Guest Post

Joyful in All Times // Joy in the Mess Series {Guest Post}

Joy in the Mess

Life is almost always a mess. Even if it’s a more positive one, a mess usually needs to be dealt with. I often do not deal with messes well: they can usually signal a change and I really do not like change. A mess can mean uncertainty and interruption and I really do not like when life is uncertain and interrupted.

For a long time, I have lived quite snuggly in my own comfort zone. I had told many people I would never move away from our small (ish) coastal town. I was happy and comfortable in my predictable, uneventful, certain life.

But, it appears God has had other plans. This year has become the year my life gets a messy upheaval. Trusting God really was opening a door for me, I made the decision that would take me away from my comfort zone, provide enough uncertainties to set off panic attacks, and say good-bye to a predictable routine. I had decided to commit to travel overseas for 6 months. The idea is exciting. But the process is messy. For myself, a melancholy, joy is not a natural reaction for me especially in messes.

Two months ago my house was a complete and utter mess. I watched on as box after box was filled up and taped shut. Each box was weighed and carefully manoeuvred over to the lounge room corner where our DVD shelves once sat. Nothing was normal about our house anymore, and nothing was normal about our lives.

Except mess….

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TaKenya’s Story // Joy in the Mess Series {Guest Post}

Joy in the Mess

Welcome back to the Joy in the Mess series! Being able to share the stories from some incredible women about finding God and joy in life’s messes has truly been inspirational. Today, I am happy to share TaKenya’s story. To check out the previous posts, check them out here.

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I’ll never forget that morning. August 24, 2014 it was just after 3 am. My phone rang. The phone that was normally powered off when I hit the sack.

If either of us were to leave our phone on over night it would be my husband. His grandparents are older and he worries that someone may call and not get him. Bu this night he powered off.

I looked at the phone and answered it, and she said “baby where’s your husband?” Half sleep I handed over the phone.

It was his mother and even though I rolled over I remained slightly awake. With my back turned I felt his body go limp and he let out a loud but muffled grunt.

I knew it wasn’t good.
He remained composed and said “ok, ok here I come ” and hung up.

As he fell into my arms that were now waiting open sitting next to him, he cried. I’d only seen that less than a hand full of times in my 21 years of knowing him.

He blurted out, “Marty’s gone”….

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When Our Messy Milestones Turn into Miracles // Joy in the Mess Series {Guest Post}

Joy in the Mess

I am so happy to share Trice’s story with you all today as part of my Joy in the Mess guest post series! God does incredible things amid the “messes” of our lives and I love being able to share some of those with you all through these incredible women. Be sure to check out Trice’s blog and social media handles down below!

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I remember that day so clearly I looked around and saw all of my peers some were crying, others had huge smiles on their faces and here I was just torn. “Presenting the Class of 2008!!” and just like that high school was over, there was no going back this was it. While most of my classmates were hugging and throwing their caps in the air I was standing there crying. I had a plan, I was going to attend college at Liberty University and major in Nursing and then become a neonatal intensive care nurse at our local hospital. My plan was solid, I had the support of my family and friends and all I had to do was pass my classes and get my degree. I met my parents after the graduation ceremony and we took the usual graduation photos and went over dinner plans for later that day.
I remember my father asking to drive me around to my car but I just wanted to walk of course my Aunt insisted that I ride with her to the next parking lot. As soon as we reached my car I jumped out and got into my car, as I started driving away a wave of depression washed over me. I was slowly learning that no matter how solid my plan was for my future I wasn’t ready for this part of my life to end. I had been battling depression for a few months leading up to graduation but I figured that it was me just stressing over my next step in life.
Summer came and went and before I knew it my father was moving me into my dorm on campus and although we lived ten minutes away from campus I insisted that I lived on campus. After we got my room set up my father hugged me and prayed over me. Depression always had a way of sneaking back into my life at the most inopportune times, here I was at the school I wanted to attend majoring in Business and I still wasn’t happy. I wasn’t comfortable with the intense nursing program at the school and fear caused me to take the easy way out. My father always wanted a business major in the family and I was going to be the one to get that degree. Fear and depression ate away at my spirit bit by bit and by the spring semester I was not only failing out of college but I had once again changed my major back to Nursing. I honestly didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life, I knew for sure that I wasn’t happy and I wasn’t able to articulate what I was feeling on the inside. After many conversations with my father we decided it was best that I leave Liberty University and attend the community college.
The summer of 2009 was very tense, my depression was getting worse and my father couldn’t understand how I could almost fail out of college considering that I always had good grades in high school. On the inside I knew I wasn’t applying myself to my studies like I should but I wasn’t content with studying business or nursing. I knew that I had to attend college and that I had to figure something out soon. In the midst of the darkest season of my life God brought a shining light into my life. I started volunteering at my churches summer camp and I fell in love with those kids. Something amazing happened when I started working with the kids, life started to become brighter. But now here I am considering changing my major once again and ultimately taking a huge pay cut in my future job opportunities.
My family was very supportive during this time in my life they understood that I needed to figure things out and that it was going to take time. The fall of 2009 I began attending our local community college and school became easy for me, I was able to meet some amazing people and I fell in love with teaching.
In 2013 I graduated with a degree in Early Childhood Education and a 4.0 GPA with honors! Looking back on my college experience I still feel the shame and guilt of not graduating on time but I understand that God had to work on me. I had to learn how to manage my depression and ultimately I had to learn to trust in God and know that his timing was perfect. What I considered a messy milestone turned out to be one of the greatest miracles in my life.
I am truly thankful for my experience and I am no longer ashamed of what I went through.

Meet Trice:

Joy in the Mess Trice’s Blog // Instagram // Personal Instagram

Miranda’s Story // Joy in the Mess {Guest Post}

Joy in the Mess

Today I am excited to share Miranda’s story with you all as part of the Joy in the Mess Guest Post series!

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When the unexpected happens, how do you react? Do you throw an adult version of a temper tantrum, which can include all sorts of reactions?

I know my share of pain. I have a husband in prison for a crime he didn’t commit, who left behind our two young kids. My kids have been taken away from me, I got them back. I have body issues since I have been overweight for most of my adult life. I have been through a lot of pain in my life.

I have recently been told that I act like I am mad at the world. Ouch, as much as it pains me to say, it is true. Have I lost my joy? I firmly believe that God has a purpose for this trial and that He is going to get us through,  but one some days it is hard to find joy when your heart is breaking constantly for my kids who are growing up without their father. He also was the primary caregiver of the family while I stayed at home with the kids, so we have depend on our families to take care of us.

I have to remember that my strength comes from the Lord and that He is going to take care of us. I need to remember to take time each morning and give Him thanks for all of my blessings.

Without giving thanks to the Lord, how can we truly be thankful. Just being here to read this post is reason enough to be thankful. I once heard that a way to be thankful is to write out your blessings on a page and read over them each morning as a prayer to start you day. What a beautiful way to start your day!!

We must always be in constant praise of the Lord for all that He has done for us. If you can’t find a reason to be thankful for, start looking small. For me although I don’t have a house to call my own (we live with my parents), I am so thankful that my kids and I have bed to sleep on each night. We have food everyday and don’t go hungry. We have our health. We have people to help and support us daily.

If we are not in constant praise, our lives will start to get stale and our faith will become stagnant. This is what I believe I have let happen in my faith over the past couple of weeks. Just because I am upset over my circumstances, doesn’t mean I did to be mad. I need to find joy in the little things and always be in constant praise of the Lord.

 

image1About Miranda:

I am a Christian wife, mother living in Texas going through a difficult time in life. My goal is to help others going through trials and helping them overcome it and realize that the Lord is in complete control. You can connect with her on her blog at http://www.mirandamiller.net

Social Media:

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/mirandamillerwriter

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mirandamiller03

Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/mirandamiller03

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mirandamiller03

 

Faith Like a Pear Tree // Joy in the Mess {Guest Post}

Joy in the Mess

Welcome to the Joy in the Mess series! For the next few weeks, I am so excited to feature several other outstanding bloggers as we come together on Thursdays this summer to share our stories of finding Christ amid the messes and hard times of our lives. I’m so excited to have Kayla on the blog today!

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It dawned on me a few days ago that I am going to have a flowering tree this spring. Two of them in fact, but I have one right out my dining room window. A pear tree.

You might not think that this is very significant, and maybe it isn’t really but it just really struck me the other day.
We have lived in four homes now. Each of them has felt like an improvement on the other. With each move that we have made, a little bit more of my burden has been lifted. A link in my chains has been broken every time we have packed up and changed locations. So, finally feeling some permanence – well, I have been allowing myself to soak it in a little bit. Although I have still tried to keep my heart from settling in this place, it sure has done a work in me to be here.

This place has offered us so many freedoms. We can personally contact our landlords if we need to, they kinda like us.  There is a huge garden in the back yard, oh yea, there’s a yard that’s all fenced in and trees. A pear tree and an apple tree. I sat and looked at the pear tree and realized that it was going to bloom this spring and drew a parallel with the way that my life has been.

I grew up in a really solid, Biblical-sound family. We were active in the church, always attended Sunday school, youth group and whatever events that were going on…I was growing and making fruit. My faith was blossoming and I was doing all the right, Christian things. But, as with most of us, darkness can settle in all too easily. There were a few circumstances that made my blossoms die off and my fruit quit growing. I was struggling to find my hope and joy, trying to connect with my faith like I had once before.

Everything felt dormant.

I was alone, far from home, unable to connect with Jesus the way that I wanted to, it seemed, no matter what I tried.

I was stagnant.

We moved for the first time – we actually lost our first home to foreclosure – and I had a HUGE weight lifted off of me. That’s when I began to find that little bud in my heart that never went away, it just became a little more accessible. I was beginning my path to freedom. I still felt like I was stuck where I was. I could feel movement in my heart but I still felt like I was in a type of dormant state but my leaves were beginning to open up. I connected with a new love from Jesus by writing a devotional journal – a little more life was brought forth in me.

We moved a second time and even though this move was more difficult than the first, we knew without a doubt that we were being moved with a purpose. I found a little more freedom in this third place. I was able to look fear in the face and speak truth and light into one of the darkest parts of my heart. I also learned that I had completely lost my identity years before when my stagnancy began. The blossoms were really beginning to burst as TRUTH was watering my soul.

We had to move again. We ended up getting the place that we are in right now. It is more than we ever expected or hoped for in our situation. And it has a pear tree. After moving here, my faith was just growing exponentially and the freedoms were just washing over me. Since being here, I can look back and very specifically pinpoint God’s fingerprint on our marriage, my life and more importantly, my faith.

As I sat looking at the pear tree, I realized that he allowed me to be stagnant for a winter in order to make my blossoms and fruit even richer than if I had been blossoming all of my years through. My “trunk” now reflects the works of his love, the richness of his love for me. The provision, the intimate details, the guidance, the security that he has given me to reflect.

I hope you have gained this: not one of our dark times is in vain. If you feel so far away from Jesus, no matter how hard you try to come to him, remember that He is working in you. If you are fighting to be close to him even when you don’t feel him, those are the times that he is working the strongest through. Those are the time s that are truly going to show your faithfulness and his fingerprints.

“And I am sure of this, that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ.” Philippians 1:6

Take heart friend, this world is not our home. <3

Meet Kayla:

NomadLifeButton

Kayla has been married to her husband, Andrew for almost 7 years, they have 3 boys – 5, 3 & 1. They have moved 4 times over the course of their marriage which is where the title of Kayla’s blog, the Accidental Nomad Life sprung from. Kayla blogs frequently as her stay at home job; she loves photography, graphic design, and anything crafty and DIY. Kayla has a heart for sharing her story and encouraging people – making the social media life less perfect.

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