Summer Lovin’ part 2.

Summer Lovin’ part 2.

When I heard that he was coming, I initially thought this is terrible. I don’t want to see him. He had promised that we would stay friends. That we would do it better than others who sucked at staying friends. Then he never called, he never tried to see me when he came to town, he never reached out at all..in any way. He “tried me out for a while” and decided that he didn’t want me and so he tossed me aside. And I did not want to see him again. Ever! Never again!….. Although, there was another side of me that said this could be awesome! I mean, I am no longer that little girl that sat next to him at Red Lobster and feigned mutual agreement for a dismissal that I did not want. I am no longer that girl who needed to control food like a substance to exhibit power over it just to prove that I could. I am no longer that girl who waited by the phone for a call that proved I was worthy to be called. I am no longer some little child that drooled at his every word, or touch, or slight recognition of my existence. I am a healthy, confident, accomplished, respected, on-my-way-to-being-a successful and intelligent woman with a plan. Going to college to pursue something I love and not needing him to validate me. Let him come. And let him see how many friends I have and how happy I am in my life. Let him come. Let him see what he missed. And if he recognizes it and tries to renew old feelings? Well then, I guess I’ll just have to let him down easy. Ya know, tell him “we could still be friends.” 

The summer got off to a great start. Alexa, Kenzie, me, Chad, Kory and Steve were pretty much inseparable. Praise God that little stint with Chad didn’t ruin anything! We would be soaking up every second together until the end of summer. I knew I was going to Liberty, but everyone else was staying local, so I’d have to say goodbye to my best friends and I knew I was a terrible long distance friend. It wasn’t on purpose. I just focused wholeheartedly on people, projects or whatever that were right in front of me. Not that I thought our friendship was dead after I left, but I knew it wouldn’t be the same when I came back. I knew I would have to make the most of our time together before I left.

We just basically co-habitated for the first week. We’d spend the night at Kenzie’s house for a night or two and then move over to Lexie’s house and then mine. During the day, we’d meet up with the guys and go to movies or go to the beach or just do nothing over at the church. It was amazing.

It was very soon in the summer that I saw Jordan at church. He would walk in the sanctuary, usually from the choir loft entrance on the platform since he was singing on praise team or choir, I would see him and basically spend the entire service trying to avoid eye contact without looking like I was trying to avoid eye contact… but look amazing at the same time. Let’s just say my ability to focus on God during the time of worship was severely tested during that summer… and I can’t say I passed any Sunday that summer. I was adamant that I was not going to let him affect what should be the best summer of my life. There was no reason it should affect me, so I just let him do his thing and I did mine. No big deal.

One of the things we did every summer was help out with Vacation Bible School for the children’s ministry. A lot of the students would help in the classrooms, or with snack time or whatever. I would usually help out with the music during the big chapel service. The songs were always super silly and we did ridiculous hand motions. Not only were they ridiculous in and of themselves but we were encouraged to make them less choreography and more “landing a plane arm motions”. We would jump around and wave our arms over our heads while looking like complete idiots, but it was fun and the kids got a kick out of it. Since Jordan was the intern, he would be leading as well, so I, unfortunately, couldn’t avoid him that week. And instead of him seeing me every day as a classy, grown-up, mature woman, he would see me every day looking like a complete idiot in a t-shirt and jeans. Whatever. I didn’t care…. a lot.

We did each service twice since we had so many kids, so we would finish one service and then have about a half hour break before the next one started up. I would normally take the short walk from the fellowship hall, where chapel was, to my dad’s office in the next building. I started that walk, and when I stepped from the carpeted fellowship hall to the tiled hallway, I could hear someone walking a few steps behind me. As I turned to walk toward the three sets of doors leading to the next building, I saw in the reflection… it was Jordan. Ok, no worries. Just keep walking and don’t fall. If he wanted to chat, I’d be happy to engage with him, but I wouldn’t start it. I decided to walk to the automatic door that would open when I got close enough, so I could get away from him as soon as possible. I mean, I didn’t want him back, but I still had no idea how to talk to him in coherent sentences. I walked to the automatic door and stepped onto the mat in front of the door, ready to make an escape from his presence. Nothing moved. I waited for half a second. Nothing moved. I dropped my head like it was on a hinge. Well, that’s embarrassing. I heard a laugh behind me.

“ I hate it when that happens.” He chuckled as he reached for the handle on the manual door.

“ Right? It’s the worst.” I tried to seem nonchalant and charming as I walked through the door he held open for me. “Thank you.”

“ No problem. How ya doin?”

“ Doing good. Glad it’s summer.”

“ Yeah. You’re planning on going to Liberty, right?” He held open the next door into the FAITH building. How far was he planning on walking with me? Where was he going?

“ Yeah. I’m really excited. Where are you going now?”

“ UNF”

“ Oh cool. You like it?”

“ Yeah, it’s fine. Not sure I’ll go back.”

“What are you gonna do?” I asked as I approached the door to my dad’s office.

“ Not sure yet. Just don’t know if it’s right. Maybe Mobile.”

“ Oh! Roger Breeland’s program right? I’ve heard it’s going well.”

“ Yeah me too. I really have no idea yet though. Just thinking through some options”

“ Huh. Well, I hope you figure it out.” I reached for dad’s knob.

“Me too.”

“I’ll see ya in a bit.” I said as I stepped in the door.

“ Yeah.”

That wasn’t bad!! I didn’t say anything stupid or fall on my face. Whew! Ok. That was it. I had talked to him and shown that I wouldn’t ignore him. Maybe that would be enough to count as enough interaction for the summer. He couldn’t say that I was rude or distant. We just had a very pleasant conversation. Now, I could just exist normally. We could do polite head nods across a room to each other and keep walking. Perfect.

SUMMER LOVIN’

SUMMER LOVIN’

 

I couldn’t believe it! I had finally done it! I had graduated high school! School had been great overall. Yes, there were hard days when I felt like stuffing myself in a locker, but for the most part, it was a great experience. But I was so excited for this next chapter of my life. I had been accepted to Liberty University! Now, when I say “accepted”, I mean, I acknowledged that it was where I was going publicly because since my sister and brother went there and my dad was on the board of trustees, it was kind of a non-negotiable. I don’t actually think we had ever talked about it. It was just known that that is where I’d go. But who cares??!! I’m going to college! I had my letter of acceptance and knew that I’d be majoring in musical theater. I even knew who my roommate was already!

Kasey and I had known each other our whole lives. Both of our dads got their seminary degrees at Southwestern and our moms were basically inseparable when they lived in the same town. Now, that they didn’t, our phone bills were very regularly sky high because Debbie and mom would spend hours talking about legitimately nothing.

There was a slight eclipse to all the sunshine, though. Kasey and I didn’t particularly like each other and I wasn’t actually too keen about the idea of living with her… I don’t remember technically agreeing to live with her. Again, it was just assumed and I don’t think ever verbally confirmed. Oh well! Whatever! I was going to college and a less than perfect roomie was not going to dampen my enthusiasm.

All that was standing in between me and total independence was one last amazing summer and it was jam-packed full of “lasts” with my friends. There would be the last summer camp, the last mission trip, the last Sunday School class, the last time Lex and Kenz and I would have a sleepover, and the last summer that I would be considered as part of the youth group at all! It would be a summer filled with mixed emotions of complete euphoria, confidence, anxiousness, sadness, restlessness, joy, and gratitude. I wasn’t sure how I was going to handle all of the emotions I knew I would feel those next few months.

On top of all of the crazy things that were happening that summer, there was a bit of a wrench thrown in my joyful summer with my friends. Well, it was less of a wrench and more of a sledgehammer. No a huge boulder….like that boulder from Indiana Jones that is rolling toward Indie within inches of his ever escaping feet. You can see that look of absolute terror on his face because he knows this massive rock has the ability to completely decimate him. Indie had made it all the way inside this cave to search for some artifact. He had solved puzzles and survived booby traps, and overcome obstacles and, right before he could snatch his prize, he was met with this object that could completely derail his plans. Jordan was coming to work at McGregor as a summer intern for the Worship Ministry… BOULDER! This was going to be interesting.

Downton Abbey in Midtown

Downton Abbey in Midtown

I’m not even a little bit ashamed to say I love Downton Abbey. I watched every episode and lived for each chance I got to see into the lives of these characters I came to love. So when I saw that there was a Downton Abbey exhibit opening up LESS THAN A BLOCK FROM MY APARTMENT, I could not wait to go! Unfortunately, life has been in the way for quite some time, but with family here who are also fans, we finally made it happen.

And since I know I am not the only fan…here are some shots of the exhibit…just like you were there!!

The exhibit starts out with you appropriately downstairs in the servants quarters….

oh hi daisy!!!…

I’m pretty sure my grandmother had this exact one..ha

 

and the chasm by which the worlds were seperated…

 

so we headed upstairs

to Mary’s bedroom.

 

The costumes in this show were so beautiful.

 

I found the one 1920’s gown that fits my hips…:)

 

We had so much fun. This exhibit is open on 57th and 7th. If you’re in midtown… it’s a beautiful exhibit.

 

Thanks for checkin in guys! love ya’ll!

love,

the grizzards

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“I Do”…Now what? 10 Ways to Turn “I Do” Into “I Always Will”

“I Do”…Now what? 10 Ways to Turn “I Do” Into “I Always Will”

In a culture that tends to throw marriage out as soon as it becomes less than utopia, how do you keep a  marriage thriving when it seems everyone around us encourages us to throw in the towel? The short answer?? Work. Here are some of the things that have worked really well for J and I.

1- Trust your spouse’s love.

To love someone is to believe the best in them… even when knowing their faults. So, I know that when my husband does something that hurts me, it was not meant to do so… because I trust in his love for me.

2- Always consider your spouse.

Marriage is not about putting yourself on an altar to sacrifice your happiness so that he/she can be happy. If you are miserable constantly, check if it’s right. But every day, every time CONSIDER your spouse. And I mean, at EVERY opportunity.

3- Don’t JUST be lovers.

If you are only interacting in a physical/sexual way, you will not last. Be a friend… a best friend. Relate. Connect. Share intimacy…not just sex.

4- Also… be lovers.

A husband will not feel loved when slighted physically. A wife will not feel as emotionally connected when going a period of time without intimacy. Don’t buy the lie that men are the only ones that need sex. Women do too (differently in frequency usually) just for a different purpose typically. Men actually physically need sex with their spouse regularly. Women need the emotional connection that sex provides. If you do not have sex with your spouse regularly, the man will feel rejected and the wife will feel distant. This usually creates a downward spiral of a lack of rule #1…leading to quick frustration and stupid fights.

5- Speak kindly about your spouse.

Do not fall into the caricature of speaking about your spouse as “the old lady” or “the lazy husband”. Your friends/coworkers will think of your spouse the way you tell them to. And your spouse can become the title you give them. Speak life-giving words about your spouse. Words have power.

6- Communicate to UNDERSTAND, not to win.

If you are in a disagreement and want to win, you will lose regardless of who comes out of the discussion with less bruising. Take a breath, lower your voice and try to UNDERSTAND each other.

7- Acknowledge the priority.

There is a belief today that your kids are the most important relationship in your life. IT IS A FALLACY. Your marriage is the most important relationship in the world. If it is not, it will fail. Your kids will thank you for leaving them, so you can go on date nights. Love them enough to love them second.

8- Invest in your relationship.

If there is ever a good investment to be made, invest in each other. Put money down to do date nights, vacations (sans kids), marriage conferences and gifts for each other. Put money on things that matter.

9- Be kind to each other.

A girlfriend once told me, “you are nicer to your husband than you are to other people”. While this could serve as an indictment that I should be kinder to people in general, I took it as a compliment. We should be kind to our spouses. Each spouse should speak with love, gentle tones for the purpose of giving life to the other. If you are kinder to your boss than you are to your spouse, consider this an encouragement to check your priorities. Be kind.

Some hide their lack of consideration and kindness to their spouse under the mask of humor. We have a rule: Laugh with each other never at each other. A joke is funny unless it is at the expense of someone else, especially your spouse. This allows the woman to be completely vulnerable at all times without fear and the man to feel respected. Intimacy can only be achieved when there is safety in that vulnerability.

10- Make the choice.

There is only one way to make a marriage survive daily…choose every day to put your spouse before yourself. That feeling will wear off. The “I do” because I’m turned on will fade. Choose to be a spouse of integrity that says “I love you because I choose you”. You can make decisions every day to build up your marriage or tear it down. Make a point to see the good and improve on the challenges.. together.

 

Marriage is not difficult. It’s not complicated. It isn’t always easy, but it isn’t difficult. When done right, it is the biggest blessing this side of heaven. But at the root of it, it is a discipline in selflessness and self-sacrifice. If you can’t do that, don’t get married. But you’ll be missing out.

Getting Cold in NYC!!

Getting Cold in NYC!!

It feels like Christmas! And I don’t just mean the weather. New York has this magical ability to smell like Christmas… universally. No matter what “your Christmas” smells like, if you come up out of the subway and step onto the streets… you smell it! It just feels like Christmas here and I love it!

We got to have breakfast with friends today, which put us walking by our normal entrance to the park… the girls begged and I caved! We spent the rest of the morning rock climbing, flying through the air, and doing all sorts of things that give this momma a heart attack! But the kids had a blast! And we managed to get a few shots…here are some of our favorites.

 

Thinking about investing in an actual camera this Christmas, so you’ll know if the quality improves!! ha

Thanks for checking in! Love you guys!

Love,

the Grizzards

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Pressure Points…

Every body has their own form of “zen”. It’s that activity or thing that enables you to completely relax and forget about all the stresses of “mommying” or work or that family member that is driving you crazy. For some, it’s reading. For some it’s a relaxing bath. For some it’s exercise. For some it’s sitting on the park bench watching everyone whose thing is exercise. For me, one of the things that helps me “zen out” is a massage.

I remember when I first went to get a massage. I was incredibly creeped out at the idea of being rubbed on for an hour by a complete stranger. Am I the only one who broke out in sweats at the idea of being basically naked in front of a stranger while being pushed and poked for “relaxation”. That sounded like the exact opposite of relaxation. That sounded like my equivalent of Chinese water torture. This whole idea seemed ridiculous to me. Some person that you’ve never met is supposed to be able to “feel tension in your body, sense a pressure point and release that tension by applying pressure” (read all of that with the most arrogant, condescending voice in your head because that’s how I felt towards the idea). And then I went… you all know what happened next. I WAS HOOKED!  Why had it taken me so long to try this?! This was life changing. I laid on this table for an hour but it felt like I was there for 10 minutes. I didn’t want it to stop! I was so relaxed. I love massages!

I am not the kind that loves the painful massages. You’re not going to see me waiting in line to have some 300 pound guy walk on my back because it’s good for my aching muscles. I am a feel-good massager. I like to be pampered with light to medium pressure rubs while soaking my feet in water infused with essential oils whilest being serenaded by easy listening instrumental music in a dark room lit only with a candle wall feature designed to set the client at ease. This is the only kind of massage that is worth the money to me…normally.

I recently went to visit a friend of mine from church that runs a massage business. It seemed like every other person I talked to had gone to see her and just raved about her, so I finally decided I would see what all the fuss was about. Believe me when I tell you, I have never had a massage as amazing as the one I received from Holly (if you are in the DFW area, you have to check out Sanctuary Massage and Wellness…trust me.  She found pressure points I had NEVER known existed! The first few minutes were somewhat painful, but the good kind of painful, ya know? She found a spot and just hung out there for a bit until, finally, it was like I breathed out a long exhale and all of the tension that I hadn’t even realized was built up just vanished out of that one spot completely. She would pin point somewhere that no one else had ever seen or been able to detect and place her fingers in the exact correct position. Then she would apply pressure… and then more pressure…and then MORE pressure. It hurt but when it was done, there was more flexibility, more relaxation…more health than when I had come to her. She found an area that NEEDED improvement…that I had no knowledge was even in error until she started trying to improve it.

In Mark 10, there is a very well known story. It’s unfortunately a tragic story though. Throughout the Bible, we see story after story of people that searched Jesus out and were healed both physically and spiritually. People like Zacheus, Niccodemus, and my favorites, Mary and Martha. I love their story so much. How Jesus showed them how to love people like He did (if you missed that post, you can read it here). I find it so beautiful. However, this story, is notorious for being one of the saddest in the gospels.

It is the story of the rich young ruler.

I love where this story sits in scripture. It follows the story that teaches “let the little children come to me”. In this time in history, children were of little value (except as workers). Nowadays, we coddle children and protect their childhood like its GOLD! Back then, not so much. It’s not that they were hated or treated as slaves or anything, they just weren’t respected or valued in the same way as other citizens. This is the understanding when we read that disciples REBUKED those that were bringing children to the feet of Jesus, but the Word says that Jesus became INDIGNANT ad said “let the little children come to me.” These children had no rights, respect, possessions or authority, but Jesus said, “whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child shall not enter it.” Cue the next guy. He had rights, power, respect, possessions and authority… a stark contrast to the children the Lord had blessed a moment ago.

We don’t know much about this guy but that he was, of course, young and rich. We don’t even have a name for this tragic figure…that seems terrible. I’m going to give him a name so I don’t have to keep typing “the rich, young ruler”…let’s call him “Rich”. He is called a ruler in Luke, but simply a man in Mark, but otherwise the story is basically identical in both gospels. In verse 17, he comes to Jesus and asks a good question, “Good Teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?” Now, this is every evangelistic believers dream right?!!! Everybody wants someone to come up to them and say “Hey! I’m interested! What do I need to do to go to Heaven?” SCORE! That’s like putting a tee-ball in front of Babe Ruth. Surely, Jesus will recite the Roman’s Road here or break out the old FAITH Evangelism script and lead this young man in the sinners prayer! Nope, Jesus pauses and gives a rebuttal to the question…why? Let’s look at the question again… “GOOD TEACHER, what must I DO to INHERIT eternal life?” There are three things in here that stand out.

I remember my dad preaching on this passage, and I remember him saying, “He’s asking the right question” and he is, but with the wrong assumptions.

Rich greets Jesus with a favorable title, “Good teacher”. This is a title that Jesus himself used in describing himself in the Word, so why does He argue when Rich uses it here?… I want to skip this and come back to it because I think it will make more sense after considering the rest…

The second problem is that Rich asks what he can DO to inherit eternal life. We all know the problematic assumption with this right? He is assuming that he can DO something to merit eternity with Jesus.

Ephesians 2:8-9 “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God-    not by works, so that no one can boast.”

Except that if we look what Jesus says in response, He gives him something to do!!! Jesus doesn’t say, “ask forgiveness of sins and know that I am Savior”. He says honor the law! He lists off 5 of the 10 Commandments specifically…those dealing with how we treat other humans. Why would He do that? We’ve all been taught that we cannot attain salvation through works.. that is stated over and over in the Word, so what is being meant here?

Rich looks at Jesus and says, “Teacher, I’ve done these since my youth!” Wow. First off, if that is true, I need to be this guys friend because he has got to be one of the nicest people that has ever lived. He may even have Jordan beat on the “good guy scale”. However, the problem still remains that the ASSUMPTION that Rich held was that salvation could be earned through his good deeds…through his “goodness”.

The next problem I have is with the word “inherit”. If you googled this word right now, you’d find several different variations and definitions. One of them is the “archaic” definition. What does this mean? One of the ORIGINAL meanings of the word and it means to “come into possession of (something) as a right (especially in biblical translations and allusions). AS A RIGHT. This word denotes that Rich felt He had a right to eternal life. He had earned it. Yes, I realize that this is more support for the last assumption, but this is particularly strong. He stood in front of Jesus and felt comfortable enough to use language that denotes a feeling of entitlement to Heaven…while looking in the face of the man who would soon go to the cross to make it even possible for people to reject Him. I don’t know if it’s arrogance or not. I can’t say that if I were there that I wouldn’t make the same mistake. One of naivity maybe? or ignorance? One I cannot say would be impossible to make for any of us at the time, but, praise God, we have the gift of hindsight!

Go back to Rich’s greeting of “Good teacher”. Why would Jesus correct him in this greeting? It’s not because it wasn’t true, but because Jesus saw the emphasis that Rich had on his heart. He didn’t see Jesus as THE GOOD TEACHER because of His nature. He greeted Him as A GOOD TEACHER based on His performance. Jesus had “earned” that title by all the good things He had done. He lives constantly in a mindset of works=worth. A product of his culture, he could not see past his own experience to the truth that sat in front of him. Jesus’ face illuminated by a small campfire, maybe, but Rich still left completely in the dark… because he felt he had the RIGHT to INHERIT eternal life.  All of these pressupositions make this ALMOST right question, wrong.

So what did Jesus do about it? It’s one of my favorite sentences in all of scripture!

“And Jesus, looking at him, loved him…”

Praise God for this! Jesus knew the absurdity of that remark, but knew that Rich’s motive was genuinely to uphold the Law which he thought would make God proud. That was commendable. Not only that, but he showed tenacity and vigor in chasing after Jesus to find out what else he might do to secure his eternity. But Jesus next statement was one that diagnosed his need. He had looked at Rich, felt the muscles and found the point of tension. “You lack one thing…” There was a knot in the spiritual muscle that Rich needed to let Jesus press out in order to be able to get to Ephesians 2: 8-9. This is why Jesus answered in a seemingly “works” way. He knew that in order for Rich to be willing to sell all of his worldly possessions it would be only because he had a genuine heart change. His priority would be on Jesus and not on self. This passage is not teaching poverty gospel. We don’t all have to go sell everything we own and give it to the poor in order to “earn salvation”. We are to be generous, of course, but this does not teach us that that is how we obtain eternal life. This is an example of Jesus scanning the spiritual muscle of an individual and applying pressure to a knot, trying to make the body healthy again. This is Jesus realigning Rich’s assumptions.

This is an example of Jesus seeing a man and loving him; of inviting us to have intimacy with Him by exposing what will keep us from Him.

When I left Holly, my body ached. I actually didn’t drink enough water, so it REALLY ached for about 24 hours after she was done. Because it never feels good when knots are found. It’s painful and sometimes I just want to look up and say, “You know what? Can you just move to a different spot? I’d rather keep that knot then experience the pain. It doesn’t bother me that much anyway.” because pain can deter us from experiencing true health.  That’s Rich walking away. It’s a man having seen the possibility of health, but not willing to sit through the pain in order to get it. Scripture says, “he walked away sorrowful for he had great possessions”. It’s the idea of being so close to getting what he wanted, but realizing that he was entangled in something he couldn’t release himself from. Knowing that “what could have been” “would have been” so fulfilling but unable to release the “is now”. Realizing how close one came to full health, but walking away so full of knots that you know will never be relaxed…simply because the pain was too great in the now.

I pray that I have the courage to sit through the pain…whatever it may be, so that he can knead me at those pressure points, so that nothing keeps me from a healthy and holy perspective of Him.

When Mommying is Hard

When Mommying is Hard

 

We’ve all those days, right? At least, I hope we have. Otherwise, I am just the exception that has that day when I feel like the absolute worst mom in the world. Have you ever just lost it on your kids? Or equally horrible… felt absolute apathy in parenting. Have you had those days when you feel like your feet are too heavy to lift off the floor to take the next step? Have you felt like every time you transfer weight from one foot to the other, the slight shift in gravity was enough to lighten your head to the point that it may be possible to just fall straight to the floor? Have you mentally begged in your head for everyone to either just shut up or obey your every command without hesitation or rebuttal? Had a day where you wish you could walk out the door without warning and engage in some good old retail therapy? Ever had a day when you were convinced that if you hear the word “mommy” one more time, you would haul off and rage hell on anyone within ear shot? Somehow, I just don’t  believe I’m the only one that has had a day like this before.

This was my yesterday. People kept asking me how I was doing, and I was always surprised at the honest response in myself. It would make sense for me to be emotional, but I haven’t been. My answer is that I’ve been kind of numb. I’m hoping that is God’s peace, but it feels different than what I’ve felt in the past when I believe I’ve experienced divine peace. It’s been something that I didn’t understand, so I couldn’t explain it to others. I kept saying, “I’m sure it’ll hit me soon.” Well, I think it hit, just not in the way I expected. I thought when it did, it would be sappy, emotional, sad, or excited… but it didn’t. It hit with me being completely overwhelmed. I just didn’t have the emotional capability to organize thoughts, plans, and children for the days ahead and it took its toll.

So what do we do when we’re spent? When we don’t have the emotional capabilities to take on the day. I am not making this list because this is what I do every time and so I am the authority on how to do it right! Quite the opposite. I am the chief screw up, and these things are the only things that work for me to get me back in a healthy and Godly place.

1) Acknowledge your need

A very wise philosopher once said, “You can’t change what you don’t acknowledge.” Ok, it was Dr. Phil, but it’s true! We so often, adhere to a modern feminist idea that states “I am woman, hear me roar!” It’s as if understanding your need for other people makes you less of a woman, less of a mom. And in a day of Pinterest and Facebook comparisons, we think we see other moms doing their job effortlessly and don’t understand why we can’t be like them! We all know that that is not real life, but it still gets to us. It’s ok! You cannot change the circumstances surrounding you, but you can change the you within the circumstances, but not if you won’t acknowledge your need. Take a breath and give yourself permission to say…”I’m having a rough time.”

 

2)  Ask for help

Sometimes, it’s ok to text your husband in the middle of the day and say, “it’s been a rough day. I need a tag when you get home.” And then go! Just go! Anywhere! Just go where there are adults and no kids. Go where there’s absolutely no one! Go wherever you want. Just take some time. I know some women that genuinely feel bad about asking their husbands to help with the kids when they get home. Let me just say this… YOUR HUSBAND IS NOT A BABYSITTER. He does not need to be compensated or given a 24-hour notice before being asked to watch HIS CHILDREN. Now, I am also not saying that you should disregard the fact that he’s worked a full day as well. But you both have, and you need to share the load of “after work hours” work. And sometimes, you need a break. Trust me, he’d rather you go away and reset then be at home and just lose it on everyone.

How many times have we heard “please call me if you need anything”? Now, be honest. Have you ever called? Ever? We’ve said it to our friends, and we genuinely mean it. I want to help a friend that’s overwhelmed or going through a tough time. I WISH they would call, so I can show love to them, but I never call them when I need help and they’ve offered. BREAK THE CHAIN. Call that friend, so when she is going through that tough time, she knows that she can actually call you. Let’s be there for each other in more than just a philosophical way. Put that intellectual brain and soft heart to work in action and love the people around you. And allow them to love you in return.

 

3) Prioritize your time.

It is 2017 and the opportunities to waste time are endless and obvious. Put down the phone. Turn off “Real Housewives of that place that you’ll never go and can’t afford and just makes you hate your life”, The Bachelor or Scandal and look at your kids. Revel in their laugh, their games, their play and make a choice. A choice to ignore the rest of the world because what matters are the little eyes that look up to you. Don’t neglect the great for the good, or in some cases…the crap you shouldn’t be filling your mind with anyway.

 

4) Go to bed!

This one is absolutely the hardest for me. I am a nocturnal animal by nature and I have trained my kids to go to bed later, so they sleep in later…since I am famous for being able to sleep till 3 on occasion (not a joke…happened several times). When I finally get the kids in bed (at 9:00…yes, which needs to change), I feel like I actually have time to do the things that I enjoy. They are all good things. I love to take relaxing baths while reading, I catch up on my Tivo, get into the good cleaning, organize whatever project I have undoubtedly become obsessed with, or plan the next day. None of these things are bad, but I often find myself up at 3:00 am and still going strong.

There is a reason God rested on the 7th day and it’s not because He was tired. It was because He knew WE NEEDED TO REST. I often feel like I don’t want to go to bed because I don’t want to waste the time. But sleep is not a waste of time. We will all be better moms if we just turn the brain off and shut our eyes. Go to bed moms.

God wants the best for you. Jesus said that He came to give us life and life abundant, but sometimes we get frustrated and we allow our circumstances to steal the joy that Jesus makes possible. Joyce Meyer said, “ I am not going to let the enemy steal what Jesus died to give me!” We got this, moms! Let’s acknowledge the need we have, be humble enough to ask for help, prioritize our time, and get some sleep! Let’s encourage each other and be real about challenges we face.

Those days will come. We can’t change our circumstances, but we can change how we respond to them! We got this!

 

 

Calling

Calling

I was only 12 years old when I sat in my mom’s car. I was sobbing. I’d had the opportunity to do some traveling and singing throughout my younger years… I always thought I was going to be a singer when I grew up. But being exposed to “the life” on a small scale (a VERY small scale) showed me that I actually hated it. I couldn’t handle the stress and pressure. I didn’t want to adopt to what other people wanted me to sing… it just wasn’t for me. But I had an identity crisis because of it. I didn’t know who I was anymore because I thought I was called to this. I cried out to my mom and said, “mom, I don’t want to be a singer anymore! I don’t know what I want to do with the rest of my life!”
To which my mother responded, “Baby, you’re 12! You don’t have to know what you’re going to do for the rest of your life. You have to know what you want to do right now.”
But I thought I was supposed to be a singer! I was so confused.
I feel like Christians do this alot. We put great importance on the idea of “calling”. It’s something that seems to weigh really heavily on a lot of people including myself. A lot of times we stress ourselves out worrying about how to discern God’s calling?
“Am I supposed to take this job?”
” Am I supposed to date this person?”
” Am I supposed to stop pursuing the dream?”
” Am I supposed to move home?”
“ Am I supposed to… whatever!!”
 It can be really overwhelming.  Especially for those in their college years. We feel like there are really big decisions that we are making as young individuals and we have to get it right or we could mess up God’s perfect plan, right?
Now in church lingo, we’ve come up with a solution to this problem… we call it God’s permissible plan, right? You have God’s “perfect plan” that you get if you make every decision perfectly and you have this ESP kind of relationship with the Holy Spirit where you can just tune in perfectly to His direction and His voice, so you never miss out on God’s absolute best. But if you can’t make every decision just right…that’s ok…we have God’s permissible plan, which basically means, when you’re human and you don’t make the perfect decisions to lead to your perfect life then God has a back up plan! This was meant to alleviate stress from our lives and help us not all pull our hair out. And while it sounds good, it still leaves us completely stressed about trying to reach that unattainable “perfect plan” that we’re supposed to be shooting for! We can’t miss the call of God because we want the perfect life.
Christian culture glorifies “the call of God”. I remember when I was at Liberty we had a married couple come speak at convo and their testimony went something like he was “called to full-time vocational ministry when he was 16 and little did he know that the exact same night, in a completely different town, she was called to full-time vocational

ministry too!” Now, it sounds like I’m making fun of them and I don’t mean to. They are serving the Lord together and that’s great. I’m a bit biased against this story because when I first got engaged to Jordan, the culture was so that when people found out that Jorda
n was on track to become a worship leader full time, they would look at me and say, “when were you called to ministry?” I would look back at them and say, “I’m a Christian. We’re all called to ministry.” I knew what they meant, but I’ve always been confused by the question.
Now, there is nothing wrong with someone feeling a heavy burden to want to lead God’s people in His church. I am the daughter of a preacher and the wife of a worship pastor. I love those incredible leaders, but I believe we have overused and misused this phrase. It’s what I like to call giving a “heavenly measure to an earthly weight”.

It may seem like semantics, but our words become our message and we need to know what we are telling people. Words are important. Words become our message, which becomes our belief and belief shapes our worldview. It affects how we view God and everybody else!

So let’s talk about the word…calling.
We use it often in reference to a specific direction we believe God has ordained us for. But, in scripture, “the call” is primarily speaking about being called to faith in Jesus or being called to intimacy with Jesus. In my study (feel free to correct me if you know of one), I have yet to see a time in scripture when this word is used to denote a specific job or responsibility. Why? When it comes to work, it matters less about where or what you do and more that you do it for the Lord. He cares more about your obedience to becoming Christlike than a job title or salary.
Look at 1 Corinthians 1:26-27

  • is this passage saying that he elevated the more ignorant to places of scholastic superiority to the intelligent because they were chosen?
  • did he favor a weak man over a strong to win the ancient Olympics because the weaker athlete was favored by God?
no! because the calling has nothing to do with the occupation. It has to do with the election (not talking about Calvinism “election”, but simply those that have accepted the call of God to intimacy with Him)!
1 Peter 5:10 says it this way:

has called you to what?? …”this eternal glory in Christ”.

Of course, there are instances in scripture where God gave very specific instructions to someone to go somewhere or do something specifically. But this is never used to describe a “call of God”. We need to be very careful before we give a heavenly measure to an earthly weight.

We get so frustrated when searching for our calling or the answer to a question concerning what we should do or go or whatever because we want to know  God’s calling.. the answer is…He’s already given us His calling. If you know the Lord, you have answered His call, now we are to live a life deserving of the call according to Ephesians I think. His Word gives you the answers you need. It will tell you who to marry, where to go, what to do, and who to be and the answer to all of them is Jesus. I know that sounds like an oversimplification. No, it does not give you the name of your spouse, or the salary to accept, or the town to move to, because this book is not about us. We read it in the hopes of finding fixes to our problems, but this book is a book that reveals the nature of God. When we read it to get to know who God is, it comes alive. When we read it to find fixes to our problems, we get confused because you’ll read it through the lens of your circumstances. This is why the story in Luke got mislabeled “The Prodigal Son” because someone read the story and thought it was about the son that fell away. If you’ve read “Prodigal God” by Tim Keller, you’ll read this story completely differently. When you read it to learn the nature of God, you see that the story was not about the son that left but the God that stayed! Don’t read the Word looking for fixes to your problems or answers to your questions unless the question is “Who is God and how can I be like Him”?

Once that answer is “I’m growing like Christ”, “walk in a manner worthy of the call”… do it as a barista, do it as a mom, do it as a teacher, or do it on Broadway. Live your life WITHOUT FEAR! We are not called to live in fear, we are called to live boldly. Walk boldly into what you WANT. Because you know that what you want is something that will glorify the Lord because you’ve already established your calling to Christlikeness.

Rest in the knowledge that you can live your fullest life and be very happy and fulfilled in WHATEVER you are doing with the purpose of making Him known. That is the call to which we all live.

….Natalie cont’d

….Natalie cont’d

One of the councilors saw that I was bawling in my seat, and made her way to me. She wrapped her arms around me and just sat with me. It was Mrs. Diane. She was a regular volunteer with the youth ministry, so I knew her well. And she was about to get to know me very well… I guess, kind of better than anyone else.

“ I can’t believe I did this.”

“It’s ok, sweetie. It’s going to be ok.”

She prayed over me for a few minutes until she heard Natalie had stopped speaking and started singing.

“This is a song that I wrote when the Lord delivered me out of my lie. It’s my praise song to God, my love letter of gratitude to Him. I hope that whoever is in here that knows what I was feeling before I wrote this, will feel the freedom of what God has for you through this.” She sang a song called The Real Me. 

Foolish heart looks like we’re here again

Same old game of plastic smile

Don’t let anybody in

Hiding my heartache, will this glass house break

How much will they take before I’m empty

Do I let it show, does anybody know?

But you see the real me

Hiding in my skin, broken from within

Unveil me completely

I’m loosening my grasp

There’s no need to mask my frailty

Cause you see the real me

Painted on, life is behind a mask

Self-inflicted circus clown

I’m tired of the song and dance

Living a charade, always on parade

What a mess I’ve made of my existence

But you love me even now

And still I see somehow

But you see the real me

Hiding in my skin, broken from within

Unveil me completely

I’m loosening my grasp

There’s no need to mask my frailty

Cause you see the real me

Wonderful, beautiful is what you see

When you look at me

You’re turning the tattered fabric of my life into

A perfect tapestry

I just wanna be me

But you see the real me

Hiding in my skin, broken from within

Unveil me completely

I’m loosening my grasp

There’s no need to mask my frailty

Cause you see the real me

And you love me just as I am

Wonderful, beautiful is what you see

When you look at me

This was not going to be the thing that defined me. I was not going to give in to a lie that I wasn’t enough. I am enough because He thinks I am. This was done.

Grand Central Station to Westchester!

Grand Central Station to Westchester!

We had such a fun day! When we visited the city with the kids, of all the amazing things to do here, Jozlyn just wanted to ride the subway. You would’ve thought that we took her to Disney World as we stood on an elevated platform in Queens. She had a blast, but today was even better. Today we took a train out of Grand Central Station.

 

Jordan and I had a poster of Grand Central Station in our first apartment. It was a tiny studio that we shared with a tiny dog, but the poster was as large as one of the walls. I can say, the real thing is way better. 🙂 And it was a surreal experience getting to take our first train from this historic, iconic landmark. It was a special day.

 

 

We were taking the train out to a friends house for a barbecue! Luckily, this friend was also a professional chef who was making a seafood spread! Now Jordan is normally a vegan, but he was more than willing to use a cheat day for this! We had so much fun and the girls had a blast running around a yard again!

Now, you should know that I don’t eat seafood, so this was not appealing at all to me, however, everyone else was absolutely freaking out at the look of this grill! It was impressive.

 

 

and look what my little princess found and just couldn’t wait to show mommy……

this is how hugs alway start….

and this is how they end…

with one of my children getting choked by love! haha

 

It was getting late, so back to the train we went. She started off all smiles.

 

but it didn’t take long….

 

We had a great time!

Thanks for checking in guys!

Love,

the Grizzards

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I'm Kayla. Mom of two, wife of one and new New York transplant. We're a family of four fumbling our way through our new normal in Manhattan! We're excited to learn as we go... we can't mess this up too bad, right? :)

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