Imperfection

God is really working hard inside my heart to form me. A couple weeks ago I had decided that my small business would be worthless if I didn’t do it for Him. I believe my talents are God-given and it’s only with Him that I can succeed. I want this to be a way in which I can glorify Him. But in order to do that,  I need to get rid of my ever comparing and jealous heart. Something I have realized in my 27 years of life with God is that once you decide to dedicate something to Him or to change an aspect, the opportunities to change come quickly and the shaping process starts quickly. Suddenly, you constantly find yourself faced with situations where you feel like you are being tested. That is how this week has been for me. One thing I have decided to do to help me change my heart, is to start blessing others. When jealousy creeps up on me, I start blessing whoever I am jealous of at that moment. And I make sure to do this out loud so that my voice is literally louder than what is being yelled inside my mind. And I must say that even though I feel like I am doing this constantly, it helps. Peace fills my heart quicker than when I let the jealousy sink in.

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But, it doesn’t take away the feelings immediately. Which is why I am here again. My head feels full and my heart feels heavy. I am doubting myself and feel like I am not enough. But deep down, I know and believe that I am enough. My work may differ and it may not be perfect. But that’s okay. Because perfect people don’t need healing. Perfect people don’t need community. Perfect people don’t need a God to save them. I am ready to embrace my imperfect self. I am ready to be weak so that He can make me strong. Because my imperfect self needs a Savior. My imperfect self needs to rely on Someone who holds it all in His hands and Who knows what is best for me. I don’t want to have to worry about that anymore. I just want to live. To live in His purpose for my life. To let each sign that I make be to for His joy. I want my moments to matter. I want my life to matter. And it is only when I am my imperfect self, when I am weak, that He can make me strong.

nan4

Looking Back on Twenty-Sixteen

Hi, it’s me again. My husband encouraged me to sit down and write about 2016 as the new year is approaching in less than twelve hours. If I am being honest, I am not a huge fan of New Year’s. I feel like it is overrated as every new day is a day to make resolutions, to try and be a better version of ourselves and to take steps towards goals. But, I kind of feel like this year is different. This doesn’t mean I will be celebrating New Year’s Eve because we have two sick children. But I do feel like it is a good time to reflect.

2016 was a year filled with ups and downs. Looking back, I think it was one of the most difficult and wonderful years we have had as a family. We started 2016 excited about the new year and the steps we would take with our small business, Just Because by Nan. We participated in our first wedding fair to put ourselves out there. I was finally feeling more energetic and ready to start taking steps forward.

However, life took an unexpectant turn when I found out that I was pregnant in February. Those of you who know me, now that the timing was not the  best. It was the hardest and longest nine months of my life. It took about 20 weeks for me to regain enough strength to partake in a 20 minute walk. Due to this, I decided to put an end to my small business. I struggled emotionally with being thankful for and loving the baby in my stomach (more about that another time). In addition to all that, we bought an old house that needed a full renovation. We hoped to be able to move into our new home in August. The baby was due in October. However, things didn’t turn out as we hoped and we ended up living with my parents for three months. Our baby was born in their home and three weeks later we finally moved into our new house.

During all  of this, I finally started feeling better and realized I really missed making handlettered goods. So, we started our business again. This time, I was able to set better boundaries and better invest in which way I wanted our business to grow. I loved finding other creative people to collaborate with, like Nons FotografieOh Happy Day and Lola’s Kids (you can read about her in a previous blog post).

I was really nervous for the birth of our third child. At the end of the pregnancy, I still felt scared. I was scared I wouldn’t be happy with the baby and that I would have a hard recovery again. But, thanks to our Heavenly Father, things didn’t turn out as bad as I thought! Yes, it to about 30 minutes after our baby son was born for me to want to hold him in my arms. But when I did, I was filled with love, gratefulness, new strength and new hope. Since that moment, I have felt so much stronger than before. It’s like God gave me new eyes, a new look at life. I feel so blessed and ready to take on 2017.

For me, 2017 will be about family. It will be about creating moments for my children that they can remember. 2017 will be about God, pursuing His heart more and more while I put more of me aside. 2017 will be about deepening my relationship with my husband, the most selfless person I know. I am hoping to be a more supportive wife, a better listener and encouragerer.

For our business, 2017 will be about new chances, a new name and new collaborations. 2017 will be about giving instead of receiving as we want to bless others with what we do.

All in all, 2017 will be about YOU. Because if I had to choose a word for 2017, my word would be selfless. I have spent too long being focused on what life could give ME, what my husband and children could give ME, what my business could give ME, what friendships could give ME. But 2016 has shown me nothing is worth anything when the focus is on me. Life is meant for us to walk through together. It is meant for community, for hugs, for honest talks and encouraging words. And that is what I want to create for 2017. I want to create moments worth living for, I want to create a business that isn’t about me or my products but about meeting people where they are at to ultimately glorify Him. I want to do this together with you and invite you to follow along.

Let’s you and I create! Create a year worth remembering. Create friendships worth fighting for. Create moments worth living for.

I wish you all a happy new year.

nan4

Beautiful Surrender

Hi…It’s Nanda. It has been a really long time since I have last written a post.

I am not good at committing to things. I tend to get excited about something and fully go for it. Only to stop after a while because I get bored. Or maybe I get scared. Commitment has always been hard for me, just like letting people get close to me has. I think I am scared of my own heart, to fully open it up, to expose the real me.

The last couple of days I have been reflecting a lot on the last months our family has survived. We renovated a house, were “homeless” for three months, and have a new addition to the family. It was a lot to go through. And those of you who have followed along on my other blog posts know that I have my personal struggles on top of all that. But these last days I have just felt pure amazement. I am amazed at how well I have “survived” it all. We pulled through and I can say it has definitely made me stronger. I have a new view on life, on my small business, on my children. My heart feels lighter and is filled with more joy and gratefulness and strength than before. I keep trying to find the right words to express what I am feeling and what I am processing at the moment. I think the words “beautiful surrender” are the words I was looking for. I think my heart is at ease because I have finally learned to surrender and to let that surrender be something beautiful. I have learned to live in the moment, to live today and to not look too far ahead. Because of that, the strength hidden inside of me has more room to come out of hiding and I am able to enjoy moments more. I feel empowered. Empowered to change the things  I can, like invest more in people, especially in my church. But it also gives me new vision and courage for my small business. I know my boundaries and am learning to stick to them.

You know, life is hard, uncertain and scary. Each day, so many things try to grab our attention and we can get so caught up. I am trying so hard to take more moments to just breathe and take in that what is currently happening. For example, the moments my kids are actually playing together without fighting. I want to start feeling more. I want more moments that take my breath away. Life is too short. Babies grow up too quickly. Another year has almost passed and I feel like I have wasted too much time (on my phone, arguing, being impatient…). But each day we have a new chance, a new opportunity to do it different. To invest more in our partner, our children, our passions. Each day is a new opportunity to give all we have to each moment that comes our way. Whether big or small, whether happy or sad, each moment is a chance for a beautiful surrender.

I added the song and hope you will take some time to listen to it. Let it be your new theme for your today.

nan4

*The source for the first picture is Pinterest. 

A New Heart

Every time I write a new blog post, I get nervous and start doubting myself. It scares me to share my thoughts, not knowing who will read them and if they will even mean anything to anyone. I get into this debate with myself whether or not I will keep sharing bits of my life. Usually, like today, the part that loves to write and loves to share my words with others wins. It doesn’t take away the fear and doubts, but it makes me a bit stronger on the inside because by sharing my words, I am letting myself believe in me. I too often doubt myself and think I’m not worthy or good enough. I can’t let those thoughts win. I need to do the opposite and just share.

Once in a while, probably too often, I have a restless night. I wake up and my head is racing with thoughts that need to be sorted out. When it gets to the point where I am tossing and turning, I decide to get out and grab my journal. I write down whatever I am feeling or thinking in that moment. I often like to do this in a poem/lyric form. It helps me to focus, to bring my thoughts and emotions into focus and helps me let go. Last week, I had one of those nights. I wrote something that I haven’t had the urge to share yet, until now. I am trying to tune my heart to God’s more, so that when I share something it isn’t for my glory but for His.

Yesterday, I listened to a sermon about how to live from a whole heart. It really hit home. We often tend to live with brokenness in our hearts because we push away emotions and try to guard our hearts. But Jesus came to bind up the brokenhearted. He wants to make our hearts whole and bring healing to those parts that we are trying so hard to push away! In Ezekiel it says that God will remove our heart of stone and give us a heart of flesh. That part hit me because the one thing I have been thinking about, writing about and talking about is how hardenend my heart feels. I put a wall around it trying to protect myself, like I wrote about in my last post, Surrender. But God wants to remove the stone wall I put up and bind up my heart. I then came across what I wrote last week and the pieces just fit together. I hope these words can bring encouragement to your soul today!

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There’s this bitterness inside my heart that needs to go away.
It’s eating up all that is good, my soul is tearing away.
It drains me of my energy, this constant fight in my head.
My mind can’t breathe, my heart is cold, my soul is aching with pain.

Why can’t I let go?
Why this constant strive?
It’s so much more than I can bear,
Yet I still refuse to let go.
Too many words are flashing through my mind.
Stubborness can get you far,
But it can also be your downfall.

The one thing that can conquer all is pure and perfect Love.
It’s beckoning for open arms to reach out and be soaked.
With a holy rain that covers all the parts destroying my soul.
Releasing freedom, releasing life to the deepest parts of the grave.

It’s time to let go,
To stop this endless strive.
Perfect love rain down on me.
Invade every pore in my life.
Fix my eyes on 
the things above.
Stubbroness can get you far,
But love it conquers all.  

Sweet, perfect love
Invade my soul.
Rain down on me,
Drench me, make me whole. 

nan4

Surrender

I have been wanting to share some things about my life with you, but I can’t seem to find the words. Sometimes my head just gets so full that I don’t even know what I want to say anymore. The only word that keeps coming to my mind when I am thinking about writing a blog post is surrender.

I have come to the realization that I don’t like to feel my emotions. I always thought of myself as an emotional type that shared everything. But the real stuff, the kind that keeps me up at night, I tend to keep to myself. Even I don’t know what is hidden inside anymore because I have mastered the art of pushing my emotions deep down into a well that seems unreachable. The most likely cause for this is that after I made a habit of not actually feeling what I felt, I started building this wall around my heart, to protect myself from any hurt that might come my way. This process has lasted more than ten years. But it’s one that, no matter how strong I (think) I am, I can’t keep on living. My feelings are starting to come up out of nowhere and my force to push them back down isn’t strong enough anymore. I am tired of fighting. I am tired of this continual battle in my mind.

Then, to make the process even more fun, there’s God, Who has a strange habit of not letting go. I can’t seem to understand His want for me. He keeps on trying to draw closer to me so that I can experience His love. Each time, however, I find myself taking a step back and trying to ignore it. But God keeps giving tiny nudges and each nudge makes my heart a bit softer towards His voice.

I now find myself reaching the point where I can’t ignore it anymore. My heart, even though it is still covered with bricks, is yearning to be free and to breathe again. I love this song I recently listened to from Sean Feucht called Like a Fire. He says at one point, “You appear and walk through all my walls. You come close and my defenses fall”. Through the walls that I have been building these past ten years, Someone is able to walk right through and break them down. This is the one thing I’m yearning for yet at the same time so afraid of.

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This brings me to my word, surrender. In order for me to step forward, I need to surrender. In my case not daily, but every single moment of my day. I think I have reached the point where I can do that because I have realized that my strength alone isn’t enough. The world is screaming at us that we have to be strong, that vulnerability is what will break us down and make us weak. But the world is wrong! People are falling apart because they don’t have the strength to keep fighting back. Like Brian Johnson from Bethel Music said, “we were made to feel pain but we aren’t made to walk around with it”. Fighting against emotions and hurt and pain isn’t the way we are supposed to live. We are supposed to drop our burdens, our pain, at His feet. It is in our weakness that we are made strong. When we share what we feel, when we share what hurts us but also the things that have changed us and the things that make us happy, that is when we are made strong.

So jealousy, I surrender you in this moment. I don’t want my heart to grow bitter towards other people but I want to celebrate moments.
Fear, I surrender you in this moment. I don’t want to be robbed of my life by the strong force of fear.
Impatience, I surrender you today. I want to start living my life out of love.
Tiredness, I surrender you today because you are making it impossible to be pregnant and a mom to two babies.
I surrender the need to be seen because in the end, it’s not about me.

What do you need to surrender in this moment?

nan4

P.S. This cute journal is from Words of Hallelujah, a journal made from old, vintage books!  They are great for journalling, but also make excellent gifts. Go check it out!

Not a mistake

I have a new, creative friend, Bethany Martin. She sells adorable vintage journals with her small business Words of Hallelujah. We exchanged products a while ago and I have been using her journal to write one word on a page. This is a great way to practice my handlettering but it also helps me focus.

The word that has been on my mind lately is embrace. I have been struggling with a lot of different emotions and been trying to find rest in the midst of the chaos. Each time I just feel like I need to embrace: embrace my current situation and embrace who I am and what I am feeling.

I have been desperately trying to find the right words to describe what I am feeling deep down inside. This is hard, even though it is easier for me to write than say what I am feeling. I have come to realize that a lot of my feeling is rational. Words and labels that I have heard too often have become a part of what I feel and even worse, of how I define myself. But digging deep down and getting to my actual heart-state and my true emotions is a challenging task.
I spent some time flipping through a notebook I use for basically everything. You can find recipes, quotes, brainstorming sessions, songs, poems and basic dairy stuff in there. I came across something I wrote probably a year ago and I want to share it with you because I was encouraged by it again. It triggered a feeling hidden deep down inside, one I am subconsciously trying to keep buried. I remember that while I was writing , I felt Someone draw very near. It felt like this Someone was trying to press onto my heart that I am not a mistake but am created with a purpose.

This is what I want to encourage you with today. No matter where you are at, you are not a mistake. You have been created with a purpose, one that only you can fulfill. You may be like me and not yet understand that purpose, but let’s not lose heart.

So here is another small piece of my heart, a part of my story.

You ask me who I am.
I am a woman. I am a mother. I am a daughter.
I am a christian. I am certified.
I am scared. I am insecure.
I am shy and I am distrustful.
I am recovering.
I am jealous and I am selfish.
I am a perfectionist.
I am someone with high demands.
I am stubborn and I am dispensible.


“Who am I, God”, I ask.
And He says,
You are a woman. You are a mother. You are a daughter.
You are precious and loved.
You are valuable and needed.
You are healed and you are free.
You are creatieve and you are wanted.
You are strong and safe.
You are my pride.
You are my daughter, forgiven and free.

nan4

P.S. Remember you are stronger!

Balance

Finding the right balance has always been hard for me. I’m the black and white type of girl. It’s either all or nothing. But that’s why I usually stop things halfway through. I give it everything in the start, but then discover that I wasn’t being rational. I gave too much, which ended up leaving me exhausted and hating whatever I was loving at first.

That is exactly what happened with our small business making handlettered signs. I got too passionate, wanted too much and couldn’t find a way to balance it with a family. When I discovered I was pregnant, I instantly decided to stop EVERYTHING and said I would never start again. Typical. The last couple of weeks I have been regaining my energy and my passion for life again. I discovered something. Handlettering has become a part of me without me even realizing it. I thought I would be fine without it. But the truth is, I need it. Handlettering helps me relax and gives me something I can be proud of. I was happy to have discovered this because it means I have found a part of myself. It shows I have grown! So my hands have been anxiously waiting to start writing again. Luckily, I have some fun projects to work on. If you are following me on Instagram, you wil have seen some of my recent work.

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What I have realized is that it is good to take a break and step away from things when they become overwhelming. It helps you regain new perspective. But it is also a way to be re-inspired and to discover what you are really passionate about.

How do you find balance in your daily life? I could definitely still use some tips!

Have a great day!

nan4