Lessons From My Children

 

Blog friends, this post might not be your favorite. I understand, and that’s ok! This is a post that has been swirling around for a long time and it needed to be written so one day my kids have my thoughts from when they were 12 and 8. I hate that it took me this long to write it! I want to tell each one of you just how much I appreciate the love you’ve given me since coming back! It amazes me that I was missed (ridiculous insecurity revealing itself there, I guess) and that you noticed my absence. You melt my heart and blow my mind!!

 

To my sweet and crazy kids,

Brandon my first born, who taught me to be a mom, I’m so grateful that you are an easy-going, roll-with-it-kind of kid! I certainly didn’t have all the instruction manuals when I started and I still don’t. You taught me to be less selfish. When you knocked my tiny little bottle of expensive perfume off the shelf in the bathroom and I was hit with a flash of anger at first, until I realized that no matter the cost of a thing it was not as valuable as you. I’m sorry for being a mom who has to learn her lessons the hard way, for being slow to realize the value of you over stuff.

A mom who has to learn lessons the hard way | Me, Coffee & Jesus

You’ve taught me boys aren’t just rough and tumble but boys can treasure their moms. When you were a toddler I didn’t always think I was important to you, See, you ALWAYS wanted to be off doing boy stuff with Dad or Grandpa. Building, pushing dirt, riding a tractor, none of those required Mom. Now I know that it was a phase and I don’t have to dig in the dirt to be important to you. You show my importance to you by stopping what you are doing to give me a hug, by teasing me endlessly about being taller than me, and by wanting to go to the movies or ice cream with me. I love your kindness and patience with your nephews, it gives me a tiny glimpse of you being a man grown up with children of your own. You make me proud to be a mom.

 

Rachel, my sweet and sassy girl. My mini-me, as you are often called. You have taught me lessons on listening and obeying. I won’t soon forget the time when you kept asking why do I have to, when I had told you to do something. I replied in a frustrated tone I don’t have to explain why, I’m your Mom and you just need to listen. In that moment I got it. I got the fact that, that is how God views us. We ask over and over why. When really we don’t need to know, we only need to listen and do as we’ve been told.

 

Lately you have been argumentative, always needing to be right, even though there is no more defense to your argument. While I find myself Crazy about this, like pull-my-hair-out-scream-at-the-rafters-kind-of-crazy, because it is meaningless things you stand your ground on. Then it hits me (uhh, today as I thought about starting this post a few hours ago) one day it won’t be meaningless, what you ate when you were a one year old topics, but why you love Jesus topics. Right now is practice for moments that will matter eternally. In the meantime while you practice your voice I will practice patience.

 

You both make this house a family. You make me a Mom and dad and Dad. You are such a good mix of the two of us, Brandon you got Dad’s sense of humor and quietness and my compassion for others.  Rach you got my gullibility (sorry about that) and creativity and Dad’s orneriness. You both are kind, willing to work hard (usually, you’re kids not saints!), and have a deep love of video games, all thanks to your dad (that one I just don’t think I can ever jump on board with, I’m terrible at them-laughably so!)

We know who's we are and we always trust Him even when it's hard | Me, Coffee & Jesus

I’m so thankful that I get to be your mom, it is a joy to watch you grow up. I hope that you forgive me for my imperfections, that I’m not the cause for any therapy needs. I pray that you will grow up to love the Lord and find favor with Him and His people. I pray that you will learn that loving people is always better than loving stuff. I hope that you both always remember you are Lawsons and we know Who’s we are and we always trust Him, even when it is hard. I thank you both for the lessons you’ve taught me, you make me a better person.

 

Love, Mom

 

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Jumping On, Finding Focus

Do you remember when you were a kid and raced to the merry-go-round at recess? That was my favorite recess past time. Running as fast as my little legs would go, dirt kicking up behind me, sweaty hands griping the rails and then…….

J U M P!

Jumping onto the platform to ride surfer style. As I rode until it came to a slow stop, my eyes continued to spin. I knew I needed to step down and find my balance so I could start again. I would continue this until a rut was worn into the ground from all of my running.

 

Isn’t this how we can live our lives?

 

We are running hard after a goal, we jump on to ride just a bit and the next thing we know the world is spinning and it seems impossible to see the path we need to continue on. It is easy to get stuck running around and around and then jumping back on. That’s where I’ve found myself, running, digging myself into a rut and losing focus.

 

Losing focus on my calling.

Losing focus on my dream.

Losing focus on what God says is for now.

 

Look to him | Me, Coffee & Jesus

 

The rut starts innocent until it gets harder to jump out of and up onto the platform. My platform that is for the now is my family, bible study both personal and with friends, and my little blog. We see our now as a rut, God sees our now as practice and obedience. I see running and jumping as tiresome and unnecessary, God sees it as endurance and being faithful to what he has given me.

 

I have been unfaithful and disobedient because I viewed life as a rut instead of the beauty that God has blessed me with. I have been impatient and less than nurturing with my kids. I have been absent from more days of bible study than I care to admit to you (but God knows :/ ) I have been intentionally silent here on the blog and all of my social media.

 

I must break the lie of: “life is a rut” that I’ve allowed myself to believe. I have to trust the growth process. I have to trust that God has made it clear to me more than once (more than twice) in the last 4 years that my focus and job is raising children and studying his word. It is so so easy to think I’m ready to jump and miss the step of tying your shoe only to fall flat on your face. I talked last in my vlog post about applying for a ministry position, sure I was going to get it only to be told no. While no is hard and a little part of me is still pouting about it, I know that God kept me from tripping over my shoelaces and has lessons for me to learn before that jump!

He keeps from tripping | Me, Coffee & Jesus

So girls, if your like me and you have big God-sized dreams and it doesn’t feel that you are chasing them fast enough, remember God has a plan and path of growth perfectly designed for you to walk.

 

If you’re over on the swings and life is feeling pretty up and down and you think the merry go round looks pretty sweet, I promise running in circles can look fun, but it is as hard as pumping your legs on those swings! How about we just promise to nod to one another and say a prayer for strength and endurance for where the other one is.

 

This week I challenge you to join me in taking a breath and savoring where you are right now. This spot in life has so much to soak in. And don’t forget to say a prayer for the girl across the playground. Even if it looks like she’s having fun and life is perfect, it’s never without its own rocks that end up in your sandal.

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Not Just Any Calling

Hello lovely ladies! I have been studying through Ephesians and I just have to share some great things that have been speaking to me. First I have to say I LOVE Ephesians, I think some days I could read it over and over. It is jam packed full of good juicy nuggets of truth and life applications. Yes, I know the entire bible is packed with good stuff but something about this book just grabs me and pulls me in!

 

Paul wrote this letter to the Ephesians while in prison. He had spent 3 years with these people, loving and teaching them about the Lord. Therefore, when he wrote this book he knew who he was writing to.  He knew that this group was ready for some meaty teaching. He knew that after 3 years away from them they would need to be reminded of Gods greatness and need some encouragement to keep living for God. Maybe that’s why I feel that it is written to me! Those are the reminders and encouragement I need!

 

Through much of chapters 3-5, you get these verses that just take you to your knees with how good they are.

Chapter 3:12 tells us “because of Christ and our faith in Him we can now come boldly and confidently into Gods presence.” 

 

If you have been with me long you know those words are my jam! Boldly and confidently, the king of kings is saying come to me with boldness and confidence. OK!…(said in my best Monica from friends voice- you are my soul sister if you read it in her voice!) If He says that than why in the world would I want to be anything less in my daily living?

 

Verse 16, Paul is praying for each believer to be empowered with inner strength from His Spirit. “Then Christ will make his home in your hearts as you trust in him. Your roots will grow down into Gods love and keep you strong.” 

 

Uh, did you read that girls, I love this word picture. Christ settling into our hearts, growing our inner strength to live like him. This causes roots made of His love and goodness to grow down deep. These roots keep us strong. Oh, I know you may just need to read that again!

 

Chapter 4 starts out with Paul begging us to lead a life worthy of our calling, for we have been called by God. He quickly tacks on “always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other making allowance for each others faults because of your love.” He closes out these few verses with “For there is one body and one spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future.”

 

We are begged to live a life worthy of our calling. I have to pause just in case you’re having an “I don’t know if I have a calling” kind of day. If Paul is begging us to lead a life worthy of your calling, you can bet your best pair of jeggings that we have a calling! Our lives are a direct reflection of the God we love so much, while we all sin and most days we are so far from perfect we don’t know what perfection might look like. We need to choose who our actions reflect, God or ourselves. If they reflect God we will walk in our calling humbly and patiently interacting with those around us.

we have a calling

It seems to be an oxymoron to say be bold and confident in the presence of the Lord yet in our calling dealing with others, we are to be humble and patient. Hmmm, sounds a bit like Jesus if you ask me. He was bold and confident about whose he was, yet loving and gentle when dealing with others. He was bold with the truths he spoke while being gentle in his delivery.

 

I hope you find as much reassurance and hope as I do in that we have been called by God and we don’t just have any calling we have a calling that is to a glorious hope filled future. That is how verse 4 ends, a glorious hope filled future, let that settle over your bones.

 

While there are many days I question my calling – the big picture calling 5 or 10 years down the road, I assume you might have those same questions. What reassurance those words are. We are called, we are called to a glorious hope filled future.

We are called. We are called to a glorious hope filled future.

Sisters I pray this week you will be filled with His boldness and confidence. That you will have reassurance that while we still question, we have the promise of a calling that is glorious and hopeful.

 

I want to make sure you know that next week I plan to have a little giveaway in honor of my birthday!!! I plan to give away a copy of Priscilla Shirer’s “God is Able”. This is my one of my favorite books. Since I bet most of you have read “Fervent” but not this one I want to bless your socks off with her teaching on Ephesians 3:20-21. Spread the word, come back next week and comment on the post to be entered in and hopefully be the one to win!

 

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This weeks featured blogger is Keri of Living In This Season, her post Rest is a must read! “Cherish the beauty of the rest and let the hurry and hustle be a distant memory.” This is how we should be striving to live! 

 

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Obedience is Our Calling

As I sat across the table, not just once but several times, and heard the voice of women saying they just weren’t sure if their salvation was still good. They all said a variation of this idea, they weren’t sure if they were qualified since they weren’t one for consistent bible study and prayer and only had occasional church attendance.

 

I was a little sad and very impassioned to love on these women with truth. Truth from Paul in Ephesians 2: 8-10 God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God.  Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it. For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.”

 

Paul is explaining that nothing we do can gain us salvation, other than a heart that accepts it. God didn’t want any room for boasting that someone did it better, faster or with more glitz …..you know us humans, we would make it a competition. Oh, yeah, the disciples already did that.

 

He goes on to finish by saying because we are made new we have a purpose, we have good things to do. In order to know these good things, we do have to be plugged in to his word and going before him in prayer. He wants us to do these things because he commands us to go and make disciples in Matthew 28:19. He instructs us to move from spiritual milk to meatier thinking so we can go.

Go and Make Disciples

There are good things in store for those who invest in their relationship with the Lord. Out of that investment our purpose is defined and treasures in heaven are stored up. To me that sounds mighty good. I want to move beyond a simple salvation and into a life driven by obedience to his commandment of love others and make disciples. 

 

I challenge you, if you are stuck drinking milk, turn some worship music on (the Jordan Howerton Band station on Pandora is the bomb, so do it and turn it on!) and spend some intentional time with the Lord. Start in the book of John if you’re not sure where to begin, be reminded of the greatness of the love the Lord has for you.

 

Obedience isn’t something that’s always fun or easy. My kids certainly don’t find emptying the dishwasher or taking out the trash fun. They do find that being obedient in doing their assigned jobs results in being allowed to do fun things. While at least to me taking out the trash never becomes fun, the amazing thing about being obedient to get in the scriptures is it does become fun. Down right addicting even!

 

As I type the above words, words that I wrote in my notebook days ago and have been pondering since, I realized that these words are truly for me. The words on obedience are soooo for me! I have been missing here (I hope you noticed and maybe even missed me!) and part of the reason I’ve been missing is simple disobedience. Now I have made some really good excuses. I’ve been really busy leading a bible study during the time I was writing in. I’ve been spending more time in my prayer nook with the Lord.  Another excuse is I feel that I’ve somewhat lost my vision, I am unsure of my big dream so I’ve used that to be lazy and to just stay still.

 

I’m so thankful to serve a God that serves up big heaping piles of grace. That He lovingly reminds us of his love and his plans for us. That his plans are really just simple acts of obedience that he is calling us to.  Girls, do it today, act obediently. Find time to get quiet and hear what he is calling you to. Is he calling you to time with him or to be brave by sharing your story or to boldly encourage another person. No matter what the action of obedience is for you, don’t hesitate, be bold and act how the Lord instructs you.

 

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Why I Chose to be Pro-Choice

Yep girls, the pure truth is, I am pro-choice. Yes, you did read that right. I believe with all my being you have an absolute choice of what to do with YOUR life. Your choice is to risk the protection of your heart by having sex outside of marriage. Your choice is to make smart choices to prevent pregnancy.  The reality is you need to chose wisely before another human beings life is impacted by YOUR poor judgement.

 

We have bought into the lie that the choice plays into our decisions after we’ve had our fun. That is the lie girls. We have listened to the lie that no man (politician fits here as well) can make our choice for us, about our health.

 

GIRLS, WAKE UP! We have already turned over the choice of our health when we trade our precious hearts for the idea of love, we give our innocence over for the possibility of our hearts being treated and loved with a commitment before a commitment is made.We have uncertainty in our hearts about being loved and we fall for the age old lie of, if I give the most precious thing I have he won’t ever leave, disappoint me or stop loving me, all I have to do is hand that over. When that lie crumbles at our feet and we are left with the consequences it certainly seems easy to call those consequences, women’s health. Why don’t we recognize the best women’s health prescription is to love yourself, respect yourself, and guard your heart from the world’s views of relationships.

 

The best women's health prescription is to love yourself, respect yourself and guard your heart from the world's view of relationships.

This is not by any intention to make men sound as if they want to take advantage of a situation, this is all about the human condition, we are created with a longing that can only be filled with the need of God. When we begin to look to another human being to fill that, we are moving our hearts into a situation of disappointment. We must look to the one who can fill us to overflowing.

 

We have to stop treating sex like it’s about what we want or what we might get out of it, we need to remind ourselves what sex really is. It is a commitment of real love, an agreement of “for better or worst.”

 

We must stop shouting our selfish lies of women’s health, “it’s my body, non-committed relationships is just how life works now”. We need to wake up and trade that in for reality. Yes, it is your body and you do have a choice of what you do with it, who you give it to. Stop exchanging your bad behavior in on someone else’s life.

 Stop exchanging your bad behavior in on someone else's life.

I write all of this with grace and love poured over it. I come to you as a women who did have sex before marriage. I can’t imagine the difference of my life if I would’ve had a baby before marriage. I come to you as a daughter born out of a broken engagement, who very easily could have been lost to the easy choice of women’s health. I have known all my life that my biological father wanted nothing to do with my life, but recently learned that my maternal grandfather wanted to have me aborted. There are few times my mom stood up to the strong force that was my Pap, but on this she did and I was born. I had a grandpa who spent the rest of his time on earth trying to make up for harboring that near action, I believe.

 

When this reality was revealed to me, my mind was spinning. It was during a conversation about my name I had recently with my mom. Lets just say, my outlook of the impact that our easy choices of remedy changed(not that I believed in abortion before) but now, it somehow seemed so much more personal.

 

The solution of abortion that is being accepted as the easiest, impacts not just one life, but life after life. My husband would not have me as a wife, my Brandon and Rachel would not be here on earth. My impact for the kingdom would not be felt. That is the reality.

 

Why I Chose to be Pro-Choice | Me, Coffee & Jesus

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This week features 3 great blog posts. The first is from Debbie titled The Journey Through Change it is about her journey through change and her 5 top ways to make it just a bit easier.

Karen shared in her post Setting Sun about how our wondrous God answers bold prayers and how they are His answers, not ours.

Jennifer shared her A Letter To My Boys On The First Day of School and if you have children that just headed back to school you need this post!

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5 Ways She Speaks Was Nothing I Wanted

Hello sweet friends! I sure have missed you, although it certainly has been a welcome break of refocusing. I returned from She Speaks a few weeks ago to immediately repack and head for camping! You might remember this city girl was a bit nervous, but other than loads of mosquito bites it was tons of fun! Life has officially returned to normal with the start of school and my writing time being reclaimed!

I wanted to share a few things that impacted my life while at She Speaks. I went to North Carolina with definite expectations and came home with none of them being met…isn’t that the way God works! So here is my list of 5 ways the Lord gave what I didn’t know I wanted.

20150722_222328She Speaks Swag It Begins! Ministry Stone

1. A Lesson of Insecurity = Pride 

Yep, you read that right, those words had me on my face in repentance. On the first day of pre-conference, the workshop I was most excited for was on spiritual warfare by Whitney Capps. I was initially on the wait list for this but  I’d say God knew I needed it!  I have always struggled with insecurity. My name, my body, my calling, my ability as a mom, wife, photographer, christian. I could go on and on, I’ve doubted just about everything in my life. I’ve labeled myself mediocre at best, failure at worst. I NEVER considered this a source of pride. When this light was cast over insecurity I saw myself written all over it. I used my labels to replace God’s truth, I thought and worried about what others thought of me over what God wanted me to do. Hence why 2012-2014 on this blog is virtually non-existent. I knew I should write and share but, was too afraid.

Meeting Whitney Capps

Me with Whitney Capps, if you haven’t heard this firecracker preach the word of God you are missing out!

2. Given a Rhema word. 

The first main session of the conference started, tables for 800 women to sit were set up. As we wind our way through the isles and choose a seat we see little scrolls of paper. We were told that these papers contained verses that had been prayed over, selected and laid at each place setting. That winding through the tables and sitting where we did wasn’t by accident.

I received 1st Corinthians 15:58

Therefore, my dear brothers and sisters, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labor in the Lord is not in vain. 

A rhema word from God is a portion of scripture that speaks into your current life situation. For me I came to She Speaks with baggage of, am I on the right path. Is blogging my plan or the Lord’s? What is the next step? So for me to read stand firm, let nothing move you. Just wow! Then to read that when you work for the Lord it can’t be in vain. Talk about baggage being dealt with as I continue to mediate and process that!

3. Anointed with Christ’s Confidence

During the last workshop of the weekend there was a call to be anointed and prayed over. A room of more than a hundred women were anointed and sent out. Talk about powerful stuff. This room swelled with worship music being played on a single guitar and a single vocalist. I was the seventh shaky woman to stand in front of Wendy Blight, she placed the oil on my forehead and prayed over me. The only words from this prayer I grasped on to and refuse to let go of was to “go and be filled with Christ’s confidence.” He alone will be my confidence, when I look at that spot on my forehead or graze my finger over it I am flooded with thoughts of His confidence.

 

Meeting Wendy BlightHaving God breathed truth spoken to you

Me and Wendy Blight! The lovely lady taking this picture, who I had never met, asked me my name and said I was beautiful from the inside out. She gave me another rhema word from Song of Songs, You are altogether beautiful, my darling, beautiful in every way. 4:7 She said I was beautifully filled with the Lord, never have I felt instantly loved and given words like this.

4. I was called from birth

In an earlier workshop, the speaker encouraged the group to reflect back on the moment of your calling and in moments of discouragement remember that moment in order to have strength to go on. I pondered that thought for the entire workshop, spent some time in the prayer room pondering that thought afterwards, and after being anointed continued to ponder it. I thought well, maybe if I can’t remember a moment of being called, only having this overwhelming urge to make Jesus famous (that I’ve prayed to have removed) then perhaps I’m not truly called. As woman after woman went forward to be anointed and voices joined in with the vocalist to worship our Lord, I took a moment to ask my new friend sitting beside me this pondering question.

She responded with “have you considered the possibility that you were called from birth?” She went on to share that she has been told since she was little that she was called. Her mom during pregnancy felt she had a light growing within her that would shine bright. She knew her baby before birth, had favor with the Lord so, she named her Anne-Renee . This struck a memory that has been coming to mind for months. This moment of childhood, I was 5 or 6 jumping on my bed singing. I remember bouncing and singing, likely off key, that God was good, greater than satan and Jesus would always win. At this point in my young life I had been to church only a handful of times, yet I knew truth, I was called to truth. Truth, that I now believe was put inside of me before breathing my first breath.

New Godly Friends

Anne-Renee of The Masterpiece MomFunny story, her and Amanda (the other half of The Masterpiece Mom) happened to be some of the first girls we met upon arriving Wednesday night, all they said was they were from Alaska and I already knew their blog! It can be a small world here in the blogging sphere.

5. There is intention to being named Winter.

This might sound a little weird to you, why would the Lord address your name, you maybe thinking. For me though, growing up very shy and having the name Winter drawing attention to me, I hated it. HATED it! As an adult I’ve learned to tolerate it. Because what other choice is there. It was minimal tolerance though, since nearly every time I introduce myself to someone I receive an “oh, that’s different” (with a puzzled look on their face).

While at She Speaks people already seemed to know me and remember me (there was a private Facebook group for getting to know each other) which I found shocking, all because of my name. Well, ok also partly because of my current very red hair color! In having a conversation about this with my new friend from Costa Rica, she encouraged me to search the meaning of my name and allow God to reveal Himself through my name. As she is saying this, an amazing dawning poured down over me. The day I was born was the middle of October (the 23rd in case you are wondering when to send the gift! Just Kidding!!) This ordinary day in October that I was to be born on and to be named Kelly Nicole, it snowed. Snowed and made it feel like winter, prompting my grandpa to suggest the name Winter Nicole. Frankly, I had always scoffed at that reasoning. But this idea that the God of all the universe sent snow, in order to have His message received by a non-Jesus believing man all so I could have the name Winter stopped me in my tracks.

I looked up the meaning of my name by the way….Winter Nicole means bringing renewal / victorious people. God blows me away.

Friends Speak Jesus Truth2 from Costa Rica + 3 from Indiana = Forever Friends

This lady spoke pure Jesus truth to me the entire weekend! I was beyond blessed to meet her and can’t wait to visit Costa Rica one of these days! The 5 of us made the best of friends!

 

Why do I write all of these terribly personal, reflective thoughts? Because through these five occurrences, the Lord revealed my true calling and passion. I was called to boldly become like Jesus. To be boldly confident in who I am in Christ. I am passionate about allowing God to work in me, making me more like Christ as well as seeing others embrace and boldly become who God has called them to be. Just in case you had any remaining thoughts that I have it all together or some such nonsense, the above should take care of that. I am nothing without the presence and grace of the Lord.  But I am confident in moving forward in who I am, who you are, and encouraging both of us to be bold, all in the name of Christ.

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