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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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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Twists and Turns

Welcome to the new blog!!! There are a few finishing touches that are coming but I’m so very thrilled with its beautifulness! Be sure to check out Little Web Writing Hood (she is pretty awesome!) I hope to begin offering Words with Winter next week as a link up party so be sure to follow me to be the first to know!

This post is dedicated to to a really special group of kids. A group of kids that I am honored to have been apart of most of your lives since 5th grade. A group of kids that have blessed me more than I likely have them. I have watched you grow into such amazing young men and woman and am so blessed to have been your Sunday school teacher and later, your youth leader. You have blessed me by being so very patient with me as the Lord has grown my teaching and speaking skills. I have been blessed and challenged to dig into God’s word, to be a planner and organizer of events, to love each of you more than you know. You have impacted the Kingdom so much already in your young lives, and I know that you will accomplish great things in the future.

As you head into the future, don’t be discouraged if life twists and turns. It will likely take you in directions you didn’t plan. I certainly didn’t plan to stand where I am now when I was your age. Each year I watch kids tell their plans and see the eagerness that only the young can have. I always want to tell them don’t lose that, even through the twists, don’t lose the eagerness and hope in the future. For even if it looks different than the plan, there is greatness.

When I was a graduating senior my plan was to get married that summer, attend a commuter college and major in elementary education. Prior to that I wanted to be a doctor so that I could grow up and heal my grandpa, well he passed away, and I took chemistry so the new plan was born.

I did get married that summer, but I did not begin college. I can admit now I was just too afraid. Afraid of meeting new people, of failing, of not being able to afford it, of not being able to keep up with working and studying.

I began working at a local optometrist office, being trained on the job as a technician, vision therapist, and scribe. Nearing 14 years later I am still in this field part time.

Even though this was fun and challenging, I admit that it didn’t fill all the dreams.  So I dreamed of photography. It was creative, it allowed me to meet new people (I had gotten over my fear of new people),and it allowed me to be the boss. It also was highly competitive, not financially consistent, and became all about supporting my family and no longer about being creative.

If you have visited me before, most of you will know that during the time of photography dreaming, God really got a hold of my life again. I had given my life to Christ at age 14. I loved to serve, by age 16, I was already organizing youth events, and encouraging people to grow deeper in their faith, even at that young age. Unfortunately I attended a church that, at least at that time, didn’t believe in women leading and quickly put the lid on my leading any youth events. That caused me to grow distant and unsteady in my faith. I questioned my purpose in His Kingdom, if I felt passionate why wouldn’t the Lord want me to do these things I questioned. Thankfully by 2005 the Lord lead us to another church home, one that I found a place in youth ministry at.

Through that time in youth ministry God grew me. He showed me how to love a group of kids like my own. He showed me how to teach, how to dream, how to serve, and showed me my very passion-encouraging others to grow deeper in their faith. He also showed me difficult lessons, how to love when it’s difficult to love and when to let go because He is calling you someplace new.

I find it amazing that the Lord took my dreams from early childhood and early twenties to create who I am today. I wanted to be a doctor, I now hope to bring healing through His words. I wanted to be a teacher, I am able to teach His word. I wanted to be creative, I now create with words and photography.

I tell you all of this graduates, so that you know life gives twists and turns. That good, purposeful turns happen. That God is with you each step, He will guide and direct you even if you don’t see a way.

James 1:5 tells us, “If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.”

wisdom

 

 

Did you get that guys, He wants to supply you all the wisdom you need! He won’t think your crazy, He won’t ignore you, He will supply it.

You are created as the Lord’s masterpiece, He has plans for your life. It can be easy to forget this, I say that from experience too. It took me a long time to see my worth and purpose. You, my lovely seniors, helped me to find it.

So to Alec, Bre, Corynn, Keaton, Madison, Mike, and Nick you all are so very loved by me. I definitely find myself feeling sappy as I write this! I am only and have always only been a text a way. So as you move into a new phase in life remember these things:

You are created for a purpose and through the grace of the Lord you will accomplish what He has for you to do.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the LORD. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

You are loved by the very creator of the universe, He cares for the sparrow so He definitely wants to bring good to you.

“So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to God than a whole flock of sparrows.” Matthew 10:31

He doesn’t promise the easy life but He does promise to always be with you.

“You have allowed me to suffer much hardship, but you will restore me to life again and lift me up from the depths of the earth.” Psalm 71:20

You are the masterpiece of the Lord, that truth can only be found in Him.

“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.” Ephesians 2:10

Don’t live as the world does but as He calls you to live.

“Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect.” Romans 12:2

In the footsteps of Alec I must end on an analogy. Life is like a twisted gravel road. Don’t speed, you just might wreck or miss beautiful scenery. Don’t get lost in the dust cloud that those in front of you leave, and don’t be surprised at the twists in the road, just lean into Him. Most of all, stay hopeful of the view that can be found around the next corner.

 

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