still changing...

Okay.

I am absolutely still learning how to take things slower, plan and goal set. As I’m writing this, I can hear the YouTube video my Little is watching just a few feet away and I’m cringing on the inside. Why is it so hard to get rid of electronic devices???? For the husband and the child? I’m still working on this. Stay tuned…

In my last post, I was updating all of you on my career changes. As of January 7th, I am an independent in the workplace! I am in the process of getting together a business license, figuring out the degree of the services I will be providing, and, honestly, working freelance services to make money to continue to fund it all in the process. Has working for myself been gratifying? Yes. Has it been as easy as I thought? Nope. Not at all. It’s actually been quite terrifying.

You see, I’m used to frenzy. Craziness. Constantly running and flying by the seat of my pants. All. Of. The. Time. I am being completely honest when I say this, but I don’t know how to calm down and chill out anymore. Sure, I can relax and watch Netflix with a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, but the new entrepreneur in me can easily combat that and say, girl, stop, you really can’t be spending $5 on a tiny pint of ice-cream these days. Go generic! I mean relaxing and working simultaneously. Now that I have what seems like all the time in the world without nearly as many duties, and not nearly as many people demanding something of me, I am learning that over time I may have conditioned myself to excel in the drama, be great when I’m crunched for time, and secretly enjoy complaining about work, but at the same time thriving amidst it all. Now, there are some days I find myself sitting at the desk setup that my husband created for me looking at my hands, writing lists of things that are imperative to get done, and what do I do??? Look at them. I plan and write them in millions of different places (in color of course) and think about how to get them done, without actually doing them. At three o’ clock, when I’ve finally gotten my mind “right,” I know my Little will be home from school and I immediately shift to mommy mode, work forgotten.

Who would have thought this would be a problem?

Two projects that I am working on are my more dominant sources of income and they’ve battled one another constantly from day one. How many hours per day should I dedicate to each? What happens when I find myself working significantly more that I was before I ventured out on my own? That wasn’t supposed to happen! What happens if I fail?

Questions that need answers people. Questions that need answers.

I actually watched a Netflix movie a few weeks back about a young basketball player who had a true gift for the game. His parents were extremely poor, and to make a long story short, after his father took money from his coach for recruitment purposes, he found himself ineligible to play. What did he do? He got creative and went pro overseas at age 14. Imagine the look on his parents faces. Here is their child essentially cleaning up their mess and creating a lucrative job for himself in the process. After watching. I spoke with my younger sister and we came to the conclusion that maybe if we had a harder life growing up maybe it would be easier for us to get motivated and take risks! When you’ve always had a cushion to fall back on, whether it be parents, a nice savings account or a husband with a good job, it can make you lazy. I can admit this about myself, and in this new role I’ve created for myself, I’ve actively had to work around the dreaming and actually put action toward every list, idea and goal I’ve created over the last few weeks. It’s exhausting, and my mind is constantly going a mile a minute, but I’ve noticed some true life change as well.

I’ve felt a change in myself! I take the time to do simple things, like clean my home better. This sounds trivial, but at the end of my weekdays I’m no longer so emotionally and mentally drained that the things that truly matter get pushed off to the side and become forgotten about. Yes, there are plenty of boxes in my day planner that have gone unchecked (mostly writing sessions and workouts I pre-planned), but I have worked out and worked on my book more these last few weeks than I have in months, so I am learning that the perfectionist in me that likes to overexert myself and check off boxes can go hide in a corner somewhere. She just needs to disappear and stay gone! Thank goodness :) And, I’m sure there are some friends of mine who are thinking that I’ve completely “ghosted” them because the cell phone number I had four and a half years was turned in and replaced on my last day at work, and the contacts I saved on a yellow legal pad are floating around somewhere on my desk. That transfer is coming. I promise. Soon!

Most importantly, since I’m being completely honest, leaving my job literally saved my marriage. The hassle of the world that over the last few years has affected us in so many ways has subsided and we are goofy together again. We talk to one another more. And quite honestly, I feel closer to the hubs and am happier to be married to him than I’ve ever been. Why did it take me quitting my job to to reach this point? I guess the easy answer is that it shouldn’t have. If this experience teaches me anything, it has taught me that relationships should come first. Work and livelihood is important, but relationships and the souls that make up those we love are forever. Nourish them. Take care of them. Depend on them for your well-being because it truly is okay.

In the meantime, pray for me and my sanity. Pray for my jumping out on my own. Please. I’m looking to find myself and am almost there.

Stay tuned!

And did I mention, pray please? :)

xoxo

marlena

Changes

So. It has been so long since I’ve posted, I’m almost ashamed!

Not really, but you know what I mean :)

Before starting this post I read my last one, Executive Classroom Mom, and boy, have I got news for you all! But, before I begin, let me just say this: having a child makes Christmas MAGICAL. For every gift he opened today, my Little’s face was absolutely indescribable. My heart melted about fifty times today! And tonight, when he said today was the best Christmas ever, every moment that I beat myself up these last few days was worth it. One of the coolest things about this Christmas though was the fact that my Little told me himself what the holiday is about: Jesus. That’s one of the sweetest things I’ve heard my son say because I feel in my heart that he believes it, and as a Christian woman who knows the reality of Jesus and his salvation, I’m proud of these words coming out of his little, gap filled mouth. I’ve taken the rest of the week off of work and have already noticed a sense of relief and feelings of excitement the longer I’ve been home because……

Once I return, I have four days left and will begin a new journey working for myself!!!!

It’s scary, but super exciting, and I can already feel a new motivation in me that I haven’t felt in such a long time. I am more purposeful at home already, and have been looking forward to taking on some projects I have put off, and look forward to the following things the most:

1) Being able to continue to be fully involved in my Little’s school and activities with no work interruption;

2) Working from home;

3) Working more directly for my family and self, as opposed to working for another business and fulfilling someone else’s dream instead of my own dreams;

4) Becoming more purposeful and intentional in ALL things as I am able to slow down my life and live it in the way I’ve wanted for the last six years;

5) Becoming closer to God;

6) Growing my family closer to God while learning how to be a better wife;

7) Learning to plan and take better care of my family’s home;

8) Working toward creating and growing generational wealth for my family and my Little and his own family when he’s all grown up; and,

9) Finally publish my book.

That is such a long list but I absolutely intend to detail my progress in each of these areas over the course of the upcoming months, God willing. I’ll probably post more randomly too because I will have more time to read and write, and my stress level has already come a long ways down so I hopefully will not be trading time for writing blog posts with “quiet time.”

I am so excited for change!

Is there anything you are changing up in your life? I would love to hear about it!

xoxo

marlena

executive classroom mom

Have you ever felt like you’re supposed to be right where you are?

Like with work, or with family, or even in a relationship?

I’ve had this battle as a working mom for approximately five years. Without getting into feelings about not being able to stay home during my son’s early years, I’ll get right into the here and now. I have a list of wants, and I know exactly what it will take to accomplish them, but getting there is proving to be a little harder, and takes a little longer than I thought it would.

WANTS

1) Live in Christ. All of the time.

2) Be a wife that gives her husband continuous love, support and spiritual uplift (and advice when he asks for it).

3) Be a mom that treats her child as her child, and not above her husband or Christ, but instead in a way that teaches him about his Father in Heaven and how important it is to have relationship with Jesus, all while loving him in such a way he will never be able to say he doesn’t know what love is.

4) Live simply and enjoy those moments that I won’t ever get back.

So yesterday I went on a field trip with my son’s school. It was a blast, and just like a recent Jon Gordon book I read (The Seed), I found myself thinking about my work life balance and what I should be pursuing right here and right now as I trekked through the corn maze (just like the book!!!!) with a gaggle of kindergarteners and a few students from the lower school. Unlike the character in The Seed, unfortunately, I cannot afford to take a “few weeks off” to get my thoughts together, all in order to discover what I am here to do. I’m in real life/real mom time. Which means my deepest thoughts and revelations are generally revealed in my bathroom. :)

If I wasn’t a working mom, I would definitely be a classroom mom for my Little’s kindergarten class. Since I do work, however, I’ve made it a priority to be a working classroom mom, if there is such a thing. So I make sure I am able to attend each and every field trip that parents are invited on, and participate fully in each activity/event our school takes part in. You know, a do it all mom. I have my days, but I adore every minute of it. But let’s backtrack here, so I can give you the full scope of this rambling of thoughts.

As of the end of last week, I have had a potential job opportunity come up that would be worth leaving my company of four + years because of a major salary increase, but also because it would allow me to grow a great bit in my field of work. And just so you know the scope of this “grow a great bit,” it would mean executive level at the age of 33.

What’s a mom to do? Friday, Saturday and Sunday I found myself looking at two sides of myself, wondering which side of me is the “real” me, or at least the me I needed to pursue. Classroom mom, who puts her child before everything, including major opportunities like this one that could change the family dynamic long-term? Or, working mom, who wasn’t happy about being a working mom, but since her child is older now, should just go ahead, suck it up and climb the corporate ladder (might as well be the best if you’ve got to do it anyway, right)?

Honeslty, I went into yesterday’s feel trip thinking about these things and my stress level increased. And increased. And increased some more.

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There is this third, and final part of me that just wants SIMPLE. And when I say simple, if I could convince my husband that it could be financially safe to have a single income household, my simple would be all of us thoroughly enjoying a drastically different lifestyle than the one we live right now. I mean, why not cut down to having a single vehicle to cut personal finances? And having another child (preferably two) and truly getting to experience what it is like staying home with my babies during that early time in their lives? Or what about being able to enjoy growing in Christ in a way outside of just having bible study once a week and reading shorter excerpts than I’d like due to time restaints that aren’t anywhere near more important than my spiritual growth? Don’t even get me started on taking care of my family from home (I can easily see me overscheduling myself and having a different bible study group each day, goal-setting to achieve new recipes each week for family meals, and that exhaustive list could go on and on), but I know myself, and I’d love every second of it! But in all honesty, the “simple” that I think God truly intended for families is one I’d like to be able to try for at least one season in my life.

So back to yesterday. There I was, talking with my Little’s teachers, heart bursting every single time he grabbed my hand and held me close (those days of embarassement and not wanting to show his love for me long gone!) and I had a revelation. I’ve always known how important motherhood is, and anyone who knows me personally knows that I absolutely love being a mother. My revelation was one that really came in a way that it’s come to me in the past. The only difference now is that in the past I ignored it. The excitement from the position that I mentioned earlier started to fade yesterday as I began to think about what changing my schedule could mean for my family. Then I began to think about my plan. Not necessarily God’s plan, but my plan, in pursuit of living my life the way I think God intends for me to live.

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So what am I saying?

Well, what is for you is for you, but what is meant for me right now is keeping things the status quo. Executive level is in the cards for some of us, but I don’t think it is for me. At least right not right now, and in this particular way. Yes, more money is always nice. But losing out on opportunities like yesterday with my son would make me a miserable monster who unleashes crazy on everyone. Ask my husband.

She isn’t nice.

And I’m trying to keep her hidden away :)

Operation classroom mom suits me well. Do you have a hard time making working decisions while working outside of your home?

xoxo

marlena

shame, shame, toenail shame

“I’ll be right back, I’m going to get more acetone.”

 

I smiled and nodded, watching the super cute nail technician step away to refill her bottle with the nail polish remover. I looked down at my toes. The pink nail polish I successfully reapplied (without removing) for a good year’s time remained, staring back at me in defiance, just as shiny as it was on one of the many dozens of times I reapplied it in haste! It was like it was willing itself to embarrass me further. Just wipe away, I murmured to myself, sneaking a peak at the woman soaking her feet next to me, sliding further down into the abyss of the plush, massage chair I was too worked up to take advantage of using…

 

Okay, so I’m being super dramatic, but my neighbor in toe crimes was definitely a regular. I could tell by the way she casually walked in and engrossed herself in chitchat with her regular technician and immediately activated her massage chair. I did gain valuable knowledge as they spoke about how great a new show on Hulu was, as I had been eyeballing it myself. I definitely made a note to self. Furthermore, I knew she was definitely past the point of haphazardly reapplying her toenail polish in maniacal swipes before she headed out the door barefoot, driving in bare feet until her toes dried, or taking a risk and applying before anyone else in her office smelled the scent of nail polish before her morning meeting. Yes, I’ve done both. You’re not living unless you’ve tried to polish your toes and get rid of the scent before your office populates.

                                  

The biggest indicator of her consistency at the salon? Her guy didn’t need MORE.ACETONE. He swiped each of her toes once or twice, and her polish rapidly became nothing more than plum-colored polka dots floating atop the trash bin.

I remember the days when I used to bask in self-care. I would take a bath for unreasonably long amounts of time, lather myself in the best lotion for my skin I could find, style my hair perfectly (ALL THE TIME) and dress as my best self. Even for trips to the store. And, most importantly, even when other people wouldn't see me. My self care was me-focused, and wasn't based on where I would be going, who I would see, and how long it would take for me to do it. I just did it.

Now, as a wife to one and mother to one, I learned a few things about myself during this “event.”

Number 1 – I absolutely enjoy being pampered. Mom life does not allow for this much, outside of Mother’s Day.

 Number 2 – I really need to stop reapplying nail polish without removing the past coat(s). It wreaks havoc with my “put together” persona and causes complete shame. Especially when my technician is super cute and “put together.”

 Number 3 – I need to be able to experience more days doing something strictly for myself. I used to think this was selfish, but everyone needs a little alone time and self-care is always necessary.

 So how can you take care of yourself, Mama?

Choose at least one day every few weeks that is strictly yours. If you like to read and drink coffee, go read and drink coffee. If you like being pampered, schedule yourself a spa day. Keep this date, and if life happens and you have interference, never cancel, just reschedule.

Take care of your toes. When you are in a hurry and see that a few of your toenails need to be redone, take fifteen minutes and do the job right. Unless, however, you need just one swipe on your big toe…

Or the color is a light one and can use a second coat…

Or you’re just in a hurry like mamas are sometimes and cannot find the nail polish remover quick enough…

 

the maniacal wife

Last night I felt like I was crazy. Have you every felt like you're crazy?

Like, you're looking at your husband after he has NOT done something you've asked (A MILLION TIMES) and you just feel the urge to scream at the top of your lungs? Sometimes I think about doing this, but the hubs and I try very hard to keep everything sunshine and rainbows, or at least avoid one another, during times of disagreement, so I refrain from this because I don't wanna scare my kid. *I will just keep screaming for thrills in my Jeep while I'm driving to let go. Or maybe your Little person, who is absolutely adorable with virtually all of his top teeth gone, is slightly taking advantage of watching "just one more" cartoon because he sees you in your go-to Victoria's Secret joggers and white tee that means mama is about to lounge around on every couch, chair and bed to try to alleviate her migraine. He knows we study on school nights and mama strives to fill him up with intellectual things. At least during the weekdays. Game on for some tv and bad food on Friday night and Saturday. Multiple episodes of everything on Nick Jr. later....

ma*ni*a*cal: adjective

1) Exhibiting extremely wild or violent behavior

2) (Informal). Exhibiting or denoting obsessive enthusiam.

3) (Psychiatry). Suffering from mania.

I'm quick to say that number three is likely my jam by default, only because I'm not obsessed with anything to such an exteme (although I've really taken a crazy cool liking to Fighting for the Faith and Pirate Christian Radio), and I'm not violent (yet) :) Or maybe its true what "they" say about being a Gemini. I'm really just two people in the body of one.

I think that is what I'll go with. 

Dear Husband, 

I think you have two wives. Helena enjoys ugly crying, complaining for virtually no reason, and only combing her hair sometimes. Marlena is her shiny, golden opposite. But you already know this :) I made sure to wake up and give you big hugs this morning and love on you because I know last night was like an episode of SNAPPED. Helena went to bed last night, and Marlena woke up this morning, sans migraine. You're welcome, sweetheart!

xoxo

marlena

*This post is not meant to demean or classify anyone with a psychiatric disorder in a negative or less than light.  I take such cases seriously. I'm just a mom and wife who loves my family and requires a good laugh every now and then when I feel overwhelmed. 

the discernment bug...

This post will be quick, but I thought it was so important to share!!!

My husband and I both listen to a local, Christian radio station in the mornings, and while he is taking our Little to school, and I am driving to work, most days we take a few minutes to chat. 

So to give you a little back story, I have been on the discernment trail lately. The more I learn, the more I want to learn...Y'all, it's like it's addictive! But anyway, my husband and I have had some discussions about his concerns with what I am doing. My husband is pretty reserved. Have you heard the discription "he's the strong silent type?" Well, there we go :) His biggest concern is that in actively watching, reading and listening to blogs, sermons, books, etc., and "critiquing" what I hear, see or read, that I am being controversial, and judging when I shouldn't be. I've been telling him that as Christians, God's word tells us to be discerning (1 John 4:1) and that while it may seem like we are judging, as long as we are mature and have grace, getting down to the truth is necessary. We have to know for the sake of our family.

All of that to say, after he heard something something on the radio that seemed a little "off" he called me and said, you know what? I think what that lady was teaching was wrong, and she had no scripture to back it up... And we went on to have a great discussion that felt like the equivalent to him sending me some really, pretty flowers to work (Hun, if you're reading this, you can absolutely still send me flowers one day lol). But the bottom line is this...we were brought together in engaging conversation in defense of the God we are working really hard to make the center of our home. 

Ding, ding, ding, ding!!!! My heart is so full :) He gets it! And while this blog is my attempt to help women to not make the same mistakes I've made in the past, and learn to disconnect from their feelings and connect to Jesus, at the same time, I hope that I am able to pull my husband along for the ride too :)

xoxo

marlena 

mega church chronicles, post 1

I am in the place right now where I've been a little back and forth about whether or not I should do this post, but here we are, so let's go :) 

I've been attending a multi-site megachurch for approximately three and a half years now, and since I'm being honest, I am going to admit to you, the reader of this post, that I feel as if I have been tricked. Better yet, I feel as if I have just come to the realization that all of this time I have been just another number. Another number to count in weekly reports for attendance and small group leadership. Another number to tell someone rather too proudly where I attend church, my chest swelling just a little too high with pride. You get the idea. 

There have been a few things over the past seven or eight months that have really caused me to pause and I'll just list them out here and then I will circle back around and will dig deeper and create a single post for each one over the course of the next few weeks. I've taken into consideration what mega-church life is like across the board, not just at my church, and I've noticed some similar themes amongst them that I'd like to discuss in the upcoming weeks. 

Problem issues:

*Women to preach to a full congregation in the position of an elder.

*Being highly seeker-driven.

*Being highly purpose-seeking/purpose-driven

*Uses the terms "communicator" and "pastor" interchangeably.

What's scary for me as a believer, and having the wisdom to be God-fearing is this: the strong possibility of an entire generation of students being taught incorrectly (we have a really high number of students attending services regularly).

So, prior to my attending my church, I never really thought twice about the idea of women preaching.  Honestly, I never thought about it because church, Jesus and anything related were not on my radar. This is not to say that I wouldn't classify myself as a Christian at this time, but in my walk now, I can easily look back and see that I was lost. 

I'm actually a huge reader, and being that there are many women writers who have in essence been turned into speakers as they travel and publicize their books, I've seen some of them transform even further and become communicators who come in and speak to churches on Sunday, since the context of their books is biblical. While I think that an author has the okay to travel and do book signings and lectures about their books, in my journey to knowing Jesus better, I have learned that this is completely different than a woman who seeks to teach women about the bible through her books. While it is fine for her to lecture and teach her female audience, she is overstepping her boundaries when she becomes a guest speaker for a mixed congregation or during a Sunday service with the same goal of teaching in mind. I know this is hugely controversial in the Church today, but God's word says women doing this is wrong, in multiple verses. 

1 Timothy 2:8-15, I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling; likewise also that women should adorn themselves in respectable apparel, with modesty and self-control, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly attire, but with what is proper for women who profess godliness - with good works. Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet. For Adam was formed first, then Eve, and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing - it they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

1 Timothy 3:1-2, 4 and 12, The saying is trustworthy: If anyone aspires to the office of overseer, he desires a noble task. Therefore an overseer must be above reproach, the husband of one wife, sober-minded, self-controlled, respectable, hospital, able to teach

He must manage his own household well, with all dignity keeping his children submissive

Let deacons each be the husband of one wife, managing their children and their own households well.

Titus 1:5-6, This is why I left you in Crete, so that you might put what remained into order, and appoint elders in every town as I directed you - if anyone is above reproach, the husband of one wife, and his children are believers and not open to the charge of debauchery or insubordination.

1 Corinthians 11:5-10, but every wife who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head, since it is the same as if her head were shaven. For if a wife will not cover her head, then she should cut her hair short. But since it is disgraceful for a wife to cut off her hair or shave her head, let her cover her head. For a man ought not to cover his head, since he is the image and glory of God, but woman is the glory of man. For man was not made from woman, but woman from man. Neither was man created for woman, but woman for man. That is why a wife ought to have a symbol of authority on her head, because of the angels. 

1 Corinthians 14:34, the woman should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak, but should be in submission, as the Law also says.

It is important to understand that God has an order for our homes and our churches, which is God's family, and his house (1 Timothy 3:15). In God's hierarchy, God the Father is the head of Christ, Christ is the head of the Church, and a husband is the head of his home and is the image and glory of God (1 Corinthians 11:3). In order to follow God's hierarchy of authority, it is important to know that while the family is led by the man, so should be the congregation of a church, hence having male elders who are above reproach. So where do women fit in? 

It took me hosting a small group and really digging into a woman's role to fully understand my place. Do I think I'm inferior to my husband? No. Do I think he is better than me? No. Do I think I should accept abuse in the name of being submissive in either an emotionally, verbally or physical sense? No. Absolutely not, and you shouldn't either. At age thirty-three (oh vey!!!), I can easily say that my generation is one with just a little more entitlement than generations past. This is not to categorize everyone, I'm strickly talking about myself and those that I know, but many of us have grown up since Kindergarten with teachers, parents, friends and basically everyone, telling us that we can grow up to be whatever we want, make as much money as our favorite celebrities on television and make our own path in life. Could this be true? Absolutely! I think with hard work and determination, anyone can grow into being just about anything they desire. But where many of us fall short at some point is by thinking that we can achieve these goals and live these dreams without acknowledging what God's word says. At the end of the day you are either living for yourself or living for God. Which one are you living for?

There are many popular women writers right now who have published books and classify themselves as bible teachers. I think this is awesome! I am on the journey to doing this myself. There are many young women who need mentorship and leadership and there is this dynamic between women where we battle each other, sometimes seemingly thinking that one woman getting ahead will effect the reaching of our own dreams of successes. This is SO NOT TRUE! But this is a whole other blog post (coming soon!).  What concerns me about women bible teachers teaching full (mixed) congregations is this: Can you trust a teacher who teaches from a holy book when they are in direct violation of said book? I don't think so. I've heard some women (and men for that matter) say that they have a calling to be in a pastoral position. While God's word doesn't say that a pastor has to have a special calling to become a pastor, Paul does say in 1 Timothy 3:1,  "Here is a trustworthy saying: if anyone sets his heart on being an overseer, he desires a noble task." Paul doesn't say that if you want to be a pastor that you should receive a supernatural call from God. He is outright saying that if anyone wants to be a pastor, he (notice the gender he chose) desires a good thing. Below are a few qualifications of a pastor...

A Pastor Must Be:

1) An example: (1 Peter5:3),

2) Respectable: (1 Timothy 3:7), 

3) Spiritually Mature: (1 Timothy 3:6), 

4) Able to Teach: (1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:9), 

5) Hospitable: (1 Timothy 3:2 and Titus 1:8), 

6) Gentle without a Quick Temper: (Ttus 1:7 and Timothy 3:3)

7) Devoted to his wife: (Titus 1:6 and 1 Timothy 3:2)

So I look at this list, and while a woman may very well be able to teach, be well respected in her community and be hospitable, she cannot be spiritually mature if she is violating God's word and in regard to God's definition of marriage, her being devoted to her wife wouldn't apply. Looking at this list I also see that women in the bible have taught (Priscilla with Apollos, Miriam and Deborah and even women who publicly prophesied in the Book of Acts in the New Testament Church), which leads me to the belief that while our role should not lead us to be a head of a church, we are all called to spread the gospel, doing this in a way where we teach younger women and women in general, and teach under the authority of a male elder and never overstep our role as a woman where we teach in the place of an elder, or in an elder-type role. 

What do you think?

xoxo

marlena 

brokenness

When I think about what brokenness means, I think about how I feel when everything in my life is going great, and the feeling that I have when something, or someone interrupts that feeling of greatness. If I'm being honest, this feeling of greatness is the equivalent to me experiencing a time in my life when hardship is virtually nonexistent. 

It's like standing very still while wearing a pair of beautfiul heels (like the kind I used to wear before I had my son :) ) and someone who doesn't know how hard it is to stand on those bad boys gives you an old atta boy on the shoulder. You smile, and it slowly wavers just a little and ultimately turns into a shriek of anguish as you realize that your balance is gone and you're about to hit the floor. I don't think we'll ever be in a position where brokenness comes to us as anything but this. Why? Because no matter our circumstances, we always expect the best and we never settle for what we don't want to happen because we think we can will, think, dream, hope and pray ourselves into the results we want. If you're on a wall with Jesus, you can go ahead and smile, because we know that what we want does not matter! It's not our will we're here to fulfill, it is His.

I think we feel broken because of how we pray. Or better said, I think we are broken BECAUSE OF HOW WE DON'T PRAY.  When we are feeling defeated and lost we tend to think of ourselves in a way that makes us feel worthless. While in one of these moods myself recently, I made a list of all the ways I felt broken and it made me think of every area in which I felt less than what I thought I should have. Here are a few...

BROKEN relationships...BROKEN feelings...BROKEN attitude...
BROKEN expectations...This isn't how "this" aspect of my life is supposed to be. But why can't I change it?                                                                                                                                          BROKEN dreams...I have support, but not from the people I need (want??) it from the most. Why do I allow this to effect my dreaming???                                                                          BROKEN hope...I will never be able to do...(insert everything I'm excited to accomplish here)    BROKEN body...Why can't I motivate myself to eat better and take care of myself?

Do you see how down in the dumps that list is? Ugh. SO, when I'm praying, how do you think I pray about these things? I pray for these things to get better (according to what I think would make them better), I question God about what I should be doing, changing, fixing, etc., to make a long story short, there is a lot of "me" and "I" involved. 

I didn't really have an endgame for this post when I started, but as I've been writing, I do have an answer. Eureka! :) This is how His Spirit works within me, but that's a whole other post!

Here are a few things I think we all need to do during these times when we're feeling broken in spirit and so many other aspects of our lives.

1) Accept our brokenness, but do not allow ourselves to wallow in it. I'm a wallower (is that a word???) I like to wallow, wallow some more, cry, pout, think about a multitude of "what-ifs" and, again.... you guessed it, wallow some more! Sometimes things do not work out for us because God knows that they are not meant for us. Sometimes we cannot do things because God knows that they are not meant for us to do. Sometimes this is His way of saying, no, this is not for you. There may be something greater, or, if we're being honest, there may not be something greater, but if we trust him, we will know that whatever it is we have, or do, instead is what He wants us to have or do.

2) Continue to pray and seek the things we need to change about ourselves, but, instead talk to God and rather than making ourselves the center of our prayers, make Him the center. God is Elohim, our Creator God. He made all things, created all things and decided to make us for this time that we are in. No mistakes were made because God is perfect. His decisions are perfect and His will is perfect. We always need to pray for our situations, families, and whatever else we feel needs to be brought to God, but, most importantly, we need to understand that when we feel broken or worthless, God doesn't flinch. He created the light with nothing more than His voice and he created woman from man's rib. Brokenness is not an obstacle for God, and if you think so, you aren't serving Elohim, you're serving a "lesser than" God. Psalm 34:18 says, The Lord is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit." 

3) Think about why you feel "broken," and embrace it and think about what is truly broken. When I think about the things that make me feel defeated and less than, I see a lot of "self." I also see hardship. For whatever you're feeling is broken, is it really broken, or is just harder to accomplish, think about, or do than everything else in your life that proved easier to maintain? Are you truly broken, or have you just lost faith in the things you cannot see but can only think?

Hebrews 11 tells us that, "Faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen."

So as Christians, our entire hope for salvation in Jesus Christ rests in our faith that he came to Earth, lived a sinless life and took our sins, past, present and future onto himself so that we can be free to live an eternal life. It's evident that this same faith we assert that our Jesus is real, is the same faith that we must assert when we are going through hardship. 

Just like we have faith that Jesus died and rose again to save us from our sin nature, we also need to have faith that his promises will come to fruition if we are faithful. 

xoxo

marlena