Mother to only a dream


When I moved up to Dallas 7 years ago I knew my life would be very different. I was very close with all of my family and would spend every Sunday with them, every holiday would be spent with both sides of the family. It was great. Then I moved to Dallas, weekends and holidays looked very different. I remember one Mother’s Day, I went to church, then went back to my apartment made a sandwich and spent it feeling very lonely.  

I read an article yesterday that my friend shared and you can read it here. This article made me think back to that particular Sunday. Caleb was with my parents at that time and although I was a mother, that Sunday I had no one to celebrate with.  

Over the years I have made so many wonderful friends. Some that I would now consider family. I love them dearly. And over the years I have shared good times, bad times, achievements and personal struggles that they walk through. And one of them particularly is Mother’s Day.  

For my single friends, Valentines Day is labeled “Single Awareness” for those that are “relationally challenged”. And for most single people, Valentine’s Day is not a huge deal. Ok great, we don’t have a significant other. Who cares. But there are a few that are reminded on this day that they have no one to share this with. No one to remind them how loved & special they are. Because let’s face the facts, everyone needs to be reminded of that. Married or Single. 

Then there are other holidays, Thanksgiving, Christmas. Yet another reminder that while married folks spend holidays split between different sides of the family, those that are “relationally challenged” spend it either alone or with their parents.  

But then there is Mother’s Day. The dreaded reminder that not only are they not married, but they are not a mother. A mother to only a dream. A dream that with every passing year, seems less and less likely in the realm of reality.  

I know that I am not single. I’m married and have two children which by the way are freaking phenomenal. And I really have no right to write this post. But my heart hurts for my friends. I know that there is a burning desire for being loved, feeling special, carrying the title ‘wife’ and ‘mom’.  

I know that anything I say will just be dumb. Because I don’t get it. I don’t fully understand their pain and struggle.  

But sweet friends, I want you to know that you are incredibly loved. You are uniquely special. You are worthy of all of those desires you carry. Please don’t let your dreams die because time doesn’t seem to be on your side. You have to remember who God is. He is the author of time. He is the master creator. He’s love for you is so deep and so wide. He is working out every single detail of your life. I know that without a shadow of doubt, He will grant every single one of your desires. And I truly cannot wait to celebrate with you.  

I hope you know how much I love and pray for you, your spouse and your children! 

xoxo

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Jonathan


Spring break is over for most people. And while some people may have taken their kids to some amazing vacation getaway or perhaps a staycation which both sound lovely, Caleb went to stay with his grandparents in San Angelo. If you’ve never heard of San Angelo, I’ll let your imagination run wild. I love this town but others beg to differ.  

Anyways, with having a newborn and still trying to figure out our lives A.B. (after-baby) as much as I wanted to hang out with Caleb I knew we’d be no fun. Plus it’s hard to say no to my parents.  

My parents are missionaries and travel to Mexico what seems like every other week to work at a local church and orphanage. They’ve been doing this as long as I can remember. Growing up it was hard for me to understand their dedication. As an adult it frustrated me when things would be pushed to the back burner for missions. As kids of course we had to go with them to work. But once we grew up and had the option, we definitely opted out. Missions was not my calling. After all, I enjoyed my air conditioning and running water toilets. As shallow as that may sound.

My parents always encouraged us to go with them during their larger outreaches throughout the year but I never found the time or to be honest, I just never wanted to. But this spring break, Caleb went with them for 3 days to Mexico. And let me just add that they go to a border town in Mexico. And border towns are not exactly safe right now so naturally I had my reservations.  

When Caleb came back, I loved hearing his stories of what they did while at the orphanage. How he helped my dad with construction and cleaning. How they did arts & crafts with the kids and helped prepare the meals for everyone. But when he began to tell me about the stories of the children he met, my heart broke.  

Caleb began to tell me of a 5 year old boy that he met named Jonathan. Jonathan and his 4 brothers and sisters were abandoned by their parents. For quite some time they were left in their home to take care of themselves. Jonathan being the oldest had to feed and change his siblings. Then one evening the broiler caught fire and Jonathan had to gather all of his brothers and sisters and take them out of the house to safety. When people from the orphanage arrived, the children were filthy and had soiled diapers as they had ran out of their diaper supply, they were eating spoiled food because they had been left alone for so long the food began to rot.  

I couldn’t believe what Caleb was telling me. I tried to convince him that the 5 year old must have been the youngest child. That there was no way he was changing diapers and carrying his 1 year old brother/sister out of the burning home. I called my mom and she confirmed his story. When I hung up the phone with my mom, I cried. My heart breaks for Jonathan, his brothers and sisters. My heart breaks for all of the children in this world that have been abandoned, abused, broken hearted, left to fend for themselves.  

I held onto my babies for just a little bit longer this evening. Grateful that God has trusted us with their lives. But I also thanked God because He is a good, good father. There are so many children out there in this world with similar stories, abandoned by their parents. My prayer is that they would one day realize that God has never left them, never abandoned them, He loves them & cares for them. They are precious in His sight. They are righteous, sons and daughters of the Most High.  

I encourage you to say a prayer tonight for orphanages all over the world tonight. Say a prayer not only for the children that are there but also for the workers and volunteers of the orphanages. Say a prayer for the children that are at home by themselves because their parents have neglected them. And hug your babies a little longer tonight. 
xoxo

“Don’t reason away your faith.”


I love this quote by Christine Cane. I needed to be reminded of this this week, yes I know today is only Tuesday but it’s been one of those weeks already.

There are many days when I question what I’m doing. Or what God has planned for my life. It may be one of my bad mom moments and I began to think, am I really cut out for this? Or why on earth did you trust me enough with these beautiful babies? 

I love reminding myself of 2 Corinthians 5:7: Walk by faith not by sight.  

The message versions says 
“That’s why we live with such good cheer. You won’t see us drooping our heads or dragging our feet! Cramped conditions here don’t get us down. They only remind us of the spacious living conditions ahead. It’s what we trust in but don’t yet see that keeps us going. Do you suppose a few ruts in the road or rocks in the path are going to stop us? When the time comes, we’ll be plenty ready to exchange exile for homecoming.” ‭‭2 Corinthians‬ ‭5:6-8‬ ‭MSG‬‬

 
There are many days where I come across a few ruts or several. But I am so thankful that my future, who I am as a woman, friend, wife and mother is not determined by my circumstances or past failures. He has equipped me with everything that I could ever possibly need.  
There is no need to question yourself or God for that matter. There is no reason to rehash or go through the what ifs and what nots in life.  All it does is lead you down a road of frustration, anger, depression and discouragement. Put all of your fear, anxiety, frustration in Him.  Trust that the creator of the entire universe, knows what He is doing.  

Don’t reason away your faith today.  
xoxo

Safety. Trust. 


Safety & Trust. The two come hand in hand in.  If you don’t trust someone, you will never feel safe with them.  

This morning I woke up feeling defeated by stupid breastfeeding.  Consumed by thoughts of, “I’m a horrible mother if I give up.” But “you’re a horrible mother anyways because you can’t feed your baby.”  Let’s just say I have a whole new respect for breast feeding mamas.  You are my Heros! 

As I lay the baby down, I began to pray and ask God for help.  What should I do?  Then I open the Bible to this verse, 

“I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress; My God, in Him I will trust.””

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭91:2

Psalms 91 has to be my favorite chapter of the entire bible but I love that this spoke to me this morning.  It may not be directly related to my breastfeeding break down.  But my entire relationship with the Lord.

This morning I’m reminded that I’m safe. My children are safe.  God is my refugee, my deliverer, my protector, my provider, my comforter, my peace, my joy, my everything.  Anything that I may need today, God is.  I lack nothing.  

Happy Wednesday friends! 

xoxo

Lots of unknowns

I have a huge confession to make. And please, no judgement. But I am…….a CONTROL FREAK!!! Whew, there I said it. First step to recovery is admitting your faults correct? 
Every time I am in the passenger seat, with anyone driving, I am constantly pressing my make believe break. Drives my husband bananas! I am a horrible delegator. I would rather just do everything myself, even if it stresses me out and leaves me with zero sleep. It’s done, my way. I’m a planner. I need to know when we are doing it, how we are doing it, what’s it going to look like. There is absolutely nothing worse in my mind, then not knowing. Not knowing means, I’m not in control of it. And that to me, SUCKS!!

 
Well, here am I in the biggest season of the “Unknown” that I have ever been in, ever in life. And I am secretly pooping my pants. (Trying to keep it rated G but my mind is saying every rated R word). When my husband and I heard the news about our sweet baby, there were so many different emotions to process. Men & women obviously process differently so I can only speak for myself but once I got over the initial shock, I began to thank God for this child. Being told that you couldn’t have any more and getting pregnant was the best miracle ever! Then being told, well you have a 75% chance you’ll miscarry before the second trimester and being now 33 weeks pregnant is another miracle! So yes, there are so many things that I am grateful for! 

 
But let me let you in on a little bit of transparency here: I am scared poopless! (Once again, keeping it G rated) Not only are my children going to be 11 years apart, and we are basically starting completely over! Heck, when registering for the baby so many things have changed! A formula Keurig for goodness sake? Sheesh! Not to mention, my 11 year old is discovering girls and soon going through that stage of life. So on one hand we’ll be talking about the birds & bees to one kid while trying to potty train another! Ugh. 

 
But now, we are treading even more foreign waters. Are the doctors correct? Will Xander have a disability? What will that look like? What will that demand of us as parents? How will that change our lives? Can he go to daycare? Will I need to stay home and quit my job? Will he be able to crawl, sit up?

 
For someone who is a recovering control freak like me, these questions keep me up at night. In fact, they give me a little, or lot of anxiety. I need answers! And I need them now!! I need to plan! I need to know what to do to prepare!

 
It doesn’t work that way, does it? I hope my fellow control freaks weren’t planning on reading this blog to find answers on how to let go and fully trust God. Because I don’t have anything for you. NOPE. No answers. I have nothing.

 
I wish I could tell you it was easy to let go and let God. But it’s not. I have to remind myself about a million times a day that “His thoughts are higher than our thoughts” (Isaiah 55:9). And that He cares and provides for the birds, am I not more valuable to him than the birds? (Matthew 6:26). I know that whatever God has in store for me and my family, God has perfectly woven it all together from the very beginning to the very end. That He is not surprised by the doctor’s reports or my feelings. And that even before I was here on this earth, He fully equipped me to be a mother to Caleb and Xander (and maybe another one in the future).

 
If you are walking through something, control freak or not, I hope that this encourages you just a tiny bit. We are in this together.

xoxo

 

 

well hello, 2017


It’s about that time where goals and resolutions are being set in hopes to keep them for more than a month. Well maybe that’s just me, but year after year I set the same goals for myself, you know the typical: lose weight, payoff debt, save money. And normally by the end of January, my diet has become the “see-food diet” and the budget has gone out the window.

This year, my husband and I sat down after dinner one night and we came up with a list of goals that didn’t seem to be unachievable. However, the next morning I woke up with great expectation for 2017. I started thinking about a post that I wrote earlier in the year about the difference between mercy and grace. If you didn’t get a chance to read it, you can here.

This got me thinking, am I really believing for Gods very best in 2017 or am I just expecting to get by and settling for goals that can be achievable by our own means?

1 Corinthians 2:9 says, “No mind has imagined what God has prepared for those who love him.” 

I started thinking about the story of Simon Peter when he went out to fish and caught nothing. But Jesus took him on the boat the next morning and said let’s try one more time. Jesus didn’t just provide a handful of fish to Simon Peter. He gave him 2 boats full! More than Simon Peter ever imagined!

What about the story of the hungry crowd that gathered to hear Jesus preach? They were starving but all the disciples had was 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish. Jesus multiplied the food and the crowd ate until they were satisfied. But the bible says, not only did he provide enough food for 5000 people to eat but there was 12 baskets left over!

Why is it that when we ask God for something like a new job, we don’t ask God for a perfect job that fits our personality and our families needs, that will free us from our debt and provide more than enough and give us the ability to be generous and bless others? Or instead of simply saying, I want to lose weight saying Lord I have great expectations to regain my health this year, that I will be full of energy for my children and spouse, that I will not be a victim of any disease but I have complete healing over my entire body?

The truth is, I am such a victim of just asking God for the bare minimum. But 2017 is going to be so different for me. I am expecting nothing but God’s goodness and unimaginable favor over my life, my husband, my children and for you my friend. I truly pray that God will blow your mind with His favor. And I expect to hear great things that He has done for you in 2017!

Happy New Year my lovelies!

xoxo

Unmerited Favor

Last night during our First Wednesday service, Bishop Tony Miller was speaking on the difference between Mercy & Grace. A lot of Christians confuse the two and think they are one in the same. But on the contrary they are completely different.

Mercy. Bishop Miller compared Gods mercy to a judicial court. When you have committed a crime, you go to the court asking for mercy. Why? Because you know that you are guilty but you want the judge, court to have mercy on you & your punishment. However, God is so good, that He tells us that we are not guilty even before we have committed the crime! Lamentations 3:3 says that He gives us new mercies every morning. God knew that before we would even wake up and make it to the bathroom we weren’t going to get everything just right. So God had goodness & mercy waiting for you every single morning.  I don’t know about you but that is good news!!

Grace. Mercy says I’m not going to get what I deserve. Grace says I’m going to give you far more than you ever deserve. Grace is unmerited, undeserving, unworthy favor. Grace is when you get a job not because you deserve it, or have the qualifications for it but simply because God says so. Grace is when you get that house not because you qualified for it or had the down payment for it but because God said it was yours! His Grace was and is sufficient enough!

As Bishop Miller was talking about the two, I received this picture from our lovely photographer, Meshali Mitchell.

VC4A9881

This picture is worth a million bucks. And means the world to me. She couldn’t have sent it to me at a more perfect time. What a sweet, sweet reminder of Gods Mercy & Grace.

Mercy, because if you only knew half of what Courtney and I have been through. Hell & back I tell you. In fact, till this day we are still having to pay for some of those actions that we made some years ago. Many actions that we are not proud of. But they were our decisions. So thank God for His mercy that He has over our lives!

Grace, because we found love again in each other. We were joined together as a family. And then to see our son so happy on this special day. We don’t deserve him! We aren’t the best parents, and half the time we don’t know what we are doing! We did nothing to deserve such a wonderful, remarkable, smart, loving, caring little boy. But He chose us as his parents. And that is unmerited favor.

Thank you for the sweet reminder Meshali. May you always, always be highly favored with Gods goodness!

Welcome 2016!

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.” – C.S. Lewis

I can’t believe it. It’s January 1, 2016. Where has the time flown by. Why does it seem that every year seems to pass by faster and faster? Or it that our lives get busier and busier? And we lose sight of the little things or things that matter the most.

Going into the new year, my prayer is that I will live my life with purpose and intention. Here are just a few thoughts I wrote down…

Pray – Always.

Dream Big.

Trust God.

Make family a priority.

Don’t forget to make that phone call or send out that text message, it may be your last opportunity.

Make yourself a priority.

Set goals.

Celebrate small wins.

Be intentional.

Be kind to others.

Say, “I love you.”

Give to others.

Travel.

Learn something new.

Laugh.

Hold onto your children.

Embrace the moments.

Dance with the music in your head, it’s ok if people stare.

Light the candles.

Use the fancy dishes.

Embrace the waiting.

Be creative.

Don’t compare yourself to others. God made you, you.

Enjoy Gods creativity (outdoors).

Eat dinner at the table with your family.

Extend grace to others.

Be adventurous.

Love, love hard.

Happy New Year my friends! Be blessed abundantly this year!!

xoxo – Jaton

be still

be still

I went home this weekend to see my mama.  She just had surgery and although I knew she was doing good, I needed to see her with my own eyes.  And yes, she is doing good.  Thank you Jesus!

I always love going home to the ‘country’ to get away from the busy life of the metroplex every once in a while.  This particular trip was different in the sense that I was only home for 2 days but I had so much to do like make sure mama was ok, cook for dad, wash clothes, run some errands, find someone to make my wedding dress plus I had to make time to see all of my family.

I really felt the need to wake up early and take a stroll every morning.  And it was the best decision that I made that weekend.  During my morning walk, God reminded me that it was time for me to be still.  I was reminded that my life is so busy and although I may work for the church that doesn’t mean that I am any more spiritual than the next person.  Yes I pray and read the bible but rarely do I get alone time and allow God to just love on me.

I know life can be hectic, there is work, schedules, kids, meetings, and more meetings but sometimes, we just need to be still.  And let God love on us.

“God is our protection and our strength.

He always helps in times of trouble.  

So we will not be afraid even if the earth shakes, or the 

mountains fall into the sea, or even if the 

oceans roar and foam, or the mountains 

shake at the sea….

….God says, “Be still and know that I am God.

I will be praised in all the nations; 

I will be praised throughout the earth.

The Lord All-Powerful is with us;

the God of Jacob is our defender.”

excerpt from Psalms 46 (Message version)