Over this past week, I have been at the Canadian Foursquare Convention and it was GOOD. I loved the opportunity to get together with Pastors from all over Canada to learn how to serve better and to worship God together. Yes, I’m an extrovert.
As you know, our baby girl recently turned one. Can anybody tell me how that happened? I think I’m still in shock that we are parents of a one year old… If you’re interested, you can find all the details of her Minnie Mouse birthday party here!
This last year has been the most amazing, the most stretching, and the most faith-testing in my life so far. There is so much joy that comes from being a mom. I waited most of my life to become a mom; it was my biggest dream. I held on to the promise God had given me that one day a little person would call me mama and I am still in awe that she is here.
One of the benefits of having a kid in Canada is being able to take a year long maternity leave. During the time I was home, I was able to work through some other dreams I had for my life and family and I actually got to say yes to some things God brought my way. One of those things was saying yes to investing in my health through daily workouts, dialed in nutrition, and challenging myself mentally and spiritually. One of the other big things I said yes to was starting this blog. I love to write and often feel God pressing things on my heart to share but needed a better platform for sharing those things. I learned the value of self-care and what it feels like to be actually taking care of myself.
The more time I spent with God, the bigger my dreams for my life became. And as I began to walk more closely with God and see His vision for my family, the more my fears threatened to take me down. Here’s what I mean: if you’ve ever taken a maternity leave (or any kind of leave from work) you know the financial weight it can have on a family. I became so obsessed with our finances that any conversation – even the good ones – left me physically numb. I’m talking unable to move or speak or show any emotion. I had anxiety like I haven’t experienced since I was a teenager. I would usually come out of the daze within 30 minutes but it left me totally incapacitated for that time. Some other fears I experienced were more like frustrations; I just wasn’t seeing the growth with my blog and coaching that I had expected and hoped for.
I just want to add something here for any other type A personality budgeters: the way God taught me to let go of my financial stress was through completely handing over the reigns to Matt for a month. For that month, he managed paying all the bills and keeping track of the budget. Let me just say, for someone who likes to be in control and takes great pride in their budgeting abilities, it was really hard at first to release this. But somewhere along the way, I realized I had stopped thinking about our finances and all the debilitating stress was gone. It was a pretty clear picture for me of what it feels like when we release things completely to God. Everything was well taken care of and I had no stress. It helped us gain a better understanding of how to handle our finances in a healthy way.
Out of everything I learned over this last year and a bit, I wanted to share the biggest and most life changing thing God taught me. The way I learned this lesson was first through experiencing it and then God revealed a story that helped me understand what He was doing.
I’m going to share the story first. It comes from Matthew 14:22-33 which says:
Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it. Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear. But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.” “Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.” “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!” Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?” And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”
Here is what I have learned through this scripture: there are things God has called me to do that seemed impossible and terrifying but I set my eyes on Him and stepped “out of the boat”. Somewhere along the way, I took my eyes off of God and began to feel the anxiety and impossibility of what I was doing and was overwhelmed. God has asked me to keep my eyes on Him and trust Him even in the face of the impossible. If He has called me, He will not abandon me in the process.
Sometimes, it is really hard to have faith. I have been feeling overwhelmed and exhausted with the repetition of the mama to-do list, work, personal development, dreams that aren’t panning out the way I expected. But through it all, God is patient. He is calling me out of the boat, away from the things that are “safe” and comfortable and into all the incredible things He has planned. And I couldn’t be more excited.