Thursday, April 13, 2017

Contentment doesn't equal complacency


It's been on my mind a lot lately so I thought I'd get it out here. My kids are now 5,4, and almost 3. We are in daily rhythms of school and sports and schedules. But once upon a time,  not too long ago, I was posting here about the difficulty of motherhood. Feeling like I was constantly disciplining, drowning in diapers, fighting kids to nap. I now miss those days of waking up whenever, making our own schedules all day. I asked God to feel near so much then, when I finally realized He was, I settled into contentment. I bought the lie that contentment had to equal complacency. 

I've been home with these littles for 5 years now, and a lot of changes have happened. Most of the days used to be hard, but I pressed in hard to Jesus and scripture. Today I find myself more at peace and comfortable in my role as a stay at home mom. I used to beg God to give me any job and I would do it for His glory, and I saw His lack of provision in that area as Him not hearing me - or me not being good enough. But now I know and feel confident that THIS is where He's wanted me all along. Surrendered, available, teachable. My kids don't seem near as stressful as they used to (side eye goes to Hattie Badger) and that may be because they aren't babies anymore, but I choose to think it's because I no longer walk reluctantly into the role God put me in every single day. 

I hear conversations and read posts from women who beg God for clarity, purpose, vision. I used to be that woman and some days I still am! There's nothing wrong with asking God to breathe life to your dreams, because He gets that glory. But what if we just hit pause? What if we woke up each day and said, "Ok God. You've put me here, show me what Your will is today, tomorrow, as long as you have me in this season. Just help me keep my eyes open to what You're doing with where I am right now." We could stop wishing to start a new season where we're doing more of what we want, and instead be with Jesus where He has put us (intentionally) today. 

So whether you're waiting for that perfect job, perfect calling on your life, perfect day with your kids, just remember that God has ordained all of us as His followers to love him and his people. That's the calling of every single person who has the salvation of Jesus. That's the main calling. That's freedom.


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

limping out of 2016

2016 kicked. my. tail.

I currently type this posted up on the couch unable to move. I fell in a hole chasing wyatt while playing ninja turtles in the yard the day before Christmas Eve and severely sprained my ankle. 

I'm willing to get raw and say that this was not my year. Thing after thing went wrong. Life started hard this year and snowballed the whole way to December. Sure we were able to see a lot of beauty in between, but there was a lot of junk. Tons of tears shed. A couple of huge good-byes. 

I prayed a lot this year to have a heart like David's. To choose to see God and cling to Him even in the midst of trial. At times i clung harder than others. I told God we needed some kind of win, and it hasn't really felt like we've gotten one. But, when I snap out of my pity party, I realize that no matter what.. HE is the ultimate win. Because this world is not our home. Our win was made in Jesus Christ.

I've been thinking a lot about Job. God allowed Satan to wreak havoc on his livelihood, his family, his health, but not his life. He lived in spite of trial. I love that when Job's wife told him to curse God he said "shall we accept good from God and not trouble?" and he did not sin in what he said (Job 2:10). I also love that he had friends come to encourage him and mourn his losses. His friend Elipaz speaks encouragement over him and reminds him that those who partake in evil will sow trouble and meet the wrath of God, but that Job has favor with God and that his "piety be his confidence and his blameless ways his hope" (4:6). His friend Bildad reminds Job that if you live life by God's statutes even in trouble He will rouse Himself on our behalf (8:6).

Now my ways are not blameless. My heart has felt selfish feelings. I have felt left out by God. I have felt forgotten. But those feelings are not of God. Those are lies Satan tosses into my mind to distract of God's goodness. If I'm forgetting about the kindness and love of God then I'm more likely to spend less time with Him. Time in His word. The bible is imperative to knowing and understanding the character of God. Each story teaches about how He is faithful to His people. How He shows up. The Word of God is how I know what His voice sounds like in my life. So if I'm distracted by selfishness, I miss His voice. I miss His goodness. I miss out on time spent loving Him.

Job and David both knew that loving God and being near Him was so much better than our best day of life on Earth. They knew He was/is miraculous. That's what I want my heart to look like.

One of our pastor's preached a couple of weeks ago about harboring bad feelings towards God because He doesn't answer our prayers the way or in the time that we want. I felt like the Holy Spirit gave him that message exactly for me. 

This entire year we watched my father-in-law suffer. We watched him dwindle physically and mentally. But never, ever spiritually. He was terrified to leave his life with us. Not because he didn't trust God, but now i know it's because he saw our family as such a blessing from God. He knew heaven was going to be good. He trusted he wouldn't have anymore pain. But I think he knew there would be no more being with us and that broke his heart. Blake and I prayed that God would be merciful to him. That he would take him quickly so he didn't have to keep suffering, struggling to breathing, aching in constant pain. And God never answered those prayers the way we hoped. I spent the last days of winfred's life sitting on his hospital bed beside my broken-hearted husband hearing about winfred's glimpses of heaven that will forever give me chills. He clung to Romans 8:38 reminding his spirit that nothing could separate him from the love of God. That's what I want my heart to look like. 

Instead, my heart numbed itself towards God a lot this year. I began to quit asking Him to do big things. I let my heart believe the lie that He "wouldn't" do the big things, because that's how He works for normal people like me. My heart hurts just thinking about feeling like that towards Him. 
I'm sorry, Lord.

Our pastor reminded us to pray persistently, but yield to the timing of God. It shook my heart awake again. I was reminded that the miracle is in Him. His timing. He doesn't need me to schedule when He shows up, much less me to choose what He shows up for. 

God asks for my heart to yield to his. To his character. To his knowledge. Because that's where the worship is!

So while I'm physically and spiritually limping across the finish line of 2016, I'm thankful to be ending it more in love with my people and my Jesus. I'm praying bold prayers for 2017, humbling submitting to His timing. He is for me, and you. 

Friday, October 21, 2016

a seat at the table

tap tap… is this thing on?

check? one, two. check?

Ok cool. Still works over here.

God urged me to get quiet and focus on Him. So I have been. Plus, life has been so incredibly full with my kids starting school, opening up my shop, and just other stuff i've taken on. But this has been sitting in the back of my heart, itching to get out.

I am in such a beautiful place with life right now. I enjoy my kids, for once I don't feel like I'm drowning. I still yell at them and they still forgive me, but for the most part we are in a good rhythm. Blake and I went through a tough spell this year which made me realize some sin in my heart that I'm still taking to Jesus. I've gotten to live out some dreams this year, and it's been really cool to see what God has done with me. But the best thing lately has just been how restful it all feels.

As far back as I can remember, I feel like I have fought to defend myself. I've fought for acceptance from people. I've grasped and clawed and talked way too loudly about things to seem like I was in a better, smarter, happier place than I may have actually been. I've fought to be understood or that I actually had ground to stand on, even when I may have not. I've fought so hard to fit in. Maybe I fought because I feel like God frequently calls me to something different than the people around me, where I don't have any desires. You can read any post from the last 3 years here and see how I struggled through my entrance into motherhood when I had no close friends who were there yet. Much less close friends, period. I felt like I was getting it all wrong and just trying so hard for a seat at the Mom Table.  As soon as I got comfortable into my place as a mom, God called me into standing in front of women once every other month at The Gather Project with red cheeks and sweaty pits feeling completely unqualified to be at the Ministry Table, but somehow so eager to talk about His goodness. While that still hasn't gotten any easier, I'm just so happy and thankful that God built a really beautiful and encouraging friendship with the two women I get to stand beside in that place of ministry.

I've found myself in this place lately where I'm asking Him "what's next God?" He knows how deeply I long for our family to grow some more. And that's something He hasn't given me any clarity on yet. So I choose rest in Jesus name. Peace he surely has given me. I know deep in my bones I can trust Him because He has never let me down. So when it's time for me to know the things I ask him about, he'll tell me.

Until then, I praise Him for not being in a place where for once I'm fighting for just a seat, any seat, at the table. The table where everyone has their own thing, their own "calling" or "gift". Instead just being grateful to love the God who built the table and being able to trust He has the perfect place for me.

Rambling in Jesus name.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

when grass withers

I've had the privilege of going through Angie Smith's bible study Seamless with The Gather Project's Grow girls. So far we're sifting through the Old Testament and it's kind of blowing my mind. But there's this overarching theme I feel God stirring in me. Something He's really pressing into my heart.

I started this study by praying and asking God to show me He's trustworthy. That He's truly loving and kind, and that His word holds true in my soul. Which in turn, I prayed, would make me more confident in my approach of the Bible, in talking with people about His word. Going through Genesis, Exodus, Numbers, Deuteronomy, Joshua, Ruth… I'm slowly learning, and more importantly, trusting in this Word. So here's this theme again:

HE provides.

Every. Single. Time. HE provided. Sometimes they fully trusted (Abraham with Isaac, Noah with the Ark, Moses' whole journey to the Promised Land, Joshua marching with his people around Jericho), and sometimes they didn't and there were consequences (Lot's wife, Moses disobeying and not getting to go into the promised land after all that time, basically the entire history of the Israelites yo-yo relationship with God) but He provides for His people.

I've been in this period of time with God where I keep asking Him when certain things will happen for me. And you KNOW good and well you've probably asked Him those things too. When will I get to write for a living? Earn an income for the things I feel like you've gifted me in (my own selfish knot rise up in my flesh right there for some honesty), when will I get to take these business ventures, on and on and on. And when I (I won't say we for your conviction's sake ;) ) don't see things happening on my timeline, I [we] start to scramble to just MAKE THINGS HAPPEN, because, well, God isn't working on my schedule daggumit. That scramble is out of distrust. I'm not trusting that God will provide for His will. Just like Sarah wasn't trusting that God was going to give her a baby like Abraham said He would, so she scrambled and had him sleep with her maidservant (hey Ishmael). The Israelites chose not to trust that God would provide the promised land and had to wander around for 40 years as a consequence.

It's super easy to not see it as distrust. To see it from the standpoint of being "proactive". But let's just call it what we know it is. I believe things are not always instantaneous, and somethings take work on our part. But "when the grass withers and the flowers fall, the WORD of our God stands FOREVER" (Isaiah 40:8).

So back to that overarching theme. Provision.

Every time, provision. The Bible is this beautifully woven story that rings boldly true that He will, and does, provide. With Abraham's son, with a chunk of land He said He'd take His people of slavery and into, with the biggest and most beautiful gift of all time HIS OWN SON JESUS to take the place of our sickening sin which separates us from Him. He provides.

You may be thinking, but why? Why does He do that? And it is so dang simple.

Because He loves us. And He is always always always good. To show us we can TRUST Him. We can TRUST He is going to do what He said He would do.

Because, HE loved US first.

Man that felt good to get out.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Gratitude begets gentleness

It's forever amazing to me that God cares enough to give us the things we ask Him for. He doesn't have to, but He does. So when I notice it, I like to give Him that glory. He surely deserves it.

If you're used to reading here, you might remember that I pray for a purpose each year. I've prayed to be more merciful, more loving, and this year I have been begging God and seeking Him hard after gentleness. I've learned that these fruits are of His spirit, and that I cannot do these things, or be these things, apart from Him. I noticed a pattern of short temper, hot-headedness towards my babies and I HATED IT. Like kinda sorta started hating myself over it. I just felt like the worst mom and like I was constantly creating negative memories for my children. And that's when I realized I was making it about me. The more I made it about me- my time, my clean house, my well behaved quiet perfectly dressed kids, the more I was so quickly abandoning the grace I should be giving them when they fail. So I failed to accept any grace from God because.... I was trying to do it on my own. All I want as a mother is to love my kids deeply, know them deeply, and raise them to know God deeply. But if I'm not leaning into Him to show them those things? Que a whole lot of disappointment. 
I think I've struggled with being gentle towards people my whole life. And the older I've gotten, the clearer I feel like Jesus sinks it into me. When you're grateful for who you have, you tend to be more gentle towards the rest.

I mean this: I am so utterly, undeniably, humbly grateful for Jesus and what He did on the cross for me and everyone else. So when I make that my mindset, I tend to approach everyone else with gentleness. Including my kids.
I look at their beautiful, smiling faces from a stance of gratitude and how thankful I am to have them and raise them, that when things get hard (and they get hard OFTEN) I can seek God's gentleness for discipline and for gauging my reaction to whatever the situation might be. I can choose to be grateful to them instead of hateful. And I can choose that in Jesus name.
And for the times when I do lose my junk- because I'm human and not the best mom there ever has been or will be- then I repent and try to rest in His grace. Every day I'm glad to be their mom. 

Friday, April 15, 2016

when jumping feels more like sliding

I've always heard "where you sit is where you stand" and on this particular subject, I suppose I've sat (and stood) in the skeptic seat. I've said the words "I wouldn't. I couldn't. I'm sick of being asked." But then all of a sudden, I did. 

Two years ago I did an online internship with Ashley and that's when I first heard about Rodan and Fields. I looked up the products because I have horrible acne due to PCOS and uneven skin tone from pregnancies. They were not at all in my budget! I was super let down. I didn't want to sell, but I definitely wanted to try some products that I heard rave reviews about. 

Fast forward to current. I am asked probably twice a week by people I know, and people I don't, to join them in some kind of direct sales. And I always say no. But any time someone would ask me about R+F I would always email ashley with my questions and curiosities. But it always came down to budget. We're trying to get out of debt, I'm sure I've written about that here before. But we're really trying to make strides now. Having three kids so close in age puts me in a hard spot to look for a job because child care is so expensive. So I started praying for God to drop me something. And I am not saying this is how He answered, but I am saying that I am trusting Him with how this turns out for us.

Ashley introduced me to Lindsay and with a little help and birthday money…I am doing this with Lindsay as my coach! If you follow me on snapchat (hannahladd) then you probably already saw my story about all of this. Because y'all already know, IMMA KEEP IT REAL. Fo lyfe. I snapped my awful acne, fresh pimples and all. And because I spare myself nothing.. I took a couple of pics too. I want to give a full honest review, so that way, when(promise to overload) I talk about these products, you'll know you're getting the real deal.

You hear it all the time from people: JUMP IN! Take a risk! Just jump in full force! Live your dreams! 
Well here's where I sit. I am not a jumper. I am an over thinker. I like to weigh all my options and really think things through on practicality. So instead of calling this a "jump" in… I'm feeling it more as a slide in. I'm praying hard that God blesses my business venture, and that some women support it! I'm going to leave the link to my website for good measure. But feel free to email me with any questions!

This is super nerve-wracking for me!

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Parenting is Weird

I have a lot of friends embarking into parenthood for the first time right now. I also have a lot of friends jumping into multiple children territory. I get a lot of comments like "how do you do it with 3 kids so close in age?" and "how do you stay home with them all the time?" and "is it hard?" "I bet it's so fun having them so close together".

If you have ever read this blog at all, you likely know my answer to any of those questions. But just for fun, I'm gonna throw out some answers because I currently find myself able to type without Hattie pressing keys asking to watch 'BUPPIES'. That's toddler for Bubble Guppies, if you were wondering.

I will start by saying that my motherhood vibes do not typically dwell in Rainbowland. It's not all finger painting and handcrafted snacks. I don't always have my junk together. Coincidentally, I'm writing this beside a folded stack of laundry that I have yet to disperse of in 2 days… I don't say all of that to be like 'we're all drowning in the hot-mess sea!' 'survival mode for all!'. Because there are some moms that feel most like themselves when their homes are neat and tidy, and I don't think that makes them off-putting or judgmental. I feel like we feel like we can only accept people into our tribes if they're just like us, and the handle life like we do. And that isn't right. But we can save that conversation for another post, k?

Having 3 kids close in age is awesome and hard. It's constantly breaking up fights, and then witnessing the sweetest hugs given for no reason. It's not being able to hold everyone's hand or kiss every boo-boo. It's praying that you somehow didn't screw them up by getting knocked up so soon into their childhood. But it's also being so thankful they'll never remember life without each other. It's being proud that you survived the hard part, and happy they can keep each other company.

The question that I get most often, and never really know how to answer, is do I like staying home with my kids..? I went back to school and work when Emma was probably 5 months old. I worked part time until she was 18 months and I got put on bed rest while pregnant with Wyatt. Since then I've been a 'stay at home mom'. This wasn't because I believe it's the most effective way to mother. It wasn't because my husband always wanted a stay at home wife. It wasn't because this was a dream of mine. And for some people it is. DO YOU. I started staying home with our kids because I needed to. I didn't have a job where I would make enough to cover child care. I don't have a degree (GASP). When we got pregnant with Hattie, we were actually making plans for me to find something full time and put the kids in childcare. But that made zero sense once we knew we were having our third. So I settled in to mom life. And you can read my posts over the past couple of years of my emotional ride through all dat.

I love being able to be the one who gets to be with my kids all day. As hard as it is sometimes, I'm glad I'm the one who disciplines them and plays with them. But that's all we've ever really known, so I can form too huge of an opinion. I hate when people act like staying home with your kids is the hardest job in the world because I firmly disagree. It is hard. But it's hard emotionally. There's a difference. 

But the weirdest part of parenting? It's the crazy. Kids make you CRAZY. I should probably have some kind of certificate or something. There's a lot happening around here each day with hormones and feelings and fairness and ninja-ing out of naps. Some days I tell Blake "I CANNOT WAIT TIL BED TIME" and he's informed me on how awful that comes across, so feel free to spare me ;) 
You wanna know what happens when I get them all to bed though? I sit there and drool over their freaking pictures! "Babe look at this snap today when Wyatt did this… Here look at them playing in the tub… This is when we were planting…. " like a durn psycho! 

It is seriously the strangest thing they do to me. No wonder people laugh so hard when I say I want one more. I'm a wreck when it comes to these 3. They can make me want to hide in the pantry and eat mini reester bunnies, then make me want to kiss their faces right off. So odd. But I love it. And you, pregnant with your first kid- or maybe even your second? You will love it too. You will obsess over it from work (if that's what works for your family) or from your porch chair while you watch them soak each other with the water hose. You will definitely obsess over your tiny person that can also make you feel a type of crazy no one else ever has.

So hide yourself a snack for when you feel it bubbling up, and sneak it before you snap. Because being able to enjoy motherhood is so worth it. I'm praying for you, mamas and mamas-to-be. And you best believe I mean that with every fiber of my being. Parenting is weird, we gotta stick together!

All pictures were done by Jenn Johnson . Also check her out on instagram @jennjohnson0305