I Can’t Be A Good Coach and a Good Business Woman at the Same Time

We’ve been facing lies and labels here since before there was an actual big blue couch. It’s just what my besties and I do. Recently I discovered an interesting lie rumbling around in my head: I Can’t Be A Good Coach and a Good Business Woman at the Same Time. Hear me out on this. Anytime we start a sentence with “I can’t,” we should pay attention. We should pay attention because what follows is almost always a big. Fat. Lie.

We can do way more than we give ourselves credit for. You can do way more than you give yourself credit for! And so can I.

This lie that we can’t be good at more than one thing has got to go. For me, it’s the lie of “I Can’t Be A Good Coach and a Good Business Woman at the Same Time.” That’s a load of crap because the truth is that I AM good at both AND I’m getting better at both, too!

Here’s the TRUTH that I will start telling myself when that lie tries to stop me from growing:

  • I have a decade of experience of being a business woman, and nearly two decades of experience in the working world.
  • I’ve learned a LOT on this journey AND I’m not done learning! I’m willing to share what I’ve learned along the way, too.
  • I have six years of experience as a Coach and I’ve helped thousands of people get results!
  • What makes me a good Coach is how I encourage and believe in the people I get to work with. I am also not afraid to ask hard questions.
  • My own journey in life and business is what makes me a better Coach, too. I am always pushing myself to grow and level up in both areas.

Since I just discovered this lie, I’m going to give myself some grace to grow, but I’m also going to journal on where the root of this silly belief or thought might have come from. For now, the truth I shared above has already encouraged my soul more than I realized I needed!

So what about you? What lie do you need to face today so you can stop beating yourself up and encourage yourself? It’s more important than you realize to face the lies. You are worth it. This one life that you get to live, and what you choose to do with it, matters.

Find the lie today, my friend, and then encourage yourself with some truth.

Much love,

~Coach Mandy

What I’ve Learned from Helping My Friend Leave an Abusive Relationship

In the last six months, I’ve learned more about domestic abuse than I ever dreamed I would in my lifetime. Helping my friend leave an abusive relationship was never something I thought I would be doing when we set out on this journey of helping other women live Beautifully Whole™.

To be honest, I never thought about domestic abuse before June of this year.
That confession might make me sound a little naïve but let’s be honest here: it’s much easier to ignore this topic and pretend it doesn’t exist than to stare it in the face and talk about it. At least that’s how our society has been for most of my 3.5 decades on this earth.

Not anymore. Not from me. I refuse to close my eyes and ears on this issue anymore. Why? Because over the last few months I have watched my friend rise up, speak the truth, and find freedom from the abuse she has lived through for over 16 years. During this time, there has been a mantel of loyalty and fierce protectiveness that has been rising up inside of me, too.

Psalm 15:4 says, “They will speak out passionately against evil and evil workers while commending the faithful ones who follow after the truth.” (The Passion Translation).

The word EVIL means:

  • Morally wrong or bad; immoral; wicked
  • Harmful; injurious
  • Characterized or accompanied by misfortune or suffering; unfortunate; disastrous
  • Due to actual or imputed bad conduct or character
  • Marked by anger, irritability, irascibility, etc.

According to Psalm 15:4, my mandate as a Beautifully Whole™ woman is to shine a light on and speak out against the morally wrong, harmful behaviors in this world. It is my responsibility to give a voice to God’s Word so that freedom can reign! So here I go…this is what I’ve learned about abuse victims, the road to recovery, and the sheer foolish responses of others as I’ve helped my best friend overcome this horror and step into freedom:

YOU MIGHT BE SHOCKED WHEN YOU LEARN THE TRUTH: This isn’t about you. It’s about HER.

Abuse is not “one size fits all.” Many of us make the mistake of thinking that abuse is only physical. I’ve heard several abuse survivors say they wished their abuse had been physical because then it would have been seen! Mental, emotional, financial, sexual, spiritual abuse – they are all just as wicked and just as damaging. They are also harder to spot.

I was shocked when I first started to hear the truth of what my friend had gone through. Some of it I had known about, but I had also come to believe that things were improving because we were all praying for restoration in her marriage. Yes, there were some seasons where it looked like things might get better…but then again, that’s easy for me to say when I am on the outside looking in.

What I just said is very important. You might have a friend right now going through abuse. She might be leaving you clues with her words. And your ears might be plugged and your eyes might be blinded because you are praying for healing and restoration, trying to “be positive” instead of digging in to the uncomfortable topic.

What I know now is this:

I wish I would have asked more questions. Looking back, I realize that many times I misconstrued what was really PTSD and anxiety as just chaos because of her then husband’s work schedule. I wish I would have stopped to notice more. I wish I would have asked more questions, but instead, I made it about me. I made it about what needed to be accomplished that day because we worked together, instead of taking the time to validate her feelings and press in to find the truth.

You might be shocked when you learn the truth of what kind of abuse someone has been going through. But this isn’t about you. It’s about HER. If you truly desire to be a beautifully whole woman that stands up for truth, then you must get comfortable with the idea of having uncomfortable conversations. You must get your head out of the “Christianese-religious-mindset-cloud” and recognize that sometimes God’s people experience horrible things…even when they live in a “Christian home.” That’s why evil is so sneaky – it has learned to wrap itself in religious words so it looks normal.

SHE IS BRAVER THAN SHE REALIZES: Remind her of this and help her to find herself again.

My friend is one of the bravest women that I know. She was brave when she stayed and she was brave when she left. Her bravery was never on trial. Yet, in the staying, she was fading away. It happened so slowly that many of us around her didn’t even realize it. That makes me so incredibly sad. Not just sad for her, but sad for all the victims who are losing themselves in this situation.

As a friend to someone who is leaving an abusive situation, or to someone IN one, I want to encourage you to be the one who SEES her again. Remind her of her worth. Of her value. Give her space to find herself again, and know that it might be a bit messy in the process! She might try on a lot of different things as she uncovers the woman she buried just so she could survive. That’s okay. In fact, it’s a beautiful process to be a part of if you can find the humility to go through it with her.

She is not lost; she just needs someone close to her willing to speak up and speak life back into the deadened areas of her soul.

BELIEVE HER: She didn’t say anything for so long, because she was afraid she wouldn’t have your support.

This one really angers me. Not once have I thought my friend was lying about what she has gone through. Why? Because I saw it all unravel with my own eyes. I saw the emotionally abusive and manipulative text messages when she finally found the strength to leave. I saw the tears and held her as she cried when she experienced something so horrible that no woman should ever have to go through or explain to people when she’s not ready to.

I saw it.

But before I saw it, I chose to believe her. She is a woman of integrity and she always has been, even when she couldn’t speak the truth for all those years. Her heart yearned for integrity and she stood up for the injustices other people were going through long before she stood up for herself.

She didn’t say anything for so long because she was afraid she wouldn’t have my support. Or the support of others around her.

It blows my mind that some people think that women lie about domestic abuse just because they didn’t tell someone sooner. Refer to my first point: It’s not about YOU!

Believe her! When a friend finds the courage to speak up – believe her! Do not make it about yourself and your pity party that she didn’t tell you sooner! It’s not about YOU!!!

She needs your support, not your judgement. Yes, you will have a roller coaster of emotions to go through yourself as her friend. Expect it and welcome it. The more you are open to talking to her about her experience and listening to her, the more you will have the type of friendship where you can talk to her about what you’re going through as you process this as well. But please hear me – judgement won’t get you there. In fact, judgement will drive a wedge between you faster than you can imagine. I’m going to be bold enough to say it like this: get over yourself and your small-minded opinions and believe her. It really is that simple.

“Oh Mandy, I can’t believe you would say that!”

I would. I did. I’ve said it to myself, even. Being on a religious high horse will not help your friend, it will not help your friendship, and really…it will not help you. There is so much to learn in situations like this! You just have to be willing.

“Helping my friend leave an abusive relationship” is not an easy topic.

It is not an easy situation. And oh how I wish it wasn’t real. But it is. And if it is happening to a friend of yours, then I urge you to apply what I’ve shared here and be the friend she needs. Learn how to offer her the support she needs. Do your own research so you can be informed.

This world is desperate for people who will carry the mandate and message of Psalm 15. It’s time for the Beautiful Wholeness Warriors to arise. I pray that you’ll be one of them.

Much love,
~Coach Mandy

How I’m Handling My Grief

I’ve been pacing. Just back and forth, back and forth, back and forth. That’s one of the ways I’m handling my grief this week. Pacing. I get back home and it’s like I’ve forgotten what to do with my life because life as we know it…has changed.

Six days ago we said goodbye to our fur-baby, Ajah B. It has been my hardest goodbye, even though I knew it was coming because of her health. We were both saying goodbye in little ways over the last six months. Honestly, I’m handling this better than any of us thought I would.

But the grief still comes.

Several times a day I find myself tearing up. Yesterday I went to go get the mail and found a card from Ajah’s groomer. Grief whimpered out of me as I slowly walked alone down the hallway back to my apartment door with tears spilling out of my eyes.

Saying goodbye to the fur-baby that I have known since she was a few days old has been harder than saying goodbye to any other pet. I will miss her forever.

My biggest goal for this week has been this: just get through and do my best. So that’s what I’ve been doing. I’ve been giving myself grace to go slow, cry, remember, etc.

Actually, there are 10 things that I’ve done so far that have helped me handle my grief in a healthy way:

Walking & Talking

Nate and I got home on Saturday and the grief was so heavy that we found ourselves restless through our tears. So we laced up our tennis shoes and began walking the hallways and steps of our apartment. We walked for an hour and talked about our favorite Ajah memories, as well as the strange feeling of relief we had about not having to worry about her health anymore. And eventually we started making plans to do more things together outside this summer and to take spontaneous weekend trips out of town. It gave us something to look forward to and it was comforting to know that the sun will shine again.

Writing

The fear that I would someday forget all of the details and memories of our life with Ajah B. was haunting me. So at four o’clock on Sunday morning I found myself sitting on the couch doing the one thing that always helps me heal: sitting on my couch and writing in my journal. I wrote down all the small, precious moments that happened over the last few months that I wanted to remember, as well as my favorite moments throughout her lifetime. I’m still writing them down as they come, and it really helps me smile through the tears.

Worshipping God

Coming home to an empty house, when Nate is out of town for work, is hard. The silence is so lonely – and I’ve actually come to enjoy silence over the years! But this kind of silence…hurts. So I began playing worship music in the background of my life. This is something I have done often anyway, but this week I’m super intentional about it. It soothes my hurting soul and helps me feel God because grief has a way of isolating you and making you think you’re completely alone. The other night the perfect song came on and I just stood in my living room, arms held high to Heaven, worshipping God through my tears and thanking Him for the fact that I got to be Ajah’s fur-mommy. It totally shifted the atmosphere and I didn’t cry for the rest of the night after that.

Speaking Truth

I’ve also been speaking God’s promises out loud when the pain is too much and it feels like He’s not there. Psalm 34:18 is the one I’m clinging to right now. It says, The Lord is close to the brokenhearted, and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”

Crying

There are moments where I just want to lie down on the floor next to my Ajah B. again and pet her and look in her eyes. So instead, I lie down on the floor and let myself cry. And sometimes I even go pick up her soft, furry toy and hug it. It helps.

Remembering

I’ve started putting together a photo album on Shutterfly. You know, just in case I ever lose my digital photos! It helps to look through her 13 years of life and remember all of it.

Hugging

On Monday afternoon I went over to Miss Maddie’s house and watched Moana with her and Mason. We also cried and remembered and the three of us had a group hug. It was so sweet.

Laughing

Tuesday night I spent the night on Raychel’s big gray couch. It’s a sectional so she joined me – she wanted to give me a new memory of a fun sleepover on the couch (without Ajah) so we talked and laughed until 2:30 am. It really helped to not have to sleep on that couch alone since I had always spent the night there in the past with Ajah B. snuggled at my feet.

Netflixing

Other than the first night, crying myself to sleep has not actually been a thing. (Surprisingly!) Instead, I allow myself to cry in the evening but then I choose something funny to watch on Netflix. It has helped me fall asleep without being so lonely. Probably because of all the endorphins that laughing produces!

Videoing

I put together this memorial video of Ajah. It has some of my favorite photos of her, and the song I picked totally sums up our life together.

This is how I’ve been handling my grief.

So far. It’s helping. I realize that this might seem silly to some people. But I don’t really care. You see, Ajah B. was a part of my family. She was a part of the Big Blue Couch® family. And she will be greatly missed.

My prayer is that, through this blogpost, someone else might find some coping skills for their moments of grieving in the future. We can’t skip the grieving season. We can only go through it. When you find yourself in that season…may you go through it well.

Much love,

~Coach Mandy

I’m so thankful that we could be with Ajah in her last moments, and that she didn’t have to be alone.

But I’m Not A Mom

But, I’m Not a Mom…

That’s the thought that runs through my head when I wonder what kind of legacy I’ll leave behind some day. I watch my friends with their kids and they are creating memories of laughter and silliness and family fun. And I’m over here hugging my dog.

Don’t get me wrong, I love my lil’ Ajah B.; but she’s twelve and a half years old and she’s got some health issues and the circle of life isn’t on my side in this situation. Parents are supposed to live longer than their kids – that doesn’t apply to fur babies.

Wow. This got dark! Sigh…

Anyway, I’m just sharing my feelings with you. My raw, unfiltered feelings. It’s 4th of July weekend 2016, and I’m sipping my coffee at my kitchen table on Friday at noon. Steven Furtick is yelling at me through my Bose speaker because the chatter is super loud today. It’s telling me things like…

  • “You suck. Really really suck. Bad.”
  • “Look how lonely your life looks. It’s so quiet. Who wants that?”
  • “You’re not a mom. What you do won’t even matter because no one’s here to keep it going when you leave.”
  • “That fight you had with Nate, it’s all your fault because you’re horrible.”
  • “Feel that, that’s CF. It’s only a matter of time before you end up in the hospital again.”
  • “The goals you wrote down earlier this year are a joke. NONE of them are even close to happening right now!”

I could go on, but I think you get the point. I’m fighting a battle here and I want to punch the enemy in the throat! So I’m going to fight with my words right here in this blog post. Why? Because…

What I DO and what I SAY and how I choose to influence those around me DOES matter – no matter what the enemy tries to tell me.

The truth is, I love my life. I get choked up thinking about all that I have accomplished (with God’s help) in the last six years since we lost everything in the fire. Several months after our apartment fire, I was having coffee with my parents in downtown Fargo on a Saturday afternoon. Nate was working in the oil field already and we were getting ready to move to Bismarck. I have one of those memories that remembers almost every detail of conversations and moments that matter – and even those that don’t – and I remember standing outside on the sidewalk talking to my Dad. Somehow we were talking about the dreams I wanted to accomplish one day and I told him, “My dream is to have a life coaching company where I can help people overcome things, and I can speak and write at the same time.”

And today, that’s a reality.

It only took six years…and TONS of dark days. Sad days. Lonely days. Confusing days. Days where I wanted to give up (and let’s be honest, I sometimes still want to give up). But in those days of sowing and planting, there were days of joy and laughter and dreaming and friendship. It’s been worth it. And it will always be worth it, no matter what comes my way, because I’m walking in my calling. And that’s a beautiful thing.

So the enemy can suck it!

I may not be a mom, but I have influence over precious people that God has trusted me with. And whatever my legacy is with them, the biggest legacy is going to be what I sow into the lives of my family and my team. I stand in awe as I see the team that God has surrounded me with. A team that IS family to me. I get to work with my best friend of over 20+ years. And it works! I get to help my other best friend grow into her dreams. I get to call out the greatness that is hidden inside each of the Men in the Den, including my husband. (Okay, I probably have room to grow with that one.) And I may not be a mom, but I get to be an adopted Auntie to four littles that I love with my whole heart, and the regular kind of Auntie to a brand new niece in my husband’s family, and I can’t wait to meet her.

I may not be a mom…but that doesn’t mean that I’m not valuable.

I’m guessing that there’s probably a “But I’m not ___________” in your life today too. You know what it is. It’s that thought right below the surface, and it’s threatening to bring you down into the pits of despair. There’s absolutely no shame in admitting that it’s there – in fact, that’s how you begin to overcome it. Shine a light on it, and then SLAY that lie with TRUTH! That’s how we fight back. That’s how we rise up. That’s how we grow stronger.

Yes, it will feel scary. Yes, you’ll feel like you’re standing naked in front of an entire auditorium full of people when you do. But you’ll also feel stronger. Bit by bit, your strength will grow and you’ll discover the truth isn’t buried that far away after all.

It doesn’t matter what you’re NOT – all that matters is who you ARE.

Much love,

~Coach Mandy

Mandy-collage1

The Truth About Manifesting Money and Calling Out to the Universe for Help

Pull up a chair, grab a cup of coffee, and let’s chat. I’ve got a few things I need to get off my chest and chances are you do too when it comes to this topic: Money.

Yep. I said it. Money.

Specifically, the hooky-spooky-metaphysical-manifesting-money-and-calling-out-to-the-universe-for-help kind of talk.

Recently I read a book about manifesting money given to me by someone a long time ago.

It’s not a book I would normally pick out and after reading the first few pages, I found myself asking, “God…do you REALLY want me to read this?! It’s filled with so much confusion and new age stuff that it leaves my head spinning!” He basically told me to keep reading because there was something in it that I needed to see.

That something was this: the enemy is sneaky and deception is often mixed in with God’s name without us even realizing it. If we aren’t in the Word of God – daily – we can be easily swayed into a form of hocus pocus idolatry thinking that God warns us to stay clear of in Revelation 2:12-17.

Plain and simple: Trying to manifest money and calling out to the universe for help is not the way to fix your finances or live your life. At least, not if your desire is to grow close to God Almighty and you believe that Jesus Christ is your Lord and Savior. You can’t have it both ways – either you believe the deception that the universe is there for your good and you try to manifest money from it, or you stand up for Truth and follow God’s Word.

In 2 Corinthians 9:8 it says, “And God will generously provide all you need. Then you will always have everything you need and plenty left over to share with others.” (NLT)

Another version says “God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work.” (NIV)

Whenever money problems show up in our lives, we have a choice. We can see it as an opportunity to trust God and grow through it, or we can whine and complain and get anxious about it. Honestly, I’ve done it both ways – sometimes even within the same 10 minutes!!! (I’m not saying that’s the right way to do it, I’m just being vulnerable and real with you.)

The truth is, we all struggle with money at some point in our lives.

It’s actually the perfect situation to test our faith, our hearts, and our trust in God. You see, money is a magnifier – it shows us things about ourselves that we could never uncover otherwise. The process of overcoming debt and becoming financially free is one that can’t be rushed or manifested by the universe. It’s a process that requires us to change our mindset toward money and toward God’s ability to provide in our lives.

Sometimes we go through seasons of extreme debt, dig ourselves out and then find ourselves falling back into similar patterns again only a few short years later. Other times we get out of debt and stay out! Some people never experience either of those situations though because they are too terrified to get real and make a change in the first place.

That’s not you. Not if you’re still reading this.

Several years ago my husband and I found ourselves in 6 figures worth of debt. I had a bad shopping addiction and he had a habit of never saying no to me. We also did not communicate about our money. Ever.

When we finally realized how much debt we were in, we took drastic measures to fix it – sold the house, sold the car, sold everything we could, downsized, and cut back on our spending habits. We were well on our way to becoming debt free when the worst happened – we lost everything we owned in an apartment fire and we didn’t even have renter’s insurance! Not our finest hour let me tell you.

Rebuilding our lives from that season took courage and strength that I never knew we had. God blessed us abundantly in ways we never would have experienced otherwise. Family, friends, and people from around the world banned together to help us get back on our feet financially after the fire, and there were days when God literally sent us the exact amount of money we needed for a bill before it was too late.

It was only by His provision and grace that we were able to stick with it and get to the other side of that financial storm. We didn’t manifest it and the universe certainly didn’t open up for us. NO! It was God and God alone who provided for us every step of the way.

Last year my husband lost his job in the oil field and my health insurance rates tripled; once again we found ourselves having to rearrange our finances. To be honest, we are still walking through the details of those changes, but God is working in our hearts and in our situation and because we’ve been down a rockier road than this, we are confident that this too shall pass and better days are ahead.

I don’t know where you’re at today when it comes to your finances, and I don’t know how these words have impacted you. All I know is that there is a lesson to be learned in every money situation we find ourselves in. It’s not something to feel guilt or shame over – it’s something to courageously rise up and face.

The truth is that you were designed by God Almighty for a specific purpose, and if money issues have been your way of life, then money issues are meant to be part of your story.

You see overcoming money problems is something that can’t be done alone.

There are a lot of great programs out there to help you overcome debt, however if you’ve tried them and still feel like something isn’t working, then I want to invite you to contact me about some private coaching sessions.

I can’t wait to work with you. God is able to provide abundantly for you, dear friend. Let’s work together to help you believe it.

Much love,

~Coach Mandy