WITH COURAGE

We live in a world that is dark, ugly, and full of tragedy. It’s everywhere. What’s more – it’s always been that way. But with the advent of technology and the pursuit of science, we are far more aware than we have ever been – able to slink into the lives of African villages and relentless genocide all the way to the crevices of our own cell structures.

You’d think this kind of knowledge would be freeing, exacting, and giving us our drive to pursue a better world and a better self. Instead, we find ourselves afraid. Fearful.

Perhaps not so much cowering in our homes, but in our hearts.

For me, the very definition of fear is being alone in the middle of the night- awake and aware. It’s the tension of knowing too much and knowing too little. Fear is the nightmare that has our feet permanently entrenched in the ground as a great big ‘something’ closes in on us. We know it’s coming – but we don’t even know what ‘it’ is. And clearly, as our hearts beat rapidly and the adrenaline pumps through us – there’s nowhere for us to hide. We can’t move.

Realistically, fear takes its shape in many forms. Nuclear Weapons. Impending War. Disease. Presidential Candidates. Federal Laws. WebMD. Loneliness. Failure. Purposelessness. Poverty. Worry. Death.  

And so we lock our doors and isolate ourselves. We avoid, blame, and scapegoat. We sign petitions, join protests, and post controversial Facebook statuses. We go out and buy guns, learn how to shoot, and get certified to carry and conceal. We vote in those who we believe can ban assault rifles and we ask for stricter laws. We medicate. We shut our phones off, go outside, and pretend that all is well. We pray. We vote. We abandon our faith. We abide by all the rules. We become apathetic. Or we become enraged. We don’t take risks. We become reckless. We rely on ourselves. We lose hope. We send money. We volunteer.

Fear is potent and contagious. It’s also unavoidable. We see it as we scroll through Instagram, read the newspaper, and experience all the commentary on click-bait articles invading our Facebook feed. We hear it preached to us from all parties of the government and even from the pulpits of our churches. Fear is the ultimate artillery and its main purpose is to kill, steal, and destroy. Often, we don’t even recognize how deeply entrenched fear is within our society, our responses, and ourselves.

But friends, we have the choice. We don’t have to partake in fear.  

We don’t have to buy into this product that the world, and more significantly- the enemy, is peddling. Fear quickly becomes an addictive self-fulfilling prophecy. And that’s largely the problem – fear is a constant focus on ourselves. People who are limited, flawed, and divided. People who live fundamentally on hindsight. People who have lost all sense of who they are, who they come from, and to whom they belong.

Fear is a by-product of mistaken identity and of mistaken citizenship. We are not people of this world; we are people of God, and of His kingdom. When we are able to identify that our home is not here – the problems of this world no longer define us, but embolden us. We’re no longer sinking with the ship, but walking on water. We’re anchored to something that will not whittle away, but that is everlasting and eternal. Simply put, because He offers us freedom, there is no room for fear.

Maybe it’s time to shut the computer off, put the phone down, and recycle the newspaper- just for a little bit. Because it seems that instead of opening our bibles to remind ourselves of who we are, we’re turning to our flickering screens that just reflect who we once were.

God gave His one and only son to extinguish fear. And we, instead of reveling in the hope that came with His sacrifice - are fanning the flames. In order for us to conquer fear, we must remember that it’s already been conquered. The world is a dark, ugly, and tragic place but we carry within us the light to move forward, not in fear – but with courage.

A LETTER OF INTENT

After six years of college, a master's degree, and 700 hours of unpaid internship- I intended to help other people's children become the very best that they could be. Don't get me wrong, working in education is both the most rewarding and edifying career an individual could have. However, a few weeks ago, I did something I never thought I would consider possible. I signed a letter of intent stating that I would not be returning to work.

I had decided to leave my dream profession for another - stay at home mom. 

I wasn't really prepared for the demands of this position. Maybe I had idealistically envisioned craft time around the table with chocolate milk in hand, beaming at my son creating works of art. Dinner would always be served on time, and somehow, I would figure out how to conquer the Everest in our home - the laundry pile. 

Not a lot has changed since I committed myself to being at home full time. And yet, everything has. Or at least, I have. Internally, I suppose I've signed a new letter of intent - binding myself to the daily and gloriously mundane moments of my children, devoting myself to the constant pleas of our home's needs, and unwaveringly supporting my husband as he provides for us all. And as this letter of intent is directed to my children, it's important that they know;

I intend to no longer awake to my own alarm, but to your cries, grunts, and laughter every morning. Even if that means 2 am. 

I intend to reheat my coffee at least three more times before even taking one single sip.

To continuously change diaper after diaper 

and to some days not brush my teeth until noon. 

I intend to embrace the messy bun as a sign of solidarity to all the other moms out there 

and to see them as community, not competition. 

I intend to watch you destroy the house in your adventuring even after I've cleaned.

But, I also intend to learn how to be more patient and calm after you've had a tantrum.

To surround myself with strong women who can show me the way and follow in their footsteps.

To cherish the moments that are fleeting, but meaningful. Making certain to put you at my focus, not my phone's screen. 

To lay down my wants for your needs even when its hard, uncomfortable, and not without sacrifice. 

To relinquish guilt of any kind and embrace that our lives are enough, that I am enough, and that who you are becoming, and who you are now, is enough. 

To fully take advantage of nap time and emerge re-energized; learning that when I'm a better me - you can become a better you. 

I intend to put your daddy first - because it was our love that brought you here. And because it's important that you see that you are not all of me. 

I intend to continue to pursue after my dreams, goals, and ambitions - to blaze a trail in which you might someday follow after. 

I intend to teach, but more importantly, show you God's love in hopes that one day you might give your life to Him too. 

To tuck you in at night, saying silent prayers of thanks for your precious life and leaving the door cracked so that you can see the light. 

I intend to protect, nurture, and celebrate you. 

But mostly, I intend to love you like its my job. 

THREE THINGS || VOLUME SIX

I know that curated lists are the thing to do these days on a blog. However, I'm realizing that when I create these lists, they have nothing to do with virality. Instead, these posts are digital time capsules of the seasons I'm journeying through.

This week it's writing, real estate, and recipes for an empty pantry (until grocery day, that is) that have been on repeat. I'm also being inspired and spurred on by so many women online and off. I love how God places people in our lives. He is so intentional and caring of us. I'm grateful. 

TO READ>

01 Writing for Christ's Glory 

02 Thumbs Down, Crying Eyes

03 The Story of How We Just Bought Our First House After 15 Years of Marriage, 3 Kids, and 9 Rentals

TO MAKE>

01 Sweet Potato Oatmeal Breakfast Casserole

02 Slow Cooker Bacon Jam

03 No Butter Pumpkin Muffins 

TO FOLLOW> 

01 Malinda Fuller

02 Belong Magazine

03 Manda Carpenter