Transforming for a Life Worth Living
By Sue A. Fairchild
When I chose to quit my office job back in 2014, I thought it was simply because God wanted me to be a writer and an editor, not an insurance agent. I longed to read words all day long, not ponder over legal documents and settle claims. What I didn’t expect was how God would use the next several years of my life to transform me into a completely new being.
At first, I plugged along, seeking work and trying to find my comfort zone in my new career. Editing work came and I found myself suddenly busy, but something still didn’t seem right to me. Something was missing. Days and weeks passed and soon it was Christmas time. I felt excited because I finally had time to do up Christmas right – I decorated, made a plethora of cookies and other treats, and readied my home for guests. It was freeing to not face the 9-5 grind during the holidays, and I felt like I had all the time in the world to accomplish things. My in-laws were visiting as they do each Christmas and I had planned an overabundance of food and activities for their stay.
But, suddenly, plans changed. The day before Christmas my husband became ill with the flu. He spent the next two days in bed sweating and hallucinating while my guests tried to enjoy themselves. I ministered to my husband and tried to play hostess to my guests at the same time. Christmas Day came and I visited with my folks without my husband in tow. I was so exhausted I fell asleep on my parents’ floor and they soon sent me home saying we would celebrate at a later date. The next day, my in-laws decided to head home—two days early. I felt like a hostess failure.
My husband recovered a few days later, but my mother and father had taken on the flu as well. My mom, who suffers from COPD, was admitted to the hospital and spent the next ten days in the ICU. I visited every day. I checked on my father almost every day as well, cooked him food, and made sure he was getting fluids and medications. I asked for prayer from my church.
My husband and I celebrated New Year’s at my mother’s hospital bedside after being called by a nurse because Mom couldn’t breathe. We feared the worst and it was the most awful four hours of my life, but she made it through and eventually came home. I spent the bulk of the time between Christmas and New Year’s tending to houseguests and sick loved ones. When it was over, I suffered a week of migraines and spent some time in the local ER myself. It seemed like the holidays would never end.
But they did and life went back to normal. Once again I immersed myself in my new career and took on new clients. I was beginning to hit my stride, and I felt like my choice to leave my office job had been the right one. This was my calling.
Then, in January of 2016, my father had a heart attack and had to have double bypass surgery. Once again, I found myself tending to a sick loved one. For almost two months, I visited him every day and helped him to recover. Depression hit my father after weeks of being in bed. I prayed for him and almost never left his side. Slowly, he recovered and, once again, I returned to the normalcy of my job.
During those two years, I often commented that if God had not led me away from my 9-5 office job, I wouldn’t have had the time to dedicate to my parents or my husband during their times of illness. If I hadn’t left the security of a weekly paycheck, my parents would have had to face many challenges alone. Although the transition has been a financially difficult one, I can’t help but think that God used that time to transform me not into an editor, but into a caregiver.
Now, when I wake every day, I wonder what God might have in store and how I might be used in the life of another. I see my newfound career for what it is—merely a means to an end. I am placed here without the restraints of a desk job in order that God may use me fully for His purposes. Each and every day I am being transformed into someone whom He can utilize for His greater good. In the end, it was not about the job after all, but about the life.
Sue A. Fairchild is a blogger, writer, and editor. She has been a contributor to the Chicken Soup for the Soul book series twice and has recently published a young adult novel, What You Think You Know. Sue also edits professionally for Christian Editor Connection and is a member of ACFW. For more information on her professional services and to read more of her simple snippets, please visit her website Sue’s Simple Snippets: Life, Love and the Pursuit of Happiness. You can also connect with her on Facebook, or Twitter.
Fifteen-year-old Emily Forester is sure of one thing: Beth Myers will be her friend forever. Friends almost since birth, they even share the same nervous habit—biting their cuticles. They’re like sisters and nothing can ever change that, or so Emily thought. Now, Emily discovers Beth displaying disturbing new habits, and begins to doubt how well she knows her best friend after all. When Beth betrays their sister-like bond, Emily is crushed and considers what life would be like without Beth. She’s already lost her mom; will she lose Beth, too? The one concrete thing in her life, her friendship with Beth, starts to crumble. Longing to talk with her mother, Emily confides in her dad instead and he reveals more shocking secrets. Will these new revelations bolster her relationship with Beth, or tear them apart forever?
Purchase WHAT YOU THINK YOU KNOW HERE
YAY! It’s here—the #UBP 14/2014 Ultimate Blog Party!
I’ve been an #UBP girl for years. If this is your first time, you will love it. I’m a total introvert, and this is my kind of party. Extrovert? Don’t worry. You’ll have amazing connections this week, too.
I invite you to stay as long as you want. It’s casual here.
In your pajamas? No problem.
Didn’t shower yet? I can’t
What I can tell you is this blog is a safe place to discuss surrender issues.
My tagline is “Surrendering the good, the bad, and—maybe one day—the chocolate.”
It’s all true. I’ve surrendered fears. Hurts. Rejection. The past.
But I can’t give up Dove Bars. Thin Mints. Or when I’m really stressed, I knock back chocolate milk like shots.
And in it all, I know I’m not alone.
The more I surrender, the closer I draw to Christ.
He is for us, not against us.
We’re His beloved. We are His treasures.
Yes, even when we’ve had M&M’s for breakfast and yelled at our kids.
Whether you interact with me here, on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or my newsletter where I’m offering a contemporary romance to subscribers throughout 2014, you’ll find I’m rooting for you.
There is freedom in surrender.
And when you have it, it is better than chocolate.
Do we have anything in common?
1. I’m originally from Upstate NY and graduated from SUNY Geneseo.
2. I now live in NE Ohio.
3. I’ve been married 17 years and have a 15 year old and a 10 year old.
4. We have 2 Lhasa Apsos, a cat, and a Chow-Lab puppy named Tucker.
5. I write contemporary romances using Upstate NY settings.
6. I blog every other Wednesday with your favorite Christian authors at Christians Read.
7. My Adirondack romance, Spectacular Falls, is under consideration.
8. My second Adirondack romance, Untangled, is under revision.
9. My third Adirondack romance, To Be Determined, is in first draft.
10. Match Made in Heaven is my romance exclusive to Julie Arduini newsletter subscribers throughout 2014, set in Hammondsport, NY. (Subscribe in right sidebar and make sure you activate by checking your email folders.)
11. I’m a step-mom to two adult children who live in Wisconsin.
12. I love to read and am a fast reader.
13. I don’t like white or dark chocolate. Milk chocolate all the way. Almonds? Even better.
14. I drink bold coffee with hazelnut creamer.
15. I enjoy Parenthood, Dallas, NCIS, Person of Interest, Blue Bloods, Sherlock, and Jimmy Fallon.
I became acquainted with blogger Paul Robinson through Jon Acuff’s “30 Days of Hustle” Facebook group. Paul was looking for guest blogger experience and when he shared his bio, I encouraged him to write here on this topic. If you or someone you know is struggling with p*rn addiction, I encourage you to check out xxxchurch.com, and of course, seek pastoral counsel from a Bible believing church.
Waving the White flag at P*rn.
Surrendering is generally a negative term. No one likes to surrender. Surrendering means defeat, it means we can’t deal with something, it means we are weak.
Or does it?
Surrendering is all to do with perspective. Depending on which angle you look at it; to surrender can be something that we are trapped in or something that sets us free.
Addiction is a great place to see how this works out. Addiction can cause us to surrender so much of our life to activities and thoughts that kills us. Ironically though, addiction can only be defeated if we take this idea of surrendering and turn it on it’s head.
In the church today we are addicted to so much. Money, food, power. And p*rn. The latest stats regarding the use of p*rn by Christians makes for some pretty interesting reading.
In this post I want to look at both sides of surrendering and how we as individuals and as a community of the Church can beat our addictions.
First, a look at some of the ways that addiction can cause us to surrender ourselves.
Surrendering your self esteem
If you are addicted to anything and you want to give it up but you can’t, then your self esteem is one of the first things that takes a beating. One of the most used phrases an addict ever uses is “I swear that was the last time”. When the church stays silent on something or when it does speak only using shame and guilt, then it becomes even more difficult. The misconception that no one else struggles with this, or that if I was a decent Christian then I wouldn’t be doing these things will break down your self esteem bit by bit. Which in turn means we turn for comfort to the thing that is destroying our sense of self.
Surrendering your dreams
Everyone has dreams. I truly believe that. Sometimes though the things that control us can dull those or even hide them entirely. Once you were passionate about music, then p*rn came along, and slowly our motivation dwindles. Or you used to love to help people think through their own issues but p*rn took over your life and now your own issues are allowing self doubt to creep in.
Surrendering your community
When you look at p*rn and you don’t tell anyone, eventually the shame takes over and pulls you down deeper and deeper. Which increases shame. The thing about shame is this; when you feel it you don’t want to face anyone. You’ll stop responding to invites and you’ll just want to hide. You’ll isolate yourself from the very people who love you.
Here’s the good news. Surrendering doesn’t have to be all about porn controlling our lives so the good things we are given are destroyed. Surrendering is actually all about strength and character. The first thing that anyone who wants to heal from porn or any other addiction needs to do is to realise that they aren’t in control. To surrender the idea that they need to look good. When this happens the addict can begin their healing by letting others in.
Allowing others in may be difficult, but it is the only way we can truly allow ourselves to be loved as we are, no matter what we do. Our common idea of surrendering being negative usually stops us from letting go of our addictions, but when we see surrendering in a new positive light, it can be where the real us and our real strength will become real.
Recovery is possible but it only happens when we surrender the ‘control’ p*rn has over us.
It only happens when we surrender the idea that we need to be perfect.
And it only happens when we ask others for help.
Then you can start turning surrendering into conquering.
Paul Robinson is a blogger and an x3group leader for xxxchurch.com. Originally from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Paul now lives in Detroit with his wife, Brittany. So far he has managed to successfully switch from driving on the left hand side of the road to the right, but draws the line at calling ‘football’, ‘soccer.’ You can read more by writing paul (at)paulrobinsonwrites (dot)com and can follow him at @paulrobinson on twitter.
This is going to be an extra fun post to write.
Because the person I’m writing about is away at camp and has no idea what I’m doing.
Holly and I go way back. We went to the same church and when she went off to college, I kept in touch. I remembered how fun it was to get mail when I was away, and there was something about Holly that made me want to pay it forward.
I had no idea we’d not only still be in touch, but closer than ever.
We’re close enough that the few times I’m able to return to my hometown, she’s one of the rare people I’m able to visit that aren’t related. No matter how long a trip lasts, it’s never enough to visit all family as much as you want, let alone friends. But if you happen to be on Market Street in Corning, New York and hear hilarious laughter spilling out of Walker Cake Company, that’s just me and Holly.
Holly is a gifted writer but only recently has decided to really put the pen to paper. Jon Acuff is a mentor of sorts, oh he might not know it, but he is. And as her other mentor, I don’t want to share her sometimes, so I get snarky about him. I profess Jon comes in two definitions, pre-Ramsey, and post. And snarky or not, we debate on how I found Jon much funnier and profound pre-Ramsey.
But I digress.
Anyway, Holly admitted that she wants to be like Acuff to the singles.
Offensive (to the religious.)
And a game-changer.
What probably puts me as a loser in the debate is Jon Acuff’s recent release, Start, ignited the writing embers in Holly’s soul. She not only started a blog, she’s on fire. Her posts are everything she wanted it to be and more. I’m not a single and I’m learning. Laughing. Feeling challenged. And so much more.
With Holly at camp, I promised to take Thursday and promote her blog, A Common Queen, on Facebook.
I didn’t quite tell her I was going to write a post and release her name and link to the masses.
But it’s time the world find out about this gorgeous gem named Holly who is the only person on Earth who loves this joke as much as I do. And we’re Jesus girls as much as anyone, but c’mon, that joke is hysterical.
And Holly is the real deal.
She’s that good.
And I’m that blessed.