A #changeofheart

pexels-photo-568027.jpegHello, friends.

This place of creativity, writing and sharing can be a lovely addition to my life and it can be a thing that I add to my “things I’m failing at” list. In other words, it has been too long since I communicated with you all…

Do you ever feel like that about all of the things in your life?

Brutal honesty here?
Lately, I’ve felt as though I am roughing it or down right failing at most things in my life.
In no particular order…
mothering
health
my job
my ministry
focusing
routine keeping
my housekeeping skills
got behind in my Bible reading
not communicating well to any of my friends(the ones I have, probably because I can’t communicate well, I’m guessing)
did I say mothering?
because of all the above mentioned items, I then feel as though I am not wife-ing very well either because he gets the brunt of it all. He tends to carry me through the ugly parts of when I am strung out, disorganized, overwhelmed and struggling.

So, basically, I’m a hot mess with tons of ideas and goals and desires and not one ounce of “get er done”….or more accurately, I cannot even keep the basics in order, so how could I attempt to work towards bigger things. How can I think about my big goals, if I can’t even keep a meal plan together or not snap at my kids once a day (or more, because truth)… my mind wanders, I get frustrated too easily, no patience, low energy, feeling heavy hearted and heavy laden. My brain is in a fog and even though I have things I want to work at and move towards, they seem too far away to try anymore…is God even there and are the things I’m wading through even worth the fight?

Question is: how do we pull ourselves out from this mess? Is there anything worth gleaning from the mess? Do we give up and just live in the mess?

Well, from past experience: There are plenty of things worth learning and living in the mess is possible, but not a great idea. And how do we pull ourselves out of it??

……

You tell me.

I do have some ideas/thoughts on the matter though. As I said, “from experience” means that this has happened before. It happens more often than I wish to admit, but isn’t it freeing to know that someone else gets it? Does it help to have someone reaching their hand down into the pit of the craziness and say, “come on up, you can’t stay down in that forever..”

Here are some things I have to remind myself of when sitting in the middle of the mess…

  1. This will pass. This mess won’t last forever. The craziness, the mess all over the house, the crazy schedule, the 2 yr old’s tantrums (although, Lord knows we think they are going to graduate high school throwing a grand fit), the 7 yr olds CONSTANT STREAM OF TALKING AND QUESTIONS, (which by the way I will miss, I know I will), the month’s menses (because Lord knows that has a lot to do with our crazy, I see you husbands out there nodding), health and wellness is an EVERY DAY JOURNEY that if you’ struggle with it, you will always need to be aware and probably struggle in it. (struggle doesn’t have to be considered bad, either, I mean it in terms of, just because it isn’t easy, doesn’t mean it is not worth it) Make sense? All of that to say, not everything will always be this hard. Things aren’t always a mess. Seasons, people. This too, shall pass.
  2. New mercies. I tend to think that that statement gets overused and less understood every time I use it. “oh, thank goodness for new mercies” and then I go complain and whine under my breath about the situation I just exclaimed new mercies about… *face palm* But, it is the truth. Our God is a God of grace and we don’t get it right all the time. He is gentle to love us through our wandering. We must extend love-heart-hand-romantic.jpggrace to ourselves and others. Mercy is something I don’t always understand, but the older I get, the more life I experience and the more I learn in parenting, the more I am so very thankful for it.
  3. Small steps. What small thing can I change? You don’t have to change everything overnight. I have crashed and burned when I think I need to eat better, exercise, be a better mom, get more sleep, take my vitamins, have a clean home, be caught up on all reading, projects,etc… in one day… instant fail. We can’t change every single thing overnight. A great podcast I listened to recently is from The Lazy Genius Collective. She is so good about simplifying some really great stuff. Her theory is being a genius about the things that matter and lazy about the things that don’t. I love that. Check her out on Itunes Podcasts… her website has all the links. I really enjoyed the latest one about morning routines. Such wisdom and great advice for anyone struggling with any routine, (she’s going through more through the month), but just start somewhere. Start with a small step daily and then grow from there. We can’t change everything in one day. We just cannot. We are not meant for that. Just start.
  4. Get alone. I know that there are people in my world who might disagree with me on this, because they are more extrovert than introvert. But, in my world, I have to get alone for a long enough amount of time to clear my head, not even listen to music or podcasts (as much as I enjoy them), just silence. I need “white space” so to speak as I figure things out. Prayer, quiet and clean slate. I can hear my thoughts, hear my needs and really get to the bottom of issues that are maybe the whole reason for the rest of the struggles. In years past I would have gone to every friend or person I could to “unload” or “process” my issues, trying to figure out what to do and “vent to them about it all. Those days are behind me, and I still have some trusted people in my life that help navigate and walk through seasons of crazy and struggle. But, I have found just finding some (making time for) some true quiet and alone time can really do the trick.
  5. Make prayer a priority. This is the one I still have to work on. It goes hand in hand with the previous point, but it is so vital to our health in every season. Make it a practice, find ways to incorporate it into every aspect of your life. I find that journaling my prayers is helpful in my focusing, but in the car or shower or other places I find myself I can use it to pray as well. It doesn’t have to be a process or big deal. Communicate with the Father. It makes all the difference.
  6. Eat Right. Ok, so this is where the blog post starts to preach straight to me. I will pexels-photo-406152.jpegalways be on a journey of health and wellness as this is a big struggle for me. So I know how to say this makes a difference and not actually do it. I know what it is like to feel amazing and how it feels to be sluggish and depressed in a cloud of sugar and “comfort food”. Eating healthy has so many more benefits than just a weight issue. Currently reading It Starts With Food, by Melissa Hartwig and it really does break down the science of eating clean/whole foods and why our bodies crave it and need it. Along with how our bodies are affected by all the junk. This is a constant battle and learning place for me. So know you are not alone. Writing it, being transparent about it and letting others know is helping me to refocus and gain a grip again!
  7. Get Rest. I know I know. I’m saying all the things you already know, but don’t think are possible in your life. I get it. I have had to put my phone across the room at night so I don’t scroll or play games before sleep. I have had to really push myself to remember that sleep is so very important. I know with littles, because I have a couple, that sleep can be something we don’t get to experience much of. In time, it just happens again, but I’m finding that it’s hard for me to get sleep when I am trying to enjoy alone time as well…the only time I can, which is when they are asleep. haha. It’s a crazy cycle. Sleep really is healing and I know if we can get in a routine of getting more of it, we will all benefit.
  8. Tack habits/consult a physician. This one can get tricky, but I am finding that tracking habits/month to month, tracking symptoms, triggers and other components of struggle, depression, cycles of crazy, meltdowns, etc can be so helpful in finding common occurrences or reasons for such issues and then it is easier to approach your doctor or therapist and figure out some treatments. Not all crazy cycles need physician attention, but some may. You’ll most likely know and probably push the notion away, but let me tell you, reaching out to professionals for some help is not something to be embarrassed or ashamed of. Finding that support can be the grace you’ve been praying for.pexels-photo-583846.jpeg
  9. Write down all the things. For me, this helps. When I write stuff out I get it out of my head. When I write it all down, I can start to filter through the important and the not so important. I can write down goals, needs, feelings, frustrations and thanksgiving as well. Don’t be afraid to have messy, scratchy lists, scribbles and random paragraphs of nonsense. Just let it all out. That journal or spiral notebook is a safe place. No matter the content, it is best to get it out, instead of keeping it in.

I could keep going. I really could. There are so many things I have found that help me in this and I want to share them all. For now, I’ll leave with one more things to make it an even 10.

10. Be Honest. Sometimes I even fool myself thinking that I can just keep going, that nothing is wrong and that it will all just magically get better. When I am honest with myself and Nick, as well as co-workers, even my children, I find freedom. I find support. I find lots of grace and love. Honesty is the fertile ground for freedom. There doesn’t have to be shame and in Christ there is no condemnation. We can be honest, broken and real and find grace, mercy and freedom. If we cannot find it in ourselves to just be honest about our struggles, our strengths, our failures and our successes, then we will just constantly be alone, hiding behind masks and pretending its all ok when we may actually be dying inside. Reach out, be honest and when others reach to you , extend grace and be a soft place to land. Let’s not assume people know we are struggling either. Don’t assume they know and don’t accuse them of not caring if you haven’t said anything. *side note*sunglasses-woman-girl-faceless.jpg

Hot mess, crazy weeks *sometimes months* happen and we don’t have to let them ruin us. We can use them as an opportunity to grow, to learn more about ourselves, each other and just how much God wants to guide us through it all. He wants to love us through our every struggle and every battle.

Romans 5:3-5 
“but we also rejoice in our afflictions, because we know that affliction produces endurance, endurance produces proven character, and proven character produces hope. This HOPE will not disappoint us, because God’s love has been poured out in our our hearts through the Holy Spirit who was given to us.”

Romans 12:2 
“do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing and perfect will of God.”

Ephesians 1:18
“I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened so that you may know what is the hope of his calling, what is the wealth of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the mighty working of HIS strength.” 

He wants to show us the heart. His heart. He wants to change our heart.

To heal it, to teach it, to mold and shape it. The seasons when we feel most vulnerable are so often the exact times he is wanting us to pay better attention, to focus in on him and his heart for us. He is for us. His heart is for us. A healthy heart allows all the other systems in the body to function properly; emotionally and physically.

There is so much more to #findingtheheart than just seeing pretty hearts all over. Finding the heart is a daily exercise in seeing His heart and letting His heart heal our own. I hope you join me on this journey.pexels-photo-424517.jpeg

In Him,

Shaina

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Finding Your Heart

A couple of years ago my sister and I were visiting on the phone. You do that when you live across the country. A couple of years ago she was in the thick of attaining her Masters degree in Biblical Counseling. She was in ministry at her church, in a small group weekly, RA on campus at South Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary and working a job. She was knee deep in homework, papers, reading assignments and all that comes with that Masters Degree. We were talking that evening on the phone, it was for a long few hours and I finally just asked her, “what do you like?”… “I mean, what makes you, you?” I asked if she would make a list of 25 things that she likes or enjoys, whether it be ice cream, chap stick, rainy days, a good book, Dr Pepper or movies… there was a little bit of hesitation, but she thought about it and decided it might be a neat exercise. She emailed me later that week and it was so fun to read all of the things she came up with. She told me later that it was harder than she thought it would be, but it was so encouraging and inspiring to dig deep into her likes and personality. It was a fun list, nothing too deep, nothing extremely silly either…just her. I sent her a list as well and it was just a fun exercise in taking time to get to know ourselves.

pexels-photo-62689.jpegWhy do we need to get to know ourselves? Well, you can probably answer that fairly easily. What is something you enjoy? What is making you tick lately? You realize that you change and evolve from year to year and if we do not take the time to get to know ourselves currently, then we could possibly be treating our old selves a way that our current self does not need or maybe even want. Does that make sense?

So if you were to have asked me a month ago what was something I enjoyed/liked I would put Dr. Pepper. Hands down, I love Dr. Pepper. Well, I haven’t been drinking Dr. Pepper because current me is trying to not drink the stuff anymore. I realize how much it drags me down and so it can’t be part of “who I am” anymore. Something more deep you say…Well, I probably would have put staying busy/doing things with people as something I enjoyed/do often on a list a few months to a year ago, but current me is in a season that is needing to include lots of quiet and rest. So, there is not much time/want/desire for being busy or out doing a lot of stuff.

When we are not sure of who we are, how can we be sure of what God is doing in us, saying to us or asking of us? Finding our heart includes finding our true selves in the truth of the cross and its freedom, first. When we see ourselves in light of God’s goodness and grace, we see ourselves as free, forgiven, worthy and lovely to the Father. We can then explore what makes us tick, what makes us enjoy life, what drives us and what things in life that we are passionate about.

Find your heart, first, in Christ. Then, you will be able to find your heart for your career or dream. You will be able to find your heart in your marriage, your parenting, your hobbies, your ministry.

So what does a list of chapstick and snow cone flavors have to do with #findingtheheart?

Everything. Finding the heart of your life, includes all of the little things that you enjoy and God wants you to delight in your life, in who he created you to be. Quit thinking you have to like certain things because everyone else does. You don’t have to love shiplap and farmhouses. You can genuinely hate it and still be a great person. Am I right?! haha! You can love licorice (ew) and black coffee (ew) and not be wrong. Truly. You don’t have to like contemporary worship, you can love hymns. You can love Chicken Express instead of Chic Fil A…really. You can. You are fully capable of loving what you love and disliking what you dislike, pick the style of home you desire, food you enjoy and hobbies you spend your time doing. Your kids don’t have to love sports. They don’t have to be in every activity if they don’t want to! You can like to be home. You can have FOMO, fear of missing out, or you can totally be content with not doing anything anyone else is doing. Whatever the case, be honest to who you are. Let Christ show you who you are. Have you asked?

I think when wIMG_9294.jpge get in ruts and feel stuck in our routines and mundane lives, we just haven’t been listening to the Father, asking him to revive us and shine his light on our lives. Ask him what makes you excited and passionate and then chase after it. God has designed us to live full lives of His love, His work, His goodness…don’t waste your life wishing it were something else…begin by making a list of 25 things that make you, you. Just start there and see what God opens up in your heart.

Perhaps you are able to start #findingtheheart in your own life.

If you make a list, send it to me! I’d love to see it!

Have a blessed and rich Spring Break!

Shaina

Be the Heart

#findingtheheart was such a fun and beautiful way to celebrate “heart month”! I loved every single post and every single heart that was shared. I loved your stories and the ways God blessed you by sending you hearts in the obvious places and in the not so obvious ones. I so enjoyed every single one and I want to thank you for sharing!

If you click on the #findingtheheart page on my website, you’ll get to see every heart that has been posted with the #findingtheheart tag! The original hearts that were shared 4 years ago are there as well! I just love them all and I am so thankful for the stories with each one.

Moving forward from a month of remembering and honoring my boy means less splurge meals, more focus on routine, good habits, and normal life. But, what I have found and am wanting to keep exploring is that, it is in these mundane momIMG_9280.jpgents and regular life seasons that we actually find the heart.

So how are you finding the heart in your daily life? I have found that extra slow morning snuggles with my little, nightly chats and prayers with the big, and texts from the hubs are some of the hearts I am finding these days. What hearts do you find in your life, just in the every day? Is there a song you love when it comes on the radio at the right time? Maybe you have a sweet friend who is always there for you. Perhaps it is in the silence during an evening walk. Whatever the heart is, be looking.

I have found that when I least expect it, I find the heart. When I’m trying so hard, I tend to get frustrated that I don’t see it. Finding the heart is a gift. I hope and pray that you see his heart for you in the every day. You are special and such a gift to your Father. Perhaps you are the heart for someone else. Be the light, be the love…

Be the heart.

You’re so loved!

S

5

One does not just “get over” the death of a child. You don’t just wake up one day and it’s all better. I don’t believe that anyone just gets over the death of someone. People say time heals all wounds and it certainly gives us much needed perspective and wisdom, but only the hope of Christ can heal a wound that deep, even then, it must be something one desires to receive. I cannot speak for those who have lost a parent, a spouse or a sibling, but as someone who has held their child as he slipped into the healing victory of heaven, I can say this…

healing is a choice.

Healing, getting to a new normal, a new pace, even a joyous place in life takes intention and effort. God’s love, his power and his grace make it possible, but you have to be at a place where you ask for his power, love, and grace to actually do the work. And when I say work, I mean it. It takes work to: quit blaming God, quit blaming yourself, to sleep again, eat again, smile again. There is no magic pill to take and “poof”, you’re all better and life is peaches again. You know this as well as I do. Healing truly takes a willing heart, a heart fully entrusted to the Savior to provide all it needs to function and thrive, without the piece that died. It is possible. Healing, happiness, wellness, joy, even thriving in life are all possible when we let God do the work in our hearts, allow his Word to transform our minds and extend grace to those around us as they try to venture through it as well.

I’ve gone through every grief step possible and probably invented a couple of my own. I still have struggles in my mothering, trust of others, of God even. I don’t intend to paint a picture-perfect life or claim to live one. The trauma that comes with holding your son and watching him take his last breath is something that I haven’t “pushed through” or “gotten over” or “healed from” in the sense that it doesn’t shake my core anytime I think on that night. Yet, the deep questions I had for awhile have resided and a sense of calm and peaceful trust have come over my soul over the years. One of the things I have not really spoken of to many, at all, is the fact that I deal with a lot of anxiety and anger problems, especially when it comes to tough mothering moments, being super harsh in my mind towards people who have hurt me or misunderstood me, the need to please everyone and have everything be perfect if it has to do with my effort, reputation, if it has my name on it so to speak… these things did not come about from grief and I don’t blame the loss of my child for dealing with these, what I AM saying is that these things that were probably, most definitely already there in my world, as sin struggles, have now been highlighted or made super aware of  because of grief. For example, when my children frustrate me or I have had days without any alone time… I begin to be very impatient and I just struggle. It gets to where I almost resent my kids. It is hard to mother sometimes because I have gone to the pits of agony wondering why God would let my child die and how do I prevent one of my girls from dying before me. I have gone to the depths of trusting God so much that I almost get to where I have the thought, “if God already has my children’s lives planned out, then what could I possibly do to change what will happen to them, good or bad?” These up and down thoughts have put me in a place that I throw my hands in the air and want to give up on how to pray for them, how to raise them, how to trust God with them. Part of me is extremely sentimental, but I’m also the mom who isn’t wailing on fb about how sad she is that her child is growing up. You know why? Because I GET TO WATCH THEM GROW UP. Why would I cry and blubber on about how sad I am that my kid is alive, healthy, smart, growing and loving life? Why in the world? Yet, I have moments when I miss the times where I would rock a snuggly bundle to sleep. I’m not hardened to them growing up and yet I find myself celebrating all the things because I get to! What I wouldn’t give to throw a little boy birthday party, play trucks and swoon when he picked weeds and gave them to me as flowers..that’s what little boys do right? I won’t ever know, but I do know that I am very aware of the time I have with my kids. I am aware that they will not always be my baby girls. I also know that I get to raise them and love them and not visit their g12469536_10100718582946580_1413939311380236028_oraves instead of celebrating birthdays.

Time has allowed me to process all of this and begin to heal in places I did not realize I needed. It has also given me the space to deal with sin that is now highlighted and it has reminded me again and again that life is a gift, a precious gift and I cannot waste it.

Healing is a life long process. I don’t believe I will ever get tired of looking at the only pictures I have of my son. I don’t believe I will ever get tired of thinking of him and wondering what if…

but I have also come to a place in my life where I choose to trust that God’s plan was and is always better than my own. Grief brings out the ugliest parts of us, it can rear its ugly head at any point and if we do not approach our grief as part of our walk with Christ (perhaps maybe that is a starting point for you in your own healing, is to begin a relationship with Christ. Please reach out to me and I will walk with you through that), then we will surely get lost in its traps, tangled in its lies and we will never break free from our hurt, our questions and our bitterness. Those things will settle in and we will hold our kids so tight we make them our idols, we will never forgive, we will live so close minded that we live alone and at some point we will stop growing in our faith and will find ourselves bitter and defeated.

There are ways to move forward, find joy and love life, even after (especially after) loss. There really are. The thing is, it has to be an intentional choice. There are many circumstances that I have never experienced, in dealing with loss/grief. I don’t pretend to know or instruct anyone in the grief process. I simply share what I know in my own experience and if it can encourage someone else, I pray that it is so.

5 years of learning how to do life. I will always be learning how to live life. I will always find myself, on this day, remembering. Without the journey that was Noah’s life, I would most certainly not be who I am, where I am, doing what I do, loving whom I love… life would just not be the same.

If I could encourage you at all today, here is what I have to offer.

Life after loss CAN BE GOOD AGAIN.
Life after loss can be HAPPY again.
Life after loss can be rich and full.
You will not be disrespecting your loved one if you laugh, smile, love life, do new things, better yourself, move forward in life, find ways to celebrate, etc.
Be aware that if people don’t say words about your loved one as often as you wish, it doesn’t mean they don’t think of them, miss them. Really. Trust me.
speaking of your loved one and bringing attention to and remembering them is OK. Remember, celebrate, commemorate, honor, tell all the world about your loved one.
Find ways to honor your loved one that involves blessing someone else. This has helped me time and time again.
Let God do the hard work in you. Don’t allow yourself to wallow in bitterness. Let grace make you better. Let the Lord love you and walk with you and stretch you as your faith makes way for growth and trust.
Find ways to get all the feelings and questions and emotions out. Therapy, a friend, a mentor, a support group. I have found that my heart angels group on fb, that I am in with hundreds of other moms who have lost children to CHD’s, is one of my most loving groups, because they understand better than anyone. Reach out and be honest.

I miss my boy, even73602_10100401433506600_1319779224_n having only known him for a few months. I only knew him hooked up to tubes and machines, drugged, sedated, struggling… I look forward to hugging my son again, in eternity, knowing my boy is whole, healed, perfect and exactly where he should be. Isn’t that true for all of us as believers and for those of our loved ones who have gone before. The hope of eternity. The hope of Christ in us, means absolute victory and healing.

I’m letting it sting today. I’m letting myself re-live it in my mind. I’m letting myself be sad, but in it all,

it’s ok. (click to read more)

So many of the same sentiments and so many of the same emotions, yet wells of wisdom and peace in this 5th year. I’m thankful for rich relationships, I’m thankful for my job and the stretching it has forced in me, the family it has given me, the place to pursue all God is calling me to be. I’m thankful for my family who never forget. I’m thankful for friends who go far beyond the call to show me His grace. They don’t HAVE to send texts, flowers, notes or sweet gifts. They do not have to do that. They choose to and I am beyond humbled. I cannot think of another tribe to do this life with. I’m thankful for the sisters in Christ God has placed in my life. I grew up the girl that seemed like they had a lot of friends, or talked to a bunch of people, but the truth was, I never really had reciprocation of friendship until later on in life. It has taken years of prayers, lots of learning and lots of waiting for God to show me the women in my life who have my back, who are honest and loving, full of truth and grace. They are willing to tell me hard truth and are also asking me to tell them hard truth. There are no silly games there, just women, desiring to be discipled, desiring to be real and they are doing the hard work it takes to make friendship work. Hallelujah. Praise the Lord. I am deeply grateful for a husband who doesn’t make big deals of things, but quietly supports me in unending ways. He has paved the way for me to chase dreams and passions, with his blessing and resources. He has held me tight and hugged away many a lonely and sad night. He held me when I crumbled to the ground in agony after handing my baby back to the nurse, as I wailed and wept and could not control my body or its response. He cried too. He doesn’t wonder why I sleep with a minkee blanket in our bed. He doesn’t stop me from just being sad some days. He is just simply my person, my strong place and my best friend. (More on child loss and marriage later down the road.) For now,  I just sit here humbled beyond words at why anyone would love me the way they do. I’m just so grateful to get to share hearts all over fb or send tabs to the Ronald McDonald House, send bed sheets and onesies to the heart unit at Cook’s… there are things in my life that would not IMG_9170.jpghave come about if it weren’t for intentionally choosing to live after loss.

Choose to breathe. Choose to find the joy. Choose to share the light. Choose to honor your loved one. Choose to not let bitterness and anger win. When we ask God to heal our hurt, may we be ready to let him do just that. Here for you in the journey…

Shaina

#findingtheheart

 

 

So what now?

As I launched this web page, I was wondering if any of this even mattered. Would people even care about a bunch of random hearts, found in various places and shared online? What is the point? Why does it matter?

I realized that it is a sweet sentiment, to remember our late son, by finding hearts and sharing them, but after just a week of asking people to find them and share, I feel as though it has been a blessing to many people, just as much as it has blessed me. When God placed on my heart, this idea of, finding the heart, I finally felt like the season that all of this came from, finally had a summary. If I could explain in one sentence, what the entire season of Noah’s life, in our lives, was like for us, it would be… “Because Noah came, lived and died, we were able to more clearly find the heart in every circumstance we face”d33e3042-fc87-4f4c-95dd-776c4caf01a6.jpg

We have found that with faith, we can find the heart of every season, ever trial, every circumstance. We must be aware and look, but it’s there. When we find the heart, the best thing about it all is that we find God’s heart. Finding hearts in rocks or in the clouds is special and I know He has placed them there for us to find and appreciate. What I have also found is that when I am actively seeking out his purpose, his presence and his plan in my circumstance, I find his heart. I find his good character, his grace, his love. When our eyes are open to actively look for him, he is to be found.

“Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.” Matthew 7:7-8

So many times we ask God where he is, what he is doing, why he does it… at some point I learned that it was ok to question God and ask those questions, but there were questions that had much more concrete answers.. like, “what are you doing in me?” “where are you leading me?” “where can I find you more?” When I made it so much more personal, it caused me to listen more intently. I then began to see the blessings, big and small, surrounding and mixed in my mess of a life. I began to see relationships built with the staff as a beautiful gift. I saw the outpouring of so many people as the evidence of the love of God for me. I saw quiet days in the ICU as time spent with the Lord in His word and worship, alongside my son. I began to open my eyes to the blessings aroIMG_9082.jpgund me. The heart of the matter, was that he was working on me.

We are 5 years out of that season and over those 5 years I have found that finding the heart looks differently. I find that when I struggle with anxiety, instead of fighting it, I surrender to the Lord again and again and he is there to realign me, love me and remind me that if I could walk through the darkness I had and he didn’t leave me then, he would not leave me now. Bad days happen, way more than I like to admit, and I let them get the best of me, all too often. Have we ever thought that the bad days are ways that we are reminded to find the heart in the matter.

So, finding the heart, it is more than just finding hearts and tagging them. It is making space in your life to pause and find the heart of the matter in every situation. In every place that you find yourself slipping, tripping and struggling.. what could you possibly find as blessing in that situation? Digging in deep and taking the time to ask the Lord and listen, repent of sin/bad attitudes/judgemental heart/habits/, etc bring

How am I finding the heart today? Well, glad you asked. haha
Lent is beginning this week. (a really great way to walk through Lent, is I grew up in a baptist church and I’m thankful for that raising. I also was not taught about Lent or why it could be a very important time in the year. Lent, being the 40 days before Easter, usually starting with Ash Wednesday and ending with Easter Sunday, is a time oIMG_8966.jpgf pausing, restricting yourself of something possibly that is a distraction to your relationship with the Lord, and awaiting the death/burial and resurrection of Christ. I have found that, even in my very elementary dealings with Lent, that I always find it a beautiful season of being extremely focused on Jesus. It is such an intentional time. It reminds me that repentance is KEY to closeness to Christ. It also reminds me that without repentance, we’re living in rebellion to the Father. Without taking away the things that keep us distant and out of touch with the Lord, we will just simply fall away. We need hard times. We need deep seasons of learning, growth and sacrifice. We need to allow God to do that hard work in us. Sometimes we don’t get a choice and other times he is waiting for us to ask him to move!

Finding the heart of my walk with Christ always involves dying to self. I encourage you to find the heart of your walk with Christ, by dying to the things that are in the way of it. It could be anything small or it could be something so large that you need to ask someone to walk through that with you. Either way, do the hard thing.

I hope and pray that finding the heart becomes a way we find ourselves closer to the Father and closer to HIS heart.

 

Shaina

#Findingtheheart

Hello!

The last 5 years have been full of many things. 5 years ago on February 22, we began a journey that was one we never asked for or intended to start. The journey of grieving the death of a child. You can find our whole story on Our Story page.

What started as a fun way to celebrate our son and 1 year of being in heaven, ended up being such an incredible blessing to me. I asked that people27544745_10101107533850850_7416694872934047671_n share a heart in honor of our son, Noah. They could find a heart wherever they wanted and share it. Some found clip art hearts, some found hearts in nature, some found them in places they see every single day but hadn’t noticed until they were asked to be on the look out. We gathered all of these sweet hearts and notes of love and encouragement and treasured them. One year of grieving and growing and we were able to find joy and celebrate.

Fast forward 5 years and I am asking again for hearts. This time there is a less needy heart under the surface. But, the sentiment is still the same. I have discovered that when I am actively looking for the heart, in whatever situation I may be in, I will always find it. So I ask, all of the new friends and faces who have joined our journey, to share their hearts. It has been a huge blessing, yet again.

This year is a bit different though. I have begun to write a new chapter in this journey of grief. I am beginning a journey of literally writing new chapters. If you have been around for the entirety of our journey you  know that I kept a blog to keep everyone updated on Noah and his prognosis, asking for prayers, etc. I have come to the end of the road with that particular blog, that place, even that kind of blog site. It’s time for a change. It is also time for me to take seriously the actual passion that is brewing underneath the surface of everyday “momming”, working, living… and that is sharing.

I want this new space to be one of sharing, teaching, encouraging and equipping people, probably mostly women, to carry out their calling, even in the midst of dark seasons, tragedy, loss, grief, hardship and trial. For when we can worship in the waiting, the darkness, the loneliness, we get to know the Father. We end up finding the heart.

We find our heart. We find His heart. We find the heart of the matter, the home, the family, the life we all desire. When we are really looking for it, we will always see it. Maybe we’ll see it in the oddest of places, like a Pediatric ICU or a funeral home, a homeless shelter or a local church, school classroom, work cubicle and kitchen table.

Join me on a journey to finding the heart in every day life. I imagine it is much easier to see the heart when we are reminded to look.

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This is not just something that I came up with to fill a void in my heart during a month that can be somewhat lonely. This truly is a movement of my heart that I want to share with you because I know we all want to be seen. We want to be known. We want to know that we are loved. When we find hearts, wherever and whenever it may be, I pray that they are a divine reminder of whose you are, where you are going and who is leading the way. These hearts aren’t just for me. They are for YOU.

I am excited to embark on this new journey of sharing my heart, my life and my love for Jesus with you. Each of us have a story, a testimony, a life to live before others as proof of grace. We get to witness each other in and out of seasons, growing, learning and pressing in to all God has for us.

I hope you can find this place to be a haven for your heart and soul. Pull up a seat on the couch with a blanket and a cup of coffee and rest awhile. Be encouraged and know you are not alone in any of this. Whether you find yourself grieving the loss of a child to simply just struggling to figure out what’s for dinner… I hope you know that God places us in each other’s lives for all the things. Let’s do life together!

Let’s find the heart together,

Shaina

He loved us, not because we were lovable, but because He is love. – C.S. Lewis