Are You Tired?

I recently had a conversation with woman that loves Jesus with her whole heart but, has found herself completely drained. Worn Out. Empty. Tired. Numb. Shut-down. Ready to throw in the towel and walk away from anything that looks like ministry because she has just “had enough.” Can you relate? I know I can. There have been seasons in my life where I just couldn’t do it anymore.  I was just so tired, I shut-down. I couldn’t enjoy even the simplest of things because I had allowed myself to be stretched so thin that everything just snapped. Sadly, my story is not uncommon. In fact, it is quite the opposite, it is something most women go through in their life.  Especially women inside the church walls. What causes us to get to the place that we are so empty that we burn out, hit the wall, and crash? How can we pick ourselves up when we get to that place?  How can we prevent it from happening? Here are the top three reasons we allow ourselves to get physically, emotionally, and even spiritually drained and what we can do about it? 1. Self-Care  Women have a tendency to take care of everyone else’s needs but their own. Often times we will sacrifice our own well being (spiritually, emotionally, & physically) to meet the needs of the people in our lives. There is a reason that we are told on an airplane to put on our own oxygen mask on before we help the people next to us. Self-care 101, put your oxygen mask on first otherwise the help you have...

You Have Permission

Those three simple words are FILLED with GREAT POWER! You have permission… to go after your dreams! to love! to start over! to quit! to rest! to make new friends! to put yourself out there! to let go! to cry! to laugh! to hurt! to heal! to be brave! to be weak! to be yourself! I have said everyone of these sentences at some point to people that DESPERATELY needed to hear that they “had permission.” So many people live their life waiting… waiting for what? People need reminded that time is short and they “have permission” to change, to regroup, to start over, to try something new. It takes courage to face reality and know that you need to make some changes… it also takes courage to follow through with the changes you know that you need to make!  God wants us to start being encouragers and permission grantors! I know in my own life when I have felt nudges from The Lord about things that seemed “out of the box” and that would require a huge leap of faith I was often met with discouragement. I need people to rally around me and say “GO FOR IT” but instead I have, at times, received some confusing looks, discouraging words, criticism, & skepticism. Don’t get me wrong sometimes as a friend we have to say to each other, “Hey, I think your missing it,” but ONLY when we REALLY feel strongly that if we don’t say something we will just die. Not just anytime we hear something that we deem a little “crazy”. Sometimes “missing it” is part...

Parenting in the Midst of Fear

There is so much going on in the world today that evokes the spirit of fear. Racism and violence fill our streets. Our news is filled with acts of terrorism. Because of social media, everyone now has a platform to share their opinions; the good, bad, and the very ugly. Our children are being exposed to obscene levels of violence and hatred. Parenting is hard. Parenting during this specific time period seems exceedingly hard. Our children are flooded with images of racism, hatred, and terrorism. They also see the christian community take extreme sides and draw lines in the sand stating this is right and this is wrong. Even though both sides of the lines believe to have the right answers. Our children hear and see everything we say and do. How are we representing our faith to them? How are we helping them navigate through all the emotions that are brought to the surface when deep rooted issues like racism and violence are discussed? Our children hear what we say, not just to them but to our spouses, our friends, our families. Do our conversations line up? Do they reflect our values that we have tried to instill in our families? We all have a value system. What we value is what we put a heavy emphasis on. Our children learn our value system through our words but also through our actions! They see everything. They see how you act and react. They see what you support through finances, prayer, and even just simple conversations. They see the gap between what we say we value and the way...

The Balance From Helicopter & Hands off Parenting

Sunday morning I was standing in church and reached down and picked up my youngest child, Anna Grace, to hold her for a song or maybe two… It is something I LOVE to do during worship. She is petite so I have been able to do it for much longer than I physically could have with my other children (if being petite can be a gift from God I believe He allowed my youngest one to be tiny do that I could ENJOY holding her just a little bit longer than normal) ( she is the baby and all). Anyway, I love to hold her during worship and listen to her little voice as she sings along with the songs. Well this Sunday the two songs I normally get to enjoy with her only lasted about 30 seconds. She is growing up. She was getting heavy but I was willing to PUSH THROUGH… but she wanted down. She wanted down. She knows she is too old to be held. She has played along for far too long. But the season is coming to an end. I realize that she will still need me, and want to snuggle. But my little girl is growing up. My 19 year old is here visiting from college. It has been such a joy having her here during her break! It seems like yesterday (cliche I know) that I was holding Samantha. I blinked and now she is an adult making her own decisions. But this Sunday when I realized my baby didn’t want to be held anymore (and good grief IT IS MORE...

Wholeness

I spent most of my life striving, hiding, pretending, scared, and lonely. Wholeness was a foreign concept for me. For a decade I would hear The Lord speak to me about wholeness and the importance of being spiritually, emotionally, and physically fit for the call He had for me and honestly I just missed what He was trying to say. His words would cause me to “spin out.” Every time He would nudge me in that direction I would step onto the hamster wheel and run in circles. Striving. Performing. I would “over do it” in one area becoming almost obsessed on my spirituality or my physical health. I completely shied away from the emotionally realm… because lets face it, opening up that can of worms just sounded frightening! When I would hear His words about being fit spiritually, emotionally, and physically what I received from Him was condemnation (even though that’s not what He was intending for me to hear.) I would “hear” “Stephanie you are not doing it well enough,” or “Stephanie, you need to read more, pray more, worship more” or “ Stephanie you need to eat better, you need to lose weight, you need to exercise.” I missed the point entirely of what He was communicating to me. He was inviting me on a beautiful journey…a journey of wholeness… sadly, that invitation sat for 10 years before I began to understand what He meant and finally RSVP’d for the journey. My relationship with Him was primarily a knowledge based one. Although, it looked REALLY pretty. Shiny even. I am a student by nature… I LOVE...

The Simple Truth

There is a line in a song by United Pursuit, “Simple Gospel” that touches my heart and describes the last year of my life… “I am laying down all my religion, I want to know you Lord.” This last year has been filled with the most awful moments in my life that caused me to question everything; church, marriage, faith, love, friendship, humanity… I mean EVERYTHING. But last year was also filled with the most freeing and beautiful moments that have ever touched my 30+ years. Moments of pure intimacy in my faith, marriage, family, love, friendships, and even with humanity. Sometimes we go through moments in time that mark us… hard…painful… moments that will either cause us to RISE up or CRUMBLE into a ball, feeling every god awful feeling imaginable. Last year, I had many moments of rising up, finding an inner strength that could only come from God. I also had many moments of lying in a ball feeling pain, betrayal, confusion, and anger. You name it and I can guarantee it was on my emotional roller coaster! When you go through moments that mark you… you are FOREVER changed… good, bad, and ugly… In those moments you question everything, you realize who your people are, and if you allow God in your moment… you will find yourself and you will find Him. NOT RELIGION. You will find Him in the midst of your pain, in your fears, in your hurt, there He will be. It doesn’t mean the pain is less hurtful but it does mean that you are not alone in your pain. God...

What Story Are You Telling?

He is creating a story with your life, one that will stay behind as a part of your legacy. Your story is being told to the people around you by the way you live your life. It is your greatest testimony. Your life can tell a beautiful story of redemption and it can give hope to the people who are listening to your story as it is being told. Your story line forms around your reaction to each trail and circumstance that you face.     We all have a unique story inside us. The journey we are on matters. Every step. Every sentence is a lesson and is part of a paragraph that weaves together to write the story of our lives. Every word is an opportunity to learn more about yourself and more about who God is. He reveals Himself to you and to the people listening to your story every step of the way. He redeems all things. When we partner with Him in telling our story He redeems each sentence. He works out something beautiful in each chapter and when you begin to put the chapters together, you see a more complete picture of who He is. So often, through bad choices (either our own or others that have an effect on us) we get stuck in a certain chapter of our story and have a really hard time moving forward. Our childhood can be filled with hurt, pain, rejection, abandonment, and abuse, which certainly can have an impact on our story. Especially if we allow ourselves to get stuck looking back on our childhood and never...

Mom VS STUFF

We have moved twice this year, both of which were giant moves. The first was 10 hours away from our family and friends and the second was another 8 hours further south. I have been blessed with six children and with that blessing comes STUFF…LOT’S and LOT’S of STUFF! Our first move we gave away almost half of all the kids STUFF. We just got settled in our new home (which I love by the way) and again before we moved we gave away SO MUCH STUFF. Where does it come from? How does it accumulate? My kids are like most other kids in America. I don’t feel like they are spoiled or have to have the next thing and yet still we are surrounded by STUFF! During this move I felt conviction over our accumulation of STUFF. How many stuffed animals does one child really need? STUFF does not define you nor does it define me, my family, and especially my children. They are awesome with or with out all that STUFF. Instead of owning our STUFF we have allowed our STUFF to own us. We have become slaves to our things allowing our identities to be defined by our homes, our vehicles, our clothes, our STUFF. Then we have our children that are learning about STUFF from us. We feel guilty we buy them STUFF. They are having a hard time at school or with friends… look here’s more STUFF! We are creating a world where STUFF is more important than people, character, or relationship. How many parents buy STUFF to make up for all the time...

The Power of Your Words

“Your words have power…” We have all heard that statement a million times. We have all had this information presented to us before through; sermons, books, devotions, blogs, and countless testimonies.  I feel like, for the most part, we have blocked out the truth behind that statement because of the responsibility it carries. When we realize that we are responsible we also realize that we may have to change. Change is often scary and requires effort so for most people it is easier to block out the truth and just not deal with reality. How do you speak about yourself? Do you say statements like; “I am so sick and tired,” “I am going to just die,” “I can’t do this anymore,” “I am ugly,” “I am stupid”? The negative statements we speak on a daily basis create mindsets and a belief system that we begin to build our lives around. For instance, if you are constantly saying, “I am not smart enough” or “I am stupid” your mind will begin to believe it as truth creating a mindset that will cause you to start to behave the way you believe. Your words create truth in your mind. God created your brain to believe that you speak the truth. So when your brain hears you speaking things like, “I am ugly” or “I am stupid,” then it actually believes what you are saying. Your brain creates belief systems all the time. It is constantly filing data. The data that you install in your own mind creates the reality that you live in. It is a viscous cycle. Your negative...

The Juggle

I have heard my own story from countless other women. Women who are in “The Juggle”; feeling overwhelmed, underappreciated, overworked and not sure how to deal with the crazy expectations of people and in reality the crazy expectations we, as women,  put on ourselves! I call it “The Juggle”. Now lets be clear, it’s not just juggling a couple of soft balls, it feels more like standing on a ball juggling with knives and jumping through flaming hoops with the weight of the world on your shoulders. Have you ever felt like that? Somehow the enemy has crept in and our lives have become chaotic. He has distracted us by making us feel obligated to juggle more and more… We have believed the lie that we must “DO MORE” and that somehow the DO in our lives = the amount we love. I want to let you in on a secret… Sometimes the DO actually subtracts from the love we feel in our hearts. Often times the DO feels like priority over our husbands and children. Too many times the DO leaves the people who are most important to us feeling overlooked and unloved. I am a “DOER” by nature and because of that my family and my health has paid the price and I am not alone. Over and over I have heard the same thing from women who just can’t put their finger on why everything feels out of whack. That feeling is a symptom of things in your life being out of alignment. Women who are trying to find the balance between loving God, husband, children, and...