4 things I want to leave in 2019

As I stare at 2020 I realize there are things I want to leave in 2019. Leave for good. This decade has been a hard one. It has been marked by financial strife, personal health issues, relationship problems and more moves than I would like to count.

As I reflect on what the decade has taught me there are some things that I want to leave in behind and not visit again.

By God’s grace this next decade will be the beginning of my life.

Strange statement seeing as I’m 44.

Obviously not new at this going around the sun thing. However, I have let life drag me along on this journey rather than taking charge and charting my life according to God’s will for me.

I’m done settling for less than God’s best for me.

Here are 4 things I am leaving in 2019

  • Self-doubt. I am a Child if the King, an heir with Christ. As such there is no reason for doubt to enter in. I will trust.
  • Quitting. If you want change and growth you cannot keep quitting those things that are stretching you. Fear is not a reason to stop. Growing weary is not a reason. What others think about it is not a reason. Keep going.
  • Intolerance of others. I expect more from some than they can give. I judge too harshly…not out loud, but in my mind and it affects my ability to love well.
  • Fear. I have lived most of my life in fear. Worry over what I cannot control. I am relinquishing this area to God and trusting in Him that I will overcome.

I’m not going to pretend that there will not be hard things to come in 2020 or even in this new decade as a whole. However, I know that with a change in perspective and a change in attitude that this next year and decade will be better than the last.

Through prayer and planning I aim for this decade to be God focused, kingdom minded, and light filled. How can it be anything else when my eyes are turned towards Him?

I am ready to begin my life now. Welcome 2020!

Favorite Blog Posts…

Favorite blog posts

For those who may be new to my blog, today I thought I’d do a round-up of my favorite posts to date.

All of these were written at different points of pain or struggle in my life. Writing allows me to journal through those experiences to grow and heal. It’s been a tool I’ve used since I was a child.

Even the act of writing is soothing to me.

My prayer is that these posts will touch others and help them grow and heal as well.

8 Favorite Blog Posts

Returning to my first love
Do You Know How to Fight Right?
Hope in everything but God
Outside vs. Inside
Darkness cannot stay where there is light
5 important promises when everything seems to be wrong
Guest post on marriage on With Purpose with Lo Tanner
Not so different

If God uses any of these posts to speak to you, would you drop a comment and let me know?

Be blessed.

My life in 10 (or more) songs

Getting my life in 10 songs (or more) gives you a glimpse of how diverse my music

tastes are. Music is an absolute passion of mine. And I enjoy a variety of genres.

Hip Hop. Rock. Broadway. Pop. Rap. Native American. Celtic. Country. 

Old style hymns and modern worship. Even some metal.

To narrow down a list that I would call the soundtrack of my life is not easy.

Concerts, musicals, oh my!

I think about all of the concerts I’ve taken in over the years.

Alabama. Clint Black. Garth Brooks. Sawyer Brown. Charlie Daniels.

New Kids on The Block. Vanilla Ice. 

TobyMac. Newsboys (with and without Peter Furler). Manifest. Skillet.

The musicals…Phantom of the Opera, Les Miserable, Hairspray.

By no means an exhaustive list. I could easily list two dozen more acts.

So you see my problem, right? How do I pick just a handful of songs to represent my soundtrack?

I thought about the artists as well as favorite songs that really feel like they define parts of me.

My life in 10 songs

My top 10 (or more) in no particular order…other than how I remembered them.

A portion of my life’s soundtrack.

I Love a Rainy Night” by Eddie Rabbitt – country was my upbringing and this song always made me smile and dance.

Some Girls Do” by Sawyer Brown – My absolute favorite country band ever! So hard to choose only 1 of their songs, but this particular one was an anthem to my teenage years. I followed them from when they were on Star Search… have been to dozens of their concerts, and I was super excited when I found out that lead singer Mark Miller is the producer for one of my favorite Christian bands, Casting Crowns.

That’s My Job” by Conway Twitty – My father was a huge Conway Twitty fan and I cannot listen to the song without crying. I lost my father when I was just 25. And this song epitomizes the kind of man my Daddy was.

I Cross My Heart” by George Strait – My wedding song. In honor and memory of my brother-in-law who died by suicide the year I got married. The day before my birthday that year in fact. Sometimes I listen to this with fondness. Sometimes I just can’t.

Jesus Freak” by dcTalk – My introduction to Christian rap. And every 90s Christian kids’ battle cry. It felt a bit rebellious, and yet pointed straight to the Savior.

Gone”, “Made to Love”, “Burn for You”, “Till the Day I Die”, “Move (Keep Walkin’) – OK, I know this is more than one song for the century but I am a huge, HUGE TobyMac fan!! I love the rhythm of his music, the diversity both and has a band physically as well as in the instruments utilized, and most importantly the words. I’ve been to dozens of his shows, Jesus freak cruise, and have every CD he’s ever made. His heart for God makes his music come alive.

Phantom of the Opera” by Sarah Brightman & Michael Crawford – My favorite Broadway musical. My senior prom song. We were drama and chorus geeks, what can I say?

He’s Alive” by Dolly Parton – In my opinion one of the best worship songs ever written or sung. It absolutely gives me chills every single time. And every time I hear it I am reminded of the great sacrifice made and the love the Father has for me.

Monster” by Skillet – Skillet my favorite Christian rock band. This song resonates as I often struggle with keeping the ugliness of my humanity at bay when I feel hurt or wronged. It lets me know I’m not the only one and that helps me feel more normal.

Cry for You”, “Welcome to America”, “ Good, Bad, Ugly”, “Tell the World” – Okay, again I couldn’t narrow it to just one for this artist. Lecrae is a phenomenal rapper with a heart for the Lord and for marginalized people. And he isn’t afraid to talk (or sing) about it. He’s bold yet humble…like I hope to be.

So there you have it. Songs that resonate with who I am and seasons of my life that defined me.

What does your life sound like?

Anxiety and God

Anxiety and God. This topic is one I’m trying to get more comfortable talking about. I’m learning how to define it in my life and how to normalize it for those around me.

And I’m learning how to cope with it.

I used to think that people who dealt with this particular issue just needed to get over it. Perhaps they needed to pray harder.

Then, what I was not able to understand in others, began to happen to me.

Anxiety.

Though mine was triggered via a traumatic event, looking back over my younger years, I can see traces of it throughout my life.

Anxiety’s Effects

Social anxiety disorder and generalized anxiety are the two types I deal with.

Add these to a list of other chronic illness issues and life can feel really overwhelming some days.

Just getting dressed and getting out the door can feel like an insurmountable task.

Two choices emerge here. Let anxiety defeat me. Or let my God help me defeat it!

God’s Power In Us

We must remember that the power of the Holy Spirit, the very power that raised Jesus from the grave…LIVES IN US!

No matter how hard the day gets, I know that He is able. His word stands. His promises are true.

And that is my landing place. The safest space I know.

Anxiety and God

Scripture To Beat Anxiety

Here are some of my go-to verses when the anxiety tries to displace the light:

“Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time: Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.” ( 1 Peter 5:6-7 KJV)

Don’t worry about anything, but in everything, through prayer and petition with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.” (Philippians 4:6 HCSB)

Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding; think about Him in all your ways, and He will guide you on the right paths.” (Proverbs 3: 5-6 HCSB)

“But You, Lord, are a shield around me, my glory, and the One who lifts up my head. I cry aloud to the Lord, and He answers me from His holy mountain.Selah” ( Psalm 3: 3-4 HCSB)

“I will both lie down and sleep in peace, for You alone, Lord, make me live in safety.” ( Psalm 4:8 HCSB)

Standing in the shadow of the cross, my world shines brighter.

Yours can too.

Letter to my 16 year old self

About Others

16 year old me. I sure wish I could tell you some things that would have made your high school years easier. You were so insecure, longing to belong, and had no idea just how beautiful and smart you really were.

I’d tell you that those sideways glances and whispered conversations going on around you…are not always about you. And that even if they are, you shouldn’t let it bother you.

Those people’s actions say way more about their character than it does about you.

I would tell you not to tell people that you thought were your friends about that date. In fact, I would tell you not to go on that date at all.

Don’t apologize for being beautiful, bold & brave..png

About Yourself

That you will wish you could take back some words that you say and things that you do. So don’t say them and don’t do them.

I would tell you it is better to be ridiculed for not doing the popular thing. And that being yourself, uniquely creative and bold, is the best way to be.

That those who cannot handle your uniqueness are not your people. Find a different circle where you are valued. Not used.

I would tell you not to be afraid of your gifts. To use your voice. To take that chance.

I would tell you to spend more time with your family. That in less than 10 years your precious Daddy would be gone and you would wish you had more time.

About God

I would tell you that you are so very loved. That no matter what you do or say there is a God that you speak of, yet don’t intimately know yet, that knows you very well. 

He loves you so much He died for you.

And if you will let Him in now, He will take all the burdens you carry away. You don’t need to be strong enough to bear it all. That’s His job.

And you can just be. Be a kid. Stop trying to grow up so fast. Relax. Love yourself.

You are going to be with you for a long time.