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Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Fearless Reflections

For 2015, I decided my "One Word" focus was "Fearless."  The original post I made about is here, Fearless in '15, which is where you should begin now, if you haven't read it yet, or in a while, like a year maybe. ;)

I feel I owe that focus word a wrap up, before I begin the word for 2016. 

I was given the opportunity to rehash all of the fears I discussed in the original post, plus many more, over the course of 2015. I learned a lot about myself, as I tried to sort through "What is it that I fear, right now?" At the beginning of the year, and as I stated, I believed the opposite of fear, was faith. However, the more the year wore on, and I began to dissect my fears and rationalize their causes, I found that all fears are based on a lie or over-exaggeration of some sort. So, to me, the opposite of fear is actually accepting the truth, processing my feelings that go along with the truth, before I can say in faith "God's got this, no matter what."  My word for 2016 is going to be truth.  More on that, later. 

I became pregnant again, at a time when John and I were both far more interested in adoption than in having another belly baby.  We had discussed another pregnancy, but had firmly put it the "Maybe in a few months to a year from now" category, with a generous helping of, "We want a Spring/Summer baby again, not another Winter baby when we fear germs."
A week before we found out we were pregnant.

Then, the day after Jonah turned 3, I realized I was a few days 'late' and decided to just double check with a little at home test, that came back glaringly positive. Due date: January 20th, three days after Karis' birthday.  A Winter baby again, kids barely two years apart. This is mentally/emotionally what it looked like for me to process my fears:

Fear: We are not capable of handling a third child this close to the other two in age. One, or all 3 kids, will have serious psychological issues from our lack of competent parenting. 

Truth: We may not be very good parents. However, God will give us the grace we need to survive this season, and will help our children to overcome anything negative we impart to them. We will pray and read Scripture, and try our darnedest to be Godly parents who point their kids back to Christ, don't yell, don't discipline in anger, feed them a good amount of vegetables, and make sure they sleep enough, but at the end of the day, it is Jesus we want them to cling tightly to, not us anyways.

Faith: We do have to have faith that God will work all of it out - but we have to accept the truth, that even if we 'fail,' God is big enough to 'fix' them. It is not my job to be so afraid of making mistakes with my kids that I forget to enjoy life with them.

Fear: Another baby in late January means all the hand sanitizer, staying at home, avoiding social gatherings, wondering if people have had their TDAP vaccination, and praying for no flu or other big viruses to attack the house while baby has an immature immune system.  The baby could get sick and die. 

Truth: Newborns do get sick and die. People are careless with their hand washing, germ spreading, anti-vaccinating beliefs, and our baby could die. However, she was never ours to begin with. Our children are a gift from God for whatever amount of time He deems reasonable. I will mourn the rest of my life if I ever lose a child, and I will have to seek lots of counseling and grace in order to continue to function, but I would hold tightly to the hope that I would hold that child in heaven, and in all of eternity.  That is still a sad and scary truth, but accepting it is better than becoming a hostage to it. Just typing it feels kind of wrong, and very scary, like its a more real possibility, which just drives me to more fervent prayer.

Faith: Knowing that God says he has a plan for me, and He has a plan for my children, and praying "God, your will be done, and please let it be a lifetime of loving all my kids here on earth." I can protect her as much as I can, but it is not my job to be stressed and worried constantly about her health. 
It's a GIRL!

Josie Faith

Fear: We will never have the opportunity or resources to be able to adopt. 

Truth: It may be several more years down the road before we feel competent enough to add another small human to our household, but waiting does not mean that it won't happen.

Faith: If God continues to want us to adopt, He will provide the resources and funds needed when He is ready for our family to grow again. It is not my job to worry about when or how it will happen. 

We also felt the unmistakeable call to change jobs/states/cities again last year.  If moving doesn't scare you a little bit, you might be crazy.  I've spent my entire life moving, and that's part of why I hate it.  I am great at adjusting to new things, places, and people, because I have had to live in a state of constant change.  This was a move from a large, more traditional church, to a much smaller, very Contemporary church.  This was also a move from a city 4 hours away from family, back to living less than half an hour from each of our parents.  There have been several moments of Fear/Truth/Faith processing that went along with that move in September, and are still happening.

I did decide to participate in Dressember again this year, and was pleasantly surprised and overjoyed by having a team of 11 ladies join me! I would have never set such high fundraising goals by myself, out of fear that I would not reach it, but as a team I felt we could accomplish more, and holy smokes, batman, generous people and God really showed up! Instead of posting weekly about that, you can feel free to check out my Instagram or Facebook page for how that went, wearing dresses the entire 8th month of pregnancy. ;) These were my favorite pictures from the month:

This was my final post about it yesterday:

Grocery shopping with children under 4 deserves some sort of medal (or beverage - coffee, of course) . However, it is MUCH easier in comfy jeans than in a dress! Dressember is over and January is here with so many fresh beginnings and hopes. I want to admit that I am overwhelmed and in awe when I think about how many big anonymous givers we had this year. It makes it harder to thank individuals, but easier to say "Wow, God" 
About half way through the month, when we were far less than half-way to our team goal, I confessed to my husband that I was concerned we weren't going to meet our goal. He reassured me that any amount was better than nothing, and I should be grateful whether we reached our goal or not, because our efforts had brought some donations. However, I wasn't satisfied. I searched my heart, cleared out any selfish ambition and made sure I was in this for God's glory only, the freedom of captives, and not one bit about myself. I began earnestly praying that we would at least meet our team goal, if not exceed it. Then something amazing happened. We DID! Varying sizes of small and large named and anonymous donations began flooding in toward the end of the month. I was so shocked and excited because it's not about the money, but the lives that can be changed and restored with each dollar! YOU helped to make that happen, and I am eternally grateful. The Dressember foundation is accepting donations that will still count toward IJM and A21 until the end of January, if you feel led to give toward freedom. Just because we surpassed our goal, doesn't mean the organizations that receive this money are now fully funded- every single time someone is set free, it takes money, so they still need it! I raised under $700 last year. This year, as a team of 11, our goal was $2500- and thanks to the generosity of many, we are currently at $3557! All praise goes to God! Thankful once again for answered prayers.
I would not say that I 'conquered' fear in 2015, but I sure did become far more aware of it in my own heart and mind, and begin to address it, process it, and turn to faith more often.  I have also been reading the book lately, "The Emotionally Healthy Woman: Eight Things You Have to Quit to Change Your Life." It is an easy read, but is ground breaking on how to handle, process, and deal with fear and all sorts of other issues, in a Biblically healthy way! It has helped to uncover many fear/truth/faith moments I had not realized I was just shoving away/denying.  I VERY HIGHLY recommend this for any woman, regardless of whether you think you struggle with any fear issues at all. It encompasses so much more than that!

How did your 2015 "One Word" go? Was it what you expected? I'd love to hear your thoughts on this!

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