{Celebrating Beautiful} Overcoming the Fear of Rush, by Kelly Balarie

In blogging for the last 5 years, I’ve written about many different topics, but one theme that has remained constant has been my focus of sharing about how our family is discovering the beauty in difference and choosing to celebrate the incredible beauty all around us, and how we want to encourage others to do the same. After connecting with and reading about so many amazing people and families doing so many amazing things, I started a guest blog series called Celebrating Beautiful, as it relates to beauty however it can be interpreted: motherhood, faith, your kids, an experience, home, and so much more.
 
I met Kelly Balarie when we attended a writer’s program together last year, and we bonded while cruising around Nashville! She is so encouraging and such a bright soul, and her first book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, was just released in January! I can’t wait to dive into it.
Here is Kelly Balarie on Celebrating Beautiful…

CelebratingBeautifulTime never stops. I think this is what most aggravates me about it.

Sometimes, every tick is a tock that seems to reminds me: I have so much to do. Time is passing. I need to move faster. There is a window I might miss. There are people who may run there faster than me. I am late.

I used to wake up in the morning already feeling behind. As my coffee would drip in the pot, I would consider, “Okay, I have 1 hour to get my kids breakfast, get them dressed and get them to school. I can’t be late.”

Time used to make anxiety crawl up my skin.

It made me pulse with a nervous spirit. Have you ever found yourself on edge?

It made me rush my family. Have you felt behind?

It reminded me how little I was able to do. Have you felt ineffective before?

But through all of my rushing, I came to realize that to be strapped for time is to be strapped to a hurried pace that almost always steals God’s grace. For when you are in a rush, you can’t find your place of hush that lets you hear God. Don't rush ahead of

How I know this to be true – oh yes, I do! Yet, there is a difference between knowing and changing. We can know a whole lot of stuff, but at the same time, change nothing about our lives. God is much more about seeing our lives transformed, I believe, than seeing our minds filled with Christian-ese knowledge.

So  I continue to tackle this bear of time. I’ve been turning to God to tackle the issue in my heart and not my mind, and in the process, I’m learning:

  • God does not wear a watch. He is not limited by time. With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. (2 Pet. 3:8)
  • The fear of missing out is unfounded. Our God, who is unlimited in power, can break the limits of time – in half. He can help us do more than we ever believed we could, as we rest on Him.
  • What joy we crave, is only available in the present moment. By rushing ahead, we run past God. Life is found when we stay in step with the Holy Spirit. This is where we find beauty emerges.
  • What we cannot do, behind the scenes, God can. He can do more than me, always.
  • We step out of the pasture of peace, when we live by the urgency of the clock. If we pace ourselves to God, he will bring us exactly where we are supposed to go, but, with him, we’ll go with rest and fullness of heart, rather than tiredness.

We have a God who is unbound by limitations. There is nothing that can stop his power, except our mind that doesn’t believe.  What if, today, we step out, fearless, and walk – not hurried, not strapped, not overwhelmed, not agonizing, but at rest into his calling? What might God do?FearFightingAuthor and Speaker, Kelly Balarie is both a Cheerleader of Faith and a Fighter of Fear. She leans on the power of God, rests on the shoulder of Christ, and discovers how to glow in the dark places of life. Get all Kelly’s blog posts by email or visit her on her blog Purposeful Faith. Kelly didn’t always fight fear – for a large part of her life, she was controlled by it. Yet, in her book, Fear Fighting: Awakening Courage to Overcome Your Fears, with God, Kelly charts a new course. Join Kelly on the journey to go and grow with Christ’s bravery, the Spirit’s counsel and God’s unending love that squelches fear. Buy Fear Fighting today or Join the 4 Days to Fearless Challenge!

{Celebrating Beautiful} Blended Beauty in Motherhood by Christen Spratt

In blogging for the last 4 years, I’ve written about many different topics, but one theme that has remained constant has been my focus of sharing about how our family is discovering the beauty in difference and choosing to celebrate the incredible beauty all around us, and how we want to encourage others to do the same. After connecting with and reading about so many amazing people and families doing so many amazing things, I started a guest blog series called Celebrating Beautiful, as it relates to beauty however it can be interpreted: motherhood, faith, your kids, an experience, home, and so much more.
 
I first connected with Christen Spratt when I was a guest on the ChannelMom Radio Show promoting my book, and she was participating in the same show. We really connected, and have a lot in common as special needs moms, so it’s been great getting to know her better. Christen is very authentic and cares most about sharing about real life, even when it can be messy. 
Here is Christen Spratt on Celebrating Beautiful…
CelebratingBeautiful

The teenage version of me had a very narrow opinion of what it meant to be beautiful. I used to think you had to have great hair, flawless skin and perfect curves. I was taught that beauty came from within, but I just saw that as the second layer of the onion. Magazines and television programs seemed to value the outward version so much more, and I was a sucker for the ploy.

In the midst of all this vanity, my life came to a screeching halt with 2 little blue lines. I was pregnant. At the age of 18, all the things I believed made me beautiful were slipping through my fingers…my hair was falling out, skin was breaking out, and oh the curves… now they were in all the wrong (according to teenage me) places.

When I married my husband, I really struggled with the teenage version of beauty. My body was not what it was. I had stretch marks, cellulite, and thinner hair.

That was when I shifted my perspective… surely beauty in mothering wasn’t as vain, right? Instead of focusing on hair, skin, and curves, I poured all those preconceived notions into different vessels. I forced my warped view of beauty onto my little humans.

I decided beautiful now looked like well-groomed and very well-behaved children, matching outfits on a Christmas card, a home that looked like it was ripped from the pages of a Pottery Barn catalog, a refrigerator stocked with only organic goodness, and of course… smart, healthy, privately educated, athletic, musical, multiple language-speaking children.

Then life happened…We are a blended family, which is crazy hard unto itself and sometimes messy. Sometimes matching outfits on a Christmas card is all we can do to “blend.”christenspratt1

Those well-groomed and very well-behaved children… well, they have decided that they hate having their hair cut. Trimming nails inflicts an excruciating amount of pain. Essentially,  keeping them in good order is a form of torture in their eyes.

They throw tantrums in public.  They forget to put on their shoes for church or underwear for school. Sometimes they scream “NO!” to a simple request for a goodbye kiss at the bus stop (in front of all the other moms, of course.) And as for school, a couple of them need a little extra help and are in Special Education.

But the biggest blow to my version of a beautiful mothering came in the form of a diagnosis.

My baby girl has epilepsy. She has to take meds that make her less than pleasant at times. She may or may not outgrow her disorder. She may or may not get to live an ordinary life of driving cars and holding jobs. Special needs was not in the “beautiful” plan.

Through the years and through the struggles, I began to realize that maybe, just maybe, I had beauty all wrong.

It’s now obvious to me that beautiful is;

the sweet milky breath of a cooing infant,

rocking a child back to sleep in the still of the night,

helping a toddler learn to walk,

sounding out syllables with a new reader,

talking through the vulnerable struggles of a middle schooler,

holding hands,

snuggling,

giggling,

reading stories,

saying “I love you,”

singing silly songs,

praying innocent prayers,

being the safe place,

and offering a listening ear.

Beautiful is so much more than meets the eye; beautiful is being raw, broken, present, authentic and dedicated.

This mothering thing is not exactly what I thought it was going to be, or even what I thought I was going to be able to make it. It is harder, messier, and much louder than I ever imagined.

Motherhood isn’t easy, and it sure doesn’t feel pretty many days. Mac and cheese dried on the floor, yoga pants (for the 27th day in a row), public humiliation and a smelly car are not exactly glamorous… But if you take a closer look, take a moment to really evaluate all that surrounds you, you’ll see that it’s undeniably, breathtakingly beautiful and so much more significant and marvelous than great hair, good skin, and kicking curves.

Beauty is motherhood, and motherhood is beautiful.

Today, I challenge you to take a moment to submerge yourself in the beauty around you and I triple dog dare you to admire the beauty that you are.

christenspratt2
Christen is the wife to one (he is the coolest engineer you will ever meet) and a mother to four (one from her teen pregnancy, one with epilepsy, one with SPED needs, and the fourth may or may not be related to the Hulk.) She is a recovering “perfect wife/mom,” up to her eyeballs in all things motherhood. She doesn’t have a Pinteresting life, she doesn’t cut sandwiches into dolphins, she doesn’t have a perfect marriage, and she regularly shares all this good/bad/ugly with her sweet readers over at christenspratt.com. Christen is passionate about authenticity and  frequently writes about the FaKebook phenomena, parenting, marriage, and faith while keeping a canny sense of humor.  It is her heart to offer hope to other moms in the trenches. You can also find her on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.