{Celebrating Beautiful} Perseverance in Waiting, by Tiffany Smiling

In blogging for the last 6 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: parenthood, faith, your kids, an experience, home, and so much more.
 
I “met” Tiffany Smiling when an email dropped in my inbox. She introduced herself and briefly shared her story and her upcoming book, Your Dream. God’s Plan., and then asked if I might be willing to consider writing an endorsement. The deadline was tight but that ended up not mattering because I couldn’t put her book down! Tiffany has a tremendous testimony and a beautiful heart for giving, and her book is a must-read! It moved my heart so much and connecting with her has been an absolute gift.
Here is Tiffany Smiling on Celebrating Beautiful…

“Celebrate her birthday big this year.”

Those were the words from the head neurosurgeon at one of the nation’s leading cancer hospitals spoken to my parents after I’d been asked to leave the room. And as I approached my eleventh birthday, he’d given me ten months to live.

My family and I fought his death sentence. We couldn’t believe his words to be true. Instead, we stood in faith trusting God that the journey to remove the tumor in my brain would soon come to an end.

But if the truth be told, it was just the beginning.

Over the next six years, I was operated on four times — poked and prodded, stitched and stapled — hopeful to hear promising news. But the reports were only worsening. The tumor was only growing. The cancer was still prominent. And most glaring, I was limboing a tight rope fighting to trust God amidst the lack of progress I was seeing in my life. All I could do was wait. Patiently, wait…. and wait…. and wait even longer.

Waiting for God to move on our behalf is a lonely and weary spot to be in. For me, the uncertainty of when God will answer my prayers terrifies me the most.

But here’s what I didn’t know then that I want to share with you now: perseverance is produced when progress isn’t present.

Have you ever been at a place in your life where you are required to wait on the Lord for an answer?

Maybe a child you are believing in.

Or a broken relationship that you hoped would be healed by now.

Perhaps, a breakthrough in that place that has held you in bondage.

Why is it so hard to continue to trust the Lord when we do not see progress in the middle of our trials?

Because we are humans, we are prone to take matters into our own hands. We tend to see a resolution based on our own understanding of the immediate reality right in front of us. And we give up.

Living in a world of immediate results, our self-satisfying society cannot fathom the concept of waiting. But in God’s economy, waiting is never wasted. Instead, it is intended to strengthen us as we become more like Christ. God uses waiting. It is part of our christian journey. He uses it to teach us how to daily trust in Him. He uses it to prepare us for an even bigger purpose He has ahead of us.

When the opportunity arises to continue to believe even when signs of progress are unseen, the Lord is inviting us to persevere based on His word instead of what we see.

I used to believe perseverance was endurance. Boy, was I wrong! While endurance means tolerating or accepting the obstacles in our lives, perseverance is very different.

It means to press on with the certainty that it WILL happen.
Perseverance is moving forward and growing with Christ, despite the difficulty or delay. Perseverance is walking in the assurance that our Lord has already won the battle. And waiting is the soil where perseverance is grown.

If you are in a place today where your prayers have been unanswered, I challenge you to keep on believing God and His promises. Don’t give up! The perseverance being perfected in your challenging days of waiting will soon be the fuel that lights the way to God’s faithfulness in your trials. God has a plan over your life and will use your season of waiting when you offer it to him!

Tiffany Smiling—writer, speaker, and entrepreneur—is changing the kingdom of God around the globe. She’s a cancer survivor, an injustice fighter and, above all else, she is a devoted follower of Christ. In her book, Your Dream. God’s Plan., Tiffany encourages readers to trade in the broken pieces of their life for God’s greater purpose.

With a heart to rescue the unreached children around the world, she founded the With All My Heart Foundation, an organization dedicated to building the global church and caring for vulnerable children. In 2016, she also founded With All Her Heart, an organization equipping woman to fulfill the calling that God has ahead of them. You can connect with Tiffany at www.tiffanysmiling.com or on Instagram!

{Celebrating Beautiful} Slowing Up by Bekah Pogue

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: parenthood, faith, your kids, an experience, home, and so much more.
 
I first met Bekah Pogue briefly at the She Speaks conference several years ago, and we connected again when our books both came out around the same time. We’ve been on very parallel publishing journeys, working with the same agent, publicist and publisher, and we’ve found such support in one another in this writing experience. Bekah is one of the most uplifting and genuine people I have connected with through writing, and her book, Choosing REAL, is a true reflection of that.
Here is Bekah Pogue on Celebrating Beautiful…

“Quick, quick, let’s go.”

“I need an answer today.”

…or the hardest for me:

“What’s been going on?” (**while eyes dart the room**)

These orders, demands and questions bring up anxiety like no other.

I feel like a robot, hurried to respond or give an urgent answer for an asphyxiated time-frame, to reply to a question where a large period looms as soon as something uninteresting exits my pie-hole.

I hate being rushed. Quickened.

You too?

I didn’t realize this until recently, when I found myself reacting in a anxious frantic whirlwind of craziness because of what I perceived to be rush.

Most of my life I’ve put myself on the tightrope of busy and go and whir and faster faster faster.

Probably because I looked around and saw quick go hurry being done well and knew not to listen to the quiet tug of slow slow slow because slow, my friends, was BOR – yawn – ING.

Slow is for people who don’t have social lives. Slow is for people who aren’t fun.

Slow is for people who have to sit on their couch because no invites or plans or people are pulling them off their precious sofa.

I’m sorry. I ignorantly believed these thoughts in my younger years.

AND HOW WRONG I WAS.

Slow is wisdom.

Slow is sitting in silence and allowing someone to add a period when they have processed.

Slow is holding air in between you and him or her and letting the uncomfortable weight be a space to learn.

Slow is grace. And assuredness.

Slow is peace and thinking through and listening first and speaking last.

Slow isn’t boring by any means.

The most fun creative inspiring people I know live slow. Live with purpose even in the hustle bustle of humanity.

They aren’t lazy or inactive or dull.

They are, in fact, bright and can easily over-extend their valuable time with many note-worthy agendas and meetings and people and things to be at but they choose to slow up.

Slowing up is a wise ramp to living full. Living purposeful and filled. With honest truth and courageous vulnerability; not fueled by rush and frantic and I don’t wanna miss ouuuuuuuut!

Slowing up is tried and true. Slowing up is my jam.

Now, when I find myself chasing a string of to do’s on an imaginary tightrope of frenzied hurriedness – whether asked or self-inflicted – I’m asking myself a few questions.

What am I experiencing inside?

Am I feeling rushed and why?

Is this a legitimate timeline or a life-long habit of quick quick quick?

Am I present?

Am I being kind or snapping at everyone in my wake (including my reflection?)

How can I go about this differently? How can I slow up?

When we pause long enough to connect our minds with our bodies and hearts and then listen, do you hear that? The tick tock of time needed for all pieces to travel different paths and merge somewhere at the triad of slow?

That’s where wisdom is birthed.

At the center of slowing up.

Bekah Jane Pogue writes, speaks and encourages with listening in mind: listening to the Father and then sharing how she’s most alive in hopes to encourage you to live out your created self. Her first book, Choosing Real: An Invitation to Celebrate When Life Doesn’t Go as Planned released December 2016. Bekah is the founder of Pasture, a local community gathering for women to come as they are for intentional conversation and curated experiences to nourish their souls. You can find her exploring their new town of Nashville, reading, baking, rearranging furniture, flea-marketing and sharing her heartbeats at bekahpogue.com. Bekah and her hubby, Bryan have been married a dozen+ years. They have two energetic boys and reside at The Wonder Home outside of Nashville, where dance parties are a regular occurrence. You can also follow her on Facebook and Instagram.