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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For those who desire to maintain traditional roles

I stumbled onto an old message while looking for something else, and it’s prompted me to bring together in one place a few different conversations I’ve had on this topic. It’s not organized in any particular way, and my newsletter is already long overdue, so I’m going to just share it “as is” for now, and (maybe) clean it up later. It’s my blog, so I can do what I want, right?

If maintaining traditional roles in a marriage is not important to you, then check out some of my other articles listed at the right.

Otherwise, here we go…

Dear Leslie,

I am in need of some ideas in regards to the Law of Attraction and am hoping you will address this in a blog so it will be easy to find. I have read the forums and haven’t come across anything like this from the wife’s point of view. Two years ago, my husband and I started learning about the law of attraction. It was exciting and empowering and life changing. We have read and listened to much and changed much about our thinking and feeling. Yet, we continue to be stuck in the abundance of poverty including making things much worse than ever. Now, I know this is not an unusual comment for you to hear so bear with me for a couple of paragraphs.

My husband has been in sales and marketing for 23 years. He is good at it but has lost a fair number of jobs along the way. Since we started learning all this, it seemed that things would change but they haven’t. Just last week I had an ‘ah-hah’ moment during a discussion. For many years he would say in the midst of a good job, “I don’t like working for someone else.” Oh, my goodness, there it was. No matter how much we were changing, his overriding feeling was that he didn’t want to work for someone else and guess what? He now wasn’t! So the law was still in effect in spite of our learnings and changings.

So my big question, shared by several of my friends in similar situations, is, can one person’s thoughts or goals override another?  If one person is truly getting it, and yet the other doesn’t believe strong enough, how can things shift? I see many women start to get this and shift things majorly, yet they end up being the breadwinner of the family. This is not our intention or our goal, especially with children at home. So what I would like you to address if you can is what kinds of affirmations should the wife be making, what kinds of thoughts and feeling should we be generating? If a husband’s pattern is self-defeating or self-sabotaging, what’s a wife to be, do or think to make this work? Help!

I appreciate all you are doing and especially your take on it since we share the same religious values.

Sincerely,

Danielle T.

So I found that letter (which had been sent via snail-mail) as I was cleaning out some files, and I’m embarrassed to say that I’m not sure if I ever responded. But I no longer have this person’s contact information, so in case she reads my blog, I’m going to respond to it now.

The short answer is yes, one person’s faith, intention, or goal can override another person’s thinking (or lack thereof). Here’s how:

Your faith can be enough to cause something to happen, even if your spouse is full of doubt, depending on if YOU think it is enough. If YOU believe his or her doubt will have no effect, then YES your faith can be sufficient. See how it always comes back to how YOU think?

Chew on that for a minute.

But, before you take that to the bank, I need to add a disclaimer:

Especially in a marriage, it’s important that we do not bulldoze our way to our dreams in spite of our partner. We need to be really careful about how we apply the principles, because it does not serve us to keep one law “well”, if doing so violates another. All of the laws can be kept in harmony, if we apply them in wisdom and order.

Your relationships matter. Your partner’s feelings matter. Your commitment to each other matters. Be patient and choose a pace that works for the both of you, even if it means sacrificing some of your wants. This is my advice to married couples who want to stay married.

As Thomas S. Monson advised:

“Never let a problem to be solved become more important than a person to be loved.” 

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Stay at Home Moms

Here’s another question I received, in a similar vein:

Hi Leslie! I am really struggling with what seems to be two conflicting ideas. I come to you as one who knows about both.

Here is my struggle that often brings me to tears. As a Latter Day Saint woman I am struggling with the conflict of following the council of our prophets and apostles to be a stay at home Mom while wanting to follow my dreams and become a motivational speaker for teens and women. I feel I cannot have both according to the council, why? Because speaking would pull me out of the home. I have studied our leaders words and they are very explicit on mothers staying home to raise their children unless circumstances arise where the mother has to work. I too am passionate about mothers staying home with their children. I believe it is of the utmost importance. The reason this is a conflict for me is because as much as I love being a mother and staying at home with my children, I don’t get much fulfillment – which breaks my heart. I wish just being a mom was fulfillment enough for me! I wish I could love staying at home all the time. Day in and day out I often feel depleted, forgotten, and alone. I feel like I am becoming more and more numb. I have forgotten how to laugh, how to have fun, how to smile because I feel I am not “allowed” to follow my dreams because if I did, it would take me out of the home.

What I really want is to make a meaningful contribution in the world. I want something I’m passionate about, something that drives me forward, something I love to read, study, and learn about. Something that brings me excitement, makes me want to get out of bed, gives me a reason to get cloths on, do my hair, exercise, etc.

So the conflict in me often eats me alive. I cry because I want to follow a dream and a passion but feel I can’t and I cry because I feel I am bad or wrong because being a mother doesn’t feel like enough. I feel I am drowning in the monotony of every day life. And the conflict is, I want BOTH! I want to be a stay at home Mom AND I want to follow my dreams and start becoming a motivational speaker. But how can I do both? I know the brethren talk about seasons. Yes, I could wait till my kids are all grown but to me that feels like it would take another 10-20 years of drowning before I could actually surface. And who knows if I would ever surface after that much repression. Do I do both? Do I set boundaries where I am not out of the home very often? What is your insight on being a Latter Day Saint stay at home Mom and following your dreams and goals??

Thanks so much!!

Heather

Hi Heather – I have so much to say on this topic! I’ve kept your message flagged for a time when I could give it the attention it deserves but things are crazy right now with my 5th grader needing help with her speech for student council elections, my 15 and 18 y/o sons’ double eagle court of honor, helping my college son find a car to replace the one that just gave up the ghost, and helping my daughter get ready for her mission in a few more weeks. Case in point, I guess… I’ve needed to make a conscious decision to set business aside for a while and just handle what’s right in front of me. I’ll be back in full swing again soon 😉

In the meantime, look at it like shifting your weight from one leg to the other. Back and forth. You can’t walk without the swing. There is no such thing as balance, as Sharon Lechter describes it. If you’re perfectly balanced over your two feet, you can’t move at all!

Anyway, if and when you come to any conclusions of your own I would love to hear what you’ve deduced. This may be a great topic for another blog post… 🙂

Thanks for your understanding!

Leslie

Related: How to Establish a Shared Vision That Will Lift Your Family (Ensign magazine, March 2018)

Hey Leslie! I totally understand! And I am sure you have much wisdom on this topic. I am excited to hear what you have to say.

I love the analogy of balance. That is so simple and profound. That helps a lot. Thank you!

I talked to a friend about this subject as well and she is an lds mom who owns her own business and is a top youth speaker and even singer. She won the lds Pearl Awards several years back. You may know her from her music – her name is Jessie Clark Funk. Anyway, as I was talking to her she said something that helped me a lot. She said, we often think we have to do all these things, follow all these steps, listen to all the experts right now to “make it” in whatever it is our dream is. But we often forget that there is no set timeline. The timeline is what is perfect for you and your family and savoring the seasons you are in while preparing for the next. We can do all we can now, but we don’t have to bust our butt thinking we have to do everything right now. I don’t know what it looks like to follow my dream while still enjoying the season I am in, especially with a new 4 week old, but I am determined to have “joy in any circumstance” and to me that is loving being a mother as well as following my dreams.

Thanks for your willingness to answer my questions and help me in this. I appreciate your perspective very much!

Thanks again! Heather

Heather, did you ever read my super long post about when I felt conflicted with goal achievement and marriage? The details aren’t exactly like yours, but the principle and feeling is very similar I think… I’m realizing I probably won’t ever get around to writing my whole collection of thoughts on this, but much of it has already been written so maybe the following can help. I realize it might not give you the answers you need, but it might spur some new thoughts that can bring you there, if this conflict is still a concern:
http://ararekindoffaith.com/the-hardest-thing-ive-ever-tried-to-write

Hope this message finds you well! Leslie

Oh my word Leslie! Thank you for sharing that blog post with me. I finally read it and you put words to the huge ah ha’s I have had this year! It makes me want to giggle and gasp because it is now a second witness to what I have been experiencing and what I am coming to understand is true!A few years ago I got deeply into the self help realm reading books, going to a bazillion Kirk Duncan events, attending all sorts of classes and in the process wanted to start a business with a friend all in the name of, “dreaming big” “living my purpose” “serving others” “following my dreams” etc. I was deceived into believing that I am powerful enough to make anything work and to create my life however I want it. While that might be true, just as in your post – it doesn’t mean I should. Well, during that time of lots of self help stuff, I became more and more confused, my vision and clarity got darker and darker. I couldn’t understand why. Especially when I would even wake up at 5am (I am so not a morning person) and study my scriptures and exercise and go to the temple weekly. I realized it was all to gain the things I wanted in my life rather than a desire to come closer to God. So needless to say, my spiritual practices were anything but spiritual. I couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t feel light, peace, or even a fraction of the Spirit from my spiritual practices. After about a year of going through all of this I paused. I looked at my life and realized it was not better off with me going after my goals and dreams. I was more miserable, more depressed, I felt I had lost the spirit for quite some time, I couldn’t feel gods light or peace. I was lost and in the dark. I felt that I was literally a reflection of the scripture “For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it.” 

I had lost myself in the pursuit of finding myself through growing my skills and talents and going after my dreams. I had never felt so lost. Ever! I couldn’t understand why. I was doing all the things the prosperity experts told me, why was my life so dark? Why were my relationships with my loved ones more distant? Why wasn’t things happening for me? Well, I realized that I quite honestly didn’t care what God wanted me to do because I was too excited about the life I was going to create. So, he let me alone and let me trod down a tough path until I was desperate enough to truly let go of what I wanted and then turn my heart to him. 

I, like you, stopped listening and attending anything that had to do with prosperity training. I let go of everything and didn’t even want to look at it or touch it. I had to find out the truth and I needed so badly the Lords light and peace back into my life. So I left everything alone for almost another year. It wasn’t until early this year that I started to pick things back up with a totally different mindset. One with more caution and much more aware for gods plan for me. In fact, your stuff is the only stuff I trust enough to pick back up. So I did. And I see prosperity principles in an entirely new light in a way I could never see them before. 

Anyway, I too felt that I had to be a martyr and give up on me and that my dreams just weren’t important. I cried about that a lot. But as I said before, I also cried a lot because I wanted to want to be ok with just being home and being a stay at home mom. But I just couldn’t, so that’s why I reached out to you for help. 

In the weeks of pondering and searching for answers I realized that as members of the church who have made temple covenants, I think we are a bit different from the rest of the world in that we covenant to serve and follow God. Thus it hit me, “my life is not mine, it is the Lord’s. I have made that covenant” so in a way I am not free to just say what I want my life to be like. I have an obligation to be a tool in his hands so therefore what I want ISN’T as important as I wanted it to be. But that is the beauty of it all, giving up what we want to serve God is really one of the highest form of joy. I never experienced that until I completely let go of what I wanted and let him direct me. He directed me to do something I was terrified of and literally fought him a year on, and that was having another baby. As you know, I gave in again to what he wanted (you saw my giant belly). The minute, no! the second I gave in I felt immediate peace!! And now, here my baby is, 2 1/2 months and I am so full of joy I can’t even express. God knew what I needed and wanted more than I did! In fact that statement has gone through my head any time I started to want to achieve a goal, “God knows what you want more than you know what you want.” It’s so true!

So, in regards to wanting so much to fulfill my dreams AND be a stay at home mom I realized I can do both. How? By changing my mindset. You see, with all the trainings I went to I was taught to think big, constantly think about it, envision it, make a vision board, etc. Basically, put all your focus into this thing till you have created it. So it caused me to believe that I can’t achieve something unless I am constantly working on it and thinking about it. Not true! A good friend who is also a successful business owner said to me, now may not be your season to totally jump into your dream but in the meantime, hold on to it and start digging in. Read about the topic, study it, but most of all have fun with it. Enjoy it! 

The next profound thing she said is, YOU HAVE TIME! You don’t have to accomplish it by any certain time, if it brings you fulfillment just by thinking about it, that is enough because eventually you will be called to do something and when the time is right it will be shown to you and then you can take off! 

That advice has literally changed my life! The realization that I have time!!! That just because it’s not up on my vision board or I’m not networking or whatever, doesn’t mean I’m not working on my dream. In fact two things you guys said at the bootcamp that has made a huge impact on this very thing is “Dreaming big doesn’t have to be big to the worlds standards, it can be big because even a small change is a big deal!” That has impacted me so much! That I don’t have to dream about 1 million dollars, I can take the small baby steps toward my dream and that could be as small as just smiling a real smile when you see strangers. And then the other thing that was said at bootcamp was, “you don’t have to know your dream or life purpose to start working on it.” That was so profound to me. 

So as I let go, and I move forward. I am a happy camper. I trust in God’s plan and timing and I also know that God will grant my dream if it is wisdom in him and if I am obedient.  But if not, then I know God will create something even better than I could imagine. 

So, what I am saying is yes! I have received my answer to that dilemma. And I am continuing to receive answers.. But seriously, that blog post is almost identical to the journey I went on! So crazy! And perfect for the answers and clarity I have been seeking. Thank you so much for sharing!!

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It’s what God gave us time for / Law of Polarity

Parenting Transformation Journey – page 17 (click here for page 1)

(Originally posted August 14, 2013)

All day yesterday, my 11 year-old son hoped I would find time to take him fishing. I had already picked up some hooks and bait the day before with the money he gave me, and he couldn’t wait to use them.

But yesterday was too hectic – my business commitment I thought I’d finish by 10:00 am took me until 5:30 pm instead. And his older brother was already in line for me to take shopping after I was done.

It was around 2 or 3 when my little fisherman asked again if we could go, and I finally had to say, “I need you to be okay if this doesn’t work out. I would much rather be fishing than doing business, believe me. But this is a promise I need to keep, and if I’m worried about how you’re feeling, I’m going to be stressed, and it will be harder for me to think. Are you going to be okay if we don’t go today?”

He said, “I’ll be okay if we don’t go today.”

I turned to his little sisters and said, “What about you girls? I need to know if you’ll be okay, too, so that I am not worried about you. If I’m not worried, I’ll be able to work faster.”

They both replied, “We’ll be okay if we don’t go today.”

Of course they were disappointed, but supportive. Talking it through with them like this was my attempt to pre-teach and help them accept a “no answer” calmly. I was proud of them for it.

I realize this sounds dangerously similar to the times when I was full-time building my business and I would say something like that to put my kids off. But the difference back then was that coming back to them was usually a token effort just so I could check it off the list and get back to work.

I always professed to want family time, but if I’m going to be honest with myself, I recognize that my actions showed otherwise. I had a really hard time breaking the pattern. It took a total emotional collapse to reboot my system and set me on a path to a more congruent existence. I’m grateful it happened, though, because now I only work my business about an hour a day, sometimes even only a couple hours a week. I’m not addicted to the work anymore, nor the charge I’d get from feeling like I was changing the world.

I truly don’t mean to diminish my work, because I know it was important and necessary for me to do at the time. But I’m just grateful that the joys I’m finding now in full-time motherhood are even deeper and longer lasting. When I receive emails from readers that describe what my books or materials have done for them, I’m super happy and I feel tremendous fulfillment and gratification that all of those hours, and the blood, sweat and tears were not for nothing. Like this one:

Hi Leslie 🙂  First of all, I can’t tell you how much your book [Portal to Genius] has changed my life.  I know you hear this all the time, but I still have to say it.  I have been an executive business coach for many years and … I have read every self-help, motivation, inspiration, sales book, etc…on the market and have been a reader of this type of material since I was about 25 years old.  I am now almost 45. 🙂  I have even held seminars, workshops, training sessions, etc…about the power of the mind and “change.”  I have trained groups as small as 3 and as large as 4,000…and NEVER have I felt the way I do right now…since I read your book just 4 weeks ago!  I can’t thank you enough!  In fact, my husband & I had been writing our own book for the past 2 years, never that thrilled with the content, but desiring to finish it because we know we can help people with their health.  As soon as I read Portal [to Genius], I gave it to my hubby, he read it the next weekend, and we’ve have been writin’ fools ever since.  The writer’s block has ended and we can’t stop…the ideas just keep comin’!!!  I have referred your book to a total of eight people now and I would say half of them have reported back to me, concurring with my sentiment! Nicole K., Ph D

But as much as I LOVE LOVE LOVE getting emails like that, (I really do!!) the thrill and joy only lasts a short time, and life marches on.

On the other hand, when I participate in helping one of my own children have a major breakthrough (which, interestingly enough is rarely of the variety that my business is even about), my gratification is pure joy, and I literally relish in it for days. I’ll sometimes even fall asleep rehearsing the victory and how it played out for several nights in a row. Even months and years later, I know that those are the breakthroughs that I will remember the most, and in which I will take the most pride.

And it’s not because of any praise I get for helping, it just from watching the children experience a change.

Most of the time, they don’t even realize they grew.

Like when my son didn’t show up for work on time because there was a miscommunication about his schedule. When he got the text that asked, “Aren’t you coming in?” he just about had a heart attack. It was his first job, he had only been there a week, and his brain kept firing shots of terror through his body, with all the ‘what ifs’ about what the consequences might be. As we raced to get him there (7 hours late), I tried to assure him that somewhere in this awful experience there is a seed of something good.

He shot back, “How can this POSSIBLY be good??” 

I had no answer. Only that it’s a true principle, and that somewhere there was a blessing in it. I didn’t know, maybe just that it was good he learned this lesson (whatever lesson it was) on a first job instead of a career job later when he’s trying to support a family.

He was convinced that everyone there was going to hate him, because he wasn’t there to do his part when they opened, and then for 7 hours, his team mates had to cover for him in a really stressful environment.

I practiced being calm for the both of us. Prayed for him that the good would be found. I knew that there was something good in it, because that’s one of the laws. I just hoped he would find it.

Then at the end of the day when I picked him up he was flying high. He told me excitedly about how everyone was really understanding, how the misunderstanding about the schedule meant that it was never posted publicly, so for those 7 hours nobody but his supervisor knew that it was him who was missing, and then because he was so late, he was there for some unexpected emergencies, and it was better for everyone that he worked the night shift instead of the early one. He came off heroic instead of delinquent.

Best of all, he got some BIG praise from his supervisor for showing up 7 hours late instead of not at all. He had faced his terror instead of just writing the day off, he overcame the fear of the unknown, grew in self-esteem, gained experience in communicating with people who he thought hated him, and saw real evidence that the law of polarity is actually true.  The experience changed him. I saw him grow two years in just one day, and I felt joy.

So back to the original story…

I finished my work without guilt, because I knew that the day was wide open, and I would not even be tempted to work. I knew I’d be able to spend some real time with my kids; and besides, I was ready for some recreation myself.

So I took my 18 year-old to work at 7:30 am, and ran home again to get his name tag. (On a scale of 1-10 where 10 is totally calm, I’m happy to say that I managed to stay up around an 8, even though returning for his forgotten name tag was not exactly what I wanted to be doing.)

Before I reached home the second time, I called the fishing preserve to ask about their hours. Since they had been open since dawn already, I was excited to surprise my youngest three with the news that we should go ASAP.

My 11 year-old son was super excited. We have a lake in our backyard, and he’s already caught countless fish there, but mostly only catfish, and only for catch and release. The lake we were going to is behind the library where you can catch about 5 different kinds of fish (including trout, which is what he really wanted), and, you can take them home to eat them.

So off we went.

photo (15)

While I was following them through the brush to find the best spot, I thought about how hot and uncomfortable I was (weather report says it was effectively 97 degrees), but how much in a rush I wasn’t. This is where they wanted to be, and I was mentally prepared to go along with it for a couple hours. I didn’t have something else on my mind that I “needed to get back to”, and I marveled that I had come so far. Two years ago I couldn’t get work off of my mind.

One of my previous parenting mentors (Matt Reichmann), always taught that if you want to have more power as a parent, you’ve got to play with your kids. When I was so caught up in work, I always had trouble making time for play. It’s getting easier, though, and I’ve noticed that the more I play with them, the less I have to correct them. Bottom line, they simply behave better when their emotional buckets are full, and their buckets stay full the more often I play with them.

I was also reminded of a video clip that put a smile on my face. It is simple but profound:

I love when the blogger said that “children aren’t something you collect because they’re cuter than stamps, [mothering is] not something you do if you can squeeze the time in, it’s what God gave you time… for.”

I know you may be thinking, “Yeah, that would be nice, if I didn’t have so many stresses that keep me from living that way…” because that’s what I thought for twenty years.

Well, I finally figured something out. When I was really ready to make that shift, when I was finally committed to living it no matter what, I had to let go. I had to let go of what people might think of me. I had to let go of the need for my lifestyle to look a certain way. I had to be ready to make the necessary sacrifices to claim it. I had to check my own priorities.

We downsized our home. We sold some extra cars. We rearranged a lot of things to make this work. I don’t get my nails done any more. I make my kids work for things. If we have to choose between getting a new coat of paint on the car or investing in our children’s education, we choose their education.

Through my work I learned with absolute certainty that we really can have anything we want. We could have a new car if we wanted one badly enough. We could replace some old furniture if we were passionate enough about doing that. I understand the principles of success and the law of vibration, and how our results are a reflection of our application of those principles. But I also recognize that for every desire, there is some effort that is required. So I had to ask myself, what am I working toward? For what purpose do I invest my best time, money, and attention?

What I really wanted more than anything was a peaceful home and rich relationships with my husband and children. And now I’m finally directing my best efforts to my own family. It takes a LOT of time, and it takes effort. Sometimes I still say “no” to a profitable opportunity here and there because it is a distraction at the time from my primary focus. But so far, nothing else has been this rewarding.

So you can imagine my surprise when, after ‘letting go’ for about a year and a half, that the business began to grow on its own. Other resources also began finding their way to us more freely. I began to recognize a real correlation between the calmness I felt, and the increase in the flow of money and opportunities into our lives.

There were still stressful situations, but choosing calmness and trusting God always seemed to cause the problem to melt away entirely, or turn it into something unexpectedly good. In either case, we were okay.

Stay calm, be still (in your heart), and think of God as a loving Father who will take care of you. Trust Him with your life.

No, it’s not easy to raise a family, and it’s not easy keeping Mom home from work if that’s what the goal is. But it’s possible if you want it. Opportunities will come to those who work tenaciously toward their worthy ideal, whatever it is. I promise you that. The answers may not come when you want them to, but God is never late.

(If you’re struggling with money issues, then you can get some new hope by reading The Jackrabbit Factor, and then coming back to browse some of the favorite posts on the right side of this page – they’re mostly about dealing with financial stress.)

So anyway, there’s my thought for the day: Raising a family is not something you do if you have time for it, it’s what God gave us time for.

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