Search

Author

Candy Zollicoffer

Founder of Brave Avenue- inspiring women to bravery everywhere! celebrating moments, enjoying the humorous and challenging times of being a Wife and Mother.

What happens when we run towards the danger.

Last night I had the opportunity to hear from national best selling author Donald Miller at the Hope Center for Kids gala. His presentation was a God-wink from Heaven. The term God-wink became popular in 2002 thanks to a book called, “When God Winks.” It is basically what some people would call a coincidence or a moment of certainty.  I knew this was a God-wink because what he was sharing helped me tie together the story I had planned to share on Brave Avenue today.

Donald Miller spoke eloquently on how we have the choice to wake up everyday and write the story that we want to live. He likened our lives to the process of writing a movie. Movie writing is basically a recycled story-line that can be told with four different perspectives.

  1. Victim- this character does not change or evolve, their part is very small and not memorable.
  2. Villain- villains are characters who do not process their pain and as a result they are constantly seeking revenge on the people who hurt them.
  3. Hero- this character is usually broken, filled with self-doubt, and not sure if they can get the job done. They also learn from their pain.
  4. Guide -this is the most important role! This character has already won the challenge and their mission is to help others transition from victim to hero to guide.

As I reflected on Donald’s talk, I thought of my kids favorite character from the movie, “Home.” It is a little alien named OH.  In the movie you get to see how OH was taught to not care for others and to run away from danger. Essentially, he lives like a victim until he meets a brave little girl named, Gratuity Tucci. I have watched this movie a trillion times yet I always cry when OH has an ‘ah ha’ moment about his life and chooses to do something that instantly changes his story.

…..he runs towards the danger.

When you choose to run towards danger (emotional pain, tragedy, uncomfortable situations, etc., you are showing your willingness to confront pain or situations head on. This takes a great deal of risk, but the good waiting on the other side of the pain is worth defending the process. When you look back months, weeks, even years you will see that the pressure from enduring the process was so small in comparison to what you actually received. This is something God continues to show me through the healing process of my miscarriage. I am in awe to still be learning so much from the experience months later. God knew losing my baby would hurt me, but He has been so faithful to me in the process as I intentionally run towards the danger (pain). I know that as I continue running, I will be able to help other women who endure the same pain.

As we go into the last quarter of this year, I encourage you think about the story you are writing for your life. Do you want people to know you as a victim or someone who sees the setup for their pain as a way to help others rise up?  I am choosing to be a guide in my story!

What story are you writing for your life today-are you the victim, the villain, hero or the guide?

 

Bittersweet Beginning

Have you ever had one of those moments where you just surprised yourself? You go about your life each day, probably doing the same thing, the same way until one day you make a conscious effort to go off the beaten path and you find an unexpected joy! That is exactly how I felt after completing the first semester of the Fashion Ambassador Program through Kleveland Clothing.

I remember talking with my husband about the class. It was the night after our miscarriage and for some reason I felt like it was time to go off the beaten path. I had allowed fear to make many decisions for me. Often those decisions left me feeling dissatisfied, but not that night. I made a conscious decision that I would no longer hold back when it came to my gifts and talents. In that same breath, bravery replaced fear and I registered for the class. Every weekend I was immersed in a class where I learned how to design, sew, and given the freedom to simply create. It was truly the highlight of my week during a difficult season. Through loss, something else was birthed- the creative being that has been waiting to come out for years.

What about you? Is there a fire kindling slowly in your heart? Maybe it’s time to fan the flame a bit more. You are a creative being with gifts that are waiting to explode and bring joy to those around you. My Brave sister, it’s time- time to give yourself permission to be you, to make mistakes, to try the things you’ve always been interested in. It’s time to give yourself permission to actually BE great! I promise, if the dreams will not stop it’s because they were meant to be. We can never evade them. Let’s dare to go deep and trespass beyond the walls of our fear to find the glorious, unexpected, adventure in our lives.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What if we were real?

We all love to share stories of our good news. We tweet, snapchat, and update our statuses with good news everyday. This is especially true for pregnancy announcements. We search on Pinterest for the best way to share the good news- Prego bottles, ultrasound pics, family photo (that’s what I did). On the flip side, bad news is not always easy or fun to share. I didn’t search Pinterest to figure out the best DIY craft to announce our miscarriage. In fact, I was too ashamed to go back and tell everyone after posting our good news. But, what if we were real?

I remember lying on the exam table waiting expectantly while the ultrasound tech prepared to show us our next little Zollicoffer. I was so excited to have another baby and it appeared to be the perfect timing. We decided after our daughter was born that waiting two years would be ideal for our next child. My husband and I watched the screen as the tech moved the tool all over my growing belly. “Let’s try another way.” She prepared the other option to view our baby and then silence….”I’m sorry but I think you may have miscarried.” My heart sank. I didn’t prepare to hear bad news. Her words remained with me for the next four days after I was told to come back the following week to check again, maybe it was too early to tell. Needless to say that was the longest week of my life. The firefighter term ” hurry up and wait” fit perfectly with what I was experiencing.

Have you ever been excited about something and then told you have to wait for it? It’s like when your friend tells you, “Ooo remind me to tell you something later.” You’re just left thinking, okay why did you even bring it up?? [GUILTY]

The next four days were difficult. I cried a lot but remained hopeful that everything was okay. When I woke up the day before our scheduled appointment, I immediately noticed that I wasn’t nauseous and the sharp cramping was no longer there. At that moment, I knew that Baby Zollicoffer would not be joining us in December. I heard the Lord whisper “restore” and that was it. I woke up my husband and cried the rest of the day.

We often tell God what we’re going to do with our lives. We create our vision boards, and write our goals for the year, which are all good things and have their purpose. In our planning, I believe we forget that the process to obtain what we desire is not always as easy and exciting as it looks in the picture or the words we write down. Yet, the wonderful thing about process is that God prepares us for it. Oftentimes we don’t recognize His preparation until after it happens. On May 23rd, my doctor told us that we officially miscarried. On the same day, a former mentor shared a Facebook memory about her first child who was born on May 23rd. She had an eptopic pregnancy. This year her son would have been in the 6th grade! To date, she’s had eight pregnancies total with three of those children still living. I gained so much hope and strength from her story as I endured 11 hours of intense labor pains to deliver my baby at home.

I am no expert when it comes to loss but I have learned a few things with this experience that I hope will encourage you.

1. Lean into the pain.

“Pain is a growth opportunity. Lean into pain, that’s where bravery lies.” Navy Seal Denver Rourke.

At LeaderCast 2015 Denver shared the inspiring story of his wife delivering their baby. She wanted to delivery naturally without pain medication. As you can imagine this was very painful, but it’s what she wanted. In order to see that precious baby she had to lean into the pain.  We often set up our lives to avoid pain, but pain is absolutely necessary for growth.
2. Seek out support. 

“I am on your team, be on mine.” Emily Lanphier, Lanphiers Remember

We have to remember that women are powerful when we come together. We need each other . When I started sharing with other women, I discovered that so many women in my circle had experienced loss during their pregnancies and wanted to support me. It helped a great deal to know that I wasn’t alone in this. I had a team.

3. Let go and embrace hope. The word “quah” is Hebrew for hope and means “To look eagerly for, to lie in wait for.” Oftentimes when disappointment shows up, my first response is to figure out why it happened. Sometimes God’s answers come swiftly, and other times I’m wondering did He even hear me. Trust me-He hears us and in time He will reveal what we need to know. In order to embrace hope we have to eagerly apply patience.

4. Choose JOY! Laughter was sooo good for me this week! It allowed me to be present and reminded me that God is present with me. 1 Peter 1:6-7 says “So be truly glad.[a] There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while. These trials will show that your faith is genuine. It is being tested as fire tests and purifies gold—though your faith is far more precious than mere gold. So when your faith remains strong through many trials, it will bring you much praise and glory and honor on the day when Jesus Christ is revealed to the whole world.”

So, what if we were real?? What if we stopped hiding our pain and invited each other in?  We truly have nothing to lose and so much to gain when we let go. Where do you need to release the power of shame in your life? Find someone you can connect with this week. I believe our stories of brokenness will be used just as powerfully as our stories of joy.

Update: I’ll Trust You

Last month the women of Brave Avenue shared more behind our themes for 2016. One of the areas I have struggled with is the idea of not being good enough. As a result, I would take myself out of the game before I would even start. I want to update you on how I’m walking out my theme to trust God and say ‘yes’ to opportunities that scare me. Read on to find out what happens when you face your fears and stay in the game.

1. You become more confident.

In my last post I shared my process of learning to lead worship and how difficult it was. I had to humble myself and accept that it was taking me longer than I anticipated to become great at leading. In order to further develop my skills, I asked one of the leaders to mentor me. She graciously accepted and helped me during practice and then spent additional hours in the week with me. Doing this released anxiety and helped me to focus, which allowed me to lead at a greater capacity. Each time I worked with her, I got better. Preperation was a key to building up my confidence. Insecurity causes you to place your attention in the wrong areas-your own negative thoughts and what others may think about you. When you are confident, you can have more fun, be present and enjoy your adventure!

2. You can see the rare beauty of your process.

Choosing bravery means you choose to confront your fears wholeheartedly. With your whole heart, unwavering devotion, intense enthusiasm, with certainty, you confront your fear or challenge. Your process won’t alway be graceful, but He who is full of grace will carry you through when you wa nt to quit. Those who endure the process, have the privilege to see the rare beauty of finishing.

3. You inspire others.

When I see someone else living bravely it spurs something inside of me! It makes me want to get up and do something! Our bravery can change the course of a life. Think about the last time you were inspired to do something great. Who inspired you? What did they say or do? How did you feel? That feeling is what others feel when YOU choose to live bravely.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” Nelson Mandela

So, what Brave thing will you do today?

Share in the comments section below.

“I’m not good enough.”

“I don’t think I can do this.”

These thoughts have often run through my mind when I come across a new opportunity. I see something that aligns with the desires of my heart and often instead of running towards it, I turn the other way.

On my journey to pursue trust, I have to consciously choose to follow through on the opportunities that scare me. This has opened my eyes to some insecurities that have chipped away at my confidence for years. The biggest insecurity is the idea that I am not good enough. This lie has created a pattern that causes me to take myself out of the game before it even starts. I remember the first time I did this. I was encouraged to join the track team in 9th grade. I was a quick runner but had never raced anyone other than street races against my cousins and siblings. The school’s first race day arrived and I was ready! My team was cheering me on as I ran and I just knew I was going to win. Sadly, I finished the race in last place.  I was devastated, embarrassed, and felt like a failure as I thought,  “You are not good enough to be on this team.” On the ride back home I decided that was the end of my track “career.” Nineteen years later this idea of not being good enough still makes me want to quit. That was how I felt after returning home from worship practice last week.

I told my husband “I’m going to quit, this is too hard.” As soon as I said it, something shifted. This time saying it out loud not only sounded lame but it immediately felt lame. To quit now meant that I was saying yes to LAME– Living a Mediocre Experience. I couldn’t do it! If I am to continue my pursuit of trusting God, that means saying yes to BRAVE- Be Resilient and Value Experience.

“Experience is a grindstone; and it is lucky for us, if we can get brightened by it, and not ground.” Josh Billings

Your experiences are not always fun, but they are valuable because they help to maximize your potential and inspires others to live more brave. Today and everyday I will keep saying yes to BRAVE. 

Your turn. How can you avoid being LAME and say yes to BRAVE?

1. Think about your last bad experience how can it lead you to phenomenal success?

2. Ask someone that you trust to share areas where they see you being LAME. Trust me-people can see it and those that love you will call you out.

3. Celebrate! When you’re afraid, it’s a sign to let you know this opportunity is going to produce a powerful outcome.

Protected: I’ll Trust You

This content is password protected. To view it please enter your password below:

Why You Need to Give Yourself More Credit

It’s the most wonderful time of the year! Time for caroling, ugly sweaters, never ending hot chocolate, and white elephant gift exchanges. This time of year also brings with it our beloved end of year reviews!

This week I had my year end review for my job. Before the review I had to rate myself on a scale of 1-10 in a few categories. The prep was nerve wracking!  In the pursuit of humility, I scored myself right in the middle or one point above the middle in areas where I know I could have scored higher. I went into the review with a positive attitude and high expectation that I would receive genuine feedback about my work outcomes and character. What I did not expect to receive was a shedding of the years of lies that I’ve told myself. All of this came out with one simple statement:  “You’ve got to give yourself more credit.”

For most of my life I chose to live under the radar and behind the scenes. I was so afraid to fail that I would try to minimize the risk of failure by saying no to opportunities that I was actually interested in. Whenever I did achieve something great, I would dismiss the achievement as if it was a fluke.

With enough lies you can silence even the greatest force of confidence.

When we dismiss achievements we are choosing not to acknowledge our God given gifts, strengths, talents, and abilities. You cannot be responsible for what you do not acknowledge, so that takes you off the hook of being a participant in the betterment of this world.

Every time my son (age 2) does something well, he acknowledges his achievement with two fists in the air and squeals, “I did it!” Every day and multiple times a day, we celebrate his achievements. When his little sister sees him celebrating, it inspires her to try the same thing. On the flip side, now that he has acknowledged what he is capable of, I know that I can ask him to do more. Not for the sake of doing more, but to continue unlocking the greatness within him.

As an adult it’s scary to acknowledge that, “I did it!” You don’t want to appear arrogant, but it also means you can’t back down from it. You have now shown the world that you are extraordinary and capable of creating something that will make a lasting impact. You have no more excuses; so let’s go!   Expect more opportunities for you to participate in making this world, your community, your home a better place. So go ahead and write the song, create a new process or system, say yes, and keep acknowledging the gifts you possess.
That is being confident.

That is being brave.

Can I borrow a cup of bravery?

We see it often depicted in movies, commercials, magazines and stories. He comes riding in on his chariot or he’s always at the right place at the right time. The hero has come to save the damsel in distress! At a very young age, we (girls) are programmed to believe that a special man will bravely whisk us away from danger. If only it was that easy.

Going into marriage I assumed that my husband would always be the brave one. Clearly I consumed too many hours of Lifetime Television and ABC Family! Yet, during two years of marriage to Wes, I have learned the truth. We have to take turns being brave for one another.

Around this time last year, Wes was in the hospital for a procedure that would keep him in the hospital for a week with a recovery time of 8-12 weeks. This was a lot to handle for a new marriage; frustrating for him and difficult for me to accept that I would be at home without him for a while. I felt helpless. There was no way to avoid or escape what was happening, so I made a decision to borrow a cup of bravery from those who came to support us.

Being brave for someone else means to lay down your life, your comfort for the sake of something greater.  It’s a beautiful act of love, but it is not easy. There were moments I was thankful for the opportunity to be brave for my husband, but the desire to be comfortable would distract and frustrate me from the bigger picture. He would agree that as my husband, the head of our marriage, it was hard for him to receive a cup of bravery from me. Our expectations in marriage do not always match our experiences, but it adds to the adventure on the journey.

Wes and I continue to take turns being brave for one another. When the business ideas didn’t work, I bravely carried Wes.  When we learned of two dear people who passed away, he bravely carried me.

This pattern is also developed in friendships and other relationships that are important to us. There will be moments when we need to depend on each other’s bravery, support and encouragement to get through difficult moments we face. Think about how you made it through your last obstacle. Who did you borrow a cup of bravery from?

Share your experience in the comment box below.

Seasons change and so do we 

It’s 1:00 in the morning and I find myself in an all too familiar state. I just put babygirl back to sleep and now I am wide awake on Facebook.
I love scrolling through my friends photos checking out new styles or opportunities they are taking part in. I draw inspiration from their good news and it also gives me an opportunity to “catch up.”
As I continue scrolling through, I come upon a recent celebration and noticed that someone appeared to be missing from the photos. Initially, I felt left out and sad.

Why wasn’t I invited to this gathering? 

The more I pondered on this I realized.

I am in a different season. 

 

My life has drastically changed in the last two years. I have gone from a season of singleness to marriage. From zero children to now two! As I continued to come out of my funk, the words from my mentor danced across my mind. 

“Your marriage and your family are your very first ministry.

That reminder brought so much joy to my heart. For me, one of the hardest transitions as a wife and mother was accepting that my friendships would change. Although they have changed it does not mean they have to end. Lauryn Hill said it like this.

Everything is everything. What is meant to be will be. After winter, must come spring, change, it comes eventually.

Our Heavenly Father has planned out our lives with infinite joy and wisdom. He knows what needs to be harvested in each season he has ordered. The only thing constant is change, therefore we have to stop resisting it.

Are you frustrated because you are comparing your season to someone else’s.

  • You might be single and desire to be married.
  • Married and desire to have children.
  • You are working a 9-5 but desire to be a #GIRLBOSS or
  • Maybe you have a big dream in your heart that hasn’t fully taken off yet.

No matter what, choose to enjoy your season. You are not missing out, God has not forgotten you! When you value your season you throw off frustration and get to experience all that God wants for you now. What do you value in your current season? Share with us in the comment box below!

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑