Tag Archives: faith

forgiveness- revisited

13 Feb

I wrote a post over a year ago about forgiveness. I have been thinking about it a lot lately, and so I wanted to repost it here. Sometimes I really like going back and seeing what was on my heart over a year ago. It shows me how much I have or haven’t grown. And reminds me of the journey that we are ALL on as people. And it frightens me that someday I’ll have to explain forgiveness to my two little boys, not only in a way that they’ll understand it. But also in a way that they will see me living it out in my own life.

Whoa.

Anyways. I hope this post encourages you, no matter what or who you are struggling with. Sin sucks. We all deal with it. We all wound one another.

And we all struggle with forgiveness.

Repost from December 2009

I’m learning a lot about forgiveness right now. It’s not an easy lesson to learn, and can cause a great deal of pain. I’m not only learning what it looks like to truly forgive someone, but also what it looks like when someone doesn’t forgive YOU. Even if you’ve asked several times. This is one of the things that is causing a great deal of anxiety because I’m not really sure what to do if you’ve truly asked for forgiveness, apologized for a wrong, and it still isn’t accepted. Do you keep asking? Do you let the anxiety of it not being accepted just fester? Do you wait for time to heal your heart?

We always just expect people to forgive us, especially once we’ve asked. And once I’m aware that I’ve wronged someone, I really like to try to fix/clear up any issues that there may be. I really value my friends and family and don’t want there to be unresolved issues. There isn’t any reason why we as adults can’t communicate and clear the air.

So what do you do once you’ve done as much as you can, and it doesn’t matter? You’ve asked for forgiveness, apologized more than once, and it’s still not received. Do you let the friendship go? Do you try harder? Do you just forgive them for not forgiving you?

A lesson in forgiveness will be one that I will continually learn through the course of my life. We are human, after all. And while we do love one another, we are going to wound each other. I’m trying to surround myself with people who get that and who want friendships that can be built on the foundations of love, forgiveness and mercy.

And I’m trying to pray for the others who don’t.

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dear cruz,

20 Jan

If I could teach you just one thing in this life, aside from teaching you about Jesus, I hope and pray that I can teach you this:

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, brethren, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is of good repute, if there is any excellence and if anything worthy of praise, dwell on these things. The things you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.” Philippians 4:6-9

This is something that I am still trying to learn. It’s something I struggle with every day, and something I pray that I won’t struggle with for much longer. But this passage is really hard for me. It’s hard, in this world we live in, to not be anxious about anything. To not worry about everything. To not be fearful.

I understand, completely.

Cruz, when life is overwhelming, when your mind won’t shut off, when fear takes over and when you’re anxious about so many things and you don’t know why- know that you can trust our Almighty Savior. Mediate on this passage. Trust in Jesus. And pray without ceasing. There’s so much about this life and this world that doesn’t make sense. There’s so much bad, anger and hate in the world and it is scary. Evil is scary. This life is only for a moment. Don’t waste your whole life being afraid and anxious about everything. Dwell on things that are pure and right and honorable. Fill your mind with the positive. Surround yourself with things that are true and pure. Guard your heart. Guard your mind. God promises peace. God is peace. Fill your life with Him, and you will live a life of peace. Even if everything around you is not peaceful.

I pray for you every day, Cruz. I pray that you and Rider both will live lives that are free of anxiety and fear. Lives that are full of peace and truth and honor. Do not be afraid. God is with you and will uphold you. Trust in Him, for He never fails.

I love you, my sweet boy.

Mommy

 


on repeat

15 Dec

I went through a time in my life, not too long ago, where everything- EVERYTHING made me anxious. I could take no thought captive. I couldn’t sleep well. I worried about everything. Stupid things, important things, real things, made up things. I was anxious about it all. Past, present, future. Things that already happened. Things that hadn’t happened. Things I feared would happen. It’s no way to live.

I am going through a similar time in my life. Taking thoughts captive is a huge struggle for me right now. What is prompting it? Nothing. Everything.

When I went through a time similar as now, Jason knew I was struggling big time. One morning when I got out to my car as I headed to leave to work, I noticed he had left a note in my car. I won’t say word for word what the note said. It’s special to me and I prefer to keep it that way. But he just wanted to encourage me in my anxiousness. He wanted me to know he was praying for me. And that he loved me. And that there wasn’t anything we couldn’t face together. He left a CD in my car that I listened to, on repeat, for no less than a month. Maybe more than that. The CD was Tim Hughes, Holding Nothing back album. It’s a phenomenal album and it is a reminder to me of God’s grace in my life when I’m struggling to rest in Him. It’s a reminder of how amazing my husband is. It’s a reminder that I’m being held, by the Creator, who sees my thoughts and knew about them before I even thought them.

One song imparticular holds a dear place in my heart. It’s called ‘Everything’, which is fitting. But I could pretty much sob every time I hear it. Sometimes I just sit and soak in the words. Sometimes I repeat them as if I’m victoriously declaring the truths. Sometimes I just listen, as if God is actually speaking over me. Do I sound weird? I don’t care. It’s a constant struggle for him to be MY everything. This song is such a reminder that he needs to be my everything, in everything I do, say, speak… think.

Everything.

It’s on repeat today as I work. Such amazing words of hope. Amazing words of truth. And it’s soothes me to the core on days, weeks, months when I can’t get my thoughts and anxiety under control.

Check it out on iTunes. The album is amazing. That song is incredible.

28 years

14 Jul

28 years ago, I looked like this:

Now you don’t have to wonder where Cruz got his blonde hair from. HA!

It’s pretty crazy that another year has gone by. I was thinking tonight about how much our lives have changed since my last birthday post, and it’s actually pretty crazy the things that have happened in our life. I never thought we’d be here. I never thought that what should have been one of the hardest years of my life has actually been one of the best years of my life. When I wrote last years birthday post, life was going ok. I was happy to be beginning my career successfully as a photographer and able to stay home with Cruz. I was happy and trusting that God was being so faithful in our lives and trying to lean on Him while being a stay at home mamma. We were living paycheck to paycheck, Jay was working odd jobs to make ends meet, and we had a little boy who we loved more than I ever thought possible. I was also not happy with a few other aspects of our lives, frustrated with certain things, people, places and trying to rely on God regarding those things. I was praying for the answers as to when we’d be able to move on. But relatively loving life and still trying to adjust to being a new mom.

This was all before we lost our job, had a miscarriage, got pregnant again (with Rider), had to decide if we were going to accept a job in Scottsdale or Seattle, accepting the job in Scottsdale, moving to Scottsdale and now settling into what is now our normal lives.

It’s been a crazy ride. And as hard as it’s been (or could have been even), it has been one of the best years of my life. Things aren’t perfect. They won’t ever be perfect, let’s not be naive here. But God has just delivered us, protected us and provided for us in more ways that I ever could have imagined. On this day last year, I had no idea how much my world was going to be rocked in a couple short months. I had no idea how my life would be so different. And I had no idea how grateful I’d be. I feel so blessed to be where we are.

Last year, Cruz was the only child I had. This year, we are going to have another little boy that will bring even more light and laughter into our lives (if that’s even possible!) and a brother for Cruz. I’m actually at a church that I deeply love. A place where I’m excited to be and to serve. A place that values us and that shows us they value us. Our business is going so well, I still have to pinch myself because I feel like I’m dreaming most of the time with it. Being a photographer has allowed me to stay home with my kids, do something I love and be my own person- and not just a mom. It’s been the greatest blessing of my life. I can’t imagine why I waited so long to do it. We’ve moved communities and while I’m sad that we’re farther away from some friends, the community of friends we are building down here is quite amazing too. We are living in a comfortable apartment that we are actually very happy in. It’s such a comfy place- I don’t even really miss my Gilbert house much anymore! We are truly so blessed, even though getting to this place within the last year has taken a lot of trusting God, prayer and leaning on one another. There’s been a lot of times of uncertainty, tears, frustration, anger. But also of happiness, laughter and lots and lots of relief in many ways. God has been so good to us. Even in the moments that I wasn’t sure where our next paycheck was going to come from, He proved to be faithful to us.

Why do I ever doubt?

It’s amazing the difference a year can make. And the difference that this year has made has meant the world to me. There’s been so many changes for us and so much transition. Not to mention the changes that are still on their way (Rider!). And I’m grateful for every single one.

So today I’m not sad about getting another year older. If every year could be like the last one I had, even in it’s hard moments, then I hope I can get older for many, many more years. What an amazing and great year. And even if 28 isn’t as great of a year, I have learned that trusting God is the best way. That He will always be faithful, even in moments when you aren’t sure if you’ll be able to pay the bills. And that He gives me blessings everyday in my fabulous family. And as hard as being a mom is at times, every day I get to take care of this little guy and his brother that is on the way. And there is nothing greater than being able to walk into his room to see him fast asleep, comfortable, secure, and knowing that he is more loved than any other little kid out there.

I have so much to be grateful for this birthday. And I wouldn’t change a single thing about this life I’m living. Happy Birthday to me! My life is one that is so blessed.

small encouragement

17 Dec

I went to breakfast with my sister Danielle yesterday morning. We don’t get together nearly enough and it was so fun. We always laugh way too loud- I actually found myself wishing that the music in the restaurant was louder so that our laughs didn’t seem SO loud.

But in the middle of our laughing and conversation, I was yet again reminded of God’s faithfulness. We had been talking about life and churches and God and other stuff- not even realizing that our waiter had been listening to our entire conversation. Well, it wasn’t hard to hear us. We were talking and laughing LOUD.

He stopped at our table and asked if we needed anything. We said no and then he said,

“What church do you go to?”

Both of us just stared at him for a second, completely caught off guard. I think we had been laughing about something so completely random, so we were thrown a little by his blunt question. Plus, I didn’t know what to say. We are in-between churches right now and aren’t really going to any one church at the moment. I quickly was trying to think about how to explain why we are in-between churches without taking up his entire day.

I gave him the short of the long story, and he told us that he had just planted a church in Gilbert 5 weeks ago. He said that he knew Jason because he had led at Highlands church a couple times and we chatted about a few other things. He left pretty quickly, probably to check on his other tables and we thought that was the end of the conversation.

Right before we left, he stopped by the table again. He said that he just felt the need to remind me that God has us in His grip and that He’s going to provide for us. Without knowing our full situation, he just spoke these words of wisdom over us that reminded me, once again, that God is in control and the He is faithful. He’s even faithful to provide words of encouragement and truth at the moment when I least expect it.

But he is so right.

This has been a tough season. A season of pain, fear, anger, relief, some doubt, and also joy. And it’s been rough. And while we are facing a world of change in the upcoming months, God never fails to use others to intervene to remind me that I AM in His grip. He has not forgotten me. And He will not forsake me, even if others have.

Be encouraged today. He will never leave.

anxious again

11 Dec

Lately, I’ve been struggling with and having anxiety again. I struggled with anxiety before Cruz was born, and even sought some therapy for it. It helped a great deal and I thought I was maybe getting through it and working on stuff. Then I got pregnant with Cruz and my entire mind shifted to him. He became my every thought. My anxiety didn’t matter anymore, because I had a little baby that I needed to make sure made it to full term. I didn’t have time to be anxious about stuff. Then he was born and figuring out mommyhood consumed my mind. Those first few months are rough and any anxious thoughts I had, were directly stemmed from whether or not he was eating enough, sleeping enough etc. It was a different kind of anxiety and I didn’t feel it was in vain. It was because I was trying to take the best care possible of my little boy.

Now I kinda feel like I’ve gotta handle on being mommy. Although I am aware that you never stop learning as a mom (or as a human for that matter) and every stage brings new challenges and new anxieties. But I don’t feel as anxious about being a mom as I did in those first few months. But I do feel anxious again.

I’m not sure what it is, either. And it’s kinda freaking me out because this is how I felt the last time I struggled with it. I had a period of time where I couldn’t be in big groups of people for too long because the walls would start to cave in. Panic attacks are not new to me. I haven’t had one in a long time, and I pray I don’t ever again. They are not fun and they are very scary. But even as I sit here, this morning- this calm, quiet, nobody’s awake yet morning- I am anxious. God tells us not to be anxious about anything, but to pray about everything. Wow that’s hard. It’s something I should probably tattoo on my wrist so I’m reminded about it daily.

Seriously.

It’s such an internal struggle for me. And the anxieties I have are really, really trivial. If I even tried to write out what’s making me anxious this morning, you would just say “Well, stop thinking that way.” or “You’re reading into stuff.” or “I’m sure it’s not really that bad.”

And none of that would help. Because I already know all that. It’s getting my brain to really understand that, that’s the hard part.

You can say it probably has to do with all the change we’ve been through in the past few months. And that we still don’t have a job (although we are getting closer to that!!) and that life is probably stressing me out. That we’re so busy that I haven’t really had a second to just breathe. That I’m a social person and haven’t had much contact with my friends, which kills me. That the two miscarriages I’ve had and all the emotions that come with that are still catching up to me. That the thought of moving anywhere is terrifying and overwhelming. That while I’m grateful for the fact that we lost our job, I’m still angry with certain individuals over the whole mess.

And you’d be right. I’m sure it does have to do with all of that.

I’m not sure why I’m writing this. This is actually turning out to be a very vulnerable blog post for me. And I’m not even sure where I’m going with it. I guess I just need you to pray for me- whatever prayer looks like for you, dear reader. Please pray for me. Satan attacks my thought life in every way possible, all the days of my life. It’s always been a huge struggle for me, even as a kid. I don’t want to get sucked back into the road of panic attacks and fearful living. I’ve been doing so well with it and I need it stay that way. Jason and Cruz need it to stay that way too. I’m not trying to make it sound like I’m doing awful- I’m not! I’ve just been having anxious thoughts again and taking them captive is the hardest thing for me to do.

I didn’t know what to write this morning. And all of this just came out. It’s pretty hard for me to write about this, because it’s something that I can easily hide and just let it fester within me. But I need to be honest. And while I’m happy and grateful and thrilled for new adventures, I’m also having days where I deeply struggle. We all wouldn’t be human if we didn’t have our ups and downs, right?

So if you think of me, please say a quick prayer for me. Today has already started off with me waking up anxiously, and this road of anxiety can’t be in my life again. It just can’t. Thanks for listening to me ramble. Maybe what I need is just a good ol’ girls night out!

And if you’re up for that, let me know.

little faith

9 Dec

The other night we went to dinner with some dear, dear friends. Minding our own business, having a great time, I was unexpectedly reminded of God’s faithfulness in our lives.

Let me explain.

Last week was a trying week, I’m not gonna lie. Up until the amazing trip I took to Cali (and I will be posting pictures about that soon!) I had been slightly discouraged all week. We are still waiting answers from a couple of places that are interested in hiring Jay. And I’m the kind of girl who likes to know what’s going on immediately. So waiting is kind of excruciating at times. I’ve been worried and struggling about whether or not we will have a job anytime soon. Wondering how God’s going to provide, where is the money going to come from etc.

I have such little faith. He’s proven himself to me so much already just in the past two months alone. Why do I worry?

Going to California came at the perfect time. I had so much fun hanging out with my cousin Sarah and her hubby, Jake. Seeing many other members of my family was refreshing as well. I completely forgot about my worries back home. The photo shoot I did with Sarah and Jake (who are pregnant!!) refilled my soul and spurred a lot of creativity in me. I came home refreshed and missing both of my boys. And I was only away for 24 hours. I’m a wimp. Ha!

Anyways.

So I came home and I didn’t step back into worry. I felt better about our situation, ready to trust and not worry so much. What will be will be and I have to be patient and wait. I have to. Worrying isn’t going to make it come faster.

So what’s your point?, you’re thinking…

Well, we went to dinner on Monday night with some dear friends. It was our intention to treat them to dinner. We can’t treat very often- especially these days. But when we can it really comes from the heart and it’s totally something we love to do. These friends of ours have been such great friends to us. Time and time again, I look back on our lives and they have gone above and beyond to help us, support us no matter what stage of life we are in, and stick up for us when it seems that everyone misunderstands us. We love them and I wish we could move them with us, no matter where we go!

So we are at dinner, having a great time, eating great food, enjoying each others company. The bill came and it was the typical ‘fight’ over who’s going to pay the bill. Of course we weren’t going to let them! We never get to do this and we definitely wanted to honor them. The waitress came, took the bill and all was well.

Until. She came back with the bill.

“Good news…”, she said.

A complete random stranger had paid for our entire bill. Yes, you read that right. A complete random stranger paid for our entire bill.

Wow.

In this stage of our life, Jason and I are constantly reminded that God is faithful. That He has a plan for us and that he will provide- even when we don’t think we need it! All four of us were so shocked and Jason and I were humbled to the core. In a moment when we weren’t crying out to God to provide. We weren’t worried where our next meal was going to come from. We weren’t wondering how we were going to pay- He was still faithful.

I am blown away at all I am learning during this season of my life. Although some lessons have been hard to learn, I am astounded at His faithfulness and His patience with me as I always seem to struggle with this. I’m always wondering and worrying about finances and money. And He’s always one step ahead of me.

Sometimes I have little faith. But He’s always reminding me that He is faithful and that I’m in no better hands. I’ve never been more grateful, and I am so excited to see what He’s doing in our lives. Because He’s obviously doing something that I can’t understand yet.