Springtime Calving Season

Spring time means it’s calving season in our pasture! Honestly, it’s my favorite time of the year. The feeling of crisp air in the mornings, the budding of wildflowers, the sprouting of new growth in the hay fields, and gazing into the pasture to see newborn calves running around makes my heart skip a few beats.

If you’ve never been around a newborn calf and his momma, it’s a always a fun experience. A cow has that distinct “parent instinct” to defend and protect. She will fight tooth and nail to protect her child. She can sense trouble from across the pasture and dares any, and all trouble, to come between her and her new calf.

Likewise, a newborn calf leans on the protection of his mom to survive in this world. He hides under her belly for protection and relies on the herd to keep him safe.

This reminds me a lot of how our relationship with Jesus, and other believers, should be. Like a mother cow, Jesus stands ready and willing to take on our battles for us. He fights for us daily, even when we aren’t aware of it.

In his letter to the church of Ephesus, Paul tells us that we do not fight wars of flesh blood in this world, rather we fight spiritual wars (is (Ephesians 6:12). So, why would we try to fight our battles on our own and leave Jesus out of the equation?

Maybe we should learn to be more like a newborn calf, and let our Father stand in the gap and go to battle for us. We should drop the worry of the unknown, and place the future in His hands.

On the same note, if you don’t have a “herd” of believers to stand in your gap to pray with you, and for you, when you’re in the trenches of life, you’re missing out! I encourage you to find a Bible believing church, or group of friends, and learn to lean on one another as you venture into the pasture with Jesus as your guide.

Happy Trails Y’all!

– Rachel

a {new} journey

Howdy friends! It has been a looooong while since I’ve posted (almost 2 years to be exact)! Lots has happened in that time span.  It’s really too much to tell about.

However, I am going to let you in on a secret of mine.  In case you didn’t know, I like to write and ramble about the craziness and excitement of our lives.  If you follow me on social media, you already know that!

Believe it or not, I do keep some things to myself,  like the secret I am about to share.  Let’s pause for a moment to be honest here because — My palms are sweaty.  My heart is racing. And, I’m currently searching for ANY topic to talk about so I can avoid what’s coming. But, here it is!

Over the last few months, God has placed it on my heart to combine my passion for Him and my passion for writing into a new journey.  While I’m still not sure what that’s supposed to look like exactly, I’ve started taking baby steps! In January, I created a Facebook group devoted to Bible journaling.  I seriously thought I would have maybe 20 people join my journey, and that was really stretching my vision.  {{ YALL!! }} God showed up BIG time and my little group has almost 1,000 followers! Wait! What?!?! That’s like 50 times more than my hopes! I don’t know why I am always amazed when He shows up, but I am! Maybe, humbled is a better word than amazed.  The God that created the heavens and the stars, raised folks from the dead, caused blind men to see, and the lame to walk, still cares enough about us today to show up BIG time in our daily lives.  It’s truly breath-taking to sit and reflect upon!

isaiah 55

So, I realized, He’s got this! He has a plan much greater than my poor little mind can fathom, and I just need to run with it.  That’s where the hard part comes in. I’ve spent that last month praying for a vision.  Praying that God would take this thought of channeling my love for writing into doing something for Him. I’ve gone through at least 4 mechanical pencils and 2 ink pens, probably more but my husband tells me I exaggerate my stories too much, so I’m just going to stop at 6 writing utensils. 🙂   My purse has been full of half written notes and ideas for weeks.  My planner is full of random thoughts in every empty space.  The notes section of my phone has been cluttered with notes that have been deleted and recovered on more than one occasion. The poor trash cans in our home have been overflowing with paper balls of ideas I thought were worthless.

I’ve cried. I’ve laughed. I’ve argued with God. I’ve found every reason NOT to get serious and finish (or start) something that resembled writing for Jesus. Then, during a small conversation at lunch today, it hit me.  Just DO the thing! A sweet friend told me today, “If God gave you a desire, you need to do it.”  Ok, maybe those weren’t her EXACT words, but they are close enough.

So, here I am.  Being strong and courageous (as per my New Year’s resolution), and sharing with you the first product of this new “thing” (for lack of a better word). Here’s the big secret — the rEvEaL of  my very first, peronally written, Scripture Writing Plan.

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I don’t what the future holds for the rest of this journey, but here’s to this BOLD beginning and sweet friends who encouraged me to take a leap! I’ll be sharing this plan with by Bible journaling group throughout the month of February.  If you want in on the fun, join us by clicking HERE.

Happy Trails!

Rachel

Beyond the Bride

  
It was finally here! The day I had planned for over a year. The countless hours spent picking out the perfect invitations, stuffing hundreds of envelopes, finding a beautiful gown with matching shoes, preparing our hand written vows, arranging bouquets with my mom, planning a perfect reception menu, booking a photographer, a band, and venue, were finally over. I was about to change my name from Ms. to Mrs., and my whole world would change for the better! 

The wedding day was everything I had dreamed of and more! My dress was gorgeous. My daddy teared up as he gave me away. And, the church was packed with our family and friends. But, the best part was the moment my adorable husband and I vowed to love each other unconditionally and to always put God first in our home. 

 

Upon the completion of our vows, I knew that my next step was to transform from a blushing bride to a wonderful wife. 6 years later, I realize that all of the stress, all of the worrying, and all of the planning to have a perfect day would only be a precious memory. You see, being a bride isn’t the important factor in getting married. Rather, living and experiencing life with the man you prayed for, the man you trust with your heart, and the man you believe God sent just for you, is what the transformation from bride to wife is all about. After all, it’s how you handle your  life beyond the bride that makes a marriage strong! 

Stayed tuned for tips to having a happy home with your spouse! 

 Happy Trails! 💙Rachel 

Dear lady at IHOP…

You don’t know my family or our story, and I don’t yours. Through our small conversation, we discovered we are both educators. But, your gentle smile and kind words revealed so much more about you than you realize. 

You see, the precious child you spoke to, hasn’t forgotten the 5 simple words you joyfully directed towards her. 

I LOVE your eyepatch! 

That’s it. Those 5 words made her eyes light up with glee and her swell with pride! She appears to be a happy go-lucky child on the outside. And, although my daughter in a pretty princess in our eyes, she often worries about her glasses and her eyepatch. She makes comments such as:

Mommy why do my eyes have to cross? 

Mommy the kids will laugh at my eye patch. 

Mommy, I want to be pretty like you without glasses. 

Oh my heart breaks when she says these things. No matter how many times I tell her that she is ALWAYS beautiful, her young heart is still brittle. So, thank you kind lady for being sweet to my child and letting her know that her eyepatch doesn’t define her! 

Thank you for reminding me that I am able to show the love of Jesus without ever speaking His name. The joy that lit up your face made it evident that Jesus is alive in you! 

Sincerely,

A grateful momma!  

 

Where is God now? 

Alone in the still and quiet, tears begin flowing, and your mind starts racing, yet no thought sticks except…

Where is God now? 

The God I learned about in Sunday School was a God of love, a God of miracles, a God who saves! Where is that God now? I’ve been told His Word is true through eternity.   If that is so, how did He let this happen to me?

Where is His love? Where is His miracle? Where is His salvation? 

 {Admit it} At some point in time, we have all sheltered these thoughts, these doubts, these fears in the back room of our hearts. Inevitably we all have faced a season in life where God didn’t seem to exist. It felt as if He were too busy elsewhere to comfort us or hear our needs!

For me, that time has come twice in recent years. The first was during the birth of Kynlee. How could a God who loved me let me endure this? Didn’t He understand my passion was to be a mother? I strongly desired to have more than one child. I wanted to be able to have the chance to give my husband a son and my father a grandson. I wanted to be able to fulfill their dreams and to have several children! Yet, I almost lost my first born child and now I’m told I cannot physically have anymore? Isn’t God a God of miracles? Couldn’t He perform a miracle and just give us another child? 

  
The 2nd time I felt these thoughts was much more recent. In July of this year our family lost a precious woman. My first cousin passed away in a terrible tragedy, leaving behind three grieving children, a torn mother, two heart broken sisters, and a family crushed by grief.  Our family was devastated! How could God allow this to happen? Couldn’t He have saved her? If He had just reached out, she would still be here! It isn’t fair for those kids to live their lives without their mother’s love and touch. It isn’t fair for a mom to have to plan the funeral of her first born. It isn’t fair for two sisters to have to learn to live without talking to their big sis each day. It isn’t fair for a family to be left with so many questions. Where’s God’s love now?

During both of those times, I felt I had lost my joy! How can you be joyful when your world is falling apart? How do you cry out to a God who seems to have forgotten you? 

Yet, there in the stillness, this hymn came to mind….

 

Three simple words {Because He lives}! That’s it! My soul didn’t need a miracle, or a savior, or a new love! It already contained all I needed to restore my joy. Paul tells us in Phillipians that to live is Christ. I like to say loving Christ is to live. Not only because He lives can I face tomorrow, but because He lives in Me, all fear is gone! 

 

Although the tears still flow and my heart still breaks, I am able to go on living joyfully because my Hope is Anchored in Him. Jesus alone can heal, can restore, and can refresh! Although our plans don’t always match up with His, He promises to be with us every step of the way.  

I don’t think we ever get past tragedies and scarring memories in our lives. But, we have a choice! We can use each memory as a crutch to stay hidden in our own corner, pushing God and all others away, or we can use each memory as chance to glorify Him! Undoubtedly in every situation, He has a greater purpose! Are you willing to trust in Him and let Him use you? Are you willing to give your grief, your fear, your sadness to Jesus?

He simply asks ::: Come to me all you who are weary and heavy burdened, and I will give you rest.  — Matthew 11:28

Jesus, I humbly and boldly ask you to bless those of us traveling through a scary and unknown place of grief or sadness.  It may seem as if all hope, all joy, and all comfort has forsaken us. Oh, how easy it is to hide from you and grieve alone. But, we know you are the Great Physician! Only you can heal us. I ask that you would give us courage and strength to face our trials head on and live victoriously through you. I know you have a purpose and plan for each of us and I am trusting you to restore our joy and reveal yourself to us. In Jesus’ precious name I call…..Amen! 

💛 Happy Trails! – Rachel 

beauty is only {heart} deep

“Mom, I would be gorgeous like you IF I didn’t wear glasses.”

— Wait? What? Surely those words aren’t coming from the mouth of my innocent 4 year old! Catch your breath. Regain your thoughts. Hold back your tears. —

All of those thoughts raced through my mind in the 2 seconds it took me to reply…

“You are gorgeous with or without your glasses. Your glasses don’t make you beautiful! Your smile, your sweetness, and your pretty blue eyes make you GORGEOUS in my book!” 

And, so, just as unexpectedly as it started, the conversation quickly ended and off the little toot went to enjoy her TV show. All the while, not knowing her momma’s heart was completely broken and shattered! 

How had I let this happen? How did the tiny baby who clung to life in NICU for 68 days grow into this worrisome 4 year old? What happened to having a care free spirit and only thinking about the next snack, the next play date, the next cartoon to watch? 

Had I failed to fulfill my duty as a mom? Had I voiced my own physical insecurities a little too much? 

 As these thoughts swirled like an unrelentless hurricane of sadness through my being, I rolled over in my bed and buried my head into my pillow! I began to cry out to God to restore her confidence, to restore my confidence! 

With tears streaming down my cheeks, He softly reminded that He had overcome this world! And though people would try to tear me down, to tear her down, He had the power to restore! 

             
With that, I began to praise Him for holding my hand through the unknown, for wiping my tears of sadness, and for creating a {JOY} in my heart that is indescribable.

Why does the media have such a grip on girls and women on what beauty looks like? Why do we, as women, constantly compare ourselves to one another? We want to be:

  • skinnier
  • smarter
  • tanner
  • and much more!

We are NEVER satisfied with what we have! However, we know that  

 
So, I challenge to look for your beauty within! If Christ lives in you, there’s nothing more beautiful! After all, true beauty is only {HEART} deep! 

Happy Trails! 💛Rachel

{vbs} 

For the last two years, I have volunteered to help my aunt teach 1st grade VBS about an hour away from my home. Every year, I say to myself, “This is overwhelming and I cannot do it next year!” Getting all of the bible lessons planned,  copying and cutting out craft materials, making arrangements for someone to feed the farm, packing up clothes for a week for my daughter and I (including clothes to wear each morning and swimsuits to play on the lake in the afternoons), packing up supplies and decorations for our VBS room, and spending a week away is all a little chaotic for a homebody like me who likes everything organized and planned and hates to ask for help!

  
Each year I spend two or three weeks getting my lessons prepared, planning decor, and gathering all of the materials I need. I spend countless hours researching biblical history to make sure I can fully explain each lesson in a way those sweet kiddos can understand! Every time I begin to work on something VBS related, I always {always} ::always:: start with a prayer asking God to use my words and actions to show each child the love of ~JESUS~ and the importance of salvation! I plead with God to open the hearts and  minds of those young children to accept HIM as Savior! 

I am physicALLy and emotionaLLy exhausted at the end of each day during the week! Yet, I can’t wait to wake up and do it all again! 

Sitting in a close knit circle on the floor watching each child intently and eagerly hanging onto each word of the Bible story and ask questions about the Bible characters, the plot of the story, what It means to sin, or what it means to accept Jesus, is something you can only truly appreciate when you experience it first hand! 

Of course, we always have those few kiddos that test our patience and act silly! When they are “swimming” in our “waterfall”, crawling under the tables, throwing the stuffed snakes, or whatever else they can find to do to be a distraction, I often wonder why in the world am I doing this? I could be floating in the swimming pool soaking up some sun, relaxing in the recliner watching Netflix, or playing at the splash pad with my sweet girl! 

  

But, then, there’s that {precious}moment I wish I could freeze in time. That small little moment one child says, 

“Ms. Rachel, what do we do if we think there’s something wrong and we need Jesus?” 

And, there, in that short 30 second span built into the 72,000 seconds I spend with those kids during the week, is the EXACT reason I exhaust all of that energy into every small detail of my week! 

  

Often, we don’t understand why God places us in certain situations. However, I can attest to the idea that when you open your heart and time to Jesus and invite Him to work through you, He will do things beyond your realm of imagination! 

This sweet boy accepted Jesus this week! 💙💚

  

On another note, I got to spend some quality time with lots of family!! Here’s a sneak peek of some of our adventures! 

 
 Happy Trails my friends! 💛Rachel 

Let ALL that you do be done in {LOVE} I Cor. 16:14