I love this community.  I really in truly do.  It brings me to tears right now just thinking about how much I needed to hear your sweet words of encouragement after Truth #6.  Boy, it sure does make me feel better knowing that I'm not the only mom that struggles.  It's like we know that isn't the case but isn't it just good to hear it at times?  Not only motherhood, but life in general?  We build up these false expectations of one another with school or work and suddenly we become so overwhelmed with our doubts about ourselves that we forget that everyone struggles.  I am at such a tender time right now in my walk with Christ.  My world is crazy around me and I loosen the grip to the hand that is holding mine.  I get frustrated so easily these days and forget the words that I lay on my heart each morning.  Some days I am literally just going through the motions.  What a shame and waste.  But, in my desperation, it is all I can manage to do.  Reading Grace for the Good Girl could not have come at a better moment for me.  I want to share in more detail on Wednesday about this past week's reading but I must say that it feels good to be encouraged to rip the mask off.  I've been picking at it for several years now but to pull the band-aid quickly is a lot less painful.  I'm allowing this community to see me for me.  Oh, how hard that is  yet so gratifying.  Weird how life works that way....

On this journey of telling the truth, I realize that there is a balance to this life.  Ann Voskamp so beautifully writes how we should be thankful for the many gifts we have been given.  I agree with her.  She showed a video on her blog today that ended with this verse, "Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God's will for you in Christ Jesus" (1 Thessalonians 5:18).  In my small group, we have been discussing Adam Hamilton's book, "Why?: Making sense of God's will."  Last week, we talked about what God's will truly was.  One idea that stuck out to me was replacing the word "will" with "desire."  God desires for us to live lives of thanksgiving.  But, might I take a moment and admit how hard that is at times?  Right now, I am really struggling with some circumstances that affect my family's daily life.  They are circumstances that are beyond my control yet they are seeping into my soul and hardening my heart.  I feel like a dark cloud is looming over my head constantly....wasn't there a Charlie Brown character that had that problem?  I am trying to give thanks and see the sunshine but my forecast is still staying rain.  But, God desires for me to give thanks so I try to do His will even when I don't feel like it.

In the midst of these struggles, I yearn to sit quietly with my Savior.  I've been very unmotivated to do anything else.  Sometimes I will sit on my front porch glider while the girls are napping or other times I will take them on a walk.  We went to the beach this past weekend to sit at the edge of the earth and soak in His majestic power and beauty.  I am thankful for these moments of stillness.  It brings forth much-needed healing and restoration.

The other day Raleigh and I took the girls to the park and they discovered the see-saw (with the help of mom and dad).  As the see-saw went up and down, I realized that is such a reflection of my current state of Christen.  On one side sits Thanks and the other side sits Despair.  When Despair strikes, it goes way up and then shoots down.  Thanks experiences the same highs and lows.  In my efforts of finding balance, I seek Truth.  This Truth can only be found in Jesus - in his words, in his actions, in the choices he chose to make.  Jesus didn't allow himself to be consumed by sinful nature.  As hard as it is, I've got to try to do the same - it is God's desire for my life.  Romans 8:9-11 says, "You, however, are controlled not by the sinful nature but by the Spirit, if the Spirit of God lives in you.  If Christ is in you, your body is dead because of sin, yet your spirit is alive because of righteousness."

Truth will set me free.

This week, my challenge to myself and all of you is to give thanks continually.  For us to warm up our hardened hearts.  To get started, I will leave you with my Truth #9: I desire to live life according to God's will, even when I don't feel like it.

Till next time, let your light shine!

Blessings, christen

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Truth #1 – The Truth

Truth #2 – I hate laundry

Truth #3 – I’m bad at memorization

Truth #4 – My dogs drive me crazy

Truth #5 – I’m scared at getting in trouble

Truth #6 – I was nervous to start N2S

Truth #7 – I like to dance

Truth #8 - I enjoy a simple life