Woman

How to Have a Drama-free Thanksgiving // Accepting Others As They Are

Picture this scene.

It's Thanksgiving Day.

The table has been set with grandma's fine china. It's pretty and white detailed with a gold trim and tiny blue flowers.

The turkey has been carved.

The family members pose just before the blessing is said for a Norman Rockwell portrait.

The blessing is prayed.

The partaking of the Thanksgiving meal begins.

And then it happens–Uncle Obnoxious begins his usual antics of getting securely under your skin with his big mouth. His opinionated views on politics, religion, today's youth, the preacher, and even how the turkey was carved flow out of his mouth as freely as water coming out of the kitchen faucet. It goes on and on and doesn't stop until someone turns him off. His very presence begins to gnaw at you, and you pray under your breath, "Lord, why did I ever decide to come to this family gathering!"

Sound familiar to you? Suffice it to say, most of us have an Uncle Obnoxious or someone in our family who just sort of rubs us the wrong way. Perhaps some of you are already thinking of ways to respectfully decline this year's Thanksgiving invitation, knowing he/she will be there.

Wait! Before you decline, may I offer you a ray of hope from my own experience? You see, people like Uncle Obnoxious used to make me cringe. In fact, I thought that I was called into the world to give "Help Tips" to my closest relatives and friends that would assist them in seeing things more positively. And Lord knows those legalistic people who only see things as either black or white definitely needed my assistance in helping them balance the truth. 

Hogwash. The real truth of the matter was I was trying to mold them into what I wanted them to be, especially if I were going to have to deal with them on a regular basis. The bottom line was, instead of my help tips helping them, I was causing division.

The spiritual light bulb revelation that "changed me" instead of me trying to change others came as I listened to my mentor, the late Melba Bekeheimer, teach from Romans 15:7.

"Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God." (NIV)

My spiritual light bulbs really went off when Melba asked, "Did God say if you get rid of all the moles, then I will accept you? Did God wait for you to get perfect before accepting you?" (Ugh!)

She continued by explaining that there is a big difference in accepting and approving. We sometimes think that we have to approve someone in order to accept him/her, and that's not true. We have to accept a lot of things in life, but we don't have to approve them. We are all going to have different opinions, temperaments, and personalities. These different types of people don't have to be our bosom buddies (even relatives), but we do have to accept them.

This new concept and revelation, not only brought emotional and spiritual healing to my heart, but paved the way for me to deal with all the, shall we respectfully call them "sandpaper," people in my life.

And so it was. I sat down with a pen and paper and begin to write out all those things that had gotten under my skin about a few people. I then decided that it was time to throw the list in the garbage can. I made a conscientious decision that I would now accept them just the way they are and allow their creator to make the necessary changes in their lives if need be. 

Believe me, I am no longer stressed out around those people who used to make me cringe just to be in the same room with them. Well, not much anyway. A healing came into my life when I accepted them, as well as when I forgave them for times that their words had hurt me. And yes, some of them I had to ask to forgive me for trying to mold them into my image. Why did I even think that was okay?

It is a good feeling knowing I don't have to straighten people out for their journey through life anymore. I also walk with a confidence knowing who I am in Christ and prayerfully function as an ambassador for Him.

And with that, I encourage you to start preparing your heart this Thanksgiving to meet up with Uncle Obnoxious. Make a decision to love him unconditionally, warts, moles, and all–just like Christ loves and accepts you.

Happy Thanksgiving to you from all of us at Created Woman!

Middle Age Conundrum

I’m standing in my closet staring at everything I own. I’m experiencing the same futile hope I get when looking into the refrigerator hoping a meal will spring out of it. I’ve been here in my underwear for at least five minutes just staring at the different fabrics and silhouettes. I huff. My husband gingerly enters the closet hoping to get us out of the house on time to meet his coworkers. “You look beautiful in anything sweet heart,” he says. He is super well-trained, FYI. “You have to say that,” I retort. Undeterred, he pulls out a top he knows I love and says hopefully, “What about this?” What he doesn’t know is since gaining about 15 pounds of middle age spread, I only have one pair of pants I can wear with it, and they’re dirty. I tell him the reason I’m not wearing that, and he realizes we’re about to go down the rabbit hole.

“What about this skirt?”

“No shoes work with that skirt.”

“These are good…”

“I’ll look like a streetwalker in those!”

“Why do you have streetwalker shoes?”

“Because they are not streetwalker shoes with pants. They are with skirts.”

“You can’t wear heels and skirts?”

“Not those heels with that skirt. Not at my age.”

And there we have it. I’m not mad at my husband. I’m not lacking in nice things to wear. I’m mourning the loss of youth, taut forearms, no side boob, and a smooth profile that didn’t need Spanks. I used to know how to dress for my body type. Now, I go to the standbys that always worked, look in the dressing room mirror, and wonder when my mom got here. Then, I realize that that ten pounds of sass shoved in a five-pound sack is me. It’s okay for older ladies to have a maternal span of hip, a huggable flap of “chicken wing” under arm, and breasts that look better when under an apron that smells like cookie dough. It’s what makes grandmas like my mom awesome. I’m just not ready to go quietly into that stage of my life, despite the fact that I have recently become a Mimi (just can’t call myself grandma; sorry).

Go ahead; remind me to embrace all the wonderful things about being in my forties. I do love the perspective I have now, the ability to say no without guilt, and the wisdom I have gleaned from years in the workplace and in church with amazing women and mentors. The latest mental hurdle is to love the body God gave me, and extend to myself the grace to accept aging and all that comes with it. The last thing I wanted to be was a “classic” beauty…in the same way an Edsel is a “classic” car.

God’s amazing design for our lives is that we need Him in different ways at different ages. The things we need to release to Him will change as we grow; the perspective will shift towards things that matter to Him. What does not change is God’s grace that is new every morning, and that my Lord cares exceedingly for me and my self-worth. I know the scriptures about how a woman is to conduct herself, that clothes and adornments are not the most important aspect of true beauty, and the great cost at which Christ redeemed this body. Yet, I can’t help a little wistful remembrance of the way I looked when I was athletic and lithe. As long as it remains wistful, and does not rob me of joy or bring shame into my life, it can spur me to take better care of the only body I will ever have; that I might serve the Lord in greater capacity with all this wonderful perspective that age has bestowed on me. Because our Father loves us so, he gives us good gifts with which to attain the heights He has called us to. The fruit of the Holy Spirit, which has blessed me with peace for self-image, kindness to encourage others and myself, and self-control, for when there are donuts in the breakroom.

Romans 5:1-2 in The Message says, “By entering through faith into what God has always wanted to do for us—set us right with him, make us fit for him—we have it all together with God because of our Master Jesus. And that’s not all: We throw open our doors to God and discover at the same moment that he has already thrown open his door to us. We find ourselves standing where we always hoped we might stand—out in the wide open spaces of God’s grace and glory, standing tall and shouting our praise.”

And I will stand tall in the promises given me at so great a price…just not in those shoes with that skirt.

 

YOU'RE INVITED

Gather Her || 11.17.16

 

Fashion + Faith + Friends

..whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things.

Enjoy an evening with women just like you who want to explore their faith and love all things fashion
11.17.16
6:30 – 8:30 pm

SpaSocial
720 O’Connor Dr., Round Rock, TX 78689
FREE for all women!
RSVP on facebook

If you believe in the mission, we do accept donations! Click Here to donate.

At Gather Her, you will:
~ Find refuge in a lovely environment.
~ Create authentic, pure relationships through girl talk time after each message.
~ Hear truth through our monthly guest speakers.
~ Meet women who are real, fun, and authentic who love to laugh during our mix & mingle time!
~ Learn how to take care of yourself as an Ambassador of Christ through our monthly fashion partner.

November Guest Speaker: 

CW’s own, Crystal Breaux, Life Purpose Coach.

Crystal will share her story of how the Created Woman pillars was the process she walked through to discover her own life’s purpose. It’s real #GirlTalk

 

November Fashion Partner: 

Kristen Ellis – Independent Stylist, Stella & Dot & SpaSocial/Holiday makeup

Light Bites & Wine provided + Photo Booth + Real Girl Talk

#IamCreatedWoman
#Purpose
#LegacyBuilder


SpaSocial

Created Woman: Equip & empower women to be who they are created to be inside & out.

 

Discover Life Balance & Time for Yourself

So today, I really thought there was going to be a knock down drag out fight between all of the voices in my head who all wear different hats. The hat of mom, wellness and life purpose coach, teacher, student, homemaker, family cook, and oh, let's not forget wanna be "hottie wife". Trying to balance all of them and find time for myself with a little exercise is mentally and physically exhausting. Can I hear an amen? I mean really, is it even possible? I've come to learn that it is; however, it may be different than what some think. 

I am passionate for each role that I have, but to keep it together and stay healthy, I had to learn (and still learning) a couple of things. 

  1. My day must start with quiet time with the Lord. It's a must!
  2. I need to honestly answer a few questions and be real with myself.
    • What are my priorities? 
    • What season of life am I in right now? 
    • Have I made allowance or changes with my "yes's", schedules, and individual pursuits?
    • Does my time really go toward what I say is important?
    • Is what I am doing today going to make the biggest difference 1, 5, 20 years from now?

What about you?

As seasons of life change, have you made adjustments to your routine, schedule, and priorities? Have you taken the time to write down your priorities? You see, not everything can be a priority. If we try to give everything equal time, we are left feeling overwhelmed and too busy, yet never feeling successful at anything

By identifying our priorities in the current season, we can better manage our time around them giving us a sense of peace and balance. Ah! Doesn't peace and balance sound so refreshing?

Take a moment to think about a few things to ensure your time is organized and directed to what is important to you.

Evaluate Wasted Time

Try this courageous challenge. Spend a day, noting everything that takes up your time. Be brave enough to list things such as Facebook, Pinterest, favorite TV shows, even sleep, etc. How much of your time is given toward what you say is a priority? Sometimes, it seems we are so busy, but we can waste time on things that really do not matter. They may seem little, but small pockets of wasted time, add up to a lot of wasted time, which leads to a long list of things that were forgotten at the end of the day.

Evaluate Busy Time

Okay, so you might be saying, "I do not waste time. All of my time is spent on important things." The question then becomes, "Are they things that need to be a priority right now?" Just because it was given attention at one stage in your life, does not mean it needs to be now. Look at your list again and ask:

  • Is there something that you could put down for a while?
  • Is there someone else who could grow and/or learn if you delegated a specific task or responsibility?

The truth is, how we spend our time reflects what is really important to us. For example, if we say our health is important, but we are on the fast food diet with no exercise, it may not be as important as we think. If we say God and our family is everything, yet lack in quality time with God or too exhausted at the end of the day to spend time with family, they may be on the back burner. 

And now, one final step that can help us pull it all together to stay organized and get things done.

Focus

Oh man, a word I say to my 8-year-old say daily over and over. But honestly, don't we busy women struggle to stay focused? We can text, email, talk on the phone, and work on a project all at one time. But does it really produce a good outcome? To shut down all of the voices in my head, I have to consciously remember to work wearing one hat a time. Focus means, "Giving attention to one thing at a time." Yikes! Is that possible? Yes, and here is how. 

  • Begin your day by writing down what needs to be accomplished for that day. I do not encourage procrastination, but don't fill your day with tasks/projects that can be attended to another day or even another week. They are not a priority for today.
  • Schedule a specific amount of time for each task. That would include projects, phone calls, text messages, emails, and even Facebook (yes, give Facebook a certain amount of designated time).
  • While working on tasks, avoid answering text, emails or phone calls which interrupt your focus. Remember, you have given it a designated time, you will come back to it.

Part of being healthy is taking charge of our time and focusing on what is really important, which brings a sense of balance. Once we are healthy on the inside mentally and emotionally, then finding time to exercise will be the next natural step. 

Ephesians 5:15-16 says,

"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil." (NIV)

Let's be wise with our time and get healthy and fit on the inside and out.

Happy Crappy Anniversary

Everyone suffers loss.

Whether it's a relationship gone wrong, moving far away, the death of a loved one, or children leaving the nest, there is no meter that measures how much more one person suffers than another. When left unchecked, grief can waylay you when you least expect it. A major loss, like that of a family member, creates anniversaries that loom over you like a dark cloud. But it's the little things that crop up unexpectedly that can leave you juggling emotions while trying to navigate your day. A certain smell, a song on the radio, or any one of a hundred things can sucker punch you into having to deal with the loss like it was yesterday. How we handle these sudden emotions can cause us guilt and shame if we don’t learn how to deal with them in a healthy way.

After keeping some emotions at bay for too long after my son passed away, I found myself disproportionately angry at the automated message on the Verizon help line. My sweet husband made the mistake of saying something horrifying like "calm down" or some other insane request, in an attempt to get me to stop yelling at a computer. I lost my mind and decided I needed to do some damage. I stomped over to the bathroom and tried to slam the door, but it wouldn't close fast enough to slam. After ridiculous attempts to make a satisfying slam, I screamed at it, and attempted to throw my mini clock on the bathroom counter at the mirror to break it. It bounced back and hit me in the chest, without so much as cracking the mirror. After a few minutes of rage shenanigans, I began to feel sheepish and looked at my beleaguered husband, who has his own grief to contend with. I was making it so much worse for him. I apologized profusely, and we held each other awhile, and he was his usual amazing self. Until the doorbell rang, and the police perp walked him out the front door after our concerned neighbors assumed he was beating me. So, there was that. The patience was a little thinner after that, and my shame immeasurable.

We can feel guilty about our grieving for so many reasons; not necessarily for making the cops ring your doorbell. As I navigate the waters of grief, I've found a few ways to deal with the dreaded anniversaries and unwanted reminders.

Be prepared. When certain dates or situations are coming up, it's not business as usual, and having your normal routine with blinders on is not the healthiest choice. Take off from work, miss your kid's soccer practice, do whatever you need to do to leave room for emotional response. Those emotions will come to the surface, and they will not be denied.

Plan a distraction. Those times that you know are going to be hard, like being around certain family members, or holidays, anniversaries, etc., need to be arranged in advance for your protection. Have something planned for others to do if you need to be alone. If you need company, plan a simple outing or something else to look forward to. Those around you may not always be your best support system, so ask a friend if they will provide back up for you on those days.

Celebrate the good. There is always something beautiful you can glean from a memory, or something in your new surroundings. Find the hope in something small, and it will bring a little light into the shadows.

Reclaim it. There is always something ruined by loss. For me, it is a love of all things fall related, including Halloween. I wanted to buy a pumpkin spice latte so I could throw it at the first happy person I saw. Instead, I forced myself to sit down and appreciate something that used to bring me joy, so that grief could not have it. Sharing it with a friend, talking about the future, and not focusing on sadness, made it okay to smell fallish things without crying. Well, sometimes.

Make a tradition. Start trying things that will become your new traditions, like honoring a loved one with a planting or donation, or serving a charity when you are newly single or empty-nesting. Focusing on things outside yourself will become something you can look forward to every year. For us, we turned Thanksgiving Day into a Grace Party, where we ask friends and family to share moments of grace to be read aloud at dinner.

Ask God for help. No one has more experience with pain and grief than the one who endured the cross for us. He is the foremost authority on suffering, and the author of redemption. He literally wrote the book on it. His grace is the key to realizing hope, walking into healing, and freeing yourself from shame. There is no right way to grieve, but there is a wrong way; alone. No one can understand you like the One who made you, so open your heart and let the healer knit your soul back together the way only He can.

"Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ." - 2 Corinthians 1:3-5 (NIV)

Giving God Your Dreams

It was the same routine day after day. Waking up to go to a job I was uninterested in, staring at the clock hoping time would move faster, and finally getting home only to dread repeating it all over again the next day. I felt unmotivated…purposeless…and unfulfilled. Monday through Friday was something I wanted to fast forward through so that I could get to what I loved. The weekend. My free time to do whatever it was that I wanted. And for me that was everything fashion.

My idea of a perfect day was scavenging the sale racks of Zara or Nordstrom and spending hours browsing fashion blogs and Pinterest for inspiration. I loved the challenge of putting together different pieces and creating a stylish look with a limited budget. I dreamt of working in the fashion industry and doing exactly that. But Monday showed up again, and that was just a hobby. I mean surely it could never be a career. At least not one that I could possibly make a living off of and get a college degree for, right? And surely not something I could do if I wanted to live my life honoring God.

I was in college and was very undecided on what career path I was going to take. I loved fashion, but I couldn’t help but worry that fashion was just “for fun” and that my college degree and career needed to be something more “important”. I knew God wanted me to do something meaningful and I didn’t think it involved fashion. I then decided that I needed to handle my life’s dreams on my own so I continued to work jobs and take classes that made me feel successful. I worked hard and advanced in every professional position I held. There was something missing. I was just going through the motions. Frustrated, I prayed and prayed for God to show me what it was that he wanted me to do in life and to put me on that career path.

It was then that I heard him ask me, “What is your true dream? Why is it that you are not pursuing that dream?” I was shocked! There was no way that God could want me to pursue fashion. I was so sure that THAT dream was way too small for God to care about. How would a career in fashion and living life as a Christian align? What if I really went for it and failed? Plus, I wanted to bring others to know God; how exactly was he going to make that work with fashion?

I needed a step-by-step plan of how that could be possible. Yes, I confess that I was questioning God and demanding that he give me answers! Horrible, I know! I was leaning on my own understanding and not having faith that he would work everything out. I doubted that our God of the universe had put a specific dream in my heart early on and had been putting together the pieces to fulfill it all along.

It was then that I decided to trust God and change my major to fashion. I was finally ready to let God into all areas of my life, and not let fear continue to get in the way. One year later at a career forum, I met Heather, the founder of Created Woman, and God showed me exactly how he planned on using my dream. What I had been picturing turned out to be so much smaller than what God had in mind. He opened my eyes to a whole new way of viewing my dreams and introduced me to my life’s ministry - evangelism, bringing other women to know Christ through my God given gifts. It is amazing the way God used my dream and turned it into a life of honoring him. He took my career field and turned it into my mission field. In a place that I wasn’t expecting to see him in, he showed me that there are no limits to his reach. When I gave God control over everything, he gave my dreams purpose and fulfillment.

If you are longing to know the deeper purpose of your dreams, know that God has placed it on your heart for a reason. If you are unsure of how your dreams honor God, pray that he would reveal that to you, and trust that he is already working out the plan. God knows the desires of our hearts and longs for us to come to him with them. When we give our dreams to God, the results are bigger and better than anything we could ever imagine!

On God Moments, Asking for Help & Angry Tennis Matches

I had a God moment yesterday. 

It was during a tennis match at Courtyard against Becky and Rosa. I train with Becky and Rosa, so I know them; they are not any old opponents. I was playing with Renee. We won the first set 6:1, lost the second set 2:6. In the third set, I served first and won, Becky served second, quick set, 0/40, we won. Renee lost her serve, and we won Rosa serve. That makes it 3:1 us.

I went to the net to grab the tennis balls from Rosa to take my serve, my second time, and there was a disagreement about the score. Becky thinks it’s 2 all. Now all four of us are standing at the net and disagreeing. I start describing everyone’s service game and who won, but Rosa and Becky were not having it. They are both known for not having great memories. The four of us could not agree. Finally, we agreed to start the third set over. I was not happy, fuming actually!

I lost my serve. I was so angry. I was struggling to keep it together. Becky served and changed her serve from the last time. In my very angry head I was thinking she changed her serve to my backhand, because my forehand beat her the first time around. She seemed to remember that! I could not get out of my head how wrong this was. I wanted to throw my racket and walk off. Childish, I know.

Now the score was reversed, we were down 1:3. Taking deep breaths to calm myself was not working. I started praying. I asked Jesus for help, pleading to give me peace of mind. I told him I couldn’t calm down, I couldn’t play this way, I needed help, I needed Him. 

The momentum of our play started to shift, we started winning games, and we started catching up. We made it to 5:5, and then we won the next game, making it 6:5. Again, I spoke to Jesus pleading with Him not to make me eat humble pie by losing. I wanted to win. Don’t we all! I thought, please let us pull this out. The game went to duce, once, then twice. I got the last angle shot to win the game and set 7:5. Amen.

I gave thanks and glory to Jesus! It wasn’t me that won it on the court that day. I was the angry childish woman that wanted to throw her racket and walk off the court. I was the woman who couldn’t mentally get it together and in return couldn’t hit a ball to save her life. It was Jesus! He met me in my weakness that day. He showed me that at my worst, he loves me, and helps me back to my best. 

I think a light bulb went off that day.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to get to know Jesus.

He has been there all along, patiently waiting for me to ask for help, listening and watching my every move, every day. I have been trying to do all the right things only finding myself falling short time and time again. And again. And again. But the tennis court brought me some clarity. I finally realized that it’s not what I do that will get me closer to Jesus, it’s just asking for help when I need it and being grateful for it. Simple as that. He isn’t going to push me away because I allowed tennis to get the best of my emotions. He gently wraps His loving arms around me and gracefully speaks into my ear, “My daughter, I love you and I’m so glad we talked today.”

 

Will the Real You Please Take a Bow?

The real me. That’s tricky. Sure, I see the real me in all of its glory when I rise at 6:25 a.m. to start the day. The bed-head hair, the mascara smudged ½ inch around my eyes, the slightly vacant look on my face that signifies I wasn’t quite ready to wake up and desperately need coffee - yes, that’s definitely the real me…but that’s just the physical, and I can change a lot of that. Give me a little bit of time with the shower, some great hair and face products, and I can give you an entirely different version of what I just described. (And we’re not even talking photo filter apps yet, that just adds a whole new level of change, doesn’t it?)

How about the real me? The one on the inside that many of you don’t see or even hear me talk about. You know, those words we use to describe ourselves. The inside me has core values, a heart with dreams and desires, a soul that might have been broken or faced disappointment. I am a girl with a story – a past and a very real present – that I’m navigating every minute of every day. I love sushi but cannot tolerate a Sloppy Joe anything. I’m a sucker for a good sunset but will admit, if you run into a wall, I will laugh uncontrollably I might wet my pants. I like fashion and style but can’t ever seem to put it all the way together. I cry at the National Anthem yet know every word to a Bieber song. I. am. Me.

Today we live in an alarming time where individuality is stifled. Our current culture shouts that conformity is safe. If you stand for one thing, you are automatically opposed to its counterpart. We are two generations into never experiencing true lack yet we view acceptance as something that should be rationed.

Can I offer up some advice? The world needs us, as in, the world needs you. There has never been a greater time than right now this moment where people need to see you, for who you are and not some watered down, stay low and stick-with-the-masses self. Your uniqueness, ideas, thoughts, dreams, desires and specifically, the way YOU – there is only one of YOU – were created is needed for such a time as this. It is by no accident you were born into this generation and it’s because you have something to contribute. Don’t try to deny it, run away from it, reason with it or hide behind someone else with a similar purpose. It’s you. This place is for you.

For the real you who is created for a purpose must first stand up before she can take a bow. Maybe that doesn’t look like conquering the world, maybe it just looks like spending some time thinking about who you really are. Maybe standing up is deciding what you’re not about, or maybe it’s realigning your commitments to things you are truly passionate about.

No matter what, today is your day. Showing up and being present is your greatest strength. You. Be. You. 

How does this message resonate with you? Have you found yourself trying to blend in? Maybe you just recently decided to throw your hat in the ring and get out there!  Tell us where you are in your journey with finding the real you.

[title subtitle="Guest Author: Erin Turnley"][/title]

Turnley blogs at truegrace.life where she believes stories can change the world.

Stories can break down walls and dive right through pretenses. I believe we were all created by God with a unique path and purpose. I desperately want to take this message to the world and encourage girls and women to “shake off the beige” and be the color of light they were meant to shine! I write real. I write like you are on the sofa with me in my living room and we are either talking over a cup of coffee or a glass of wine…without edits which means a word may slip out every now and then. I believe we all have a story to share. This is simply mine.

445457