Sunday, March 20, 2016

when the unexpected happens

If you've ever found yourself in an un-ideal situation in your life, this post is for you.
Have you ever felt like there's no light at the end of the tunnel? 
Maybe you've gone into a season of your life that wasn't what you expected it to be, or maybe WHAM! something tragic, unexpected, or challenging hit you out of the blue one day.
You know, something that my friends and I in this baseball life talk about almost all the time is the roller coaster we are on in this journey through our husband's / boyfriend's career. 
I have been through the worst of storms with women, whether it's an injury or a release or a trade, but have also shared in pure joy as their men make their MLB Debut or their "firsts" in their career.
This lifestyle is a roller coaster between,
"What the heck is happening!?" 

I'm not saying either is wrong.
At all.
I've been in those exact situations– many times!

Can I be really candid with you?
I feel like God has really been teaching me about trusting Him above everything.
Trusting HIM, instead of what I "feel like" should happen or what I thought God wanted for us.
It's funny because I am so human when it comes to this.
One morning I'll be praying and having full faith and trust in Him, then within hours, minutes even!.. I'm back to doubting and fearing.

Maybe you can relate.
Maybe yours aren't the fears and doubts I may have, since our worlds could be completely different.
But it could be where you find your next job.
It could be what college you should attend.
It could be how to figure out how to feed your family and pay bills this month.

All of us struggle with something, and I'm here to tell you that it's okay and normal and totally human.
I'm also here to tell you (and myself) that "struggle" (like I'm learning) isn't always a bad thing.
Suffering is always used for God's glory (just how good He is to us) to be revealed in your life and the lives of those around you.
If only we talked about it more!

I went to a women's Bible study this past week put on by a church my husband found online, (yes, that's how we find community in every city we stay at for longer than a week-- thank you, Google) and it was so cool to see women I didn't know opening up about their struggles with one another.
I thought, this is it.
This is community.
These women were helping one another find strength and faith through their own doubts and fears and struggles; it was so encouraging to see.

I heard a pastor once say,
"You may not understand the season you are in right now, but the seed of your sorrow is for someone else's tomorrow."
That really resonated with me.

I found so much hope in 1 John 5:4 yesterday––

For every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith.

I was instantly filled with faith as I read these words.
The thing is, when we find our fulfillment in God alone rather than our jobs, money, or status...if those things get stripped away from us, our whole world doesn't come crashing down.
Our faith in what God is doing with our lives enables us to overcome any suffering or struggle we may face; it's the very thing that gives us victory and peace in times of "unfortunate circumstances". We begin to trust God's greater, best plan for our life, because when everything fails us, He remains faithful.
When your fulfillment and faith is in Him, it takes the pressure off of you to figure things out or perform and the promise of His sovereignty takes over.
There's a freedom in knowing He has your back, He is covering and protecting you, and His movement of you may just be a little uncomfortable right now, but it will all workout in the end.

I hope this helps you as much as it helped me.
In a lifestyle full of unknowns, I cling to this verse.
No matter what happens in our lives, God is so faithful.
He has proven that to me too many times already to not trust or believe it now.
Today, will you choose to have faith in the God that loves you more than you know?
Will you open your heart and eyes to see that ALL things are working out for your good and His glory?

Thursday, March 10, 2016

your thoughts are not always your reality

Okay, so I'm gonna be really honest here.
And... I really hope you still read my posts after this one..
But seriously.
Is there anyone out there like me whose thoughts are sometimes a little odd?
Stay with me... don't leave the post yet...
Seriously, I have some really strange thoughts, and I CAN'T be the only one, in fact, I know I'm not.

Women I've talked to and had conversations with have claimed to have similar thoughts...
and some are pretty out there.

In any case, sometimes our thoughts literally don't make sense.
Sometimes they do... but only kind of.
I was having a conversation with a friend of mine and one thing I noticed was that we tend to ALWAYS be thinking about this question,
"what if ______ happens?".
And that question alone can get pretty crazy; it's an incredibly broad space for your mind to wander.

For example, when I'm driving on the highway, I usually tend to remember the mile markers.
I'd love to say it's just a numbers thing, I'm good with numbers (I'm not), or that I just notice stuff like that... but it's totally not any of those reasons.
I told my friend (and she completely related) that the reason I do that is so in case I drive off a cliff and roll my car down to where no one can see me (if I survive that), then I can call 911 and tell them what mile marker I'm near so they can find me.
*insert the wide eyed face emoji*

I can come up with countless thoughts that the women I've talked to have that are similar to mine–
anywhere from passing and memorizing where the nearest hospital is in case something goes awry, to making sure our wedding ring is on when we go to Chick-fil-A so we can avoid judgement of why we ordered two milkshakes for ourselves.
Or like how ever since we moved to Florida, I have an irrational fear that a snake is going to make its way through the pipes and into my toilet.

What I've found is that I'm similar to some women I know in that our thoughts like this are always sort of just a precautionary combination of preparing for the worst to happen and avoiding the worst from happening.
Is this not crazy?
Part of me doesn't necessarily think it's all that 'crazy'.
The more women I talk to, the more I find that our thoughts are constantly rolling.
There is NO stopping our brains.
I've found that a lot of our thoughts are shaped by our past experiences and the world around us.

I've been thinking a lot about thoughts (sounds odd, but you understand).
I've noticed just how much thoughts have an affect on me and the women I've talked to– it affects the way I view myself, the way I view others, the way fears can fester, and much more.
It's funny because sometimes I think about something and I do a double take like,
where did that come from?
Almost like a weird, sporadic dream you wake up from and think, wow that was odd.

That got me thinking.
How many thoughts do I have every day that have absolutely no truth in them, yet I choose to believe them anyways?
When I say that I don't think these random thoughts are crazy, I'm not saying the thoughts themselves aren't crazy, I'm just saying that I think more people have odd thoughts pop into their heads than they want to admit.
Here's what I've been learning recently.
Thoughts are not always reality. 
I can have a thought, and it can literally shoot fear through me.
I can have a thought, and I can instantly feel bad about myself.
I can also have a thought, and think I'm the greatest thing ever.

All of these thoughts are not necessarily reality.
In the same way that I can lead myself to believe there is a snake coming up my toilet, I can lead myself to believe and view myself in a way that simply isn't true.
Do you understand what I mean when I say that our thoughts are not our reality?

I used to be obsessed with my thoughts.
I used to consider every single thought and ask the question, "why did I just think that?" or "is there something wrong with me?"
The truth is, that in the world we live in there are constantly things being thrown in our face– consciously and subconsciously.
Listen, there is absolutely no way to control the thoughts that enter your mind;
however, you DO have control over the POWER you give your thoughts.
This is good news.

Just because you THINK you are something, does NOT mean it is reality.
Some thoughts are bad, some thoughts are good.
In either case, they must not rule our lives.
I've mentored many girls and women who think something about themselves, and when they reveal it to me or other people, we are absolutely taken back, often thinking– 
"How could she EVER think that about herself?! It simply isn't true!"

  It's a beautiful thing when our perception of ourselves and others is aligned with God's view of us.
May our thoughts always be turned for good, and may we dismiss the ones that bring shame and guilt. 
Let's choose to only give power to the thoughts that are full of truth.