My Environment

My husband and I have a long story. We have not always made good choices and we have had extreme highs and extreme lows in our lives and relationship. A lot of things have led us to where we are now and I’m sure I will eventually share all or most of them.

In a previous post I mentioned being in a house that is inexpensive and large enough for our family, but has a mold problem. This is the story of the house we live in, “The Kings House.”

5 years ago we met a woman who would change our lives forever. From the first moment I met her, I knew she was an answer to my prayers of desperation for a friend who deeply loves God and follows Him no matter the cost. Someone who would rather talk about Him on a Friday night than go out partying. I remember crying with my mom as a teenager, wondering why people didn’t talk about God more or worship together without a worship leader. This woman prophesied with accuracy and seemed to truly, deeply honor the deity of God and respect him as God with her actions and accountability.

Nate and I were in a desperate place in our marriage. I felt like we had little chance of making it and needed hope. My new friend showed it to me. She interceded for me in a way that I have never experienced. She showed me the true way to find God and did it with a hand that was completely open. I have since been on a crazy journey of learning to be free. Learning to let go of past hurts and rules of the church and to identify as God wants me to, not as I feel is expected by culture. I have discovered a kind of love that I never knew before. I see God in a way that I never viewed him before. My past has been rocky. I grew up unknowingly judgmental and close minded. I restricted love if I didn’t agree with actions being taken. I hurt people without knowing or intending it and felt isolated and a lone. I have had a lot of pride too. I have been freed in a great way. There is plenty more work to do, but I am sold on the God of Israel. I see him as loving and kind. He is a great father and loves so deeply.

A year and a half ago, we lived in a small 787 square foot house. It did well for us all those years. We bought at exactly the wrong time and spent way too much on our tiny house right before the prices plummeted. Suddenly we were backward on our loan and stuck. We lived there for nine years and had 4 kids in that house. It was getting smaller and my stress level living there was increasing. August 2015 we decided to try to sell. My friend and her husband were leaving their home of 4 years. Her husband was building it basically from the ground up with research and direction from God. He did it alone. It was getting more and more beautiful. They called it “The Kings House” because during their time in the house, God directed many prayer meetings and met many, many people who came. There were tears, laughter, deep conversations, commissioning from the Lord and countless mysteries unraveled. God blessed them so, so much while they lived here. They asked us if we would be interested in paying their mortgage and live here because they were feeling called east. God had a new plan and direction for them and we needed space. This house is about twice as big as our old place, but the exchange is that it is unfinished. The floor is subfloor and the attic is exposed. There are places where there is no sheetrock and it is only partially painted inside. The ceiling in the living room is only half in place and the hood over the stove is only partially finished. The garage and house are not fully connected so there is leaking in some places. The mold issue is in the crawl space and we are working with the owner to see how to take care of the issue.

I’m telling you all of this because I need a reminder of the blessing of this house. It is so easy to be filled with the negative aspects of a situation. The dust is crazy. It is really hard to clean an unfinished house because the subfloor absorbs water and it could increase the mold problem below. The attic exposure can also increase a mold problem. We are going through socks quickly because the floor is tearing them up and there is something to be said for things being unfinished that can cause anxiety. We moved in thinking that we would be able to fix it up some more and make it more livable… namely, give it a floor and finish the sheet rock and painting. However God had different plans. We moved in and there was some miscommunication between us and our housemate. All parties had a part in that learning scenario. A lot of feelings were hurt and it was a huge emotional start to living here. Then shortly after, we took in my friends daughter for 6 months so she could attend the same school as my boy. 3 months later, I found out I was pregnant with our 5th baby. We had thing after thing some up and have been prevented from doing any upgrades. Our plans are different than His plans.

IMG_4790I have felt strange about posting pictures of where we live now because it isn’t ours, it isn’t finished and I have felt angry lately about how much sickness we have endured. I have a whole list of negative reasons why I don’t like this house. However, it was a gift. It’s easy to remember the good parts of living in our small house in town…. it didn’t have a mold problem, it was pretty when we left it, we could walk anywhere, it had an nice back yard and a fun tree to climb. However it was very small. It’s hard to fit 2 boys and 2 girls in the same tiny room. And know having a 5th baby, it would have felt impossible. The neighborhood was getting worse. We had a stabbing up the street and kids smoking behind our fence. I felt intimidated by the people who we passed on the streets and the way people looked at the kids and longed for more privacy. My kitchen wasn’t functional and it was cut off from the rest of the house. It was small and difficult to make food the way I do.

The Kings house, the house we live in now has a wonderful kitchen. Open concept, hub of the house. The stove has 6 units and its gas! There is plenty of storage for all the gadgets I use in the kitchen, the fridge is huge and it has a nice dishwasher. It has a laundry room and two bathrooms! The master bedroom is quite large and the boys room is larger than the kids room from our last house. We have a magnificent fireplace and a front porch. We have a garage too! There is a creek that runs the length of the property down the hill. We live in an amazing place, but all I have been able to see is the lack of sunlight, the steep hill that is difficult for kids to go down or up alone, the stuff that isn’t ours that is cluttering the garage and side yard.

The thing is, we are paralleling with this house in the spirit. Our hearts are more free than they have ever been but they are unfinished. There is still clutter than we haven’t released to our Father that we have kept in our hearts. There is still fear and unforgiveness. There is still a lack of sunlight pouring in because we have not allowed a full amount of God’s light into our lives. We have been living in negativity and sorrow.

A corner is being turned. I am ready to see and accept the parallel and chose joy and positivity. I choose to let worship come out of my mouth and to find joy in my Father instead of the things I believe I should have. I want to keep releasing things to God so I can have more freedom in my heart and my mind. I want to stop being afraid. I want to trust God completely to take care of the things I have feared. He wants to be a part of my food intake, my cleaning routine, my parenting, my rest. He is everything and I am nothing without Him.

Rest for the weary

2.5 years ago, I was in a desperate place. I had just birthed my fourth baby. My first intentionally unassisted.  She had digestion issues from the start and cried a lot.  We also had a puppy and lived in a 787 sqft house in the middle of he city. We had a small yard and I needed an outlet. I was asking for advise for my baby’s tummy and my sister told me about Young Living Efranklin-st-photossential Oils. I freaked out a little bit because my parents had been involved with a multi level company for years and lost a lot of friendships because of it. I felt skeptical of that style of company, but did prefer buying soaps online so I let her tell me.

I honestly don’t remember what she said that convinced me to buy or if it was my own research…. the latter is actually more likely knowing me.  In doing the research, I discovered something that brought me to tears.  A product of nature. Pure. Unadulterated. God made these oils available to us when He created the earth. I didn’t know they existed. I felt like I would imagine the first person who discovered fire felt. There are no words, just deep intense gratitude.

I got my Premium Starter Kit. I had also ordered the Gentle Baby blend to support my infant’s digestive health and to make a blend to support the skin on her little bum. Initially, I was a little taken aback by the smell of Gentle Baby. It is strong. I like it more now, but there is something about new born baby smell that I like more than the smell of roses (which I love now).

Back then the Premium Starter Kit included a blend called Peace & Calming. That was the oil that hooked me. Goodness. I opened it up and felt like bathing in it immediately.  I bought the oils for my baby and didn’t realize how much I needed them. With that oil diffusing, our children’s loud sounds quieted to a point where there was fun without anxiety.  I could sit down and nurse my baby and let my mind rest. Zen is where I was when I was supported by this aroma. Putting it on the bottoms of my kids feet supported a good night sleep and I finally started realizing that rest is essential. Pease in the midst of chaos is attainable.

I have since discovered that a lot of my feeling of being overwhelmed was because of my expectations on people. People talk about how some people look at life through “rose colored glasses.” I was looking at life through glasses scuffed and scratched with deep hurts, fear and darkness. My expectations of others hurt relationships and made me appear selfish and hard to please. I thought I was the victim. I didn’t understand why everything was going wrong in my life and why people didn’t care. It made me angry and compounded the hurt. God has freed me of those expectations and has allowed me to find my needs in His love. He is all that we need.  His love is enough.

How do you cope with the chaos of life and things that don’t go according to plan? have you looked at your expectations to see if they line up with truth? Do you know who you are and what you want out of life? Trust me, if you don’t know, those close to you don’t either.  If you are disappointed in the gifts given or the time spent or the intimacy, look at your heart to see if you are setting those you love up for failure.  God can clean out those expectations and give you the freedom to love others as a gift instead of an investment.

Version 2Peace & Calming is unique because it has Blue Tansy oil in it. This oil is difficult to source and Young Living never compromises their standards. If the fields have a rough year and the harvest is sub par, they do not sell it.  Because of this scenario, Peace & Calming is often out of stock. That one bottle I got in my kit so long ago, was the only bottle I ever had until last month. It came back in stock for the month of Dec. so I got it and this month it is part of the Essential Rewards promo so that one is on it’s way to my door.

I opened the bottle and it brought me back to that feeling when I first got my kit. I remembered how much this blend meant to me and again felt that soothing calm that amazed me at the start of my essential oil journey.

If you have a chance to buy this oil ever, do it.

The Vulnerable Parts

As I venture into the beginning stages of being an entrepreneur and all the things that go along with that, I have been able to observe several ways that I hold myself back from people.  In the past few years I have been shown by the Lord a ton of walls that I have built in the name of self protection. Someone hurt me so I built a wall or fortified a wall that was previously built in an attempt to avoid a similar situation. I have worked hard with God to tear those walls down. Allowing all kinds of emotional pain and vulnerability into my life because those walls were actually hurting me more than helping. They were hurting the people around me too. God is the only one fit to protect our hearts. He does it like any good parent should. He knows His children and He allows pain in order to teach lessons that stick. When I was a kid, I was clumsy and fell a lot. I often had scabs on my knees.  I learned (rather slowly) that if you aren’t careful, you will fall and get hurt. That is a valuable lesson that I may not have learned well had I not experienced it first hand. Based on that pain, I learned what things are worth trying or not. Is it worth the possibility of skinned knee?

I have been contemplating social media and the image put forward by so many as being perfect.   Having all the answers and having the perfect kids. Trust me, my kids are perfect, but it isn’t because I ironed their clothes or put bows in their hair. They are perfect because they are people just like you and me who make mistakes and have hopes and dreams. I adore my children and I know they are fallible like me. Therefore I make boundaries for them so they can grow up in a safe protected environment while also being allowed to adventure and be wild.

Version 2

The big thought came up while I was trying to put together a video for my Facebook group. I replayed the video and I looked rigid and unwelcoming.  I realized it was because I was trying to cover up my biggest insecurity. There are parts of me that I have not made complete peace with. For instance, I have very crooked teeth and I have convinced myself that people will look the other way because of my lack of perfection, but in reality, it is our unique imperfections that help us remain humble and touchable. I want you to see the real me so I resolve to show you me.  I am a very passionate person with things to say and hopefully I have an entertaining quality.

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What about you?  What are things that you hide in an attempt to protect yourself from criticism? If you really think about it, do you think maybe you are just withholding part of your unique personality or look? I challenge you to let yourself go.  If you are too insecure to do it in public, do what I did. Break out your cell phone camera or computer and record yourself. First as you would like to present yourself then do a second video after you allow yourself to be the vulnerable you that you don’t let people see.  Tell me what happens!