Joy in the morning

More transparent than Saran Wrap…. that’s me. All my tears flow… freely at night. I cry, I sob, I wail when I know my children are upstairs in their beds…the loud wailing, completely open and raw. Gutted, completely gutted and exhausted to the point where I have bloodshot eyes the next day! The most horrible sounding wail that surprises me every time with how raw it sounds. I’ve never cried like this in my whole life.
However, I always tell my husband that everything is fine in the morning. There’s joy in the morning Craig so don’t worry…everything is always ok in the morning. Don’t worry about me honey, I’ll always be fine in the morning.
God bless this man. The vows have kicked in this year and then some… for better or worse… he’s carried me this year….”worse” hit on November 10th when my mom died and again this week when we found out her death could have been prevented and we, thanks to the Florida Legislature can do nothing about it. Can’t sue…no retribution whatsoever. Talk about a kick in the gut. Fresh tears on an already gaping wound. 
Here’s the beautiful part….there’s ALWAYS a beautiful part….Read this verse today and as always it stopped me in my tracks….weeping may last through the night but joy comes in the morning…it does…every time. 
I wake up with a peace in my heart, a beautiful peace, and a fresh day. A chance to thank Jesus for every single thing he’s done to change me from the inside out….that peace is straight up Jesus y’all….it’s not me. I’m nowhere near capable of anything like that.
What I already knew in my heart is actually a bible verse and I found it….no way that was an accident. My hands are raised to heaven with nothing but amazement and gratitude. 
Thank you Jesus for it all. I’m so grateful. What’s he done for you today?

Bekah

“If happy little bluebirds fly…. beyond the rainbow…. why oh why….can’t…I?”

Seriously… today of all days, this week of all weeks. I promised to come through for you and I failed. Failed miserably and feel really stupid too. Sissy was on a mission to bring something out of all of this…to try and give something to you, Sean and Ray Ray…and came up empty handed. 

Why? Why do things get out in your path if you can’t do anything with them? Why add salt to an already gaping wound? Why say “here’s what you have and it is 100 percent wrong in every single way and there’s not a darn thing you can do about it!” Oh and by the way…. happy birthday!

Happy birthday? Happy!? Really!? How about just ‘birthday’ this year. Honey, I know how you feel and I want to scoop you up and fix it. I want to scoop you in my arms and give you the kind of hug you don’t want! 

I want to pet your hair and watch Romy and Michelle’s High School Reunion and laugh for two hours until it’s over and reality sets back in.  We’ll each have a couch and in a perfect world we’d have Rachee with us and a bottle of wine. Actually in a truly perfect world we’d have mom here and we’d welcome the opportunity to share a couch with her and have one of us rub her tiny little toes. 

Sadly that’s not the case. What’s a word that’s 100 miles lower than ‘sadly’? Find it and insert at the beginning of the paragraph. I can’t fix this. I am so so sorry. I can’t fix it. 

I’m the fighter. I’m the one who goes to battle with a vengeance. I didn’t even get the chance. ‘No’ is just a starting point for me but in this case, no actually meant no. I don’t know what to do with that. I’m just so so sorry. 

You deserve more this year. We deserve more. We deserve to have our mother here giving us hives before we even know she’s coming near us. We deserve to have her driving us nuts with 10,000 emails a day and technology questions. We deserve to be able to go to her immaculate house and cook in her tiny kitchen. And you know what???? She deserves to still be here. She deserves to still be here. She just does. 

This week was worse than the day she died. That’s a big thing to say but I think all of us would agree that this week was worse than her actually dying. 

I’m just so sorry Bekah. All I can do is love you with all my heart and insert my inner lion when needed.  It’s all I have to offer and it can’t come close to what you need and deserve…I’m so sorry. 

I love you Sissy so much. I would take on everyone’s grief if I could. I would find the ruby slippers and make sure they got back on your feet where they belong. I would melt the witch. I would give the lion his courage, the tin man his heart, and the scarecrow his brain. I’d crush the wicked witch of the East and bring our world back to black and white….if only I could. I love you so much Bekah. You, Sean, and Rachel are everything to me. ‘Birthday’ Bekah…There’s no place like…

Dear Rachel,

Dear Rachel,

Look at you! Graduating from Parsons! Honey I am so proud of you! I know all the hard work you’ve done and I am so proud! You set your mind to doing this and you did it.

I always loved your decisive spirit. Going shopping with you was always so much fun because even as a child you knew exactly what you wanted once you saw it and were determined enough to find a way to get it. You wanted to go to Parsons and you did! All because you decided to go and you jumped through all the hoops to make it happen! New York is lucky to have you and you are going to soar at Express. I couldn’t be prouder.

I know you miss me. I know you are sad at times. I know you wish I could be there at your graduation taking annoying amounts of pictures and wondering where I could get a baked potato and some unsweetened tea for dinner. I know we can’t email like we used to. I know.

I also know your heart. Your amazingly huge heart and your ability to love wholeheartedly the people in your life. Rachel you are my sweet sweet, always sharing, always thinking of others daughter.  There’s not a selfish bone in your body (it all went to Susanna😀). Even as a child you’d get a pack of gum and the first thing you’d do was offer a piece to everyone and then take the last one for yourself. My sweet, selfless Rachel.

Your qualities have served you well. I raised you right. What wasn’t taught by me and dad you were blessed to have just by being ‘you’. I’m so so glad I decided to have a fourth baby! You completed our family Rachel Woods and you bring nothing but joy, happiness, and excitement wherever you go. You were always an encouragement to me even when you didn’t realize it. Thank you for your daily emails and for always checking in with me. I cherish those memories. 

I love you so much Rachel and I’m so proud of you! Happy birthday and happy graduation! You have the world ahead of you and your possibilities are endless. I’m so proud to be your momma…both in Heaven and on Earth. While you may not see me and be able to give me one of your rib cracking hugs every day, just remember this:

I’m the very fast flying roach you see when you flip the light switch on in the middle of the night, I’m the cardigan on the beautiful lady when it’s 90 degrees outside, I’m the sale at Talbots, I’m the Clinique lipgloss, I’m the St. Tropez self tanning towels, I’m the Mac that freezes up, I’m the printer out of ink, I’m the CELL phone, the vacuum cleaner that runs before 7:00am, that stupid Susie Wong movie, the glass of unsweetened iced tea, a bag of M&M’s, anybody 5 feet short and under, Siamese cats, Converse sneakers, Mary Kay makeup, a full cart at Target, a new Honda Civic, red hair, White Musk perfume, Pantene hairspray, a breath of fresh air, I’m the moon and you will forever be my sunshine….my only sunshine…you make me happy when skies are gray…you’ll never know dear how much I love you so please don’t take my sunshine away.

I love you Rachel. ❤, Mom

Motherless Mother’s Day

Dear Mom,

Sorry I haven’t written in a while. Mother’s Day is almost here. I’m struggling with this one for obvious reasons. This is the first Mother’s Day where I won’t have a mother to celebrate. For all those motherless moms out there, I have now joined your club. This is one I didn’t exactly choose to be a part of. None of you did right?

I get going on auto-pilot into my day and it’s the quiet moments when I would normally pick up the phone to call you or email you that sting. I still want to call you. I haven’t deleted the home number off my phone because I just can’t. I laugh when I”m doing something you would consider ‘loud’ as I talk on the phone with my friends because I know you would always ask me to call you back when I had a quiet house. That’s usually never! It’s the one memory though that actually makes me laugh. Everything else pretty much makes me cry when I think of you.

Rachel is graduating next week and we are all going to be in New York. You should be with us too. I, like you already have my bags packed and am practically waiting by the door with my purse in hand ready to go. I know you would have picked out all new outfits to go, and we would have flown up together. Sadly that’s not the case. Bekah, Rachel, and Sean…well you know how they are doing.

Here’s what is so hard…I am a mother and my girls are going to want to celebrate me on a day when I am going to naturally be sad. The ads on TV are killing me. Anything with older moms and their daughters is like a dagger in the heart. Three generations of girls with pretty lighting all baking in a kitchen..someone put me out of my misery.

I have to admit this and allow myself to feel what I’m feeling right now. I am so so sad. I miss you momma so much. I truly miss you with all of my heart. It wasn’t supposed to happen this way. I assumed I would have you around to drive me nuts for many more years to come. You’re not here anymore and I miss you so much. I catch myself all the time saying “Did that actually happen?”  “Oh my gosh….she’s gone…she’s really gone…”

I didn’t make it in time to say goodbye. I was stuck in traffic screaming at the top of my lungs for all the cars to move and they didn’t. There I was with Lauren and Elizabeth in the car, calling everyone I could at the hospital, calling Rachel in New York and telling her to get on a plane, and every phone call came with worse and worse news. I finally got to your house and dropped off the girls. As I’m flying down the brick streets trying to get to the hospital Bekah calls me and tells me that I have to be the one to tell the doctors to stop working on you. I’m screaming “noooooooooooo” and help me Jesus I don’t know how I made it to St. Anthony’s. Bekah has the most level head in times of crisis…I don’t know how she saw what she saw that day and did what she did. It’s absolutely gut wrenching.

I got there too late. I didn’t make it. They let me go in and see you and the only thing I could whisper was “momma…momma….momma”. I carefully hugged you, I pet your hand and I rested my head beside you.  I was hoping you would wake up. I was so hoping you would wake up. I’m so selfish because I wasn’t ready to let you go. I know this isn’t about me but I’m still not ready to be without you mom.

I don’t want your furniture here… I want it in your house in St. Pete. I don’t want your dishes, towels, clothes, jewelry, makeup or perfume here either. It all belongs in your house in the Old Northeast. I want you here for Mother’s Day… not your things, not your memories. I miss you so much. I just want my momma. I want you here mom. I want you here.

I’m not angry, I’m not hopeless, I have no regrets whatsoever… I just miss you and I’m sad. I love you so much momma and I’m just sad. I know you are in Heaven with Jesus and are overjoyed. You deserve that and I’m so happy for you. You have perfect peace and a whole new body. I can’t imagine it being any more beautiful than the one you had on earth. On my best day I’ll never be half as beautiful as you mom.

I’m comforted by Jesus. I’m surrounded by Sisters in Christ. I have blessings beyond measure. All of these things thankfully allow me the opportunity to grieve for you whenever it decides to come out, so that when it comes out I can cry a beautiful cry that simply is born out of true love for you.

I’m going to allow these tears to fall, and I’m going to ask for comfort from my friends this week as I am genuinely missing you right now. I may not be inspiring others daily like I try to do all the time but I also know it’s ok. It’s ok for me to be sad. It’s ok for me to miss you. It shows you just a fraction of how much I love and adore you.

I love you momma. I love you so much. Happy early Mother’s Day to you in Heaven.

Sisterhood

So I’m now friends with about 5,000 women. I don’t know their names, I don’t know their stories but after what I’ve just experienced I am confident to call them friends and more than that, true sisters in Christ.

I’ve just spent the past day and a half fully immersed in a retreat. I have never been to a retreat before and I was nervous for a whole 5 minutes. And then that all went away.

I only knew about a handful of the women going, was sharing a room with a complete stranger and because of God in me, couldn’t wait!
Take every insecurity about being with 5,000 women and throw it out the window. My hair looked like cotton candy on a humid day, why did I even bother to wear makeup because I just sobbed it right off as soon as the singing started, and yes, I put on my pajamas after the event, stuck my hair in a bun and hung out with some more strangers…
Those strangers weren’t strangers after another 5 minutes. Warm, funny, relatable, genuine, authentic, welcoming, each of them with a sense of humor and a definite sense of purpose.

I was so exhausted after a long but incredible day that I had to go to bed. My roommate came up about 20 minutes after I went up and my well thought plans to stay up and get to know her flew out the window, or rather sunk into my fluffy pillow because I was out…… nighty night!

Trusting the weekend to God and not me, sure enough, my roommate and I started talking  the next morning as soon as we woke up and it now feels like I’ve known her for years. The layers you skip when getting to know someone because you simply don’t have time and you want to get to the core of who they are…. those layers… the sisters in Christ layers.

The talking about your love of Jesus without reservation, the sharing of your life experiences, where you are with your walk with the Lord, and what do you know but she’s so much like me?
Amazing, it’s all God….divined by him, given by him. It’s so hard to describe.

I’m so grateful for the vulnerability I have now. The open-ness,  the experience of hearing Beth Moore, singing and praising God at the top of my lungs with arms up… praising him, thanking him, and not caring how I look to others.

Beth Moore said that there’s a world of difference between accepting and embracing Gods love and his plan for us.

What was in my head all growing up has now moved to my heart. This happened about 9 months ago. I went from a spirit of accepting God to embracing him. I now am not only embracing him but I am now embracing my place in this gospel story!

I have felt like a long time like I have something that I want to say but I never knew what it was… until NOW! I want Everyone to know Jesus like I know him! I want to share my story, what he’s doing for me every day, how he’s changed my heart, my soul, my life!

The light switch got turned on 9 months ago but this weekend the bulb got changed…..and now is brighter than the sun! You thought I was motivated before?! Just wait til I get home!!! I can’t wait to get back in the real world and hopefully inspire, listen, and be a better sister in Christ.

This weekend was absolutely amazing. Thank you to Jan for taking the girls for me, for Craig for so graciously encouraging me to go, for Holly, Lorraine, Celimar, Brooke, Kim, my new sister Rochelle, and the 5,000 other sisters in Christ who I am so honored to have been in the same space with.

Embrace this God life and let it invade every part of me! Bring it!

#lproof17 #inspirational #christian

Pandora

Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

Two people are better off than one, for they can help each other succeed. If one person falls, the other can reach out and help.

Pandora bracelets are a great way to define who you are. It starts with a bracelet and its up to you to add charms to it. There are so many to choose from. Hobbies, sparkle, birth stones, sports, professions, Disney characters, seasons…you name it and there’s probably a Pandora charm to suit.

Last year I got a Pandora bracelet for my birthday. It was given with love and while I liked it a lot, it ended up in the jewelry box and was hardly worn. Kind of like my relationship with Jesus was last year…given with love, simple, classic, beautiful but not appreciated for what it offered. I was a ‘pray when I need something gal’ last year. I had no idea how desperate I was for the all loving, all consuming, all fulfilling relationship I could have with Jesus. I would only pray once a month or so. The Christmas list prayer. You know the kind….Dear Jesus, please let me have….please help me find….please fix this mess I”m in. That prayer. The totally selfish kind.

So, the bracelet stayed in the jewelry box, like my stagnate walk with Jesus and thats when I officially fell apart. All my eggs were in one basket and that basket flipped over. I was a mess. The basket was removed and all I was left with were broken raw eggs. I knew I needed to change. I knew what I was doing wasn’t working. I knew I was sad, angry, lost, and tired of trying to fix things on my own. Everything I did to try and fix only made things worse. Believe me…things got real ugly.  Talk about egg on my face!!!

I decided to change how I ate and see if that would help. It was a great start. I felt amazing, was running, eating healthy and physically I felt great. I felt so good I decided to change my heart. I kept trying and trying but everything I tried backfired in my face. It made me look bad…REAL BAD! I was putting my worst self, my worst foot forward and getting nowhere. So sad to be in a place where you are trying so hard but everything is going backwards right?

In all of this I forgot to pray. I never prayed. Not once. Finally last August I had a moment where Jesus literally woke up my soul. I prayed. Jesus, I surrender. I can’t do this on my own. I can’t fix what’s broken. I give it all to you. Everything! My hurt, my sadness, my broken self, my ruined friendships, my control…my stubbornness. You get it all. Have fun fixing me and good luck! I’ve really gotten in my own way!

He heard me. The fixing also started right away. I reached out to a friend and asked if she knew of a bible study and she said that she was starting one THAT VERY WEEK at her house and I was welcomed to join: Jesus speaking through a sister in Christ. I happily accepted and one week later the light bulb was on in my heart.

I felt different. I felt joyful. I felt Jesus working to change my heart, my attitudes, and the best part was I was now hungry to be his servant. I couldn’t get enough of his love. I prayed all the time and my prayers were the thankful ones…not the asking ones.

My friendships changed too. New sisters in Christ who I’ve known only casually until September of last year. I now feel like I’ve known them forever. The comfort, the bond, the love, the respect and the true intimacy that can only be found when your foundation is based on a mutual love for Jesus. Just pure love and acceptance…just like Jesus gives to us. It’s an incredible feeling.

I got my Pandora bracelet out this spring and began to see it with different eyes. Last year’s bracelet would have been filled with Disney charms…things that I thought would make me happy (like my life without Jesus). They are all beautiful in their own way but this year I was drawn to the charms that sparkled, the new rose gold line that just came out.  I was craving new Pandora like I was craving my new relationship with Jesus.

The bracelet works best with a safety chain. In the event that the clasp comes undone the bracelet goes flying and all the charms go flying too! I’ve seen this happen and I’ve searched on the floor for one to no avail. Safety chains are a good idea. I ordered one and when I went to put it on my bracelet, it didn’t work. It wouldn’t do its job. Instead of being securely tethered to the bracelet, it flew off too! That safety chain’s like me trying to keep things together on my own without Jesus. When I’m in control, nothing works…the clasp opens and beads fly all over the place. Some get lost. Even my own safety chain won’t keep things in place.

I got new beads this year for my birthday. I wept when I opened them and saw how beautiful they were. I couldn’t wait to put them on my bracelet. Rose Gold, sparkles, my initial…all gorgeous and all brand new…just like my heart for God.

I got one more bead yesterday. It sparkles, it glows in the dark…and the best part: It seals the bracelet! That one bead threads through and protects all the others from flying off! My quiet force, your bead holds all the beads in place. My sisters in Christ, YOU hold me together. My sisters in Christ…you are my safety chain!!!

Forever thankful that we are not meant for our journey to love the Lord alone. Forever thankful for my Pandora beads.

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In the Middle of it All

Dear mom,
I’m sorry I haven’t written you sooner. I’ve been too sad to. Every milestone this year is difficult. The holidays and now spring birthdays with the girls. I think the next few weeks are going to be worse then when you died because I know how much we all loved spring.

You’ll be happy to know that I hit Target on your behalf yesterday to the tune of slightly less than $400😀…just on Easter baskets!!! I thought of you as I pushed the very full cart through the aisles knowing you would have gone nuts over all the adorable spring things! Umbrellas, spring jammies, Easter stuff….I hit it hard! I know you were smiling from heaven and I know you would have gone nuts if you were with me here! Target is just the best!

I only cried once on Elizabeth’s birthday. It was when my friend sang happy birthday into the answering machine for Elizabeth. I lost it because it was something you would always do and I was so happy and sad at the same time when she sang it. Elizabeth had a wonderful birthday. We made a lemon pound cake just like the ones you made and she was so happy. I am amazed at how comforted I was that day. God knew my heart, he knew what I could handle and thankfully he put a protective bubble around me all day so I could be happy and truly celebrate Elizabeth.

I’m praying for the same for Lauren’s birthday too. It just gets sadder though because her birth was such an incredible time in our lives and you were there for all of it. We rushed around getting everything ready so we could relax one day before she was born and all the rushing caused me to go into labor! I love how I told you it was no April Fools joke that I was in labor and you and the girls shot out of bed at 4:00am and were ready to go!!

You photographed the whole birth, you held my hand, you held one of my legs when I pushed, you cut the umbilical cord, and you were the first one to speak to Lauren. Your bond with her is so strong mom. It always has been and I think it was because you spoke to her first.

We had so much fun the first week she was home. You slept right next to me and woke up every time Lauren did and helped me. You and me snuggled in the bed and Lauren right next to us in her Pack and Play. You saved me that first week. Absolutely saved me. I was so grateful for your help.

The girls miss you. They miss you so much. They cram their feet into the sandals you bought them last year for spring. It absolutely breaks my heart because they are too big for the shoes now yet insist on wearing them because they were a gift from you.

Lauren’s birthday, my birthday, Easter Sunday, and Mother’s Day will be like taking a bullet each day. I have Jesus and that’s everything. I don’t know how people grieve without the comfort of our savior. I am comforted but there are still moments of pure grief. It pours out loudly and without reservation.

There are so many things I want to tell you every day. I want to pick up the phone and call you but I can’t. I want to compare gifts with you to make sure you didn’t get the same thing because we have the same taste! I got glasses…they are really cute. I took a selfie and you would have been the first person I would have sent it to. I check my email every day but there’s nothing from you. I’m getting my hair done today so my roots won’t get too grown out. You’d be proud. I’m still eating healthy and feeling great! I’m dying for you to come over for a week so I can cook for you and you can take pictures. You can go through the girls closets and pick out adorable outfits and we can have a photoshoot.

I can’t buy a new comforter for the bed because I don’t want to let go of the one you gave me. I know it has rips in it but I still can’t buy a new one. Elizabeth is trying out for Headliners at school in a few weeks. It is a singing and dancing group. I’m so proud of her and I know you would be too. She’s a performer at heart.

I weep for Bekah, Rachel, and Sean. I want to scoop them up and hold them every second of every day. I want to take away their tears and make them happy. We all are going through the same sadness but it makes me sadder to know that my sissies and brother feel the same as I do. I can’t fix it for them and I want to so desperately. It breaks my heart knowing you aren’t here anymore.

I have amazing friends. Sisters in Christ who are everything to me. I have two bible studies I go to and I have learned so much about true friendships, trust, love, and most importantly of all, how to have a relationship with Jesus. So overall, I’m worlds better than I was this time last year. In fact, I’m a different person entirely. How I see people…what I stear clear from. I’m changed, grateful, I’m whole, redeemed, and most of all I’m comforted in the midst of it all.

I miss you momma. I miss you so much. But I know I’m making you proud of me in Heaven. I’ll write sooner next time I promise. I know you are happy where you are. Give grandma and granddad a hug and kiss for me ok? Love you momma,
Susanna

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Curly girl

Lauren’s hair is just like mine: curly…very curly. We don’t need brushes or combs when we fix our hair. We just run our hands through it and go. This morning however, she picked up a brush and proceeded to force it through her hair. She said she wanted to have straight hair today. It hurt her to try to brush the curls straight and the brush kept getting stuck in her hair. She did it anyway.

I get it. It’s fun to see a different look. She’s also proud that she was able to do something for herself and see the result. I wanted to tell her not to brush it because it looked beautiful just the way it was but I let her have her moment and she was proud of how she looked.

I’m a curly girl…44 years of natural curls and waves on the top of my head. I have fought them, pulled them, straightened them, thrown them in a bun, and wrestled with them to be smooth and frizz free. I have finally figured out through overpriced products and years of wisdom that you don’t fight with curls or you will end up looking like Roseann Rosanna Danna from Saturday Night Live. It’s just not worth it.

I used to wash my hair and then spend almost 30 minutes drying it with a hair dryer. Then place it in hot rollers, and then finish smoothing it out with a curling iron. All this in Florida…in the summer…I’m ready for a shower as soon as I’m done getting ready from all the heat of the effort! Only to go out in the humidity and look like I just stuck my finger in a light socket. Wasted effort to say the least but it’s how I used to feel ‘at my best’ when going out.

Silly girl, you’re a curly girl. You are meant for bouncy, wild, out of control, happy, joyful, fluffy curls! Why fight what God gave you? Why try to manipulate what God gave you? Why try to change how God made you? He made us in his image…our beauty, our differences, our personalities are all made according to what he wanted for us. It’s interesting to compare all the times I have fought with my hair to my spiritual walk.

I would only feel better if I make my hair do the exact opposite of what it’s meant to do. I’ve done this with Jesus….”I’m going to do things my way because I feel confident in how they will turn out”. It never turned out the way I wanted it to. Jesus knows better. He gave me curls because that’s what he wants me to have. Wear them naturally and don’t fight them. Allow them to be what they are. Wild hair is beautiful hair! It’s fun hair! It’s my personality: big and happy 😀

My personal walk with God: Love Jesus naturally and don’t fight him! Allow your relationship with him to be what it’s meant to be, natural and free flowing. Having a relationship with him is beauty in its truest form. When you are with God he flows through you…it comes through you. You feel it, you live it, and you share it with others because it’s just too good a feeling to keep all to yourself. This comes from not fighting how he made you, and using how he made you to glorify him.

So while I might throw them in a bun on some days and I’m going to for absolute certain cover them in bleach, I will no longer fight my curls…I embrace them, welcome them, and on most days love them❤ . Curly girl= me. Seeking Jesus= me.

 

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Do not fear 365

Isaiah 41:10
Do not fear, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous hand.

‘Do not fear’ is written 365 times in the Bible! Over and over again the reminder is there… in case you missed the other 364 times God has spoken to you telling you to ‘not fear’, he puts it in the Bible one more time just for good measure.

Good thing for me that it’s in there so much because I woke up terrified today. Nothing and everything was scaring me. I am of the philosophy that there are indeed mountains everywhere instead of molehills. A headache is a brain tumor, an infected toe means it will have to be amputated, and when my 4 year old woke up with no appetite I was pretty sure she was going to come down with typhoid fever while we are on vacation. I have no idea what typhoid fever is but I was pretty convinced she was going to contract it.

That was my morning. Gripped in fear. Completely wrapped up in fear…so silly when I write it down but when it takes over it can really take you for a ride you don’t want to be on. I caught myself once again forgetting to give it to God first. He knows us before we know us. He already knew how I woke up today and he was just waiting for me to get out of my own way so he could take over.

My prayer was simple: I’m terrified today God and I don’t want to be. I give you my fears because you conquer everything. Take my heart, take my fears, take it all.

He heard me. We went to lunch at one of our favorite southern restaurants and while I was still pretty terrified and all I wanted to do was go back to where we were staying and hide, my husband found a game place he wanted to check out. I put a smile on my face and went along with it because:
a. He was driving and I had no choice but to go along
b. He was driving and I had no choice but to go along

However, the second we got in the door I saw rock climbing and EVERYTHING changed. There is this one climb called ‘Stairway to Heaven’ (❤ the name) and for some reason I HAD to climb it! We waited our turn and Elizabeth and I got harnessed up and were ready to go. She climbed a wall first and then it was my turn.

The stairway is a series of very small (very small), and did I mention VERY SMALL circle platforms that have no handles which ascend to a top platform more than 29 feet off the ground.

I’m terrified of heights…terrified…I get nervous if im on a step ladder at home! But today something kicked in and I was determined to do the stairway.

The first few steps were ok. Then the higher up I went the more difficult it became. It got to a point where all you could do was put one foot in front of the other and not use your hands. You are relying on your feet and your sense of balance to get you to the top.

Falling today was not an option. Fear was not an option. Not making it to the top was ABSOLUTELY not an option either! My husband, my girls, and my in-laws were all there watching me but all I could think about was that this was God telling me ‘do not fear’! As crazy at it sounds…I wasn’t afraid! It was all God! He balanced me and gave me guided, safe steps.

He balanced me and gave me guided, safe steps. I had to repeat that because it’s SO powerful! I absolutely love how God SHOWS me every day how much I can trust him when I give him my prayers, my doubts, my fears…my everything!

Craig asked me when I got down if I was afraid. I didn’t quite know how to answer him. It was every feeling you could have and then some. It also was God showing me by example. The realization that I saw his hand showing me was absolutely incredible! Thankful once again for a God who knows how to reach my heart and quiet my fears.

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Feet

John 13:3-5
Jesus knew that the father had given him authority over everything and that he had come from God and would return to God. So he got up from the table, took off his robe, wrapped a towel around his waist and poured water into a basin. Then he began to wash the disciples feet, drying them with the towel he had around him.

Ok. I’ve heard that verse before. I get that in those days the primary means of transportation was by foot. Therefore feet in those days are going to be filthy by the end of the day. I also knew that it was a servants job to wash the feet of their owners.

I can’t stand feet. They give me the heebee jeebees… don’t put your feet on me, near me, or even talk about feet. Only in the past few years have I allowed myself to get a pedicure because I feel so guilty that someone else is touching my feet. In fact I usually pre-pedicure my feet before I get a pedicure so it’s not as gross for the person working with them. I adore my 4 year old’s feet but that’s it. I just did a shaking shimmy now just thinking about feet.

Today’s bible study left me sobbing and speechless…sobbing. We are finishing a study on God’s grace…how we are nothing without it, how it covers us when we are undeserving, how loved and valued we all are as sons and daughters of the king.

I went with an open and willing heart like I always do this morning. There was a guest speaker who was talking about how Jesus washed the disciples feet on the night before his death. She spoke of the enormity of such a simple act. Jesus, our lord and savior was bending down to wash the feet of his disciples to show them that they are clean and made whole again. His act of service was meant to inspire the disciples to do the same, to show them that he cherishes them, and that no act is too small for him, or anyone to do. They were precious to him. Washing their feet was a metaphor for washing away the old and beginning again new, fresh, clean, forgiven, and whole.

So I’m listening to it all thinking wow, I never really thought about this particular act that Jesus did and thanks so much for explaining it to me. Sounds good to me! She didn’t stop there. She proceeded to tell us that our bible study leaders were now going to wash our feet to show us the example Jesus and how he did this for his disciples. We were given markers and told to write on our feet what God was washing away from your life. Wait, what? Scuse me? Did she just say our bible study leaders are now going to wash our feet? She said WHAT????

Feet…my feet…my beautiful new sister in Christ is going to wash my feet? 😳 I couldn’t pull them under me fast enough!!!! Literally! They look awful! I mean TOE UP awful! TOE UP ugly awful! They are bruised, fractured, and the polish has worn off!!!She can’t touch my feet! I’ll wash hers any day of the week but she can’t do this for me. So I started crying. The ugly cry where the makeup comes off in less than 30 seconds and snot is coming out of your nose with no Kleenex in sight…that kind of cry. With shaking hands I took my marker and wrote these words on my feet: pain, doubt, fear, uncertainty, worry, sadness, and old wounds. Horrible handwriting on my horrible looking feet. I was so overcome with emotion that I didn’t even realize the words I was writing.

I cried when it was my turn and took my seat. There she sat on the floor, pouring warm water on my feet and washing away the magic marker. Washing away the mess, like Jesus does with every prayer from me. Holding my rough, unpolished, absolutely hideous feet in her hands and holding them with so much love, care, and compassion.. It was her act of service, from her heart. It was so powerful! I struggled so much just sitting there because I just wanted to hold her….I can’t let her do this! I need to be doing this for HER! But I let her finish. I hugged her and sorry to the person waiting behind me because I could not let her go. We were sobbing together. I could not stop crying. I still can’t stop crying when I think about it.

She washed my feet like Jesus washes my dirty, rough, ugly soul every day. I want to be at his feet doing for him because he’s more than worthy. What he sacrificed for us, for me, for my heart. Here he is doing for me when I need to be doing for him.

To be in a place where you are that vulnerable with the Holy Spirit and a room full of Angels masked as strong Christian women was palatable, powerful, and so humbling. This by far has been my most emotional moment as a Christian. Mom, I know you are smiling from Heaven. I feel it.

Love and belief my beautiful friends❤

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