our spunky little one turned two this week...Read More
Often times, when God puts a “new” thing in front of us or asks us to serve him in a different way, we tend to hesitate, put the brakes on or simply RUN! It was like that for me in a lot of ways recently. I sensed in my heart more than ever that I needed to step away from some things to set my heart and mind on some different things. All were really good things and I loved them each in their own way. Fear and insecurity began to mount, until finally one day, I just went for it. I stepped away from the old thing and I embraced the new and I survived! Or I should say I’m still surviving. And so is the old thing too! (It didn’t really need ME... another blog for another day)
Jessica Honegger, the founder of Noonday Collection, shares about this in her new book Imperfect Courage, which releases in late August. She takes the reader through three significant steps: the first step of owning who you are and the strengths that God has given you, the second step of building a “sisterhood” around you because we are better together, and the third step of seeing a world changed by using that power and influence that God has given us.
As she journeys through founding Noonday, now one of the largest fair trade fashion brands, she shares the beautiful stories of women around the world who choose courage over fear. Jessica also recounts stories of frustrations and fears that could have ended her ministry. And had she given up at the first hardship, lives of ladies around the world would look drastically different today.
As I’m embracing courage, I’m realizing that it doesn’t always have to look perfect. I don’t always have to know the end result. I just have to keep trusting in a God who is for me and for my good and I’ve gotta keep walking in obedience, and even sometimes a little fear. Because thankfully courage doesn’t always have to be or look perfect!
I’m super thankful for the Advanced Reader Copy that was sent to me by the publisher!
You should totally check out this new book when it’s released on August 21st or better yet, go ahead and pre-order it over on Amazon!
If you know me well you know my “smeller” works on some kind of hyper-speed level. Like I can smell the trash in our trash can the day before it even has trash placed in it... haha
Smells are just my thing. Good ones and bad ones. Some of my dearest friends even look to me to let them know when something is a bit “funky”, if you know what I mean.
There is nothing like smells that bring things back into my memory too. Some good and some not so good. For me, the smell of a certain trash bag that I used to gather what was left of my belongings in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina will bring me to tears in a skinny minute. Or the smell of honeysuckle will not only send me into an allergic mess, but it also reminds me of my grandmother and brings back sweet childhood memories. I don’t know why?! Fresh cut grass, rotten peaches, outside... it all reminds me of my favorite years growing up on my daddy’s peach farm and if you’ve ever smelt the stench of rotten peaches in a big barrel, you won’t forget it!
As I’ve been studying through Corinthians this summer, I came across a passage that has just stuck with me! It was talking about smells and it made me stop and pause...
“To some we are an aroma of death leading to death, but to others, an aroma of life leading to life.” 2 Corinthians 2:16
In other words, what do I smell like? We all smell of something! Do I smell like that honeysuckle that is sweet or that barrel of rotten peaches that makes everyone want to run for the hills? Life or death?
Oh, that we would each choose to be that sweet aroma that brings life and that points to Christ!
As we introduced Ivey and Nora to honeysuckle the other day, it brought a smile to my face and heart and the aroma was sweet and good and refreshing... and I could have gathered it all and brought it home so that I could smell it all day, but sadly my allergies would have NONE of that!
I love storms but I love them best when I’m snuggled safe in my bed or comfy on the couch, not in my car and definetly not having to drive straight into them.
As I was heading up to my parents late this afternoon to pick up the girls, this was my view. It was quiet and weird. Sun then dark black, wind, and lightening - all unfolding right ahead of me. Right in the direction that I was heading.
It was quiet in my car which is a rarity that I treasure every chance I can, so I began to just chat with God out loud. It was such a special sweet time, just the two of us.
As we drove and chatted, He reminded me of several things:
1. He’s God of the sun and the storm - the same God who sent me a beautiful sunny day, is the same God who brings the clouds and the storms.
2. He’s ever present in the storms - I never once felt scared or worried, even with those clouds straight ahead. His presence and peace were right there with me and I had no need to fear.
3. Sometimes we just need to face the storms head on! A lot of times, I want to avoid the storms, skirt around them, or better yet just stay at home on the couch, BUT that is not always the better way. Today I had one way to go - north, and the storms were north, straight ahead, but so were my gals!
4. He doesnt “turn around”. As I drove straight toward the storm today, I had a great reason - my sweet girls. And there wasn’t much of anything that would have made me turn around. How much more does our Heavenly Father pursue us? He won’t turn around on us! Oh what joy and assurance that brings to my heart!
5. As I glanced in my rear view mirror on the drive back home, the storm was there, but I was going a different way. It was behind me now. Storms come and go - they will happen, and He will be right there. This too shall pass.
I would love to say that the ride back with the girls the other way, away from the storm, was just as sweet, and it was, in different ways. It was just filled with 1000 questions, giggles and whines, and of course loud singing!
And those moments teach me too...
Yesterday was hard, Like heart wrenching hard, as I watched my sweet gal struggle to overcome her fear of the water. I’ve gone back and forth in my mind since last summer about whether or not to even put her in swim lessons again this summer. We had a terrible experience last year but I’ll save that story for another day maybe. I knew I had to sign her up again though. I want Ivey to learn the basics of water safety and how to save herself if she should ever need to. Dan also can’t swim so he’s been pretty adamant that our girls learn!
So Monday she began and it was terrible!! Friends had all warned me it would probably be awful, but nothing prepares you for watching it all go down. The fear in her little heart was so evident - even her toes were curled under and her fists clinched. After the forty five minutes of pure “bliss” ended and we were heading home, she and I had the sweetest conversation about fear and courage and how God can give us courage if we just ask. So she asked God to give her courage.
Tuesday came and on the way, I made up a song about being brave and we prayed and asked God for courage again. It was still tough. While she didn’t scream, she sat on the side of the pool sobbing quietly still overcome with fear, yet obeying her teacher, reluctantly. I praised her on the way home for being a bit more brave, not running away, not screaming, and obeying. She said “mommy, I was a little bit brave today but I’ll be even more brave tomorrow!”
And today - we prayed again, asking God to help her be brave again and to help her not give in to the fear that was holding her back.
And HE did!
As I sat pool-side, watching her begin to relax and actually have fun, I was reminded of a couple things.
First, As a mama, it was tough watching her struggle. I wanted to rush in and rescue her. I wanted to share all the reasons why she couldn’t and maybe shouldn’t do it quite yet. It’s my “job” to protect her, right?!
But I didn’t rush in...
and today - she saw God working and answering her prayers and she felt the joy of overcoming her fears firsthand! If she would have stopped Monday, she wouldn’t have had today! Sometimes we need to do tough stuff and we need to allow our kiddos to do tough stuff. And we need to allow those tough things to teach them and point them to a God who loves them and is for them, and of course cheer them on and encourage them along the way.
Secondly, sadly I didn’t think today would happen... I was not looking forward to it, honestly. I was waiting for another day of screaming and tears and defeat.
As we were driving home, I asked her where she got her courage from and she said “mommy, God gave it to me!” (Like duh...)
That’s right Sweet girl....
May I be a mama who believes what she asks for in prayer just like my sweet four year old did today. She asked for courage and she expected God to give it to her, and He did! And she knew it!
Yes, swim lessons may be a pretty small thing to you, but to us, it’s not! So today We are celebrating overcoming fear, trusting a God who loves us and is for us, and believing that He hears us and answers us! I pray Ivey remembers this moment, even as a four year old, of choosing to trust God and choosing courage over fear!
Especially tomorrow when we go back!
“For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.” 2 Timothy 1:7