Faith · God · grief · Life · Religion · Words

In the quiet

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I sat in that cold, bare room waiting for answers. I sought out comfort as I looked around but all that I saw were pale yellow walls and old magazine covers. No cheery pictures hung to lift my spirits. No pretty decorations adorned the counters. Just a burgundy colored chair, a metal sink and the doctors tattered stool. In the silence I sat and waited. 

I could feel my heart beating against my ribs as I anticipated that knock at the door. That sound that would either signal the beginning of a difficult journey or a relief of sorts.

I prayed to God that he would be present with me in this scary moment because I felt so alone and lost. I asked him to give me strength and hope. I wanted so badly for my life to stay the same so that I could go home and start living the way that He intended me to. I made promises to myself and asked him for more chances. 

My hands clasped together I looked down at the white, marred floor, my brown boots dangling just above them, and bowed my head uncertain of everything, except for the fact that He is here, unseen and unheard but felt. He is always here, especially in dark moments like this, when He is needed the most.  

In the quiet I sit, prayer my only relief.

After what seems like hours, the knock sounds and the door is quickly opened to the doctor’s smiling face and I exhale that sharp force of breathe that I’d been holding because I somehow know that I’m going to be okay….no matter what. I’m going to be okay.

Beauty · Faith · God · grief · Happiness · Life · loss · love · Marriage · Parenting · Relationships · Religion · Words

Stop waiting before it’s too late.

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Waiting 

We are all waiting for something. 

To be Thinner. 

To be Happier. 

To be Richer. 

To be More Fulfilled. 

What if one day, on our death beds, our bodies nearly paralyzed from old age, we were only waiting for death to come and take us. 

Would we look back on our lives and see that we never stopped waiting?

If only we had lost the weight, we’d have worn that bathing suit. The one hidden in the back of the drawer that we always told ourselves “next year”. 

If only we’d had more money we would’ve been more fulfilled, led a happier life. We made money, but it was never enough so that we were rich (or so we thought). 

And lying there in that bed, your body nothing like it used to be, a weaker version of the once strong counterpart, would you be glad that you had waited? That you were never enough to be enough. 

The bathing suit eventually got thrown away and never enjoyed the suns warm rays or the splash of cool water. While our children and husband played on the shore and swam in the deep, we sat in a chair on the sidelines, watching, wishing, waiting.

The job we had, finally ended in retirement. We had so many years clocked at a place that took up a huge portion of our lives but we never really enjoyed one day of it. We were too busy wishing for more, never really seeing how blessed we were to have this job in the first place. After all it provided us our homes, cars, food, clothes and so much more. 

Lying there in that dark hospital room, hearing the beeping of the monitors, the steady rhythm of our heartbeat, surely we will wish we had stopped waiting to participate in our life. We will weep, saddled with regret. Things like being thin enough to wear a bathing suit or having more money will seem so small and insignificant in the end. In the sum of life, we will know how little these things truly meant, but it will be much too late to fix it. 

Right now, before it is no longer an option to live without the restrictions of old age, you have two choices:

1. Keep waiting

2. Start living today

The one you choose will determine everything.

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Faith · God · Happiness · Life · love · Relationships · Religion · Words

Things I have learned

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Things I have learned in my 41 years on this earth:

Life is fleeting. It seems a day goes by in minutes, a week goes by in seconds and a year goes by in hours. Really try to enjoy each day. Fully. Be present. Be alive not just living. You only get this one pass and then it’s all over.

Give more than you take. It always feels so much better to give away than to take away. So give. Give your time to those you love and cherish and those who may need it. Give your kids attention. Truly get down on their level and interact with them. Be the parent you wish you had, had. Give your heart away. Fall in love. Give your hospitality. Invite friends over and cook them a meal. Open up your house and fill it with love and friendship.

Stop worrying about your body. You really are perfect exactly as you are. At the end of your life do you really want to regret all that you missed because you were so focused on YOU. Losing weight. Losing inches. Fitting into a pair of skinny jeans. Do you want all of your memories to be of you obsessing over what you looked like and what you wanted to look like? Do you want to regret not being more alive. More present with your spouse, your kids, your friends….your life. Stop! We are more than what we look like. We are so much more.

Eat the damn cake!!! Seriously. Don’t limit any food because it is ‘bad’ for you. Enjoy everything in moderation. This goes along with enjoying life. Food is yummy so eat it!

Don’t estimate your value by a number. How much you weigh, how many inches your hips are, how many calories you’ve eaten….this will never define you. Love your body, it is your home and will carry you places and be your greatest gift. Our bodies work hard for us every single day. They are a gift, a miracle and they should be treated as such.

Marry your best friend. Marry the one who you can’t live without. The one who makes your life fuller, better. Marriage is work but if you are with the right person, it will be worth it. How amazing to grow old with someone who knew you when you were young and who still sees you in your youth ❤

Have a pet (or two, or three). They are good for your soul. A dog will be the most loyal companion you’ve ever known and will show you how simple life can be. They need nothing, except your love and attention and food/water to be happy. That’s it. They will love you fiercely no matter what . Every time you come home, they will be there, waiting for you. If that isn’t love I don’t know what is 🙂 Cats….well, they are a different story, lol.

It’s okay to have a messy house. It just means that your home is lived in and cozy.

On that note, laundry. It’s totally normal to keep your clothes in the dryer and just press ‘start’ when you want to wear something and get the wrinkles out of it. Folding clothes is so overrated, lol.

Listen to music everyday. Really listen. Find favorite songs, put your headphones on and blast it. Bonus points if you dance. Music soothes every part of us and is good for the spirit. Music is therapy.

Get outside among nature and let the sun warm you. Take in the trees, the clouds, the sky. Go for a walk, ride your bike. Being outdoors is nature’s therapy and it is completely free. The fresh air will remove cobwebs from your mind and leave you feeling refreshed and energized.

You don’t have to be a great parent to be a good one. There is no such thing as perfect. It is a guarantee…you will mess up, you will yell too much, you will regret things but what matters is that you try your best each day. Raising kids is the hardest job in the entire world and there is no instruction book on how to get it right. As long as you love your children unconditionally and want the best for them you are a good parent.

Lastly, pray a lot. There is a doorway that is open for us to talk to God and tell him our intimate thoughts. Do not close it off. When you don’t know where to turn, turn to Him. He has all the answers. Sometimes they come instantly but more often than not they come gradually, and you will need to hold on to patience and show Him some grace. But trust me, they will come.

I am sure there are many more things I could share with you but these are the most relevant to me.  These lessons I’ve learned, as I’ve lived, have proven to get me through. I hope they offer a glint of knowledge to someone else.

What life lessons have you learned? I’d love to hear in the comments.

 

 

Body love · Faith · God · Happiness · Life · Religion · Words

Lord, what is my assignment today?

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As I stand looking in the mirror, glaring at a face that is so familiar to me, one I’ve seen a million times, I begin to pick myself apart.

This is a common thing for me, to stand before my own reflection and sift out all my imperfections.

Then something catches my eye and I turn to the corner of the brown framed mirror that hangs over my sink.

There I glance an image that I taped up just yesterday.

A reminder printed out on a small square piece of cardstock, so that every morning I can be reminded that I have more to give the world than how I look.

That my worth is not defined in the physical.

This note simply reads “Lord, what is my assignment today?”

Everything suddenly shifts and my perspective changes.

I have placed these words right where I know I will stand each morning and grumble about my shortcomings.

I am reminded that the Lord has a plan for me and it goes far beyond what I look like.

The Lord created me and I am his beautiful daughter.

He cherishes me and doesn’t see me as having flaws but as being human.

He didn’t create me to be perfect in body or perfect in any sense.

However, He did create me to fulfill a purpose. 

To go out into the world and do good and be a light to others. 

Everyday He gives me another chance and a whole lot of forgiveness and everyday he gives me his never-ending grace. 

It is time I give myself the same.

I am already perfect exactly as I am because I am made in His image.

When I glance back to the recognizable reflection in the mirror, I know for sure that my assignment today is to love myself and to trust Him and to truly know that I am more than my appearance. 

Now I challenge you to also ask “Lord, what is my assignment today?” and then turn away from looking outward and instead look within to find the answer.

Faith · Happiness · Life · Moving · Starting over · Words

Starting Over

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There’s something quite magnificent about a snowy day. Living out in the country, the earth seems to stand still and be silent. I love to peek out a window, from the warmth of my heated home, and watch the snow come down. It’s as if I am the one in a tiny snow globe, the snow shaken alive around me.

This country living is still relatively new to me. I’ve only lived here in Michigan for almost three years now. I grew up in Southern California where snow is non-existent. Days are even warm in the winter months and the sun is never hidden like it often is here. Longing for a simpler way of life, my husband and I packed up our brood of boys (and a cat and three dogs) and drove across country to our new home. Looking back, that five-day trip will most likely forever be a favorite memory for all of us. The five of us, packed in the car like sardines, our clothes and essentials packed snuggly in a black canvas bag that was anchored to the roof of our car.

Stuck in a snowstorm in Wyoming we had to stay an extra night in our hotel due to the roads being shut down. This was probably the highlight of our trip, being ‘forced’ to stay an additional night and add more time onto our trek. In true Johnson family fashion, we went with the flow. Our extra day was spent in the indoor pool/spa, a room surrounded by glass walls that gave us a front row seat to the storm happening all around us. Coming from California it was rousing to see so much snow. My kids came alive and were filled with giggles and smiles, their little hearts beating in sheer excitement. I’ve come to learn that snow has a way of doing that to kids (and adults if I’m being honest). Those freezing white flakes are a joy to play in.

Our adventure continued the next day as we piled in our car, each of us, I’m sure wondering what the future held for our family in this unfamiliar place we were heading to.

Deciding to move and start over when you are in your late thirties with three kids is not for the faint of heart and it was not a decision we made over night. It was a dream my husband and I spoke about in hushed whispers in the dark of night, a dream we wanted to make a reality but had no idea how. We owned a home, my husband had a great job, our kids were all in school, I had friends I had known since third grade. How could we just up and leave it?

God works in mysterious ways though because one day it seemed right. It felt right to finally take the leap and start a new life in a new state, clear across the country. It felt suddenly the right moment to start over. My husband and I both got the sense that if we wanted to go, now was the time and so we did. By the grace of God, everything fell into place and He made a way for us.

We are living proof that it’s never too late to start again. If you desire something and you have the courage to take action, it can be yours.

Sitting here, as I write this, looking out at the snow-covered countryside that is my front yard, I am filled with wonder. Sometimes when I wake up in the morning and see the sun rising over a forest of trees, a new day dawning, I have to pinch myself because it feels so surreal. This place I forever desired to live, this place my husband and I dreamt about, we made it, we are here. God lead us and once again we are home.

Faith · Life · love

Hope

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Faith is believing in something you cannot see

 

For years I’ve held onto beliefs and ideas of the world that I realize no longer serve me. I’m newly a Christian and percieving God in my daily view has changed things. Incorporating Him into my sight somehow brightens the dark spaces and corners that I once hid in. It’s like standing in the dark just before the dawn. God is like warm sunlight and His goodness and love warms our souls.

Believing in something greater than yourself somehow puts things in perspective. You begin to feel stirrings of hope. Hope for the world. Hope for yourself. Hope for your family. Hope in all things. I’m learning that God wants to draw us out of ourselves and into Him. He wants us to deplete ourselves in Him and come to Him completely raw. He knows us to our very bone, all the good, all the bad, and He still loves us unconditionally. His love is extraordinary because it is only given by someone so unblemished as Him.

The world is so complex and ever changing, but God is grounded, and like a comfortable routine, he forever stays the same. THAT is a kind of security I can wrap myself up in when things around me are collapsing. Life can be tough and can unravel in the blink of an eye but when we have something solid to lean on we can survive more gracefully. Our falls won’t be as hard and with God’s helping hand we will, over time, become more resilient.

Being a piece of God’s creation, and letting Him be a piece of our innermost being is the most remarkable feeling. When I began trusting and letting Him soak into the fibers of my soul my life changed. I’m far from where I want to be in my relationship with Him but I walk a little closer each day knowing that my bond with Him is unbreakable.

This world is so much more than what we can visually perceive. There’s an unspoken beauty that, only by welcoming God into our hearts, we can see. Stand in those dark spaces of your life and call out to Him. Bring your deepest sorrows and your biggest regrets and lay them down at his feet and watch the transformation as the sun comes out to shine into the inky depths of where you’re hiding. God is light in the darkness. Let his light illuminate you. He’s waiting for you to whisper His name so He can reach out and save you. You just have to believe. You just have to trust.

 

Faith · Happiness · Life · love · Marriage · Poetry · Relationships · Words

You: A letter to my husband

 

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You are the ONE. MY one and only.

You loved me whole. I was broken when you found me. You picked up my broken pieces and put me back together again.

You saved me when you took my hand in yours and together we made a life. Two hands, two hearts intermingled forever.

You are my everything. My best friend. My companion. My lover.

Even after all of these years, my body gravitates towards you.

Like a magnet my heart is drawn toward yours.

You are my center. My true north.

YOU.

I will always crave you.

I will always want you.

I will always need you.

I will always love you.

Much more than I ever expected.

Much more than I ever deserved.

Your love.

The way you look at me. They way you see me. The person I am in your eyes.

The person you are in my eyes.

I love you.

Year after year. Month after month. Day after day.

My love only grows….fuller and deeper.

It is and it will always be YOU.

The ONE who holds my heart in this lifetime and beyond.

 

Beauty · Faith · Happiness · Life · love · Poetry · Relationships · Self confidence · Self-love · Starting over · Words

The Becoming

As I watched the leaves falling to the ground, the breath of wind loosening them from their branches, I felt pieces of myself falling away as well. Things I needed to let go of. Things holding me back from reaching my full potential. In that moment as I sat and stared at the changing world and the dawn of a new season, not only was I witnessing the coming of Fall but also the becoming of ME.

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Beauty · Faith · Happiness · Life · Poetry · Words

Stars

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When I was young I used to wish upon stars. I’d look up at that vast, inky blue above me and as soon as I spotted that first star, I would make a wish. Most parts of me really believed that it could come true. When you are young, before you have truly started to walk your path in life, you can be naive. You are still innocent, unhurt, vulnerable and you want so badly to take life in your hands and mold it into the shape you desire. Years, days, form you instead and life takes a shape of it’s own. Oftentimes, you find yourself traveling down roads you once thought of as dead ends only to find they curve and twist into longer roads that lead to different paths. As you age you realize that you cannot count on wishes to always come true and stars to grant your deepest desires. It takes more than a mere thought to shape a dream. I still love when night falls upon the earth with millions of tiny white dots poking holes through the blackness. I still search out that first bright white star and gaze into it. Only I don’t wish on it. I simply admire it’s beauty and the glow that surrounds it. As the years have added up and I have become older, I know that stars are not wish granters that hold some magic power. That power comes from within me and I am responsible for the decisions I make that lead to the roads I walk, that in the end, will shape my journey, will shape me. The stars are merely a beautiful distraction that help guide me. Small lights aglow, when my path grows dark.