My heart is broken into pieces (+ prayer printable)

If you follow me on social media, you'll have picked up that our family has been going through a really difficult time. I haven't really alluded to the what and the how...quite honestly because I could hardly say it aloud yet.

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Have you been in that place before? So hurt that you can hardly ask for prayer because you're so emotionally drained and don't have the energy to talk about it?

Growing up, our family had a code word we'd say if we needed help. I could call my folks while at a party, slumber party, etc, use the word in conversation...and my parents would immediately pick me up, no questions asked.

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We do the same thing now for our kids, but we've even gone one step further: they know if they just need a hug or a cuddle and some mom or daddy time, they have a word they can use and we'll know they need a little extra love. They may not be capable of voicing it aloud yet, or depending on their age, they may not even be able to put a finger on WHY they feel that way...they just know they need added affection.

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We've all needed a little extra love over here lately because our oldest son Abreham decided he didn't want to be part of our family anymore. If we were sitting over a cup of coffee or glass of wine, I'd share details with you...but both because it's a long story, several years in the making...and because I'm still trying to figure out how much and what to share with the world, I won't pour everything out right now.

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What I will tell you is he's an 18-year-old Junior in high school who has lived through a lot of trauma in his life. He's angry, he's broken, and he thinks he's better off alone because he can hide in his pain and not feel. Because feeling, to him, is weak. And it's painful.

We know he's safe, but I will leave details at that.

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I am devastated.

Absolutely devastated.

I ache every moment of the day with the loss and rejection and sadness. I'm angry, worried, and full of sorrow, all at the same time. As I go through the cycle of grief, over and over (and over), I give it back to my Father in Heaven to is with my son and I'm reminded he's not actually alone.

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The thought of it is incredibly painful, but I'm ready for God to allow Abreham to be broken...but not destroyed.

And that's what I'm desperately praying for: that God only allows him to go so far. Just like the waves are only allowed to come so far onto shore, I pray that the Lord only allows Abreham to drift from Him so far. It's so hard knowing our kids need to learn from failure sometimes. They need to try things and realize growth is hard and it's even harder when bad decisions are being made.

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Ben and I always say we want to prepare our kids for the road, not the road for our kids...and this is yet another example of how we cannot soften things for our children at every moment. This is obviously a much larger situation than simply allowing them to see what happens if they decide to wear flipflops to school when it's 35 degrees. This is huge.

This could potentially change the trajectory of his entire future.

And that may be even harder than him deciding he doesn't want to be part of our lives anymore.

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And the incredible hurt and pain he's cutting into his brothers and and sisters hearts, is one of the hardest parts on my mama-heart. But hearing the prayers of these little ones for their big brother, is awe inspiring. They pray for his "hurt heart", they pray for protection, and they pray that He comes home.

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While praying a few days ago, the Lord whispered in my ear "I will bring him back to you." I knew better than to ask when...it may be 10 days, it may be 10 months, it may be 10 years...I just don't know.

But HE knows.

And I will rest in that because He is God and I am not.

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Abreham, I love you.  You are not alone and can never stray too far that God won't pour His love out onto you. There's nothing you can do that He won't forgive if you ask with a sorrow-filled heart.

The Lord is walking beside you, Abreham, even when you don't want us to be. I will pray for you always. I will love you always.

- Mom

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Prayer these days has been a constant companion, though sometimes there are times it is hard to do so. I created this printable to remind myself of who He is and what He can do. Our God is a BIG God, and one of deep love for us.

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When I have a hard time praying, I'm simply going to read this. If you need it, I pray you print it out, too. Head to The Library to download. As always, the password is at the top of all my emails, so if you haven't subscribed yet, feel free and do that today.

Love you friends, thanks for walking life with me.

Take Joy,

Teresa

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When a Friend Thinks Poorly of You

Friends breathe life into my soul, just as I'm sure they do yours. But like romantic relationships, true friendships sometimes have growing pains. There will be moments when there is conflict and we need to figure out what to do in the midst of it, right? How to grow deeper as friends through it, rather than allowing it to break the closeness.

This week, a friend accused me of something that made my heart incredibly heavy. I didn't see it coming and didn't understand how she thought that of me. I literally felt sick all day and went to bed early with a migraine.

My thoughts and prayers swirled through the afternoon and evening hours as I went to first God, and then my husband and dearest friends, placing this person's accusation at their feet to examine.

"Here's the evidence, look at it. Sift through it, dig deeply," I told them. "Did I do this? Am I doing this?"

I asked the Lord and my friends who know me best to share honestly with me so I could grow and ask forgiveness if indeed this thing I was being accused of was true. Because if so, I had some serious heart-searching to do. What I was being accused of was not the type of person I want to be.

I called my best friend to tearfully vent and toward the end of our phone conversation, she said something like this:

"You need to stop and seriously ask God to show you the insides of your heart. Lean into it, even if it's hard and yucky. Who are you at the core, really? Ask Him in a way that You're able to hear His voice. Take time in silence with the Lord and go through everything in your mind like you're unpacking a suitcase...taking items out, one by one."

She finished by saying, "Let Him show you if there is sin here."

Gosh, what wise advice. I just love having friends that are deeper and wiser than I.

I am still devastated. And truthfully, I am really embarrassed that someone would think this thing of me. But I don't believe I did what she has said. I don't pretend to be anyone I'm not. I don't even think I did that very often in high school, let alone now. I'm ok with me. Not that I don't need to grow in areas, of course. We all need to grow, right?

I woke up this morning though, still with a nauseous stomach and a pounding head and prayed that the Lord would release it. I need to be ok with the opinion of other people, even if I don't agree with it.

This person wasn't spewing venom, she was speaking out of her own hurt.

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She was wanting to get to the root of things, too. I still do not believe in my heart of hearts that I did what she believes I have...but that's ok.

I cannot own her feelings, I can only own mine.

How have you worked through a similar situation of hurt with a friend? Did it allow you to get bitter or better??

Take Joy,

Teresa

We don't like to talk about Spiritual Warfare (but let me tell you a story)

We don’t like to talk about the Spiritual World and Spiritual Warfare. But guess what…we’re going to.

Let me tell you a story.

When I was in sixth, seventh, and eighth grade, my family lived in Guatemala.

I have so many crazy stories from that time of my life, that I often feel like people think I’m making it up…because truly…things like hand-to-hand combat between guerillas and the military on your front steps, only happen in movies…

Right??

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We certainly experienced a lot of scary things as that country was in civil unrest during the years we were there. But I also have story upon story of friends who experienced God’s protective hand in the way of angels, as well.

My parents, brother, and I needed to leave the country for a few days as our Visas were renewed. We decided to drive to El Salvador and spend some time at a resort on Tesoro Beach, that some friends recommended.

Now remember, this was before cell phones and GPS. We worked from an old-fashioned map and somehow took a wrong turn, ending up in San Salvador, the country’s capitol and about an hour from where we needed to be.

Dusk was quickly approaching and we found ourselves in the aftermath of a war zone from their own civil war.

Sky scrapers surrounded us, each with blown out windows and collapsing walls.

Rubble was everywhere, the entire city almost entirely abandoned. Or maybe they were all in hiding, I don’t know.

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We knew we were putting ourselves in an extremely bad position: we were completely lost, it was getting dark, and we were in a dangerous area.

Seeing a man who looked to be a beggar on the side of the road where we had stopped to assess our situation, my parents decided to ask for directions. It was unlikely he had any idea how to get us an hour southeast and to the coast…but there was no one else to ask.

This kind gentleman not only gave us directions on how to get onto the correct freeway, but also how many kilometers to various turns and exits we were to make.

He told us once off the main freeway, what street names we should look for and if they weren’t marked well…to look for a specific building covered in bougainvillea or a grouping of palm trees.

This man, covered in grime, with yellowed fingernails and teeth…told us exactly how to get to the resort and even what the gate at it’s entrance looked like.

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In disbelief, my Dad placed a handful of dollars into the man's palm as they shook hands through the car window. In stunned wonder, we thanked him profusely, and made our way…without any struggle whatsoever…to our vacation spot.

For years we wondered if he was an angel, figuring there was no other explanation.

Years later, while home visiting from college, my family and I recounted the story to a friend sitting with us at dinner.

My mom turned to my dad, saying “Babe, what gets me is that you actually understood the guy! You don’t speak any Spanish and didn’t even need the rest of us to translate for you as you wrote down every word he said!”

My dad just looked at her, blankly.

Crickets.

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Seconds ticked by, until he looked us all straight in the eyes and recounted, “but he wasn’t speaking Spanish.”

We all stopped. "What?!" My brother Erik said as he cleared his throat.

“Dad, the man spoke in Spanish."

Looking at me, Erik asked, confused…

"He spoke Spanish, right? He couldn’t likely have known English anyway…I know I was little, but I swear he spoke Spanish.”

I spoke up then, my voice in almost a whisper as I recounted the story in my head.

“Daddy, he did. He did speak in Spanish.”

My dad, nearly laughing at this point as he ingested God’s goodness and protection over his family.

“I heard English. He spoke to me in English.”

We all howled in laughter…the sort of laughter that happens after being terrified and knowing you’re no longer in danger.

The kind also that bubbles up, in awe and jubilation knowing how that evening could have ended up if we continued driving aimlessly through a city literally in the midst of war.

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Remembering again the buildings covered in holes from machine guns, sidewalks boasting copper colored blood…dry but still very evident of it’s relative newness, and cars blackened from fire.

We looked at each other, knowing another outcome was overwhelmingly probable.

But God protected our family. Provision Angels (and many other things from the Spiritual Realm) are around us every moment and though we don’t often talk about these things…and rarely are our eyes opened to it, it’s all very real.

Since then, I’ve had my eyes opened during various times in my life.

I’ve seen and heard things from heaven…and seen, heard, and felt things from the very depths of hell.

Does that freak you out?

People don't like to think about a world we can't see and are in no control of. And if someone does talk about such things, the rest of us catch each other's eye and wink knowingly...silently labeling the person as a bit crazy or super charismatic.

He loves that we're so apathetic.

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We know that Satan and his demons are not omnipresent like God is and we know they cannot read minds and see the future as He can.

What they can do however, is see when the magnificence of God is about to be poured out and something big is about to happen.

Remember when God opened the eyes of Elisha's servant as they were preparing for battle in 2 Kings? The servant initially saw only what was before him and that they were severely outnumbered.

This servant, thinking he was breathing the scent of life coming to a devastating end, he was filled with terror. That is, until Elisha prayed asking God to open his servant's eyes to reality in the Spirit World.

 As his eyes darted around, the man now saw horses and chariots of fire.

He saw that thousands upon thousands of angels covered the hills in front of him, ready for battle and prepared to protect God's people and His plans.

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If those working for the Dark One saw angels mounting up for battle, you can bet they called on the evil presence of all their friends, that they might also assemble for combat.

Even if they didn't yet know the purpose for the assault, just the fact that Christ deems it worth protecting is enough for them to engage.

Whether we like to admit it or not, Spiritual Warfare is real.

For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritualforces of evil in the heavenly places.

- Ephesians 6:12 . ESV

. . . . . . . . . .

Want to talk more about this? Me too.

Stay tuned for more posts about Spiritual Warfare in the coming weeks.

Until then, you might want to pick up this Study!

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a (new) kind of planner + a GIVEAWAY!

I am over the moon excited to introduce you to my sweet friend Deana and the amazing concept of her new planner.

Don't doze off on me...this isn't your normal calendar, or planner that simply keeps you organized.

It's so much more.

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Grab a cup of coffee (Yes, another one. Mama, I know you need it) and keep reading to hear Deana's story of how Anchored Press came to be and how they're so unique!

Plus...wouldn't you like to WIN one?!

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©AlexisJuneWeddings | Inspired Retreat, 2015 | Evins Mill, TN | Headshots

Hi, I'm Deana, founder and creator of Anchored Press Planner.

Well, truly our sweet Jesus is the official “Creative Director & Writer” of Anchored Press and He should get all of the glory for it.

I wanted to share with you though how He teaches us so much through the various Seasons we're in right at this very moment.

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I want to share it because I am currently witnessing how God has used my different seasons, good, bad & status quo; to fulfill a call He recently placed on my heart.

After a few years of owning an online stationery business that turned into a niche wine tag business, I woke up one day and felt very convicted that I was not using my God-given gifts to bring God glory.

Why would God pluck me out of my 10-year career in pharmaceuticals to keep me at home making wine tags? There had to be more in this plan of His.

So this past January I closed my Etsy shop for one month and spent time being still with God.

James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you”…Well, I am here to tell you that there is so much truth in that “truth.”

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The closer I got to God and the more time I spent with Him, the clearer the call became. He put on my heart this intense desire to help get more women into His Word.

I saw the transformation in my own life when I took time out of my day, everyday, to spend time with God and I wanted this for other women.

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At that same time, I started writing. I was never a big writer when it came to my quiet time with God. But, God gave me words, so I picked up a pencil.

By the end of my month “sabbatical” I had written over 100 devotions.

So the next question was, “God, what on earth do you want me to do with these?”

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At that same time, I looked over at my daily planner that was bursting at the seams. Over the years I have turned my planner into a place to keep my schedule, devotional, prayer journal, meal plan, goals and memory keeping.

All that I added into my tool to keep me organized, actually made it appear and feel as if I wasn’t organized at all.

And, that’s when it hit me! I realized that women are in their daily planner everyday, so what better place to put God’s Word?

The Anchored Press Planner was faithfully designed for all of you mothers out there looking for a way to stay organized, while also keeping you anchored in God’s Word.

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God is so good and faithful! I just love how He uses the random-seeming seasons or times or experiences in our lives.

As we look back, they're not random at all...rather than being wasted, they're actually opportunities that God uses in preparation of future plans He has for us!

Below is some awesomeness that makes the Anchored Press Planner so unique...

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What makes it more than just a planner:

. Family Memory Making .

with prompts to put together a lat of the memories you want to make in 2016

. Family Go-To Dinners .

a tool to meal meal planning intentional and fun by creating a list of the dinners your family loves, and that require zero thinking!

. Daily Devotions .

The heart of the entire planner are the daily devotions. They're doable even on the most chaos-filled day when you haven't had the chance to crack open your Bible like you're craving!

. Mid-Week Prayer .

Every Wednesday, you will be prompted to pray a specific prayer over your child. And there's a spot below the prayer to expand it and make the prayer more personal.

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. Saturday Praise .

This is your chance to stop and give praise to God for all He's blessed you with that past week.

. Red Letter Sunday .

Since Sunday is the Sabbath, we're blessed with words straight from Jesus Himself.

. First Four .

What Deana's calling your "to do list with grace." Write down the first four things you need to accomplish and hold yourself accountable to them. Then feel so good about all you accomplished!!

. Prayer Requests .

A place to write down all the prayer requests that surface throughout the month.

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Want a planner for yourself or a friend (remember, Christmas is coming up!!)?

You can purchase them here.

OR...scroll down to find out how you could win one!!

Giveaway

TO ENTER:

Simply make sure you "like" both the Hugs & Punches AND Anchored Press Planner Instagram Pages (we will be checking).

(@hugsandpunches + @anchoredpress)

Then tag FOUR FRIENDS on each of our pages (each additional tag is an additional entry).

That's it!!

The giveaway ends 11:59pm (pacific) on Thursday, November 19th.

A winner will be chosen on Friday, the 20th so make sure you're watching our feeds that morning!

GOOD LUCK! xo

Winner must be a US resident...so sorry if that's not you!

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