Tag Archives: mother

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

Stories

14-16“Here’s another way to put it: You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill. If I make you light-bearers, you don’t think I’m going to hide you under a bucket, do you? I’m putting you on a light stand. Now that I’ve put you there on a hilltop, on a light stand—shine! Keep open house; be generous with your lives. By opening up to others, you’ll prompt people to open up with God, this generous Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:16 The Message (MSG)

I heard a woman speak the other day.  She and her family have started an organization designed to keep kids of drugs.  She talked about the organization and gave facts and figures but I could tell she was leading up to the real story.  The story of how she lost her son to drugs.  I knew that she was going to tell her story and I got scared.  Scared for her to tell it and scared for me to hear it.  Drugs frighten me and losing a child is the thing I fear most of all.  I sat in fearful anticipation waiting for the story to be told – waiting for the air to be filled with the heartbreaking story of another son lost and another mother broken.

She told her story and she was brave.  She was succinct and purposeful and included details about the how’s and the why’s.  She told the tale as a cautionary tale – she was warning us and our kids.  She was strong.  Her voice only cracked a couple times.  Her tears only bubbled up two or three times.

I pictured her practicing this speech in the mirror.  I pictured her practicing on loved ones. I imagined her writing and rewriting and changing words and hoping and praying she would get it right, hoping and praying that her words would honor her son’s struggle and his life, and that she could convey her love, her grief, her sorrow, her brokenness.  I imagine the rewrites and the agony spent at the keyboard reliving the story.  I imagined the first few times she may have cried the whole way through.  How could you not?

She had to tell the who’s, what’s, why’s and the what to do’s but really her story is about the boy she loved.  Her story is about the baby and the toddler and the grade schooler.  Her story is about the hugs and the laughs and the vacations and the friends.  Her story is about moments together – about tucking him in and kissing him good night. Her story is about holidays and cozy nights by the fire, about board games and puzzles and Legos and sports.  Her story is about family and dreams and safety and all the things she worked to give her son.  Her story is about love.  Her story is my story and that is what scares me so much.  How can her story start out just like my story but end in my worst nightmare?

But now I realize her story did not end there.  In her strength and her wisdom, she has walked through hell and found grace.  It’s amazing to see.  Can our lowest, scariest, most unthinkable moments be the windows for grace in our lives?

I remember reading the book Beautiful Boy by David Sheff and being entranced by it.  I read the follow up book, Tweak, by his son, Nic Sheff and watched the father and son on Oprah with my book club.  I was invested in the story and hoping and praying for Nic’s recovery to be real and lasting.

Her speech reminded me of this book when she mentioned her son had been in rehab 13 times before he died.  That took my breath away.  I imagined the phone calls and the drop off’s and the hope and the waiting and the counseling and the disappointment and the fear and the hope again and the disappointment again.  It was almost too much to bear.

I am honored that she shared her story with us.  I believe she knows something very important.  She knows we need her story.  She knows we need her.

I was at funeral of a friend of mine the other day.  It was so sad to have to say good bye to such a good man.  I sat there thinking, “Why would God take such a young man, such a good father, such a loving husband?”  It doesn’t make sense.  He was amazing and he will be greatly missed.  The priest at the funeral told us that we all have a “holy task” before us.  He said our task is to tell our stories about our friend that passed away- share the stories of him living and loving and laughing and being kind.  This is how he will live on.  This is how we will honor him.  The priest didn’t just say it’s our “task” he said it is our “HOLY task”.

I believe it is our holy task to share our stories…to witness to each other…to share our moments of pain and our moments of grace.  All of our stories are holy…every single one of them.  Especially the ones we are scared to tell and the ones we are scared to hear.

What’s your holy story?

To learn more about one mother’s mission to honor her son’s memory and to help keep kids off of drugs, visit www.saveastar.org
©2012 Sue Bidstrup, Great Big Yes™ All Rights Reserved