A lesson in celebrating- no matter the season or holiday.

Things I (am learning to) love: 

Weeks that grow me- even if through tired tears.

Limbo- you know those seasons stocked full of intention and faith (yes, LOTS of faith, y’all).

Saturday mornings- often spent watching my giggling boys chase one another while they insist I rest, regather, and just observe it all- filling my heart and body back to full.

My husband- a man of few words, true, but gifted nonetheless with endless listening, immense compassion, and a content way of walking to his own beat in this life. He’s both insanely observant and thoughtful. Someone who listens well enough to hear me say that I want to freeze my little’s current tiny hands as they are, one who knows that I do so cherish B’s current signature (albeit a love/hate relationship when signed multiple times over), and the person who tucks away little tokens that his love picks up and nonchalantly remarks about seeing her Father’s heart written upon them. This man, who says so little verbally (which truly is a perfect balance for his two other endless gabbers) always says so much through his heartfelt actions. I use to get so frustrated that he didn’t communicate like me, true (selfish) story, but now… four years into marriage, I am SO grateful he doesn’t, so grateful. His “listening” approach to life, (one where his heart does the talking and not his mouth or pride, like me) well… it has grown me in ways I never even saw coming. He’s rare and he’s mine- totally undeserving but totally grateful that his whole heart took on this “hot mess of redemption” and has never.looked.back. Together, we literally made walking, talking, illuminating “ADORABLE” and we named it Brent, Michael Brent.

#happyTODAYyall

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A lesson in team building.

It is 2pm here and y’all I still am in my PJs, with smeared eye make-up, and laughable hair (curly heads unite). My husband did breakfast, soccer, ran six miles, made lunch, and has showered. Yet we are both are smiling for me, because I have laughed with my sister, caught up on some reading, rested my sore muscles (squats hate me, they do), and allowed myself to be served. Marriage for us has been about melting, becoming a team, rejoicing for one another, and serving one another- allowing one to take a load off. Marriage is seasons and flexibility. Arguments and make-ups. Grace, marriage is an endless soft-serve machine of flowing grace. We came into it selfish but praise Him for continually breaking us to find our selfless. Okay, now I will shower, because I love them more than my stink.

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A lesson in change, ugh.

“God does not change, but He uses change to change us. He sends us on a journey that brings us to the end of ourselves.  We often feel out of control, yet if we embrace His leading, we may find ourselves on the ride of our lives.” – Jen Hatmaker, “Interrupted”

Change… one thought: UGH! I have never been a fan of change, NEVER (did you dramatically exaggerate it in your head too?), but to likely no surprise, it’s a pretty regular (uninvited) guest at my daily tea party. (Yes, it’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to.) It’s been inevitable in my life and made itself known as a means for my heart’s survival and truly, in the end, how it thrives and stays connected with my Father. How it avoids a false search for complacency in this unstable world and reconnects with a contentment ONLY found in Him.

So wait… did I say I wasn’t a fan? Okay, I lied, I am. Or am I? Fickle, my usual card in life. Today, during this glorious hour we call nap, I am a fan, yesterday… when the day changed and didn’t allot a glorious nap, we’ll… we wont talk about yesterday. 😉 In the end, from the deepest parts of my heart and spirit, YES, I am grateful for change in profound, “OH MY WORD I NEEDED THAT” kind of ways. I am thankful today that my heart woke up a slightly different mommy than yesterday (Brent is too). Change, people, is straight BFFs with motherhood. My child NEVER wakes up the exact same person, so… likely nor do I.  He’s ever evolving and runs his days at full speed, chasing life. He’s unpredictable and spontaneous. Emotional and sensitive. He’s the poster child of how God does use change to change us. He was the needed “check mate” to wake me up to so many of my sinful habits, hidden in my “lets act like we don’t see these because we are comfortable” bin.  The changes that came with Brent are both difficult and beautiful- at times nagging and petty but also paired with seasons of larger than me /complete walks of faith. Wowzers did he, unintentionally, unveil a grossly selfish nature to my life, my routines, my “my way or the highway” way of running life, to my white knuckled control or really… lack of control. The reality: I know God chose for me to be a mother with great intention and I am SO grateful, I just have this habit of choosing to throw a tantrum when it’s not exactly as I see fit or convenient and comfortable. So, mama’s, uncomfortable or not, it’s here, and for me, it’s been so needed for my heart. Brent woke me up, refreshed my spiritual eyes (groggy, weepy, and tired as they may be these days- the struggle is real cucumbers), and in often “oh that’s ugly” cry it out moments he has been the very root in this season that brings me to my knees, at the end of myself, desperately seeking the exact help that was patiently awaiting my tug from the start of this journey. (Ever heard of me refer to Brent as stubborn and willful?!? Yikes.) Brent, without meaning to, often uncovers that the very things I am frustrated with about him are buried ever so comfortably in my own heart and life. This current season often ends in days with us hand in hand, swollen eyed, standing before our Father, BOTH praying for change in similar parts of our hearts and life. Change, for this family, is inevitable, even more so… NEEDED, desperately. Change in the way we see life, change in the way our heart’s desire, change in how our hands work, change in thoughts, love, and actions towards others, CHANGE, endless pride-breaking change… Motherhood has spurred a growth and realization that the very thing (change) that I choose to let dig in “negatively” and irk my schedule, cause agitated tantrums of white out in my daily (life) planner, and fog my spiritual lens and joy (self centered, of course) is the VERY THING I scream out in need of at the end of the day.

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Hmmm, change spurs change, huh. That Jen, with her cute Texan self, was truly in communion with the Lord on this revelation. I am thankful she shares her heart transparently with us all, that she allows us to recognize the work commencing faithfully in our own life in that area, with that truth. That she helped me see how change, for me, extended(s) far beyond a need within and from motherhood. Change saved me, like for real. Salvation destroyed “me” and surrender cured my heart from selfishly being okay with living for just, well, me. Christ within me is what CHANGED me, eradicated me, and revealed how He truly does make all things anew. While I do still struggle with many of my sinful habits from the past, the battle is not alone, and I am NOT, I repeat NOTHING like who I was, THANKFULLY. That girl, y’all, a HOT MESS. High school friends are like, “well,… yeah…” and that’s okay, because it, He, has allowed me the gift of showing you how far He reaches out for us. While I am still a hot mess, it’s more of a “oh praise Him for His extinguishing mercy DRENCHING that flame with straight GRACE before it burned this whole place up” kind-of-HOT-MESS. Grace CHANGED the game for me, for forever. Christ then, as He still does now, interrupted my life and made me raw, vulnerable, and loved in ways I NEVER dreamed possible. Yet, change didn’t end then, blast!… I once, as a naive child, really believed salvation was a one time deal and then BAM- perfection- done deal! While it sounded easier and more appealing then (lazily rooted), for me, it was OBVIOUSLY not achievable and eventually sent me further away. The truth of salvation is SO much sweeter. I am STILL learning that after ALL God has brought me through (you wanna talk, we can), I am STILL “becoming” all that He desires me to become… Change, my “who invited him, y’all” frienemy, is PURDY MUCH a guaranteed STAPLE in my life, likely along this ENTIRE bittersweet walk home to my Father. Salvation brought change, salvation continues to bring change. CHANGE CHANGE CHANGE. Purposeful, intentional, and needed.

Oh bother… but wait, (cue fickle Erin) while I do SO despise the hiccups it causes in my “about me” way of life… (totally okay way to live, right?) I do LOVE it when it roots and grows such beautiful blessings out of my heart and life, like friendship, like my best friend, like my husband. Without change, I’d be without him- my “wow he is sexy” copilot alongside me on this “ride of my life”. We started as friends, loosely, for years, but it (which he knew) was a facade. My Joshua, while quiet, reads people REALLY well, he just keeps it to himself, he keeps himself mysterious. Joshua saw past the cute, flippant high school girl, he saw through the flirty facade, past the fake smile, and into all of the pain I masked with lies. He did not judge me, he didn’t gossip, best yet he waited and watched me change, silently cheering from miles and years apart. There has been nothing more beautiful than to get to hear my husband describe me through the years. To hear of my changes from eyes so kind, yet so observant to detail (hidden or transparent). While it’s easy for me at times to withhold grace from myself and to oversee the change in myself day to day (especially when it seems painfully slow), it was unveiled/gifted with such ease by this sweet man of mine, someone who loved me and rooted for me without knowing why (yet)… Change allowed me to now dive heart first, deeply into friendships in place of masking who I was to be accepted for name’s sake. Change taught an unforgiving, bitter girl how to forgive while hardest of all forgiving herself. I am thankful that He changed me, my heart, in ways I never deserved but I’ve never looked back from. I am thankful that he loves me, even still, when I fight white knuckled, throwing a fit, about the very change that has always proven so beneficial in my life. That he pours mercy on my doubts and grace on my pouts. That those changes opened me up to a person from my past, a past I fled for so long, a person instrumental in cloaking forgiveness across the years and opening my eyes to the changes that HAD occurred across my adolescent and childhood seasons. To the man He kept near me, patiently (unaware) awaiting for me to change in the instrumental ways needed for our union. BUT He wasn’t/isn’t done with change yet… Nope, don’t act surprised. 🙂

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Change saved (continues to save) my marriage- true story. I am thankful that the wife I am today is nothing like the girl I was in my youth, the one who skipped her way around dating boys, carelessly, like I do currently when picking out my daily hairstyles (you know, it’s whatev). I am grateful, frankly, that I am not the same wife I was four years ago, this past Christmas, or even last week. If I was, our marriage would be stagnant and motionless, empty and lacking grace, but instead we keep moving forward, together, adventuring and growing as a pair- closer and closer. I’ll be honest, when you get married and then two months later start the journey of a bed bound pregnancy amid graduate school… change doesn’t even give justice for what was happening in our lives those first years of marriage/parenthood. Truly, our lives were interrupted and changed for forever and I WOULDN’T CHANGE ONE THING, now. Then… well, that’s another story, another battle- thankfully one ending in my surrender, again. It altered us to our core, not to say we didn’t fight the good fight and resist, we did, but it led us to true obedience, it drove out of us a courage from DEEP within our core, and it made surrender (utter, complete, there IS no OTHER way) the REAL DEAL Y’ALL. Joshua isn’t the same person I married and our life is the same that we dreamed up bedside snuggling, romantically, all those early days of marriage. The vision has changed, the characters have grown into themselves, and the Director finally has full control of his cast and the story. Not to say there aren’t more seasons ahead of us where I cry out in hatred against change, where my hands clench MY plans, and where the cast turns against each other in seasons of chaos and unknown, BUT what I do know is I AM better “out of control” and at the end of myself… it may mean more “oh my word did you see Erin? Is she okay” visits with y’all, but hey… no one ever looks good in those outrageously priced roller-coaster photos, but regardless of your “oh my word delete that” appearance, in the end, you sure do love the ride, right? No control, unaware of the drops and turns ahead, but with arms up in the air you release and let yourself embrace the rush of the ride. Life, life is just like that- forget what change does to you and just embrace what change is doing WITHIN you. I am knee deep in this journey still, right there with you, blubbering and crying within the same breath that I am praising, but alas it’s another breath of life and that in itself is awesome. It’s another chance to change and be changed. May He never stop changing me, whether I like it or not. Love y’all. XOXO