As I continue with my story I first want to say thank you so much for taking time to read my blogs. Your support and feedback has meant and continues to mean the world to me. When starting the I Am Crowned Project Blog it was very important to me to be honest and real about my story. In the process of sharing my story, it has been, well, just that, a process. Little did I know being honest and real with myself was one thing but being real with an audience has put a whole knew perspective on things. It has challenged me to think differently, see differently and appreciate everyone’s life on a broad scale, realizing everyone faces something everyday. And I want you to know there is something special about your story. You never know when or how you can help someone with your story. These last couple of months I have had to face some reality within my own story. The reality of some repetitive questions that have been racing through my mind like, "how can I put everything into words?" "Is this even worth sharing?" "What was I thinking, maybe I wasn't thinking?" The fact is we all go to bed and wake up with thoughts on our mind. Some thoughts may be about the mundane things of life, but other times those thoughts can be haunting and wearing that stirs up doubt and fear. I want you to know doubt and fear are made to paralyze us in the process of moving forward in life. Anytime we are faced with doubt and fear that should tell us that it is time to face some things head on so that a new reality kicks in. Our minds have the power to create any story we want. The goal should be that we create the truth rather than believing in thoughts that are not even a reality. Realizing the truth about our situation will free us to look beyond what we see, sense, and feel in our moments of doubt and fear. In this blog I want to help you shift your perspective so that you can see life as a beautiful process. So, let’s begin the process.
As summer comes to an end and school is back in session I couldn’t help but sit back and reflect on how far my family and I have come. This summer was quite different for us as a family than last year. If you have read my previous blog “The Why” well that was what my last summer looked like for me. The Why was a turning point in our families life. It set the foundation for us as a family to dig deeper in areas of our personal life that we normally wouldn’t tackle and it also allowed us to face some real and intimate moments with God. The results have drawn us closer together as family and most importantly drawn us closer to God.
Many of you know either from knowing us or from my blogs that we were in ministry for quite sometime. Last spring we resigned from working at a church, along with leaving the church which I grew up in for 21 years. For me not only did I grieve over the loss of our daughter Annabelle but I also grieved as I felt I lost a piece of me when we left ministry and the church I grew up in. I can confidently say my identity was wrapped up in what I did and where I was in ministry. I am not proud of this by any means but I will say I am proud of myself for recognizing truth about my situation. After realizing this I began to see my life as a blank slate and began to write my own story. Your identity should never be wrapped up based on what you do but rather who YOU are. So the real question is “WHO ARE YOU?”
When my husband decided to resign he then pursued sports and exercise training and rehab starting in March 2014. He went through 3 different changes in that field in less than 9 months. Even though the changes were stressful for our family, financially my husband did everything he could to keep us afloat along with friends and family that helped us out tremendously. Leading up to the end of May this year my husband was approached by our very good friend with an opportunity in Real Estate. To be honest the last thing I wanted was another change. My mind and thoughts and emotions could not handle anymore and so when my husband approached me with this opportunity I gasped and all I could say was “I can’t do this again. I can’t go through anymore change.” This was my first reality. I didn’t know how to handle change.For the most part I believe Women long for stability and security and Men long to have purpose and value. Both roles require understanding each other.
So here we were, both my husband and I were on this search to find stability and security, and purpose and value. I remember the night before Ryan was about to start real estate school, we were sitting on the couch and I couldn’t wrap my mind around how any of this was going to work. Yet again I never understood how anything was going to work out for us in what we had already experienced in the previous year. I asked a series of questions not to badger my husband but questions that would require us to come together and allow each of us to walk through this process to understand this next step (BIG difference). We walked through every obstacle you can imagine this night. We were both frustrated to no end and feeling like we were getting nowhere in our conversation. Reality was we actually were. We were asking each other straight up real questions not beating around the bush (hence lots of "why" questions). Something we had not done before. I finally asked Ryan “can you see yourself giving 100% to real estate?" He said “Yes.” That very next day he started real estate school and here was my chance to embrace change. The change for me was finding my identity in being a mom which I wrote about in my "Keep Climbing" blog.
Nature gives us the best example of what the process is like. When planting a tree it starts with a seed and as you tend to the seed and soil and give it its daily nutrition, that seed begins to take root and something takes place beneath the surface that we can't see. The goal is that this seed takes root in good soil and then giving it what it needs to grow it begins the Process of Waiting to see a tree begin to sprout from the ground.
When my husband and I went through counseling our counselors, Sean and Lina Flannagan, invested so much time into us helping us walk out our thoughts, questions and struggles. They did not give us a to do list, they did not separately tell us what each of us needed to do better, and they did not paint this picture perfect world that seemed so unattainable. Instead they helped us see a different perspective to be able to walk through this life together victoriously. This was the seed sowing in our process. It created a shift in our hearts and minds to realize that we both have different strengths we can offer each other through the process and that is what started the change in our lives. This part of our story has taken a lot of work, and waiting, to understand the process and although the work has not been easy it most definitely has been worth it.
If you are desiring a new perspective, a shift to take place in your life so that you can experience a new life; “CHANGE and UNDERSTANDING" is just part of the process.
The Process of life became more clear to me as I allowed myself to be open to the process. How do you know when you are open to the process of life? I’ll tell ya! “When you allow others to speak into your life.” And not just anyone but people that have walked through some life (you know, the gritty stuff) and can be real about the process of life with you. There is so much freedom when you discover you don't have to walk out this process alone. God of course is the ultimate healer however I believe he puts people in our lives to gain counsel from. Seeking wise counsel is a sign of maturity and humility. Proverbs 1:5 says “A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels."
One beautiful reality that I have had thus far as I dig deeper into my story is knowing the process is a journey, a life long journey that does not have an end but rather keeps taking me further along than I ever imagined I can go. There might be check points along the way, but the process never ends. Therefore, I am not waiting for a season to be over, rather I am embracing every season I get as an opportunity to create and recreate what used to be and what is to come in this beautiful life God gave me. I have been replaying and replaying this song all summer. The lyrics say “In the process, in the waiting your making melodies over me. And your presence is the promise for I am pilgrim on a journey.” This is how I look at my life now. I see it as a beautiful melody and new songs constantly being written over me. I love how David simply writes it in Psalm 40:1-3 “I waited patiently for the Lord; he turned and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand. He put a NEW SONG in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in Him.”
(The whole chapter is absolutely worth reading so I encourage you to read more).
This summer I saw a part of our story rewritten. From last summer we were lost, frail, broken and confused, and we were hanging onto hope as if it were a fraying rope about to snap. However, we took time to embrace some necessary change to rewrite this part of our story. An unknown author once said "Freedom is found when we let go of who we're supposed to be and embrace who we really are." My husband and I are constantly reminding each other to embrace who Ryan and Gina really are. When we live a life to see beyond the obstacles we find hope. Look at each morning as a new day. Lamentations 3:22-23 NLT says "Every morning we start a new day. The faithful love of the LORD never ends! His mercies never cease. Great is his faithfulness; his mercies begin afresh each morning."
I encourage you to dig deep and find that place where it's time for you to allow God to rewrite your story or a new song inside your heart. I heard this at a conference I just recently attended from Craig Groeschel “If you focus on one thing that you can improve in and become at least 5% better this year than you were before than you are making progress.” Making some progress is better than none at all. All it takes is one seed to land on good soil, necessary nutrition and care, and the roots begin to dig deep. Soon the tree sprouts up from the ground and fruit begins to appear. Soon after that you will enjoy the fruit that you worked so hard for. Never stop planting and never stop growing. Philippines 1:6 says "Being confident of this, that he who began a good work in you will carry it on to completion until the day of Christ Jesus." Allow God to write your story. There is no better author out there than the One who created you. He will lead you, but you have to Live it out!
Before I close out this blog I want you to know it is very important to me as I share about my own experiences that I provide some great resources for you as well. The counselors that I mentioned earlier in this blog are Sean and Lina Flannagan of Solid Life International. They are honest, trustworthy, and caring people who are available to help. You can reach them @ lina@solidlifeinternational.
Also, as you listen to this song, may it encourage you!