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!

The Power of Comfort

When someone we care about hurts or struggles, we want to be a source of comfort. We offer words, hugs, our presence. And we pray. Our thoughtful gestures matter and certainly impact, yet when we pray, we rehearse our trust that God is with this person. We express the depths of how we desire Him to help them, and as we do we believe that He can do far more than what we ask or imagine.

Dear God, I lift my friend/ my child/ my co-worker to you. Please comfort them. Cover and fill those places that only you can fully comfort. Amen.

God hears our simple words and sees the truest version of the yearning in our heart—our inmost thoughts that we have not yet whispered. He delights that we trust Him to provide perfect comfort. He comforts them—and He comforts our concerned heart.

So, what about when you are the one who aches?

Do you ever forget that you are a child, God’s beloved daughter, his little girl? Sometimes I live like I’ve forgotten. When hard stuff happens, I ask for God’s help to persevere or to be strong. It usually takes me a while to remember, I need the comfort of my Abba’s loving arms right now. I need to be still and be held.

“For the LORD comforts Zion; he comforts all her waste places and makes her wilderness like Eden, her desert like the garden of the LORD; joy and gladness will be found in her, thanksgiving and the voice of song.” (Isaiah 51.3)

Fun, encouragement, rest, inspiration fill some of our days. Then another day, week, or season ushers in sadness, discouragement, exhaustion, overwhelm. Relationship tension or heartache, illness, financial crisis, work stress, and decision anxiety stir angst. Hard experiences can strip the part of us that was content.

God is with us—Immanuel. He is Comfort and covers our waste places and wilderness—those spaces of hurt, loss, confusion, and fear. Even though our hard circumstances may remain, God’s comfort soaks our soul that we may rest, secure and peaceful in Him.

“I, I am he who comforts you.”  (Isaiah 51.12a)

Thank you, O God, that you comfort us, even when we don’t ask. Help us come to you and learn to be still with you for soaking comfort. Thank you that though challenging times come, you will make our wilderness like Eden and our desert like the garden of the LORD. Amen.