The Promise of the Lord in Jeremiah 29:11

It is so easy, in our hectic and fast paced lives, to get worried about how things will turn out in life. AS life gets busier and busier, we become worried and anxious about our future; wondering how we will make ends meet financially and then working harder and harder to defeat that struggle. We rely on our job and ourselves in order to secure our future, we come out short.

God makes a promise in Jeremiah 29:11 that says, ” ‘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.'” With this promise, why are we worrying about life? Why is it so hard to rely on God instead of trying to fix it ourselves? God promises us a future and in that we can have hope.

Recently, I was seeking ways to help me not worry about my future and let God take control. I read a book called, The Mental Toughness Handbook by Damon Zahariades. The book talks about being mentally tough and gives tips on how to accomplish this. One of the tasks the author discusses is the Sisu Mindset. Here is the Sisu Mindset:

  1. Refuse to let your circumstances overwhelm you.
  2. Commit to taking action
  3. Practice emotional resilience every day
  4. Anticipate problems

I want to encourage you to try this but add a bit of a biblical twist on it.

  1. Refuse to let your circumstances overwhelm you. When you feel like things are going wrong and you aren’t sure how they will work out, remember all that God has done for you this far and remember He is the one writing your story.
  2. Commit to taking action. Have you ever heard the story about two farmers who were praying for rain? One prepared his field and the other did not. Who do you think got what he prayed for? Taking action does not mean coming up with our plan to fix things or make our future. Sometimes it means taking care of the things we current;y have action to take care of. For example, if you are waiting on the chance to purchase a home, pay off the debt that you have and work towards a better credit score.
  3. Practice emotional resilience every day. In order to do this one, we need God. When you begin to feel anxious, pray or spend time in God’s word. You will notice a peace in doing this and it will help you fight anxiety and have emotional resilience.
  4. Anticipate problems. As always, bumps in the road will happen. It doesn’t mean you have failed, it just means that life happens. Don’t feel defeated when problems arise. Just remember they will come and when they come, jump right back into these steps to face the problems.

Although it is hard to have faith in times of trouble, keep seeking God in the times of trial.

Motherly Expectations at 30

A battle that I face on a frequent basis is the notion of being thankful for what I have but also asking God for the desires of my heart. Growing up, I always wanted a big family. I pictured myself getting done with college around age 22, settling down and getting married by 23, buying our first house the same year and then getting pregnant. I wanted five children when I was growing up. The thought of having that many children brought me joy. They would grow up together, learn valuable life lessons together, fight with each other of course and be there for each other. It was a dream of mine to be that mom to those kids. By the age of 16, I had expectations of what my life should look like at age 30.

Unfortunately, life had different plans. I didn’t graduate college till I was 24, didn’t get married till I was 25, didn’t have my first child till I was 26 and I still don’t own a house. During our first few years of marriage, we struggled financially and, at one point, even had to move back in with family. During those years, I felt like my dreams and desires were falling apart.

Now I am 30, still don’t have a house of my own and only have one child. About seven months ago, we started trying for another child. Month after month, I would be let down by the pregnancy test results. Every time it said negative, my heart would sink. After the 6th month of negative tests, I decided it was time to take different measures in getting pregnant. I bought an ovulation test kit and followed the instructions as given. I notated the “ovulation window” and my husband and I scheduled a day to try and make it happen.

That night, life, once again, took a different turn and we never got the chance to try. I stayed up late figuring out if this was the path I wanted to go down. Scheduling a very intimate time is not how I wanted to conceive and it makes the thought of trying dull. I still don’t know where I stand on the idea of trying more. On one hand, I know I am very blessed in having the beautiful, smart daughter that I have and on the other hand, I want another child so bad, it hurts. My heart aches at the thought of not trying anymore but it is a thought I have had with all of life.

I wonder why I even bother to try for a home when my chances get taken away every time. I wonder why I even went to college if I am not using my degree in the way I dreamed. I wonder why I even bother with the hobbies I have if I never have time to do them in the first place. And thinking all of those thoughts, make me feel empty inside.

An old coworker put a post on Facebook that made me rethink my stance on life. She said, “There is no ‘right’ way to do life. There are no timelines. You are not late. You are exactly where you should be.” and she is right. Our society teaches that you should graduate high school at the age of 18 or 19, be done with college in 4 years, get a job in the field you want, make lots of money, buy a house and settle down around the age of 25, have a few kids by 30 and be set and happy with life. Who on earth came up with this? Since when do we all have to follow the same path as others and why do I have to have all my children before the age of 30?

We, as a society, need to break away from this norm and change that thought process. We live in a fallen world. A world where things do not go the way we want. So when we don’t fall into the norms of society, we begin to beat ourselves up and think of ourselves as a failure.

Another way to look at it is this, if we all lived the same life, had the same accomplishments in milestones, where would God be able to work in our lives? Because I have struggled my whole life, I have a story to tell and in that story, I can show how God worked in my life. That is not to say that there aren’t stories for those who have followed this life. Everyone has a story to tell but just because we do not follow the path of society, it does not mean that your life is a mess up.

Be strong in your desires for life and don’t give up on your dreams just because life did not go the way you wanted it to or the way you expected it to. Continue to ask God for the desires of your heart and don’t give up hope.

The Unconditional Love of a Toddler

I have just sat down on the couch after dinner and picking up a few things when my daughter asks for a snack. I knew the request was coming but wish it would have come before I sat down. I get up and walk to the cabinet to fetch a granola bar for my daughter and a glass of milk. I take it over to her and sit once again to rest.

Then the last straw comes, she spills her milk all over the floor and I snap. I release words of frustration as she sticks out her bottom lip in sadness. “Mama, I sorry…”

There are two things that are a constant through this time of emotional struggle. One, I am tired both emotionally and physically and two, I snip at my daughter more often than I should. After coming home from a long day at work and then cleaning up after my daughter, I get frustrated. I try to ignore the little messes and spills that happen but often times it becomes the last straw. As a mother, my actions have made me feel like a horrible mom. I feel like a failure which, as you can imagine, doesn’t help my mood.

But as the day comes to an end, I find that my daughter still loves me. She still wraps her arms around my neck and asks me to read her a story. She still tells me she loves me and that she wants a kiss. Her love for me does not change because of the mistakes I have made and the way I have treated her.

What an amazing example of unconditional love. And if we think about it, this is how God loves us. How many times do we snip at God, questioning how He is handling our lives? Yet, He still loves us. He still pulls us close and tells us how much we mean to Him. His love for me does not change just because of the mistakes I have made and the way I treat Him.

Just because we mess up in life doesn’t mean we are loved any less. God still longs for time with us and wants to show us how much He loves us. What are you struggling with at this point in your life that causes you to feel unloved? I want to encourage you to take a moment and think about how God still loves you.

Healing a Heart

As most of you have probably seen, I have not written in a very long time. I made a goal last January to write on a regular basis and was doing well for a while before I started to hit some health issues.

I have a history of heart issues. Issues that I was born with. In 2013 I had a cardiac ablation for what they thought was Supraventricular Tachycardia. What that means is I had an extra muscle in my heart that made it beat fast. Or so they thought…

I started having more palpitations so I went back to the cardiologist. Here is the funny thing, after the ablation, I had more issues with palpitations but each cardiologist I went to see told me it was nothing and that I was fine. So, eventually, I quit going. I started to believe that it was all in my head. After all, they were the experts right?

This past summer, the palpitations began to get worse and chest pain followed. Normally, with SVT you get chest pain but it goes away after a little bit. This was not the case for me. On a daily basis, I was having severe chest pain. I went to my general practitioner and she decided that it wasn’t in my head and I needed to see someone. She referred me to a different cardiologist (one I had never seen before).

The first couple visits were routine. EKGs, ultrasounds, blood work, you name it. The difference was, this cardiologist did not think it was in my head. He knew it wasn’t right and was determined to figure out what was going on. I was put on a halter monitor for 15 days which caught a rapid heart rate but he was not convinced that it was the SVT back. He referred me to a second cardiologist but ordered more tests to check other issues. He was the plumber of the heart and the other cardiologist was the electrician. Together, they wanted to figure out what was happening but I remained positive.

The last test I took was a CT of the heart. A few days later I was back in the doctor’s office for the results. I was expecting him to tell me the usual. Nothing was wrong with the scan and it probably was SVT. As he came into the room, he had trouble gathering his words and at that moment, I knew it was not good. His first words were, “I’m glad we did this test.” and then silence. A look of worry filled his face as he explained to us that I have an extremely rare heart defect where one of the major arteries that sit on top of my heart run between two of the vessels.

He explained that, normally, doctors diagnose this after an individual has died from sudden heart failure. Unfortunately, since they do not know a lot about the heart defect there are only a handful of people in the U.S. who even know how to do the surgery. At first I thought, oh surgery, it will probably be really simple like my cardiac ablation. Unfortunately, it is open heart surgery.

Open heart surgery. The phrase still runs through my mind as a bad dream. How can I be at this point? Just months ago we were talking about having another child and getting excited for that reality. Now that dream feels shattered and fear feels like the only logical feeling to have.

Deep inside I know that I have to trust God’s plan. He is the one who can get us through this but man, sometimes that task seems difficult. I hope I can be a beacon of hope to others struggling as well. I will continue, as much as I can, with posting my journey through this hard time.

“Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified. Do not be discouraged. For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

The Struggle of a Working Mom

I’m a working mom. It is no surprise to many of the people who know me. I work the 8-5 job at a Credit Union that is an hour away from home. As a working mom, I struggle. I struggle with the idea that I am not home with my daughter; giving her the education I believe she deserves and the love that I can provide as a mother.

I have a wonderful job and am blessed in the world we live in today to earn the kind of money that I do. I come from a job where I didn’t feel valued and dreaded coming to work every day. I am valued here and rarely have to deal with customer service (a role I quickly got burnt out on growing up). I am a part of a team that can make a difference in the life of others. So yes, I am very blessed to be where I am right now, but it isn’t where I want to be. My dream is to be a stay at home mom, teaching our daughter; writing and drawing in my spare time.

I spent six years at Western State Colorado University studying and earning my degree. There were days I thought I would never graduate and nights I cried myself to sleep because I was so stressed out and now, I am working in a job where I am not utilizing my degree the way I want but maybe that is the key here. It isn’t where “I” want to be. What if God has a bigger plan for my life that I don’t realize?

As Christians, we are called to be disciples of Christ and be used for His glory. When our life becomes about “me” and “I”, we quickly lose sight of that. I am not saying forget about your dreams. God gives us dreams and talents for a reason but how can your dreams and your talents be used for God’s glory? I will always keep asking God to make my dreams happen but they will probably not happen the way I want.

I also need to remember that just because I am not where I want to be in life with my degree and my talents, I shouldn’t shove them aside and never use them. The past few years I have pushed aside my talents and dreams because I have given up. Constant rejection has made me give up and I need to redirect my steps. I need to continue to utilize my talents and practice. I need to be prepared for when God decides to open that door.

What talents and dreams are you pushing aside? Don’t give up on those dreams. I know it sounds cheesy but, seriously, don’t give up on them. Pursue them every day. Pray and ask God to use your talents and dreams for His glory. And if you have a special dream, ask Him for it. Don’t stop asking Him. When we ask for something, He will make it happen when it is for His glory.