Be catapulted by mentorship.

I remembering being eight months pregnant with Caleb. Nerves consumed me. Beyond my fear of labour and delivery were the echoes of every other parent warning me that I would never sleep again.

I was terrified.

Sitting at a table with some couples from our church, I began to share my fears with another mom.

The thing is, she didn’t look exceptionally sleep deprived and seemed very at peace with her role as a mother. I asked her how she was doing it.

That night I learned a secret that took me through all three babies. I discovered the Baby Whisperer book. And without even knowing it, that mama became the first in my collective of mentors.

One of the many times we were struggling through some parenting issues we looked around and noticed some parents further ahead of us that seemed to have really healthy relationships with all of their kids. Andrew and I knew where we were and it didn’t look we were on course for where they were. One night we met with them and asked them to be our parenting mentors. They walked with us through numerous ups and downs, shared their greatest triumphs and challenges, and have continued to invest in our children and in our family.

Flash forward to opening our business and being flooded with prophetic words and struggling to discern it all. I have someone in my life who has owned a business and is extremely prophetic. All teary eyed from my confusion and feeling all torn up, I stopped by the Regina Apostolic Church one day on a quick city trip and asked Pastor Rob to be my prophetic mentor. I knew he was and is someone who continues to walk in peace regardless of what was going on. I needed to learn that if I was going to successfully wear these different hats.

My latest adventure in homeschooling quickly brought to light my need for a mentor with a special gift for raising children. I looked around and saw a woman raising kids and homeschooling with beautiful fruit. Her family truly shines with love for one another and the world, not to mention they are all extremely gifted people. This amazing mom of eight took the time out of her busy life to give me homeschooling advice, and I’m honoured to have her on my collective of mentors.

I believe our willingness (or unwillingness) to allow people to speak into our lives and share their wisdom is going to be what either holds you back or catapults you further. Why wouldn’t you want to learn from someone else’s mistakes? I know I still make plenty of my own, so if I can save a few along the way, I’m all for that!

There is a difference between comparing ourselves to others and being inspired by others.

In a day and age where we can be publicly shamed online for sharing our opinions, we’ve lost a culture of mentorship. I know I’m scared to tell someone what worked for me and my babies in case someone jumps all over me. Yet my experience might truly help someone.

So here is my tried and tested advice:

  1. Look around you. Who’s doing what you want to do with excellence and integrity? Who has a marriage that exemplifies faithfulness and joy? Who has peace even though they have walked through difficulty? Who has great time management?
  2. Contact them and ask for 15 minutes of their time.
  3. Have three questions prepared to ask them. If you honour their time and affirm why you admire them, I know that they will be motivated to share with you their secrets and even better, their struggles!

Will everything they suggest work for you? Maybe not. But I bet you will learn something! I have more mentors in my collective that I haven’t mentioned and in different seasons I talk with them to varying degrees. Some were just a mentor for a piece of my journey. But each one has impacted my life deeply and to each one, I am grateful.

I hope you will be inspired to find someone you can learn from! As long as our heart is beating, we can continue growing!

P.S. Your brave yes might be agreeing to talk to someone who sees something they can learn from you! Don’t hide behind false humility, we all have something to offer!

monica2

You write a beautiful story.

Somehow we’ve crossed the mid way point in November. Time just continues to move on and as my seven year old said: Wow, we are just growing up so fast! I wish we could press pause.

Funny thing is, I never felt that way as a child. Time seemed to move so slowly and I remember thinking each New Year’s Eve how long that seemed to take.

But things are different now. Even for children time moves fast. This is part of why I have decided to continue on with homeschooling. I spent the first few years of my mothering wondering how I would make it through to suddenly crossing a threshold of time that screamed: how did we get here?

Even now I sit at my table, the house quiet with my babies at their grandparents and the clock ticks on. Tick – tock. Tick – tock. Tick – tock.

It’s methodical sound reminds me that it stops for no one and pauses for nothing. In the same “tick” life may come and life may leave and in the “tock” hope restored or a heart devastated.

Oh I’m not meaning to sound so melancholy. On the contrary, these revelations from my last year have led me to push deeply into the hope of Christ. Hope that goes beyond the sadness of the heart or even the joy that comes.

It’s no secret this has been a hard year. At the start of 2018 I asked God for a word for the year. He told me two things:

  1. You don’t know what’s coming.
  2. You need to focus on the nest.

These things could not have been more true. This year side swiped me on so many levels. I had no idea the things that were coming, I had hoped they were good things, but so many were painful. Yet with the encouragement to focus on my nest and keep that the priority, we transitioned through them a lot smoother.

Grace upon grace, upon grace, upon grace.

I started the year on a sabbatical to recover from burn out. I had fizzled right out starting our business and moving twice. After recovering from that our son started to face some big challenges and God asked me to be brave and trust him that I could homeschool.

Homeschooling turned out the be the greatest gift and ever layer I have unwrapped has been more exciting than the next, but it did set off a chain reaction of two things that were painful:

  1. An unexpected resignation at the church. Andrew and I had co-pastored for nearly four years and suddenly that was done.
  2. I would be working at my shop less and hiring more people to run it, shooting our costs through the roof during an already delicate new business stage.

And then of course the call for adoption. In those months it seemed to be the missing puzzle piece. It made sense of the clearing away of my schedule and the settling back at home.

But thousands and thousands of dollars later, and so many more days away from my children than I ever want to know again, I was empty-handed.

Do you ever have questions? Yeah, me too.

Lord, I was brave. I gave you my yes. I know that you are doing something deep and incredible, because you don’t string me along to break my heart. Something is going on here greater than I can see. I won’t stop believing.

And yet as I move on, it feels like a melancholy movie, like a Romeo and Juliet where no one and nothing is in place at the right time. After the adoption falling through we realized our hearts have been expanded to foster babies. It’s the cry of our heart to do this. And yet when we stepped out to do it, we found we can’t be approved until our basement renovation is complete, which has been held up by…you guessed it, spending all that money to go to Nunavut. Yet without going to Nunavut, we wouldn’t have hearts burning to foster.

Sometimes the complex conflict in my heart is enough to make me weep and laugh. I’m so grateful for the heart I have after this pain, yet so deeply grieved by the pain itself.

Guys, I’m not complaining. I’m being real. You need to know what this has been like because I’ve had too many people say that everything falls into place for me. I’ve tried to encourage others and heard so often “well if I had your husband, or your energy, or your favour…”

And while I hope and I’m praying my faith remains simple through everything, I’ve heard the excuses for giving up, and I’m going to be honest, I feel like I have those same ones. But we can’t do it. We can’t give up and we can’t make excuses. So many lives hang in the balance. Our maximum impact on the world lies on the other side of sticking this out.

We can’t stop believing that God is for us. Life is not simple. I may have thought it was at one point. But I am convinced the only way to make it through our complex and complicated lives is through intimate relationship with a concrete and constant Saviour.

As I look toward this Christmas season, I am preparing myself to actively let go of an extremely difficult, yet a simultaneously greenhouse-like year as I look at the growth in my life.

I know in my heart that God looks at all the missed opportunities, conflicting time lines, financial difficulties, broken dreams and flurry of questions and he sees the most beautiful painting, the greatest story, a patchwork quilt that will one day tell a more completed version of His great faithfulness.

Great is Thy faithfulness,” O God my Father,
There is no shadow of turning with Thee;
Thou changest not, Thy compassions, they fail not
As Thou hast been Thou forever wilt be.

Perhaps this year has been one of more questions than answers and more heartache than joy. Or perhaps you relate to the bizarre ebb and flow of joy and pain that I’ve found myself in.

I feel the Holy Spirit calling us to let go of our disappointments. But it isn’t an immediate throwing down. It’s an invitation to let go over Christmas. To allow the simplicity of the gospel and the beauty of a saviour sent to earth as a baby, to renew our hope again.

Don’t be discouraged if you can’t dream yet or if the goals aren’t coming or the inspiring words haven’t been released for 2019. Just let go, and let hope flood your soul.

From there, I believe we will see our dreams take flight. We will know the steps to take. We will be in a place of greater courage to face the unknowns.

This is my life song right now. Let it revive your heart this Saturday.

With love,

Monica

monica2

 

My good, His glory.

It amazes me how quickly I can move from having my life feel manageable and on track to completely and totally out of control.

This past week I finally took action and made the first step in something my husband and I had felt the Lord placing on our hearts. A lot had happened in our lives and suddenly it was weeks after I had planned to scratch this from my to-do list.

What was supposed to be a baby step that made me feel good about my token obedience to the Lord turned into a landslide of events that once began, I couldn’t stop.

In a moment our lives felt in super speed and instantly I felt unable to keep up with everything.

To add to the drama, my kid’s were puddles of candy-hangover disasters the day after Halloween. I was losing my marbles. How had life become so hard in forty-eight hours?

Friday morning I woke up with a terrible migraine. I’ve, thankfully, only had a handful in my life and they’ve shown up after what my chiropractor refers to as a “perfect storm” where stress, tiredness and all the rest collide to create a barrage of unbearable pain.

A simple act of obedience on a Tuesday had led me to this place by Friday. The enemy was trying to steal my confidence, I was sure of that.

Sunday morning I stayed home from church because my headache hadn’t completely subsided. The moment my house was quiet, the Lord began to speak.

“Did you remember that this is all for your good and my glory?”

Really? I replied in my heart. My good? Maybe your glory, but I’m a bit of a wreck here.

“I am working every single thing in your life for your good and my glory. Chill out.”

Does God have to tell you to chill? Or is it just me? That morning I had the contemplative space to see that almost nothing had happened in my life outside my own head. I was freaked out that something started moving quicker than I wanted.

My good, his glory.

IMG_9925I love how Psalm 32:8-9 in the Passion Translation puts it:

I hear the Lord saying, “I will stay close to you,
instructing and guiding you along the pathway for your life.
I will advise you along the way
and lead you forth with my eyes as your guide.
So don’t make it difficult; don’t be stubborn
when I take you where you’ve not been before.
Don’t make me tug you and pull you along.
Just come with me!”

I almost laughed aloud when I read “don’t be stubborn when I take you where you’ve not been before.”

Boy, had I been stubborn in my heart. Not by outwardly refusing to do be obedient, but panicking that the only way I could go there was on my own strength, forgetting that it’s God who leads us into unknown and promises to stick with us through it!

God is taking us, you and me, to places we’ve never been. It’s terrifying. I will be the first to admit it! But let me tell you post migraine, it’s easier to surrender and let Him be Lord than to deal with the physical and emotional strain that comes from trying to be in control.

He is taking all of our mess, brokenness, shattered dreams and misunderstandings and he is literally creating something GOOD for us! And not only is it good for us, but it’s going to display his glory. My life. Your life. It’s good. And it’s going to give God a whole lot of praise and turn a whole lot of hearts right to his.

We just have to ask ourselves if we will be willing to chill out and step out when he says: Just come with me. 

 

monica2

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