Tuesday, September 19, 2017

Dear Sugar: Cultivate, Motherhood by Adoption, and Faith, an Interview with Lara Casey

Dear Sugar,

What do these words have in common?
  • Cultivate
  • Adoption
  • Faith
They're all covered by creator, writer, and mom Lara Casey.

If you haven't met Lara yet, you need to. I have a mad mommy crush on her Instagram account and her new book Cultivate. Lara is the real deal: authentic, passionate, and genuine. I recently had the opportunity to ask her five questions. Enjoy!

Rachel: The #1 thing women seem to struggle with is the relentless pursuit to "do it all."  I personally believe in not doing it ALL, but doing a few things one is passionate about (and doing them well).  Yet, it's difficult.  Women are conditioned to say "yes" (to be polite and willing) at all times, yet doing so leaves us empty and exhausted.  Can we please talk about this?   How do women change the conversation in our own heads from "doing it all" for the sake of others to "doing you" and loving life?  

Lara: I love this question, because answering this will lead us to the root of so much heartache we often experience. Let's look at why we have so much (we perceive) we must do. Often, we load our plates with to-do's that we think we should have because someone else is doing something that we feel will help us find happiness, contentment, or success in the same way as them. Comparison gets us so far off the path we were uniquely created to travel. We see other's lives on social media, or in business, or even in church communities, and we compare our lives to theirs. And as a result, we end up with to-do lists that are filled with things that distract us rather than focus us on our unique priorities. We can't do it all and do it well, but we can choose to cultivate what matters. This means stewarding what we've been given well: our time, our money, our relationships, etc. When we focus on growing what we've been entrusted with, and not what someone else is growing, our lives and time become simplified. It doesn't mean it won't be hard work, but we won't be doing someone else's hard work in the process.

Rachel: Your new book Cultivate has such a simple, beautiful title.  What does "cultivate" mean to you, and how do you manifest this in your own life?

Lara: Cultivate is a rich word that God uses a few times in scripture. The Hebrew word used for “cultivate” in Genesis 2:15 is the same word translated “serve” in Joshua 24:15: “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Cultivating an intentional life is about serving the Lord for His purposes and growing what matters with Him. For me, cultivating happens when I plant a seed of faith in the hearts of my children through praying for them, telling them what the Lord is teaching me, or loving them and showing them His grace. Cultivating is about digging into the hard soil to plant seeds in faith and grow good things alongside the Lord.

Rachel: The very bottom of your blog quotes 1 John 4:18, "There is no fear in love..."   Why this verse?  What does it teach women?  

Lara: When my husband and I were in a long season of marriage challenges, I feared it was impossible for anything to change. But God made the impossible happen. Sometimes love means taking a leap of faith to believe in what we can't yet see, and that's so much of what I experienced as He put our marriage back together. When I chose to step into the hard stuff with Him, believing in what felt impossible, it's not that He necessarily moved more, but I sure did notice Him more! And that made me bold to keep stepping out on faith. Those steps forward added up.

Rachel: Let's shift gears.  You're a mom by birth and adoption.  My readers are all moms who have adopted, are waiting to adopt, or are considering adoption.  Can you offer a bit of advice or encouragement to those on the adoption journey?  

Lara: I read countless blog posts about all the magical feelings many couples experienced when they brought their new little one home. We certainly felt powerful gratitude (bigger than I can explain in words) when we first held our new little one, but a rooted love for her grew over time. Like in marriage, shared time and experiences build your bond. Bonding wasn't "natural" for us; we were bonded by prayer. Our bond was cultivated. We had just had Joshua six months before adopting Sarah, so we had two new babies at once. The Lord grew so much good out of that sleepless season. Little by little, over time, our family and faith grew. I think having the expectation that there is nothing wrong with you if you don't instantly bond is very healthy--and essential. And it doesn't mean you love your child any less. We are a culture set on overnight results and instant success, and this applies to our families too.

Rachel: What are three things you are loving right now?  (These can be ANYTHING--book, song, food, activity, etc.). 

Lara: I am loving the book, What's Best Next, fresh red peppers from the farmer's market, and watching our kids play together. It's the best!

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