A Homemade Advent Gift Calendar

This year after we pulled out our Christmas decorations, I realized something. Somewhere out there,
there is a box which contains
our Christmas Tree Skirt,
more hanging blue and white star lights,
and our Advent calendar.

A box that I apparently threw out over the summer during a basement cleaning frenzy.
(This is what happens when I watch too many episodes of “Hoarders”.)

Luckily I scored a beautiful and simple Christmas Tree skirt for $3,
and we really didn’t need anymore lights.

All that was left was the Advent Calendar.

So of course, I turned to Pinterest.
I browsed so many calendars they all started to become merged and blurry.
I knew I wanted to make one.
Knew it needed to be easy enough to make in four days
(yes, I waited until the last minute),
and knew I wanted it to be from my heart.

One morning while drinking coffee at the table and thinking back over the very many different ideas floating through my head,
this is what came to me.

Blog Small-008

Blog Small-009

Blog Small-010

Blog Small-011

Blog Small-012

Now, a few things to go over.

1. I totally did not realize until AFTER I made my Advent Calendar, that they are only numbered from 1-24. Which is OK. I like the idea of having one final one to open Christmas Morning. I chose to have the Christmas Story of the birth of Christ included in my packages, so it will be nice to share that Christmas morning.

2. Do not spend all afternoon working on this, just to forget and leave out the opened Lego box for your son to find when he gets home from school.

3. Hug your son for agreeing to act surprised anyway.

There you have it!

I love it! I loved coloring clothes pins with my boy yesterday! I love seeing the cheerfulness of it hanging on the wall, and my son’s cheerfulness at having little packages to open every other day! (His step-sister doesn’t live with us, however, when she comes she will have the even numbers to catch us up!)

It was fun, and it was easy! I LOVE EASY!

Anyway, I hope everyone is having a lot of fun, filled with a lot of love this Christmas!
Do you have an Advent Calendar? Have you made one? Totally share if you have, I’d love to know/see other crafts! Or, if you use this for inspiration and come up with something completely different!

Either way, if you will recall from my earlier post, I LOVE CHRISTMAS!

And I love having an Advent Calendar to bring a little Christmas joy each day.

Blog Signature

Advertisements

Me + MacGyver = CHRISTMAS WREATHS

I have always envied those “crafty” women in life.
You know the ones I’m talking about.
They are like female MacGyvers. You hand them a paper clip, sequins, spandex, a boa, and they will take it into a room with their sewing machine and come back with a ballroom gown that Cinderella would fight you for.

I was never one of those crafty women.

I’ve tried to be crafty in the past.
I would see something, maybe even on Pinterest,
post it to a board, and never think of it again.
Or, I would try to do something, get frustrated about half way into it because it was taking way longer than I anticipated, or was way above my skill level, and then do a rush job followed by an attempt to hide it from public viewing.

(There was also this one time I saw this
“Super Cute Easy Way to Curl Hair with a Straightening Iron!”
on Pintrest and attempted to duplicate it.
The picture had this girl with super model beach waves.
I came out looking like a poodle.
Whose hair was crimped in the 80’s.
I wore my hair in a bun that night.)

Either way, the point of the story was that I honestly believed I didn’t have a crafty bone in my body. I’d played around with bead weaving a little, made a few earrings, made a few bracelets, however, never truly had enough time to sit and work on something like making jewelry. Back when I was pregnant with my son, a friend’s mom tried to teach me how to crochet. I even believed I did a little, however, never finished anything and then forgot how.

Then I became a homemaker.
And my whole world started changing.

First, I learned how to Knit. Not only did I learn how to knit, I fell in love with knitting. I even went out and bought a crochet needle and have started learning how to incorporate crochet into my knitting. I have dreams of how I am going to intertwine these two fine arts. I have found myself writing out equations, asking for Graphing paper from Santa, and calculating patterns.

(Am I becoming one of those female MacGyvers?
By golly someone hand me a hot glue gun!)

Then came the holiday season. The most wonderful time of the year.

And I got excited!

I was ready to decorate. Ready to be creative.
Ready to take on the “Do-It-Yourself” crafting world!

There was only one glitch to this entire plan.
I have a hard time staying focused. Some of the awesome DIY projects I found had a list too long, or instructions too long, or was simply just way above the time, energy, and MONEY I wanted to put into something.

And more time on these things would cut into my knitting time.
(Just being honest. HA)

Before Thanksgiving, I found myself cruising Michaels before a grocery shopping trip. I have fallen in love with this store as it’s easy for me to run in and out to get yarn, and I usually have a coupon. Today I was simply wanting to wander around and dream a little.

As I walked up to the front doors I noticed these big bins outside full of fake evergreen garland, and behold, there was a sign.

50% Christmas Items Sale

Score.

I took a look at the pre-made decorated wreaths first inside the store.
They ran from $15 and up.
The cheap ones were pretty plain and not decorated in a way that “spoke” to me.
Then I took a look at the pre-made wreaths without decorations. $8.
Then I saw the garland, simply in a package, not yet made into a wreath. $4.

Interesting.

I knew I had pinned something about making wreaths. I scrambled to try and find my phone, bring up the app, just for the phone to freeze up on me and need to be rebooted.. Instead of trying to find a “how-to” list, I picked up the garland and looked at it.
It was made of wire. Pretty bendable. The more I looked at it in comparison to a pre-made wreath, the more I felt I could accomplish twisting this into a circular shape. Besides, buying it this way, I could get two for the price of one. I could make a wreath for the front door AND the side door.

Wheels started turning.

I grabbed my garland and made it into the store. To the right was a Christmas wonderland of color, glitter, and everything else that makes me smile with girly joy. I found some beautiful decorations that were priced very well with the sale. They were my decorations. Something I was going to pick out. Something that I was going to assemble and hang up to make my home warm and inviting so when my family came home they were filled with holiday spirits and smiles.

I was excited!

And so, I bring you my friend’s, my moment of feeling Crafty!
(Queue the MacGyver theme song on YouTube now!)

I was seriously very excited about my small accomplishment. I am especially thrilled that my family enjoys seeing the wreaths on the doors. My hope is that the Maine weather won’t completely ruin either one so I can re-use them next year. (The thrifty part of me wants multiple uses out of these bad boys!) I’m thinking the birds will need replacement, just because the feathers are looking a little ruffled after being out for a few weeks. (hee hee…that’s right…I said it.)

It’s just joyful for me. Some may think me silly, or that it’s stupid, or even that the wreaths are ugly. (GASP!) I think they are awesome. I think it is a wonderful blessing for me to be able to take my mind, which once was busy running a million miles a minute solving problems in corporate America, and instead use it to solve problems like how to make a wreath.
I consider this time in my life a blessing. A joy. Something that I am truly, deeply grateful for. I know that if/when I am called back into “career woman” mode I will go. For as long as I have the opportunity to be in “homemaker mom” mode, I’m going to do it. And I don’t just want to do it, I want to ROCK it, honor it, and praise the Lord for it.

So I give you yet another peek at my journey. THIS is new stuff for me. New unexplored lands. New ideas. New creativity. A different way in which to spread my wings and fly.
I’m going to be working on some other projects I have lined up. Like bow making for the Christmas presents. (That’s right, I’m MAKING MY OWN BOWS THIS YEAR! SQUEAL!). And I started making an Advent Calendar. (MORE EXCITED SQUEALS!).

I look forward to sharing more of my “crafty” adventures with you. And ya know what, if another Pinterest disaster occurs that leaves me looking like an 80’s crimped poodle, I’ll share that too. ^_^

Feel free to let me know what crafty awesomeness you’ve got going on!

Blog Signature

Truth, Lies, and The Ultimate Test

Normally I do not blog on the weekend because this time is specially set aside for my family and friends, however,
today my boys are working with heavy objects. I am graciously bowing out so as not to unnecessarily re-injure my back.  This leaves me time to attempt to put into words something that happened to me this week, and something I feel called to share.

Please bear with me as this is a bit lengthy, and without pretty pictures. It’s simply a “need to write it out” blog.

I recently got a “bible cover”, one with a strap and a pockets for pins and a zip around enclosure. I’m such a goof when it comes to “bags” and “organizational” items. I’ve almost grown to enjoy these little treasures more than *dare I say it* shoes! The Bible I’ve been using does not fit in this cover. The other Bible I normally use, I have recently gifted to my son. The conclusion: hop online and check the price of a new Bible.

Do you have any idea how many Bibles there are?
How many different versions exist?
How many different study guides, devotionals, etc?

Wow.

Now first, AMEN! What a blessing right? What a joy to live in a country where with the simple clickity click of some keys on a computer I can find Bibles galore!

The more I searched though, the more my excitement began to fade. Which one did I want? Did I want one with all the extra devotional material? Did I want one written by this person or by that person? Which version is the best version for me? And the covers? Why do we have so many different Bible’s in the world today that have covers which do not say Holy Bible right there, in bold print, on the cover? Are we hiding? And my new Bible Cover would only hide the cover of a Bible that said Holy Bible on it anyway. Am I hiding?

The more Bibles I saw with blank front covers, no matter how pretty the designs, the more I craved a Bible like the Bible I remember my grandmother reading from everyday. The more I wanted a Bible that was simply, The Bible. No extras. No study guides or articles or daily quotes. No opinions or teachings or pictures. No fancy flowers or swirls or polka dots.

Just a Bible, that said, right on the cover, Holy Bible.

Let’s skip ahead now for the purpose of tying these thoughts together.

A friend of mine and I got together to listen to a new CD series she had. I LOVED it. Absolutely LOVED it. There were some great truths that I heard, as I frantically scribbled down notes. We also watched the speaker on the TV for a few minutes. I loved her conviction as she spoke. I loved her humor. I loved listening and watching and absorbing more information. Loved it.

After agreeing with my friend to meet weekly to go through this series, I rushed home and spent a good thirty minutes allowing my overflowing excitement to bubble out as I told my husband. The full display of my arms flying through the air as I punctuated my excitement with my hands.

I happily fell into the couch, fully prepared to sit down and continue to absorb more of all the excellent stuff I felt the Lord was showing me this week, when my darling husband came into the living room and sat down across from me. I curiously looked at him, as his eyes were very soft, yet concerned. I wondered what of my joy could possibly cause him to look at me in such a way, and so he honestly started with “Oh my love, this is going to be a little awkward”.

He then proceeded, in the most  gentle and loving and caring way, to share with me that this woman speaker I had just discovered, had a past of saying and teaching things that were heresy.

WHAT!?!?!?!?!

In the most loving of ways, my husband sat down, and he spoke to me softly, lovingly, explaining to me everything that he knew about this woman speaker and why he was concerned about me following one of her studies. I felt my excited air “whooooosh” right out from me. Like a balloon that was just filled to the point of bursting, and then released. My mind which had been a delightful whirling spin of worship was suddenly stopped and thrown into a feeling of betrayal.

My husband, knowing me, and knowing how I need to process information, then reaffirmed his love for me, and left me alone to process for a few minutes. The first thing I did, was to dive onto the Google machine and start researching this speaker. I found things that made my heart quicken and my spirit bristle. The more I read, the more I started to think about what I had watched that day and what I had heard on that CD. The more concerned I became at the fact that I could now remember her saying things that had caused me to raise an eyebrow, however, in the goodness of my heart of wanting to believe the best in people, simply ignored.

Then came my own gasp. I needed to share this with my friend. My friend whom I adore, whose love for Jesus and her family encourages me. A friend who when I met her that day, had taken the time to write down a Bible verse she came across and wanted to make sure to share with me as she felt it would help me. A friend whom I have had such wonderful conversations with.

And then I realized why my husband had that look of care and concern in his eyes. He had not wanted to be the person to deflate my happy bubble, just like I didn’t want to be the friend to potentially deflate hers. However, I knew in my heart, I had no choice. There was no way, as a believer of Jesus Christ, I could not tell my SISTER in Christ, that she may need to have her spiritual armor on with this particular speaker.

To say it frankly – it sucked.

Some of what this speaker said however was TRUE. I know it was TRUE because it was BIBLICAL TRUTH. However, this speaker has also been quoted (and I dug deep enough to find the quotes from her directly) as saying things that are absolutely NOT BIBLICAL TRUTH. My husband agreed, that truth is TRUTH, and it is important to hold onto the truth. However, someone who speaks truth and throws in the slightest little untruth, is dangerous. Which I agree with.

So then I thought, maybe I can find a different study we can do, by someone who is a more trustworthy source than this! (For those who are wondering, the speaker I have been talking about thus far, is Joyce Meyer. You can read one of the disturbing links I found about her here.)

I started researching other women speakers/teachers. Of course the first one that came to my mind was Beth Moore, whom I know my church has in our church library, whom other sisters in Christ have enjoyed learning from.

To my complete and utter disbelief, the one website I found which truly revealed some very disturbing things about Joyce Meyer, also stated that they could not endorse Beth Moore on the grounds of “She is leading many astray with her approval of contemplative prayer, personal revelations, and faulty biblical exegesis“.

WHAT!?!?!?!?!?!?!?!!?!?

*Insert Hyperventilating Here*

The I took off on a Google driving machine of insanity. Speaker after speaker, teacher after teacher, the names that I had grown to trust were being picked at, and chipped at, and raked over the coals. I found myself wondering, “WHAT IN THE WORLD AM I SUPPOSED TO READ TO LEARN?”

Then came that soft, gentle, loving voice from across the room again. From that man whom is my husband. That man whom I am still learning how to be a Godly wife to. That man who is striving and trying and praying to be the Spiritual Leader to our family God has called him to be.

“Honey, this is why we must be in The Word of God ourselves. We must be in the word so that we will know a false prophet when they speak. We won’t know unless WE know the scriptures ourselves.”

Truth. There it is. Simple Truth.

However, I have read, and agree, that it is helpful sometimes to have a study guide, or a book, or a devotional, to assist us in our journey of learning the Scriptures. The key difference is that whatever book I am using, is to never REPLACE the Word of God. His Word is above ALL OTHERS. And yes, I do need to be in HIS WORD everyday. Even if it’s just a chapter, I need HIS WORD above these other books.

So, I had my husband read over with me what I had found about Beth Moore. And about Max Lucado. The article I found on Beth Moore, he did agree based on the quotes he was reading that she at times takes scripture out of it’s strictest of context. However, even though that particular website really really bashed her, he did not feel it was 100% just. He felt that I should not throw her out of my learning life. He also pointed out to me how completely incorrect the article I found on Max Lucado was, so incorrect that I’m not even linking anything about it back to him.

Whew. OK. Breathing returning to normal.

The most important lesson he shared with me, was knowing, that no matter who it was, Beth Moore, Max Lucado, even our own pastor, it is our responsibility to be in the Word, and to know the Word, to draw closer to Jesus, to live like Jesus, and to teach and share based on Biblical salvation. To live Biblical love. The Love of Christ.

You see, the thing is, we are ALL under attack. The best Christian speakers of the world are under attack. We are never NOT under attack. Our Personal Relationships with Jesus are so incredibly, unbelievably, totally important. I’m only just really beginning to learn this. To really begin to understand this. Like, just the very outer edges of it I think.

Anyway, I did have that conversation with my friend. Even though it was really hard for me. Even though it was completely out of character for me. I did it. She was so sweet, and so amazing. She even tried to apologize to me! I couldn’t accept it though, and I told her I couldn’t.

Why? Because all is for God’s glory.

This lead to my husband having the opportunity to step into his leadership role with me, and gave me an opportunity to submit to his authority as my husband. WOW. (If you have known me all my life, this is a HUGE WOW, like HUGE, me and submitting is an ever growing process, praise God for never giving up on me!)

It allowed me to sit back and really see the importance of simply being in, and meditating on, and praying over, God’s Word. His Holy Bible. The Living Word that is above all other books.

It reminded me of the importance of always having my armor of TRUTH on. No matter what book I’m reading, which Bible I’m combing through, I must always be ready to submit to the All High Authority, His word, His will.

It forced me to step out of my comfort zone and have a conversation, out of love, with a sister in Christ.

So how does this all tie in together?

  • It is totally OK to have a Bible with all the “extra stuff” in it, however, I always want to have a Bible that is simply His word with no distractions.
  • I must always have my armor of Truth on. Because it will be attacked every single day, it will weaken and dent with the blows. The only way to keep it strong, to reinforce it, is to spend some time in God’s Word daily.
  • God gave us teachers to help us. Part of fellowship, of growing, of learning. The key is to test every teacher against the Scriptures. We can only do this if we, ourselves, are learning, living, breathing the Scriptures.
  • Why am I sharing all of this? Because somewhere in the day to day happenings of life, I forgot some of this. Because when untruth’s are taught, even slight ones, it damages the hearts of people. It turns people away from the all loving, all wonderful, all amazing Jesus. That my friends, that is what makes it a heart break.

Some of you may be big fans of Mrs. Meyer, or some of the others I have mentioned, or even others I have not mentioned. I will simply end with this, we must always, ALWAYS test our teachers by holding their teachings against the Scriptures and seeing if they match. We must ALWAYS hold ourselves against the Scriptures when we are teaching.

And over it all, I simply fall down, at the cross, and pray for His grace to wash over me daily.

Signature

CHRISTMAS CHRISTMAS CHRISTMAS..oh..yea..and Thanksgiving…

I love Christmas.
LOVE.

Really really LOVE Christmas. 

I used to be one of those people that got extremely annoyed at seeing Christmas decorations in the stores before Thanksgiving. When I saw them in the stores before Halloween I was absolutely disgusted.

Then something changed.

Something profound happened. 

I have had some Christmas seasons that were difficult. Periods of my life which were overshadowed with an emotional feeling of ‘not belonging’ or ‘being a part of a family’. Periods of emotionally feeling like a failure as a mother. Yet, even in those periods of difficulty, there was always a Christmas love that found it’s way into my life. 

An unexpected financial gift from a stranger to buy items for my unborn son.
A surprise invitation to be part of a Christmas family dinner. 
Tons of unexpected Christmas decorations and a Christmas tree to decorate my home with. 
An invitation to MY family’s Christmas party after years of not seeing them on holidays.
An unexpected basket full of toys and warm jackets my first Christmas in Maine.
Falling in love, getting married, and sharing Christmas with an amazing family who opened their hears to my son and I.
Starting my own family Christmas traditions and seeing my children excited about them.
Being able to spend another Christmas with my family, only this time, having my husband with me too.

Something happened, something that began to strip away the disgust at seeing Christmas ornaments, and instead replaced that disgust with excitement. 
Something happened, something that made it so instead of feeling a sense of dread at having to spend money for gifts and rant about “this is not what Christmas is all about”, turned into joy at the thought of picking out something special, or making something special, for someone whom I care about, whom I love, whom I want to give a gift out of care and love. 
Something happened, something that by-passed all the indignation at “what this world has turned Christmas into”, and instead skipped over those things to only see the beauty in Christmas. The beauty of love. 

Because Christmas is really about Love.
For God so Loved the World. 

I know that people can debate and argue the fact that there is “no way Jesus was born on December 25th in Bethlehem” because of a bunch of facts and logical reasoning.

That’s OK. Because Christmas is really about Love. 
For God so Loved the World. 

This day. This is the day that I CELEBRATE and REJOICE and MARVEL that a Savior was born. 
This a day that I start to reflect on that Love, that I attempt in some way to make my tiny pea sized brain understand a universal sized concept. To realize that I can’t, and just fall down on my knees in humility that I do have a tiny pea sized brain, and yet, AND YET, FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD!

Yes my friends. Something happened. Something happened that the thought of celebrating Christmas with my family becomes so joyful, so happy, so wonderful, that I LOVE seeing Christmas decorations. I love how beautiful and sparkly and wonderful they are. I love how they make me think “CHRISTMAS!” and that thought leads to “FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD!”. 

I love chocolate covered cherries! I love Starbucks Gingerbread Lattes! I love Christmas trees and having a piece of nature, of GOD’S creation, sitting right inside my house covered in beautiful ornaments! Ornaments that hold memories of family, of love, ornaments that twinkle and with every twinkle remind me of how extraordinarily blessed I am! I love all the beautiful Christmas songs, and I love that EVEN with all the new “contemporary” music there is for worshiping God, that those “hymns” those “Christmas classics” are always brought back every year! I love hot chocolate and laughing over hot chocolate mustaches with my son! I love tasting all the new hot chocolate flavors with him and deciding which one is best! I love hanging up stockings and Christmas lights and in the dark cold of winter, sitting inside with the glow of the lights twinkling all around while snuggled up close with my husband under fleece blankets while we watch A Charlie Brown Christmas and Rudolph and Frosty the Snowman. I love when we read the Christmas Story as a Family. I love playing Christmas music on the Pandora radio station. I love hiding presents and wrapping them and placing them just right under the tree. I love filling up Christmas stockings with little sweets and treats. I love the house filling up with family and food and laughter and prayer and thankfulness and more laughter. 

I LOVE CHRISTMAS!
LOVE IT!

And I know, Thanksgiving is the next holiday coming up. I enjoy celebrating Thanksgiving. I LOVE Christmas. I am THANKFUL for CHRISTMAS. I am THANKFUL THAT GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD.

Something happened. 
Something that causes me to leave a strand of sparkly, starry, Christmas lights up inside all year long.
Something that causes me to leave a Christmas ball made out of lights and punch cups inside all year long.
Something that causes me to take one ornament off the Christmas tree, and hang it up to gaze upon all year long.
Something that causes me to get excited and slowly walk through the “Christmas isle” at Sam’s club before Halloween.
Something that causes me to get excited and thoughtfully pick out Christmas presents for those I love in August.
Something that causes me to squeal everytime something “Christmasey” comes around I haven’t seen since last year.

Something happened that brought nearly un-containable joy in my heart at the word “Christmas”. 

So yes. I am now one of “those” people. One of those people who wants to put up the Christmas Tree November 1st and who wants to start singing Christmas carols in October. One of those people who excitedly announces to their family Christmas is on it’s way. One of those people who will slow down in every store, by every window, for every shiny, sparkly, happy Christmas display. 1024-1

I LOVE CHRISTMAS.
FOR GOD SO LOVED THE WORLD.
CHRISTMAS IS LOVE.
JOHN 3:16.
CHRISTMAS.
LOVE.

I’m ready for Christmas Love people.

And I simply felt like rambling about it. ^________^

Signature

Thoughtful Thursday: “Your Heart Racing Anxiety Has Run It’s Course” Sayeth The Lord

I’ve had anxiety problems for years.

My anxiety problems have raged to the point I’ve had to seek medical help in the past. In one very dark time in my life I was on multiple medications with a medical diagnosis of PTSD, Anxiety Disorder, and Bipolar II disorder.

In addition to this, I’ve also struggled with being a “perfectionist“. Finding my self worth in my “perfectionism“. Setting for myself unrealistic expectations and then pushing myself to the point of a nervous breakdown trying to uphold them.

I say all this so one may understand what angle I’m coming from as I try to organize the many thoughts that have been rambling in my head the last 48 hours.

To attempt to grasp the severity of how my anxiety has effected my life, let me share just a few examples of what used to be “normal” to me:

  • Driving in the car, thinking about someone I love dying (husband, son, step-daughter, etc.) to the point that I am sobbing, crying uncontrollably and being so caught up in those fears that I lose myself in them completely, to the point that I’m talking out loud, to myself, in the car, as if I’m really in “that moment” of loss.
  • Laying in bed at night, trying to sleep. I start thinking about something that happened earlier in the day, then think about what “could” have happened, then think about my past, painful, hurtful moments in my past. I toss and turn and toss and turn, finally having to physically get out of bed or splash water on my face to try and break the thoughts.
  • The thought of going into a crowd of people, or meeting a crowd of new people, sends my heart racing. Racing to the point that it fills my chest and my ears and then I find myself worrying about my heart and wondering if I’m about to have a heart attack.
  • I’ve had panic attacks just sitting on the couch, when my thoughts have ran away from me.
  • I love going home to visit, however, typically the entire day before, and during the drive down, all I can visualize in my head is my entire family dying in a fiery car crash. So I usually become nearly obnoxious in trying to be “funny” and talk and do anything I can to attempt to distract myself from the visions playing in my head.
  • I want to someday go to a tropical island, however the thought of riding in a plane that far speeds my heart right up. I see it crashing. I see death. The few plane rides I have taken, again, I spend it looking out the window, feeling sick to my stomach and willing myself to not throw up because I’m afraid of the impending plane crash I just know is coming.
  • Every time I go to get on a roller coaster, or any other type of ride, even though I love them on the one hand, on the other, as I wait in line, I see it running off the track. I see something breaking and myself and those I love falling to our deaths.
  • Listening to my son dream about his future, talking about joining the military someday, or being a missionary and traveling the world, I feel my breath quicken and I immediately jump to worrying about his death and how he will die.
  • I have avoided going to places altogether, because of the gripping fear of going there “alone”. Of not knowing anyone. I have avoided involving my son in extra curricular activities because of the fear, the anxiety, of having to take him to and from. There have been times that when my husband and I would go to pick my son up from our church youth group, I would all but beg to stay in the car because I simply did not want to walk into the building. For reasons I don’t even know anxiety would fill up my heart. There have been many times I have lashed out at my husband when we have gone places because I simply did not want to get out of the car.
  • The first time I went skiing with my husband, as we got closer to the mountain, I could feel my heart start to race. Fear seemed to grip me. I don’t even remember what I was afraid of. It was just, happening. I not only got snippy with my husband, however, immediately after being snippy, I cried.
  • Every new freckle is cancer. Every head ache is a possible aneurysm. Every bug bite is a deadly disease. I say it as thought I’m joking about it, however, the truth, the brutal cold truth, is those are my true first thoughts.

For the most part I have hidden this side of me fairly well. I used to think the best way to confront my anxiety was simply to force myself  to do things. So while there were many times I did not do and avoided altogether, there are many times I’ve forced myself to do things with anxiety eating away at my insides.

I now see the danger in this.

I’ve learned how to fake a smile like a pro in public.
I’ve learned how to fake a laugh like a pro.
I’ve learned how to pretend, to not be authentic, to lie on some very deep personal level to myself and those around me.

In other words, I did not address the anxiety problem.
I was simply covering it up even more. Burying my secret even deeper, allowing it to gnaw away at my insides in ways I cannot explain.

And who took the brunt force of that pain, frustration, fear, anger, and sadness that the gnawing left exposed and raw and hurting? My husband. At times, my son. At times, my step-daughter. Mostly, my husband.

Oh the realization of that, the complete honesty of really “saying it” out loud brings tears  to my eyes.

I became a homemaker in July. It was something my family needed desperately, however, I had no idea just how much I may have needed it on a personal level. What it has allowed me to see, is the extent of my anxiety. The brutal truth of how devastating my fears and anxiety have been. The brutal truth how unreal I was being with myself. The brutal truth of how much stress, worry, fear,  and anxiety I was filling up my mind, my heart, and my soul with.

Slowly, over the course of summer, I found some peace in serving my family. I found more time to talk with my son, with my husband. More time for us to be relaxed without worrying about the never ending to-do list. Blessings. Then I found more time to read. To study. To be discipled. To pray. More blessings.

Then I realized I wasn’t thinking about death every day. I had days, whole, entire days, where I didn’t think about death. I had whole, entire days, where my heart was not consumed with fear.

And that thought, immediately, put fear into me. I was having anxiety about not having anxiety.

More prayer. More reading. More studying. More blessings.

Which brings us to today.

The two books I’m currently reading, both hit me in the last 48 hours with a message I felt the Lord was delivering to me. I felt as though He was holding my hand and saying, “My daughter, it is time for you to come to me, and let me heal your fears, let me take your anxiety, let me transform what you’ve known, and give you my peace.

In other words, it’s time to let go of the bondage of anxiety. 

Out of “Humility: True Greatness“, I read the following on Tuesday:

“Where there’s worry, where there’s anxiousness, pride is at the root of it. When I am experiencing anxiety, the root issue is that I’m trying to be self-sufficient. I’m acting independent of God.”

“The issue isn’t God. It’s my pride that resists trusting in Him through depending upon Him.”

“Sin – including especially the sin of pride – is active, not passive. Sin doesn’t wake up tired, because it hasn’t been sleeping. When you wake up in the morning, sin is right there, fully awake, ready to attack. So rather than be attacked by sin in the morning, I’ve chosen to go on the offensive. I’ve chosen to announce to sin, “I’m at war with you. I know you’re there, and I’m after you.” From the moment I awake, I’ve learned to make statements to God about my dependence upon God, and in this way I’m humbling myself before God.

“All the cares coming my way are actually provided by God specifically for the purpose of cultivating humility in my life.”

Out of “Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World“, I read the following yesterday/this morning:

“When God tells us in the Bible not to worry, it isn’t a suggestion. It’s a command. Worry and/or anxiety is specifically mentioned twenty-five times in the New Testament along as something we should avoid.”

“If my God isn’t bigger than life, then my life is bigger than God – and that’s when anxiety takes over.”

“What we put in our minds affects our hearts. And out of the abundance of our hearts, our mouths speak.”

“We cannot underestimate the effect of what we think about. The war of worry, as well as the trial of temptation, is won and lost on the battlefield of our minds.”

“Will we pray? Or will we worry? We really can’t do both.”

The Bible Verses Brought to my attention in the last two days are:

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under God’s might hand, that he may life you up in due time. Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” ~1 Peter 5:6-7

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” ~Matthew 11: 28-30

“The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way that are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.” ~Luke 8:14

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” ~John 16:33

“We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.” ~2 Corinthians 9:5

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things.” ~ Philippians 4:8

“And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus.” ~Philippians 4:19

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” ~ Philippians 4:6-7

The thoughts that have been planted as seeds in my mind, and today, are beginning to take root:

  • I need must acknowledge that I need God. The amount of “respect” the world has placed on self-sufficiency is simply the worlds view. It is simply pride trying to hide in yet another facet of my life. God calls us to come before Him with a humble heart. He hates pride. Because with pride, we don’t need Him. We don’t want Him. With self-sufficiency, we look inward instead of Godward. Instead of Christward. I’m tired of being self-sufficient. I’m tired of being prideful.
  • I need must acknowledge that Jesus paid my ransom. He paid a price that was because of me. He suffered a death, a death that was not because of His sins, because He is sinless. It was because of mine. I must humble myself at His cross, to truly accept what He has done for me, to go to Him for my needs.
  • I need must pray about ALL things. I must capture these thoughts that have been binding me for years, and give them to God. I must cast my cares on Him, and take His yoke. I will have trials. I will have problems that I am faced with. God has told me that again and again in His word. Yet my trials, will draw me nearer to Him. My trials will grow my spirit in Him. My trials will grow my love in Him, that I may better reflect His love to my husband, my children, the world.
  • I need must be active about this. I cannot sit idly by. Satan will attack me. Again and again and again. As I lay down, as I first wake up, those last thoughts, those first thoughts, Satan will do whatever he can to attempt to capture those thoughts so that my mind falls into the trap of fear, worry, and anxiety. I must actively pray. I must actively humble myself before my all powerful, all loving, all amazing, all great, all able-to-transform-me-and-free-me-from-this-prison-of -anxiety God. To be faithful. To trust Him, completely, to trust Him with my worries, my fears, my problems. To trust Him who always has my best interest at heart. To trust Him who always only wants the best for me because of His perfect love for me.

I feel like I’ve heard the Lord’s message to me. I feel like I’m finally reaching up, to take His hand, bow my head, admit, confess, and repent of my pride, and start following.

My plan: To wake up every day, and acknowledge my need for Him first thing every morning. To acknowledge my need for Him as I lay down every night to sleep. Throughout the day, as soon as a thought of fear, worry, or anxiety comes to fill my mind, I will capture that thought and pray. I will cast it upon Him, so that I may be free to instead take His yoke. I know that there are some thoughts that are so deeply ingrained that I may give them to Him, and then attempt to take them back again. I will just keep giving them to Him, over and over, actively fighting against allowing those thoughts to fill my heart. Because I know, deep down, He is truly my only way to freedom.

In closing of my rambling spiderweb of thoughts here, I’ll share this. I created this fairly quickly yesterday after reading Chapter five in “Humility: True Greatness“. I put it in a frame, and hung it up in our bathroom. Why the bathroom? Because this is the first room we go into after we wake up, and last room we go into before going to bed. Simply as a reminder to me, first and last thing every day, and throughout the day.

For anyone else out there who suffers from anxiety, fear, stress, and worry, my prayer for us all is that we will be able to put our faith in our Lord and Savior, because He can handle it, He wants to handle it, that we may be free in Him and filled with His peace.

In Love & Faith,
RaZella

Thoughtful Thursday – Cholesterol

I went to my annual physical today at the doctor’s.

Now first, brief back story – Right after turning 27 there was a “health fair” at my then employer. My total Cholesterol was 260, so I made an appointment with the doctor and had my fasting numbers checked where it was 262. Then earlier this year before I left the “work force”, at the health fair again I was checked for a number of 298.

Here are some of the things I’ve been doing since being at home to try and better my health:Read More »

Weigh In Wednesday: Rambling Moment with Coffee

It’s raining outside. It started raining last night. Raining harder right now.

Today, I look out into the cold, dreary, grey, rainy weather, and want to crawl back into bed. Just snuggle up under the covers and stay there.

Cold-Rainy-Dreary-Grey-Blah-Blah-Day

I’ve also had this weird vertigo thing happening the last two days. I noticed it yesterday morning when I got up. Everything was “off” to the right. I got out of bed and stumbled to the right until I ran into a dresser, then held myself there until the room stopped moving. It happened two more times that morning , both times when I went from a seated position to a standing position. The room was literally moving. I ate some breakfast wondering if maybe I’m not getting enough food with the increased strength and cardio training. I upped my carbs yesterday intentionally.Read More »

Five Minute Friday: Focus my Heart

It is Friday. You know what that means. Five Minute Friday.

Today’s Word: Focus

Right now I’m struggling to focus. My thoughts are weaving a spiderweb of many strands so fast and so quickly I’m having trouble keeping them in order.

I never get phone calls.  This morning, in twenty minutes I’m called by four different numbers.
One call, a very dear friend. A best friend. A wonderful friend.

Focus. On what? On the fact I can’t be there to support her with the difficult news she has received? On the fact I can’t hold her and cry with her for just a few minutes? On the fact I’m so far away I only get to see her maybe once a year? I miss her.

Focus. How? I love her. I love her family. It’s so hard sometimes. Being so far away. From her. From everyone there and not here. My heart hurts.

Focus. Another call. This time about my son. More news. More things to cause my heart to quicken and worry.

Focus. On What? I’m spiraling at the moment. I’m emotional. Why am I so emotional?

Focus. I’m having trouble. I’m having trouble even focusing on these words.

Focus. I need some quiet time for my soul. Some quiet time to ask for comfort. Wisdom.

Focus. On friendship. I’m not there. But I am here. I love that dear friend. She is like a sister. I love her family. I can love them from here.  I will love them from here.

Focus. On growth. My son will face more challenges. I want to help him face them with focus. The focus he needs to overcome the struggles of this world. The same focus I need right now.
The one who comforts. The one who guides. The one who gives us everything we need.

Focus.

Focus my Heart.

STOP

Blog Signature