Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Tell It

"Your heartache is someone else's HOPE.
 If you made it through,  somebody else is going to make it through.
Tell your story."
{Kim McManus}

i've found myself completely confused by this season of life we are in.
 while we are probably the busiest we've been, it honestly just feels really restful. 
and good.
and peaceful.
like God is just pouring his blessing out on us and we are soaking every bit of in. 

it's hard for me though because i feel like the last 8 or so years, ive had this guard up.
like an armor. 
protecting myself, my heart, my husband, my kids, our babies.

so much of our life together has been spent in battle mode.

since brandon and i got married it felt like there was one big "life" thing after the next.
 a big move across an ocean 6 months after we got married, 
 another big move back 4 months later. 
3 kids with 2 huge devastating losses in between,
and many other trials few people know about.
 but they were hard. 
challenging and tormenting. and hard. 

i feel blessed to look back on it all and see how God bound Brandon and I together.
how he united us and how we've made each stronger and better through it all.
i'm so thankful for that. 

but i got really good at fighting.  
for hope, for my trust in God, for faith.

i knew who i was and how to be and what it felt like to be in fight mode. 
i tried my best to protect everyone i loved and keep them as close as i could.


so this season is just different. and new.
 and i'm learning who i am and how to be in it it.
i wouldn't say i have felt lost, 
but i have felt quiet. 

learning something new always takes focus for me. 
it takes a lot of inward processing and re-tracing. 
going back to what i've learned and where i've been in order to apply it to where i am now. 

it's taken me to prayer many times over the last few months.
last night as i ran, i asked God for probably the 29786th time, 
 what he wants me to do with this story ive been given.

 his response was simply:
"Tell it"

there is so much more to my story that i feel God pressing me to tell. 
so much He is showing me about it even now. 
i can feel those walls i built up chipping away.

it feels really vulnerable 
and scary.
and my instinct is to throw those guards back up.
 protect myself and my heart and my family,
keep myself in this safe box with other people at a distance.
but the parts of my story that feel so precious and fragile... 
 and the many layers I continue to see through it every day...
they aren't meant for me to keep stuffed down deep, locked away and hidden.
because then how can God use them? 

brandon and i got back saturday night from a trip to california for a pastors retreat 
with the other southhills pastors and their wives.
while our kids were being taken care of by sweet family and friends, who treated them like their very own 
{which in itself is such a huge blessing for this mama's heart}
we explored beaches, and restaurants, went on a boat ride in newport, 
made new, life-giving friendships
had smores on balboa beach, wore sweatshirts because it was so cold, 
watched sunsets, and listened to the waves crash on laguna. 

many times i would mindfully shut my eyes and take it in. 
rest in the peace. breath in the fresh.
cause it almost felt surreal.

it's a peace i have known before but not in this way.

One afternoon I sat with the other wives and we each talked about 
where we are right now. in this season of our lives. 

as i listened to the first two women talk, i felt myself tensing up
because i didn't know what i was going to say, 
i didn't know what i wanted to say.
 and truthfully, 
i hadn't vocalized where i am now, so i had no idea what words would come 
out of my mouth when i started talking. 

but as i started to, i could feel God not just speaking through me, 
but to me. 
i walked away realizing how much i had been keeping in,
how many emotions and thoughts 
i hadn't been able to process because i hadn't told them.


i think so often we wonder why we go through certain things. 
why we have to. 
and for a while i resolved that i personally may never know. 
but standing in the fresh air of california, eyes closed,
i realized i do.

it's prepared us for where we are now. 
for such a time as this. 
our new season. 

my story was never for me to keep. 
it's His story. Every bit of it. 
the hope through the loss,
the joy through the storms, 
the faith through the fear, 
and the peace through the rest.

It's all Him. 
and i will never stop telling it. 
even if its hard and especially when it's scary. 
i have to.

Only then can He really use it...
and that right there is my biggest hearts cry.


Thursday, July 11, 2013

A stirring

For those who have followed my blog for any length of time you know my story. You know why I share it and you know what has come from it.  
One of the biggest things that has is Project Hope

I know I haven't mentioned it in a while. Life has been busy. With 3 kids, a church plant, a business and so many other things in between, I haven't been able to give Project Hope the attention I would love to. 

To an extent there is some guilt there. Because it is something I am so passionate about. Something that stirs my soul and makes me want to run full speed ahead with all of the dreams and ideas I have for it. 

It's a huge part of my heart to minister to women who have lost a baby. 
I've said it before, but its so true...
.If I could hug every single one of y'all who has ever lost a baby, I would. 
I'm a hugger and some times when I don't know what else to say, I just hug. 
Or I'll squeeze your arm. Which is my second choice. 
You may or may not know this about me if you've met me before.

But that's what Project Hope does. It comforts and brings hope to women I will never meet but can only pray are touched with His healing and HOPE. 
I may not be able to run full speed ahead right now, but I can still keep walking. Keep taking  steps forward. And right now I'm just praying for what the next one is. 

{print from here}

Even in the slowness of my walk,  God continues on.  He uses the heart and stories of Project Hope and I am continually amazed with each email I receive, or phone call that I get.
It is in those moments that he gently whispers to me that He is still working, even when I'm not able to do everything I'd like to be. 

I wanted to share this video with y'all.  Kelly contacted me a few months ago about getting Project Hope in her city. This past spring 100 women got together and created 30 Project Hope memory boxes that were then donated to area hospitals. 

It just amazes me to see how God will use whatever is in your hands, whatever you have to give, no matter how little or how much. 
He will use it.
I constantly have to remind myself that it's not an "all or nothing" thing. 
That my little bit I have to offer is enough. 
Because He is enough. 

That right there makes me fall more in love with Jesus and lets me rest a little more knowing it's not about my own works, or how much I'm doing. 
Praise Jesus for that.

This past week I shipped off a Project Hope memory box to a woman who's friend lost her baby boy after only living for an hour.  I may not know that woman, but I know that her soul is broken and her heart is questioning. She may not ever get her answers but I pray she clings to hope, and that that becomes enough until the day she holds her sweet boy again.

Life is often pretty loud. Especially right now. But in the quiet moments, when my thoughts are quiet and my spirit is still, Project Hope is what begins to stir at my heart.
I know there is something big on the horizon for it.

I'm not hear to tell you what that is. Because I don't know right now. 
I'm just sharing my heart and praying that those of you who share my same heart for this, would pray for His direction too and that you'll join along side me as He leads.


Sunday, July 7, 2013

our fourth

watched the kids swim and get braver in the pool.
grilled hot dogs and corn on the cob, 
ate fire crackers {my FAV!}, my sisters famous corn dip {also my FAV!} 
and red white & blue rice crispy treats,
set off a rocket my dad made for Asher,  
watched some fireworks, 
held crying babies who didn't like the fireworks, 
ran from a moth the size of your head, 
danced to some JB, 
ate some more, 
snuggled each others kids, 
celebrated a new one on the way for my little sister and brother in law,
got curious about what a glow necklace would taste like and decided to bite into it 
(well that one was just Mia)
ate some more,
swam some more,
and then crashed and burned. 

It was such a fun day. 
Celebrating life and every holiday, milestone, little moment, never gets old to me.
 It shouldn't really. Life is just too good and sweet not to celebrate. 

Hope yours was a good one too. 


Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Celebrating 2 Years

2 years ago this week I opened the Splendor Shop
I've learned so much in that time about running a business and I hope to just keep on learning.
There is so much more I would love to do and places I would love to see it go.
I'm taking it a day at a time and having a blast while doing it. 

I also have to say that I am so incredibly thankful for each of you who has shown me
love & support along the way!
It has meant so much to me.

Through this week I'll have a couple of promotions and giveaways,
starting with 20% off through this week.  
Just enter code -celebrate- when you go to check out. 
And be sure to follow the @thesplendorshop instagram page so you don't miss anything!  

Hope you all are enjoying your week!