Strong Women Wednesday Featuring Rachel Shewmaker
KE: Tell me about yourself
RS: My husband and I have been married for almost eleven years. We have children – 2 sons, 15 years old and 6 years old and a daughter, 2 years old. Our oldest child is adopted. Our children are such a blessing to us and have taught us more about life than anything else. I am a full time work outside of the home mom, I am in project management for a health care organization in our area. I also work as a Virtual Assistant and am trying to develop my blog so I can transition to a full time work from home mom. Our family is very busy with a lot of our time spent at church or church related activities. Both of our boys sing in choir and attend youth classes and Sunday School classes at our church. My husband and I both attend weekly bible studies and are members of various boards and committees. We love our church family and are blessed to be so connected to Christ through service and fellowship.
KE: What book are you reading right now?
RS: I currently have a 3, soon to be 4 book routine. I read scripture daily using a reading plan. I am reading Lysa TerKeurst’s Unglued, Game of Thrones and will soon start Beth Moore’s Children of the Day study.
KE: Do you have a favorite song that has helped you through a tough time?
RS: Casting Crown’s Praise You In This Storm!
KE: How do you define strength, and what does it look like in your life?
RS: Strength – recognizing the challenges that face you but not allowing yourself to become overwhelmed or defeated by them. Strength is accepting the fact that sometimes you surrender, not to your circumstances but to God and His plan for your life. Strength is trust and peace and patience. My heart longs to be at home with my children, it is a feeling and passion and desire that has consumed me for several years. With each day that passes I am learning to trust God and His plan for me. When tears and doubt threaten to take over, I have to lean into Him for my strength and know that He hears me and sees me.
KE: As you know, strong faith is the focus of my ministry/website. But, it can be hard to maintain a strong faith when life gets real messy. What do you do to keep your relationship with Jesus as strong as possible?
RS: I have to be in His word daily. I have to pray out loud to Him. I have to remember and read of His faithfulness, His truths and His promises. When negative thoughts invade my mind I have to repeat His name and remember that they are not from Him.
KE: Managing a household is hard. Whether you work full-time, stay home, are single, married or have 8 kids; women often feel like they are just surviving each day. What advice would you give to women to help them strengthen their family?
RS: Don’t give up or become complacent. The mundane and the routine may cause you to question what any of it is worth, why it’s important. It is all so important. We are called to do everything as if we are doing it for the Lord. The demands of jobs, children, school, husband can seem to be so much. Learn how to manage the demands without sacrificing yourself or who you are called to be.
KE: Do you have any stress management tips for us?
RS: Quiet time. I thrive on my morning quiet time. Even if it is only 20 minutes, a warm cup of coffee and a chapter in the morning while everyone is still sleeping. You need that time for yourself. Make a to-do list every morning, even with the smallest of tasks. There is such satisfaction in marking tasks complete.
KE: Depending on your definition of strength, “strong body” can mean something different to everyone. What healthy habits do you incorporate into your daily schedule to help keep your body strong?
RS: I like to stay moving throughout the day, making it a point to run around the house with my kids when I can. I am at the gym three times a week and am starting a new running plan for the half marathon I am doing in May.
KE: What do you feel is the difference between relying on your own strength and relying on God’s strength?
RS: Ability and outcome. When I rely on my own strength everything seems so challenging and a struggle. Very seldom do I feel good about the outcome when I rely on myself. When I rely on God I can relax and know He sees the end result and He is taking me there. My husband recently began a new job. We spent months job hunting and worrying about the right job and the right fit. It was stressful and hard on our marriage. When we finally realized we needed to let go and pray and relax, the right job presented itself.
KE: Would you mind sharing something you have struggled with and telling us how you used God’s strength to get you through?
RS: I want to be a work from home mom. The calling is so deep on my heart that I know it comes from God. There are times when I beg and pray through tears and pleas that God make this dream come true for me. It’s so hard going to work each morning knowing my passion and heart are at home. There are times I want to blame God and ignore Him because I am not where I want to be. I then think of what my life would be without God and that looks so much worse than my current struggle. I need God and I can’t turn away from Him. I know He knows my heart and I know, if this is His plan for me, He will make it happen on His own time.
KE: Do you have any tips for us about successful ways to manage your time more effectively?
RS: I love my planners. I have three – 1) personal 2) blog 3) VA work. I write down everything I have to do in all areas and focus on completing the tasks. I try not to let any task consume too much of my time on any given day so I divide up housework and other jobs so I do a little each day.
KE: Do you have a favorite Bible verse you could share with us and could you explain what it means to you?
RS: This is the verse I repeat when I get overwhelmed, weary, frustrated, sad. It’s the Lord’s promise to me that he remembers me.
“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Plans to give you hope and a future.” Jeremiah 29:11
KE: If you could share one message with every woman who is willing to listen, what would it be?
RS: You are so much stronger than you think you are. When the world feels like it is falling down around you, don’t use that as an excuse to give up. You are loved, cherished and adored by a Father who offers you love and strength beyond your understanding. Grasp onto what He is giving you. Use it to pull you up and closer to Him. You are not alone.
KE: Where do you feel like God is leading you next?
RS: I feel like He is leading me home to my children. I love helping people and serving, I want Him to show me how He wants me to do it.
KE: Anything else you’d like to share with our readers?
RS: I am in the process of building both my personal blog and my VA business so I can transition to a work from home mom. I hope my personal blog “A Life Surrendered” http://www.rachelshewmaker.com/ is a source of encouragement and hope for moms while offering practical tips to manage life. My Virtual Assistant business, “A Helping Hand” http://ahelpinghandvaservices.com/ provides VA services to small business owners, bloggers and work from home moms. I provide many services including social media management, admin tasks, newsletter and blog updates, data entry and research. email – firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks for sharing your heart with us Rachel. I have been blessed to have a glimpse of your heart for the Lord. If you would like these posts in your inbox every week, sign up for my mailing list here. I would be grateful if you liked my Facebook page and helped to grow this community of strong women.
In His Strength,