We don't have conversations like we used to. We type words that appear on screens and we don't communicate our thoughts all that well. Our attention is short and written words reflect just how short it is, ie. twitter post lengths. We live our lives depending on snippets to inform us and expect better of those around us because of the snippets we share. We focus on headlines and we never dig deeper. We quickly share lost child posts and never bother to click to even see if we should be rejoicing for those that are found. We've gone from blogging, to mini-blogging, to reels set to music that are a great source of entertainment, but really add little value to who we are or our lives. We live by headlines, sound bites, and snippets and we judge our world on these. Social media thrives only when there is astounding news to share or an extraordinary person who catches our eye.
Our judgement of the world is far from accurate based on these tidbits. We don't see all the corruption, we don't understand the depth of conspiracies, we also do not see the most important part, the inner workings of what God is doing.
See, just below the surface of what we can see and hear is a network that goes unnoticed. The algorithms of the internet don't place much value on what is going on there. Just below the surface of what we see as hard facts and real life is a network of good happening. Organizations that are birthed from the hearts of people that love Jesus and want to do more for the world are moving and working in the communities we often neglect, our own.
I recently met a lady with a huge vision and has proven what it is she wants to do actually works
Imagine a single mom walking out of jail who has a child her parents are raising or is in the foster system. This mom is thrown into the world again; old contacts at hand, drug use still around the corner, alcohol handed to her because they KNOW she wants it. The cycle continues and families stay broken. Then imagine this single momma, walking out of jail to her child and has an advocate by her side who refuses to let her be thrown back to the wolves of the world. Instead, she gives her a safe place to sleep, healthy food, the love of Jesus, and many other things she needs to contribute to her own healing. She isn't even required to find a job right away because the pressures of work can even be too much. After a few months, she begins a new journey in her healing of working to make something for herself, to save money, to providing for herself and her child. A year goes by and she's living in a reduced rent apartment, answers the phone at a front desk, and actually is taking care of her child on her own while going to school part time. Eventually, she graduates with a degree or starts her own business and her family is made whole again. The support and love is always there for her when she needs it and she can now trust that she has it in her to become more. The vision is beautiful and noteworthy and deserves our attention, but it works under the surface with little recognition and even push back from the community for helping a drug user.
The vision of one, easily becomes the vision of many.
Imagine a network of women coming together to help single moms go to school and find jobs, imagine a network of women who are helping single moms coming out of bad situations get back on their feet starting with the birth of their babies, imagine a network of women working together to help make sure those babies have clothing and safe beds to sleep in and car seats too. Imagine all these networks joining together just under the surface and begin to support a community of women that includes anyone from a runaway to a young adult who the foster system let go. Imagine these women pooling resources and creating a network, a net, that hopes to catch those that are falling through the cracks,, to prevent them from becoming part of a broken system.
Titus women do this.
I say all this to say, are you paying attention to "under the surface"? Are you letting the world tell you there is little hope and nothing more you can do? You may not be the one called to start an organization, but you are the one Jesus is calling to do more. Doing more can look like baking 1 extra meal a week to folding and having clothing for children and teens. If you're worried about the state of our economy, our nation, our values, anything, then you need to fix your eyes on Jesus and ask Him what you can do. There is hope, it does't get the attention it deserves. It doesn't even get the help it needs to stay hope..
Our God is raising up an army of women who are everything from prayer warriors to giant killers and we do it in ways that no one will ever see. If you're looking for an organization or foundation to help, here are a few that have amazing plans.
Flourish Foster Care Closet & Support, Inc.
6 Simple Ways to Help Your Community
There are volunteer opportunities everywhere you look. Look into areas that appeal to you and your interests. A few examples are...
2. Support Local Businesses
Often it is the local business, not large corporations who support local charity work. Here are a few ways to help support your local business beyond just shopping with them.
3. Tidy Up
Something as simple as picking up trash on a stroll or planting a few flowers for an elderly neighbor can brighten the community you live in. You an even organize small events that focus on cleaning up water ways, nature paths, and playgrounds.
4. Help Your Neighbors
So often we see a need and we hope that someone else will step up and meet that need, even in our own communities. Charity starts at home and community starts with everyone around you.Take the time to get to know people around you and find out how you can help. You can contribute in many ways from budget planning, to meal preparation or shopping and even just having a chat. You never know how much your time and effort will mean to someone else.
5. Donate Things.
You don't always have to donate money to help organizations. You can also donate your unwanted items that are still in excellent shape. I personally run the organization Flourish which provides infants to youth in foster care with clothing. We love taking in beautiful, like new clothing to help provide for others. Charity and Ministry Thrift Stores appreciate your well meaning donations of goods and the funds often not only help support their ministry, but also helps create jobs for people in your community as well. Even local food banks appreciate contributions year round.
6. Donate Money
We don't always have a lot of money laying around to just give away. However, pooling together resources can create big impacts. Give a little here and there with the help of others can provide in big ways. Saving or rounding up your change is a great way to collect over time and then give back to organizations you want to support. Getting together with friends, coworkers, or church members to collect a little bit can add up to big support for smaller organization that use your little bucks to make big impacts. A twenty dollar gift card can buy new shoes for a child just placed in foster care. Just skipping your favorite chain store coffee shop 1 or 2 times a month and setting that money aside for a bigger purpose, makes a big difference in your community.
Helping the community is good for you and good for those around you. Whether you spend time on a community project, donate unwanted clothing or just tidy up, giving something back can help you too.
I had this really cute candle I bought at the store last fall and I burned it quite often. The scent was called Harvest Bakery and all I know is that it smelled amazing and it was in this adorable container. Recently, while it was burning next to my bathtub, it went out. It was done. Finished. At that moment, I realized how much my life right now was like that candle. Maybe you're going through the same thing too.
We've all heard the phrase, "bloom where you're planted." It really is a great little quote to share but even more so, to meditate on. We all have a past and parts of our past we tend to grieve on the regular. Maybe you grieve those moments in the kitchen with Grandma, or watching. your kids sled down the neighborhoods favorite hill; maybe, you grieve for loved ones that have moved out and moved on or for just the moments spent with those you care so much about. We all do it, and sometimes we can let grief keep us in a dormant state.
In early January, I pulled up my Etsy app and started searching for Peonies. They are my absolute favorite flower. They graced my mothers front walk way and my grandmothers back door. I just think they are the most majestic flowers and I have decided that I want every kind I can find. There is a great little Etsy shop that is based just north of us and shares the same planting zone. I decided to take a chance on some mail order Peonies. They arrived fairly quickly and because I love receiving packages I was also quick to open the box. I was excited to find 3 pots of dirt, wrapped in plastic and surrounded by packing peanuts. I pulled each pot out of its plastic and it literally just looked like a pot of dirt. Somewhere beneath all of that soil that was shipped was a plant, a dormant plant.
Being that it was still January, I let the little ladies hang out in our basement for the time being. We had not yet even built our front porch on our house and I want them to be tucked in around our front porch. I would have to wait. They would also have to wait and remain dormant. Then there was a really beautiful, warm winters day today. Our porch is built but unfortunately not yet ready for landscaping. I was a little anxious to see how my baby Peonies were doing so I pulled them out of the basement from their box and carried them out to debate on what I should do based on their conditions.
Sprouts. Sprouts were poking up just ever so slightly, beginning to reach for the sky in search of the life giving sunlight. My baby girl and I pull out my grandmothers 3 concrete planters and prepared them to receive my three precious Peonies. We carefully transplanted each. These are the moments when I wish I had a small green house. (Hmmm, I think that will be my next project.). I want to make sure those little ladies are well protected and able to thrive. I've put so much thought and have been so careful to make sure they can reach their full potential.
See, flowers and trees really have such a neat life. The go about life doing what they were created to do. The may flower, bloom, bud, or just stay green all year. More than anything, every little plant has one goal, just one. To grow as tall as it can! It is going to reach and stretch with all its might to the sun until it can reach no further. Many factors will come into play to determine just how far it can reach. If conditions are just right it will thrive. If conditions are not just right, it will struggle.
Struggle & Thrive
Now, there's a thought. As I was planting my little Peonies I prayed that they would thrive. I wanted the best for those little plants because if they reach their full potential, they will bring so much joy to all who meet them when they are clothed in all their flowering glory.
Isn't that kind of like us as women? We are planted and we are told we should bloom where we are planted. How can we ever reach our full potential though if we aren't given the right conditions, no matter how much we want to bloom. If the conditions we are in aren't conducive to thriving, what are we to do? The answer is so very simple. Pray.
Romans 8:28 gives us confidence that everything we endure is used for God's glory, for a greater purpose, for good. We know that when we are in His hands, not matter the circumstances or conditions, He will make it all right. Even if it's grief, you don't have to stay dormant.
I want to encourage you, that if you don't feel you are thriving in this life to ask God if you are planted where you ought to be. Are you in the best place so that He can use your life and make it beautiful? If you don't feel that is so then just ask Him to plant you in the right place. Ask Him to begin to surround you with people who can encourage you, speak life into you, pray for you, and help you see yourself as God sees you. Ask Him to send life giving words your way, favor, and to uproot you from where you are if the conditions aren't what He sees as His best for you. Don't be afraid of being uprooted when you are in His hands. Sometimes that's just what we need to leave our dormant place and begin to grow where we have not. Sometimes it's what we need to get the conditions just right for thriving.
Six months ago, my family of 7 put everything we owned on truck beds and trailers and stored as much as we could, nearly everything. We moved into a camper and a small cabin between us. It's not what I personally would consider ideal but it works for us. In the mean time, I have watched our new house rise out of the ground. We are thriving and making progress. My kids have discovered that they can actually play in nature and enjoy it. We have become closer as a family than I could have ever imagined. We've even add a really sweet dog to the mix who is our protector and friend.
God took what might look like a mess and misery to others and has made it beautiful. In the end, we have prayed over and over that we do not owe one single cent on our house. We own our land free and clear but a house is a different story. It sounds impossible to some.
Your circumstances maybe currently be ideal and perfect for you and your family to thrive. I pray that is the case for more and more families. However, as I have friends that reach out concerning needing prayer various circumstances I find it so very heart breaking that they just are not thriving. I have seen doors open and doors close for them and for others. I have seen God move and make a way were there shouldn't be a way. I have seen God drench families in His love and He has radically changed their circumstances so that they begin to thrive. The struggle, it will always be there. We aren't promised that things will be good and easy all of the time.
1 Timothy 4:10 says "That is why we labor and strive". We work and struggle. We work and struggle. We grown and stretch. We grow and stretch. It's not for our glory that we finally get to bloom. It's literally, for HIS glory that the world gets to be a witness to all the goodness and beauty that our story brings to the world.
I still find myself grieving for what once was. We had a beautiful home and were surrounded by family for 16 years. We brought home all 5 of our babies to that house, 2 were handed to us at our threshold there. I still grieve for my Granny who lived next to us and for the security we had in having my parents across the street. I find myself starting to grieve those things and that's okay. The thing is, I can't stay dormant long because God planted us so very perfectly. We were meant to thrive.
It's all for His glory.
Have you ever reflected on you life and thought, "How could God even use me?" Do you feel very insignificant and alone? Do you feel bound by the little life you have and the mundane tasks you are in charge of daily while admiring others who have found a higher calling? Nothing in your life has ever happened that seems significant enough for a powerful testimony that God can use? It was only a few years back that I felt this way, but I had this feeling inside of me that called me to do something bigger. It's a very confusing thing to feel one way about your life and being called to do the opposite.
Take a deep breath.
Four little words that play through our minds when we feel like things are spiraling out of control, when we feel like we are losing our grip, when the unexpected just took control over our day; take a deep breath.
Go ahead, breathe in deep.
Now, let it out.
Do it again and again until you feel the calm sweep back over you.
Your heart rate steadies, your blood pressure comes down, and you can focus on what truly matters.
You know that place where you go to hide, to be alone for awhile? For some of us, it might be under the sheets, curled up in the corner of the couch, in our cars after pulling in the drive way, or even in a hot shower so you can hear nothing except the water streaming down.
We all have that place. We all have those reasons. Maybe you need to escape, maybe you are afraid, maybe you have let your thoughts run amuck and just need a minute to settle them down. Maybe you are weary from fear and shame; and the burdens of life are weighing heavy. You just need to escape and hide.
In 2015, I was in a real spiritual battle. My husband and I were embarking on something that the Lord had called us to do and within that the Devil knew that God was placing us into the battle for a purpose. We remain victorious as long as we are in His Will. Let me take you back to a journal entry.
We all have those days that just don't go as planned. We can all relate to feeling like we have too much on our plate and we just don't know how we are going to do it all. The day to day can feel overwhelming, much less the year to year to do list. I'm so thankful that this method of organizing my anxious thoughts and to do list works...
Blueberries are one of my very favorite fruits. They grow wild around here. I have a friend that made me blueberry jam recently and I ration it's deliciousness.
I don't know why I write. I feel like most of the time they are just ramblings in my head and I just need to get them out. Occasionally, I receive a kind email or comment thanking me for sharing but for the most part this is just an empty space for me to pour out.
Foster Care | Savings, paying off debt, making room, filling out paper work, training, classes, home inspections...so many things to do to prepare, to feel prepared.
God has been all over me to dig in His Word today. As I sit down to do some reading I decide it's probably a good idea to start with the book He keeps pushing towards me today...Exodus. So I open up to Exodus and my eyes fall on a section called "Bricks Without Straw" and this part of a scripture...
I used to be fascinated with the spiritual world in that I didn't understand hauntings and things that were unexplained. A few years ago, I picked up a book by a local pastor to Chattanooga, Ron Phillips. He's also pastor to several friends.
Those times when it is 2 o'clock in the morning and you are wide awake and can't sleep and you're fighting your own thoughts and your responsibilities as a mom weigh heavy, that's when Jesus is calling you.
In my circle of friends I have a girl friend that is expecting her first baby...well, babies. She is expecting twins. They are little miracles who we have waited for and waited for.
Psalm 91 is the key to winning the spiritual battles going on around you. It's the key to winning your day. As a foster mom, I see first hand the spiritual battle going on.
I shared on January 1st the word for my new year.
Just this morning as I was dropping off my beautiful foster baby girl in the nursery I was fussing about her dress and her perfectly placed bow and sounding completely exhausted about how we are never on time and that I'm the last to take care of me.
I am living a very good life, I have to say. My journey is blessed
When you feel like you can't handle the task at hand and you ask yourself, "Girl, who's your Daddy?"
Take a minute and feel secure and taken care of not because of what you can do but because of Who you belong to.
What if you got a good look at your God and remembered who He is and that you belong to Him.
Who's your Daddy?
the First and the Last,
the Beginning and the End,
the Keeper of creation and the Creator of all,
the Architect of the Universe and the Manager of all time,
He always was, always is, always will be
bruised but brought healing,
pierced but eased pain,
persecuted but brought freedom,
dead and brings life,
risen but brings power,
and reigns to bring peace!
The world can't understand Him,
armies can't defeat Him,
schools can't explain Him,
leaders can't ignore Him,
Herod couldn't kill Him,
Nero couldn't crush Him,
new age can not replace Him,
Oprah can not explain Him away!
You remind yourself that
Life, Love, Longevity and He is the Lord,
He is Goodness, and Kindness, and Faithfulness,
and He is God!
His Ways are right!
His Word eternal!
His Will unchanging!
His Mind is on us!
He is our...
He rules our lives.
I serve Him because...
His bond is love,
His yoke is easy,
His burden is light,
and His goal for us is
I follow Him because...
He is the Wisdom of the wise,
the Power of the powerful,
the Ancient of days,
the Ruler of rulers,
the Leader of all leaders,
His goal is a relationship with me & you.
and NEVER cancel your appointment in His appointment book.
fall He'll lift you up,
fail He'll forgive you,
are weak He is your strength,
are lost He is your way,
are afraid He is your courage,
stumble He will steady you,
are hurt He is going to heal you,
are broken He will mend you,
are blind He will lead you,
are hungry He will feed you,
face a trial He is with you,
are persecuted He will shield you,
face problems He will comfort you,
face loss He will provide for you,
face death He will carry us all the way Home.
He is EVERYTHING for
and in every way.
He is your God and is Who you belong too!
If there is one thing I know, the more you walk in God's Will the more determined the devil is to get involved. I understand now why God allows him too.
Writing about this topic below is painful and scary to share. I pray now my dear one that if you are reading this, it gives you permission to ask God for help...to be complete in brokenness...to be sifted...to be healed. We are all broken together.
that is a word that has been surfacing so much lately. It is in music, it is in conversations, it is in things around the house, it is in the air.
This morning I was cleaning up the kitchen and putting away items and inside a basket was my favorite salt shaker...broken. I had dropped it full. It had been in 1 piece just as I liked it but now it lay in 4 pieces and I didn't have the heart to toss it. I reached in our kitchen junk drawer and pulled out the glue. I carefully pieced my little salt shaker back together. Almost like new. I filled it with salt and sat it next to the mate.
I love fall!
I think my favorite part of fall is that I get to wear boots, leggings, scarves, hats, and cardigans.
I do love the pretty colors in the trees and how everything seems to start to settle down in nature.
My wardrobe over the years as become one of many layers.
I wear my cotton T-Shirts year round under layers of sweaters or cardigans.
I wear my shorter knit skirts and dresses with leggings.
I love fall! I love this season of the year best of all!
My times are in Your hand... Psalms 31:15
Season. The word season from the Latin world serere - to sow, and satio - sowing. With a later derivative in Old French seson
Sowing, to sow, season.
A season of sowing. As I looked more deeply into this "season" of life and the meaning, I ran across the origin of the word and that put pause on my writing. Pause long enough to let the imagery of sowing seep into and blend in my mind with my understanding of season.
As I pictured each season with its heat, warmth, coolness, cold; I also pictured sowing. Do the ones who tend gardens year round sow seeds year round? Yes, they do. They sow spring seeds, summer seeds for summer and fall harvests. They sow fall and winter seeds for winter and spring harvests. Always with the intention to harvest.
To sow, to scatter seeds among the earth with the intention of a harvest. To secure a future for a harvest the seeds must be scattered and buried in the earth at the the right time, in the right place, in darkness.
Read Matthew 13:3-8
During this time in my life the season is changing and so are the seeds.
About a week ago I had some girl friends over to my house for a Bible study that we started and there was such a diversity among us. The seasons in life of each girl was how we were most diverse.
My Titus women friends whose kids are grown and now they are raising grand babies or the one who has lost a child and has an ailing husband. My new mommy friends with their toddlers or are pregnant now. There's also the friends that are in the same season of life that I am.
So I started noticing and one day it hit me...
right about the time I went to my yearly doctor visit...
I'm no longer in the season I used to be in.
The breastfeeding book lay on the doctors counter. Pregnant women in the waiting room. Questions about my intentions of growing a family.
I suddenly started feeling as if a door was closing on a part of my life, as if it was not a part I could walk through again.
I thought about my 20's, going to college, getting married, having my family.
My 30's are going to be coming to a close soon and I've been raising my kids.
Back to college.
Back to work
Dealing with middle school stuff of one of my children.
Learning to lean into God and press into my husband too.
Taking care of my health and putting some focus on me.
So much has changed since my twenties. I fight it sometimes.
I still want to adopt a girl into our family.
I still think I'm 26 apparently as I wrote it on a doctors form.
I am now at a time in my life that I'm sure many women or moms do come too.
That door is shutting.
That season is changing.
Sure I've kept some of their baby toys in the attic, outfits that were precious to me but I'm letting go.
I'm no longer holding on.
When did the letting go happen?
This morning as our kids were pulling on jackets and grabbing up backpacks they were happily bouncing off to wait for the bus.
I stood across the kitchen from my husband and smiled.
My boyfriend, my high school sweetheart, my lover, my friend...
I asked "Can you believe we made those guys?"
I'm in awe all of the sudden, in a whole new way, by the miracles before me.
The love of my life smiled, stepped across the room and took me in his arms.
It's a miracle how two makes one. How two become one.
I'm approaching a new season, not quite letting go of the old one yet.
I'm still harvesting from the last season but it's time to sow new seeds for the future.
To clean out the mess of a life's garden to make room for new growth.
To prepare for the new season, the next harvest, a future.
In their shell of darkness, each "seed", each moment and decision, I plant for the future has a life waiting, ready to grow. Ready for it's time to emerge and itself produce.
The new season of me in this life is leading to something beautiful, I can feel it.
To every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven Ecc 3:1
I'm Aimee, former Early Childhood Educator and Reading Specialist turned author, speaker, blogger, and mom of 5. This website is meant to inspire & equip parents of little ones to promote early literacy & language development at home. You will also find fun crafts, devotionals, and recipes to explore..
Learn more about me here.