So here I am, ready to try again… to share that life with you. Past and present.
Because, I can =)
But mostly because I’ve learned a lot, and through it all, have an increasing desire to reach out and share with those around me.
Who Am I?
My name is Amy. At first glance, I’m a wife, of 10 years, and a mom of 3, ages 14, 8 and 7 mos. (again, that’s life, folks).
Yes, I will be the parent of a teenager for 21, continuous years.
That alone should provide enough material to fill a blog 😉
As if that’s not enough, I can’t picture a home without pets! I’m such an animal lover; currently pet parent of 2 cats, a turtle I “rescued” in the 5th grade (And by rescue I mean trapped in a butter tub and snuck home on the bus, 25 years ago), and a voluptuous Mini Pig named Sweet Tea Charlotte or “Sweets”. She’s our house pig, AKA a fury, 150lbs, toddler.
They keep me busy*.
*(exhausted and frustrated)
Most days look like this…
Writing is a newer form of expression, for me. I also cook (for business and pleasure), crochet, and am generally a creative/crafty person. You can see more of that, if we connect, on Facebook or Instagram or Pinterest.
There’s something about writing though, that I’ve held off on. Creating a new recipe or pattern, with yarn, or sharing someone else’s ideas, doesn’t warrant the same vulnerability or judgement as written word.
One thing I’ve recently learned, however, is a confidence to speak my mind. And I have a lot to say! So the time for courage, has arrived.
I’m here, today, opening up, beyond the superficial introduction. Because we all know, life is more complicated than that! And goodness, what good is a blog without some juicy details. =)
And boy, am I looking forward to getting these thoughts and stories out of my head! Even if its at a slower pace, due to the neediness that surrounds me.
What’s to Come
I will be using this space to ultimately write about Wellness. Of Mind, Body, and Soul.
Could I pick a broader topic?? Not likely. But, I’m putting myself out there, to help those who are struggling.
Because I’ve been there.
For me, life has been a tug of war between being well and finding the right balance between physical, mental and spiritual health.
Balance being the key word, and also the biggest struggle.
Over the years, I had gone from one extreme to the other, in each of these areas. Usually only focusing on one at a time and wondering why the other areas were falling apart.
It wasn’t working. Instead I was continually frustrated and lacking.
Can you relate to being sick and tired of being sick and tired??
It’s only recently I realized just how much each of these areas matter in creating Wellness. All of them, working together.
So now it is my mission to help you be well, through health, vitality and contentment.
It was about 3 years ago (2014), when I was given a wake-up call. Ultimately, I was stripped of my mental and physical health, and left spinning out of control. (There will be more on that bit, in future posts.)
I had a choice to make. Sink or swim.
As I was bounced around the choppy waters, trying to make sense of what my life had become, it was through nourishing my soul’s health, that literally saved my life and gave me my sanity and physical health back.
You see, I decided to grab ahold of the only flotation device I could reach. The life saver, I learned had been there all along… God.
Hope I didn’t lose you, there. I expect that some of you reading this may be questioning my credibility at this point. You may even be thinking, oh great, she’s one of THOSE people.
Well, whether you believe in God, or not, I plan on writing a lot about how my life has completely changed, for the better, because of the spiritual journey I’ve been on. And frankly, how getting my soul “healthy” has allowed every other part of my life to fall into place.
Coming from a life of chronic depression, anxiety, and broken relationships, lead to the heavy emotions of self doubt and worthlessness, as well as a number of years lost to substance abuse, and even more years in therapy. The transformation I’ve experienced is nothing short of miraculous.
For the first time, ever, I’m feeling good about life, and myself.
I want the same for YOU.
Is everything rainbows and unicorns?? Oh goodness, no. Far from it.
Life isn’t easy, despite what social media portrays. I believe life is messy, for all of us.
After all, we’re just a planet of imperfect people, doing the best we know how. And lets face it, some only know ugly. Unfortunately, I don’t think there is any way around that. It’s a broken world, we live in.
I’m here to say, it’s time to learn better, so we can do better. Lets stop making things more difficult than they have to be and start acting on what we do control.
Things like our thoughts and environment, is a good place to start.
Imagine feeling better, looking better, living better. What could that do for you?
For now, I will be using my messy life, as a means, to share a message. A message of hope, health, perseverance, and fulfillment. Also a message of familiarity, for anyone else finding themselves in the middle of a mess.
Through my mess, I have been blessed. Even though it hasn’t been an easy road, I hope to share what I’ve learned and am learning along the way. Thank you, for joining me on my journey.
I hope that my stories of faith, family and lifestyle are a blessing to you.
Tis the season. Are you looking to God for an answer?
What season of life are you in, right now? If you’re anything like me, you’ve noticed the seasons that come and go. Some are busier than others, but most are fairly mundane.
I find, when times are good, they’re good. The days click away, and I’m able to make it through one, to the next, with not much of a hiccup.
Everything is under control. Or shall I say, organized chaos, in my house 😉 But it’s doable.
It’s in these days, routine is king.
Kids have appointments and games, there are deadlines at work, phone calls need to be made, and bills need to be paid… that’s life, for most of us.
It’s been my experience, during this time of life, Godly communication tends to be minimal. Maybe a prayer before bed or worship music in the car. Can’t really complain, because compared to many, life is good, right?
Until it’s not. And when it’s not, your busy life, that was once manageable, can quickly turn into straight up chaos. Nothing organized about it. So much so, you may even find yourself curled up, in tears, on your bathroom floor, unable to function. (Maybe that’s just me =/)
It is often in these moments, the ones where we’ve lost all control over our circumstances, that we find ourselves begging for a sign, looking to God for an answer…
“What now, God?”
“How could this happen, God?”
“What did I do to deserve this, God?”
“Where do I go from here, God?”
“Why, God? Why??”
“Can you even hear me, up there?”
Those questions come shortly after any “Glitch in the Matrix”, as I like to say.
What I’d like to share with you is this, no matter what season you are in, right now, God is actively seeking you, to actively speak to you. Unlike the Old Testament, with burning bushes and parting seas, God speaks to us differently, today. However, one thing’s for sure… You certainly won’t hear Him, if you aren’t listening.
God is speaking, all the time. Are you listening?
I’ve spent most of my years as a “part time, when it works in my favor, Christian”, only looking for God, to act, move, or speak, when the season got tough, and I just couldn’t handle it anymore.
“God, I don’t got this *thing right here*, please help!”
I mean, I had no reason to be reaching out, at other times, right? I could handle it, on my own.
Without fail, however, the seasons would cycle. Does that happen for you, too? It seemed like every few years I would hit a pretty dark and trying period.
Looking back, I honestly believe, it’s because I wasn’t listening, to God, for so long, He would use a breaking point to get my attention. Every time.
I see it happen a lot, when people work themselves sick and are forced to stop and rest! Not by choice, but because they have too.
For me, I wish I could say it’s happened only once… buuuuut, my name is Amy, and I’m stubborn and fairly certain my way is better.
Well, it’s not, and it only took 34 years for me to get that!
Honestly, there have been a few times, I found myself so broken and out of control, one could really only surrender and say, “OK, You’ve got my attention. My way does NOT work. HELP!”
It is only by the Grace of God I am here, able to share my journey with you. Because, His way is better than my way, and He’s proven that to me, 100 times over.
All these years later, I finally made the conscious decision, to do something different. After all, isn’t the definition of insanity to do the same thing over and over, expecting a different result?
My way was clearly not working. I was beyond sick and tired, of being sick and tired. More importantly, I was ready to break the cycle of what felt like a boat with a tiny leak. Shoveling out the water as needed, only buying some more time until we had to abandon ship.
My question to you is, are you only turning to God when you’re drowning? Only when it’s in your best interest?
I have learned something, in this newer season of my life, and that’s the life boat of God never goes away. Even when you can’t see it, or feel it or don’t think you NEED it.
By shifting your focus, from the hole in the boat, to the Son Of God, you’ll find He is there, every time. Not only to lift you up in times of trouble, but in His new yacht for the day to day grind, as well!
God speaks in the good times too
Since the God I’ve come to know is faithful, ALL the time, I committed myself to seeking what He had to say, during the calm(er) seasons of routine. Not just when I was stuck.
Doing this will help you too. Especially if peace, perseverance, guidance and strength are on your to do list!
Read what Isaiah 43:2 has to say
When you pass through the waters, I will be with you. When you pass through the rivers, they will not flow over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned. The fire will not destroy you.
From the calm waters, to the rising rivers, to the fire… HE is beside you, offering love, protection and guidance.
God is good, ALL the time
When you shift your focus, to our heavenly Father, and keep it there, the chaos doesn’t go away. No. It’s not a magic wand that turns everything to unicorns and rainbows. But, what it does do, is keep your heart in check, and your soul grounded, no matter the storm going on around you.
AKA a peace that passes all understanding.
I like to think of a giant palm tree. (Preferably one that’s planted on a white sandy beach, next to the crystal clear, aquamarine waters of the Caribbean <3)
A strong and healthy tree has roots that reach far below, and wider than its branches, above. It is here the roots have access to cooling waters and nutrients which keep it strong. Because of this, when a giant storm arises off the shore, our friendly palm tree can stand tall. Its trunk is flexible, able to bend with the pressure, as the winds pick up.
The tree doesn’t focus on the storm around it, no, it stretches those roots even further and hangs on.
Just like you and me, trees are subject to the tumultuous weather beyond their control. Notice how they don’t bend and break with every thunder storm.
Imagine if, like us, our palm tree uprooted itself and ran to higher ground every time there was a storm? How fragile would the root system be then? Similarly, how we respond, in every season, will determine our level of peace in the times of turbulence.
I think of Jesus’ words in John 15:5
“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” (NIV)
Where have you been planted? Most likely the view isn’t as glamorous as our trusty metaphorical palm tree… But, where ever you are, are you growing your roots in the right direction, in the right soil? (That’s Jesus, btw)
When you remain in HIM, in the good times as well as the bad, you will begin to notice something spectacular. God is in fact, speaking to you, in the good times too! And it is in these seasons, we truly grow in our faith and strengthen our roots.
This is important, because life is full of trials and sorrow; it comes with the broken world we live in. So, if things are going alright for you, at the moment, the time to prepare, is now.
When a tornado is in your yard, is NOT the time to head outside and bring in the lawn chairs.
5 ways God is talking to you
1st way God is speaking to you
Hands down, the best way to hear from God, is to get into HIS word. Every day.
I always knew reading the Bible was important to my spiritual journey. So, I adopted the practice of reading my devotional and saying prayers, daily. With 3 kids, pets, a house to run, a marriage, and multiple jobs, that time was right around 11:00 at night, when it was finally quiet. As you might imagine, many nights, I spent this time in my Bible out of obligation or guilt, because I knew it was something I didn’t NOT want to do.
2 Timothy 3:16-17 says
All the Holy Writings are God-given and are made alive by Him. Man is helped when he is taught God’s Word. It shows what is wrong. It changes the way of a man’s life. It shows him how to be right with God. It gives the man who belongs to God everything he needs to work well for Him. (NLV)
That verse sums it up pretty nicely. But, I recently realized something… that God wanted to speak to me, more clearly. And it wasn’t going to happen when I was drained and zoning out at the end of the day.
A message I heard, one Sunday morning, prompted me to MAKE the time to START my day with HIM. Even if it was 5 minutes. I’ll tell you, it sure does make a difference in my attitude, and opens my ears to how God is speaking to me throughout the rest of the day.
This one step alone will help you be more patient, kind and calm.
If this is something you haven’t done before, start with the YOUVERSION, BIBLE app. It’s my go to way to read God’s Word. Even if it’s only for a few minutes.
Ask God to speak to you, in this time. It has been my experience, by starting with prayer, God will bring a verse across the page that talks directly to my situation. It happens all the time, actually.
God’s word is there to speak to you. If it’s not, read a little longer 😉
Matthew 6:33 tells us to,
Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need. (NLT)
Above all else means, before social media, before emails, before starting you day. I challenge you to open your Bible and ask God to speak to you, before all else. Heck, you can listen to your bible in the car, now a days!
I bet you’ll find yourself more relaxed and peace filled throughout the day, once you adopt this practice. I promise, you won’t regret it!
2nd way God is speaking to you
Another big way God speaks to us, is through the Godly people in our lives.
This could be a Pastor, a Christian author (so a book / biblical devotion), or Christian artists, through their worship music, poetry or other art.
Who are you surrounding yourself with during the week? Think; TV, movies, reading, your top 5 circle of influence (friends/family), the music in your car, people you follow on social media…
I truly believe what you allow into your head is what settles in your heart.
I’ll admit, I used to think checking in with God, every Sunday morning, was enough.
However, there are 168 hours in a week… Do you think spending 1 of them, giving your attention to God, is enough to strengthen and grow your faith throughout the rest of the week? Probably not.
Since the vast majority of us don’t live and work in a Church, God will certainly use Godly people to speak to us, the rest of the week. Think about it, that’s what we’re called to do as Christians. Share God’s Love and His Good News!
That means, He is readily available to speak to you, any time! How cool is that??
This is why it’s important to plant yourself in an environment that God is present in. If not, you won’t be able to hear Him through all the noise of the world.
It’s especially important when you’re struggling.
Think about it, when do we need to hear and feel God the most?? In our hurts and pains, right?
In these times, getting to church, or reading your bible, or listening to worship music, will probably be the last thing you want to be doing. That’s why it’s so important to implement good habits, by reading your Bible, listening to worship music, building relationships within a church, in the good times too!
When you do this, on the day depression hits, or circumstances get rough, it won’t be too much to reach out for God, because He’s already surrounding you (and you’ll feel it!). =)
I would never have been pulled through some of my darkest moments if I wasn’t already surrounded by church family, or wasn’t already flooding my radio with the promises found in worship music, or already meeting with a counselor that shared my faith.
No way would my life be where it is today, standing in victory, without those Godly people. And they would not have been there if I wasn’t already cultivating the relationships and habits, when I had the mind to do so.
3rd way God is speaking to you
We’ve been given a gift. The gift of God within us! The Holy Spirit.
The Helper is the HolySpirit. The Father will send Him in My place. He will teach you everything and help you remember everything I have told you.
I find the Holy Spirit speaks God’s will, through a small still voice. You can barely hear it, but you can feel it. A verse may come to mind, or a calming thought, or nudge in a certain direction.
The voice of the spirit, for me, is highly activated during prayer or worship music. I LOVE when the word of God is given a rhythm, don’t you??
Ever hear a really good gospel song, or read a touching story that gave you goosebumps, or brought you to tears? That’s a great indication the Spirit has moved in your heart!
Throughout the day, when you feel yourself getting agitated, confronted with a difficult situation, or you’re not sure what to do or say, simply pause and do a heart check.
Stop your racing thoughts for a moment and listen; if all you get are crickets… go back and evaluate the other 4 areas God may can be speaking to you. The more distant you are, from His word and His people, the harder He is to hear.
Matthew 7:7 reminds us
“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.”
Now, you might be wondering, the Holy Spirit is given to those who have acknowledged Jesus as the Son of God and opened their hearts to Him.
Never had the opportunity to do that? If you feel led to give your life over to God and start living the life He designed you to live, simply read the following prayer. You may even be feeling some tightness or agitation in your heart and stomach. Believe it or not, that’s the Holy Spirit! God is seeking you, because He has something to say =)
4th way God speaks to you
God speaks through His creation and nature’s beauty.
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.
I find it impossible to look at the mountains, oceans, flowers, or animals, and not feel God’s power. Even our own bodies; YOU are beautifully and wonderfully made!
But, it’s easy to get caught up in the world, today. The sights and sounds around us are distracting and loud! It’s important to take time to unplug, reconnect, and recharge.
Look up. It’s a beautiful place we live in!
Notice the birds, a pretty sunset, babbling brook, beautiful field of flowers… God is speaking to you, through the majestic landscaping, about who He is. Take some time to appreciate and connect with Him, in His glory.
You can always find God in His creation.
What do you think He’s saying?
I often think He’s saying, “I am bigger than any problem you may be facing”.
I also feel He is saying, “Look how magnificent my creations are, and yet, I thought the world needed one of YOU too”.
If you’re having a hard time hearing God, find a quiet spot, in nature, and just praise Him for His creations. It can be quite the humbling experience, but also a great way to clean out your ears 😉
5th way God speaks to you
This is a big one. God will speak to you through your circumstances.
Believe it or not, God uses our environment and experiences to speak to us.
Remember how it’s usually when circumstances become unbearable that we, stop, look, and listen? I’ve noticed, it is in these moments, decisions are made to take action. When our discomfort finally outweighs the fear of change, we move.
How often do we get up and move or make a change for no reason, right?
God uses our circumstances to speak for His Glory
Another way God uses our circumstances is to show His glory to the world.
We serve a God of miracles. Often times these miracles are overlooked as “coincidence”, or “luck”, but I know better 😉
One of my favorite verses is Ephesians 3:20
Now all glory to God, who is able, through his mighty power at work within us, to accomplish infinitely more than we might ask or think. (NLT)
By maintaining your relationship with God, you will quickly see how He is working all things for your good! It will be hard to miss!
Jesus said, in Matthew 17:20
“…I tell you the truth, if you had faith even as small as a mustard seed, you could say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it would move. Nothing would be impossible.”
That’s what God wants to do for you. Move the mountains!
What is the mountain you currently need moved?? Debt collectors? Your health? An abusive relationship?
We pray for these “mountains” to be moved, but don’t stop and think about what it actually looks like or feels like, for that to happen.
I’ll tell you what, to move a mountain, you’ll need some pressure.
Yes, that means it will get uncomfortable, but in the end, it’s all a part of God’s plan! Trust Him, because when you remain faithful to his word and promises, you’ll be able to stand tall on the greatness of what just happened!
What an amazing testimony it is, to the world, when God moves your mountain.
God also uses your circumstances to speak THROUGH you
It is also through your circumstances God will use YOU to speak and share Him with those around you.
This can look many different ways. From sharing a smile in the grocery line, to being an encouraging word to a friend that really needs it.
I call these God moments. And when your eyes and ears are in tune with Him, you’ll notice them everywhere!
Most of the time, they are seemingly small moments. There are times, however, when God will place you into a situation that is anything but.
One such story comes to mind, when I think about God using circumstances, to speak through us, in a big, big way. I’d like to share it with you…
For the past 7 years, I’ve been involved in my church’s Vacation Bible Camp. It’s a fun time, with a bunch of crazy kids, learning about Jesus, on their level, for a week. It’s a whole lot of work, but an amazing time. Every year, we have a competition to raise money for local charities and organizations. LOTS of change is brought in, on a daily basis. I remember the first year I was a part of the program, and we spent so much time rolling and counting coins!
I knew there was a better way, so I offered to bring it to my bank’s counting machine… We’ve done it that way for years now.
In 2015, as I was making one of my many trips to the bank, God put me right smack dab in the middle of a circumstance where He needed ME to be His hands, feet and voice.
I will not go into too much detail, but the situation involved a pedestrian and a large vehicle, that was backing up and didn’t see her crossing the street. The way it all played out, anyone not paying attention could have missed it! In fact, many did.
In that moment, I felt God speaking to me, very loudly and clearly, that I needed to get out and help. Because I listened, and was where He wanted me to be, that day, I was able to provide God’s comfort and assurance to a stranger, in her final moments of life. God used me, to hold her hands, to provide the shirt off my back, and to let her know she was going to be ok, whether I believed it or not.
One of the toughest days of my life. I still struggle with what I saw and how I felt. But what I can’t get over is the sense of peace, knowing that in this woman’s final moments, she saw the true love of Jesus Christ.
It comes down to this, some great moments happen when you recognize God’s voice in your life, it’s truly life changing, however, the greatest moments happen when you bring the heart of God to someone else.
Trust in the Lord with ALL of your heart
At ALL times and in ALL things
For it is by your trust His guidance gracefully moves
A selfless task, sought by many, conquered by few
Worry, doubt, and fear, speak most loudly when it’s time
And here in worldly thoughts is where hesitations pause action
Even for a moment, God’s Will is put on hold
To acknowledge the contrary before any movement is made
You don’t see the prosperity or blessings poured freely
They’re held back by the dam your insecurities have built
Not on purpose, not by desire, brick by brick the wall will rise
Keeping the safer road lit, never aware of the cost
These moments add up with each passing day
As you attempt to play God and fail with each try
It’s your soul’s knowing Spirit that mourns all that is lost
The possibilities that could have been; denying His plan
To trust the unseen, the unknown, and unpopular
Seems crazy to those hiding in fear all around you
So you sit and you question all these realistic scenarios
Ironically walking in hand with the creator of our universe
Surely, His blessings and love overwhelm comprehension
If anyone can be trusted it’s the God of forever
Why blindly follow the steps of those gone prior
With a heart half full; abundance locked behind what’s lacking
A life isn’t true until trust is surrendered
With everything that is in you and all that you have
For the fear is a lie, only hurting your self
Security is what you seek, while security is what’s lost
If completely you trust the more completely you’ll thrive
In all that you do, you have, and you hold, that level of trust determines your life
So jump into the water, no matter how rough
Through trust you will soar and go further than ever
Knowing God’s love looks into eternity
It’s time to break down the wall and let trust flow freely
Each moment that’s lost with a toe on dry land,
Is a missed opportunity for your soul and the Kingdom
Ask any soldier that’s taken the leap
And they’ll tell you the worth of those life changing steps
You’ll never look back once you trust with your all
For it is only through Jesus love and life will abound