About Teresa

Hello! One of my greatest passions is encouraging and mentoring women to partner with God through the everyday circumstances of life. I am a speaker and also the author of Becoming A Peaceful Mom (Amazon). Connect with me at www.celebratethefamily.org!

All Of Life Is Not Right Now

It was February. My involvements were comfortably manageable (which wasn’t often the case), and I liked the rhythm of my week. Then one morning when I was praying, this thought came, “Step out of everything.” Wait, what?! “Step out of everything.”

A baffled reaction whirled in me over the next few days—This doesn’t make sense… I don’t feel overcommitted… I really enjoy being with them… Helping with this feels good… How will she react…

I didn’t want to do this, but even more, I didn’t want to disobey God if this was his guidance. After several days of prayer, he gently made it clear. It was awkward and hard, stepping away from involvements when I didn’t understand why. The sadness that followed was like grief—I felt loss from the changes. Some days, I wrestled with feeling like I was missing out. Yet, the peace in my heart was unmistakeable.

Our third baby was due in 2 months, and her two brothers were toddlers. By my evaluation, I had been managing everyone and everything just fine. I was keeping all the plates in the air (that I had put there by the way) and calling this “fulfilling.”

Up to now, my approach was to consider whether or not to add something to my schedule. Sometimes I prayed. This was new, to be willing to lay down something (well, in this moment, everything). God’s plan for my “right now” was becoming clear. He taught me an important lesson about surrender and trust.

Some of our hardest steps lead to amazing treasure. Gradually, feelings of missing out became experiences of stepping in.  I was stepping in one-day-at-a-time to what God had for me, for this season in my life. I didn’t see the bigger picture purpose, but that’s not my role (or privilege) anyway. I learned that his “right now” plan is always the best plan for me, no matter how I feel in the transition. His yields joy, fruit that I may not see growing, peace beyond my understanding.

All of our life is not RIGHT NOW.
And if you’re a mom, all of your child’s life is not right now.

God doesn’t want us to miss out on what he has planned for us at various times in our life. Yet, sometimes his “best” for our current season is hidden in plain view because our days are cluttered with ought-to’s, want-to’s, old habits, not-thought-throughs, and couldn’t-say-no-to’s. Maybe we can’t imagine having that change we yearn for, a dream unspoken, or even adding that thing that we really want to do because we hold “our life” tightly in our hand. Open your hand. Surrender. Trust that God will give you his best.

About this time of year and periodically throughout the year, I ask God, “Is there anything that you want me to lay down? Is there any way that I spend time that you want me to modify?”  Seek and receive what God has for you.

The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps. (Proverbs 16.9)

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