Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reflecting on 2013


I love looking back and reflecting on a year. It’s always so cool to me to see all that God had done. Last year was an incredible year for me and I wasn’t sure what 2013 would be like but on the last day of the year, I can say 2013 exceeded my expectations for sure. For 29 years, I would get to the New Year and honestly was relieved. Every year was so hard you couldn't have paid me to re-live it. But these last 2 years? Incredible. These last 2 years are proof that the power of God can change any person or any situation.

Last year I used a series of questions to reflect on the year and had so much fun I thought I’d do it again. If you decide to do it please leave your link in the comments or tweet or facebook me it. I love reading about other people’s lives!

 

  1. What was the single best thing that happened this past year?

 

Ok I’m breaking the rules already and saying more than 1 thing. Summer 2013 was amazing. I went to Texas to visit family, spent my days with the kids I nanny for doing fun stuff and eating a crazy amount of frozen yogurt, spent almost every night rehearsing Les Mis, loved every minute of being in Les Mis, and had an incredible, fun trip to LA in July.

 

I also released my devotional 21 Days to Finding Purpose in Pain in April and loved seeing God use it in so many peoples’ lives.

 

  1. What was the single most challenging thing that happened?

 

From mid December 2012 to mid March 2013 I had horrible insomnia that eventually led to vertigo from the lack of sleep. It wasn’t fun at all and made me a less than pleasant person especially in February and March but God graciously got me through that rough patch.

 

  1. What was an unexpected joy this past year?

 

Seeing so many answered prayers big and small and experiencing God in a way I never could have imagined. I’ve been a Christian for 14 ½ yrs but I feel in many ways like it’s only been the last 2 years that I really “got it”. Of course I was saved and secure in my eternal destiny for those first 12 years as a Christian and I read my Bible and prayed some and went to church and all that but wasn’t experiencing God or the abundant life He has available to all believers. The last 2 years and especially this year everything has just changed for the better. I read this verse in Job recently and feel like it was written just for me.

 

My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Job 42: 5

 

We can hear about God and know about God but when you see Him yourself and have a true friendship with God that’s unspeakable joy!

 

  1. What was an unexpected obstacle?

 

In July, I lost about 80% of my monthly income when my nanny family moved overseas and the work I was doing for a client ended. It was definitely unexpected at the time and I guess an obstacle but probably not in the way it would be for most people because I’m very used to losing jobs and getting new jobs and having a very unstable financial situation. In the past losing that much of my monthly income at one time would have made me so worried but this time I wasn’t worried at all. I prayed about it and also sensed that I shouldn’t do anything to find a new job (I don’t necessarily recommend this path as often God wants us to do our part but this time I knew obedience was doing nothing.) And sure enough I had 2 major expenses go down in June unexpectedly and had 2 families offer me nanny jobs (without me asking!) that started in August. I didn’t even go one week missing work between jobs. God is amazing!

 

  1. Pick three words to describe 2013.

 

Amazing, joy, grateful

 

 6. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe your 2013
(don’t ask them; guess based on how you think your spouse sees you).

 7. Pick three words your spouse would use to describe their 2013 (again, without asking).

 

These questions were in the original questionnaire and you can do these if you’re married:)

 

 8. What were the best books you read this year?

 

I read SO many good books this year (I love to read!). Some faves were:  Gideon: Your weakness. God's strength. (Member Book) (that I did with an awesome group of ladies!) and God is Able both by Priscilla Shirer.

I did the Daniel study and James study both by Beth Moore by myself (SO good!). I also enjoyed  All In by Mark Batterson . While not Christian books I got a lot of insight from Daring Greatly by Brene Brown and Running with Nature: Stepping Into the Life You Were Meant to Live by Mariel Hemingway and Bobby Williams. I also read Start by Jon Acuff and loved it too especially the exercises in the book.

And tomorrow my friend Candace's book Balancing It All comes out!! I highly recommend it. It's an autobiographical look at Candace's life and how she has found balance through different roles and seasons in life. The priority of her relationship with God echoes through each principle and example. Through reading Candace's stories you are able to reflect on your own life and see the importance of continually striving to prioritize and re-prioritize your life to line up with the many different roles and responsibilities God gives each of us. Whether you feel like you struggle with finding balance in life or not this is a great read!
 

I could probably go on and on with this question but that’s a good starting place:)
 

9. With whom were your most valuable relationships?

 

Ok I looked at what I wrote for last year and it’s pretty much the same people but I have new pictures so just indulge me.

My family:

 

Three’s Company
 
 
Easter weekend


 
 
Earth Day at Northstar
 
 
Black Friday
 

The week before Christmas

 

My Dad

 
At my cousin's wedding

 

My sister ( who got to be in the last number of Les Mis with us during our last performance!)

 
 
In Corpus Christi
 
 
 
My summer theater family
 
 
 
 
 


My Bible study friends (Jen, Mindy and Bethany who kept me from losing my mind last winter when I wasn’t sleeping and thought the sun would never shine again in dark, grey, cold Ohio) .
 
At Jeni's!
 
 
 
My 31st birthday when it was miraculously summer for 1 hour!
 
 
 
 
And the Cypress girls (Rachel, Serena, Sarah, Deb and Angela) -loved, loved, loved studying God’s Word with you-what a beautiful group of ladies God put together. You have each blessed me so!

 

Mandy

 
 
 

Loved doing the Color Run and hanging out last spring and love our catch up phone calls. You bless me so much! So thankful for you!

 

Candace
 


 

What can I say? Thank you for still going on this crazy prayer ride with me. It is such a joy to me that God paired us up to prayer for each other and I can’t wait to see what He does next! The best is yet to come! Love you!

 

10. What was your biggest personal change from January to December of this past year?

 

 I just feel like I came alive. I know that sounds weird and I don’t know a better way to say it. I’m finally living in the fullness of what God has for me and I love it.

 

11. In what way(s) did you grow emotionally?

 

I’ve actually found that I’m more emotional over the last year. I’ve always been sensitive but there has just been an increased sensitivity in me over the last year. I could maybe blame it on hormones or getting older but really I know it’s just God continually changing my heart and making it more like His.

 

 12. In what way(s) did you grow spiritually?

 

My biggest spiritual lesson could be summed up in this verse that God laid on my heart back in August.

 

Joshua told the people, "Consecrate yourselves, for tomorrow the LORD will do amazing things among you." Joshua 3:5

 

God really called me to “step up my game” this year so to speak. To pray more, study God’s Word more and set myself apart for Him by doing certain things and even laying down other things that weren’t necessarily bad but not beneficial. If you go all in for God, I promise you will see amazing things too!

 

 13. In what way(s) did you grow physically?

 

I have continued to be off all my fibromyalgia meds (it’s been 20 months!) and am still using and loving Young Living essential oils and supplements. I also started yoga this summer which I love. I know it can be a bit controversial in Christian circles and I certainly respect anyone who feels uncomfortable with it but for me it’s been a blessing. It’s given me increased strength and flexibility, has helped me with breathing and relaxation and I just love the quiet, peaceful atmosphere of the classes. God really does speak more clearly in stillness and I have enjoyed yoga as much for the mental benefits as the physical ones.

 

14. In what way(s) did you grow in your relationships with others?

 

I try to make a point to really invest in the relationships God has given me and have continued this year. I don’t do it perfectly at all but I really want my friends and family to always know how important they are to me.

 

15. What was the most enjoyable part of your work (both professionally and at home)?

 

The diversity of it! I do something different every day of the week and while sometimes it drives me crazy to try to juggle 5 jobs I’m also so incredibly grateful. I get bored easily and cannot imagine if I had to go to an office every day and do the same thing all day long. I would lose my mind! Even though having so many jobs is sometimes overwhelming, it’s definitely the best option for me.

 

16. What was the most challenging part of your work (both professionally and at home)?

 

Just working in general. I’m definitely a person who works to live not lives to work. I work because I have to pay my bills and if I won the lottery tmrw believe me I wouldn’t be working! And I used to feel bad about that but I don’t anymore. It’s not that I’d rather be lazy and not working because if I wasn’t working I would still be plenty busy. It’s just that I don’t find my fulfillment in working, I find it in relationships. In hanging out with friends and being a good listener to them. In Bible study where I can encourage someone in their walk with God. I just like spending time with God and people and that’s where I find my joy and there’s nothing wrong with that. Just like there is nothing wrong with people who have careers they love (I wish I did!). Sometimes it’s hard to spend so many hours a week doing work just because you have to and not because you want to but at least I’m very blessed with the jobs I have. It’s not like I hate them at all (actually many days I really enjoy them!) so I find joy in that even though many days I’d rather be doing something else.

 

17. What was your single biggest time waster in your life this past year?

 

I don’t know? I’m trying to be more mindful of my time and the way I spend it…

 

18. What was the best way you used your time this past year?

 

Almost every morning I get up and spend my first hour in Bible study and prayer-hands down the best use of my time by far! My day is drastically different if I don't get my time with God. I’ve also benefited a lot from any time spent exercising. And any time spent on vacation is time well spent for me too! And I am SO excited that God has blessed me with 2 trips in early 2014. I’m going to Los Angeles for 25 days in February and Naples, FL for 8 days in March-can’t wait!!

 

19. What was biggest thing you learned this past year?

 

I’ve learned 2 huge things-they were things I knew before but really got this year in a fresh way.

 

Apart From God You Can Do Nothing-

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

 

This verse has become my life verse! Here's the secret- most Christians don't know this. I didn't for years!! Oh sure we run to God when things are really bad but our daily lives? Well we run the show and rely largely on our own strength. The god of America is self-reliance and we've bought into the lie hook, line, and sinker. And it's possible to spend your entire life as a Christian living on your own strength and miss out hugely on the abundant life God has for you because the strength of God is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor 12:9).  If we are never weak we miss out the ability to see the power of God at work. Most of us (God willing) will live long lives but so many of us will spend our lives as the walking dead because we aren't tapped into the power source of God. Why do we try to make our lives harder than they need to be by trying to do things in our own strength? I am so blessed and fortunate because God allowed me to live with 18 years of horrible pain and struggle (yes you are reading that correctly:).

Why was that such a blessing? Because it taught me the truth. I can't do anything apart from God. I can't sleep through the night. I can't wake up pain free. I don't have the strength to work. I can't stay joyful. I can't pay my bills. I can't be a good daughter, sister or friend. Because of my extreme weakness I can do none of these things without God. And for so many years I lived life in the pit because I was trying to do all these things (many of them simple daily tasks) and I couldn't. But oh how my life has changed since I realized this truth.

 

What I learned from years of forced dependency on God is that I will choose to be dependent on Him for every task for every day whether I think I "need" Him or not. Because life lived apart from the power of God is not life worth living.

 

With God All Things Are Possible-

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

This leads me to the 2nd truth that changed my life. I knew I couldn't do anything apart from God but learning that all things are possible with God well that just made life so much more of an adventure! Problems stand no chance against the limitless resources and power of an almighty, all sufficient God.

 

These 2 truths I remind myself of multiple times a day whenever life feels overwhelming. It could be something big (like health challenges or financial difficulties) or something small (like needing patience to get through the last hour of work when I'm feeling spent). Whenever I feel even momentarily overwhelmed or stressed or anxious or worried, I look at my problem through the framework of these 2 truths. First I acknowledge that I can't do anything apart from God. So that overwhelmed feeling? Perfectly normal. Trying to do something well in my own strength is an impossibility. I then acknowledge my weakness and need for God's strength. And lastly, I remind myself that this problem whether big or small is no match for the power of God. It's amazing the freedom and relief that has been brought to my life by living my life and filtering my problems through the lens of these 2 truths.

 

20. Create a phrase or statement that describes 2013 for you.

 

Relief-the year I knew I was never going to the pit again!
 

About the Author: Stacy Williams

Stacy lives in Central Ohio although she'd like to be somewhere warmer half the year. She loves Jesus, traveling, the ocean, essential oils, seeing God answer prayer and encouraging others! She has a Bachelor’s degree is sociology and a Master’s degree in journalism and communications. She currently works as a writer for her online ministry, health coach specializing in natural healing options and sometimes nanny and virtual assistant. She is the Creator of Finding Purpose in the Pain. Check her out on Twitter and Facebook!  Check out her devotional 21 Days to Finding Purpose in Pain! 


Don't miss any of the new posts at Finding Purpose in the Pain- subscribe to our newsletter so you don't miss any important information or announcements, like us on facebook or follow on twitter! Also check out the devotional, 21 Days to Finding Purpose in Pain! And join our private online support group!

*this post contains affiliate links for some products which may provide me some compensation if you click on them and purchase. It won't cost you any more money and I appreciate the support.
 

Monday, November 18, 2013

2 Truths That Have Changed My Life!

Hi Friends!

So my blogging break has been extended beyond October. I plan to continue to not post through at least the rest of the year unless I feel God laying something specific on my heart to share. And really that feels more right to me. I know people blog for many different reasons (to share their life, for ministry, for their business, to promote their brand etc.) and I know to be a "successful" blogger you have post with consistency and write for your specific audience. Can I just be honest? I don't care anymore. Blogging isn't my passion. Sharing Jesus with others and seeing them live the most full, abundant life that they can for Him is. And yes blogging and online ministry is a great way to share with the masses and I plan to continue to post when I feel prompted but the best way to live out my passion and calling in life is to actually live it out with real people in real life.  At least that is what feels right in this season of life. Ministry in the 21st century is often very flashy with everyone talking about numbers, analytics and platforms that sometimes we forget ministry can take place without an audience. And honestly in my life it's a much sweeter blessing. Ministry for me is when I pray for a friend via text message when she's having a bad day and rejoice with her when God answers prayer. It's being a good friend to the ladies in my small group and checking in on them throughout the week. It's actually praying for someone when you say you will and not just once or halfheartedly. And I know there is certainly nothing wrong with being strategic in growing a ministry God is calling you to grow and maybe there will be a time in my life when that will be important to me but for now my focus is on my personal walk with God and being an encouragement to those people I know God is calling me to be there for.

Ok so that was a big long tangent that actually has nothing to do with today's post! I felt God lay this post on my heart in the hopes that it may bless others. I often have people email me and share their stories (which I love by the way), they often ask for prayer or even advice. The common theme in almost every email is feeling overwhelmed by physical pain, emotional pain, challenging circumstances or relationship conflicts. I wrote a devotional book that deals with that topic and while I recommend people check it out I realize a lot of my advice and lessons I've learned from scripture and years of struggle can really boil down to 2 truths. 2 truths that if they seep into your soul will revolutionize your life. They have for me! So here they are:

1. Apart From God You Can Do Nothing-

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

Here's the secret- most Christians don't know this. I didn't for years!! Oh sure we run to God when things are really bad but our daily lives? Well we run the show and rely largely on our own strength. The god of America is self reliance and we've bought into the lie hook, line, and sinker. And it's possible to spend your entire life as a Christian living on your own strength and miss out hugely on the abundant life God has for you because the strength of God is made perfect in our weakness (2 Cor 12:9). Friends, just like 40 is the new 30, weak is the new strong!

 If we are never weak we miss out the ability to see the power of God at work. Most of us (God willing) will live long lives but so many of us will spend our lives as the walking dead because we aren't tapped into the power source of God. Why do we try to make our lives harder than they need to be by trying to do things in our own strength? I am so blessed and fortunate because God allowed me to live with 18 years of horrible pain and struggle (yes you are reading that correctly:). Why was that such a blessing? Because it taught me the truth. I can't do anything apart from God. I can't sleep through the night. I can't wake up pain free. I don't have the strength to work. I can't stay joyful. I can't pay my bills. I can't be a good daughter, sister or friend. Because of my extreme weakness I can do none of these things without God. And for so many years I lived life in the pit because I was trying to do all these things (many of them simple daily tasks) and I couldn't. But oh how my life has changed since I realized this truth.

 Many of you reading this may not be in such a place of extreme weakness. You may be able to go through your daily tasks without needing to be dependent on God. And in many ways because of the miraculous healing God has brought into my life I can some days do these tasks on my own but I don't and you shouldn't either. See what I learned from years of forced dependency on God is that I will choose to be dependent on Him for every task for every day whether I think I "need" Him or not. Because life lived apart from the power of God is not life worth living. It's like when Dorothy arrived in Oz and everything was in color. Once you've seen life in color you can never go back to black and white. And the same is true with living life fully dependent on God. You'll never want to go back to your own strength ever again.

So try it this week. As you go throughout your day invite God into every moment and see how your life changes before your very eyes.

2. With God All Things Are Possible-

Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” Matthew 19:26

This leads me to the 2nd truth that changed my life. I knew I couldn't do anything apart from God but learning that all things are possible with God well that just made life so much more of an adventure! That health problem that you think will never go away? God's able to change it! That relationship that is always conflictual? God's able to change to it! That sin you always seems to fall back into to? God's able to change it! This is God we are talking about!! Your problems stand no chance against the limitless resources and power of an almighty, all sufficient God.

Now lest you think I have this all figured out, I don't at all. These 2 truths I remind myself of multiple times a day whenever life feels overwhelming. It could be something big (like health challenges or financial difficulties) or something small (like needing patience to get through the last hour of work when I'm feeling spent). Whenever I feel even momentarily overwhelmed or stressed or anxious or worried, I look at my problem through the framework of these 2 truths. First I acknowledge that I can't do anything apart from God. So that overwhelmed feeling? Perfectly normal. Trying to do something well in my own strength is an impossibility. I then acknowledge my weakness and need for God' strength. And lastly, I remind myself that this problem whether big or small is no match for the power of God. It's amazing the freedom and relief that has been brought to my life by living my life and filtering my problems through the lens of these 2 truths.

So my hope today is that someone reading this will be encouraged to persevere and give their problems to God and rely on His strength instead.

How would these 2 truths, if fully lived out, impact your life? Share your story in the comments or in our online support group!

About the Author: Stacy Williams

Stacy lives in Central Ohio although she'd like to be somewhere warmer half the year. She loves Jesus, traveling, the ocean, essential oils, seeing God answer prayer and encouraging others! She has a Bachelor’s degree is sociology and a Master’s degree in journalism and communications. She currently works as a writer for her online ministry, health coach specializing in natural healing options and sometimes nanny and virtual assistant. She is the Creator of Finding Purpose in the Pain. Check her out on Twitter and Facebook!  Check out her devotional 21 Days to Finding Purpose in Pain! 



 Don't miss any of the new posts at Finding Purpose in the Pain- subscribe to our newsletter so you don't miss any important information or announcements, like us on facebook or follow on twitter! Also check out the devotional, 21 Days to Finding Purpose in Pain! And join our private online support group!


Monday, October 28, 2013

The Purpose of Life

Hi Friends! Well I'm in the midst of a blogging break. I was feeling burned out and needed to spend more of time living life rather than worrying about documenting it all the time. So you are probably wondering why I'm posting? I felt God lay a post on my heart to share so break or not I'm sharing:) Honestly the break has been so good for me and may be continuing past October. I'm leaving things in God's hands and letting Him guide my steps.

I've spent many years on this site trying to answer the question-how do you find purpose in the painful things in life-in illness, trails and struggles? I even wrote a whole book on the topic! But lately I've been pondering how do you find purpose in life in general. 

I look around and see most people searching for purpose in their roles in life-wife, mother, employee, business owner or in ministry. I tried to do the same thing. I'm not a wife or mom so I tried to throw myself into online ministry or starting a business or finding the perfect career for me hoping to find purpose there. But I kept coming up lacking.

I can see the frustration in many women I talk to who struggle with chronic health challenges. As many of you know, living with a chronic health condition is all consuming. You may be unable to work or serve in ministry very much and even if you are married or a parent it's hard to balance those roles with your illness. I meet many women who feel they have no purpose at all because so many of their days are spent lying down fighting pain and illness. I know I've been there.

Yet even when I look at people who have "successfully" sought to find purpose in a role in life it doesn't seem lasting. You can seek to find all your purpose in motherhood but what happens when the kids leave the house? Or you may seek to find all your satisfaction in your career but what happens when you've been laid off or retire? Our roles in life no matter how wonderful or God-ordained don't necessarily remain the same forever.

As I've pondered the question of purpose in life, I've come to a conclusion, that if you're a Christin isn't breaking news, but if you actually live it out, it will be. The purpose of my life, your life or anyone's life is to seek God and glorify Him.

But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 
Matthew 6:33


He answered, "'Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind'; and, 'Love your neighbor as yourself.'" Luke 10:27

It's a purpose you can fulfill regardless of marital status, health status or career title. Certainly God will call us in different seasons of life to pour into the different roles in our life. If you are a parent you can bet that part of seeking Him is raising your children to the glory of God but we must be careful to never elevate the role in our life above our true purpose of seeking God. 

If you're lacking fulfillment in life today could it be that you're trying to find purpose in your role in life instead of in the One who gave you the role to begin with? Or maybe you think your life has no purpose because you aren't a wife, or mother or are unable to work or volunteer? Your purpose is to seek God.

I feel like I'm in a time of transition in my life. I so desire answers from God about what comes next and sometimes I lack clarity on what He wants me to do right now. I seek the answers instead of the answer giver. But God is reminding me through this season to seek Him-to pray, read the Word, eliminate distractions in life and prioritize my relationship with Him above all else. The answer when I don't know what to do next is to seek Him and even when He's given me clarity on my role in a season of life-the answer is to seek Him too. 

Many people have spent a lifetime seeking an answer to the question what is my purpose in life? If you're a Christian, my answer isn't radical but if you actually make it your sole purpose in life to seek God it will radically change your life. Satisfaction and fulfillment is found in Him alone. 

How have you wrestled with this topic of purpose in life? Share your story in the comments or in our private online support group


About the Author: Stacy Williams

Stacy lives in Central Ohio although she'd like to be somewhere warmer half the year. She loves Jesus, traveling, the ocean, essential oils, seeing God answer prayer and encouraging others! She has a Bachelor’s degree is sociology and a Master’s degree in journalism and communications. She currently works as a writer for her online ministry, health coach specializing in natural healing options and sometimes nanny and virtual assistant. She is the Creator of Finding Purpose in the Pain. Check her out on Twitter and Facebook!  Check out her devotional 21 Days to Finding Purpose in Pain! 



 Don't miss any of the new posts at Finding Purpose in the Pain- subscribe to our newsletter so you don't miss any important information or announcements, like us on facebook or follow on twitter! Also check out the devotional, 21 Days to Finding Purpose in Pain! And join our private online support group!

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Choose Your Own Adventure

Choose Your Own Adventure by Stacy Williams

As a kid I loved Choose Your Own Adventure books (anyone else remember these?). The premise was simple. You read a story as normal and at a critical point in the plot, you are given a choice of what happens next. If you want one scenario to happen you turn to a specified page, if you want another thing to happen you continue reading. The choice was yours.

The older I get the more I realize that, in many ways, life is a choose your own adventure novel. The only problem is most people have no clue. They set themselves on a path at 18 or 20 years old and suddenly at age 50 wonder how they got where they are. For most of my life, I've lived in reaction to things that have happened. Many of them circumstances outside of my control-chronic illness, financial hardships and the choices of others. I lived as a victim-always reacting to the next thing that came my way. I had no clue that I had a choice in the way the story of my life was being written.

Over the last 18 months, my eyes have been opened to the true adventure that life really is and I realize now that anything is possible. We can choose to live in reaction to the things that happen to us, allowing ourselves to be passive participants in the story of our life. Or we can choose our own adventure. Choose to seek God and partner with Him in this story.

We all have a choice in the life we live.

Want better health? It's possible!

Want improved relationships? It can happen!

Want to live a life you love? You should!

All these things are possible because all things are possible with God.

This isn't just some self-help, feel good talk, I've seen it in my own life. When you seek God, pray big, make changes in your life, work with God on improving yourself and stay in a place of hope and faith there is no limit to what God can do in your life.

The key is staying an active part of your story. Don't check out! Don't go on autopilot. How do you do this? Continue to check in regularly with yourself. Inventory:

-Your walk with God
-Your relationships
-Your finances
-Your mental and physical health
-Your career
-Your free time (passions, hobbies, relaxation)

Is something off balance? Is something draining you? What is working well?

Don't wait for life to happen. Choose your own adventure!

I regularly check in with myself and over the last month have increasingly felt drained by my online life- writing posts, scheduling posts for my contributors, promoting posts on social media, writing for other sites and keeping up with tons of online groups and book launches on top of working 5 paid jobs a week! It's all great stuff but the online stuff is taking over my life and causing burnout. Knowing that I'm walking down a path that isn't working for me right now, I've decided to stop my story and choose another adventure. For the month of October, I'm taking a break from blogging and pretty much all of my online tasks except for Twitter and Instagram updates which I enjoy (I'd love to have you follow me there so we can connect!).

I'll still be popping in on our online support group with occasional questions, prayer requests and praises too so if you haven't joined us I encourage you to do so.

I struggled with taking this break. I've worked hard to grow my blog and don't want all the work to be in vain but at the end of the day I only get one life and I'd rather be out there living it than worrying about spending all my time documenting it.

It doesn't mean I plan to give up blogging entirely. Just taking a break to see what God has for me next. I'd love to hear from you. Where are you at in your choose your own adventure story?

What is going on in your life?

About the Author: Stacy Williams
 Stacy lives in Central Ohio. She loves Jesus, traveling, the ocean, essential oils, seeing God answer prayer and encouraging others! She has a Bachelor’s degree is sociology and a Master’s degree in journalism and communications. She currently works as a writer for her online ministry, health coach specializing in natural healing options and sometimes nanny and virtual assistant. She is the Creator of Finding Purpose in the Pain. Check her out on Twitter and Facebook!  Check out her devotional 21 Days to Finding Purpose in Pain! 



  Don't miss any of the new posts at Finding Purpose in the Pain- subscribe to our newsletter so you don't miss any important information or announcements, like us on facebook or follow on twitter! Also check out the devotional, 21 Days to Finding Purpose in Pain! And join our private online support group!

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Getting Knocked Off My Christian Pedestal

 Getting Knocked Off My Christian Pedestal: Guest Post by Jennifer Schwickerath

I remember me and my bridesmaids driving to the bridal shop. It was a beautiful day. The day when you have the windows down in the car (good thing since I didn't have air-conditioning). We were chatting about how wonderful marriage was and our husbands would never do anything to jeopardize our marriage. We were going to be examples of how marriage should be. We were Christians and had God on our side. We had it figured out.  

Well,  4 years into marriage I had a wake-up call. My husband confessed to looking at pornography and had been for awhile.

I started experiencing pain and humiliation that I never could have imagined. Yes, it was only looking, but what woman feels good about herself after her man looks at other women? I mean, who gets a self-esteem boost after that? The pain I felt was suffocating. I went to the beach to think. I wanted to run away. I wanted to scream. I had just been lied to by the last person on earth who I thought would do this. This trial and pain wasn't going to happen to me. The safety and security in my marriage was gone. The confession hurt like a slap in the face, but it was also a turning point.

I asked God why? We had surrounded ourselves with Christians, attended Bible Study and saw how marriages were failing, so this was a pain that I was going to be immune to. Protected from. I was wrong.   

Romans 12:3 " Because of the privilege and authority God has given me, I give each of you this warning: Don’t think you are better than you really are. Be honest in your evaluation of yourselves, measuring yourselves by the faith God has given us." (NLT) 

Ahh... I thought Matt and I were better than other couples. I thought better of myself, not of God. I lacked humilityI believe this made our marriage vulnerable to attacks.

I had put myself on a pedestal of spiritual-superiority that I labeled as strong faith and it was going to come crashing down. My Christian bubble was about to burst.  My legalistic, judgmental, Christian superiority had made me vulnerable. My judgement of others had allowed my defenses to be down. My husband's confession had made me realize how weak my walk with God was. It showed my lack of trust in Him (not that I am excusing what happened). I thought that I WAS THE EXAMPLE of what it meant to follow God. I was living with an attitude that people could look at me on how to be a Christian, not that if they watched me they would see Jesus living in me.

My husband giving into temptation and lying about it caused emotional and mental pain and made me ask questions
  • PAIN of not feeling like I am enough for my husband. If I was, then why did he look? 
  • PAIN of losing the security I had in my marriage. How could my husband do this to us?
  • PAIN of not being able to fully trust my husband. If looking at images wasn't enough, him not telling me put me over the edge. Trusting Matt is hard. I never thought it would be, but honestly, it is one of the hardest things for me and my marriage.
I don't believe that God caused Matt to sin to teach me a lesson. I do believe that God can use this to teach me lessons, to grow in Him, to rely on Him more. Here is what I now know after experiencing this pain: 
  • No Christian is immune to certain sin, so I need to stop judging and stop thinking better of myself.
  • God is enough. God made Eve to be a companion to Adam, but Adam wasn't made to be the god of Eve.
  • I am clinging to God like never before. My self-worth needs to be in God, not any titles of wife, mom, friend, etc. Yes, I serve God in these capacities, but I serve God, not humans.
  • I needed to swallow my pride and admit my arrogance. I needed to ask forgiveness for trying to be a "superior" Christian.
  • I learned that my self-confidence was lost before my husband hurt me. It was lost when I said "I will" on our wedding day. You see, the mistake I made was identifying my self-worth in how my husband saw me, how I looked to the world, not as a light for Jesus.
  • Just because you are a Christian, does not mean you are immune to addictions. It also does not mean that you are not a Christian. It means you are a human who struggles more in a certain area.
Honestly, I am still learning from this. I am learning what it means to be humble. I am learning to not judge, love more, and not be a snobby Christian. I need to live for God so I can be a better servant for Him and to try and show my appreciation to Him for His gift of salvation, not so people can be more like me, "The Model Christian". I am also more thankful for God's grace and allowing Him to use me.

Be blessed:)

About the Author: Jennifer Schwickerath










I became a wife in 2002 and a mom in 2010. In between that time, I became an x-ray tech. I love all of it, but my main focus is at home. I love to encourage others and love to be needed. I also LOVE the beach!!!! Be blessed :)


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