Lisa is more than just a sister in Christ, she’s actually my real life step-sister. We’ve only seen each other a few times in person (we literally live on opposite sides of the country!) and we were both adults when our parents married, but I feel that had we grown up together we would have been besties…two peas in a pod. I can’t wait for you to hear the story that prepared Lisa to start an incredible ministry to women through her website The Chase is Real. Her mission is to show women who they really are in Christ: “…God’s masterpiece, created on purpose, with purpose, and for purpose. Our goal is to help you fully live into that amazing reality, to see God’s love chasing after you every single day of your life.”
For as long as I can recall I wanted to be a mom. As a little girl, playing house was always my favorite game. As a teenager I was reading Men Are From Mars Women Are From Venus so I could be prepared to understand and communicate well with my future husband. Every decision I made was done so after considering how it would affect my future family-I literally chose what I studied in college because it would mean the most time at home with my future children.
I remember thinking how funny it was that I was voted Most Likely To Succeed in high school because my goal for my life was to be a mom and wife. I had no desire to cure cancer, go to the Peace Corp, run a successful business, or climb the corporate ladder.
So you can imagine my surprise when I found myself in a hotel room in Jamaica sobbing as I listened to a symphony of screams coming from my two year and 2 ½ month old, wondering if my husband and I would make it.
It was the toughest time of my life-and I had had some really tough times! But NOTHING prepared me for the reality of motherhood. None of the books I had read, the conversations I had had, the practicing on other people’s kids made me ready for the intensity of the emotions that came when my children entered the world. I still can’t believe they let us leave the hospital with any of them.
As soon as my first, my son, was born I felt the most intense love I had ever known-followed immediately by the greatest fear. Worry became my constant companion. I couldn’t sleep because I was so afraid he would stop breathing. When I put him in the car seat I worried the strap might choke him. When I changed his diaper I worried I was hurting him. When I laid him down I wondered if he would choke if he spit up. When I picked him up I worried I wasn’t supporting his head right. When I fed him I cried because I thought he wasn’t getting enough. When I burped him I was sure I patting too hard or that my hold was choking him. And when he cried I broke out in raging hot flashes that lead to sweat dripping down my body. It was debilitating.
For some reason, we decided to have more children. That, surprisingly, did not make it any easier. When my brother invited us to his wedding in Jamaica 2 months after our sweet little girl was born we knew that even though it might be completely crazy to get on a plane with our two little people, we couldn’t miss it. So we loaded up all our gear (SO MUCH GEAR!) and our two little people and started out for what my husband still says was the hardest day of his life.
You see, our 2 year old had a real problem with lines. Anyone been in an airport? It’s literally one line after another. This lead to a day of CONSTANT screaming from our son and disgusted looks and words from EVERYONE ELSE. I wanted to join my son and scream at all those angry people. If we could have stopped him from crying we would have. Our nerves were fried 15 minutes into the trip. Eventually we arrived at the resort. My husband left for the bar after searching for milk-the one thing that would calm our son and put him to sleep-only to find they only had goat’s milk, which he refused to drink. Sobfest symphony commenced. And I found myself in Jamaica with two screaming little people I was supposed to be able to calm, wondering what had happened to that little girl with a dream.
But the most amazing thing happened in that moment. For the first time in my life I understood desperation. There was nothing I could do to fix the mess of my life. Nothing had prepared me for what was. No tool I could pull out to repair what was broken. I did the only thing left that I could think of and I cried out (quite literally) to God and begged for help. I didn’t have a moment where suddenly everything was fixed and there was no more screaming although eventually everyone did cry themself to sleep-self included. I went to bed and got up the next morning and just kept at it. But over the next few years I began to have what I call miracle moments.
When I was folding laundry one day during naptime I heard a voice come from the TV playing in the background that was almost in a different frequency, “what you focus on grows.” It stopped me in my tracks. It was like it was being spoken directly to me. I heard it very clearly and instantly knew I had been focusing on everything that could go wrong. I knew it was a message for me but I had no idea how to change my focus.
A few weeks later I ended up in a bookstore and came across the book called The Power Of Positive Thinking. I randomly opened to the chapter called “How to Break the Worry Habit” and started crying-it was another clear communication just for me.
The following month a friend told us about free behavior therapy that might help our son. That led us to discover an underlying medical condition that had been the cause of the screaming. Over the next few years, tiny little miracles continued to happen that completely transformed my life and ME.
One day I had this out of body moment where I was looking around at my now 3 children (yes we kept going!) and I realized that God had more than answered my plea that crazy day in Jamaica. He had completely saved my life but not how I had expected. It wasn’t the circumstances that had changed but ME in them. It was transformation from the inside out.
It was the first time I really understood that His Love for me wasn’t just this idea I believed in, but instead a REALITY of my everyday life. Psalm 23:6 says, “God’s beauty and Love are chasing after you everyday of your life.” I knew with a certainty in every cell of my body that that was true because it became the experience of my everyday and the new focus of my life. I began to share this truth and my experiences with anyone who was willing to listen. Fast forward 10 years and so much AMAZING (I can’t go into it all here because there is not enough space!), I’ve joined together with some remarkable, real women I know to share our journeys of opening to this reality and the lessons we learned along the way on a website we created called The Chase is Real.
I can’t say I have all the answers, or even many now, or that I could come in and help anyone! But what I do know is that to anyone who is struggling out there, God’s Love for you is so incredibly REAL. He is actively pursuing each of us. All it takes is a small amount of willingness to experience life completely differently and it truly is better than I ever dreamed it could be (John 10:10). Hope to see you on the journey!!
This post was written by Lisa Mas especially for
the One Story Series at Made for Today.