Breaking Through

img_0322Be thankful for recognizing circumstances that convict your heart to cling tightly to your Savior.  Feeling imprisoned by uncomfortable circumstances you would not plan for yourself is a good time to bask in the thoughts of God helping you through. True peace relies on the focus of Him.  Knowing Him can relieve you from uncomfortable situations just by focusing on His commandments. ~Susan Husa

 

Acknowledging Fear

Bungee jump

Bungee jump

My heart fell a fraction of the distance his did when his body plunged off the platform of the bridge.  All I could hear was his voice calling out the further he fell, while the white snow covering the deep narrow valley enhanced my focus on him above the wide shallow riverbed below. I could hardly stand to watch as I clutched tightly to my prayer. Earlier that week when he told us he wanted to bungee jump, I felt sick from fear.  I wished in that moment, that my son didn’t want to do these crazy things.

This event was a defining moment for me; to give my fear, of my son’s desire, over to God.  In these times of fear I start praying, giving my concerns to God knowing that He will oversee everything according to His plan.  I remind myself that just because I have fear around bungee jumping doesn’t mean I need to shield my son from it.

In an earlier time of raising my children, my daughter and son were playing with toys until my son slapped a stuffed toy over his sister’s head.  I immediately took the toy and slapped it over his head telling him we don’t hit.  Fear struck me as my thoughts raced around about how hitting back doesn’t teach no hitting.  And when I heard the “thunk” on his head I was petrified and terrified that one of the hard plastic eyes had struck his head leaving a small bump.  The fear I felt overwhelmed me for what I had done.

I immediately called my dad at work and with tears flowing and hardly a breath to speak, I shared with him what I had done.  I was scared thinking the worst: “People that do these kinds of things go to jail.”  Devastated!  I couldn’t hardly breath I was so distraught by my actions.  I couldn’t even think clearly about what I should do.  He was only about two and a half.  My dad assured me that as parents, we all make mistakes we regret.  The pain I felt was overwhelming and I felt so ashamed.

Fear is overwhelming when we don’t know what to do with it.  In this case, I felt the need to tell someone what I had done wrong.  Confessing to my dad helped me get grounding.  Not only did my kids need consoling but I needed to get myself collected to continue my responsibility as a parent.  It was a teaching moment for all.  I needed to give grace to my son and myself saying mommy was wrong too. He needed to learn how to apologize by my actions of telling him I was sorry and that I love him.  I needed to have him understand truth that we treat each other nicely. He told his sister he was sorry and we all gave each other hugs.  In this moment I prayed to God for forgiveness and to help me control my actions.

Roche Harbor Restaurant

Roche Harbor Restaurant

Another time in my life my boss asked me what my worst fear was and I said, “Flying with you.”  He immediately responded and said, “What days do you have open on your calendar next week?” I knew where this was going.  That next week I was flying in a Cessna 150.  I definitely was afraid of this small plane and his piloting!  We flew up to the San Juan Islands and I wasn’t quite sure where we were going nor did I talk much.  I was scared and it seemed like he was too since he had just accomplished enough solo hours to fly having a passenger.

When I spotted the landing strip at the Roche Harbor Resort airport a sense of calm came over me.  I loved that place and I thought, “Oh good, I can get out of this plane.”  No sooner than I thought we were landing, we were taking off again.  Talk about a rush of fear!  I asked him with a bit of stress under my breath why he did that.  He told me it was a “touch and go.”  So what that means is a plane touches down on the landing strip and immediately takes flight again. Feeling extremely anxious by now, I wished he would have explained what he was doing.

We can’t say no to what we fear when we don’t have the right tools.  Whether you face this with children or not, if you don’t want to do something you have no interest in, then say no, even if it is your boss.  Take a leap of faith.  If your boss intimidates you, speak out your concerns.  Relying on God’s Word for guidance is a great way to learn about overcoming fear.

However fear strikes us, knowing what to do with the emotion attached to it, is what keeps us at peace.  ~ Susan Husa

Found you in my heart

Found you in my heart

Fearing God with reverence and trust in all that we do should lead our actions. Anytime we are outside of doing what God truly would guide us to do is sinful.  As sinners we can be thankful for the fear we have in disobedience as a follower of Christ.  This fear is like a compass which steers us in the right direction.  If we fear God, we acknowledge His commands to Love.  We accept his son Jesus and His sacrifice. We bow our heads and remember that this act of love is what has set us free from condemnation.  Christ in us enables us to transform as we practice what we learn, one step at a time.

We can’t control what other people want to do. We can’t control what other people do to others.  We can control what we do.  In all of these scenarios, if we acknowledge fear with reverence to God, it is He that will lead us by His Word to that place of peace as we bask in His Truths.  A great time to acknowledge The Lord’s Prayer.

No Longer Inferior

IMG_2250

Great place to identify with lazy.

My parents divorced when I was in the sixth grade. I remember the day vividly when my dad left. My mom was standing at the mixer licking the dough off her finger while the two had exchanged a few words and out the door he walked carrying some of his clothes on hangers. It was awful, in a flash, my life had changed. Immediately I thought about my friend crying at school one day, about a month prior, saying that her parents were going to get divorced and I told my other friend that if my parents did that, I would kill myself. Those words wrecked havoc in my mind that day and night. Resolving that I wasn’t going to do that, the pain left in my heart haunted me for many years.

As a teen I had no identity to stand on. Other than a girl that comes from a divorced family, struggling to make ends meet. A dad that was admired in the community for his profession. And my mother that felt most of the women in town talked behind her back about what an awful house cleaner she was. (I would be too, frankly, if I was handling eight kids day and night.) My mother worked graveyard in a potato factory to make ends meet after the divorce. This was my identity.

With a hundred dollars in my pocket and my first month’s rent paid,  I moved from a small farming community to a large city. I was in my early twenties, had a high school diploma and felt inferior to peers I met with a higher education. But I never stopped dreaming of being a professional of some sort. I knew that I wanted to do great things. I wasn’t sure what, but I had a desire.  I walked onto a college campus one day trembling with fear. I waited in line to speak to someone not even sure if I was in the right line. When my turn came tears flowed from my face as I explained that I wanted to go to college but didn’t know how to register. Shame fell over me like I had never felt but I wanted to somehow, some way change my life. She was kind and suggested I take a career decision-making class.  My identity: “Lost.”

Years later in my late twenties I landed a job I absolutely loved. I worked with a company that managed a University and I continued my education while working with them. I represented a group of consultants in management development as Sales and Marketing Director. The maturity, personal and professional growth I experienced was outstanding.  I participated in every aspect of starting up a company with them and thrived in my position.  With fear in my every move each day I conquered and prospered. My identity was defined by my performance.

Shortly after my career was established, I became a mom with a husband building his career and had two little ones. Life was great until a huge dark cloud loomed over me. I had accusations made against me and my truths, which triggered memories of days gone by and I didn’t feel equipped to deal with the memories of tragedies that I experienced or the relationships I had to endure. I shut down and as hard as I tried to stay positive; I couldn’t bear the struggle. There were too many memories and realities I was trying to make sense of. My identity as a mom was stricken. I didn’t have the right tools to deal with what I was experiencing in my heart and soul.  Identity: “Messed up.”

For now, at least fifteen years has passed since that time. I identify with being equal and without an inferiority complex. These are the days where I can rejoice and be thankful that I do respect and forgive the scenes of yesterday. As hard as that feels to write, I rejoice in those experiences as they are what lead me to the place I am today. I have shared what I have learned with my children and they have learned from them too.  Identity: “Loved.”

No longer inferior. I am beginning to understand what fear truly is. We can only live in this very moment.

Presense of Mind

Presence of mind

Presence of mind

Twenty years ago when I imagined what life would be like with children, I didn’t realize how many demands motherhood required.  Nor did I know that my influence would not always produce the outcomes I anticipated either.  One day in particular comes to mind when the kids were about five and three.  I was daydreaming about taking them out on an adventure and thought about all the things I needed to pack in order for us to get out the door.  I was actually really looking forward to finally getting out and doing something different.  In a split second, there was no way I was going to make it happen.

All I could think of was how I was supposed to move through the rest of the day with vitality and purpose when feeling so disappointed.

I was so excited to get out of the house and the idea of the kids experiencing something new excited me more.  Accepting that I had to switch gears and cancel our outing was so disappointing!  When I recognized my negative thoughts around my disappointment I knew I needed to make a conscious effort to stay positive but I really didn’t feel like thinking that way.  I just wanted to carry that bad attitude for a while!

I have read that practicing presence of mind helps one move in the direction of their desires. 

But that afternoon, I wasn’t practicing that! Well, at least in a positive light. I let the change of direction take hold of my attitude and indirectly my kids bared the brunt of that. When I had some time to reflect I did think of how I could react differently next time.  I also learned a big lesson through it all because I had already been experiencing quite a bit of this with the age of my kids.  But this time was different.  I noticed that I didn’t like how I was acting.  I was feeling so disengaged and I wanted to get out of the funk I was in.

The desires of my heart did not match my behavior.

At this point all I could think about was how I like the thoughts that excite and engage.  And I love meeting my children with presence of mind because it allows me to genuinely engage in conversation with meaning, purpose, love and intention.  The approach with eye-to-eye contact influences a much better outcome than one half-hearted or distracted .

I knew I needed to change my mind.

I also had to remember that shepherding children takes courage, selfless acts and a commitment to helping them grow and become what they were intended for. If I rest my eyes on the Lord our God and focus on His promises, listening to those precious details he only tells me, it helps me engage with confidence, courage and His lead. It was then that my thoughts had transformed and a powerful peace of mind overcame me.  In that moment, my presence of mind had changed.

Have you ever felt that way?  How did you overcome?