How do you want to remember this season? Coronavirus thoughts.

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When I was a sophomore in college my boyfriend (not Bryan) broke up with me. To say that I was devastated is an understatement. I was sure that I was going to marry him. I remember sitting in a quiet space in the library (the most private place I could find a phone – cell phones were still pretty new and I didn’t have one) sobbing to my friend over the phone completely unaffected by the people that kept walking by giving me odd looks. For whatever reason this breakup was really hard on me. I felt so out of control, there was nothing I could do or say to change his mind (which I am super grateful for now). No matter how much I tried, I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I needed something else to think about. I needed to refocus my thoughts.

I had probably done it before, but this is the first time I remember distinctly asking myself “What do I want to learn in this season?” “What do I want to accomplish?” What memories do I want to have when I look back at this season of life?” 

I decided I wanted to learn how to play guitar, so I convinced a friend of mine to give me free guitar lessons. I wanted to learn how to go rock climbing, so I decided to work as a Wilderness guide at a summer camp. Although that was a tough season of my life, I have great memories of sitting with my friends playing our guitars. I had a great summer as a Wilderness guide, I learned a ton and made lifelong friends. 

I am now grateful for that season. 

I have been in several seasons since where I’ve needed to ask myself those questions.

I feel like we all are in a similar place today. The Coronavirus has changed all of our lives forever. The Coronavirus is here and while there are ways to adapt, we cannot ignore its impact on the world. I don’t know about you but, if I let it, it can consume my thoughts. I need something else to think about. I need to refocus my thoughts. 

I’ve started to feel panicky the last two days as our new reality is starting to set in. Homeschooling my children is literally a nightmare to me. I’ve had to stop myself from going there and have started asking myself those same questions I did so many years ago “What do I want to learn in this season?” “What do I want to accomplish?” What memories do I want to have when I look back at this season of life?” 

I am still coming up with my answers, but here are a few I have come up with so far. 

• I have always been intrigued by P90X (workout program), but I don’t really like working out at home. Seeing that is my only option, I decided to give P90X a try. You guys- It’s killer!

• I want to learn the joy of taking walks. I generally don’t like taking walks, they feel inefficient. Why walk when you can run? My goal is to take one walk a day with a friend (6 feet apart obviously) and truly take in what’s going on around me. 

• I want to be present. I rarely just do one thing at a time. I want to fully present with my family. I want to listen. I want to say yes to my kids more often than not. I want to put my phone aside.

• I want to re-discover talking on the phone. I hate talking on the phone, but I hate feeling disconnected more. I don’t know that I can do it every day, but I want to call someone just to talk a couple times a week. 

• I want to update and upgrade my blog. I want to write a backlog of blog posts. My goal is to write at least an hour a day. 

This is what I have come up with so far. None of these goals are crazy or unattainable, but they are just enough to give me something else to focus on. I need that. Because I don’t know about you, but the minute I let my thoughts roam, I get very overwhelmed. 

So as we enter the weekend, take some time to ask yourself those questions. When you look back, what do you want to remember about this season? 

You will still grieve. It is still going to be hard. Life will be different. But I don’t know about you, but those are not the things I want to remember. 

I want to remember going on walks with my friends. 

I want to remember pressing into my calling in a deeper way. 

I want to remember investing in my relationships in creative ways. 

I want to remember reconnecting with people near and far.

I want to remember intentional, life giving time with my kids. 

How do you want to remember this season? 

We are in this together!

Lisa

I failed less this time…..

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“All day, every day, I have to fight off negative thoughts.” This was one of the most powerful things I didn’t know I needed to hear. It was profound, yet so simple. One of my favorite speakers said this and as she shared I was reminded – she is human. No matter how much I respect her, she is not perfect. In spite of her struggles, God is using her.

I was impacted by it for a couple different reasons. First, I can easily buy into the lie that in order to walk out my calling, I have to have everything figured out.

Second, I don’t like to admit struggle when I’m still in the trenches. We all often wait until we are on the other side of the struggle. Waiting allows us to communicate our struggle in the past tense.

We do that because it’s scary. It is a lot more vulnerable to speak about something you are currently struggling with than something you have reframed, repackaged and have control over. I’m realizing I do this more than I would like to admit.

In order to combat that, and encourage you to do the same, I’m going to tell you about my week.

I have a lot of anxiety around traveling. My trauma taunts me before I leave telling me something terrible is going to happen. And why wouldn’t it? Horrible things have happened several times before. Anxiety stirs up my stomach so much that before I even leave my IBS is in full force (I know TMI). My IBS causes me to feel nauseous, which is an anxiety trigger for me. On top of that I have a daughter who is anxious and doesn’t do great with traveling either. And as much as I attempt a peaceful exterior, she knows. So I have to try hard to not be anxious for her…which causes more anxiety. I get angry that I can’t just be anxious, but that I have to try to control my anxiety for her. Then I just get mad. It’s a vicious cycle.

A week ago I headed out of town on a four day, three night school trip with Piper’s grade. I rode separately, but close behind were 3 buses full of 5th graders. I had never been there. I didn’t trust the kitchen staff to accommodate my dietary needs. I was already behind on sleep. It helped that Bryan was along for the trip, but by my anxiety cycle was already in full force. Piper started the day in good spirits, but I knew all it would take was a sideways glance to push her over the edge.

It was cold. I didn’t get enough sleep. I was pleasantly surprised by the food. I had a lot of fun getting to know the kids. I had to take a lot of deep breaths. My thoughts would start to spin and several times I had to bring myself back to the present, to ground myself to reality. Piper did better than I thought. Overall, it was actually easier than I thought.

We returned home and then, after a 24 hour turn around, Cole and Bryan left for a weekend retreat. I felt really vulnerable when they left. The trip was better than I expected, but I was exhausted.

I also struggle when Bryan leaves town. As with traveling, my trauma taunts me before he leaves. Lies bombard me telling me that something terrible is going to happen to us or to him while he is away. When they left, I felt myself getting anxious and angry. I was angry at Bryan for going to the retreat right after we got back. I knew it was the right thing to do, but I also knew it meant another 2 days for me to struggle to maintain normalcy. I was angry that anger was my reaction.

Piper and I had a great weekend. We rented movies, got special treats and even got pedicures. But I was weary. I prayed all weekend that I wouldn’t be angry at Bryan when he got home. But when Bryan and Cole got home, I failed. I was angry.

I woke up discouraged on Monday. I was angry at myself. I was frustrated with my reaction toward Bryan. I was tired of the cycle I so often find myself in. I wanted to be done with the fight. I felt like a fake. I felt like if people knew my current struggles, any respect I have earned would be wiped away.

But then you know what I did? At that moment, I dropped to my knees and let go. I couldn’t do Monday in my own strength. I forced myself to worship, even though I didn’t feel like it. I read the bible even though I didn’t want to. I poured my heart out to God, all the good and the bad.

And as the day went on, my discouragement began to fade. I was able to acknowledge that in the midst of a week that wasn’t perfect and one full of imperfect reactions – I had some wins to celebrate. The week was a success. It was a success because I was less anxious than last time. I was less angry at Bryan than I was the time before. I had more fun with Piper. And I didn’t let my fear win. It wasn’t easy, but I did it all anyway. And because of that I won.

I share my story with you for a couple of reasons. First, as I mentioned, I felt compelled to share this because I think we need to stop waiting to share our wins until everything is wrapped up in a nice, perfect bow. I think we need to rejoice with people in the afternoon after they struggle to get out of bed in the morning. We need to celebrate when we react differently, even if it’s just one time, than we ever had before. We need to humbly declare when we are doing something hard that currently feels incredibly uncomfortable. We need to invite people into our struggle today, in the midst of it all.

When I have done this, two powerful things happen. One, my vulnerability often draws out vulnerability from others. As I share my current struggles, people almost always respond in kind. Grace abounds and we no longer feel alone in the world. There is nothing more beautiful than being fully known, yet fully loved.

Second, there is something about brokenness and humility that welcomes the Holy Spirit. I can’t totally explain why, but I know that God draws close to the broken hearted. When I am truly honest in my brokenness with another human being, I feel the presence of the Holy Spirit. Honesty and brokenness create space for the Holy Spirit to move in my midst.

So I encourage you to try it. Don’t take my word for it. Make a call. Send a text. Be honest, truly honest. Celebrate your win today, tell someone about it. Be honest with your struggle, today. It will be hard, but do it anyway. See what happens, I think you will be pleasantly surprised.

I also share about my week in hopes that it will serve as a graceful reminder. Take a deep breath in the presence of these truths – you do not have to be perfect for God to use you. You just need to be humble and willing. You’re human, not perfect. God’s still at work in you.

Failing forward,

Lisa

Christmas musings…

(If you have been following my blog, you know that I am using this season to share my story through a lens of grief. Let me go on a rabbit trail this time; it is Christmas after all:) )

I had to intentionally take a few months off of blogging. I had a few things that demanded my attention. Another reason I haven’t blogged for a while is that it is actually pretty stressful for me. There are so many good bloggers out there. I’m a horrible speller and it takes me a long time to clarify my thoughts.
But…. I do feel like God has put something on my heart to say. So I apologize for my spelling errors or my unclear thoughts. My prayer is that God will speak to your heart the things he has been speaking to mine.
This my 36th Christmas walking with Jesus. And until this year I have never fully grasped the meaning or significance of his birth.

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Last week I forced my kids to watch the movie “The Star” and I cried like a baby when all the animals bowed before the cartoon baby Jesus. I feel like I’m hearing Christmas songs I’ve heard a thousand times for the first time. Stories about Mary, Joesph and The Wise Men are causing a pause in my spirit.
Like I said, I’ve heard it all before, but I’ve never been so grateful for it. The gravity of Jesus birth has never been so real.

The reason I have never been able to take in the fullness of his coming, is that I have never felt so found. I had no idea how lost I had been.

I have never experienced the contrast so deeply between Heaven and Earth in my spirit.

I have never felt so much of Heaven in the midst of darkness.

And none of that would be possible if Jesus hadn’t come down to earth. He came as a king and ushered in a new kingdom. A kingdom in which I have lived as a commoner for so long, but not in the castle where I belong.
As a commoner I was certainly part of the kingdom. But I was on the outskirts. On the fringes. I loved the king enough to be His Kingdom, but I remained on the fringes. It was my choice. I was lost there.
But, through Gods kindness, he kept reminding me where I belong. I belong in the castle, beside the king.
He has been doing this for years, drawing me in – gently reminding me of who he has called me to be. But I wasn’t ready. Because to be part of His inner court, in the castle, I had to leave a few things at the door. The purity of His castle cannot hold such things. And although those things were killing me, I took comfort in them.                                        To be part of the inner court, I had to leave my judgement at the door.
But my judgement made me feel powerful….
I had to leave my need to be in control.
But so much of my life has felt out of my control…..
I had to leave my plans at the door.
But obviously I knew best….
Like I said, those things were killing me, but that is what I had grown to know. I oddly found comfort in them.

I always knew there was more.

I couldn’t do it anymore. It was time. I was tired of looking at the castle knowing I was welcome there. I walked up to the door of the castle and I slowly began to lay those things at the door. Jesus was waiting with the door wide open.

The inner courts are glorious.

The love transforms you. The grace is disarming. There is freedom. There is no competition or comparison. You can’t help but to trust the king and His plans. People laugh and wait for his guidance. They are okay with waiting, because they trust the king’s timing.

Man I had been missing out.

There are still many times that I have to go back and drop things at the door. But I will say, when you enter the castle, you don’t want to go back to the common space.

I was talking to a friend about Heaven and Hell. This friend was struggling with who gets to go to and how we get to Heaven. It made me think. As Christians, we put so much hope and focus on the end game – Heaven. What if we didn’t have to wait?

When you think of Heaven, what comes to mind? (Besides angels riding on clouds)

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I think of complete peace. I think of complete wholeness. I think of joy and laughter. I think of loving relationships. I think of grace and worship.

Besides complete physical healing, everything that comes to mind for me when I think of Heaven, I have access to today.

I have access to Heaven today.
Because of Jesus.
Because of Christmas.

Being part of the common space didn’t negate my commitment to the king. But I am a daughter of the King and I belong in his castle. We all do. “I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18

Most of us live in the common space. We love the king, but we aren’t ready to leave it all at the door. But when we do that, we limit our access to the king and his kingdom. Jesus came so you could stop looking afar at his castle. He has prepared a place for you there. He is waiting with open arms.

How lovely is your dwelling place, LORD Almighty! My soul yearns, even faints, for the courts of the LORD; my heart and my flesh cry out for the living God. Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young— a place near your altar, LORD Almighty, my King and my God. Psalm 84:1-3

May we always dwell in the inner courts of the Lord.

Merry Christmas,

Lisa

I choose more….

dsc03765I’m breaking from sharing the timeline of my story, because it happened….

I have now lived longer with my new liver than my old one! I have been waiting for this day for a long time. Early on, for whatever reason, 18 years became a marker for me. I told myself that if I could make to 18 years-I was going to make it.

Since I started thinking about what I was going to say at the party, I’ve gone through the gamut of emotions. I’ve gone from being excited, to being anxious, to being speechless, to thinking maybe I should cancel the party all together. As I was preparing, all of a sudden I began to feel so discouraged, so disappointed in myself. You see I have looked to this day for a long time and now that I am here-I thought it would be different. Really what I thought is, that I would be different. I thought I would be healed. I thought I would be whole. I thought I would be full of gratitude and hope.

This is a time to celebrate life. But here is the thing, a lot of times over the last 18 years I haven’t wanted to celebrate. It’s been really hard. I don’t feel like I’ve handled it very well. On the outside and with my words I can speak of the miracle and God’s goodness-but inside I’ve felt a lot of confusion and grief. I’ve become judgemental and controlling. I’ve become task oriented. I’ve become entitled. As I’ve let my thoughts go there these past weeks, it quickly went dark.

I was shopping the other day and I was thinking about what I was going to say. There are two things wrong with this picture. 1. I was shopping. I hate shopping. Therefore, I cannot expect clear thinking when I’m shopping. 2. I was thinking in my head. As an extreme extravert, when I try to think in my head-things get a little mushy. I need to think with my words. I was going down a spiral and I was going down fast. Thoughts and feelings were overcoming me in ways that I had not experienced.

Jesus.

I just said it, not super loud- “Jesus” and then I said it again. “Jesus” and I just kept repeating it under my breath. All of a sudden I could see and think clearly.

As I reminded my thoughts and emotions who their master was, they quickly rose to the command.

As I have said,  I have really struggled with feeling grateful at times. I can be very self centered and entitled. I make mole hills into mountains. I am urgent and controlling.

But I have also chosen to serve Jesus, through whom the world was created by the power of His words. And because of that I have access to MORE. I have access to all of who He is. I have access to More grace, More gratitude. More perspective. More openness. More trust. More surrender.

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“A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.” John 10:10

This verse has been spoken over my life by different people, in different contexts, in different seasons in my life. But personally this verse has never meant more to me than it does now. At the celebration on Saturday someone said that it’s like I am entering into my third chapter of my life. I LOVE THAT! #newhashtag

Not only did I have a party last weekend, I also decided to get re-baptized. I’m tired of being satisfied with enough. I’m tired of settling for some. I am tired of acting out of trauma. I’m tired of being overwhelmed by grief instead of gratitude. I’m tired of feeling entitled instead of having a servant’s heart. I WANT MORE! And like I said, I believe that as a follower of Christ I have access to ALL of who He is and ALL the power He possesses. So I got baptized to declare to my family, friends and mentors-that I’m all in and I want MORE.

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I also believe that it’s a choice. John 10:10 says that He came so they can have full life, the word can indicates that there is choice involved. We have to choose if we are going to access the power of Christ and all He has to offer; but He promises that when we choose Him-we will have access to ALL of Him.

All we need to do is call upon His name with a surrendered heart. All it takes is a word, Jesus. Call upon apon His name and He will come. When He does-He comes with More.

So as I enter into this third chapter of my life, I’m not healed. I’m not whole. I’m not as graceful as I’d like to be. I’m self centered and seek self preservation.

But I commit to this – I choose more.

Lisa

 

 

Dear high school student

 

Dear high school student,

I have always had a heart for you and your friends. In fact even when I was a teenager, I recall telling my parents I wanted to work with teenagers someday. Call it a calling, call it destiny-I have always felt like you are my people. I have had the privilege of walking through life with you for a very long time in a variety of capacities. It hasn’t always been easy to earn your trust. It hasn’t always been comfortable to show up to your games to say hi. It hasn’t always been easy to hear your pain, your struggles, your story and feel helpless. But you are my people.

I wouldn’t say that being a teenager has ever been easy. But I feel confident in saying that it has ever been so hard than it is today. You live a world with endless access to knowledge. We are able to live vicariously through others from the comfort of our own home. Yet, even though we can’t pry our eyes away from the screen, we feel empty. We feel less than, like we are missing out. You live in a world that tells you that if you don’t start playing a sport by 5, you shouldn’t even try. You can be the busiest people around. Or not. You may have started playing video games as a hobby, just a simple interest, but now it has become the only place you feel safe. You are able to enter into people’s lives on Netflix instead of living your own. You have never lived in a world that doesn’t know war. The Great Recession happened. And then there is school. I am aware that a lot of people have never safe at school. But lately things have gone to a different level.

I have a privilege of working at a local high school. Unfortunately, this past week we had a threat. A snap chat was sent claiming that on Monday something is going to happen. This person is seeking revenge. It has been declared a hoax, a false alarm. But the looks on your faces yesterday told me you weren’t convinced. Your faces were full of questions and confusion. Your faces and words expressed anger and fear. I saw panic, disbelief and exhaustion.

There has been a lot said over the last few weeks as we have watched the horrible incident go down in Florida. We have watched people march and take a stand. I’ve read numerous blogs about gun control and mental illness. I have heard people sling blame across the aisle.

But one thing that I have not heard is, I’m sorry.

I’m sorry that this is happening. I’m sorry that you have to think about your safety each day as you go to school. I’m sorry you have to lay awake in bed and wonder what you would do if someone came into the school and started shooting. I’m sorry that we try to calm your emotions and say “We are fine, that won’t happen here.” It’s not true, it might. We just don’t know how to handle all of this either. The more we say it won’t happen, the more we can convince ourselves. I’m sorry if you feel like you cannot express your emotions: your anger, your fear, your exhaustion. You can, we won’t always know right answer-but we will listen. I’m sorry we revert to fighting about gun control and mental illness, when we just need to focus on you. I’m sorry we haven’t gotten this all figured out.

As I said, you have grown up in a world that has only known war. You have grown in a world that has financially unstable. And in the midst of it all, you have risen above. You celebrate people’s individuality. You created more safe space for people to find freedom to be themselves than ever before. You don’t want to be talked at, you want to talk with. With the global access you have, you want to be part of the conversation. You have things to contribute, you want to be heard. You watched those before you make mistakes and struggle through tough times. Because of that you are a bit more careful, a bit wiser. But you know what I like about you the most, you want to make a difference. You want to leave a mark. You want to leave the worlds better than it was. You want your story to matter.

You know, the thing that stuck me the most about the fake snapchat is that the “person” said that they were tired to being treated poorly and that it was time to take revenge. That particular snapchat turned out to not be true. But I know there are people out there that feel that way. They don’t feel celebrated and heard. They feel lost and alone.

As tomorrow as you go to school, don’t walk in fear, do what you do best.

Show up. Make a mark, write a story. Your story, a story that matters. Write a story that is full of compassion and understanding. Write a story that is full of bravery and grit. Say hi to someone new. Remember someone’s name. Listen to their fear. Hug someone. Buy them coffee. Tell a teacher if you feel concerned for a friend. Be present.

Find that person that seems lost and alone. Enter into their story. Celebrate who they are. Listen. Add compassion and grace in their lives. Sit with them at lunch, walk in their shoes. Remember their name. And if you do that, I guarantee you will both walk away better.

And those are the best stories.

Let’s write some good stories together.

Your friend,

Lisa

It’s been a while…

It’s been a while…

It’s been a while. As you can see, I’ve made a few changes to my blog. Let me explain.
As most of you know, I had mono in November. Any type of infection/disease is a little more complicated because of my Liver transplant. The timing of getting mono was not ideal. It was the week before Thanksgiving. The woman I rented my personal training space from decided she was moving on. I had to decide whether or not to take on the lease. But it was bigger than that, if I didn’t take on the lease I would close down my business. I had been half in and half out for too long. So there I was. I had mono and I had to make a big decision. Oh and I had about one week to make the decision.

Every time something happens to me physically that I don’t understand, I go through a very predicable process. I cry and I insist that Bryan and I talk about my funeral. (You can laugh, we do) For an hour or so I convince myself that I going to die from (fill in the blank). I cry for a while longer, usually fall asleep and wake up with a bit better perspective. Within a day or so my perspective has shifted and I’m ready to go. But for whatever reason this time something was different. I still wanted to talk about my funeral and there were some tears. But quickly after I stopped crying, my thoughts were very clear. Instead of crying myself to sleep, I asked myself “If I were indeed to die today, would I be happy with my life today?”
Let’s pause, I know what you are thinking. I know it sounds like a horrible question to be asking. In the wrong state of mind, it may be the wrong question to be asking. But you know what, for me in that moment- it was a moment full of life and clarity. My answer came quickly.

No. I would not be happy. I was tired and stressed out. I knew that as I was trying to build my business, work a second job to fill in the gaps, be a mom, be a wife-I had lost sight of what was important. I wasn’t investing into relationships. I was always thinking about the next thing that I needed to do. I wasn’t present with my kids. The decision was clear.

I closed my personal training business.

So here I am. I have a job at a local high school in the mornings. I am learning a lot and it fills my extroverted needs. I am reinvesting in people and working hard to be present with my kids. A few years ago, I felt a very strong calling to write. And for those of you that have watched over the years-it’s been hit or miss. So I’m re-committing myself to my writing. I’m working hard to protect my time and my emotional energy.

So all that brings us to why all the changes to my blog. A new focus needs a new name. I went back and forth about naming my blog “Lisadschmidt”. It doesn’t feel catchy, it feels pretentious. In the past I have based my blog title on certain themes, mainly revolving around fitness and my story. I will certainly continue to write about fitness and of course my story, but there is so much more on my heart. And as my journey continues, my focus may change. What I’m learning about will change. Maybe even what I’m passionate about might change. But simply put, my name won’t.

One of things that I feel compelled to write about is grief.

Grieving as a follower of Jesus is complicated, or at least seems like it. This year I’m going to tell my story through the lenses of grief. I haven’t always grieved well, but I’ve learned a few tricks along the way. I hope it helps people in their own journey towards wholeness.

Thanks for sticking it out with me. Life is weird and never what we expect it. Odd things bring clarity, while other things cause us grief. I just want to do this life well, I know you do to. Let’s do it together.
Lisa