Monthly Archives: August 2014

Fear-Factor Friday: 7 steps to overcome fear of failure

Today’s fear-factor is:

FAILURE!

fear of failure

So often, I am crippled by fear of failing. I want to do the right thing so bad, but sometimes I don’t know what that “right thing” is. Days like these, I think if all the college students I’ve ever mentored could gather in a room, sit me down, and tell me everything I’ve ever passed onto them, it would be extremely beneficial.

Case in point: I can’t count the number of times I’ve been asked, “what is God’s will for _________.”
  • Should I get a summer job or go on a missions trip?
  • Should I go to this university or that one?
  • What major should I choose?
In college, everyone want’s to know what God’s will is for their life. And you know what? There is honor in that! I am so proud of every young woman who sits down over coffee with me, agonizing over the potential choices in her life. Because she (usually) wants to do the right thing. She just can’t discern between the choices in front of her.
Last month, I felt the exact same way. I needed to make a decision about the birth of our twins: to induce or wait and have a c-section. Neither of these options were a part of the plan for these babies. I visualized going into labor spontaneously during my 37 week. It’s what we prayed for. It’s what the doctors said needed to happen, in order to avoid induction.
It didn’t happen. I wasn’t not surprised, because God isn’t required to answer my prayers. I trusted there was a reason none of my natural induction methods worked.
At that point, I was the one sitting down over coffee asking, “what is God’s will for this birth?”
If my college-ladies were there, they would have told me exactly what I’ve told them for 4 years: “It really doesn’t matter. Just whatever you choose to do, do it for the glory of God.” (Colossians 3:17)
In other words, as long as neither option is an outright sin, you have some freedom to make your own decision. What you choose is not going to thwart the ultimate will of God in your life. I believe God has all power and will, but I also believe He gives us freedom to make choices. In those choices, He works out His best for us: to sanctify us (cleanse and shape us) to look more like His Son. We cannot fail when the main goal is to honor God in the choice, not make the best choice.
So if our decision leads us through an easy, joy-filled route–God will use it. If the choice drags us down a path of exhausting, patience-inducing hardship (unrelated to any personal sin), God will use that too. We don’t know what’s behind door #1 vs. Door #2, but we can know that God will use whatever it is to glorify himself and make us more like Him. (Romans 8:28)
What choices are you facing today? Like the ladies I am so blessed to mentor, are you sorting through life-goals to define your major? Or, like me, are you contemplating your options for parenting, sleep-training, discipline, and to child-care/not to child-care? Do you have 2 job offers, 3 roommate applicants, 4 weeks free in the summer, or a nice guy who charged through your at-last-I’m-content-being-single life?
Let’s commit to honoring God with these potential paths in life by
  1. Not worrying about them (and thus idolizing them) (Phil. 4:6a)
  2. Asking for the Holy Spirit’s help and guidance (Phil. 4:6b)
  3. Making the choice (Col. 3:23)
  4. Following through with all we’ve got, to God’s glory. (Col. 3:17)
  5. Being flexible: 1/2 way down the road, the Holy Spirit could still lead us down a different road (Rom. 8:26-27)
  6. Guarding against bitterness about “wasted time,” failures, or regrets. Remember: God will use the time/effort/money spent on said choice to shape us if we keep our focus on worshipping Him through it. (Phil 4:4)
  7. Being grateful for the blessing of choices. Many people don’t even get the luxury of choosing what shoes they will wear each day. (Colossians 3:17)
What choice have you made or will make that you can wholeheartedly do to the glory of God?
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A Quiet Calling in the Mess of Mothering…

It is morning. At least I think it is. The days and nights run together in these early days of sustaining new lives.

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My mind is tired, but I am awake in the stillness of this moment.

Babies are calm,
One sighing sweetly in my lap,
Another hiccuping contently nearby.

My senses are awakened, the energizing burst of an orange reminds me what fresh tastes like.

My spirit is open. I am empty from late night feedings, and an extra long session with my breast pump. Building a milk supply for twins is draining. But this blessed void makes my heart teachable.

The distraction of instant entertainment tempts my tired mind. Today, I reject Netflix, Facebook, Pinterest, and IMDB. They will not fill and they do not satisfy.

The Lord beckons me, in the oft-missed sweetness of the morning, to receive His word of truth today. As in the past few weeks, I continue to hover over 1st Peter 2.

It is like a blooming red flower, and I am the hummingbird that keeps returning to its nectar.

Filled.
Renewed.
Growing.
Ready to “proclaim the excellencies of him who has called me out of darkness into his marvelous light!” (Verse 10)

I open the curtains and greet the day.

I share the quiet moment with my mom, who is here helping me unravel what it means to care for these two precious babies.

I find my bookmark in Set Apart Motherhood. I have a skype date soon with a far-off friend to review our thoughts on this chapter together. But I know two chirping babies who will probably interrupt the encouraging words about Motherhood, getting me back to the blessed tasks of it.

Motherhood is happening all around me. It is beautiful, hectic, messy, and marvelous! And each moment God gives me as a mama is another chance to proclaim His excellencies yet again.

As the babies wake up, longing (loudly) for their milk, I break from my spiritual retreat. But I carry truth and encouragement with me, having also been sustained by Gods all-sufficient grace.

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Happy 1 Month to Titus and Evangeline!!!

I haven’t had much time for updates lately… I’ve been far too busy enjoying being a mama to these two gorgeous beings!

I wish I could say I am typing this with a happily fed baby in my arms, but alas, he is a fussy baby for the moment (but still stinkin’ cute). Tis the season for growth spurts! Ill get back to nursing and let you enjoy the following picture updates for now. 1 month

titus 1 month

evi 1 month

It’s been a long month, but a short one too. I am recovering well and can’t wait to start jogging again before the weather changes. As I wait a couple more weeks for my postpartum check up, God continually reminds me what resting in Him looks like. I look forward to posting my birth story at that point, but someone will have to pry me away from my babies, my breast pump, and my husband at that point to do so.

Suffice it to say, we are a happy, blessed family.

Thank you all for your prayers and support for us!

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Fear Factor Friday: What are we afraid of?

Instead of posting about fears today, I’d like to ask my readers a very important question:

What do you think causes the greatest anxiety/fear in people today?

I look forward to addressing each of the answers you provide. Keep your eyes open every Friday for our war on anxiety!

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Fear Factor Friday: Worship leaves No room for Worry

My beautiful little sister is getting married tonight. Fear has the potential to encircle this day as a great enemy of joy. The bride could freak out over little details or all the coming changes. The mother of the bride might worry things won’t go as planned. The groom may be scared of the father-of-the-bride (just kidding). The wedding singers might fear losing their voice (that would be my husband and I).

We are all facing a “fear factor” this week. Your factor might be a subtle flutter in the back of your mind. Others might be a convincing ache in the pit of her stomach.

I have explored a lot on the subject of fear here on my blog,

God’s Word has several promises regarding fear. Today, I am dwelling on this one:

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I hope this truth upholds all members of the wedding party today. My prayer is that we do find a sacred joy in the covenant union between my sister and her husband… a reflection of Christ and His commitment to us! With all this joy and worship of Him, we won’t have room in our hearts or heads to worry or be anxious.

What does it mean for you to exercise your spirit of power, love, and self-discipline over anxiety? Share with us below!

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Fear Factor Friday: Defining Fear

Welcome to Fear-Factor Fridays, where we contend with one of our greatest enemies: anxiety.

Today, I am exploring what fear is.

  • Is fear an emotion or a state of mind? Perhaps it is both, perhaps it is neither.
  • Perhaps fear is an idea, shot into the mind like an arrow from the Enemy’s attack. If so, Paul encourages us to use the shield of faith against such arrows (Ephesians 6).
  • Perhaps fear is an attitude, or a thought that we are commanded to take captive. (1 Cor. 10:5)
  • Fearcan be an emotion. We can express happiness, sadness, and fear. The Psalmist expresses this in Psalm 56:2-4:

    “My adversaries pursue me all day long; in their pride many are attacking me. When I am afraid, I put my trust in you. In God, whose word I praise—in God I trust and am not afraid. What can mere mortals do to me?”

  • Or is fear a response? I get scared when my husband sneaks up on me (especially when he sings the jaws theme).

 

Whatever “fear” is for you, the Bible is clear that perfect love casts out fear (1 John 4:18). If you are struggling with anxiety today, or are trying to bring an emotional response of fear under self-control, I encourage you to dive deeper into love. We don’t have to dissect fear itself to conquer it. Rather we must hide ourselves in Christ, our protector and warrior, strength giver, and perspective-enlightener.

What do you think fear is? How do you challenge your fear(s) through Christ?

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Little victories

Little victories

This week has been one for the books. I started it out a bit discouraged about different circumstances: learning my new role as a mother, continuing the crash course in breast-feeding, saying goodbye to Shane for a week so early in this blessed but challenging stage of getting to know our babies.

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(To his credit, Shane face times us every day. The babies were fussy, but calmed down as soon as they heard their daddy’s voice.)

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By tuesday, I realized I must become determined to find the little victories along the way. The day we got back from the hospital, I wrote down a few milestones that I was looking forward to crossing. Instead of being discouraged that everything wasn’t easy, I wrote my hopes down and waited for the Lord to provide. The babies are now two weeks old and I can look back and see that God has already provided in several ways:

-we can now Tandem Breastfeed
-I am able to wear My Wedding ring
-The swelling in my legs has finally gone down

Also, I have lost some weight. I left the hospital with two 6 pound babies, but the scale said I had only lost 5 pounds altogether. Obviously something wasn’t right… Of course, from having surgery, I was pumped full of fluids, I just didn’t expected to be that much!

Today I am down 32 pounds from birth-day two weeks ago. I feel like I’m floating.

I must be intentional to keep my eyes open to see how God works. And it never fails to comfort and amaze me. This past week, He also provided time for me to spend with him! So many people said I wouldn’t have time to read my Bible or journal, but I’ve been able to make time. There are some hours I find it more refreshing than even a good long nap.

Shane encouraged me to study through first Peter. My favorite verse so far is the perfect reminder of how desperately I need to be in the word, even in this hectic time:

Like newborn infants, desire the pure spiritual milk, so that you may grow by it for your salvation, since you have tasted that the Lord is good. (‭1 Peter‬ ‭2‬:‭2-3‬ HCSB)

It’s very applicable, given that every three hours I am reminded of this truth as I am nursing two beautiful babies.

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I am so blessed to say, “Happy two-week birthday to my two babies.”

I stopped in a local cookie shop to grab some sugar cookies for my mom and I (she has been an irreplaceable help in this week away from Shane). Turns out the shop was closed, but the wonderful people there didn’t kick me out; in fact they gave me two big (delicious!) sugar cookies. The folks at colossal cookies are colossally generous and definitely my favorite people right now.

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I shared with them the great news of two babies, two weeks old, and they were overjoyed that they had found a blue frosted cookie and a pink frosted cookie just for us.

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Through all of these little victories, I am reminded of the Phil 4:8 initiative… There are so many wonderful things happening all around me from two free cookies to the hourly wins of parenting twins. God is faithful and there is always something good to look forward to and celebrate. I think we will continue to do just that.

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Fear Factor Friday: Faint Not

Today’s fear factor is…

World-scares.

The following is from my journal from last September:

After listening to the news, I was absolutely struck with fear for the near future. The announcer was talking about Syria, Russia, homosexual persecution, economic risks, and the potential for WWIII. I’m not sure how the persecution of homosexuals* fits into the rest of the news story. Perhaps it was my confusion that led to more uncertainty. I ended up visiting my husband at the office and dumping an emotional speech about anxiety on him.

My fear was not that our country will fail or that we wont have the comforts and cash we so love. I am aware that God can use both of those to draw the people of the USA closer to Him.

My fear is that I will not suffer well. I will not hold up hope. My soul will grow weary and faint in the midst of difficult times. I will be so focused on my trouble that I will not be a light to others.

Remembering this day, now almost a year later, I realize that world-scares will come and go. Sometimes they are monumentally frightening, other times they fade with the next news show. The challenge from a few weeks ago, regarding “Love vs. Fear,” reminds me again to dig deeper roots into love. (1 Corinthians 13)

I can “bear all things” when I remain in love. 

Before we move on to tackling another facet of conquering fear, let us take “selah” and meditate on this concept: to live from a foundation of love. Take captive that spirit of fear. Look to the cross for truth, grace, and power. Then urge your soul again to “Faint not, but keep up in love.”

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View the music video of this encouraging song, “Faint Not” by Jenny & Tyler:

 

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