womanhood

When God Pursues You

I woke up that morning with more heaviness on my heart. It’s not uncommon for me to have dreams, especially since I’m normally in and out of sleep constantly during the night. But this was just one more dream to add to the list over the last few weeks that had the same theme over and over again. What did all of this mean? 

I’m not one to dream about my family or myself. I often dream weird dreams that make no sense, and they remind me that I shouldn’t eat chocolate cake before bedtime. Yeah, those kind of dreams.

But these were different.

In the first dream, that I can remember, I was running away from something and taking my family with me (my husband and son). I was frantic, but they didn’t seem too bothered about it. They were calm and peaceful, and I was a frightened mess.

In the next dream, there was a new person. A person from my past. Someone I hadn’t seen in years. What on earth is this guy doing here, I thought to myself. But even he was pretty calm and collected.

Several dreams came and went, all of me and several people in my life (family or past friends) running and hiding somewhere. Trying to get away from someone or something.

But I can remember one of the final dreams vividly . . . because I was suddenly running all alone.

In this dream, all of these people were gone. I was the only one running. All by myself.

I woke up. And even though I knew it was just a dream, I sat there and wondered, why did everyone leave me? And even more so, what on earth am I running from?

I knew I was running from “someone”, but I could never figure out who or, maybe more importantly, why?

It upset me. This was torture. Never in my life have I ever had so many dreams one after the other after the other, with the same theme, different locations, random people, but very much all about me. I had come to the conclusion that I was either eating something totally wrong before I went to bed, or my mind was in a state of stress from all the things I’ve been doing. I mean, it’s not like writing two books in a year, planning a major homesteading/farming conference and fair, being a wife and mom and boss, weren’t overwhelming enough. Now, I had this weighing on me?

The next day was Sunday. Good. Time to go to church and start a brand new week all over again. Except recently I’d found myself thinking more about work and things I had to get done while listening to a sermon, rather than focusing on the sermon that my soul so desperately needed.

I shook my head a little bit, as if to wake myself out of the brain fog, and abruptly started paying attention to our amazing pastor and the sermon he’d prepared for us that day.

“…and sometimes we don’t think God is talking to us, but did you know that God can talk to us in dreams?”

Whoa hey, mister, get out of my head! I looked around, almost as if to see other people’s reactions. It always gets a little weird when we start talking about God talking to us. Our poor Vice President Pence was recently told that he had a mental illness because he believes the God of the universe speaks to him.

But it was just me. I was the only one looking around, as best I could tell. It was as if I was in a room and everyone else was standing still. It was as if God was talking directly to me, all of a sudden.

It wasn’t weird for me. I totally “got it”.

Call me crazy, but I’ve had plenty of dreams where I have gone to people I’ve dreamed about (and not the everyday average dream), told them about it, and had them fall apart and tell me how much they needed to hear about that dream right there in that moment. There have been other times where I’ve shared a dream and it didn’t make any sense at all, until years later.

But why, here, in this moment, was I so absent minded that these dreams could actually be for a reason? Dreams for a purpose? This torture of a dream that I’d been walking through, could it have been torture because I just wasn’t “getting it?” Because I wasn’t in-tune with what was happening?

You’d think, wouldn’t  you, that I’d go home and I’d “get it” and I’d pray before bed that night and everything would be grand. But no, I didn’t.

We went to lunch, we went home, and that evening I didn’t pray. In fact, I hadn’t been praying much at all in recent weeks. Instead, my thoughts were filled with things I needed to get done, things that didn’t get done, places I needed to be, things I needed to create and do and . . . and . . .

. . . and there seemed to be less and less time for God.

A week or so passed, and this trend continued. I’d find various quiet moments where I’d say a little prayer throughout the day. I’d even fit in talking with God like, “dear Jesus give me strength before I smack somebody,” type of talking to God. It was always on my time. It was always when it was convenient. And that was ok, right? I mean, God knows I love Him and cherish Him and, yeah, like, Jesus is my homeboy.

But no, no, it wasn’t good enough.

I wasn’t connecting with God anymore. I had become, what the Bible calls, “a babbling prayer.” (Matthew 6:7)

Nighttime came, once again. Another dream came, once again. But this time, it wasn’t anything I was running from. This time, it was something I was running towards, and it wasn’t something I should’ve been running towards. Something I had seen in a previous dream. A hindrance. An idea or minuscule thought that was leading me into comparison, disconnection and yet, unnecessary connection, and ultimately, a vivid image of being lost. An imagery of choosing one thing over the other. The imagery of being alone and vulnerable. The imagery of not allowing myself to be pursued in the dreams before it—of being pursued by God.

I opened my eyes, sat up in bed, and that’s when it all made sense.

I was being pursued by a God who doesn’t force Himself into your life. Who doesn’t force you to connect with Him and share your life with Him. But who pursues you, constantly, until you simply choose not to be pursued any longer.

And even then, He still calls to us. He still wants to draw near to us.

…he jealously longs for the spirit he has caused to dwell in us… [James 4:5]

He was quietly calling for me the entire time. Ushering me into His presence. Begging for His child to call out to Him, to spend time with Him. And all this child did was keep running. Running to the next project, running to the next job, running to the next batch of laundry that needed folding, running to the next chapter of the book that needed writing.

And eventually, with each new run, He got further and further away. I was aimlessly running further and further away, and I had no idea just how far I’d gotten. Like a kid in a store that runs away from a parent . . . I was losing it.

Scripture tells us that when we draw near to God, God will draw near to us (James 4:8). But even more so, scriptures tell us exactly how God speaks to us, how he draws near to us…

In the sermon that morning, a few Sundays back, our Pastor focused on this passage from the book of Job, and to set it all in place, I want to share it with you now.

For God does speak—now one way, now another—
    though no one perceives it.
In a dream, in a vision of the night,
    when deep sleep falls on people
    as they slumber in their beds,
he may speak in their ears
    and terrify them with warnings,
to turn them from wrongdoing
    and keep them from pride,
to preserve them from the pit,
    their lives from perishing by the sword.
[Job 33:14-18]

One of the most beautiful scriptures of the way God pursues us is Psalm 139, where it says, Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.”  (Psalm 139:7-8) And the truth is exactly that—that no matter where we are, or where we go, God is right there pursuing us. He’s right there waiting for us to talk to Him; waiting for us to come unraveled into the hands of the Almighty Savior of the world, who never once asked us to do life all on our own. 

In fact, He knows we can’t do life all on our own . . . and He’s never wanted us to.

And so, I prayed. I prayed like I hadn’t prayed to Him in weeks . . . because, well, I hadn’t.

Imagine that—a woman who seemed so “put together” and on the right track in this Christian life, and even she was in the midst of focusing on so many things, other than God.

Friend, whoever you are, and for whatever reason you’re reading this, I want you to know that God is pursuing you. He has never stopped pursuing you.

He is pursuing your mind, and your heart, and quickening your spirit. Even when you are ever so close to God, even still, He pursues you. And even if you are so far removed from Him that you think, He could never take me back, I promise you, He’s already right there, pursuing you.

Maybe, just maybe, it’s us who need to stop running from the pursuit. Because this pursuit is one that you don’t want to run from.

Embrace it in all it’s glory, in all your mess. Because grace sure can be messy, but oh, how beautiful it is to finally be caught up by the God who relieves our burdens, gives us peace, and loves us no matter where we are.

And maybe, just maybe, He’s been speaking to you all along . . .

 

Want to listen to the sermon I talk about in this blog post?

Click here to go to the sermon page, and then click on the sermon titled 
“Struggling to Hear”

 

She Intimidates Me…

It was probably the fourth time in the last year that I’ve heard the phrase—by four different women. Man, what did I do to deserve this? Of course, we could laugh it off now, but as she told me how much I use to intimidate her, I’ll admit, I felt a bit of offense. Me? Intimidating?
 
There’s always that chance to ask her why. Why did she think I was so intimidating? Why did she feel she couldn’t approach me and stood back in a distance silently judging me? Now, she’s loving all of this girl right here but, not always.

You just seem like you have it all together. 
 
You’re so confident.
 
You know who you are in Christ, and that’s intimidating for a woman like me.
 
I’ve heard it all. I get it often…
Confidence isn’t something that is easily understood. On one hand you’re a leader, someone people respect and look up to. Someone that people can count on. On the other hand, you’re judged…called obscene words that normally start with a giant “B”, and you’re inapproachable.
There’s a fine line between confidence, arrogance, and insecurity.
But, if we’re being honest, I don’t have it all together…at all.
If we’re being honest, this girl you think I am, she intimidates me too.
I’m messy.
I have 100 things that have to get done and I often find that I choose the things that bring me joy or feelings of accomplishments first.
I hate my body—my chin, my arms, my mom stomach, my jiggles everywhere.
I typed in “mom” stomach to make myself feel better, realizing that it’s just an excuse I use.
I’m insecure. I’m terrified people won’t like me when I meet them. First impressions are everything, right?
I care a little too much about what people think about me, and I’m one of the  biggest introverts that you’ll ever meet, and yet, I won’t seem much like one.
I can be mean, but I can be the kindest person you’ll ever meet.
I can be selfish, immature, and rude.
But I can be loving, a saving grace, and eloquent.
I can be bad ass but I’m scared to death.
And I miss the girl I use to be. But, that girl has come a long way in life. A long, long way.
PHOTO
A man once told me, when I was young and naive, that I wasn’t like “all the other girls”. That I was cool. That I was like “one of the guys”. I smirked because, back then, it seemed rare. But the reality is that I was exactly like every other girl.
I was imperfect.
There’s nothing quite like embracing imperfection.
There’s nothing quite like owning it.
There’s nothing quite as satisfying as knowing absolutely nothing about anything and yet determined to know anything about everything.
And this is her…this is me…
I’m confident because I’ve been less than confident.
I’m confident because I’ve been walked all over, taken advantage of, and whispered sweet nothings to with nothing but heartache in return.
I’m confident because I know what I want in life, who I want in life, and how I want life to be. Because I’ve had the rest…the other…the settled for.
I’m confident because not a single person in this world is going to be able to tell you all the things you need to hear that you are…not until you believe them yourself. 
I’m confident because I’m insecure. I’m shaking on the inside but I can’t dare let it show on the outside because, well, I know how that turns out…and it goes absolutely no where.
I’m confident…but I am exactly like every other woman out there….
I’m vulnerable, insecure, contagiously zealous, unknowingly jealous, comparative, and sassy.
But I am kind, I am quiet, and I am undoubtedly in love with the only Being in the entire universe who knows the depths of my heart, the good and the ugly, and what my confidence really is—Jesus.
If not for Him, and knowing my worth within His hands of warmth and love, I’d wear my insecurities on my sleeve, and my heart would certainly be one of stone.
This woman you think I am…she scares me. This is so true.
The woman I actually am…she wants to love you, laugh with you, be goofy with you.
She wants the fun and chaos, but she wants the depth of meaningful conversations.
She hates small talk and no, it doesn’t mean she knows more than you, it simply means she feels deeply, thinks widely, and her horizons are limitless.
This woman, she is confident. But never, ever, forget that she is exactly like you.
She’s just a woman trying to make it in a sea of people, with little hands that tug on her shirt, dirt under her fingernails, and the world, literally, at her fingertips.
She intimidates me…she intimidates you…and it’s only because we wish we were exactly like her…the thought of her.
The reality, however, is that we are exactly her…at exactly the right time…in exactly the right space. And the rest of the time, when we’re a mess of runny mascara, broken hearts, lost battles, and spilled sippy cup chaos…in the middle of imperfection? Well, that’s where my sweet Jesus takes the front seat, and whispers softly, “you are the daughter of a King…”
Embrace it, sweet girl. And next time, when you see her—that friend, that co-worker, that blogger—don’t judge her….smile at her. Because after the confidence, she’s a puddle of mush just waiting for the next saving grace to scoop her up and love her to pieces. She’s waiting for the reminder that she’s just like everyone else…she’s exactly like you…

{Semi} Wordless Wednesday — Not Everyone Has to Like You

The moment you realize that not everyone has to like you, and that it’s OK, is the moment you truly begin living.
We’re all different. We all like different things. We all have different personalities and interests. And guess what, that means we’ll all have different people in our lives.
We don’t have to be friends with everyone, and that’s OK.
We don’t have to be “liked” by everyone, because quite honestly, not everyone is my cup of tea either. I get it.
Stop beating yourself up about it if you feel like you’ve just tried your hardest to get along with people and you don’t fit into their clique.
Stop worrying yourself with the fact that not everyone wants to be your friend or “hang out with you”.
I’m sorry, I’m an awful friend…I don’t hang out with anyone!! But I still love you guys!
And most of all, stop feeling guilty just because someone doesn’t fit with your personality.
Because not everyone you meet has to be your friend.
And not everyone that meets you has to make you their friend.
That’s the beauty of life.
And when you realize this, you start living a real and amazing life — one full of people and things that make you happy….one full of less time worrying and fretting, and more time living….
You truly live….my goodness, do you live….

Ladies Only! | The Diva Cup {Review}

UPDATED 7/7/14: I LOVEEEE my Diva Cup!! I could not function monthly without this thing. I have not had to purchase any other “monthly” items since ordering the Diva Cup. Highly recommend!!

First of all, if you’re a fella, I suggest you stop reading this blog post right now.

No, seriously, right now.

Now.

If you’re a lady who would prefer not to read about your monthly visit from Aunt Flo, then I also suggest you stop reading.

However, if you’re interested, like me, in all things “women” and how to make my “time of the month” easier, then this post is for you!

Read the Post

Dear Mama Who’s Struggling to Conceive;

I understand. I’ve been there. I’m there right now.

I understand the guilt you feel. Like there’s something wrong with you. Why can’t you conceive a little one as quickly as others? After all, it seems like everyone around you is pregnant or getting pregnant. But then you remind yourself that the only reason that seems to be is because you, yourself, are trying so hard to conceive.

Dear Mama who’s struggling to conceive. I understand. But I also understand grace, mercy, love and compassion. God is so quick to show us these things, so please be quick to show them to yourself. Be easy on yourself, mama. It’s easy to get caught up in depression, exasperation and sadness when you can’t control the situation that you’re in. It’s easy to forget who the maker of all things is. It’s easy to forget who’s hands control the universe. And yet, somehow, it is so easy to doubt Him and ask Him, why?
Click here to

The worst part about conceiving, and not knowingly having anything wrong with you, is the waiting game. Just this morning I took a pregnancy test. The first one in several months. I waited until I was a week late — I wasn’t going to cave too soon. You see, on top of the waiting game, I never show a “positive” on a pregnancy test until past the 6 week mark anyway. But I thought, this morning might be different. I always think that.

But ugly guilt reared its head again this morning. The doubt and frustration came, on top of all of my other chores and issues that I was dealing with. Not only was I already having a bad morning, but I decided to take a pregnancy test, a negative pregnancy test, on top of it all. Just five minutes before, I would have bet my last dollar that I was pregnant. And as I threw my test into the trash can, I wondered what my husband would think if he knew I took a test. If he would think I’m a failure. If he would think I was silly for taking a test, because you know….it hasn’t been positive for the past 12 months…why should it be any different now? Then the words start swirling around in your head….and here comes the anger again.

Dear mama; I know how you feel. I know that it’s hard — harder than anyone can imagine. And I know that nothing anyone says can make you feel  better. But please, please don’t forget just how special and needed you are. Whether you’re trying for your second (like me) or trying for your 10th, the struggle is the same for each of us who are having a hard time on this journey, no matter what our case may be. We think the same thoughts, do the same things. But just remember this, not even a sparrow falls to the ground without the Lord knowing. So don’t be afraid, for you are worth far more than many sparrows (Matt 10:29-31).

He knows your pain….

He knows your hurt and He knows your frustration. And while we don’t always understand why things happen the way they do, it’s still going to be ok. It’s ok to be frustrated, it’s ok to be upset….it’s completely understandable. But it’s not ok to place blame. It’s not ok to feel guilty. It’s not ok to get depressed. And it’s not ok to allow your emotions to be taken out on the other people in your home.

Mama, you. are. beautiful. And whether you conceive this time, next time, or never at all; God’s plan for your life far exceeds the plans that you have for yourself. God’s word does not promise us everything we want, but it does promise us everything we need. He never said our journey would be easy, but He did promise that He would be there holding onto our hand the entire way. And just when we think we’ve let go of Him, He whispers, “…but I’ve never let go of you.”

So, cry your cries today, mama. Take time for yourself. Pray. Lean on Jesus. Sob, weep, mourn. But then pick yourself back up, and allow Christ to be your strength. You have a family who needs you more than they need a sweet little miracle baby right now. You have a child who wants the best of you now, not later. You have friends who need your love and compassion in this time…in this moment, in their own struggles and tears. And you have a husband who adores you, no matter how much of a failure you think you might be.

And then, at the end of the day, if nothing else happens, let go. Lean not on your own understanding, because while we are so busy trying to make another precious little life, we forget that God is still trying to mold us and make something amazingly beautiful out of us. And if in the end we’re blessed with another precious child, we will certainly be quick to praise Him through it all. And most likely, we’ll come out of this as much better mama’s. We don’t have to understand. We don’t have to know why. And we don’t have to give up — please, don’t give up. All we have to do is trust that no matter what the outcome, God will be glorified.

Dear mama; tomorrow is a new day and a new chance. And while you’re waiting for God to open the door to the next journey in your life, praise Him in the hallway.

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