Finding the Blessing In Our Struggles 

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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A few months ago, I joined an awesome tribe of writers at Our Words Collaborative, a Christian devotional website where we share how God is moving in our lives. From time to time, I’ll republish some of those devotionals here on Mondays. I think it’s a great way to kick off our week – centered in faith.

Artwork by Ainsley Jordan

There are days I wake up, beating back exhaustion and swallowing tears. The past few years have stretched our family in ways we never imagined. And yet, through it all, an unrelenting faith is taking root. Often I pray not day by day, but second by second.  Most people would not place struggle and blessing in the same sentence, but I now understand God uses our most painful experiences to help grow us beyond ourselves, and into the realm of steadfast belief. His grace always sustains and guides us, even when we feel alone.

“If I told you my story, you would hear hope that didn’t let go…” 

– Big Daddy Weave, “My Story” 

I believe God will do the impossible. And I say this to myself repeatedly, especially during those times when the weight of disillusionment chases me, relentless in its pursuit of my joy. Confessing victory over what looks like destruction defeats the enemy every time. It’s not an easy mindset to practice, but it’s a liberating one.

I draw strength from various ministries, meditating on verses of scripture which feel as if they were written solely for me. And I read books by healing ministers such as Becky Dvorak (Dare to Believe: The True Power of Faith to Walk in Divine Healings and Miracles) who works in Guatemala, and travels the world with her husband, delivering powerful testimonies, teaching people to activate their faith and walk in the supernatural.

“Everything is possible for one who believes.” -Mark 9:23 

Slowly, friends, I am learning to transcend the physical and embrace my spiritual eyesight. God can and will do the impossible in our lives. Yet we must do our part, cultivating radical and unwavering faith within our hearts. I would like to share two ways I am activating my faith throughout the day; I pray it helps you on your own journey:

1. Surround Yourself With God’s Promises: Put up encouraging and healing scripture verses all around your home and office. Read them aloud daily, several times a day. Commit them to memory.

2. Celebrating God Through Song: Listen to praise music with meaningful statements about victory and perseverance. I particularly enjoy songs from prolific artists such as Big Daddy Weave, Mali Music, Lauren Daigle and Plumb.

Our struggles are shaping and refining us. Instead of resisting them, embrace the lessons and allow your soul to bloom through connecting to His presence.


Prayer: 

Dear Lord,

Help me to understand what appear to be obstacles are actually opportunities to activate radical and unwavering faith. Today I might face struggles, but remind me you are here, standing alongside me, conquering each roadblock.

When I am tempted to talk to co-workers, friends or family, remind me to first come closer to your spirit. Place your words within my heart: “Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” (Joshua 1:9)
Amen.

Why Is Rest the New Luxury For Us? 

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Photo via Unsplash

Last week I said yes over and over again to mounting commitments, when I should have said no. I feel lazy for napping as my daughter does so I work instead. My body aches for the restorative power of sleep, yet I resist relentlessly.

All of this has me wondering if you and I have convinced ourselves (especially Mamas) that rest is the new luxury? 

Why Can’t We Rest?
Why do we work ourselves into frenzies, desperate to placate others, running marathons for fleeting acceptance and pats on the back? Hashtags like #TeamNoSleep, #Hustle and #MomBoss fill our social media timelines. No one wants to become a slacker, and admit fatigue plagues them.

Nearly all of my close girlfriends carry exhaustion like shawls, rest barely attainable in the chaotic world of non-stop productivity. Some day, we wistfully say, “we’ll sleep,” but there is always more – an endless barrage of family and career obligations, another email to send (I am the queen of that line) or phone calls and meetings. It NEVER stops. EVER. These  dizzying to-do-lists squelch opportunities to live fully present.

According to an article in Forbes magazine which cited a study on multitasking, our brains can only handle so much information:
“Recent research shows that not only does multitasking not save time, it actually hinders your ability to operate efficiently. Chief among the evidence, a study from Stanford University revealed that the brains of people who regularly attempt to do multiple tech-oriented tasks at once–such as e-mailing, IM-ing, watching TV and browsing the Internet–pay a high price…”

Before we know it, the day is done and we remain as disconnected from rejuvenation as when it began.

Doing Less, but Doing it Well…
What if we hit our collective reset buttons and committed to doing less while embracing excellence? I listened to Bishop T.D. Jakes discuss the “power of focus” recently, and was struck by the simple and profound concept he put forth: not a mastery of multitasking, but the art of laser focusing on your purpose.

Our purpose is not merely what we do, it is the force which propels us forward and imbues our life with meaning. It’s why we are on the planet. Essentially it is our offering to the world. If you and I allow the exhaustion of juggle and noise to deplete it, we can help no one, least of all ourselves.

Let’s all slow down, and stop making rest a luxury.

Be Gentle & Loving With Yourself Everyday

Emelda De Coteau
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Emelda De Coteau

Mother, wife, sister, friend, writer / blogger / creative organizer, budding photographer... These are just a few of the many hats I juggle each day. I believe creativity is oxygen for the soul. I created Live In Color blog to celebrate the beauty in every moment, from faith to inspiration and motherhood.And it is soon becoming Pray with Our Feet blog which will focus on the intersection of faith and activism. Follow the inspiration on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/praywithourfeetblog/
Emelda De Coteau
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Photo Credit: Emelda De Coteau

“Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” – Kurt Vonnegut

Becoming an adult often means we swallow pieces of ourselves, hide vulnerabilities under the guise of responsibilities. Frequent crying  is labeled juvenile, a personal weakness… Yet if ever there were a period to be gentle with ourselves, it is now, when the energy in the world tugs at us daily, assaulting our psyches.

As women and Moms we are relentless with self criticism. I wake up with a mile long to-do-list and silently berate myself when things fall by the way side. Often I struggle to even feel worthy of rest.

There is so much to do, I tell myself – homeschooling, blogging, planning meals and errands for the week. How can I possibly lay down, or go sit in a cafe  and read (one of my favorite past times)? And yet, each time I surrender to rest or doing something only for me, I feel renewed.

Why is it so tough for us to show compassion towards ourselves?  It’s a habit, y’all, and like everything which becomes part of our daily lives, we have to do it over and over again.

When you and I feel overwhelmed the next time, the weight of responsibilities suffocating us, we have to first begin to breathe. It instantly centers you, becoming your sole focus during that moment.

The hubby, Kes, says that to me whenever I become frantic. Take a deep breath, baby.  And then, because he’s perfect for me, he follows up with something hilarious: “I’m gonna start calling you ‘Mel & The Frantics’ cause you always in a panic.” Now I am laughing so hard I almost snort. If y’all could see his face, eyes wide with amusement, you would bowl over with laughter, too.

Audrey Hepburn, whom I admire for her kindness, humanitarian work, and gracious beauty said: “I love people who make me laugh. I honestly think it’s the thing I like most, to laugh. It cures a multitude of ills. It’s probably the most important thing in a person.”

All of us need those moments when joy erridicates worry. Sometimes, we have to look in the mirror and crack up at our own mess!

Releasing judgement, anxiety, and silencing all those “should voices” in our minds is another essential part of embracing gentleness. American culture is very much rooted in a kind of personal gratification based on what you do (work hard and then play). Yet there are days when we must relax without having done everything.

This is a tough on for me, y’all. I am goal / project / achievement-oriented-person. But the longer I foster self care and love in my spirit, the more I come to increased clarity, understanding gentleness means releasing fear, the fear of not measuring up.

You and I are enough. Our strength and beauty is not inextricably tied to productivity. We are more than our accomplishments. Gentleness, compassion, honesty and humor are the way forward, illuminating our day-to-day paths. Each one of us deserves a life overflowing with lasting gentleness and joy.

 

Are you gentle with yourself? If so, in what ways? If not, how can you start?