Overwhelmed

Have you ever felt like your entire world was crashing down? As if one tiny drop of rain landing gently on your head would set off an entire Avalanche of chaos and emotions? Has that ever happened to you? I know it has me! One of my all time favorite quotes is by Jonathan Sofran Foer and it goes, “sometimes I can hear my bones straining from all the lives I’m not living.” It truly captures all of the madness going on inside of me.

What does it mean to be overwhelmed? Webster defines it as: 1. Bury or drown in a huge mass 2. Defeat completely 3. Give too much of a thing to (someone) inundate.

We as mom’s tend to do this to ourselves; but it’s really required of us. We take and take and take on the burdens of others and seldom let them return the favor. And sadly, for some reason, I have overheard my dear friends utter the word “overwhelmed” one too many times over the last several weeks.

“Have you not known? Have you not heard? The everlasting God, the LORD, The Creator of the ends of the earth, Neither faints nor is weary. His understanding is unsearchable.” (Isaiah‬ ‭40‬:‭28‬ NKJV)

Have you not heard? Life is hard! I get it, believe me, I get it. My little family and I have had the craziest and most unexpected last 6 months of our lives. It’s like I said “God, I’m ready. I’ll be obedient in this!” And He replied, “Alright, here goes! I hope you’re ready!” One of the most common things that I hear on a regular basis from people is, “I don’t know how you do it!” But the fact of the matter is that I don’t! I don’t do it at all!!! I alone do not have the strength, courage or endurance to overcome but one single second of my life and the blessings that accompany it!

“He does not faint or grow weary” in Isaiah 40:28 we are being told to stop and then to “LOOK! LISTEN! BELIEVE!” We have a Father that is everlasting! He created the universe, He created the Earth and everything in it, and He created YOU! HE DOES NOT GROW WEARY! As believers we must, I repeat, we must believe this! He will not put a path in front of us that is too much too handle. I know at times it will feel that way but believe me, friends, He won’t. But on that same note, as I’ve said time and time again, Our Father does not intend for us to do this all alone. He wants all of His children to work together for the good of His kingdom. And that is what your life is… A gift to His perfect kingdom! So friends, fellow mothers, do not be afraid to reach out a helping hand if you feel so led and also do not be afraid to ask for help in this same manner from the people God has blessed you with. I can assure you that the Holy Spirit knows exactly what you need and with which vehicle to provide this to you. But remember that it may not always appear in the way that we expect. God has a funny sense of humor like that!

As you go into this upcoming week, let this be the first thing that you ask for when you wake up in the morning: Pray for God’s strength, Jesus’ indescribable peace and for the Holy Spirit’s guidance. Ask for this until seeking Him becomes second nature. This, my friends, is how I can do it. Give it all to Him and be overwhelmed with God’s goodness!

From the end of the earth I will cry to You, When my heart is overwhelmed; Lead me to the rock that is higher than I. (‭Psalms‬ ‭61‬:‭2‬ NKJV)

All the single ladies

I started going to church on Saturday nights a few years ago. I realized that it was the most genius way to get showered and dressed only once per weekend and stay in pajamas the next day. So, as I was singing loudly and obnoxiously through the worship set tonight, I had some sort of an epiphany. Something I already knew and speak of to others; but it was something that really sank deep into my heart seemingly for the first time. As I stood there belting out the lyrics to Hillsong United’s “Sinking Deep” I found myself feeling more and more like a fraud.

Last week I heard a statistic that more than 50% of adults are now single. Although I did zero fact checking on that number, it shocked me and I believe it. That number seems to be pretty much in line with the numbers of the Motherhood small group that I attend, with me being one of the single ones. One of the side notes that the radio DJ added to the statistic was the large number of adults simply choosing to be single as a way of life and never looking to marry. Whilst I understand the comfort and freedom that comes from doing what I want, when I want and having nobody to answer to, I think that’s mostly bull. God created us for relationships; relationship with a partner, our families, our children and our friends. You can find happiness in that life for sure but true joy cannot be reached without people. God did not create us to go through life alone. We all have different strengths and weaknesses. We are supposed to pour our gifts onto others and at the same time allow others to pour into our lives. But in talking to most of my single friends (whether they’ve been married in the past or not, have children or not) the most common thing weighing on them is finding the right man to spend the rest of their lives with. Don’t we all want that happy ending?

“I’m wide awake, drawing close, stirred by grace And all my heart is Yours”

Is it? Is ALL my heart His? I’ve heard this song a few dozen times and sang along with my arms stretched wide. But is it His? Or am I putting all this stuff that I want or that I think I deserve for Him to give me above having Him in my heart and a relationship with Him?

“Your face is all I seek, you are my everything.”

Your face is all I seek. All I seek. Is it? No. The answer is no. It’s not. You are my everything. My everything? I realized that was also another big no. I’d like to tell myself that both of those statements are true but let’s be real…. the truth is that I get SO hung up on my struggles, wants and the things that I feel I’m entitled to that I seek those things first. And not just wants but mine and my children’s needs also. I put those things first and THEN I reach out to God, even though He’s always provided for us and never once let us down. I try my hardest and when I fail then I turn to Him. God tells us to seek FIRST His kingdom and all of these things will be given to us, not the other way around.

“Jesus Christ, You are my one desire”

Man. That one stung. MY ONE DESIRE.

Before I continue I should probably state my position on singlehood. I’ve been divorced for 3.5 years. I’m co-parenting two of the most handsome boys on earth with their father and fostering two others on my own. That makes FOUR children. I am perfectly content in my current situation. I love coming home, jumping into pajamas and having PB&Js for dinner if that’s what I feel like we should do that day. In fact, I couldn’t even fathom the idea of having some other person as part of my routine messing up my groove right now.

As I sang those lyrics “my one desire” I realized that I wasn’t being honest. I want so much more. So as I desire so much more, am I then putting this person and my desires with this person above God? As I pray to God for His will to be done, for His guidance and direction am I ignoring His instructions until I get what it is that I think I want?

The truth is that I’m not ready and God knows this. As I sit here waiting so impatiently, God is working on my heart. I’ve tried the wife thing before. And I was ok at it then but mostly really immature and my temper was out of control. I started too young and before I was ready. When I do this again I want to be a great wife. Not just a good one. I need more patience. I need more understanding. I need to be able to hand the reigns over to that man and let him be the strong, nurturing, God-fearing man that I say that I want to lead my family. God is really working on my control issues right now and I know that I wouldn’t be ready to do that now. Or maybe it’s the opposite of that? Maybe sometimes I’m so tired that I want my knight in shining armor show up and rescue me? But again, if someone “rescued” me now (I don’t need rescuing….) will I then learn to lean on that person and forget to give God all the glory He deserves?

This week God has shown me that He really is all that I need. He has shown me that when I’m hurting the most, to cover that pain in His love. His perfect love. This week I learned that God really is my provider and He will always come through and give us what we need even when it seems impossible. He did the impossible for us this week. This week I learned that God will send us the people we need to fill those areas where we need them and that in turn He will send us to the people that need us.

And so I’ve decided to set out on a journey for God to be all that I seek. For God to be my everything. And for Him to be my ONE desire.

“All fear removed, I breathe You in, I lean into Your love, oh your love”

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you. ~Matthew‬ ‭6‬:‭33‬ NKJV

Blank Check

I’m sure you’ve heard the saying regarding veterans. The one about writing a blank check payable to the United States of America up to and including your life.

When you decide to join the military, especially during wartime, you are basically saying that you are willing to die for your country. It doesn’t matter if you are joining to be a cook or if you are joining to be a sniper. It is just something you understand is a possibility when you make this decision. I previously mentioned that during my years in the Marine Corps there were no major conflicts. The Iraq war did start at the end of my time, but I had spent so much time away from my original trade that I was no longer of use without any additional training in that field. I remember once when a fellow MSG (Marine Security Guard) at my post in Bamako got mad and stormed out of a meeting when he felt that I had received two “unearned” combat leave days after spending a week in Skopje, Macedonia. I had gone there to support the State Department in guarding then Secretary Of State Colin Powell and his wife while they were there for peace talks during the Insurgency in the Republic of Macedonia.

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A Voice

I swore into the Marine Corps on my 17th birthday in 1997. Two months and 7 days later (a week after I graduated high school early) I was boarding my 3rd plane ever, heading to Parris Island, to stand on the yellow footprints. I spent approximately 6 years serving in the Marine Corps. I got out in August of 2003. Therefore, I served pretty much right smack in the middle of any wars or conflicts. I also spent pretty much spent my entire time overseas. I always figured that I’d let the government pay me to travel and see the world. The first half of my time (after training and schools) I spent in Okinawa, Japan. The second half I was serving as a Marine Security Guard in Sofia, Bulgaria and then Bamako, Mali.

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Obedience

Sometimes He speaks so loudly that it stops you in your tracks. It shakes all of your insides. His voice is so pronounced that it’s all but an outwardly audible voice. Sometimes I look around to see if the people standing around me heard it, but of course they didn’t. It was directed at me. This happened to me several weeks ago.

I’ve been a believer my entire life. My parents baptized me as a young infant, we went to church every Sunday and recited our prayers every night. I’ve never once in my life doubted His existence. I’ve never once had a period of rebellion in my beliefs. I, however, have failed to listen to that loud, striking voice (usually a warning) more times than I can remember. My failure to obey has always got me into a big amount of trouble. I heard this voice with every step that I took walking up the aisle to marry my ex-husband, and the hurt and pain that came with that choice lasted 8 years directly and I still deal with the scars indirectly. Most recently I heard this voice 3 weeks ago. It was so loud that I actually hit the brakes while I was driving. I had been tossing around an idea and had made a choice, He was telling me it was the wrong choice. I didn’t listen. And while the consequences of this choice didn’t last but a couple of anxiety and worry filled weeks, I think it finally sunk in that while He will forgive us and stand by us when we make mistakes, immediate obedience is so much more rewarding (and less painful!).

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“Is there bacon in Heaven?”

This is how the slightly morbid, sometimes pleasant but mostly awkward discussion about “life after death” started with my 4 year old son.

(Before I begin, let me preface by saying that I am not a theologian and am in no way, shape or form qualified to have a discussion regarding this topic with even my 4 year old son)

“I’m not sure, kid”

“I love bacon”

“So do I, kiddo. And so I’m not sure we’d be forced to spend an eternity without access to the pure joy that is bacon”

“Huh, mommy?”

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