Things I Learned After I Said Yes

I have no idea how to do that!  Where will I find the time?  Uncomfortableness and overwhelm hovered in my heart. At the same time, a stronger pull captivated my attention.

Only months had passed since our move from Texas to South Carolina, and the days were full. . . Have you ever noticed how God sometimes interrupts our plan with his? He taught me a lot through this unexpected chapter of recording the audio book, and I hope that my experience encourages you along the way of your story.

Grace upon grace, undeserved yet purposed. A year after Becoming A Peaceful Mom was published, a friend encouraged me to consider narrating an audio version and recommended a publisher. After much prayer, God’s peace anchored my unconfident heart and I committed to him to go forward with this. Yet, the following months brought unrelated challenges and struggles, plus the heartache of losing my mom. A year passed. One evening I was at a party, and, would you believe I saw that same friend who lives in another city. . . She asked if I ever recorded the audio book.

Working through unmet self-expectations. Her words met my heart with unexpected joy. I had laid down the audio book idea, after so much time passed. But thoughts like, ‘I dropped the ball’…’Maybe somehow I was supposed to fit it in’… ‘I missed a great opportunity,’ nagged me. Sometimes we unknowingly impose self-expectations and burden our self unnecessarily.  Self-expectations belong in the hands of God. Only then do we receive his grace, and invite his way forward.

Why didn’t I think of this? No idea…except that, maybe I wasn’t meant to? Maybe I didn’t see this possibility in me or for me? God entwines our lives with others. He privileges you and me to be his vessels as messenger, encourager, helper, counselor, example, teacher, etc. Likewise, he blesses us through his vessels. Prayerfully consider suggestions, supportive remarks, and encouraging evidences that you experience.

Sometimes our heart isn’t ready to hear. Recently, someone told me that she suggested this idea even longer ago. I don’t remember it, but today her words have settled into my heart as fresh encouragement toward a vision that I could not imagine two years ago. “Therefore encourage one another and build one another up.” (1 Thessalonians 5.11)  Pray for the hearer, as we never know the obstacles in their heart or life.

God’s ways are not our ways. I struggled with how it would look for the audio book to be released 2 years after the book was published. Promoting your own work is awkward enough and now I was going to re-promote the same material. I released to God fear of what people might think and fear of what the outcome of this project might be. God’s ‘way’ surfaced a weak place in my heart that he strengthened. “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD.” (Isaiah 55.8)

Say yes to God.  Often I vented, “God, I feel so inadequate! This is so unfamiliar! My yes is to you. Please help me.” Yes is a step–in faith–toward God. He doesn’t measure our step size; he’s glad that we’re stepping. My first step was an email to the potential publisher. Step 2 was a phone call to learn more. Step 3 was realizing this was ‘right’ and calling my husband with my heart in my throat to say, “Oh my gosh, I’m really doing this!” I took baby steps. God holds our hand and tenderly whispers, “I’ve got you.”

Trust God. The unexpected can disorient and discourage us. After a day of recording, my vocal cords hurt and fatigue kicked in. I slept 3 hours that night. After a good cry, I threw off the covers and resolved, ‘God, you got me here. You know how much sleep I had. My trust has to be in you. Help me trust you.’ God’s power makes us more than conquerors.

“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.” (Proverbs 3.5-6)

Are you facing something unfamiliar, unexpected, or overwhelming?

Maybe it’s a college or graduate course you’re taking or dreading?
Maybe you feel like you need to enter or re-enter the job market?
Maybe it’s how you see yourself as a mom?
Maybe you’re at a crossroads and you’ve no idea which way to go?
Maybe you have a deep desire or dream that’s unfulfilled and you’re wondering if it ever will be?

He unfolds a perfect plan in our imperfect lives.  God is near to you and wants to be nearer.

Dear God,
Thank you that you are with me. Help me draw closer and take each step, with you. Amen.

Last month I announced this audio-book for Becoming A Peaceful Mom—Through Every Season of Raising Your Child. I hope you’ll check it out—and help me spread the word!

Audio Book ~ Becoming A Peaceful Mom

So this happened!!

Now there is an audio-book for Becoming A Peaceful Mom—Through Every Season of Raising Your Child and I’m the narrator!

I’ve talked to so many moms who have a stack of books that they want to read, have partly read, or have-started-to-read-five-times.  That was me when our kids lived at home, and it may be you now.  Or, maybe you have some special moms in your life, who could use some encouragement right about now—and this audio version is just right for them!

Tap HERE to listen to a sample!

Where you can grab a copy:

Hoopla (audio library!)

Bookmate

Amazon

Audiobooks.com

Libro.fm

Will you help me spread the word about the audio book?!

3 ways you can help right away:

  • Forward this email to your friends. Maybe change the subject line to personalize it?
  • STARS!! Wherever you listen (or read) the book, review it with stars.
  • When I post this news on Instagram or Facebook or Twitter share with your social media friends.

In my next post, I’ll share what God taught me in the process. Today, I hope you’ll help me celebrate by spreading the word!

All glory to God and with gratitude for you,

Teresa

For Moms: Live Forward!

How is this going to affect our relationship?
Have I hurt him so deeply that . . .
Ohh, I regret my tone of voice!
I wish I could undo . . .

I wrestled through thoughts like these countless times over the years of raising our children, beginning when they were toddlers and through the teen years. I wish I could say that I never wrestled again after that, but I have. Why? I’ve let words or behavior that I regret hold me captive. Worry seeps in, as do thoughts of negative possibilities.

Honestly, I don’t think that these types of experiences blanket our days. Rather, if we take time to remember, simple precious moments over countless hours will flood our memory—precious smiles and giggles, watching a child play or experience something for the first time, bedtimes, their excitement as they share a story or accomplishment, hugging our child or being hugged by them, that look that lets us see their love or gratitude, our phone calls . . .

So, why is it that painful memories haunt us or flare up whenever something goes sideways regarding a child? And why do those questions and worries seem to crowd out the greater evidences of sweet times?

God yearns for you and me to grasp His view—of us, of how He wants us to live in relationship with Him, of our role as moms.

He appointed us to be moms, when he wrote our days in His book before we were born. (Psalm 139) Nothing we say or do is a surprise to Him. He knows our history, our current life, and the state of our heart. His view of our effort is tender, loving, and abounding in grace—not critical, disappointed, and questioning why He made us mothers. Do you wrestle with believing this? The strategy to end the wrestling is a growing intimacy with Jesus Christ. Learn, for yourself, the truth about His view of you. God sees you and me as the person He knows we will become, as we partner with Him to love and raise our children.

We are disciples of Christ, which means we are lifelong learners of how to follow Him. One way we learn is through being a mom, and some of our practice will be hard.

Leave the past.  Only, leave it in the hands of our Almighty God.

Invite God to help you learn all that He wants you to learn from it. If a memory concerns or burdens you, unload it to God. Jesus died for all our brokenness. Lay it at the foot of his cross. Seek, receive, and embrace His forgiveness. Invite Him to restore your heart, your child’s heart, and your relationship. He will.

“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavishes on us.” (Ephesians 1.7–8a)

Live forward.  Only, live forward in the path lovingly prepared for you by our Sovereign Father.

Mark the many beautiful moments of being a mom. Mark your growth, your child’s growth, your relationship’s growth. Mark change. Mark redemption. And thank God.

On the larger canvas of life, each season blends into the next. Each brush stroke has purpose, for the child and for us. Memories of hard experiences slowly fade, even heal, as God’s love covers all. The image that God has been painting all along reveals breathtaking beauty.