Welcome to my 31 days of writing blog post series. I am jointing The Nester for a writing challenge. You can check out the other bloggers who are participating in this challenge at the 31 Days blog. If you're visiting my blog for the first time I'm so happy you are here and I'd love to "meet" you. Please feel free to leave a comment with a link to your blog or leave a comment on my Instagram or my blog's Facebook page. You can learn more about me here but to give you a quick re-cap. I'm thirty-one years old, I have been married for thirteen years to Daniel (who has been an atheist for the last six years) I have five kids ages twelve to three (three girls and then two boys!) I used to blog more regularly and offer online and in-person photography classes. Right now my life is really simple - four of my kids are in public school, and I am a full-time stay at home mom which has been it's own kind of hard but also it's own kind of really good. I'll be writing this blog post series about what it means to me to have my identity come from who God says I am and not my circumstances or performance.
I have this really vivid memory - I was on the floor sobbing. My kids surrounded me, four little faces with eyes filled with concern.
We had just moved to a new town, hours away from family. We had survived some of the hardest years of our marriage. Financial strain, relationship turmoil, excruciating personal struggles - we had been through a lot. I was probably having panic attacks during this time, but I didn't know what they were and I didn't really have anyone to talk to about what was going on.
Fast forward a few years - I'm at a Women's Retreat, and I'm just crying out to God. My sweet friend is giving the teaching, encouraging us to surrender to God and watch Him work His miracle in our lives. And I'm crying out to God asking "where is my miracle?!! God, I have surrendered to you, everything that you have asked me to lay down, I have laid it down, every hope, every dream, every expectation, I have laid everything down before you. I have surrendered - now where is my miracle?"
And I remember in that moment, as I was pouring my heart out to God how he spoke quietly, gently to me and I felt him said "what if My miracle is YOU? What if my miracle is that you are filled with joy and peace in the middle of circumstances that have not changed one bit."
This is the story of God working little by little to make this come true in my life. He took this storm-tossed shipwrecked heart and made it whole and better-than-new. He has taken my weeping and turned it to joy, he has taken me through barren wastelands and He has been my river of joy.
Why am I writing this?
I am writing this for me - because I desperately need to remind my heart of who God is and what he has done for me. Because I need him to be that for me now - in the middle of today's mess and heartache.
But I'm also writing this for you, whoever you are, because chances are you know what it's like to feel beaten down and defeated by life. Because I want you to hear me loud and clear - God's love has nothing to do with how well you or I perform or how "together" our lives may be.
I am still on this journey. There is still tons I am struggling with right now but looking back and seeing how far He has brought me seems like a good place to start today. continue to Day 2