I dreamed a dream....

Thanksgiving brought me many moments to stop and weigh the depth of my life to this point. I am so incredibly blessed to have my husband Ryan and four amazing children Rylee, Bailey, AJ and Chloe--God is so GOOD! Now to get down to the nitty gritty of where my heart is at this point in my life. I am aware of and amazed by every experience God has given me in my life in the form of "work". From a very young age, all I ever wanted was to be like my Mom. To be the best wife and mother I could be someday, get married, and have a bunch of kids and live happily ever after. Isn't that what nearly every girl wants? Well, in some ways I got that, and in others, I have yet to experience "my dream". Dreams take on many forms as we age, as we see what we have to accomplish, tackle in life to get to it and make it happen. Life has handed us more than I would have chosen to deal with, and the path I'd hoped to take has gone in some directions I wouldn't have chosen willingly. Hard work is not fun, but it is necessary to make it in this world. Along my journey, I have had to take on some things while internally kicking and screaming the whole way. Truth is it would have been a whole lot easier for me to run the other way, simply hide, give up, refuse to do what was necessary because I didn't want to do it, or I didn't have anything left in me to do it. As we came out of our experience in Indiana this year, and as I have looked at my life and what I want to do to find true peace with myself, what I believe God intends for me to do, I can only find myself in one state. A state of discontent. I am not happy with where I am at this present time. What does that mean? I am considering with a great deal of prayer, thought, research and counsel from family and friends an avenue I intended to pursue out of college. My heart is to be with my family. I am tired of the demand that has been placed upon my life due to my job, and I am seeking to better myself by choosing an alternate route. That alternate route is actually the route I had always intended to go but never really did. I am not sure why, I don't know that there was one particular thing that stopped it, but I know now that I am ready to pick up where I left off. My background is in child and family development, and it was my intention all along to offer childcare in my home. I am eager to start preparing for this new adventure, and I am taking it one prayer at a time, one day at a time. I know as I walk down this path, God will provide the answers I need. I have high expectations of what God is going to speak into my heart over the course of the weeks and months ahead as I begin to pursue this new avenue of opportunity. I want to end this entry the way it began, with thanksgiving, with nothing but a grateful heart, reflecting on what God has provided so far and looking forward to what He has for me in the days ahead. I appreciate your prayers, for wisdom, for clarity of mind and heart, and to wait patiently and with great expectation for what God is about to do in my life. I know and believe only better things are to come! I was reminded today in a devotional about timing. God's timing is perfect, and when life beats us down to the point we can't see a way to take that leap of faith and go in a direction we'd always hoped and dreamed for, we are missing out on everything He truly designed us to be. Here's a taste of what it said:

'Today might not be the perfect time to "plant your seeds" — but when will it ever be? Resources and opportunity will always seem scarce — and motivation will come and go. Nevertheless, we can't allow procrastination to hold us back. We have to remain productive no matter how we feel, no matter what obstacles come our way, and no matter how hectic life gets.
...there will never be a "perfect" time to do the things we envision.'

Ecclesiastes 11:4 cautions: "Those who wait for perfect weather will never plant seeds; those who look at every cloud will never harvest crops" (New Century Version).
(calledmagazine.com, "The Perfect Time")

Inspiration I needed and have taken to heart today. I hope you are encouraged and inspired!

gratitude

Thanksgiving is upon us and I wanted to jot down my thoughts before the week gets away from me. I am so thankful for my life, that God sent His Son for me, for His perfect provision, for my family, my friends. I am thankful for food, clothing, shelter and a job. I am thankful that no matter how far life drives me to despair and frustration, God will take care of me and provide relief, peace, the answers and instructions for what I need to do one day at a time, one step at a time. I try every single day to be mindful of my blessings because if I do not, I will find myself very quickly spiraling down a tunnel of anger, regret, sorrow and defeat. That stinker downstairs is absolutely to blame for when my condition goes in that direction! There are days that I can feel so on top of the mountain, so ready to conquer anything that comes my way but all it takes is one little poke in just the right spot and I am falling. Falling into thoughts of, “Why? When? How?” Gratitude is like medicine for the heart and soul. A favorite song of mine has come back around a couple times the last few weeks and I found myself looking it up again today. Nicole Nordeman’s song, “Gratitude” is a staple in my music pantry that will always take me to a place in my heart of peace and reflection. I hope it does so for you. No matter what your circumstances are today, I know and believe you have something to be thankful for. Happy Thanksgiving to you and yours!

Gratitude

Send some rain, would You send some rain?
'Cause the earth is dry and needs to drink again
And the sun is high and we are sinking in the shade
Would You send a cloud, thunder long and loud?
Let the sky grow black and send some mercy down
Surely You can see that we are thirsty and afraid
But maybe not, not today
Maybe You'll provide in other ways
And if that's the case . . .

We'll give thanks to You
With gratitude
For lessons learned in how to thirst for You
How to bless the very sun that warms our face
If You never send us rain

Daily bread, give us daily bread
Bless our bodies, keep our children fed
Fill our cups, then fill them up again tonight
Wrap us up and warm us through
Tucked away beneath our sturdy roofs
Let us slumber safe from danger's view this time
Or maybe not, not today
Maybe You'll provide in other ways
And if that's the case . . .

We'll give thanks to You
With gratitude
A lesson learned to hunger after You
That a starry sky offers a better view if no roof is overhead And if we never taste that bread

Oh, the differences that often are between
What we want and what we really need

So grant us peace, Jesus, grant us peace
Move our hearts to hear a single beat
Between alibis and enemies tonight
Or maybe not, not today
Peace might be another world away
And if that's the case . . .

We'll give thanks to You
With gratitude
For lessons learned in how to trust in You
That we are blessed beyond what we could ever dream
In abundance or in need
And if You never grant us peace

But Jesus, would You please . . .

(Nicole Nordeman, christianlyricsonline.com)
I haven't blogged in a little while and I am sorry to say it is because I have been so busy, and just felt I didn't have a lot to say. We are settled in to our new home in Springfield, Missouri, new jobs, new life, new start. I am thankful, truly thankful for what God has provided. I should be really excited, but I find myself just plain tired. Can you relate? It's just life, and I am struggling more so now than any other time in my life to find a balance, to carry the joy I know I should throughout my day. I try very hard to live my life in obedience and with an active, authentic faith, and I know there are many times I don't get it right--the times I do, I feel a sense of peace and accomplishment that I've somehow met a goal. I know I am not perfect, and I know I am extremely flawed, so I hope that the mistakes I make, and what I have learned from them can somehow be a helpful lesson to someone else. I am struggling today with the weight of our reality. That while we are doing good, making slow but steady progress, I am burdened by what we face still. I have been spending too much time this last week dwelling on what could have been or what I'd hoped would be by this point in my life. How sad is that? And why does it make me feel not just like a failure in so many ways, but guilty because I feel like I am at fault? I don't like feeling this way, and as if the only way I can deal with it is to crawl into a dark place in my closet, close the door and cry. I struggle with this battle between my heart and my head: I know what I am doing is right and necessary (head) but I would much rather being doing something else that is more worthwhile, more enjoyable, more of what I am truly called to do.(heart) It is hard to be called to something, but not have the freedom to pursue it because life has gotten in the way. One of the things I feel called to is counseling, specifically troubled teenagers. I want to be part of the solution, meet the needs by offering services to them when and where they need it most, in those critical years when there is such an intense war going on to discover their inner confidence, their identity, their security in society and relationships, and just a basic support system particularly when there may not be much support at home. My biggest struggle with that desire right now is finding the motivation and the time to pursue the additional education I need to make that dream a reality. I have started looking at what I need to do and I've talked with several advisors, so now I have to decide when the time is right and when I am truly ready to pursue it. I think, given my state of being tonight, and because I have returned to this state more often in the last two years, I need to start taking serious steps toward it and just do it. If you are reading this, struggling with some of the same questions that I am, I'd love to hear from you. We can all inspire and encourage one another as we each walk the journey that is before us. I know what I need to do, and it is up to me to pursue it. I just need the motivation to go for it. Pray for me as I consider what is next for me. I love my life, and I am thankful for what God has provided, but I can't help feeling like I am meant for more than this. Here's a great quote I came upon tonight. I hope it inspires you in your life pursuit, whatever that may be. Just keep in mind God's hand in this because He is in control, He has our very best in mind.

“Every day, a new opportunity to decide where your next step will go is given to you. Your future will be determined by the accumulation of these daily decisions. You control your steps and therefore your destiny, so choose wisely.” (Kevin Ngo)

my Ebenezer...

“…Thus far the Lord has helped us.”-1 Samuel 7:12 There are moments in my life when I look back and can see how God in His perfect yet my...