Category Archives: Blessed

Beauty in the Broken…

BeautyBroken

Words … I have missed you.  Not for a lack of writing, but for a lack of sharing.

You see, I have been writing.  I’ve been writing more than I’ve written in years.  But my writing has not been for here.  It has been too deep.  Too personal to share.  It has been in my own little world.  My striped and worn journal has been the receiver of all my recent words.  Words my soul can’t bear to release, yet words I long to pour out.

The words of recent days are filled with sorrow. pain. hurt. anger. sadness. loneliness. 

Among those words are also words of … hope.

Psalm 34:18  The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

I am brokenhearted.  My spirit is crushed.  But today…

I find beauty in the broken.

Today, I realized God has been preparing me for this very day, for the past few days, weeks.

Today, I saw God’s plans playing out.

The events of the past few years were made clear to me in an instant.  What I thought was a plan for others was really His plan for me.  There’s no doubt He knew I would face emotions and pain that I can no longer bear on my own.  He knew I would need to be carried.  He’s been drawing me closer to himself and all the while, placing people in my life to walk along side me, to hold my hand, to comfort me.  He knew I would feel lonely and I would struggle to ask for help.

Today, I realized that all along, he’s been preparing me and has blessed me with a world full of love, compassion, patience and understanding.

Today, I found my strength. 

There is beauty in the broken.

Beauty surrounds me.  In His words.

Psalm 46:1  God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.

Refuge and strength.  Ever-present.

Beauty encompasses me.  Through words of hope, love, compassion, peace, understanding and patience.  From these beautiful women He has placed in my life.  At just.the.right.time.

No mistakes.  Beauty in the broken.

Proverbs 4:20-22  My child, be attentive to my words; incline your ear to my sayings. Do not let them escape from your sight; keep them within your heart. For they are life to those who find them, and healing to all their flesh.

I’m on a journey.  One I thought I had already taken, sort of.  Today, I begin to heal this broken heart.

The first step – admitting I am broken and in need, followed by working through the brokenness.  That’s not a journey I can walk alone.  So today, I praise Him for His words and for placing people in my life willing to walk beside me and lift me up when I fall.

I am blessed.  There is beauty in the broken.

Here’s a song for you…

Hyland “Beauty in the Broken”

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Hand in hand…

HandinHand

The moment she came into the world, there was a look upon his face.

Love.

Joy.

Pride.

You could see it in his eyes.  He would never be the same.

Today, she is three and three quarters.  For almost four years, she has had his heart. 

As the other woman, I wouldn’t have it any other way.

For years, I longed to see this side of him.  With our two boys, he’s been firm and rightly so.  It’s rules and sticking to them.  It’s simply less tender.  I ached to see this gentle side, one I had seen in other dads with little girls but one I had never experienced because my own father left before I was born.

She giggles.  He grins.

She tickles.  He jumps.

She dances.  He holds her hand.

She sings.  He’s her biggest fan.

She talks.  He listens.

She snuggles.  His arms embrace her.

She is safe.  She is loved.  She is his little girl.  It’s an amazing sight to see.  It melts my heart over and over again.

They have taught me so much about my own life and my walk with the Lord. 

You see, as he walks hand in hand with her, I realize, God has held my hand many times.  He has walked with me through fires.  He has been there to pick me up.  He’s wiped away my tears.  He’s carried me through the darkness.  He has given me life.

Every time I watch them walk side by side, hand in hand…
When I see him smiling down at her…
When she looks at him with awe…
When he holds her in his arms…
As he protects her and loves her…

It serves as a reminder that everything I’ll ever need in a father is right here waiting for me to reach out and grasp.  He will never let me go.

Colton Dixon “Never Gone”

Jesus never ever left you
Never ever left you, no.
He sees us, even in the darkness
Now you know you’re not alone.

I’m still standing here
No I didn’t disappear
Now the lights are on
See I was never gone
I let go of your hand
To help you understand
With you all along
Oh, I was never gone

 

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A Day Out…

This past weekend, I had the privilege of  meeting author Lysa TerKeurst.  You may have heard her mentioned on here.  She is the founder of Proverbs 31 Ministries as well as the author of a number of books, one being, Unglued, which I did the online Bible study for back in the fall.

An invitation was extended to about 50 women from all over the country to attend a luncheon with Lysa and other Proverbs 31 ladies.  It was an honor to be one of the ladies invited to join in on this special time.  Lysa discussed some things from Unglued, we played games, chatted and got to know each other.  I met many beautiful ladies, some from nearby areas of North and South Carolina and some from as far away as Texas, New Jersey and Ohio.  I am pretty sure we all walked away overjoyed and blessed.

There were so many wonderful ladies who helped to make this past weekend special for each of us.  Please keep them in your thoughts and prayers so that they in turn will feel the joy and blessings that we all felt.  

While there, Lysa told us some stories about how she handles certain situations, tough topics with her kids, and other things.  She shared some valuable tips that I am sure I will be using in the future.  I have read most of her books and the one thing I have loved most about her books is how open, honest and real she seems.  Well, I can say, after meeting her in person, she is so real.  She’s not afraid to admit she is human and has faults.  I think that shows her real strength. 

One thing I learned while there is just how much of an introvert I am.  Here I was in Charlotte, NC.  I was around a ton of sweet ladies who were all chatting it up, getting to know each other and I had every opportunity to do the same.  No one knew me and most of them would probably never see me again.  I could talk and converse and walk away without any worries but nooooo, I barely spoke! 

It wasn’t that I wasn’t enjoying myself – quite the opposite, I was very much enjoying myself.  I just can’t seem to find that comfortable place where I can just jump out of my shell and talk.  What do I say?  I don’t even know where to start.

Compared to the hubby, I’m a top rate extrovert but compared to other women, I’ll take a dark, quiet corner in the back any day!  Thankfully, a few ladies who were not so shy managed to invite me to sit at their table with them at lunch (thanks girls!), otherwise, I’d have been chewing on my own.

The difficult reality of all that is considering I feel like God is leading me to write and speak, I feel extremely inadequate for the whole speaking idea.  I sure hope God has a box of courage and confidence tucked away for me!

At the end of the luncheon, we had the opportunity to leave a video message for Proverbs 31.  Now, I just told you about the whole really quiet, dark corner, introvert girl, right?  Well, how about being blasted with bright lights, a camera guy and a gal asking questions … shew, no pressure, right?

One of the questions I was asked, was “How has Proverbs 31 Ministries impacted your life?”

I didn’t even have to think to answer.  My kids mean the world to me.  I have never been what I would consider a great mom but God blessed me with these little people who continue to love me and trust me day in and day out, even when Monster Mom makes an appearance, even when I’m wrong, even when I come unglued…they still come running to me to kiss their boo-boo’s.  They still come to me for goodnight hugs and kisses.  They still come to me for mommy snuggles.

My answer was that Proverbs 31 has impacted me, through Bible studies, through being real and honesty, with encouragement.  The women of Proverbs 31 have taken time to invest in me, in the hopes that I can grow closer to God and that my relationship with Christ will change my life.  It has changed my life and in doing so, it’s making changes in the lives of my children, which means more to me than anything.  Instead of continuing down the road of a not so great mom, I am becoming the mom they need.  I am learning to be a better mom.  I am learning new things every day that make changes in my ways and my attitude and those changes are visible to my kids. 

How can you thank someone for that?  There are not enough words to say thank you for the blessings the beautiful women of Proverbs 31 Ministries have given to me and my family.

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

Love does not envy…

1 Corinthians 13:4b
does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.


Envy?

The definition of envy is a feeling of discontented or resentful longing aroused by someone else’s possessions, qualities, or luck.

What is envy really?  It’s a sickening feeling that hits you in the pit of your stomach.  It makes you feel inadequate.  It glorifies things and people and puts them on pedestals when really, they belong right beside you.  Envy is evil.  It’s greedy.  It’s lonely.  Envy is shame and lack of confidence.  Envy is wanting something else instead of enjoying what you have or who you are.  Envy lacks confidence, assurance.  It says, “the grass is always greener on the other side” but in truth, the grass on the other side isn’t always as green as it appears.

The problem with envy is when we want to be someone else or have what they have, we fail to realize that we all have our problems.

The family with the fancy sport car that sparkles and shines.  It also has a hefty payment.  Maybe they’re in debt.  Maybe they’re about to lose it.  Maybe not.  We don’t really know.  Maybe they have a fancy car but their marriage is crumbling.  Maybe they sacrificed their mortgage to pay for the car.  Maybe they have plenty of money and a few spare dates on the side while their spouse is home with the kids.  Maybe that life we envy isn’t all sunshine and rainbows like we think.

The business woman who rises to the top, building up her bank account as she climbs the cooperate ladder.  She’s got the big house, she’s got the supportive husband.  She’s got great clothes, great looks.  She’s in shape.  Her hair looks great.  Inside, she’s crumbling.  She missed out on the opportunity to watch her kids grow.  They don’t know who she is and she doesn’t know them either.  They are angry.  Her husband feels alone.  She’s thankful for her job, but what sacrifice did she make to get there and was it all worth it.

We envy things and in reality, we just don’t know what lies behind the surface.  We want and want and want and instead, we fail to see all that we have.

It’s exhausting.  I know, I’ve been there.

As most of you know, the hubby is a firefighter.  Well, let’s just say, firefighters aren’t anywhere near the top of the pay scale.  I’ve been at home for years now, hanging with the kiddos and we all know stay-at-home mom, even as one of the hardest jobs, comes with a pretty crappy (non-existent) paycheck.

Several years ago, we were in a bind.  We needed a vehicle and had very little spare change to put towards one.  We found a deal on Craigslist and went for it.  It was a 1992 Toyota Corolla.  She came with a pretty wild story, one we enjoyed sharing with friends and shared lots of laughs over.  Perhaps I’ll tell her story at some point but … this would have been 2005, 2006 or somewhere around there.  Obviously by this point, a 1992 car was a little out of date.  We shelled out a whopping $375 and drove away, dents, scratches and all but she drove.  Inside there were mismatched door handles, worn seats and very little room for the hubby, two boys and I but we drove on anyway.

Three years later, I was still driving her.  We called her the Green Goblin.  She was green (mostly except where the cheap coat of paint was chipping away) and she certainly looked a little goblinish!  I remember day after day, picking the eldest boy, Noah, up from school and each day, I had to shout at the teachers to slam the door.  They’d look at me a little funny and then proceed to slam it.  If they didn’t, the door would practically fire back at them.  Most of them got use to seeing us and before long, they knew the procedure.

We drove the green goblin to church every Wednesday and Sunday.  We’d park her next to the Honda minivans, next to the Mercedes and BMW’s, the Toyota SUV’s, and all the other bright and shiny rides.  She sat there, small and dingy, but she was there.

After a long wait, our family was growing.  We were expecting our little girl and there was no way we could fit another person in the green goblin.

It was time to say goodbye.

This time, we managed to scrounge up enough money to pay cash for a 2001 Oldsmobile Silhouette Minivan.  I had never owned a minivan but I had been envious of all the minivan mom’s in the car rider lines and especially at church.  Now, I was a PROUD minivan owner!  Sure, the tan van wasn’t as new as most, but she was beautiful, she was mine and she was paid for!

We drove the tan van (also called the sand van – notice a spiderman theme here?  We are spiderman fans around here!) until this past October. 

She died. 

My heart broke.  I loved her.  She had been such a great companion.  We’d shared many laughs and trips.  She had beautiful leather seats, equipped with tushy warmers.  She had a nice little tv that worked for long trips.  She had a pretty decent radio with a cd player, fancy gas and mileage equipment and many more extras.  We had saved our money and paid for her upfront and never had to worry about another payment.  All of the sudden, she was gone.  She needed major repairs, repairs that just weren’t worth it.

So, that brings us to today.  Today, I have a lovely red Kia Sedona.  She’s a 2012 model.  We bought her practically brand new.  She had only 8,006 miles on her as we drove her off the lot.  We got a great deal and she comes with a generous warranty and a hefty payment plan.  We are now not so proud to have a monthly expense.  While our family needed a new van, a payment was never part of the plan.  God has worked it out so we’ll get her paid for but I can assure you, I have learned a lot through the days of the green goblin and the tan van. 

I have learned, the grass is not always greener.  Sometimes, those older models come with a little humbling and no payments while the sparkly, shiny, comes with hefty payments and a lot of finagling.  Sometimes the green goblins and the tan vans are just what we need to keep us grounded and while I will enjoy the red van, I will remember where I have been and the feelings that came along with having no payment and being humble as I drove away in my little green goblin.  I’ll remember the fun times I had in the tan van and how blessed we were to be able to pay for it in full and live without worries of car payments and due dates.

As silly as it may seem, these stories about our vehicles are great lessons on envy, boasting and being proud.  I was proud to have paid for the last two vehicles with cash but I hope I was never so proud that we made others feel inadequate for not being able to sacrifice like that.  Now that we have that shiny, sparkling vehicle, I hope that those who come along in their own green goblins and tan van’s won’t look at us with envy and if they do, they will realize this is their time of humbling and I could be envious of where they are.

Today, I do not envy, will not boast and I have nothing to be proud of, only things to be grateful and thankful for.  I do not envy the nicer cars and I do not envy the paid for cars.  I am simply blessed.  I am blessed to have a vehicle, to be able to pay for it and to be able to share my story with you.  God has brought me through many trials and along the way, he’s taught me many lessons.  He’s still teaching me and I will forever be a work in progress.

Love does not envy, it’s content.

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

Time well spent…

A perfect day? 

Is that possible?

What would yours look like?

Today, after dropping off the two boys at school, it was Mommy & Livi time.  Often, we’re both running around the house or the streets of Nowhereville joining the madness of being too busy.

Today, was different.

The princess and I curled on up the sofa together and started out our morning watching some dramas on Lifetime.  When the subjects got a little too deep, I asked Livi if she’d like to watch Disney’s Brave.  She quickly responded with a big shout, “YES!”, jumped off the sofa and within seconds, had Brave in the DVD player. (If you haven’t had the chance to see it, watch it!  It’s worth it!)

We snuggled back in close on the sofa and for the next 93 minutes, we shared giggles, grins, snuggles and tears.  It was heaven on earth.

The day outside was beautiful too.  Temperatures were in the 60’s, much different from last weeks ice, rain and freezing temperatures.  We headed out to pick up the boys and then back home.  All three kiddos road their bikes, jumped on the trampoline and enjoyed the outdoors.  Following that was a quick trip out to sign up soccer boy for the spring season, Happy Meals at McD’s and last but not least, a drop by visit to Daddy at the fire department to say goodnight.

Back home, showers, jammies and off to bed they went.

The day was pure bliss.

No drama.  Not even Mama drama.
No meltdowns.  (Well, except the little one when Livi didn’t finish supper so she has to wait until tomorrow to get her Hello Kitty toy.  Sorry sweets!)
No arguing.
No whining.
No gloomy skies.

It was a day filled with reminders.

Constant reminders that I am…

Blessed.
Loved.
Happy.
Amazed.
Proud.
Thankful.
Joyful.

Through the eyes of these little people, I saw all the many blessings in my life.  For too long, I believed none of this was possible.  Sometimes I felt unworthy.  Other times, I felt too weak.

Today, God used these little loves to reassure me just how great His love is for me.

I am blessed.

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com

Lessons for my kiddos…

I remember as a kid, there was some kind of magic in the air.  Do you remember it?

You know what I’m talking about, right?

Like…

Believing that mom’s checks meant infinite money.
Santa Clause was such a nice guy to leave so many cool things for me.  The Easter Bunny was pretty nice too!
Mommy’s kisses could fix almost any boo-boo.  What her kisses didn’t fix, Papa’s hugs could.
Most friends were easy to make and hard to lose.
Friendships lasted forever – even if in reality forever was only about two weeks.
Bugs were kind of fun.
Romping through the woods was like an adventure through a magical castle.
Evil didn’t exist except in movies and we were too young to watch those movies.
Wishing stars really worked.
Singers sang their songs directly to me – they even wrote them about me.
Cars never ran out of gas.
Bills?  Everyone gets tv, power, phone – it’s just part of what you get for being a grown-up!
Grown-ups have it made because they get to make all the choices.
Grown-ups get to pick where they eat.
Grown-ups have all the money they want.
Grown-ups get to decide where to work and when to work.
Grown-ups could play all day.
It would be so cool to be the grown-up for a change!

And while I have many fond memories from childhood, it was also filled with much grief, loss, sadness, fear, hurt and pain.  I am so thankful that my own children have so far be able to just enjoy being children and haven’t been forced to grow up too soon.

But…

We teach our children lessons but some of the hardest lessons I have learned have been recently – as a grown up.  I want my own children to treasure the magic of childhood and not wish it away for…

Bills…they really do have to be paid and when they aren’t paid on time, you lose things like tv, power, phone, etc.  The companies really do cut you off when they don’t get their money.

Wishing stars are still very cool, interesting and pretty but those wishes – were most likely just your own strength and courage with a little help from God and answered prayers.

Singers tell stories and while the stories may be just what  you needed to hear, they most likely aren’t actually about you.

Bugs are creepy, crawly and yucky.  They’re just plain gross.

Romping through the woods can will get you lost.

Cars do run out of gas and gas does cost money – these days, a lot of money!

Mom’s rarely write checks anymore but the debit card also does not have infinite supply of money.  It will and does run out.  While you have not had to do without any major things, there actually is a point where the funds end.  Get a good paying job in a secure field of work – but make sure it’s something you enjoy.  All the money in the world won’t make you happy if you’re miserable making it.

Santa Clause is a great guy.  When you grow up, you can thank him (or her) yourself for all the cool things he gave you ;)  While you’re at it, give the Easter Bunny a carrot (trimmed in white gold would be good)!

While mommy would like to believe her kisses fix all the boo-boo’s just like you believe, much of that is the perfect design of our bodies to heal themselves and a little prayer from mommy.  When you grow up, I hope you’ll carry on the tradition and kiss your little one’s boo-boo’s away.  There is definitely still some magic there!  And I’m sorry you don’t have a chance to know what a Papa’s hugs are like – they were wonderful!

Friendships are messy.  Friends aren’t so easy to make and while we’d like to believe otherwise, they are easy to lose.  Grown-ups sometimes act like children and sometimes we hurt each other – not because we really mean to do it but sometimes it just happens.

Relationships are hard.  They take work – lots of it.  In the end, they are so worth it and the time you share is irreplaceable.  Just don’t take them for granted.

Evil does exist and not just in the movies.  There are bad people in this world but there’s also much good.  Be a part of the good.

Do kind things for others.

Pray for those who are lost.

Share what God has done in your life.

Love each other.

Don’t judge others just because they don’t walk the same way you walk.

Don’t be afraid to cry.

Remember that you are never alone.  I wasn’t truly living until I finally grew up and when I grew up, I remember how magical it felt to be a kid.  Enjoy those moments.  You will grow up one day and you will face hard times, pain, hurt, fear, rejection, loss, etc.  You will also have many blessings in between.  Lean on God.  He picked me up when I have fallen, more times than I can count – even when I didn’t think I needed His help, He was there.  Even when I turned my back on Him, He was there.  And now, as I pray for you, your safety, your future, your life, He is there, listening, guiding me as your mom, watching over us all.

Even when there is no where else to turn, remember that I told you, your Bible should be like your right hand and no matter where you go in life, you can find answers in there.  You can learn how to love others, how to work out relationships, how to handle your finances, how to love your children, how to raise them to be kind, caring, loving people, how to reach out to others and share the good that has come to you and soooooo much more just from that one book.

Through it all, stand true to yourself.  Don’t believe because someone else says it’s true.  Believe because that’s what God is telling you.  Find truth for yourself.  Seek Him.  Pray.  Listen.  Be open to what He has to say to you.

Until then, treasure every moment because the reality is you aren’t promised tomorrow.

Enjoy the innocence of being young and the magic of being a child!

© The Imperfect Princess at theimperfectprincess.com