Tonight you close the chapter on 2017. Tomorrow you will wake up to a new day....a new year.....a new chapter. Be proud of what you accomplished this year. You have learned about the strengths that you didn't know you had. You have seen how God used your weaknesses to grow your faith in Him. You have provided a home and a stable support system for your children in the midst of chaos and brokenness. You have smiled through the pain and not given up...even when you really wanted to.
2018 will be a year of more growth and new opportunities. Your heart will continue to heal. It's a long process and there will be setbacks. There will be days when you will feel peace and joy overflowing. Then there will be days when the raw pain will resurface and you will find yourself struggling to make it through the day. Don't beat yourself up for having bad days. You lost a lot in 2017 and there is no quick fix to handle the memories and emotions triggered by those memories. You are creating a new normal and a new life. It takes time and patience to process it all.
Continue to trust God to provide for you. He sees what others are contributing and he knows how much your bills are. Nothing is too difficult for him to take care of. He makes the impossible possible. Seek Him and His plans above everything else. He will comfort you like no one else can. He loves you deeply and cares for every detail of your life.
Focus on what's important. Don't get distracted trying to change the behaviors of others. Don't waste time and energy exposing character flaws. Instead focus on growing closer to God and to your kids. Pray for them and continue to teach them to honor God with their choices. Work hard and always strive for excellence in your job. Remember that you represent Christ to your coworkers and customers.
Take time each day to thank God for His work in your life and for the blessings you experience. He has great plans for you in 2018. You can rest knowing that He's in control.
Go to sleep tonight confident in His love, provision and faithfulness to fulfill His promises. Wake up tomorrow with no fear of what 2018 will bring.
Happy New Year!!
My mind is full and my heart is heavy tonight. So heavy that I feel like someone is sitting on my chest. My mind is racing and my body feels anxious. So many emotions and thoughts all tangled up together. Usually when something is weighing on my mind, I can process it through writing. But tonight I'm finding it difficult to figure out where to even start. There is just so much.
I am concerned for the well being of my kids. They are strong and brave but they are hurting. And I can't give them the one thing to make their pain go away. I can't make their family whole again. And to make matters worse, I can't even give them the certainty of staying in our current home. I know it adds to their pain when I have to tell them that I will do everything in my power to keep us in our current house but I don't know if it will be enough. Our future is just so uncertain right now.
I am weary from the weight of responsibilities that I have been forced to take on all by myself. Financial responsibilities that should be shared but are not. (11% contribution is not OK). Balancing working enough hours and being home enough to be a mom plus trying to find time to get the house in order is challenging. There's spiritual training and life skills to be taught. There's extracurricular activities to pay for and attend.
And then there's my own well being. Some days I do great and other days I can barely hold it all together. My heart is still healing and sometimes the wounds feel so raw. Some days the wounds are ripped open by hateful words or false accusations. I hate that I let it get to me and cause me so much heartache. But I'm a words person. What you say to me stays with me for a very long time. Especially when those words are spoken by someone close to me. Words are so powerful and they can't be taken back.
As I sit here and think about all that has happened over the past 8 months, I realize that I am a much stronger person for having gone through the struggles. I have a voice now and I am no longer afraid to use it. I am combating the lies with truth and I am fighting for stability for my kids. I will still have bad days. I will still have days where I want to just give up trying to build bridges and finding a new normal. But on those days I know that I can lean on God's strength and love to get me through.
I can't control the actions of others. I can't make anyone become responsible and do the right thing. I can't convince others to see the truth right in front of them. But I can keep getting up each day and doing what's right, responsible and true for my kids.
In my 45 years of life, I have lived in 16 cities in 7 different states. I've lived in 3 of the 4 corners of the United States. I have lived in trailers, apartments, houses and dorm rooms. I've live in the city, the country and everywhere in between. Throughout all of those moves and changes, there is one place that always feels like going home. One place that holds the most wonderful memories. It's a house on a quiet street in a small country town. A small town where a trip to Walmart becomes an impromptu family reunion.
The house on Cherry Street isn't fancy or elaborate. But the memories made there are priceless. I remember as a kid sitting on the living room floor watching the big tv in the wooden box. There were only 2 things on Grandma's tv.....the Atlanta Braves or the local channel with preaching and gospel sangin'. (no that is not a mistake....in small town Georgia it's called sangin') I loved listening to my grandma play the piano and sing old southern hymns. Waking up to the smell of bacon and sausage was an everyday occurrence in the house on Cherry Street. Grandma was a serious cook and breakfasts were a 7 course meal. At night we would sit on the front porch watching the lightning bugs fly around the front yard. I remember laying in bed on a warm summer night listening to the sound of the attic fan. We celebrated countless Christmas mornings in the house on Cherry Street, including my first one as a new mom.
One year when I was a teenager, we decided to just have Christmas morning at our own house. It was the worst Christmas for us. It just didn't feel like Christmas. We all agreed that it was a bad idea and we never did that again.
My grandma is in heaven now but the memories on Cherry Street continue. The house belongs to my parents now. We're all grown up with kids of our own.. But every other year we return home to make new Christmas memories in the house on Cherry Street. Memories that I hope our kids will share with their own kids some day. And even though I have only spent a few Christmases there in the past 10 years, it's the place that comes to mind when I think of going home for the holidays.
This Christmas I am excited to be going home for the holidays. And like the song says,
No matter how far away you roam,
For the holidays you can't beat home sweet home!
Our world is full of people who don't like the truth that holds them accountable for their actions. They want to live their life however they choose and expect everyone around them to just accept it without complaint. There is no absolute truth.....no right or wrong to guide them. Each situation is evaluated based on feelings and opinions. It's a very subjective "truth".
When each person has their own "truth" then there is no accountability. I live my life by my "truth" and you live your life by yours. No judgement. No responsibility. No one is ever wrong.
But that's not how life works. There are laws and rules and commandments. There is absolute truth.....right and wrong. None of us are perfect but we are to strive to live a life filled with honesty, respect, love, and integrity in communion with God and others.
When we choose to live contrary to that then we must be held accountable. If the truth spoken about your actions paints an ugly picture, don't attack the painter. Humbly change your actions and give them something different to paint.
Changing behavior is a difficult task. It can be easier to become indignant against the person who spoke the truth and lash out at them.....especially if you've been living a double life.
Maybe it's time for a truth check. Think about the choices that you are making on a daily basis. How do they align with God's truth?
Think about the things that are being said to you or about you.
Are they false statements? Or are they truths that you don't want to hear?
Are you living a life that is pleasing self or God?
Are you a person who can be counted on and trusted to keep their word?
Are you a person of integrity and true character or do you wear a mask?
Who do you need to listen to today?
Now think about the things that you are saying to or about others.
Are they true statements with no embellishments?
Are you speaking the truth in love?
Are you speaking in a way to belittle or condemn?
Are you speaking truth to bring reconciliation and repentance?
Who needs to hear the truth today?
Speaking God's truth is not popular and may not win you friends, but it is the truth that sets us free. Freedom to walk boldly in our calling and purpose. Don't let the enemy cloud your judgment and ruin your testimony. Seek truth and in it you will find life abundant.