Posted in Living BOLD, My Faith

Call to Action: Use Your Voice

My Voice

So I realized something today. I haven’t been using my voice.

I have been letting my insecurities and doubts and fears keep me from sharing my heart and letting my voice be heard; not letting my light shine, for the good of others.

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Anyone else struggle the same way? You have so much to say, but are too afraid to say it?

The Struggle

Just last night, I was monologuing to my husband (I do this a lot, but he is so gracious to let me verbally process). At some point in the conversation, I asked him,

“Will there ever be a time when we don’t struggle?

Why is life so full when we try to keep it simple and slow paced?

Why is life so hard?”

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The struggle is real. The struggle is constant. The struggle is exhausting. The struggle is depressing.

Steadfastness Develops

“Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. …

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Blessed is the man who remains steadfast under trial, for when he has stood the test he will receive the crown of life, which God has promised to those who love him.

(James 1:2-8, 12 ESV)

Scripture Reflection

Can I get an Amen on that one? This is my life right now! So much struggle, trial, testing and battering my faith from all sides.

Yet, I feel this inner strength I never had before.

Things that once shook me up or make me freak out, don’t get a rise out of me anymore. I’m able to show more grace, because I am more secure in the love and trustworthiness of God than I have been, for a long time.

Really?

You may be asking, really? Is that even possible? Yes it’s possible, but it takes time.

This is coming from a mama of five, miscarried one of them, and the other four are 5 yrs old and under. Trust me, the comments never end.

Again, this is coming from a woman who struggles with anxiety and depression after having said kids, but has probably struggled with it for much longer. I wish I could go back and tell me teenage self, “Don’t be so afraid to get help and admit you are struggling.”

People Need People

We are all human. This is not an excuse for our sin, it is the reason we sin, because we were born sinful, after the fall of man in the Garden of Eden (Genesis 3).

One thing I’ve learned through all of this – everyone struggles with something (or many things). We need friends and family who can help and support us through these rough times. We can’t do it alone, no matter how many times we may try (ME!).

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Challenge:

Here’s your challenge: Share one struggle with someone you trust, someone who’s been there. It might be asking a lot of some of you, but we need people we can count on, especially Jesus.

But if you really don’t have anyone to talk to, God is always there, first and foremost. No excuses, be brave and use your voice!

You will be surprised how much weight will be lifted off your shoulders!

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Don’t let your fear keep you from freedom. Don’t let your voice be silenced – you have something important to say. That something could be the life changing something someone else needs to hear.

Let your voice be heard!

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Posted in Living BOLD, My Faith, Uncategorized

New Year, New Hope

Goodbye 2019!

I don’t know about you, but I am glad 2019 is over!

Don’t get me wrong, it hasn’t been all bad, but has been a huge struggle for me.

This year, I published my first book (The Miscarriage Project), launched my new business brand, Bold and Beautiful. My husband graduated with his MA, and honestly, forgot this until I was reminded, because this year has been so full – the good, the bad, and the ugly!

This year I struggled. This has been the hardest year in terms of dealing with anxiety. I don’t know which is worse, the anxiety or the depression. Either your’e too sad and sluggish to get out of bed, or you’re too jittery and scared to go to bed. It’s a toss up.

Just within 2019, we lost so many people. In our church congregation, there were 12 funerals. I lost my one and only college roommate to cancer, and one of our college brother-floor guys committed suicide, both just before Thanksgiving. One grandma-in-law died in August, and the other, was admitted to the nursing home 2 days before Christmas. Not to mention all of the miscarriages, (of people I know), experienced this year.

This was a sad, sad year people. Tears well up in my eyes as think about the preceding paragraph. So much loss.

Hello 2020!

However, every new year brings a fresh new season of hope.

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In 2020, I hope to:

  1. Beat anxiety and depression, as I gradually go off my meds.
  2. Invest in my personal and spiritual health.
  3. Be more intentional making “breathing room” in my and my families lives and schedules.
  4. Publish 1-2 more books this year.
  5. Not avoid what God has me to do, but boldly charge ahead to fulfill the call.
  6. Fully grieve those I’ve lost.

For myself, I know I have so many goals and hopes for this new year, and probably by next December, I will have forgotten them. Although, if I press on, be consistent, and remind myself what I’m aiming for, then I will stay focused on the prize ahead.

God, please help me to have a more calm and peaceful year. Give me eyes to see those I am to help, and give me strength to say no to those things that will steal my time, joy, and family time. Sustain me every moment with your love, peace, comfort, and joy. Protect me as I follow you, and watch over my family. Give me the boldness to follow your calling for my life this year. In Jesus name, Amen.

Posted in Living BOLD, My Books, My Faith

Book Release Party ~ Reflections

Hooray! My first ever book release party is in the books!

Thank you Erin for helping me set up my display!! It looked great!!

Thank You

First, I want to give a special thank you and shout out to Eric and Kristen Meeter, owners of Pressed Studio + Store in downtown Spencer. You both were an amazing couple to work with, and am so thankful for your wisdom, guidance, and hospitality.

Second, I want to thank Bri Schubert, owner of Bri Lifestyle Photography, for capturing the evening on film. Those pictures to come later, but so thankful for her willingness to be a part of the night.

with Bri Schubert

Last but not least, I want to thank my friends and family, as well as everyone else who was in attendance. As the author, I was so blessed to see the faces of those who the book will be impacting and I pray it is a blessing to each and everyone who reads it.


Reflection

As I reflect on the events of last night’s book release party, I find myself both joyous and thankful, as well as resistant and distant to God. Let me explain why.

The Due Date

As some of you know, yesterday was not only the book release party, but it was also my son’s due date, three years ago. Some asked if I did this on purpose, but I myself didn’t realize it until after the event had been scheduled.

When I realized the common date, I felt this sense of awe and deep sadness. What a better way to honor his memory, on his due date anniversary, than to share his story, our story, to those who need it most.

As a grieving mom, I am so thankful for the growth and healing that has taken place since then.

Vulnerable to Resentment

Yet, there is still part of me that is vulnerable, angry, and resentful. Just because I published a book about my experience, does not mean I stopped struggling with these feelings.

No matter how much I’ve already written about our miscarriage, it still stings. No matter how many times I’ve poured my heart and soul out, sharing with someone, there is still a somberness that remains. Can anybody relate?

Have in Common

As I was talking to several women and couples at the signing, I began to see a pattern among their experiences.

Not so Comforting Words

First, words from others can be more hurtful than helpful. If you haven’t been through it, don’t pretend to understand. Don’t try to fix it – because let’s face it, you’re not God – and you can’t.

Never assume it’s anyone’s fault but Satan, the deviser of evil, destruction, death, and despair. Who are you to know the true reason a baby dies? Who are you to yoke someone in despair, with an impossibly heavy burden?

Husbands

From many women I’ve talked to, several have made comments about their husbands or significant other’s reaction to the miscarriage.

Sadly, many say their husband dismisses it and disregards the wife’s feelings about the loss of their child.

After talking to my husband on several occasions, I have some compassion for these dads. My husband explained he didn’t get a chance to bond with our son. As such, his grieving looked much different than mine, and lasted much less time.

However, I urge husbands to have compassion on your wives. Don’t push her away because you are afraid to be vulnerable with her, or to seem weak. She needs to see you are hurting, so she knows she isn’t alone. You are the father, you are the only one she can truly share this baby with, and the loss of them.

A Success

To be honest, I have struggled for weeks with anxiety and worrying about this release party. Not because of anything circumstantial, but simply because of my inner struggle.

Yesterday, I was finally about to put that to rest. Those who attending the party blessed me with their stories and support. I am truly thankful for the treasure God produced out of our tragedy.

*I dedicate the party and this post to our son. We love you Sweetheart!*

Posted in My Faith

Success/Attention Related Anxiety

For those of you who’ve been following my publishing journey, The Miscarriage Project is officially published! In addition, I am selling copies as well (1,500 to be exact).

You might assume that all the new attention surrounding my book being publshed, would make me feel complete; like I’ve finally arrived.

Wrong.

Don’t get me wrong, I am excited to see what God is already doing with the book. It’s the behind the scenes I am referring to.

To make this work, I’ve had to learn how to run a business from scratch. No marketing degree, no business degree – just a B.S. in Biblical Studies.

However, God reassures me I have just what I need to succeed. When I am weak, He is strong. With man it’s impossible, but with God, all things are possible through Him and His will.

When I think of success, I think of using my strengths to achieve. Not the case at all. With God, He gets all the glory, so He uses our weaknesses more than our strengths.

Kind of ironic, don’t you think? But He’s God, so He gets to make the rules.

Please pray for me!

I am guessing I’ve struggled with anxiety for a long time, I just didn’t know what it was. It escalated this past year, after having my youngest child.

Even in my worrying weakness of anxiety, God is strong. Even though I can’t breathe, He provides the breath of life. He makes success possible, but not the world’s measure of success, His.

Renew your mind with the reading of God’s Word. There are many nuggets of wisdom, we have to put forth the effort to find them. Let’s get digging!

Posted in My Faith, Uncategorized

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month

No one likes to admit it, but this month is significant for many reasons.

October

Personally, I am not a Halloween celebrator. However, I think it is fitting to remember the death of our children during such a dark time in our culture’s celebrations.

Officially, October 15th is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. In the UK, they devote an entire week, called Baby Loss Awareness Week.

https://www.lullabytrust.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/BLAW-logo.jpg

Parents

This month brings such a swirl of emotions. I miss my baby, but then I wouldn’t have on of my daughters.

I didn’t want to write about miscarriage, but that’s what God has called me to do.

Photo by Susanne Jutzeler on Pexels.com

Too many women have lost children. Too many women haven’t had the chance.

Too many dads never knew their child. Too many dads lose the mom’s heart, because they are consumed by grief.

BOLD & Beautiful

Abortion

I don’t understand the logic that excuses women to take their child’s life.

However, I realize how disillusioned they have become. The weight of this guilt is not bore on the mother and father alone.

Unplanned Movie

On that subject, the movie Unplanned recently came out. I commend those involved in the production, for being bold and brave enough to shed the light of truth on this dark issue.

I have heard great things about this movie, but I have been cautioned by caring people, it would be too much for me.

Maybe someday, I will have the courage, and be at a place to stomach viewing it. Yet, I won’t watch it alone.

Miscarriage

Miscarriage was traumatic, to say the least.

Though I very much support the Pro-Life cause, witnessing the graphic deaths of other children could put me over the edge.

Does anyone else relate to what I’m saying?

Feeling Guilty

Initially, I remember feeling so guilty!

Guilty because I didn’t feel ready to have another baby. Guilty because I exercised too much. Guilty because I ate the wrong thing. Guilty because I took antibiotics, when I was sick, and didn’t yet know I was pregnant.

Moving Forward

In order to move on, we must throw off the baggage of guilt. We must fight to see the silver lining and not let Satan torture us with what ifs.

BOLD & Beautiful

Lean on Jesus to help you heal. You can be furiously angry, but God did not kill your baby. We live in a broken world, fully of death and disease, destruction and loss – He did not create it that way.

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Instead, choose to hope in a new tomorrow. Choose to move forward, holding your precious baby in your heart forever.

Posted in Living BOLD, My Faith

Speechless to Help

I am writing tonight with no agenda, no hidden meaning, just writing to write.

I am speechless.

You may ask why that is, and I’ll tell you. Too much emotional stress paralyzes our speech.

It is so hard for me to watch my friends and family struggle!! I feel powerless to help them fully and completely, like I so badly want to!

Why can’t I push past this desire to be involved in someone else’s problem?

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Who’s the real Savior?

Many times, I have to remind myself, I am NOT the Savior of the world, Jesus Christ, and He alone, is.

BOLD & Beautiful

Our desire for control and absolute leadership, blinds us to our need for Jesus. When we rely on ourselves instead of Him, we are committing idolatry – putting ourselves on God’s throne.

BOLD & Beautiful

Who, me?

Ask yourself, how many times have you worried today? It’s because you are trying to control something that you have no power to do so.

How many times have you gotten frustrated or upset, because things didn’t go your way or how you thought it should be handled?

It’s because you are valuing yourself and your opinions above everyone else’s.

Pride alert! Pride alert! Pride alert!

Only when we fully submit to Jesus and His guidelines, for the most abundant life we can have in His universe, then we find purpose, contentment, and peace.

Finding Peace

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“Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand;

do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me–practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.

Philippians 4:5-9 ESV

The goal is not to save someone,

but lead them to the real Savior, who can.

BOLD & Beautiful
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Posted in Living BOLD, My Faith

Don’t Let Fear Hold You Back

Most of my life, I have been afraid of something or someone.

Now, I know there is a name for this…anxiety.

Fear has held me captive far too many times. I am so afraid of failure, disappointment, danger, or worse – being abandoned.

BOLD & Beautiful

Breathing Room

During my time with God today, I came across an inspiring devotional reading. It is called, Breathing Room, by Sandra Stanley. The following quote, from her devotional, really struck me:

Fear whispers the lies that we’re being left out and left behind, so we load our calendars and drain our bank accounts. Fear steals our breathing room. But do you know the most repeated command in the entire Bible? Do not be afraid. God tell us that we don’t have to let fear bully us around. He offers us a surprising simple way to overcome it.

Sandra Stanley, Author of Breathing Room

My Response

Wow, that was a sucker punch to my gut! I have wasted so much time doing things just because I was afraid of “being left out or left behind.”

Photo by Kat Jayne on Pexels.com

From now on, I want to change that. No more avoiding potentially uncomfortable or flattering social circumstances, because I don’t feel good enough to go, or put together enough to make a good impression.

Who cares? I wish I didn’t care so much what people think of me. I wish only what God thinks mattered.

The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters. He restores my soul. He leads me in paths of righteousness for his name’s sake.

Psalms 23:1-3 ESV

…fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Isaiah 41:10 ESV

Sandra Stanley also points out, in her quote earlier on, the most repeated command in the Bible is do not be afraid.

Fear in the Bible

In the garden of Eden, Eve was afraid she was missing out on something God was keeping from her.

Sarah was afraid people looked down on her, because she couldn’t have children, so she compromised, putting her marriage with Abraham in jeopardy.

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Peter was afraid the crowd at Jesus’ trial would kill him too, so he denied Jesus three times.

Thomas was so afraid of being disappointed, he didn’t believe Jesus had risen from the dead.

Even some of the Pharisees believed Jesus was the Son of God, but kept quiet, for fear of losing their position.

They needed to be reminded not to be afraid, and so do we. When we follow Jesus Christ, the Savior and the creator of the universe, we can be confident we are in good hands.

BOLD & Beautiful

Weekly Challenge

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This week, my challenge for you is to write down everything you are afraid of.

Once you’ve completed your list, cross out any fears that seem insignificant to you, or can be easily overcome.

Lastly, look up Scriptures related to the items left on your list, and related to fear.Which is greater, your fears or God’s reassurance to you in His Word?

Posted in My Faith

Temptation is like Dieting

Have you ever tried to diet?

As many of you can probably attest, the length of a diet, well-followed, is very short, indeed.

Why is that?

Because those foods you are determined to give up, taste so good, and are too tempting to stay away from.

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Even looking at this image of a cake, are salivating, and planning in your head how to satisfy your current craving for cake, sugar, etc.

Dieting is just as hard as it is for us to stay away from sin and keep from falling into temptation.

We try so hard to avoid our known and unknown pitfalls, sometimes we end up falling into them, that much sooner.

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Here is what I mean. When you keep saying to yourself, “I can’t have cake…I can’t have cake….I really shouldn’t have cake….but there’s a piece of cake, and I can’t stand it anymore….am going to eat it!”

You have focused so much on the what you can’t have, that’s all you can think about, and eventually give into it. Sin is the same way.

Can you relate?

When we aim to be faithful to our spouses, but constantly think about someone else, we shouldn’t be, that is dangerous and is not following your godly diet lifestyle.

When you focus so much on money, that it compromises your family and others, that is not following your godly diet lifestyle.

When you let your anger take over, and hurt others as a result, that is not following your godly diet lifestyle. Get my drift?

So, at this point, temptation seems impossible to avoid, right?

But with Christ, we can have the victory! We need His help and to rely on His power to resist the devil.

Here are some scriptures, talking about temptation, and how we can be victorious over it:

“Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.”

Matthew 26:41 ESV

“But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation, into a snare, into many senseless and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.”

1Timothy 6:9 ESV
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“Woe to the world for temptations to sin! For it is necessary that temptations come, but woe to the one by whom the temptation comes!

Matthew 18:7 ESV

“No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.”

1Corinthians 10:13 ESV
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“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward. But when you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. “And when you pray, do not heap up empty phrases as the Gentiles do, for they think that they will be heard for their many words. Do not be like them, for your Father knows what you need before you ask him. Pray then like this:

“Our Father in heaven, hallowed be your name. Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. For if you forgive others their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you, but if you do not forgive others their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.”

Matthew 6:5-15 ESV

Pray, pray, then pray some more!

I have faith God will continue to help you, no matter the temptation, no matter the pit you have fallen into, God’s grace and forgiveness is more than enough. Have faith and stand firm. Amen!

Posted in My Faith

The Revolving Door

Do you ever notice those people in your life that come and go, but come back again?

Why do they leave?

Why do they return?

How long do you wait for them to return?

Many people are like this with Jesus, too.

Photo by Gustavo Rodrigues on Pexels.com

These doors are waiting to be opened. Not opened by just anyone, but those of you who are looking for Jesus. Even if you aren’t, He is looking and waiting for you to come to Him.

Tonight at youth group, there were three students who came, that have been there in the past, but have had a long absence from the group.

My husband and I have been praying for these students to come back, reaching out to them, praying for their salvation and safety.

However, I catch myself freezing up when they return. All I can think to say is, “It’s so good to see you! Welcome back, it’s been awhile,” and I wish I could come up with more. Not anything that makes them feel guilty for being gone so long, but something that makes them want to come back for good.

Photo by Luis Quintero on Pexels.com

Jesus doesn’t claim everyone will want Him, or even look to find a saving relationship with Him.

Yet, the Bible does say:

“For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; for it is written,
“As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.”

Romans 14:10–11 ESV

Don’t despair or give up hope on yourself, or the person in your life that keeps walking in and out of your life, but much more the life they could have with Jesus.

If they would just come in the door, and take a chance on Jesus, what a difference it would make?!

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

1 Thessalonians 5:16–19 ESV

Be thankful they keep coming in the door, and pray to Jesus for them to stay. And all God’s people said, “Amen!”

Posted in Living BOLD, My Faith

The Fiercest Faith for Family

“Above all, keep loving one another earnestly, since love covers a multitude of sins.”

1 Peter 4:8 ESV

If this is true, and it is God’s truth, why aren’t more families living this out? Why aren’t more families restored, rather than torn apart?

The term family comes to mean many different things, these days. Sadly, for many people reading this, it carries the weight of your baggage – hurts from your past and bondage in your present.

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I called this post the fiercest faith, because it takes a fighting faith in Jesus Christ to combat the lies of Satan, trying to destroy your family.

These lies come in many ugly faces, but the most common is the lie, “Forgiveness must be earned. They don’t deserve forgiveness. They must pay for what they’ve done!”

This one lie has ripped apart so many families, the Devil ran out of room in his imaginary tally book of victories.

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However, it’s not too late to fight! If you are experiencing turmoil in your family, in any form or capacity, take up the armor of God and fight the real enemy here – the Devil. Your family member, whether Christian or not, is worth your love, and ultimately, your forgiveness.

Break the bondage, break the chains!

“Finally, be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil.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 spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.”

Ephesians 6:10–13 ESV

Take action today! Don’t wait another second, call, text, SnapChat, whatever! Exercise your fierce faith today to save your family NOW!

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“Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end, keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,”

Ephesians 6:14–18 ESV