Category Archives: Marriage and Family

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 ❤

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 ❤

Chaos Ain’t Got Nothing On God

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I sat in the parking lot of my local Walmart and listened to rain drops pelt the roof of my car while my baby chattered in her carseat behind me. I tried not to dread what I was about to face outside and gave myself a mental pep-talk that looks a little something like this:

“Girl, you CAN take this kid into the store. That rain ain’t got nothing on your bad-self. That half and half you need for that recipe is only like 2 minutes away and it’s gonna taste soooooo good. A little rain is good for the soul. You got this!”

I took a sip of the Dunkin’ Donuts coffee I got myself for motivation and got out of my car so I could take on Walmart like a boss. Should be easy right? I only needed one thing. My kid was in what seemed like a reasonably good mood and it was an in-and-out job.

Said no mom ever…

I get my recently changed kid out of the tangled up car seat and place her on my hip. I speed walk into the store and realize my hip feels really wet. Maybe the rain got underneath my umbrella and child’s legs?? NOPE!

My kid decided to have the biggest blowout of her life right in the middle of the Walmart isle. I grab my half and half and dash to the register. The sooner I checked out meant the sooner I could get to the diaper bag that I had mistakenly left in the car.

We get to the car and I think it’s pretty straight forward. Pee isn’t that hard to clean up right? Lies… All lies… It wasn’t pee. It was diarrhea. Stinky, gross, get all over the seat of the car diarrhea. Oh, and I also forgot an extra change of clothes.

I began to take of her clothes in the pouring rain while the umbrella kept trying to escape. The whole time my kid just screamed at the top of her lungs. To be expected, water, nakedness, diarrhea, and little room to move don’t really make a person very happy. Especially not a tiny one.

I get her changed, and wipe all the poop off of the seat. (thank you Jesus for leather seats) I calm her down and strap her naked self into the car seat. Then I climb into the car and take a deep breath. I made it.

I think to myself, “I definitely earned this coffee” and take a big swig. We make it home and of course my daughter poops again. Lucky for me my husband got home just in time to change it. Our wonderful Lord answers prayer.

The whole point of this hilarious real-life story is to remind you that our God is good and faithful in our chaos. He turns our hardship into laughs and most importantly, He cares. Even when we want to pull our hair out and throw up our hands in frustration.

Whatever you are going through today. Whether you are doing 5 loads of laundry, cooking, and cleaning, while trying to keep a human alive or studying for 10 exams because college is no joke. God’s got this. He’s in the midst of the stress and there is no problem too big or too small.

P.S. to all those moms who grocery shop with children all by yourself on the regular. I lift up my Dunkin’ and solute you.

~ Lovelle ❤

 

Setting Aside Your Dream

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One year ago my life changed forever when I saw the faint pink line on the pregnancy test. Since I had graduated college only 6 months earlier, being a stay at home mom had never even crossed my mind. I’d worked 5 years to obtain that expensive piece of paper. Surely, I’d use it right? Wrong.

I’m hanging out with my friends at God-Sized Dreams today. I’d love it if you would join me.

 

He Knows What’s Best For Me

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At only 3 months old my daughter is a pretty determined and stubborn kid. She also has this talent of downing a bottle in like 3 seconds. When the bottle is empty she still keeps trying to suck that liquid gold out, and heaven forbid you take the bottle away if she hasn’t unlatched.

She’ll get mad and start screaming. She doesn’t realize that sucking on the bottle with only air coming out will give her a tummy ache and hurt her. She’s blind to the consequences but her dad and I are not.

I relate to my daughter so much because like her, I tend to be pretty controlling. I want every detail of my life drawn out with every step carefully plotted. Maybe even with a contract attached to it that says in big bold letters, NOT SUBJECT TO CHANGE.  I am unaware of the consequences and I tend to forget that in reality, my life belongs to God.

Like my daughter holding onto that bottle, I tend to hold onto the plans I’ve made and then I get upset when God changes them. I tend to forget how much pain I cause myself when I try to take matters into my own hands.

This past year God has changed all of the carefully drawn out plans I have made. Let me clarify… He didn’t rearrange them or tweak them a bit. He spun them 180 degrees, flipped them upside down, ripped up the contract, and dropped the ones I had made off the face of the earth. I handled the change about like my daughter. Maybe even a little worse. I walked into the new and unexpected season kicking and screaming.

My God loved me through my stubbornness. He wasn’t impatient or mad. He simply held me close and taught me a lot. When I mourned the life I wanted and walked into motherhood afraid of the unknown, He gave me peace and reminded me that everything was going to be okay.

I will never know what pain may lie ahead due to my carefully drawn out plans because God did what He knew was best. He guided my life the way He wanted because that’s what a parent does. My daughter is the gift I never knew I needed.

Motherhood is hard and scary. There’s times I am so overjoyed at her growth and theres times when I want to pull my hair out. I’d be lying if I said that at times I didn’t struggle with staying home. In those moments, I seek God and trust that He will give me the peace I need. Over and over again, I find myself saying, “Where you have me is enough.” I am learning to give up control and seek God before even making plans.

This is my new mantra: Lord, help me approach life with the confidence that You know what’s best for me.

~ Lovelle ❤

P.S. I’m doing this new thing called #soulseedsaturday. It’s a little bit of encouragement for your soul while you take on life like a boss. If there’s a specific topic that you could use some encouragement, I’d love to hear about it! You can post it in the comments or contact me here.

P.P.S. I am booking speaking engagements for 2018. I know right??? It’s here already! If you’d like me to come speak at your event or church click on over here and I’ll prayerfully consider your request.

 

The Gift of Family

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I had just moved into a new town and was about to start my freshman year of college. I was in-between jobs due to the move and had used up all my savings on bills. My first paycheck was about to come in so I was holding out hope that my gas tank would last a few more days until it could be filled.

Most cars tell you when you are low on gas. I didn’t realize that my ghetto 1993 Chevy Cavalier didn’t so I found myself stranded on the highway completely out of gas with no one to call.

This is what it’s like to be an orphan. There’s no parents to give you a couple bucks to tide you over. No place to crash rent free with a full fridge. No extra car to borrow if yours breaks down. No place to go on holidays, and certainly no one to celebrate achievements with.

You learn to fend for yourself and plan for everything. At the age of 18 years old I knew how to change my oil and the breaks in my car. At one point the antifreeze container broke so I went to the salvage yard to pick up a new one and borrowed someones tools to change it out myself.  You are constantly on edge and questioning everyones motive because as much as you hate to admit it- you are vulnerable and you can be easily manipulated.

I want you to take a second and think about all the things your parents do for you. Think about everything they taught you. Now take all that out of the equation. That was my life. I learned what I could and did my best to survive.

November is National Adoption Month. I am so lucky to have a support group when there are still many who don’t. There aren’t enough words I can use to express my gratitude towards God and His faithfulness. He gave me parents at the age of 21. The past 3 years have been so wonderful. I may be a little bias but I think I have the best parents in the world.

If I need any help they are only a phone call away. No more being broke down with no one to call. No more having to know anything and everything about my car. I enjoy holidays and look forward to spending them with my parents instead of working. I don’t even have to air up my tires anymore. There’s so much freedom that comes with knowing and utilizing support.

This holiday season I am going to sit with my family and thank God for all He has done. I am going to watch my little girl experience the holidays for the first time and smile knowing her life will look way different than mine. I’ll hug her close and thank God for the gift of family.

~ Lovelle ❤

P.S. Today’s my mom’s birthday! She really wants 40 little girls in poverty to grow up to be fiercehearted women. She’s teaming up with compassion and would love for you to team up with her too! You should head on over to her website and say happy birthday. If you feel led, maybe even sponsor a kiddo. 🙂

 

Here I am Lord Use Me

Use Me

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Two girls sit down on the couch with a cup of coffee and reminisce about life. They talk about how they both expected to be in completely different places. Both equally determined and hard working individuals who are in completely different life stages. So different, yet so similar. They relate to one another and acknowledge that a healing cup of coffee and the simple words, “This isn’t where I wanted to be” is good for the soul.

One girl is married with a child on the way. The last day at her “job” is only a few short days away. Never in a million years did this girl expect to be a stay at home mom. She loved working outside of the home and still has that desire but in this season, it isn’t financially possible. The thought of working to pay for daycare and missing out on all of her child’s milestones just isn’t worth it to her, and it isn’t what God has called her to do. 

The other girl is single and is a blessing to everyone she she comes into contact with. She has a heart for others and a strong desire for community. Her Friday evenings are typically spent socializing with friends, unlike the married woman who typically stays at home watching Netflix with her husband. She thought she would be married by now with one or two kids. Instead she’s single. Even though she’s pretty social, that longing for a husband still pops up every once in a while and sometimes it’s hard to ignore. Even in the middle of a social engagement.

Two girls with polar opposite lives and yet, they still manage to be close friends. They both thought they would be walking in the other persons shoes. They lift their coffee cup up to heaven and say confidently, “Where you have me right now is enough.” They refuse to believe the lie that each other’s “job” or stage of life is more important. Titles mean nothing in the kingdom of heaven. Instead they refill their cups and hug each other. They talk about God’s faithfulness in their lives and are reminded that He will continue to be just as faithful.

Life is full of bittersweet seasons. You know, the ones where you are excited for what’s ahead but sad that it didn’t look the way you wanted. Maybe you’re even scared and afraid that you aren’t qualified to do the task God has asked you to do. I’m learning that it’s okay to feel that way sometimes. It doesn’t make me a horrible person and it doesn’t mean I love God any less.

This I do know: The Lord is faithful and His plans for our lives are better than we can ever imagine. In the moments of confusion, happiness, and even when I feel sad because something didn’t go the way I thought it would I will find a friend, grab a cup of coffee, and confidently say, “Here I am Lord use me.” 

~ Lovelle ❤