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28.11.16

When You Wonder Why

When life smacks you upside the head, do you ever wonder why?
Why is this happening to me? To my family? To... whatever!

I took some time to reflect on this in a recent post I wrote for Seedbed.com.

There are four things I identify that help me during seasons of "why."

  1. Hold on to what is good and true.
  2. Relax and know that He is still God.
  3. Watch for the little, gentle reminders of His love.
  4. Guard your mind.

There are ways to get beyond the spiral of the "why."
You can find peace. You can find hope.
Most often, it takes being a bit intentional.

For more detail on each of these, 
I encourage you to read my Four Steps to Take When You Wonder Why.

Blessings on you friend!

Michelle (a.k.a. piano girl)


7.11.16

Stillness in Times of Trouble

Perhaps you've heard this famous verse from the Bible a 1000 times like I have:


Be still and know that I am God.
(Psalm 46:10)

I even have it on a beautiful piece of art hanging in my kitchen. This framed photo captures a bare tree in the winter surrounded by snow, cold and complete stillness.




In the past year especially, this verse has taken on new meaning for me as our family has been through the ringer. We have endured trials of many kinds; including personal betrayal, slander, rejection, moving to several different states in one year, job losses, death of a close family member and more. All of this, on top of a previous year of burnout and major medical issues. 

Not whining, just being real with you.

Honestly, it's been hard to be still through all of this turmoil. How does God expect me to do this? There are problems to be solved here! There is justice to be had here! God, where are you?


It was one of those moments I was asking Him this very question when this picture came into my mind:

Be still and know that I am God.

Be still and know that I AM.

Be still and know.

Be still.

Be.

I looked at this verse differently from that moment on.

You see, I think what God is saying here is to simply relax. He's got me. He's got my family. As His children, we can relax (cease our striving) in His Lordship, knowing He's got it under control. He has a plan and a heart of redemption. He can redeem hard times for our good and His glory.

Relax and know that I am God.

Relax and know that I AM.

Relax and know.

Relax.

There's something else. There's a second half of that verse we often overlook:

He says, "Be still, and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth."

To me this means no matter the injustice, trial, loss or betrayal, God will be exalted in the end. He will make all things right! He is the final judge and jury.

You may feel like the tree in the winter scene.


...It's the middle of the winter and you're not sure you will make it until spring.
...You may feel you've been so wounded, there may be no healing for you.
...You may be so gripped by rejection, grief or pain; you can't hear Him.
...You may be wrecked by betrayal, wondering how you can go on.
...You may fear you've lost your passion.

If this is you, please know there is hope. 


Be still and know that I am God.
Stop striving! Relax.

Be still and know that I AM.
Almighty God and Creator of the Universe is in control.
You can let go now.

Be still and know.
Know He sees you. Know He loves you. Know He's got you in the palm of His hand. Know He will redeem your pain. Know justice will be done. Know He will be exalted and His glory revealed in you.

Be still.
Listen. Rest in His love and grace. Rest in His peace.

Be.
Simply be in His presence. Breathe in His life, His goodness. Embrace silence.


Practicing stillness is not easy for everyone, especially in times of hardship. Still, it is an essential soul care practice. 

How do you practice being still?
What does Psalm 46:10 mean to you?



















16.8.16

Showing Love and Honor to Your Pastor's Wife

Recently I wrote about something that is near and dear to my heart: ministry spouses. 

Being one myself, I've observed how people often are unsure how to relate to them, so I offered a few tips in my new blog post called 5 Ways to Love Your Pastor's Spouse. 
(click on the title to read) 

This is not a comprehensive list by any means, but a good start... and really, these are things anyone would appreciate!

How do you honor your pastor's spouse? I would love to hear about it!

1.8.16

6 Things to Know About Burnout Recovery- A Starting Point

About a year ago, I shared with you about hitting a wall and realizing it had a name: burnout. You can read my description of it here.

Honestly, I felt pretty stupid. I thought it couldn't happen to me. After all, I'm a nice person, I try to live right. I have an interesting portfolio and am a hard worker with ethics and integrity. I'm a Christ-follower, minister, wife and a host of other things... and a work in progress.

Then, a wake-up call.


It did happen. It hurt in ways I can't describe. I'm still in recovery, but seeing the light again and for that I'm so grateful.

Writing about my journey is not only cathartic, but also in hopes that I may help someone out there who is also grappling with the same burden. I've absorbed a lot in the past several years, and I hope to share some of that insight with you through a series of blog posts. If this is you, hold on. It will get better. If this is not you right now, perhaps you could pass these on to someone who needs it- or rather- who may need you.

In my previous post, Burnout is Real, I attempted to describe what is was like to have it finally dawn on me what was happening. In this post, I'd like to take it a step further and from my experience, share with you what you might expect at the start of your recovery.

1. You Will Wonder How you Got Here
There's typically not one single element that brought you here, but a series of possible events, decisions, circumstances, betrayals, losses and more. Burnout doesn't happen overnight, nor does it happen without your consent. With help, you will be able to identify what contributed to your burnout and in time, take steps to avoid those things in the future.   

2. You Will Wonder if You'll Ever Come Out of It
Burnout is scary. It is lonely. You may feel like it will never end, and wonder if you'll ever experience joy again. In the beginning, everything seems pretty hopeless and desperate. This is normal. But know this: you will recover! The important thing right now is to get help, get honest and give yourself time.

3. You Will Need to Get Help
This is not an option, it's an absolute necessity. Seek out professional help right away, along with a few trusted and empathetic friends who will walk this journey with you. You will need to be brutally honest with yourself and others in order to begin the process of recovery. You will need to make changes and do the hard work of healing. It takes courage to get help and admit your limits. Take the leap so you can live again.  

4. Realize Not All Friends or Family Will Understand
Notice I said to find "trusted and empathetic friends." Not all friends or family are suited to handle the level of honesty and support that you will need over time. Choose wisely. Be sure the people you trust with your recovery have iron-clad integrity, will love you and be honest with you no matter what, and will keep whatever is shared only unto themselves. 

Accept the fact that you have to do what you can to recover, and that means making healthy changes that not everyone around you will understand or even approve of. You will need to say no and create healthy boundaries. Gently stand firm even if they don't understand why. True friends will stick around.

5. There is No Deadline 
My professional life revolved around deadlines, so this one was hard for me to swallow. The truth is, every process is unique just as every person is unique. Generally speaking, people tend to want you to feel better quickly (so they can feel good about you feeling better) and may not understand it takes years to fully recover. Resist focusing on the timeline, instead focus on the healthy strides you are making. Don't feel pressured to say everything is fine when it's not and perform to other people's expectations. Your journey is your journey alone. It will take time, but you will make it.

6. Embrace God's Presence, Even When You Can't Feel Him
When you walk "the dark road of the soul" it is, well...dark. For me, there were many times I wondered where God was. I didn't blame Him for my troubles, but I did wonder if He left me on my own to flounder, if He would show up to rescue me or if He even still cared. We know in our heads that God promises He will never leave us or forsake us. His heart is for us and for our good, even when that good doesn't feel so good. But it's hard to convince our breaking hearts of that truth when we don't feel Him. 

One thing I've learned through my journey is this: when you have those moments when you wonder where He is, know that He is working on your behalf in the dark. He does some of His best work behind the scenes. This requires faith in believing what you can't necessarily see or feel. Cling to the truth friend. In time, He will reveal Himself to you.  

Take heart my friend. You can do this.








22.6.16

Check Out My New Posts on Seedbed.Com!

Hey Regular Readers!

I'm happy to announce that I'm back to writing... with another ministry venue!

I'm thrilled to now be writing as a regular contributor for Seedbed.com, as well as my regular personal blog and Creative Ministry Group as script writer and author.

If you've been blessed by what you've read here over the years, please check out some of my new Soul Care Collective posts on various topics, such as Finding Balance in the New Year8 things Everyone Should Know About Life, An InterviewSetting the Stage for Your Day and Worshiping in Song Through Brokenness & Pain.

You can subscribe for email delivery on Seedbed to receive new posts in your inbox for the Soul Care Collective, as well as the other ministry related collectives they offer. You choose which ones you want to receive, and only that collective will be delivered. 

Posts that appear on Seedbed cannot be duplicated here on my personal blog. I will, however, continue to write posts here from time to time on topics of a different nature.

Please pass on posts that are meaningful to someone else that may be blessed! 


Thank you for reading!

Michelle