There you are, going about your everyday life, minding your own business and it hits.
Out of nowhere.
A phone call. A text. A conversation. A situation.
You didn’t expect it or maybe you’ve been running from it, but you can’t run any longer. It just became real and rocked your world.
Maybe it’s a diagnosis, a divorce, a demotion, a detour, but all of a sudden you’re experiencing tough times.
I remember it like it was yesterday. We were minding our own business, enjoying a family vacation visiting my husband’s parents in Pennsylvania. While feasting on pancakes after church at a large rural restaurant known for their just-tapped homemade maple syrup, I could tell our youngest, who was 11 at the time, wasn’t feeling well. I took her to the bathroom thinking she needed to throw up and a few minutes later she was in my arms, sprawled across the floor, with her lips turning blue after her body collapsed in what I assumed to be a grand mal seizure.
What was going on? I remember thinking to myself, “I must be dreaming, this isn’t happening to me, am I being punked?”
This was the straw the broke the camel’s back. You see, we were already going through tough times as my husband had quit his job as a pastor at a large church in the DFW metroplex about four months earlier. At God’s prompting we decided together that it was time for him to take a leap of faith and pursue the dream that God had placed in his heart years earlier.
In the previous four months we experienced so much “stuff” that I started to keep a list on my phone. I called it “My Redemption List.” This was a list of all the bad things that were happening during our leap of faith season. Every day I believed and decreed that God was redeeming those things one by one as well as the entire season for our family.
But this was a low blow. This one really hurt. Shortly after this bathroom experience our daughter, our sunshine, was diagnosed with epilepsy.
Maybe you’ve been there too… or are there… or for sure will be there.
You’ve been standing on a promise, following a dream, or just living your life.
You may have just been knocked down and feel like you have been punched in the gut. The wind has been taken out of your sail. Where do you go from here? How do you keep the low blow from keeping you down? Should you get up or move on?
How to Overcome Tough Times
You may not be able to control a lot of the things that happen in life, but you can control how you respond to the blows. You have four choices. They are truly up to you. But how you respond will determine what happens next.
It’s been too hard for too long to stand on the promise without seeing the results. You just don’t know how to keep going. You can choose to give up and move on.
You can give in to what’s happening. Give in to what you feel, become negative and live in what is happening in your natural circumstances. You may be tired of being tired so it seems easier just to give in.
Give It Over to God
You can’t do it, but God can. You can choose to lay it at His feet, maybe for the first time or the millionth, and seek Him. Seek the giver, not the gift. Let Him be your source for everything you need right now.
Give It A Loud “Heck no satan!”
Stand your ground, hold onto the promises God has given you and move forward bravely with boldness.
So, what response do you choose?
Maybe it’s a mixture of these.
I would propose you spend some time with God and give it over to Him. Then, give it a loud “Heck no satan! Not this time, Not ever.”
Don’t give up. Don’t give in.
“For though the righteous fall seven times, they rise again.” Proverbs 24:16a (NIV)
Next Steps: What’s your battle cry? When you get punched in the gut or life doesn’t go as planned, what’s the promise you stand on? If you don’t have one, dig into the bible today and come up with a life verse to stand on when the going gets tough.
Here is a battle cry you can use today as you give it over to Him…
“The Lord is my light and my salvation-whom shall I fear? The Lord is the stronghold of my life-of whom shall I be afraid? For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in His dwelling; hear my voice when I call, Lord; be merciful to me and answer me. My heart says of you, “Seek His face!” Your face, Lord, I will seek. I remain confident of this: I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. Wait for the Lord; be strong and take heart and wait for the Lord.” –Excerpts from Psalm 27
Fighting the good fight,
Tiffany Jo Baker MA, CLC
Tiffany Jo Baker is a mom who has birthed seven children, but only two of them were her own. This three-time Surrogate, Speaker, Writer and Couples Life and Fertility Support Coach, continues to help women and couples birth their dreams and thrive thru infertility. If you or someone you love find themselves on a harder than expected path to parenthood, you can find hope, free resources and more to help navigate the road and relationships while trying to conceive at www.tiffanyjobaker.com.
“‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’The second is this: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’There is no commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:30-31)
I walked into the beautiful home of a new friend for the very first time. She is a single mother of 3 young children, successful entrepreneur and multi-business owner. As I was ooo-ing and ahh-ing over the impeccable decor and the stunning architecture of her home, she repeatedly asked me to overlook the “mess.” After a couple mentions about the kids’ toys I stopped and quickly replied, “One of my superpowers is that I only see messes in my own house, not in others’!”
It’s so true. So many of us have unlimited mercy for other people’s “messes,” whether that be a cluttered home, a wayward child, a disconnected marriage or even difficulties getting pregnant, but when it comes to the messes in our own lives, we seem to have run out of compassion. Why are we so hard on ourselves? We can be rocking it in so many areas of life, but we beat ourselves up over the one or two areas that may be a little bit messy.
God’s Word is clear. The second greatest commandment that Jesus gives in Mark 12:31 is for us to love others as we love ourselves. Leave it to Jesus to be able to strategically maneuver two crucial commandments into one simple message. In order to love others well, we first have to be able to love ourselves well! No matter who you are, the number of degrees you may have, or the amount of talent you may possess, it isn’t realistic or possible for any of us to have success in every area of our lives all at the same time.
It sounds ridiculous even saying it right now, yet, we can become our own biggest critics when life isn’t going as planned.
Do what Jesus says. Love yourself and others well. Have mercy for your own mess.
One Small Win: Today, I want you to think of one area of your life that is messy. Now, take a look at it through the superpower of mercy, just as you would see it in someone else’s life. How do you see your mess now?
As a Couples Life & Fertility Support Coach and 3x Surrogate that has carried five children for three families dealing with infertility, Tiffany Jo Baker spends her time speaking, writing and helping women and couples birth their dreams and navigate the road and relationships well while trying to conceive. Married for 18 years to her polar opposite, yet best friend, together they have two teenage girls and have built a life and family based on faith, core values, humor and forgiveness. She loves to laugh, eat french fries, find amazing deals and create new memories.?? www.TiffanyJoBaker.com
“Does all this stuff in my office match up with a small plate person?” I ask the Clutter Free Bible Study group members.
No way, they all agree.
All the binders and boxes and stacks match someone with a turkey platter.
A hard truth hits me, smack dab in the middle of Facebook LIVE:
Hanging onto so much stuff is a form of greed stemming from distrust.
Protecting my precious ideas is me saying, “God, I don’t trust you to remind me of what’s important.”
And ultimately, hoarding my ideas is my way of trying to stretch my plate.
I never wanted a small plate. I’ve always wanted a turkey platter. So I’ve surrounded myself with “evidence” that “proves” my preferred truth.
It’s my way of saying, “Look! I have all this! If I have so much, I must have a really big plate!”
Bottom line: I’m keeping an office full of stuff so that I can prove God wrong.
Learning to Trust God
After the Facebook LIVE I look around my office with new eyes.
I’ve worked so hard to protect all my precious ideas, but I have far too many to use.
I need to trust God to choose.
I need to believe that God will help me remember the ideas I need when the time comes. Or trust that He’ll give me something new.
Either way, it’s time to quit pretending I have a bigger plate than I do.
I need to accept the size of my plate and let most of this stuff go.
My stuff needs to match the truth about who God created me to be.
Cheri Gregory is a teacher, speaker, author, and Certified Personality Trainer. Her passion is helping women break free from destructive expectations. She writes and speaks from the conviction that “how to” works best in partnership with “heart, too.”
Cheri is the co-author, with Kathi Lipp, of The Cure for the “Perfect” Life and the upcoming Overwhelmed.
Cheri has been “wife of my youth” to Daniel, her opposite personality, for twenty-eight years and is “Mom” to Annemarie (25) and Jonathon (23), also opposite personalities.
Cheri blogs about perfectionism, people-pleasing, highly sensitive people, and hope at www.cherigregory.com.
Kathi and good friend Mary DeMuth, author of 36 books, come together to discuss the making and inspiration behind Mary’s new devotion, Jesus Everyday. The unique thing about this journal that interested Kathi so much is that the reader is learning how to communicate and connect with the Father on a deeper level.
Mary shares a part of her story where she began to see the power of prayer in her life. From those instances she became passionate about prayer for her own life. If praying is something you have trouble with, this is an amazing episode of inspiration, hope and empowerment for people in every walk of life.
Mary has generously given the podcast three copies of her new devotion, Jesus Everyday. Answer the following question in the show comments below for your chance to win: “How can I incorporate prayer into my life today?”
Mary DeMuth is the author of more than 5 books and speaks about living an uncaged, freedom-infused life. Her biggest accomplishment? Being happily married to Patrick for 25+ years and raising her three amazing kids. Find out more at MaryDeMuth.com
In this episode Kathi chats with Kristen Kill, author of Finding Selah, The Simple Practice of Peace When you Need it Most. After the birth of her oldest daughter, before post-partum depression was widely diagnosed, Kristen remembers the fog that surrounded her. Rather than cry out to God, she retreated, tiptoeing around God, afraid to speak.
Kristen shares the need for us to create a space of rest, a space of quiet in our lives so we can re-sync with Jesus throughout our day.
Join us for this thoughtful episode and be encouraged!
Kristen has generously offered a Free Download Print by Rachel Jacobson from Portland, OR for our listeners. Click here to download.
Three giveaway copies of the book to 3 random people who comment the answer to this question in the comments section below: “How today are you going to create just a place of selah in your life?”
Meet Our Guest
Kristen Kill is a woman transformed by the delight of God. A contributing editor at The Better Mom, and co-host of At Home, a popular podcast with Sally Clarkson, Kristen is passionate about encouraging women who feel stretched thin with the truth that, even in the tension, God is singing over them with love.
After spending the last seven years in the hustle of New York City, Kristen and her husband, Josh, are learning to go slow as they raise their five kids in the Pacific Northwest. Her days are filled with homeschooling, walking her slightly anxious hound dog, and putting off the cleaning for one more day.
Author and Speaker, Liz Curtis Higgs, joins Kathi on the podcast this week to discuss how to gain wisdom from one of our favorite books of the Bible, Proverbs. Liz just published a book full of the rich promises and direction found in Proverbs that can help our hearts on a daily basis. Kathi shares an excerpt of the book where Liz gives us an action step that takes JUST ONE MINUTE (every application takes only 60 seconds!).
Listen in to this sweet and powerful episode from two women that love the Lord and His word. You will be uplifted and inspired today.
Win a copy of Liz’s new book, 31 Proverbs to Light Your Path. Three people will be chosen to win their own copy. Answer the question in the comments section below to enter to win. What is an unexpected place or situation where you have been given hope?
*Open to US residents only. Contest ends on Wednesday, December 27, 2017.
Meet Our Guest
Liz Curtis Higgs
Author and Speaker
Liz Curtis Higgs has one goal: to help women embrace the grace of God with joy and abandon. Her messages are biblical, encouraging, down-to-earth, and profoundly funny, helping sisters and seekers experience the depth of God’s love. Higgs is the author of more than 30 books with 4.6 million copies in print, including her nonfiction bestsellers Bad Girls of the Bible, The Girl’s Still Got It, The Women of Christmas and The Women of Easter. She has spoken at 1,700 women’s conferences in all 50 states and 14 countries. A former radio personality, Higgs has appeared on more than 700 media outlets including NPR, “Focus on the Family,” “Life Today,” PBS and A&E. She is happily married to Bill Higgs and they share their life together in a 19th century farmhouse in Louisville, Kentucky.
We'll be conducting the book club through Kathi's Private Facebook Group, Clutter Free Academy. Join the book club to get access to the private facebook group. You'll receive an email with instructions once you submit this form.