In honor of my 34th birthday....
34 Things I've Learned About Life, My Family, and Myself
1. God is sovereign - always in all things. Every detail of my life, your life, world events, past, present, future, pain, joy, hardship, goodness, sin... it's all part of his big plan. Nothing is a mistake. We can't change His plan by messing up. He's in control of all things. There's never a point when God says, "Oh darn. Why'd she do that? Now I gotta figure out how to make this into something good."It's all part of the plan - always has been.
2. Forgiveness is always best. The sooner the better. No matter how big and daunting and painful the offense. Forgiveness is not about telling someone you're glad they hurt you. It's about freeing yourself from the control of that offense. It's about accepting God's sovereignty and being excited to see what He plans to do with it.
3. Security comes not from white knuckles, but from relaxed hands. Desperately clutching the people and things we deem most dear creates fear - fear of loss, fear of hurt. Letting go and trusting God creates security. Hold them loosely.
4. Love is a choice to give grace. It's not a feeling of happiness. It's kindness even when it's not deserved. It's sticking beside a person even when they are in a dark place. It's being best friends even when life brings changes.
5. Sometimes it's more important to have a happy day than a productive day. It just is. For sanity's sake. For the spirit. For the joy of it.
6. Negative feelings are the natural easy choice. Positive ones come by choice and take strength. It's easy to give in to fear, insecurity, hate. It takes a conscious effort to trust, accept, and love.
7. No matter how dark the night, the morning always comes. With it... light, peace, and joy. And somehow the night will become a precious memory, for without it, the morning would have never come. You can't have morning without night.
8. Pain is love's fertilizer. There's nothing like hurt, forgiveness, restoration, and healing to grow strong love into incredible crazy love.
9. Discovering who you are is a long, hard journey. But the rewards are great. And it sure helps prioritizing a lot easier.
10. Consistency is the key to success in just about everything. Which is probably why I'm not that successful in a lot of things.
11. My tears are precious to God. He saves every one.
12. I may forget who I am, but God never does. Sometimes I need Him to remind me who I am.
13. He chose me. To receive His eternal reward. To live this life. To love these people. To be loved. It's all a gift. Given freely. Without my asking. Without my earning it. He chose me to this calling, confident that, through Him, I can.
14. My family needs me in this moment. Planning is good (and fun), but always planning ahead without living in the now defeats the plan to love life with my family.
15. God has gifted me an incredible husband and marvelous marriage.
16. I love my husband - like I mean really love him. I didn't know that love like this existed. And he loves me. Really loves me.
17. My marriage is a treasure - rare and precious.
18. Time spent with my husband is time best spent. There's nothing like husband time to make everything right again.
19. After more than seven years of babies, toddlers, and preschoolers, I'm tired of comforting tears, but they still need it and want it. They don't measure comfort in countable quantity. They measure it in momentary quality.
20. It's ok to stop what you're doing and hold a child. Most times I really don't want to. Things seem more important. But it's just supper. It's just schoolwork. It's just laundry. What does all that compare to holding my child?
21. Loving hugs are often more effective than stern discipline. Attitudes are governed by feelings. Love out the hurt feelings and actions will probably change. Sometimes all a child needs is a hug and a listening ear.
22. My kids like it when I talk "non-sense" with them. Telling ridiculous stories in insane voices is bonding, actually.
23. My children are beautiful and amazing beings. I am beyond blessed.
24. I am an introvert. I need space, alone time, and just good old silence.
25. I am not a good housekeeper or a cooking enthusiast. I'm just not. It doesn't come naturally and I don't enjoy it. That's ok. I accept that. I'll just do the best I can and be ok with it.
26. I am not an entrepreneur. I tried it. Hated it. I just can't take the stress.
27. Stressing over what I am NOT only breeds irritation and strife. I want to be the perfect mom in my head, and when I don't meet that, I get so frustrated and it ruins my entire mood.
28. I can't change me, but God can change what matters. Not everything I think is wrong with me is really worth changing. Some of that is who I am. The character issues... God will work on those.
29. Doing nothing and enjoying it is becoming a lost art. One I need to spend more time practicing.
30. I will always be unsure of myself, but I never have to be unsure of who God is. I can trust that even when I doubt myself, He knows what He's doing.
31. I say "sorry" too often. "I'm sorry I didn't accomplish everything in the world today." This is what I will probably tell my husband when he gets home in a few minutes.
32. I am incredibly creative. That's what I should cultivate with a passion.
33. There's only one way to listen to good music - loud. This of course only applies to me, not to the neighbors or to my kids.
34. I thrive on words, good music, my husband's kisses, and God's sovereignty.