A Time To Embrace

I am learning more than ever that I cannot control situations..or people for that matter.

I feel like the majority of my days are spent either stressing about how the day will turn out or frustrated because the day isn't turning out how I had expected.
My, its exhausting. And I want to stop!

But I think more than anything, motherhood is teaching me this lesson each day - to go with the flow. To be unconditionally loving. To be joyful in each moment, because they are precious.

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Our Juniper Rose fractured her arm in two places this week. All three of us are faced with a new challenge for the next 4 weeks! But I need to go into this short season trusting in The Lord to care for June and give us patience, not stress about each situation and constantly worry that she is going to stick something down her cast. I'm learning that each season of her life is precious and there is something so valuable for John Zachary and I to learn in it.


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And so I guess its timely for me to share with you what I've been learning these past few weeks. Something that God spoke to me several weeks ago...and to be honest I have started to put it in the back of my mind. But since Juniper broke her arm I am hearing God whisper it back into my ear again.

"Its a time to embrace."

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A dear friend of mine gave me a journal that gives you different scriptures to write down and then contemplate on. The very first passage of scripture that it instructed me to rewrite was:

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8


"For everything there is a season,

    a time for every activity under heaven.

A time to be born and a time to die.
    A time to plant and a time to harvest.
A time to kill and a time to heal.
    A time to tear down and a time to build up.
A time to cry and a time to laugh.
    A time to grieve and a time to dance.
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.
    A time to embrace and a time to turn away.
A time to search and a time to quit searching.
    A time to keep and a time to throw away.
A time to tear and a time to mend.
    A time to be quiet and a time to speak.
A time to love and a time to hate.
    A time for war and a time for peace."



I wrote these verses down and reread them several times. 
I have been on a journey of dealing with some health concerns that occurred when our daughter was born and things have unfortunately kept getting worse, and that has left me feeling like I have been in a time of desperation and long-suffering. 
But I decided to ask God what time He has put me in.
I heard Him tell me that I am in "a time to embrace."

I was confused for a while, but then I realized that I had been living in the second half of that verse, "a time to turn away."

I realized that instead of accepting what was and feeling like I would never have a 'normal life' again, I was turning away from everything that was going on physically in my body and being bitter and mad at God for allowing long-suffering to fill my life. 
I have been turning away from accepting reality and trusting God, and that just leads to thinking that God isn't doing a good work in my life. But He is. 
And He is telling me to embrace.

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When I started to think about what it means to embrace something, my mind immediately went to thinking about acceptance.
But I have been in the habit and really enjoying looking up exact meanings of words in the dictionary lately and I learned something.
Embracing and accepting are not the same thing.

To accept is to believe or to come to recognize something as valid or correct.
To embrace is to accept or support willingly and enthusiastically.

Do you see how different those are?! I was shocked! And this is actually really comforting!
Here is what I am learning:

To embrace something, you have to accept it, yes, but you need to support it. 
And you know what the dictionary says about supporting something? It means to give comfort or encouragement.
So to embrace something, you have to make yourself comfortable with that thing, and you have to encourage it. And in my case, its myself. My life situation. Maybe I have a different life now than I did before I had my daughter, and maybe I'm not as healthy as I was before. But God is telling me to embrace it, to take comfort in who He has made me in this moment and to encourage myself forward.
But there is more!
The definition of embrace says to accept and support WILLINGLY and ENTHUSIASTICALLY.

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My dear friends, embracing isn's just an action, its an emotion.
We don't just embrace something with our minds, we embrace with our hearts too.

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Because how can we feel comforted, encouraged, and accepted if we just tell ourselves to? That's not really how it works, right? Maybe we can tell ourselves to feel a certain way in our mind, but it doesn't last long. Its not genuine, and deep down we are still stuck in the mud of our emotions.


Embracing is in itself an action of the heart.


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I know how hard it is to embrace, heck even to accept, something that has given you so much pain. And the thought of doing so willingly and enthusiastically seems unreachable. 

But God is showing me this - 

He embraces each and every one of us just as we are. And not only does He do so willingly and enthusiastically, He does it without even thinking twice.
When we can embrace the fact that God Himself loves us with an unconditional love and embraces ALL of who each and every one of us are, it is then that His deep love takes root in our hearts.
 It is then that we begin to trust that He is doing a mighty good work in our lives and will bring it to a flourishing finish. 
It is then that we are confident that no trial, frustration, or wrong decision can define our life, but it is God who does and loves us still. 
And it is then that we start to embrace our life too.

'Its a time to embrace.'



Its my time.
What time is it for you?







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HEALTHY ZUCCHINI MUFFINS WITH CHOCOLATE CHIPS

Ingredients:


  • 2 cups shredded, unpeeled zucchini 
  •  1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce, or 1 medium mashed ripe banana 
  •  1/4 cup coconut oil, melted and cooled to room temperature
  •  1/4 cup honey
  •  1/4 cup brown sugar 
  •  1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  •  2 large eggs (I used an egg substitute since June is allergic to eggs)
  •  1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  •  1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  •  1/2 teaspoon baking powder 
  •  1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  •  2 cups white whole wheat flour
  •  1/3 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (I just sprinkled mini chips on the top)


Instructions:


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Lightly grease a standard 12-cup muffin tin or line with paper liners.
  2. Grate the zucchini, then throughly squeeze it with a paper towel to remove as much excess water as possible. Repeat as needed. If you have not already, melt the coconut oil and let come to room temperature
  3. In the bowl of a standing mixer or a large mixing bowl, beat together the apple sauce or banana, honey, brown sugar, coconut oil, and vanilla extract until smooth. Add the eggs (make sure they are room temperature or the coconut oil may resolidify), then beat again until combined.
  4. Sprinkle the cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder, and salt over the top of the batter, then mix to combine. Sprinkle in the flour, then mix on low speed, just until the flour disappears. By hand, fold in the zucchini.
  5. Scoop the batter into the prepared muffin cups, filling them 3/4 of the way. Top with chocolate chips. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the muffins from the oven and place the pan on a wire rack. Let cool for 5 minutes in the pan, then carefully lift the muffins out of the pan and place them on a wire rack to cool completely (this will keep the muffins from becoming soggy).


Enjoy!!






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