Cocoa Chat

Let’s share a cup of hot cocoa tonight, yeah? See, I made you a special one with homemade whipped cream, peppermint bits, and a cherry Andes mint. It’s rather delicious, if I do say so myself. 
But it’s definitely for you.
My writings here always come from a really authentic place, and I hope you can see that, whether they are silly or deeper-hearted. I’ve been doing a lot of soul-searching lately, and I am so excited about the plans I have for this little blog-space of mine. Thank you so much for sharing life with me here.
It is my pleasure to hostess you all here for a moment out of your day.

Today is a time for words instead of pictures. 
Except, one more picture:

For me, this photo embodies my word of the year for 2012: Change.
Every year I choose a Word of the Year that I feel God has laid on my heart as the banner word over my year. I pray about it and often wrestle with the word choice, unsure of what it means or how exactly He seeks to accomplish the meaning of that word in my life. You see, often the words are not pleasant things. They are usually words like 2011’s Discipline or  2012’s word: Change.
On the heels of a rough ending to the otherwise blissfully wonderful 2011, it seemed that there was nothing BUT change left for me. God was preparing my heart. Come mid-year, I was at the end of my rope physically, spiritually, and mentally. I took six flights to visit family in two different states, fighting anxiety attacks the whole way, bursting into tears at random times and in front of strangers, feeling unequivocally beaten down. I made the tough decision to move closer to my family and start chasing some dreams. 
I wish this post were about the healing I’ve experienced, the turning point for wholeness I embraced this year. But as I’ve often said, a testimony is no good without honesty and authenticity. My heart isn’t healed, much as I hate to admit that, because it’s been a year.
 A tough one.

 I know we serve a God whose provisions are complete. He is utterly dependable and overwhelmingly in love with us.
And no matter how much love we may lose on this here broken ground, our God in the Heavens never fails. 

That photo above? That’s me, standing in front of Niagara Falls, during my move. I used to think it was strange that I decided to turn my back on the falls and look out the other way. Why didn’t I face the falls? Now, I think it’s mighty symbolic. My back is to the falls. My back is to the difficulty, to the mighty rushing river cliff of heartbreak.
A year into it.
I’ll see you next January to check in on my word for 2013 and how God used it in my life. 
Oh, and one of my blog-friends asked me about my goals for the upcoming year. I have a list, but I’ll share my big one:
Get my poetry published!
I wish you all a marvelous year. 


Here’s to the beautiful, my dears!

The beautiful unknown.
Who knows what this year will bring. Heartaches, to be sure, will find their way in amidst the cracks. But I’ve been finding that the best way to deal with heartache is to embrace it. Find it, quiet it, bring it before God, and heal. And once you’ve healed, get back to the beautiful just as soon as you can. I’m working on that myself!
Because who knows what marvelous things lie right around the corner from our heartache, within reach!

It is not a sign of weakness to share heartache. No, no, it is our privilege to share heartache. I think you’d be mighty surprised who says, “I am going through something similar!” or “Your sharing really helped me.”

Multiply joys, divide griefs. That’s what doing life together is all about, right?
 I know it’s not always easy. In fact, it can be downright tough.

But God loves when His family gathers and shares life.
What beauty lies there.

What privilege.

Happy 2013, my dears!
Ps. Yes this skirt does fit my fingertip rule!

It’s OK to Cry

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, 

that He may exalt you at the proper time. Cast 

all your anxiety on Him, because He cares for you.” 

I thought I had a stomachache tonight.

Turns out it was more of a heartache.

I cancelled babysitting based on what turns out to be a terrible case of…gas. That’s right, I said it. The sausage I ate at lunch didn’t want to let me go play with my friend’s adorable little guy. I absolutely hate breaking commitments.

You see, I’ve had this hurting heart I’ve been ignoring. Ignoring it felt fine at first. But then it brought out anxiety. It brought out insecurity. It made me feel like the worst person in the world for cancelling a commitment. Basically, holding in a heartbreak surfaces all of my faults and failures, and makes them seem insurmountable. A gray Sunday night with rain on the tin roof, a cancelled commitment and a stomach ache just felt like too much.

I don’t have to HIDE the fact that my heart is broken. Pretending I have it all under control robs me of God’s comfort and healing power: the very things my heart needs! I long to pour myself out at the feet of Jesus. I desire it so deeply now! To pour out all of those insecurities and fears that were welling up behind my heartache. Then move on to pouring out the heartache. God can be trusted with these things. He cares for us. But first, we must humble ourselves under His mighty right hand. We come to Him, humbled, broken in spirit, and say, “God, I hurt. I am hurt.”  He will hold you in His mighty right hand, and He will say, “My dear, my dear. Find your rest in me. I will uphold you. I have a plan for you in my proper and perfect timing. Give my your cares, because you don’t need to trouble with them.”  

The opening verse, from 1 Peter, is really powerful in The Message version, too…. 

“So be content with who you are, and don’t put on airs.

 God’s strong hand is on you; he’ll promote you at the right 

time. Live carefree before God; he is most careful with you.” 

1 Peter 5:6,7

The “putting on airs” part really got my heart—pretending to be OK is putting on airs. And what good is my testimony if I am constantly putting on airs? I share this tonight, to remind myself, and maybe to remind you, too: It’s OK. You will be OK, but it’s OK to have a broken heart. Bring it all to God, humble yourself at His throne, and cast your cares on Him. He cares so utterly deeply for us, and He has plans for us in His perfect timing.

“OK to Cry” by Phillip LaRue