If I pop, I hope that it’s into confetti…

Hey friends,

If you’ve been following the blog, you know that this post is the first in a long time! I’ve been in a season that has been challenging to share because I really have not felt that I had anything that could help to equip another.

Maybe you can relate to feeling in a season where you just keep walking, keep putting one foot in front of the other, keep trusting, and keep trying.

My three-year-old daughter in her adorableness will sometimes ask me, “Did you feel cute this morning(I seriously don’t know where she got this question, she’s so funny)?” But even funnier is that if I don’t answer, “yes” she goes, “Awww, you’re trying???”

While feeling cute has not been my biggest goal, “trying” in general is definitely an adjective I can relate to daily right now!

I love that one of God’s names is El Roi– “The God who sees”. It helps me to remember that not only Juliana can see the trying, but God does. He sees us trying, He sees us striving to surrender daily, and He also sees so much more that we do not, and He is at work in those things unseen to us, but seen to Him. In those moments that we feel like we may be at the end of ourselves, He is there and at work.

In thinking about these things, I wanted to share a verse that has been encouraging me so much…

“Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.  For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.”

2 Corinthians 4: 16-18

This verse reminds that He is renewing us day by day. This pressing that we can see and feel is temporary, but its results are working in a way that has an impact that can be used for His glory in some way, for purposes that we may not ever truly see the full measure of.

I try to imagine in my own understanding that maybe the pressing is being used to shape me into a person that is perhaps more compassionate, more understanding, and more able to relate in gentleness to those around me. That future “me” may be able to encourage from an, “I’ve been there too, and I can tell you that God is faithful and going to walk you through this,” perspective. But that is just a small sliver of my own understanding and thoughts of how God may work these things for His glory, and if God uses any hardship to do that in my life, I am blessed.

However, I know that He is doing even more than that. His word says that it’s working a far more  “exceeding and eternal weight of glory”.

The verses leading up to the last one I shared say,

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.  We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;  persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed— always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.  For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you.”

2 Corinthians 4: 7-12

It is challenging for me to write about this because truly I’m not a lofty theologian by any means, but it cannot go without saying, friend, that what we have inside of us, the hope of God and His salvation, is for His purpose carried by us, even in our frailties. Even though we may feel absolutely pressed and crushed, what we feel has been felt and understood by Jesus, even unto the point of His death. And with that shared death is also life, by God’s power, shown through us. It is such a deep and beautiful concept that my mind cannot fully plunge those depths of understanding. But through Him, we can trust that even in these struggles that feel like they can bring us to death, God even more so can bring beautiful life out of.

I was reminded of this recently at a Bible study for the little kiddos in the school that I teach at. A teacher was talking about faithfulness and she used an example of a balloon popping. She first popped a balloon that nothing was inside of, and then popped another that exploded confetti everywhere, in hopes to encourage the kids to just keep being faithful, and good is sure to come. The thought of, “If I pop, I hope confetti comes out” has been crossing my mind, encouraging me, and making me laugh lately. I hope it does for you too.

I just wanted to share and hopefully encourage you friend! I do very much intend to keep updating with writings on this blog as God permits!

With love,

Angelina

Hope for the New Year

How are you feeling about this New Year? I know many people are so happy to be seeing 2020 in the rearview. Are you looking at the New Year with excitement? Maybe a little bit uncertain or skeptical?

I personally love starting a New Year. Something about the freshness of starting new and dreaming about goals and having a fresh time table to work with– makes my planning-loving self almost explode with happiness. I know, I’m so weird, but someone has to be.

I haven’t always felt hopeful around the New Year though. A few years ago, I remember being at an all time low. I felt so defeated and down about myself. I didn’t want to make any resolutions or goals, because I felt like there was no way that anything good could come out of me and that it would be impossible to follow through with any of my goals. I ended up trying to make some goals anyway, and I remember a month or so into the year actually ripping the paper up I had wrote those goals on. So not only am I weird, but a little dramatic too, haha–thanks for being my friend anyway! But you get what I mean.

I don’t know if you can relate to feeling like that at all. Last year was such a difficult year too, with so much unexpected. It can be hard to think about the next one and plan. It is very possible too that circumstances in the New Year may not be so much better than the last year. But, that doesn’t mean there isn’t hope ahead. While I may google the next stimulus payment as much as the next person, that cannot be where my hope or expectation is. While it’s probably cliché at this point to say it, my Christian sister, remember our real hope is not in circumstances or how things in our world are going. Our Hope transcends all of that.

Although it was a few years ago when I was really feeling down about the next year, I can see some of those similar thoughts creeping back in. I didn’t want to plan or try because I knew from my perspective that my own abilities and my own strength had failed me so much. I was fearful of other people letting me down as well. The thought of trying and failing, or trying and a circumstance derailing the effort just seemed so not worth it. But when I look back, I can recognize the reasoning why for me was because I was misplacing my hope and expectation.

I just want to encourage you this New Year, God has GOOD plans for you, whether you make goals or resolutions or not, whether you feel like anything good can come from this next year or not. Even if last year seems a failure, there is so much grace to start over each morning. If you know Him, there is good in store. His Word tells us that He already has planned good works for you to walk in this year! That means good things you don’t even have to plan for yourself! He’s already got the details, you just have to listen in. No matter how the circumstances in our world roll out. Things may get darker, but He is the light. We always have hope in Him and can always look ahead with expectation that He will be there. And He has purpose for you.

“For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10

So, as your planning (or not planning) goals in this new year, I hope I can encourage you with that–focus your eyes on Him as your expectation and hope. Draw near to Him. It’s okay to not have all the feels about the new year or even to feel a little skeptical about it, but He is going to be there with you. He is going to guide you as you focus on Him. And you can expect that He has good plans for you prepared. His good may look different than what you expect, but you can trust Him. He loves you so much!

Happy 2021!

With Love,

Angelina

PS

I am making some goals this new year =)! Are you? I’m looking forward to sharing later this week!

Rose Colored Glasses for the {Im}perfect Momma

When I was younger, I would look to moms that are the age I am now, or have the number of kids I have, and think, “They must have their stuff together.” To my surprise–one morning I woke up and here I am, and hey, how come my stuff isn’t together? Did I miss something? Like, most of the time I can’t even figure out when to shower.  Sometimes, Brennan and I legitimately look at each other and are like, “Can you believe we have four kids?” Honestly still caught in surprise a bit. In surprise of the blessing, in surprise of the responsibility, and in surprise of how quickly time truly goes.  And in surprise of how not put together we really are. 

My mom skills, well– they aren’t always what I would hope they would be, and I definitely would not call them put together. One day last week for example, I started my day feeling pretty good. I got enough sleep, woke up early, had a Bible study, made the fam breakfast, and felt like this was going to be a good mom day… and then, on our way somewhere in the car, I lost it. I didn’t even know I was going to lose it, I went from peaceful to yelling in a snap. You would think it would be something pretty bad to derail my cool, but nope, the reason I lost it was because my oldest son was complaining he felt like he was going to throw up. 

What kind of person yells at someone for feeling sick? Yeah… I did that. Apparently that day, I was that person, and maybe the only one in history too because that’s pretty weird and not compassionate.  

In my defense, I did warn him ahead of time that he always gets car sick and shouldn’t bring his homework in the car, and he insisted. And so, there we were, on the highway, with him feeling sick, my five year old screaming for a snack or else he was threatening he would feel sick too, my two year old crying to hear the Moana soundtrack, and my seven year old feeling like my bestie for being the only kid not currently losing it. And so, I lost it too.

We got home and the tension was so thick you could cut it, our eyes were staring lasers at each other, and I just felt so defeated. And we get inside and Brennan looks up from his work at us and is like,” Tough ride huh??” Haha. I just have to share with you that’s where my mom skills are at some days. I know I’m not the only one who has embarrassing moments like this either and I’m writing about mine here as a virtual hug to you, because you’re not alone and we don’t have to stay there. 

 A good friend of mine would often pray for the moments that she fell short with her kiddos to fall away from their memories. Like, praying that when they remembered that day, she would hope that moment wouldn’t be the one they remembered.  I find myself praying similar prayers as these little ones are getting older.

 And as I’m writing this I’m thinking, can’t I pray that for myself too, but for the right now? Can’t I focus less on my shortcomings and imperfections of today? More and more my own imperfections and the realization that I need God’s grace, and don’t know what I’m doing, is more obvious. But I know that the time is short, and I know that one day very soon I’m going to look back at these moments with rose colored glasses because I’m going to miss this season so much. I’m going to miss it, and I don’t want to miss it right now because I’m focused on the negative.

 I already do miss the season of them being babies and barely remember the things that were hard in those days, and I’m sure I will soon be missing this season as well, and the next one, and the next one. Because each day is so precious with these people. I love them so much I want to squeeze them until they explode into confetti.

I’m thinking though, I need to put on those rose colored glasses sooner rather than later. I wonder what things about right now I’m going to look back on with rose colored glasses? What part of right now is the good old days? Is it possible to focus more on that instead of my shortcomings and mistakes ?

Mommas, we’re not going to be perfect, but that in itself is perfect. It’s perfect because it makes room for a God who is. I may not feel put together or like I know what I’m doing, but God does. And that perfect God chose us to be these kids’ parents. He chose us. He chose me, even knowing my imperfections. He didn’t just choose us and then leave us to figure it out. He lets us come to Him for guidance, for strength, for forgiveness, for grace. He knows I am weak, and He gives me strength. He says that His strength is actually made perfect in my weakness. 

“And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”

2 Corinthians 12:9

He knows I’m going to mess up, but He compassionately offers the way back. My parenting was never really about me being perfect anyway, it’s about me being able to point my kids to the One Who is. 

And so my rocky situation that day didn’t go perfectly, but God showed up. After taking some time to pray,  I could apologize, and my son was super sweet and gracious. And I got to talk to him about how I’m not perfect, and just because I respond a certain way sometimes doesn’t mean it was right that I did, nor am I happy that I did, because I make mistakes too and I’m sorry, and that I’m so grateful for forgiveness.

 As I was explaining it to him that I’m not perfect, I realized that so much of my problem starts with the error in thinking I’m going to be perfect in the first place. In the morning, when I thought I was going to have such a good day, did that in my mind mean a day without conflict and one where I wouldn’t need any grace? My kids are going to have imperfect days too, and how I handle mine is teaching them something a perfect day can’t. It shows them how God is so faithful to be there, how He forgives, redeems, helps, gives grace, strength and patience. 

 So, I’m praying for us mommas, and for our kiddos, that we wouldn’t focus and remember so much about what went wrong, or how we fell short, but that we would remember instead the forgiving hugs, patience, love, grace, laughs, and sometimes the growing pains of our faith.

What a blessing and gift it is to be a momma! And to not have to be a perfect one, but to be able to lean on the One who is, and to point our little ones to Him too. The best thing we can give our little ones is our lives lived in faith. 

Love and Hugs,

Angelina

Hi, thanks for checking out my blog!

This blog has been a prayer project of mine for what seems like f o r e v e r. I’ve been dreaming of being able to write and encourage ladies in whatever season life finds you in.

Thanks for stopping by my blog! I recently started this project after having a strong desire for a long time to encourage women through writing. Through different seasons of life I’ve leaned so much on authors and blogs for encouragement and advice, especially when I lived in a country where I couldn’t speak the language yet. Those writings were such an encouragement to me and still are. I hope that I can be there for others as well.

In the last ten years I’ve been through so many different types of seasons, as I’m sure you have too. From being newly married and serving on the mission field in Mexico, to raising three small children in a foreign country and learning how to be a mom and wife in that context. Soon after we moved back to the US to New England, to help with a church plant with my now four sweet kiddos. To most recently moving and starting over again here on the West Coast.

In each place I’ve met wonderful people and also found so much comfort in those relationships where you can just rest for a minute, plop down on a friend’s coach and just be real. Like–no makeup, laundry not put away, let me reheat you some coffee in the microwave, I’m sorry for the smell coming from my trash can kind of real.

I’ve also had periods of time where there wasn’t a relationship like that to be found, nor was I really a friend like that myself. That’s where the heart of this blog comes from. I hope it can be like a place next door that you can come with no pretense, a place to be built up in your faith, to rest, laugh, be encouraged and have a friend to do life with.

I’m a daughter of the King, a wife to my best friend, a mom to three handsome, loud and hilarious boys, and one sweet and sassy princess. I’m also a preschool teacher finishing my degree in education, and I love to write in my free time. Above all else, I love Jesus and my life is set out to follow Him and love others, and let everything else fall into place.