Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Christ Overcomes Darkness

I really have no idea where to even start with this post. I'm not even sure why I am writing it. Actually yes I am, writing has always been a form of therapy for me, free therapy, lol I sit here and find myself praying as type, seeking the Lord with every word. I have no idea who reads this blog, if anyone does. Okay actually I do know of one person, Hi Care :-) Love you sister!!

I remember starting this blog 4 years ago as a way of keeping track of my adoption. What a blessing it is to have a way to go back and revisit the amazing journey the Lord took me on to bring my sweet Isaiah home. Though I have been hit and miss the last two years (hello post adoption, nursing school craziness) I could never bring myself to take the blog down. I knew I wanted to keep writing but I knew the Lord would show me when it was time. Guess what............it's time :-)

Every year after the new year is rung in, the holidays are over, decorations are packed up, I find myself reflecting on the past year and anticipating what the Lord has in store for me in the coming year. It seems like for the past few years there have always been one or two big experiences that have grown me in my faith and allowed me to see the Lord in a way I hadn't before. In 2009 I went through a divorce, in 2010 I graduated LPN school and started the adoption process, in 2011 Noah and I moved in with my mom, sister and her kids into a lovely home the Lord provided as well as saw my sweet Isaiah's face for the first time when I got his referral, in 2012 I traveled to Ethiopia twice and brought my sweet boy home as well as suffered through a horrible health condition that the Lord later healed me of, in 2013 I started RN school and traveled to Haiti on a medical mission trip where I was rebaptised and rededicated my life to Jesus. When 2014 rolled around I was so excited. I knew I would be graduating nursing school and I couldn't wait, but you see 2014 was nothing like I could have ever expected. Truthfully this year, specifically the last 6 months have been some of the darkest times of my life. I have experienced a season of spiritual attack, brokenness, sadness and loss while also experiencing Jesus in a way that I have never experienced Him before.

Without sharing specifics because this story is not just mine to share, I have lost relationship with my sister, my niece and two nephews as well as now have a very strained relationship with my dad. I have almost lost my home, I experienced the worst financial crisis I could have ever imagined, one that I am still trying to dig myself out of, my truck has broken down numerous times, I failed my last quarter of nursing school which caused me to have to repeat a class and graduate 3 months late, causing me to lose a job that had been offered to me. After graduating the Lord blessed me with a job working as a RN in the ER of a local hospital but I soon lost that job because I failed my nursing boards. I have watched my oldest son sit and cry at the loss of contact with his cousins. My health has been strained due to stress and at times I have just sat and cried, not understanding why any of this has happened.

You know what though, you know the saying Jesus will meet you just where you are? Ya'll it is so true. He was there when I needed groceries but didn't know how I was going to afford them, He provided Kroger gift cards through friends, He was there when my power steering went out in my truck and it was going to cost over $600 to fix, He provided a guy from church who fixed it for free, He was there when I asked Him "why" He allowed me to fail my last quarter of school, He put a woman in my path that had also failed her last class, she didn't know Jesus and we had many opportunities to talk and I shared the Gospel with her, He was there when I failed my boards and lost my nursing job. He provided the money to allow me to retake my boards and He provided an LPN job for me while I study and prepare to retake the boards. He was there when I needed to get away from all the stress of everything and He provided a way for the boys and I to travel North for the weekend to spend time with one of my dear friends and her family, a refreshing weekend that my weary soul needed. He was there when the boys and I found ourselves in search of a new church to call home. He provided an incredible church home and body of believers that have loved us and welcomed us with open arms. He was there as I cried to Him that I needed help, to please help me. He sent me a community group of people that have not only become friends, but who I consider family. The woman in the group encourage me with scripture, prayer and encouraging text messages through out the week and the men are investing in my boys weekly, at times just by living out the Gospel to them and showing them how men of God are to live. My boys have met and formed sweet friendships with the kids at our church and community group and the Lord has shown me through a sweet friend who's husband passed away earlier this year, that my season of singleness has a purpose, and that purpose has been to come alongside my sweet friend and encourage her as she now finds herself a single momma to her three precious little ones. He was there when the bills were piled sky high and my bank account was in the negative. He provided those who wanted to come alongside me, giving of their time and some of their finances to help bring me out of the hole I had found myself in. Then there were the many nights where I laid in bed crying out to Him for comfort, peace and His presence. He was there, every single time, embracing me, loving me, laying specific scripture on my heart, and reminding me He had a purpose for my pain.

Ever since I decided to follow Christ, I have always prayed that my life would reflect more of Him and less of me. I wanted people to see my life and see our Great Savior, Jesus Christ. I wanted people to see how the light of Christ overcomes any amount of darkness we could ever experience. Through salvation our lives are transformed, we begin to see ourselves as God sees us. Dead in our sins, but alive in Christ, redeemed, restored and loved by a Mighty God who loved us so much that He gave His one and only son so that we could spend eternity with Him forever in Heaven. The Lord has been so kind these last few months in how He has cared for the boys and I and at times has left me speechless (which if you know me, you know that doesn't happen often) at just how much He is in the details of my life, big and small. The biggest blessing from this season has been the numerous times my Father in Heaven has been glorified through my suffering. I have been told so many times recently through face to face conversations, text messages and Facebook messages how my strength and faith through turmoil has encouraged someone, caused someone to look at themselves and realize how they don't rely enough on the Lord. I have been told that people don't know how I have made it through, and that has allowed me to tell of my Great Savior and how without Him and the hope I have in Him, I would surely be in a corner crying but, because the battle has already been won on the Cross I can walk in faith toward the future, knowing that even though I have no idea what the future holds, I know WHO holds my future and that gives me the peace that surpasses anything I will endure on this earth and what a JOY it is to know that through my suffering, Jesus is being glorified.

I'll leave you with one of many encouraging words that have ministered to me these last few months..........."One of the best things you can do to worship God is simply to accept where you are and what He's doing for you RIGHT NOW" ~ Priscilla Shirer

Psalm 27 "I remain confident of this, I will see the goodness of the Lord, in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord, be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord"

Stay tuned ya'll, the Lord is slowly giving me words to say and I can't wait to see what He does through this little ole blog of mine :-) Have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!!
Monday, September 22, 2014

End Of A Season

I can't believe I am really typing these words, but yes ya'll I am FINISHED with nursing school. Woohoo, Praise the Lord, He is SO GOOD!!! When I started this journey back in January 2013 I had no idea what I was getting myself into. RN school is CRAZY ya'll and yes there were many nights I either went without sleep, drank more coffee than the average human should, felt like I was losing my mind and put way too much Mommy guilt on myself for not seeing my boys as much as I would have liked, but just as the Lord tells us, there is a time and season for everything and I am so thankful that season of life is finished, over, never to return again :-) I have SO much to blog about. Some stuff I want to blog just to remember, some awesome God moments, a lot of reflection and some rough stuff I have been dealing with the last few months. I never want my blog to come off as sunshine and lollipops because trust me that isn't my life, my life is crazy most of the time but then again who said following Jesus would be boring? Stay tuned friends........
Monday, December 30, 2013

Starting Over..........

If you are one of the 5 people who actually read this silly blog of mine you know that this year I have been a super stinky blogger, lol I have gone back and forth trying to decide if I should keep attempting to blog or if I should just say good bye to it all together? Every time I think about it, I am reminded how thankful I am to have documented Isaiah's adoption journey and that makes me want to continue blogging, to continue documenting our lives, to have something to look back on and be reminded that through this crazy thing called life, God is always faithful. So along with some other changes I am making for 2014, consistent blogging is one of them. I have "met" such sweet friends through the blog world and my life is definitely richer because of each of them. I am still toying with the idea of making this private, but for now it will remain public. So grab a cup of coffee and get ready because I have been quiet for way too long and I am excited for the next chapter of this journey as I choose to find JOY along the way, every day!!

" I look up to the mountains, where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, who made Heaven and Earth. He will not let you stumble, the one who watches over you will not slumber." Psalm 121:1-3

 
Friday, September 6, 2013

5 On Friday


Today I'm linking up with 5 on Friday :-)

  Every year on Labor Day our church a HUGE community outreach called Family Palooza. It is one big carnival for free :-) They have games, petting zoo's, pony rides, bounce houses/slides, inflatable water slides, face painting, music, train rides and lots more!! My boys had a blast. Isaiah went down most of the water slides just like big brother, lol the child loves water and thought he was big stuff doing what his big brother was doing.
Since I spend most of my time studying (and since I am currently living by Dave Ramsey and his envelope system) I decided to take advantage of $5 movie Tuesday and kids eat free at McAllisters and treat my boys to a movie and dinner :-) Noah has been begging me to go see Planes! I have to say it was a really cute movie and Isaiah shocked me with his reacting to the movie. He didn't move the entire time it was playing. It was so cute, every time he saw a plane he would yell "momma plane, plane" He go so excited. Both boys really enjoyed it :-)
Keeping it real, nursing school is draining me :-( I know I am right where the Lord wants me and I know He has me in school for a reason, but boy is it hard. I keep telling myself it will be worth it and it will be over soon, but seriously, ugh!! I am still trying to convince Isaiah that my Med Surge book is not a bible, lol
This season of nursing school has been especially hard these last 3 months. The class load has been extremely heavy, I failed my first two exams and have spent the entire quarter trying to pull my grades up to passing. I have really struggled with my time with the Lord this quarter. I don't sleep near the normal amount a person should and I stay frazzled with trying to study and retain all the information. From the moment I wake up I am going with either school, the boys, house/mommy duties or all of the above at one time! I keep telling myself this is a season, but not being able to get my designated quite time with the Lord every morning is really getting to me.
So it appears that I have a birthday coming up soon?? Yes, the big 3-0 is right around the corner and I am honestly not sure how I feel about it? On one hand it's just another day so no big deal, but at the same time I have been doing some major reflecting on the last 10 years of my life lately and am realizing all the amazing things the Lord has done in my life. The ways he has protected me when I didn't ask for it or think I needed it, the ways He has showered me with grace and mercy when I didn't deserve it and how He has used so many trials and road blocks to build stepping stones to where I am now and for where He is taking me. Stay tuned, I think a "I'm turning 30" post is in the making, lol
Monday, September 2, 2013

Confused

The thing about following the Lord is sometimes is can come with confusion. The weird thing is our God is not a God of confusion, yet tonight I am confused? Let me preface this with I am writing this post more for myself then anything. I hope to look back on tonight's post and see what the Lord was doing and preparing me for. You see, most people who enroll in nursing school have a goal in mind. They want to graduate, get a job at some big hospital, they have a specialty in mind that they want to work in, such as labor and delivery or pediatrics. They set their minds to it and get it done. All that is great and that was actually my mind set in 2009 when I enrolled in nursing school the first time to get my LPN, but then I graduated in 2010 and over the next 3 years the Lord would do something in my life that was completely unexpected.........He broke me..........

As ashamed as I am to admit before I graduated in 2010 all I thought about was me. Where was I going to work, how much money would I make, would I like the job I got, would I get to work with pediatrics, which is where my heart is? Then the Lord lead me to international adoption and blessed me with my sweet IZ and during that process He took me to Ethiopia twice, where He showed me things that will never leave my heart or my mind. Traveling to Ethiopia wasn't just about seeing where my son came from so I could tell him stories when he got older. It was about seeing the brokenness that sin has caused, seeing that beautiful place through the eyes of our Creator. It's been almost 18 months since I was there and I miss it terribly. I recently had the opportunity to go back for a week and had to decline due to finances. Oh how my heart wants to go back. 

This friends is where I get confused? Why did the Lord bring me back to nursing school? In November of 2012 I lost my nursing job very unexpectedly. I prayed, seeking His guidance and while I applied for other jobs, I also applied to nursing school because something in my heart told me it was time to go back and get my RN. Every job I applied for ended with a denial letter but every step in the process of applying for school was going very smoothly and next thing I know I received my acceptance letter in the mail. Okay God, I hear ya!!

So this past January I began the 15 month journey to get my RN. Am I doing it because I wanted to? Um negative. Am I doing it because the Lord made it clear this is the path He wants me on right now? You better believe it! I have learned that even when we don't want to, even when we think what is being asked of us is a little crazy, as His children we are to be obedient and trust in His plans, which are always far better than our own. 

So here I am, in the end of my 3rd quarter (three more to go, if Lord willing I pass this one I'm currently in) and I sit anxiously awaiting to see what the Lord is going to do with my nursing once I graduate? Medical missions? A job here in town? A move out of state, out of the country? I don't know, but I do know that He holds my future and for that I am forever thankful. So I will continue to push through the long nights, the lack of sleep, the stress, even the confusion, trusting in my God who is much bigger than my little simple mind. 

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him and he will make your paths straight."     ~   Proverbs 3:5-6
Friday, August 23, 2013

Looking Back

One of the things I love most about this blog is I am able to look back and see how God orchestrated every detail of my adoption and bringing Isaiah home!! The amazing things He did to allow me the blessing of being his momma leave me speechless at times, and if you know me you know that doesn't happen often, Ha!! I love blogging. I love the wonderful friends I have made over the last few years, I love the community and the fact that the Lord has used this little ole blog of mine to minister to other single mommas who are either in process or are praying about starting the process. Only God!! This year I have gone back and forth (literally back and forth a hundred times, lol) about closing this blog and starting fresh. I went through such a hard time after bringing Isaiah home and yes you read that right. Adopting a baby is hard, no matter how little they are, these sweet babies still deal with loss and there are still issues you will face once they come home. End soap box :-) Anyway, I struggled with trying to decide if I wanted a new blog for the new journey God has brought my boys and I to, but then I was reminded at how much I enjoy looking back and being reminded of God's Faithfulness and how every step of Isaiah's adoption journey was just a stepping stool to where my boys and I are now. If you follow me on Instagram you may have gathered that I have been going through a pretty hard time the last few weeks. Things have actually been pretty rough the last few months but have gotten increasingly worse over the last few weeks. The amazing thing about this rough season is again God is faithful!! Sweet friends I wish I could share with you the amazing things that have happen just in the last few days and I promise if I am able soon, I will. It is my life's prayer that every single thing in my life will always point to Jesus, that others would always see more of Him and so little of me. So last night I had the revelation that I don't need a "new" blog. Yes I need a blog makeover, Ha!! That though will just have to wait until the new Dave Ramsey budget says I have the money for that, lol but a new blog I don't need. I need to continue to add the pieces the Lord provides to the amazing story He is continuing to write for my boys and I and wait on Him to reveal the next chapter. I have so much more to write, to share but for now friends I need to stop and get some school work done. Would you please pray for me. This season of life has definitely been hard but what an unbelievable relief it is to know that I don't have to handle any of it alone. I can bring it to my Father's feet and rest in Him, knowing He is working out all the details. For He is my daily bread and meets my every need.
Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thankful Thursday

Ya'll I just have to post and give some major shout and praise to our amazing Heavenly Father and all that He is doing in my sweet friend's life and her husband's life. I met Kendra through the blog world :-) She lives in the Midwest and I am in the South, but honestly distance has not kept us from becoming really good friends and as I call her she is my sister from another mister, Ha!!! Seriously though, I just love her to pieces and am so thankful the Lord crossed our paths. I have enjoyed watching the Lord work in her life over the last 6 months and it would do your heart well to check out her blog here and read for yourself how God has been blessing she and her hubby's socks off :-) I have had the honor of praying for her and watching God answer those prayers in BIG ways!!! Now I can't wait to see what He does next for these two amazing people!! Don't ya just love my little prayer card I made for myself for praying for them? I totally hijacked this picture from Facebook a few weeks ago and enhanced it some, lol
 
 
While I'm praising the Lord, let me just shout PRAISE HIM, PRAISE HIM for bringing me through yet another quarter of school!! 2 quarters down, only 4 more to go!!! The best part is I am not officially done with all things that start with the word Anatomy, lol Seriously 6 months of Anatomy I and II was enough to make me pull my hair out. When I went to Haiti in May I knew I would be adding a lot of pressure to myself when I came home because I would come home right in time for finals, but I knew God was calling me to go, so there was no way I was going to not go. I went in my last Anatomy final with a big failing grade but because I serve an amazing God that is way bigger than any class or test I ended up passing my final with a 90% and passed all my classes!!! Now to breath for 10 days or so before starting back at it again. At least I won't have to look at anymore binders full of Anatomy pictures, lol


 This week Noah is participating in two VBS's, one in the morning and one in the evening. It has been so much fun watching him learn about Jesus and I have loved the conversations we have been having on the drives home about what he is learning. Noah LOVES putting Isaiah to bed at night. He actually thinks it is his job, lol so I just go with it. The first night I picked him up from VBS he asked me if Isaiah was still awake at home and I told him no, that I had put him to bed before I came to get him. He looked at me so serious and said "but mom, he needs me to put him to bed and tuck him in" Seriously, melt this momma's heart. When we got home that night at 9:30 I told Noah to quietly go in his room and get ready for bed (the boys share a room now, per Noah's request, lol) I heard Noah talking and I walked in to see this. He was laying in the rocking chair next to Isaiah's crib, holding his hand and was telling him all about his night at VBS and asking about his night. Apparently Isaiah was still awake when we got home :-) I tell ya, these two just constantly pull at my heart with the bond they share. Only God!!

 
Lastly, I am SO THANKFUL for this little reminder I saw on Instagram today. My mind is sometimes a very scary place, lol with all my thoughts, fears, hopes, dreams and throw in some anxiety and there are days where it is a perfect recipe for disaster, Ha!! Yes, far from what some believe this girl is a hot mess on the inside and I am just so thankful for my Jesus who loves me anyway and is a constant in my life and is always reminding me in His ways that everything WILL be okay, to just continue trusting in Him and His timing. Clinging to Him right now during a season that has brought on A LOT of anxiety in me that I am fighting daily to push away and replace with truth. Would love it if ya'll would pray for me.  
 
 
"Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you."
1 Peter 5:7