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Guest Post: Tamara McMillan 

Scars are such interesting things, and oftentimes the scars that we have tell a story…

I remember when I was pregnant with my oldest daughter…

I was using the restroom at my mom’s house when I suddenly began to feel dizzy. In hindsight, I see that I should have just sat there and waited until the dizziness passed. I could have even yelled my mom’s name to let her know that I was feeling dizzy. But instead, I decided that it was a better idea to get up by myself try and go lay down on the couch. On the way to the living room, I passed out and hit my head on my little sister’s doorframe. The scar that was left behind reminds of that day…

Sometimes, however, the scars that we carry are not as visible as the scar that I have on my forehead. Yet despite their inability to be seen by the naked eye, these scars can still tell a tale, or shift our minds back to a previous moment in time…

October is domestic violence awareness month….

As I’ve been reflecting on the emotions that are connected to that period in my life, I realize that, though I have physical scars on my body that serve as a reminder of the night that I was stabbed multiple times, it’s not my physical scars that remind me of the hell that I went through…

They say that hindsight is 20/20….

And I can clearly see that we were simply two unhealthy people, with unhealthy boundaries who were tied together by this by this unhealthy version of what we called…love….

Love…

What started off as something so exciting and new….

Became a compromise here and a compromise there….

I was compromising my peace of mind while clinging on to the unfulfilled promise of “it won’t happen again”

The wounds would heal and the physical pain would fade away…

But for a while the remnant of things spoken rode around on my train of thought…

And if I could have just done “this” and “that” differently, none of this would have happened…

Somehow I had triggered you and oftentimes I felt “trigger happy” because it seemed as if my mere existence triggered your anger and, at the very least, your hateful words…

What started off as something so exciting and new….

Became a compromise here and a compromise there…

Onlookers are generally quick to say “why don’t you just leave?” Yet they fail to realize that what started off as the whispering of “sweet nothings”…slowly shifted to screams that I “meant nothing” and you wanted “nothing” to do with me…

Yet like a dangling worm I had already been hooked and was tied to you by this unhealthy version of what he called love…

And I was clinging on to the unfulfilled promise of “it won’t happen again”…

I didn’t leave until I had reached my breaking point; once I had reached the point where I had broken free from the idea that things would be any different from the way that they were.

Once removed from the situation, I went to a domestic violence shelter and one of the residents told me something that really stuck with me. She told me “the way that he treated you was not okay”.

I eventually went to counseling and am very intentional about maintaining healthy boundaries in all of my relationships; but those nine words that she spoke to me, changed my entire perspective and ensured that I would never again enter into another abusive relationship…


Meet Tamara

I’m a pretty deep thinker and also very random. I am a storyteller and I love to draw you in so that you feel like you actually experienced it. Sometimes I rehash things from a comedic point of view, but I also like to give you a deep truth to meditate on. I am very passionate about making sure that people understand that they are loved and know their worth; I really dislike seeing people being mistreated or treated unfairly. I also strongly dislike when people are viewed solely through the lens of a label or stereotype. I am a lover of Jesus, people, random adventures, and laughter.

You can find more of Tamara’s work on her blog LadyTButterfly!

Ending the FOMO

I’ve had several opportunities to be brave in my life. We all have, haven’t we? Speaking your mind, taking chances, and even talking to a stranger can be exercises in bravery. Recently, my biggest opportunity to be brave involved my post-graduation plans. After studying abroad and interning in New York within a year, all I wanted to be was home. New York was stressful and scary and hectic—and it terrified me. I wanted to spend time with friends and family, and be in a cozy little apartment where I had full control of my life and my environment.

After a summer off, my priority was finding a job. Unfortunately, opportunities seemed plentiful in the place from which I had come RUNNING back to Texas at the end of my internship—New York City. I decided to do one of the things that scared me most and move back. I had some contacts and went in hopes of getting a job within a month or so. The interviews were intimidating. Walking into the corporate offices of companies like Ralph Lauren and Estee Lauder was unnerving to me, but I went anyway. Believe it or not, I was even making my peace with the city. Six weeks and a dozen interviews later, nothing was working out.

Frustrated with the NYC job market, I began to toy with searching in Dallas. Going home might seem like a no-brainer, but I worried what people would think. I didn’t want to be that girl who went to New York with a big dream only to give up. I was embarrassed. I was also afraid of missing an opportunity. In millennial terms, the FOMO (Fear Of Missing Out) was real.

The flaw in my thought process? FOMO is irrational. No matter where we are, we’re always “missing out” on something else. We can’t be everywhere at once, and that’s okay. It was time to let it go and be honest with myself about my real goal: to find a job. As soon as I deemed FOMO for what it is—(silly)—God opened a door. Within a week of applying for jobs in Texas, I got something.

Stop being crippled by the fear of missing out. Fear-based mentalities won’t help you achieve your goals. (Tweet it!) Instead, channel bravery in your everyday life. You will find the possibilities are endless!”

You can follow Rachel’s adventures

If you would like to share a brave story along your journey, fill out a contact form here!

Guest Blog Story: Where’s Home?

Where’s home?

For two weeks I’ve been home in Nebraska visiting family and friends for the holidays. Since August of 2015 I’ve been living in Costa Rica as a missionary studying Spanish. I’ll be studying Spanish and living there until August of 2016, potentially longer.

A month before coming back to Nebraska I could hardly wait to get back home to see family, friends, eat old foods, and do things that I couldn’t do in Costa Rica. Yet, after seeing my friends and family, and doing those odd and end things, I found myself missing my friends, food, public transportation, and daily habits in Costa Rica. While in Costa Rica I would try and explain my life in Nebraska, but people couldn’t really understand the stories and experiences I tried to share about my “home”. Now in Nebraska my friends and family don’t quite understand my stories and experiences from my life in Costa Rica. I feel like an outsider in both places.

Where is home for me? I thought that when I came back to Nebraska things would just pick up where they left off, but I realized that life has moved forward while I was away. At the same time, when I’m in Costa Rica I don’t fully fit in either because I’m not fluent in their language and culture yet. So…where do I fit in now? Where is home for me?

Honestly, right now I don’t know the answers to those questions, but there’s one thing I know to always be true:

I can choose to trust the Lord and His plans for my life.

It’s hard feeling like I don’t have a “home” or a place where I “fit in”, but I am choosing to be BRAVE and trust the Lord through this season. You’ve heard the saying, “home is where the heart is”.

I give the Lord my heart so he is my “home”.

I know that no matter where I am or who I’m with I can always have a sense of home, as long as I place my trust in the Lord and keep him at the center of my life. Being BRAVE is a choice. I choose to be BRAVE!

Will you choose to be BRAVE and trust the Lord with your life? He wants to take you down the most amazing, life fulfilling journey. I dare you to be BRAVE.

Find out more about Myhiah’s BRAVE life in Costa Rica on her blog!

Twitter: @mdotzler

Facebook: Myhiah Dotzler

 

 

 

 

Guest Blog Story: Bravery Starts with our Yes

Three letter word, yes.

Bravery starts with our yes. We have a choice. I have a choice, a daily choice. I can be busy and get soaked in the weight of life or I can be still and commune with God. I can hear and experience the sweet voice and gifts that we are given daily or bypass them. As the new year comes under way, lets remember that we have a choice to be brave and create new friendships, a choice to say yes and embrace Gods great gifts, to dwell in the beauty or sorrow that moments in life may bring. Because being brave will not always look like rainbows and colorful bouquets of flowers , it will not feel like biting into that piece of decadent chocolate cake; it may hurt a bit, it may sting like a bee, but

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)

that’s where the beauty of life comes in. We have a choice to experience REAL hope, grace, compassion and mercy. Although a yes may mean we get to see and take apart ugly parts of ourselves- there is grace. Although a yes may mean we have to talk about uncomfortable subjects with individuals we hold dear to our hearts or those we are creating new friendships with- there is love. Although a yes may mean stepping into the unknown, there is hope that whatever and wherever the Lord has called you to will be greater and bigger than what you can imagine because He stands, before, after, and next to you. God is near and God sees your bravery. God acknowledges your bravery. I can say that I have seen the Lord in all of these and so many other facets on my move to Seattle last summer. These last 5 months have been tough- like REALLY tough, but because of faith, because of the immense love He bestows in each and every place I go to, I will continue to say yes where He leads. I will continue to trust and continue to find the many gifts that are present daily. I am learning to say yes.

Much love,

Anahi

Take some time to ponder on:

Where and in what ways can you take a moment and commune with God?

What are some of the gifts God is giving you?

How can you say yes to something new- daily/weekly/monthly/yearly?

Guest Blog Story: A Little Bravery Goes a Long Way

Four years ago, I did something a little crazyokay, maybe not crazy, but a little brave. I got on a plane to go abroad for the first timealone.  I didnt know who would be meeting me on the other side of the Atlantic, but I had a feeling that it would all work out. Seven continents and 20 countries later, Id say that my hunch was on point.

Out of all of my travels, the greatest bravery that I found was in surrendering. Releasing my motives, my agenda, and my plan, and courageously clinging to God’s perfect will was where I found extreme bravery.  Braver than boarding a ship to sail with 90 strangers to the coldest continent on Earth. Braver than jumping beside a waterfall with only strangers at the bottom to see me surface. Braver than sleeping at a stranger’s house in Sydney, Australia and trusting that it would all work out. I mean, this bravery that I speak of is far beyond all of that. It’s deeper. In surrendering, I’ve experienced a freedom that has no boundaries. (Tweet it!) No zip codes. No limits. This bravery takes me to places that fear will never see.

This bravery manifested in this simple prayer to the Lord: I have a “yes” waiting for you. That “yes” has placed me before Buddhist monks. That “yes” has sandwiched me between atheists and agnostics, Christians and Muslims, colleagues and strangers. That “yes” has walked me down beautifully mysterious roads in Malindi, Kenya. It’s nestled me safely in various flats in Hangzhou, China. It’s welcomed me to teach women at two universities in Saudi Arabia. That “yes” took me much further than any “no” would’ve ever taken me. That’s why I have a “yes” waiting for Him. That “yes” places me in the safest place: His will.

Every time I get crazy enoughI mean, brave enough to get on another plane, I connect with some of the most beautiful people on Earth. I connect with people who have their hands out to give. Im stretched and humbled. Im challenged to do more, be more, and give more. I’m challenged to surrender. And with a grateful heart, I say “yes.”

This time last year, I made my final payment for my trip to Antarctica. I had this wild idea three years ago to see all seven continents by my 30th birthday. God had a wilder idea: to connect me to people around the globe who would pour into me, pray for me, challenge me, and strengthen me. As I thaw off from my trip to that frigid continent, I can’t help but smile. Bravery took me to a place that fear will never see. Where will bravery take us next?  

Follow more of Karissa’s adventures at sevenby30.com!

Guest Blog Story: Bravery in Motherhood

What makes a person brave? When I ask this question, I’m not referring to US Military brave or firemen brave or even risk-your-life-and-tackle-criminal-for-strangers brave….. These men and women are obvious heroes who sacrifice everything for the ones they love and those they don’t even know exist. They are beyond selfless and possess an inner strength and perspective of life that many do not, including myself.
I’m talking the everyday bravery and courage that is consistently shown by people we work with, volunteer next to, and make small talk with while our children are at the practice of the activity of their choice. Bravery shown by those who don’t see it in themselves.

I’m referring to the mamas who don’t recognize such greatness within themselves. The ones who have this unbreakable spirit and seem to glide through the toughest of circumstances with a distinctive grace and dignity. The mamas who are working several jobs to make ends meet, the ones who go from work to school only to stay up later than they should to make sure everyone is prepared for the next day. The mamas who endure the worst of circumstances, the mamas going through a divorce or separation, the ones who’ve lost their jobs or husbands. The women who are wives, mothers, career women, and homemakers are the brave, confident, strong, and resilient ones.

These mamas [you and I] are brave.

David going up against Goliath was brave. But, so was Ruth choosing to stay with her mother in law in a foreign land with no source of income. She had no means to take care of herself or Naomi but chose to believe that modesty & purity were her best options when there were definitely “others” out there, if you know what I mean. Bravery is simply courage in action. It takes courage to raise your children and advocate for them when all we have is our mommy instincts telling us something isn’t right. It takes courage to raise your child/children alone. It takes a certain boldness to face terrifying circumstances and not back down or break down when your strength is required. It’s our inner strength that allows us to smile and create a peaceful environment when our babies need comfort and solace.

And, mamas, this is the thing.

While the sacrificing and giving that we do is second nature…. While it comes naturally and we do it without even thinking; it’s easy to fool ourselves into believing that the natural instincts to provide for our child is not a big deal. It’s easy to minimize the enormous efforts we put forth and say that we’re “just doing what needs to be done” without realizing the vastness of what we do.

Y’all. We are mothers – we partner with God in creating and maintaining life. There is nothing minimal about what we do and how we do it.

Mama. You are brave. And, don’t ever forget it.

You can follow more of Alaina’s unashamed growth as a mompreneur of twins!

Instagram: @amayes

If you would like to share a brave story along your journey, fill out a contact form here!

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