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Hypocrite or Holy Writ

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Hypocrite or Holy Writ

You can walk into church a hypocrite and super sad and/or wearing a tiara like Mindy


Here’s the thing no one tells you but they’re trying when they sing “Come as you are” and saying “Oh, honey, I know it’s hard right now but the Lord’s house is where you need to be.”

We’re kind if saying it, but watered down a bit. Because what Jesus says is He WANTS your broken and WANTS your presence with Him and WANTS you to quit trying to fake yourself out.

Before church, like 10 minutes countdown to leave, is one of the strongest spiritual battlefields for a Momma sometimes. Not just because the wee one is crying and the husband might be missing (maybe you’re single moming it 🙌🏻#superhero) while you’re fighting the toddler in a tiara to de-accessorize down to just three, please. 

It’s a literal head to head, because the Enemy wants nothing to do with you being joyful in the Lord in a church building with other people shouting “JESUS!”

……….

This evening I was crying so much I couldn’t get the fake-up on which made us late to church. (It happens.) We weren’t able to sit with friends or in the “usual” spot. The man in front of me had cologne that wasn’t my favorite. The lady probably three rows back was interrupting my thoughts with her loud singing. A guy close by looked like a bad ex from the back of his ears down to the shoes he was wearing. 

I was real focused on worship y’all

Directed prayer is something our church does after singing a few songs. It’s a time to reflect, pray together as a congregation for the same thing. I got a little “right with God” about being so self centered and grouchy and really just down on myself for the “little sins” going on in my life unconfessed. But those prayers didn’t go higher than the ceiling as my Mamaw would say. (Kinda forgot p r a y e r is a time for the Lord to search my heart. Not for me to play a quick game of “Sorry!”) 

You know what the worship crew had the audacity to belt out after this prayer time.... 

“Great is thy faithfulness. Thou changest not. Thy compassions they fail not.” 

Nope. Can’t sing that.

“This is your altar...” something the Lord clearly said to me mid worship one of the first times we attended a new church that had no altar. (Like, where do I GO to pray, Lord?). Great is thy faithfulness… not mine, but Yours, Lord

………

“When Jesus comes back, what do I want Him to catch me doing?” was the question the Pastor asked. And there it was... Those tears I cried earlier in the evening were in vain. “I’ve done it ALL RIGHT! I’ve searched my heart and come up empty.” 

And from that cry at my altar of a chair with lights on.... I penned this heart response “You might have confessed and have forgiveness from your past. You might live day to day loving me. But I’m asking for your eyes to be on eternity during your every day. This skips tomorrow and two Wednesday’s from now and Christmas coming into 2020. Eternity is keeping in mind that my return is coming.” 

……….

The world is a lot more hopeful with kingdom eyes looking through a microscope. People dress up and make themselves smell good for things they’re excited to go to. Women make a joyful noise singing because they are happy in Jesus. We can see people that remind us of our past, but being far removed from that, faithfully see God had a plan all along. 

Coming to church in a drought, left filling the river and dry banks with tears during that one last verse the worship leader felt we needed (so thankful for one more verse).

………

So please, go broken. Go fancy. Go fake and prideful. Go worn out and humbled. God wants every piece of you.

“Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” Matthew 11:28-30

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Sleep

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Sleep

There’s this theme of “mindfulness” floating around on the internet. All kinds of inspirational quotes follow and how being mindful throughout your day can lead to a focus on what matters. This seems impossible, to stop and think, during a busy day of raising up three kids, running a business, and keeping marriage a priority. Throw in the 100’s of tasks in between those areas, and Whoa!… insert overwhelmed. Defined, mindfulness is the quality or state of being conscious or aware of something.

How does this play into sleep?

Well, besides the fact that I’ve been up at night not being able to fall asleep due to worry, I wanted to play connect the dots on mindfulness vs busyness.

Is the reason you can’t sleep at night due to a checklist that doesn’t have all the boxes ticked? Or, is it because without being mindful, priorities have gone to the wayside. There are so many things pulling at our attention, literally if you still have toddlers at your toes pulling at your shirt.

Here are some unconventional tips to sleep better at night. Trust me, they work! You won’t find counting sheep on the list!

1. Keep your priorities straight- throughout the day, make a point to check off what matters. I am the queen of ideas. Does your mind ever turn off? I’ve found through chatting with friends, that some people literally have a blank mind sometimes. This blows my mind! It’s always on. This isn’t a good thing as I can get pulled away by the next best thing instead of putting work in on what needs to be done. Checking off what needs to be done at the start of my day leaves less anxious worry throughout the rest of the waking hours.

2. Create a routine- In the morning, it’s my goal to pick up, clean a few things, and get laundry going before the coffee brews. My morning routine sets the pace for the entire household’s day. Even more important is a nightly routine. I’m not sure what works for you, but for me it starts in the bathroom. Take the time to wash your face (oil cleansing is my new favorite method!) and brush my teeth. Start the dishwasher. Crawl into bed and turn on Netflix. I keep lavender essential oil close by to put a drop on my hands and inhale or to put into a diffuser. This is my time to tune out the day, and I can do so peacefully if tip #3 has been the focus.

3. Think on what matters- “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whater is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable— if anything is excellent or praiseworthy— think about such things.” Philippians 4:8. Do you trust that what God has put into His Word as good practice for mindfulness is still relevant today? I do! Behind every inspirational quote, there is a scripture that has already been written.

My Daddy always said that all of life’s problems could be found in the Word. I tested that one! I urge you to give it a try. Before you do a quick word search for “scripture on fear”, dig into your Bible to find the stories already been written with an ending.

4. Be in consistent conversation with yourself- My Mamaw was always muttering. Talking under her breath was her consistent conversation. Check in with your thoughts and emotions. Pay attention to that tightness in your chest or weightless feeling in your legs. Then provide an antidote!

Prayer is my antidote. Is it that way for you? Taking each moment during the day and being in conversation with the Lord will lead to better insight on your next best step.

5. Clear your mind- I mentioned Netflix, and I’m pretty sure I haven’t seen advice in any article written for “how to sleep better”. But it works for me! For a mind that’s constantly on, tuning into a fictional character’s life story helps me tune out the clamor of the world. What works for you to clear your mind?

I want to reiterate this thought, Is the reason you’re not sleeping at night due to busyness throughout your day instead of mindful intention?

A couple of extra tips for good night’s sleep: have a routine with your kids; explore aromatherapy for helping to clear and settle the mind; go to sleep at the same time as your spouse; have a lights out time and wake up time that is consistent.


Here are some quick facts about how important sleep is:

• while sleeping, your heart and blood vessels repair
• lack of sleep contributes to obesity, depression, and diabetes among other health issues
• between the hours of 1:00-3:00 am, your liver detoxes. If you’re not asleep by this time, expect to be kept up with restless legs, possible itchiness if you suffer from eczema, or just overall restlessness
• you need between 7-9 hours of sleep.
• good sleep can maximize brain function and athletic ability!

What fact most resonates with you? Moms with brain fog, turn off the lights sooner. Restless legs, create a routine and be consistent.


Here’s a sleep tracker for you! Fill it out and see how sleeping consistently makes you feel during the day.

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Thank You, Teachers

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Thank You, Teachers

I was ready to purchase Lillie-Mae’s kindergarten curriculum and Dallas’ fourth grade books for another year of homeschool when I sensed the Lord leading the Guess Tribe in a different direction. For three years, home was where I birthed two babies and played teacher. 

It was the most growing and strengthening time as a woman. To be responsible for all areas of a child’s growth is huge. There is no principal to answer to, guidance counselor to send an emotionally needy child to, and no lunch lady to cook the meals. 

Homeschool moms are everything. 

Homeschool can get a bad rap with Mom’s believing the lie “I couldn’t do that, I just don’t have the patience.” You can do anything you’re called to do and are stronger than you think. Quit selling yourself and your Creator short. Who am I to tell you that? Well I was the Mom that said “I will NEVER homeschool my child.” But then I had a very wiggly, energetic, beyond smart for his age child that was put into a box of a school room and needed out. The three years he was at home taught him how to study, listen, and discover that learning is outside of a book. For me, the same things were taught. I studied my child to pay attention to cues that life wasn’t great and learned to listen, because his words mattered too. I learned that some of the best life lessons are taught at Aldi when your seven year old unloads groceries for a worn out Momma with a screaming newborn, without being prompted to show compassion. 

To say it was a shock to feel peace that my kids would enter into public school is an understatement.

Ask Chris, I don’t lose sleep over many things. I lay down, close my eyes, sleep. But those nights feeling restless was a struggle. He felt it too. What’s faith like? It’s a consistent, close walk with the Lord on a path, and then one day He pulls your hand to go a new direction. You can either hold tight and move, stand still and think whether you want to go along, or let go and keep going the way you always were because it felt comfortable. 

Faith is holding tight and moving. Continuously. Blindly. 

Needless to say, I woke up one night and said the name of the school my kids now attend. Telling Chris about how we should check it out, he said it was where he knew they should be for a couple of months. Why didn’t he tell me that? Because I needed to hear it from God too. 

My first worry turned prayer “Let my kids have nice, caring, better than their Momma teachers that give them love and patience and kind words and encouragement.” Mrs. Bussey was that for Dallas. He would have a hard day at school, be misunderstood by one of his many teachers, and I would tell him, “Find Mrs. Bussey, she will give you a hug.” Sometimes when a kid isn’t really wrong and there are a lot of students and opinions, their side can be shut out, and I get that. Coming from a school room of one to 25 was a shock for Dallas in that area. He always had a safe place though to feel comfortable and grounded. 

Lillie-Mae is the kindest, most soft hearted child I have ever been around. She is made up of all the niceness of her Daddy and the little bit that I had to give, and that’s it. I was terrified her kindergarten teacher would be too energetic, the classroom too loud, and she would be looked over. Turning six on the first day of school meant she was starting at the bottom of the totem pole. Leaving her in that classroom the first day, I bawled my eyes out (still crying now thinking about it!). The superintendent, Mrs. Day, gave me a hug and said it will be alright Momma! Mrs. Stansell was the perfect teacher for her. Calm and quiet and always smiling. The type of personality I imagined Lillie-Mae to grow into as an adult! Every day was exciting for her to go to school. The first month she was tired and cried after school but was always ready to get up and go the next day! 

And this year... Mrs. McBryar, I can’t say your name without thanking God right after. Lillie-Mae was worried no teacher could be as nice as Mrs. Stansell. Says right there in her card “I can’t believe how nice you are to me.” You were an answer to her prayers over many nights. And the first day of school, “I can’t believe she knew my name and she has two names too! She even gives hugs and I wanted to kiss her but didn’t know if I could.” 

Dallas has all male teachers this year, and it’s teaching him to be more responsible and focused on goals. There might not be any hugs, but he admires every one of his teachers. They’re giving him something to model after as men. 

Elementary teachers, you are like school Moms and Dads to our kids when they’re away, and I’m am so thankful for you!

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Choking Fear

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Choking Fear

I should not have been standing by my husband’s casket still feeling his strong and stifling hands around my neck. We live in a broken world where following our hearts lead us to rushed marriages and unfulfilled expectations. Inside communities where gossip tongues spread lies like wildfire, the smoke has choked me time and time again. Where my own thoughts and actions have left me in a mental torment, the only way out seemed to end my life.

Choked.
Choking.
Will choke again.


Funny thing about the the lungs is that a man’s lungs can hold more oxygen than a woman’s. Twice as much. Does this mean a woman’s breath, her voice, is half important? Many questions, few answers because honestly, some days it just doesn’t matter.

I’m at the beginning… the fringe of finding my voice. It’s been a year journey of the Lord saying over and over, “I’ll fight for you, be still.” As an Enneagram 8 (read stubborn, competitive, fights for justice), this is completely against my nature. The very fibers I was made with craves to talk, to be heard, to speak life into others. This vessel, these lungs, they’ve been worn down. In the words of P!nk, “I don't wanna be the girl that has to fill the silence. The quiet scares me 'cause it screams the truth.”


”Mommy, did God make the world by speaking it?” Yes, baby He did… and that same voice still speaks Truth and Life into you.

As much as I know that. As sure as that’s my foundation… those stifling hands still choke me. I wake up in sweats barely able to breathe. I get into an argument with my husband and feel like my words don’t matter. I command my kids over and over to perform a certain way, but yet they still miss it! <<What is all of that? Why do I carry the weight of an insecure woman, widowed by suicide? Shame. Fear. Guilt. It’s time to choke back more than just tears.

I can’t say it enough sister, friend. The things you feel the most strong about are what you just need to take a deep breath and step into! I prayed continuously to be given my voice back. I’m all for the Lord fighting for me, and I knew these lungs of mine have been conditioned over time to speak out what He’s doing in my life.

Writing is safe. Speaking is scary, especially for someone that works things out through speaking outside of her head more than in. I’ve had an answer to prayer for a year, and as sure as the sun rises, it’s coming up.

Are you ready to choke fear? Would love to know how you fight!


Your Weapons:

”For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind.” 2 Timothy 1:7

”“Do not fear, for I have redeemed you; I have summoned you by name; you are mine.” Isaiah 43:1b

”And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” Romans 8:28

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What You Have is Just Enough

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What You Have is Just Enough

“No matter how many wrong choices we made past, we can always decide to make the right ones today. The past need not determine one moment of the future.” Wilda Culp from “The Story Keeper”.


Southern women and their sayings. Usually true as all get out, but not what you always expect to hear! The above quote is from a fictitious character in “The Story Keeper”. A must read book! {Part of my new year ambitions was to read more. Always up for book suggestions!}

I have to admit, I’m as nervous as a long tailed cat in a room full of rocking chairs to share some things with y’all. Looking back on some intense past failures in my marriage, as a mother, friend, business owner, and child of God was an inward look needed, but ripped off some old bandaids. Hanging there, all frayed and unforgotten, I decided not to go into 2019 with fears holding me back from what I knew was my purpose in life.

Today. We have today, right? If you woke up this morning with breath in your lungs, then you have purpose. Is it a great big long search of “finding yourself” to find that purpose? Nope. You have everything you need for today and the next right at your fingertips.

Jesus gave us a great illustration for this in John chapter 6. The disciples were faced with a hungry crowd of people. Jesus had compassion on them, because they looked like lost sheep without a shepherd. The disciples solution to feeding them? Send them away to a nearby town to buy their own food! Smart!

Immediately, reading this I thought of conferences where you split in between sessions to eat lunch with others. I personally hate this! It’s a rush to find out who’s going where, what friend group do you want to be with, what’s the cost of the restaurant, will we make it back in time or miss something driving too far away to get a bite to eat?! Ah, the stress of it all! I would much rather bring a humbly filled lunch box and chat in our seats about what we just heard.

I can imagine the disciples feeling of contentment when they found a solution! But what did Jesus say, "You give them something to eat.”

Ummm… Hold up, Jesus. That’s going to cost a lot of MONEY to feed all these people.

”How many loaves do you have? Go and see.”


<<What do you have? Start there.

Did you sense anything from my previous illustration of eating lunch out? Insecurity! Fear of being uncomfortable! I joked with a friend recently that I have hardly any physical insecurities. It is true, somewhat! When I’m in my element talking in front of people, laughing with friends, chatting with my sister, or playing with my kids I feel confident, purpose filled, and content.

But my husband would tell you differently! When I’m with the person who knows me most intimately, those insecurities bubble up. I sense every unshaven hair and past failure equally as deep. Perfection is strived for in my marriage, and it has stifled some of the most beautiful “could be” moments.

In the midst of it all, I continuously hear the Lord telling me He will do great things with our marriage and commitment to each other.


What I might have today is a committed marriage. It just doesn’t seem enough to show the world how good God is, because I have taken it for granted in years past. I know you can relate, sister friend. You’ve cried on my shoulder, confessed some deep mistakes and insecurities, told me you wanted out, mourned for the wife you wanted to be…

Let me give you this to eat, and I pray the Lord multiplies it in your heart, “He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing.” <Ephesians 2:10

Mr. Guess

You don’t need to search out what your purpose is. You already have it! Today is your day. Jesus has already made a way for you to leave those wrong things in yesterday… Take Him up on his offer and walk out your new year in freedom!

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