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!

How To Pray When Our Mind Is Spinning

Sometimes my mind spins in so many directions that I stress my self out. I can’t focus or settle inside. Then I get frustrated, which seems to fuel my spin pace . . . and I just wanna scream or cry or run away for the day.

. . . There’s that project I need to tackle, but I’m not sure how best to approach it, so I just keep putting it off. There are calls I want or need to make, only I can’t seem to find the right time when there’s enough time to talk. Always, there’s that pile on the counter that I need to just deal with—but, y’all, every time I remove two items, at least four more materialize. What’s with that? And then there are those matters that I simply need to think through, process, and weigh, yet allotting time for those seems to require that I sacrifice  time earmarked for something else. Do you ever feel like this, or is it just me?

So the other day, when I was having one of those days, I vented, God help me! I guess I halfway expected Him to transform everything right there on the spot—which He can do, because He’s God. But that didn’t happen.

What did happen is God got my attention. All along He was with me . . . I just wasn’t with Him. My mind dwelt on the pile of things I needed to do and how inadequate I felt to accomplish most of it.

God waited for me to turn to Him—to take my thoughts and feelings to Him and dwell in Him. All along, He was right there, holding me. Our loving God holds you and me. Do we talk with Him as though He’s holding us? You and I are His Beloved. BELOVED. When this is my approach, I feel secure.
Try it.

When we turn to God, we practice trusting Him. We decide to rely on Him. Instead of leading our way, we ask for His.

“In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.” (Psalm 5.3)

“When I am afraid, I put my trust in you.” (Psalm 56.3)

“Trust in him at all times, O people; pour out your heart before him; God is a refuge for us.” (Psalm 62.8)

Welcome God in to your thoughts—as you drive, wait in a line, take a walk, vacuum, shower, or stare at that pile on the counter.

God, I commit this day to you. Help me be present to your presence today.
God, I am overwhelmed. Please help me unload all this to you.
You are faithful. You are with me. I am your Beloved.

Invite Him to join that conversation. Better yet, ask Him to lead you through—with your boss, a co-worker, your husband, child, a friend.

God, help me only say what you want me to say.
Give me understanding, insight, and grace.
Please heal, strengthen, and grow this relationship your way. 

Include Him as you think through that project or assignment, ponder that looming decision, or consider the best way forward in a challenging relationship.

God, I don’t know how to go forward. I need your wisdom and guidance.
Please protect me.
Help me trust you, discern your will, and follow you.

Live like a lifelong learner. Every day we learn and practice. When we pray, we practice relying on God. We draw near.  Try it.