In college I majored in communications. In all of my studies, there was a repeating theme: give the facts, be honest, but write and speak from a personal place of vulnerability. People connect with authenticity. Today, I’m going to be really honest and very vulnerable.
My husband is currently working four to five days a week in Atlanta, while I manage our household and the inner workings of a life with four children. I also write and consult on the side. We’re finalizing the adoption of our fourth child. My daughter is a competitive dancer (Yes, I’m a dance mom. No, dance moms are not as crazy as television portrays them to be). My boys are active in spring sports, and we’re preparing to move states in two months. My life is hectic on a normal day. This week it was another level, code RED. I already had a few extra errands and appointments when two of my four children fell ill with the flu AND strep throat.
As I sit here, in the parking lot of the dance studio, I’m tired from lack of sleep due to administering meds all hours of the night. I have a headache…again from lack of sleep. I’m worried about the health of my kids, their missed school work, and I’m running out of time in this day to complete all my errands. I have my daughter’s dance competition to pack for this weekend. I really need to start spring-cleaning so we can begin to show the house, and I just received a Powerschool notice that my adopted son is, once again, failing math. I’m wondering if I have what it takes to parent a child that has endured significant abuse, neglect, and starvation, and on top of everything, I’m behind on laundry. I HATE being behind on laundry. The weight of my circumstance FEELS overwhelmingly heavy, but if I allow my FEELS to strip the validity of my KNOWS, I’m setting myself up for defeat. Let me explain.
I FEEL tired. I FEEL like I can’t go on. I FEEL like I’m failing as a mother. I FEEL unproductive. I FEEL lonely and isolated.
I KNOW the Lord is my strength. I KNOW He has given me everything I need to face this day. I KNOW He created within me a mother’s intuition. I KNOW He has given me a grand purpose. I KNOW He has placed Godly influences around me to lean on for support when life gets tough.
Feelings are not truth. When I go to scripture, I find clear direction when I’m weary. “Look to the Lord and his strength; seek his face always.” 1 Chronicles 16:11 (NIV) In my prayer time this morning, I felt a blanket of peace settle over me. God was saying, “I’m here. My strength is yours. You’ve got this.” I don’t know if God speaks in modern-day vernacular, but it’s what I heard, what I experienced. As I mulled the words over in my mind, I came to a conclusion. Strength isn’t a grand show of brawn or might. Sometimes strength is simply moving forward, taking another step, advancing despite the onslaught of emotions that beat us down. Strength is saying I FEEL one way, but KNOW the truth. Here’s the truth. “I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:13 (NIV). The scripture is clear. Your strength comes from a conscious decision to rely on the maker of heaven and earth. Let’s take a few moments to examine that further.
Strength is…DECIDING TO BE OKAY.
Not every circumstance can be changed, not every problem immediately rectified. Sometimes, strength is deciding to look to the heavens, acknowledge your blessings, take a deep breath, and stay the course. I once heard my pastor say, “Your next level may be one praise away.” Change starts with you, with your mindset. When the enemy begins to stir your emotions, tries to make you FEEL inadequate and alone, close your eyes and praise Jesus. Find your steady in the unwavering faithfulness of a God who is always with you.
Strength is…DECIDING TO TAKE ACTION.
Sometimes, a situation is out of our control. Other times, there are actions we can take to improve our circumstances. I’m overwhelmed in this season with housework and yard work. I can choose to forgo that new pair of shoes I’ve had my eye on and reallocate those funds for a little assistance around my house. For you, it may be that you despise the negativity of your work environment. Maybe you should invest in a good set of headphones or ask to switch cubicles. Maybe you’re lonely. Find a small group. Choose to intentionally connect with those in your same season of life. Sometimes strength is deciding, “I can do something about this.”
Strength is…DECIDING TO SEEK HELP.
Life is messy. Things don’t always go as planned. Sometimes you find yourself in a maze of emotions and every turn leads to a dead end. Maybe you’ve experienced the death of someone dear to you, or even the death of a life-long dream. Maybe someone you loved walked away and left you feeling inadequate and vulnerable, or maybe it’s a million things piling up. Seeking guidance and support is also a sign of strength. It shows you are self-aware enough to know a breaking point is near. Sometimes strength is saying, “I can’t overcome this on my own, but I know God wants more for me and I’m going to choose to share my burden and find unity in the body of Christ.”
Just because you don’t FEEL strong, doesn’t mean you aren’t equipped with the strength of a higher power. “It is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer; he causes me to stand on the heights. He trains my hands for battle; my arms can bend a bow of bronze.” Psalm 18:32-34 (NIV)
A Leading Lady decides to be strong. She decides to be okay, to take action, and to seek help when she needs it. You may not FEEL capable, but you KNOW a God who makes you strong. Advance, move forward, take another step and be encouraged you are never alone and your backup will never fail you.
Join us again next week here at FamilyMinistry.Church as we continue to define a Leading Lady.