Happy Thursday, dears! Gosh I've missed you! Life has been full- it's a busier season around here with various speaking engagements and a very full client load as I prep for our little man to arrive in a few short months!
During the last few months I have so missed sharing Flourish Flock Features with you! I am constantly reminded of how we are all encouraged when we hear other's stories of surviving and thriving... of making it through the challenges in life... of learning and growing even when there might not be a perfect bow on the situation currently... our stories are a reminder that life is a journey, progress is so much better than perfection and that God's grace is more than enough!
All of that being said, I am thrilled to share part of Faith Raider's story with you all today. She and I partnered together and she's become a dear friend of mine. She never fails to inspire and encourage me- she truly is such a gift and I know you will each feel loved and encouraged by what she shares so vulnerably below!
Share where you currently live:
Share where you grew up:
I was born in Michigan but grew up moving around the metro Atlanta area.
Share about your family/your job/living situation:
I am married and have six children, ages almost 16 to just turned 2.
Share your favorite book and/or podcast:
Favorite book - I love to read and there are seriously too many favorites to narrow it down to only one but Brene Brown's "Rising Strong" changed the way I think about life and pain. My favorite podcast at the moment is "The Next Right Thing" by Emily P. Freeman. Even though I don't listen to podcasts often this is one I try to make time to listen to. I also listen to DisEntangled by Jessica Bolyard, my in real life friend who writes and blogs about the intersection of faith and mental health from the perspective of someone who struggles with anxiety and bipolar depression.
Share your favorite quote and/or Bible verse:
"Success is not final. Failure is not fatal. It is the courage to continue that counts." - Winston Churchill. But I always remember it wrong and write "failure is not final" so there you go. My favorite Bible verse is Psalm 27:14 which says "wait for the Lord, be strong and let your heart take courage; wait for the LORD." I used to sign this verse under my name when I was a teenager but I didn't even realize how this verse would become the absolute bedrock for my life.
Share your favorite beverage:
Iced coffee with hazelnut syrup & whole milk.
Share one of the biggest losses you’ve experienced:
I would say the biggest loss I have experienced was when my husband deconverted. When we met, he was the strongest Christian I'd ever known, and when we married our dream was for him to pastor his own church one day. But ten years ago he left our faith and became a militant atheist. It was a heartbreaking time for me. It meant a total shift in my identity (which was very much wrapped up in being his wife) and it meant a complete surrender of every expectation that I had for my future. My faith shattered into a million pieces as I grieved and questioned and doubted, but eventually, out of those ashes and broken pieces, God began growing something genuinely beautiful as he restored my faith in Him and I can honestly say, as brutal as that season was, that I am so very thankful for all of the good things it has done inside of me.
Share some of the choices that have been most helpful in continuing to move you forward and supporting you while you are healing:
One of the most important choices I made during that season was to stay connected to my spiritual community. I found a church that supported me loved all of my kids and who I felt loved my husband, even if the feeling wasn't mutual. I continued to show up, even when I didn't feel like it. I found a small group of girlfriends and we simply refused to give up on each other, despite being busy and not always seeing things the same way. These things moved me, a quarter of an inch at a time, from totally brokenhearted to a place of healing and restoration.
Share some ways you have tried to incorporate laughter and fun in the midst of the hurt:
I feel like I am not naturally good at laughter or fun, I'm such an introvert and would rather read my book or have a deep conversation than to do something silly or just for fun, but I'm learning that there is a lot of value in just hanging out with godly girlfriends just for fun. Even if I feel like I'm one step away from a total meltdown, getting out and being around them makes me feel like I'm going to be okay. I also have a few close friends who I message on Voxer and that brings a lot of joy!
Share how this experience has been instrumental in leading you to where you are today:
One of the ways that I am thankful for going through this experience is that I am a little more humble. I've had to wrestle with my own sinful nature and my own doubt and fear and mess and junk and so now when I'm sitting next to someone who turns out to be a bit of a mess my attitude is less to give her some side-eye and more towards giving her compassion. I'm also learning to deal with shame in a more healthy way, learning not to expect myself to be perfect but to live covered in the wedding gown of grace. I have also learned from experience that God will never ever leave me or abandon me, even when I don't feel Him - He's near. And even when I do not deserve His love - He still loves me extravagantly.
Share any tips/advice/love for others who have gone through something similar:
I find it really encouraging to surround myself with other women who are real about their struggles AND 100% for their marriages. It is tempting to feel all alone when things aren't the way I thought they'd be but it so powerful to be surrounded by friends whose lives aren't perfect either. Also, I try to remember 1 Peter 3:6 and Sarah, who followed Abraham and trusted in God, refusing to give way to fear. It is always God who we trust, whether our husband is setting an awesome, godly example, or doing lousy in the" following God" department or even in the "not being an idiot" department - it is always always always God who we put our trust in, and reject the lie of fear.
*Additional note from Faith- I have written a book about my journey of loss, shame, and beauty out of ashes. It is coming out in early January and will be available to pre-order in December. I am currently accepting applications for my launch team. I'd love to meet you-you can find more here!
FB: Facebook page