Mother of Samson

 I love how God can surprise us with a tidbit of information that clicks and brings forth a flood of truth and awe inspiring thought and insight into something you have never considered before.

Tonight I was just "done".  I was tired from work and from being at Jewell's beckon call.  The volume of life was way too loud and I thought I might have to scream to block out the "noise" that was grinding on my last nerve.

Alas, I literally threw my hands up in the air in defeat, took Jewell to bed, whispered a prayer, kissed her, turned out the light as I told her, "I love you, goodnight."  I ran from the room as fast as I could searching for the relief of knowing my mind could rest.

Typically I will try to fill silence with episodes of Gilmore Girls on Netflix or something on the DVR.  Tonight I literally wanted silence.  I turned off the TV and got online and began watching You Tube videos.  Seems like I was adding more noise, however the You Tube videos I began watching were ALL worship.  It was relief to my soul.  As I listened I began thinking about Jesus, Mary, mothers...my blog.

I opened the Word and began reading about Biblical moms that came to my mind and I wanted to know more about...I went through Rachel, Rebekah, and then I came to somebody whose name is not mentioned.  I am not sure why it was left out of the Bible, but her impression as a mother is certainly IN the Bible and I want to highlight it here.

She was a wife to Manoah.  They were Israelites being oppressed by the Phillistines.  I can't imagine her plight.  Not only were they being oppressed but she may have been broken down by the fact that there was not yet a child to provide her and her husband with hopes and dreams for their family moving forward.  She also could have been a very optimistic person who was content in their daily task of caring for the man she dedicated her life to, until death do they part...resigned to the fact that she may never have a child.

Whoever she was, news was coming that would change her forever.

I must say that her discovery of pregnancy went down much differently than my discovery of pregnancy.  An ANGEL APPEARED to her and told her she would be having a baby (and I thought I was surprised when a blue line appeared).  Not only was she having a baby but there were MANY specifications as to how to care for this coming baby because he was ALREADY set apart for God and had dietary restrictions and of course the hair thing...

She was not allowed to cut his hair because he would be dedicated to God.

This may not seem like a big deal...but think about how hard we make things on ourselves because we are afraid that we won't fit in.  We are afraid if we don't have the right car, shoes, house, etc. then we won't fit in.  What if we don't go to the right salon and have the right hair??? What then?

What if you, as a parent, were told that your kid must have a mullet and never change that hairstyle?

How difficult would that be?  At some point I am sure Samson, being rebellious, or just plain tired of combing through his long mane of knots without any detangler, just wanted to throw in the towel and cut it all off...

What do you do as the mother?

She stuck to what God asked.  She followed through because God had honored her and blessed her with a child.  She knew the plans He had for Samson ahead of time.  Maybe not detailed plans, but she trusted that God was in control and would honor her and her child throughout Samson's life.

I want to trust God with Jewell as much as she trusted Him with Samson.

When things in this world seem tempting to me or to my daughter I want to have the wisdom and strength to say no.  Even if it isn't what fits into the status quo and even if it means we are different or weird...the One we need to accept us did accept us and love us, long before we existed.

My main resource for this was Judges 13


Biblical Mommyhood

I have been moved.  Since having Jewell I view so many things in the pages of God's word differently.  Specifically, I have been inspired by the mothers within those pages.  I am in awe right now of Jochebed, Hannah, and Naomi...and have been so much more in awe of Mary especially.  How my heart breaks with the loss she suffered in her son while He handed her the world in that same moment.  How did she DO that?

I want to dive in a little deeper in studying mothers of the Bible.  I will plan on writing a few blogs throughout the Christmas season.  I am not sure if this will be a study about individual mothers or if it will be in regards to the qualities that many of these moms have in common, or differences between the moms.  Regardless of how it turns out I am excited to learn how to be a better mommy to Jewell through this time.  Pray for the time to be able to do this and that it glorifies God.  Also, if you have any resources that jump out at you please share them.  I miss writing and I love this new inspiration.

Blessings to you throughout the season...whether there is one person reading, 6 people, or 400 million (ha!).


I Respectfully Disagree.

When I think of the story of Abraham offering Isaac on the altar as a sacrifice I am often confused.

One think I absolutely HATE is manipulating others feelings or actions.  What was the point? I mean I know that God was testing Abraham but really did he have to go THERE?

Step away from this story for a moment.

Think about leadership.  In every single position I have had, the leaders, management, trainers, etc. that I respect and look up to the most are those that are willing to do ANYTHING they ask you to do.
Take Starbucks.  I worked there for over 5 years.  There were times I was asked to do things that I did not want to do.  Clean up vomit in the bathroom?  No thanks.  Scrape gum off the menu board?  Next please.  Clean the drains that reek of curdled milk.  Seriously?

I have actually told people no.  My views may have changed since then, because I was convicted another time about the whole "working as if for the Lord" Scripture.  However, there have been times, not just at Starbucks, that I have straight up refused to do something.  I mean, unless you want a double dose of vomit to clean up, I may not be the particular person for that job.

Through the years I have begun to notice that, even when it is a job I am not inclined to be enthusiastic about completing, if I know the person asking me to do it would do it, then I am so much more willing to finish it due to the example they have set.  They have led the way.

Back to Abraham.  Did he know that God himself would one day give up His innocent son as a sacrifice?  I don't know.  I think that Abraham knew God well enough to know His character.  He knew that God wouldn't ask him to do something that He Himself was not willing to do.  So that added to the trust he had when he raised that dagger above his only Son's body.

Was it a test?  Yes.  Greg Marksberry said something in the sermon today that hit home.  He said, "If Abraham was to become the Father of our faith, then God wants to know he trusts Him."  At first I thought YES!  This makes GREAT sense.  Then I gnawed on it a bit more and I am sorry Greg but I respectfully disagree.

God knows us.  He knows how much faith we have.

When I am employed and I see someone gain favor, if I have seen their exemplary behavior I do not question the decision for their favor, may it be a promotion or award.  If I see someone receive favor without that visible example of hard work, faith, etc.  I may question their position.

God knew this would be a Bible story.  He knew Abraham would have many sons and that his sons (and daughters) would talk about this story, well, forever.  The test wasn't for God to see his faith.  The test was for US to see it.  To know that GOD chose someone who would follow Him unconditionally. 

God is an amazing leader.  Perfect in fact.


A Worthy Walk

I am guilty.

I judge people when they walk past, yes just by looking at them.  I judge the things they say and I judge the motivation behind their actions.

We are all guilty.

I am trying to improve this part of me and my tendency to judge has greatly lessened, especially with the happenings in the past 3 years.

Recently I took a big step (for me at least).  I felt God telling me that the new church campus we were launching needed a Wednesday night Bible study.  He told me it needed to be Wednesday, that I needed to teach/facilitate, and he told me who I should ask to help with the class I would be in.  I have been so confident in these things.

God has been clear.

This other part of me has been more self conscious than I have ever been in my life.  Satan has been throwing things at me and quite frankly I just wanted to throw the towel in.

"How can YOU lead a class when you are a single mom?  YOU don't have time!"
"Nobody is going to relate to you as a single mom."
"What happens if they don't like you?"
"What if you are late all of the time?"
"What if you don't live up to what HE wants?"

These are all things satan was telling me.  I felt unworthy.

"We encouraged, comforted, and implored each one of you to walk worthy of God, who calls you into His own Kingdom and glory." 1 Thessalonians 2:12

Thankfully I did not give up.  I pressed on, fought back the way I needed to and began the study.  I was trying to walk worthy of the one who so clearly called me to this place.

The thing about this process is that for the first time in over 2 years I feel like myself.  I feel like behind the shame of my sin which was so evident when I first became pregnant and revealed it, along with the shock of becoming a parent and focusing all of my energy on this little Jewell, I lost who I am in Him.  I wouldn't trade being a parent for anything, however I feel more balanced in this calling.

He is bringing me out of this cloud I didn't know I was living in and I am so relieved and beyond thrilled.

I say all of this to say I have not been the same since I had my child.  It has been a difficult load to bear and I could not have made it without my God and friends.  I have judged people too often and I know that if people have judged me in the past 2 years I do not blame them.  God is being glorified and I am working harder to "walk worthy of God, who called ME into His own Kingdom and glory."


I love who I am.

I am not saying this to be narcissistic.

It is just that God has brought me so far.

Several years ago I loathed who I wasn't AND who I was all at the same time.  I have tried to be somebody I am not and all the while could feel my heart and soul stretching and tearing because it was going ways my heart didn't want to go. 

Without going into detail the past few weeks I was confronted with something.  Something that could have been wonderful and amazing or it could have been a repeat experience from my past. 

I walked away.

I haven't walked THAT far away yet but knowing that God has strengthened me to make a decision He wanted me to and knowing the satisfaction that comes from glorifying Him with my actions is the best satisfaction I know of.

I am thankful.

Thankful for His Word that has spoken loudly into my heart and mind. 

Thankful for friends who encourage.

I am thankful He has molded me into who I am through my experiences.  No matter how difficult they were to go through at the time.

I imagine that He is chiseling me during the difficult times...literally hammering at me to knock off some of my sharp edges.  This is not a painless process but necessary for growth and becoming more of who He wants me to be.

Other times I can feel Him more gently molding me in more of a comforting and loving fashion.

I love who I am.


This Beautiful World

This world is amazingly beautiful.  It was created by the most creative Hands possible and it holds so many beautiful souls that He created.

"The heavens proclaim the glory of God.  The skies display his craftsmanship."  Psalm 19:1

In making decisions for my precious Jewell and our life going forward I want to do what is glorifying to God...I only have a few years to shape her into what He wants.  He entrusted her to me and I have no desire to fail Him in this pursuit, though I know mistakes will certainly be made.

This is what I have decided.

So many things are tempting to me and will be tempting to my daughter as she grows up in a world of immediate gratification, the pursuit of keeping up with the Jones', and the media selling what THEY perceive a person should look and be like.

I want to show her who God is and expose her to as much of Him as possible.  I want to vacation at camp grounds, lakes, mountains, His creation reveals so much about Him and offers a magic that Disney or Universal Studios, or seaworld can never compete with.  This is not to say I won't one day take her to those places...but our focus will be on comparing everything to what God has created and done in our lives.

This is why it is my goal to show her what it is to love others as Christ loves us.  If the world operated like this there would be no poverty.  American's are too self absorbed and concentrate on menial tasks such as obtaining and "improving" houses that are too big for our families to use, when there are people on the streets, shivering and hungry.  We work toward obtaining the newest technology as status symbols, even, and dare I say ESPECIALLY in the church.  It has become a culture within our churches to have an appearance of being "together" and "trendy" and while we are concentrating on such things there are people starving for love and acceptance and who NEED the love of Christ to be spoken into their lives.

My transition from single barista with little responsibility other than to take care of myself, to single mom with the responsibility of another human being's on her shoulders has had it's ups and downs.
I am so thankful for the opportunity to be Jewell's mom.  It has brought me more joy than I could ever express and is more than I could have ever imagined.  God gave me such a gift in her.

He has provided friends in my life that have been understanding and supportive in my ups and downs.  I am excited to tell her how each one of them have loved her and I and supported us when I didn't have anywhere else to go.  I am thankful for the ones who haven't expected something in return that I haven't been able to give.  I have been overwhelmed with the support provided and at times all I could do was say thank you as I don't have the ability to give back what has been given.

There have been people that have walked away for whatever reason and who have talked behind my back and who are quick to point out my flaws when my life doesn't suit theirs.  I have learned that those people aren't worth the energy it would take to please them because the simple fact is they are looking for something that I don't have.  I will never be enough and they need to find what they are looking for in Christ.  They can move on to other friends and think that is the answer and think that they will be justified in being surrounded by other people...they won't.  Those people will continually keep moving on to different people throughout life.  Unless they are authentic and able to be in touch with accepting grace and extending it as Jesus would, they will just never get it.

I will be teaching Jewell about how Jesus loves all these people and how we should too but we can love them at a distance and pray for them where necessary.  We don't need or want them to distract us from loving others that could cross our path.   

I want to show her how to love EVERYBODY.  I want to take her to reach out to homeless people, on mission trips, and show her the beauty He has given each person in this world.  I want to teach her about some of my heroes, Mother Theresa, Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Amy Carmichael, and so many more.

I want her beauty to come from the inside and to shine as to bring all glory to the God who gave her life. 

"Some people come into your life as blessings.  Some come in your life as lessons." --Mother Theresa

"Does it not stir our hearts to go forth and help them...to leave our luxury, our exceeding abundant light, and go to them that sit in the darkness?"  --Amy Carmichael

"You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving." --Amy Carmichael

"Judging others makes us blind, whereas love is illuminating.  By judging others we blind ourselves to our own evil and to the grace which others are just as entitled to as we are." --Dietrich Bonhoeffer


No coffee?!?!?!

I do not make New Year resolutions.

I do not go on diets.

I do, however, attempt to listen to God and boy was I surprised at the things He started saying after Christmas and New Year.

As I was saying, I don't make New Year resolutions.  I simply feel that if there is something I need to do I should do it and not save everything for the first of the year.  If I am concerned about my health I should begin working on it in the moment and not gorge myself in preparation for a New Year diet.  I do things in baby steps, usually either begin eating better, then working out comes along, or likewise I will begin working out and worry about the food part as it comes along, I believe it should be a lifestyle and something I can adhere to all of the time.

That is why what God began to tell me startled me a bit.

I am going on the Daniel Fast.

Now, if you don't know what this is then I highly recommend you check it out here.

As this was a prodding of the Holy Spirit I am excited to undertake the challenge.  I have grocery shopped and will need to shop for more I am sure.  I am looking forward to preparing food and the satisfaction that comes from filling myself with good food and a good Word.

There are several things that have pointed me in this direction.  Yes, my general dissatisfaction of the way I feel and look, but there is more.  I am attempting to fill places that feel empty with "more".  Whether it be eating too much dessert after Jewell goes to bed because I feel like I deserve it during my down time or spending too much money on something because I feel like I deserve a treat, this all comes from dissatisfaction that plagues us all when we aren't filling up on God and His Word. 

My goal during this fast is to learn to "hunger and thirst for righteousness" and to "taste and see that the Lord is good".  I know He is good in the deep recesses of my mind.  I have tasted and seen His goodness.  But my taste for Him has been set aside and most likely dulled as I have tried to fill myself with things other than Him. 

I want to feast on my God and be filled with the life He gives.  I want Him to fill my cup of coffee...because for the next 21 days I am giving up coffee...COFFEE!!!  It makes me nervous that I might fail.  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me right?  I keep saying it, maybe I will also write it on m bathroom mirror.  I should probably put it in front of my face at every turn I take.  It is true.  I just have to believe it and cling to it.

If I can give up coffee with His help, you can give up your vice.  If you feel led and want to taste and see the Lord's goodness with me for the next 21 days...I encourage you to follow the link above.  You can sign up for daily emails when you register for the fast and if anyone would like to join me, e-mail or facebook me! I would love to have others to connect with.

Blessings to you this New Year, may all of our resolutions become lifestyles we are able to uphold and make positive changes with. :)