Tears of Transparency

My heart is sad this morning. It has been a restless, short night of sleep. We learned of my husband’s uncle’s completely unexpected death last night. We are devastated. The hardest part of being a parent is seeing your children cry and to know they are hurting. It is our son’s first experience losing someone close. Our daughter is in another state and unable to come home for a few days. It is hard to not be present to console her.

Knowing your children are hurting is so difficult as a parent. As much as you hurt, seeing the tears of your child is that much more heart wrenching. We have always tried to encourage our children to share their feelings with us and to be open.

Transparency in my feelings… something I am not always so great at. Being willing to be transparent and vulnerable in your feelings with someone you trust can open the floodgates to understanding. Yes, it feels risky and uncomfortable especially if you are like me and not used to talking about feelings. I would rather suffer in silence, but I know God doesn’t desire that for us. And, I certainly don’t want to model that behavior for my children.

So, through this difficult time right now, we will pull together and comfort one another. Tears are the unspoken language of transparency and vulnerability. They are a bridge to understanding.

Life is often not easy, but with God and the support of those we love and trust, we can walk through the valleys and know we are not alone.

Right in Front of You

It’s Friday….I always seem amazed when Friday shows up again. I greet the day with a sigh of relief…I made it here again.

This week I particularly feel a sense of relief. It has been an emotional rollercoaster, but God is good and continues to breathe His truth into my soul. 

In Psalm 37:3….trust in the Lord and do good, dwell in the land, and feed on His faithfulness…

When I read that passage recently, I reflected on the name of​ my blog. Faith. Hope. Love. Food. My original intention for my blog was to share my food struggle journey, but God revealed a different focus to me.

The food that fuels my soul…His faithfulness, His goodness, His love, His peace, mercy, grace… have ​been so clearly evident and alive this week in my life.

Sometimes, what you are searching for is right in front of you, you just need a reminder that it’s there. My prayers this week have been an intense sense of needing direction, His direction. I have been feeding on His faithfulness and staying in the Word, praying His promises.

Ever heard someone speak to you and know it was exactly what God needed for you to hear? Ever received a hug and felt the love so deeply? I did this week. The answers I sought were right in front of me, I just needed reminded.

If you are struggling with making a hard decision, feed on His faithfulness and keep praying. The answer you yearn for just may be right in front of you.

One more day, maybe I can

Just when you think you can’t do this anymore, God reminds you that well, maybe you can.

It’s been a week like that for me. Work has had me exhausted. The balance between work and home feels overwhelming at times. It is hard to find that separation between the two. 

Work is a source of back and forth anxiety for me, but work is such a huge part of my life. When you work full-time, you spend a lot of time at your job.

I love my job. I work with seniors. I love the residents and their families. We have some amazing staff. 

The day to day stress, though, can overtake all the reasons I went into this field in the first place. And then I start feeling….I can’t do this anymore!

Then, God reminds me in the midst of an exhausting week that yes, I can.

If you work in long term care, then you understand the intensity of state survey week.

I worked long hours this week. I left my house super early. My neighbor had to take my son to school. But….I witnessed staff coming together, working together, serving the elders. I spent lots of time interacting with residents and staff.

I was reminded what an amazing leader I am privileged to work under…One who is appreciative and cares deeply. I was reminded of the great group of people I work alongside with on the leadership team.

Our results? Deficiency free. Deficiency free. Those two words…The cumulative results of months of hard work and day to day, moment to moment dedication. 

I was reminded I am called to do this.

A few weeks ago, I read this passage from Psalm 127:2…It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to His loved ones.


That very week, I had been up early working and up late working. I was allowing work to become too much of me. What has felt like my passion and calling was beginning to feel like a source of total overwhelming endlessness.
I can’t figure out this balance thing, but I realized that I don’t have to. I am learning more about prayer through Draw the Circle 40 day prayer challenge by Mark Batterson. I can pray over the promises in that Psalm and trust God for His guidance in finding balance.

Sometines, life is about beautiful simple moments tied into profound realizations. The happy tears of my coworkers. The words of gratitude from a family. Sharing hugs of celebration with staff. Laughing with a resident.
Yes, God, maybe I can do this just another day.

God doesn’t call the equipped, He equips the called.

Tonight, I am grateful for His reminders that I am exactly where He wants me right now. 

Life as the Great Balancing Act

I miss the mountains. A lot.


Over the weekend, a close friend was asking how my vacation was. As I shared how much I love the mountains, she agreed she could see me living there. When she asked what I loved the most about vacation, I reflected on the slow paced mornings, coffee on the deck, and writing time. She laughed and said, “Sounds like you want the retired life.”
Sigh. Actually, though, I guess what I love about the mountains is the quiet beauty of them. Life is life and vacation doesn’t last forever, though.

What I long for is a piece of that mountain peace  I felt to seep into my daily life. My ongoing struggle is this whole work life balance thing. I know I am not alone. Many of us work a lot and struggle to find a balance. My daughter is an education major and just told me the average teacher works 53 hours a week. I work in healthcare and that is comparable. Every occupation has its times of long hours. 

Last Saturday afternoon, while reading my devotional and Bible, I stumbled upon this verse although I don’t think it was a random stumbling upon…

It is useless for you to work so hard from early morning until late at night, anxiously working for food to eat; for God gives rest to His loved ones. Psalm 127:2 NLT

There is a message in those words. Balance is important in life. Work should not consume our lives. When work feels like it is becoming too much, what can we do to regain our sense of self?
For me, this area is an ongoing work in progress. I have implemented a few things to help me. I am in the process of reevaluating the things that I am involved in outside of work and setting boundaries. I have just started an inspirational Writing group which totally uplifted me over the weekend. I take time nightly for TV time with my son to laugh along to our favorite show The Middle. I am making snippets of time to write and exercise. I am trying to find moments to reconnect with my husband because he is in a season of working a lot of hours, too. 

The most important thing? I am keeping prayer and time in God’s Word as a priority. I am learning to give myself grace. I am trying to learn an important lesson my friend reminds me…No is a complete sentence.

Finding balance amist the chaos of life can feel a bit like driving through a thick fog. It can be easier to simply accept the busyness as okay. It is much more uncomfortable and disorienting to sort your way through the fog of finding balance.
Finding balance is a process. Don’t settle for crazy. What small changes can you make that may pave the way for big strides towards balance in your life?

You’re not the same person…

You’re not the same person…Those are the words I heard a few days ago as I sat in my counselor’s office. Encouraged by a friend a few months ago, I decided to see someone to help me work through my anxiety.

I went a few weeks before Christmas and that first visit was very uncomfortable. I don’t particularly like to talk about myself. I answered his questions and listened a lot that first visit. When I left that night, I told my friend, I am never going back. The next day, I found myself using some of the ideas he had shared with me about anxiety. I decided maybe I could learn something. So, I made another appointment.

I think God wants us uncomfortable sometimes. When we are too comfortable, we can become complacent with the way things are. As uncomfortable as I felt sitting one on one with someone talking through my anxiety, I realized that I was willing to endure this uncomfortable feeling in order to move forward. Complacency with anxiety was not a place I wanted to rest and remain.

I have poured myself into the Word the past few months. The hour morning commute is a great time for prayer 1-1 with God. I listen to praise and worship music. I have committed to memorizing Scripture. Mark Hall from Casting Crowns said at the concert I attended…(paraphrased)…When you are in the middle of a storm, you are not going to recall a verse you have never read. In other words, pour yourself into the Word, so you have the words stored away.

So, I have decided to be uncomfortable and go back to my counselor. Each visit is a little easier. He has taught me several things…
1. Give yourself permission to let go of things and not rehash them over and over.

2. Rename your beliefs. When anxiety strikes, I can now call it what it is and pray my way through it. (Philippians 4:6-7)

3. Be okay with knowing I did my best.

4. Take time for me. Breaks are important. I am worth it. Breathe.

5. Quit second guessing myself​. Make a decision and be okay with it. If it ends up not being the best decision, reflect, learn from it, and move on.

So, as I sat in his office the other day as the wind gently blew in through the window of the upstairs office, I felt a sense of peace and calm which have grown to replace the intense uncomfortable feeling. 

You’re not the same person you were a few months ago. You seem more relaxed.”

Those words were a breath of fresh air to my soul. He’s right. I am not the same person. Do I still have times of anxiousness? Yes. Do I still find myself second guessing myself? Yes. But, I can work through these things. They do not have the power over me they once did just a few short months ago.

Sometimes, you may not see the progress you are making. Sometimes, it takes someone else to recognize it in you to remind you that you are a beautiful work in progress. God’s beautiful work…He is not finished with you. He is writing your story. No matter where you are in life, every story has a beginning.

Confused Flowers and Brokenness

I’m in a bit of a slump. I’m not sure why or how I found myself here. I think I am simply tired and exhausted on so many levels.

Yesterday, it snowed in my neck of the woods. The spring flowers are confused after the unseasonably warm February days. As I looked at my neighbor’s slumped over yellow flowers blanketed by snow, I thought, that’s just about how I feel.

Broken. Defeated. Tired. Confused.

Like the flowers pushing forth and attempting to spread some sunshiney joy and then unexpectedly set back by a little snow… It feels a bit like, well, life. Things are going well, life happens, and then you feel defeated, discouraged, drained.

A passage from Psalms flashed through my mind as I snapped the picture of the flowers.

My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise. Psalm 51:17

And, just like that standing there shivering in my driveway looking at my neighbor’s pathetic flowers​, I was reminded that God welcomes our brokenness.

Perfectionism is not my purpose.
Sigh. How often I forget this and try to aim for something I can never attain. 

No wonder I am tired.

God honors our broken spirit. I find that a lot of the time, I overthink, I work too hard, I push myself too much.

The answer isn’t working harder. It is trusting God more. Listening. Accepting that I can only do so much in a day. It is learning to be okay with knowing that I will never make everyone happy. 

I try to pray during my commute into work. I pray that God will help me through whatever comes my way. He already knows what I will face. My response to it is my choice. 

My current situation? The slump I am in? I think I am tired. Life is filled with pressures and expectations. Sometimes, a snow storm can beat down the flowers, but that isn’t the end of the story or the end of my story.

God is working. We don’t see the details, but He is paving the way. 
But forget all that-it is nothing compared to what I am going to do. For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it?  I will make a path through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. Isaiah 43:18-19

God honors your broken spirit. There’s always hope for the spring.

Walking Thoughts

Sometimes, a walk answers the questions. Sometimes all it seems to take is a few moments in nature to still your mind and heart.

When I am a mess of emotions and need to process everything I am feeling, I usually do one of two things…Walk/run or write.
February weather has been amazing in my corner of the world, so I have been walking a lot. It is so great to see neighbors who have been cooped up inside out and about, too.

Last night as my feet hit the pavement during a run, I relished the freedom to be lost in my world. 
My life is sprinkled with uncertainty right now. I definitely have made strides in my anxiety journey. I am not stressing over all the what ifs, but rather just praying and hanging along for the ride. God has placed some amazing supportive people in my path. I am certainly not alone.

Sometimes, though, being alone surrounded by God’s creation is exactly what I need to remind me that I am not alone on my journey. For me, walking or running and writing are my moments of comfort and strength.

What brings you comfort and strength?