The Ending We Didn’t Get

A twelve days ago we were supposed to move into an adorable little two bedroom, two bath condo we were buying. And fifteen days ago, I was standing in line at Marshall’s when Travis called to tell me that the sale had fallen through.

I had planned to drive home and pack more boxes, then pick James up from his first day of preschool all smiles and energy.

Instead, I cried my way home and off and on through the rest of that day, and canceled the order for our new mattress that we scheduled to be delivered the day after closing.

I planned on anxiously waiting for the school day to be over so I could run and hold my preschooler and then sit enraptured hearing all about his day.

Instead, I washed my face, put on mascara and as much a smile as I could manage, and braved my way through his first preschool pick up, trying to be fully present and joyful in this moment with him, while at the same battling back the overwhelm now plaguing me.

I had plans, and they were suddenly, unexpectedly, gone. I had built dreams for our family in that place, all in my head, and those too, were now gone. I had expectations for what the next days would be like, and those were gone. I had thought I’d known where God was taking us, and that also, was now gone.

I felt unmoored and untethered. Adrift.

In the days that have followed, I’ve been all over the place. I’ve clung to God in some moments and run from Him others. I’ve been angry sometimes and peaceful others. I’ve run a million scenarios in my head and made plans a dozen different ways, grasping for what is right. Searching in darkness for a spark of Light to guide us.

And into the chaos of my heart and mind, a friend spoke these words.
“We were shouting for joy just a few weeks ago…focus on those miracles. Those miracles didn’t come for no reason, and you guys didn’t get excited for no reason…continue to believe that the Lord is going to move.”
Her words stopped me.

“We were shouting for joy just a few weeks ago…”
“Those miracles didn’t come for no reason…”

I thought I had figured out how God was writing this story. I thought the miraculous way He was letting things fall into place, was all leading up to one certain ending. And when it all fell apart, I began to think maybe I had just heard wrong. Maybe we weren’t following God after all. Maybe God had spoken and I’d just missed it. Or maybe I’d been too stubborn to hear. Or maybe I just had no idea what was going on. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

And then God used the words of this friend to draw near and whisper in my ear…

“This closing falling through does not negate the things I did to get you this far.”

I can praise God for the way He worked and also mourn the ending that I didn’t get.I can trust the God I love to be near even when I don’t understand how He is working.I can worship the God who guides us, even when it feels like we’ve been led to a dead end.

I don’t have an ending to this story yet. Well…not quite.

I can say that we haven’t curled up in a ball and given up, as much as we’ve been tempted to.

God has also provided for us to extend the lease with our current rental until the end of September with no extra fees, so we won’t be homeless at the end of next week.

And today we signed a contract with a new seller, for us to buy a different condo in the same community, although based on the events of the past few weeks, this too, feels far from an ending.

I can say that I’ve had days of intense anxiety, days of overwhelming desire to give up, and days of overwhelming peace from God, in the midst of it all.

I can say that there is a tiny seed of excitement over this new place beginning to form.

We are working hard and the emotional roller coaster, is far from over.

But the fact remains true, God did some wonderful things that I will continue to praise Him for, and the ending we didn’t get, the ending we still might not get, doesn’t negate that.

Be blessed

Parenting: Story in Poem

Parenting

My eyes lock with

His, the scowl on his

Small face takes my heartbeat,

My blood pressure,

So high I can feel it

Throbbing in my ears. I want

To scream and shout, and

As I open my mouth,

I feel the same scowl

Plastered on his face,

Stretched taut across

Mine. Him reflecting me.

I see his eyes hard,

Like mine. His lips pursed,

Like mine. His hands clenched,

Like mine. Like mine. Like me.

All that makes me angry in

Him, I see first in me.

It’s everywhere in me

I want to scream,

Claw at my chest and tear,

Rip my own self out

Of my parenting, I wonder

If I could be a perfect

Parent, would he be

A perfect child?

I want to cry, scream,

Wail again, but not in

Frustration. This time

I want to scream from

Sadness, despair, hopelessness.

I can never be who

I am asking my child

To be. What can I do?

What. Can. I. Do?

My breathing tears, burns

Sharp and painful inside.

But truth rises in me

Like a trumpet,

Like a song sung to

Summon hope.

I cannot make him perfect, partly

Because I cannot be perfect.

But I can teach him

Humility. Asking forgiveness.

Self awareness. Admitting

Failure and getting up to

Try again. I can teach him

Dependence

On God. And hope

For change and growth beyond

His own capacity. I can

Teach him all this because

I can live all this.

I can live humility and

Forgiveness and dependence.

Grace and honesty and

Self-awareness and hope in

Someone greater than myself.

I can teach him, what I can

Live myself. And I am not

Able to live perfection, but

I can live grace and hope and

Humility and surrender. So

My eyes lock his

Softening to meet his iron

Gaze, and I relax.

Apologize. No but.

It’s just there, the offer,

The apology for

Him to accept or not.

A going first.

He can make his

Choice. I have made mine, and

I pray he will follow.

  • Alesha Sinks

Pouring Out My Oil: {Guest Post by Kerry Ann Todd}

{*Today’s post is written by my blogger/instagram friend Kerry. Sh is a woman of God, wife, mother, writer, and essential oils enthusiast and educator. I hope you enjoy her words here today, and if you do, head to her blog to read more or her Instagram to connect with a little bit of her day to day life. Be blessed, Alesha}

I’m selfish and ambitious all at the same time. I have ideas that keep me up at night and wake me up in the morning but then I’m scared to share those ideas because they might not be good enough. I’m scared to share them and voice them because it might be my last one. It might be my last good idea. Another one may never come. Such is the life of a creative, I’m learning.

  <img src="https://images.squarespace-cdn.com/content/v1/55c38a57e4b00989028332c9/1563219491829-5WOS51CQDRCUYBYYP386/ke17ZwdGBToddI8pDm48kEpVg-ILAPna1wRh-xAJ9fRZw-zPPgdn4jUwVcJE1ZvWQUxwkmyExglNqGp0IvTJZUJFbgE-7XRK3dMEBRBhUpwEv36x-EUL2-BSQ5feDhwGCbXuJBFqZ-erYzVouT8yOb9TwqchglLQOCYTRn7ZGxI/KerryToddGuestPost.jpg?format=original" alt=""/>

I have these ideas for essential oils classes, and gifts I want to send, and cards and letters I want to mail, meals I want to serve to my friends and neighbors, books and articles I want to write. And they come into my brain and then there is this mechanism in there, this program, that stops them.

The cycle usually goes like this:

The thought comes in. I think in words and so I just hear or see a bunch of words. I get really excited about it because I am easily excitable and ideas are my jam. I love hearing them, thinking about them and dreaming about them. I start thinking about the audience. I think of people in my real life who represent people everywhere and how this new idea could help them. I can literally think of nothing else at this moment. Because I love pictures, I start to think of graphics and pretty pictures to accompany the idea. I’m almost obsessing at this point, I’m sure if you took my blood pressure it would be elevated because I’m that excited. And this is where the enemy comes in. This is where the critical voice tells me that I’ve tried something similar before and never finished it. The critical voice tells me that I don’t have a huge enough audience. It reminds me of that IG superstar who did something similar months ago and how much of a success it was because of her huge following and her amazing graphic design skills. This is where my idea literally starts to wheeze but instead of saving it, instead of helping it to breathe by fanning some oxygen its way. Instead of taking its hand, I usually walk away because I’m scared.

I was listening to a youtube interview with Les Brown and he said this:

Imagine if you will being on your death bed- And standing around your bed- the ghosts of the ideas, the dreams, the abilities, the talents given to you by life. And that you for whatever reason, you never acted on those ideas, you never pursued that dream, you never used those talents, we never saw your leadership, you never used your voice, you never wrote that book. And there they are standing around your bed looking at you with large angry eyes saying we came to you, and only you could have given us life! Now we must die with you forever. The question is- if you die today what ideas, what dreams, what abilities, what talents, what gifts, would die with you?

This is not what I want for my life. These dreams, these talents, these abilities. They may not be the greatest, but they are mine. They are what I’ve been entrusted with. And this audience, these people in my life, they may not be the largest. But they are what I have been entrusted with. I’m reminded of the story of the widow in the Bible, who owed a lot of money. You can find it in 2 Kings 4:1-7. It’s a short story but it in the woman has to exercise great faith to listen to Elijah. She goes into more debt borrowing jars from her neighbors but obeys and pours out her little oil and miraculously fills up all of the jars she borrowed. Not one is left empty. Then she sells all the oil and pays off her debts and saves her sons. Her neighbors entrusted her with their jars and she went into her house, shut the door and filled them up with her little bit of oil.

I feel like that woman. I have all of these jars I’ve been entrusted with. I have these talents and these gifts and these passions. And I have a little bit of oil. A little bit of love and experience and desire. And Jesus is trusting me to pour it out. He is trusting me to take the ideas, the book ideas, the blog ideas and the business ideas and run with them. They may never be perfect but the obedience and the lessons from trying, from working something, from writing something, will be worth it.

So here I am, Lord. Here are these words and this space and these people you have given me the privilege of speaking to. Take it, use it, make something of it. Make something of me and of these stories. Make something of the pain and the beauty. It can’t be all about me. It has to be all about you.

You can connect with Kerry on her blog or on Instagram.

Lead Us to Worship

Worship at Sunrise

How can I
Morning after morning
Wrap myself in
All this glory
And not open my
Mouth to praise?

by Alesha Sinks

So often I find myself overwhelmed by the beauty of nature. And yet, so often I fail to step forward into the intended result of awe and wonder…worship.

Isn’t that the purpose of creation?

”The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.”
Psalm 19:1 (NIV)

“For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities–his eternal power and divine nature–have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.”
Romans 1:20 (NIV)

In the Psalms, there are examples upon examples of the writer praising God, inspired by and in awe of the glory of God’s creation.

“How many are your works, LORD! In wisdom you made them all; the earth is full of your creatures.”
Psalm 104:24

“For the Lord is the great God, the great King above all gods. In his hand are the depths of the earth, and the mountain peaks belong to him. The sea is his, for he made it, and his hands formed the dry land. Come, let us bow down in worship, let us kneel before the Lord our Maker;”
Psalm 95:3-6

Yet so many mornings I hurry, feet pounding across weather pavement, stechting out to reach the sunrise. And when I get there, when I reach the oceans edge with the early light rippling across the waves, when I stand still and breathless at the beauty in front of me, I forget to do the very thing for which my soul was made.

I forget to do the very thing for which my soul was made.

I forget to take my awe of creation and let it lead me into awe of the Creator.

And that’s true of a little million moments throughout my days.
watching pure joy radiate from my son’s face
when that one shaft of light slips through the living room blinds
the first glorious sip of coffee
a peaceful moment, book in hand
a friend reaching out in love and encouragement
that one song playing right, exactly when I needed to hear it
a cool breeze stirring through the hot evening air, summoning us to rest

How often do these moements slip through my grasp, our grasp, awakening joy and peace and hope and beauty, but failing to turn our hearts in gratitude toward their Giver.

I’m practicing.
Practicing awareness in the moment. Practicing giving a practical, out-loud or a quiet, whispered-in-my-heart “thank you God” when I am surprised by joy. Praciticing reflection on blessings at the end of the day or the week or the month and practicing offering my thanks to God then. Practicing to make a seamless turn from “Wow, how beautiful” into “God, You are so beautiful”.

I’m practicing to make a seamless turn from “Wow, how beautiful” into “God, You are so beautiful”.

Will you practice with me? Will you join me in allowing the beauty around us to not just catch our eyes or our hearts, but to turn our hearts toward God?

My prayer for us today is…

Let the beauty we encounter daily lead us to worship.

Be blessed,
Alesha

Parenting When There Seem to be No Right Answers

Parenting When There Seem to be No Right Answers

I stretched myself into my bed, weighted blanket pulled up, wrapping my heart, heavy and tired. I felt exhausted. Angry. Bombarded…by all the opinions in my head.

Parenting is hard.
And there are so many good ways to parent…how do I know I am choosing the right one?

How do I know that the instant decisions I’m forced to make over and over and over every single day are the right ones? The best ones?

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So often I know, I know they aren’t. I apologize over and over. I snap and yell and rant again and again, and then must circle back to asking forgiveness.

I try this.
Then that.
I say one thing
Then I change my mind and try a different vein of logic or type of consequence or chose a rewards system or give simply let it slide because I
don’t
know
what
I’m
doing.

Maybe you hear them too? The dozens of voices. Opinions. Loud and demanding and, unfortunately, contradictory.

How do I know I’m listening to the right one?

And I can feel the them rising…the voices. Slowly louder and louder in my head. Crushing me with their volume and their weight.

Do this…not that.
If you do this, you will hurt them…
If you don’t do this, you teach them bad habits…
This is kinder…
This is wiser…
This is effective…
This is better for the long haul…
This is practical…
This is for their heart…
..and I am drowning in the voices.

But suddenly, in my head but not from within it, His voice speaks above the din. Softly. As if nearest to me out of them all.

“Don’t listen to them, listen to me.”

And I realize that somehow I thought His voice was there, in the chorus and chaos of voices in my head. I somehow thought His voice was among them, shouting at me with judgement, with fear, with shame.

I forget that His voice is different.
His voice is outside of the crowd. Separate. And only in turning the crowd of opinions down, will I be able to hear His voice, firm and safe. A steady place to rest my heart and mind. A safe bottom to plant my anchor.

The steady thrum of options and opinions isn’t necessary to my parenting.

Being guided by the Holy Spirit is necessary to my parenting.

So I’ll lay my anxious heart down tonight, a little easier. My head will be a little quieter. And my mind and heart will repeat this simple prayer.

God, let me see my children with Your eyes and Your heart. Let me hear Your voice and let my heart be sensitive to Your touch. Give me Your wisdom and strength and grace as I parent, and the humility to allow myself to be parented by You in the process.

And this simple mediation.

His voice is not in the crowd.

Be blessed

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