Do Not Be Afraid

Ever have a moment where you are freaking out or super angry or super stressed and someone, meaning to be helpful of course, says to you “Relax!”  “Calm Down!”

My immediate response to these statements is usually extremely sarcastic.  “OH!!  Is THAT what I need to do?!?  Oh goodness, if you hadn’t just said that then I would be a mess over here, but now I know that I just need to ‘calm down.’  Thanks SO much!”

I almost instinctively have the same response when I read in the Bible wherever and whenever someone says “Do Not Be Afraid.”  When Gabriel appeared to Mary and told her to not be afraid, did she just say “oh, okay” and calm down immediately?  What about the shepherds when all of the heavenly hosts came down?  Pretty sure just saying “Do Not Be Afraid” was not going to do the trick to calm them down.  So why does it appear over and over again?  Why is God constantly telling us to not be afraid?

I think because we constantly ARE afraid.  It’s something we are good at.  Just like He tells us constantly throughout the Bible to love one another.  Because we don’t instinctively do that.  We need to be reminded.

God also tells us WHY we shouldn’t be afraid (and also why we should love one another… but that’s not the topic of this post).  A verse I keep going back to during this season of my life is “So do not fear, for I am with you.  Do not be dismayed, for I am your GOD.  I will strengthen you and help you.  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” (Isaiah 41:10).  We don’t have a need to fear because God is there always, He won’t leave us, He is GOD!  With His strength and Him lifting us up, we have no reason to be afraid of anything.

But we are still afraid.  Often.  At least I am.

Back in October my family moved out of the town I had lived in for 11 years.  To say this transition was an easy one would be a complete lie.  I had left my job, my friends, my support system, and mostly we had left our church.  I loved the community in our church and how everyone cares so much for one another.  I knew that moving meant finding another church and I was somewhat getting to a place where I was going to be okay with that.

Two weeks after we moved, our Pastor died unexpectedly.  I won’t go into super detail about this, but needless to say it made finding a new church even that more difficult.

We pulled up to a new church a couple Sundays later.  I was already crying in the car.  Change in general is something that I am VERY afraid of, and this was mixed with grief.  We walked into the church, which was very very crowded (another fear), and I went into panic mode.  This was clearly not the church for us and I was NOT ready for this change.  On one of the walls, however, there was a verse.  Isaiah 41:10.  Do not Fear.  I am with you.

I’d love to say that in that moment I was immediately and unsarcastically “Oh!  Yes!  Thank you Lord.”  But I wasn’t.  I wasn’t sarcastic, and I really tried to take the verse to heart and not be so afraid.  It wasn’t an immediate fix.  We didn’t end up staying for the service.  But since then God has spoken this verse to me over and over again (not in His actual voice…more of a gentle reminder).

So, the point of all this.  Do not be afraid.  Fear happens, we are all human and we become afraid time and time again.  That’s why God constantly reminds us not to do it.  Over and over again, He reminds us that He is there.  That He will always be near.  That He will strengthen us.  We just have to lean into that.  And allow ourselves to be reminded.

Since October, I have had many other moments where God has had to remind me not to fear and instead trust in Him.  There are moments when I feel like I’ve become really good at this and can clearly see how trusting Him is the better way to go.  There are times when it’s just not that easy.  But the truth still remains.  In all that has changed, and is about to change, in my life HE has always been there.  Provided.  Strengthened.  Surrounded.  Protected.  He is with me.

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“Do not fear for I am with you, Do not be dismayed for I am your God; I will strengthen you and help you. I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10
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A Day in the Life

Happy Easter!

Busy.  Life is busy.  Everyone’s life is busy.  It’s hard to make time for everything that we want to do, so we spend time doing that which is the most important to us.  Or we watch Netflix and avoid the world ;).

For most of us we prioritize work and family.  Anything else there just isn’t time for.  As work becomes more demanding and family grows, we see our friends less and set aside other activities that just didn’t make the cut.  Work provides us with money and a sense of professionalism, independence, and accomplishment.  Family (hopefully) provides us with love, respect, and a safe place to be ourselves.

When life just feels so busy, we are often hesitant to add anything else into it.  Especially if we don’t see how we could possibly fit anything else.  That’s the purpose of this post.  Working for a company like Arbonne means being able to add a part time job to your schedule without having to sacrifice the things that are important to you.  You are able to create your schedule around your other priorities.  So if your job and family time take up most of your day, you fit your Arbonne business into the nooks and crannies of time that you have available to you.

To show you how this works for me, below is my Arbonne and SAHM “day in the life.”  Please note that I don’t have meetings or parties every single day, but I have included what time frames they would fit into when I do have them.

DESSERTS

Anyone, with any schedule, can be successful in this business.  It’s all about deciding what’s important to you and making time for it.  If you are willing to make time to dedicate to learning and building this business, and don’t give up when it gets challenging, the only way is up!

Not all Arbonne consultants are stay at home moms with the luxury of being able to fully create their own schedules.  If you are a consultant, would you be willing to share your schedule with us and let everyone know how life works for you as you build a successful business?

Live Simply

LiveSimply

Declutter.  This word seems to be on my to-do list EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.  (along with laundry… when will that ever be done?!)  When we moved back in October, I discovered several boxes that needed to be “put in a closet somewhere”.  I can honestly say that many of these boxes have not been looked at since and I probably can’t even tell you what’s in them.  This usually means it is time to PURGE.

With the beautiful spring/summerish weather we’ve been having this week I have been refreshed and energized to clear out all of the things in our house we just don’t need.  Seriously.  It’s been on my to-do list every. single. day.  But I haven’t done it yet.  I worry about things like “but what it I end of needing that one day” and “someone special gave this to me, so even tho it is just sitting here collecting dust, I should probably hold onto it.”

I feel like I do this in my spiritual life too.  I want to LIVE SIMPLY and do the real, authentic, genuine life that God has offered me.  But it is so easy to get caught up in all of the drama, my own feelings and emotions (emotional clutter), and the pressures of what I’ve been taught I SHOULD be doing (read your bible, memorize scripture, know a lot of theological stuff, pray everyday, foster my children’s growth in their understanding of God, be kind to people, be patient…. and more… and none of these are bad things, but can easily become overwhelming and then become more of a chore than a life I want to be living.)

Lately I’ve been trying to focus on what it means to Live Simply for God.  In everything I’m reading I have found that it isn’t creating my own circumstances where I can serve Him.  But rather to allow Him to love me first.  To allow Him to comfort me first.  To allow His grace into my life.  (Notice how I’m not the one actually doing anything here?!  Yes please).  To live simply for God is to first allow Him to teach us, show us what it looks like to be loved, comforted, and given grace.  THEN it’s our turn to love OTHERS, comfort OTHERS, and give grace to OTHERS.  My goal is to focus on these things in my life.  To be real and authentic, caring and supportive, and to love others well.  I think this, for me at least, is what living simply for God is all about.

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comfort us in our troubles, so that WE CAN COMFORT those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.”  2 Corinthians 1:3-4

So as we all begin with getting rid of the clutter in our homes during “spring cleaning”, I challenge you to also take a look at the clutter in you hearts.  What is keeping you from living simply?

My Fehr Baby: Round 2

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As a teacher (because even if you aren’t in a classroom at the moment that teacher heart never leaves) I like plans.  I like to be prepared, and was taught to be OVER prepared “just in case.”  I love when everything can fit in a nice, clean folder that is color coded based on content.  I LOVE making schedules in advance and having everything in order.  My desk may have occasionally (okay… most of the time) looked like a tornado ran through it, but I knew where everything was and had the most important things on top in case a sub was going to need something.

When I was pregnant with my first son and getting ready for maternity leave, I was prepared MONTHS in advance.  My kids had all finished their assessment notebooks by January, I had sub plans and back up plans in beautifully color coded binders (organized by reading level),  my meetings were scheduled, my IEP’s were written WAY in advance “just in case,” Husband and I had set aside money to make up for the fact that I didn’t have enough sick days to cover my entire maternity leave, freezer meals were made, and I was READY!  It felt good to be ready, to be on top of everything, to be in control, to know that I had done everything I could do.

Now I am pregnant with my second little boy.  I have less than 5 weeks until he will make his appearance (although I’m hoping for a few days/weeks late… just to be a bit more prepared).  I’m not teaching in a classroom this time, and my job works around my schedule, which is nice.  What we’ve saved for “maternity leave” is the bare minimum, baby clothes are still in boxes, the rock n’ play that baby is going to sleep in is at my parent’s house (thanks Momma!), we are living in a house that we KNOW we are moving out of within 4 months of this kid’s arrival, our hospital is an hour drive away, my scheduled presentations for work are all “TENTATIVE” because this baby could pop early, NOTHING IS CERTAIN!  I’M NOT READDDDDDDDDDY!!

Oh boy has God been teaching me a LOT about my own control issues during this time.  Part of me just wants to run back to a regular “job” so I know what to expect and can plan appropriately.  But really, God is teaching me to rely on him and to allow him to be enough and in control.  At first, and still sometimes, I was freaking out.  To the point of wanting to hide in my bed and not face the world.  I put a lot of pressure on myself like “if I hadn’t left teaching we would be more prepared now” or “if I just would work my business better, then I could reach my goal by this certain time and everything will be okay.”  I have tried to micromanage the details of being prepared and have failed miserably.  But I think God knows this particular character flaw in me and has been using it to teach me to LET GO.  He will provide for what we need, and then some.  He has already provided friends and family who have been so helpful in preparing us.  He has provided TIME to enjoy my first little boy, to play with him, hold him, and soak up every last minute of him being an only child.  Oh my goodness I am so very grateful for this time with him.  If I had been back at teaching this year, there wouldn’t be afternoon nap cuddles, story time at the library, or watching this amazing kid roll in the mud on nice days.

So the point of this is … I’m learning.  I’m learning to allow God to be in control and to trust that He will be enough when I don’t have the answers (and even when I think I do have the answers).

Any of you getting ready for a second baby?  How was/has your experience been this time around?  I’d LOVE to hear your suggestions and tips!