PANIC ATTACK!!!

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I remember the first time I ever had a panic attack. It came from out of nowhere. It was so far off the grid of my experience that I didn’t even know it had a name other than torture.

It all started when I decided to take a driving shift on the roadtrip back home from Colorado to California with my husband and four kids. We were on our way back from visiting friends and had decided to drive straight through the night to avoid kid interruptions. It was almost entirely black throughout the mountain range—save our headlights. My husband had taken the first shift.

It was now my turn.

My kids were already fast asleep and as soon as I started driving, my husband quickly followed suit. The two-lane highway was narrow and windy, with a cement divider on my left and what appeared to be an open chasm of death off to my right.

I felt a little nervous driving, but I was doing okay navigating the narrow twists and turns of the highway until another car zoomed up right behind me and started tailgating aggressively. He tailed so close that it felt threatening and dangerous.

The pressure and danger combination mounted together into a highly-reactive panic trigger for me. These two things would remain consistent in my future episodes. They were my specific “recipe” for a panic attack.

The first thing I noticed was the tingly fear that crept up my entire body until it constricted around me like a tight blanket. I felt frozen and wrapped in fear—unable to move. My arms became fused to the steering wheel with a paralytic death grip. I was afraid to breathe, much less call out to my husband for help. I broke out into a cold sweat. 

All of a sudden, the lane appeared much narrower. I felt terrified that if I veered even one inch in either direction, we would all die. Either I’d crash into cement or careen off a cliff. Neither one appealed to me in my desire to live. I couldn’t speed up to get away from the tailgater because I couldn’t guarantee control, but I couldn’t slow down either— I was afraid he’d smash into me. He was SO close. I had ZERO margin for error.

“Oh God, oh God, oh God”, was all I could think to think.

The whole episode probably only lasted about five minutes before the road shifted into three lanes, and the other car floored it to maneuver around me—but I felt like I’d just made it through Hell. The rest of the details are still a blur. We didn’t die. We eventually made it home. I didn’t know it yet, but this episode was about to change my entire life. It would become a trigger that would affect my life for many years afterwards.

That was almost 9 years ago. 

Immediately after the road trip through Hell, I remember being hit by a rush of euphoria. From my optimistic perspective of a great storyline, I thought I’d query a magazine or two about my death-defying adventure. I thought certainly I could find some venue from which to share my amazing testimony about staring death in the face and surviving.

But I didn’t. 

Instead, in a cruel twist of fate, I spiraled down into an even worse season filled with many more panic attacks and new pop-up fears—including a fear of heights, fear of mountain roads and freeway overpasses, fear of enclosed spaces, fear of finding parking, and a fear of big social gatherings.

Life got worse, NOT better.

My idealized testimony morphed instead into many more mocking reminders of my current limitations. It was like an ever-increasing revelation of incapacity.

The panic attacks continued—sometime major, sometimes minor. The fear usually manifested in an either quick or slow spread of terror throughout my body. My whole body would then feel almost suffocated by the tight blanket of terror that restricted me, coupled with the fear-induced paralyzation. One of the panic attacks was SO intense that it actually dried up my milk supply and I could no longer nurse my son.

I continued to spiral down.

I couldn’t drive on mountain roads, bridges, or freeway overpasses for years. Even being a passenger on mountain roads left me with the shakes. I had to close my eyes and pray under my breath just to survive those drives—which made it tricky to visit my in-laws who actually lived in the mountains.

I lived in a place of constant fear, wondering what would trigger me next.

Many beach trips and misc outings had to be rerouted due to bridge overpasses. It became inconvenient and humiliating. One time, I accidentally ended up on some mountain roads with a friend. When I realized my mistake, I decided I would just have to power through by the sheer force of my will. Except that I couldn’t. My will was not strong enough to overcome the neurological and emotional components of my PTSD-ravished brain. Trembling, sweating, and barely able to breathe, I found a mountain turn-out and defeatedly drove back down.

Life became really hard for a LONG time after that initial drive in the Colorado mountain range. 

Xanax couldn’t touch my fear or panic at all. Antidepressants didn’t accomplish anything other than my weight gain. I already struggled with insomnia. Sleeping pills didn’t work either.

I felt like a zombie, technically alive but dead inside as the fear, panic, and insomnia swirled around inside of me—trying to finish me off for good.

I lived in that dreamlike state for years, unable to engage with much. Life was all about survival—not enjoyment. My spirit’s will to live and my desire to raise my children were the ONLY reasons I stayed alive.

Somehow I knew that there HAD to be a light at the end of my tunnel.

Years of counseling and the unravelling of my past would then enter into the scene of my life. Everything would change after that. My panic, fear, and PTSD would slowly lessen. My understanding would massively increase. I would receive lots of new information and tools. And the natural outgrowth of all of these eventually brought me my breakthrough.

I remember that VICTORIOUS day when I finally decided to try and drive over the 91 Freeway Overpass on my way out of town. I felt the Father’s gentle nudge of confirmation—“You’re ready. You can do this.”

And I did.

It’s been two years since the day I conquered that overpass. My freedom has continued to multiply into other areas. I’m no longer afraid of bridges or overpasses. I don’t get parking anxiety anymore. I actually attend a lot of social gatherings without emotional pushback. I even went through an enclosed waterslide the other day. My previous triggers have become a non-issue. 

I made it through Hell. You can too.

Don’t ever give up.

Two steps forward—one step back is still moving forward.

Love, Nova

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Moving Past BS To Find The Treasure

Somedays I forget I’m a person. Seriously. A lot of days I get so sucked into the crazy mom shuffle that I forget I’m supposed to also be a human being. Most moms will get this: the days when you just feel like a Mom ATM. Yep. That’s me: Mom ATM. What do you need? Taxi Driver? Social coordinator? Listening ear? Conflict resolution? That’s usually how I feel. But not yesterday. Yesterday, I got to be something different:

I got to be a real person again. 

Yesterday, I got a quick break from Mom ATM mode and I had an opportunity to sit with some new friends and share my heart. They actually wanted to know more about me. Like who was I? What was I all about? I got a chance to share some of my passions, my dreams, and my quirky God life and the way He walks with me.

It invigorated me. 

It wasn’t the attention so much but the permission that refreshed my weary soul. The permission to remember who I really was. To remember the ME apart from the kid attachments and the stay-at-home-wife identity. For a few hours, I got to remember what made me, ME.

And I REALLY liked being me again—even if only for a few hours.

Most introductory meet-and-greets or initial get-to-know ya’s for me usually include questions related to marital status or number of children, or the inevitably awkward “What-do-you-do?” question—which I seriously hate. 

I know one person who bypasses all the external BS and extraneous details and just asks: “Who are you?—and don’t tell me what you do for a living.”

I LOVE that question.

I wish our culture would begin to adopt a more internally-oriented focus like that. I would love to see society as a whole start to move past the introductory questions that are geared towards social or economic productivity—and instead try to identify a person’s design.

Like “Who are you INSIDE?”, “What makes you, YOU?”, “What lights you up and makes you come alive?”, “What is the FIRE shut up in your bones?”

As for me, I actually asked God a similar question recently:

“Father, who am I REALLY?”

His internal answer came as a soft voice spoken inside my spirit. He answered me simply with two words: Worshipper and WONDER-er.

He nailed it.

It’s so true. I do and like a lot of things. I’m pretty eclectic by nature. But the satin thread that weaves its way throughout all of the interests and timeline of my life are those two things:

I AM a worshipper. And whether I’m writing a blogpost, laughing with my kids, praying over somebody, walking down the street, cleaning my house, or singing on my guitar—I am worshipping Him.

AND

I AM a wonder-er. I constantly marvel at all of creation—hawks, dragonflies, mountains, the ocean, wind, rain, motion, colors, rhythm, light. I was made for WONDER. I was made for AWE.

That’s who I am inside—everything else is just playing field.

Who are you?

Who are you REALLY?

We all have TREASURES and a SPIRITUAL DESIGN inside of us that are God-given.

It’s time we start looking for them.

Nova

No Boundaries Can Kill You

IMG_0108Clearly I’m in denial that I have good boundaries with my children. This was brought to light the other day when I felt near the brink of a panic attack. I couldn’t figure it out. What was going on? Why was I feeling SO horrible?

I even texted my husband—“Please pray for me. I’m feeling anxious and panicky.”

My brain had been feeling glitchy and was having trouble focusing, my body was suffering with inflammation, and my adrenals had been maxed out for weeks. I was living in a state of perpetual fight or flight survival mode. But fight or flight mode was only designed by God to be a temporary survival mechanism to help in times of danger.

I wasn’t actually meant to live in this place for a month and a half straight. I wasn’t in any physical danger.

I started out the summer with high hopes. I’m SUCH a visionary at heart—but the day-to-day implementation is my greatest challenge. My high hopes included planning fun activities for my four children—while also setting healthy limits for them, as well as teaching them how to incorporate a healthy balance of work, rest, and play into their lives.

I had only recently experienced the epiphany that OVERACTIVITY was my family’s drug of choice. My children were addicted to it. I had learned it in my own family system growing up and had taught it to my kids. I realized that I had fostered their addiction by the pace of life that I set early on in their childhoods.

My SUMMER MISSION was now to detox our family from this addiction and teach them a healthier life equilibrium. 

But there was only one problem: I was JUST now learning and implementing these things in my own life. Yet I knew this was God’s heart for my family: Teach it as you learn it. It doesn’t matter if you just learned it yesterday—teach it today. Teach it messy. Teach it not perfectly. 

Just start.

I had also planned during summertime to set aside some consistent time for my writing and study—not just for my own pursuit of growth, but also to make sure I retained some SANITY. I knew myself. I knew that I needed LOTS of alone time to regroup from constantly being around kids.

That was the plan anyway.

So my summer boundaries started out optimistically, but basically just ended up sucking. I let the constant need of the moment set my pace. I communicated some boundaries, but my kids continually beat me back into submission to their desires. I gave in. I felt bad. I didn’t want to shortchange them. So I scheduled more activity. More play. I let the other important variables of rest (regrouping time) and of work (chores) fall through the cracks. My ME time disappeared.

I spiraled down until the day that I hit that panic attack threshold. I felt overwhelmed and unequipped to deal with the rest of the demands of the day. I still had more errands to run, lawn work to finish so the HOA didn’t fine us, kids to feed, and carpool to drive.

But God intervened and threw me a life preserver.

In the middle of my panicked state, I received two separate text lifelines from friends. Neither friend was local, but both felt prompted by the Holy Spirit to reach out. Neither one knew I was close to reaching for a Xanax. But God did.

I’m so thankful for the Holy Spirit—aka my rescue line.

Both texts included links to articles about boundaries. One article highlighted the importance of teaching our children healthy boundaries. The other focused on how to effectively deal with any anger pushback that comes from those who fight our boundaries.

Man did the Holy Spirit READ my mail.

And by that second text, God’s gentle voice finally hacked my chaotic firewall. I heard God’s caring message within the text lines of the articles: “SLOW DOWN. ENFORCE better boundaries. Get STRATEGIC with how to respond to the anger push-back. Quit killing yourself because you don’t want to disappoint.”

God’s rescue.

And then I remembered something else: God had given me a head’s up warning dream before the start of summer, where a wise counsellor told me to slow down and stay safe within boundaries.

In all of the summer’s chaos, I had forgotten that God actually WANTED me safe and protected. He was advocating for a healthier pace in my own life and family. He was on my side and was cheering for my boundaries and freedom. And even when I forgot His precautionary warning, He sent me another reminder.

Because He’s just THAT good.

It’s tough work moving from compliance to healthier boundaries, but I know that I can do it with God’s help.

Contending for More Freedom with God on My Side,

Nova

“If God is for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).

Not Enough Milk in My Cereal

 

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I cried over my milk last night. Not because I’d spilled it, but actually because of a much more important reason: there wasn’t enough milk in my cereal.

I was sick of partially-submerged cereal. I’d been a milk martyr for far too long.

When my servant-hearted husband brought me the cereal in the first place and I realized it didn’t have enough milk for my preference, I felt crushed. Didn’t he know? Didn’t he know how much milk I needed after 15 years together? My first feeling was one of sadness and resignation—I felt I should just be thankful and eat what was given to me. My next feeling actually came as a spark of anger—This was unjust! I was wronged!

This flip-flopping of emotions was exhausting and launched me next into feelings of self-accusation and condemnation. Just get over it. What’s wrong with you? I was tempted to stuff the pain and ignore it because I was also tired. But the Holy Spirit nudged me gently into a different direction:

“Pay attention to this. Pay attention to what your heart is saying.”

So I took a minute and just sat with the feeling. I tried to probe deeper into my emotions. What was going on? Why this extreme reaction to a very minimal event in my day? It was just a bowl of cereal for goodness’ sake—not some massive family crisis. But I knew enough by now to know that an extreme reaction like this was usually masking something much deeper. What was it?

And then BOOM!—there it was. It hit me like the BRIGHTEST freight train ever:

I’d NEVER had enough of what I needed.

The quiet introspection had paid off. I finally saw the root of an issue that had plagued me for years but I could never quite figure out. Like a newly-receded tooth, I felt like the root issue was totally obvious now.

How did I not see this before?

After discovering the emotional root, various memories began to scroll before my eyes like a movie reel. I remembered how much neglect had played a part in my early childhood years. Both parents always gone. Childcare provided by a mushpot of nannies, dysfunctional family members and sexual predators.

I remembered the emotional starvation—how often I was forced by authorities to accept less than what I really needed. Crucial emotional ingredients like attentiveness, active listening, emotional connection, healthy physical touch, and even safety were few and far between. Inconsistency had been my biggest childhood companion.

I realized that neglect had taught me not to expect too much from others or even life itself. I learned that what I needed didn’t matter. I learned that “What you get is what you get—and you don’t get upset.” 

I also remembered the abuse—times when authorities actively pushed against my own boundaries and needs. Like being forced to eat liver and oysters as a young child and almost puking. Like being forced to swim down powerful river rapids that almost drowned me. Like having a parent chase me and barge into my room when I just needed space and privacy. Like all the years of hidden sexual abuse that continued on unnoticed by the people who were supposed to be protecting and keeping me safe.

I realized that the abuse and disrespect of my boundaries had taught me that authorities got to make all the decisions. I learned that I did not get a choice. I learned submission, victimization, and powerlessness. 

I realized that I had learned a lot of things but I had NEVER learned how to get my needs met.

And now here I was: a married woman with four children who didn’t know how to ask for more milk—who didn’t think that she even DESERVED more milk.

So I did something I hadn’t done in a long time. I went downstairs and added some more milk into my bowl. I FLOODED that cereal. And then I sat in my favorite chair, ate my cereal and cried. And I invited God into that space to clean out the pain and heal me.

It felt wonderfully reconciling. I was finally grieving. It was a new experience for me but it felt so timely and God-orchestrated. The backlog of suppressed pain was finally finding its channel to be released.

These grieving tears felt so much different than self-pity tears. Self-pity tears never resolved anything. They were always an endless revolving-door of pain.

Grieving tears made me feel lighter. They were tears of release and self-acceptance. I was releasing the pain. I was accepting myself and reconciling to the story of my past. I could own the truth of my story now: so much of my childhood had majorly sucked. I didn’t need to lie to myself anymore. I didn’t need to accept the script any longer that others had fed to me over the years. I finally believed myself. 

And as I cried, a lot of the pain got out. It was like I could feel God wiping away my tears. I didn’t need to wait for Heaven—He wanted to do it now.

A bowl of cereal. Who knew? 

God will use anything to bring healing.

Trusting in the Great Redeemer,

Nova (newly-redeemed milk martyr)

“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes…” (Revelation 21:4).

God’s Presence in the Chaos

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I heard the lady curse as she reached the bathroom door. F*@#!, she said. She had only just realized, as I had a brief moment before, that the public beach bathroom was now closed for a quick cleaning and that she would have to wait.

I was standing nearby in the sand. My eyes were closed and I was listening to the roar of the waves and the children laughing in the nearby distance. I wiggled my toes in the cool, silky sand. I was KEENLY aware of the pressure in my bladder—but I was even more aware of something much more important:

I was present in this waiting moment for the first time in forever and I felt SO thankful.

It was the day before Mother’s Day and I was already exhausted by the time I finally stumbled up to the bathroom. The usual 1-hour drive to the beach had taken 4 hours. We hit major stop-and-go traffic. And that combined with the 5 food/ bathroom stops along the way, plus the kids’ endless chorus of whining and my now lingering carsickness had left me pretty well spent. It was after we finally crash-landed onto the beach at 6 pm that I realized my need for a bathroom trip.

The day had not gone as I had expected.

So here I was: tired, nauseated, headachy, and waiting near the bathroom with my toes dug deep into the sand. I felt uncomfortable, but I also felt luxuriously happy. I could feel God’s presence as the wind whipped through my hair and caressed my shoulders. A wave of joyful emotion rushed over me that almost brought me to tears. This is real life. The crazy and the sacred all mixed together. I’m so grateful.

I thought back to the earlier morning. My husband and I had such high hopes for a fun early mother’s-day celebration. But then the dog pooped blood all over our carpet and we had to make an emergency trip to the vet. Thankfully, the news from the vet was promising and we ended up back at home with an exhausted dog and an antibiotic. It could have been worse.

We decided to still pursue our earlier beach plans.

But then my favorite coffee shop messed up my latte and as we were driving away with my gross drink—I got some disappointing news on my phone. My happy mood was shot. The bad news plus my marginal coffee seemed to be the cherry on top to an already crappy day that finally pushed me over into the grumped-out zone.

Come on, get it together. You’re bigger than this. Don’t let this steal your joy.

I tried to self-encourage but it wasn’t working. I knew I had to get myself out of this funky mood before it spiraled down even more. I started having second thoughts about our destination and thought maybe we should just go home.

“What are we going to do if we just go home? Work around the house?” my husband asked.

He was right. I knew the potential for family fun was still there if we could just push through a little bit more and make it to our destination. So we did. Four hours later we arrived on the beach, suits on and towels in hand. It was FREEZING. The fact that it was now evening and the lifeguards had already gone off-duty plus the local shark sightings meant we were pretty much beached. We only lasted an hour.

The kids had fun anyway. The Olders made meatballs out of sand and sang goofy songs. The Littles played on the playground adjacent to the beach (because we apparently have NO playgrounds back home). I watched the water and the seagulls. I closed my eyes and listened to the waves. I tasted the salty-sea spray on my lips. And it was enough.

And that epiphanous moment at the bathroom ended up becoming my mother’s day gift. Because as I heard the lady curse, I realized just how far I’d come in my own life and healing. I remembered how conditioned I used to be to the busy maze and pace of life, where the waiting had become more inopportune than the rushing. Life had gotten flipped somewhere along the way. I knew that I too used to be a reactive person that missed out on the joy of the moment.

But not anymore.

I was back.

And this moment was a gift that I savored. It was a time when I could just BE rather than DO. And I purposefully chose to engage in that moment with God.

My Mother’s Day gift: Being present. Being purposeful. Being with Him.

In His Calming Shalom Presence,

Nova

Landmines of Pain

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Have you ever accidentally stepped into a memory from your past that sent you reeling? Yep—me too. A few months ago, I stumbled onto a painful landmine of unhealed pain in my heart.

Trauma triggers are like that—so unexpected. You’re just walking along and then…BOOM! PAIN!

It happened not long after I started attending a new community of believers. My spirit was so refreshed in this particular community that I was FILLED with massive hope and expectation for the future. This place felt like home. I loved it.

I couldn’t wait to see what God would do. I knew I could thrive in this place. I knew my spiritual DNA would fit. So I purposefully gave it my all and dove right in. I’ve never done anything half-heartedly. I began to attend every event and activity that I could—trying to meet people and make new friends.

And then that one fateful conversation began with a person who looked strangely familiar…

“I remember YOU…”

And suddenly there it was: INSTANT pain.

In that one moment, I was flung back into the past without my consent. I realized now why that individual had looked so familiar to me. Ten years ago. It was almost ten years ago that I had spent some time with this person among a group of other believers.

It wasn’t a good experience for me.

I actually remember liking this person. But the situation? Not so much. And any of the small amenities from that short time were vastly overshadowed by the painful shut-down that followed. My pursuit of spiritual community had been majorly hijacked. I basically crawled into a six-year hole afterwards.

It felt like a lifetime ago. In a way it really was. I had travailed and triumphed, contended and grown, and healed and thrived so much since those days.

I was a different person now.

But in that split-second, all the pain came back. Scene after scene replayed before my eyes: the rejection and isolation. The purposeful exclusion. The public humiliation. The shame.

I did NOT want to be back in that place again—nor did I want to be reminded of it every time I saw this person.

It was a horrible memory to revisit—a significant pain point in my Christian journey. I was obviously not quite as healed as I thought I was. It was one thing to forgive the wounding parties from afar. It was quite another to see someone on a regular basis that had witnessed the whole thing. I had been so thankful for the physical distance between myself and everyone involved in that experience. Besides social media, our paths rarely crossed over the years.

And yet here I was—in close physical proximity to one of the people who had seen my heart get publicly crucified. I wasn’t sure if I could handle the frequent reminder. I actually thought about changing course. Despite all of this community’s innate goodness and tangible Jesus saturation, I debated just leaving.

Because that’s what pain does. It wants to hide. It wants to forget. It does NOT want to revisit.

Yet even as that warm wash of fear and insecurity poured over me, the strength in my spirit rose up with a fierce tenacity that I could NOT deny. I felt empowered with a spirit knowing in the midst of my soul’s internal chaos:

God’s redemptive fingerprints are ALL over this. My Father is up to something good.

This VERY situation felt reminiscent of so many other times when the Father purposefully brought me into awkward situations in order to facilitate my healing. What is laid down in pain can often only be accessed again through pain. I knew that I was no longer a victim that needed to run and hide. I was victorious through my identity in Him.

I knew that EVERYTHING was in the process of being redeemed.

So I settled into the reality that I could trust Him with this—even though I didn’t have the healing closure that I wanted in the moment. It was in spiritual community that I was shut down and it was in spiritual community that I was being restored. The redemptive ways of God take my breath away. Yah, there are still some spiritual logistics to work out. Healing and forgiveness are like an onion—so many layers sometimes. But my end game will always be breakthrough and new freedom in my life. And I’m ready. I want it.

Trusting in the Great Redeemer,

Nova

Pursuing the MORE

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I know this will be mommy blasphemy to some—but being a mom was NEVER my end-all goal in life. Neither was marriage. I’ve always wanted more than just a home with a white picket fence, children running around in the yard, and me cooking meals inside for my family.

I wanted my full spiritual inheritance and destiny.

For one thing—I HATE cooking. I think I could have actually excelled at it if I’d been willing to put forth the effort. When I was younger, I didn’t have the energy or time. And now that I’m older—I just don’t care. The cooking responsibility somehow shuffled to my husband during my four back-to-back pregnancies, nausea, and nursing. And by the time I was finished being a baby factory—my earlier desire to be Susie Homemaker was completely gone.

Don’t get me wrong; I still liked the idea of a beautifully-decorated, up-kept home and a mom that made homemade meals—but I just wanted other things MORE. I knew I couldn’t do everything perfectly if I wanted to reach other goals. After having four children, I recognized the need to be more strategic with my time if I wanted to run and finish my entire life’s race well.

I felt this pent-up fire to pursue the other areas of my spiritual calling in addition to motherhood. I realized it didn’t have to be an either/or proposition. I COULD do both.

When I was first a new mommy, I read books about the importance and mission of motherhood—all of which I completely agreed with and endorsed. But even though I understood the importance of my mothering stewardship, I knew I would one day stand before the throne and be accountable for more than just my parenting mentorship and wifehood.

God had entrusted me with other gifts and abilities.

But like what happens to so many new mommies, I got sucked into the all-consuming mommy black hole. I shelved so much of what mattered to me during those early mommy years. I sacrificed myself willingly in favor of meeting everyone else’s needs. It happened slowly at first out of sheer baby necessity. But after many years of repeating this behavior, I realized it had become an unhealthy dying to self. I had given myself no nurturing; no soul-care time to grow, thrive, and develop.

I had inadvertently buried and was ignoring the other gifts that God had placed inside of me. I was being like the steward in the parable of the talents that buried what he had been entrusted with—rather than investing it for the good of his master.

To whom much is given, much is required; and the gifts and callings of God in a person’s life are irrevocable—they don’t ever go away.

As for me, these irrevocable talents became like spiritual irritants in my life—lying just beneath the surface and scratching me for years. Reminding me of their presence. I was like the princess and the pea. No matter how much I tried to ignore them throughout the busy mommy years—I could still feel them.

My spiritual DNA was crying out to be noticed and fulfilled.

I finally listened. I finally took the time to stir up and attend to the other gifts and callings that God had placed in me long ago: Writing. Ministry. Community. Prophetic Outreach. I moved past my fearful arguments of inability and agreed to partner with God’s other deposits in my life.

It hasn’t been easy but it’s totally been worth it. It has taken a lot of work and creative re-shuffling of responsibilities to accomplish. And my consistency with taking small, daily steps has paid off and brought new areas of growth into my life.

It has also been an interesting process. My perfectionistic tendencies have had to die—I can no longer be all things to all people. I have to say no to a lot of opportunities and I have to make sacrifices. Those sacrifices usually include a house that looks like a kid fraternity party when I take time to write. I also miss out on family time when I attend classes or outreaches, and I’m behind on laundry ALL the time.

But when I stand before the throne one day—I want to hear my Father say:

“Well done, my good and faithful servant. You have been faithful in handling this small amount, so now I will give you many more responsibilities. Let’s celebrate together!” (Matthew 25:21)

From one heavenly steward to another,

❤ Nova