The Power of Saying Yes

March Madness – The Power of Saying Yes | By Sonya Finley

As women we can all attest to a certain amount of crazy in our lives. It comes naturally from all the things we find ourselves doing. Growing up, growing older, raising children, caring for parents, working a job, building a business, embracing our singleness, embracing a relationship –*whew*, we have a lot going on in any given season. Most of time, we have enough to juggle just from living a woman’s kind of life. Why on earth would we add something else? Why would we say yes to more? Where is the wisdom in all of that?


Yeah, tell me about it. Have you seen my life?

For me, any given season of my life can be described as chaotic in the most normal of times. Heck, I am a woman (now of a certain age dealing with all that change–yeah, y’all know what I am talking about), I raised four, now adult, men—2 of which still reside at home. I have always worked–full time and/or part time and sometimes more than one job (I’ve worked up to 3 at one time).  I have also been known to pursue educational goals, participate in ministry, and lend a bit of creativity to projects here and there (all while raising four sons!). I have done a lot, I do a lot, and a lot do me.

Adding a different kind of madness. . .

I admit it, there are a lot of things I am pretty good at, but I am usually not that person who will insert myself into a situation to use or showcase my “special” skills. I have never felt that was necessary. I am a firm believer in Proverbs 18:16, “A man’s gift maketh room for him, and bringeth him before great men.” So while I may not seek out a special spot on the team, I will say yes to “divine” appointments/requests for the very reason the scripture indicates. It is because of that thinking I find myself where I am, with quite a lot on my plate and saying yes to adding more.

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Quite a bit more in fact. . .

I have begun saying yes—and saying it in a big way! I said yes to stretching myself physically, committing to keep moving down a path that would find me completing a half marathon on my feet. I said yes to a unique kind of ministry with a defined message and yes to the opportunities it presented. I said yes to building a business that is, let’s face it, so me. And in saying yes, this business has not only brought in much needed income, but it has allowed me to minister and connect to women in a very unique and profound way. I said yes, much to my surprise, to participating in the Freedom Challenge (a hiking event that raises funds and awareness to fight human trafficking). I will be participating not only as a ministry leader but as a hiker and a fund raiser as well. If you know anything about me, you know all of those items bring quite a bit of “opportunities for stretching”.

Sounds like a lot of additional stuff, right?

It is a lot. It is a lot on many different levels. Nevertheless, I am learning that God’s math is not ours. We think more is just more—more trouble, more concerns, more stuff. What He adds to us does not multiply our troubles or add to the weight we carry in the way our ordinary minds think it would. That idea is extremely difficult for a natural thinker to comprehend. The idea of doing something new, adding something else, comes with quite a bit of fear, large amounts of uncertainty and a heck of a lot of questions. “How am I supposed to do all this? Where will I find the time to do it? What do you mean I have to raise $5000?!” Saying yes to God’s requests and divine appointments takes quite a bit of faith—especially when I’m already knowing I have a great deal of crazy in my life (have I told you about my job?). But when God asks us to add something to our lives and we answer in the affirmative, we must know that He has already prepared a way. He has already lined up resources and support. He has already formulated the plan. All we have to do is take that first step and in doing so we say “Yes to the Bless”.

Yes to the Bless?

Yes. By saying yes to God we do take on “more stuff”—quite a bit more actually, but we also open ourselves up to the benefits of trying new things, stretching ourselves and doing His will. Those benefits include, but are certainly not limited to; higher heights and deeper depths (to quote a cliché), a profound repositioning of ourselves, greater influence, expanded borders, renewed identity, and stronger connections.

All this yes-ing has left me with a great sense of awe. I am amazed at how God has moved and is still moving in my life. How He keeps opening unexpected doors in unexpected ways. Each door leads to the next new yes and the next new opportunity for growth. I am a woman of limited energy, so it is amazing to me that I am able to keep up with all the new tasks, to get things done and get them done on time. I am amazed at how I am able to balance all of it and in the balancing find a certain measure of peace and assurance that it’s all good (or to quote the song, “it’s all God”). I look back at what I have done and look forward to what I still have to do and know I would fail “But God”.

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It is a good madness. . .

I have spent quite a bit of time these days reflecting on the current “crazy” of my life.  As I reminisce on how things are unfolding and my talents that are being tapped into, I realize I wouldn’t have it any other way. I have said “Yes to the Bless” and I stand blessed indeed.

**For information about Freedom Challenge or to make a donation: https://impact.thefreedomchallenge.com/fundraiser/1303218


20170113_074913-1-1Sonya A. Finley has been living the single life for 24 years. In that time she has raised four awesome young men (James – 26, Kevin – 23, Joshua and Johnathan – 18), graduated from college with a BFA, and began a huge step in her professional career. She is on the verge of a new season in her single life that now focuses on a journey not centered around child-rearing. She has made many mis-steps, learned quite a few bits of wisdom along the way and is happy to share with women who find themselves in the same place.

Clean Slate | Special Song Included

Clean Slate | by Bethany Sousa

-Scroll to her bio for the video link to her song

When I think of spring, I think of renewal. I think of getting a second change. I think of cleansing and vulnerability with myself emotionally and spiritually. Seasons of transition and change in life cause a lot of clutter and damage to ourselves. I for one believe that Spring is the greatest time to purge those cluttered parts of our hearts, minds, and emotions. It’s quite incredible how much clutter we can each accumulate through life. Each and every single one of us carry a unique and individual suitcase, filled with specific life choices we either did or didn’t intentionally make. Yet, no matter what path our choices lead us through, we are always able to seek grace and freedom through Christ. He will always be near ready to take our hand and walk with us through the struggle of surrendering that bulky suitcase filled with so much clutter such as: shame, regret, self esteem, lack of courage, fear, anger, confusion, etc. Now, my story is specific to me and how I heard God through my own clutter, but I believe it will be encouraging to someone searching for similar freedom.

 
​It’s 2016 and my emotions are falling apart. Everything I held dear in my world was fading away. Nothing seemed to be moving forward – only standing still. I took a huge leap of faith and followed a tug on my heart to move to Nashville. I had NO idea what was going to be here waiting for me, all I knew was that God had already gone before me. At least that’s what I felt Him continually whisper in my heart. And boy was He serious. I arrived and immediately life came alive in me! My first day in town I met up with a friend and I got a connection of a lifetime with a producer, started getting work, the creative juices were flowing! Life was really moving for me in ways I never imagined. I thought Nashville was going to be a place of rest, a place of transition before a city like New York or London. I had no intention on staying here longer than 3-6 months. But little did I know God had something else in mind. I found an incredible church, moved into a townhouse with a friend, started making friends, got a decent job… Yes life was looking pretty good for me. Until I prayed a very unique prayer.

images ​It’s the new year and I always write a small list of things I desire to accomplish for the year. This one was particularly different because I threw in a few fun goals as well as a few challenging ones. My prayer consisted of asking God to clean house in my heart emotionally and financially. To heal and to restore broken parts of my heart. Without getting into too many details, my life slowly began to crumble. Leaving my job due to some unfortunate situations. Going under financial wreckage. Having nothing familiar close by that I was used to running away to. Life was in emotional chaos for me. My reality was quickly shattering the fantasy of my life I thought I was working so hard to build. Again, without getting into too many details, I was at a bare boned empty. In debt larger than I could understand. Yet, still, I could hear that faint – “I have gone before you” still whispering in my heart.

 
​I realize not everyone reading this has gone through a complete overhaul of their life, but there’s something powerful about asking God to take a closer look and actually letting Him. In these past couple of years His hand has guided, protected, and provided in ways I couldn’t even imagine. There were days when I had 7$ to my name and I didn’t get paid for 10 days and some how I was able to pay for gas, or food. I made a conscious decision to not let the clutter of my emotional life continue to get in the way of how I was called to fulfill and live out my calling. I didn’t do it alone, but I did have to make the decisions and work it out on my own. I decided I wanted to be debt free by the time I was 30, and that meant I needed to hustle. Lesson one – financial freedom – and to trust that God has my everything, including my finances.

 
​Then there was lesson 2, relationships. This was a deep and challenging lesson to work through. For my own sanity, I believe God knew I needed space to deal and heal from my life in a space where time was slowed down and people were loving and trusting. Transitioning into a southern pace of life has actually healed my hurts and pains that I either put there myself, or others had. Really taking the time to get a deep look, and actually really forgive, not just myself but family and friends too, I had to trust God with my heart. Trust Him, and no other man. He is the ultimate protector and lover, if I can’t trust Him, then how else would I love another? There is no perfect family, and no perfect person in this world, and my attempt to hide behind all my disappointments in others was no longer a cop-out I was allowed to hide behind.

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​I really had to learn a valuable lesson in vulnerability with the Holy Spirit. If I stay humble and grateful, even in the midst of pain, I will get to witness His grace. His beautiful and redeeming grace. I can’t count all the occasions I was lost in the wreckage so much that I count look up to see He was protecting me. However I have been able to reflect back and look at all He has done to redeem and restore me. I haven’t lived enough to have all the answers, but I have made enough mistakes to witness mercy and grace.


Click on this link for her blog video:

Bethany’s Song

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BETHANY is a singer/songwriter currently living in Nashville, TN. Her dream and desire is to partner with other artists collaboratively to help bring awareness to the audience an awakening of purpose. In today’s western culture, we have focused too music on selfish ego and not enough on the bigger picture–we’re all here for a purpose, and we all play an important role in achieving that goal in each other  Art is such an intense expression and tool to use to help awaken peoples minds and souls of their own existence. Music heals us mentally and spiritually, and one of her main goals is to help bring that healing, one song at a time.

 

March Madness

March Madness | by Bethany Luchetta

Do you ever feel like you’re trapped? Or like the fire-in-your-heart went out? Maybe because you didn’t get married at the ‘right’ age. You never had kids. Had kids. Got divorced. Never finished college. Work too much. Don’t have enough money. Aren’t as smart as the next person. Are too tired.  Have physical or mental limitations that prevent you from moving towards your dreams. Or maybe you just feel like you don’t own an original thought/emotion/creative bone/spiritual idea that is worthwhile. I am here to inform you, you are not alone. And IN your story, there is greatness.

I had been percolating on this March Madness blog for some time and nothing was coming to me. I wanted to assimilate it with the Daughters Event on March 17 – ‘Miracles in the Mess’. I even contemplated changing the blog title to March Messness. I thought about outlining people who failed and got-back-up-again to find success. I wanted to tell you about women in history who were faced with adversity, yet still accomplished greatness. Then, I switched to “you’re never too old”; she did something noteworthy after mid-life. Maybe write about ladies who, even in their storm, were able to pursue their heart-call. But after spending way too much time reading about people and things, I decided that I wanted you to be the story.

I am in the middle of a life transition, or several. I am starting to think we are always in one, or coming out of one, or about to go into one. The more stories I hear from other ladies, the more human I feel. We all have ‘stuff’ – none of us get out of childhood unscathed. Once adults, we seem to have seasons of feeling great, and others ‘not so great’. Is there anything we can do to limit the mess and madness?

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HOMEWORK: Ask yourself the ‘why’ question.

Why am I overwhelmed right now?

Why am I filled with anxiety right now?

Why am I sad right now?

Why am I frustrated right now?

Do tell! What does this have to do with March Madness-Messness? You may find that as you ask yourself the outlined following questions, you begin getting in touch with deeper feelings (which may or may not cause some messiness). The deeper feelings almost always dwindle down to shame. Shame has a way of robbing us of our potential. The real answers, and the real healing within them, are where the ‘Miracles in the Mess’ happen.

I made this chart from the things I have learned in my readings and courses on this process. This is a very basic chart, yet I have found it helpful (there are several other steps, if you have interest, reach out).

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I will use a personal example to show you how to work these steps:

The Feeling: A sales lady at Home Depot ‘sells’ me with some lies and deception when purchasing shutters. I get frustrated. Like, lose-my-emotions-all-the-way-home frustrated. Like, can’t play with Livvy or talk to Vince frustrated. Like, I feel like crying or posting a horrid one-star review on yelp frustrated. Like, I am looking super cool, calm and collected, yet stuffing all my feelings, but wanting to scream out loud frustrated. Outlandish emotions sound familiar?

The ‘Why’: I can go about my day and try not to be frustrated, go for run, have some wine, call a friend to vent, or try to pray it away. #2 Or I can ask myself ‘WHY’ am I feel so out-out-whack frustrated with this lady.

Deeper Feelings: So, then I analyze how I felt when this happened. I felt: abuse, used, coerced, domineered, played, bad, unworthy and unimportant. You may think that these are some pretty intense feelings for being lied to by a sales person at Home Deport. Some people may have just brushed-it-off, taken business elsewhere, or told the person how they felt. But I was not in my adult mind, so that’s not what happen.

Associated Situation: When I say this, it is very specific to the reduction of the situation. Dr. John Bradshaw (theologian, psychologist, philosopher) explains that our foundation is set before the chemicals change in our body (before puberty). In circumstances where your emotions outweigh the reality of the situation, it is an indicator to look back on your childhood and identify what part of you was stuck in your current interaction (lady at Home Depot). The easiest way to do this is to look back on the deeper feelings you identified and ask yourself, ‘when I was young, in what situation did I feel like this?’. Bradshaw says in asking this, you will find the part of you that is wounded/stuck. My deeper feelings immediately echoed when I was abused at age 4. As soon as I reduced my current feeling to an unhealed wound, I began crying. Until I heal this shameful wound, I will repeat these frustrating situations in my adult life that rob me of potential to ‘Grow up in Christ’.

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Forgiveness: The last part isn’t always easy or popular. I am not talking about forgiving the sales lady. I am talking about cutting myself loose from my perpetrator. There are tons of resources out there on processing forgiveness. I am defining forgiveness as cutting yourself loose from strings keeping you tied to the thing or person. Sometimes forgiveness requires forgiveness of self, and in this case, you may need someone else to help guide you through that process.

These discoveries may be messy, painful, and sometimes, unbearable. If you get stuck, come back to them later. But, commit to your whole healing. Once you are able to heal through the wounds you identify, then you will be more capable of dealing with the reality of your adult life in situations. I was able to go back and confront the sales lady in a calm manner. I didn’t have to stuff my emotions inside, allowing them to eat-away-at-me. I used the truth to encourage myself; I am an adult, I am not a child, I have choices, I am capable, I am not stuck and I won’t be used. This indeed is God’s miracle working power in our lives, in the mess.


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Bethany Luchetta is a writer of life and reality. In hopes to connect with the humanity around her, she writes from her heart. Bethany just celebrated 7 years of marriage with her love, Vince Luchetta. They are both on their second marriage. Life has not been without challenge in their personal lives and career lives, yet they strive for growth in love and tragedy. They share three beautiful daughters, Makayla (17), Paige (14), and Livvy Lou (3). If you see them, reach out and say hi!