Review by Rayna: Daring to Hope

Daring to Hope: Finding God’s Goodness in the Broken and Beautiful is an amazing and encouraging read.  I was so blessed by Katie Majors’ amazing commitment and obedience to the Lord.

 

As a teenager, Katie went on a mission trip to Uganda which changed her life forever.  When she returned to the states her desire to follow the dreams she had before she went we completely gone.  She decided to make the move to Uganda permanently rather than to head to college.

 

In Uganda, she started a nonprofit called Amazima Ministries.  Her mission is Helping to educate and empower the people of Uganda with God’s love.

 

She is passionate about helping people, in this book she shares how she works with woman and families to find the love of the Lord and improve their lives in any way she can.

 

She is active in fostering orphans, providing lay health care, helping families be united after the death as well as adoption. This book is filled with stories of raising those beautiful girls and the challenges of loving and losing.

 

I was so encouraged and blessed by her open heart and home.  She shares how looking for blessings in even the small ways helped to heal her broken heart when one of her girls has to be returned to her mom after 4 years of being hers.

 

The wisdom shared in this book will bless and challenge you as you look to live out your life loving and serving as God has called you to, in your life, right where you are!

How to Settle In During a Hard Transition

How to Settle In During a Hard Transition…

According to Bella

Just 4 months ago Bella joined our Neises pack.  Bella is an 8-year-old pug.  I am a pug lover and had been looking for a female black pug to adopt for a couple of years.  Life had gotten too busy for her former family and they decided it was best for her to find a new home.  R Farm was just the right retirement home for her.

Moving to a new home is a BIG transition for anyone, even a dog.

This transition has been a challenging one for Miss Bella.  Since her move was something she couldn’t prepare for or even understand I think it was especially hard on her.

After Bella came home to live on the farm she became very frantic.  The panic got even worse when she couldn’t see me.

It took over a month before she would even stay in a room when I walked out of it.   It is hard to even describe how upset she became when I had to leave her.

Today she is doing much better.  She loves to relax on the back of the couch and look out the window.  She still sticks rather close, but she is even willing to go on short adventures around the farm.

I am still her favorite safe place, but trust is growing, and she seems to be embracing life as a Neises and all that entails.

As I sit in my prayer chair with Bella snuggled in my lap the Lord shared some special things with me about our relationship.  He brought this verse to mind and then shared with me how life with Bella has shown me this verse in a very real way.

Joshua 1:9 says “Have I not commanded you?  Be strong and courageous.  Do not be afraid, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”

Making big transitions in life is so much easier when you know the Lord.  When we make transitions, we can often be stressed by all the changes.

Like Bella, we can run around searching for anything that makes us feel safe.  Make sure you run to Him.  He is the only one who is always there, and He always knows what is going on in our lives.

 Be strong and courageous.

Learning to stand strong in your faith and courageous in the midst of change is an important habit to develop.

Find your comfy couch….Learn to rest and relax in Him.

Just because we can’t see Him doesn’t mean He isn’t there providing and protecting us.  Remember even in the difficult times we can rest in the confidence of His love.  As Bella has learned to enjoy lap time with me and time alone on the couch we need both too.

Time just sitting with the Lord, listening to His loving words and singing praises to Him is a must to grow in faith and trust in Him.  This faith and trust bring the courage to not be afraid even when we don’t understand what is happening in our lives.

Do not be afraid,

With fear behind you like Bella, it is ok to explore and to try new things.  If everything you have known has changed then I know you aren’t feeling much like exploring, you are actually longing to settle into a new safe routine.

Try a mindset shift, it will help you embrace the change.  Keeping in mind the Lord is everywhere.  There is nothing to fear.  These truths can help you make that shift so you can leave fear behind.

For the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.

I love how the Lord helps me learn in the most personal ways. I hope you find the lessons Bella has helped me remember have blessed you as well.


I would really like to hear how you have experienced peace in the midst of change in your life.  Please Share below.

 

If you find yourself in transition without peace I would love to talk with you about how coaching can help you learn that there is hope when life stinks! Let’s Talk.  Contact Me

3 Things I’m Learning About Me by Caring for My Dad

3 Things I’m Learning About Me by Caring for My Dad

 

13 years ago my dad called me while I was at work.  He said, “Rayna, I’m worried.  I think something is wrong with my memory.”  My response was, “Oh dad, don’t worry about it.  We don’t’ know what normal aging looks like.  I’m sure you’re fine.”

He lost his parents before the age of 60 and my mom at the age of 65 after 12 years of Alzheimer’s. I went on to tell him to go ahead and see a doctor just to be assured that things are fine.

Unfortunately, he was right, there was a problem.  The diagnosis was Mild Cognitive Impairment which later progressed to Alzheimer’s.

In some ways, it seems like that was a timeline ago and in other ways it feels like yesterday.  As his disease has progressed so has his need for 24-hour care.  3 and half years ago I became one of those who provides that care so that he can stay in his home as he asked.

It would be a lot easier if I lived close by but it is 220 miles one way to stay with him and care for him.  For the first couple of years, I made the drive weekly but thankfully I have been able to cut back to every other weekend now.

As I reflect on this experience of caring for my dad’s needs as he lives with this disease 3 things stood out that I have learned about me.

I am a control freak. 

This is not a new revelation but until this experience I think I was doing better at trying not to try to control everything. Now I battle with feeling that I have to control everything to keep him safe.

I can see where being a control freak has served me well in some ways.  Controlling many of the trivial things in dad’s environment makes life easier and safer for him.  It is amazing how something as small as putting his baseball cap on can make him ready to go out the door, no matter what time of day or night it is.  Knowing this means the cap is always stored out of site.

But my desire to control everything can also bring him and me unnecessary stress.  For example, I would love for Dad to go to bed at the same time every night in order to help him get up easier in the morning but how do you tell your 84-year-old person it is bed time? I do it gently but many times that doesn’t matter. Dad has been an adult a long time and he wants to go to bed when he wants to not when I think he should.

There are too many other things for me to list that I would like to control and can’t in this situation.  When I forget to bring all of them to God then I get STRESSED, sad and upset.  Talking to the Lord about how hard the situation is brings comfort unlike anything else.

I know God is building my trust in Him through this so I just have to keep focused on Him and reminding myself God does truly control it all.

I am deeply Loved.

Farmer and I had been married for 5 years when he looked at me and said you need to take care of your dad, even if that means you need to move here and live with him.  Seriously, it was his idea.

I am so thankful for how well he has loved me as I have spent 50% of the week away from him week in and week out for almost 3 years.  No, he is not perfect just like I’m not, but his love and support has meant the world to me.

I am also deeply loved by my Lord.  His grace to live this day in and day out has blessed me beyond words.  His desire for me to love my daddy well has been whispered to me when dad is being difficult.  His desire for me to share His light and love with the others who are caring for my dad too has been a mission He has laid on my heart.  His love and forgiveness when I have not fulfilled this calling well has been there waiting for the asking.

Loving is easy when life is easy, it is much harder when things are difficult but living knowing you are Loved is the Best!

I am only human and this hurt.

It hurts to see your strong, smart, compassionate and loving daddy fade in and out.  I wish that I could figure out a way to serve him without it hurting so much but I am only human and it is supposed to hurt.

As a teenager when I experienced losing my mom I closed off my heart for a while.  The pain of what was happening just seemed too much.  When I finally broke down and allowed the Lord to talk with me about it He said if you feel no pain then you feel no joy either.  Rayna, I have both pain and joy for you.  Open your heart, I will help you carry the pain and bask in the joy.

There are times I feel overwhelmed with the sorrow and pain of watching dad struggle in this confusion and frustration.  That is when I realize I have been holding it in and not taking it to my heavenly Father for Him to carry it with me.

With all my heart, I wish God would just take it away but that’s what He has seen fit to do and most often that is not how this fallen world works.  Jesus said in John 16:33“ I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world, you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (Yep, that’s where Take Heart Coaching got its name.)

So, there they are, 3 things that I am learning from taking care of my daddy during this time in our lives.

Have you taken time to reflect on the lessons you have learned from your Dad?  This weekend might be an appropriate time to do that.  Life is not easy and your relationship with your dad might be a tough one but with prayer and reflection I’m sure there are some things you have learned from him. 


I would love to hear what you have realized you have learned from your dad.  Comment below!

How does what you believe change your everyday life?

How does what you believe change your everyday life?

Do you believe in Santa Claus?   Do you believe in happily ever after?   Do you believe in God’s word?

How you answer each of these questions will change the way you live. 

If you believe in Santa you will get better gifts, or so I hear.  If you believe in happily ever after you might work harder to invest your marriage so it is happy.  If you believe in God’s word you will know His character and how He feels about you and that will change everything.

Believe has two different definitions: one means to accept (something) as true; feel sure of the truth of something the second on is to hold (something) as an opinion; think or suppose. Even how you believe something will change your life.

Believing something is truth versus an opinion are worlds apart. 

Sometimes experiencing hard times can mess with your believing.  Things have been difficult with Dad lately.

He is experiencing some new physical issues that have left him very tired and often even more confused.  Sadly, with those feelings he is very agitated and can be unkind.  My dad has always been a gentleman, kind and respectful.  It is very difficult to see him like this, not to mention being the person he is unkind to.

My heart has been saddened and heavy.  As I spilled my heart out to God about how hard this season with Dad is, He asked me, “Rayna, do you still believe I am good?”

This was a question I struggled with years ago when my first marriage came to an end.  It was so hard to understand how I could be experiencing this when it was the last thing I wanted.

How could God let this happen?Psalm 33:4-5

With this question came some exploring of God’s character.  Was it about Him letting this happen or was it really, could God still be good if this is His will for my life?

Struggling with this core belief has changed how I live.

Being rooted in the truth that God is Good helps me to respond to hard times with hope and peace.

When our house burned down, God is Good.

When my dog dies, God is Good.

When I get an, “I love you, Graham.” from Owen, God is Good.

When the harvest is abundant, God is Good.

When the crops are destroyed by flood, God is Good.

When my Dad is struggling and not nice, God is still Good.

What are you believing about God that needs a closer look?  How can you move your belief from opinion to truth?


If you are not sure where to start, I can help.  Coaching might be just what you need to make that shift.   Learn more about coaching here or contact me to talk about what coaching with me would look like for you!

 


“If you wish to know God, you must know his Word. If you wish to perceive His power, you must see how He works by his Word. If you wish to know His purpose before it comes to pass, you can only discover it by His Word.” (C.H. Spurgeon)
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