Category Archives: Growth

Malleable In The Little Things

There’s something safe and comfortable about known behaviors. They’ve gotten you through so even if they don’t feel the best, you can’t fail, right??? At least that’s the lie that the enemy tries to feed us with. The truth is- what is “known” can sometimes actually a trap.

At one point in my life, I knew that money was here be spent. I’d never thought about vacations or even knew how to utilize self-control so that I could live a life beyond the chaos and feeling unprepared. I knew that Social Security was retirement until a college professor scoffed at me and clarified. Yea, at 20 years old I learned that you actually save for retirement. The government taking it out with taxes isn’t how it goes.

Some less extreme examples could be knowing that every person with a sign asking for money is simply an alcoholic or drug abuser choosing to take advantage. Sure, that’s the case in some situations but not all the time. It could be knowing that the teen who talks back is hateful when really, the kid’s parents work all the time so they are alone at home eating frozen pizza.

Heres the irony: The more stable I become, the more I find myself closer and closer to trapping myself in comfort. At one point I was the girl who knew the strangest and most taboo things. Like sleeping on a bed with no bedframes or top sheet and walking around town until 2am due to no supervision and bad peer groups.

Suddenly, the chaos diminishes while reaching out to someone or being inconvenienced by a request has become harder to do while excuses are even easier to find. I get used to my schedule. Comfortable with my life and how I like things to go. If it prevents me from checking off an item on my to-do list or causes me a little bit of stress I am more likely to look the other way or avoid it altogether.

The little things I know matter just as much as those big ones I knew and was retrained on earlier in my life. I can’t pursue the path God has for me without remaining malleable in the little things. That may look like taking dinner to a new momma or picking up a kid for a ride. Being a shoulder for a friend to cry on, paying for the person’s coffee in the drive-through behind me, or if I feel led, giving that guy on the side of the road my spare change. Malleability has many different scenarios. Lord, give me the descernment to recognize all of them.

~ Lovelle ❤

 

Pursuing God’s Path For You

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It’s been a while…

9 months and 23 days to be exact since my last post. A lot has happened. In the last 3 months in particular and I just haven’t had the words to describe it so I’ve been pretty quiet.

My husband and I committed ourselves to foster kids. We felt God lay that desire on our hearts since before we were married and we opened our home last August. We walked deep in the trenches of children’s pain. Children we loved hard and cared deeply for. It was a crazy and chaotic but we knew that it was where we were supposed to be.

In January we were told that we needed to get a house with more bedrooms to keep our kids together. We listened to God, stepped out in faith, and moved our family of 7 in 3 weeks. That’s how dedicated we were to these kids. We wanted these kids to know that they mattered and that while in our home- they were no different than our biological daughter.

Seven months into fostering was the sweetest season for me personally. I had struggled with my role as a mom for so long and during that time I finally felt like I was where I needed to be. My past and every bad memory suddenly made sense. I had asked God for one request.

 I wanted God to take every single horrible thing that had ever happened to me and use it. I didn’t want the adversary to win. I didn’t need closure. I didn’t need to see my mom, stepdad, or any other person who had abused me in jail. After a lot of really hard days, temper tantrums, and backtalking I was seeing God answer my request. He was helping those kids and blessing me with the opportunity to be a part of it.

I have a unique situation. I have knowledge of the system from all sides. I know the child’s point of view because I was in Foster Care myself. I have worked or volunteered with DHS in several roles similar to social work so I am very familiar with their jobs, the challenges they face, and typically how things go. As a foster parent with two of the hardest cases in my county, I got first-hand knowledge of how many challenges there were as a foster parent. I thought that having knowledge on all sides would help. Turns out it can be a blessing and a curse at the same time.

After everything seemed to fall into place it was ripped right from underneath us and it just kept getting worse. Not long after moving into our house I lost my job and less than a month after that the kids were ripped from our home. After all was said and done we had a closed home, a million unanswered questions, and broken hearts with no idea how to even pick up the pieces.

I’m not perfect. Sit with me and I’ll tell you every single thing I did wrong. There were quite a few things. I still struggle with that fact and wish I could have done things a little better because maybe it would have helped the system to see my heart instead of shutting our family out so quickly. My mistakes in no way justify the outcome of this whole mess but I’m not afraid to admit my mistakes.

 

Psalm 119:71 Says,
My suffering was good for me, for it has taught me to pay attention to your decrees. 

 

I will gladly take every single mistake and grow from it. I don’t get better if I don’t. I will never be perfect. I am a sinner and I need God more than anything in this world. Walking out of this horrible season my husband and I hold tight to one truth;

We have absolutely no regrets about advocating for the kids in our care. There are no costs too high and no attack to unbearable when a kid’s stability is at stake. Kid’s who don’t have a voice. Kids who take a long time to trust in those who have been entrusted to care for them. Kids who’re only desire is to have stability and a safe place. We would do the same for our child and a foster child is no different.

All of it happened so quick. One day we were tucking them in bed, getting excited about Pre-K graduation and discussing what the next year looked like for our soon to be High Schooler.  Then I blinked and they were gone.  Some days  I still feel like I will see them running to the door and sticking their faces into the doorbell camera to announce their presence.

When they were taken and we had to close I was left in a horrible state.  I began having panic attacks that would last hours long. I faced depression and a feeling of loss too painful for words. Functioning became a minute by minute thing.

For the first time in my life, I wasn’t strong. I couldn’t see the bright side. There was no finish line to focus on. Only A quiet empty house that used to be filled, anger, confusion, and pain. Through it, my husband and family have been amazing. In every other time in my life being strong wasn’t an option because there wasn’t anybody there to help me. Sitting down would just screw me. Maybe that’s why God protected me for so long.

 So here we are…

I am finally able to see some light breaking through. Some days are better than others. I still have moments every day that I still feel sad. There’s a loss that doesn’t really go away. I see it in the school a couple of the kids are in right down the road and I feel it every time I walk by the bedrooms that are exactly the same except that they are no longer filled with giggles or belongings. You can’t replace the kids God puts in your life.

You know what??? I’m okay with that. I hope they always remember they are irreplaceable and loved more than they could ever imagine. Not just by me. By a God that loves them more than I ever could. A God that took me out of a horrible place, guided my life and is in complete control of theirs too.

I know there is a purpose to all of this. I’m still working out the details of what it looks like exactly. It may not look like fostering. After years of despising the justice, I feel deep inside my heart when I see unjust things happen that hurt others, I am finally realizing that it does, in fact, have a purpose.

God is refining it so that I can use it the right way. I’ve got a lot of growth that still needs to be done. That won’t end until I get to heaven. More than ever I want my words to unite not divide. I want to help, educate, and support. I want people to come together with their insights and feel heard so that we can work together to make changes that will positively impact every single side. I want people to see the hope I experienced not only in my childhood and in foster care, but also in this complete season of utter loss. The hope may come and go because God has not revealed the whole picture yet but it’s still there.

If you’ve made it to the end. Thanks for reading. If you get one thing out of this I hope you are reminded that God is faithful. This world is full of sin. We are never promised an easy life full of happiness and bliss. We do have a savior. He tells us to bring our burdens and he will give us rest. He wastes nothing and will use anybody willing.

If you are in a tough season I just want you to remember that. God is not the enemy. He is faithful. In his timing, not ours. If you haven’t noticed, my blog looks a lot different. Rebranded by yours truly.

With all my heart I just want to help. I want to help people live a life where they are pursuing God’s purpose for them. Feeling confident in who they are, the gifts God has given them, and how He wants them to use them. That’s the new focus of this place. When you come here I hope you find that. We are one of a kind. Made in the image of God. How would the world be different if we held onto that truth and ran with a purpose towards it? I don’t know about you, but I want to find out.

~ Lovelle ❤

Exciting News!!!

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Sooooo, I’ve got a confession to make…. I’ve kept a little secret for over a year. It’s been a struggle to keep it in and today I can FINALLY share it with you guys! (in)courage is releasing a BRAND NEW CBS Devotional Bible and I have some devotions in it! How cool is that?!?

Here’s the down-low…

  • There are 312 devotions written by 122 writers (INCLUDING ME!!!) with stories from women in all seasons of life.
  • The devotions are organized into 10 themes, and each theme has a distinct color and design in the Bible.
  • Each theme also has its own reading plan to guide you through a beautiful experience of Scripture.
  • There are 50 Women of Courage featured with biographical profiles throughout the biblical text.
  • Each of the 66 introductions (one for each book of the Bible) are original to draw you into the overarching biblical narrative.

There are soooo many more features — each one that has something special just for you!

This beauty will be released on October 1, 2018 and you don’t have to wait for it! You can sign up for a FREE 54-page sampler. It includes two full books of the Bible (Esther and Romans), several devotions, reading plans, and more.

You can also learn more about the bible by hitting up this blog post by (in)courage or checking out the video they posted today on their Facebook Page.

I am so humbled and thankful to be a part of this project. (in)courage has helped me so much in my faith and with life in general. From interning there in college, getting to know all the women on a personal level, and gaining encouragement at some of my lowest points. They’ve walked through so much with me and I truly believe that this bible can help you as you pursue God’s path for your life.

Last but not least, I want each and every one of you reading this to know how thankful I am for you. You’ve encouraged me, walked beside me, and believed in me. I’ve always felt called to speak and write but to be honest, I don’t always feel qualified or capable.

You’ve walked along side my journey and reminded me that God doesn’t need qualifications to use me. He needs my heart, willingness, and obedience to step out into scary waters. The words I’ve written in this bible come from the heart and they have you in mind. I hope you know that.

~ Lovelle ❤

The One Who Calls Me Is Faithful

Faithful

{These graphics are free for you to enjoy}

There are days I feel like I am walking on a tight rope and I think I might just fall at any second. In 4 years my life has changed so much. I’ve skipped a social class and had to learn how to live life in a completely different way. Poverty and Middle Class are so different. There are so many unspoken things people don’t tell you.

I’ve also gone from being alone to having an adopted family as well as family I married into. I’ve had to learn to rely on and trust people. I had to come to the realization that accepting help doesn’t mean I am taking advantage, incapable, or weak.

Like a Chameleon, I’ve tried to blend into new family groups as if I’ve always been in them when I have no idea what “family” looks like and I feel like I just stand out. 

I became a mom and had to learn to care of someone other than myself in a healthy way when I didn’t have anyone growing up who showed me what that looked like. I’ve had to learn nursery rhymes, bible songs, and baby talk. I’ve had to learn to trust, to be loved, and to live life day by day.

I’ve had to learn to stop preparing for any possible situation because I no longer have to worry about getting kicked out, being homeless, or having enough money to pay bills. No longer do I have to choose between having enough gas to get to school or feeding myself for the rest of the week.

I’ve had to re-train my brain to stop making plans for the “what if’s and I’ve had to learn to stop expecting the worst to happen because it won’t. I’m stable now and I have people around me that will help if something goes wrong.

I’m not on my own anymore. I’ve had to learn to accept help and to believe that I am wanted when I was told that I wasn’t for 20 years of my life.

*sigh*

That’s how I feel some days. I just have to take a deep breath and keep going. So much around me has changed and I’m not sure that I am keeping up. I feel overwhelmed and clueless. Like I’m not cut out for whats expected of me and I can’t ask for help because not very many people have walked in my shoes.

The one who calls me is faithful.

Whatever we are going through, learning, or having to re-learn. The one who calls us is faithful. If we fall off that tight rope He will catch us. We are called for such a time as this. To grow and to learn. To reap and to sow.

We have a divine purpose that is preparing us for those pearly gates. Whenever I lose hope or get discouraged I try to remember that. I don’t know what your story looks like. Maybe you moved to a new town or are in an unfamiliar season.  Maybe you started a new job and are overwhelmed with having to adjust to your new “normal.”

The one who calls you is faithful. Our God is the initiator, sustainer, and finisher in the midst of our messy moments. You don’t have to be in control and you don’t need to know the outcome because the one who knit you in your mothers womb does.

~ Lovelle ❤

 

Hope for the Weary Momma

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It was 2:30am and I was still awake cleaning my house. I had gotten sick so my normal pickup and decluttering got neglected. I knew that unless I sacrificed some sleep, the to-do-to list would just pile up even more. So despite having to be to work at 8:30 the next morning, I kept going until it was finished. Or so I thought….

It seems like every time I check one thing off of my list 2 or 3 more things pile back on. I’m never done. I’ve got a child to keep alive and a house to keep decent. Between cooking, cleaning, nurturing, and picking up after everyone I am left with little time to do things for myself. I can’t tell you how many times I haven’t sat down and relaxed on the couch until 9pm or later.

I’ve had moments of frustration and anger. Moments when I just wanted to run away because I didn’t want to be a wife or a mom. I’ve felt exhausted and overwhelmed. I’ve thought like I can’t live up to what I am supposed to be. And you know what…. I’m pretty sure I am not the only woman who’s felt this way.

We are woman
Nurturers
Care Givers and a fighters.

Our armor consists of baggy eyes, spit up, and cold coffee in our cups. We fight hard for our people because we desperately want what is best for them. We sacrifice  for those we care about and will do anything to make them happy. We love hard and oftentimes, that means pushing our desires to the side.

We complete the task ahead of us and the bags under our eyes don’t define who we are as a wives or a moms. What we do matters and it is appreciated. We will love our people hard and give them our because that’s what the Lord does for us.

Momma, I see you. I see those dirty dishes on the counter and that basket full of laundry. I see the living room that keeps getting messed up even though you’ve picked it up like 20 times in the last hour. I see those dark circles and that extra big cup of cold coffee. I see the weariness and I wish I could hug you and tell you that it’s okay. Fighting is hard work. 

Keep goin’ momma. What you do matters even if you don’t see it and don’t feel appreciated. It’s totally cool to choose sleep over that shower for the second day in a row. You gotta do what you gotta do.

Find joy in that mundane to-do list and don’t forget to ask God for energy. Love your people hard and hold them close. God sees your sacrifices and uses it. You are doing great.

~ Lovelle ❤

Refining in the Hardship

We live in a world where we can get anything we want with the simple touch of our fingertip. It even includes 2 day shipping. There are so many times I get upset because I am not seeing myself progress in a “timely” manner. There are moments I get mad because my plans aren’t panning out.

In those moments I am reminded of Moses. He put in a lot of work. He endured a lot of hardship and listened to A LOT of complaints. After dealing with all of that, he didn’t even get to see the promised land. 

Friend, life is so hard. Can we just take a second to acknowledge that? It makes you ugly cry and want to scream into a pillow. It can bring out the worst in you.

There are times that God will ask us to sit in the hardship. We may not be able to see it but the misery is changing us for the better. The hardship leaves us with bruises and scars that remind us just how human we are.

We will fall down and make mistakes. But we will get back up and keep going. We will push ourselves further. Even when we don’t feel like moving anymore. We will look towards that cross because it is full of grace, mercy, forgiveness, and endurance. 

Consider me your virtual cheerleader. I’m waving around pom-pom’s while you take another step. I’m on the sidelines holding up a sign that says, “go girl!” and jumping up and down with excitement because I know you can win this battle.

We serve a faithful God who has a perfect plan for you. As you take life on like a boss, my prayer is that you somehow find His faithfulness woven into your steps.

~ Lovelle ❤

 

What Does Your Race Look Like?

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I get out of the car and walk to the entrance of the trail. This trail  used to bring me joy. Lately it’s caused, anger, frustration, and pain both literally and figuratively.

I guess you can say running was a hobby of mine. I practiced a lot and my body was used to long distances at a decent pace. I’d spent 3 years training my body and had worked really hard. I was finally content with the speed, distance, and pace I was able to do. I was even training for a marathon.

Then life happened… I found out I was pregnant and week later I found out that I needed foot surgery. After 3 years of practice running was officially off the table. When I say off the table I mean completely taken away from me. I couldn’t exercise at all due to pain in my foot.

I had my daughter 9 months later and 6 weeks after that I had the surgery to remove a nerve in my foot. Two months after the surgery  I FINALLY got the okay to run again. In total, I had gone about a year without running and boy was I in for a huge surprise.

The legs that used to be strong enough to carry me could barely make it half a mile. My lungs were screaming. My mind told me I could but my body seemed to be saying, “not happening.”  

This is life. You work really hard only to have huge set backs. You think to yourself, “why am I even trying” and are tempted to just give up. The adversary tries to fill our hearts with lies. We feel as if we aren’t capable or good enough.

We make excuses for why we shouldn’t even bother. We forget that falling down gives us endurance and allows us to withstand attacks from the enemy. Sometimes our race looks different. Theres a time to run really fast. There’s a time to jog and a time to walk. There’s a time for hills and a time for slopes.

It’s not just about the finish line. It’s about the lessons we learn as we run towards God. The struggles make us stronger and draw us closer to Him. So I am going to keep showing up and as I struggle I will ask God what He wants to teach me. Will you?

~ Lovelle.