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Peace Seeker: Intro

There are a lot of adjectives that have been used to describe me. My mood, my voice, my attitude, my personality, my decision(s), my life, my future. “Peace” was never one. (Well, “peaceful” may be more accurate, but still, never used.) A lot of the words used to describe me I laugh off, but I would be lying if I said they didn’t sting or cause hurt. Recently I read a post, encouraging moms (and dads!) to speak carefully around our children, no matter their size, no matter their assumed comprehension. Ah the guilt trip that has followed! I am keenly reminded again of all the words thrown at me and the result, sometimes pain, sometimes love, and realized I have fallen short and need to think carefully before speaking to my boys.

I am Rachelle. I am a wife and mom. I am a daughter, a sister, a woman who prefers the tomboy side of life and all the good foods. I am so many things, so many words can be put here but they don’t always accurately reflect me, all of me. I am sure you would tell me that the same can be said of you as well. Our pasts do not define us, but the shape us and impact us. We are whole beings, made up of many parts and they do not all shine through at the same moment. I hope this blog, Peace Seeker, will speak to you in the midst of the busyness that is our life. I hope to share personal stories, funny and serious, how I left the Mennonite church but found my faith in the process, of being adopted and navigating those hurts but not being a victim.

I see things very black and white, right or wrong and sometimes my written words do not always accurately reflect the grace I want to express. Sometimes, too often maybe, I seem like I am spouting judgement. This is not my intent! 

I am sharing because I wish in my journey I would have had internet and access to someone who could share honestly the positives and negatives and I could have taken better roads. Though as an opinionated person, I know changing my mind may have been difficult.
The inspiration for my blog has been dwelling inside of me for so long, I struggle to open myself up and some of these posts will be tearfully written followed by a day or two of needing to emotionally recharge! If these posts speak to you, please post your thoughts and/or questions!
I introduced myself briefly above but here I will add more “fun” facts. I do love to cook and bake, however I hate to clean my kitchen when I am done! Can you relate? I have a tiny kitchen and too often I allow that to keep me from being more adventurous with my kitchen fun. Recently I made cinnamon rolls from my newest Pioneer Woman cookbook. My husband bought it for me! (Full disclosure: He didn’t know in advance, however when he spied yet another box from Amazon, I was sure to thank him from the bottom of my heart! Of course, as I thanked him, I scurried off to the kitchen to bake something. Coincidence? Maybe.) I also love being a mom, a woman raising tomorrow’s men. An avid TV drama watcher while I fold laundry or work my at-home business, or a sleepless night with a young one. I love a good, stimulating conversation and I love challenges! I am a Christian and I hope to show clearly God’s hand in my life as I share experiences and memories here. I also enjoy watching my boys’ imaginations at work. They have such avid imaginations that are typically right in synch! I am learning to enjoy weekends of downtime with my husband of 7 years! Yes, you read that right. In case I haven’t mentioned it or made it clear, I am not like a lot of women. And I am learning to blend and learn from them but still be comfortable with myself. A job in and of itself!
Thank you for joining me as I share here, laugh and cry with me but when you’ve finished reading, go share a smile with a stranger.
“For you were called to freedom, brothers (and sisters). Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.” Galatians 5:13

Love, Rachelle 

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Peace Seeker: Realization

This is part 1 on my “Toxic” series.

Before I dive into this series please know: I am not a psychologist, psychiatrist, counselor, or any type of “professional”. I am relating what MY private research shows, what I lived and learned, and if it’s another’s experience, I am crediting them.

My story…

I met “A” a few years ago. Alex was very young and I was a lonely woman. I was making terrible life decisions, and my life was not great. Immediately we “clicked” and were quickly best friends. We texted, Facebook messaged, Facebook interacted all the time. And looking back, there were signs of this being a doomed and toxic friendship and I wish I had recognized them.
We got together often, and she often paid for meals and shopping trips. She and I shared many similar opinions, and I was glad to have someone who seemed to accept me as I was.
But I was naïve.
Other friendships fell by the wayside, for if I vented anything or she met them, she would “share” what she felt was them not being nice. And it totally made sense. (At the time.) We early on had an agreed upon get together night every week. And when busy summer months, or holidays prevented us getting together she seemed personally offended.
A was opinionated with politics, and one time there was a comment made by my husband to her Facebook status. And it caused a massive fight, that honestly to this day still does not even make sense to me. And that was my first, massive red flag that made me stop and pause and wonder. Especially after, when the fight ended, she could never quite seem to “let go” of some things and it eventually led to her unfriending us on social media. Our relationship changed. After that fight I tried to go out of my way to keep the peace, even offering a “no politics” boundary because she would get so heated and dismissive of any view that was not her own. I started to feel very anxious and by Friday evening I was a stress ball, and then it would take me all weekend to recover, it was so draining.
I didn’t know the term “toxic relationship”, I did not know even how to deal with this all. I sought advice constantly, which sounded like complaining, but I was in so far over my head, I felt like I was drowning.
There were instances where I would go to two of my friends, and they’d point out the signs I was missing. I could see they were right, but then I just didn’t know how to walk away. I didn’t want to hurt feelings, I did not want another huge fight.
A eventually decided “it was okay” for us to be friends on Facebook again. And it was good. I thought things were moving forward in a healthy manner.
And then it happened.
A friend of mine posted a public meme. I commented. Because it was public, it came up on her newsfeed. And she responded to it as well. It was a snarky, sarcastic comment. And that was a final straw for me. I knew she did not know him, nor was she friends with him. She was so full of hate and anger towards what the meme was about, that she could not handle even scrolling by.

And that broke something in my heart and immediately I began to back away. If she texted, I waited to respond, thinking carefully through responses. I no longer shared big life news with her, or struggles. I started investing in me, growing spiritually and healing. I started investing more time in my two friends, and my husband and my sons. I was pregnant then, and eagerly anticipating a new baby to love and snuggle. Life seemed good.

It was August of 2017, I do not remember the exact course of conversation. Lamar’s friends were over. I had run out to the store for something when she texted. The entire “break up” came via text, she refused to answer when I called. I stayed firm, apologizing for being hurtful yet calmly stated I was not solely to blame for the friendship disintegrating.

Maybe I am half-guy, because in all my years I have never felt the need to announce to someone I was not going to be their friend anymore. Drama like that goes beyond my comprehension. It’s an attention-seeking behavior, a grab for the control they have lost.
We have not spoken since.

I have missed A tremendously. I have often felt the urge to text or call her, but because of how things ended I honestly have no idea what the rules are. So I never have. I carried that hurt, that pain for a long time. It was the starting point of a long hard year for me.
I believe I can honestly say that I am healed. I am moving forward, with more wisdom.
In a relationship that SEEMS two-sided, but behind the drama and manipulation, is toxic and one-sided, the first step is realizing.

Realize and acknowledge the traits that are making you feel “less than”.

I imagine if A read this, she would have an entire argument on how wrong I am. She would raise valid points, as I fully realize I am not perfect. I am sure it was very hurtful when I backed off the way I did. But up until then, if I had ever felt like something was wrong and brought it up, it turned into an ordeal that would cause so much frustration for me. And all through my life thus far, I have struggled with friendships. I just accepted than I must be a terrible, needy friend.

Make a list, talk to a friend. No relationship is perfect but realize that a healthy relationship is very two-sided.

There is room for misunderstandings, there is room for different interests and hobbies. There is room for growth and change, for moving forward towards each person’s individual goals. There is room for mistakes and other relationships, obligations. Relationships grow through what they go through, as should each person. There should be a mutual cheering on of each other, of supporting one another.

I am not perfect. I carry toxic traits myself. I think we all do. I carry fears and scars. I want desperately to be a person that others love and want to be around. But I also don’t want to sacrifice the healthy I finally am. And as I unpacked my story and contemplated various things, I think that’s a universal truth.
WE ALL want be loved and accepted, without sacrificing who we are.

I have growing I must still do, so do you. And our relationships should have room for that. As well as encouragement for it.

Until next time.
Love,
Rachelle

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Peace Seeker: On This Day

I rode a rollercoaster today.

Not a for real one, emotional.

It started out a decent day. My alarm went, too early. But school is in session. My youngest woke up. My oldest grumbled when I woke him up. My youngest is so tired lately, so i asked him to please just rest for awhile.

His answer: “Yes, Mama.”

His actions: NOPE

And Round 1 was lost to both of us. Tears from both, raised voices, from both, and a general feeling of frustration, from both.

Happy Tuesday.

The fight ended about an hour and a half later, when I put him to bed. One run through of his songs, and he was out.

It’s 9/11 today.

17 years ago, we united together and promised ourselves “never forget” .

But farther back, a bit of awesomeness happened here in America. Particularly in a small town in Pennsylvania.

On this day in the early 1990s, I was adopted. My parents officially gave me their last name, and I belonged to them.

My story is an interesting one. A puzzle. Some pieces are still missing. Some are filled in. Some will wait for Heaven. Some are beautiful. Some are not.

But it is my story. All mine. Well not all, but you get my point.

Back to my rollercoaster.

I took a trip down memory lane. And it took an emotional toll.

I am so grateful for this life. And I often take for granted the life I was given.

I rarely dwell on the what if side of my life. My birth mother died in her early 30s. My birth father was never known. There aren’t many what if things to dwell on, there are too little facts for those trails.

Growing up the biggest what if trail I traveled down was what if Tom had adopted me? Tom and his wife were foster parents. He had a soft spot for me. At one fishing event, he saw me eyeing up a stuffed animal that I liked. And when prizes were given out, my disappointment was obvious. As my dad and I got into his Suburban, Tom came to the truck. “Here,” he handed me something, with his mustached smile. And it was the little leopard I had wanted. My boys have long claimed that little animal. But it never ceases to make me smile. There was never any doubt whether he cared for me, or any of the girls they took in and loved. And his smile often pops into my memory, and in turn makes me smile.

Other couples loved me, deeply. Not just aunts and uncles. Though I am blessed with some incredible aunts and uncles, and cousins. But another elderly couple from the foster parent group who loved me. They would randomly drop off Easter baskets. They never failed to send a card for holidays and birthdays.

It would never be fair to say “no one really loved me” because my love language was thoroughly spoken as I grew up.

I can point to pieces of my life that did not glow with hearts and flowers. But everyone can. And those pieces left their marks, alongside with the blessings those hard times also helped to shape me.

The roller coaster ride is emotion-filled. Sometimes the bad things overwhelm me. I look at my life and the highlight reel of pain automatically plays. But today’s memories, I remembered the blessings too.

I have two biological sisters. Their stories are not mine to tell, but they do not have the same childhood memories that I do. And that makes my heart hurt. The unfairness.

On this day 20 plus years ago, I became a daughter. Fully belonging. Fully loved. I completed a family who didn’t know they weren’t complete. I fully recognize that my life was changed the moment they followed God’s leading and said yes, but so was theirs. I am the youngest of 5 brothers. And each of them, their life was changed by my arrival as well. We all were many parts to one family, we loved and cared for and fought with each other. Granted the fighting part existed first. But the love part was there.

Someday I get the share my story with my boys. These two sweet, biologically mine boys. And that was the sweetest part of giving birth…   The moment I held them, the moment I kissed them, I knew they were mine. My DNA ran through their veins.

Mine.

And while my family never, ever made me feel less than because our DNA was different, there was something beautiful in cherishing my boys and knowing they were mine.

There was something devastating in my life. The abandonment issues were so strong. While my love language was spoken often by caring and loving adults, it was hard to receive. Not that I took it for granted, I just felt undeserving. I often felt “if they only knew-” and whatever grievous sin I considered, I was sure it would make everyone abandon me.

And that’s where my emotional rollercoaster dumped me tonight. Way back there in the middle of abandonment-ville.

And I’m hiking back. Journeying back. Remembering each person who chosen to love me. Starting with my parents, my siblings, wonderful people from church, aunts, uncles.

There’s a special little girl I think of now, she reminds me of me. I hug her every Sunday. I smile at her. I want her to know, whatever was in her life, now she is chosen and loved. Now she matters more than whatever caused her story to begin where I’ve met her.

This weekend Alex shared with me that he told his teacher he knows 2 adopted people. His friend at school and his mommy.

And it made him proud.

I have friends who have adopted, are adopted, are fostering and hoping to adopt. And someday I want to share my current life with kids who need it.

I am proud of my history. And I’m grateful for the story God is giving me.

Each and every piece.

If my birth mother were here, I’d say Thank You.

If my birth father were here, I’d say Thank you.

To my parents this week, I will say Thank you.

Sometimes I forget to intentionally remember.

So today I’m glad I took the time to remember. And tomorrow I will remind myself to be glad.

And if you have the opportunity to love on a child whose first family could not provide all the love or care he/she needed, do it.

Because it’s worth it.

It’s like when concrete is poured and little handprints or footprints or initials are carefully put in it. You get to do that. You get to help create a foundation of love, of trust, of being wanted. And in doing so, you etch yourself into their foundation.

Well, I am officially drained. Tonight I needed to remind myself to never forget. Because I got lost and I did. I did forget the ones who loved me when I desperately needed it. I focused on mistakes. I focused on pain. That needed to change. I must remember it all.

But now, now my house is quiet, my sweet boys are snoring sweetly. And my soul needs to rest.

Love,

Rachelle

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Peace Seeker: Deserving

I hate this word: deserve

“But Mommy, I did my chores! I DESERVE __________.”

Um, you what?!

I hate it.

I read a news story about a woman who demanded guests pay *only* $1,500 towards the wedding she deserved. 

Entitled, much?

This post has been mulling around in my brain as I have healed physically.

Because as I took my grief to God, my prayer (well, part of it) went something like this:

“God, why?! I didn’t do anything to deserve this? I serve at church, I am doing my best to be the wife and mother that honors and follows You.”

Deserve.

What do we deserve? As sin cursed people, living on a sin cursed world?

As a woman who suffered various traumas, I do plan someday to ask God why He allowed some things.

As a mom who has lost so many babies, I look forward to Heaven even more. And since our fatal diagnosis with Liam, my Bible reading and prayer time is daily and deeper. It was a terrible thing to go through, but I see blessings.

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I am choosing to be more intentional as a mother. Having more babies is not something my body can do, so I am choosing to accept that and be more intentional as a mom with my boys.

Callan and I enjoy quieter days at home, today is a bit lazier than yesterday. We were both up too early, so computer time for me and a learning show on Netflix for him.

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My oldest turned 7 and started school. And Callan misses him. But I am enjoying the break from sibling rivalry and have been able to mostly catch up on house work. Mostly.

Today I am being intentional. I need to catch up on this blog. (It’s been official for a year now! YAY!!) I have some catch up with my direct sales business to do. And I have a needy toddler today.

And he DESERVES a mommy who is all in, as much as she can be each day.

Deserves.

I think it pricks me, reminds me of my selfishness, my entitlement. I am guilty of feeling like I am deserving of specific blessings, or favor.

de·serve- do something or have or show qualities worthy of (reward or punishment)

I am so often guilty of feeling deserving or entitled to things… I work hard and expect a reward/ payment. And that isn’t always how life works.

And it gets me a bit frustrated when I hear this word thrown around casually.

But in these last weeks of healing, as I am spending time in prayer and giving Him my heart, my concerns, my fears, my everything… I catch myself taking on this attitude of what I feel I deserved.

I deserved those babies, every single last one of ’em.

Yet often, I gaze on the sweet faces of my boys, whether the day was good or bad, and realize they have been entrusted to me but I don’t deserve them. I fail, often.

I yell. I get angry. I am too lenient. I spoil them. The list can go on for miles in how I have failed. And we are not promised tomorrow.

Often after a rough day, I will cry. Feeling that undeserving of these two amazing boys.

And Satan sneaks his lies in, whispering how it’s good I don’t have other kids, blah, blah, blah  ….

Mama, you gotta know: These babies you’ve been entrusted with DESERVE you love. Period. These boys and girls we are raising DESERVE our best every single day. And if you screw up, if you fail, WHEN you fail, these little loves DESERVE to have you come to them and apologize.

I am not entitled to something I have not proved worthy of.. I should not be handed a college degree without putting in the work.

But there are innocent exceptions. I have two, Alex and Callan.

deserve

I choose grace. 

GRACE. Because one time, a Man took on all so I could come before my heavenly Father and pour out my heart, in whatever words I have. 

Grace. Because one time, a Man suffered tremendously to win a war over sin and Hell and to defeat the one who comes and whispers lies.

I have two. How about you?

How can you show grace, and love today? Do you need grace today? Forgiveness?

Love, 

Rachelle 

 

 

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Peace Seeker: Screaming in the Silence

Have you ever been talking, somewhat loudly, and all of the sudden- it gets quiet. Still. And your voice is the ONLY one.

*raises hand*

This has happened so many times. I mean, honestly, you would think I would just learn to be silent. But if you’ve not figured this out, please learn it now: I was not created to be silent.

So here I go, at the encouragement of a random Instagram quote and a friend, I am stomping into a room filled with mostly silent people. And I am not being quiet.

http://www.marchofdimes.org says this: “Miscarriage (also called early pregnancy loss) is when a baby dies in the womb before 20 weeks of pregnancy. For woman who know they’re pregnant, about 10 – 15  in 100 pregnancies (1-5%) end in miscarriage. As many as half of all pregnancies may end in miscarriage. We don’t know the exact number because miscarriage may happen before a woman knows she’s pregnant.”

It seems like a small percentage, I mean 1 to 5%.. that seems so small.

I have had 3. 2 at the 11 week mark, 1 very early. And a stillborn.

As I type this blog, Monday August 6th, 2018, I am recuperating from an early morning surgical procedure because I was just pregnant again. And again, I “lost” it. (Honestly, such an awful way to word that. As if it’s misplaced!)

Pregnant again. Some of you are shocked. Yep, so was I. Some of you have opinions about it, keep them to yourself. Or if you must, write them down, then burn it.

My silence on this blog page has consisted of me in real life trying to accept this and be a mom while being constantly nauseated, while riding the emotional roller coaster that comes along with being pregnant 6 months after a still birth.

My silence here has been me complaining to a few close friends. Expressing my shock and frustration.

Last week as I sat in the doctor’s office and answered all the nosy questions, chatted about the very real risks I was facing, I had a sense. She could not find a heartbeat and ordered an immediate ultrasound. Again, the tech was easy to read and I knew there was an issue.

As I waited impatiently to be given the results, I could feel myself slowly shut down. And that has not changed much.  This is an honest post and some of you may feel you don’t like it, and that’s okay. It is not written to hurt feelings, it is written to cause awareness.

As I read the news later this morning, I saw Carrie Underwood is coming under fire for her statements. Along with being one in so many woman who has suffered multiple losses, there has been fertility issues. I had two miscarriages before I had Callan.  There is an almost 4 year gap between my boys.

To a stranger who asks, I do not reveal all my heartache. I simply say (if they say something about the age gap), “this is how it happened” and I shrug.

I do not understand infertility to the extent some do. But my heart hurts for them. I admire them for moving forward in the pain that they do experience. The grieving they must do.

To the room of women I am blasting into here: I GET IT.

I get it. 

And no, if you do not have the courage or “want to” to share your struggle publicly, THAT IS OKAY!

In fact, it is more than okay. THIS is your story, your pain, and you choose how to handle it. I hope you have ones you love who are getting into their muck boots and walking with you. Lovin’ on you whether you’re happy or sad, or riding the rollercoaster of grief and aren’t sure which emotion you’re in.

I have “lost” (THAT WORD IS MAKING ME MAD!) more babies than I kiss goodnight.

I have buried a stillborn. I am acquainted with grief, with anger, with pain, with loss.

Miscarriages are common. If you’re stuck in your grief and feeling alone, email me.

I GET IT.

Going public with your experience may not be something you can do, but when you hear of a mom at church who has, reach out.

Some of the greatest encouragement I received this time is from 2 women I have actually never met in person.

Love people where there are, not everyone is as open and honest about their pain.

In fact, I am not even always. Even I struggle to let people see me where I actually am, because I fear their response. And ladies, that’s awful.

We told very few people. We announced the loss publicly because whatever is past broken and numb is where I am currently existing.

I don’t need pity. I need love and encouragement. Maybe chipotle. I need gummies (Seriously,  I can’t get enough of them!!!) I need crappy tv and friend or two who can make me laugh or sit and watch crappy tv. I need sleep. I need rest. I might need help.

I need love. It’s an action word.

I am not begging. I have ladies who have loved on me. A friend did some shopping for me. Another is bringing a meal. A surprise basket of goodies for my boys, plate of cookies, and a fun bag for me greeted us when we arrived home this evening. People I didn’t know even knew.

L O V E

Chances are, in whatever you face, you are not alone.

Maybe this post has been more about me letting out my feelings. Maybe this isn’t even making sense.

I feel somewhat better.

And despite being a rebel, I am following doctor’s orders. (Mostly)

As always, with love,

Rachelle 

P.S. I was serious. If you have suffered miscarriage, multiple ones, or still birth and you feel alone, I am here. I get it. I will feel alllllll the emotions right along with you. Currently my love will be reading and replying and sharing life but depending on your location, I will do my best to turn that into an action word. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. And don’t forget that! Hugs!

grief · love

Peace Seeker: Unpredictable Life

“Storms were expected, but they were incredibly unpredictable.” He paused here. “Storms ARE expected, but they are very unpredictable. Like in life.”

Gut. Punch.

My pastor preached on Jesus caring from Mark 4: 35- 41.

On that day, when evening had come, he said to them, “Let us go across to the other side.” And leaving the crowd, they took him with them in the boat, just as he was. And other boats were with him. And a great windstorm arose, and the waves were breaking into the boat, so that the boat was already filling. But he was in the stern, asleep on the cushion. And they woke him and said to him, “Teacher, do you not care that we are perishing?” And he awoke and rebuked the wind and said to the sea, “Peace! Be still!” And the wind ceased, and there was a great calm. He said to them, “Why are you so afraid? Have you still no faith?” And they were filled with great fear and said to one another, “Who then is this, that even the wind and the sea obey him?”

Mark 4:35‭-‬41 ESV

I have always wondered how it must have felt to be the disciples. Can you imagine, literally sitting at the feet of Jesus, seeing Him heal and hearing Him teach. Seeing Him interact with the “unclean”, just KNOWING Him in that way. What a privilege!

But on that boat, their awe probably would match mine should I ever be on a small boat in a big storm. All of that was gone. All they could think was: “WE ARE GOING TO DIE!!!”

I remember going boating on Blue Marsh with my brothers and a family friend. It was finally my turn to ride the tube. And I loved it. And then I got bounced off. No big deal, right?

WRONG.

Apparently according to Mike and some others, Blue Marsh was home to all manner of monsters that nibble and bite. And while they were joking, when you see bobbing around in the water while the boat continues on without you…

It’s safe to say, I freaked out.

I mean, screaming, yelling, and in the midst positive that this would be it, I was going to die.

DIE.

I mean, it was not long until Mike circled back and picked me up. But still, my mind freaked out.

Imagine being in a small boat in a big storm.

Imagine.

And the Jesus you love, who performs miracles and delivers people from demon possession, who taught and loved, He lies there, on a cushion. Asleep.

I remember when Callan was young. He would refuse to sleep. And I would be exhausted. So tired I could barely function. Feeling alllllll the emotions and what do I hear? Lamar snoring.

SNORING. Completely oblivious to my emotional and mental freakouts because I was so tired.

I’m not saying Jesus was oblivious. I am saying He was so tired from teaching and being around all those crowds of people. He was fully God, but also fully man.

I remember the phone call, informing us a dear family friend had died.

I keenly remember that day the doctor said my baby would not live.

I remember the day the midwife looked at me, sadness in her eyes, and stated: “There is no heartbeat.”

I remember the phone call saying there was something wrong with my dad.

Storms are a part of life.

It is easy though, to watch someone else suffer. To bring them meals, clean, buy them a gift.. It is expected that storms will come, but we never expect what does come our way.

I feel often, when a storm comes, “God, I didn’t do anything to deserve this!”

When He chose to not heal my son, leaving us struggling to keep our faith.

Yes, struggling.

My husband grieves differently than I do. And sometimes I can accept that. Sometimes I feel alone, like he doesn’t “get” my pain.

My pain. My storm.

Just like I don’t get YOUR storm, your trial.

And while many of you don’t get my storm, so many of you have shown love and kindness. So many gifts and books, hand made or sent from Amazon. Gifts for my boys. Money. Meals. You often didn’t know what to say, but you loved.

THANK YOU.

You have kept count of my tossings; put my tears in your bottle. Are they not in your book?
Psalms 56:8 ESV
(I encourage you to go read that entire Psalm 56.)

In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me? Psalm 56:4

“in God, I trust; I shall not be afraid.”

Is that hard to read? It is for me. I have fears. Yes, present ones. And yes, I know that fear is not from my Lord and Savior.

This verse convicts me. Brings me to a place of knowing “not by my own strength, but God’s.”

There is a word for that place.

Humble. I need to humble myself.

Compared to God, who am I? What have I accomplished on my own strength?

Chaos. The answer is chaos.

What has God accomplished on His strength?

For starters, He created the world. He created you. He created me. The list can go on and on…

There is a popular verse we say in times of trouble and storms.

casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:7 ESV

I happened to notice verse 6 this past Sunday when Pastor J referenced the verses.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.
1 Peter 5:6‭-‬7 ESV

Humble yourselves.

It’s a command.

hum·ble
ˈhəmbəl/
adjective
having or showing a modest or low estimate of one’s own importance.

I am a lover of words and their definitions, so I quickly googled the definition of humble on Sunday when I noticed it.
And again, God asks us to choose. To choose between our accomplishments and our strength or His.

Storms. It’s a part of life. Sometimes those storms are small, no big deal. Sometimes it’s faith shaking, heart breaking storms.
And whether or not we feel adequately prepared or like we are “too good a person” for the storm we face, we face them.
It does not need to be on our strength. Our fear can be that of the disciples at the end of Mark 4.

AWE.

They went from “WE ARE GOING TO DIE!!!” to “WOW! THE WIND, THE SEA OBEYED HIM!”

They went from “Lord, do You even care?” to “wow!! He made the storm stop.”

Whatever storm you currently face, whatever storm you are loving your friends / family through, know this:

He may not stop the storm. But it doesn’t need to consume and overwhelm your heart and mind.

He cares. He stands there, nail scarred hands outstretched, ready to catch all you need to cast onto Him. You just simply trust him. Lower your level of importance and put your storm and yourself in His beautiful hands.

As always,
with love… Rachelle

P.S. email me if you need a safe place to ask questions. peaceseekerblog@gmail.com
I would be honored to hear from you.

Uncategorized

Peace Seeker: Brokenness & Words

As I begin another blog, my mind still can’t settle on a topic.

My Facebook feed is full of heated emotions. All varying topics.

The one group is upset about a scandal.

And others about immigration.

Others about personal issues.

We all have passion. We all have strong feelings and we all have an opinion, a side we deem correct.

We all feel strongly that we are definitely right.

I won’t touch on the political issues, I enjoy a healthy and educational debate but not on this forum.

I won’t talk about the scandal, it’s not my business.

And this is no place to reveal others personal problems.

This is a place for me to pause, to ask you to pause, and to share some insight. To share my heart with you. So grab a cup of coffee or tea, and let’s chat.

As I grow older, I see more. Not because my eyes are improving, but because I am seeing differently.

I see brokenness, pain. I see people reacting and speaking from places of deep hurt.

And my heart hurts.

There are stoic and legalistic folks. Ones who have maybe buried their hurts and their reactions are usually less soft hearted. I haven’t quite figured them out.

Stoic and legalistic folks and I don’t get along. And here is a fun fact, by husband can be that way.

The brokenness that surrounds us, why are so many of us turning blind eyes? Why do we “stick to our guns” and refuse to open our eyes to someone else’s pain.

Could it be that we can’t?

On Saturday my husband got a skidloader and we began ripping out deep roots from trees we had cut down. There were rocks and stones, weeds, roots, and worms. Deep, deep roots that we worked hard to pull out. He used an axe to chop some of the roots off. And as will happens my son tripped and fell. His hand landed on the axe blade.

He handled his injury really well. And thankfully he doesn’t freak out about band aids.

As I washed the dirt from his cut, his tears flowed and his eyes gave away the pain he felt. And my heart broke. It’s hard to see your child hurting and knowing that temporarily YOU are the cause of their pain.

And I think of all the broken people, ones who had their pain dismissed or shoved aside. We fail to help the ones with emotional pains, the ones with wounds that aren’t physically bleeding and oozing.

And then these injuries get stuffed, a small bandaid over the gaping brokenness and then we react from that brokenness. We react to everything from that brokenness.

At least, it’s something I struggle with.

I see the posts on Facebook. And many of you have valid points for whatever it is you feel passionately about.

But I am asking. Requesting nicely.

Pause.

Hear the other person.

We allow the one broken part of us to fester, the roots of hurt can go for miles.

Miles.

Because of my story, I struggle to trust men. I struggle to respect men. I struggle to be respectful and kind, especially if I feel disrespected or dismissed.

I see so much name calling and hate toward folks who view life differently than us.

Stop.

Please. Stop.

Instead try to pause.

There is no defense for evil. Ther3 is no defense for sin.

We are sinners living in a broken and sin cursed world. From that moment when Satan presented a temptation to Eve and she took it, the world became a broken place.

And everyone is broken and hurt in some way. That’s the other thing I realize as I read everyone’s posts, hear them speak.

We don’t all share our hurts publicly. I imagine at some point, someone will come against me for my words. I share because there are others of you, suffering a pain similar to mine and you wonder if life will be okay.

It will.

And I am here for you.

You are not alone in your brokenness.

You are not the only one.

As I close, I hope this resonates with you. I hope you can see God and His love through these words.

I hope you understand that I am not excusing sin or hate. I am asking that you remember we are ALL broken and wounded, and reacting from our individual life stories thus far.

Now I must close. There is a water balloon fight, and 3, 6, and 7 year old clamoring to get wet. Summer sounds of water splashing and “No, Callan!!” resonate with tears and sobs from the 3 year old.

Happy Tuesday.

Love, Rachelle

infant loss · love · Uncategorized

Peace Seeker: Sharing is Caring

There is a lot about my life that has not been pleasant or easy. And on the other hand, a lot has been amazing and fantastic. There are a few “I regret” moments, but mostly I have learned in life to take the mountains and valleys in stride.

The lows can get very low sometimes. I don’t want to trigger anyone, but can I say this: Being a survivor of sexual abuse can make life incredibly hard some days!

The highs are amazing. Seeing a positive sign on a pregnancy test, that was one of my favorite moments of joy. (No, not pregnant. Don’t even ask!) Working together to accomplish a goal, and not worrying about work or social media or the Joneses … The joyful moments are worth hanging on for.

In more recent years, I have learned to appreciate just listening to people. Not for the sake of answering or bossing or fixing, but listening and investing and genuinely caring about people.

Typically when we think of sharing, we think of social media. We share photos of our lives, quotes, articles, opinions, jokes, our businesses. Some roll their eyes when politics or religion is shared. Some roll their eyes at the complaining or the sales pitch for yet another magic at-home biz.

We share things with people because we care. Opinions about all sorts of things, and Facebook, Twitter, Instagram have all made sharing even easier.

I love to share photos of my kids, my husband and I, meals I have made. I love a good political debate (respectful, of course). I love being connected that way. I have my own at home biz, Plexus. (Some of you rolled your eyes. I am sorry. I am not using this post to promote it, though given my title I really could! Haha)  I love to celebrate with you and sympathize, lend advice, or share tips. It is easy. It makes me feel connected on days where in person connecting just can’t happen for whatever reason.

There is a negative side. Online bullying has become a serious problem. Becoming a “keyboard warrior” is the new trend, and shaming/judging others is as easy as “tap tap tap” tapping on your keyboard.

In a time where Facebook has Marketplace for buying and selling, we also have a whole passel of people who do nothing but hassle, whine, and complain.

In a time where Facebook has Marketplace, and I can openly and honestly share about my struggle as a mom, a wife. Share openly about my views on things that legitimately matter, and encourage others. A place where I can post all day long about this, that, and the next thing. Except one thing.

GOD.

I really struggle to just pause and give Him credit. He has held me and sustained me, even through all this last 6 or 7 months have held. ]

He could have stopped it. Any of it. All of it. He could have put His “hedge of protection” around me and prevented any or even, ALL of this pain!!!!

That’s sometimes what I think.

And He could have.

I wish He had never allowed certain sins.

And I don’t have an answer. That’s not the point of this post.

Did you catch what I did earlier?

Up top, I mentioned about taking things in stride. I am taking credit for getting through the tough grit of life.

Do you know how when you discover a mom hack or a kitchen hack or a life hack and you’re like mind blown and never, ever return to life without it??

Yea.. that’s me. with God. 

We all have hurts we bear. We all have doubts and questions. We have loud voices disputing the Bible. There are hypocrites and sinners, disguised as followers of Christ. There are broken people, saved by grace, wondering what God’s plan is in the midst of their trial. There are broken people, seeking His face, asking for His forgiveness because they recognize they are incomplete without Him.

I am incomplete without Him. I am a sinner, saved by grace. 

You are a sinner, incomplete without Him. 

Life as a Christian is not a hot ticket, an E Z Pass to glory and wealth. You might pass Go, you might collect $200. You also might get hit by an airplane while crossing the street. Being a follower of Christ only makes me exempt from: 1) the consequences of my sin 2) despair when life goes sideways

Fear will still come knocking. Depression may still plague you. You still need to take medications and do your laundry.

but God. 

That phrase will never get old. That phrase will always make my heart skip a beat.

I am a survivor of sexual sins. I am a survivor of a car accident I should have died in. I am a survivor of burying my child. Not by my strength, HIS.

My life has held deep, dark valleys. My life has held mountain top experiences. My heart holds a desire to know why all these things happened to me. But my heart also holds the desire to bring honor and glory to Him in each stage and experience.

I am grateful for the opportunity to care for you, to share with you. I am grateful for this life I have been gifted. And while I may sometimes be tempted to smile and murmur Thank You when someone compliments my strength, I want this to be my public testimony. A public declaration of sorts.

I cannot take credit for His power in my life. He has rescued me more times than I know, He has held me up and given me strength. He has forgiven me.

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 ESV

He didn’t just give me strength and peace. He sacrificed His only Son, He allowed a way for me to come directly to Him in the thick of a life battle to ask for strength, wisdom. He asked His Son to take on the weight of every sin, in the world.

That is love.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

I never want to take  a verse out of context, or misrepresent my Lord, but I believe that in this stuff. This gritty, tough, impossible stuff, He wants for us to come to Him and lean on Him. And that is hard to do, I get it. It is hard to trust someone who is not physically there, who you can see and physically lean on… IT IS HARD. He has never me down, not once. While His ways would not have been my choice sometimes, I also don’t know His plan, His will. And I don’t see the BIG picture that He does. But He is there, waiting for you to come to Him and trust Him with this life stuff you’re struggling to get through. I promise.

And now, I must close on the sharing. I do care, so much, for people. I hope this encourages you. I hope my caring and sharing touches you.

Email me if it does. You are loved, deeply.

Love, Rachelle