Tag Archives: daughter

Podcast with Rachel Phillips – she shares her story of living with anxiety

Friends, this podcast is powerful! My friend Rachel Phillips is brave and beautiful and amazing! She shares her story on the podcast of the anxiety that has been gripping her since she was a young girl.  This is a story many of us can relate to and yet, sometimes we don’t talk about it.  My hope is that in hearing Rachel’s story, those who suffer can know that they are not alone.  There is help and there is a light at the end of the tunnel.  We touch on marriage, kids, parents, moms, and how anxiety can affect the entire family.  We talk about the isolation and shame that can accompany anxiety.  We even talk about the church and what role the church can play when it comes to suffering.  Rachel courageously lets us in on all of it and we are better for it.  If you have anxiety or if you love someone who does, you won’t want to miss this! This is a triumphant story filled with truth and hope, redemption and joy!

An exciting and fun part of her story is that Rachel’s husband, Josh Phillips, is an American Ninja Warrior! He is called the Family Ninja and can be found on Facebook at @familyninja.

Here is a beautiful, inspiring video they made for American Ninja Warrior: https://vimeo.com/198150018

“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” – Philippians 4:6-7 (NIV)

Two years of Sundays

Two years ago when we moved to Austin, we had to find a church.  I don’t mean that in the sense of, “It’s the right thing to do” but rather, we had to find a church.  As in, “our lives depended on it”.  It felt desperate. And guess what, desperate hearts find God.

When you uproot your life, there is this feeling of excitement and opportunity but there is also a very real sense of being untethered. Flailing.

God is my anchor.  And hearing His Word and being around His people is what I needed.  My family needed that too but of course, they sent me out to find the church.  You do the work they were saying in essence, we will show up when you have it all figured out.

I was “alone” when I first heard our pastor speak.  The room was packed but I didn’t know a soul.  This was not a space I’m used to occupying.  I’ve spent years crafting community and placing emphasis on connecting and building relationships.  That is where I thrive.  It’s strange for me to walk into a building filled with hundreds of people and not know a name. Worse yet for me, no one knew mine.

The Pastor spoke and I just knew it.  Sitting with goosebumps and a lump in my throat, I whispered “Thank you”. See, God had led me to this church and this pastor and this moment.  Aloneness and all.  Loss of identity and all.  He wanted to make the Gospel the thing.  He wanted to make JESUS the thing.  Not my outfit or my friends or my kids or my husband or my ministry or my neighbors.  Just me and the Word of God being preached like I’ve never heard.  This guy was wearing jeans and he was my age and he was married and had kids and his Southern accent was both comforting and a reminder of how far away I was from home. But what he was saying reminded me that I am always home in the Lord.  Where I go, He goes.  When I am desperate, He will show up.  When I am lost, He is the way.

I had heard about this pastor and his way of preaching truth that in no way is watered down.  I had heard he “brings it”. And I knew that’s what I wanted.  What I needed.  I was seeking a strong word. A bold declaration.

I believe we are all looking for people to tell us the truth.  I think the truth has been watered down and we are afraid to speak into people’s lives because we don’t want to seem harsh or preachy but we are all secretly hoping for someone to have the courage to speak the truth with confidence and courage and conviction. Speaking truth is real love.

The next week I took my family and again, was blown away.  He was preaching from the Old Testament and he had maps up on the screen and was diving into geography and history and I actually had to laugh.  He was speaking directly to my husband and son who want facts and love to know the history of things.  The second week we went as a family, he preached the Gospel, straight up. He didn’t mince words, he didn’t flinch or apologize.  I cried like a baby.  Right there, I thought, THANK YOU GOD for this man who is PREACHING THE GOSPEL TO MY FAMILY.  I went up to him afterwards and thanked him profusely, blubbering and carrying on.  He smiled and warmly shook my hand and welcomed me and my family.  I’m so grateful he said YES! to the call on his life.

We’ve been there two years and I can’t help but think those two years were exactly placed on purpose as the two years before my daughter leaves for college.  The Lord’s timing is always perfect. As we sat in church this morning, I realized it was our last Sunday before she goes to college.  We were all there together.  We would be again on  holidays and vacations but not every Sunday anymore.  I was grateful for the rhythm of Sundays, the predictability, all of us together, lunch afterwards.   I will miss this, I thought. I will miss her.

There are so many things we do as parents to prepare children for college.  Many have to do with academics and manners and common sense stuff and personal hygiene issues. Honestly, I’m still telling my teenagers to brush their teeth.  We try to teach kindness and respect and decency and compassion and empathy and independence.  We tell them we love them and we tell them all the things our parents told us.  I spent some time yesterday explaining how to do laundry and how important it is to separate darks from lights.  (I still mess this up sometimes!)

I’ve always known that my most important role is to teach them about God and how much He loves them.  To teach them about Jesus and His sacrifice and His gift of grace.  Sure, I told them about God and I took them to church all their lives, but these last two years…we have lived like we believe it.  The church is a big part and the pastor is instrumental in teaching us the Word of God and how to apply it.

However, I would have to say, it has been in the undoing that we have most profoundly met the Lord.  It has been in the flailing.  It has been in the many, many times over the last two years when we had to each individually walk into a room knowing not a soul and know we would be okay.  It is in the times we did it afraid, whatever it was.  It has been in the practice of trusting…the practice of believing…the practice of leaning into God…that we can now truly understand.

Faith doesn’t grow in comfort zones.

I heard Christine Caine talk about how in today’s world everyone wants everything to happen quickly, like selfies on Snapchat or Instagram.  But God moves at His own pace, His process is more like old school photography.  He takes time to develop us and a lot of our developing happens in the dark.

Two years ago we were invited into the darkroom.  We were invited out of our comfort zone.  We were invited into a new thing.  We said yes and it changed everything.

Now my daughter is invited into a new thing.  A new dark room.  A new stage of development.

And I’m invited into one as well but for the first time, we will not be in the same dark room.  We go into our development alone and when we see each other again, we will be changed.  A little more of us will be revealed.

I am not afraid to let her go.  She has heard the Gospel and she has spent two years of Sundays sitting near her mother who sings off key with hands raised in praise for the way the Lord will always, always lead us Home.  No matter where we are.

 

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©2016 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved

Letter to My Daughter on Her First Day of High School

This post originally appeared on the blog in 2012 when my oldest daughter started high school. This year my younger daughter starts her freshman year. I’m reposting because  I’d say the same things to her. Of course I would say some different things too.  Because she is different.  And now, so am I. But as I read this again I realized the things we hope and pray for for our kids never really change. We moved to Texas 5 days ago from a lifetime in Illinois so my second daughter is facing some unique challenges. But here’s the thing…Places change, people change, years go by…but a mom always wants these things for her kids…so here’s to this year! And to Mom’s everywhere sending their kids off…blessings to all!

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I woke up this morning thinking “Where did the time go?”

I remember the day you were born. Well, actually, I’ll be honest, it’s a blur. After being induced and then going through 24 hours of labor, I was exhausted. And then upon seeing you, I was exhilarated… and scared…and overwhelmed. I felt a keen sense of “everything is different now”. I felt blessed and terrified.

I realize now, that’s what parenting feels like. You alternate between feeling blessed and terrified.

And on your first day of high school, that describes my emotional state.

First, I want to thank you. You have taught me so much. I am certain now that God uses children to shape and form and teach us. You have taught me and you continue to do so. I am humbled and honored to be your mom.

As you enter those halls filled with thousands of other high schoolers there are some things I want you to know. Since you act mortified when I try to sit you down to “talk”, I figured I’d write instead and you can read it when you want to. Plus, I don’t have time to put you in the car and drive around which seems to be the only place we can have a meaningful conversation.

Here’s what I want you to know.

There are days that will be fun and exciting and days that will really stink. And this is okay. It is all part of growing up and becoming who you are meant to be. We cannot enjoy the mountaintop without the climb.

If you are going through tough times, remember, there is always hope. There is a rainbow waiting for you at the end of the storm. Always have faith.

Whatever is happening to you, matters to me and dad and it matters to God. Talk to us. You are never alone.

Sometimes people are nice and sometimes they are mean. This has nothing to do with you and everything to do with them. Stay nice.

Boys that are cute on the outside aren’t always so cute on the inside. Trust your instincts. Character matters. If you feel something’s not right, it’s not. Go with your gut.

Drugs are bad. I say it every day and I know you are rolling your eyes right now but I’m serious. Don’t even try them. Say no. Say it again. Say it louder. You are precious and your body and mind and soul will be destroyed by drugs. Don’t even start. Don’t even try. If you see them in the room, leave. This cannot be emphasized enough. I don’t care if you need to blame me and make up outlandish excuses to get out of there – leave…run. On that note, anyone who offers you drugs is not your friend. End of story.

There will be all kinds of people at high school. This will give you a glimpse of what the world feels like. There will be lots of new faces and you will be tempted to compare yourself to others. Don’t do it. Comparison is the tool of the devil. See, the fact is, there is no comparison. Each person is unique and beautiful and created by God who loves them. We come in all shapes and sizes…we excel in different things…we have different gifts but we are all important and vital parts of this world. We were created for a reason and God has great plans for us. We can’t compare ourselves because our journeys are so different. It’s like a giant puzzle…we all look different but without one of us, the big picture would not be complete.

You have to try. You have to try to get good grades, you have to try to make friends, you have to try to get involved, you have to try. You have to put yourself out there to grow. You cannot wait for life to come to you, you have to go out and get it. This can be scary but the more you do it, the easier it gets. Get out there…opportunities await.

Have fun. There is no rush to grow up. Laugh, meet new people, listen and engage. In every situation, there is some way to eek a little fun out of it…even math class. Life is what you bring to it so bring joy.

Believe in yourself. This sounds trite but it’s true. I believe in you, Dad believes in you, God believes in you but what really matters is that you believe in you. When you believe you deserve great things, the universe will conspire to give them to you. When you pray for good things with the expectation that they will happen, God will hear you and answer you.

I’ve heard it said that we should pray BOLD PRAYERS – that we should not ask for a C, we should ask for an A. So here’s my bold prayer for you.

Lord, I ask for great things for my daughter…I do not ask for her to just “get by” and “do okay”. I ask that you bless her abundantly. I ask that you give her strength and courage and determination. I ask that you give her eyes to see her own beauty and the beauty in the world around her. I ask that you put her in situations that are positive and life affirming and that you give her the right words and the right actions to succeed and to thrive. I ask for good people in her life…good friends, kind classmates, and inspiring teachers. I ask for teachers that can light a fire in her heart and soul and make her want to shine. I ask for teachers that understand and encourage and inspire. Be with her. Give her signs to know you are with her. Burrow deep into her heart so she knows she belongs to you. Protect her. I ask for all of these things with the expectation that you will provide. I trust you.

Oh, and Lord, before I end this…thank you. Thank you for the gift of my daughter. Thanks for knowing I need her and she needs me. Thanks for putting us together.

And while I’m at it…please bless and protect all kids starting high school and all moms. This isn’t easy but it is exciting.

See, we are back to the beginning…blessed and terrified.

©2012 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved