Recently, I was asked to be a guest on one of my Facebook friend’s blog at http://robinsnest66.blogspot.com/. Robin asked me some in-depth questions and I thought I would share my answers with you. I believe it would be a great way to share a little more about who I am and where I come from. I also think it will be a great foundation blog for the New Year.
1) Please tell us a little about yourself
I just celebrated my 30th anniversary!!! I got married when I was just a child, LOL! Truthfully, I have been blessed with an amazing husband. We have embraced a journey together and I hope and pray we can embrace another 30 or more. I have also been blessed with two beautiful children; a daughter that’s 26 just married a year, and a son that’s 20. My husband and I live in Franklin, Tennessee a big beautiful historic town right outside of Nashville.
My passion is to share God’s truth through song, through speaking and teaching, and through life coaching. There is nothing sweeter than to use my gifts and see His Truth penetrate through the hearts of His people.
I also claim to be eclectic because I have dabbled in many creative adventures. I love decorating, graphic design, painting, and anything that stirs my creativity and gives me the opportunity to express what I love.
2) I would love for you to share your testimony
I can truly say that I’ve been blessed. From the time I was born I was shown the love of Jesus and was encouraged to develop a love for Him. Although, it wasn’t until I turned 14 that I saw the truth of my sin and realized I needed a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. My Dad had just retired from the Air Force, and took a position as music director/associate pastor at Providence Baptist church in Opelika, AL,—a huge change for me and for my 4 brothers but a good one.
The church had a dynamic youth group and it was because of the love and grace of these young people that I realized I was missing something. Every Monday night we had Bible study and the young people would lay on the floor before God in prayer. The Holy Spirit was so powerful as they honestly poured out their hearts to Him. It was during one of the prayer times that I realized I wanted what they had. I found myself weeping before the Lord. My dad was there, he asked me what was wrong, and I shared with him what I was feeling. During that time he led me to a time of inviting Jesus into my life—to be Lord. Soon after, God began to open the doors for me to minister in song. My ministry and testimony is not finished! God continues to work in and through me. I’ve had my share of ups and downs and even times of darkness but God has always been actively working in my life. He has never failed me!!! His grace continues to redeem me and His love continues to embrace me.
3) In your journey as a woman what has been the most challenging?
The biggest challenge for me has been overcoming the inner struggle with self—accepting who I am, weaknesses and strengths, and battling the negative thoughts about self. This challenge affected who I was as a wife, a mother, and a woman of God. It is a struggle that many women deal with and it can be very crippling. It put me in a pit of depression and I thank God for His healing both emotionally and spiritually. Through God I have learned how to overcome this through taking action and replacing satan’s lies with the powerful promises of God’s Word. John 8:32 says, “and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”
This has been a major challenge in my life but I am thankful that now, because of my struggle, I am able to encourage others and help them find freedom is this area.
4) What has been the most challenging aspect of being a mother and the most rewarding?
WOW! I love being a mother. I can’t really say that I’ve ever thought of it as being a challenge just a part of the journey. I guess the biggest lesson was in letting go…to not hold to tight…realizing I can’t always fix things, I can’t always control the circumstances, and I can’t always control the outcome from other people’s decisions. What I can do is trust, pray, and believe that God is working in their lives and HE HAS THEM! They belong to Him and He loves them more then I do. He knows what’s best for them.
The greatest reward in parenting besides getting to love and cuddle them when they were young is watching them discover who they are in Christ. It is getting to see them develop in to strong young Christian adults and begin to lay a foundation for their own marriages and families.
5) I believe a mistake is only a mistake is we cannot walk away with a greater wisdom. Has there been a time in your life where struggle occurred from a poor decision and if so, how did you overcome?
LOL! I might be the Queen of mistakes. Honestly, I have made my share of mistakes and still do. For me, it is the day-to-day battles. It is in NOT letting my emotions determine my reactions. It is in being proactive in doing the right thing instead of reacting out of hurt.
Also, I am hard on myself so one of the biggest lessons is to NOT punish myself but instead to pull my big girl panties up, learn from my mistakes, and move on. This is not an automatic response for me so I have to work at it.
I am also sad to say that one of the most haunting mistakes I’ve ever made was about 20 years ago. I was making a trip south to visit my mom who was recovering from surgery. I didn’t want to go and I was depressed over it. It wasn’t that I didn’t love my mother and didn’t want to help. Truthfully, it didn’t matter what it was…I was gonna be negative about it. That’s just where I was in life.
Anyway, as I was in the car making my way south, God kept prompting me to stop by and visit my youngest brother and I didn’t. Later that week He died from an aneurism. I missed out on seeing my brother for the last time because I resisted what God was trying to do. Only God knew the significance of that trip and how it would give me the opportunity to see my brother and also be with my mother during that time. I was just too focused on “pour pitiful me” that I couldn’t embrace what God was trying to do.
That was a huge turning point in my life—to stop resisting his leading and to start trusting His voice—that sound inner voice—the voice of the Holy Spirit. To trust that God knows the bigger picture…He knows what tomorrow holds. I still don’t always get it right but it is the foundation for my ministry of Embracing Life. Embrace the now…trust that God is working for your good. Trust that His ways are higher. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” Isaiah 55:9
6) How do you define success?
There are so many great definitions for success and at the same time there can be a negative stigma attached to the word. I define success as embracing the journey of becoming and fulfilling all God has created me to be and do. “Success is discovered in the journey not at the point of destination.” Sometimes, I think we confuse success as arriving at a certain place in life or holding a significant title. Yet when I have a successful day it is because I have embraced where I am at this point in life. I have embraced the good things and the bad. I have made the best of what God has given me. One of the greatest examples of this is the Apostle Paul and when He was in prison. He didn’t let his circumstances define him instead He made the best of it and used His time to write most of the New Testament. To me that is success! When you can make the most of where you are with what God has given you.
7) Looking back, what advice would you give to yourself at the age of eighteen to prepare you for life ahead?
What I said earlier about success and to always be teachable. The moment we think we can’t learn something from someone else or from God that’s when we get into trouble. I am always reminding myself, and telling me kids to be teachable. Never think you know more or know it all. There is always something you can learn. Never put up a wall of pride that makes you feel like you have to have it all together.
With a New Year beginning, what do you hope to accomplish this year?
Action! It is a year of putting action to the things God has been telling me to do—a year of taking bold steps of faith. As my dear friend Elaine told me, “Peggy, it’s time to quite shuffling papers and start doing.” LOL! She just confirmed what God had already been speaking to me about. Don’t just dream it…do it!!! I have some dreams that I have been putting off—finding excuses NOT to do them. It’s time to take action!!!
9) What encouraging words would you give to someone encountering loss?
I am SO SORRY. Loss is difficult, weather it be the loss of a loved one, the loss of a friendship, the loss of a child that has strayed away, or the loss of a dream. We all encounter loss and for each of us the hurt is unique and very present. One of the best things I did after going through a tragic death of a loved one and something I still practice today (especially through difficult times) is writing in my prayer journal. After the loss of my brother, I would pour out my heart to God by writing my prayers. There was something about writing it down—a releasing—a laying it down before God.
Sometimes I would sit on the floor by my bead in the middle of the night and just write all my thoughts down—ALL my thoughts—I wouldn’t hold anything back. If I was angry I told God. It’s amazing what happens during the process of pouring your heart out to God—your bitterness, your anxiety, your anger, and your hurt turn to heart of gratitude and peace overcomes you. After, I was able to go back to sleep and rest in Him.
Matt. 11:28-29 says, “Come to me, all you who are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and You will find rest for your souls.”
10) My pastor says, “If the Lord has done something for you the least you can do is say so.” Dear friend, what is the Lord doing in your life?
To truly BELIEVE! It is our lack of belief that often keeps us from enjoying the promises of God. Rick Warren says, “The greatest tragedy this year would be for you to stand at the edge of your destiny, but to be afraid to enter into all that God has planned for you.” He said this in reference to the passage of scripture, “We see, then, that they were not able to enter the land, because they did not believe.” Hebrews 3:19 (TEV) Miracle after miracle God took care of the Israelites needs and prepared the way for them to enter the Promised Land and yet at the most crucial time…the time of receiving they still did not believe. They missed out on the blessing of enjoying the Promise Land.
I don’t want to miss out on God’s blessings—His promises because I don’t believe—because I don’t believe I can do it…that God CAN DO IT! I don’t want fear or anything else to get in the way. I want to BELIEVE!
11) What empowering advice would you give to someone facing adversity?
One of my favorite verses is “Therefore, do not throw away your confidence, which has great reward. For you have need of endurance, so that when you have done the will of God you may receive what was promised.” Hebrews 10:35-36
I love this verse because often times when things get tough we condemn ourselves…we quite…we lose perspective and we lose sight of what we are called to do. This verse reminds me of three things:
1. Be clear about what you are called to do.
2. Be confident that through the power of the Holy Spirit you can do it—your are equipped to do it.
3. Be consistent and stick with it.
12) In your legacy what do you hope to leave behind?
GRACE. I could make a list of all these great things that I would like to pass on to my family…my friends…the women I’ve had the privilege to share life with but sadly I will probably fail my expectations and theirs. That doesn’t mean that I don’t strive to be all God desires and ask of me but I know greater than anything I can achieve is to leave a legacy of GRACE. Extending to each of them the same grace that I am grateful for everyday. That GRACE of Jesus Christ—the grace that He gave his life for.
My ministry is to encourage women to embrace life’s journey with purpose and passion—to embrace all of who God created them to be. I want that for everyone, but even more I want them to know God’s saving grace. I want them to know what it means to experience God’s forgiveness and love. I want them to know what it means to come to Jesus just as they are (sin, failures, anger, hatred, bitterness, regrets…all of it) and be received with open arms of grace.
Thank you for letting me share with you. You are such a blessing to me and I count it a privilege to share my life with you. I would love to hear from you. Which of these questions would you love to share your answer to? Come on…don’t be shy. Share!