There was a day in the not so distant past that tried to overwhelm us. As a household. Which means, I feel, that the enemy was trying to break down our walls and shake our faith.
The baby wasn't sleeping well during the challenges that presented themselves, so I was teetering on an emotion-driven cliff of exhaustion. The body shop/insurance company from an accident we were in on vacation totaled our car and we needed to buy a new car and have a car payment all over again when we worked so hard to reduce our debt to try to buy/build a house.
Speaking of the house, the city denied our permits and we can no longer build the home on the land we've been planning towards since before our baby was born.
So, like I said, there was a day, in the not so distant past that tried to overwhelm us.
I learned through prayers and tears that we need to trust God's no's, and trust God knows our future and His plans for us better than we do. As hard of a pill as it is to swallow, we weren't meant to build that small family homestead with the big tree, pool and garden. It wasn't meant to be our place as much as we could picture ourselves raising our tribe there.
We need to lean in to God and let Him continue to lead and show us where He sees us and trust that whatever that looks like is better than our best vision.
There are times in your life where you pray hard. Really hard. Because you know He listens. And it's beautiful and safe and reassuring.
Tonight I sit in our baby's finished nursery and its one of those nights where I'm praying with everything that's in me.
Our plan is to successfully achieve a natural birth, if it is in His will, and as our due date rapidly approaches I recognize that it is only with God's strength, peace and presence will I accomplish this task that seems so mountainous. I will admit it, I'm scared. My humanness, with all its flaws, taunts me with thoughts of weakness, inability and defeat. But God is bigger. And as a child of God, I know I can do this through Him and His abilities, not my own.
As I called out to Him tonight, I prayed for guidance on how to prepare for this task. As I keep reading everywhere that I "must be prepared". As it is a task unknown to any new mother, how do I properly prepare for the pain? How do I properly prepare my mind, which has been held prisoner to anxiety so many times in my life, for the task to continue on when it's hard? How do I properly prepare for the unknowns?
And then a sweet answer just washes over me, Jesus.
That's the only answer I have. I've read every book I could get my hands on. Talked to friends and family on successful births. Mr. Charming and I attended birth classes. We've hired a doula. We've packed our hospital bags. We've watched birth videos. I've drank my tea. I've gobbled down my dates. I've done pelvic tilts and chiropractic adjustments. I've gotten prenatal massages and practiced breathing and meditation.
But, Jesus. He's the One who can give peace. Strength. Clarity. Renewal. And I must rely on that and that above all else when I'm feeling my weakest. Because no matter what worldly tasks I busy my hands and mind with, nothing other than Jesus can surpass all understanding with His grace and mercy upon the birth of our miracle.
The beauty of it all is this, if there's a situation, any situation in your life that haunts you, taunts you, scares you or asks you to struggle, call on Him. He will always show up. He may be a silent bystander in the corner if He is waiting out the right time to show Himself in the situation, or He may be a sweeping warm blanket of peace and contentment (as He was during our miscarriage) - but no matter, call on Him and He will be there. In His way, on His time. There's nothing in this world more precious than that.
Not even a brand new babe, no matter how he or she gets here.
If you have a prayer request leave it below! I'd appreciate your prayers surrounding our birth and the welcoming of Baby P. God bless!
As God was the one who led me to all of this, my journey, my health, this blog, I shouldn't be surprised when he whispers topics and post ideas to my heart. The gritty ones. The ones that swim in my soul, that are hard to write, and make me type through blurry eyes as tears threaten to stream down my cheek.
I've seen amazing doors open for this brand & blog - blessings that I know come from my Father in Heaven. My true provider and guide and I want to honor Him and stay true to the gifts He's given me by giving all the glory to Him through any success that may come our way.
There is a song I've fallen in love with, O.K. there are many songs I'm in love with, it's in my DNA, but there is one in particular as of late called "My Story" by Big Daddy Weave. Every time this song plays I hear that whisper deep inside, nudging me to keep telling mine. As my audience grew, I got scared. Scared to be too vulnerable. Share too much. But Jesus urges us to lay it out there. So, as uncomfortable as it may be, we must own our stories.
If I told you my story, you would hear hope, that wouldn't let go
2011. Feels so far away yet feels like just yesterday. I had dabbled with LiveJournal journals for many years, pouring all of me out onto the screen. And maybe 10 people read it. But that's not what mattered. It was my therapy, an outpouring of emotional baggage that bound me up and the release felt liberating. When I started feeling sick and depressed and in pain in 2011, I started writing again, to deal with it. I lost many friends in that space of time in my life. I couldn't tell them what was going on. I was ashamed. I was terrified of being terrified in my own body. Writing is where I felt safe. What began as a blog titled "Me and Mr. Charming" was a journal of me trying to deal with the fear, the frustration and the uncertainty of my many new diagnoses. A mix of incorrect, "incurable" and new.
After taking myself off gluten and dairy after reading many books on things I was dealing with I started to see healing and as I began to write and spend more time in the kitchen this little space began to morph into a food blog. At the time still unaware of what a "blog" even was. I was a writer, and this was my space. Sharing recipes and support for those who were as scared as I was in a vast internet world. That's what felt natural.
This song hits home because where I really began to find healing, soul-deep, true healing was in hope. God's great hope. As anxiety took hold of me so many nights I fell to my knees and I just prayed. I knew I couldn't do anything for me anymore, alone, without my Lord and Savior. I had been baptized shortly after feeling this way and I knew He was my only chance. He was what could save me, heal me and give me a future and purpose from all I was going through.
If I told you my story, you would hear love that never gave up
So many times I prayed to be "normal". I prayed for God to take away my anxiety. My fears. My immune issues that made me catch EVERYTHING I was around. The pain in my pelvis & bladder. The hopelessness that I wouldn't be able to be the wife I wanted to be. The future mom I longed to be. That I still long to be.
I felt He was quiet for so long, until He wasn't. He held me in His arms. He walked with me when I'd go on slow, relaxing walks to clear my mind. He was with me in the fitness room as I obediently worked through my pelvic exercises. He was with me when I was scared to eat my meals and lost 15 pounds I didn't really have to lose. He was with me when I sobbed long, hard sobs in church as I felt Him begin to cleanse me. Body, mind, soul. He was there. Loving me. Loving on me when I felt like I was losing my worthiness to those in my life. His love NEVER gives up. And had I not clung to Him, I would be so lost. His love allowed me not to give up. To pray, to find strength in what was going on. To never stop looking for answers. To never stop listening to His still small voice. And to be obedient to the ways in which He could heal me.
If I told you my story, you would hear life, but it wasn't mine
As the blog started to grow, old passions fell away. And my passion and love for health through what God has given us began to grow with a rapid fire I hadn't felt in years. Maybe ever. Going back to school and pouring my heart into this was so clear and doors have opened that can only be explained by a loving God blessing a child. I want to live authentically in this space. I want this blog/brand to stand for what this journey has truly meant for me. For me, for my life, for my marriage. I want to love on those who are scared. Scared of food, scared of disease, scared of pain and just hug them, speak life and Jesus into them and let them know they have a friend, a sister in Christ.
I want His message to speak volumes from here. If it doesn't then I haven't done my job as a servant to the One who has given me an abundant life and a beautiful purpose. Is it always easy? No. Is it a painless journey? Nothing worth it ever is. But through the storms is it joyful, and fulfilling, beautiful and wonderful? Absolutely. Because I know from whom it comes. And even more beautiful? This gift is available to ANYONE who asks to receive it. It's that simple. No matter what you're carrying. No matter what you've done, there is cleansing in His name. You only need to speak it.
This is my story. Praising Him for every moment. Every breath. Every opportunity. Every ounce of love, grace and mercy.
If you are struggling with food restrictions, with anxiety or with illnesses that are still being researched, know that God is holding you. Take a deep breath and fall into His arms. And though I don't hold a candle to our Father, I'm always here to be a friend, a listener, a sister in Christ to make the road a little less lonely.
Since the inception of social media, the internet has become a flurry of everyone’s thoughts. Everyone’s feelings. The sometimes reckless emotions. Their shared moments. And most of the time, the moments we share with the world are our sparkly, happiest moments.
Last week in church our pastor spoke about detoxing our need to be like our neighbor. Always wanting for more, and how social media drives this to epic proportions. I encourage people to post positive, happy moments. I adore seeing my friends, family, acquaintances and though it’s not always easy, my enemies thrive. Succeed and have joy in this life.
I am really thinking about this this week as I travel. Mr. Charming and I have been planning this trip for almost 4 years now. We have been talking about fully experiencing the California Coast before we have littles. So, we saved and saved, and although I saw some work hiccups just as we were about to leave on this trip we invested so much into, I was reminded by my Father...
Joy comes in the morning. So I decided to trust, take the leap and take this adventure.
Along this trip I've experienced amazingly beautiful, wonderful things that we've always wanted to experience. We've seen beautiful, wonderful things we always wanted to see. And as we post our photos along the way, that’s been the shiny highlight reel that everyone has got to see in a 3 second flash as they scroll through social media.
If you are a follower of the blog, you will know some of my story. And time away from home isn't time away from struggles. Inflammation and hormonal issues can still cause me pain, making me not be able to enjoy the vegan lattes I like to enjoy when we travel, or most of the foods I planned on trying, like a Sensitive Sweets cupcake in Fountain Valley, or a gluten-free/dairy-free pizza slice at Fresh Brothers in Newport Beach. The same pain and hormonal imbalances can cause complications in moving forward with our Baby P plan, and having a body that wants to nap when you just want to keep exploring isn't all rainbows and unicorns. But these are my moments too. And I own them, and accept them, and thank God for even these. Because I believe He has a plan with it all.
I choose not to dwell on these moments anymore like I've done in my past. I have given them to a greater God, who has a plan and a purpose, and I will try to shine for Him. Through the shiny moments (where it’s easy to sparkle), and through the dark (where I need His hand to pull me from it all and dust me off a bit) and pray He keeps providing me a light to get back to the joy.
So keep sharing your smiles. Embrace your beautiful moments. Recognize where they came from and be thankful. With your whole heart, be thankful. And in those beautiful moments, when you stumble, or when something happens and it’s hard to let go of the perfect image you had for the moment, look up, take a deep breath, pray a thankful prayer and always remember…
Hope through Him is ever present, and joy comes in the morning.