Tag Archives: trial

The Ebb and Flow of Hope

September 15, 2014

Oh, how I have missed you, friends! Somehow my life had a lot (understatement) to unfold over the last five months. During that time, I took an unplanned hiatus from the blog and much of social media. So, at the risk of being self-interested, I want to share the inspiring moments of ebb and flow since April.

Ebb
Such an intriguing concept . . . the waning of certain areas or, as I like to think of it, the pulling of life from your point of comfort into an ocean of change and challenge. In late March, I chose to set my heart free. No former attachments, no lingering what-ifs and no more seeking to find a someone. It was scary, it came with a clearing of energy, and it took all my courage to let go and give it fully to God.

Around April, I started noticing a reduction in freelance work and a shift in my network to a period of pause. That pause came with a frenzy of wrapping up projects, seeking new clients and praying the Lord would provide for my needs as bills mounted. I’m sure you know the stress and pressure of such times. Can I pay my rent in a month? What cavernous maze of steps must I take with credit cards? What am I doing wrong?

Simultaneously, several friends drifted into injury, illness, loss and trial. As I closed out the final weeks of the GriefShare class I love, I shifted immediately to be present and find the sunshine needed to bolster their spirits. I wouldn’t have had it any other way. I simply didn’t realize my own candle was flickering.

Flow
To flow, to let life move as it will and to be pushed toward your greater self.

In mid-April, God richly blessed and challenged me all at once. He sent me David. Someone full of the spirit, a servant at heart and a playful personality with well-disguised redhead tendencies. On Easter, we had our first date. Imagine me sitting in the car before I walked up to the restaurant, praying to God that whatever He had in store would be my path. No expectations, no void to fill, no second guessing my outfit and nothing more than an honest glimmer of hope. David and I were instantly comfortable, immediately wrapped up in conversations that flitted from superheroes and action movies, to great books and helping others . . . even a sprinkle of goofy humor about our main courses (Chicken Bryan & Chicken Marsala, which we dubbed our double date Bryan & Marsala—at least until we scarfed them up). Yes, I scarfed on a first date. Don’t judge. He murmured on about baseball after a dizzying first kiss, so we’re even.

Fast forward (literally, it went so fast) to May when I met his kiddos (Joshua and Madelynne). Within a month of meeting, we were engaged. Crazy? Yep. Perfect? Yep. Predictable? Nope. We still stand silently and stare at each other sometimes and say, “Wow, this is real. I feel like the rollercoaster is still going.”

In June, we consolidated homes, in blessed time to combine both of our temporarily diminished finances. At the same time, I became a full-time step-mom in training. What a whirlwind of emotion, routine, questions and oops-my-bad. As David started his summer university term toward his doctorate in psychology, along with work for the Army Reserve, I set about reaching out to over three dozen job openings, clients and leads. But it wasn’t the Lord’s timing.

In July, we were married. I had spoken to the pastor once via phone, emailed the photographer, never met the hairstylist, never seen the flowers, never seen the winery in person and never met David’s family until the 24 hours before. It was like jumping out of a plane, into the ocean, looking for a star to guide you and seeing a hand reaching out. I wouldn’t change one ebb for all of the flow or one stressful moment for every priceless smile.

I humbly invite you to share our wedding day . . . the blessed culmination of surprises revealed, hope fulfilled and a new journey unleashed: View Our Video (one of the fabulous creations of the talented Tamara from Every Emotion Photography).

Also that month, I was given the opportunity to work on creative projects with a couple of brands I admire and the amazing blessing to begin building a brand with some visionary friends. It has God at its core, promoting good works to the world (can’t wait to share more in the coming months).

Every day has bumps and learnings, but my hope is wrapped in a glow of immense gratitude.

Transforming Trial into Triumph

March 25, 2013

You will face trials in your life. Notice I didn’t say “may” or “could,” but “will.” You will be tested, emotionally and spiritually. You will question the world, your choices and yourself. Whether you are ready to believe it or not, these things are all gifts.

Like the brightest metals and gems, you will discover your radiant light by polishing your perseverance. Is it easy? No. Is it worth it? Absolutely. Trials are part of living in this world and, I believe, sometimes just the nudge we need to grow in character. For it is through trials that we test, define and expand our character. Like a muscle, perseverance takes flexing.

Now, knowing there will be trials does not mean that we have to apathetically face illness, loss or change. Constructive trials, while they may not appear so at the time, provide a “moment of impact” when we are acutely awake to what we want, deserve and desire to be. That’s where the gifts come in—clarity of values, shaking off complacency and a deep passion to discover your true purpose, to name a few.

At first, you may see a trial as a hurdle, a wall or a fog. That’s alright. Here are a few suggestions for transforming trial into triumph:

  1. Lean into the emotion, journal about it, and look to friends or a group for support (there is no shame in needing help . . . we all do)
  2. Shift your focus toward all that you have to offer this world (your talents, your dreams, your spiritual gifts and your light)
  3. Any time a negative, bitter or doubting thought enters, swap it for gratitude (you have the ability to steer your perspective from degrading to upgrading)
  4. Stay active in productive tasks, like resume updates, networking, reading about new opportunities, working out (even the smallest steps can be celebrated)
  5. Give to others (volunteering and acts of kindness enrich your confidence, sense of worth and optimism as much as they do the people you help)
  6. As the emotion settles, revisit the trial to recognize the blessings in it (list the ways it frees you and motivates you)
  7. Share your story of triumph with others, using positive language and values that reflect your new outlook (it will solidify it in your mind and, perhaps, spark others)

If you just thought to yourself, “That sounds great for someone else, but I can’t just let go of my trial.” then it’s time to have a tough conversation with yourself. It may feel easier to secretly hold onto the trial than to work at transforming your life from within. It’s actually not. Imagine trying to hold back the flood of a waterfall with a sieve.

Taken while hiking just outside Portland, OR

When you surrender to that which you cannot change and let the positive transformation wash over you, it can be as refreshing and invigorating as this waterfall. Having hope and embracing change can move you from self-pity to self-confidence and your journey from worry to wonder. A fresh start awaits you.