Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Let God Ring Your Doorbell

Hi, Ladies. It's been a while since I've checked in here.

Summer gets busy as my focus moves from writing and coaching projects to the outdoors. I have a huge yard and perennial garden to take care of and, for the most part, I derive some enjoyment from doing so. 

In my understanding of God's economy I see it as all part of my JOB paid, or unpaid. I take it seriously and do the best I can. 

Mid-July, I began to look forward, took a Facebook fast, and asked God to bring me something new in the fall. I wanted a new attitude, new inspiration, new friendship, new job, or new assignment--whatever he could connect me with.

A Common Feeling 

Wanting something new isn't odd or bad. Most people like to change jobs every 4 years or so. If they stay with the same company, they at least like a change of position.  That type of craving hits me every so often. 

In my craving for this new thing I flipped through one of my journals. It said:
Don't try to make things happen, let God ring your doorbell.

I laughed, and then I waited expectantly for God to ring my doorbell with something new.

The Doorbell Ring

Well, in a sense the doorbell did ring. I received a summons to attend jury duty in September. In the summons, I was instructed to plan to sit on the jury for 3 months, should I be selected. Wow, I never would have predicted that is what God would have sent.

On one hand I was excited. On the other, frustrated that I couldn't plan other events like exercise groups and so on I might join. I knew applying for a new job was out of the question until I knew if I would be serving or not. My hands were somewhat tied.

The New Thing

So this past week, I faithfully attended the jury duty call. It was so different from my normal routine that I was glad to have the experience. I was exposed to new things including a beautiful new courthouse. 

But the following day, I received a call telling me not to return as they had enough people. 

Wow, in one day, my "new thing" was over. I didn't know whether to be relieved or angry  

And here I am now, reflecting, wondering if there was a "why" behind God putting me there. 


What this jury duty summons did teach me was to wait on God to surprise me, to be willing to go where he sends (I didn't have a choice with this, I was legally obligated to go), and to push myself to do what I had to do. 

I had asked my husband to drive me so I wouldn't have to scurry to find parking and because of the construction I knew was in the area. But he refused. He told me I wasn't a baby and to just do it.

The night before I made a lunch, packed my briefcase, chose my clothes, and set double alarms. But the battery in one clock failed and I didn't hear the other. I slept in and was 40 minutes behind plan when I left home. I scurried, missed my turn for the parking garage and had to do a u-turn, did end up in construction, but made it just in time. It cost $20 in parking. 

All of the above is unusual to my daily routine. So it did require some bravery.    

Walking to the back of the room down an aisle with 100 strangers on each side tested my social anxiety as did standing in front of the judge, attorneys, and the accused. 


Now I am scurrying to find my next new thing.  Will I join one or two women's groups? Will I stay home and write and just walk the dog and run errands for stimulation? Will I apply for jobs? Do I need to fast again?

Prayers Please

Pray with me for direction. I will always be a writer and while I was preparing for jury duty, became keenly aware of how important that calling is.  I have another eBook in process now.  I will continue to write no matter what else I do. I am an artist. I will continue to paint and draw no matter what else I do. 

I will always be a life coach, but haven't returned to taking phone clients yet. I'm still working on finding the right balance. 

I have looked over a few part-time out-of-the-house jobs. I will decide tomorrow if I'll apply to one. 

I need you, my readers, as much as you might need me. I need your feedback and prayers. 

As I sat in the jury duty selection room, one thing was apparent. It was a group of very normal looking human beings. While working from home I often feel I no longer fit in, at my jury duty outing, I was more professionally dressed than many who wore flip flops or sandals and capris pants or even shorts or jeans. Perhaps the best lesson was to see I can fit in. And now I just need God to show me the next place I'm to do that. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Record Your Thoughts

It is VERY important to record your thoughts.
The reasons are many:

  1. Writing is therapeutic and helps you to purge thoughts from your mind.
  2. Ideas become more official--which is helpful if goals are attached.
  3. You are able to go back and read your notes and reconnect with your former self.  You will see how you have grown, how God has worked in you and guided you. You'll see glaring answers to questions and answers to prayers. You will gain clarity.  Your own words may encourage you.
I urge you to record your thoughts in a handwritten journal (preferred) or typed version. 

You might also want to look back into old journals if you have them, as you enter into the FALL SEASON. Compare this year to where you were a year ago, two years ago, or through however many records you might have on hand. 

Monday, August 22, 2016

Christian Woman, Don't Worry

I'm pretty sure we are all looking for answers daily. Issues plague us. Our thoughts spin and we begin to toil. We overthink. We fall into doubt.

I worry about my husband and children's happiness. I worry about my own mental health as it seems to waver from time to time. I worry that I won't be able to break my weight set point and regain a fit body. I worry about having enough retirement income. I worry that time is running out as I'll be an official senior in the next 10 yrs and if I'm going to do anything meaningful or add to my pension, it's got to be now.

Do you have similar worries?

Jesus tells us not to worry. He says to cast our cares on him. We do, but we often take them back. We are human. We fall prey to doubt. Like Peter, we start to sink. 

We need our plumb line reset. 

Just because God tells us to pray doesn't mean he'll answer our prayers the way we hope. And when he doesn't, the worry cycle begins again. And so does the overthinking and the solution-hunting, mostly because we think we know it all.

Finding Answers

Proverbs 3:5,6 saysTrust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths (NKJV).

The point that strikes me about the above verse is the bit about our own understanding. No amount of overthinking or understanding will get us the answers we seek.   

This verse below from Jeremiah points out how tricky our overthinking is.  It can't be trusted.

“The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9)

The phrase we need to focus on to be able to walk on water is at the beginning of the Proverbs verse, "Trust in the Lord." 

God rewards faith more than he rewards prayers. Hebrews 11:6 puts it this way, "And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him."

God promises to direct our paths and even reward us when we trust him. I know if he has directed my path so many times through life that he can direct my children's path too. 

Now in midlife, I need to ask the hard question:  "Will I trust him with my husband, children, money, and mental health, or will I be like Peter and begin to sink?" 

The point is simply this: When we trust our problems to him, he will take them and work them out his way. 

The question that remains is this: Are you trusting God with every issue of your midlife journey? Or are you resorting to overthinking?

Sunday, August 07, 2016

New Book Ready for Midlife Nest-Emptying Women

New Book Ready for Midlife Nest-Emptying Women

Well, the moment of truth has arrived.  My next eBook is online for purchase.

The audience for this book is midlife Christian women (say 40 to 60), but more important than age is stage of life. I use the words nest-emptying because, if you're like me, your nest isn't completely empty because your adult children come and go. Perhaps they are in college/university and come home some weekends and in the summer. Perhaps your adult child has his or her own housing and returns home for a change of scenery.

The point is, as our children make this transition into independence, we make our own transition. Some of us were full-time moms or at least women who made mothering our main focus no matter what we had on the side. Some have been let go from jobs, quit work, or are taking an early retirement. No matter the circumstance, one thing is common--we're all in a phase of life transition as our main parenting role has now come to an end.

I call it Rx for Midlife Nest-Emptying Women because the tips I provide are a form of prescription. The term wilting implies those moments when we feel overcome with disappointment, frustration, or grief especially after seeking God for new purpose and not finding easily it. Like a plant that needs nourishment to stay strong and vital, we need to guard ourselves too.

Won't you join me?

Friday, July 22, 2016

Children become Adults and Midlife Mom's Lose Control

By now, 2016, I have one daughter who completed 5 yrs university, graduating with a BSc Biology. She has worked fulltime 1.5 yrs already. She live on her own those 6 years. My son is entering 4th year university. He lives in student housing during the school year.

So I've walked the waters of nest-emptying. I know my journey is somewhat similar to many, but also vastly different.

The Cost of Independence 

One thing that should be similar is experiencing a sense of loss of control once our children become adults. The adult process starts at 18 and moves forward to 21 where major independence is exercised by most. And that is a good thing. Step by step we should step back. 

My weaning process started much earlier in some ways. At age 10, I taught my kids to do their own laundry and I taught my son how to make simple meals. From then on they've continued to do their own laundry and know how to feed themselves.

Loosening the reins on our adult children is both freeing and frustrating. There are many things we'd like to lecture them on. There are things we'd like to do for them. We might be tempted to arrange things behind the scenes for them. We might try to pick out clothes. We might print out articles for them to read. But much of that will backfire.

When our adult children make decisions we disagree with or fail to take action when we think they should we realize we no longer have control.

Lack of Control and Anxiety

I read recently that anxiety is a response when individuals sense a lack of control. If anxiety is left to fester, it can turn into depression.

No wonder midlife women fight depression so often.

As moms of young children we had a lot of control. We controlled their activity choices, their payments to events, their clothing choices, their bedroom organization, on and on. Most of us found it fun.

But now as moms of adult children those decisions aren't ours to make. We're off the job!

When they go away to school, we have no control over their schedule, breakfast choices, friends, church attendance, and so on.

Where do You Stand?

Are you still trying to dominate your adult child's life? Have you learned how to let go?

Do you feel a little frustrated or anxious over a loss of control? Do you worry about whether to step in or not? Have you had trouble letting go?

This area of releasing our children and its affects on us is an issue most of us need to address.

What to Do

Perhaps the best way to overcome anxiety is to focus on what is within our control. Sometimes that's as basic as cleaning the dust off our shelves and controlling our own schedule.

Of course, praying is within our control too. But be careful not to use prayer like one might cast a magic spell.  That is, it's not up to us to try to manipulate God into making things go the way we want them to. It's better to give God the choice of what should happen.

Some of our children may go through difficulties as consequences of their choices. God may allow them to make mistakes in the same way he allowed Job to be afflicted or some to become lame before he healed them.

Though we want to spare our children difficulty, keep them pleasing to God, and have happy outcomes, we can't force it to happen our way. Our resolve is to pray that should there be consequences of their choices, that God will draw them to himself and use their difficulties for his purposes.

It can also be helpful to tell yourself, "This isn't the end of the story."