Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Worship In the Midst of Suffering

There was movement in the courts yesterday. Such unexpected news. Selfishly my heart became heavy when others in our EP got news of a court date and yet we were somehow still just waiting. I began to question all that God has told me. All He has promised. Satan came hard. And fast! I was wailing at friends before I even knew it, unable to control the emotion I was feeling. I went to bed. Somber with self pity praying for a better tomorrow.

Today. Today I woke up and Jesus said "Thank God no matter what happens." (1st Thes 5:18)

"Not today Jesus"

"In all things, will you worship me still? Not only through it, but for it?"

This morning I sat in my cheap white chair, Bible in hand, YouTube blaring Bethel music unsure of exactly what choice I was going to make. There was a large part of me that plainly said "No way! Ain't gonna happen!" and then another part of me that ached in desperation. I needed something larger than myself and I knew I had the Father to turn to.  So, I stared, even deeper into the words that hit so deep into my soul. The words I knew my Father was asking of me.

"Will you thank me for your heartache?"

The flood gates opened and my heart exploded. He loves me enough to not let me stay stuck in my self pity and misunderstanding of His grace. And even though it hurts I will praise Him for who He is, what He has done and what He will continue to do, even if it is through and for my suffering.

Ladies, this world is broken. Shattered. In a million tiny pieces. The only way we will ever be mended is if we come to Jesus. Even in the pain. I know it hurts, it hurts like hell! Bring your marriage, your finances, your infertility, your miscarriage, your children, your job, your health, your dreams, your fears, your failures straight to the cross! Wave your white flag in surrender and worship!! Worship in the midst of the pain, the trial and the suffering. Thank Him for loving you still. Loving you through your doubt and misunderstanding. Thank Him for not forsaking you. For being true to His word and being exactly who He says He is. He is our comforter, our shelter and our refuge and it is in Him alone that we will find peace for our suffering.

It's hard. And it takes full surrender. And you may wake up tomorrow and do it all over again. But that's okay my friend. He knows. He understands. Lift your head up. Raise your hands. Worship Him. Praise Him. Thank Him.

              Father, I give to you all that you have given to me. Whether it be triumph, joy, gladness, abundance and peace, or whether it be pain, hurting, waiting, mourning or suffering. I give it to you. Not only do I give it to you but I thank you for it. Father, as the tears of longing stream down my face, I thank you. As my mind wonders in a million different directions, I thank you. As I search for what you are teaching me, I thank you. As I ache, I thank you. As I ask questions, I thank you. As I search for understanding, I thank you. Father, Thank you for loving me enough to not leave me where I started. Father thank you for being exactly who you say you are. Thank you Father for molding me, bending me, shaping me, no matter how much it hurts, thank you. Father, walk with me as I learn to thank you through it all and for it all. Thank you, for being my good good Father.
                                                                                                                    In Christ Jesus,  Amen

Saturday, February 4, 2017

Confetti Popcorn

So Easy! So Fun! Literally DA BEST ever!!
What you need:
  • popcorn
  • vanilla almond bark
  • sprinkles
Easy peasy! 1,2,3!
  • pop popcorn
  • pick out all kernels  (this is my least favorite part, but defiantly not a good one to skip! Yep! I've tried it!! So go digging) Then place kernel free popcorn in a bowl

  • melt 4 squares of almond bark (preferable in microwave) according to directions
  • pour almond bark over popcorn, stir well
  • add sprinkles, as many or as little as you want, stir well
  • lay popcorn flat on wax paper, let dry for 15 minutes
Almost finished!
Once the almond bark is dry and the popcorn doesn't look shiny you will know it's time. Put your popcorn in a bowl and...
I make this confetti popcorn for just about everything! It's a quick and easy after school snack or even a sweet treat to take over to a friends house. Use different sprinkles for different occasions and make it your own unique party treat!
My only tip is that you triple the recipe! It's a favorite for everyone!
What will you make your confetti popcorn for?

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Unanswered Prayers

This past week I was able to see God's gracious gifts. His abundance that has no limitations. It only simply comes, wrapped in a bow of grace.

I have a precious friend who tried for over 10 years to conceive a baby. Take all the technology and infertility drugs and procedures today and add thousands and thousands of dollars, left with a continual state of  being infertile and not pregnant. That's where my friend found herself to be. Later this courageous friend and her husband decided on adoption.  Fast forward about seven years and you end up in the spring of 2016. About that time my friend and her family moved back to the glorious town in which we met. They purchased a lake lot, and being the radical people that they are, decided to build their home themselves. Her husband is a mini builder on the side.  So up goes a small apartment garage, built for them to live in as they finished building their home. My friend found herself in a studio apartment garage away from her family, homeschooling their son while her husband traveled the world for business. All her belongings were in tuberware bins in the garage part of the apartment, little space, no privacy and a home that seemed to be a long way away from being finished. And then in the midst of the crazy, seventeen years past due, God gives her a baby.  She admitted to me she laughed and then she cried and then she said she was too old. She said for the first time she understood Sarah.  Last week she gave birth to a healthy baby boy.

Oh how I am reminded of God's lavish love for us! My friends, God hears you. He sees you weeping for what your heart desires. He hears your prayers. He knows. Oh He knows. Keep pressing. Ask Him to mold you in the midst. He will. And whether those desires come on this side or the other, they will be granted to us. He is a good good Father! 
This past week I have been prompted to remember in these glory moments that God is not far away. He is right here, right in the midst of my own hurting and hungry heart. He doesn't want me to stop asking. He doesn't want me to believe that He doesn't care, that He's isn't listening or that He is just simply too busy to fulfill my requests. He doesn't want me to forget. He wants me to come, time and time again, to sit at his feet, pour out all that I have to offer and leave filled with his abundance.  Unfortunately we may not get to see all of His glory in our time here on earth. For some of us, those promises are only waiting for us at the pearly gates. But they are still there. And then we get to experience them for eternity! Whether you are praying for your spouse to be healthy, the cancer to have a cure, for wounds to be cleansed and healed, for babies to come home, for leaders to rise up and for people to wake up, He hears you. He hears your deepest moans and sees your soul sobbing. He even knows about the prayers you have forgotten you have prayed. The very prayers you thought He never heard and never did anything about. Do not be discouraged. Some of us just get the opportunity to see it on this side. But it will come.  The enemy can not answer your prayers, but he can keep you from praying. Don't let him. Bring your every need, every burning desire, every heart bursting passion to your gracious Father. His love flows in abundance. He knows your hearts deepest desires and He longs for you and I to run to Him in the midst of the very trial and circumstance we are in. Straight to the foot of the cross, with the assurance that He hears the very prayers we say, even the ones we ourselves have very well forgotten. The very prayers we don't like to admit we pray. He wants us to bring the prayers that are hard to speak. I'm convinced He even wants to me to bring the worn out prayers, the very ones we are so tired of praying. Don't give up. I'm not giving up. Bring them all. Put your prayers, all of them, out on the table. I dare you! The silly ones, the selfish ones, the hard ones, the ugly ones, the random ones, the powerful ones, the weak ones, the worn ones, the sinner self ones. All of them. Even the ones I have labeled unimportant and not God worthy. He longs for those too! Simply, my dear because they are a part of his abundant glory that only he can offer to give when we humble ourselves and ask.   I'm praying my friends. I'm praying all the prayers I was too embarrassed to pray and to tired of praying, and ya know what? I'm goin' get those prayers answered one day. I'm just not sure when or how they will come, and if they will come packaged just as I expected them be... and I'm going to pray about being okay with that.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

New Year 2017

I've seen countless post on Instagram and Pinterest about New Year's resolutions. Most have good intentions and if I'm being honest there are a few places I'd like to be better at. My thighs could be more toned, my appetite could use a littler healthier diet and my house could use some major organization. There is a part of me that would like to redo the mudroom and have a full out command center with calendars, chore charts, behavior clips and a bucket list. Book bags all in a row, shoes tucked neatly in their correct cubbies and coats hanging ever so neatly on the hook. I'd even go as far to admit that my kitchen drawers could use some dividers and maybe I should invest in a label maker. Maybe I could add a laundry schedule, have a set grocery list, do more online shopping and grocery pickup. Clipping coupons has never been my thing, but a healthier budget on a highlighted spreadsheet sounds like a place to start.

As I dig deeper, these things all seem normal, fine and understandable. But they don't give me what I want, what I really need.

This year, what I really want, is less of me and more of Jesus.

I want to toss out my calendar, scribble out all the to do's. I just want to wake up and ask Jesus what He desires of me for the day.  I don't want to be burdened by the need of a friend or neighbor simply because my calendar has GYM 9:00am written in pen and my lack of ability to have compassion and an eraser stands in the way.  I don't want to count the weekends out. How many are we spending at home? How many are we away? In a world that tells you to have balance in all that you do. I want to load up my family and drive to the mountains when He calls, whenever it might be! I don't want to read Dave Ramsey, clip coupons or earn CVS points. I want to give when my Father says give, and when I have all that I think is mine, I want to remember the one who provided, who has charged me to store my goods in heaven not on this earth.  I want my hands to hold loosely around things of this world. Being sure not to grip to tight around the things that just plainly don't matter.  I want to be free from the burden of the mundane. Who cares if I have laundry stored on top of the dryer instead of being neatly put away in the drawers. I want to be present in the lives of my children. Not always doing, cleaning and fixing, but making creating and living. I don't want to be tied down to a we go to church every Sunday because that's what makes us Christians life. I want to have church at my house, around the bonfire with lost souls who don't even know that the church is them! I desperately want to be a kingdom fighter. I want less he said she said and more acknowledgement of spiritual warfare. I don't need another book on the fervent prayer Jesus offers. I want to get face down on my knees and fervently pray! I want to be so rowdy for Jesus that even the winds can't fan out the flame. I want Him to be my morning, noon and night. My breath from sorrow to joy. I want my arms to grow wider, loving more people, freely. I want to be unafraid. I want to watch the waves toss my worries into the sea. I want to sit on the ocean sand, attempt to count the grains and remember my Father's love for me.  I want less of the way Amanda would live her life and more of the way Jesus calls us to live like Him. I want obedience so much it hurts.

 Less of me, more of Him.  Less of Amanda. More of Jesus.

As I ring in this new year welcoming 2017, I welcome my Christ. To come in, overflow, take over and over turn all my hearts desires so that He may receive the glory. I want nothing more than to lay my life down, take up my cross and carry it straight to my Father. 

I want you Jesus. Here. Now. In the moments of waiting. In the moments of suffering. In heartache and loss. In the mess. The utter chaos. In the beauty. The joy. Literally the breath I breathe.

I no longer want me. I want all of you.

Thursday, December 8, 2016

The Need For Community

Can I just be honest?

Will you stick around long enough to listen?

To maybe even see yourself in this conversation, even pipe in with an Amen?

Be raw. Get down to it, soak in truth, shout a YES and leave refreshed. 'Cause I need that kind of atmosphere today. Who am I kidding! I need that kind of atmosphere everyday.  Even the days I don't want to admit it.

We have lived in our "new" community for almost 4 years now. It's not really so new anymore. The streets are more familiar, the faces I recognize and the smell of home is closer now than it's ever been.   This is becoming home. In fact, as a married couple, we have now lived in this small southern town together longer than we lived there. And it feels good. This is home. This is what our kids know as home. This is the place we have truly learned more about each other than one could know. Our roots are growing deep here, and we like that. We are starting to feel planted. It's good.

But one thing that has been hard, like awkward hard, is community.

Not faces of people, not "she's in my spin class", not the people I sit beside in church every Sunday but don't know your name kind of people.  I'm talking genuine community. People, women, moms! Gals that inhale "life is hard" and exhale "but God is more" kind of people. The people, if we really admit it, are hard to find and yet the very people we dare to be and surround ourselves with. Raw. Authentic. True. My armpits stink, my bank account is empty, my marriage is in a mess kind of people. I don't need another person to tell me they are fine. Nobody is actually, truly, ever, just fine. You are either over the top, excited, exhausted, confused, stressed or grateful. Never. Just. Fine.

I moved here with a proclamation. One that said I didn't need people. I needed friends. I didn't need 30, 20 or even 10. I didn't need an abundance. Just a few would do. But I didn't want another acquaintance. My heart was so tired of the "Hi, life is good, it's a beautiful day, looks like the rain is coming" conversation. I was craving the very need of bona fide community. And when we moved 100 miles away from the only town we had ever known I just knew those sweet gals would know exactly what I was talking about. They would flock to my door with cookies, a list of babysitters and we would sip over coffee talking about being diagnosed with breast cancer, struggling teens and sex after babies. Ya know, the good stuff. The stuff that makes you cry and laugh and pray together. Long story short, those ladies never came. I've never had cookies hand delivered to my door and I'm still in need of that babysitter list. I wasn't expecting a firework show of celebration that we had arrived but something with some chocolate would of gone a long way.  I can laugh about it now. Maybe my expectations were a little high. I really only have 3 neighbors! But do you get the point? Tell me you do.  We crave that! As women we were made to! I had this grand idea of community, what it was and how it came to be. I spent the first years in this town bored, lonely and sure that no one would ever fill the shoes of my besties back home.  I came to a place of believing my husband would be my only friend and the true meaning of girl time would be manicures with my 6 year old. None of those things are bad, but that's not all God had for me. It's not all God has for you either.

I had designed this idea of community almost like a plant. It would grow only when the people around me came to water it. When the people came and invested, then it would bloom. The plant was here. Right on my front porch. It meant coming to me. It meant the women around me risking their authentic selves and me only waiting for the offer. To me it was simple. But where were they?

Thursday, October 27, 2016


Laying out my heart over on the adoption blog today! Just a little glimpse into a much larger story over a simple pair of shoes. Our Daddy is good Yall! Click on the adoption blog link on the right to read more.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Adoption Waiting

If you have read any on my adoption blog which is here then you know that we are adopting a sweet boy from South Korea.  You may also know that the waiting sucks! (Sorry, Grandmommie but there is no other word I can think to use.) 

Here is just a short video to help encourage those who are waiting. Whether you are waiting for your home study to be approved, waiting for a match or referral or even waiting for birth parents to wave their rights, this is for you! This quick clip is also great for friends and family of those awesome families adopting!