How to Survive and Thrive When the Flood Waters Rise {A Guest Post}

It is a very special day on the blog today, friends! I am thrilled to introduce you to my blogging turned real life friend, Meredith. This woman has been such an encouragement to me over the past five months, and has lifted me in mind and spirit in more ways than I can count. I had the pleasure of meeting her in person at the She Speaks conference in July.

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Meredith is a perfectly imperfect daughter of the King, wife to her Cattleman, and homeschooling mama to a girl and boy. She has been called to encourage Life in Light of the Son through her Pen & Lens– for His glory. She finds her greatest joy in Jesus, family, friends & food…and tries to never take herself too seriously. There is no joy in that. 😉

Meredith would be thrilled to connect with you at any or all of these places:

Blog: www.meredithbernard.com

Facebook: www.facebook/meredithmbernard

Twitter: www.twitter.com/4hisgloryblog

Pinterest: www.pinterest.com/mmbernard

Instagram: http://instagram.com/meredithbernard

 

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“The house is gone,” he said. As much as I wanted my dad’s words to be a very bad joke or even a really bad dream, they were neither.

The shock and sadness in his voice were palpable. I pulled the car over to let my husband finish the long drive home from our Labor Day vacation, as the labor of pain and racking sobs settled in.

While we had been enjoying rare time away in the mountains with our family foursome, Hurricane Irene had been ravaging eastern North Carolina, sweeping away lives and lifetimes of memories home after home that August evening in 2011.

Lifted off its foundation and missing the entire front porch was our family’s home that held fifty years of memories from first baths for babes in the kitchen sink to many a meal of butter dipped crabmeat shelled on the newspaper clad red and perfectly square table made by my mother’s Uncle Sam.

Gone was the summer home on the Pamlico River shore where three sisters learned to ski and grew into their skin as women and years later watched their children do the same under the grey tin roof.

Nobody saw the flood coming. It wasn’t supposed to be bad. There had been nor’easters stronger than this storm. It wasn’t the wind that made this Hurricane history…it was the water. The flood waters wiped out several towns and left empty shells of homes and even more empty hearts in its wake.

Storms have a way of doing that. They come without warning, even though we know there’s always the chance.

There’s always a chance for that 100-century storm to come in your lifetime.

If you live long enough on the coast, you will feel the affects of a hurricane.

If you live long enough on this earth, you are sure to feel the affects of a life storm.

Some blow in unannounced and some we see coming for miles, but we are still never fully prepared for the aftermath.

What if we could be prepared? What if instead of just “dealing”, we could defy? What if we could come out stronger after the storm blows over? Is that even possible?

“The Lord sits enthroned over the flood;

the Lord sits enthroned as king forever.

May the Lord give strength to his people!

May the Lord bless his people with peace!”

Psalm 29:10-11

This verse reminds me Who is in control…even when I don’t understand how or why or when…I know God is over all and in all and always able.

God is able to give strength to weather the storm, when our strength is run dry.

God is able to give peace in the midst of a crisis that is anything but peaceful.

God is able to breathe life when life seems all but over.

God is able to flood our life with hope when all hope has been flooded away.

Ask me how I know. I know because I’ve lived it. I’ve felt it. I’ve known it..all of it.

I’ve felt peace in the midst of despair that could only be explained as from God.

I’ve known comfort during times of loss that could only come from the great Comfort-giver.

Losing that house was like losing my mother all over again. Yes, it was only a house, but it was so much more than a house. It was her. It was us. It was a piece of our story…washed away.

And just as He showed up when we lost her, He showed up when we lost this home.

I believe…I KNOW…the greatest catalyst for God to show up in the midst and aftermath of the storms of life is through prayer. Prayers of our own and prayers on our behalf.

As Mark Batterson says in Draw the Circle: The 40 Day Prayer Challenge, “Prayer is not a monologue; it’s a dialogue.”

Prayer is not only how we communicate our hearts pleas with our Father, it’s how He answers them. Prayer is a two-way street with the Living God who loves His children so. very. much.

When we pray, we open up the floodgates for God to love on us the way He wants to and the way only He can. When we seek Him, He seeks us.

Prayer prepares before the storm, strengthens during the storm, and comforts after the storm.

I fully believe we go through much in this life as a means to help another that will go through the same. There is comfort in not being alone when the flood waters rise.

We have not rebuilt our home, as many others have along the river shore. Instead, we are making new memories within the walls of a camper when we visit and as my then three-year old pointed out just after the storm, “Well, the river and the sky are still there, right?”

Yes. They are still there and God is still God. In the end, that’s all that matters.

He is always there. Before, during and after the storm.

 

In His Love and Grace,
Meredith

What We Moms Can Do For Each Other (Guest Post and Giveaway)

Today I am featuring my first guest post in my little corner of the internet.  One of my favorite bloggers, new author of a book every mom should read, and mother of three, Lisa-Jo Baker is sharing her words.  She is like a long lost friend I never met.  Her book has inspired me to embrace those everyday, tired, and often heart wrenching moments of motherhood and see the grace of God in them.  I am beyond honored to feature her post on my website today.

As we approach Mother’s Day, let’s decide together that we aren’t going to be disappointed over unmet expectations.  Instead, let’s decide what we can do for each other.  Lisa-Jo has just the idea.

(and make sure you check out the giveaway I’m featuring at the bottom of this post!)


 

Mothering can be a lonely gig.

For all we spend it surrounded by many tiny humans. And their big, gaping demands. And their tugging, tireless hands.

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We can tend to retreat, to hole up, to recede from life and each other because, let’s face it, just managing our own homes is more than enough crazy for a lifetime. This might work for a season, a day, a week or two. But there is a danger of withering beneath the weight of the every day, 24 hours set on repeat over and over again with no off button if we keep at it alone.

There is something you can give. Something you can receive.

From your sisters. From the women you might never actually meet. From the neighbor who lives at the end of your quiet street, your mother-in-law, your church friend, school friend, PTA parent, baseball-bleachers-sitting sister.

There is this one thing we can do for one another. This one thing that is everything. And costs nothing.

Holding up the arms.

Rubbing the tired shoulders, folding the laundry, sharing the recipes, reminding each other about free donut days and birthdays and showering grace when we’re late to the preschool pick up.

Not comparing our kids. Celebrating the victories. Weeping the pain. Delivering the casseroles. Sharing more than just, “I’m fine.” Rocking the colicky babies, offering the girls nights out, teaching the best teething gels, powders, rings.

Admitting the temper tantrums.

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Sending the cards, loaning the good boots, complimenting the jeans. Sharing the best books, driving the car pool, ignoring the squabbling kids, making time for the catching up. Coming when she calls when her man’s out of town. Showing up with the Starbucks and sticky buns. Telling her, she can. Especially on the days when she’s still wearing her pajamas. Telling her to be kind to herself, and that comfy clothes are always the right choice.

Not comparing.

Not comparing houses or laundry piles or kids’ behavior.

Cheering.

Cheering for each others’ dreams, kids, work, art, new hair cut.

Crying alongside. Holding on. Hoping. Passing the tissues. Buying the chocolate. Holding the hands. Opening arms to the grief. Patiently walking the valleys, flash light packed, stop watch left at home.

Believing the best, giving the benefit of the doubt, calling. Complimenting.

Spending time in each others’ kitchens, laundry rooms, living rooms, cars. Meeting up for breakfasts, sending notes just because. Praying. Cracking knees to the mat and praying for her story, her life, her rabid fear of parenting.

Sharing the mess ups, the upside downs, the glimpses into your chaos, the dog days of motherhood when you want your money back. Not cleaning up before she comes over. Being OK with being seen just as you really are.

Welcoming her.

Welcoming her into your real life. So she can exhale.

And you can be encouraged.

This. This we can do.

{To see the video reminder of why all mothers are braver than they know and deserve a medal, click here}.

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This guest post comes with love from Lisa-Jo Baker to our community in celebration of Mother’s Day. If you haven’t already – treat yourself, your mom, your sister, your BFF or your grandma to a copy of her new book, Surprised by Motherhood: Everything I Never Expected About Being a Mom.

No matter what stage you’re in when it comes to motherhood, we promise it will encourage. And remind you that you are braver than you think. (unfortunately due to shipping, you have to be located in the US to be entered).


 

Moms, we can do this for each other, right?  Make the commitment today to encourage another mom.  Now, for the fun part!  As a Mother’s Day gift to tired moms everywhere, I am giving away a copy of Lisa-Jo’s book, Surprised by Motherhood.  And, because Lisa-Jo is so generous, also enter to win one of three signed bookplates.  Check them out below!  How. cool. is. that?  To enter, simply post a comment below and I will announce the winners this Friday, May 9th.  Now, show Lisa-Jo some love and tell other moms you know about this amazing book!

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