Being Ok With Where You Are {Chapter 2}

OK-Where-You-Are-Book-Proof-promoI really don’t intend for this to feel like a ten step program to being ok with where you are.  Most of the time I find myself going back and forth between the ‘steps’ like a game of hopscotch. Some days, they happen simultaneously in my life.  In general, you don’t have to complete one to be ready to move ahead to another. You might think of  How to Be Ok With Where You Are as an abstract painting instead of a paint by number. It may get a bit messy at times, but in the end you still get a vivid and personal piece of art.

My hope is you feel the freedom to jump to a section that seems to be a sticking point for you. You have that option. This is absolutely true for all the chapters with one exception. Chapter 1 and 2 always go together, like Ebony and Ivory, Anne Shirley and Dianna Barry, or Bugs Bunny and the Road Runner. If you are willing to read and walk through chapter 1 you need to read and walk through chapter 2. You can’t separate the two.

You may pause, take a breath and brace yourself for chapter 2. This is totally fine with me. Please, by all means grab a cup cup of coffee or some chocolate because you just admitted you are not ok with where you are. This is huge. This is life changing. Now that I think of it, you should probably take a moment to prepare yourself, because chapter 2 may be the hardest one. I know it is for me.

So by all means, when you are ready, read on.

woman enjoying nature; woman in red dress walking on an empty road

 

{From Chapter 2: Give It To God}

Do you remember this poem? My dentist had it on a poster hanging from the ceiling with push pins back in the 1980′s. It had a girl on a beach tossing a dove into the air and read:

If you love something set it free.

If it comes back to you it was yours.

If it doesn’t it was never meant to be. – Author Unknown

Lately, I feel like I am living in this tired poem and giving my “it” to God is a bit like tossing that dove into the air. I know there are shades of truth here. I have to be willing to let go of what I was hoping like crazy was God’s best for me. There is one one major difference, however. When I give my “it” to God I am not setting it free to fly and let the universe decide to bring it back or not. Instead, I am surrendering my plans to a personal God who loves me and knows what is best for my heart.

“For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11

The trouble comes when I have something I really want to fit in God’s plan for my life and think I know better. I tend to hold on like a toddler who doesn’t want to share with her playmate. “Mine!” is a word I am all to familiar with in a house full of girls. It is next to impossible to unwrap my three year old’s hands from a toy she thinks she deserves. Parenting 101 teaches you to not  force the child’s hand, but offer her something better.

Often, God will orchestrate my life in such a way I have no choice but to let go of my “it” because it is not part of His good plan for my life. His hand extends to me and He whispers, “Dear one, if you keep holding on to that, you can’t hold on to my hand. There simply isn’t room for you to hold both.” Faith comes when I can’t see what else He is holding in His other hand or where His plan will lead. It feels like giving it to God is letting it go. When really, it is about having a hand to grab His and readying my heart to receive what He wants to give me instead. I have to trust His plan is infinitely better. At the end of the day, it is really about surrender.”

***

I’m not really crazy about that “s” word either. But there it sits just the same.  The rest of chapter 2 unpacks it and hopefully will lead us both to better things. What am I saying? Of course it does! It leads us to chapter 3 which I will share part of with you soon.

xo,

Stacey

For more information on “Being OK with Where You Are” go here.

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Being OK with Where You Are {chapter 1}

OK-Where-You-Are-Book-Proof-promoRemember last summer how we wrote a book together? Well, I wrote and  you showed up each week to read, comment, and hold me accountable. You were awesome by the way. The book came out last September (2013). I thought it would be a good idea to re-post the original 10 part series. I certainly could use the time to consider the journey God took me on last summer in light of recent life changing events.

This week, we’ll focus on a couple of chapters, with a few more the next. Unless of course it takes longer than that. This is highly possible. Thanks for being here, again. Let’s be OK together.

Here is a bit of background on the book to get us started:

Recently, I had an Olympic sized disappointment of my own. Something I had been working hard on for months fell through my fingertips. I could almost hear the gasp of the crowd in my ears as my own dream died in the form of a short email. I took a moment (translation the better part of a day) to dance with the disappointment and then I had a decision to make. What next? 

This was not an unfamiliar place for me. In my 40+ years I have had many disappointments. Some may seem small, others were life changing. I began to think back on each of those times in my life and saw a theme.  I saw for the first, time learning to be OK with where you are  is a process.

Confession time: I hate process.

I’m not entirely on the other side of it. This book is my way of walking through it and not getting stuck along the way.I love that you are here. It is so much better to walk together. I’m secretly hoping we can work out  being ok with where we are together.

I promise to cheer loudly for you. I’m hoping you’ll cheer for me, too.

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{From Chapter 1}  

Admit it.

“I’ve never been a runner. There was one time in college when I tried to become one because I desperately needed to shed the freshman fifteen. My roommate Nichole loved to run. She ran for the sheer fun of it. I was pretty sure I didn’t, remembering my days on the high school volley ball team. But, I needed results and fast. So I asked her to help me. She took on the challenge with great delight.

We would run after class just before dinner. Up hills and down, I felt every pound of the pavement on my entire body. She would glide effortlessly beside me while I gasped for air. After our run she would say, “Wow, that was great!” and then proceed to make and eat the biggest plate of pasta I have ever seen. I wanted to die and eat a pint of ice cream. I’m pretty sure I whined consistently about it to everyone who would listen.  One day while running it occurred to me, “I hate this. I hate everything about it. So why am I doing it?”

I quit running that day.

Nichole went on to run marathons and mini-marathons. She simply loved to run. I did not. The day I admitted I was not a runner was the end of my running career, but it was the beginning of something else. I started walking instead. Walking worked for me. I could walk for miles without hurting. My mind was able to slow and could release the frustrations of my day or casually communicate with whoever might be with me at the time. Usually, this was just me and Jesus. As it turns out, He likes walking, too.

Sometimes trying to be OK with where you are feels like running when you hate it. You are gasping for air and really all you want to do is stop the madness. You might also be steadily whining about it to everyone around you. Consider this your permission slip to admit it and stop running around pretending you are OK.

It is OK to admit it to yourself and God. Don’t worry, He can take it. You’ll feel better, too. It will also be the first step in your new journey. This new journey will take you straight to the heart of God.  If you let Him lead the way you will find you are not only OK with where you are, you are grateful for how you arrived.”

 

Join me tomorrow for part of Chapter 2.

xo,

Stacey

Update: Did you know you can download the entire first chapter for free? Yes, you can. Just go here.

For more information on how to purchase “Being OK with Where You Are” go here.

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When The View from Where You Sit is Rather Grey

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“The view from where I sit is rather grey.” – Elizabeth Bennet

Pride and Prejudice (the movie, the new one, not the old one)

 Grief is a strange thing.

For some strange reason it keeps coming back to me in images of water.

Initially, I felt like I was in an ocean of it. Sounds were muffled and life was happening all around I was just kind of sort of outside it all.

Now it comes more in waves as my friend Lara said. 

My mom quoted a book to me last night that said it is OK to take a vacation from the world for a bit when you are in the early stages of grief. This sounds like exactly what my heart needs, except as a mom of four I’m not sure that is really an option.

Below is an excerpt from a newsletter I sent out this week. I wanted to share it here in case you missed it.

“Somehow in the past week our lives have been in fast forward and slow motion all at the same time. And honestly, I’m not sure if I’m coming or going.

A friend of mine told me about  French word. It is bouleverser. It means ‘a total upheaval, an upset, an absolute reorientation of the way you saw the world before.’ She said,  “That’s what you have ahead of you. I and so many others in the family of Christ will be praying you through the agony, the blur, the chaos as you try to figure out a world without your father in it.”

Yes. Yes. Yes. This is where I am. In the blur.

So, this time of mourning has me quite perplexed. Every time I come to the page to write. . . nothing. Do I write my way out of it or write my way toward gratitude and joy? I hardly know at this point.

I just wanted to let you know I’m here. I’ll be around. Right now 140 characters seems a whole lot easier than a full on blog post. But, that will come sooner or later. Thank you for grace. For those who have prayed, emailed, sent cards, given money to get my family home, commented on my blog, posted on Facebook and Twitter—thank you. I see it all and it all means the world to me.”

And then there is this promise:

“He provides me rest in rich, green fields
beside streams of refreshing water.
He soothes my fears;”

Psalms 23:2

See, there is something to this water thing. I’m clinging to this one with both hands because God always does what He says He will.

xo,
Stacey

P.S. Thanks so much for your grace.

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An Ocean of Grief

Every Christmas my dad would sit in the same hard back chair in our living room and watch the girls open their gifts. For the past 4 years this little one has been in his lap. This was the only picture I took of him this year, other than the mandatory family photo before he and mom got in their car to drive home.
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Last month, my dad survived a miracle of a brain surgery and 36 hours later had the biggest smile on his face.  We knew the road ahead would be tough, but my daddy was brave and a fighter. This is my brother and I before I hugged and kissed him goodbye for the last time.

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Yesterday, my dad left his cancer-ridden body for his heavenly home. Though he has battled for the past five years with this disease, we are in shock.

 He is walking with Jesus, I know it. But, we are left to walk through what feels like an ocean of grief.

I appreciate your prayers so much.

Our world is upside down.

xo,
Stacey

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When A Mom Goes Home, She Goes to the Mission Field

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“The heart of motherhood never stops beating” – September McCarthy,

Raising Generations Today, Hope 2014

I watched them come through the door carrying their notebooks and tote bags filled with expectations and snacks. Some sat in chairs, others grabbed a seat on the floor. And when those places were taken they flowed out the door and spilled into the hallway.  They were weary moms waiting to hear how to have HOPE now. Brooke and I had prayed for them. I watched as she walked around the room touching the chairs. I remembered how we  said, “There is one mom here who needs HOPE. That is why we are here.”

We took turns telling our stories. They listened and laughed.

“Weariness is a feeling—and our feelings can lie to us.  Choose HOPE.” – Brooke McGlothlin

We told them the truth we have learned over the past two years:

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This God of Hope wants to be in the middle of our mess and work within us. When we honestly admit where we are, openly invite Him into our mess, pray continually, and encourage our hearts with His Word we can preach hope daily to our hearts. I know, because I do it every day.

And then I watched them walk out the door and they went home. They hugged their babies, kissed their husbands, and waved to the neighbors. Moms who break bread, wash tiny feet, and love others more than self are standing in their kitchens right now probably doing the last sink full of dishes before getting less sleep than they need.

They are missionaries, in the bravest mission field of all. Home.

I’m praying they remember what Jesus whispered to our hearts.

There is always Hope, because when God’s meets us in our mess, He promises to bring it with Him.

“May the God of hope fill you with all  joy and peace in believing, that through the power of the Holy Spirit, you may abound in hope.”  Romans 15:13

xo,

Stacey

 

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When You Need to Arise and Go #livethankful

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Have you ever said yes to something and not known why in the world God wanted you to? Have you thrown up your hands in desperation and cried a tear or two because why does He bother with you in anyway? But you arise and  you go, and in the going you see how He knew all along the path and why. His slow reveal is the gift. His gentle hand always guiding is the assurance. And you say “Yes, Lord” I will arise and go and I will live thankful. You are worth it all.

Gifts 2193 – 2214 

Seeing my girl grab onto her giftedness * Little “Mouse” on the Prairie * 4 Rivers BBQ

How everything that needs to get done gets done * He is a God of Hope, always * That God does not leave us to ourselves

His mercy chases after us no matter where we run * Safe travel * Bumping into friends at the airport

A quiet night in a hotel room * Sleeping in * Breakfast someone else made

New friends * Brooke made it to NY * Sweet lunch

Swag bags * More boot wearing weather * Bloggers

Moms * When you need HOPE now it is yours * Women in chairs, on the floor, and out the door

Heart full.

xo,

Stacey

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