How to stay calm in testing times

How to stay calm in testing times

How to stay calm in testing times

Last week I received a voicemail from a friend in Seattle – we live 5000 miles apart, with a time difference of 8 hours.
I was amazed however, how our lives look very similar right now. 
Both of us entered into the realm of home schooling our kids, our daily life is restricted to staying at home most of the time, every event is canceled, we live in that uncertainness how tomorrow will be…(both of us hade sunny but chilly weather and a garden to do some projects in)  it was amazing to hear her talk and have the feeling of « wow, that’s my life too ! » I know most of you live in that reality right now.

How are you doing?
How are you coping with that reality we live in in this period of time ?

How are you dealing with the many changes that have occurred lately, without knowing when – and if- life will go back to normal?!

For my part, I think it’s pretty stressful.

Dealing with the many additional emotions is what challenges me most.
A few minutes ago, a tractor took away the two goals that were on the football field in front of our house. Of course, no one is supposed to meet up and play soccer right now. And still, I felt emotions of powerlessness and frustration rising up in me. My boy expressed what I was feeling : “Oh mom, I hate this virus”. I looked at him, saying: “I know, darling, it’s a challenging time. Me too, I wish things will soon go back to normal where you can meet up with friends and go to school again. But for now, we make the most of our time as a family, are you ready to do that?” He looked at me nodding with a pensive expression.

Many years ago I listened to a teaching, where the teacher compared our lives to the different types of birds. I don’t remember everything, but she mentioned at least 4 kinds of birds:
The ostrich, the chicken, the raven and the eagle.

The ostrich

The ostrich

The ostrich, as we know, puts his head into the sand when it’s overwhelmed.

The chicken

The chicken

The chicken’s life is limited to flapping around and dispute over a worm with another chicken.

The raven

The raven

The ravens are a picture of people talking negatively about anyone, judging their every act.

The eagle

The eagle

And the eagle – well the eagle is the one flying above everything, with boldness, dignity and calm. The eagle uses bad weather to rise even higher.

Taking that teaching for our situation right now, we can easily recognize the different people around us – and well, we can also recognize ourselves.

A person acting like an ostrich would be too scared to face this present time. Overcome with fear, she would withdraw into hiding, enter into panic when she hears a person cough from afar. Every news about more people infected or more deaths would drive her into a state of total hopelessness.

A person acting like a chicken is scared too – but is much more acting out. Fighting over a pack of toilet paper or pasta, being very nervous reading all the news on social media or in the newspaper, watching news on TV. There is no peace of calm, and social media is filled with comments from people acting this way.

A person acting like a raven is sowing resentment and negative talk all around her. Her attitude judges anyone – from the mother on the street with her small children “How can she go for a walk with her kids right now?  She should just stay home!” to condemning anyone buying more than 1 pack of pasta or toilet paper (ignoring that this very person may be out shopping for her elderly neighbors.) She feels entitled to know anyone’s motives and judges their every move, and likes to talk with other people about it.


Note that I always wrote “a person acting like” … Because well, how one does behave doesn’t speak about who this person is. However, it shows something about where this person is AT and her deep beliefs about herself, others and God –  and how she’s reacting to what’s happening in this unique (and yes, very stressful!) season of her life.

Reflecting on my own behavior, I admit that I’m not always gentle, peaceful, loving and relaxed. There are times when I feel fear rising inside me. Feelings of anxiety or impatience at other peoples behaviors and demands.

But in the end – I want to rise up like an eagle above the circumstances, letting the wind carry me through these challenging times. I want to reflect on anyone I meet – like the shop assistant in grocery store, my friends through social media or my own family I live with – with peace, boldness and calm.

I asked myself:

How can I get there? How can I, in midst of our reality, act like an eagle?

In this article I would like to show you a couple of thoughts and how I learn to apply them in my own life.


  • Be true to where you stand.

Are you scared? Are you panicked and did you buy all the shops empty? Is anguish part of your reality and can’t you sleep any more at night, fearing what tomorrow will bring? Do you deal with feelings of hopelessness because your business is running downhill or you can’t work anymore at your job?

You can’t just start to fly by overruling these emotions with positive thinking or trying to be strong.


Because, well, the “true” feeling will surface earlier or later!
That means, facing the emotions is vital. Being true to yourself and admit how you feel is the first step, because those feelings undealt with will lead your actions and make you act like an ostrich, chicken or a raven!

Everyone is different in facing these emotions. Some need a punching bag (if not available, a pillow will do), others are good at writing, singing, talking with a good friend (skype works wonderfully for that).

However, whatever you choose as a method, keep in mind that the ultimate person who knows you deeply, loves you and is well capable to give you peace in midst of the storm is Jesus Christ. Taking time in his presence, simply coming before him and pouring out your heart (with all your emotions) will change how you feel and not only that – it will change your view about the situation. Going back to the different birds, it’s like the bird in the chicken yard realizing it wasn’t a chicken after all – but an eagle dwelling in the wrong place.

I did that today. Waking up, I felt anxious and tired, even after a good night’s sleep. I took time in the presence of God – I had only 15 minutes until I had to go back to my four kids and give them breakfast to get them ready for a day of homeschooling – but these 15 minutes changed my day. I was able to shed some tears, telling God how I felt. Almost immediately I felt God telling me: I am your provider, remember? My name is Jehove Jireh as it says in Genesis 22:14:

From that day forward, Abraham called that place, “The Eternal One will provide (Jehova-Jireh).” Because of this, people still today say, “On the Mount of the Eternal, all will be provided.”

You see, I wasn’t sure why I felt the way I did. But He knew, and he came into those emotions so that I could relax, act out from a place of peace and boldness instead on how I felt initially when I was getting up! The verses in Isaiah 40:31 became reality:

«but they that wait for Jehovah shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.”

Next week I will share more ways on how to be able to not react like a ostrich, chicken or raven but how to learn to soar like an eagle above the challenging situation and face life and people around us with boldness, strength and dignity.

From ashes to beauty – 8 factors that bring change into your life.

From ashes to beauty – 8 factors that bring change into your life.

From ashes to beauty – 8 factors that bring change into your life.

I am very excited to write my first article for this website. Excited, because there is so much gratefulness and compassion in me, when I look back to where I came from and where I stand today. 



Compassion because I remember very well where I come from.
I remember all those struggles, the stupid things I did in my ignorance, unmet needs, wrong beliefs and fears.
I remember the people I hurt, the ridiculous situations I put myself into, the hurt I caused to myself for not knowing how to live, for being completely lost in a world that didn’t teach me how to live a life in freedom, that’s worth living.

I struggled to find my place in a world that rarely tries to find the gold but points out the weak spots, the flaws, the imperfections and the things that need to change in order to be acceptable.
I remember the feelings of loneliness, the shame of being myself, the heartbreaks I could have avoided (if only I would have been tought on how to do that)  – and the feeling of complete failure every time I had recognized that I wasn’t at the level of the expectations of the people around me. 

My realities were feelings of failure, of not being enough, unworthyness, unableness. The labels of ADHD and epilepsy promised me a future of trying to adapt to these diagnoses.

I hated it. I tried to fight those things. Fight those things in order to “become” normal. In order to become a person like anybody else.
Somehow, this felt like a lost struggle. My environment, who knew me well (or so they thought), tried to make me accept my fate. They shaked their head at my efforts to get out of those labels and diagnoses, those feelings that tried to determine my life. They smiled at my determination to overcome those obstacles (and circumstances) they had put in my way. 

My French teacher told me one day:

“Jeanne, you are definitely not made to learn any foreign language. You will never speak more than one language.”

Well, today I speak four of them fluently.


Because of a pretty severe stuttering issue, I felt very helpless and shy, insecure to meet new people. Somehow I knew that I either had to hide in an office, or I face this reality. So, at age 16, I chose to do an apprenticeship in a small butcher’s shop. My thinking was that this way, I had to face all those clients, everyday, who came to buy meat and sausages in the shop. And it worked! I got much more confident and relaxed in meeting new people, and my stuttering diminished very much. 

When I was around 24 years old, God spoke to my heart in a very real way. He told me:

“ Jeanne, you can’t become something you already are: “normal” in your uniqueness.“


From this day on, I quit my fight to become “normal” – and I entered into the process of becoming who I truly am – the person I knew deep down inside I could be, if only I would be able to enter into this freedom of who I am, of who God truly is.


Today, I’ve gone a long way. I am at a completely different spot – in my inner and outer reality. My life has a stable foundation that is filled with life, joy, peace, gentleness, compassion and humor.  Even though neither my life nor I myself, nor the people around me are perfect… challenges can’t change that basic foundation of freedom.

And well, knowing what I know today about psychology, how the usual effects of child rearing and a difficult childhood will influence the adult life – I stand in awe before this God who was capable to break many of the “normal” consequences in adult life. There is this deep gratefulness for all those people in my life who treated me with grace and compassion and who were eager to find the gold.


Today, I am simply amazed by this God who is so faithful!
I look at the freedom I found of being simply being me.
I see the grace of God all over my life. His compassion. His love. His capacity. He is so good!


My heart is filled with compassion and thankfulness, because I know that the reality I experienced in the past is the reality of many people around the world.
We live in a time, where brokenness, hurt, pain and injustices are as much reality as they were at any point of time in our history.

In this blog, I will share my journey, from where I was to where I stand today.
However, today I would like to point out eight important factors you have to know to enter this journey.

  1. ) There is no way I could experience my freedom today without the reality that Jesus died on the cross.
    Why? Well, because today all my efforts, my will would not have had the power to overcome all those wrong beliefs, lies, fears and the ignorance that held me back.
    Because of God, because of Jesus who paid for us, I had a truth to hold on to. To cling on to in my failure, brokenness and pain. God saved me from so many things I would have entered into if I would not have given my life to Jesus Christ. The thief came only to kill, steal and destroy, but Jesus came that we may have life in abundance, to the fullness, until it overflows.
    Therefore, the first step is: Invite Jesus into your life. It will seriously change your life on this earth for the good. Visit this section of my website to see how to that.
  2. ) Dwell in his love.
    I got to know a God full of compassion. He never accuses. He never blames. He never shames you. He knows your past, your experiences, your lack and needs.
    The only people Jesus got angry at in the Bible, were the religious people who were trying to put a burden on the weaker ones. The ones who were “rejecting” the sinner and pretended to be the “perfect” ones. Once you experience His Love in your life, everything else will become so small.
  1. ) Be aware that coming out of your comfort zone is scary and uncomfortable.
    This means that any process of transformation is challenging. Many times, staying in those “securities” one has, no matter how destructive they might be, seems more promising than leaving this place to grow into another reality.

4.) Persevere.
Promise yourself to hold on, even if you feel that you have failed, that people have failed you or that you just can’t keep on anymore. Every time in my life, when I felt that way and I decided to persevere, God was so faithful, bringing people or circumstances into my life that gave me courage and strength to go on. 

5.) Accept the reality that there will always be people that hurt you, don’t understand you or wrong you.
They may be your own family, or even people who believe in Jesus. Accept that they are on their own way, just like you. NO human being is perfect. Bless them, engage a way of life that decides to enter the school of forgiving and go on.

  1. ) It is great to get help along the way.
    Psychologists, therapeutics, Christian counselors, pastors or any other people who are there to help you. My life got changed because of people, who helped me turn around my life with lots of know-how, investment and professionalism.
    However, they are human beings too, with weaknesses and blind spots. Don’t build your life around them. Center your life around Jesus, and the truth the Bible says about you and about Himself. 

7.) You will be hurt, you will be disappointed.
However, you too, will hurt and disappoint people along the way. So learn how to be gracious – toward yourself and toward those who want to help you.


  1. ) Cling to the truth that God wants your freedom even more than you do.
    This is such an important point to me: The whole process of maturity brings up our humanity. We get to know ourselves, we get to know others. Truth is, God was aware of humanity in us long ago. And he loves you anyway. He is the one who made you beautifully and he wants to go the process with you. Cling to it – even in moments when you feel like you’ve been let down.

The process can be very hard. While in it, you may not even see the progress, let alone the light at the end of the tunnel. But then, suddenly, you realize how things have become different. Suddenly you’re looking back and you realize how things have changed. More and more, you start to enjoy the fruit your change has brought into your life. You start to see the beauty in place of the ashes. And this is the moment you realize that it has all been worth it.