Stacy Voss

See life differently. Live courageously.

Author: Stacy Voss (page 1 of 5)

What I Didn’t Know I Could Do

Prior to buying my house last year, I couldn’t put an anchor in a wall to hang a picture. Seriously. If I had pictures of my failed attempts, you would see the plastic mangled into the wall–and the frame shattered on the ground.

Fast forward 14 months. I’ve since learned how to put those anchors in (trick is to drill bigger holes than I realized) AND I’ve learned a thing or two about some other stuff such as jackhammering crawl space access points, hanging light fixtures, texturing walls (I’m so not offering to help anyone on that one. Yuck!) and even refinishing cabinets and countertops. I could write tomes about what these experiences have taught me, but I’ll save you most of it and condense it to the following:

  1. Things look chaotic and disorderly during a renovation

My bathroom has been under construction for the past month. If a stranger came into my house during that time and saw it (more appropriately, if they saw the apothecary jars filled with cotton balls and Q-tips on the floor and ladders and drop cloths in the bathroom), they would have thought I was a complete slob. Someone who definitely didn’t have their stuff together (okay, probably right on that one, but hear me out nonetheless). They wouldn’t know what I did: change was in the process and that chaos was about to bring something gorgeous.

I’ve been like that stranger all too often, living in the chaos and seeing it for nothing more than that. I didn’t realize at the time that sometimes the only way to get to the best finished project is to strip some stuff bare and stir things up a bit.

2. Sometimes it takes multiple rounds

Many of you have heard me ask/write, “Seriously? Do I need to go through another round of trials? Haven’t you built enough character in me yet, God?”

Home renovations taught me an answer for that one, too. After transforming my kitchen countertops last weekend, I put a patch of gel stain on a nearby cabinet to see how the color matched the new granite-like counters.

“I don’t like it,” my Girlie announced, crushing my aspiring DIY dreams until she gave her explanation. “It doesn’t look as red as you said it would be.”

This non-crafty person had just gel stained the bathroom cabinets the week before and knew too well that the first coat barely gives a glimpse as to what the final product will be. Coat one brought improvement. Read: it was better than before. Kinda. In a grainy, streaky sort of way, but by coat 3 (okay, 4 on some areas), my cabinets looked brand new and you couldn’t even see the scrape marks where the old lady who used to live here banged them up with her power chair.

3. Something not done 100% perfectly right still looks a whole lot better than not done at all

This is for you, my fellow perfectionists. I used to stop dead in my tracks, fearful that I wouldn’t get something just right. Correction: I didn’t stop, for that would require pre-existing motion. Now, I go. Need to hang hardware on the cabinets and never done it before? Well, now’s the time to learn! So what if one is millimeters higher than another. No one other than you will notice.

You get the life lesson, right? I’ve also learned that many of my oopses are more easily remedied than I would have guessed and that mistakes definitely aren’t the end of anything important.

4. Rely on others you who have gone before you

YouTube and Pinterest have become my new friends. I’d never painted a counter to look like granite before, but I have some mean fingers that can type up the instructional video. Same with hanging said crooked-ish cabinet knobs. I thought I could pull it off, but two non-level knobs taught me otherwise, so I went to visit my trusted friends on YouTube and they told me about this little template that does the dirty work (aka doesn’t make me calculate what half of 52.6 inches or whatever that little line on the measuring tape represents is equal to).

In my non-DIY world, my trusted others include my wise sages that surround me and bless me with their wisdom. There are also those that let me glean from them, even though I’ll never meet them in person, like Corrie TenBoom or even those that have passed, like Brother Lawrence. And of course, the Good Book is filled with incredible lessons of those who forged a path for us.

5. It’s easy to forget the change you’ve already done

The first month of homeownership was a blur, with carpets being ripped out, wallpaper torn down (yes, that stuff really does still exist) and so much more. I can tell you definitively that we did a lot of work, but honestly I became too tired to truly remember all those pieces. I could look at a remodeled room and know it looked better but with time, I came to forget what the original measuring rod was, as in better than 

I got that reminded when the bathroom remodel started. My Dad pulled down the long, ode-de-80’s box that “hid” the fluorescent lightbulbs looming over the vanity. And that’s when I saw it, that not-so-glorious boxy pattern that was once plastered to my bedroom walls.

Okay, so some things are worth forgetting, especially the Strawberry Shortcake throwback wallpaper in the kitchen. I digress.

Once the big light fixture box was removed, I caught a glimpse of what it once was. How easily I forgot that original sight just a year later.

We, too, go through radical changes, but then we hit those plateau periods. I told a friend today I’d do snow angels in a plateau life-stage for it sounds rather blissful, but let’s be real: my life can change as quickly as the things in my house and it only takes a few breaths before the doldrums have me screaming. I forget the many coats that have already been applied in my life, or get frustrated at myself for not being somewhere I’m not.

But sometimes, there’s that thing that makes me step back and remember yet again where I’ve been. Like peeking at the old wallpaper that I no longer see, I can step back and remember that it wasn’t that long ago that this mama fled with kids in tow.

It isn’t pride when I let myself see the journey of pain and growth. It is sheer praise when I say, “you’ve come a long ways” to my inner me. Ultimately, its a song of praise to the One who has carried me. And created the chaotic-looking renovations. And added multiple layers, even when I thought one was more than enough.

6. Success breeds success

Let’s start at the beginning and remember that we’re still talking about the girl that just 12 months ago couldn’t anchor a wall hanging. When my parents started this major renovation project with me called “De-Cat the Litterbox-less House,” I didn’t have a clue how to do pretty much any of the things I’ve since done. Dad showed me how to use most of the tools along the way. I slowly came to realize I could do more than I thought.

And from that I began dabbling in other areas I hadn’t tried before. Like when I decided the coffee table my parents gave me years ago from the house they had been renting out (read: scratched and beat up) needed an upgrade, I started chalk painting it. I was clueless on chalk paint, but the table was in such bad shape, I really couldn’t make it any worse. And then I fell in love with it, so then I painted the matching end table. And then the lamp. And then I switched to the gel paint and started on the cabinets. Those looked great, so I tried my hand at the granite-look-alike paint kit.

 

Okay, I possibly got addicted along the way and might need to start a support group on Pinterest but here’s the point: I think we’ve convinced ourselves of so much less. We think we either need to be perfect or drop out of the game. We say we don’t know how to do something so therefore we don’t try.

And most times we’re wrong.

Stacy Voss

So my friend, here’s our question: what are we going to say in a year that we’ve learned? What’s something we’ve felt God prompting us to do that we’ve been too scared to follow through on? I’ll be the first to admit that painting and renovations and working out at boot camp and so many other things have fueled changes in other areas of my life, too!

The Effects of Encouragement

“You seem to really appreciate the people in your life,” my counselor observed a few years ago. The irony is that I was seeing her to help me navigate my footing through a divorce, which was one of the trials that caused me to better appreciate the valiant souls around me who carried me when I didn’t have the strength.

“You have no idea,” I replied. “I have the best family and friends a girl could ever ask for.”

A lot has changed since then, but I still carry this sentiment just as deeply, if not more so. Recent events cause us to remember yet again just how hard this thing called life can be. Even without mass shootings and horrific natural disasters, everyday routines are riddled with challenges. And who couldn’t use a little encouragement along the way?

I know we aren’t supposed to live for the applause of others, but can we pull back from a minute and just be real? I mean, when’s the last time you received a sincere compliment and it didn’t have any impact on you? I can’t remember when, either.

I don’t suggest we compliment each other as shallow puffs to propel another throughout a storm. Sincere appreciation must run much deeper–and must also be demonstrated.

It’s that second part that trips most of us up. We might know how grateful we are for someone in our heart, but we don’t think about saying it to them. Or there are those that have done so much for us that there aren’t sufficient words to adequately express our gratitude and so we don’t say anything at all (kinda like mom’s saying about if you can’t say anything nice….  apparently I bought into about also meaning if I can’t say anything as nice as I’d like, then I shouldn’t say anything). Unfortunately, there are too many people that I’ve placed into this second category, their love and actions being so incredible that I’m still at a loss of how to express it to them.

Hebrews 10:24 says, “Let us think of ways to motivate one another to acts of love and good works.”  Giving someone a sincere compliment is one of those ways of motivating others. So is letting someone get a glimpse of what their actions helped create, the afterwards events that they couldn’t know about.

Why?

Because it’s easy to get tired. We convince ourselves too easily that it doesn’t matter (it being pretty much anything, especially the things God puts on our hearts, whether a dream, a small task or a million things in between). We persevere and yet we might also be on the brink of giving up.

And then that one little word from someone unexpected can be just enough to keep us going, at least another day.

In a world filled with tensions and divisions, I vote for encouragement and building each other up. How about you? Please leave a comment about how encouragement impacts you as well as some ideas on how you will encourage others today.

Stacy Voss

The Yes Challenge: A Dance of Trust

I’ve been dancing most the week, so for now I’m going to prop my feet up and tell you about it.

This round of dancing started in January, back when I felt God challenging me to venture back into the realm of being self-employed. Fear was the first emotion, for I have two precious ones depending on me, but as I checked off the list of conditions that needed to be in place prior to quitting the 9-5 (read: God’s provision and not my doing), excitement took over.

So what does that have to do with dancing?

Everything, my friend. It was a dance of trust, first of discerning and believing that the small promptings I was hearing were of God, then of relinquishing my desire for stability to venture into a land filled with unknowns.

And that list of conditions? All were checked except for one when I gave notice. After making the original list, I scribbled across the top of the page:

“this feels impossible, but God, I trust you. If this is what you want, then please make it happen.”

And then, as an afterthought, or perhaps as the groans from the depths poured to the page, I wrote,

“But what about writing and speaking?”

Are you hearing the tunes of music at this point, the soft whisperings leading me beyond the realm of lists and sticky notes (oh, how I love my post-its!) and onto the dance floor of trust?

The first challenge laid before me was yes, as in the prompting to say yes to the opportunities God placed in front of me. I spoke to my “business manager” one night (who really is a dear friend with so much business sense that she inadvertently got suckered into this role) and told her about my new yes mentality.

Did I mention that she’s a dear? That’s probably why she bit her tongue and didn’t roar with the knowledge that last year was more of a no year for me.

You see, when I stepped onto this dance floor of trust, it wasn’t just about finances and stability. It was the question that penetrates deep.

“Do you trust me?”

“Yes. No. I mean, um, well. I believe. Help my unbelief.”

And so, when Cher asked Monday morning if I’d fill in as a cohost on Crosswalk, a radio show on 94.7FM, I gulped. Radio doesn’t scare me anymore, but you know what does? Going on with a host I haven’t worked with before, of not knowing what kinds of questions they might throw at me or what their style is. Even though I’ve known Eric Reamer for years, the cohost of Crosswalk, this was still a new forum to me, as in I didn’t even know what the topic was about that day. If you ask me, the topic should be at the top of the checklist.

Checklist or not, I agreed to this yes challenge (within reason, mind you, and it always has to pass one crucial component). I prayed. No, there weren’t angels singing or great signs saying to do it. Just crickets, as in “I’m not stopping you, girl, so go.”

So I did.

And I danced.

Let me clarify that, for it’ll sound incredible prideful if I don’t. My parents were at my house helping me renovate my bathroom. My dad asked if I was excited.

“Honestly, it could totally flop. Actually, it probably will. I have no idea.”

Please don’t hear this as pride, but listen past that to my heart: I didn’t fail. In fact, it felt like–you guessed it–dancing, a beautiful waltz in which I was led and simply responded. That’s the feeling I get on those rare occasions when I know without a doubt I’m in exactly the place I’m supposed to be at that moment, doing the very thing God asked me to do.

So here’s our challenge: let’s say yes to the next opportunity God puts in front of us. It might take us well beyond our comfort zones, but in the end it just might become a beautiful waltz.

Stacy Voss

P.S. Sorry for those of you that are receiving this twice. I sent this as an email to those of you who are signed up to receive posts on my blog and then later decided to post it here.

In case you’re interested in seeing the dance, you can go to 94.7FMTheWord facebook and look for it under the video tab.

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