Faith, Family, joy, Multiple Sclerosis, Not Today MS, Uncategorized

Just show up.

Everyone keeps asking me how I’m doing. This season of job change and taking on new volunteer responsibilities and all that comes with Fall and Christmas events—I appreciate everyone’s love and concern for me. They don’t want me to do too much. Multiple Sclerosis can be triggered by stress. And my people know that. And they know me. They know I say yes to WAY too much and I tend to have multiple plates spinning at any given moment.

They also know one of my struggles is I say yes too much. It’s a pride thing. I love to be needed (hello enneagram 2). I love pats on the backs and high fives and appreciation… and I can fall into the sin of that pride. Ugh. It’s so yuck and embarrassing to admit to all of you. Put, it’s important to share because I think we all need to examine ourselves and make sure what we’re doing is for God, and not for ourselves.

In this season, I took a hard look at the current plate spinning situation. On a particularly overwhelming day, I wrote down all of the “plates”. Feel free to just skim the headings here. In my need to overshare, I’ve given you an explanation of each of my plates.

Family:

I have two kids. Daniel is a senior in college and Bethany is a freshman in high school. They each have their own personalities and strengths and weaknesses. I find I spend most of my time with them “coaching”. Coaching them on their choices, their friendships, their school work, their relationships with Jesus. I try to be supportive, but encourage them that God has equipped them for what He’s calling them to. I also have plenty of times when I overact or give them unsolicited advice instead of listen. Ugh. And I’m married to a beautiful man who’s very different than me 😊. He’s calm. He internalizes things instead of oversharing (like me). He’s also had some job responsibility changes that have rocked his world, but you won’t see him writing a blog post or social media post about it. He will hardly talk to me about it. But I see the stress and I make him talk so we can pray and I can let him bounce ideas off me so hopefully I can help. When he feels things, I feel things. And we’re approaching 15 years of marriage. We both work hard at keeping our marriage strong and doing ministry together.

Work:

I am an Executive Assistant. I’ve been in the secretarial/clerical field for much of my career. I’ve also dabbled in copy editing, social media marketing, children’s ministry assisting, wedding planning, cake baking, and make-up artistry. You could say I’m well-rounded 😊. Mainly, I love organizing, event planning, writing, graphic design and just generally helping people. I tell my bosses, “My job is to make your job easier.” And that’s what I love to do. I love to be able to take something off someone’s plate and take care of it for them so they can do their hard work. To me, that’s what a good assistant does. She (or He) makes life easier for those she works with and for. Work is ramping up with events, cross-training, and implementing some new Public Relations initiatives. All exciting stuff, but certainly busy.

Breakfast with Mrs. Claus:

For those who personally know me, you’ll know about this event. What started as a way for our children to get involved in our church’s capital campaign and raise money years and years ago, has turned into an annual fun family Christmas event at our church. This year, God is calling for us to change this event and make it something pretty cool… I hope and pray 😊. It means more work and organization for me and a need for more delegation and letting more people take on the planning. Honestly, this is not the easiest thing in the world for me. I struggle with asking people to do things… I think they are too busy, or they are just saying “yes” out of obligation and I have to remind myself that often people are waiting for that invitation to take on more. And I have to remind myself this is SO not about me. Pride likes to tell me it’s good to get all the credit when this event goes well and people will judge me if it doesn’t… But God says, “let me have it and see what I can do…” Still, it’s a plate that’s spinning and takes up my time.

Teaching 678/Leadership:

Our amazing youth minister at our church recently took a position at another amazing church. It’s all good. And we know God is going to provide. But the loss has caused several of us to need to step up to lead while our church searches for a new minister. That means I’m teaching once a month. Something I LOVE to do. Something I never would have told you God had gifted me in until after MS diagnosis. I was the girl whose voice shook every time I spoke to a crowd. Now, one of my favorite things I get to do is to dive deep into scripture and try to help it make sense to a group of middle schoolers. We learn together. It’s amazing. It’s humbling as I realize how little I know and get to learn right along with these kids. And the days when I pray for the Holy Spirit to speak through me and He SHOWS UP… friends, there’s no greater feeling. But, I’m realizing how much we all took our previous minister’s leadership for granted. He was so good at encouraging and guiding us along. It’s another plate 😊.

Student Ministry Search Team:

As I just said, we are needing a new youth minister 😊. I am honored to be working and praying with an amazing group at our church to find this person so we can make a recommendation to our Elders. It’s a huge responsibility. But our God is a huge God. Trusting that He will bring us the right person and make the choice obvious to us all and there is unity and clarity in our decision.

Podcast/Blog:

Y’all know I love you, right? Brian and I imagine one person whenever we put out a blog post or podcast. Brian reads everything I write before I post. We both pray for “Brenda”. Or “Karen”. Or “Heather”. Or whatever name we give to the lady or man we feel like needs to hear these words from God. We don’t know who these words are for, but we firmly believe that God is calling us to devote our spare time, efforts, and money into creating this ministry. I feel safe pretending that only 2 of y’all actually read my stuff and that maybe occasionally someone stumbles across the blog or podcast in their search for something and it helps them. I refuse to look at stats. I love your comments and messages and I make every effort to respond to all of those (Seriously, your words mean SO much to me). But I have never wanted to be motivated by stats… what posts do well versus ones that don’t. So I simply don’t look. But. Brian recently shared some stats with me. You guys. Since the creation of Not Today, M.S., we’ve had over 13,000 views. Over 5600 visitors. 65 Countries. I had never heard of some of these places! And many are places where the name is Jesus has to be spoke in secret. If you are living in one of these places and reading these words, please know we are praying for YOU. This is a big plate. Mainly because we want to do this right. We want to honor God. We want Him to get any and all the glory. And we want to be good ambassadors for Him.

IF:Coaching/IF in general:

I love IF:Gathering. That’s something you need to know about me. I love Jennie Allen and her conviction to disciple a generation. She has pointed me to Jesus so many times through her words and the IF:Gathering and all the many IF tools. So, I happily serve on my local IF:Local Leadership team to bring the IF:Gathering similcast to my town. And I am also serving as the IF State Coach for Kentucky this year, taking over for a dear friend walking childhood cancer. I want to help lead and fill in the gaps and do a job that honors my friend and her passion for this ministry as well. Just another plate to add to the list.

Friendships:

Brian and I lead a small group. These people are our dearest and closest friends. We work with some of them, share EVERYTHING with them, and walk each other through life-the good, the bad, the messy. Everything. We’ve cried and celebrated and cried as we have celebrated. It’s beautiful. I have also committed to fostering a few very close friendships. There are a couple of gals in my current season of life. We text, call, vent, pray… all the things. I need them. I’ve also made a commitment to meeting weekly with a beautiful godly lady who is a season ahead of me in life. We talk about life and how we can pray for one another. We’re still in the beginning, building stages of our friendship but I can’t see how I’ve lived this long without having someone with more wisdom and guidance than me to pour into me. I just hope I encourage her too! And I also love meeting with a lady who’s a season behind me. We get together to talk and I just pray I give her sound godly guidance and let her feel safe to share all she’s going through. I used to think it was important to have LOTS of surface friendships… but I’m finding I would rather have a handful of very close friends. Again, another plate to keep spinning.

Nutcracker:

You may be giggling at this one. If you personally know me, you would know we get a little Nutcracker obsessed this time of year as our daughter participates in a local production. Weekends are spent running to/from rehearsal for most of October, November, and December. Schedules change and it’s a lot to keep on top of. I can’t imagine the moms who have multiple kiddos in the production! It also means shopping trips for bobby pins, hair nets, and anything else she will need. And then, tech week of the production, I typically find myself organizing the backstage dressing and quick changes with other moms. I can’t tell you how much I love this. I mean, it’s all I can do not to want to start on thinking through those quick changes and back stage organization today. It’s so much fun. Especially spending time with my girl as she does what she LOVES. Again, it’s another plate that is just beginning to spin.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Like I said, on one particularly overwhelming afternoon, I wrote down this list of spinning plates and I prayed, “God. This is all yours. These are the things I have going on at the moment. And I’m ready to lay any one of the optional ones down. Obviously, my family and work and friends are pretty crucial for me so I kinda want to keep those 😊, but it’s all yours. Every plate. Take them. I feel tired. Can I do all of these things well? What can I lay down?

And I felt God say, Nothing. Keep doing what you’re doing.

Um, I thought…. Maybe I didn’t explain this well to God. So, I kept on praying.

I prayed this quite a bit over a few days. And every time I got quiet and listened, this is what I heard God say,

“And my God will meet ALL your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19

And

“Come to ME all you who are weary and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart and you will find REST for your souls.” Matthew 11:28-30

God said, Nora… Just show up. I’ll do the rest.

I wanted to tell you all this story because maybe life is just a little overwhelming for you right now. Maybe your plate is mom of newborn (girl… I remember those days). Maybe your plate is one big GIANT one called cancer. Or a new MS diagnosis that you don’t know what to do with in the midst of working and parenting and just trying to live your life. God wants to tell you what he told me…

“Just show up, sweet child. I got this.”  

Don’t look ahead. Don’t over-plan or try to micromanage every tiny detail of the plate you find yourself spinning. Hand it over… Daily, hourly, minute-by-minute. Just show up for the areas in your life that God has called you to and have faith and He can and WILL give you exactly what you need for each and every moment. Nothing, I mean absolutely nothing, is too big or too overwhelming for our God. On our own, there’s no way we could do half of what we do. But, “with God all things are possible” (Matt. 19:26).

So “Brenda” or “Karen” or “Heather” or whoever God intended this post for, know I’m thinking of you and praying for God to show up in a mighty way for you today. Hand over those plates, sweet girl… and watch what God can do through you :).

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