This month’s Guest Post contributor faced the limitations of comparison and inadequacy to write this post. And it’s a good one! I know you’ll be blessed by Gayle’s words as she speaks into your heart regarding her own determination for freedom.
About fifteen years ago, Brandon and I were volunteering as youth leaders. Our youth pastor approached me with a question, “Heather, would you take the service the week after next?” Take the service? As in preach?!?! I pretty much said, “no” right then and there. Actually, I’m sure it was probably more delicate with something along the lines of, “Oh I don’t think so.” But our youth pastor, who had been my own youth pastor, didn’t let me off the hook that easily. He instructed me to do something that I’m pretty sure he knew would change my answer—he told me to pray about it.
Well, enough said. You know what happened.
I ended up taking the service—although it was laden with disclaimers that I was just “sharing” and not “preaching.” Preaching just seemed like too big of shoes to fill.
When I think about my journey as a speaker, that moment was the starting line; the beginnings of the Lord revealing His calling to me step-by-step through each opportunity He’s provided.
While the Lord has given me a vision of the work He has for me as a speaker, I sometimes confront doubt rising up in my heart. Not doubting God, but doubting myself, doubting my ability to accomplish what He desires for me to do.
Have you ever done the same?
Here’s a few scenarios right off the top of my head that may cause you to question if you have what it takes:
- starting a new job
- becoming a parent—and then pretty much every day thereafter
- leading a small group
- starting a new business venture
- applying for college
- graduating from college
- writing a book
- starting a blog
- planting a church
There’s countless more, and if I sat here for a bit longer I know I could fill at least a page, but for the sake of word count, we’ll move on.
I know someone else who questioned if they were enough.
God called Moses to do a work and speak to the king of Egypt. But Moses didn’t want to and made all kinds of excuses. The Lord was so patient with him and from what I read, really gave him some things to beef him up to stand before the king. You know—just a few things like a shepherd’s staff turning into and out-of a snake, and his hand instantaneously being afflicted with and then delivered from a severe skin disorder, oh and last but not least, the thing with the Nile River water turning into blood. I’m saying if that doesn’t make you feel that you’re on a guaranteed winning side, I just don’t know what will.
But honestly, I get Moses.
A few weeks ago the Lord opened a big door of opportunity to me. I accepted the invitation to speak for an event, but then afterward questioned if I was enough. I shared my doubts with Brandon and he looked at me as if I had just fallen off a pumpkin truck. The guy really says a lot with his eyes. Probably why he doesn’t need to utilize as many words as I do.
Moses, on the other hand, was not good with words. And not even these words from the Lord in Exodus 4:11-12 could change his mind, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” God was so gracious to Moses and met him where he was. He’s so awesome like that. He meets us all right where we are. If you want to read on a little further you’ll see that God allowed Moses’ bro to speak for him—Aaron was good with words, plus it’s just pretty cool to see this portrait of family coming together for a big moment in biblical history like this!
Now that I’m in the planning stages of this big event, I’m getting pretty excited, mostly because I’ve reminded myself of God’s Word right there— Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say. He’s been so faithful each and every time from all those years ago when our youth pastor said, “take the service.”
So here’s where it stands—when we doubt, it’s probably because there’s some fear somewhere in it.
You know what Brooklyn and I just discussed recently? Identifying the antidote to fear. It’s faith. Each time we are confronted with fear, we fight it with faith.
Hebrews 11:1 “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” I don’t know about you, but when I think of evidence, I think of something I can see. But faith is the evidence of what we can’t see. So if you can’t see yourself, let’s say graduating from college, starting a new job, leading a ministry or maybe writing a book, but if the Lord has planted it in your heart, then you can stand firm in faith that it will be, even though nothing with your physical eyes tells you so. You walk by faith—the substance of things hoped for.
Last but not least, let’s close with this thought. Don’t feel the pressure to be enough. We were never meant to be. If we were, we wouldn’t need Jesus. When I consistently put myself out there in situations that make me question if I am enough, those situations are opportunities to remind how much I need Him.
II Corinthians 3:4-5 says, “And we have such trust through Christ toward God. Not that we are sufficient of ourselves to think of anything as being from ourselves, but our sufficiency is from God.”
I am enough in Him!!! And so are you!!!
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When my friend Sara and I were revamping the website from heathersblessedjourney.com to heathermeadows.com we also reworked the tag line. Changing the name of the website was going to lose the emphasis placed on the “RN” in jouRNey, but it was still my hope to reflect my work as a nurse somewhere in the new tag line.
We met the goal with two words: “little doses.” It’s a subtle hint most may not even see. But here’s the story behind it. As a NICU nurse, the amount of medication I administer to my tiny, tiny patients is quite small. Too much is harmful, but those itty-bitty doses achieve great things in their bodies.
That is what I wanted this place to be. A place where you can pop in for a few minutes and grab a little dose of something good. My heartbeat was to inject small amounts of inspiration, joy, strength and encouragement from my life moments into yours.
This last week I received more than a “little dose” from a life moment with my daughter.
Let me give a short back-story.
There was a mother and daughter who had a beautiful relationship. But then, something changed. It started with an “H” and ended with “ormones”! It was NOT pretty! This change brought out the worst, most ugly, dark sides of both the mother and daughter. If it had been a marriage, I’m most certain divorce court would have been considered, but parent/child relationships face the good, the bad and the ugly and sometimes have to just hang on for dear life.
Yes. That’s our story. That’s Brooklyn and me. I’ll share more about the season in the book I’m writing, but for now, I want to share with you one of the scriptures I stood on in those dark moments.
Galatians 6:9 NLT So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up.
I’m not proclaiming there won’t be any more bumps in the road, but I am sharing that when everything hit the fan, when doors were slamming, drinks were tossing, and voices yelling, I’d stand on this scripture as if on a mountain and quote it at the top of my lungs. We got tired. We were wore out. We got discouraged. We were disheartened, disappointed and dismayed at times, but—we would not give up.
“…..a harvest of blessing IF we don’t give up.”
The day the Lord so faithfully brought our baby girl into this world, He had every intention of her life being a blessing. Not just for her parents, but for herself and for Him. We weren’t giving up on that.
And what a blessing she was to me this last week. Watching Galatians 6:9 at work in her own personal life injected an incredibly special dose of inspiration, joy, strength and encouragement into my heart.
Brooklyn’s half birthday fell on Sunday, September 4th. Labor Day on Monday pushed Brooklyn back in being able to test for her driver’s permit to Tuesday. She wanted to be the first in line when they opened. We got up on Tuesday at 5am, left the house at 6am and pulled in the parking lot at 6:33am to line up for the 7am opening. Brooklyn was seventh in line.
I stood, waiting excitedly for her to complete her test knowing that she’d get her paper signed and off to the tag agency we’d go for her permit. Well, she didn’t pass.
A bit taken aback, she declared that we aren’t the type of people who quit in the face of failure and that she wanted to try again the next day. Super proud parent moment.
So. There you have it. We got up Wednesday morning, a smidge bit earlier at 4:30am, left the house at 5:30am, and we arrived an hour before opening, putting us third in line. We checked in and the agent asked Brooklyn, “Did they tell you about the skip button?” Brooklyn said, “No.” The agent informed, “If you don’t know the answer to a question, you can hit ‘skip’. If it’s a question you need it will come back around, but it may not come back at all.” Awesome!
I took a seat over by the door on the bench. Brooklyn completed the test and walked around the corner. I whispered, “How’d it go?” She shook her head. I responded quietly and compassionately, “What?”
We’re doing a parent-taught driving course, so I knew she knew the information to pass the test. We got in the car and before I could ask a question the floodgates opened. Whoa! Emotion! Hold the phone!
In borderline hysteria she proceeded to express all the inadequacies attached to that test. I was sifting through my mental rolodex of encouraging words, when she revealed, “And when I checked back in with the lady, she asked me why I didn’t skip any of the questions but I just thought I could answer them without having to!!!”
“Wait. What?” I couldn’t believe she didn’t take the lady’s advice and skip the questions. Not one! This shifted our conversation from the topic of intellect to the issue of pride. Was she too prideful to humble herself in admitting that she possibly didn’t have all the answers to every question? Hmm.
The girl made it back before school started and I anticipated the possibility that she may just want to push it off for a few days to review. Maybe she’d want to go ahead and miss school for an afternoon testing time. Some of us just can’t think when the sun is barely up.
Nevertheless, I wasn’t surprised when I picked her up from school and she decided to go back on Thursday, for the third day in a row, before the crack of dawn to try again. Nope. I wasn’t shocked. Galatians 6:9 was at work within her. She was gonna reap a blessing cause she wasn’t gonna give up!
So up we were again, in the dark of the morning, headed in for round three reviewing the blessing of the “skip” button! In the true ironies of life, I got pulled over for doing around or about 75 in a 65. Let me tell you about grace. The Lord must have sprinkled our car with the pixie dust of His favor because that officer gave me a warning on no account of my own. Although I’m a talker, I don’t say too much when flashing lights, a uniform and handcuffs accompany the individual. What a story for Brooklyn to tell her kids one day.
Brooklyn checked in, was humble, raw and transparent with the agent and confirmed what she needed to know to approach this test. “Ma’am, this is my third time here.” (Which honestly, the lady already knew. By this point we felt maybe we should add the two Department of Public Safety agents to our Christmas card list). Brooklyn expressed her understanding of the skip button wanting to make sure it would not penalize her for the number of times she hit it. Then Brooklyn went over to take her test. At this point I headed out to the car, where she and I had agreed to meet.
I sat in the car with a small view of Brooklyn standing at the voting-booth-style computer. I prayed for her. “Lord, You created her innermost being. You stitched her together. I pray You speak Your peace, calmness and confidence from the top of her head to the sole of her feet. Let her know You have equipped her for success. Give her assurance.” And on and on I prayed.
I watched as she walked back over to the lady, had an exchange that I couldn’t see and proceeded out to the car. I got out of the car and there she did it—a thumbs up! I may have gotten overly excited. Oh, who am I kidding?! I totally got overly excited and she and I hugged and jumped like giddy girls in the parking lot of the DPS!
Brooklyn said that when she went back to the agent to get her paper signed, the lady exclaimed, for all to hear, “You passed!!!” And she only skipped two questions, not missing any! The agent was so happy for Brooklyn!
“…..a harvest of blessing IF we don’t give up.”
I know Brooklyn contemplated canning the whole idea. I know because in her despair of failing the second time she expressed those very thoughts. But we all know that’s not even a logical option. She’d have to pass it at some point in her life.
The question for us to consider though is: How many blessings have we missed out on because we gave up?
I can’t recall how many times I’ve said, “Just forget it!” or “I’m done!” or “I quit!” Sometimes our emotions make us completely illogical. Exactly the reason we don’t make important decisions when we’re super emotional. In those times, this Voice inside me says, “Heather, don’t give up. I have good things in store for you. Believe. Persevere. Press in.”
The Lord whispers that truth to all of us. Our challenges may look a little different but we’ve all got them, and there is a blessing tucked inside each and every one we overcome!
Thank you for spending some time allowing me to share this life moment with you! Please take it for the little dose of inspiration, joy, strength and encouragement it has tucked into it.
*side note- thankful my girl wanted me to share this story for whomever it could encourage.
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