Posted in Living BOLD, My Faith

Resetting Expectations

A Birthday Party Story

Picture this. Your daughter has a birthday party coming up. Their 3rd birthday, and you want to make it as special as possible.

To prepare, you plan a month in advance for this birthday party. You even ask your birthday girl what she wants for the cupcakes and decorations. Things are going so well!

Shopping

Finally, it is time to shop and bake. You take your birthday girl to the store to buy decorations and party favors for her friends. Don’t forget the special, helium-inflated birthday balloons, matching the party theme.

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Your cart is so full, you wonder how over-the-top this party is getting. Your fears are confirmed, when the checkout lady literally says to you, “You are overdoing this, Mom.”

You know she’s right, but don’t want to admit it to a total stranger.

Party Favors and Cupcakes

The week of, you, the birthday girl, and her siblings, all work together to put the party favor bags together. The excitement on their faces is so inspiring, more for the candy than anything else, you know these are perfect for your guests.

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Two days before the party, you bake the cupcakes. The night before, you make the extra cupcake decorations, so they are ready for the morning of, when you freshly frost and decorate them.

You place them in the fridge, and you feel a sigh of relief and accomplishment.

Decorating

Last but not least, you stay up until midnight, with your tired husband, decorating. You start to pull out all of the decorations you purchased with the birthday girl, and your husband gives a sigh and intense eye-roll.

It takes hours to perfectly decorate with the party signage, party favors, streamers, balloons, even a large, plastic mural background for pictures and added scenery for effect.

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The Perfect Party

Finally, you’re done. Perfectly planned, purchased, and executed birthday party plan. You slip into bed, relieved, and happily anticipating the next morning.

You can’t wait to see the look on your birthday girl’s face when she beholds all your work for her party. You hope she feels as special as you know she is.

The Twist

Then it hits. The screaming, vomiting, and complete misery from – guess who? The birthday girl herself.

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The stomach flu or some similar, awful virus has hit your house, literally hours before the party is supposed to start.

You have to break it to your precious, birthday girl that her party is cancelled and now she has to spend her birthday sleeping and drinking water – no cupcakes.

Reality Stings Sometimes

As you might have guessed, this happened to me and my family last week for one of our daughter’s birthday. Let me tell you, it has been a rough week for all of us.

However, somehow God used this atrocious sickness to change something in my mind and heart.

As her mom, I was not only buying and doing things for her to make her feel special, but to show off to our guests, “Hey, look at me and what I can do? I’m such a great mom, aren’t I?”

My Aching Heart

Wow, that was a slap in the face and a prick in my heart. In my heart, I had let pride and the fear of insignificance drive me to spend more money, time, and energy than necessary.

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Also, I realized I was justifying my behavior with a false sense of what my daughter actually expected and wanted for her party.

I knew exactly what she wanted. We had planned it together, and the plan itself was pretty simple.

In my own prideful heart, I was making her party about me. How selfish is that?

The Real Party

Now, tonight is the night before her party. We have rescheduled it for tomorrow.

Most of the decorations we left up from decorating last week, but not all have stayed on the wall. The cupcakes are done and decorated, but I let my daughters help me, instead of pushing them away, and doing it alone.

For my daughter’s sake, and for my own good, I laid down my expectations of attention, glory and honor from my efforts as her mom. God is teaching me to be content in the simple, not frantic in the complex.

Finally, the party did not go according to my perfect little plan. To be honest, I’m glad it didn’t. I had more prepared and done last week, so I can just relax and enjoy my daughter growing up.

God’s plan is always better than my plan. If I am not careful, I will trade fear and anxiety for peace and joy in the Lord.

Which will you choose today, your finite plan or God’s perfect plan?

Scripture

These verses really helped change my expectations this week. I hope they help you, too.

Proverbs 3:5-12 ESV

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“Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the LORD, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.

Honor the LORD with your wealth and with the firstfruits of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will be bursting with wine.

My son, do not despise the LORD’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the LORD reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.”

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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!

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 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!