Just Say Know

Scott_22Do you remember the days when things were simpler…days when Google, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter didn’t exist? I remember waking up in my college years to coffee, prayer, and Jesus.  It was quiet.  That time was all that I wanted.  It was all that I needed.
Life changes. Marriage vows are spoken.  Children arrive.  Sleepless nights won’t let up.  Laundry grows. Dishes stink. Cleaning never ends. Work demands increase. Unexpected trials come.
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As responsibilities increase and needs accumulate,  I fight harder for my relationship with my heavenly Father.  Navigating mornings in search of peace, requires wading through diapers, sleeping children, blinking phone messages and the open computer screaming my new Facebook notifications. My favorite, Instagram, calls for me to take a quick peek.  Last night’s dirty dishes shamefully condemn me as I walk past.  The laundry I forgot to change the night before beckons me. These are not bad or unimportant things, but they must wait.
DISTRACTIONS! Now I know why Jesus went outdoors to a place of solitude to pray.  They are everywhere and are increasing as our society progresses with the next best thing.
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.   John 15:5
When I resist more of these earthly distractions, I find what my soul truly needs.
ineed Him.
ineed the only thing that satisfies my restlessness.  ineed to just be with Jesus.  I wash my mind in His Word and climb in His lap to hear His whispers of love.  ineed Him to remind me of who I really am.  ineed.  Yes, ineed.
2014 is my year to fervently determine to really KNOW God and be a little less “social” by saying, NO.  No, to unproductive distractions, that is. I will know God when I make my most important ineed; abiding with Jesus. I must pave the way for my children and show them what is most important because they too are embarking on this same journey. They are facing this same battle with increasing resistance, and never knowing a world without technological distractions.
You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:13
My friend, what lures you away from undistracted time with God? It’s easy to readjust your “social media life” and resist the world’s distractions…

Just Say KNOW!

 

It’s OK to show emotion

“Don’t let anyone see me cry.  Just act like everything is ok, even though the pit in the core of my stomach tells me something differently.  Just keep, ‘the everything is wonderful face’ topped off with a smile and keep going.” These are just a few mantras that I have chanted over and over in my mind to keep myself together when my emotional radar was sirening that something was wrong.  I’ve learned from Lysa Terkeurst that emotions are INDICATORS, not DICTATORS.

 As women, God gave us the gift of being more emotional.  We feel things emotionally and unfortunately, even amongst other believers, sometimes it just isn’t accepted.  So do you know what we all do?  We stuff and act like nothing is wrong instead of being honest about where we really are.  What if we, as Godly women, can be truly honest about where we are and express and release our emotions in a safe place, without fear?  BEING LESS EMOTIONAL DOESN’T MAKE YOU MORE GODLY!  Did that just help someone?  Sometimes, being honest about your emotions and venting them out to Him makes you MORE Godly!  Just look at David in the Bible.  He was considered a man after God’s own heart and look at all of the whining and crazy things that he said while processing his emotions to God.  This is it though; we can’t sin in our emotional state!  That is not ok!  It’s ok to be emotional and be honest about it.  It’s ok to cry!  It’s ok to get it out, but it’s not ok to sin or hurt others via gossip, losing control, cursing others, or turning to substances, shopping, etc. to cope.  

 What if we could truly be honest?  It seems as though women, overall, have a hard time doing that for many reasons:

 1. Pride. We don’t want to appear weak or unspiritual. Let’s face it! We do not always have it together!  Sometimes we are weak.  It’s ok to be weak.  My Bible says that when I am weak, then HE can be strong in me. 

 2. Fear of being misunderstood.  I have been misunderstood many times.  It’s ok too!  God intimately understands me and I am living to please Him and I have his approval…and so do you!

 3. There is no one available to talk to.  There is a BIG benefit of being in a small group.  You can always call anyone in the group to talk to.  These are people who know you and are sharing their lives with you. Many women don’t want to impose on anyone else.  Get over it please!  Your vulnerability may actually help them.

 4. Getting Hurt. Yes, I promise you will get hurt at some point in your life when you open up your heart to others, but by never opening up your heart is a trillion times worse. When someone hurts you, just forgive that person, let it go, and move on.  Find others who are not going to hurt you!  Be proactive.  Don’t stuff. 

 GIRLFRIENDS!  You don’t have to carry everything yourself!

 DISCLAIMER: This article is not an encouragement to let your emotions run wild and and free to whomever and by saying whatever.  It is an encouragement to pay attention to those tears that are welling up in your eyes and that knot in your stomach because you are valuable and important.  Trust me.  Stuffing emotions is going to hurt you and your most valuable relationships in the long run.  I learned that holding it all together may seem like I am doing everyone a favor, but in the long run, I am not.  It’s not going to be fruitful if you don’t acknowledge, process, and release the emotions.

 God gave us each other.  We were never meant to walk alone.  When I am weak, I run and hide behind my heavenly Father.  I turn off my brain and let him protect me.  I can’t figure everything out.  I also transparently share my tears, fears, and weakness with others.  I am not trying to be a Christian rock star.  I am a fragile, human being with real, raw, emotions who needs others in this harsh world until I get to heaven. 

“If I must boast, I would rather boast about the things that show how weak I am.” 2 Corinthians 11:30

 Do you stuff your true emotions? Who can you share your true emotions with?

 Keeping it real,

Joy

We judge others through the lens of our strengths

I’ve been thinking lately about all of the different interests and passions that people have, particularly amongst moms.  Whether your a homeschool mom, working mom, or soccer mom we all find ourselves drawn towards a particular niche of “mommyhood.”  We all have different personalities, passions, and lures that make us tick.

How many pinterest moms do we have reading?  (Confession: I am not a pinterest mom, nor am I cutesy or crafty, but that’s OK!)

What I have observed via conversations, facebook, etc. is that most mom’s have an opinion or preference about how they are living their life.  Some moms have more of an opinion or preference. To take it even further, some mom’s share their opinion or preference as absolute truth and everyone should conform to their opinion, preference, or absolute truth (whether it be or not).  As a result of this strong view women start cat-fighting to defend themselves or their children. (Because you know, nobody better mess with a mama’s child.)

Insecurity, pride, and hurt rise to the surface because a mom can just feel judged.  The sad truth is that sometimes there is judgement towards others because we are passionate, strong, and naturally good in some areas.

What I have observed is that we tend to judge others who are weak in an area because we are strong.

For example, the mom who is naturally highly self-motivated operates in a discipline that is intimidating to others.  She gets up at 5:00 am, has prayer time, exercises, does three loads of laundry and makes breakfast before the kids awake. She has a routine and sticks to it no matter what. Her energy is boundless. This type-A person is vulnerable to judging others who do not live their lives the way that she does.  Actually, pride could be attached to it.  She thinks that she is somehow better than her “lazy” girlfriend who rolls out of bed and flies into the carpool line.  Discipline is good and we all need it, but can this person fall prey to pridefully judging others who are weak in this area because they are strong ? Yes! This woman may be strong in this area due to personality or a natural inclination that comes easier to her.

Another example could be a mom who is struggling with her weight.  She tries and tries to lose weight with little avail. While another ectomorph-born mom who has never had a weight issue eats almost whatever she wants criticizes her. She says, “well, if she would just eat salad and run, she would drop some pounds.  The mom struggling with her weight may have some hormonal issues and dropping weight is far beyond easy.

A homeschool mom could judge (or secretly thinks she is doing a better job) with her kids because she is in her element at home.  She judges because she is afforded the opportunity to have an option that other moms may not have.

The list goes on and on…

I confess that I have secretly judged others out of my strengths.  I have judged from my own insecurity and/or pride.  When we judge others, it many times can be traced back to these two sinful downfalls.

My appeal to all of the moms, women, and sisters out there is to read the scriptures on grace and love towards others.

What would it look like if we didn’t get insecure when “all natural” mom shares her organic recipes that she made last week? What if we said, “Good for her!”  What if the “all natural” mom just lived her “all natural” life and didn’t judge people who can’t afford to eat this way.  Maybe the family is just trying to keep the lights on and go to work.  There is little time for recipe prowling and execution of healthy meals.

What if we did what Philippians 2:3 says to do?

Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem the other better than himself.”

WARNING:  The following scriptures will hurt, but we all need to hear it.    Matthew 7

Do not judge, or you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. 

YIKES!!!!

Lets all focus on the plank in our own eye.  None of us are perfect and we all have weaknesses.  Let’s work on ourselves instead of criticizing each other.

Sisters, we need each other!  Let’s build one another up and be secure enough to let other women “do their thing!”

Sisters, “do your thing” without judging others!

I would love to hear your comments on this topic!

Love ya Sis,

Joy

Unstoppable…Really?

Unstoppable tombstone

It is official.

 Joseph’s tombstone has been permanently sealed upon the ground where his little, earthly body is decaying.  Sadly, it is the cold, hard fact; his body is withering away under the earth, while his spirit in heaven lives on adorned by his new glorified body.  His mere frame of flesh is obsolete and he is soaring with the angels in his forever prime.  The abundant life that Jesus promised is Joseph’s now.

The single word on Joseph’s tombstone is: UNSTOPPABLE.  One word that had to describe his entire life; a potent word.  A word that speaks of moving forward and is ongoing.  UNSTOPPABLE…a word that I want to encapsulate my life as well.

It’s still so surreal to gaze upon this tombstone and swallow that my first-born son is really in the grave. I have to ask myself, “Is this really my life? Did this really happen to me?”  As tears roll down my cheeks, a few words resonate in my spirit: GRACE, PEACE, and JOY.  Yes, joy, in some strange way.  After momentary sadness floods, joy prevails.  There is a deep joy knowing that my son is with his true Father.  It’s an uncanny joy that he will never have to suffer in this life and that he is home.

There really is a PEACE that I can’t explain.  I’m really not that strong.  I actually am an emotional person by nature so why is it that I feel OK with this?  Why shouldn’t I be a wreck everyday?

All that I can say is that this GRACE is REAL!  I can’t logically explain it.   In the natural I shouldn’t be OK with this.  I can’t FAKE this or PRETEND to be strong.  GRACE soothes my soul and rocks me like a baby when memory upon memory fall like an avalanche through my mind.  It soothes me when I try to figure out why MY SON got cancer.  The questions come: “Was it something I ate, did, smelled, etc? Was is something spiritually that I didn’t cast down? What if I would have caught it earlier?” Then, I feel his strong, loving hand push my head to his chest and say, “STOP!  I’ve got him and I’ve got you.  I love you like no other.”

He assures me that He will keep me, cover me, and lead me.  His nearness alone can still me!  One word from Him.  One touch in his presence where I can draw close to him and suffocate the noises of this life.  HE IS ENOUGH! His grace soothes the pain.

This closeness to a gentle, but yet powerful God makes me UNSTOPPABLE, not MY strength, will-power, or discipline to pick myself up by my boot straps and press, press, press to drown it all out; to hide under a facade of busyness.

No, I am an overcomer and am UNSTOPPABLE for one reason:

My nearness to Him and His nearness to me!  I have relationship with the Father because of Jesus!

I am not this strong. I am held by His love in a relationship with the only one who can water my soul.  He is the only thing that satisfies.

Is your soul satisfied by Him?

Are you UNSTOPPABLE?  You can be with Jesus!

Josiah living an UNSTOPPABLE Life!
Josiah living an UNSTOPPABLE Life!

First and Last Breaths

Joshua with Joseph's Lovey
Joshua with Joseph’s Lovey

I would like to introduce to you, Joshua Asher Scott!

Joshua was born on April 10, 2013; a robust 8 lb 6 oz with a striking head full of hair.

As I walked myself down the stoic hallway of the hospital into the frigid operating room for my scheduled cesarean section, I was experiencing a surreal moment.  I chanted in my mind, “Am I really about to have another baby?”  The pregnancy flew by (believe it or not) and I was about to do this newborn thing all over again.  As I cautiously entered the operating room for my third c-section, I was more frightful because I knew exactly what was about to happen.  You see, my motto now with giving birth is, “NO PAIN, NO PAIN”!  I wanted to clearly direct the anesthesiologist about how to do his job to make sure that my spinal had no flaws.

There we went.  Spinal inserted…legs hot and tingly…wide awake…within minutes surgery had begun and merely minutes afterwards, my Joshua Asher took his first breath.  The nurses snugged the curtain down so that I could look at him.  My first thought was, “He is smaller than my other boys.”  He was so tight, compact, and strong.  Then I heard his sweet cry; the moment that he communicated with me for the first time verbally.  Forever connected with a bond that only a mother and a child can have.

Joshua was born in the same hospital that my first-born son, Joseph was born in and also died in at 4 years, 4 months of age.  Joseph took his FIRST breath in that hospital and also his LAST breath there.  I facilitated him coming into this world and also him leaving this world to enter his eternal heavenly home.

I have been thinking about first and last breaths.  First breaths only happen once.  Last breaths also only happen once.  It is all of the breaths in between that compile our life.  As I sit here right now and listen to Joshua’s non-rhythmic breaths, I am intrigued to know how many actual breaths a person breaths in his or her lifetime.  Millions…Billions…Trillions?

I can’t control the first breath nor can I can control the last breath that I breath, but I can choose to FULLY LIVE with the breaths in between.  I can embrace the future and the unknown with grace, hope, and love knowing that life truly is a GIFT!  It is our moment in time to impact the world; to impact others eternally.

I love the picture of Joshua with Joseph’s lovey because it is a symbol of new life and life no longer on this earth.  It reminds me that life is fleeting and is a vapor. It reminds me to ENJOY the life that I have TODAY.

Life does move on and we DO keep breathing breaths.  It is our choice as to how we want to spend those breaths.

A Forever Family of 5
A Forever Family of 5

I would like to encourage you today to breathe your breaths with hope and purpose!  You are loved and are here with a role that only you can fulfill.  Choose to LIVE your LIFE FULLY and EMBRACE your God-given PURPOSE!

Important Key To Overcoming – Spiritual Family

Some of our small group going to Ship Island

When walking through a valley in your life there are many things that are important to overcoming and not getting stuck in the pain.

One vital key to overcoming is to have a core of people around you that love you…just because.  You can face anything with encouraging truth, support, and love.

When you don’t have the strength to believe or see the future, it is others that are committed to you that carry you during these times.

In my own life, just knowing that Jon is committed to me and that Josiah adores me is anchoring for my soul.  But on another level, I have an extended spiritual family that fills in the gaps that my family alone can not fill.  We were created for relationships. When the web of spiritual family comes together to carry you during a dark time, you can overcome anything!  The strength and power that this brings to your life during weak times is not comparable to anything else in the world.

Relationships are what life is all about.  We need a core of people who will be there when times are good and when times are tough.  It is spiritual family that remains constant, even through all of their imperfections and mistakes.  No one is perfect.  You may not even talk to some people that much, but you know that they are around and love you without expectation.

Our small group guys

In Ecclesiastes 4:10  it says, “For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow. But woe to him who is alone when he falls and has not another to lift him up!”

You never know when a hard time will strike your life.  If you are not rooted and grounded in the house of the Lord and committed to others, then it is more difficult to carry the load alone.  Our hearts get faint sometimes and that can set us up to be deceived if we don’t have others reminding us of the truth and encouraging us in who we really are.

“Those who are firmly planted in the house of the Lord will flourish.”

So today, are you connected to others?  Maybe it’s a small group at church or a group of people that you serve with.  Who are those that you are committed to walking with even when you don’t feel like it?  Life gets busy and it’s easy to say, “Us four, no more.”  Sometimes, it’s inconvenient to be committed to going to your small group or showing up for that outreach.  When a trying time comes, those people will be already established in your life to be able to love and support you.

“May the Lord make your love increase and overflow for each other and for everyone else, just as ours does for you.” I Thessalonians 3:12

I thank God that we were committed to others when Joseph passed away.  It truly was spiritual family that carried us through the darkest days of our lives.  I don’t know where we would be without them.  We definitely wouldn’t be where we are now!

Mrs. Juanita drove with Sue to Memphis to be with us after Joseph’s surgery.

A Strong Heart

Love Hearts

The word heart is mentioned in 930 verses of the Bible.  We hear and use the word heart on a regular basis.  “I love you with all of my heart.”  “That makes my heart happy.”  “He broke my heart.”  You get the picture.

What does the word heart really mean though?  Of course, we have our literal heart in our body that serves as one of our major organs that pumps blood throughout, which totes oxygen to every other part of our body; without this oxygen, we would die.  But then there is the soul/spirit reference of the word heart that we use when we are hurt.

Proverbs 4:23  (NIV) says, “Above all else guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life.”  The New Living Translations says, “Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life.”

Just as our literal heart is the source that disperses “good or bad” blood throughout our entire being , our spiritual heart is the source that feeds every other place in our life, “good or bad”.  The Bible says to,  ABOVE ALL ELSE, guard your heart.  Our hearts will determine the course of our entire life.

What does that look like?

A broken heart = apathy, lack of motivation, and a “shut-down” attitude

A weary heart = lack of trust, tired of believing, a “give-up” attitude

A deflated heart = lack of courage, lack of confidence, an “I can’t” attitude

A bitter heart = negative, unforgiving, an “I won’t/can’t let-it go” attitude

A shattered heart  = pain that shocks and stuns,  emotionally frozen, an “I can’t go on” attitude

A strong heart = confident, healthy, an “I am fulfilled” attitude

God has mended my heart over and over again.  He always gives me His heart when I exchange my broken, bitter, or shattered heart for His.  Sometimes it takes me a while to give it to Him because I like to nurse my wounds and get others to also.  I know from experience that I can trust Him with my heart no matter what state it is in 100 percent of the time.  When no one else “gets-it”, He does!

Where is your heart today?

Psalm 73:26 says, “My flesh and my heart may fail, but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.”

Our loving Father can strengthen our broken, weary, deflated,  bitter, or shattered heart!  Our heart will determine the course of our life.  “Above all else, guard your heart!”  How do you and I guard our hearts?  To guard our heart is to guard our thoughts.  We can shift our thoughts to something positive.  We can refuse to keep dwelling on something.  We can replace our “nasty” thoughts with the Bible.  We can believe the best in people when we want to believe the worst.  We can just take one step, when we want to shut-down.  Sometimes we need to just stop thinking because we are tired and go to bed.  (Nothing fruitful comes out of an exhausted mind and body.)

Father, I ask that you be the strength of our hearts and our portion forever.  Strengthen my friends today and fill them with a fulfilled heart that can only come from you.

Helping Others Is How You Heal!

I shared a few weeks ago about how I have overcome loss in my life on my blog entitled:   What will define you?  Your pain or your purpose?  https://theunstoppablelife.me/2012/08/20/what-will-defi…r-your-purpose/

In that post, I talked about how I overcame many losses in my life from: an abusive marriage to losing my “so-called” identity while having my active boys 14 months apart, to losing my first-born son from a brain tumor last December. I shared how at some point, either your pain or your healing will define you.  I want to elaborate on practically how that happened for me.

There comes a point when you come to a transition in your painful situation.  There is a transition time and point.  This is the time after you have gone through the natural stages of grief and have mourned the reality of the deep loss that you have experienced.  It is critical to grieve appropriately in your own time, but there does come a transition point where it’s time to heal properly.  This crossroad in your grief can define how you respond for the rest of your life – Cynical or Hopeful.

I came to a point when I realized that I could never bring Joseph back to earth and I had to decide how I was going to respond to that realization.  Was I going to be stuck? Was I going to be negative, doubtful, and cynical the rest of my life?  I knew that I couldn’t change that I was going to live the rest of my life here on earth without him with me.  I decided to place my hope and heart in heaven and try to help and encourage as many other people as I was able to! This was a game-changer for me!

As I began to step out and help other families who were battling for their child’s life or who have lost a child, I began to heal and get stronger in my heart!  As I lifted my eyes to heaven and decided that I was going to kick the enemy’s butt for the rest of my life,  joy and purpose came to me!  I can now see a bigger picture!

Since starting Hope4Joseph Foundation last December, we have had the privilege of helping over 2o families and have also given away tons of resources to families fighting for their children.  This was definitely something that I never thought that I would be apart of.  I never thought that this would fall into my lap, but it did!

God is healing my heart and am now more full of faith than before Joseph went to heaven.  I am serious!  I am not just trying to write a good blog!  I eagerly look to the future and am excited to see what God is going to do next.  Helping others is truly a huge part in how you heal!”

“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.”  Luke 9:24  (New Living Translation)

Is it time for you to start helping others in spite of your painful situation?  Only you know when that time is.  The first step is the hardest, but once you start, healing and joy will fill your heart!

I love you,

Joy

Check out more at http://www.hope4joseph.org/

Bittersweet

9 weeks pregnant today!

Today marks the milestone of being 9 weeks pregnant!   The rush of excitement when you find out that you are going to have a baby is unmatched.  We are so thrilled that Josiah is going to have another brother or sister and that he gets to be the big  brother this time!

If I told you that it has been all thrills, then, I wouldn’t be telling you the truth though.  Well, first of all, I have terrible morning sickness this go-around.  I was never sick with my boys, especially with Joseph.  I ran a half marathon when I was 16 weeks pregnant with Joseph and felt the best that I’ve ever felt.  Oh, and did I mention that the only thing that makes me feel better is soft drinks and pizza. Yeah, I’ve been caught shoving pizza down my throat in the middle of the night just for some relief from the nausea.  I refuse to step on the scale to  announce how much weight I have ALREADY gained!  And finally, being pregnant has triggered so many memories of being pregnant with Joseph, my first-born son who now lives in heaven.  The emotional roller-coaster of hormones doesn’t add steadiness or rational perspective to the situation either.

There’s nothing like expecting your first child!  Everything is new!  You are ignorant of all of the many hard days ahead and there is nothing like experiencing giving birth for the first time!  Everything is so vivid with your first child and you record more memories in your brain because it is so foreign to you.  Maybe I don’t remember as much with Josiah because I had them 14 months apart.  By the time Joseph was 6 months old, I was already pregnant with Josiah!  Like I said…ignorant of the reality of how much is involved with infancy and toddler-hood.  Oh, and they were both extremely strong-willed and as active as a wild horse.  Nevertheless, being a rookie mom is exciting!

As hard as those days were, I have the sweet memories of my Joseph who is no longer with me on this earth.  He was full of sunshine and charisma.  Everyone knew when he walked into the room, much like my precious Josiah!  So, I have to honestly say, this pregnancy is bittersweet!  I have to move forward with courage because I never expected anything to happen to Joseph.  I move forward with faith and trust that God holds this new baby,  just like he holds us…just like he holds Joseph.  I have to fight fear and rest that God has good plans in store for my children…ALL of my children!  I rest that the number of all of our days are known by God and he also knows the number of the hairs on our head.  He has a good future for Josiah and this baby. I can trust him with their lives.

As I remember, how Joseph kicked and rolled around during pregnancy and also his birth story, it is bittersweet.  Bitter in the fact that I wish I could hold him again and sweet in the fact that I can remember and cherish his memories through embracing a new “joy” to our family.  Joseph is a huge part of who I am and his life has formed character and joy in me that nothing or no one else could!  He will never be forgotten, even if I have six more babies. (Don’t count on it!)

Today is 9-11.  I think this is another fitting reminder of so many lives that had to “start again”.  Many of them had to embrace “new joys” after that event.  I wonder how many people just couldn’t do it.  I wonder how many people stopped living and fear crippled them.  Fear to the point of not accepting any “new joy” in their life.

Are there things in your life that are bittersweet?  Are there good things that you are afraid of embracing now because of hurtful past experiences?  I invite you to trust God with me!  Trust God that he has good in store for us; that he loves us and longs to make us fulfilled and full of joy and purpose.  He longs to give good gifts to his children!

I love you!  Live your life fully today!  Embrace and love what is in your hand right now despite fear of the past!

Joy