Letting God Finish our Masterpieces

 

I could see in her eyes that it wasn’t good news. After hours and hours of hard labor with my fourth child, my midwife told me I hadn’t begun dilating. In fact, my cervix wasn’t even fully effaced. Seriously?

I was ready to cry.

With each of my other pregnancies I felt like I had some control. To get my contractions to increase in frequency and intensity, I paced. All over the house. And it worked!

I have proof:

  • Baby #1 – I arrived at the hospital dilated to a 7.
  • Baby #2 – I arrived at the hospital dilated to a 6.
  • Baby #3 – I arrived at the hospital dilated to a 5.

And the nurses were awesome. They let me wait to be admitted while I continued pacing and progressed to a 7 or so.

So here I was broadsided with this news about Baby #4.

Death by Castor Oil

Now to be completely truthful, I may or may not have tried to tempt Fate. I was worried that my husband would miss Baby’s debut if we didn’t have her that weekend. So I took castor oil.

Let me give you a hint. DON’T. EVER. TAKE. CASTOR. OIL. No questions asked. Just don’t do it.

So after the unspeakable effects of the castor oil, it seemed to affect my labor like Pitocin. What do I mean? Well, basically my contractions were super hard without progress.

What Now?

So my midwife delivered the news. I was devastated. See…in the past I simply walked off my pain. But now? Suddenly I needed major labor support. I felt so ridiculous! Like something was wrong with me. Here I hadn’t even begun dilating and we had used up just about every one of my midwife’s tricks!

Well…I gave myself a generous 30 seconds to decide my next step. I was really at a loss. But I felt that all I could really do was to surrender.

I had assumed I could control the situation…that I could hurry things along. But in reality there was nothing I could do. Except choose how I would respond.

If I was going to labor for another 5-10 hours, the only thing that made sense was to get some rest. So I chose to let go. We stuck a movie in (I have no memory whatsoever of what it was), and I laid down on the couch.

Understand – laying down was always the most painful way for me to labor. But it felt like the right thing to do.

Time to Give Up?

Let me back up for just a sec. During my pregnancy my midwife told me that when I started to feel like I was done…just ready to give up and go home…it would most likely mean that I was in transition. Interesting concept.

Okay. So hold that thought.

Back to the Story

I laid on that dang couch trying to sleep for about 45 minutes. It took a lot of self control to just stay there and breathe through those contractions. It was pretty miserable, but I already knew that pushing through and trying to make it happen wasn’t working. I didn’t believe for a second that I could progress just laying around, but what choice did I have?

I finally got up to run to the restroom, but as I stood up….OUCH!! I thought I was going to die. I had a horrible contraction, and I was DONE. I was exhausted, emotional, and I wanted to go home and forget the whole thing.

Wait.

This was kind of a deja vu moment. Didn’t my midwife say something about this?….Hmmm. Ah yes. She suggested these feelings meant transition. But there was no way…I wasn’t even fully effaced.

Still, I asked her to check me. She reluctantly did so, and then I watched the panic set in. I WAS DILATED TO 9 CENTIMETERS! The baby came about 15 minutes later. Yup. It’s true.

Letting Go

Isn’t it fascinating? How much time do we spend trying to control things? We want things to happen on our timeline. We want answers now! We want the pain gone NOW! And yet, it wasn’t until I finally let go of my timing and left it in God’s hands that I progressed. And it was much faster than ever before. By a LOT. God did more for my progression in those 45 minutes than I could have possibly done on my own.

Painting Your Masterpiece

Ya know? We all have things we are creating. We have these beautiful dreams we are painting on the canvas of life. And I, for one, am one of those people who just can’t walk away from these masterpieces. I guess I’ve always believed that the painting will never get finished if I’m not there for every last stroke.

Apparently it was time for these beliefs of mine to be challenged.

My baby’s delivery was a defining moment for me. It inspired a lot of questions.

Is it possible that we don’t really make things happen? Could it be that we are only part of the equation? Could we possibly be fighting against a Higher Power when we try to do it all on our own? And in our own way?

Be Still and Know That I am God

Are you good for me to just share my interpretation of all this?

Here goes…We don’t have to do it all. We don’t have to make things happen. We don’t have to be everything to everyone. And we don’t have to run faster than we have strength.

When we put forth our best efforts, we can slow down a bit. Take a step back. Then we can rest assured that Life will take care of the rest. We can let go and trust God.

Consider the peace that will come when we stop and remember that sometimes, in the stillness, the finishing touches are performed by the Master Painter, Himself. And in the end, with nothing more that we can do, our Masterpiece is beautifully and perfectly complete.

Author Stephanie Francom is a Mindset Mastery Certified Mentor and Genius Bootcamp Facilitator. Join Stephanie for our next Genius Bootcamp – Click here to learn more.

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For more on this topic, read Hidden Treasures: Heaven’s Astonishing Help with Your Money Matters (free!)

Related: Your ability to Create (video)
Related: How to Surrender, and why you’d want to

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More Tender Mercies and Miracles

Photo credit: Vanessa Kay, Vanessa Kay Photography

You may remember my previous article about Vanessa, and Tender Mercies. Even when we don’t get exactly what we want, noticing the little blessings can help us qualify for more. As I said before, she has suffered a run of unfortunate events, but notice her attitude. She notices, documents, and calls attention to all of the things going WELL. I’m convinced that this is why she can say: “Somehow I make it through every month.” (Click here to check out her amazing photography site…)

Why does she write? In her words:

“I was challenged recently to regularly write and record the many blessings I have received, and the things I am learning from the current set of challenging circumstances I am now living through. And maybe even to write a book. Well, that was a little overwhelming, but I have had promptings to the same effect…because honestly, there have been so many tender mercies and small blessings that even now, trying to remember them all is a huge challenge. If I can write a little something every day…and look for the things I have to be grateful for….I have a feeling miracles will take place. I feel like living in gratitude, in spite of challenges, is the key to making it through these difficult times.”

Vanessa, I agree. Thank you for sharing.

Here are some tender mercies she recognized at Christmastime:

“I still have a LOT Of work to do implementing these principles … because for every big blessing comes a pretty big (sometimes bigger) setback. In the last month I’ve had both of my cars’ transmissions die and the state board of equalization place a levy on my account for some past due taxes. My husband’s condition [Lyme disease, mycoplasma pneumonia, h. pylori, epstein-barr, multiple parasites, etc.] seems to be getting worse, but there’s a silver lining to that – his appointments with the disability appointed doctors went ‘well’ – as in they saw him at his worst and I am hopeful that he may have a chance of being approved for social security disability.

“It’s funny though… although I’m completely carless at the moment – and I have no idea how I’ll have any gifts at all for my kids this year, I am feeling the Christmas spirit stronger than ever before. I’m really loving the #lighttheworld campaign, and my kids and I have been watching the videos every night at scriptures and taking on the challenges. We have been blessed to be the recipients of so much – it feels really good to be on the other end of things for a change:

“While lately I’ve often been focused on working ’round the clock to get orders out for clients, and add more shoots to my schedule, today I dropped all of that. A friend of mine knows a single mom, a victim of domestic violence, who recently lost her home and everything in it in the recent California wildfires. My friend has been trying to help by paying for her hotel and a gift card for some clothes, but was feeling overburdened as the only supportive person her friend has. She started a GoFundMe account for this friend but had no response.

“I have another struggling friend who happens to be moving back East this weekend, and just found out 3 days ago that the person who was going to take over her apartment and all of her furnishings backed out. She needed to get rid of all of her furnishings/ kitchenware/ bedding/ etc. right away. My mom had come down to help me for a couple of days since I have no transportation right now, and between her, a friend’s truck, and our local missionaries, I was able to move all of this furniture and household supplies to storage for the single mom of 4 who lost everything in the fires, thereby helping 3 families – my friend who needed to get rid of her stuff, my friend who felt overburdened, and the woman who lost everything.

“Another tender mercy: At a recent ward activity they had a tree with ornaments for the local orphanage/foster group home for kids who don’t have any families that have a little wish list. I didn’t even really consider looking, because most the kid’s have wish lists that would take at least about $100 or so to fill and I don’t even have that much of a budget for my 4 kids put together for Christmas this year. But something told me to look anyways, and the first ornament I saw was for a child who wanted a tablet, art supplies and a gift card to Barnes and Noble. Something told me to pick it up. I just so happen to have a tablet that I’ve been trying to sell on Craigslist for the last 4 months now, and have had no takers. And my daughter had an excess of art supplies she’s been given over the last 2 years, because that’s all she asks for for her birthday and Christmas. Some were brand new, never used. And my son has been given Barnes and Noble gifts cards for every gift giving occasion for the last few years and he had 3 saved up. All the kids were able to contribute something of their own to help this girl, and I bought an art set at Michael’s for 60% off and it only cost me $12. So we will be able to do what so many have done for us and make Christmas happen for someone less fortunate, and that feels like quite a blessing.”

“…behold I say unto you, that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise. And the Lord God doth work by means to bring about his great and eternal purposes . . . (Alma 37:6-7).

This has been another installment in a series of articles about Tender Mercies. Stay tuned for more coming soon…

What about you?

Maybe you’re not a millionaire. Maybe you haven’t yet realized that big vision for your life. Maybe your relationships aren’t what you want them to be. Maybe you’re still waiting for that breakthrough that never seems to come. Maybe you struggle with your health, or maybe you’re caring for someone else who is. But even so…

Have you seen God’s hand in your life today? Have you noticed Him sustaining you from day to day?

“And in nothing doth man offend God, or against none is his wrath kindled, save those who confess not his hand in ALL things, and obey not his commandments,” (D&C 59:21, emphasis added).

Submit your stories here!

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Stephanie’s Graduation Spotlight

“Weekly hiker wannabe, tortilla chip addict and aspiring housekeeper, Stephanie loves reading and deep conversations, avoids cooking when she can, may or may not play drums when feeling so inclined, excels on the shooting range, and has spent 26 years prepping her 7 kids for the counseling they might need from her imperfect parenting. Like you, she hopes that all her broken, but best efforts, will be enough in the end.” (Bio from her blog, JustWalkingEachOtherHome.net)

Stephanie is warm and personable. I love the way she greets her readers:

“If you and I weren’t just communicating through the computer screen, I would offer you some creamy hot chocolate… I actually don’t like hot chocolate, but the rest of my family does. And I want you to feel like family. 🙂”

And now, I’m pleased to present Stephanie now as our newest Honors Graduate!

It’s been fun watching her go through the Mindset Mastery process, and to see how she’s faced and overcome some tremendous challenges along the way.

Keep reading to find out how she earned an all-expenses paid week long vacation to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico with her husband.

You did it, Stephanie!!! Way to go!!

Let me back up first, and explain a little bit about what it’s like to complete the program. To achieve HONORS status, a graduate must achieve a total of at least 303 points. But I’m not sure I’ve EVER seen a graduate earn as many points as Stephanie did – coming in at a whopping 443 points.

In her own words:

Day 1 – November 21: “I am loving spending every day listening to a podcast or reading from one of her books. We just received our workbook and course today. I am SO excited to get started. My children have already noticed a difference in me, wondering why I’m so happy. When you wake up in a place of already dreaming your new dreams, how can you be in a lower vibration?”

Mid-course – January 9: “I am LOVING this program! My husband and I have been working on it together, and it has been amazing! Our paradigms are changing, and we are SO excited for the future! My husband lost his job the week before Christmas, and we are certain this means that we are moving towards our big dream! Because of the smaller things we have seen while applying these principles, we have a greater degree of faith and hope for the future. The loss of his job is just evidence that God is ordering our lives.

“I wholeheartedly recommend this program! The pieces are finally coming together in our understanding with Leslie’s simple and clear writing. I am so grateful to Leslie and Trevan for being vulnerable and sharing their experiences with the world so that we can learn from the good and the bad. This simply gives the rest of us an opportunity to spend less money and less time to learn how to move forward in a monumental way. Thank you!

End of Course: “Wow!! What an amazing journey I have been on. The last couple of months have been like a dream. As my husband and I have learned these principles, we have experienced so many blessings. I have re-written my story on a number of occasions. I have found lost articles. I have attracted things that I have needed. I have improved relationships. I have taken steps toward my big goals that are huge for me. I have qualified for an all expenses paid vacation with my husband. I have attracted new customers and new distributors to my business. I have had experiences that I have visualized. My home has become more ordered than it’s been in 5 years. I’ve been given household items I have needed that I hadn’t even written down yet. I have found a huge stack of clothing in a thrift store that were exactly the size and colors I wanted, and all for the prices I had visualized. I have a new story of success I could share on a daily basis.

“I am simply overwhelmed with the abundance and blessings that have come our way as we’ve obeyed the proper laws of thought. I have loved the lessons of Mindset Mastery. They are clear and succinct. The exercises have truly helped me to internalize the principles.

“The Phase 1 goal was a wonderful preparatory exercise to build believability and to propel me forward in understanding. The Phase 2 goal was rather terrifying, but all the tools for success were included in the training along the way, and it was a success!

“I am so grateful for the help along the way as I posted in the private Facebook group and got feedback from fellow students and from Leslie, herself. This course has been a game changer. I recommend this wholeheartedly, without reservation to anyone who is willing to dream big and learn that they can live big as well!” 

Now, you may remember that I have talked about Stephanie before:

Such as in the post “These Laws Affect Everything!!” or the one about the UPS man, “What happens between point A and point B“. Powerful stories, both of them, inspiring the rest of us (including myself) to test and prove the principles again and again.

But what I have NOT yet shared is her Phase 2 goal experience:

According to Stephanie, it ranked 9 out of 10 in terms of difficulty / believability. (It’s important to identify how difficult it feels to the participant, no matter how difficult it may appear to anyone else, because what is easy for one person can easily be terrifying or completely unbelievable to another person. The purpose of the program is to help each participant achieve something that is expressly difficult for him or her. Then, by applying what is learned through that process, the participant is ready and equipped to face, conquer, and achieve any goal they choose to tackle in the future. It sets up a pattern for success, which can be repeated again and again throughout one’s life.)

Here’s what happened:

Q. What did you rank your Phase 2 short term goal, in terms of difficulty, on a scale of 1-10?

A. 9

Q. What was your goal? Did you accomplish the goal?

A. To get 10 new preferred customers in 2 weeks. I DID accomplish the goal.

Q. Please describe your experience.

A. I had a couple other goals I wanted to do for my Phase 2 goal, but when I tried to move forward, I couldn’t feel the peace. The only one that brought peace was to get 10 new preferred customers in 2 weeks. My purpose for this were multi-faceted:

1. To qualify for an all-expenses paid week long vacation with my husband in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.

2. To re-qualify for my monthly product so I wouldn’t have to pay for it.

3. To inspire my team to apply these principles so they can get their product for free as well.

The deadline I set was 2 weeks… the day before my team training, where I would teach them these principles.

Nothing happened for the first week or so. I was reaching out to people, but nothing. Then a friend set a goal and decided to offer a $25 discount for new customers. This was inspiration for me to help me move toward my goal, and I began to offer that to prospects.

It wasn’t until the day before my presentation that anything happened.

[Did you notice that?? Two weeks to complete the goal, but it only STARTED to come together on the last day!]

But it came out of nowhere …someone …had a son who wanted to try the product, and I was able to set him right up as my first new customer. So I had one. And I chose to keep believing.

I went to the training, and on the way there, I expressed gratitude for the journey and for my new customer and for all the other customers I’ve gotten along the way. I also asked the Lord to make up the difference for anything I was doing wrong with the visualization, as I was doing the best I knew how.

A thought popped into my head. The Law of Gestation! 2 weeks just wasn’t quite long enough for this goal. But the second thought that came was a reminder of my 3 purposes for the goal. And all three of them could still be accomplished if I signed up 9 more customers by the end of the month. I had 4 more days! I felt a renewed hope, and a renewed faith.

I couldn’t do anything but believe on Sunday. Monday I touched base with a few prospects but I was gone all day cleaning the temple.

Everyone kept saying, “Can we talk on the first of the month?” Or “Can we talk next week?” It was almost comical.

I asked the hard question – seeing if they could bump up our conversation because my goal was attached to the end of the month.

On the 30th of the month things started coming together.

I began to hear back from people, and they began to set up appointments to sign up as customers the next day.

I felt impressed to write Leslie to ask if she knew someone with anxiety/depression. What followed blew me away! She offered to have me share an experience about the prosperity principles, and she would include it in her newsletter. Then she said she would include my story at the bottom to help people with the anxiety struggles. I feel so blessed for her kindness, generosity, and connections. I could see that God was ordering my world.

After my interchange with Leslie, I felt inspired to post on Facebook that if anyone had been lurking in the shadows (who had already seen my video and knew my story) and wanted to try the vitamins, I would give them $25 toward their first order. I had 3 people sign up from that.

On the last day of the month I was on the phone from 10 a.m. until 6:30. I shared my story, answered questions, and signed up customers. I had 8 people signed up, and at the very last minute my husband and I were called by our church for a meeting. We were gone for 2 1/2 hours at the prime time for me to find my last 2 customers. Instead, I went without dinner until 9:15, and got home at 9:30.

I felt like a pregnant woman in transition. I was emotional, exhausted, and ready to quit. I just wanted sleep.

As my husband went into the store to get us food, I recognized that my vibration was low, and that I wouldn’t be able to get inspiration until I increased it. So I visualized my goal again, felt gratitude, and the peace returned. But at this point I also surrendered. I told the Lord that it was okay if it didn’t happen. That I had already qualified with Cabo and was super grateful. And it was enough. But then I ended with, “It may or may not happen, but I choose to believe.”

My cousin’s name popped in my head. I texted her as soon as I got home, and she said she was ready to try the vitamins! We were on the phone at 10:30 p.m.!

I only had one to go – and the contacts on Facebook were not panning out. I was only 10 points away from the free product, and I had the idea to sign up my son to buy something that would qualify. I kept holding out a little longer in case something else came through. When it didn’t, I pressed “submit.”

I went to bed feeling concerned that maybe I had blown it.

Thankfully when I woke up in the morning, the Lord was able to teach me!

I met every goal. Cabo. Free product. 10 customers. And having a story to share with my team!

And where I was paying every new customer $25 toward their order, I only had to pay $22 when I signed up my son. And I actually get the product!

The biggest lesson learned this time, is that I seem to attract what meets my PURPOSE for my goal, even when the goal isn’t met in the way I think it should be. This happened in both my Phase 1 goal and Phase 2 goal. So I want to be more clear in my purpose and focus more on that in the future!

I had originally wanted to get my customers before I did my training, to help others learn these principles. But it didn’t happen. I only had 1. But I was able to be grateful for the 1 customer I did get, and for all the other customers I’ve gotten over the last 19 months. As soon as the gratitude was there, I was told in my mind that the reason it didn’t happen in that timing was because of the Law of Gestation. When I realized I could still meet the PURPOSE for my goal, and had 4 more days until the end of the month when it had to happen – I just felt grateful, and believed it would come to me.

Stay tuned, because Stephanie is preparing to conduct trainings for youth groups, adults, and businesses to teach the principles of prosperity. She is currently working on the Mentor Training program. You can follow her by signing up for her mailing list at the bottom of her blog: Just Walking Each Other Home

Again, Stephanie, my hearty congratulations.

PS. Funny story

As I was preparing to process Stephanie’s graduation application, she was going through some old emails and came across a conversation from 2007, more than ten years ago (!!) where a friend talked to her about me, and my books—a conversation she didn’t even remember having! She realizes now that she just wasn’t ready back then. Click here to read more about that.

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