Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Off Focus. Reflections on where I'm not.

I'm pretty transparent on this blog, but I seldom write a post about feeling yucky without wrapping it up in a big shiny red bow at the end, because I seldom feel the hopelessness of a life without a big shiny red bow. 


Today is not that day.  There is no bow. 

If anything, I am doing something I haven't done as long as I can remember and I'm writing because I need encouragement. 

I feel like God is telling us, "No," on many things we've been waiting on, and I'm basing this on the fact that I've really been praying for some specific life things- of course including our house selling and allowing for us to buy the little red house we are madly in love with- and every time I open a devotional or listen to a sermon, or seek an answer, I read titles like, "When God says No," or "Living with disappointment when what you wanted wasn't what God had planned for you," or "Letting go of your plans when God says, 'no' and holding out your hands openly for what He wants," and "Believing God has a better plan for you than any plan you've made for yourself."  

In other words, it sure feels like I'm being sent a pretty clear message that's not fully clear.  (Make sense?) Like, "Okay God... I get it... No already.  But no to what?  The house?  The life choices?  The kids going to school in a certain district?  All of it?  Some of it?  WHAT PART IS NO?!  (I tend to yell a lot in my head when I'm frustrated.)  And I'm not sure what to do about it.  Was this past entire year for nothing? Is nothing in our world going to change?  What now?  How do we make the necessary decisions about school, finances, and the other issues we've been trying to change and tweak? 


Oh yeah.  And Easter.  Yeah... I'm supposed to be focusing on what matters.  I forgot about that. 
Please someone... tell me you've been there?  And have you and God been discussing my life, and He imparted some great wisdom and direction for you to pass on to me?  (Just curious.)


The End.  No Bow.  (Not that it's hopeless... these are all very minor moments in the whole scheme of life, and I don't for one second forget that.)

40 comments:

  1. i read one time (beth moore maybe?) that a heart's desire that doesn't go away is probably a God desire too. also, read today's Psalm 20. Sasha, i can tell you that right now I'm waiting on some things too and questioning if it's MY idea or God's. I was praying about this this morning and then when i read Psalm 20, i just cried....just read it. it's good. i wish i could give you a hug. i know how you feel.

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  2. Would it help you to know that the post where you shared the verses in Samuel changed my life and many more when I posted those verses on facebook?
    Would it comfort you to know that God is using you in spite of those unanswered questions.?
    That you have been drawing me closer to the Lord? (and I'm a pastor's wife)
    I know you know that God sees the big picture... that He knows everything... things that may be delaying the sale of the house. And one day you will know why it took so long.
    When it took several months for me to conceive my 2nd child, I cried and pleaded to God, because I wanted my kids 2 years apart. When I finally did, I was reminded over and over, year after year, that His plan far surpassed mine. It became so clear...

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  3. I wanted to tell you that I have found at times in my life that God prepares us for things in advance. After I took my A-levels (sorry, I'm in the UK, we take A-Level exams aged 18 and the offers from university are based on our grades) I kept reading things about trusting God when things don't go as you expect and this helped me be calmer when eventually I didn't get what I needed for the university I'd chosen. I wonder if he will reveal later what he's saying no to you about, when you have become more used to the idea of him saying no. Also, a few years ago I lost my "dream house" when the sale of ours fell through. Problems had kept cropping up with it, but we REALLY wanted it so we were ignoring and surmounting the problems and in the end the Lord had to make it completely to us that it wasn't what he wanted by taking it right away. A couple of months later he gave us a house round the corner from our church and many ways to use our home to serve him that we wouldn't have had at the one we wanted. Hope this is of some comfort. Praying for you.

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  4. Don't lose hope. I waited and prayed for 3 years for a sibling for our sweet Jack.. We tried many things but ultimately God always knew what He was doing. I had almost accepted that we would be a family of 3 when He answered our prayers with a sweet baby girl. She is 9 weeks old tomorrow and so worth the wait, tears, feelings of jealousy, and questions. He never fails and always understand our frustrations and needs. You are always so encouraging to me, hope this helps you :) Meg @ Life Together

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  5. I'm so very sorry that you've lost your bow. It will come back! I promise! I love ya girl~

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  6. I'm still praying for you that you will get the house of your dreams. I totally understand the frustration of wanting something, but knowing that God has another plan for you. Keep your chin up!

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  7. Shall I write you another Keyboard Confessions? Or Things the Queen Wouldn't Say to God?

    Actually, that's a pretty good idea...

    I send you hugs, my friend. And warm brownie thoughts.

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  8. Glad to know I'm not the only one who has yelling matches in my head when totally and utterly frustrated!! The picture will get clear when He's ready but you already know that: ) For now, know that you have a lot of friends all over keeping you in prayer.

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  9. Oh, Sash, I am so with you! I'm struggling through this same heart issue. I spent 2 years planning, dreaming, preparing to follow God in a certain direction and now it look like it is not going to happen, or even more heartbreaking it may not have been God's voice to begin with. So so hard. I know. Lent and my lent journal has helped because it forced me to keep going to Him, turning my heart back open to Him when I cant to curl up in a ball. And He loves me. And somehow He is in this. This moment is His best for me. I have no idea how, but I do believe. And sweet friend, I can't help but see that this is true for you to. You have followed Him with all you've got. I don’t know what will happen next, but He sees not only how you’ve followed but your hearts. He is honored and will honor you. It doesn’t give any answers to the practical stuff (oh, how I get this too.) I mean how do you effectively live your life in limbo, besides one day at a time? He says He’ll take care of all of this, and our best choice is to agree. Ok – super long comment – small novel, sorry. I’ll end with this, pop over to my blog this Friday. I’m sharing something I read today which I hope will help you as much as it helped me.

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  10. you don't know me, but, i stumbled across your blog(i don't even remember how)for a reason. maybe to encourage you, or maybe you are to encourage me,(i've been reading past posts and i love it!) i don't know. but i do know that God's plan is so much bigger than that of your own. you won't see it until the end of it, and then you'll appreciate it, and He will be praised. but until then you need to rely on faith. in times we are made to wait, our faith is being tested and put through the fire. but trust Him. even though you can't see everything that He is doing right now, have faith that He is doing something wonderful through this waiting period that you are facing right now.
    i hopes this helps in some small way...
    Lisa

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  11. Oh Sasha - I 100% know how frustrating it is to not have prayers answered and to try and understand what God wants for your life. I am so in that right now - being frustrated with things I cannot change - trying to understand the why of it all. What I am trying to do is rest in His perferct Hope - because its His Hope we much cling to when things are impossible or feel impossible - Hope in Him. I pray for ears to hear His words to me so that I can walk out His plan - so I send you that prayer too and a prayer that you find peace and Joy in knowing He is in control and hears you and knows your heart.

    xoTiffany

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  12. You encourage me everyday Sasha, and I am sorry you are struggling right now. God doesn't intentionally keep us in the dark and have us wonder why and worry about issues. He wants us to keep the faith, the answers will be revealed in time.

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  13. Have been here so many times! Isn't it unfortunate that life isn't all neatly tied up with a bow? Life could be so tidy and easy if things worked out the way we think it should when we are following God. It's the seeking His face on our knees, willing hearts, obeying to the point of foolishness that God loves. And oh how He loves us!

    This quote from a missionary who followed God to what seemed an untimely death, "We were told to expect tribulation and even persecution."

    I wish I had answers, but I only have empathy. The only advice is to keep following Him one day at a time just like you are doing. I love how you share the journey with us.

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  14. No wisdom from me I am afraid but just praying that the peace that passes all understanding will be yours as you commit all your cares to Him who knows. I so love your blog and am so encouraged by your thoughts and doings - hang in there and keep on keeping on :)
    With love, hugs and a nice cup of tea.... from a 'blogging friend'

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  15. Sasha, Waiting stinks! So, just say the word and I will be on your front porch sporting a big red bow!

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  16. Maybe it's not a "no"...maybe it's a "not yet" or a "not right now" or a "not that house because I have one better for you"?

    Believe me, Sasha, I am right where you are. I feel like this whole year has been about learning to trust and it seems like more often than not, I fail. Miserably. I try to work it all out for myself first...THEN bring it to God.

    I can tell you that I've been praying for your family. Amazed by your positivity and am constantly learning alongside you and often because of you and your words. What if you're having to wrestle with this because those of us who are more pig-headed need to learn it THROUGH YOU? It could be. Because I am pig-headed.

    Lissa's right...you'll find your bow! And I bet it'll be wrapped around the PERFECT house. :)

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  17. Girl - I am sending all of the good thoughts and prayers your way! You are such a strong and amazing woman with a HUGE heart. Something good is trying to happen...in fact, it's happening! It's about the journey - not the destination. I can't say I have the answers for you, or that anyone does, but the answers will come. The way will come. You have a beautiful family. Believe in your perseverance, your heart and your faith and know that life is going to work out just as it should.

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  18. Keep plugging on and having that faith. I learned during our first IVF that it is perfectly okay to yell at God and rant and rave when your upset. He's got broad shoulders and he can take it - in fact sometimes we need to go through the anger and confusion to that broken place where we're on our knees REALLY giving it all up to him. All to often I find myself saying I'm giving something up to him - but I'm not really. I'm holding on to some small piece that I just can't let go of until I'm completely broken. I'll keep praying for you guys.

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  19. You've gotten so much great encouragement, I don't think I bring much more to the table. I, also, have had a trying year in different way. I pray asking to 'hear' God's answer. I am hoping that we are hearing 'Him' with all of our decisions.

    I have read your blog for several years now and I just love the 'you' that I have come to know on your blog. I know that things are going to work out beautifully for you and your sweet family. You have such a sweet soul and God is going to bless you for it. JUST wait!! (I know, I know...waiting is not exactly what you want to do anymore!) It's coming!

    (: Shelby
    sweetviewfromthehills.blogspot.com

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  20. So tonight I'm playing catch up on my Esther Bible study I'm going through for the second time. I read your post earlier today and just finished watching the session I missed. Beth said something that I felt so fit your circumstances. She said "When He stops short of revealing something very specific that you think you need to know, He is calling you to faith. He's calling you to believe what we know is true, but we cannot see with our eyes." The veiled allusion as she likes to call it. I just really felt like I needed to share that with you. Praying for you especially on these sorts of days.

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  21. No worries sister. I am 35 and I'm getting the "no" on a husband. I'm thinking, really? which means alot of things...living alone, no kids , it all sounds very lonely to me and I don't like it one bit. So I spend most of my days regretting the rest of my life, until I recently just gave in to the fact. I then became content with my little apt, my furry family, and my freedom. Things don't always go as we imagine and hope for , and all we can do is trust that His plan is better in the long run. Although have got to say that I can not keep up with 20 year olds anymore and there is a very slim population of single-ish people that are my age. Feeling at the end of my rope, but grasping onto all the opportunities that I can in this position of my life. Hang in there. Remember, no matter where you go , there you are.

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  22. I have been feeling so much the same way lately, Sasha. Although my reasons for wanting to move were more selfish than yours (I wanted more space...we have 1100 sq ft and are wanting to have baby #2.) Anyway, I put the house up on the market without really seeking God's will in the whole situation. And there it has sat without ONE showing for over 2 months. That may not seem like a really long time to some, especially in this market but I sort of feel like it's God saying "No." Maybe He doesn't want us to move even though I think it's a great idea ;) At this point I am ready to take it off the market and say "Okay God, we will stay here a little longer." And then add a small bonus room just to keep me from going crazy ;) Staying here is definitely not what I want, but that seems to be what He wants...maybe. Honestly, I don't know for sure. That's the hard part.
    I'm so sorry that you have gone through getting your hopes up and then crushed. I'm sorry that you are in a limbo stage right now. But I do know that God has your best interest at heart and He has great plans for your family even though you are going through such a difficult time. Remember Jeremiah 29:11 (one of my FAVE verses!) Praying for you, girl!
    ~Kristen

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  23. I wish I had the right words. You're a psalmist - tell it as it is with or without the bow. God cares about our struggles as much as our successes. Our struggles to have faith and our difficulty when things just aren't clear really send us mad. Only God knows what the end of each day holds so all we can do is surrender our days to him and trust that he is kind and loves us like a great daddy. Keep going beaut. Thanks for being real - it helps me! Xxx

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  24. P.S. Listen to Michael Franti's song " I'll be waiting". It's very encouraging to me. He sings " I wont leave you, alone. whenever you call me, whenever you need me, whenever you wonder until you see me, I'll be waiting, I'll be waiting... for you. the best things in life aren't things, they're laughing, they're crying. The best things in life aren't things, they're frightened they're still fightin'. Do you believe me, do you believe me, When I say tonight won't last for long? Soon it will be gone but I won't leave you alone."
    I like to feel that that's how God feels about us.

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  25. Just keep thinking that all of your desires are on their way. We just need to learn to live on God's timetable. Hang in there. It always gets better...

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  26. I stumbled onto your blog months ago now and felt a lot like we were in similar places. We just took our house off the market after trying to sell for a year and it is like a great weight has been lifted. Our children are smaller and we like the schools, we were just looking for a bit more space, so we are adding a SMALL addition and we will see where we (and the housing market) are in a few years, perhaps try again. But I must say I am so enjoying the extra mental energy that I have now that so much of my psyche isn't wrapped up in keeping the house clean; wondering why people aren't wanting my cute, charming, but a bit small, house; worrying about exactly where we would go if the house did sell... I am enjoying gardening this spring, spending time with the kiddos and not concentrating on how they might be messing things up. I hope you are able to keep an open mind and heart over where you are. I do so enjoy your blog. Thanks for being honest. God Bless.

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  27. Our road to our girls has been....let's see....filled with emotional-roller-coastering, lots of dreams dying hard, tons of lost money that we'll never see again, heartache, too many DISAPPOINTMENTS to possibly count, frustration, tears, tears, tears, tears, tears and more tears, questions to God, questions about God, questions about myself and who we are and what in the world we are supposed to do, filled with yelling arguments in my head, pain deep in my heart that I didn't know existed when all I have ever wanted to be when I grew up was a mommy....yet the request that seemed so SIMPLE to me was being "delayed" for some unknown reason, complete maddening incidences, feeling completely left out of the wonderful thing called life while I stood by and watched everyone else live my dream and absolute depression over not knowing what to do though I was on my knees begging God for answers. Now we have these two beautiful, once orphaned daughters who are orphans no more. If I'd had MY way...they wouldn't be with me. My plan was far different than the one I've lived and am living. He knew better. We are still in the middle of our journey with the new little one, but because I've seen Him follow through on PandaGirl and can rest assured---through the insane craziness of this current adoption with PandaJOY---that He DOES have THE BEST plan between the two of us. Hope this helps a bit to at least know you are NOT ALONE SISTER. Blessings to you and BIG Ol' SHINY RED BOW ON TOP.....because RED is my favorite color! Mwah! ; )

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  28. There's a lot of encouragement in these comments and we've all got stories to tell. I knew I wanted to be married at 16. If I had known that wasn't going to happen until I was 46 I probably would have done it my way. I thought there were yes's along the way but I was wrong. I think it's Elizabeth Elliott who said if you don't know what to do just do the next thing that needs to be done. Sometimes we need to grieve our losses have a good cry, go do something nice for yourself and others and do the next thing. May God reveal Himself to you in an incredible way this Easter. Be Blessed!

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  29. Sometime when misgivings darken the day...
    And faith's light I cannot see...
    I ask my dear Lord...to brighten the way...
    He whispers sweet peace to me...
    And sometimes my faith is weak...
    And then when I ask Him to take command...
    It seems that I hear him speak...

    There is so much more I'd like to share, but I won't for fear I might step on toes, and it's for sure the last thing you'd want to hear. In reading the comments, I see a pattern, we all have struggles, and each one seemed so much deeper than my own. It hurts to live in the dark, walk in the valley, and although His ways are not our ways, we are human, we want to understand. I think during these painful seasons, we "must" "Be Still and Know", be thankful...for what we do have...until the day when He finally reveals His "BIG" plan for us.
    Just something to think about...What if you didn't have a house, your children were suffering, your husband lost the job that supports your family...
    What if your answer had been NO for almost three years?
    I know this doesn't help, but we just have to believe, and persevere. Hope cometh in the morning-
    Sasha, you are such a blessing...your thoughts, the way your share your heart, touches many people in ways you can never imagine. What if that is your YES! (OK, so I know it has nothing to do with buying/selling a house...just saying)

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  30. I'm not sure how I originally stumbled on your blog (Lowercase Letters, maybe?), but I've been reading for a while. Your honest transparency is so encouraging to me. I love that our God is so big that it's okay to be real - God can take it. I'm reading Psalm 16 daily lately; it's been of great personal encouragement to me!

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  31. We don't know each other, but I feel led to say this: God has given you this awesome gift for writing; and He has given so many of us a gift of finding your blog, so that we might be inspired too. When you write, the Holy Spirit gives you the words to say, and those words reach someone or everyone who "follows" you--sometimes or often in profound ways. That is part of God's plan--you are part of God's plan for other people...What an honor to serve Him in such a detail-oriented way. SO that's the broad outlook... But on a personal level...I have to wonder if in situations regarding a dream house (etc.), you never know if God is really blessing you in the long run--what if it has a lot of issues and would therefore create time-consuming drama that would force you to sacrifice time with your family or from sowing God's seed where He wants you to? Something is nagging me to tell you about a profound bible study--maybe the Holy Spirit is encouraging me?--that has affected so many people that I know. It's pretty old school: Experiencing God by Henry Blackaby. It's a 12 wk/daily (very intense) study. My church had over 600 people do this study at the same time last Fall, and it's amazing to see the results that are still unfolding. So many people have changed gears since they read this. It might help you hear what God is trying to say to you... Even though you are hearing Him say No to you, I'd encourage you to remember that He is saying YES to something else. Now you've got to find what that is. I think the main thing here is to keep on doing what you are doing: Asking God to be clear with you. In time, the HS will put that peace like a river (pardon the preschool song cliche) when you are doing what you are called to do. And, you are not alone--the yelling goes on in my head too when I'm frustrated!

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  32. you have blessed so many of us readers by your journey. the highs and the lows the answered and unanswered. youre not alone, we are all here trying to live faith filled lives. you came to a place of selflessness which started this journey.. but did you do it so god could give you what you want? (red house,school district) i dont think you did, you started this journey because you were being obedient to where god was leading. you are daily being faithful. thats the journey. being faithful is a journey not a destination.

    you have a heart of gold, its so apparent that you are transparent. you are in gods grasp and there is no better place to be. sasha, he's got this. dont worry.

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  33. Just watched Beth Moore video last night on WAITING. She submitted to us that waiting is only exhausting if we are waiting on "the answer" or "the thing" or "the person" or "the move." Isaiah 30:18 says to wait ON THE LORD and then goes on to talk about how you will be renewed, refreshed, soaring! Also, I have a song suggestion: BLESSINGS by Laura Story. I will pray for you in the waiting and can't wait to hear how He unfolds Himself to you in these days. :)

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  34. As usual, I am a day or two behind. But seriously, you and I are uncanny. I started a post earlier today that I need to finish tonight. I'm right there with you, Babe.

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  35. Elisabeth Elliot once said, "It is faith he is looking for, a quiet confidence that whatever it is he is up to, it will be a wonderful thing, never mind whether it is what we have been asking for." Hang in there, Sasha.

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  36. Sweet Mama -

    I so know that feeling. I lived it. Questioned the "no" ... "really, God? Surely you don't mean it." I've fought it. Cried over the frustration of no mans land....

    So I will pray for you. For clarity, peace and to see your future with the peace of Gods plan that we humans have such a hard time grasping. Ugh. It straight sucks sometimes doesn't it???

    Hugs to you. Happy Easter. Xoxoxo

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  37. hi darlin....sorry i'm behind. finding it hard to balance everything these days.
    first of all,can i just say i respect your cheerful red bow topped glass half ful and i respect your honesty on a day when all of those feelings aren't there.
    not that you're looking for this, but man, i feel like it's in these places , the raw ugly sweaty uncomfortable places , that he works on our heart so much.
    i don't know if your "no" is more of a "maybe...but later" or a "not now, but the later is better"....but i know that you know that He is good and that He is right there and sees your every tear and hears every prayer..even the repeats about the house ,etc. you are in the palm of His hand. the no's or the maybe's are so tough. i'm in one now....i don't like it one bit. yeah i know i'll grow, blah blah blha, but i sure like the all clear, good to go days better

    much love to you sweet sasha

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  38. I'm a day late and a dollar short but I'm taking a few moments on this Good Friday to tell you what I'm sure everyone else has already said, what you already know, that there's a plan for you. I feel your frustration though - I'm a broken record whenever I comment over here but....we had our house on the market for 18 long months, trying to downsize our life and we questioned ourselves and the plan for us, whether we were making the right decision, oh so many times during that period. Now we are on the other side of it and not a day goes by that we don't feel grateful for how things turned out. What if we had sold right away and bought another house and didn't end up here? It's all part of a plan and all you can do is have faith, have heart, and try to enjoy this exciting time of not knowing what the future holds, but knowing that it will be beautiful with you, your husband and children in it. xoHappy Easter, Lisa

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  39. Oh honey...I'm so sorry for all that you have been going through but I have to tell you that I love you because of it. You lay it all out there and I love that connection I have with you, that life isn't always perfect, that things get hard and you just plow on through. You must remember that the things you are worried about are just things. They are the extras in life that we all get caught up in. They aren't what's really important. All the important things you already have and are so very blessed with. Just stay strong in your faith and I promise everything will work out just the way it was meant to be. You must remain IN these precious moments of your life and indulge in every single moment because they will be gone tomorrow. We all love you so much and are so thankful for you. Keep your chin up sister.

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  40. often when i'm feeling out of control in any sort of way (which is very hard for me---ugh)

    i try to remember what i tell my organizing clients when they are feeling overwhelmed by physical clutter...not sure where to start 'getting through it'

    ..."Just focus on what's right in front of you"

    I know it's hard (believe me, I know) but release that need to know and just keep on keeping on with where God has you. Focus on the little things in your life - keeping the house you do have, loving on your sweet family and being thankful for what you have right now in this very moment. Rest in this day - rejoice and be glad in it...in the NOW.

    Rest assured God has things all wrapped up in that bow in a way that he knows is for your GOOD.

    be blessed girl....we've been a loooong time in the waiting room phase as well. i feel ya.

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