Monday, April 28, 2014

I'm Not Super Mom!

I have no cape. No wand or special weapon. No mask or fun cute leggings and boots. Tragic, I know! Most days I'm doing well to be bathed and dressed by lunchtime. I yell at my kids and I hug close and seek forgiveness often. I have drawers filled with fun crafty goodness that has never been used and baby books begging to be filled with memories quickly growing dim. There are enough Cheerios in between the couch cushions to feed a small army in spite of my best intentions to enforce the "no food in the living room," rule and I promise the laundry pile has simply tripled in size overnight. Is there a laundry fairy somewhere? Anywhere? I am often rushing out the door after performing a search and rescue expedition for my phone, my keys, someone's shoes, a special lovey or a water bottle. There are days where fatigue grabs hold and won't let go. Sleep hangs on tight as I rage the against the sun and beg for just five. More. Minutes. No,  I am most certainly NOT Super Mom!

There was a day where admitting that I don't have it all together would have been so difficult for me. I mean who wants to let their mess loose for all to see? I didn't. But, as I started talking to my friends, I realized I wasn't the only one who struggled with bathing regularly, going to bed at a decent hour, and keeping my temper at bay. I wasn't alone! You see, somewhere  along the way, in our media saturated lives, we have accepted this idea that good moms complete ridiculous amounts of Pinterest projects, have their kids in fifteen extra curricular activities (and balance it all superbly), let their kids watch just an hour of TV per week (or no TV at all), feed their kids only organic, raw, grass-fed, God-made food, and can keep a perfect house with children underfoot. Oh and she has a blog that brings in income for the family and has morphed into a book, a vibrant and consistent quiet time, is a model church member, Crossfit warrior, and an outstanding citizen of the community. Who IS this person?

It is easy to compare ourselves to these impossible standards. We often forget that what we see on facebook, twitter, and blogs is only a glimpse of that person. We only see what that person is allowing us to see. 
Whether you are a Pinterest project queen or if you wouldn't know what mod podge was if it walked up and slapped you in the face... Whether you have 1 kid or10... Whether you feed your kids paleo or frozen chicken nuggets - YOU, my sweet friend, are beautiful and dearly loved by a most awesome God. Other people's opinions and accomplishments do not define you. Your failures and successes do not define you. 

If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, you have been bought with a price. Redeemed. Forgiven. I love this passage in the book, "Because He Loves Me," by Elyse Fitzpatrick: 

"Here's the reality of the great exchange: our sinful record became his, and he suffered the punishment we deserved. But that's not all he has done. If it were, that would be a great blessing, indeed. To stand innocent - to be back where our first parents were in the garden - would certainly be wondrous. But he hasn't left us there where Adam began. No, through the Second Adam (Jesus), he has done even more than even more for us; he has justified us. As you probably know, this concept of the great exchange is often referred to as justification. I've heard the word justified defined as "just as if I'd never sinned." And while that's true as far as it goes, it doesn't go far enough. Not only do we have a clean slate as Adam did, we've got something written on that slate that is so amazing I can scarcely believe it: Jesus' perfect record has become ours. Because God has accredited or imputed Jesus' perfect obedience to you, when God looks upon you, he sees you as a person who:
- always does the things that are pleasing to him;
- is so focused on accomplishing his will and work that doing so is your daily food;
- doesn't seek your own will but seeks his will instead;
- doesn't seek to receive glory (praise, respect, worship) from others;
- has always kept all of his commandments;
- lives in such a way that your life brings holiness to others;
- loves others and lays down your life on a consistent basis;
- lives in such a way that the people around you know that you love your heavely     Father more than anything else; 
- seeks to obey every command so that righteousness will be fulfilled.

In God's opinion (the only one that matters!) that's your record today."

WOW! Friends! That's incredible! When we compare ourselves to others and wallow in our own perceived shortcomings, we will ALWAYS face condemnation. This comes from the enemy who prowls like a roaring lion. When we are resting on the promises of God, we can be assured that, apart from Christ, we really are a mess, but it doesn't end there. Romans chapter 10 reminds us that, "no one is righteous, no not one," but because of the blood of Christ, when God looks at us, he doesn't see our mess. He sees JESUS. What a miraculous and undeserved gift! It's time to lay aside the guilt and the pressure we put on ourselves to be "perfect," and realize that we are dearly loved by a perfect Savior. Without him we would be lost and headed for eternity in hell. Receive the gift of Christ's perfect record and start walking in the freedom of Christ! This doesn't excuse us from confessing our sin and striving to be Christlike in all areas of our lives (including our walk with the Lord, marriage, motherhood, taking care of our bodies, etc.), mind you, but it frees us up to make mistakes, seek forgiveness, repent, and move forward without being crushed under the weight of guilt and condemnation. It frees us up to follow the unique path that God has set before each person individually without feeling pressured to imitate others. 

Go forth into the world, warrior mamas! As you change diapers, cook meals, struggle to be calm and patient and find yourself caught up in the day to day monotony that can sometimes ensue, may you take time to seek the Lord through prayer and the reading of His word. Take time to grow in knowledge and pray for wisdom in how to apply what you are learning. Find your rest and your confidence in HIM who died for you. I pray that each of you leave this page feeling encouraged, refreshed, and utterly in awe of what Jesus accomplished through his death on the cross. Claim your inheritance and walk in freedom, sister! You are loved! 

P.S. If you would like to buy a copy of the book quoted above, you can find it HERE. I highly recommend it!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Stained Glass Windows

It has certainly been awhile. I have been the most inconsistent of bloggers and am surprised I still have visitors! Yet, here I am. I have been talking to God for quite awhile and I have felt a strong calling to write. But I haven't, for whatever reasons. Time. Kids. Fear. Lack of inspiration. But those are just excuses. I am a writer. And I have longed to pour my heart out on this blog but have refrained for fear of being found out. You see, I want to be real and transparent, and often times I am. However, sometimes I hide behind the fear that someone is going to find out I am royally messed up and I will lose any credit I had. The truth is, I AM messed up. Life is messy. That was the whole reason for the name of the blog - This Beautiful Mess. I want this to be a place where I can be transparent and messy. A place where I can hopefully be an example of how much God loves messes. How His love redeems the broken. How He can enable us to give thanks in all situations. So without further adieu, I give you some transparency:

The beginning of June represented a very tough time in our lives. A little over two years ago our marriage was as weathered and worn as an old tent and was in dire need of some repair. As a result of some unforeseen and painful events, we stepped away from youth ministry which was as much for the students as it was for us. As I look back on that season of painful and heart wrenching trials, I am astounded. We humans are so wretched and sin-steeped and yet God has reached down into our pitiful lives and has allowed us to be used by Him. It's astounding because He does. Not. Need us. He chooses to use us. And, He chooses to allow us to walk through some painfully intense things because He desires to mold us into something lovely. 

I can honestly say that I am thankful for the pain we have walked through because I know that had we not had a wake-up call, things would have gotten worse. But God allowed the tough to happen. He allowed the pain and the hurt and the questions to draw us closer to Him. To wake us up to the fact that little of what we were doing in His name was actually being passionately carried out for HIM. We were going through the motions but we were empty, hurting, tired and calloused on the inside. By the grace of God there WAS fruit in our ministry but It was only because of the power of Christ. Thankfully He protected most of the students from seeing exactly what a train wreck their youth pastor and wife were because at that point I'm not sure we would have been a display of how to be train wrecks for Jesus. We would have just dragged them down in a fiery  disaster. I can honestly say that even in the midst  of the hurt and ache of that time I did give thanks in my suffering, because I knew that trial was giving us a second chance. A do-over if you will. And I want to do our do-over well. 

The Navy was not in my personal plans, as I had boldly told God I could never be a military wife (or work a boring 9-5 job, be a stay at home mom, be a pastor's wife, homeschool my children...check, check, check, check, check, and check) but  I can now reflect on the past two years and know with complete confidence that we are exactly where we should be. I think our hearts were being called away from youth ministry for awhile at that point but I never imagined the road we would go down. Had it not been for said trials, we would be missing out on some amazing blessings. I know our experiences will help and are helping my husband to be a better chaplain because he knows what a broken marriage looks like and how God can redeem the most despicable of messes. So as I reflect, I give thanks because I know God has it all in His hands. He is painting a beautiful masterpiece that I can't interpret yet but the colors are bold and brave and I want to walk through what He has for me boldly and bravely and ALIVE! Awake in His glory and goodness. I am thankful. God is good. ALL the time. He is truly binding up the heart of this broken girl and I rejoice! For me, that point two years ago no longer represents heartache, pain, and uncertainty, but rather, perseverance, victory, and triumph. What Satan meant for harm, God graciously turned it around for good. Praise Him!

I once wrote a lyric that never transformed into a song. But the lyric was "make me a stained glass window to shine your glory through." And isn't that what we are? We are broken in sin and He picks us up, colors us beautiful and puts us back together, and we are still a mess, sinners that we are, but we are lovely. And though broken, we are put back together in a way that shows His glory and grace and love. Stained glass windows. Broken but purposefully pieced back together in a way that shines for Him. That's what I want to be! I am so thankful I have had a couple dear friends who have walked and are walking through this with me as I swing like a pendulum, grasping for Jesus on this journey. I feel the pendulum slowing and steadying and I know it's going  to be okay. Not necessarily always easier but definitely doable because of Christ in me. I know there are still choppy waters to navigate and I won't always travel them in a stellar way, but I know God works all things for good and I can see it unfolding. We have a long way to go but we have already come so far. I have my best friend back and am more in love than ever. I feel the healing burning me up and working. Piece by piece God is putting me and my best friend back together in a new and more beautiful way.

I am grateful for each of you who read my blog and I pray that you will each diligently set about guarding your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. Satan really does prowl like a roaring lion seeking to devour. Cling to the Lord, follow hard after HIM, and be shrewd as you keep watch for the enemy. You are loved, my fellow messes! As an amazing blogger, Ann Voskamp says, "All is grace." Thank you, Jesus! Amen.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

Update Part One (I'm Baaack!)

Well, I am back. Who knows for how long but here I am. I am going to post a series of updates in the next few days so bear with me. The last time I posted was nearly a year ago - yikes! Sorry about that. It has been a whirlwind of a year! T completed ODS (Officer Development School) and went straight to Chaplain School for 7 weeks in South Carolina. We actually got to visit him for 10 days (12 if you count traveling - I don't) and that was really fun. We were nothing but a big fat distraction but I have a feeling he didn't mind much! I thought I would share a few pics from that trip:

They were SO excited to see daddy!

Drama Mama  almost cried, she was so happy :)

Daddy reunited with The Bubs :)

Tater Tot had to show daddy his latest Lego creation

Daddy in his NWU's with The Bubs :)

With the whole gang

We got to go to the Columbia Zoo and had a blast!

Daddy even got to go with us once!

The girls with their daddy

Tater Tot on a ropes course with daddy

While in SC I got to see my best friend!

The girls aying goodbye to daddy :(

The boys :(

All in all we had a wonderful time and were so thankful to be able to visit him in the middle of school. What a blessing! Okay, this is just the beginning of our update. Stay tuned for more!

Sunday, February 26, 2012


Well, we are approaching the 8 week mark of my sweet husband's training as a Navy Chaplain. The first couple weeks without him were a Scary? Call it what you will but it wasn't pretty. It is amazing how such small things can make a person's absence so real. A car door that wont open on a snowy Sunday morning, a screaming preschooler in the middle of Chuck E. Cheese, children vomiting and waking up 15 times in the middle of the night with no one to tag team with. I can tell you, I have a whole new respect for single mothers. Being both mommy and daddy is HARD. AND, I don't even have a job outside the home! That in itself is a blessing. I cannot imagine trying to keep up with anymore than I have right now. So, props to all of you sweet single mamas trying to juggle all of your responsibilities. You are in my prayers, believe you me! Listen to me whine and it's not even that long of a separation! Just 12 weeks...nothing compared to how deployment will be, or so I hear... Ok. Moving on! In all honesty, it hasn't been so bad and the things I am learning are priceless and for those lessons, I am grateful. It helps to know that there are many others in similar or more difficult situations. I am looking forward to walking alongside others as we face similar challenges in the future. 

Anywho, we have finally settled into a groove of sorts. I was very fortunate to be able to go see my sweet chaps graduate from ODS (Officer Development School, for all of you who are military-lingo-illiterate - I don't even know what people are saying half the time! Ha!). Here are a few pictures from our trip. Only the Bubs got to go with me. Me and four kids on a plane...I AM crazy, but not that crazy. Yet ;) I am sure I will attempt it eventually. This mama likes to go and do things. Okay, pics:

Big Daddy is, well, the tallest one you see :)

There he is again. He is the one facing the left side of the screen.

Looking so somber. The third one back on the first row. 

In the airport, waiting to say goodbye and go on our seperate flights:
Me to Kentucky and the hubby was off to chaplain school in SC.

Future shipmate?

We had a wonderful time! So proud of this wonderful man of mine!

Also, my Bible reading is going well, I just have not taken time to post much. Hopefully I will get some recent "Bible in 90 Days" posts up soon. I have been feeling very icky for several months and was recently diagnosed with a chronic vitamin D deficiency and Epstein-Barr virus. Google these things to your heart's content if you'd like. I don't want to go into all the details because there's more good going on in my life than bad or uncomfortable. Basically I have a couple things working against my immune system, and, coupled with the births of 4 babies over the past few years, I am feeling pretty achy and fatigued along with other annoying and frustrating symptoms.  However, God has led me to some great friends who are battling similar issues although not identical, and have been a great source of encouragement. He is teaching me so much about who I am and who I need to be and so much about Himself as my Daddy in Heaven. I praise Him that it is something so simple and there is a solution! I will still have good and bad days but for the most part, within a year or two I should be feeling more like my vibrant, care-free self, and folks, that's excellent news! So enough about all that. 

The bubs is almost FIVE months old! He's going to be graduating high school before I can blink my eyes. Okay, I exaggerate much, but people constantly say things like, "Blink and you will miss it." Or, cherish every moment (EVERY moment? Really?). Makes me nervous that I am going to miss out on something really special, ya know? Or guilty that I am not spending ever single moment in some parenting-induced state of euphoria. I LOVE being a mommy and maybe one day I will look back and say, "you know? I really miss those moments when my two-year old would stick her hands in her dirty diaper and wipe it on the wall and burning dinner while I clean it up. I wish I could live those moments over and over and over." Maybe. People also say really encouraging things like, "Wait til they're teenagers! You'll wish you had toddlers again!" Thanks. Anyway, I digress...

The bubs is nearly five months old, can flip from back to belly, is ALL smiles nearly all the time, and is the sweetest baby boy. We are enjoying him so much! Wiggle worm is 2.5 and is sassy, smart, and so very funny. And she knows it! She is a joy and a challenge and I wouldn't change her one bit. Drama Mama is 4.5 and is still, well, dramatic but she is growing up and turning into such a lovely little girl. She loves to help. Help cook, help with the baby, help clean. She is my helper. She is super smart and loves doing school. We do butt heads because she is kinda stubborn but I think she comes by that honestly. Ahem. Tater tot is 6.5 and loves all things lego. Don't tell him, but we are seriously contemplating getting season passes to legoland when we move to So Cal. He will flip out! He is really doing well reading and he loves math. He is so silly and makes me smile. I love all my babies and I will never be the same because of them. In more ways than one...snicker snicker ;).

Well, I hope you have thoroughly enjoyed this update. Gonna go now. We just happen to be in South Carolina visiting Big Daddy T at chaplain school. More on THAT later!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Nine Years

Nine years ago today I said, "I do," to my best friend and partner in crime. Granted, nine years is not a long time in the grand scheme of, say, 50 years, but folks, a lot has happened in nine years! We have ministered in two different churches in two VERY different states, given life (with God's help) to four beautiful children, and now we find ourselves on this new journey toward military life. It's been a wild ride with many ups and downs but I can honestly say that there is no one else I would rather go through this life with than my husband. 

I am thankful for my wonderful man for so many reasons. Here are a few:

He loves the Lord.

He loves God's word.

He loves people.

He is genuine.

He messes up and isn't afraid to admit it.

He says, "I'm sorry." And means it.

He loves me for who I am, even the messy parts!

He plays tea party with our daughters.

His sense of humor keeps our marriage very entertaining. I can't help but laugh at him even when I am annoyed to no end :)

I can hear him talking to our children about Jesus and God and answering their sweet questions. It makes my heart just soar that they have a daddy who is sharing His love for the Lord with them. 

He is genuine.

He is humble.

He is an amazing counselor.

He appreciates my cooking :)

I love how my head fits right in the indentation in his chest and I can hear his heart beat.

I love how he rests his chin on my head when he hugs me.

He can sing - and I LOVE singing with my hubby!

He is honest.

He works hard for our family and for me to be able to stay home. 

He is the most handsome man I've ever known.

He has given countless "horsey" rides to our children even when his knees were hurting.

He likes to clean :)

He is a wonderful preacher/teacher.

He is resilient. Even in his failures, I've watched him rise above and learn from them - and come out better.

He watches chick flicks unashamedly.

I make him laugh. 

We often know what the other is going to say before they say it.

He is my best friend and we have fun together. I love him more than I ever thought was possible. Happy Anniversay, honey - Love you!