Search

Category

Brave Stories

Finding Peace in a Time of Chaos

 

 


Show Notes and Resources


What does chaos look like to you? Every day we are faced with emotions, thoughts and waves in our body that can leave us feeling numb or out of control. Join Candy, Ella and Jennifer as they discuss how to find peace in a time of chaos.

Fear can paralyze our ability to trust ourselves and our confidence in decision-making.

Fear often includes a bodily response, particularly to a specific place, activity or circumstance where we have had a traumatic experience.  When we create new, positive experiences for ourselves in those places, we can overcome the avoidance of those places or activities and begin to enjoy them again.  This rewires the pathways in our brain for positive experiences.

We may not be able to change the external circumstances, but we can reprocess and reprogram the ways that we respond to challenges.

We can be affected by others’ fearful responses to us.  We long for others to respond to our fears with care and compassion, but sometimes it triggers their own fears.  How can we be present for others in their fears?

Fear can be debilitating.  It can keep us “locked up,” both mentally and physically, if we are too afraid to even leave our homes.  

Despite the challenging climate right now, with the pandemic and social unrest, we can dig deep in our thoughts and commit to processing our feelings.  It is possible that we can emerge from this challenging time being stronger, healthier and more present!  We have to be present to extend care to others.

Fear can masquerade as other emotions and we aren’t as swift to notice it.  It’s important to identify our emotions and stop the cycle of fear.

We need safe places to release stress and rest our minds and bodies.

One of the greatest ways to combat fear is vulnerability.  Reach out to others; voice the fear; ask for encouragement, prayer and support.

Fear is stifling.  The enemy wants us to be silent, keep everything to ourselves and be alone in our fear.  But God created us for community!

We don’t have to live with fear.  God is present with us!

Reaction vs. Response to Fear:

  • Reaction is our gut response and emotions.
  • Response is intentional, bringing truth to our situation.
  • How can we respond instead of react?

What are your top fear dispellers?

  • Stop and breathe.
  • Remind myself “I am not alone.”  God is with me and is working for the best possible outcome.
  • Rely on my community.  Reach out and ask for help, encouragement and words of truth. 
  • Reflect on God’s faithfulness in the past.  Reflect on my testimony!
  • Playlist of songs to bring myself into a place of worship and centering.
  • Prayer.
  • Name the fear and identify my emotions.
  • Look for the best-case scenario.

Resources:

Social Justice Mindfulness

Become a Bridge Builder- LaTasha Morrison

Posturing Prayer by Tlk.Therapy

6 Tips To Help You Start Meditating, Courtesy of Black Girl in Om’s Lauren Ash

Featured post

Who is telling your story?

Photo by Shelby Miller on Unsplash

My therapist and I could not stop belly laughing as I lamented about how terrible I have been with making decisions. You definitely had to be there, but if you know me, then you know I can be a bit dramatic in my responses. It’s not that I’m incapable of making decisions, it’s more so that I was not always confident in the decisions I chose. Growing up I was often faced with backlash and threats regarding my decisions. As a result I would say ‘yes’ to things that I did not want or agree with just to keep the peace. I also had a strong sense of unhealthy obligation attached to the ‘yes’ which prevented me even more from saying what was really in my heart such as: 

“This hurts me.”

“I’m uncomfortable with what you’re asking of me.”

“You no longer have permission to talk to me like that.”

“Thanks for thinking of me but I am not interested.”

“No.”

“No!”

Things I should have said…

Living this way for years created a flourishing environment for anxiety, insecurity, depression and shame that stayed with me for many years. 

Over the last year and a half, I have been on an evolving journey. The more I gain understanding, the more the lesson opens up and graciously gives me something else to learn.  The lesson of this season is learning to give myself permission to say yes and stop denying what I really want.

I have been so insecure in my abilities and fearful of my dreams that I would start and then not finish or was afraid that my dreams weren’t big enough or visible enough. This led to me tying myself to the vision of others because of their excitement! 

Do you remember the first time you felt insecure? I can remember, fourteen year old me. Someone broke my trust and I was sexually abused. At the time the adults in my life lacked the wisdom and knowledge on how to support me. Their decisions regarding the abuse and what they said to me produced doubt in my core beliefs and left me feeling confused. As a form of protection I learned to stay quiet and agree. I hid in layers of clothes (and shame), did not allow myself to get too excited about opportunities and struggled to accept compliments. I wanted validation so badly that I said ‘yes’ more than saying no.

Tears are welling up as I write this except this time I am crying tears of joy, relief and gratitude. I am grateful for being on a journey of trial and error, learning how to say yes to what matters and becoming more aware of what I actually want. 

I am proud to say that I am confidently putting myself back into the narrative of my own life. 

I am making decisions based on what gets me excited and pulls at my heart!

I am finishing projects! 

I am being creative! 

I am outlining experiences that I want to have! 

I am resting! 

I am living! 

What is being produced now is a beautiful outpouring of joy, grace and gratitude that I hope to continuously share with you!  My Brave Sisters, extend grace where you need it. This journey is not an easy one, but as you actively take steps towards self awareness, you will clearly see the opportunities that have been reserved especially for you. They have not passed you by!

Candy

Let’s reflect: 

  • What limiting story are you telling yourself? 
  • What experience or person robbed you of your confidence? 
  • What do you really believe about yourself?  
  • Now think about the limiting story and replace the limitation with empowering words. For example: “I always make terrible decisions,” to “I confidently make good decisions that I am satisfied with.” 
  • What evidence supports your new narrative? 

Featured post

Trusting the Rhythms that Lead us Forward

Photo Credit: Thanks you Markus Spiske 

Ding! My phone goes off. “No more working, I need an update!” A good friend of mine replied to my post stating that I’m no longer working full-time. Earlier this year, I transitioned out of the job I’ve held for the last five years. I’ve had dreams of having more time to spend with my family and growing our business but it seemed the time was never quite right to take the next step. Little did I know that a prolonged sickness while pregnant, would make the perfect exit plan. I spent the remainder of my pregnancy resting as much as I could, managing the sickness and preparing for what I thought life would look like after I delivered. It was nothing that I had imagined and I felt completely blindsided by all the emotions surrounding my new rhythm.

“Do you have any projects you’re working on?” I asked.

She replied, “It’s the first time in my life that I haven’t had an event or some thing that I’ve been working on and it’s kind a hard and difficult to let go of because that was a huge piece of my life before having kids.…” I felt that.

I did not realize how hard it would be to let go of my old season. Part of the struggle with my transition was that so much seemed out of my control. There was a level of security and confidence in having a paycheck every month and not having that felt almost traumatic. When people asked what I was doing after baby, I could barely put the words together to describe what life would be like. When I said I was going to potentially stay at home with my kids I received great praise but my heart was broken. Why? I love my kids dearly but I was grieving what I let go and did not realize that who I thought I was, was actually tied to the work I did. Without the title, without the responsibilities, who was I to others? Most importantly who was I to me?

For about a week, I allowed myself to grieve and then got to the important work of seeking God. It was only after I let go that I began to see the gifts that were already present in my life.

This is the first time in my life where I actually feel more rested and unrushed…. I think I’m getting to a place where I actually have peace and the confidence to trust God like never before in this season.

Experts who believe in sustainable practices of living say that slow movement is about being aware of and connecting to the natural rhythms and cycles of life. Your best outcomes derive from working with the rhythms and cycles instead of against them or unaware of them.

What rhythms are showing up in your life right now? Are you working against them or with them?

Over the last 6 months our world has been forced to slow down and whether we like it or not, we have some decisions to make. The rhythms of change are constant so you have to think about how you will respond and what it means for your life right now?

My new rhythm allows me to rest, be more present with my children, heal physically and emotionally, identify what I want, build a business, spend date nights with my Husband, laugh more, spend time with my friends, connect with my Mama friends and their littles, and create a more simpler, organized home. All things I attempted to make time for previously.

” I  just knew after delivering my son things would start to turn around again, but it wasn’t that simple. I also felt purposeless or pointless. I confided in Wes and my therapist and they both agreed that I needed to reshape my perspective and pay attention to what is happening right now. I had to grieve what I lost or gave up so that I could really see the beauty in this season… I have also used the tool of daily prayer, journaling. Its like I’m daily submitting to His plan and walking with childlike faith as He guides me to my next brave step, but also holding my hand in the wait to get to the next step…”

After much reflection, I can confidently say that this is the life what I want: slow and steady, joy filled and Holy Spirit led. With the way God created you and I, I’m sure life will speed up again but in the meantime I’m thankful we can enjoy these new rhythms.

Candy

Tips to help you move forward in your new rhythm:

  • Allow yourself to grieve what you are letting go. If you already let it go, did you move on immediately? If so, I encourage you to take a moment to express gratitude for your previous rhythm and recognize it’s impact on your life.
  • Adjust your goals to the season of life that you’re in.
  • Do not compare your rhythm to someone else’s. You have no idea the work that goes on behind the scenes for them to have what you see.
  • Ask for help when you need it.
  • Pay attention to your capacity so you know when it’s time to speed up, slow down or pause.

Redefining Abundance

This morning I’m up early reminiscing on the summer of covid19. Most of us can agree that 2020 was both unexpected and very hard in different ways. I am still feeling the heaviness from the events in the last two weeks. The uncertain conditions pushed me closer to God and my family and with all our free time, we were intentional to seek out better ways to “cope” and be intentional about our wellness. A major boost for us was being in the garden.

My Husband planted aromatic herbs–chamomile, basil, dill, parsley, thyme. Vegetables–eggplant, celery, artichokes, red potatoes, butter lettuce, brocollini, two different kinds of kale, green onion, and green beans. The star of the garden was our peach tree! It was abundantly full this year and we (along with the squirrels) loved it.

Being in the garden together was beautiful and invigorating! I loved seeing our children call out each plant by name and learn how to harvest what was grown.

Our three year old Justus, learned the term grounding and joyfully exclaimed to his Dad how he was “grounding” as he pushed his bare feet into the tilled soil. Our newest baby, Zion, slept peacefully shaded in his new bassinet and Nyomi found ALL the worms. 

It was a picture of ABUNDANCE.

Every time my hands reached down to pull up weeds, I noticed how easy it was to loosen them from the soil. I immediately was encouraged as I looked at how the ground was no longer hard, rocky dirt but softer, full of worms, fertile–the perfect environment for abundance. 

If you have a garden then you fully understand the difference between dirt and soil . Dirt is dead soil. You cannot place a seed into dirt and expect major growth.  Dirt is void of the vital nutrients that plants need to grow and therefore cannot effectively hold the seed to produce plants. Thankfully, with time, intention, a bit of pressure and patience, dirt has the opportunity to be revitalized and become soil–fertile ground to produce abundantly. 

What do you expect to produce in this season?  

Are your words and actions creating an environment for abundance or lack?

My therapist told me in a recent session that I need to redefine what abundance is to me so I can create and live in my own happiness. Abundance is different to each person which is part of the wonder.

My abundance looks like spending time with my family, learning together, growing food to share. It is pursuing peace in my heart, it is sitting on the porch taking in time with my Heavenly Father or a sun nap. It is rest, slowing down, being present. It is investing into the lives of Black girls, it is empowering Women. It is working through my past to fully enjoy my present. It is good talks with friends, and seeing the look on my children’s faces as they have aha moments!

If I am doing any of those things I am intentionally living a life of abundance and when I am abundant, I can give generously. 

Do the work:

Today I encourage you to take the time to define what abundance means for you.

What does it look like, how does it show up in your life? If you’re having a hard time answering this question, take the time to evaluate your life. What brings you peace, joy, puts a big smile on your face?

What do you hope to give out of your abundance?

Brave Avenue: Dare to be Yourself

 

Dare means “to have the courage to do something, or defy or challenge someone to do something.”

“Being ourselves is being who God created us to be.”

Why do we wait to say yes to things we long to do?

 

“We show others the parts of ourselves that we think will be accepted and hide the parts we fear will be rejected.”

What parts of yourself are you hiding? How would you live differently if you were not afraid of rejection?

What are your favorite parts of your true, or authentic, self?

When others cannot accept our true selves, it reveals their own insecurities. 

Can you identify a time when you felt like a part of who you are was rejected or not valued by others? How did you respond?

How have you limited yourself because you felt like you are “too much” or “not enough”?

Share about a time you did not embrace your true self and it did not go over well. 

Share about a time you did embrace your true self and something wonderful or unexpected happened. 

 

What steps will you take to get to know your true self more?

  • Identify someone in your life who knows and accepts your true self. Ask them for accountability as you explore your identify. 
  • Ask a family member, friend or partner what they value most about you. 
  • Take a personality, strengths, character or spiritual gifts assessment. 
  • Journal your favorite qualities about your true self. 
  • Process past hurt or rejection to find greater freedom to be your true self. (See Resources – Fresh Start)

 

How can you encourage someone in your life to be their true self? 

 

Ephesians 2:10 – How has God created you uniquely? How has God equipped you uniquely? What has God called you to do?

 

Resources:

 

 

 

 

Brave Avenue: Bravely Content

 

Episode 6: Bravely Content 

What does content mean to you?  

  • Contentment vs. complaint 
  • “The art of contentment” 

What feelings does the word evoke?

 

Do you identify with any of these perspectives?

  • Being satisfied, not lacking regardless of circumstances 
  • Always looking to next step, always a slight discontent 

 

We can be…

  • Rooted in the present.  
  • Grateful for the present.  

 

Radical acceptance of current moment empowers and is a catalyst for changes we desire. 

Discontent with our present circumstances is opportunity lost. 

In what areas of life can you identify discontent?

Do you abide by what you believe about contentment?

Discontent chokes out joy. 

Not settling, but trusting God’s truth about our lives. 

 

Romans 7:14-25 Paul describes a tug-of-war: what I want to do I don’t do and what I don’t want to do, I do. 

 

Psalm 16:11 “You make known to me the path of life; You fill me with joy In Your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.”

 

2 Corinthians 12:9 “My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness. Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me.”

(“Content” is same word as used in “My grace is sufficient…”)

 

Philippians 4:11-13 “I know what it means to lack and I know what it means to experience overwhelming abundance… the strength of Christ’s explosive power infuses me to conquer every difficulty… I have learned to be satisfied in any circumstance.”

 

Deuteronomy 31:6  “Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”

 

Matthew 6:33-34 “But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”

 

Joshua 21:45 “Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.”

 

What truths are you speaking over your life?

  • My joy is found in God’s presence. 
  • God’s grace is sufficient. 
  • Christ’s power is shown in my weakness.
  • I am content in every circumstance. 
  • My abundance is in Christ. 
  • I am never alone. 
  • God will never leave or forsake me. 
  • God provides for all my needs. 
  • I will not worry. 
  • ‭‭God keeps His promises to me. 

Brave Avenue: “Who is your Leader?”

 

 

Obedience = “to hear” + “under”

Obedience means to listen first and it includes the idea of submission. 

How do you define a good leader?

How can submission be a partnership?

  • It’s about going somewhere, accomplishing something, together. 
  • God is perfect leader to partner with!

What hinders you from listening to God?  

  • From submitting to God?  
  • From trusting God’s leadership?

How do you sense God’s leadership?

  • Little pressure, pressing, nudge in a direction? (Dance example)
  • Pay attention to the pressure! 

There is freedom in submission. 

We can trust our ability to follow, without the fear of missing the nudge or step.

What signs indicate who you are following?

  • Sometimes we need to slow down; we can’t hurry faster than the one we are following. 
  • Worry and anxiety are antithetical to trust and submission. 
  • It’s freeing to know that we don’t have to pull it off!!
  • The work is to believe. 

Psalm 37:5 “Give God the right to direct your life and in the end you’ll find that he pulled it off perfectly.”

Matthew 11:30 “For My yoke is easy and my burden is light.” 

Resources:

  • Secrets of the Secret Place, Bob Sorge
  • The Ruthless Elimination of Hurry, John Mark Comer
  • The Life You’ve Always Wanted: Spiritual Disciplines for Ordinary People, John Ortberg 

 

No Longer an Easy Target

I remember sitting at my friend’s house crying again about something someone said to me. I hated how I let this person’s comments get under my skin but here I was again. This was nothing new. The person had exhibited the same behaviors for years, yet I had a propensity to face it as if it were the first time. I sat in my friend’s kitchen, frustrated and defeated as I re-told the story. They listened and were very encouraging but they also challenged me with truth. “You are an easy target.” My friends words shook me…she was right and it made me angry. Seeing myself from that perspective was all it took for me to get up and take my power back. I was no one’s easy target!

“The way you see is stronger than any calamity.” Mark Batterson

In order to see myself differently, I had to change the narrative I was telling myself.  When we allow others words to hurt us, oftentimes it is because there is something we believe to be true about ourselves. Maybe you believe you’re not a good daughter because you didn’t get your Mother the perfect gift for her birthday. Do you believe you’re unattractive because a family member often reminds you of how you could look so much better if you just changed this.  Or do you feel like you’re incompetent in your role at work because your Supervisor never likes your ideas. Do you feel like you’ll never meet the right guy because you have been romantically disappointed too many times? What do you believe about yourself that is not true?

For years, I let shots land in my heart about my loyalty, my weight, abilities and romantic relationships and every.single.time. I was left feeling the same way which caused me to believe I would never be good enough. I know none of those things are true. I have been processed by the truth of who God says I am and His truth causes me to grow. Each time I recognize a lie, I call it out and build onto the truth.

This is how we grow.

This is how we add maturity to our faith.

We no longer have to start from square one when we get attacked. Now we can recognize what the attacker is attempting to do and get out of the way! When you make the decision to grow, your attackers plans will no longer work.  

I want you to think about something. When a hunter goes hunting, they do not simply shoot and kill their prey.  Their attack is calculated. They blend in with their surroundings, they are quiet, silently watching, studying to learn their preys habits, weaknesses, and strengths. The hunter can sit for hours taking in all this information and waiting for the perfect time to attack.  Y’all we have an enemy that is strategically setting up challenges to steal, kill and destroy us.  He believes that you are an easy target. What do you believe??

The following week the same person that I let upset me attempted to rile me up again but this time I refused to let it anger me. I called them out on their behavior. They didn’t apologize but they quickly backed down and tried to pretend they were just kidding. The behavior continued a few more times, but each time it occurred, I spoke up with more assurance until finally it stopped.  What happened? I was able to see the problem with a greater perspective which allowed me to build upon the information that I already knew.  This made it possible for me to face the challenge with more tenacity. I was done!

Philippians 1:6 says, “God has already started a good work in you and He wants to bring it to completion.”  

God wants to build upon what He has already done in you so that you can have greater influence to empower others.

Brave Tip: “Let your yesterday be a building block for tomorrow.” Priscilla Shirer

Candy

A Brave New You!

nicole-honeywill-407158.jpgFor most of my life I have carried too much.  My emotions, the issues of others, stress. I have reluctantly said yes to people/ projects, I have silenced my voice, doubted my greatness, and even started and never finished great ideas….the list goes on. In 2017, my Husband and I welcomed a baby boy (I’m obsessed) and postpartum depression hit me hard. I struggled to find balance in my various roles which led me to more of Jesus and even some healthy counseling.  Part of my healing came from releasing people, thoughts, and unhealthy habits that I learned over the years.  Once I decided to release these hindrances, I was able to grab hold to my promised future, at least a corner of it. This is an ongoing process that requires focused intentionality every day. 

It’s Day 1 of 2018- what are you willing to release so that you can invest your time, energy, and heart in the right direction? This year I am choosing to use my voice to empower others.  Expect to hear much more from me and other authentic women in 2018!

Brave Tip: If you want to maximize your life you have to minimize the load you are carrying.

I am looking forward to us living Braver in 2018!

Candy

Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑