The Shame Game

“Y’all, the holidays are rapidly approaching. Are you ready for this…there are 9 more Saturdays until Christmas. We are being plunged into that time of year when patience is low, demands are high and sleep doesn’t fit on our to-do list.

There’s a reason why multiple case studies show that addiction is the highest during the holiday season. It’s the most difficult time to stay sober. I think in part because we’re surrounded by people who trigger all kinds of emotions. It’s also a time when everything around us says we should be feeling a certain way. For those of us who have always bucked up against conformity, we don’t like for people or things to tell us how to feel.

Yesterday, October 19th, by the grace of God, I reached my 12th year of sobriety. I am now a productive member of society (most days). The road was long and filled with twists, turns and dead ends. There were a lot of tears and pleading with my Higher Power. There was uncertainty among the rubble of my indiscretion. There were times when I felt hopeless.

And then something changed. Have you noticed how everything starts with a decision?”

Join me to read the rest of this post at The Shame Game continued…
Love filled Hands

Critical Community

jcp-4203I’m not sure as women if we always realize the importance of surrounding ourselves with other women who will speak truth in love. For me, I realize it when I’m in it.

When I’m out of it and not connected to a support system that will readily and willingly pray for me in my hour of desperation, it becomes quite obvious that something crucial is missing. In my life it looks a bit like my trying to swim the Atlantic…with arm floaties, a backpack and a helmet…alone. What do I mean? Let me review the last 48 hours in the life of my family.

I have been incredibly short tempered, quick to lash out, quick to anger. Everything has annoyed me. The sound of chewing at the dinner table, the heavy footsteps of boys stomping up the stairs, a stranger’s phone buzzing in a quiet coffee shop, the person in front of me on 285 driving like they’ve nowhere to be…

Are you getting the picture? Are you completely disgusted by my lack of tolerance and understanding? I don’t blame you. My husband has been living under the same roof with me, enduring my teenage like behavior and temper tantrums, wondering what in the world is going on with me.

Thankfully, my foundation is solid. I’ve worked hard to recognize when I’m willingly dancing into crisis mode.

I reached out to a group of women who I love and trust with my life, though we’ve never met. I was honest with them. I told them exactly how I felt, all the ugly details. Fully expecting them to respond with bible verses and reprimand, I braced myself for the response I knew I deserved, but never came.

Instead they responded with compassion and understanding. They shared encouragement and experience. They spoke of strength and hope. There was no tongue lashing or discarding. Not one of them said, “Well if you were a better Christian…

They came around me as a wall of protection from the darkness trying to penetrate my peace. One thing became very clear. Something I’ve known, but haven’t prevented. I only act when in it’s midst.

Loneliness.

It sets in quietly and under false pretenses. Many times it is not until we have completely isolated ourselves that we realize we have been the victim of the evil ones most powerful tool, especially for us women. It begins as discouragement and grows like a cancer from there. By the time we are able to identify it, we feel utterly useless.

Ladies, I beg you, find community. A place of honest rest. A place of support. A place of freedom. You are worthy of this place and this time. You are way too valuable to retract from living life to the fullest. The life that God handpicked for you before you were designed.

If you have an experience you would like to share, we would love to hear it. Talk to us in the comments below.

~ I am meeting these incredible women for the first time next week at re:treat I cannot wait to see each of their beautiful faces. Stay tuned for a follow-up post!

When Beauty is a Beast

I am currently mentoring several young women who are entrusting me with their story and a place in their journey. I’m not even sure how it happened, nor do I feel equipped to mentor anyone, but God doesn’t call the equipped, He calls the willing and provides the equipment.

To be honest, it helps hold me accountable for my thoughts and what I’m telling myself. I think God brought these young ladies into my life as much for me as he did for them… maybe more.

It’s no secret that my relationship with food and exercise is less than ideal. For those of you who don’t know, imagine a really nasty divorce from someone who tried to kill you, but you have to live in the same house with them after the separation. That’s a pretty accurate depiction.

I do great most of the time, but when the body image monster sneaks up on me, it does so with a vengeance. I go from being comfortable in my skin to feeling like the reflection in a fun-house mirror. Feelings are constantly changing, so I have to hang on and wait for the change. It’s hard.

The other day I was walking through a department store looking at the clothes. Remembering when I fit in sizes much smaller than the ones I wear now. I felt myself getting negative the further down skinny lane I strolled. Years of excuses flooded my mind.
I had an eating disorder so I have to be careful about exercise and restricting my food.
I’ve had 3 children with the last one being a c-section. My stomach will never look the way it did before.
I gave up alcohol, I’m not giving up my Starbucks drinks.
If I have to go without chocolate and caffeine, I will not be of any use to anyone.
And so it goes. The mental cyclone.

And then, I think of my girls. The ones who have cut marks into their skin with razors, stuck their finger down their throat to purge the pain, starved their body in hopes of starving the monster within and numbed loneliness with substances. The ones who count on me to speak wisdom from my life experiences into their heart and mind. I think of their faces and their fragile image of self. I think of all the times I talk about being comfortable in my skin. The fact that I have been chosen to speak truth about their incredible worth is confirmation that I cannot go down the road of ego-induced thinking. I have to continually humble myself before the Father and ask Him to speak what is true directly into my mind.

I also have to be vulnerable and honest about the fact that I still struggle. What better way for the evil one to derail our ability to positively influence others than by attacking our self-worth? There is a truth that never changes, “My Creator knows me and He calls me by name.”

I want to combat my extreme tendencies with consistent patterns of self-improvement. It’s difficult and I cannot do it alone. I have armed 3F9B6448myself with women who I know will respond to my irrational thinking with truth and love. Women who will come around me when I need wise counsel. Women who empathize with my circumstances. Do you have a woman like that in your life?

We all need community, Beauties. It can mean the difference between life and death. Mental, emotional and spiritual death, can be far worse than physical death. God did not create us to go through this life alone. Jesus had 12 close friends who went everywhere with him. Isn’t that a community?

I want to encourage you to reach out to a trusted source this week and speak your fears out loud. You will be surprised how much power is relinquished when shared with another. Do you believe me? Try it. It might just change everything.

Leading and Loving It…The Book

Hi Ladies! I have the privilege of sitting under the influence of several incredible women who are making a positive impact in our world. I don’t want you to miss the opportunity to share in the wealth of wisdom offered by Lori Wilhite and Brandi Wilson through their years of experience in the world of ministry.

No doubt, ministry can be one of the most difficult career choices because it is so much more than a 9:00a.m.-5:00p.m. It’s a way of life. We must have the tools already in place to combat discouragement, loneliness and the pressure bearing down on us day-to-day.A strong support system is key to keeping us going.

If you are a woman in ministry, considering going into ministry, engaged or married to someone in ministry, praying about next steps towards a ministry role, may I encourage you to pre-order this book? As someone married to a full-time ministry man, even if I wasn’t working in ministry myself, I would have this book on my nightstand.

Listen Darlins’, one of the most detrimental things we do in our relationship with Christ and our ability to be of use to others is allow ourselves to burn out. The quickest way to strip us of our purpose is to listen and believe the lies of darkness. Please guard your heart and mind. Have a plan to avoid the traps of discouragement along the way. Join this community of women all around the world who are going from just leading to leading and loving it.

Here is an excerpt taken from the Leading and Loving It website…

The Book“In LEADING AND LOVING IT, Lori Wilhite and Brandi Wilson offer a gut-honest look into their lives in ministry and dive into Biblical insight dealing with leadership challenges. You will get tools to help regain or maintain the joy that God holds out as you follow Him in this calling on your life. You will rest in the knowledge that God, knowing your weaknesses and shortcomings, has called you to this work and this role. You will realize that you don’t have to face life and leadership alone. You will grow to lead, and love it.”

Choose an online retailer below:

Choose an ebook retailer below:

******************************************************************************************************
Follow Leading and Loving It on Twitter and Facebook
Follow Lori on Twitter
Follow Brandi on Twitter