One of the activities I have going on this season is I’m hosting a book discussion with a group of ladies. The book is NO MORE FAKING FINE by Esther Fleece. When I first started reading, I thought just that—it would be a great resource to share with others. I’ve benefited from a healing I can only credit God with where I used to be so worried what others thought that I lost sleep. I was wracked with worry and pretended I was just fine. I have felt for a number of years that the person that God sees is who the world sees. I’m authentic.
I still believe I am transparent, and I didn’t intentionally fake my feelings, but this book is kicking my tail HARD. An early chapter talked about the coping mechanisms we use. I had to face the truth. I used many of them, and had been for some time. Stuffing my feelings. Laughing it off. Gossiping about it. Even making a vow to God to protect my heart from ever getting hurt at that depth again.
As I kept reading, I realized the theme of the book, learning to use the power of a lamenting prayer (a raw, unfiltered prayer) was something I had done before, without knowing I was giving Him my lament. Thing is, I knew that was quite a while ago and that there were several areas where I had not given my true, raw, not-very-pretty feelings and thoughts to the Lord.
At first I thought, hey, this will be easy. I’ll journal that. It’s not a bad idea, but as I read further, I knew for me, God needed the power of my voice. Not that I have any authority, but by speaking my pain out loud, not only am I truly handing it over for Jesus to deal with, it strips the true defeated one of any power he thinks he has, and any access I gave him by isolating myself and pretending all is well when it hasn’t been.
This week I have been intentional with my laments. It is a raw vent to God about how I really feel. It is not full of Christian-ese or thous or thee or anything you think you might hear from me. To your ears, perhaps my laments sound like tantrums. There are things, especially in the last 14 years, I don’t get.
And when I spewed it all out, I realized I was angry.
- Angry because there has been so much carnage in the fields of grief, and change.
- Angry because the vision God gave me not only didn’t come to pass in some ways, it is a fraction of what it was to begin with.
- Angry because being obedient has left me lonely, used, betrayed, and I realized in my lament, I’ve isolated myself further and have become skeptical in light of these things.
- Angry because the people I’ve prayed for, so very, very few are walking in the ways He showed me the potential they had.
- Angry for the losses we have had in loved ones, relationships, and finances when we did everything right.
- Angry that I’m tired and often depleted, still fighting for things I thought would be victorious by now, and not fighting for things I probably should be.
But I’m thankful.
Because in finally speaking these things out to the Lord, I KNOW the healing from inside out can begin. I will not be walking in ignorance or disobedience. Will it be hard? Yes. I’ve been down this road before. Will it be worth it?
I don’t regret being obedient or the paths He has put us on. But I did have to surrender my anger because so much is different than I thought, and there have been a lot of tears over the years. But so many good things, too. Crazy favor that again, only God could get credit for. The honor to pray for situations and people. Opportunities through writing and speaking to show His goodness. Yes, His goodness, even when I was pushing down private and escalating pain and anger.
I’m not done with the book, and I know the healing process isn’t mastered. But I am thankful I can place my laments in the hands of the Master, the One who created me and knows me best.
If you can relate to anything I’m sharing, I highly recommend No More Faking Fine. If you want to work through it with me as a private, confidential book study online, I am in the middle of one now, but you can contact me and we can start one in 2018.
Have a blessed Thanksgiving.
I don’t know how to explain it, but I had a feeling in the pit of my stomach 2016 was going to be a long haul.
Some things I knew were happening—a wedding in the same time frame as a graduation. A child’s genetic testing. Another child transitioning from high school to college.
But, as the year unfolded, there were plenty of surprises.
- I felt a stirring I attribute to God that I was to my own ministry/business as an author and speaker. By February, I was moving forward with Surrendered Scribe Media. By March, ENTRUSTED was re released and ENTANGLED was released.
- My husband changed his job. I had a feeling this was coming, but what I didn’t anticipate was his working from home much of the time.
- My father-in-law passed away in July. The kindest man, talk about a huge void.
- Grief from loved one’s choices I couldn’t control (and still can’t!)
- A complete flip in health that was hormone/menopause related. It hit me HARD.
It was rough, and I honestly wanted to define the year that way. However, the word for my year is perspective, and I’ve really tried to apply that. I see why it is the word for me, because I learned a lot.
The absolute fear and anger I had over my husband being home on “my” schedule also offered a lunch partner at times, and help when I wasn’t able to get our child from school.
Watching God grow our loved ones closer through as they listened to us share with transparency regarding choices. Had I stayed grief-stricken, I don’t think God could have used us. Seeing it in time as an opportunity instead of devastation changed everything.
I’m sure there is more I’m not seeing yet, but perspective definitely helps me move forward and not dwell on the negative. As we wind the year down, we also had a very thankful Thanksgiving. Not only are we surviving all these things, but we learned Tom’s oldest daughter is expecting. It’s the first grandchild for us, and we are thrilled for her and her husband.
What are you thankful for this year? Do you think of perspective at all? How?
A Walk in the Valley, Christian Encouragement for your Journey through Infertility, Now Available for Pre-Order
I interrupt the winter weather buzz to share something very close to my heart—A Walk in the Valley, Christian Encouragement for your Journey through Infertility, is now available for pre-order through Amazon.
Everyone’s journey through infertility is different. Even women who have the same physical problems will have different courses of treatment, different responses, and different emotional ups and downs as they walk this path. But we also have so much in common: the hurt, anger, frustration, pain, sorrow, hope and joy that we have experienced along the way.
We are women who have experienced infertility. Some of us have gone on to conceive, others have adopted, and others remain childless. All of us have found peace in the loving arms of our Father God at the end of our journey. We want to share our experiences and thoughts with you. It is our hope and prayer that you’ll be encouraged.
This devotional workbook starts with how each woman discovered her infertility, then explores the diagnostic testing pursued, how they processed the official diagnosis, what decisions had to be explored regarding treatment, their experiences during infertility treatment (including pregnancy, miscarriage, and childbirth), and finishes with their experiences in remaining childless, adoption, foster care, child sponsorship, and the emotional healing regardless of the outcome of their infertility journey.
Each devotional has a Scripture focus and questions for thought and discussion.
This book started as a question on the ACFW (American Christian Fiction Writers) loop and quickly evolved. What I love is none of our stories are the same. Our endings are all different. We are all transparent in our experiences. The one thing I detested in trying to find something, anything that would help me in my pain was patronizing books or authors who were painting a picture that life was rosy, even in this hard time.
It. was. not.
And thank God, our stories reflect that so readers won’t feel alone.
Yet, we also give hope through Scripture and what we learned along the way.
I can’t wait for everyone to read this.
If you or someone you love is walking or has walked through infertility and miscarriage, please pre order this book. When you aren’t sure what to say, I believe this book will do the talking.
Pre order by clicking here.
Is it just me, or do things seem extra oppressive lately? Seems at every turn I’m hearing heartbreaking news:
a homeless child
a little boy with a terminal disease
a faith-filled man with cancer
loss of insurance
There are no easy answers when we learn of these things. Oh, you’ll hear pat replies, and the people mean well, but they don’t wipe away the tsunami of emotions threatening to not just take you down, but out.
The things I’ve dealt with the last few years might be different than you but I’ve spun my tires with one sentence I utter a lot–It’s not fair.
You can sacrifice, give, and love only to get the shaft in return. You go to work early, stay late, and give your all and a pink slip still reaches your hands. You’re faithful to the gym and your body but the health report has your name on it. It isn’t fair.
My cousin would often tell us that “No one promised you life was fair.” But, still. It hurts. Don’t we deserve better than this?
Not really. Truth of it is, we all fall short and miss the mark. And the minute Eve took that apple, we lost all privileges to live in fairness. We can blame Eve, but deep down I know had I been there, I would have been tempted faster and fallen sooner. Life isn’t fair because we live in a fallen world.
So what do you do when life gives a kick to the stomach and you want to wallow in the it’s not fair?
1. Read the Psalms or more of the Bible. There are a lot of not fair situations there, and authentic laments. But there is something else that helps me that flows through the pages right to my hurting heart: hope.
2. Get off the hamster wheel. That’s my downfall. I will spin a situation to death. Beyond the fairness of it, I want to know why and how. I analyze and analyze. And at the end of the day the situation is still there. If that’s you, learn from me and stop.
3. Make that unfair thing your broken place. For years I had a piece of clay pot that had been shattered as part of an object lesson. The pastor shared that even with the best of glue that pot would never be the same. I have many broken places, events and circumstances that at the time I thought would destroy me. I took those places and decided to take my different life from those things and help others who had similar things. There are “sororities” I have exclusive membership to that others don’t, and vice versa. They might be unfair, but I took my PCOS, infertility, miscarriage, marriage lessons, near death of child and her health issues and decided to be a positive vessel for others.
Yesterday I read a quote that sums what to do with those unfair things that will stay with me for a long time. ABC’s Good Morning America anchor Robin Roberts had a nice send-off for her medical leave. She’s already been through cancer, now she needs a bone marrow transplant. On top of that, hours after her last show before her transplant, her mom passed away. Seems so unfair. Yet, here is what she said:
“Life provides losses and heartbreak for all of us – but the greatest tragedy is to have the experience and miss the meaning.”
How about you? Do you grieve over unfair situations? Do you think it is time to let it go? What helps you when life is unfair?
My tagline is “Surrendering the good, the bad, and—maybe one day—the chocolate”. It’s easy to understand surrendering the bad stuff. Fear, anger, addictions, etc…those are unhealthy things that only imprison us if we keep them around. The chocolate? Although few encourage me to surrender it, everyone understands that at the levels I once consumed it, it wasn’t good for me.
But surrendering the good?
Why? Who would do that?
Well when God asks, I do.
I don’t mean surrendering my husband or kids, not even close. I’m definitely in an active writing season and it’s centered on fiction. I don’t know where the roller coaster is going but I know this is where my focus has to be. I have projects outside fiction writing that I knew weren’t lining up for the rest of this year and/or next year. Good things, great ministries and projects I love being a part of.
But God made it clear it was time to let them go.
I handed in my resignation effective January for the Internet Cafe Marriage Counter. I started out a few years ago as a marriage writer for Exemplify and that moved over the the Cafe. I love writing monthly articles to encourage marriages to strive for oneness. It’s a good thing, but a ministry God made it clear it’s time to let this good thing go. Let someone new step in and move their ministry forward just as He plans to take me to a new place.
I also sense the webinars I was believing was to be a very active part of my schedule won’t be. There just isn’t time. My sense is I will promote them as small groups where people sign up if interested. If I get a few people interested I’ll take one book at a time to journey through. If not, I’ll know I’m supposed to let that completely, go, too.
All good stuff but time to let it go.
How about you? Have you ever felt it was time to surrender something, even though it was a good thing?