November 9, 2018

When You’re Not As Okay As You Say You Are


I keep saying I’m okay, but honestly, I’m starting to question that.

I wrote this to a friend a few weeks ago in an email. I thought I was okay. It was my standard answer when someone asked how I was doing. But privately, I was starting to wonder.

I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. I was forgetting things that I wouldn’t normally forget. I was irritable, on edge, and about to cry at any moment. But…I thought I was doing okay. Until I wasn’t.

Maybe you know the feeling when so much is piled up and if one more thing gets added to the pile—just one. more. little. thing.—you will break.

I had reached my breaking point. I finally realized it and admitted it. And it felt good. It didn’t ease the pain of losing a loved one or make current situations simple, but the I’m-okay-mask didn’t feel quite so suffocating. {Tweet this}

I felt like I had to share this revelation and maybe some hope for someone else coming to the same conclusion about herself.

I posted this to a few of my Facebook friends…

Your breaking point just might be the moment you realize and admit that you’re actually not as okay as you keep telling people you are. But God is bigger than our breaking points!!

What breaks us does not break God. He’s bigger than the weight we’re carrying and the masks we’re trying to wear. {Tweet this}

What can we do when we realize we’re not as okay as we keep saying we are?

Please join me at Candidly Christian where I'm sharing 5 steps to take when you find you're at your breaking point...When You're Not As Okay As You Say You Are.

Have you experienced a time when you thought you were okay until you realized you weren’t? How did you feel after that realization?

In Christ,
Laura

Linking up with: Purposeful Faith, #TeaAndWord, #GracefullTuesday, Trekking Thru, #RechargeWednesday, #TellHisStory, #porchstories, Let's Have Coffee, Moments of Hope, #DestinationInspiration, #HeartEncouragement, #TuneInThursday, Faith 'n Friends, #FreshMarketFriday, #FaithonFire, Grace & Truth, #BVNetworkParty

November 5, 2018

Surrendered Hearts {Book Review}

I first met Lori Schumaker online in 2016 when we were both asked to contribute to a new Christian website called Blessed Transgressions. Although I haven’t had the pleasure of meeting her in person, I enjoyed getting to know her through her blog, where I found encouragement and hope that transferred into my own life.

I knew Lori had an adoption story and I had read portions she shared with her readers. But when I read that she was looking for help in launching her new book Surrendered Hearts: An Adoption Story of Love, Loss, and Learning to Trust, I was happy to sign up. I knew I wanted to read more about her story.

I am not an adoptive parent, nor has my family been blessed by adoption. However, I know how hard it can be to trust God with everything you have, including your child. I’ve felt the emotions of not being able to see how a situation can possibly work out, and of struggling to let go of what I want for what He wants. I imagine you know the feeling too.

Different stories. Different situations. Different outcomes. Different seasons of life.

Same wonderful loving God who loves His children more than we can comprehend. {Tweet this}

What I found as I read Surrendered Hearts is that Lori’s transparent story of love, trust, and patience isn’t just for adoptive families…it’s for everyone. Her story kept me engaged, and the Biblical truths she shared spoke to my heart.

A few of my favorite quotes from Surrendered Hearts:

“Control and trust do not exist simultaneously. Life is a series of taking control of the situations we can and letting go of what we cannot.”

“Peace would follow when I walked God’s journey instead of my own.”

“Sometimes we get to see the why behind the wait. But other times we don’t. We must surrender any right to know the why and choose to unconditionally accept life as it is. We must believe that even in situations that feel desperately unfair, God is making all things right.”

And…


A lifetime of knowing. Decades of praying. Years of paperwork, research, and planning. Lots of tears. And the growing of faith in the waiting.
One look into a pair of sparkling brown eyes, and Lori and Bryan Schumaker fell head-over-heels in love with a beautiful young girl in Bulgaria. Certain this was the child God intended for them, they stepped confidently into the adoption process they'd been preparing for. They thought they knew what to expect, and they did—but there was so much more.
The application process moved smoothly ahead, and they began making plans for their daughter--only to be informed she'd been adopted by a family in Italy. Heartbroken, they struggled to move on, until, through a series of incredible events, they learned their daughter still languished in her Bulgarian orphanage. Turning heaven and earth, the Schumakers started over. Mix-ups, red tape, inexplicable delays, and a difficult judge threatened the adoption, but they were determined to bring their child home.
In a true story of learning that trust means surrendering your version of how the story should unfold, Lori and Bryan finally let go—of their dream, of their daughter, of their fears and frustrations. And in that relinquishment, God began to move.
For more information and to order Surrendered Hearts, please visit Lori at LoriSchumaker.com.

What are you currently reading?

In Christ,
Laura

[Photo credit: Lori Schumaker]


October 29, 2018

Appreciate the Boring Moments


I remember as a kid complaining to my mom about how bored I was, usually with some dramatic flair. I'm booored! There's nothing to doooo!

The thought struck me again the other day, out of the blue (without the drama.) But this time, as soon as I thought I was bored, I knew it was okay.

It's been a while since life felt calm enough to have even a moment to feel bored. It didn't last long, but it made me think about life.

We go, go, go all the time. We fill every minute of the day with activities, social media and working or playing on electronics. Or we spend our days just trying to keep up, not because we want to be busy, but because we're overwhelmed by life.

That's how it's been for me, season after season of feeling overwhelmed. Reminding myself to take one step at a time, one day at a time.

So thinking even for a moment that I was bored took me by surprise...and then I decided to appreciate it.

There's nothing wrong with having a few boring moments in a day. It allows us to slow down. To be present where we are. And just breathe. {Tweet this}

In Christ,
Laura 


October 16, 2018

4 Steps to Keep Irritability from Spreading


I was really irritable last week. Irritable like when people start to back away from you slowly and give you a lot of personal space, and you’re glad. It wasn’t one thing in particular. It was everything. And everyone. All week long.

I couldn’t seem to shake it, but I didn’t want it to spread to my family. I’ve been on the other side too many times—not sure if someone was mad at me or just mad in general. I didn’t want others to wonder what they’d done, when really, the problem was me and my bad mood. So, in addition to prayer for my own heart, I started to really pay attention to how my irritability might affect others.

4 Steps to Keep Irritability from Spreading {Tweet this}

1 – Acknowledge how you feel and let others know it’s not them. (Or be specific if it is something someone did.)

I knew my nerves were frayed and my supply of patience was empty, so I tried to keep to myself when I could. One night my daughter asked, “Are you upset with me?”

I answered honestly, “No, I’m not upset with you. I feel irritable and everything is getting on my nerves, but it’s not something you did.” From there, we went on with our evening. She knew I wasn’t feeling myself, but that it wasn’t because of her, and I breathed a little easier because I admitted how I was feeling.

It didn’t specifically fix anything, but it kept my irritability from infecting her.

2 – Take care of yourself.

By the end of the week, I was sick. I’d been denying it all week long. It’s not that bad….I don’t feel as bad as I sound. I was fine—until I wasn’t. I needed time to rest and get well. By then, I was still super irritable and then I was sick too—not a good combination.

Everything always seems worse when we’re tired, hungry, and/or sick. That doesn’t mean our problems or situations aren’t really as bad as we think they are. They might be downright awful. But, when we don’t take care of ourselves, our energy and ability to deal with things that come our way are limited. Everyday inconveniences seem way worse than they might if we were thinking clearly.

Stress takes its toll. It can make us forget to eat at regular intervals or not get the sleep we need. Stress keeps us from letting our minds relax during the day and wears down our immunity systems. Eventually, we find ourselves drained and struggling to get through the day. 

3 – Take a time out.

As an introvert, I re-energize by having time to myself. Last week though, I was so irritable, I didn’t even want to spend time with me. So, one night, although it was early in the evening, I announced I was going to bed. I needed sleep and I needed to be done with the day.

Taking a time out isn’t a bad thing. In fact, it can be a very good thing. Sometimes it’s best to remove ourselves from a situation before we make it worse. Even when it’s unintentional, our bad moods affect others. We might pick a fight or lash out at someone just because we’re reacting from stress and emotions instead of clear thinking.

4 – Don’t worry about things ahead of time.

When I found myself getting angry about something that hadn’t happened yet, I knew it was my irritability controlling me. I had to make myself stop thinking about it before my thoughts spun out of control.

Worry and anger before the fact do one of two things—either we’ll get upset for no reason because what we think will happen ends up not happening, or we put ourselves through the emotional stress twice, before it happens and then again when it does happen.

Both cause unnecessary emotional, physical, and mental stress that can ruin our day and affect those around us. Worry and anger like to have control. It’s up to us whether or not we’ll let them have it. {Tweet this}

I don't pretend to have this all figured out. I'm still working on it and probably always will be. It takes a conscious effort and practice to change our thoughts and learn how to control our worry and emotions, but it can be done. And the time and effort we spend on it is worth it.

What do you do when you find yourself in a mood you don’t want to spread?

In Christ,
Laura