Hey Friends —
When was the last time you were faced with challenging circumstances and had a demanding decision to make?
Last summer my little nine-year old Sarah encountered a difficult dilemma.
The night before leaving for a three-day overnight summer camp, Sarah’s good friend/camp partner decided she was too afraid to go to camp. Sarah tried to say everything & anything to help persuade her friend’s decision, but her friend’s mind was made up—she would not be going to camp.
Sarah was on her own.
This was a huge disappointment to Sarah. She had felt nervous to go to camp in the first place, but was willing to give it a try since one of her closest friends would be with her. Suddenly everything had changed. There’s nothing like finding out just hours before your first camp experience you’ll be flying solo for the week. Sarah’s world had just been rocked.
Needless to say, there were many tears, sad conversations, and a difficult decision to make.
Should Sarah go to camp? Should she stay home and try it again next year? Would she know any of the other girls in her cabin? How as a mom do I best encourage her?
I started with “affirm and acknowledge.”
Y’all know this is one of my favorite strategies. Don’t we all need to know our feelings matter?
I spent time listening to Sarah — affirming and acknowledging her feelings — yes, this stinks. Yes, this isn’t fair. Yes, it will be hard to go by yourself. Yes, this is disappointing. Yes, you have an important decision to make.
Next, I started silently begging God to give me wisdom on how to guide Sarah.
I tried saying lots of different helpful ideas. “We can pray and ask God to give you a friend.” “Maybe there’s gonna be a girl in your cabin who is also feeling nervous.” “Maybe God wants to use you to be a friend to someone feeling alone this week.”
Nothing was working. Mostly I received eye rolls, silent stares, and glossy-eyed glares through her sea of tears.
Finally I declared, “Sarah, there’s one thing I’ve learned about you from being your mom of nine years. Sarah, you do hard things. When you are faced with a challenge, you are not afraid. Whether it’s facing a bully on the bus, trying new things in gymnastics, or working through situations at school — not only do you face the challenge with courage and strength, you persevere and see it through to the end without giving up. Sarah, you do hard things.”
Sarah looked up with her beautiful, brown, tear-filled eyes and said, “Mom, that’s the best thing you ever said to me!” and quickly wrapped her precious arms around my shoulders and hugged this mama tight.
Friends, it was a powerful, holy moment.
What did Sarah decide to do? Did she stay home or go?
I’m pleased to share, yes, Sarah did go to camp, and yes, she had a fun time.
Although she didn’t come home with a new bff, God handpicked the right counselor for her (a sweet, nurturing mom—thanks, Letty) and Sarah came home with new friends, fun memories, and fresh confidence for the next time she’s faced with a difficult decision to make.
It was also a great learning experience for me.
Now whenever I feel in over my head, or one of my kids’ has an opportunity to leave their comfort zone behind — I think of Sarah’s camp decision and the ABC’s which helped her through.
In case you are faced with a challenging decision to make, maybe my ABC’s will help you too —
A – Affirm and Acknowledge
Your feelings matter. Be honest with how you are really feeling.
i.e. I feel scared, I feel nervous, I feel alone.
Acknowledge the “what if’s” you are silenting stuffing.
What if I fail?
What if I’m all alone?
What if I miss out on this opportunity?
B – Believe Truth
Spend time declaring what you know to be the Truth about God, your situation, and/or your ability. (Not how you feel, but what is the Truth!)
- i.e. God, I believe You will never leave me nor forsake me.
- God, I believe I can do all things with your strength.
- God, I believe You will equip and empower me for this task.
- God, I believe You’ve called me to it, so You will get me through it.
C – Choose Life.
If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my 40+ years of living, it’s this—we have a choice. Always.
If you’re faced with challenging circumstances, which decision will be the most-life giving to you? What will bring you the most joy? Choose the life-giving, courageous outcome.
For Sarah’s camp choice, I knew she would always regret not going to camp. Staying home for three days when she had been looking forward to camp for months would not have been life-giving for her, or for me.
I’m super grateful God gave me the words for Sarah to choose saying Yes to camp, to courage, to the ability to do hard things.
Sweet friend, are you faced with a difficult decision? Are you being asked to leave your comfort zone, and it’s almost taking more courage than you can muster? May I speak to you the same words I shared with my sweet Sarah —
Friend, there’s one thing I’ve know to be true about you. You do hard things. When you are faced with challenging circumstances, you do not give up. Whether it’s facing a difficult situation, trying new things, or working through hard relationship stuff — not only do you face the challenge with courage and strength, you persevere and see it through to the end without giving up. Sweet friend, you do hard things. You’ve got this!
I’m not sure what situation you are facing today, friend — but I’d be happy to pray for you and your circumstances. No need to share the details — He knows. Private message me your name or simply leave it in the comments section. I promise to pray for you every day this week. He’s got this!
Thanks so much for stopping by *She Sparkles*! May God infuse you with fresh courage and strength for the hard things you are faced with today!