On today's episode, we're going to talk a little bit about rolling hills, earthly angels, and an important lesson I learned after I broke my collar bone. Also I'm instituting a fun new tradition at the end of my episode today (so we aren't so serious all the time). So, read to the end.
3 Tips for Hard Times You Can't Afford To Miss
Welcome to another episode of Tamara's Takeaways on the Stories of Hope in Hard Times podcast. Last week we had the opportunity to listen to the amazing story of Roxanne Kennedy-Granada. She shared the story of her husband's challenge with pornography and how that affected her as his wife. She also taught so many amazing lessons.
I found her story to be full of hope and faith and what an amazing testimony she bore of Jesus Christ and His ability to heal and fill her heart even though it was broken. It is just a beautiful, beautiful episode.
So today I would like to talk about three principles I absolutely loved about Roxanne's episode.
Tip #1--The Rolling Hills Analogy
One of the principles Roxanne talked about was the principle of life and being like a series of rolling hills. Roxanne explained there are times when something hard comes into your life and then there's another thing and then you get a reprieve. And then there's another hard thing and then you get a reprieve. And sometimes you feel like it's just never ending.
I know I've felt that way before. Sometimes you're going up and sometimes you're going down, because life is a series of learning experiences.
A Pertinent Bible Verse
One of the things that came to mind when she was talking about rolling hills was a verse in the Bible in Isaiah 28:13 and it talks about how we learn and it talks about how God teaches us.
The word of the Lord was unto them, precept upon precept, precept upon precept; line upon line, line upon line; here a little and there a little.
God teaches us in baby step increments. There are times when I've often wondered why can't I see five years down the road. Having that image of my future self could pull me forward. God doesn't work like that (unfortunately).
A Great Quote
There is a quote by poet Patrick Overton from his book The Leaning Tree, which I feel goes along with this Bible verse.
“When you walk to the edge of all the light you have and take that first step into the darkness of the unknown, you must believe that one of two things will happen. There will be something solid for you to stand upon or you will be taught to fly.”
I love that quote. I love that life is a journey of faith and we often feel like we're climbing that rolling hill and we get to the top and we have to either go down or maybe it's just another step and it's a larger Hill than you originally thought.
Rolling Hills With God
Sometimes you feel like the whole world has dropped out from under you and God is all the sudden expecting you to fly. But he's not going to give you something that you cannot do with his help. He's going to give you challenges. Challenges will come into your life that are too hard for you to do all by yourself.
I know I felt that way so, so many times--just burdened down and, and Roxanne felt that way too. And she shares in her podcast, "I come honest and broken. God knows how broken I am and the pain that is pressing on my heart and He just loves me. He loves me exactly where I am now. He doesn't think I'm a terrible person."
And so the beautiful thing is God loves us when we're broken. He loves us when we're falling. He loves us when we are a completely overwhelmed and He is so willing to help us take that one step into the darkness.
And then the next line upon line, precept upon precept learning is a series of building upon what we already know.
I love how Roxanne shared how God took her where she was and helped her move forward at her own pace. She also talked about how sometimes she felt God was giving her the next step and she wasn't ready to take it and He was patient with her and would give her another opportunity down the road.
So understand that God loves you and that he is willing to work with you wherever you are.
Tip #2 Support Group Angels
The second thing that I really loved about Roxanne's episode was the principle of having a support group.
After my two sons were diagnosed with autism, I found a wonderful support group in Northwest Arkansas Autism Support Group. The people in that group became like family me as I began navigating the world of autism.
Roxanne calls her support group, her "angels." She explained it was so nice to have somebody who knew and understand exactly what she was going through. We need people who understand us. We need people who totally get where we've been and where we are right now.
And the beauty is God knows we have a relationship with him, but he also knows that we are humans who need a tangible physical help. And that's where friends and relationships come in. So sometimes you just need a hug and you need to call somebody. And so that is the beauty of support groups. We need them so very badly. They can be people we call when our kid has smashed poop into the carpet (like me) because they've been there and done that. They feel your pain.
In Roxanne's case, she felt very betrayed by her husband's addiction to pornography and her self-worth suffered because of that. And there were other women that she was able to just completely bond with because they had walked that same path. And so we need each other.
Isn't it so great that we don't have to be in this world all by ourselves? Not only do we have the support of God, but we have the support of each other, but we have to be willing to take that first step and find support groups that fit whatever it is that we are struggling with.
Tip #3 Education and Learning
Then the third thing that I really loved about Roxanne's podcast was that she was very proactive about educating herself. Once she realized what was really happening there was a lot of shame associated with this addiction of pornography at first. She didn't want to talk to anybody about it and she felt very, very alone.
We talked about how that is one of the adversary's tactics and, and he wants us to fill alone that nobody cares and nobody understands.
But the beauty is when we educate ourselves with the proper lingo and find people who are experts in that field, it becomes a lot less scary. The reason it is less scary is because there are people who understand exactly what we're going through in a different ways.
Finding Good Resources to Help Overcome Fear
In my Diagnosis Survival Guide, (which you can get free on my website, TamaraKAnderson.com) one of the principles I share in that survival guide is Overcome Fear Through Learning. At the very front of that little section, there's a great quote by Marie Curie.
Nothing in life is to be feared. It is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more so that we may fear less.
And so when we have any diagnosis or new scenario come into our lives we often look at it and think, Autism? I don't know anything about autism. Or pornography--how in the world do I learn about this?
Any initial diagnosis or change for us or our family members may seem a little overwhelming because we just don't know enough about it. But as we dive in and learn from reliable sources--talking to counselors, doctors, and support groups, they can guide us to some awesome resources which will teach and educate us.
But find reliable sources that have people who can be depended upon to give you accurate information about whatever it is that you are struggling with. They can give you tips, and they can give you tricks.
Applying What You Learn Makes it Easier
For me, I had to learn about having a schedule for kids with autism because that was something that was really, really important to my children. Even though I was a bit spontaneous, I had to learn that if I was going to change things up, I needed to give them a visual heads up. I needed to write the change on the calendar. These are things I had to learn and they made my life so much easier once I learned the principle.
So learning these tips pertinent to you and your family really do make your life so much easier.
Weaving the 3 Tips Together
To conclude, let's go back to the rolling hills. The beauty of life is that sometime we hit peaks in our life and they are beautiful peaks. You feel like you're standing on top of a mountain. You can see for miles, you feel like you've overcome this amazing trial to get and you stand on the top of that peak.
And what feels like the very next day you feel like you've tumbled all the way down the mountain and you're at the very bottom again. So we have to cling to those days where we remember that morning does come after every midnight. The sun does indeed rise.
There is a great verse in Psalm 30:5 which goes along with this.
Weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning.
So we're going to have these periods of our life when things are really tough, but joy will come. So cling to that hope.
Remember that you're not alone. Remember that the purpose of life and all these trials/choices of others which affect your life is to learn something from it.
And so if you're at a hard point right now, remember God takes you exactly where you are. He can help you grow and become a better person. Maybe you're more kind. Maybe you are more humble, maybe you're more sincere because you've been through this trial.
It's a beautiful thing to be able to have experiences because a few years later you might see somebody else that was in that same position you were in--and you're an angel to them. You're that support group to them because you've been through it.
The Hand and Collarbone Story
When my family lived in Arkansas, a friend of mine had surgery on her right hand. I was really concerned about her because I broke my right collarbone and I had my right arm in a sling for several months after a car accident.
And so I knew what it was like to lose that ability and not be able to use your dominant hand. And it gave me such a sense of compassion for her. I remember showing up at her house the next morning just saying, How can I help you? And I was able to do her daughter's hair.
And so you never know if the trial that you're going through may be the answer to someone's prayer down the road.
Remember that these rolling hills go up and go down.
Remember that you can benefit from the support of others and support groups. You can and will be a support group to someone else someday and you will be that listening year. You will be that person that shows up at their door because you know they need help.
Remember to educate yourself and keep learning and growing. God does teach us line upon line and precept upon precept. And don't be afraid to go and talk to Him in prayer. Get the answers that you need so very, very desperately.
So those are the three points that I absolutely loved about Roxanne's discussion.
If you are someone you know as struggling with pornography, encourage them to listen to Roxanne's podcast. Roxanne gave a lot of fantastic resources that will point them in the right direction.
Tamara's New Fun Tradition
I realize we talk about serious things throughout most of my podcast episodes and you guys might not get the opportunity to see the fun side of Tamara when we are talking so much about hard times. So, today I am instituting this new tradition of sharing something fun.
Today I am going to tell you about a place I could never work: A bookstore. Why? Because reading is one of my favorite hobbies and I would spend every penny I earn buying new books. I seriously should have a bumper sticker on my car that says, "I would rather be reading."
My favorite books are young adult books because they are clean and adventurous. My favorite series I have read ever are the Harry Potter series, the Michael Vey Series, and the Fablehaven and Dragonwatch series. I also love the Beyonder series. Oh! I love adventures!
I recently took my daughter to St. George, Utah for the Parade of Homes--because we had never been before. It was our grand adventure. We got rained--soaked but I just kept saying "Let's go on an adventure" in a funny British accent. We had a great time.
So, that is one fun thing about me.
Don't ever let me work at a bookstore--it would be an adventure but I wouldn't earn any money.