More than a shape…

This morning as I was headed downstairs, I was eagerly anticipating what sort of message my husband left for me. When he drives to work by himself he leaves a sweet, funny or encouraging note and sticks it somewhere he knows I will see it .

Most of the time the kids find it first because they rush down the stairs also looking for it .This morning his message was different than the rest and the kids quickly took notice . Jayden said, “mom, he didn’t write anything … he just cut out a shape.” Then she quickly handed it to me in disappointment. She was so used to seeing a message written down on each note , that even though there was a note ,there wasn’t a big obvious message written down that she could plainly see . To me though, being the recipient, very quickly I saw that the beautiful shape was a sweet freshly cut out heart …

I reminded Jayden ,”daddy couldn’t write a message because he didn’t have a pen 🖊, since we brought them all to the basement .” She said “ooooooooh yeah!!!! “ in her funny Jayden voice . She then looked at the shape again and said “it’s a heart ! Why didn’t I see that before ? “ I said ,” it’s because you looked for a message that was obvious and written down to know what daddy was trying to say . When you didn’t see it you got discouraged . Also you were trying to receive the message that was for mommy.

We can so obviously see what God is trying to say when the message is written plainly or through revelations of others . They know how the father speaks to them and they share the excitement. Only through a personal relationship will you begin to see how God communicates with you . Oh how I wish I knew this years ago.

See, I spent most of my life doubting the way God spoke to me because of a pastor that told me God didn’t reveal things to women. Despite reading truth, I figured I missed something because I wasn’t raised in the traditional church setting. For years I kept quiet and wrote in my journals and felt like I was in a relationship I had to hide .

Through trials and tribulations I finally reached the ultimate low . I literally went to bed knowing I was somehow a mistake and that Living was not for me. I had this yearning for speaking truths in a different way then I have seen , but didn’t have anyone before me that I knew, that was a woman and did the same . ( thank God I do now) I was done anyway , so I finally spoke out loud all the hurt and pain that I have held onto for so long. Then morning came . I had joy! I can’t explain it. It was literally just like that ! after two years of just, yeah serious hurts.
I was refreshed, I was seeing these beautiful revelations I used to see back when I was in “hiding” of sorts . The more I shared with others the more frequent these moments would come to me . I also realized it never stopped , I was just so clouded by depression and anxiety that I couldn’t see or even think clearly.

You see , like Jayden I thought God stopped showing these moments to me because others were right about God not revealing truth to women ,only through men . Instead of mere moments , I spent over two years in the dark staring at message after message but I was so discouraged I didn’t see it . This morning michael didn’t have a pen , so he used what he had . Just because something has changed doesn’t mean God just says , oh ok … she’s lost . Next person haha !

To my friends . Eagerly anticipate God’s voice in your relationship. He doesn’t hide himself from us. He doesn’t just stop speaking when we need him most . If you feel the way I did, remember this . It may not be a clear written out message everyone understands or even the typical way God speaks to you . This time he is doing a new thing and showing you things in a different way . Sometimes it won’t make sense to others because like my sweet daughter , the message wasn’t for her , it was for me .

So , whether you are in your valley or scaling the mountain tops , he is still speaking to you . God is good whether we are or not .❤️ He chose us , even when we fail to keep choosing him.
He doesn’t give us the cold shoulder , he actively pursues us!

Rest easy in His promises my sweet friends.

Here we go …

Today I walked outside all geared up for the typical cold day that chills even your bones . Watching me, each of my children braced themselves before I opened the door as well . I thought to myself “here we go.” As I opened the door our bodies immediately reacted as if we were walking into the bitter cold . We were literally clenching our fist and straining our faces. We walked to the car saying our ooohs and ahhhs . Once we got in,we immediately sighed with relief .
As I drove down the road I happened to look at the temperature and it was a nice 42 degrees .
I smirked and continued driving . We got to our destination headed out the car door and I said . “Ok kids, leave your heavy coats in the car .” They looked at me crazy … “what?” So again , I said “leave your heavy coats in the car.” So they did .
As soon I opened the door they braced themselves again with their heavy sweaters and said “wait, it’s not even that cold.”

I said “exactly! We braced ourselves for the bitter cold when it was only cool. We reacted too quickly without really taking a chance to realize the conditions we were actually in .

This is what happened to me in life. I was getting so used to the bitter cold that my body no matter the situation bad or good, always reacted as if it were bad. I had grown so accustomed to bracing myself that my body reacted accordingly.

I missed out on great opportunities to get to know people because I was so tired of even allowing myself to be in a situation at all. God showed me that it’s time to leave the “heavy coat” in the car because he already knows what is in store , and it’s just not necessary for this next season.

To my friends, do not miss trying new things or even old things that you loved , just because it was a bad experience. Even if it was a bad experience several times. Step out again… this time, with confidence . Step out again and maybe just maybe you keep experiencing the bitter cold in this area because you have not been able to step in it long enough to realize it’s actually pleasant .

This year I am Cheryl Stripling created by God for a purpose ,with an understanding of my identity in Christ.

This year , I will try not to step into any condition already bracing myself for the worst .
If I get hurt again doing what I love , it’s a heck of a lot better than avoiding it and feeling lost.
This year, the phrase, “Here we go” will have a new meaning. Instead of anxiously grumbling the phrase awaiting discomfort , I will joyfully speak it with hopeful anticipation and faith !

The thorn in my side…

There are times in life where you feel like you have given it your all , then other times you feel like you’re not enough. That’s when God steps in and says now use my strength .

I have realized there is an area in my life where I feel so wronged that I just can not be consistent . I so badly want to do good, but I am always caught off guard Every Single Time. I know any person can say … well don’t be caught off guard . I tell myself that too..here’s the thing … When something is cleverly schemed and orchestrated it will not present itself when you are strong and ready for the battle . No , see the scheme is meant to be sneaky and catch you by surprise. The scheme sometimes reveals the rotten fruit that you didn’t realize was still there . Unfortunately when that fruit is exposed in a situation , once you puncture that rotted fruit it leaks everywhere and even though you know you want it to stop, its foul juices just spew and linger.

Then here comes regret and a completely devastating feeling that somehow all the progress you have made is now meaningless.

Here is the good news . God works all these weak times out for his good. You can’t take back what you do, say, feel or even yell ( 😉) however you can quickly shift your attention away from the other person involved, to yourself. I don’t know about anyone else, but I can come up with some pretty convincing arguments to God about how this other person is this and that , and so on …. They can even be true attributes of that person. You can even be right in your stance . But ultimately it boils down to your reaction and who you can change , and that’s you.
It doesn’t seem fair .. I know . Why do I have to do all the work on me and this person doesn’t ? The reason is this . This is your weakness, your thorn … this is an area where only God himself can heal and when that happens he will be completely glorified because let’s face it , you have tried everything you can.

In this area I am weak and at the end of my strength . So now I can only work on me , pray strategically , and know that Gods power is completed in my weakness.

It’s uncomfortable and even awkward to pray this . Trust me , I know . It’s Going against every part of my being and honestly annoyed attitude. But I pray and Thank God for this exposed fruit sent to humiliate me and make me believe I am a lost cause in this area. Just Turn the tables and thank God, because now it is brought to light and you can turn from it and actively choose to chip away at it ! Yeh the smell of the rotted fruit may linger for a little while, just remind yourself … you have thrown it out and don’t let it stop you from moving forward.

Trust God and do good . He’s not surprised by us!

You will be ready to Walk…

Good morning ❤️ 

This morning as I was taking our youngest child out of her car seat , I already knew throwing on her socks and shoes was going to be a part of the task . I knew as her mother , that these articles of clothing are essential during the bitter cold months .So skipping this step could result in her being unprotected from the cold. I also like to throw a blanket over her because of the added cold breeze that Creeps on to the parts of her skin that is slightly exposed.

After all the steps I have taken to protect her from the cold she is about to face , she still has a reaction when I pull her out of the car from the cold hitting her face and she buries her face into my chest . As she is wrapped up and completely shielded at this point , we still have to walk through the cold temporarily. But, what my child has grown to realize is , when we walk into our home , she will experience a warmth right when we step foot in the door. As soon as that happens, she lifts her head up and wants to walk. She doesn’t know that In order to have that assurance of warmth I had to pay the light bill, she just knows it will be there .

That is how it is in this season with God right now . I am in the warmth of my season but I know uncomfortable conditions are coming. I have to face the cold , but my father shields me . Even though he shields me , I take an extra step of precaution to cling tighter to him because in the time of walking through the season of bitter cold, I want my face planted on the chest of my father. As I am held, shielded, and planted during this season of bitter cold, I know that the warm step that overcomes the cold around me is coming . My sweet child just knew without a doubt that her relief was coming . I too know it is coming , but not because I sat there and warmed the house on my own , but because my father already paid the bill .

For my friends today I would like to say this. Don’t be discouraged if you are headed in the right direction and are walking through the bitter cold still. This time you are shielded, protected, planted firmly in the father who has promised a way out . Stand firm and stand firm ❤️ Because when the father brings you into your season of warmth, it will be time to raise that head up and walk !

Baby Steps …

As I was preparing breakfast for all the babies , our youngest started becoming impatient and began to cry . Before I ever entered the kitchen she was content playing , but as soon as she saw me preparing her portion of her meal, she kept saying “Eat, Eat!” As soon as her plate cooled down I picked her up from her walker and walked towards her chair …then, I realized “ugh she needed a diaper change.” She lost it when I turned around and got the diapers and wipes to change her diaper . Obviously, having a dirty diaper would cause gross discomfort and not fully enjoy her meal. She kept screaming and I kept saying “I love you Amaris .” She kept peeking at me and wanting to smile but she had her mind made up that she will scream until she gets where she wants . As soon as I finished with her diaper I placed her in her chair and she was completely fine , like nothing ever happened .
This is how I am with God sometimes , I am completely content . Then, I see God preparing something for me and I know it’s coming , but I become impatient and anxious for what I know was promised. Then as I can almost see the light , God showed me where I was needing a change … not because he couldn’t do it with me in my current state, but he knows that right now I wouldn’t get the absolute best experience If I continued with the “poop” on me . I am reminded that God knows what’s best because he sees the whole picture, his timing is absolutely perfect. Today I am glad for the in between , the time for refining and pruning . So that when it happens I will fully enjoy it . As I said “I love you Amaris , this is best” I believe God is saying the same to me. Cheryl, I know this isn’t as fast as you want, but I Love YOU and it’s for your good !

We can only force out what is within…

We can search all around the world for the person who only brings out the best in us . Let me help you , it doesn’t exist. 😮 Everyone in your present situation can only bring out in you what was ALREADY there . Knowing that helps you ultimately accept full responsibility for who you are right now.
Tell yourself as I have to tell myself. If you don’t want them to “make” you act that way ,then it’s time to bring what is in your heart to light , own it and turn away from it . Let me tell you, when you really start searching your heart , you will be shocked at what you have hidden in there. Make a choice to expose the ugly to the light , cut it off and actively choose against it . Is it easy ? No . But it is possible!
Revelations of a homemaker ❤️

Matthew 15:18 “But what comes out of your mouth is actually coming from your heart, and that is what makes a person unclean.”

Grateful in All seasons

It’s no secret that our family enjoys the fall . The beautiful foliage, the cool weather to snuggle up to, the pumpkin spice ( I’m basic 😉) and the bonfires . What I love about this season most, is how comfortable the temperature is. It’s not too hot and it’s not too cold compared to winter or summer .

So it made me think, this is how I like my seasons in life . The temperature is just right , not too hot and not too cold ;however, without the unbearable heat or frigid cold , I would get comfortable being comfortable . The only issue is I sometimes rush the uncomfortable seasons so that I can feel the comfortable conditions of the next. I believe the only way to get through the tough seasons is with gratitude.

What is this season teaching me ?

What areas of my life Is this season revealing to me that needs to die off so that it can bloom into something beautiful in the upcoming seasons?

Today in your current season, start speaking of things that you are grateful for. In this season, evaluate yourself , empty yourself of the negatives so you enter your next season with hope and growth instead of negative expectations. You know it will be uncomfortable at some point , so be ready always… it’s not easy, but it’s worth it .The old way doesn’t work, so I am embracing the new.