Bunnies in a Basket

As I was playing outside this morning with my boys, I noticed the neighbor cat in our yard playing with something. I walked over and noticed it was a baby bunny. I chased off the cat, but he kept coming back again, and again. Unfortunately, he got to one of the bunnies when I was inside. I came outside and cried over that poor bunny.

There were three left and I was determined to save them. I turned to social media and wildlife refuge for help. I received all kinds of recommendations, but it was decided that they were too little to leave their nest and that their best chance was to stay put.

Knowing the cat would come back, I made what I called a bunny fortress fashioned out of a laundry basket with bricks around it. But to my surprise, they kept jumping out of the sides of the basket. I really expected them to stay put. I did the best I could and prayed over the bunnies.

As I laid in bed, I wondered why this impacted me so deeply. Why did I care about these bunnies so much? I prayed and felt like God had a message for me. I opened my Bible app and Deuteronomy 31 was open. Verse 8 stood out to me-

“The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”
‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭31:8‬ ‭NIV‬‬

In this representation, He made it clear to me that the bunnies represent me, and I represent Him. He does everything He can to protect us. Sometimes we think we know better and jump out of the nest, and try to take control, but God can see the bigger picture. He sees the enemy prowling around us. Sometimes the enemy is not visible to us at the time, but he’s always trying to find a way in. God’s biggest priority is to keep us safe and make sure we’re loved.

He is with us every moment, and he is saddened when we’re discouraged. He wants us to know that He’s right there with us. How humble He is to sit back and let us have the freedom to choose. He loves us so much. Enough to provide his protection and love that is truly unfathomable to us. May you rest in that thought today.

Much Love,

BW

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Perfectly Imperfect

There is so much pressure to be perfect and to have it all together in this time where social media is so prevalent. Just scroll through your newsfeed and you’ll see the best, most beautiful pictures of your friends and family, and the best moments that are going on in their lives.

Rarely do you see the 50 outtakes they took before the perfect picture they posted, or the huge mess they just cleaned up before they took that picture to show their latest renovation. Sometimes I stop and wonder what’s really going on behind those perfect pictures and perfect moments. Sure, we all have those happy times and precious memories, but sometimes life isn’t all smiles and accomplishments. Sometimes we struggle. Sometimes we feel like we are barely surviving- I know I do.

In this season of life with a two year old and a six month old, my day consists of cleaning up mess after mess, doing my best to keep the peace, all while trying to keep everyone fed and happy. Life is challenging, sometimes it feels impossible. When both kids are unhappy and screaming and won’t sleep, sometimes I feel like I want to scream myself and run out the door and just quit. You don’t often see that side of people on social media, the side that’s not so pretty and doesn’t have the best perspective. But honestly, I feel like that more than I’d like to admit.

Something beautiful in these perfectly imperfect moments is that when I feel like I can’t do it anymore, God meets me right where I fall. He gives me a friend to talk through my feelings with, or an encouraging scripture to read and focus on. In those moments I realize I am not alone. I do not have to do all of this in my own strength. It’s amazing how easy it is for me to forget this time and time again. I guess that’s part of the many imperfections that you don’t see plastered all over social media. So, in the spirit of being real and vulnerable and so not perfect, I have posted pictures of my messy living room and kitchen below. Sometimes it even looks worse than this, and on many days I get frustrated with my kids and yell when I shouldn’t. Sometimes I spend more of my day feeling sorry for myself rather than feeling grateful. Sometimes, I even forget who I am called to be.

Just know, that when you feel this way- know I’ve felt it too. Know you’re not alone, and know that God cares about you on those days where you haven’t had enough sleep, and yell too much. He loves you anyway, and he loves you always.

But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.

~2 Corinthians 12:9 (NIV)

Much Love,

BW

You Have a Purpose

As I’m pulling into the parking lot, I can feel my anxiety rising. I walk through the parking lot, on and then off the elevator and to the desk to sign in, and I’m already feeling flushed. They call my name and I’m escorted back to the doctor’s area. They take my weight and feelings of inadequacy start flooding in – “I bet she thinks I weigh a lot” or “I wonder if she noticed I gained weight since last time”. This world is full of comparison and feelings that who you are is not good enough. The gifts and passions that are God given don’t measure up in our heads, so we step back in fear and wish for more. We think if we were one size smaller or could only decorate as well as that person that we would have it all. I am often enraptured by these lies. This is just one example where insecurities and judgements about myself swirl in my head. 

I wish for once I could just walk in and feel confident. But you know what? It is possible. God calls us His children. He made us the way we are for a certain purpose- not to compare ourselves with His other children with different gifts. Ephesians 2:10 says “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.” He calls us his masterpiece, He is proud of His work – He loves us so much!

Do you ever wonder what things would really be like if we all could achieve everything at the same level? We would experience no growth, no vision, there would be no way to encourage one another, and we would be stuck. Stuck where we stood with no new path in sight. When I think of it that way, my perspective changes. You see, we’re usually our own harshest critic (I know I am), and the devil revels in that. He sits back and thrives in those moments when we think we must be the worst person ever, or start to guess the thoughts of others about us.

Don’t let Satan win today. Let go of those fears, worries, and insecurities.“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.” -1 Peter 5:7 NIV

Start digging in the word and learn what God says about you. Don’t let your fear hold you back from doing what God has called you to. Find Godly community and be real with them. Tell them the insecurities and fears you have, and watch God use them encourage you. He doesn’t want is to struggle alone, but our human nature is to hide those things that might hurt us if exposed. Let His other children use their gifts to lift you up. Stop hiding, be real, and let go! God is right there waiting for you. 

Many Blessings,

BW

Being a Mom is Hard

Being a mom is hard. I’ve wanted to write a post that encourages other moms for a long time, but I haven’t found the right words. I haven’t wanted to come across too judgmental or make anyone feel bad in any way. But I really feel like I need to put my fear aside, be real, and share this message.

Tonight, I received the most encouraging words I have heard since becoming a mother. A sweet couple that my husband and I are good friends with sat across the table from me at dinner tonight and told me that they felt that I was a very good mother, and that I seem very involved with my son. The words touched me so deeply I couldn’t help but tear up at the table. I needed that encouragement, and it meant so much.

You see I am not the perfect mother. I feed my baby small bites of cake occasionally and there are some days when we watch way too much Handy Manny. Some days I feel I’ve failed as a mother when I get frustrated at my son, while other days I feel I’ve done a great job because I played with him and we did lots of interactive things together. As a task oriented person, I’m always checking off lists in my head…talking myself through all the “things” I’ve accomplished in order to feel good about myself. The less I get done in the day, the more I feel like a failure. Today was one of those days that we lounged around all day and I didn’t put on makeup until we went out to dinner with friends. I felt lazy all day, and kept feeling like I should get up and do something, but couldn’t find the motivation. Even after not getting that much “done”, I still received the kindest words from these friends. You see, I’m learning that I what I accomplish does not define me as a mom. Putting on my makeup and getting errands run doesn’t make me more “accomplished”, and it doesn’t make me a better parent.

But God does. He created me, and more that that, He created me with my role as a wife and a mother all in His plan. He calls me successful, and that’s where my confidence should come from. If my son’s basic needs are taken care of, and I love him with the love of Jesus, I win. My makeup doesn’t have to look perfect, and my house spotless to win. God made me a winner when he created me as his daughter. He made all of us winners, and He calls us to love our children and to be the best moms we can be. He is there for us. Don’t let the world bring you down by thinking you’re not doing a good enough job, lean into Him for your encouragement. Let Him love you.

I say all this to say, Mommies you’re doing a great job! It’s so hard being a parent, you quickly realize how selfish you are now that your whole world revolves around your little one, but you’ve got this. You are raising another son or daughter for the kingdom, and you can do this! You are blessed, and you are amazing! You are the child of the KING! Believe in yourself, and let Him speak life and encouragement into your heart.

 For you are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus. ~Galatians 3:25 NKJV

The Journey

Winding road and mountains

I know it’s entirely cliché to say so, but sometimes I look at where I am and I think “how did I get here?” It’s as if I’ve gotten older, blinked a couple of times and skipped 5,000 stepping stones to get where I am today. I am so grateful. I find myself in such a beautiful place.

In my 23 years (almost 24) on this Earth, I feel like I’ve been through a lot. Lots of love, laughter, and even heartache at times. When I think of my childhood, I think of the love and laughter that surrounded me. I think of our little 3 bedroom, 1 bathroom house that just felt so enormous to me! I remember hunter green walls, with eccentric decorations everywhere. The old TV cabinet that my daddy constructed by hand, or the time my mom woke me up with a precious puppy that she rescued. Life is and was so beautiful. I remember the tall green trees, and the back storage building converted into a music studio that was insulated with egg crates. Tons of friends and family coming to sing and make music, hearing my dad play the guitar while my brother and I laid in his orange fuzzy guitar case. My childhood was simple, it was beautiful, and I couldn’t have imagined it any better. Although, as the years past, the memories faded, and things drastically took a different turn.

In April of 2002, my family and I were traveling to Six Flags, and were T-boned while attempting to turn left. It’s as if my memories depict my heart at that time, simply broken. Attempts to wake up my brother Graham never succeeded and my parents were severely injured. I remember hearing sirens and mumbling, but not much else. My sweet brother, Graham Taylor went to see Jesus the next day. I was in denial for years I think. I don’t think I even started processing through the emotions until I started college. To my extreme surprise, the Lord called me to be a worship leader at a campus ministry at WTAMU. In preparation for this leadership role, the Lord walked me through the hardest time in my life. Dealing with loss is something so hard to explain, but it really takes a toll on you. When you’re in the depths of dealing with raw emotion, you think about nothing else. Your whole world is what you’re feeling, and almost everything makes you upset or reminds of you of how broken you feel. You don’t feel okay, and you wish you could just run away from your own thoughts.

Though this was by far the hardest time in my life, I am so grateful. The Lord restored my heart, and eventually, I could talk about my sweet brother with a joyful heart. It wasn’t fast or stress-free, but I eventually saw the growth that the Lord  brought me into, and what good had come from it. You see, after I lost my brother, I never saw life the same. I love those in my life so much, I think at times it scares them. I appreciate things, and remember things. I hold on to the good, and I never leave without saying I love you.

Now, as I sit here six months pregnant, I can’t help but think about how entirely grateful I am. My husband and I are getting the honor of bringing another Graham into this world. He has paved our journey in the most perfect way and I am so grateful. The Lord loves me SO much. He has given me a husband, parents, brothers, family and friends that have been such an incredible blessing to me. But as I look forward to the next few months, I can’t help but be a little scared.

We have been covered with so many blessings, and honestly, we don’t deserve them. In just a few months, my wonderful husband will start medical school. We will be moving to Lubbock and things will be a lot different. Our first baby, Coleman Graham will arrive and our lives will be changed forever.

You see, I like to think of the past being one chapter of my life, and all this transition as the beginning of a new chapter. These past few months, I have felt our sweet baby boy move and kick, and I am so in love. Many times when I feel these little movements, I just thank God for this opportunity. The opportunity to love and cherish a human being that He made inside of me.

-Psalm 139:13

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb.

Do you see what I’m getting at? God loves us SO much, we can’t even begin to fathom it! I tell you my story to share just how beautiful life can be if we let the Lord pave our way. I know that I have let fear take over my actions in so many different instances, but as you can see, the Lord continues to bless me and bless me again, despite my actions. He is so worth loving, He loved us before we knew him. He loved us in spite of our downfalls and sins. He loved us knowing the worst things we have ever done. He loves us enough to give us blessing, provision, and acceptance. Although, we may not understand why God does the things He does, He still loves us through our misunderstanding and anger. He loved me when I screamed at him and questioned everything He did. He is more than our biggest failure. He is love.

-1 John 4:19

We love Him because He first loved us.

Until next time,

BW

Love No Matter What

Love. Love is a strong word. It has so many different meanings, yet in the English language it is the only word we really have. Love can mean anything from loving a certain type of food, to actually being in love with someone.

I am extremely passionate about words, especially this one. I feel like we take love for granted, and forget the depth of its meaning. I mean my goodness, we use it for everything! When I think of true passionate love in my life, I think of the Lord, and my husband.

We love because he first loved us. -1 John 4:19

I believe that Jesus truly exemplifies love. Jesus IS love. He encompasses everything love is.

How do you incorporate love in your life? I know I often take the Lord’s love for granted, knowing it will always be there. How do you incorporate love in your friendships, relationships/marriage?

Lately, I have been convicted of the lack of true, gracious love in my life. Sure, I love the Lord and I love my husband, but am I REALLY treating them with love and respect? Am I loving them no matter the cost?

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. – Ephesians 4:2

My husband and I just celebrated our two year anniversary and I love my husband with all my heart, but I will openly admit that I am constantly being tested. Sometimes I find his dirty laundry on the floor, and I have to choose to respond in love. We are called to be bigger than our negative thoughts and feelings.

A long time ago, I was introduced to the book,  The 5 Love Languages written by Gary Chapman. If you haven’t read this, you must. It is good for single people, engaged people, and of course for married people. At the end of the book, there is a quiz that you complete that determines you love language(s). You can also go straight to the quiz online at http://www.5lovelanguages.com/. 

The 5 love languages are: Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Receiving Gifts, Quality Time, & Physical Touch

After taking the quiz, the book/website takes the time to explain your love language to you. It also shows you how you scored on the other love languages. When my husband and I were dating, we took this quiz together, and it brought so much insight to our relationship.

Many of you know, I am currently pursuing a career in counseling. I am extremely passionate about relationships and I like to see couples succeed. This book helps to bring couples together. Where there might have been miscommunication and frustration before, this book helps to bridge that gap. This book is not a miracle worker, but if you let it, it will help your relationship. Taking the time to learn how you love and how your boyfriend/girlfriend, best friend, husband/wife loves gives you a whole new respect for them It makes you WANT to love them in the way that they feel the MOST loved.  It also gives you respect for the love that the Father gives us.

Knowing your love language also helps you to understand why you act the way you do, and why certain things are important to you. Recognizing each other’s love language opens up a respect and understanding for one another. It gives you grace that you might not have had before.

If you get anything from this post hear this… Love is important, It drives us, it dictates how we live, how we act, and ultimately how we love. Choose to love Jesus with your WHOLE heart. Also, don’t let your selfish desires dictate how you love, learn how your husband/boyfriend feels the most loved and embrace them in ALL they are. Most importantly, take the time to love the Lord with everything within you.

He answered, “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.” – Luke 10:27

Love with all your heart,

BW

Fear Not

Fear is something we all face on a daily basis; how it affects us lies in how we choose to handle it. Do we let it take over our actions, or do we see it before it affects us, and stop it?

So do not fear, for I am with you;
    do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;
    I will uphold you with my righteous right hand – Isaiah 41:10

Lately, I’ve realized how much I’ve let fear control my life. I’ve always said I was “shy”, and that it was just scary for me to do new things. I hid behind my shyness, and made it a valid excuse in my mind. Fear took over without me even realizing it.

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love, and self-discipline. -2 Timothy 1:7

It wasn’t until I was about 19, and well into college that I started realizing how much fear affected me.  I was literally scared to go to a new gas station, drive a different route, or to even try something different at a restaurant. But even after that realization I  just told myself that I didn’t like change, and that it was okay. I let fear of the unknown, or fear of being unaccepted control my every move, instead of the trusting the Lord to guide me. Deuteronomy 31:6 says to “be strong and courageous, and to no be afraid; the Lord goes with you and He wil never leave nor forsake you”. I take such great comfort and peace in that verse. The Lord will NEVER leave us. He is better than a best friend, He’s constant. He’s yesterday, today, and forever.

Through listening to what the Lord says about fear, it has really put fear into perspective for me. The Lord has challenged me to drop the excuses, and the attitude of “that’s just the way I’ve always been”, and think about what’s making me that way. He’s taught me that others opinions of me, or who they think I am doesn’t matter. I am who God made me to be; and there can only be peace in that. He’s taught me to speak with complete honesty towards others, even if it’s not what they want to hear; it may be what the NEED to hear.  And Praise the Lord, I have began to try to things, and actually like them! I have tried projects, and even chose to pursue a career that I have never believed I could do. Combating fear has led me to believe in what the Lord has given me, and not what I think there is a lack thereof. He has led me to believe in what He gave me. Isn’t He an awesome God? I am so grateful the father loves us enough to lead us and direct us through HIS plan.

Fear is as powerful as you let it be in your life, and through the Lord’s guidance you can combat fear; and break down the prison that surrounds you. Ask yourself how fear is affecting your life, and ask the Lord to walk you through it. Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. – Matthew 7:7

The LORD is my light and my salvation– whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life– of whom shall I be afraid? -Psalm 27:1

Be blessed abundantly,

BW