Saturday, February 21, 2015

I am a FAILURE...or not?

What is a finish line?

This is the question I have had to ask myself so many times over the past seven weeks. I was graciously accepted into a 7 week challenge by Sara, the coordinator and faithful cheerleader at www.faithfulfinishlines.com . All I had to do was participate in their program (which is amazing by the way) and blog once a week about what was going on with me and the finish line goal I set for myself. It should have been fairly easy, especially since all I really had to do was talk about me…right?

Turns out it wasn't so easy. I promise I have 6 other partially written posts about what I was going through during this difficult seven weeks of my life. It was a journey of post-surgery pain, humbling limitations, and slowly learning to celebrate the small stuff. I will post them eventually, but it is the end of the challenge, and time dictates this one must come first.

You see, I am a big picture thinker and set big goals. I strive for big things and have always been very capable of taking care of myself and the entire world around me very effectively. Then suddenly I find myself post-surgery  and the very capable person I have always been suddenly wasn't there. 

In planning the surgery, I knew I would be limited on some physical things, and had planned to fulfill my faithful finish lines commitment with ease as well as focus on things that I had been putting off because I had been too 'on the go' and wouldn't slow down and focus on them. One of those things I had planned to do was write another book. (Didn’t I say I thought and planned BIG things?)

The day I went in for surgery I had it all planned out! The night of surgery when the nerve block wore off, I recognized I may have a problem. I counted and planned on a lack of use of my arm…I figured I could deal with that even in writing since there are speech to text programs. What I hadn't counted on was the pain. Not just a stub your toe pain that you can hold your breath and get through, but a deep pain that causes you to not be able to think straight. It's a pain that doesn't seem to release or go away. 

Then there was the added emotional pain that comes when you realize that you (a very capable person) can’t do the basic hygiene tasks of brushing your teeth, brushing your hair, applying deodorant, changing clothes, or bathing.  My husband bought me baby wipes and I wept when I realized I couldn't even do that on my own.

I also faced the realization that I couldn't sleep in my bed. I have always been a slide or belly sleeper and was reduced to attempting sleep sitting up in a recliner. All of the things above, with a lack or good rest, relying on my dear husband to tend to me as if I were a fragile toddler, allowed an all too familiar voice get louder and louder. This is a voice I have heard so many times throughout my life. It always says the same exact thing… YOU ARE A FAILURE!

It was different this time though. There was another voice trying to pierce the darkness. This voice told me, “Hang in there!”, “You are loved”, “It’s okay for your goal to be survival”. 

This voice was loving, and merciful. It told me that it was okay to show myself mercy and grace. It helped me see that small goals can be good goals. It told be to recognize my limitations and embrace life within those limits...this voice spoke to me with the mercy that God shows us, not the condemnation that comes from the enemy.

I started this journey seven weeks ago with a goal of writing a book, not gaining weight during my post-surgery time, and getting myself back to walking 3 miles a day 3 times a week. I even wanted to finish off with my first official 5K run.
At the end of this 7 weeks, and have only successfully written one blog post (this makes two),  I gained 15 pounds, and I walked 2 miles in the mall once between doctor appointments. According to this, I could listen to that familiar voice and agree that I am a failure. OR….

I could tap in to what the Faithful Finish Lines community is all about… MERCY AND GRACE.  I have survived the most physically painful experience of my life. I haven’t given up, but pushed through physical therapy that I actively wept through (and still do). I am committed to do my exercises and stretches at home that I still weep through twice a day. I can now bathe myself and brush my teeth…all with pain, but I can do it. I am a winner. I am successful. What are finish lines and goals all about anyway? They are about not giving up. I wanted to give up so many times, but I haven’t. Sara and the Faithful Finish Lines team didn't give up on me and helped me learn how to not give up on myself, and for that I am grateful!

So dear friend, if you are in a season of life right now where the main voice you hear is condemning and telling you that you are a failure…I want to introduce you to another voice. It’s one I just met, but it’s an amazing one to have in your head and on your side!  This voice says, “Hang in there!”, “You are loved”, “It’s okay for your goal to be survival”. This voice is loving, and merciful. It tells you that it is okay to show yourself mercy and grace. It will help you see that small goals can be good goals. It will teach you  to recognize your limitations and embrace life within those limits. It will tell you that you are not alone!


I have no medal or badge to celebrate a big momentous accomplishment, but I survived and I can do the little things…and that is a pretty big thing!

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

When Life Provides the Excuse...

Here we are at the beginning of the year and I, just like many others, want to commit to a healthier lifestyle. You know the drill...move more and eat healthier. I really want to make this same commitment this year, but life is giving me my excuse to quit even before I have a chance to begin.

In four hours I will be having surgery to correct an injured shoulder. From what I gather, it is a painful recovery that will keep my arm completely immobilized for 6-8 weeks. TA-DA! My automatic get off the hook card. Truthfully, how can I be expected to make good food choices, if I can't cook or even shop for groceries? Is it even a good idea for a person with a lame and immobilized arm to attempt to exercise?

My heart's desire is to get healthy...especially since I was on a five day cruise over New Years and my waist-line reflects the endless supply of amazing food. How can I push through the MOUNTAIN of logical and socially acceptable excuses that are conveniently placed in my lap? On my own, I truly don't know that I can. Fortunately God laid an option (or opportunity) right beside the excuse...and I had a choice to make.

The option/ opportunity was from an organization, Faithful Finish Lines. They were offering a free 7 week membership to bloggers who would participate in the program for free in exchange for a blog post once a week sharing their experiences as they participate. Surprisingly, I was one of only ten bloggers accepted. I truthfully had no thought that I would be one of the chosen ten...but here I am presenting my first blog post as I take the first step in this seven week adventure.

I am not always the best at keeping my commitments to myself, but since I know I was blessed with a coveted slot, I know I can be committed to this. I am excited about the journey and growing my character to chart my own course with God's help as opposed to embracing and using the excuses that life lays at my feet. I am Shifting my Vision and recognizing that even post surgery, I can move towards my personal "Finish Line" instead of spending seven weeks soaking in convenient excuses!

Friday, December 5, 2014

Managing grief during the holidays: receiving the gift of HOPE

Take a sneak peek and maybe find a source of hope for yourself or someone you love! This course is video based and work at your own pace, on your own time, and in your own location...It can be accessed from any device at any time so you are not tethered to the computer. You have lifetime access to it and all updates that are added. Gift yourself or someone you love with HOPE for the holidays!



Follow the link below to see the first video of the course...
http://ude.my/diwsk

If you decide to purchase...use coupon vid3promo 
to receive 50% off! (this promotion is for a limited time)


If you want it for yourself or to gift...use the following coupon code to save 50%
vid3promo

Friday, October 10, 2014

Getting to know Me Podcast with the Word Slinger Kevin Tumlinson


Are you interested in getting to know me a little more and gain some insight about Shifted Vision? Listen to the Podcast interview I did with Kevin Tumlinson (AKA the "Word Slinger") 

www.kevintumlinson.com/podcast

Every life has its tragedies and pain. That’s all part of the story. But you don’t have to let that pain define who you are. It’s part of the story, not the WHOLE story. This week we chat with Tammy McDonald, author of “Shifted Vision: Finding new life in the midst of devastation,” and founder of Shifted Vision Ministries. Learn how to turn around tragedy to make it an empowering part of your story.

Monday, October 6, 2014

As the Holidays creep closer, the sense of dread and anxiety begins to build for people who are facing a different Holiday than ever before. Perhaps it is the first season without a spouse, child, or parent. The longing for "The way things used to be" combined with the growing reminders that "Things will never be the same" can become crippling for some people. 


There is hope. You are not alone. There are tools and plans that you can develop that will help you manage the grief. You can't make it go away because it is a process to go through...not run from. 

I am offering a free grief workshop on managing grief during the Holidays. This workshop is for people who are grieving as well as people who love someone who is grieving. You play a role and can make this season easier on the people buried in grief.

If you can't attend the workshop, but need some coaching, contact me and I will help you make a plan.

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Hope. Joy. Peace. Where can I find them?

Romans 15:13
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

*hope... TRUE HOPE... Not temporary or fabricated, can only come from the Lord. Life causes us to lose hope because of heartbreak, loss, or circumstances that shake our foundation.

Hope can be restored even after it has been lost. Its okay to ...doubt, question, and try to figure things out on your own for a bit as you wonder if God can still be trusted... After all , 'He didn't stop the terrible thing from happening' so with that, is He able to be trusted?

The answer fully and completely is YES! Your loss was not a punishment. It was not the act of a mean God striking out to see if you would still be standing on the other side!

Bad things happen... They just do. We all walk paths we don't think we can ever recover from. (Recovery is NOT FORGETTING-but thats a different post) Your path of brokenness is different from my path, but there are still shattered pieces along the way.

Our ONLY source of TRUE hope is God. With His hope comes peace and joy. The hope, peace and joy are buddies and hang out together! If you need hope, peace and joy today please message me. I will pray with you and for you.

There is hope to be had... I can help show you how to grab hold of it! *ask me about grief and loss coaching and lets get started!

Monday, August 4, 2014

What is crushed in spirit? What can be done?


What does "crushed in spirit" look like? What does God do with it?

Life can and does take a perfectly beautiful and good spirit and crush it. The best visual I've come up with is the difference between a whole pineapple and a crushed one....
They look nothing the same, yet are. Which state is your spirit in today? If you've faced losses and experienced pain, you very well may have had some crushing to your spirit. Once this happens, is there hope? YES!

Psalm 34:18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Crushed in spirit? He will save you!
He specializes in taking what the world destroys and putting it back together in a better way. I'd love to encourage you and pray with you today...feel free to message me or contact me. 

You can like me on Facebook as well. www.facebook.com/tammymcdonaldauthor