Sunday was pretty much a numb day for me. I spent most of that day wrestling with God. I was in a foul mood from the time I got up, but I was really trying to keep it to myself because this was Robert’s day — his graduation day and I did not want any of my meltdowns to have an effect on his special day. So I pretty much just kept quiet.
Later that day however, Stephen said something that I did not agree with to our son, and instead of being quiet, I lashed out at him. Now normally, when I lash out — it is over and done with in just a few minutes. But on this day — because of how I was feeling, I just kept it going and going. For some reason, I just could not let things go.
This past week God has really been doing a number on all my “perfections” that I think I need to have in my life. My blog, my writing, my cooking, my home, how I school my daughter, my relationship with my husband — everything in my eyes has to be “just so so” in order for me to feel complete. However, little by little, God is removing this perfect look in my eyes and is replacing it with a look of what being real looks like.
The thing that I have come to realize is this — I don’t really care how people see me, as long as they know that I am real.
I have really been burdened lately by a lot of things going on in my life. I am just super busy, and while I loved that life for a very long time, my body is begging me to start cutting back on things. I feel like I am in a phase of my life where I need to slow down and just breathe. Have you ever felt that way?
It’s hard to explain how I feel, really. People ask me and all I can say is that I feel like everything is spiraling out of control and there is nothing I can do about it. School was pretty much a fail this year. I worked more than I taught my daughter which has really left me feeling like a bad homeschool parent.
My blog is not going in the direction I want it to, and I blame that on part because I have been so busy with everything else that I just have been ignoring it and then throwing up something just to have a post up that day.
My work life has been so busy that I feel like the youth ministry that we lead has been neglected which cannot happen. I need those kids and they need me and my husband.
Life is just really busy and whether I want to or not, God is drawing a line in the sand and telling me that I am soon gonna have to take inventory of what is going on in my life and make some serious changes. I am not sure if I am ready to make those changes, but if I don’t, I feel like my health, my ministry, my child’s education, my work — everything will suffer.
Have you felt that way before? How did you handle it?
I know that once I do get through this, I will be a better person because of it. This is a battle that the Lord is asking me to stand strong and fight. He is really wanting to do something with my life — and I can either listen to Him and get joy out of this, or I can keep fighting Him and be miserable my entire life. I choose joy instead of misery.
Knowing that God trusts me to make the right decision helps me in some way to choose the path I know He wants me to take. I just have to really take that step of faith and know that He will be there to lead and guide me.
If you are struggling with a decision today — know that He is there for you. Trust Him. Let Him guide you
Welcome to Pearl Girls™ Mother of Pearl Mother’s Day blog series—a nine-day celebration of moms and mothering. Each day will feature a new post by some of today’s best writers (Tricia Goyer, Lisa Takeuchi Cullen, Beth Vogt, Lesli Westfall, and more). I hope you’ll join us each day for another unique perspective on Mother’s Day.
AND . . . do enter the contest for a chance to win a beautiful handcrafted pearl necklace and a JOYN India bag. Enter at the bottom of this post. The contest runs 5/4-5/13, and the winner will be announced on 5/14. Contest is only open to U.S. residents.
If you are unfamiliar with Pearl Girls™, please visit www.pearlgirls.info, subscribe to our blog, and see what we’re all about. In short, we exist to support the work of charities that help women and children in the US and around the globe. Consider purchasing a copy of Mother of Pearl: Luminous Lessons and Iridescent Faith to help support Pearl Girls™.
And to all you MOMS out there, Happy Mother’s Day!
How I Learned to Give Up Control by Sue Edwards
I’m one of those mothers who would like to control everything in my children’s lives. You may be too, all out of the best intentions. I tried frantically to do that for many years until God grabbed my attention and wrestled my control issues from my clenched fists. It happened this way.
My youngest daughter attended a large university where campus housing was at a premium. Her second year she was accepted into one of the nicest dorms on campus, but the rule was that you could either choose the room or the roommate of your choice but not both. Well, I had heard horror stories of what happened when you roomed with some girls–like men in the room, and I turned into mother bear. I was not going to allow my child to take pot luck in roommates, nor were we willing to give up that choice room.
I had heard that if your child had a learning disability they would ditch the rule. So I decided to make my case with the administrator who could fix this unfair situation. All week, I was on the phone long distance climbing my way up the ladder to the gentleman who could give my daughter the room and roommate she deserved.
And finally, I was on the phone with him. We talked for a few minutes, and then he asked me, “Does your daughter have a learning disability?” I answered rather indignantly, “Well, I prefer not to label people.” That did it. He bought it. I had done the impossible. I called my daughter, she turned cart wheels on the other end of the phone, and we rejoiced together.
Only the roommate she had chosen, the dear Christian girl from her church, did not turn out to be the roommate she expected. In fact, she did have men in the room, a lot. And she went home at Christmas under suspicious circumstances. All fall I had to endure calls from my daughter who was trying to figure out how to navigate this awkward situation. And it was my fault. Some of us are stubborn and God needs a two by four to get our attention, and break us of our control issues. This was that time for me, and for my daughter. Now, when we are tempted to take control instead of trusting God, we look at each other, remember, smile, and let go.
God knows what he is doing in your life, my life, and the lives of our children. And he loves our children more than we do, as impossible as that may sound. So trust him, follow him. Two by fours are rather painful. You won’t regret trusting your Sovereign Father who has your, and your children’s, best interest at heart.
Dr. Sue Edwards has over thirty-five years experience as a Bible teacher, overseer of ministries to women, and author. Now, as a full-time professor at Dallas Theological Seminary, she equip men and women for future ministry all over the world. And women everywhere enjoy learning the Scriptures in face to face groups as well as an online community using her Bible studies, the Discover Together Series. To join the online Bible study community or to converse with Sue, go to Facebook.com/discovertogetherseries. She is currently working on a book with Barbara Neumann on mentoring millennials. Married for forty years, she and David are the parents of two married daughters and the grandparents of five.
Today, I ran upon a post by Holly Gerth that literally has me shaking in my boots. I. am. not. kidding. It is as if God literally chose that post just for me. As my eyes are scanning the words, I feel my throat closing, and I hear Him whisper to me –
This could be you, if you would just trust me.
Even now, as I am sitting here writing this, my heart is pounding, I am on the verge of tears, and everything inside of me is screaming YES! That is exactly the dream I dream for myself.
So why am I struggling so with trusting God with this THING in my life?
I want nothing more than to write and share with others. I want to encourage and bless through my blog and do what it is I know that I am supposed to be doing. The problem is that fear is screaming SO loudly at me right now. What am I afraid of you ask?
- Quitting my job and not being able to make ends meet
- Quitting my job and letting people down
- Writing my book and getting rejected
- Writing my book and it not being good enough for anyone
Fear is screaming loud and clear at me right now, and instead of fighting, I find myself shrinking back. However, after reading Holley’s post, I feel more encouraged and stronger somehow. She says:
The thing I’ve learned about God-sized dreams? They are the manifestation of His desire for our lives and He will go to any lengths to see them realized. Will you? Because the only thing worse than suffering disappointment or failure, is letting fear win. Keeping our dreams buried inside like a butterfly too afraid of the unknowns outside the cocoon; averting the risk, only to miss out on the beauty of flying free.
It’s time that I start realizing that this dream of mine –it’s real. God is pulling at my heart harder and harder, and is basically begging me to start. He knows my potential so much more than I know my potential, and it’s time I start trusting Him with that.
I’m getting ready to punch fear in the face.
Like Holley said, fear is getting ready to go down. Trusting God and doing what is in my heart — my passion is burning within me. It’s time to let it out for real and stop hiding and making excuses. This is my time. It’s time to live fully, breathe deeply, and jump off the cliff headfirst.
What about you? Are you hiding from something God is wanting you to do?
I feel like I am getting a fresh start this coming week. As I have stated before, we are moving into a new home, so that means starting from scratch all over again
Fresh starts are not something to look at and turn our noses up at. Fresh starts make us realize how important God’s mercy and grace are.
Today is also a fresh start. It’s Easter. Spend some time thinking about the day that Jesus rose from the grave for His fresh start.
What about you? If you are tired of the ruts you seem to be living in — maybe it’s time for you to get a fresh start.
I never imagined in my wildest dreams that God would give me a desire to lead teenagers. During my earlier days as a Christian, I fell in love with little kids, so I assumed that is what God would have me minister in my entire life. I did do that for several years. Then I felt God leading me to work through marriages. The only problem was, the lady that was over the women’s ministry at the church we were attending at that time (several years ago), would not give me the chance to do so because God had not given her that vision.
Then we moved to where we are now and a door, as well as a need opened up for a youth leader. My husband and I volunteered and immediately we both felt this connection like we had never felt before. It was evident that something inside of us was catching fire. Our hearts burned to share with this group of teenagers how to live for Christ and be fully alive.
It was clear to us that God was calling us into youth ministry together.
Since that calling a year ago, I have found myself in many a situation where God has allowed me to be a mentor. I have 10 wonderful young women of God who I pray for daily. Praying for them though is not my only task. Being a mentor is hard work. You have to admit when you fail — especially when they witness it, and you have to be there for them when they fail, and show them how to get back up, allow God to dust them off, and then move on.
Setting Yourself Up to Be a Mentor
If you are thinking of opening yourself up to mentor to other girls, here are some tips that might come in handy. I know they have really helped me to reach out and be there for the ladies that God has seen fit to put into my life.
- Don’t hide your past: I am not proud of my past at all. I was a very rebellious teenager who got into a lot of stuff. I drank, I smoked, I was sexually active — but I believe that every single thing I went through in my life as a teenager was so I would be prepared for this time in my life that I am in right now. God knew long before I did what ministry He would put me in, so he had to prepare me for that role. I would not be able to relate to these girls so well and truly understand what they are going through had I had a goody goody lifestyle. A great mentor and leader is one who accepts what she has been through and gives God praise for getting her through. Those things from my past are so these girls can see — you can overcome your obstacles.
- Be real with them: Teenagers are smart people. I hate when some of the older ones try to dumb things down for them. They are amazing and can pretty much read whether you are blowing smoke up their behind or if you are serious and real with them. Don’t talk to them like they are children. This is the next generation. Talk to them just like you would an adult — because basically they are headed in that direction. Don’t wait until they are older teens. They are a curious lot and want to know the truth. If you won’t share it with them — the Godly way, then they will google it or ask someone who may not be as Godly and then they might walk away with a warped view of what it was they were curious about.
- Treat them with respect: This is something that bothers me because so many people look down on the teenagers of this generation. Not all teens are rebels or wild. And even if they are– they still deserve respect. When you treat them like a child, they will act like a child. When you treat with love, respect, and care — they will eventually respond with the same attitude. When they have made a mistake — it’s not for you to beat them over the head with it. Respond with love and talk about why they chose that path instead of the other.
- Be there when they need you. All the teens in our group have both mine and Stephen’s phone number. They know our door to our home is always open to them and there have been plenty of times that we have talked with them late into the night about things going on in their lives. The thing that really keeps coming to my mind is this — How I would have longed to have someone to talk to when I was that age. Being there for them means that you are lending your ear when they have troubles — not so much that you have all the answers, but that you listen when they need you. Sometimes — they just need to talk to someone.
I am so blessed to be in the ministry that God has given me and my husband. I am honored that God would allow my life to be so messed up as a teen, just so I could be there for these wonderful girls (and guys) that he has placed in my life. It’s funny — when people ask me how many children I have, I laugh and say 15 — because in reality — that is what I have. 2 that are my precious kids — and then 13 more that I would take in in a hot second if the need arose.
What about you? What ministry does God have you in? Whatever it is — open yourself up to be a mentor. He needs more of us to help guide others on His path to obedience and greatness.
I’ve been one of those — you know what I’m talking about — the sell out. All in the name of saving face and keeping things going smooth. Even when you don’t agree with how things are being done and it goes totally against everything you believe in. Yes — there are people like that. They take in everything they can, and they stay silent just to keep the peace. I have been that girl for many, many years.
At jobs I have worked.
As a teenager when I knew I should have spoken up.
In my marriage when I felt attacked.
As a friend, when I knew they were hurting themselves.
Let me say this — it is NOT about being silent. Being silent only hurts others. If you know someone is doing something that is harmful to them or to others around them, speak up and say something.
For far too long, I have kept silent on different issues — afraid of rocking the boat, because I have a great life. In speaking up, it could cost me everything, but if I don’t start speaking up when I feeling it burning so passionately in me, then I become a shell of the person God made me to be.
In writing this, the only person that comes to my mind is Moses. He was frightened to do what God wanted him to. He had lived among the Egyptians as Egyptians for years. However, when God showed him his TRUE nature and who he really was, Moses tried to still hide himself among the Egyptians. God did not want Him doing that and eventually had to force Moses out so his true identity would be known.
How many times have we done that? We have kept silent when God has begged and pleaded with us to stand up for Him? I’m done being like that. I knew that posting yesterday about my stand on marriage and what I believe in would cause some of my friends to not like what I have to say. I have friends who live homosexual lifestyles. I will probably lose those friends and opportunities in my workplace because of that decision to stand out, but I could no longer sit on the sidelines and be quiet.
I am tired of just being an empty shell. I will not bash people with my beliefs because that is not what I am about, but I will not hide my beliefs either in order to keep peace among everyone. I am done hiding under a rock. If everyone else around me can share about what they believe in, then why can’t I?
Don’t be a sell out. Period.
Don’t pacify others to keep the peace. If they ask you what you believe, don’t skirt around the truth. Tell them. Stand out. Be the One that God called you to be. It’s not people you need to worry about pleasing — it’s God. He is the one that you need to worry about. He is the only one that you really need to make sure you are aligning with.
So where are you at in all of this? Have you sold out? It’s not too late to turn things around.
What choices are you making for God today? I saw this on the Women of God Facebook page and it really resonated with me. So many of my choices have not been God honoring and because of that I have not experienced the life that God wants me to.
All of us should do our best to make the right choices.
What about you? What choices have you made today?