Really struggling with "thefever" tonight... and I don't mean Bieber fever. I'm talking about BABY fever.
Maybe it's because I've been feeling nauseous and crampy and "hormonal" in recent weeks. Maybe it's because I'm exhausted. Maybe it's because every symptom I've been feeling seems to be someone's experience with pregnancy. Maybe it's because I'm frustrated that I feel so icky without any excitement to make it 'worth it'. Maybe it's because I've been baby gift shopping or because several close friends and acquaintances are celebrating and announcing pregnancy, the birth of new little ones or recent plans to try for a family. Maybe it's because every time a young married female is out the the office at any sort of appointment, it's obviously a baby. Sigh... no people, I'm not pregnant. And I'm disappointed every single time I have to say it (especially when I have to explain what's going health-wise in order to "convince" people that I'm not). I already feel bloated and emotional and in pain half of the time, It certainly doesn't help my heart to feel as though I have to explain myself. Please don't assume that just because I'm a young, married, Christian woman, that I'm expecting.
Don't get me wrong, I'm so incredibly happy for my friends that are expecting and those that have recently added a new member to their family! I honestly am. I absolutely love shopping for baby clothes and cute little items... I love celebrating and I especially love seeing prayers being answered! I'm excited to be involved and I love to be Auntie Lauren.
<3 AND seriously, I found some of the most adorable and snuggly little things at the store tonight... with my most favorite baby creatures... elephants!!! :) Jed found this little sweater and I just cried. So cute, so sweet.
There have just been so many emotions recently... my own feelings, family concerns and heartache... I can't even process everything going on with my dear sister-in law as well as extreme excitement and concern for some of my other dear friends. There's been a lot to process and I'm having a difficult time switching gears from being (in certain instances) very private to very public, hopeful to realistic, excited and non-emotional and still very sensitive and tactful. So please bear with me, friends. I love to hear your news, I really really do, so don't stop sharing. I'm so grateful to be involved but please don't be offended if I cry. I'm just emotional.
I'm telling you...
those baby elephants and mini pigs evoke cuteness crying emotion that rivals Kristen Bell's love for sloths. You have to watch this >> Kristen Bell Sloth Meltdown Video LOL
... and that's sayin' something! Oh yeah, I'm that crazy.
On that note, Good night dear friends...
Good night sweet Evie. We all love you so much.
Good night little bitty ones and Momma's to be. Praying for you and loving you, even if I'm not close by. <3 <3 <3
After endless Pinteresting and deliberation between my husband, mother-in-law, and myself, we finally decided to paint our door! I finally decided to create something pretty and personalized to hang as well!
Soon after being married my husband notified me of his hatred for wreaths. haha. (How one can "hate" wreaths, I have no idea) ...but needless to say, I've been avoiding putting anything up for quite some time now. I can't seem to find anything in the store that's door-worthy and non-wreath-like...
But thanks to Pinterest and some A.C. Moore adventures, I created this...
Teresa and I went to A.C. Moore, found some big wooded letters (they were a little over $3.00 ea.), a small wooden 'n', some sale ribbon from the "Halloween" stockpile at the front register (I think it looks rather cute and classic...and not Halloween-y at all), a single wooden stake (like you'd use for a yard-sale sign), some spray-paint and fishing line (thanks to Home Depot and Teresa's collection of random items)... and that's it.
We just painted the wood items, glued them together with Gorilla Glue (That's some serious stuff), tightly tied the ribbon around the top of the stake, threaded some fishing line around the back (to hang on the nail at the top of our door), and looped the ribbon around several times to make a bow!
Easy-peasy and relatively fast thanks to fast drying paint and glue!
I was just so pleased with my little self that I HAD to share my very first Pinterest craft project and the things that originally inspired me...
This is what I was originally thinking... (painted door and simply but contrasting wreath)
These are my cute (and more neutral) Pinspirtation door hangers...
I often find myself realizing just how terribly flawed I am. This morning our pastor (my father-in-law) preached about humility. It instantly got me thinking about the million and two ways I consistently fail in this area.
I am now aware that I used to have a skewed perspective about pride. I guess I thought that the best way not to be proud was to think badly of yourself. I thought that humility was achieved by not being verbally arrogant. I'm glad to report though that in recent years, I've gained a different perspective. I've learned that humility is a delicate balance between thankfulness and confidence in the abilities and passions God has given us ...and understanding how rebellious, weak and ignorant we are without Him.
Realizing my faults isn't something that I have a hard time doing. I know what it's like to be humiliated and belittled and I run through those things on a daily basis. I tend to over think everything that I do (and say, and think). see I over thought that too, now that I'm re-reading. ha! I am well aware of the things that I'm not very good at. I'm know when I'm being lazy and angsty and jealous. Most of the time I know when I havehurt someone with my words or actions (or lack thereof). I know when my actions don't match what I've said. I know when my 'tone' is less than encouraging and my attitude is really bad and I feel like I fail all of the time.
In some ways this critical mindset of mine can help steer me in the right direction. It can help me see dangers, protect me from some hurts, and plan for things before they happen...
but most of the time, being critical isn't very helpful at all.
The fact is, that when I look at myself like this, I also tend to look at others the same way. I listen carefully to what people say, listen their tone of voice and watch their body language. I try to 'read' them so I can get a feel for what they are thinking and feeling.
I think I see what they are doing and not doing. I think I know what they are thinking about me. I think I know what their priorities are, who they favor, what their motives are. But honestly, how could I possibly know any of that? I'm not in their heads, I don't know their hearts.
The problem with all this 'thinking' it the expectations and assumptions I end up putting into the mix. I know that many of the expectations I put on myself have come from years of expectations that have been put on me. I can quickly (and quite easily) put those on others too.
I do often expect people to be 'doing'. I expect them to be fair and just, to speak honestly, act compassionately and reach out to the lonely ones all of the time. I expect their tone to be right, I expect them to work hard. I expect them to go above and beyond, especially regarding the things I hold most dear. I guess the bottom line is... I want them to have the same priorities a I do.
All this expecting and assuming typically leads me to the point where I get offended. Not only for myself but for the church too. Then I get defensive and I try to justify my attitudes. And just like that... any 'good intentions' I once had are instantly wasted. I've officially hurt myself, and possibly the church too.
Maybe it's because when I'm busy pointing the finger I feel as though I'm directing attention away from myself and my faults. Maybe in the moment I feel relieved. Maybe I'm trying to prove something to God or to myself. Or maybe I'm just being ridiculous. The thing that I consistently fail to recognize though, is that this attitude is going to end up making me feel incredibly guilty and humiliated for real. This feeling isn't caused by something from the past, this isn't "false guilt" or "negative self talk", it's conviction.
One of my worst fears is to really be all the things I've been told. When I react this way, I do become that person ...and I should be embarrassed.
God has been gently addressing this issue with me. He's also been convicting me about the anger and aggravation that often boils inside me. Sometimes I really can get so worked up that I forget the my main goal of just loving. Being human doesn't allow for a perfectionist mentality. I can only control myself, my mind, my heart. I can't expect perfection from anyone. I just have to depend on God's grace and mercy with me. I, in turn, need to extend the same grace to others and trade in my expectations for compassion.
Even though this song doesn't mention 'humility' I think it's speaks to idea of grace and forgiveness... plus I really like it ;)
I would like a copy of (x, y, z), I have a child support hearing on (insert date)…. I want a hearing by telephone, and… Everything seemed to be neat, tidy and filled out correctly. Upon investigating the document further I discovered this behind the motions:
A picture of 3 individuals smiling next to each other.
On top of this printed picture there were arrows pointing to each person and these labels were written above each of their heads...
Person #1: "LOSER his name SOCIOPATH"
Person #2: "her name SUGAR MOMMA HIDING HIM"
Person #3: "her name MOTHER OF SUGAR MOMMA"
Dear Snarky Petitioner,
While we find your enthusiasm to be entertaining and despite the laughs you may get from the Judge and court staff, this sort of juvenile labeling does not typically aid in your effort to get things accomplished. Funny stuff though. Good luck in your endeavors.
** I think I’m going to start a “Dear Judge” category for posts. I come across so many ridiculous pieces of correspondence addressed to the courts and Judge and those that are public info, I can’t help but share!
Trust in the Lord and do good; dwell in the land and enjoy safe
pasture. Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your
heart. Commit your way to the Lord; Trust in him and he will do this: He will
make your righteousness shine like the dawn the justice of your cause like the
noonday sun. Be still
before the Lord and wait patiently for him…
Psalm 37:5-7a NIV
The number one question that’s
been on my mind recently has been this… and this is what the conversation (in
my head) has looked like:
Dad, Are you really going to give me
the desires of my heart? When,
God? I know I’m supposed to be patient and I’m trying to trust but I can’t help
feeling as though you’re leaving me hanging here. I don’t know what you desire for me, I
don’t know what I should desire and how when I should be desiring it. I really
wish I knew.
You know that I want to please
you. You know that I value
responsibility; you’ve put that deep inside of me. You know that I value my husband, that
I love the idea of family and that I want to have children. You know that I love learning. You
know how much I hate emotional chaos. You know that I really like
working. You know that the
idea of staying home with kids all day scares me senseless. You know what’s
going on with me physically and mentally. You know how drained I am. You’ve
allowed be to be formed and shaped by the things you’ve put in my life but I
don’t know why. You know
how overwhelming everything can be at times. You know how much I try not to worry
and how many times I fail at giving everything to you.
Lauren, Don’t be so discouraged. Don’t
lose heart. You need to find your joy in Me. Remember when you only had Me to
lean on? Did I let you down then? I carried you when you’re spirit was broken.
I want to carry you again; I always do. You just have to let me. You can’t
constantly fight me. I let
you break so I can remold you, reform you and strengthen you. You may feel
lost, but I haven’t let you go.
You can’t put your hope in a
relationship, not in a family, not in a home or a ministry or a job, just
Me. Love me, Lauren. Love
me more than you love family, more than you love Jed, more than you love the
idea of having a house, more than education and learning, more than your job.
Desire Me more.
Dad, I love you. I’m trying to be good
and do good things. I’m trying to please you. You know how much I want to be
your girl. I don’t know who to listen to. I don’t know what “wise counsel” to
trust and what steps to take to get to…wherever it is I’m going. Help me get to the place where I
can truly say that I want your way and not my way. I know I’m not quite there
yet and I’m holding on tight to these desires. I do know that if I just
let them go, I’ll feel so much more content, fulfilled and joyful. So please help me. Please change my
heart or my mind, whatever is keeping me here.
*Please don’t teach me how to be
patient; I’m okay with not learning any more about that. ha. ...But if I must wait, then
please give me the peace and understanding I need.
Lauren, Keep my words in your
heart. When you feel
discouraged, when you’re feeling broken or worried or uncertain, I’m only a
David writes,“Commit your ways to
the Lord and trust in Him.”
I have to continue to tell God
that I want His way, not my way. I have to be still and wait on
Scripture tells me that He will
give me the desire of my heart. But I need to desireHisheart
may not bemytiming. His plans and desires may end up being
different than the desires I ever thought I wanted.
Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that
we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the
glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever.
And all you're left with is a tired and broken heart I can tell by your eyes you think your on your own but you're not all alone"
God has put this simple phrase in my mind today...
Will You Trust Me?
Lauren, You don't need understanding from others,I'vewatched you grow. I know where you are, who I've created you to be, and what you've been through. You don't need anyone to acknowledge your struggles or progress, past or present,I'mpleased when you follow me.You don't need to know the future,Ihave perfect timing and a perfect plan for you. Iknow you better than anyone ever will. Don't look at everyone else,Iwant your full attention. You aren't walking in the dark when you're following after the light. I will show you the way, trust me to lead you.
You don't need to worry
"...the hands that hold the world are holding your heart "
I haven't been blogging as regularly recently not because work adventures have died down, not because I'm incredibly busy, not because I've become a hermit ... mostly just because I've been relaxing. :) It's actually quite nice.
...and by "relax" I mean, I still work and go to church. I still keep house and occasionally slaughter the dust bunnies overtaking my closet floor. I'm still cooking (oh, and I've been trying this new thing, it's called "eating the same thing almost every evening" and/or "alternating meals". It sounds lame, I know, but it is rather glorious in a couple of ways...
1. We don't have to dirty a million new dishes every night.
2. Our sink isn't overflowing with pots and pans on a regular basis
3. Our little house isn't busting at the seams with the smells of fish, chicken, garlic or black beans (or whatever fragrant dish we had for dinner)
4. We don't have to wash more than a couple plates, some silverware and a casserole dish or two at the end of the week!!!
See!!!! I told you... GLORIOUS!
I've still been hanging out with people, trying to reach out to people, and Jed and I are trying to navigate the world of 'Young Adults' ministry. Mostly I just think it's a fun excuse to spend time laughing like little kids with a bunch of big 'kids' who are all in a similar place in life. I'm enjoying in quite a lot! I've been praying that God really directs our steps in this and blesses the efforts of all the wonderful people who are participating with us. I know first hand how necessary it is in the church and how easy it is to fall into the cracks as a young adult... either fresh out of high school, fresh out of college, newly career bound or newly married. It's quite an adventure. For most of us there are quite a few years of transition behind us and many more in front of us.So we need a safe and encouraging place to grow and learn and figure out our 'iDENTITY' (In Christ, in our church, our families and workplaces and world)
*see what I did there? shameless, I know. ;)
Mostly though, I've been taking some time to just let God 'do what He will' in my heart and in my mind.
As you may know, I'm not a big reader of novels or biographies. (I know, I know ...but I'm a huge reader of articles. Maybe I have the attention span of a goldfish, but I'm telling you, after focusing all day at work, I enjoy a nice, challenging, encouraging and inspirational article... and then I enjoy staring into space or 'Pinteresting' until there's nothing left to pin.) :)
With regards to these articles, I've been finding a great deal of encouragement from this blog gracefortheroad and a few other random places that have been helping me on my recent journey. I'm trying to fill my brain with lots of good things. Lots of encouragement, lots of stable thoughts and LOTS of wisdom regarding Christianity, finances, career and family.
I've been sifting through a lot of baggage. I've been trying to get the voices out of my head (the ones from childhood, my teen years, my college years...) and simply focus on God's voice. It's terribly difficult sometimes to sift through so many thoughts and feelings, experiences and fears. Some days are great, some days I'd kind of like to hide in a nice cozy nest of blankets in my bed and stay away from people and away from my own thoughts.
I've been praying a lot lately. I've been praying for family things going on, for grace, for mercy, for understanding regarding other's choices and actions, praying that I react appropriately, praying that I am able to let things 'roll off my back'. I've been praying that God rids me of the fear of being disappointed or trampled and really creates extra compassion within me for such a tender time for myself and those around me. I've been praying that God uses the my struggles and struggles of the people around me to shape me and them, grow them and teach us a deeper meaning of compassion, understanding and mercy.
Over the last few months (okay, more like years) I've been in this difficult battle of emotion verses thought verses belief. It's kind of crazy sounding, but it's truly amazing how conflicted one can be when all of these elements don't mesh well.
Trying to direct my thoughts towards God alone, is quite a challenge. My beliefs(A) regarding Christianity, service, my passions, my love for people, my love for God are all often counteracted by by thoughts(B) which are almost always a knee-jerk reaction... based on experiences and hurts I've had and then my emotions(C) which, well, are just that... this ridiculous emotional outpouring of all the confusion and anxiety bottled up inside. A+B+C = OCW. One Crazy Woman.
Oh, so on that note, we've made a rather interesting discovery regarding my hormones recently (which explains a lot)...
A brief run-down of the year of crazy: Within the last year, my thyroid stopped working (almost entirely) making me feel anxious, exhausted, unable to sleep, unable to concentrate and remember things (all while starting a new job). That ordeal lasted for quite a few months. The doctor couldn't treat it so he just tried to fix some of the symptoms... which really just threw other things off and caused other symptoms... but it did get better. ...and then there was another lovely adventure with my weight once my thyroid kicked back in. Thank God that issue is resolved!
...but more recently (after lots of female pains) I finally went back to the doctor and am now I'm on my way back to the endocrinologist. Apparently my hormone levels are way out of wack. Which, oddly enough, it's kind of "nice" to hear. Now I know I'm not entirely insane. At the same time, it's a bit scary. Because if feels like something that can only be made "better" by trial and error. For anyone who's ever had to deal with hormonal issues before, it's not pleasant. There's almost always weight gain, emotional chaos, tension and a million other physical issues that come with putting things in your body that aren't made by your body. (like... progesterone, estrogen etc...) It's like trading in your spoon for a bowl of ice cream. 0_o There are no winners.
These hormones cause constant nausea, weight gain, stomach troubles, apparently they can intensify migraines, cause acne, and the list goes on. In and of itself these things may not be all that dramatic... but considering my very strong desire to tidy up my heart and mind on top of my desperate need to feel "normal" again (emotionally, spiritually and physically) all this change and a lack of 'easy' solutions has been taking a toll.
Normal twenty-something uncertainties + physical imbalances + new things + sifting through old things + decisions + pain, exhaustion and aggravation = you guessed it... ORCW.
One REALLY Crazy Woman.
On a lighter and truly happy note: I'm so very grateful that I have a very, very, very patient, gracious and merciful husband who knows my heart (even it's flaws) who loves me, deals with my drama and still takes such good care of my tender little heart and spirit even when I'm basically a crazy person.
I've really, really been trying to rest. I'm trusting that God will provide what I need, when I need it. I'm hoping that by 'taking care' of myself now, in the way doctors suggest, won't end up hurting my body later. It tends to be cause and effect with these things. The choices I make now could have a significant effect on my ability to have children and issues like heart issues, cancer, diabetes and other diseases. And I'm legitimately trying to find the best options without being overcome with worry about my future and my future family plans. I'm really hoping that eventually my body will be in some sort of balance. If it requires me to sacrifice certain things, then He will give me the strength, energy, and peace of mind I need.
He didn't create a mistake, so I've got to believe that I'm supposed to be physically 'out of wack' for some reason right now. And God only knows why...
It seems to be the family curse. Hormonal issues, female issues, cancer and several other major medical issues. I have to admit, it's my biggest fear (hands-down) to be unstable. Physically and (even more so) emotionally and mentally.
I've seen 'unstable' first-hand, and it isn't pretty.
But... I'm truly working on only listening to God. I'm doing everything in my power to seek wisdom, fill my head and heart with good and mostly.... I'm relying on God to orchestrate it all.