I Have…I Will

Labor Day was one of the many holidays growing up that we had the delight of choosing what parent we spent it with. A decision no child really wants to make. Anyhow, since 3 of us lived with my dad and 2 of us with my mom, where all the family was, chances are minor holidays they came to mom’s. Of course we traveled to pick up and drop off whoever whenever.

This labor day, September 1, 1997, after all the family festivities settled…we traveled back to Leesville to meet up with my dad. That was the half way point to say our good byes and hellos. We dropped my older sister and older brother off with my dad and my mom, youngest brother and I made our drive back home. It was a quiet one. We stopped for frech fries at the store and then drove back home to get prepped for school the next day. When we made it home, I ran to check the answering machine. (The days before cell phones…what did we do? 😜) I realized we had several missed calls from my dad’s phone and several messages from them there. In their messages, you could hear the urgency in their voice. I called back right away and my dad says…”hey Scoot, I need to speak with your mom!” I hand the phone over to my mom where you saw her already tired demeanor become serious, scared, sad and helpless. She discussed some details with him, got off the phone with him and preceeded to call the prayer line at our church. I asked, “mom, what’s going on?” Her reply was something that didn’t feel so liberating or celebratory that holiday.

“Carissa was in a wreck. She has been rushed to the ER where they are giving her blood tranfusions.”

Carissa was my oldest sister. The momma – do of the family. This news had me nervous and scared. I didn’t know what to do in that moment. So I did what I did best as a destressor…I cleaned. I went to start a load of laundry and as I am getting nervous and scared, I heard God audibly for one of the only times in my life. He said, “Callie, I have brought you through so many things in your life..I will bring you through this too.” A statement that has shaped my love and trust in God. As I got excited because the word I just heard was a message of hope to me, I went to tell my mom. She scolded me. She said not to talk doubt in that situation and that very scared momma was not hearing the faith in the word I heard, she heard it as final. The rest of the night was a busy chaotic mess. Before the end of the night, my sister Carissa at age 17, breathed her last breath.

So how on earth was such a message of hope ending with such despair. I remember falling asleep that night wishing I could die and go be with her. I remember falling asleep hoping I was gonna wake up and it had all been and dream. I felt all but God in those moments.

The following days and years began the journey without her present in our day to day life. A journey i was all but prepared for yet so well prepared for. You see a year leading up to that day, I had been having dreams that we were looking for her. I woke up feeling eery. I would pray. For a year leading up to, I had gotten use to not seeing her everyday since she lived with my dad and I with my mom. And the days that followed that brought many hard moments, I felt a peace that surpasses every understanding surround me. Did I cry, yes! Did I get mad, yes! Did I question things, yes! But not one step did I feel alone.

My thoughts from this lately as I walk through some things is this..I am never walking this journey alone. When I am faced with hard, stressful situations…I am that 15yr old girl again standing at the washing machine in our old beautiful home in Grand Cane, La with God speaking to me telling me…I have brought you through everything else in your life…I will bring you through this.

I don’t know what you are facing today, this week or this year. But I do know this, it says inΒ  Hebrew 13:5

I will never leave you nor forsake you.

You are not walking through this season alone. He is saying to you…I have brought through everything else in your life, I will bring you through this.
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Comparison

We have all heard that

“comparison is the thief of joy”

and it’s so true. Most times I am quick at catching myself and reeling in my thoughts when starting to compare myself to others. But what about comparing yourself to someone that you would never think is a problem to compare to? Comparing yourself to you…your old self.

You see I find myself mostly competeing not with other people, I don’t care to keep up with the Jones’s, I do not tend to jump in the bandwagon of someone else’s ideas or opinions, I don’t really follow trend BUT I compare myself. And I compare myself to me. You see a few years ago(like 7.5-8)…I was single. I had a thirst for God that wasn’t ever really quenched. I loved people so much I was up late and up early to be with Jesus. And after my Jesus time or even during, I would walk or run. I ate a low carb life and I felt better than ever. I was fit, healthy, I had a job where I was loved on praised and felt very significant, I had a wardrobe that didn’t consists of being covered with snot or spit up or bleach stains from cleaning house. Oh and a clean house….I remember when I had that in fact once I cleaned it…it stayed pretty clean. I remember when the days were long and I was still able to take care of myself. I spent time getting my nails and feet done. I bought myself clothes…I was worth the investment because I loved making sure I took care of me so I could take care of others. Not like physically take care of them but be there for people. I USED TO BE GREAT!!!

*sigh*

Sadly but so true, often we are so much in a competition with a person who doesn’t exist. Our old self. And maybe it’s just me because I am super confident in the person I use to be ;), but I have a feeling that I am not alone. But that person, doesn’t exist anymore. And what I have to remind myself somedays, (alot of days) is that I am not that girl anymore. I used to be great…yes I was. And selfish! The woman I am today, I am no longer a girl, is much stronger, much wiser, much more compassionate, more reliant on God and his grace then ever before, much prettier not because of my shape but because my chiseled heart loves thru my eyes..words…and actions. And I am no longer great…I am awesome! As are you! You are better today because of the moutains you are standing on the other side of. You are far more beautiful than ever before because you have allowed circumstances to soften your heart and not harden them. You are more valuable than rubies because you have allowed God to filter the things you say and love the unloved. With every passing day, you are no longer the person you use to be…you are even better. πŸ™‚

When we struggle with the idea of who we once were and the reality of who we are…remind yourself of this

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It’s never bad to reflect, to recognize what God brought from but never let it discourage the person you have become. Let it encourage and inspire you.
Comparison is the thief of joy and the slyest of all is the comparison to your own self.

Mommyhood 101

Ever meet someone that has left the season you are currently in and they seem to lack compassion for your season. I have been thru alot of junk in my family growing up so I consider myslef to be pretty tough. But the one season that has brought me to tears alot more often…mothering and mothering toddlers/preschoolers. It’s beautiful and amazing and I LOVE EVERY MINUTE. But it is work and it is alot of work on very little sleep. Often times people with older kids will try and offer peace by saying…it’s gets tougher or you haven’t seen anything yet. A statement like that says…toughen up butter cup. And it burns me up. The audacity of someone to minimize the need for love and encouragement in someone’s life by telling them comments like that. Then, I remember comments I have made to people who complain how tired they are as a single person or with just one child. I am so guilty. You see I remember how tired I thought I was a single girl living life all hours of the day and night. I remember how motherhood felt with just one child at moments. I had nothing else to compare it to so to me…it was rocking my world. But with every season change in my life whether it be location or adding another little, I realize how easy life really was before. Not that it’s hard now but I remember in the moments it felt tough, if the stronger me could go back…I would’ve handled every situation a little better. Not perfect…but better. So as I approach new seasons and people minimize the stage I am in I remind myself of this…I pray I never forget the seasons I have walked thru. I pray my heart always go out to anyone who is a mom with any age of children but that I always offer a helping hand to mom’s with toddler and preschoolers. Because it is tough and with a little more rest, and a little more of God’s grace…you’ll do even better at what you’re doing. By age 5 and 6 most of a child’s moral standards, dietary habits and life patterns have already been shaped for the rest of their life. You wanna know why being home with little people is so hard and demanding, because in those five short years you really are shaping them for the rest of their life. Giving up your status and identity is hard. Giving up all the praise, regard and reward is very unrewarding feeling somedays but it’s the best thing we will ever do. Will we travel far..probably. Will we preach a world shaking message that changes lives…it’s possible. But the most important job and gift we will ever be given in life are the people God gave us as a spouse and children. I truly believe that. So just do the best you can with what you have. Ask for help. Take a nap. Don’t overload your schedule. PRAY

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So good rule of thumb for me is…just because I have never been where someone has been or I have been and walked thru realizing it gets easier…I will not minimize the experience that someone else is currently facing. Love, compassion, love compassion, love, compassion….it’s life changing.

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Why do you do it?

Recently it was asked to me why I do ministry my job. Honestly I gave a very basic answer why I appreciate the job I have at the church. Avoiding the overall question of why I am in ministry. You see I work part time for my church in accounts payables The reason I do love it is 1. The extra income 2. I personally just love meeting a need. Our accountant there is incredible. The amount of things he takes care of just facinates me. But he is looking to work towards retirement and obviously needs to train some people to do what he does because he has never had an assistant. Voila….insert me who needed a break from my kids two days a week. 2yrs later, it’s the privilege I have to learn from a great financial mind and also from my desk (if you are unfamiliar with accounts payables) I see every departments spending. I get a first hand look at projects, maintenance, vision and a whole lot of work and heart. I get to know teachers I may never work with as I fill out PO’S and I pray for people and their families as their name comes across my desk.
But that, pushing paper and paying bills…that’s my job. Praying for departments and security guys and teachers and events and staff names when they come across my desk…that’s a part of ministry.

You see to me ministry is not holding a job at the church to me. Ministry is any form of being a part of people’s lives.

I love cooking for people. Not because I am so good at it but because I know how it takes the weight off a mom of not wondering what to make for dinner once it’s prepared. I love the reassuring feeling it brings to the heart that someone thought of me and someone loves me. Or the sweet way God loves us when it’s prepared for us and we just thought…money is tight, the fridg is empty…what will I do? So many reasons I love it. And with every meal I make, I pray that it taste good (it’s a possibility that while putting the dash of salt I was correcting the littles and it became a heaping spoon), that the family is refreshed by the meal, that they feel God’s love thru us from the meal that the financial burden is lifted for a night as I prepare the meal or that the pastors feel my love and support when doing it for their family on a Sunday. IT’S MINISTRY!!!

I am a babysitter referee teacher nanny housecleaner SAHM the other days of the week with my four beautiful busy children. I still wake up every night at least once with one. Sometimes I am kicked out of my bed to the couch because three decided to crawl in bed with us and I dare not take the upstairs bed to get away and hide because the fourth could wake up and need me. Now, my husband is extremely helpful in this area every night but when there are four of them and their ages are 5yrs, 4yrs, (almost) 3yrs, and a 1yr old…it takes two parents. Or a super crazy mom. Anyhow, then the days I am home we are playing, fighting learning how to love with our words and hands, playing dress up, and meeting many demands. All of our children are talkers. From the moment they wake up…mommy can I have this that and everything all before you pleasurably enjoy gulp down a cup of coffee. I have many moments as a mom, I fail miserably and in those times God teaches my heart and spirit a good lesson. I ask my children for forgiveness and God for grace. It’s a never ending process. I stay up late because my husband is a night owl and it’s my only time to do nothing in my day and enjoy sitting down or doing everything I didn’t get done during the day. I can’t begin to tell you how much God has done in me since becoming a mom let alone how much He has done thru me. IT’S MINISTRY!!!

Then there is my amazingly selfless, big hearted, handsome husband who is a staff pastor at our church. He is not the pastor but he does countless hours of counseling at the office or by phone, premarital couselling, marriages, handy helping what is needed, small group and new member connect ministry and then comes home and dives right in. He is the one at the end of my day I may get to hug tightly (providing one of the littles hasn’t jumped in) and we crash knowing in about 4-5 short hours we do it again. IT’S MINISTRY!!!

Along with all these things that seem so meniscule to some, I clean my house, grocery shop and talk and text to so many people around me…IT’S MINISTRY! Some may be thingking at this point…okay Callie, how is cleaning your house and grocery shopping and texting ministry? For me, I clean my house so that we have a peaceful and calm spirit in our home. Where there is order there is peace. That brings peace to me which typically flows down. When I grocery shop, I see a haggard tired mom with toddlers throwing fits and the mom is taking deep breaths…I or my children start playing with her kids to calm them down which is reactive to her. Or a guy who looks lost on the cereal aisle looking for peanut butter πŸ˜‰ and I assist him with a smile. A store clerk who I tell they are awesome, doing a great job and Thank you. Or when I text people because God randomly puts them on my heart and mind so I begin to pray for them immediately and just send a “hey, I love you and thinking about you” text. It’s all ministry. I do not deem a single one more important though obviously my first priority is my husband and kiddos. When Jesus has loved you so well, you in turn love people so well. It’s who I am and what I have been called to do everyday of my life. And for me, if I don’t add another thing to my days or calendar…it’s so much more than enough what I do already. Am I perfect at it all or do I get it right 100% of the time….not even a bit, but I never give up or stop and that makes me great!

Because I genuinely love people and wanna help anyway possible that I can in whatever season I am in…that is why I do it.

Muffin Top Mom

I often times struggle with the reality that my sz 8 figure is further in sight than I like. I now have this distorted plump figure that I am not so familiar with. Have I been heavier than a sz 8…yes but not this sz. I now have the jeans that dare I say give me…the M word. You know that spillage just over the top that looks like a muffin top

So how do I embrace where I am while trying to get where I wanna be….? Well, let’s look at my obstacles:
1) I love to cook for my kids and others
2) I like to bake sweet treats
3) I wanna get up early but don’t get much sleep
4) I could use nap time but if I am not rotating rooms, I am picking up messes
5) After Dereck gets home, but I am prepping dinner, doing dishes & hopefully getting a bath

So how do I fix this? How do I embrace this not so comfortable post baby shape…a little more lipstick, a fresh haircut, putting on heels and jewelry when i can and making one small change a day that benefits my eating habits and activity level. For now, I am adding more water and eating healthy snacks between my meals. It’s not where I wanna be, but with small changes, I will get there. πŸ˜‰

Meet My Loves

My first and foremost love relationship is with Christ! I am absolutely head over heels about this man and it began when I was a child.

I was brought up in a church that is full of the holy ghost and some incredibly loving pastors & people. We moved on when I was fairly young for my dad’s work but I remembered the church and it’s pastors the entire time we were away. When we moved back to the area, my parents weren’t going to church anymore but I found a ride with people that did go there and at 8yrs old I accepted Christ. From 8yrs old (21yrs now) He has been my absolute, solid rock, my keeper, my strength, my direction and the only VOICE I follow. I am in love with a man I have never seen yet I see a glimpse of Him daily in others as they express the love of God thru their life. I especially get to see this one on one with my husband. A lover, a pleaser, a giver….honored to call him mine.

My 2nd Love is my husband, Dereck. I as child went to a church camp where my pastors were a part of the board. At that camp I received my prayer language and the desire from a young age to attend their bible school. I said at a young age that I would attend and I would meet my husband there. I graduated high school and attended school there, eventually joined staff and a couple years later entered into a relationship with the man I said my “I do’s” to on December 2007. Dereck was born and raised in South Louisiana and has then energy of 5 preschoolers. Not saying he is a child but if have ever been around that age you’ll understand. A child that age can go and go and go because everything in life is so exciting..they hate to miss anything. That is Dereck! Everything in life is so exciting he wants to be everywhere with everyone all the time and has the energy to keep up with him and being 6′ 3″ the mobility too. As a child going thru a divorce with my own parents, my prayer for my husband was that he loved God more than me and that he would love my children and I more than work/money. I wanted someone with a great sense of humor and I wanted someone tall and handsome with dark hair. I got everything I prayed for that is certain. And all of his energy comes in handy with our oldest son, Maddox.

I never knew how much God could teach one about the love He has for us as His children and how much I would learn about me. Well let me tell you, on December 10, 2009 we welcomed the first little boy in our life that would rock my world. We welcomed Maddox Christian into our lives at 11:46am and our love grows more everyday for him. He is full of life and energy and momma’s little boy the rest of his life. From the moment we held him God began to show us in new depths the love for us as a father. Maddox is developing into such a funny and generous little boy. I absolutely love holding a conversation with him because his expressions and phrasing keeps me smiling. He is such a perfect balance of mine and Dereck’s personalities. His biggest and sweetest attribute…his love for people. He expresses it with a stranger along our walks, a close friend of our or his siblings. He showed us his amazing ability to love a sibling at 15mos of age when we welcomed his little sister, Miss Aubrey.

Aubrey Janelle, the most adorable, silly fun loving little 1yr old I have ever met. We welcomed into our lives on March 9,2011. She was the one that taught me that a mother or parent period has no limit on the amount of Love on the inside. She is the one that has taught me, yes you can love a second just as much as the first child. And you can love them for many of the same things and many different things too. She is the little girl that showed her daddy that he was capable of falling in love with love with a girl 23″ long and being at her beckon call. She is sassy, funny adorable and loves her brothers. She waits for them to wake up in the morning or at nap time. She normally gets up after Maddox in the morning greeting him with a smile and anticipates the first sign of movement from her baby brother, Malachi.

Malachi is our newest addition. We welcomed into our lives on June 22nd, 2012. The day after his daddy’s birthday might I add. He is the one that, though I have stated many times I wanted 4 children, may have completed our family. From the moment I recognized movement in the womb, I knew this would be my “chilled” baby. My other two are SO SUPER active and while Malachi will be able to run with the best of them I think he’ll enjoy sitting at home on the weekend with Mom and Dad playing games. I am relishing the moments with him so much more it seems. Long nights, early mornings, 2dozen feedings (a sore chest), poopy diapers & a demanding schedule added to a 1 & 2yr old. He is so precious and I anticipate watching him run around and play with his big brother and sister. As for now, I am loving on my baby “baby” boy.

These love relationships are
what make me who I am today and shape who I become tomorrow. I absolutely love where I am in life as a child of God, wife and mom but I would be lying to say I have not done it with out laughs, tears, shaking a finger or raised voice all at moments. I hope you enjoy the stories and personal life lessons to come. As each one
Continues to shape me and our family.

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