Thursday, May 7, 2015

What Breaks My Heart



This past week I had an awesome opportunity to attend the Orange Conference in Atlanta, GA. This conference is hosted by a man named Reggie Joyner. He is the founder of Orange. He was burdened by the lack of connections between church and family for students and kids. So he created a curriculum for churches to use that helps bridge that gap.

The Church  I attend has been using this curriculum for a few years, so it was awesome to get to go and be equipped, encouraged, and refilled. The breakout sessions, speakers,and music were awesome. Attending things like this always raises my lid of perspective, to dream bigger, and share the knowledge I have learned with others.

One of my favorite pastors and speakers is Andy Stanley. He spoke about “What Breaks your heart?” As he spoke I was challenged to reflect on myself and try and figure out the answer. I feel like God has really been refining this area for me in this past year and it brought me back to the last time I had been burdened for co-workers and friends after hearing conversation after conversation of them giving up on their dreams.

As I sat in the arena trying to hear and understand the places God continued to reveal more of the picture of what breaks my heart and what He wants me to do about it, I was reminded of the conversation I had just overheard in a breakout session of a wife talking to her husband. She was having to give him specific direction about everything that needed to be done while she was gone. The child’s schedule, where the camera was, phone numbers and people to call. The "parental guidance" went on for about 10 minutes.

Of course my single brain was first like, “Can the dude not do anything for himself?” As I recognized my freedom to concentrate on the session,  I couldn't help but wonder how this lady could even begin to glean knowledge from the presentation because of all the things clouding her mind.

In that arena, surrounded by so many busy women trying to juggle their "hats", my heart broke into a million pieces.

It breaks my heart to see Moms who sacrifice their dreams and put them in the back of the closet because they feel responsible to put their husbands and children first.

Please understand, I’m not saying that women shouldn't put their families first!! It’s the part of losing their dreams that breaks my heart. Women can’t be the best wife, mom, friend, or co-worker if what is within her isn't flourishing.

With being single and having no kids yet, it’s hard to have the courage to speak about these topics. But coming from a divorced family….. my desire is that women have a fulfilled marriage.

So here are some of my thoughts that have been roaming around in my brain about this topic.

1.

               Husbands support your wives

I have some great friends who live this out daily. I get to watch their husbands support their dreams. It takes a team. Women need to know they can step out of fear and go after their dreams with their husbands being their biggest cheerleader.


.
 2.     Women trust your husbands!

I know that most moms have control issues. They know how to clean the dishes the correct way, what outfits the kids to need to wear, and so forth. Your husband will never step up to the plate to step in when you need to be absent, if you don't trust them and allow them to recognize his own capabilities. Otherwise, he may never rise to the occasion.

3.
      You can’t be the best wife and mom if you’re running on fumes.

Women need retreats, time alone, and to be refilled often. You are a vessel that is always doing and giving. Please take the time to be refilled.

What breaks my heart is something I know God has given me and I am in pursuit to use my life in helping find solutions.

What breaks your heart?

I hope you all have a wonderful Mother's Day this Sunday! Whether you have kids, foster, adopted, or like me one who is an aunt and teacher... We all mother in some way to someone. Let's invest well and live out our dreams!

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

The Fog Will Lift




My bags were in the back, sunglasses on, and music playing. Road Trip!

Even though it was going to be a quick trip, I was looking forward to spending time with my nephews and my twin sister at a resort.

As I traveled, following my sister, we started over the mountain. As we got closer to the top, it became very foggy. It had been raining a lot lately. My speed had dwindled down to where I was just inching along. If it hadn't been for the headlights, I wouldn't have been able to even see my sisters car. The road was narrow and I knew that I would need to drive very slow so as not to drive off the side of the mountain.

Hurry. There is fun to be had. Impatience.

There were several miles I could just see what was right in front of me. Then suddenly around a bend, the fog had lifted and I could see a stretch laid out in front of me. Then another patch of fog.

My life has felt this way recently.

Restless. Impatient. Can’t see too far ahead of where I am.

Sometimes our lives are like that foggy road. God giving us enough light to take one small step and then around a bend we are able to see more of the picture and direction He is leading us.

Then suddenly the fog lifts.

He reveals His plan and we can see for miles and miles His story for us.

Maybe you’re in a season like me where your just moving inch by inch because you can’t see any further. Here are some encouraging things to remember.

1.      His light will shine on your next step.
God will reveal the next part in your story chapter by chapter, page by page. He will make sure you know enough to know your next step. When we aren't certain of the next step, this is when faith steps in. To have faith that God will continue to shine a light in the direction to go. His word is a place where we can go to for this guidance.
2.      Keep moving forward.
We may know our destination but having to wait patiently during the process of getting to it. We can’t just stand still while we wait. We must keep pursuing Him and be active in our time of wait. This has been the equipping stage for myself. God equipping me for what is next.
3.     The fog will lift.
We will not stay in the fog forever. This is the hope we hold on to and know there is joy in the morning.

In this process we learn how to lean into Him and rely on His help to get us to our next destination.


Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Hard Conversations



I.Hate. Confrontation.

I have been the person who will dodge and stay away from it as much as possible. I am a people pleaser and physically get sick when I am not able to miss confrontation and it’s staring at me face to face.

My body, mind, and heart shut down. I am not able to communicate or even process. So frustrating to not be able to communicate what I was wanting or needing to say.

Running away is the safe route.

Not wanting to have to deal with these frustrations and lack of control, running was my choice. When a conversation got too hard, I would shut down and run. Always leaving things undone or worse than before.

I have lost a lot of time running.

When my parents divorced and I had no idea how to have the hard conversations with my mom. I ran. For several years there was very little conversation. It was too hard and I didn’t want to deal with it.

A friend and I had a very different vision and opinion about something very important. I had no idea how to navigate the conversations and couldn’t see a way to deal with the confrontations.

So I ran.

Do you see a common theme? I lost time and relationship because of not wanting to have the hard conversations.


I am thankful God has provided some guidance and wisdom to show me how to stop running when things get hard. I haven’t gotten it all right and still have moments where I want to at least sprint, but I give myself some grace.

I started wanting to fight for my relationships and watched how hard conversations would strengthen the relationships and that I was still able to stand afterwards.

Are you a runner? Do you run away from hard conversations?

Here are 3 things I hope will encourage you to slow down, stand and watch God empower you to fight for your relationships.

 Do you believe in what you’re fighting for?
If you have that in the forefront of your mind, it’s easier to remind yourself what’s important and you will do the hard work to fight for it. The friendships were important to me.

  It’s ok to agree to disagree
Sometimes there isn’t a right or wrong answer. You have to either find common ground or allow yourself to be ok if you disagree. I saying I repeat often to myself is. “I am only responsible for my response and my response is to respond to God.”

  Allow yourself time to process
A lot of times we speak out of anger, hurt, or frustration and don’t allow some time to reflect and figure out the heart of the issue. Take some time to gather your thoughts so that the other person can start to hear what you have to say.

There is no manual for these things but what I have seen and experienced is it’s moments that have stretched and grown me more than the easy moments.
I hope you’ll take courage the next time your faced with confrontation.



Thursday, March 26, 2015

Silencing The Noise

What is your guilty pleasure? A pint of ice cream and movie marathon, shopping, or a day at the lake?

TV and people magazine are mine. Just like when I shared Tuesday that I love a good story, I love when a good story is playing in front of my eyes. I love chick flicks, action, and reality TV.

When one of my former roommates and I both had nowhere to be and we would order a pizza or Chinese takeout, position ourselves with one claiming one couch and one claiming the other, and melt away our worries by watching a move or our favorite Gilmore Girls episodes.




One summer after coming back from a youth trip, we both decided to cut off our cable. We both felt we needed more quiet space to invest in others and ourselves.

White Space.

I have used a lot of different things to crowd my heart and mind. Music, TV, relationships, and other things. These things aren't bad but when used to fill a void or not wanting to deal with life... they can be a distraction.

What I found when my roommate and I cut the cable off was exciting adventures of things we were able to do with our time. Investing in some teenage girls in our youth group, inviting people over for dinner, learning more who we are in bible studies, and much more.

Moments still arise where I feel I need a period of time to quiet the noise and back away from TV, social media, and other distractions.






White space creates a place for God to pursue me and gives me time to write, reflect, and invest in others.

Are you in need of some white space? I encourage you to check out Andy Stanley's series called Breathing Room. He gives such applicable advice and wisdom of how important this is and how we can achieve it.

I know we wont to get to the end of our lives and say, "I wish we would  have watched more TV!"

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

The Book That Changed My Life

I have always loved a good story. If you know me at all, that doesn't surprise you. I have been known to be able to make up a good story in a quick moment to calm a crying child, get my nephews to sleep, or late nights with friends or youth on overnight trips. It soon became known as "Breeze's Story Hour".

I have fond memories from an early age of being read or told stories from my parents and grandparents. I can still see the cover of the book my dad would read our favorite bible story from. It was about Samuel and when God was calling out his name.... "Samuel, Samuel". My dad's voice was what I knew God's voice must sound like.

My twin sister and I shared a room and would make up stories to tell each other as we were trying to go to sleep. Mine involved 10 kids getting lost in the grocery store and a family finding the California Raisins(which if you don't know what these are, you are really young!) in their kitchens dancing and singing.

My favorite thing as a teacher has been reading aloud stories to my students. Picking the ones with meaning or a moral to learn.

Stories are food for my soul.

The other day I was rekindled with my long lost love of one of my favorite books that changed my life.




I read this book over 10 years ago and it was a huge turning point for me. Bruce gave me permission to not only dream big but that I was created with a God-given Dream. The book is written into two parts. First part is a parable about a boy named ordinary who lived in the land of familiar. Until one day a feather floats in and he knows it's his dream and he was meant for more.

The feather gave me a sense of hope and direction. 10 years later and I'm watching my dream become real. This feather has been a symbol of hope and knowing I was meant for more. This is why She Dreams Ministries uses a feather as their symbol.

What books have changed your life or perspective? Do you love storytelling or know someone who is? I would love to hear about them.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

When I Almost Let Fear Win

I might as well had been paralyzed.  I layed on that couch and I couldn't move. Sitting with my legs curled up and all was hidden underneath the blanket but my face. I needed to be able to see and hear. My body was turned so I could see the front door.

Waiting.

See I wasn't paralyzed physically. Nothing was wrong with my arms or legs. Even though my body felt like lead if I tried moving.

I was paralyzed by FEAR.

FEAR had sneaked in a small crevice of my mind and had spread like a disease. Out to kill me. Until it literally had camped out and overtaken my whole being. 

You may be wondering what I was waiting for and what had happened for me to get to this state.

I was waiting for something bad to happen.

The worse thing had happened in my life up to that point and it had opened the flood gates of a harsh world and busted my fairy tale bubble I was living in.  My parents had just divorced. For me this was devastating. My mind had a hard time processing and I started thinking irrationally. 

"If this could happen, then all these other things are possible. A stranger breaking into my house, a house fire, and other things I had never worried about."So I sat there night after night watching the door. It finally became too much.

I needed to feel SAFE.


When our worlds turn upside down. Whether through a break up, divorce, loss, or any other 
tragedy we find ourselves at our weakest. Satan knows this and will attack us while we are down.

When I am weak, He is STRONG.

After weeks of fearful nights, lots of tears, and knowing I needed to feel safe again...... I ran to my dad. He took me in and gave me a place to feel safe. He used encouraging words, reminding me of how BIG my God was, and making sure there were nightlights in the hallway.

I needed to feel SAFE.

Isn't that what our heavenly Father does? That in a broken world we can know to go to Him and give Him our fears and troubles.


My fears weren't fixed in one night. Sometimes they still pop out of no where. But I go to the place I can feel safe again. In the arms of Jesus.

Are you tired of carrying your fears and burdens? Let's start giving them to the one who wants to set us free!!








Tuesday, March 17, 2015

He Is Enough

My eyelids fluttered and opened as my alarm clock was going off. I was tired and my feet hadn't even hit the floor. 5 hours of sleep wasn't enough to feel refreshed.  I stumbled to the shower after I had gathered my things.

I knew I was going to need some warm water to help me feel refreshed. Clear up my clogged up brain and help me be ready for the tasks at hand. Today was the beginning of a weekend retreat for high school  girls. With being a table leader and giving a talk, it was going to require me to be on my A game.

Having just 5 hours of sleep wasn't the main reason I was tired. I had been pouring out everything in me in the last couple of weeks. Organizing and doing a women's conference, helping my family due to sickness, and my normal duties. Without time to recoup and restore, I was starting this week exhausted.

Physically, mentally, and spiritually!

Nothing. Left. To. Give.


Have you ever been so tired and overwhelmed that you felt like you had nothing left? 

What I found that day was that God knows how and when we need restoring. I thought I needed rest and a surge of energy. It never came. But what did come was God showing me He is enough.

When I am weak, He is strong.

Are you resting in Him today or trying to figure it out on your own?