Posts by traceymetzger

We are here at our vacation spot in a little town in Maine called Damariscotta. The one thing you can depend on here is that you cannot depend on the weather. We left Florida at six o’clock in the morning and it was already oppressively hot. We were sweating at 4:30am just from spending 10 minutes outside loading our bags in the car. We arrived in Portland about 11:00 am and were immediately taken by the lack of humidity as we stepped onto the jetbridge. After collecting our luggage we all gloried in the fresh Maine air as we left the terminal. It was like that for the rest of the first day but even as we sat watching the lake we could see the waves blowing in from the east indicating that rain was on it’s way. Rain in Maine is very different than rain in Florida. The thunderstorms that roll out as quickly as they roll in to take the edge off of the tropical heat of the day are not common in this northern part of the country. When rain comes it comes to stay, sometimes for days on end.

Such was the case with the rain that blew in that first evening in the cottage. With it came the damp chill in the air that mocked me me as I unpacked. It’s hard to conjure up the memory of this weather when you are packing in 90 degrees. So everything in my suitcases was light and sleeveless for the most part. The cottage is not winterized so it is difficult to get it warm. Thankfully there are lots of blankets and tea. The rain continued on and off for three days straight but when it wasn’t actually raining it was too cold and wet to be outdoors. For someone that doesn’t get to enjoy sunshine for 90 percent of the year this could be disheartening but we made the most of it playing games, reading and watching old movies that we’ve seen a thousand times. It also helped to know that we still had two full weeks ahead of us.

But last night as we drove home from my sister’s cottage after a lively game of taboo that made us laugh until we cried we could see the stars out and Danny encouraged all of us that the sun would be out in the morning. We went to bed hopeful.

At 6:30am this morning I was awakened by a stream of sunlight finding it’s way through the gap in the closed curtains. The rain was gone. The day was bright. I got out of bed (after sleeping for a few more hours) and did what I had been waiting to do since I got here. I made a cup of tea and sat out on the dock taking in the scenery. The lake looked like a completely different place from the past few days. It was transformed into the beautiful lush peaceful haven I know it to be. Gone was the dark overcast, moody, dreary atmosphere of the past seventy two hours; here was a day of full of sunshine and promise.

I was reminded of something I heard a long time ago that stuck with me.

“Sometimes God takes a long time to move suddenly!”

So true! I have been been in those seasons of my life many times where I felt like I was “frozen in a winter of discontent” (lyrics of a song). Where I knew there was a promise waiting to be fulfilled but it was just taking SO long. So long that I began to doubt if I would ever see the sun shine again. I knew that God promised that if I waited on him he would renew my strength. (Isaiah 40:31) But I felt so weak. I knew that the plans He had for me were to prosper me and not to harm me, to give me a future and a hope. (Jer. 29.11) But I couldn’t see how things could possibly work out from where I was standing. I remember feeling like I should be doing something. When all He wanted me to do was wait. Wait and seek Him. That even though I could not see it He was working behind the scenes on my behalf waiting for the right moment to move.

One of those times in particular was when Danny and I were hoping and praying and believing for the opportunity for Danny to become a Chick-fil-A Operator. We had been in the process for several years already waiting for an opportunity in our area to come open. We had interviewed and were waiting for word. I’ll never forget the day they called and said that all the changes in the area had been made and they would not be offering him a store at that point. They did not know when another opportunity in the area would become available. Pretty much – don’t call us we’ll call you. It was not what we had expected to hear. We had even moved, downsizing, during the interviewing process in order to position ourselves better financially. And now all we could do was wait. We were devastated. I remember when Danny told me I was leaning up against the bedroom wall and I just sort of slid down and sat on the floor for a while (and cried.) I was so sure that we were moving in the right direction. Could it have been that we had “heard” God wrong. We could still hope and wait but there was no guarantee that the call would ever come. I got a card from a sweet friend of mine right afterward that said, “I know what they told you but I still believe and I’m standing with you.” Hope. That’s all we could do is wait, hope and believe. And then as quickly as the sun came out this morning, a LONG year later, they called. Completely out of the blue. Chick-fil-A called – some changes were taking place….were we still interested?

It took a long time but then He moved – suddenly!

If you are in that season today where it is dark and overcast and you can’t see how things could possibly change be encouraged today that He is for you and not against you. That even as you wait He is renewing your strength. Whether you feel it or not. Cuddle up and remind yourself of His promises. Rest as much as you can. Be still and know that He is God and He’s got you covered. Before you know it and probably when you least expect it the sun will come out.

Psalm 27:14
Wait and hope for and expect the Lord; be brave and of good courage and let your heart be stout and enduring. Yes, wait for and hope for and expect the Lord.

Have you ever arrived at an airport all ready to go on your greatly anticipated trip just to see the word DELAYED after your flight number on the departure board? I hate when that happens!

Having worked for several airlines I have had to be the bearer of bad news to many a passenger over the years. There they are – all geared up to check in and head for their gate when I have to break the news that their flight isn’t going to depart on time. That information can turn the nicest passenger into a monster! People do not like their plans to be delayed or changed. One customer-turned-monster threw her hot coffee and bagel across the counter at me. (that little tirade got her arrested by the way!) Then there are the few passengers that “get it”. They seem to grasp the fact that the safety and security of the passengers is the priority and it is more important that they actually arrive at their destination in one piece than take off on time with issues that may escalate to major problems.

There are times that we have our timetable all mapped out and we are just ready to go and God writes DELAYED on our flight board. I have been there and I have played the part of the irritated passenger many times in my life. Stomping my feet and asking “WHY?” But I have learned to look for what God is doing during the delay because that is most likely a very very important part of the journey and where most of our growth happens.

I remember clearly the evening that Danny told me that he thought we needed to hold off on submitting our application for adoption to Great Wall China Adoption agency. My heart sunk. we had already been talking about it for a year and I had been dreaming about it for a while before that. I was SO ready. DELAYED. Why? In retrospect it’s easy to see. Danielle my beautiful daughter was not even born yet. We had to wait because the daughter that God had for us was not ready. But in the meantime I learned and I grew. I learned about trusting my husband. I learned more about the plight of the orphans in China. That knowledge developed into a passion to help other families through the adoption process. Because of how long it took to go through the process of adoption and all the delays I began holding workshops to inform people about the process and helped set the wheels in motion for hundreds of families to adopt. If our adoption had gone through quickly I would have happily had my baby but wouldn’t have sought out the opportunity to help others along the way. DELAYED yes, but well worth it.

I heard someone recount the story of Lazarus recently and it has stuck with me ever since. The story of Lazarus paints a beautiful picture of Jesus delaying an answer to a prayer in order to work in the lives of others along the way. Lazarus’ healing was DELAYED but it was intentional in order to build faith in those surrounding the situation. It wasn’t just about Lazarus. It was about Lazarus plus everyone that witnessed the miracle but it was ultimately about you and me.

According to Martha and Mary, Jesus showed up late. If they had had their way their brother would have never died, because Jesus would have showed up and healed him immediately. However, the miracle that Jesus performed and the timing he chose was deliberate and set in motion the chain of events that led to his death on the cross. The story in John 11 tells us that immediately after Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead the Pharisees began plotting his death. It was that particular miracle that sent them over the edge and the timing of it was woven into our story of redemption. God knows that immediate answers are not always best. Lazarus had to die before he received his answer, but the result was an exponentially bigger display of God’s power.

You may be experiencing a delay that you don’t understand now but God’s word promises us that if we believe we will see the glory of God. (John 11:40)

Your miracle may be right around the corner! Don’t stop believing.

This Monday night is the GNO (Girls Night Out – for those of you who may not be up on the lingo 🙂 )

How did that happen?

It feels like AWAKEN 2011 just ended. But so much has happened since then. We are still hearing stories of people that were truly awakened during that wonderful weekend that we spent together. Awakened to their idenity as a child of God. Awakened to FREEDOM! Awakened to dreams that had been asleep for a long time…too long! Awakened to the need to connect with other women of like dreams and passions. These are the stories that keep us going.

The other reality that I can’t ignore is that there are also those of us that left the conference fired up and ready to take on the world only to have the winds of life blow intensely threatening to put out the flame that was lit. Some didn’t even make it through the conference before something was threatening to dampen their light. One weekend is just not enough to fit everything in which is why I am so grateful for our Girls Nights Out. We can build on what we began. We can continue the conversation.

At AWAKEN I talked about how we need to be like those trick candles that you put on a birthday cake that just refuse to go out. Just like those candles have a substance called magnesium built inside them to cause them to continually reignite we must have faith built inside of us to help us to keep shining! Faith is our substance. Faith is the substance of things hoped for the evidence of things not seen – Hebrews 11:1. So even when we don’t see with our natural eye what can be – faith keeps us moving in the right direction.

My heart is full with a message to encourage those that are struggling to keep their flame blazing as well as those that are blazing a new trail. Even though we would all love to believe that we can SHINE without so much as flickering or dimming just a little at times we all know that is not the world we live in.

So the question that we touched on at AWAKEN is still out there…how do we keep shining when there is so much out there that threatens to extinguish our flame? On Monday night we are going to talk about FANNING THE FLAME!

Don’t miss the opportunity to be encouraged. We need each other!

Lots of Love,

WARNING: You probably won’t appreciate this unless you’re over 40 🙂

Anticipation….Antici-pay-ya-tion…is keeping me wa-a-a-a-aiting!

Ah…Carly Simon – love her. One of my vocal heroes growing up in the 70’s. I just finished up working on my notes for next Friday night when I will be speaking to a bunch of amazing women and girls that gather each year for the AWAKEN conference. I have such a huge amount of anticipation for the weekend and I don’t quite know what to do with it.

It’s a nervous excitement. So many pieces that need to come together. So many details to remember. So much hope put into two days. Hope that women come expecting and leave fulfilled. Hope that they will leave shining a little brighter than they came. It’s impossible to know exactly what God is going to do in the life of each precious person that comes but it is so comforting to know that all His pieces will be there. All His details will be covered so the rest is just gravy. We can rest knowing that when two or three are gathered in His name He is there in the midst of them. We can throw all the bling and chocolate at it that we want to but we cannot match what God does in the midst of his people.

I am imagining worship that will take the roof off…laughter that will flow. Maybe a few tears as God touches our hearts like only He can. I am hoping for healing. I am praying for hurts and wounds from the past to be shaken off. And for much needed refreshment to be administered to weary bones!

Thinking of the song “Anticipation” made me crave a little Carly Simon so I threw on her cd as I was working. It’s so crazy how songs can hit you a certain way at particular times. I came to the song “Haven’t got time for the pain” and the words struck me. The lyrics are great when I thought about it as a little conversation between me and God.

I haven’t got time for the pain…
I haven’t got room for the pain…
I haven’t the need for the pain…
not since I’ve known you
You showed me how
How to leave myself behind
How to turn down all the noise in my mind (and that’s a lot of noise)
then later…
You showed me how
How to fill my heart with love
How to open up and drink in all that white light pouring down from the heavens!!

God speaks to me in the weirdest ways sometimes! I just had such a picture of Him pouring down His white light from heaven next weekend…I can’t wait!

In the beginning of the song it talks about how sometimes suffering is the only way we can feel that we are alive. That it’s just how much it costs to survive in this world. (are you singing along?) Here’s the thing. There is pain. Of course there is. We do suffer and there are times that we have to allow ourselves to “be” with the pain. I’ve been there. But there is also a time for letting go of the pain. There is so much to be done. So many lives that need to be touched and if we are going to be His light we don’t have time for the pain.

Yes, in this lifetime there is pain…but there is also joy to be had…unspeakable joy!!

I am praying today that God will flood the Safety Harbor Resort and Spa with His white light from above and fill it with His joy.

Tomorrow morning our team will go down there to pray for every woman and girl that will be attending. It is one of my favorite parts of preparing for AWAKEN 2011…a little foretaste of what is in store for all of us!

Can’t wait!! But we have to…only 1 more week!

Hope to see you there!

The week after Christmas is always fun with all the family still in town from the holiday! Last night we had a family movie night at our house. The scene was just as I like it. My overstuffed comfy brown couch packed full of cousins of all ages, Danny and I snuggled with pillows and blankets on the floor and several others perched on chairs around the living room. (It would have been a little better if Danny and I were on the comfy couch and the kids were on the floor!) The kids selected an epic film to watch as we ate leftover goodies from Christmas. The movie pick was The Lord of the Rings -Fellowship of the Ring.

Anyway, while we were watching it I had a moment. It was an exchange between Frodo and Gandalf that really made me stop and think. Frodo was overwhelmed with the awesome responsibility and burden that came with the One Ring that he inherited from his uncle. The task given to him was to return the One Ring to the place from whence it came and destroy it by casting it into the fires of Mount Doom. I’m sure I am oversimplifying here but the gist is that if he failed in his mission evil would overtake the world. That was a pretty heavy burden for such a little hobbit.

And so Frodo was having a very understandable little pity party for himself. This is how the conversation went:

Frodo: I wish the ring had never come to me. I wish none of this had happened. Gandalf: So do all who live to see such times, but that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.”

Gandalf’s wise answer has echoed in my mind ever since I heard it. Haven’t we all felt like that at one time or another when something catastrophic has occurred? “I wish none of this had happened!” Or maybe you have a calling on your life that you know in your heart of hearts you must fulfill but it comes at a high cost. It would be a whole lot easier to just walk away. Something inside you may wish you had never been asked to carry that burden. But that is not for us to decide. Things beyond our control happen. God calls us to bear burdens that we would not necessarily choose to carry. But that is not for us to decide.

What we have to decide is what we will do with the time given us. God knows what you can handle. He made you. He knows that when He brings you through that adversity or when He leads you in your calling that it will have a profound and invaluable effect on you and those you come in contact with.

So what will you do with the time that you’ve been given? Will you dig deep and find the strength that you already possess and carry out that which you have been called to do?

I love how God works. I have been praying a lot about my talk for AWAKEN 2011 Arise and Shine. This subject goes right along with what I have been meditating on. I am going to be talking about Joseph and all the adversity that he endured but I promise you it will be encouraging!

I hope that you will join us in February (if you are a woman/young lady). We are looking forward to a great time together!!

Click here to enjoy the movie clip…


A funny thing happened to me the other day. Maybe it was just a coincidence…but then again…

One morning a few weeks ago I was spending way too much time on Facebook while sipping my morning tea and I came across a link posted by a friend. The link was to a website promoting a new book called Your Secret Name by Kary Oberbrunner.

The premise of the book is that as we journey through life we pick up names based on what others speak over us, or experiences that we have had, or choices that we have made. Some examples of those names could be ABANDONED or FEARFUL or REJECTED or FAILURE…you get the idea. In his book, Kary relays the fact that God has given each one of us a new name based on the verse in Revelation 2:17 that says “He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. To him who overcomes, I will give some of the hidden manna. I will also give him a white stone with a new name written on it, known only to him who receives it.” On the website there is a box you can click on that says, “TAKE THE TEST” (to find out what your secret name might be).

Now, I have to admit I was a little skeptical at first and was thinking maybe it was a little gimmicky but I am a sucker for those kinds of tests so I proceeded. As I looked through the list of potential names that I may have acquired the one that jumped out at me was DEPRESSED. I could have picked a few but I have battled that several times in my life so I really related to that one. I clicked on it and the next page said:

God’s secret name for you could be:


When I read the name HOPE it resonated with me so deeply that I took a long, deep breath and exhaled slowly as if I was actually breathing it in and allowing it to move through me. I thought…yeah…my secret name is definitely HOPE. I’ve known it for some time now. Hope is what has gotten me through many seasons and it’s become my story. It’s what drives me to want to reach out to others and share it. If you’ve ever felt hopeless then you know what I mean. Once you grasp it you want to give it away because there is an unending supply – plenty to go around.

So that was pretty cool but it gets better…

After I shut off my computer, I went about my day and ended up at the International Mall (don’t know how that happened!) Mid-way through my shopping excursion I decided to stop at Starbucks for my afternoon pick-me-up. I ordered my Grande Cafe Misto with whipped cream. My barista grabbed a cup and her pen and started to ask my name as they usually do. Here’s how it went…

Looking down at the cup she started to say “What’s your name” but then she looked up and only got out “What’s your…” before she stopped mid-sentence, cocked her head to the side and said decidedly, “I’m going to call you HOPE”. Then she wrote it as my name on my cup!!

I was absolutely speechless. I must have gone white as a ghost because I was so shocked. I just stood there staring at her like “How did you know my secret name???????????????” She quickly realized that she had completely freaked me out so she started pointing at my shirt and said, “you know…HOPE” with this really nervous pleading smile. Poor girl!

Apparently in my rush to get dressed that morning I had thrown on my shirt that says HOPE and then (because I have serious short term memory issues) had totally forgotten that I had it on. Here I was thinking she was an angel from heaven disguised as a Starbucks barista confirming my secret name to me in person and she was just naming me from my shirt!

Anyway, I go to Starbucks a lot. I wear shirts that say things on them quite often. I have never had anyone write anything on my cup besides the name I have given them. Sooooo even though she was just a regular earthly barista I thought it was a pretty awesome coincidence!! I wish I could have told her the story but there was an enormous line behind me. I just smiled and told her that she had just made my day. That seemed to make hers 🙂

I had the pleasure of speaking with Kary (the author) on the phone about his ministry. He is passionate about the same things that we are at For the Girls International – helping people discover who God created them to be and helping them live out their purpose in freedom and grace!

So what is your secret name? Check out the website when you have a minute. What you find out might surprise you or maybe confirm what you’ve known all along. Let me know what you think.

Yesterday was one of those days when I was just completely awestruck with how much God loves me and cares about the smallest desires of my heart. This may seem like such a silly little thing to most people but it was a big deal for me.

Last Wednesday I was on my morning run. (yes I’m still running!) I had been listening to Amy Grant the day before on my ipod and for some reason she was on my mind while I was running. I was thinking about how much I admired her. I definitely like her pop songs like Baby Baby but she also has some pretty deep songs too. She is so very real and shares some pretty raw emotion in some of her music. I have always appreciated her lyrics and feel like she sees the world like I do, asks a lot of the same questions I do and comes to the same conclusions I do. I’ve just always felt that there was a connection there. She is about 5 years older than me and I started listening to her when she started making music which was about 30 years ago so we’ve sort of grown up together. My heart broke for her when her first marriage ended and she endured some harsh criticism from some of those in the “Christian” community. I respected the way she handled that whole ordeal and thought she was an incredible example of “grace under fire” (the firing line, that is.) I rejoiced for her when she remarried and the evidence of God’s grace and healing power was written on her face and in her songs.

Anyway, as I was running I was thinking about all this and I thought to myself, “I would really love to meet her.” And then I thought, “Why not?… I could make that one of the things on my list of things I want to do in life. Make it a goal….meet Amy Grant.” So that was it. I didn’t even say it to God, I just thought it.

That very afternoon I was going through my emails and my sister had forwarded to me a newsletter from the local radio station The JOYFM. Her note to me said, “Thought I’d pass this along to you. It’s an opportunity to see Amy Grant perform live and meet her after the show, too.” The email went on to say that Amy would be at a bookstore in Brandon on Monday!!! You can imagine my shock and surprise. Could it be that God cares enough about the littlest desire of my heart that He would orchestrate all of these events to fulfill a passing wish? Yes. He does.

So then I started thinking, well too bad I didn’t wish for world peace or something of more significance to the world but that was not the point of this wish-Granting exercise(pardon the pun – it was too easy.) I believe God wanted me to know in no uncertain terms on that day that He hears my every thought and that He is with me. I realize that I will have wishes and desires that may never be filled but I am so very grateful for the big and small ways that He shows me that He loves me.

On Monday I took the day off from work and went to Brandon to check something off my list.

Meet Amy Grant – check

Hope is my favorite subject because it is what gives us life and sustains our joy. It is what keeps me going!

In 1991 when I was 26 years old a young mother of two little boys my mother was in a car accident that left her severely brain injured. So many expectations and hopes for the future died the day of that accident. I knew my mom would never play the role that I had expected her to play in my life or the lives of my children again. In the months following her accident while we waited for my mother to emerge from a coma, I found myself slipping deeper and deeper into a dark place. I remember watching my beautiful little boys playing at the park and thinking to myself, “Will I ever be able to enjoy anything again?”

One day in the midst of my disappointment and anger I pleaded with God to give me something to hold onto. I opened my Bible and went to Psalms because I knew that to be an encouraging book. Here is what the author had written:

I would have despaired had I not known that I would see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. (Psalm 27:13)

The whole idea of eternal perspective began to become clear to me and I have been clinging to it ever since. We will one day see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living. My mom will be healed in the land of the living. I will be reunited with my loved ones in the land of the living. This lifetime is a dying flame but the land of the living is eternal!

2 Corinthians 5:17 says
For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.

That is where my hope lies. But not only has He given us hope for the eternal future but He has given us hope for today. We can have joy in the journey…. His mercies are new every morning! The answer to my question “Will I ever be able to enjoy anything again?” was and is a resounding “YES!”

Hope was not given to us just for our own satisfaction. It was given to us to give away. And what happens when you give hope to someone else is amazing! You will find that your own healing comes when you share the hope that you have.

The principle is clearly stated in Isaiah 58:6-9

Share your food with the hungry and provide the poor wanderer with shelter – when you see the naked clothe him, and do not turn away from your own flesh and blood.
Then your light will break forth like the dawn, and your healing will quickly appear; then your righteousness will go before you, and the glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.

The holiday season can be a difficult time for many people. Maybe it is a painful reminder of unmet expectations. There are so many people in need of hope. Those of us that have hope must reach out to those struggling to find it. We can’t solve all of the world’s problems but we can make a difference in the lives of those around us one person at a time.

I wish I could say that the period of my mom’s accident was the only time I have struggled with dark days but unfortunately that is not the case. But hope is what has brought me through every season of my life and it is the basis of For the Girls International.

My pastor asked me to share my story last week with our church and here is the video of our conversation.

Click here to watch video.

Wishing you all the beauty of this Christmas season as we celebrate the birth of Jesus the reason for this hope we have!

Lots of Love,

Maybe that is not the right title for this post. Maybe it should be Facing Fear Head On because I don’t know if I’ve ever actually overcome fear.

I’d like to talk about what happens when we feel that God is leading us in a new direction but we are afraid to take the next step. Or maybe we are afraid to even believe that He really wants to use us in that way. This is a powerful tool that the devil will use to stop our forward progress.

Many times as I begin a new adventure with God, I immediately begin to have thoughts that I am not qualified to do whatever it is God is calling me to do. I think to myself…there must be a braver candidate out there that would do a much better job. If we read the stories of men and women that God used in huge ways to accomplish great things for Him we will notice that courage is not something that necessarily came naturally to them either.

Think about Joshua for example; God gave him a big job to do. He was to lead millions of people into the Promised Land. Take a minute to read Joshua chapter 1 when you have a chance. It is the moment when God gives Joshua his marching orders. In verses 6-9 God tells Joshua THREE times to be strong and courageous. He goes even further and tells him, “…do not be terrified; do not be discouraged….” I imagine Joshua was pretty overwhelmed with the thought of trying to step into Moses’ shoes and tackle this major undertaking! In verse 9 God promises him, “…the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” I LOVE that!!!

2 Chronicles 20 tells the story of King Jehosophat as he was wrestling with a task God had given him. He admits in verse 12 that he doesn’t know what to do, but he tells God that his eyes are on Him. God’s response in verse 15 is the same as it was to Joshua: “…Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army, for the battle is not yours, but God’s….” I LOVE that too!!!

Joyce Meyer sent out a newsletter recently and something that she wrote just screamed off the page to me and I couldn’t say it better myself so here it is:

“When we look at the courageous people in our lives, we think they’re so strong, and we tell ourselves we could never be like them. But the truth is courageous people fear. They just go for it ANYWAY!

“After facing these fears over and over in my life, I’ve learned that sometimes in order to find the courage to receive a new thing from God, I just have to do it afraid!”

If you are entering a new season of your life and what lies ahead looks challenging I want to encourage you not to wait around until you feel ready but to step out and DO IT AFRAID!

I enjoyed our Autumn Girls Night Out so much and I hope everyone that came did too. After I spoke I still felt that there were some things that I wanted to share but didn’t get to cover. I’ve divided them into 3 parts and will share them over the next few weeks here on my blog.

Last Monday night I talked a little bit about embracing change. That always means letting go of the old. Whether “the old” was a good season or a not-so-good season we still need to let it go in order to set the stage for “the new”.

I shared a little bit about one of those changing seasons in my life. It was the year that my oldest son graduated high school and I was beginning to feel the first effects of my season of raising children transitioning into the season of letting them go. At the same time my grandparents’ health was failing and I was beginning to realize that I didn’t have very much longer with them here on earth. Those things combined with some health issues made for a pretty emotionally miserable me.

On one particular afternoon, during the week that we were packing my son’s things up to move him away to college, I was driving home from work and heard the Stevie Nicks song “Landslide”. It goes like this…

Well I’ve been afraid of changing, ‘cos I built my life around you
But time makes you bolder children get older
I’m getting older too

So, you can imagine the scene…I could hardly see the road for the tears pouring out of my eyes and down my cheeks. I was bawling my eyes out. It wasn’t bad enough my son was leaving but to add insult to injury…I’M GETTING OLDER TOO!!!

I know it’s just a song but it touched a nerve. Up until that point, to some degree, I had “built my life around” being a mom. A mom with all of her kids at home with her in the same house, sleeping under the same roof every night. Now that was changing.

Later in the song it asks the question:

Can I sail through the changing ocean tides
Can I handle the seasons of my life?

Those questions cut right to the core of what I was feeling. Have you ever felt that way? Have you ever been in a season where you find yourself asking…”can I handle this?”

Let me help you out with that one. The answer is an unequivocal YES! You can handle this and any season when you know who is writing your story and who is holding the plan for your life in His hands.

This was God’s promise to the Israelites when they were living in exile, removed from their comfort zone, out in no-man’s land without a clear picture of what the future would bring:

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

I believe the promises recorded in the Bible are there for us to grab onto to carry us through the seasons of our lives.

It was during that stormy season of my life that God began to give me ideas and visions of what has evolved into For the Girls International. It’s amazing how even in the darkest of times God will whisper to you plans that He has for your future.

I encourage you to take the time to press your ear in close to Him to hear those whispers. Even if it seems like a crazy idea or something so far off or out of the box…write it down. Tuck it away so that when He asks you to begin to step out you are ready.

Part of embracing change is allowing yourself to “feel” it. There’s a difference between allowing yourself to feel it and dwelling on it to the point that is pulls you down to a place of hopelessness. It’s unrealistic to think we can “sail through the changing ocean tides” without getting doused with a little saltwater so don’t beat yourself up if you find yourself shedding a salty tear or two. On the other hand, we don’t need to drown in our sorrows either.

When you find yourself in that place of emotional “landslide” start talking to yourself. Grab hold of the promises that God has clearly given you and embrace your changing season as an essential element of your destiny.

Check back in the coming weeks for Parts 2 and 3!