when my husband was here. Not saying my husband is the enemy, but that our marriage was certainly under attack. 

I have been blessed enough not to sense him as much these days, but I know he’s there, waiting to pounce. Waiting for my moment of weakness. My doubt, my insecurity, my fear. 

He just sits there and waits.

If I have learned anything over the last few years in my faith walk it is that God loves me and the enemy hates me. 

Yes, he often disguises himself as fun. He pretends that he wants what’s best for me. But the truth is, he hates me. 

He hates all of us. 

 These last few days have been hard. Harder than most. I have struggled. I have spent countless hours crying. I have been scared and nervous and fearful. 

And the enemy has just been waiting. 

I’m going home in just a few days. God is so good. This was a huge blessing to me. I never expected to be able to go home twice in one year. 

And for Christmas?! It couldn’t have been any better. I was so excited when I realized that God was making this possible. So grateful and overwhelmed. He heard my prayer and He blessed me. 

The enemy didn’t like that. 

If there has ever been a time when I have needed to trust God, it is now. It is in this divorce. The uncertainty that surrounds me right now is so scary. I never know what my husband is thinking, what his motives are. 

Everything is different these days.

I’m still working on establishing myself as a single mother and trying to get on my own two feet, but it’s hard. And it’s scary. 

I never imagined I would be doing this on my own. Taking care of my kids, having the financial responsibility rest on me alone. I still don’t know that it’s actually hit me, this is what my life looks like now.

And I tell you what, if I am not constantly aware of my relationship with God and who He is and what He does, I can become my own worst enemy. 

And the enemy knows that. And he waits for it. 

So last week I wasn’t sure that when I came home from my visit, I would have a place to stay. I wasn’t sure that I would have my things. I didn’t know if I should pack everything up and move it into storage. I felt guilty for spending the money to go home. With all of these other things looming over my head, I felt the money could be spent best somewhere else. 

Suddenly my blessing had become a curse. Or that’s what the enemy wanted me to think. 

I rushed around trying to figure it all out. I texted my sponsor freaking out about what to do. How was I supposed to fix this? I was leaving in a week. 

Or maybe I wouldn’t. 

Maybe I would just stay here and figure out what to do. I would just stay here and take care of everything. Come up with a plan, something. 

And so I started to think about spending Christmas, alone. Just the 3 of us. Something I also never expected. 

I prayed. I fell to my knees, sobbing, pleading, begging. Lord I am so scared. I don’t know what to do. Your will, Lord, not mine. 

And then I remembered God had given me the blessing to be able to go home. He did that. Not me. And He would take care of the rest. He knows what I need. He knows before I even ask.

My husband texted me later on. Apologized for freaking out. Assured me that I would have a place to live when I came back. 

That was God. Another answered prayer.  

You see, the enemy tried to trick me out of His blessing. He tried to get me to doubt who my God is. What my God can do. 

I felt the battle. I was caught in the middle. 

And can I tell you something else? Even if I stayed, I still couldn’t figure this out on my own. I still have no plan. No strategies. It’s much to much for me. 

But not Him. He has the plan. He’s already there. He knows exactly where I am going to live. He knows exactly how I’m going to lay the bills. He knows. Nothing’s too big for Him. 

And so despite the enemy’s attempt to ruin my trip, my faith, my relationship with my Father, I’m going home. 

I’m going home because that’s what He wants me to do. And the only thing I can control is whether or not I listen to Him. 

And I’m listening. 

Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble. Matthew 6:34