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Good Words

Friends, my playlist is about to get a major Mama makeover. Elliott and I have never been the kind of parents to keep our preferred music away from our son. Sure, some of the content got watered down once little man’s ears started to pick up on words, but we never fully converted our music of choice over to a Kidz Bop-approved variety. Over the last year or so, Brooks – our son who is now five years old – has taken a special interest in singing along with me to the songs that are on my playlist. We sing in the car, he sings along with the music while I work out or while we run down back country roads. It’s kind of become our thing. When we get to the songs that are filled with uplifting messages – messages that reinforce our faith or encourage self-confidence – I always say, “Listen, buddy! These are good words.” After a few months of me reminding him to pay close attention to the lyrics in certain songs, Brooks has now started to ask me, “Mommy, are these good words?” wh

What's in front of you?

For as long as I can remember, I've always looked for signs. You know, the kinds you look for when you have a big decision to make or need to change direction on something in life. Signs of affirmation, warning signs of danger, signs of inspiration.

Truthfully, the majority of the time, I don't get the sign I'm hoping for. Because let's be honest...what I really want is something very tangible to drop down from the heavens, smack me in the face and leave with me absolutely no doubt as to which way I should go. Can you relate?

Unfortunately, waiting around for these literal and physical signs has opened the door for me to choose incorrectly at times. For so much of my life - particularly my adult life - I have gone 90 to nothing, barreling through my days with no quiet time of any sort, focused only on what I have to accomplish and deal with that day. And then I would have the occasional meltdown, feeling out of balance and frustrated that I wasn't getting any signs to help me with the questions I had about life.

Lord knows how many signs I've missed - and continue to miss - as I sprint through my days. Let me preface the rest of this post with this disclaimer: I don't have this part figured out just yet. I still struggle with balance, with slowing down, with rushing through life. But I'm working on it, and I hope this post will inspire you to do the same. Maybe we can do it together...I need all the accountability partners I can get, y'all.

What I really want to share with you is that I started to experience something, starting about a year ago, that I had truly never experienced before. In the midst of a season of struggle, while I was living as a version of myself that I truly wasn't proud of, something started to tug on my heart. I'll confess to you that I had been praying for strength, for peace and for the ability to step out of the season I was in. Some days I felt like that was happening and I took a step forward. Other days I felt like the weakest woman alive and I took five steps back.

But what started happening last year was something I had never experienced before. And it happened in various ways. People came into my life, for seemingly random reasons, bringing positivity and encouraging messages - without having any idea what I was wrestling with. One of these folks recommended a book to me by Lysa TerKeurst called Uninvited. I had never heard of Lysa OR her books, but my heart knew I needed some inspiration so I picked it up before I left for vacation last summer.

That book was the beginning of a transformation for me. I know it sounds hokey, but y'all stay with me. I read that book quickly, sitting by the ocean that week, soaking up every good vibe and every ounce of inspiration that I could. I felt like the words were written for me, specifically for the season I was in. It was the first time in a while that I had actually taken the time to read a whole book, and it was getting my attention in the best of ways.

I wish I could tell you that I did some magical about-face and my whole life changed for the better after I got back from that vacation. But as with most things, it was more of a process. Although I continued to struggle with some of the same things, a door had been cracked open for me that I didn't even recognize at the time. That first book by Lysa TerKeurst led me to another one...The Best Yes, which is about learning how to say no to things that get in the way of our true calling in life.

I picked the book up, thinking it would help me learn some tangible ways to say no to things and help me learn to prioritize my time a bit better. And it did those things...but it did so much more than that. As I was reading that book, I started to feel like someone was trying to tell me something. Lysa spends so much of the book talking about that thing inside of you that you want to try, the true calling on your life that so many of us have yet to explore. And I read page after page, thinking...what an awesome concept. I would love to feel that way. I wish I had a Best Yes that I could relate to.

(Let's stop for a minute and clarify. Best Yes callings can be anything from being more present for your family to exploring a dream that's deep inside of you that you've never pursued. I don't want you to miss the fact that we have Best Yes opportunities every day, and I did understand that as I was reading the book. What I was craving was something on a grander scale...a project to start, a personal goal to reach for, a huge dream to dream. I was so inspired by the book to chase something like that, but I had no idea what to chase.)

In the meantime, that content led me to other amazing content that continued to work on my heart and start to change me in ways that I had been hoping and praying for. And eventually I stumbled across a lady named Rachel Hollis and a book called Girl, Wash Your Face. And my new pal Rach started pummeling me with messages, through her book and through social media, about being the best version of myself. And pursuing that dream that's deep inside, even if nobody else understands it. And making more time in my day to focus on that dream. And living authentically.

At some point along the way, as I devoured content from these ladies and other inspirational folks, and as I worked through the hard season and finally got to a better place, something started to happen. I started having these crazy ideas for goals and projects and businesses. Things I wanted to try on my own. Projects I wanted to start with my husband. This was the season during which this blog was born, along with joining Beautycounter and starting AFP.

I have so many dreams and goals and ideas floating through my mind and my heart that didn't even exist this time last year. I believe that they are gifts, seeds that my Creator planted in my heart. But He waited until I was good and ready to receive those gifts. This might be a harsh thing to say about myself, but I believe that I didn't deserve those gifts a year ago. They are delicate and precious, and they need to be handled with care in order to grow. I was in no state to handle such things in the middle of that season of my life.

As I've written about before, I believe with my whole heart that I was saved from the bad place by a force that is bigger than me. I don't mean to sound preachy - I hope this gives you hope. I believe that the One who created the moon and the stars and the fish in the sea also created us, and whether we willingly invite Him in or take the harder, longer path, He wants to save us from the places we don't need to go. And He wants to inspire us to be better versions of ourselves, because to do anything else is to do a disservice to this life that He's given us. And I believe that He will choose whatever means necessary to accomplish that - even in the most unexpected ways.

One way or another, He will get our attention. For some of us (insert girl emoji with hand raised), He has to work a little harder and get a little creative because we are so freaking stubborn. But maybe you can be smarter than me. Maybe you can intentionally slow down, give yourself a minute to breathe, and start noticing what's in front of you. Is there a book you've been wanting to read that might speak to your heart? Is there a friend that randomly wants to meet for coffee that might say something that inspires you? Is there a positive message on social media that seems to keep making its way in front of you, and you keep excusing it away? Stop ignoring what's being put in front of you, friend. It might just open the door to the thing that changes your life.


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