Perseverance

Vulnerability is Strength, Not Weakness.

Chances are, you probably know someone who wears their heart on their sleeve.  

 

Someone who literally spews realness, is constantly candid, and just attracts others who are hurting.  

 

I consider myself one of these people. In fact,  I don't quite know how to be the opposite. 

 

Furthermore, I don't quite understand why people aren't more realistic in their portrayal of themselves.  

 

This isn't drama class. This is life. 

 

It pains me really, that those of us who do open up and seek to bless others thru our truths are often seen as weak and attention-seeking by our counterparts.

 

Vulnerability is not weakness, it's strength.  

 

Remaining closed-in, calloused, and appearing as unshakeable actually just makes you a really good actor. 

 

You appear really weak. 

 

I want to encourage all of you to see the strength in your openness and vulnerability to others. There's strength in truth. Strength in the sharing of encouragement. Strength in unfiltered honesty. It's why I began this blog with my sisters. We wanted to cut the b.s. and be as open and honest about our lives as we can. 

 

For those of you who struggle sharing your hurts, fears, and thoughts with others, I urge you to find the strength in releasing some of that in the coming days. Find a good, amazing friend or family member and just say, "Could you pray for me about...?".(I don't care who you are, everyone has something they need prayer about) It can be that simple. It's a start.  

 

*And if you have literally no one you can trust, come to me. Seriously, I will bear your burden with you confidentially. Email me, Facebook message me...whatever you choose.  

 

You are weak when you remain strong. I'm not talking about complaining and being negative all of the time. That's a different conversation, entirely. What I mean is, you must allow God to use these valley times, these mountain times and in-between times, even, to be a blessing to others!! 

 

If you leave everything to yourself, the only thing you have left is to "do" for others. And while doing is awesome, doing and being is even more awesome. Be real. Be honest.  

 

Are you in pain? Tell someone. Whether it's physical or emotional, people like to know that "Hey! This person understands me! Or...I went thru the exact same situation and I can help!".  

 

Are you struggling with something specific? Tell someone you trust. Build your village. Reach out. Don't stay stoic. It doesn't matter how hard you try to stand still, you are not immovable.  

 

Be raw. You don't have to air all your dirty granny panties to everyone, but you should let them see that "Hey, I do laundry too, because life is messy."  

 

Sometimes, when I share my deepest struggles with an audience like you, Satan immediately plants doubt in my head. He also throws the word weak at me over and over again. 

 

But, I refuse to change. I know it's making a difference. I seek to be a blessing thru my trials and sharing them is the only way to keep my strength.  

 

I am strong. And you are, too. Share your strength. I dare you.  

 

 

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Greatly Rejoice

"In this you GREATLY rejoice, though now for a little while, if need be, you have been grieved by various trials..." - 1 Peter 1:6 NKJ 

"When Jesus wraps this all up, it's your faith, not your gold, that God will have on display as evidence of His victory.." - 1 Peter 1:7 MSG

I'm going to be 30 years old this year. It seems old to me, and I have a lot to learn about this crazy life I'm living still, but my eyes have been opened the past two days to a certain truth. Yesterday at church the message was about 1 Peter 1. Peter is chatting with the church and telling them, "yeah, I know you're going through a tough time right now, but listen you need to GREATLY rejoice." Not just rejoice, but greatly rejoice! 

Now if you were to go up to someone that was struggling with something, it would sound a bit insensitive to say "stop complaining, stop being sad... just rejoice". I don't know about you, but when you lose hope, when you're questioning God and asking WHY?! Why did he have to die? Why do I feel like a failure? Why have you forgotten about me? Why can't I find a job!? Why do the health issues never stop?!!!

I don't want to rejoice, let alone greatly rejoice. No way. 

We might never find out the reasons to our questions here on this earth, but I can tell you that if Jesus is your Savior you have hope. Because we serve a Savior that isn't dead, we have a living hope. Jesus rising from the dead guarantees that God will honor all of His promises. Hope keeps us going in the darkest days of our lives. 

As humans, we compare ourselves to everyone else, and now with social media that's practically all we do all day long. Don't be fooled in thinking that no one else isn't struggling. Don't believe the lie that others have the perfect life and they don't have to go through hard times. If you're not going through one right now, if life is hunky dory, just get ready cause your day is coming. That's just a fact. People are struggling financially, marriages are falling apart, maybe you've made money an idol and have believed the lie that success = money. Nothing is further from the truth.

We aren't supposed to have the perfect life, I don't even think we are supposed to be comfortable here on earth. We don't deserve any of that to begin with, but we are promised that Jesus will never leave our side, that He'll provide for our every need. We are promised eternity. We are promised hope. 

I think that every season of life is worth reflecting on. What's the condition of your heart? Have you truly let it all go and just said "Jesus no matter what, I'll love you!" There's something powerful about speaking this out loud. God knows the condition of our hearts, but be willing to let it all go and scream out "Whatever happens let Your will be done." It's freeing, believe me. God wants to hear from you.

If you're in the trenches and about to give up... remember your hope is Alive. Our inheritance to come is "incorruptible and undefiled." One day, we'll get to see the face of the One that has been carrying us through this sin filled, earthly life. One day we'll get to fall at His actual feet and lift our eyes to His and say "Jesus you were worth it all, thank you, I love you." 

I don't write this, because I have mastered this particular promise from God. To rejoice greatly in all things... it's difficult. But my eyes have been opened to this promise (for the time being) and for that I am grateful. Maybe someone needed to read this, or maybe I needed to type it all out for when I'm in the middle of a struggle again I can be reminded of God's goodness.

I am called to live for eternity, for what is to come, and to GREATLY rejoice. 

Your hope is ALIVE, and He will always be.
"Because He lives, I can face tomorrow" 

"thrown down, but not defeated
 I'm worn out, but not giving up. 
 I've hit ground, but even at rock bottom
 I'm just getting started, yeah I'm just getting started" 
     - Meredith Andrews "Deeper" 
 

 

love, Amber

When little things are really BIG things.

Most of you know that this year...well, it's been semi-horrible for me, for us. But it's also been equally beautiful and God-filled.  

Goofy brothers.  

Goofy brothers.  

 

I guess I'm still gripped by a decent amount of fear and anxiety because when I consider the days that have passed since I last did (insert previously mundane, ordinary task here), it's borderline embarrassing.  

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Okay, so it's fully, completely embarrassing. 

 

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Things such as taking your children to the park. Grabbing those few missing items from your mental grocery list. Leaving your driveway.... 

Those things.  

Lunch.  

Lunch.  

 

It's so hard. So incredibly hard and difficult and unfair to remember what you used to be before fear and anxiety and random unexplained health issues.  

Music and Movement!  

Music and Movement!  

 

I used to just GO! Just 10 months ago, I had a three month old new baby, four other little guys, my sister and her husband here and their twin toddlers and we got up one morning and I drove them to a children's museum over an hour away from our house. No big deal.  

Olive was so ready for Co-Op

Olive was so ready for Co-Op

 

Now, today, I had to put myself in "timeout" in my van in the parking lot, "mid-co-op" and calm down. I was on the verge of frantic and I just sat in the van and sobbed while my three little girls kept begging to go to the playground with the other children.  

Computer/Testing Nook. There's a curtain to close in between this area and the sewing station.  

Computer/Testing Nook. There's a curtain to close in between this area and the sewing station.  

 

I told them to wait as I chugged Rescue Remedy and prayed for God to "take it away" for the seventieth-millionth time.  

My best friend encouraged me just one week ago to maybe tackle cleaning out our detached building for what I always dreamed would be our homeschool room. It was 700 sq.ft.of just crazy. I am so thankful to God for a friend that didn't push me, but gently encouraged me to tackle it while she was there. It was a HUGE accomplishment and now we have a fully functional space for our homeschools. To God be the glory!! Did I mention we didn't spend a dime so far?!??  

My best friend encouraged me just one week ago to maybe tackle cleaning out our detached building for what I always dreamed would be our homeschool room. It was 700 sq.ft.of just crazy. I am so thankful to God for a friend that didn't push me, but gently encouraged me to tackle it while she was there. It was a HUGE accomplishment and now we have a fully functional space for our homeschools. To God be the glory!! Did I mention we didn't spend a dime so far?!??  

 

We never made it to the playground. But not because I didn't want to, I seriously didn't know where it was located. So we hung out in the hallways until big brothers were done.  

Sewing/Crafting station.  

Sewing/Crafting station.  

 

You might say, "focus on the fact that YOU WENT today...you overcame so much". But, did I really? I mean, this is typical "mom stuff". This is stuff I should have no problem doing, planning for, and finding joy in. The fact that I have to wrestle through every moment is highly irritating. I just want that part of me back that thought it was "no thing" at all to attend a homeschool co-op, drive myself to the store, or have energy to stand and make dinner anticipating my dizziness to plague me the entire time.  

Media area and Library/Reading area. Not fully complete, but functional!  

Media area and Library/Reading area. Not fully complete, but functional!  

 

But, I guess, for now, I have to take the little things and make them the big things. The little things will have to matter now because to accomplish the little things is so huge for me. But I don't think it'll be any less embarrassing for me. I just don't.  

The Preschool Area of our schoolhouse.  

The Preschool Area of our schoolhouse.  

 

So today, yea, I drove my children to a church 23 minutes away from home. And we attended the co-op. And I had one meltdown. And I helped another little girl with an art project. And I talked to a couple of the other moms...but not extensively.  

 

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I guess I'm proud of me, but I'm too exhausted to stay proud. I'm just hoping that this can be a catalyst to the old me. The me that doesn't fight or flight the whole of life.  

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I can't wait for the little things to not be the big things for me anymore. But, for now, I'll choose to celebrate the little things, because it's the thousands of little things that will lead me back to where I belong. 

 

-Alicia