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Trusting the Rhythms that Lead us Forward

Photo Credit: Thanks you Markus Spiske 

Ding! My phone goes off. “No more working, I need an update!” A good friend of mine replied to my post stating that I’m no longer working full-time. Earlier this year, I transitioned out of the job I’ve held for the last five years. I’ve had dreams of having more time to spend with my family and growing our business but it seemed the time was never quite right to take the next step. Little did I know that a prolonged sickness while pregnant, would make the perfect exit plan. I spent the remainder of my pregnancy resting as much as I could, managing the sickness and preparing for what I thought life would look like after I delivered. It was nothing that I had imagined and I felt completely blindsided by all the emotions surrounding my new rhythm.

“Do you have any projects you’re working on?” I asked.

She replied, “It’s the first time in my life that I haven’t had an event or some thing that I’ve been working on and it’s kind a hard and difficult to let go of because that was a huge piece of my life before having kids.…” I felt that.

I did not realize how hard it would be to let go of my old season. Part of the struggle with my transition was that so much seemed out of my control. There was a level of security and confidence in having a paycheck every month and not having that felt almost traumatic. When people asked what I was doing after baby, I could barely put the words together to describe what life would be like. When I said I was going to potentially stay at home with my kids I received great praise but my heart was broken. Why? I love my kids dearly but I was grieving what I let go and did not realize that who I thought I was, was actually tied to the work I did. Without the title, without the responsibilities, who was I to others? Most importantly who was I to me?

For about a week, I allowed myself to grieve and then got to the important work of seeking God. It was only after I let go that I began to see the gifts that were already present in my life.

This is the first time in my life where I actually feel more rested and unrushed…. I think I’m getting to a place where I actually have peace and the confidence to trust God like never before in this season.

Experts who believe in sustainable practices of living say that slow movement is about being aware of and connecting to the natural rhythms and cycles of life. Your best outcomes derive from working with the rhythms and cycles instead of against them or unaware of them.

What rhythms are showing up in your life right now? Are you working against them or with them?

Over the last 6 months our world has been forced to slow down and whether we like it or not, we have some decisions to make. The rhythms of change are constant so you have to think about how you will respond and what it means for your life right now?

My new rhythm allows me to rest, be more present with my children, heal physically and emotionally, identify what I want, build a business, spend date nights with my Husband, laugh more, spend time with my friends, connect with my Mama friends and their littles, and create a more simpler, organized home. All things I attempted to make time for previously.

” I  just knew after delivering my son things would start to turn around again, but it wasn’t that simple. I also felt purposeless or pointless. I confided in Wes and my therapist and they both agreed that I needed to reshape my perspective and pay attention to what is happening right now. I had to grieve what I lost or gave up so that I could really see the beauty in this season… I have also used the tool of daily prayer, journaling. Its like I’m daily submitting to His plan and walking with childlike faith as He guides me to my next brave step, but also holding my hand in the wait to get to the next step…”

After much reflection, I can confidently say that this is the life what I want: slow and steady, joy filled and Holy Spirit led. With the way God created you and I, I’m sure life will speed up again but in the meantime I’m thankful we can enjoy these new rhythms.

Candy

Tips to help you move forward in your new rhythm:

  • Allow yourself to grieve what you are letting go. If you already let it go, did you move on immediately? If so, I encourage you to take a moment to express gratitude for your previous rhythm and recognize it’s impact on your life.
  • Adjust your goals to the season of life that you’re in.
  • Do not compare your rhythm to someone else’s. You have no idea the work that goes on behind the scenes for them to have what you see.
  • Ask for help when you need it.
  • Pay attention to your capacity so you know when it’s time to speed up, slow down or pause.

Featured post

Redefining Abundance

This morning I’m up early reminiscing on the summer of covid19. Most of us can agree that 2020 was both unexpected and very hard in different ways. I am still feeling the heaviness from the events in the last two weeks. The uncertain conditions pushed me closer to God and my family and with all our free time, we were intentional to seek out better ways to “cope” and be intentional about our wellness. A major boost for us was being in the garden.

My Husband planted aromatic herbs–chamomile, basil, dill, parsley, thyme. Vegetables–eggplant, celery, artichokes, red potatoes, butter lettuce, brocollini, two different kinds of kale, green onion, and green beans. The star of the garden was our peach tree! It was abundantly full this year and we (along with the squirrels) loved it.

Being in the garden together was beautiful and invigorating! I loved seeing our children call out each plant by name and learn how to harvest what was grown.

Our three year old Justus, learned the term grounding and joyfully exclaimed to his Dad how he was “grounding” as he pushed his bare feet into the tilled soil. Our newest baby, Zion, slept peacefully shaded in his new bassinet and Nyomi found ALL the worms. 

It was a picture of ABUNDANCE.

Every time my hands reached down to pull up weeds, I noticed how easy it was to loosen them from the soil. I immediately was encouraged as I looked at how the ground was no longer hard, rocky dirt but softer, full of worms, fertile–the perfect environment for abundance. 

If you have a garden then you fully understand the difference between dirt and soil . Dirt is dead soil. You cannot place a seed into dirt and expect major growth.  Dirt is void of the vital nutrients that plants need to grow and therefore cannot effectively hold the seed to produce plants. Thankfully, with time, intention, a bit of pressure and patience, dirt has the opportunity to be revitalized and become soil–fertile ground to produce abundantly. 

What do you expect to produce in this season?  

Are your words and actions creating an environment for abundance or lack?

My therapist told me in a recent session that I need to redefine what abundance is to me so I can create and live in my own happiness. Abundance is different to each person which is part of the wonder.

My abundance looks like spending time with my family, learning together, growing food to share. It is pursuing peace in my heart, it is sitting on the porch taking in time with my Heavenly Father or a sun nap. It is rest, slowing down, being present. It is investing into the lives of Black girls, it is empowering Women. It is working through my past to fully enjoy my present. It is good talks with friends, and seeing the look on my children’s faces as they have aha moments!

If I am doing any of those things I am intentionally living a life of abundance and when I am abundant, I can give generously. 

Do the work:

Today I encourage you to take the time to define what abundance means for you.

What does it look like, how does it show up in your life? If you’re having a hard time answering this question, take the time to evaluate your life. What brings you peace, joy, puts a big smile on your face?

What do you hope to give out of your abundance?

Keeping the Faith after Divorce

Quarantine Diary featuring Nikita Davis

 

My life has been full of failed relationships in regards to men since childhood. Therefore, from the beginning I had a very skewed perspective on what a healthy female to male relationship should look like. The “best” relationship I ever had was a 5 year relationship with a married man. When we met I didn’t know that he was married and actually didn’t find out until about 7 months later and by then I was very pregnant and very in love.  We stayed together until he was murdered in 2011. I will never forget the feeling I felt when I knew it was all over.

His Wife’s forgiveness and kindness towards me was pivotal in me being able to move forward. I ended up joining a church and built a strong relationship with God.

God really helped me to understand that I was worth more than what I had been settling for.

At this point in my relationship with God, I decided to be celibate. During those 7 years I learned a lot about myself and who I truly was outside of relationships. I found out that I was really a nerd-kind of –and that I enjoyed the outdoors which was a far stretch from the times past of selling drugs, partying, drinking & smoking and moving from one relationship to the next.

In October 2018, I met my soon to be ex husband. On our first date I told him my testimony in great detail. I also told him what I would and would not settle for and at the top of that list was cheating. From my previous experience, I don’t believe that cheating is a mistake. I think cheating takes a lot of effort and it takes a lot of thought and the time that you put into cheating could be put into either fixing or bettering your existing relationship It could also be put into ending the relationship and moving on. Either way I made it clear that I would not settle for this. Ever.

He proposed Aug 2019 and we got married Nov 18, 2019 in a small ceremony with plans to have a bigger ceremony on July 26, 2020. After we married we moved in together and blended our families. Almost immediately, it became evident that I had been deceived. He was a completely different person. He was not nice. He would go out of his way to try and say things to hurt my feelings and he avoided spending time with me at all costs. It was unhealthy and went against how I saw myself.

June 6th, 2020 while I was supposed to be away with my bridesmaids I found out that he had cheated on me.  In that moment, I had a decision to make. On June 10, 2020 I filed for divorce and I refused to look back. One month before my big wedding I pulled the plug because I know for a fact that I deserve better.

Today, I am well and I think that surprises people. I kept the matters of our marriage very private therefore no one knew that I had basically been crying the entire 7 months that I was married to him. His attempts to break me didn’t work, they only made walking away that much easier. I put everything I had into my marriage until it was over. Several people have told me to keep the faith and not give up on love because there is someone out there who will love me the way I deserve to be loved. Even after all of this I believe that whole heartedly! The air he slowly took from me is now mine again and I am breathing-DEEP!!

Bio:

My name is Nikita Jenell Davis. I am 34 years old. I have an 18 year old daughter and an 11 year old son. I work full time for the Omaha Public Power District. I run a small business named Whip’d By Kita that specializes in all natural hair/skin care products. I am also a loctician.

LFB: Nikita J Davis
FB: Business Whipd By Kita
IG: Whip_bykita

Featured post

Growing Through It

Quarantine Diary featuring Maritza Mateo Asboe

I’ve been growing through this COVID times instead of just going through it. I say that because I’ve had some time to read more personal growth on leadership, marriage and parenting when I have some me time. I originally had the opportunity to stay home with my kids and do things from home but what changed is that we can’t go out and do our adventures like we normally do. Since things are all closed. The Black Lives Matter movement has for sure changed my heart and mind, I’ve been more aware of what’s really going on in our world. 

This season has changed the way I parent just a bit, I’ve been enjoying my kids even more, since things are all closed. I have been practicing patience, grace and teaching moments with my kids. I have explained to my older child that there’s a virus and people are getting sick so we need to be careful and stay home, be praying for our world. I’ve been helping my older son to cope and or thrive  with this season by talking to him and expressing to him that we are here for him. He can freely talk to us also by going outside our backyard, reading books and utilizing technology to FaceTime family so that he can see them and know they are doing okay. 

What has surprised me about how I’m handling this is that I am at peace and know things will be okay.

One of the reasons is my faith and the wisdom I’ve implemented prior to the pandemic.

I think as people we can lean into the current challenges in life with effectiveness and enthusiasm by being there for each other in many ways. By praying, giving, being an example in our community, speaking up for others, taking leadership roles in our families first and then community. Knowing that you are not alone in this time! Change will happen and good will win. Everyday choose to have joy and be glad in it no matter what’s going on. And making others aware of what others are going through and not being blind to it. Be the change you want to see. 

Bio:

Maritza is a proud Wife and Mommy of two boys, Micah and Augustine. In 2016 she launched Itza & Eta, a childrens clothing line that offers the softest handmade clothing for your little ones. Every purchase made they give back locally. Follow her on Instagram: itza_and_etaand Facebook: Martiza Mateo Asboe

 

Prioritizing Wellness

Honestly, I’ve had highs and lows like everyone else. But I believe there was one difference. My heart won’t allow me to give in to the negativity around me. I had to get in touch with myself and dig deep to find the strength to continue to motivate, inspire, and grow all while keeping a balance. I had to balance being my son’s teacher, working from home, continuing to develop my business, and training for boxing, all while in school. I had to be creative, patient, and find new ways to maintain my everyday life.

I have learned that maintaining physical health and nutrition strengthens the immune system. Mental health is very important to take care of as we know many  illnesses stem from stress and anxiety.  I try to balance my life by making sure I add to my Mind, Body, and Soul daily. I work out, eat healthy by incorporating vegetables and fruit as often as I can in my meals, and pray or complete a bible study. It has become my lifestyle.

Here are some tips to support your Mind, Body, and Soul.

Mind – Try meditation/yoga. I recommend this yoga playlist by BIPOC [ Black, Indigenous, and/or People of Color]. Also, many mental health professionals are still operating via web calls.

Body– Please try to exercise. It can be a walk, jogging, or running. We have a few nice trails around Omaha where you can go biking. Drink plenty of water throughout the day. Try a few workout sessions.

Soul – Journaling can be a great outlet for your feelings and negative energy. Just grab any notebook and start writing. You can find journal prompts online for free. Or start by drawing, listen to some music. Just express what your soul is feeling. For those who are religious, try praying. I like to use the bible app, it is free and has study plans for you.

If you take the time to treat your body well, you like me, will be surprised by your strength.


Bio:

My name is Brittany Parker and I am originally from Omaha, NE. I worked in corporate for years until I moved to nonprofit to help people attain self-sufficiency. I’m a proud mom of my son. Originally, I turned to boxing as an outlet and now I am an Elite Boxer ranked #2 on Team USA. I am a five-times National Champ. In winter 2019, I competed in the Olympic Trials and placed 2nd. In February 2020 I founded my company Brittany’s Balance to give Black women a wellness program designed for them. I found balance in my life with wellness and I want to ensure everyone, especially Black women, can find that balance too.

Personal IG: @briparkerboxing

Business IG: @bribalance

Business fb: https://www.facebook.com/bribalance

Brave Avenue: “Who is your Leader?”

 

 

Obedience = “to hear” + “under”

Obedience means to listen first and it includes the idea of submission. 

How do you define a good leader?

How can submission be a partnership?

  • It’s about going somewhere, accomplishing something, together. 
  • God is perfect leader to partner with!

What hinders you from listening to God?  

  • From submitting to God?  
  • From trusting God’s leadership?

How do you sense God’s leadership?

  • Little pressure, pressing, nudge in a direction? (Dance example)
  • Pay attention to the pressure! 

There is freedom in submission. 

We can trust our ability to follow, without the fear of missing the nudge or step.

What signs indicate who you are following?

  • Sometimes we need to slow down; we can’t hurry faster than the one we are following. 
  • Worry and anxiety are antithetical to trust and submission. 
  • It’s freeing to know that we don’t have to pull it off!!
  • The work is to believe. 

Psalm 37:5 “Give God the right to direct your life and in the end you’ll find that he pulled it off perfectly.”

Matthew 11:30 “For My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 

Resources:

  • Secrets of the Secret Place, Bob Sorge
  • The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, John Mark Comer
  • The Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People, John Ortberg 

 

Brave Avenue Unscripted: Surprised by Struggle

Episode 2: Surprised by Struggle

Welcome to Episode 2, where we discuss the surprises of struggle, and overcoming. Below you will find our show notes.

 

Unexpected struggles arise for everyone:

  • Struggle of new motherhood.
  • Struggle of capacity for motherhood and work balance.
  • Struggle of not knowing.
  • Struggle of where we are in life not matching expectations.
  • Struggle of taking on too much.
  • Struggle to admit we could use help or support from others.
  • Struggle of life not going as expected.

We don’t know we’re unprepared for these struggles until we see our responses.

What is your usual response to struggle?

  • Shame
  • Guilt
  • Try to make small changes, take single steps forward
  • “Float in grace”
  • Journal
  • Be vulnerable with others
  • Other?

What is the underlying fear stealing your joy?

What do you feel like you need to prove?

Who is your support network?

Who in your life can you walk alongside through struggle?

How can you struggle well?  How can you struggle bravely?

  • Talk to a trusted friend
  • Be vulnerable
  • Check on strong friends
  • List what you are thankful for today

2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness…”

James 1:2 “Consider it pure joy…whenever you face trials of many kinds…”

  • Joy is deeper than happiness.
  • Joy can be found in struggle.

Romans 12:12 “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”

Philippians 4:6 “Tell him every detail and his wonderful peace will make the answers known to you…”

Resources:

No Longer an Easy Target

I remember sitting at my friend’s house crying again about something someone said to me. I hated how I let this person’s comments get under my skin but here I was again. This was nothing new. The person had exhibited the same behaviors for years, yet I had a propensity to face it as if it were the first time. I sat in my friend’s kitchen, frustrated and defeated as I re-told the story. They listened and were very encouraging but they also challenged me with truth. “You are an easy target.” My friends words shook me…she was right and it made me angry. Seeing myself from that perspective was all it took for me to get up and take my power back. I was no one’s easy target!

“The way you see is stronger than any calamity.” Mark Batterson

In order to see myself differently, I had to change the narrative I was telling myself.  When we allow others words to hurt us, oftentimes it is because there is something we believe to be true about ourselves. Maybe you believe you’re not a good daughter because you didn’t get your Mother the perfect gift for her birthday. Do you believe you’re unattractive because a family member often reminds you of how you could look so much better if you just changed this.  Or do you feel like you’re incompetent in your role at work because your Supervisor never likes your ideas. Do you feel like you’ll never meet the right guy because you have been romantically disappointed too many times? What do you believe about yourself that is not true?

For years, I let shots land in my heart about my loyalty, my weight, abilities and romantic relationships and every.single.time. I was left feeling the same way which caused me to believe I would never be good enough. I know none of those things are true. I have been processed by the truth of who God says I am and His truth causes me to grow. Each time I recognize a lie, I call it out and build onto the truth.

This is how we grow.

This is how we add maturity to our faith.

We no longer have to start from square one when we get attacked. Now we can recognize what the attacker is attempting to do and get out of the way! When you make the decision to grow, your attackers plans will no longer work.  

I want you to think about something. When a hunter goes hunting, they do not simply shoot and kill their prey.  Their attack is calculated. They blend in with their surroundings, they are quiet, silently watching, studying to learn their preys habits, weaknesses, and strengths. The hunter can sit for hours taking in all this information and waiting for the perfect time to attack.  Y’all we have an enemy that is strategically setting up challenges to steal, kill and destroy us.  He believes that you are an easy target. What do you believe??

The following week the same person that I let upset me attempted to rile me up again but this time I refused to let it anger me. I called them out on their behavior. They didn’t apologize but they quickly backed down and tried to pretend they were just kidding. The behavior continued a few more times, but each time it occurred, I spoke up with more assurance until finally it stopped.  What happened? I was able to see the problem with a greater perspective which allowed me to build upon the information that I already knew.  This made it possible for me to face the challenge with more tenacity. I was done!

Philippians 1:6 says, “God has already started a good work in you and He wants to bring it to completion.”  

God wants to build upon what He has already done in you so that you can have greater influence to empower others.

Brave Tip: “Let your yesterday be a building block for tomorrow.” Priscilla Shirer

Candy

A Brave New You!

nicole-honeywill-407158.jpgFor most of my life I have carried too much.  My emotions, the issues of others, stress. I have reluctantly said yes to people/ projects, I have silenced my voice, doubted my greatness, and even started and never finished great ideas….the list goes on. In 2017, my Husband and I welcomed a baby boy (I’m obsessed) and postpartum depression hit me hard. I struggled to find balance in my various roles which led me to more of Jesus and even some healthy counseling.  Part of my healing came from releasing people, thoughts, and unhealthy habits that I learned over the years.  Once I decided to release these hindrances, I was able to grab hold to my promised future, at least a corner of it. This is an ongoing process that requires focused intentionality every day. 

It’s Day 1 of 2018- what are you willing to release so that you can invest your time, energy, and heart in the right direction? This year I am choosing to use my voice to empower others.  Expect to hear much more from me and other authentic women in 2018!

Brave Tip: If you want to maximize your life you have to minimize the load you are carrying.

I am looking forward to us living Braver in 2018!

Candy

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