Surrender fear, loss, & Change with Julie Arduini

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Surrender Story: It Isn’t About You, but Now It Is

Posted by Julie on June 8, 2016 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

This is one of those posts that isn’t fun to write because it takes me back to a time I didn’t love and of course, I don’t come out looking too great in it. But I know I’m supposed to share it, and I believe it will encourage someone out there.

Our newlywed years weren’t normal or easy.  I had chronic pain because of a severe case of PCOS. There were many days I was in bed because of pain as soon as I got home from work. I had to receive shots in the backside that were not easy to give or receive. And then there was the baggage.

I came into the marriage with low self esteem and huge trust issues. I was a wounded person who usually felt better wounding others.  It wasn’t a good place.

My husband worked a new job with a lot of hours. He was in community theater. We were new in our church and wanted to be active there together. We grieved his kids not living in the same state anymore and trusted God had them and us.

When he had a bad day from any of these stresses or even something else, I had one thought and one thought only.

It’s me.

I’m the reason he’s upset.

It’s my fault.

It will always be me.

It will always be my fault.

When he needed time to chill, I took that as a personal rejection. I didn’t get that men need their cave time. When he’s ready to talk, he will. But my own emotional baggage couldn’t allow me to see that. So I’d chase him down, causing more stress.

And guess what?

Marriage-When It isn't About You, but then It Is

Marriage-When It isn’t About You, but then It Is

It wasn’t about me until I made it about me. And that’s when real conflict started.

I had a lot of problems then, and a big one I didn’t realize was one I think a lot of young women are also dealing with: you want your husband to be your savior.

Sorry, ladies, he can’t. He’s human and he’s going to fail. The harder you pursue him with that expectation, the faster he’s going to retreat. I tell you from experience. Then your pain is that much stronger because you’ve got another man in your life who has rejected you.

How did I get out of that spiral? It wasn’t easy or fast. I had to hit a rock bottom and realize even when his bad day wasn’t about me, I had a lot of healing to take care of. I had people praying. I read a lot from Chuck Swindoll to Sheila Walsh. I went through two Bible studies that changed everything—Believing God by Beth Moore and Captivating by Sheila Eldredge. I started to see my Savior was there to rescue me, He is Jesus, not my husband. And when I put that in the right order, everything changed.

My view of a Heavenly Father wasn’t healthy because I was envisioning someone with closed arms disappointed in me. Pressing in through my relationship in Christ and giving Him everything about me re wired my thinking. God’s arms are open wide even when I goof up and it is about me.

Now that I’m healed from those hurts, I don’t rely on my husband to be the source of all my happiness. I have the discernment to know when he’s having a bad day when to approach and when to wait. I no longer have those internal alarms going off thinking he’s upset with me.

If this is a struggle for you, I pray something in this post gives you hope to seek healing as well. If you are not part of a Bible reading, Christ centered church, I pray you find one and surround yourself with people who can pray for you. I’m rooting for you!

***

Julie Arduini, author and speaker_edited

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Surrender Story: Approval and the Eggplant

Posted by Julie on January 12, 2016 in About Me, encouragement, God's Word, Julie Arduini, Life Lessons, surrender |

This year my goal is to share surrender stories, encouragement from myself and others that will encourage you to surrender the good, the bad, and—maybe one day—the chocolate. Last week Sarah Hamaker shared her story about parenting expectations. Alexis A. Goring let us in on her journey about surrendering refined sugar.

My story is about letting go of people pleasing and approval.

For those that know me now, they can’t believe I’d waste much time on such a thing. Peers find me God confident and secure in who God says I am. Trust me, that wasn’t always the case.

I was a hurting person growing up and took offenses, even slight ones that weren’t even intentional, to my core. I nursed them, fed them, and sewed them into my heart. By the time I was in my mid/late twenties and starting married life, approval had a grip on me.

What my husband thought of me kept me busy day and night. Choices he made I zeroed in and was certain was because of me. I can’t tell you how many of our early conflicts had the words, “This isn’t about you.” I couldn’t believe it. And I was imagining so many disappointments he had about me that I conjured up real conflict.

I did the same with colleagues and clients. I wanted to be the best and felt I was only good at what I did when I saw the organization or may name in bold newspaper print. Well, not every task is going to make the news. I exhausted myself wanting the approval.

The object lesson that I share with ladies I speak with is the loudest example to me about how sick I was when it came to needing approval and caring what people thought of me. I am so NOT a crafty person. But years and years ago for Christmas dinner at the in-laws I was chiseling an eggplant into a penguin centerpiece. If Pinterest existed back then I would have scoured the site looking for something I could bring that would make me feel worthy enough to be there. I was up into early morning getting this eggplant centerpiece ready. By the time I got there, I was too tired to be social. No one cared about the penguin. These people just wanted to see ME.

This Pinterest eggplant penguin kept me up all hours just so I'd feel worthy enough to attend Christmas.

This Pinterest eggplant penguin kept me up all hours just so I’d feel worthy enough to attend Christmas. Image: Goods Home Design

But back then, I still didn’t see it, and surrendering it was a process.

Here’s what God did in me.

I went to a couple retreats where prayer was intensive and I took steps of faith to share my story and allow others to pray. The results were powerful. God showed up and I felt for the first time how deeply Jesus loved me. He started to re wire my mind.

Then, I read. I’m an avid reader and I’m not afraid of a tough Bible study. I journeyed through Beth Moore’s Believing God and a few years later, Stasi Eldredge’s Captivating. Both these books were tools in God’s arsenal to set me free.

This healing in my life paved the way for me to write. There was no way I could have pursued writing for the public the way I was, and sadly I see too many authors with this approval/what others think burden and it is exhausting for them and frustrating for those in their circles. It would have emotionally snuffed me out had I not sought healing. And in His mercy and humor, I did receive a negative review with Entrusted. The person was kind but they didn’t like the book. They even admitted the hardest part was they hit purchase twice, so they were stuck with two copies they didn’t want.

Not long ago that review would have sent me to bed and I would have kept it churning in my mind for months. Today? I smiled. Not because I’m mocking the reviewer, but I’m so thankful for what the Lord has done in me.

And my friend, He longs to do the same for you.

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Character Confession: I Don’t Know if Fat Floats

This started out as a reply to The Common Queen, a dear, dear friend who is cleaning it up on the Internet. Her little blog is going places, and once you read her posts, you’ll see why. In writing you need a voice, and Holly’s got it.

Besides this great post, which got two THOUSAND views in a day, she wrote this one. And it stuck a chord with me.

You need to read it. Go ahead. I’ll wait.

Okay, so I had to respond. I wrote it on Facebook where she linked. It was a run-on mess because that’s just how it is on FB. So I thought I’d respond here, too. Because you need to read Holly’s stuff, and, perhaps my answer will encourage you.

I know what it’s like to be the fat one. My mom said each winter I gained weight but ran it off every summer, until I didn’t.  What no one knew was as I moved into puberty, I had PCOS, and quite a severe case. I’ve always struggled with hormonal imbalance and endocrine stuff. Although there were thin years I remember 5th grade when the weight stayed.

captivatingelem

We were in gym class, of course, swimming, and a kid pointed at me and asked the teacher, “Does fat float?”

That 5th grade me stayed with me through the thick and thin. When I became a young adult I was so wounded I thought any attention from a boy would validate me. And honestly, shut that fat girl inside me up. Even when I asked Jesus into my life, I have to say—my eternal destination changed.

My fat girl mentality did not.

The shame and insecurity stayed with me through meeting my husband and marrying him. In addition to other issues, I was so insecure I waited every day for a decade for him to announce he’d seen the light and was on his way. My self loathing was that strong.

When I became pregnant with our second child, I knew deep down we were having a daughter. How I prayed she’d be spared. And while in the womb He whispered to me that this child would be an overcomer. I honestly thought it meant she wouldn’t have the tough PMS I endured. Maybe she’d miss the fat floats insanity.

She was born with endocrine issues that made things a challenge for her immediately. Her weight tripled from her two month check to the next one. Strangers stopped me and said the most horrific things. Things that make the fat float question sound genius.

I thank God because in that season, He was healing my heart and giving me confidence to see the bigger picture, pun intended.

I went through a Bible study by Stasi Eldredge called Captivating. God used that book to set me free. I don’t have the words to explain it, but to say I’m free. I don’t worry about what I look like anymore. I do my best to stay healthy, but that shame? Gone.

I also had a mentor encourage me by saying the chubby girls are listened to. When I give a speech or presentation women listen to me because I’m real. I’m one of them. They can relate to me. I’ve watched women with more skill than me try to speak and the women shot them down. Ignored them. Mocked them. Why? Because the speaker was thin and usually blonde. The audiences couldn’t relate.

When I watch my daughter walk down the hall at school there is such joy on her face. When she hears a comment most of the time she gives a look back that says “I feel sorry for you because you’re missing out on the awesome that is me.” But she’s human. It hurts her, too. I suspect as she matures she will hear more. And I hate it. As she’s grown she’s had additional diagnoses that unless God intervenes, she won’t be a size 2. And I pray she’s okay with that forever, as she is now.

My struggle continues. I went into forced menopause and that made losing weight even harder. I keep track on MyFitnessPal. I walk the dog. I do what I can. And I don’t care what others think or say. Truly.

So to the kid that asked if fat floats, I don’t know or care. But fat has a testimony if you allow it. My fat is a broken place I allowed God to use to encourage someone else. And that’s a plus-size bonus.

 

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Sabbath Sunday: God, The Romancer

melodylodgeroct13

Each Sunday I share my amateur nature picture with a thought or two about God’s love for you. This month is also part of the thankful series, so I’ll be sharing that too.

I’m thankful that God is a romancer. That’s not something you read everyday, it’s a concept I first read in Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. He longs intimacy with us. Sadly we misuse that word, because it truly is a pure and beautiful concept.

God romances me with His creation. I’ve always loved sunsets. Water scenes always give me peace. Mountains are the most majestic thing and I can come undone by their sight. When you see those “diamonds” in the snow, those are for you. God’s a show off. He’ll paint a masterpiece just for you. I pray you start seeing His romance and fall in love with Him whether it’s for the first time, or all over again.

Even better than these scenes is knowing His Son. I’m thankful for the friendship I have with Jesus. How we adults complicate things. Knowing Him hasn’t held me back. He set me free. Befriending Him hasn’t made me an angry hypocrite, but a healed woman who wants to reach out and love others because He loved me first.

If you’d like to know more, I encourage you to read this and click on the link.

I’m thankful for you stopping by. Trust me, it wasn’t an accident!

 

photo: view from The Melody Lodge, Speculator, NY, Adirondack Mountains by Julie Arduini

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0

Sabbath Sunday: God, the Romancer

melodylodgeroct13

Each Sunday I share my amateur nature picture with a thought or two about God’s love for you. This month is also part of the thankful series, so I’ll be sharing that too.

I’m thankful that God is a romancer. That’s not something you read everyday, it’s a concept I first read in Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. He longs intimacy with us. Sadly we misuse that word, because it truly is a pure and beautiful concept.

God romances me with His creation. I’ve always loved sunsets. Water scenes always give me peace. Mountains are the most majestic thing and I can come undone by their sight. When you see those “diamonds” in the snow, those are for you. God’s a show off. He’ll paint a masterpiece just for you. I pray you start seeing His romance and fall in love with Him whether it’s for the first time, or all over again.

Even better than these scenes is knowing His Son. I’m thankful for the friendship I have with Jesus. How we adults complicate things. Knowing Him hasn’t held me back. He set me free. Befriending Him hasn’t made me an angry hypocrite, but a healed woman who wants to reach out and love others because He loved me first.

If you’d like to know more, I encourage you to read this and click on the link.

I’m thankful for you stopping by. Trust me, it wasn’t an accident!

 

photo: view from The Melody Lodge, Speculator, NY, Adirondack Mountains by Julie Arduini

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0

Sabbath Sunday: God, the Romancer

melodylodgeroct13

Each Sunday I share my amateur nature picture with a thought or two about God’s love for you. This month is also part of the thankful series, so I’ll be sharing that too.

I’m thankful that God is a romancer. That’s not something you read everyday, it’s a concept I first read in Captivating by John and Stasi Eldredge. He longs intimacy with us. Sadly we misuse that word, because it truly is a pure and beautiful concept.

God romances me with His creation. I’ve always loved sunsets. Water scenes always give me peace. Mountains are the most majestic thing and I can come undone by their sight. When you see those “diamonds” in the snow, those are for you. God’s a show off. He’ll paint a masterpiece just for you. I pray you start seeing His romance and fall in love with Him whether it’s for the first time, or all over again.

Even better than these scenes is knowing His Son. I’m thankful for the friendship I have with Jesus. How we adults complicate things. Knowing Him hasn’t held me back. He set me free. Befriending Him hasn’t made me an angry hypocrite, but a healed woman who wants to reach out and love others because He loved me first.

If you’d like to know more, I encourage you to read this and click on the link.

I’m thankful for you stopping by. Trust me, it wasn’t an accident!

 

photo: view from The Melody Lodge, Speculator, NY, Adirondack Mountains by Julie Arduini



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