Impossible

Because this morning I woke up with a thousand things on my mind.

He wasn’t one of them.

Completely stressed out. Full of worry. With a to-do list a mile long.

And yet, He insisted I come spend some time with Him.

‘The rest of the world can wait,’ He said.

I fought His calling to come and be still.

I didn’t have time to sit and be still. I had things to do. He knew that.

It was true, I had been meaning to spend some time with Him this week, but I just couldn’t find the time.

“I’ll do it tomorrow,” had become my life mantra.

But not today.

I had run out of tomorrows and my Father wanted to talk.

And just like a disciplined child who had just been reprimanded, I lowered my head and found a seat at the table.

Unsure of what to read I just turned to Luke.

I could feel the tension building up. I had so many other things I should have been doing. Rest was not on my list of things to do.

I began to read quickly. Well, more like skimming. I would just get it over with.

Time with God- check!

Except that it didn’t quite go that way.

Even though I wanted to skim, suddenly I was soaking in every word.

Breathing in the word of God like I was just catching my breath.

I could still hear the thoughts in my head.

All the things I needed to figure out.

How I was going to pay for this or that.

How I was going to hit some pretty big numbers for work over the next couple of days.

And the truth was I had zero answers.

It all looked pretty impossible and I was pretty worried.

And then there it was.

For nothing will be impossible with God. Luke 1:37

I got goosebumps.

I stopped.

Before I could even voice my doubt He interrupted me.

‘Nothing,’ He said.

And there was more.

Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill what He has spoken to her. Luke 1: 45

(I see what You did there.)

Now you might be thinking ‘woah, that’s pretty weird’ but that’s not even the weirdest part. Remember all those things I was stressing about. The money. The bills. The pressure from work. They are still there. I’m looking at them staring at me from across the table, but they don’t seem nearly as significant as they did before.

See what I think I realized is that there really is only one solution to our problems and that’s finding the strength to trust our Holy and loving God enough that we don’t worry about anything else.

Because He tells us that nothing is impossible and that those of us who believe Him are blessed.

Friends, the answers are there. He is there. But for some reason He is the last place I look.

I am grateful that He is gracious enough to blatantly put the answer right in front of me.

Grateful that He knows what I need even before I do.

Truth is though, I don’t know what He’ll do. And I don’t know if His solution looks like mine. But what I do know is that nothing is impossible and I have every reason to believe Him.

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. 

Just the Two of Us

So here we are. Just the two of us, again. 

You know, you’re setting a pretty impossible bar. 

Because even the good ones fall short. 

You did that. 

You made me realize just how much I deserve. How much I shouldn’t settle. And just how much I have settled in the past. 

I wish I could tell you that I’m getting more comfortable with the lonliness, but I’m not.

I wish I could tell you that I’m not sitting here wondering what the heck is wrong with me, but I can’t. 

But mostly I just wish that you could be here so I could feel a little less lonely. 

So help me. 

Help me to find contentment in this season. 

Because it’s hard not to compare. Especially when it’s so quiet here. 

It’s hard not to want what ‘they’ have. 

Because the enemy is desperate to convince me that I don’t belong. 

So that’s why I need your help. 

Help me to appreciate this season. 

Help me to feel your presence. 

Help me to remember that I am not alone, not really. 

Help me to shift my focus to all the amazing things I have in my life. 

Help me to have a heart of gratitude. 

Help me to love this life just as you intended. 

Because it’s not about me. Nope. It’s about you. 

You should probably remind me of that too. A lot. 

Give me the knowledge of your will and the strength to carry that out. 

I’m putting a lot of emphasis on that last part. 

Because that’s where you really come in. 

(Because I don’t know if you know this, but I kind of like doing things my way.)

So, here goes nothing, right? 

Because here we are. Just the two of us, again. 

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.