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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:

Bittersweet Beginning

Have you ever had one of those moments where you just surprised yourself? You go about your life each day, probably doing the same thing, the same way until one day you make a conscious effort to go off the beaten path and you find an unexpected joy! That is exactly how I felt after completing the first semester of the Fashion Ambassador Program through Kleveland Clothing.

I remember talking with my husband about the class. It was the night after our miscarriage and for some reason I felt like it was time to go off the beaten path. I had allowed fear to make many decisions for me. Often those decisions left me feeling dissatisfied, but not that night. I made a conscious decision that I would no longer hold back when it came to my gifts and talents. In that same breath, bravery replaced fear and I registered for the class. Every weekend I was immersed in a class where I learned how to design, sew, and given the freedom to simply create. It was truly the highlight of my week during a difficult season. Through loss, something else was birthed- the creative being that has been waiting to come out for years.

What about you? Is there a fire kindling slowly in your heart? Maybe it’s time to fan the flame a bit more. You are a creative being with gifts that are waiting to explode and bring joy to those around you. My Brave sister, it’s time- time to give yourself permission to be you, to make mistakes, to try the things you’ve always been interested in. It’s time to give yourself permission to actually BE great! I promise, if the dreams will not stop it’s because they were meant to be. We can never evade them. Let’s dare to go deep and trespass beyond the walls of our fear to find the glorious, unexpected, adventure in our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What if we were real?

We all love to share stories of our good news. We tweet, snapchat, and update our statuses with good news everyday. This is especially true for pregnancy announcements. We search on Pinterest for the best way to share the good news- Prego bottles, ultrasound pics, family photo (that’s what I did). On the flip side, bad news is not always easy or fun to share. I didn’t search Pinterest to figure out the best DIY craft to announce our miscarriage. In fact, I was too ashamed to go back and tell everyone after posting our good news. But, what if we were real?

I remember lying on the exam table waiting expectantly while the ultrasound tech prepared to show us our next little Zollicoffer. I was so excited to have another baby and it appeared to be the perfect timing. We decided after our daughter was born that waiting two years would be ideal for our next child. My husband and I watched the screen as the tech moved the tool all over my growing belly. “Let’s try another way.” She prepared the other option to view our baby and then silence….”I’m sorry but I think you may have miscarried.” My heart sank. I didn’t prepare to hear bad news. Her words remained with me for the next four days after I was told to come back the following week to check again, maybe it was too early to tell. Needless to say that was the longest week of my life. The firefighter term ” hurry up and wait” fit perfectly with what I was experiencing.

Have you ever been excited about something and then told you have to wait for it? It’s like when your friend tells you, “Ooo remind me to tell you something later.” You’re just left thinking, okay why did you even bring it up?? [GUILTY]

The next four days were difficult. I cried a lot but remained hopeful that everything was okay. When I woke up the day before our scheduled appointment, I immediately noticed that I wasn’t nauseous and the sharp cramping was no longer there. At that moment, I knew that Baby Zollicoffer would not be joining us in December. I heard the Lord whisper “restore” and that was it. I woke up my husband and cried the rest of the day.

We often tell God what we’re going to do with our lives. We create our vision boards, and write our goals for the year, which are all good things and have their purpose. In our planning, I believe we forget that the process to obtain what we desire is not always as easy and exciting as it looks in the picture or the words we write down. Yet, the wonderful thing about process is that God prepares us for it. Oftentimes we don’t recognize His preparation until after it happens. On May 23rd, my doctor told us that we officially miscarried. On the same day, a former mentor shared a Facebook memory about her first child who was born on May 23rd. She had an eptopic pregnancy. This year her son would have been in the 6th grade! To date, she’s had eight pregnancies total with three of those children still living. I gained so much hope and strength from her story as I endured 11 hours of intense labor pains to deliver my baby at home.

I am no expert when it comes to loss but I have learned a few things with this experience that I hope will encourage you.

1. Lean into the pain.

“Pain is a growth opportunity. Lean into pain, that’s where bravery lies.” Navy Seal Denver Rourke.

At LeaderCast 2015 Denver shared the inspiring story of his wife delivering their baby. She wanted to delivery naturally without pain medication. As you can imagine this was very painful, but it’s what she wanted. In order to see that precious baby she had to lean into the pain.  We often set up our lives to avoid pain, but pain is absolutely necessary for growth.
2. Seek out support. 

“I am on your team, be on mine.” Emily Lanphier, Lanphiers Remember

We have to remember that women are powerful when we come together. We need each other . When I started sharing with other women, I discovered that so many women in my circle had experienced loss during their pregnancies and wanted to support me. It helped a great deal to know that I wasn’t alone in this. I had a team.

3. Let go and embrace hope. The word “quah” is Hebrew for hope and means “To look eagerly for, to lie in wait for.” Oftentimes when disappointment shows up, my first response is to figure out why it happened. Sometimes God’s answers come swiftly, and other times I’m wondering did He even hear me. Trust me-He hears us and in time He will reveal what we need to know. In order to embrace hope we have to eagerly apply patience.

4. Choose JOY! Laughter was sooo good for me this week! It allowed me to be present and reminded me that God is present with me. 1 Peter 1:6-7 says “So be truly glad.[a] There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”

So, what if we were real?? What if we stopped hiding our pain and invited each other in?  We truly have nothing to lose and so much to gain when we let go. Where do you need to release the power of shame in your life? Find someone you can connect with this week. I believe our stories of brokenness will be used just as powerfully as our stories of joy.

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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