I (Terra) woke up for a big day. We were setting up for hundreds of women to flood the sanctuary at Rolling Hills Community Church in Tualatin, OR for a women's conference addressing the needs of women in every season of life. Over 40 experts were prepared to share a practical breakout. The worship team had written and produced a song and practiced long hours for this big weekend. I had spent two years with a planning team, praying, preparing, and organizing. The rumblings of a pandemic were new, but felt like white noise in the middle of preparing. After time with the Lord and preparing my heart, I picked up my phone and was flooded with panic. I had over 100 text messages and voicemails. I had gone to bed early the night before to prepare my mind and body, completely unaware that the whole world had shifted. Seemingly overnight, it became illegal to have a large public gathering in the state of Oregon. I had to make decisions. All eyes were on me. Or so I thought.
I posted Joshua 1:9 on my Instagram that morning as a declaration: I will not be afraid. I will not be discouraged. For wherever we go, the Lord God is with us. I can be strong and courageous. Lord help me! Help us all.
A year later, it feels surreal to consider the massive shifts that have happened in one year. SO MUCH has happened and so much was lost. I have struggled with my own emotional trauma as we have walked with so many. Everyone is tired. Weary. And burdened.
Today, as we prepare for the resurrection of Christ, let us not forget the Friday that happened first. In a matter of days, hours, and moments, the disciples’ king of kings was murdered. The immeasurable grief. On Saturday, they were scared and overwhelmed to say the least. Are you even still with us God?
And then there was Sunday. The pinnacle of our very faith.
Suffering leads to the resurrection. God never left us. He will never leave us. And though we feel all kinds of feelings, though we are often left with questions and unclear answers, we can rest in knowing that we CAN trust - God is with us. Every. Step. Of. The. Way.
Because of Jesus,
Terra and Jeff
Words of Love "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." - Joshua 1:9
"As believers in Jesus Christ, we have established our faith on the idea that resurrection comes through suffering, death, and grief. There is no way to Sunday but through Saturday...Not only did Jesus face death in all it's reality, but He also remained in the tomb for three days before He rose to overcome the death sentence. His followers' devastation must have been gut wrenching; not only did their promised Messiah suffer a criminal death, but they were also being hunted by Jesus haters...They lived through Saturday - the day between Jesus' death and His resurrection. It was a day of unknown proportions, between the messiest of all messes (Good Friday) and pure holiness (Easter Sunday). Heavy with uncertainty, Saturday was a day of mourning." p. 57-58, Courageous: being daughters rooted in grace.
What does Saturday look like for you?
This past year has likely included some form of suffering, loss, and lament. It is important to grieve the loss and disappointments. Jesus did this. Before he faced the cross, he faced his Father in the Garden of Gethsemane. He knew what was coming and in his full humanity, he grieved: "Not my will, but Yours. (Matt. 26:39). Sometimes we know the suffering ahead. Sometimes we don’t. Learning how to hold tight to the Good Father during seasons of the in-between is part of growing our courage.
As we prepare for Easter, let’s not jump over, mask up or push aside the “Saturday” of our own stories, remembering that “revisiting and grieving our pain with Jesus and the gentle help of others is the only path to resurrection, victory and redemption.” p. 57, Courageous: being daughters rooted in grace
Often, we see our little ones acting up and we automatically think “disobedience.” What if their misbehaving was a symptom of their anxiety and mixed emotions? They just don’t have the same words we have as adults (even we don't have the words sometimes!). Through the lens of play therapy research, what if the misbehaving is pointing to a deeper need for relationship and comfort? Similar to white water on a river that is pointing to the active current beneath the surface, the behaviors are a que to what is beneath.
In Child Parent Relationship Therapy, Garry Landreth and his colleagues provided us with a fantastic go to in times when we need to correct behavior, but still care for the needs at hand.
A - Acknowledge the Emotion - "You are angry"
C - Communicate the Limit - "But your toys are not for throwing in the house."
T - Target the Alternative - "You can hit a pillow or throw balls outside."
Instead of disciplining the behavior, try giving a name to the God given emotion, clearly stating what is not allowed, and giving a good alternative to allow an outlet for that emotion. This helps a child or teen feel seen and heard, and coaches them in healthy coping strategies for the ordinary human emotions we all feel.
March Swag Special! Buy Back to Calm Toolbox for $25
and get a FREE signed copy of Courageous!
The Back to Calm is a compact collection of therapeutic tools, bible verses, and encouragement to calm anxiety. Created by Megan O’Connell, a mom and teacher, with input from Terra Mattson, a licensed marriage and family therapist and professional counselor, the Back to Calm Toolbox provides both research-based anti-anxiety techniques, along with scripture-based reminders to help ease worry in your home.
Sometimes we have a hard time acknowledging we have needs. Often, women are the first to dismiss their own needs for the sake of their family’s needs. A courageous mama feels it to heal it. A courageous mama knows how to identify her needs and meet those needs in a legitimate way. A healthy way. She can turn to God and others and find comfort. Learning how to do this well requires boundaries and knowing the line between what I am responsible for and what you are responsible for. During this season, as we consider our humanity and deep need for a Savior, these resources might provide help.
March’s resource list includes topics of the beauty and craziness of emotions, building healthier relationships, grieving and one of our favorite children’s books to help your kids pivot when disappointment hits.
Each month, we feature a mama/daughter duo from around the globe. This month, we are featuring a courageous mama, Amy Sheldon, and her daughter Sydney They share the impact of Courageous Girls on their faith, relationship, and living courageously in the stuff of life.
Amy is wife to David, mama to 2 kiddos (Sydney and Lincoln) and in her third year co-leading Sydney’s CG group; she loves being active and is always up for an adventure! Sydney (6th grade) loves her CG friends and radiates life and laughter.
Co-leading has allowed Amy to live out one of her passions: encouraging moms to keep pursuing their kids, even in a season of heavy burden. She exhorts each mom to trust that God has equipped her to love her children in a unique way and exactly in the way they are needing AND not to miss the beauty of this crazy season of unexpected life!
Be sure to listen to this month’s CG Mini Podcast. You won’t want to miss this one! And, keep an eye out for Amy’s upcoming blog.
Being Daughters Rooted in Grace
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Shrinking the Integrity Gap:
Between What Leaders Preach & Live
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