March 27, 2012

Unforgiveness is My Issue

We all have something we are dealing with. Some issue in one way or another. Be it health, family, kids, spouse, personal, spiritual, physical, mental, etc. As soon as things are 'good', another issue is on the rise. . Sometimes major...But most of the time, or as I am choosing to say 'mostfully'...just some thing or another we are dealing with, in some way or another.

Right now if I am to be honest, my struggle is unforgiveness & bitterness as it pertains to a specific situation in my life. You know, it really stinks, because I have come so far in this area...or so I thought. Yes things have hurt me in my life over the years, people have frustrated me, but it was like God gave me the strength to forgive over & over and the true ability to kill another with kindness and just do the right thing no matter what. Boom, forgiven, slate wiped clean in the Laura book. (not that I even have the right to keep a slate)

I can do the right thing currently, but my attitude SUCKS.

I am hurt. Frustrated. Angry. Hurt. Sad. Hurt. Frustrated. Annoyed. In Shock. Whatever.

*Before you speculate, it is no one in my family.

I am trying my darnedest to move forward, but I have allowed bitterness to creep in my heart and take over. I am so angry at times I might swear at you. If I am being honest. Which I am. Being honest. I want to punch them.

Then... I read this and her letter has helped & spoken measures to me. "The forgiveness I give you is not a pass. You were wrong and you will always have been wrong" those words are for any of us struggling to forgive someone who has done us wrong in any way. 

Forgiveness isn't a free ticket to be crapped on. Forgiveness doesn't free the persecutor, its frees us, the crapee. God will deal with them. And right now that knowledge alone is what brings me some semblance of moving forward.

When we are done wrong...we want that person to know they did us wrong. To know they were in the wrong. 

Sadly, pride and arrogance doesn't pave the way for owning up to wrongdoings

It's out of my control. What you do...what another does...what they did...

So, for now I work on forgiving. I know it takes time. I know that I can at least acknowledge my need to forgive and lack there of, as well as the bitterness that has crept into my entire being. I will get through it. I will get past this seemingly stand-still moment in time. 

Forgiving doesn't discount the hurt. They were wrong. They will always have been wrong

I cannot let their wrong consume me though...

And I have. I have let it consume my every thought. It has made me skeptical of anyone like them. Anyone in their shoes or lifestyle. That's not fair. But right now I am struggling, feeling as though they are one in the same. These types of people. And true as it may's not fair for me to speculate, assume, & judge unfairly.

The cycle of unforgiveness, bitterness, & resentment is a vicious one at that.

For now...I'm trying.

Mother Teresa said it like this:
People are often unreasonable, irrational, & self centered
If you are kind people might accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives
If you are successful you will win some unfaithful friends and some genuine enemies
If you are honest & sincere, people may deceive you
What you spend years creating, others could destroy overnight
If you find serenity & happiness some may be jealous
The good you do today will often be forgotten
Give the best you have and it will never be enough
In the final analysis, it is between you & God

March 26, 2012

What No One Told You About Labor & Delivery

 I must preface this with the fact that I LOVE giving birth. I love labor and never have felt so empowered, determined or strong in my life as when giving birth. It's the most beautiful experience. An absolutely wonderful thing I feel so blessed to have been able to experience 3 amazing times. Each so wonderful in it's own way. Each new child so beautiful and dearly loved.

When I had my firstborn baby, all I remember hearing pre-labor, was how after giving birth you will feel "great"... This sudden, magical "relief" per say, after all of the pain. It's the after stuff that no one totally warned me about. Or if they did, it didn't stick.

Personally, to that I say "What the"?

What No One Ever Told Me...

No one tells you that while great, epidurals can give you a lack of control and when they take really wellYou push like there is no tomorrow because you can't feel a thing. Because of that it can hurt to sit on your butt for a couple of weeks. It also can take a while to wear off so you need help going to the potty.

No one tells you that you can tear from one 'end' to the other

Or while your precious giving birth region is being cleaned up, your husband will get to enjoy your new baby being weighed, measured, examined, etc. Oh so cute.

Then, you get to deliver another baby called your 'placenta'. Plop into the big silver bowl it goes. 

No one tells you that your "privates" may get stitches. That's right. You 'get' to have them. Sometimes all the way from one hole to the next!

No one tells you how rock hard your boobs will get when it's time to nurse and how if you can't get to your baby asap you have to "hand express" your new found breast implants in a bathroom sink just to relieve the pain-I have done this at weddings, Brewer Games, people's houses...etc. Though I have to say for you okay, we size A's & B's our newfound boobs are awesome! It's like for once in your life your boobs get to be bigger than your stomach. (I mean, from what I hear...)

No one tells you that when you have a hard little sucker, your upper regions can crack & bleed. Really, quite sexy. Stay on top of that Lansinoh new moms. Many times those strong suckers can cause a dreadful breast infection. Which is PAINFUL as all heck. Making you feel like you have the flu on top of it.

No one talks about hemorrhoids. Not everyone gets them but those of us you that are blessed with roids feel like my your butt is giving birth. 10 years later. Those pestering little suckers can flare up out of no where. Making it painful to cough, sneeze, fart, walk, poop, etc. Terrible. Puts you out of commission for a while.

No one tells you that you will have your period after giving birth for what feels like 10 years. More like 4 ish weeks afterwards.

No one tells you the exhaustion you feel or the number of times you will fall asleep in the night while feeding your bundle. No one tells you how exhausting it is to the point of feeling like you can't cope with life for a day or two, because you just are SO. ABSOLUTELY. TIRED. Never will you desire or need sleep more.

No one tells you that when you leave the hospital you will look 7-8 months pregnant.

No one warns you of the in your face nurses "pushing on your stomach" during your hospital stay..."Hey there is a sleeping new mom who just pushed a watermelon out of her lemon, I think I will go wake her up so I can dig around & check out her nether regions & painfully push on her stomach"...""Oh & when she nurses her new baby,  I will be right here all up in her boobs to help whether I am wanted or not"

No one tells you that as annoying as they can be at times, you don't get to take a nurse home. :( And that it's really, really scary to be home all alone with your new baby those first few days. All in all those nurses are sweet saints.

No one tells you that you can cry one second and laugh the next, over nothing, yay for postpartum!

No one tells you that when breastfeeding the baby can get a good hold on you, never to let go & while "latching on" can jerk their pretty little head to the opposite side of the room to hear what that 'noise' was, giving you some new stretchy "go go gadget boobs"

No one tells you that one day you end up with 2 fried eggs on a nail board for boobs because your kids sucked the life out of them

No one tells you that while all of your friends can wear their annoyingly lame 2 piece you are stuck with a grandma swimsuit to hide your stomach that now resembles an elderly man's wrinkled butt. Shut up all you moms who have defined abs...I'm still looking for mine under all of this skin.

AND last but not least- No one can tell you enough that IT'S ALL SO WORTH it and you will never know love until you have that baby in your arms! You will never know parenting until you have your own child whether through birth or adoption. I only know birth at this point, but one day will do a what your mama didn't tell you about adoption when I can grasp that firsthand. Because my oven is closed...but my heart is open to our next set of children born not from my own womb, but from my heart!

More Like Falling in Love

Every now and then there comes a song I have heard over & over, maybe even sang along to, but one day I actually listen to it and truly hear it's meaning. Like reading scripture, you can read it over & over again, but one day there is that certain passage that just rings loud for you & your current season or circumstance.

Today for me that song is "More Like Falling in Love" by Jason Gray.

The lyrics are
Give me rules, I will break them
Show me lines, I will cross them
I need more than a truth to believe
I need a truth that lives, moves, and breathes
To sweep me off my feet

Its gotta be
More like falling in love
Than something to believe in
More like losing my heart
Than giving my allegiance
Caught up, called out
Come take a look at me now
Its like I'm falling, Ohhhh
Its like I'm falling in love

Give me words, I'll misuse them
Obligations, I'll missplace them
Cuz all religion ever made of me
Was just a sinner with a stone tied to my feet
It never set me free

Its gotta be
More like falling in love
Than something to believe in
More like losing my heart
Than giving my allegiance
Caught up, called out
Come take a look at me now
Its like I'm falling 
Its like I'm falling in love

Love, Love
Deeper and deeper
It was love that made me a believer
In more than a name, a faith, a creed
Falling in love with Jesus brought the change in me

This song is stinking amazing!

If we can all serve Jesus instead of our religion we could be on to something. Why do you believe what you believe? Why do you not do certain things? And why do you do other things?

It's Jesus voice we need to adhere to. I'm sure many of your leaders voices and hearts DO line up with Jesus. But the only way we can know for sure that what we are being taught & hearing is by digging in the word ourselves & hearing from God ourselves. Studying the bible ourselves. Jesus is NOT about religion. He's not about rules.

A "christian" life should be a life of freedom & peace, but far too often we make it one of rules & regulations to adhere to.

All religion ever made of me
Was just a sinner with a stone tied to my feet
It never set me free

It all starts with a relationship. A personal relationship. Don't rely on another's relationship with God to determine how you live your life. Seek Him for yourself.

Rules get broken.

Constantly hearing don't do this, don't do that is exhausting and only leads to rebellion. But a true love for God is SO much different!

More like falling in love
Than something to believe in
More like losing my heart
Than giving my allegiance

March 22, 2012

I Choose Jesus

I choose Jesus
The One who first chose me
for now & eternity

He loves the unlovable
Reaches the Unreachable

March 20, 2012

Our Core

Each of us has a core.  A "who we are at the core of our being". When we compromise that core, we are only keeping up temporary appearances. Because who we are at the core, is who God created us to be. It doesn't change. Attitudes change. Choices change. Priorities change. Seasons change. Life around us changes so we adapt, we adjust. We grow, we mature, we learn, we like new things and dislike old things, etc. But the core of who we are doesn't change. We may try to cover it up for a time as we try to be someone we are not. We might make attempts to tailor our core to fit another's ideal, but it won't last. Eventually we all get sick of pretending.

Men and women can find themselves frustrated in relationships after they marry or make a strong commitment and the other person has "seemingly changed". But I think it's less that people change and more so that their or our core eventually comes out. We can only mask our core for so long.

I think more often we try and fool ourselves and others into thinking we are someone we are not so we can have control in some area of our lives. We do it to get that certain job. To get others to do what we want. To get the girl or guy. To get the part. To make a certain hire. We become the flavor of the hour to appease man, rather than remain who we are at the core and live for the audience of ONE off the bat. In the end if we're not ourselves to begin with all control is lost.

When we can live for the audience of God alone, all else will fall into place. There will be no masks. No facades. No pretending. No temporary stuff we cannot keep up with. We don't have to fool people so we can manipulate them.

This is who I am, this is what I like to do, and so on and so forth is not an excuse to live like a maniac or to not change the outer layers around our core. Sometimes those outer layers need a revamp.

But don't change for anyone or anything. Be yourself. You are you for a reason. Don't pretend to be someone you are not. Don't even try to fool yourself into thinking you are someone you weren't created to be. Be wholly, completely, uniquely you.

Don't measure yourself against the standard of man. Don't compare yourself to others.

Ecclesiastes 7:29 MSG -God made men and women true and upright; we're the ones who've made a mess of things

NCV-One thing I have learned: God made people good, but they have found all kinds of ways to be bad.

Your core is good. 
God created you to be good. 
Stay true to who you are at the core of your being.
There's so much freedom in that.

March 14, 2012

Worship Wednesday (Live Like That)

Sometimes I think 
What will people say of me 
When I'm only just a memory 
When I'm home where my soul belongs 

Was I love 
When no one else would show up 
Was I Jesus to the least of those 
Was my worship more than just a song 

I want to live like that 
And give it all I have 
So that everything I say and do 
Points to You 

If love is who I am 
Then this is where I'll stand 
Recklessly abandoned 
Never holding back 

I want to live like that 
I want to live like that 

Am I proof 
That You are who you say You are 
That grace can really change a heart 
Do I live like Your love is true 

People pass 
And even if they don't know my name 
Is there evidence that I've been changed 
When they see me, do they see You 

I want to live like that 
And give it all I have 
So that everything I say and do 
Points to You 

If love is who I am 
Then this is where I'll stand 
Recklessly abandoned 
Never holding back 

I want to live like that 
I want to live like that 

I want to show the world the love You gave for me 
I'm longing for the world to know the glory of the King 

I want to live like that 
And give it all I have 
So that everything I say and do 
Points to You 

If love is who I am 
Then this is where I'll stand 
Recklessly abandoned 
Never holding back 

I want to live like that 
I want to live like that

March 13, 2012

Awkwardness at its Best

My niece often posts these "that moment when..." type statuses, which have caused me to think of some of my own awkward moments written in a Bailey sort of manner :) Thanks for the idea Bailey! oxox

When you know people read your fb status or tweet & are thinking "seriously, just shut up"...

The awkward moment when your mother in law is doing dishes and you quick try to squeeze another plate in there & walk away nonchalantly.

When staring into space turns into repeated awkward eye contact.

When your daughter's friend's mom's name is Wendy, but in your head you still think its Dawn.

When you try and talk to the person next to you while using the treadmill and you lose your balance and almost fly off.

When the treadmill goes to cool down before you realize it, so the slower change of pace causes an awkward step.

When you forward a text or email to the person who sent it to you.

When people call you or your child the wrong name and you respond like that's really your name

When someone asks you if you are "having another" and you have to tell them, no this is just left over residue.

When you speak/voice your text and fail to check it before sending.

When the toilet paper you placed on that public toilet seat winds up in your pants giving you a lovely new tp tail to complete your ensemble.

When someone at the gym catches you copying their routine. 

That moment when you get home & look in the mirror and say "Did I really look like this in public"

When you ask someone "what?" 50 times and finally just agree though you still haven't a clue what they are saying

When kindness or smiling is mistaken for flirting

When a man is mistakenly in the women's restroom but you panic thinking you are in the men's.

When you've been shopping for yourself at a store for kids

March 12, 2012


Here are some random facts about me that hopefully spark random facts about YOU that you are willing to share in the name of some good old fashioned random fun.

Random #1
My teeth are so sensitive, especially to cold. If it's windy outside I need to try and inconspicuously cover my teeth with my mouth. Laughing outside in the cold is painful. Talking outside in the cold is painful. Smiling in the cold is painful. Ice cream takes me an eternity to eat. When I eat my morning yogurt w/fresh fruit or a salad with strawberries, I need to ideally get the fruit to room temperature first.

Random #2
I will not stop at a rest stop/wayside if my husband is not with me. Whether driving all alone, or alone with the kids on a trip, I will always surpass a "rest stop" for a gas station or restaurant. You never know what weirdo could be lurking around the just never knows.

Random #3
I trip over the air I can be so uncoordinated

Random #4
When writing I attempt to use punctuation the way I am thinking, and since I am a pretty passionate, not real mild human being, I use a lot of exclamation points!!!!

Random #5
I always leave cupboard doors open & I drive myself nuts.

Give me the names of 3 objects or things you love most...
Kenra Hair Products, L'Bri skincare, Coffee...

Give me the names of 3 objects or things you dislike most...
Politics, mean people, & when people talk about stuff or make general statements/form an opinion about something they haven't an idea about & in turn make themselves look really ignorant

Tell me about something you really care about?
Children, Human Trafficking, Orphans, & Reading labels/healthy eating

What scares you the most and why?
Restraint-tight spaces...feeling suffocated, beings boxed in or held down...I think this could cause me to panic to death

When was the last time you lied and to whom and why?
My husband. "Laura, did you put coconut oil in this?" My response "no"...

Are you usually late, early or right on time?
Chronically late

If you could go anywhere in the world, where would you go?

If you became a multi-millionaire overnight, what would you buy?
A house with a big yard & orphans to love

What is the last movie that you saw at the cinema?
The Vow

What kind of books do you like to read?
Historical fiction

Are you a morning person or a night owl?
Night owl

March 7, 2012

Worship Wednesday (Where I Belong)

Sometimes it feels like I'm watching from the outside
Sometimes it feels like I'm breathing but am I alive
I won't keep searching for answers that aren't here to find

All I know is I'm not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

So when the walls come falling down on me
And when I'm lost in the current of a raging sea
I have this blessed assurance holding me.

All I know is I'm not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

When the earth shakes I wanna be found in You
When the lights fade I wanna be found in You

All I know is I'm not home yet
This is not where I belong
Take this world and give me Jesus
This is not where I belong

Where I belong, where I belong
Where I belong, where I belong

March 5, 2012

Some Monday Reflections...

There is nothing like a long drive all alone to give you time to reflect. Yesterday I was driving home from a fabulous, absolutely fantastic Girls Weekend away in Minneapolis. Minneapolis in general brings about a world of emotion for me. It was a place God brought us to and that I followed & went hesitantly. Leaving all I knew and a place where everything was seemingly perfect. It was one of those God kept leading, pulling, and tugging situations until we would obediently follow. It was a place where a picture was painted one way, and then upon arrival we saw what we signed up for. Most of all it was a place where God wanted us temporarily.

We left an amazing youth ministry that we had been apart of for 8 years & an awesome church that we loved and where we were so loved. To begin the journey I was pregnant with baby #3. Jeremy had to go ahead and make the move without us, while I stayed back to sell the house. 4 months of living a part, which in the grand scheme of life is nothing, but when you are hormonal as ALL get out, it can feel like an eternity.

When we finally moved I had 10 weeks left of my pregnancy. Moving day comes and I begin to have some minor complications...Resembling something I went through during my first pregnancy which put me on bed rest. Oh for the love Jesus, why now? Moving day... That put a stress on me like no other. I had a miscarriage before baby #2, so any issue that somewhat resembles any kind of pregnancy danger can do a number on your heart and mind. Top that off with leaving our family and friends and already being hormonal...this is how I personally entered in to our MN journey.

My first Sunday at our new church it took everything within me not to break down and cry. I walked around just fighting tears & holding back my every emotion. I didn't want to be there. No matter how hard I tried and how much I persevered, I was absolutely heartbroken. Leaving our kids back at our old church. Leaving my little brother who was in 8th/9th grade & still in our youth ministry. Where will he end up without us? Leaving family & friends and people who still needed us was just sad. Knowing how much it crushed others that we were leaving was harder than anything. I don't say that to pat myself on the back or elude to the fact that we are exceptionally special. Though God does find us all, exceptionally special. Its just that we left A LOT and it was really, really hard!

Obedience to God's plan isn't always easy, but it is necessary. Jesus didn't exactly run to the cross saying "Okay, kill me, kill me! Beat me, beat me!" He even prayed that God would take this cup from Him, "Not my will, but yours be done". Jesus is the prime example of obedience to God's will & in facing the ultimate cross. We all have crosses to bear. We all have mountains to climb with weight on our shoulders, We all have times of feeling persecuted, beaten down, & having our spirit's crushed. Jesus is our example of obedience no matter what.

It's taken me a while to truly allow the Lord to bring all of my thoughts together and to write about this and allow Him to use this portion of my life. Because I experienced some big time hurts when we first got there.

Sometimes our time there felt like a corny Lifetime movie where all of the movie watchers & the main character know of the culprits true colors, but everyone else is blind to it. Causing the main character to resemble the psychotic one. And you are just waiting and waiting for the end of the movie where the truth comes out & you are no longer looking like the guilty, bad guy.

As I had time to reflect over this part of my life, I can say that I first went to MN dragging my feet. Then Ironically, moved back to where the Lord moved us from in the first place dragging my feet. So MN was a great time. Its a place I love. Filled with people I adore. I would move back in a heartbeat, but again, God's plan prevails. Any place we have left, we have gone not necessarily wanting to or embracing what was next off the top of the bat. But going because God lead us. It's important to leave a place well.

So, back to my first Sunday at our new church in MN, I will never forget 2 women that immediately reached out to me by validating all that I was feeling. They didn't even know how sad my heart was. One just knew they had once left their home to move far away and enter the unknown, and the other knew what ministry life can be like and how people can expect you to just embrace them off the bat and be there for them like you are Mother Teresa. Pastors wife or not, I'm a human being with real feelings. I knew that "this too shall pass" but at the moment I was in the thick of it. And the thick of it felt like the world running around me expecting me to hop on and do everything their way or how they felt I should live my life, be a mom & a wife. And most of the "opinions" came from unmarried people, newlyweds, or those without kids. It was so hard.

Its easy to have an opinion about something we know nothing about.

We all have flaws stitched together with good intentions. I didn't mean to come across as hating a place. But I have to say, people weren't making it easy to love at this point. Never in my adult life had I endured more tearful nights at the expense of another's actions or words. Being gossiped about, stinks. Trying to be the best wife & mother you can be while being ridiculed for doing so is not an easy task at all.

But I stuck to my guns through the tough times and NEVER did my priorities waver. Not once. God first, Husband & kids next...then comes ministry. And my kids though young, have yet to resent ministry, because for us it has always been a family thing. Our kids are apart of it. And if they can't be, I sometimes stay back to be with them, or we get a sitter depending on the situation and what I feel is best for our family. But we will never sacrifice our family on the altar of ministry. And you shouldn't either. Whether it be a job, ministry, whatever. Don't ever sacrifice your family. God spoke to me over & over "You have the rest of your life for ministry outside of your home, right now your kids are your ministry and they will only be in your house for so long". After all, I am their only mother and the only woman who will answer for how she raised her girls.

Our family became SO strong during our time in Minnesota. And in the meantime, God brought amazing friends into our lives. We have made lifelong friends. Met families that have impacted us greatly. Worked with amazing students and leaders! Grew in amazing ways. Learned so many life lessons in such a short time.

When I was still really new, before my baby3 was born, a fellow pastor's wife, brought me aside and said "I couldn't do it"..."I don't know how you did it"..."I couldn't have done it"...That was it. VALIDATION! She has no idea the impact of her validation in that season of my life.

Oh how we need to validate one another more often! How we must be tender and compassionate towards eachother. Less judging, and more love, grace & understanding!

**A little side note...there's an awesome miracle in all of this too...Pregnant and living alone. Taking care of 2 little ones by myself...In the winter, requiring a lot of shoveling and house selling stress. Some red flags & scariness on moving day...Makenna comes 3 weeks early and totally healthy...BUT the way the cord was attached to the "I hate this word" placenta...Basically it could have ripped at any point. During pregnancy, labor, etc. And resulted in immediate death. It's called Vasa Previa. When vasa previa is not detected there is a 95% chance of stillbirth. They didn't detect it in any ultrasound. This vasa previa was because of a valamentous cord insertion, wheras, again is miraculous. Because usually when that is detected they need you to have a c-section at 35 weeks as labor can cause death. Makenna was born at 37 weeks. I'm sorry, but if you don't believe in miracles...**

So a new move, a new baby, a non-resilient, at the time 5 year old who cries nightly because of the move, as if by obeying God, we are torturing her in the process. It was an emotional move for all of us.

But God brought about women, who without even knowing what I was feeling, validated me in ways I cannot be grateful enough for! 

And friends...Ohhh, dear, dear friends I will be blessed for a lifetime with. God is so good.

The Lord taught me forgiveness. He taught me grace. He taught me how to do the right thing, even when I felt like punching someone in the face. He taught me how to rise above & be confident in who I am and in the wife & mother He has called me to be no matter what any outside, naive source thinks. God is so good. I had a neighborhood and home I loved. I was so blessed during our time in MN. God blesses us so much when we obey. He blesses us when we do the right thing in tough situations. God blesses us for being gracious. And in being gracious there are no regrets. Gossip gets to anyone. Gossip hurts. Rumors stink. But pressing on and doing what's right brings such peace in the midst of hard times.

Had we not persevered and pressed on through tough times, we would have so many regrets. Instead, we have a place we love :) People I have forgiven...Because in Jesus example on the cross when He says "Father forgive them for they know not what they do" He gives us the power to choose to see people through God's eyes. And when we battle with another, it's not really them, but the enemy through them, using his manipulative & weaseling ways to get under our skin. As God can use us, so can the enemy.

We hold so much power in our choices.
Choose to love.
Choose to validate someone daily.
Choose to refrain from being sucked in to gossip & rumors.
Choose not to spread your speculations or personal opinions as facts.
Choose to speak kindly.
Choose to understand another. 
Choose to forgive.
Choose to kill people with kindness.
Choose to do what's right even when you don't feel like it.
Choose to obey God's leading wherever you are.