We all have those proud mom moments when our children surprise us and make us look like the mom of the year. You know... that rare family dinner out where all of the kids display their best table manners with no whining or crying and they remember the magic words ... “please” and “thank you” and the waitress and the table of elderly ladies behind you congratulate you on how well-behaved your children are. And your chest swells with pride as your imagination plays a movie of the Mom’s Choice Awards and they call your name. Your children jump to their feet. Your husband plants a big one on your lips. The crowd goes wild. You walk to the stage and pull out your pre-written acceptance speech.
Then suddenly you feel a tugging at your arm.
The tugging continues.
You look to your left. You shake your head and blink your eyes a few times.
“I have to go potty, Mommy!”
You’re quickly brought back to reality and gladly take your little one’s hand in yours and head off to the potty.
Then ... there are those not so proud moments. You’re standing in line and you’re little two year old innocently declares, “That old man is ugly!”
Or ... like the moment my four year old, standing on the church steps with the most distigueshed, godly men at your conservative, Baptist church, grabs his daddy’s hand and says, “Come on daddy, let’s go to 7-11 and get us a beer!”
Yes. That actually happened. And, I must add ... I assure you, he and his daddy, never before (or after) “went to 7-11 to get themselves a beer.”
These are the moments that any mom deserves a respite! A get away. To rejuvinate and be encouraged. To be with other moms who understand and can sympathize. To learn tools to help them through those long, seemingly endless days (and nights) of motherhood. To learn to bask in the messes and enjoy each stage that one day will be a memory.
The PERFECT opportunity for such a respite is happening on July 31 - August 2, 2014 In JACKSONVILLVE, FLORIDA. It is the Southeast’s BETTER TOGETHER Conference for MOMS, MENTORS & MINISTRY LEADERS. With powerful keynote messages and over 40 workshops that will meet YOU right where you are. Laugh together. Cry together. Pray together. Learn to together.
WIN ONE FREE REGISTRATION BY SIMPLY LEAVING A COMMENT ($49 VALUE). *Note: Does not include transportation to Jacksonville, or lodging.
For more information and to register, click her http://www.themominitiative.com/conferences/2014-better-together-m-o-m-conference/
I will be conducting two workshops, and look forward to seeing what God has for me (AND YOU).
And ... the best part is ... if you register before December 1st, it’s ONLY $39*
*Hotel accommodations extra - BUT, special M.O.M. Conference rates are available. Don't delay! Bring your church. Your MOPS group. Your Bible study group. Or ... just yourself. I'll gladly be right there with you!
Author, Fay Lamb shares her personal story of how an oft quoted verse (and verse that is often used more as a cliche, than in its deepest meaning) transformed her life. Take just a few minutes and listen to some powerful perspective and truth.
You can find out more about Fay and her latest projects at the following websites: www.faylamb.com & www.writeintegritypress.com.
I had the incredible privilege to interview Stephanie Shott. It aired in Central Florida on the local Christian Radio station and will soon air in Pittsburgh, PA and Huntsville, AL. You will not soon forget Steph's story. Take a listen. I promise it will encourage you in unexpected ways. To learn more about Stephanie and her books, speaking and the M.O.M. Initiative, go to www.TheMomInitiative.com.
It wasn’t where I ever expected to be …
... sitting in a comfortable swivel chair as the counselee in a counseling room at Restoration Care Counseling in Orlando, Florida. With a complete loss of perspective I was at my wits end and, as far as I was concerned, asserting my last ditch effort to pull myself together. I had been through this routine before, three times to be exact, but this time was different. I immediately sensed that the two women sitting across from me were not going to tell me what others had, “You seem to have it all together … there’s really nothing more that I can do for you.”
Neither had formal counseling degrees. And I knew that when I took my seat in their office. Yet, there is no doubt that God chose these two ladies to minister to me. This was their life’s offering to God. It was on their own time, expecting nothing in return and they listened with deep compassion as I shared with them detail after detail of what brought me to their office.
“The last two years I have been on the most difficult journey of my adult life,” I shared. I continued on, highlighting different experiences and events of our business loss, job loss, enormous financial loss, material losses, consequences faced because of other people’s decisions for my life, realities of deep betrayal and lost relationships.
“When this journey started,” I went on to explain, “I thought for sure that God was orchestrating the events, as painful as they were, to set me up to take my part-time ministry to women, to full-time. But, not only did my ministry not take off, for the first time in a decade, it virtually became non-existent, almost as though God put me on a shelf and at this point, I’m not sure He will ever take me off that shelf.”
I sat there in tears as I wondered aloud how I had missed the mark by so much. Who was I to think that God would actually orchestrate or allow such events just to use me?
When I was done sharing what brought me to their office, one the counselors, with her pad of paper in hand began to ask some probing questions about my family and other aspects of my life.
I began to pour out the details of my life.
One of the ladies perceptively pointed out how nonchalantly I shared some of the most heart-wrenching moments of my life, in a mechanical, factual manner. It was obvious that my life had been marred with some extreme coping skills. Skills that I quickly learned after my mom died. I was one month from turning six when she died. Within a couple of days of her funeral I was told that I couldn’t talk about her or cry about her anymore. I quickly learned to push down my emotions and press on. Each event (abandonment, abuse, rejection, loss) after my mom’s death seemed to validate and build on that same skill.
It didn’t take long for these two ladies to realize and suggest to me that the two year journey I was on was to lead me to their office so that God could empty me of myself. By bringing to light the broken areas of my life that had for so long stayed safely hidden, God could pour Himself into every crevice of my heart and soul to ready me for the ministry that I had been passionate about for so long.
At the end of the four-hour long session one of them said, “Shelly, right now your story is bigger than life, but when we’re done here, your story is going to be much less significant, and GOD’S story for your life is going to be bigger than life.”
No doubt I was exactly where I was suppose to be. It was my last ditch effort to pull myself together, but it was God’s sovereign plan orchestrated from day one of that two year journey to bring me to a place of healing. Leaving no stone unturned, I would finally be set free from captivity, not just for my own wholeness, but so that God’s glory would shine through His story for my life.
A captive set free radiates God’s splendor, and this daughter was now on a journey of being set free from the chains of the enemy … chains of hurt, pain, rejection, loss, betrayal, isolation and abuse. I can assert the words that Joseph proclaimed to his brothers in Genesis 50:20, “…you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.” For me, what the enemy devised to try to crush and destroy my life, God meant to be a living tapestry of beauty from ashes, healing my brokenness and bringing freedom from the chains in my life that for so long held me captive.
Isaiah 61 describes the reason Jesus was sent to this earth:
"... to heal the brokenhearted, to free the captive, to comfort all who mourn, to give them beauty for ashes, joy for their mourning, praise for their spirit of heaviness!"
And He does this when we bring the shattered pieces of our lives: hurt, rejection, loss, sin, betrayal, voids, abuse, our painful memories, and lay them at the foot of the cross. Sometimes it really is that simple. We fall on our faces in the presence of God and as we honestly pour out our complaints to Him as Psalm 142:2 suggests, He becomes the healing balm for our brokenness. As we forgive and release those who have hurt us so deeply, and repent of our own sinful choices while allowing God’s instant forgiveness to pour into our heart and mind, we will experience a freedom and healing as never before. The greatest healing in my life has come from applying some key Spiritual disciplines, some of which I'll be sharing in one of my next Blog posts.
However, at other times, we need help from mature, godly people to walk with us as we pursue healing. Sometimes the wounds and brokenness are so deep that it takes someone with profound godly wisdom and insight, or a godly counselor to come along side you, walk through these deeper areas of your life, and help you bring your brokenness into the healing presence of Christ. I'm grateful God gave me that, as it forever changed my life. I'm not the same woman today as I was when I started this unexpected journey. And He's continuing to change me as I continue seeking Him with all my heart and soul. I am living proof that there truly is nothing too broken where God's healing power can not reach.
Questions: 1) Do you have a healing story you can share with us? If so, we'd love to hear it! 2) Are you in need of healing for your life and you think you might need help in getting there? If so, there are numerous options available to you. Email me and I will gladly pass on some referrals to you.