"My son was receiving a D and F on his report card in his first quarter at a new school.

“And it wasn’t because he was genuinely struggling in the subjects, but because of tardiness and sometimes cutting school altogether. Upon reading the email from his Counselor, I did what I knew I could do – I yelled and criticized his poor decisions. It made me feel like I had some level of control in the situation, but I knew it only created more distance in our relationship. Now, on top of feeling like a failure of a mom in our performance-driven society, I felt like an all-together bad mom for my reaction. “What kind of parent are you?” is what the voice in my head was still asking when I walked into the workshop that day.

These feelings and more surfaced as I journeyed through the Key Relationship lens. The lens uncovered feelings of guilt, of not being enough, and showed just how much my identity was wrapped in my son’s performance.  It also became apparent that although I wanted the relationship between my son and I to get better, I was more concerned about the image of failure in the eyes of his teachers and administration at the school. I was mad at him because I felt embarrassed. 

I didn’t get all the answers in that session, but it started a work within me that God continued for the next few days. He gently guided me to answer the question, “what would it look like for you to take full responsibility for both your children’s behavior?” It seemed like engaging that question would have sent me into a place of unbearable guilt, but I trusted the process and started to write down specific situations that caused my children pain.

For three days God and I journeyed “into the valley of the shadow of death” right into depths of brokenness and pain – both my children’s and my own. God specifically invited me to stand in their shoes and experience the distress of looking into their mom’s angry face as she blurted harsh words. He exposed ways I parented out of unhealed childhood trauma and led me to the reality that no matter how much I loved them and wanted the best for them, the root of  fear and inferiority within me would continue to cause pain.

I don’t know when it happened, but at some point the weight of fear started to be lifted. It allowed me to explore new possibilities for our relationship and approach my kids from a place of compassion instead of judgment. I reflected on the families of biblical characters like David and the father of the Prodigal Son. I started to consider how God “parented” me and how I could do the same. Most of all, my trust in God began to deepen.  Instead of fearing my kids future, I was more confident in God’s ability to guide them where I could not. By the time I walked through the door of my son’s school to pick up his report card, my heart was hopeful about the future and I wasn’t ashamed to show up. I pray that God will continue this work in me and am so grateful for TC2W and the gracious, supportive community it provides me.”

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Tracy Mathews
“Last week in the breakout I shared that I learned a co-worker was speaking misinformation to our new boss about some work we did together.

I had some data that could paint a different picture, exposing him in the process, but was unsure if I should share it.  Using the formation framework, my breakout partners helped me see that I couldn't answer the question about action, until I understood the concept of my motivations.  What truly were the motivations behind my actions and how does that impact my relationship with God?  Spending the time to get clear on what my motivations were made the right decision a no-brainer.  (P.S.  I didn't share the data and best of all felt peace with that decision.  As it turns out, the boss learned of the co-worker's character in a different way!)”

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Tracy Mathews
"After many years of teaching in church, I had come to a point where I did not want to do it anymore, even though it was my one of my spiritual gifts.

The Call to Work helped me to reflect on the situation and gain new understanding. I realized I was pushing away from teaching because, in my mind, it was a connection or reminder of the emotional pain I suffered as a pastor’s kid. I associated teaching in the church with judgement, criticism and insufficiency.  

Now that I could see what was at the root of my resistance to teaching, I was able to approach the problem differently. I've decided to co-lead a group for TC2W. I can’t believe that I'm getting ready to teach again. 

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Tracy Mathews
"Working in healthcare, I've had the privilege to listen to the needs of patients and realize that the needs go beyond physical.

On one occasion, I had a patient whose baby suffered from a heart defect. The baby also was not growing as expected and the mom was in denial of the current situation. She was known for abruptly leaving the office whenever she heard bad news, and returned at her own convenience. This really irritated my co-workers because it would always put us behind schedule. One day, during a scan, I was able to talk to her and listen to her story. I couldn't help but notice how TC2W's framework helped me identify brokenness and care for my patients on another level of God's grace and compassion.

Viewing work through TC2W's lenses and frameworks, I've now grown in confidence to serve people who are broken physically and spiritually."

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Tracy Mathews
“I have lunch with these three girls. All they do is complain.

About the job, families, even Trump the president. Two of the women go to church and say they are Christian. It hit me...to straight out tell them. If they want to find solutions to the problems, I'm up for it. Bet let's look for the good, though it may be harder to find, or let's even look at ourselves. By being silent for so long, I was allowing it to get worse. By confronting them in a loving way, it caused them to see a different way that was up-lifting. We have a much better lunch now."

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Tracy Mathews
“I’ve had many a-ha moments through The Call to Work, but I believe the most impactful one was a situation with a gas station attendant.

Before my TC2W session, I didn’t think the relationship was of any value or importance. I knew my interaction with the person bothered me enough to not want to go to that gas station anymore, but I still didn’t think it was a big deal. After bringing it up in session, not only did I find many judgements in my own heart, but I also noticed the stress that the interactions caused. When we started talking about what God may want out of the situation, we discovered how His love and healing could be displayed in my personal life, in every interaction with this stranger (if I would answer the call), and how it could impact my community and the Kingdom alike. It doesn’t matter if it’s a close relative, co-worker or stranger, every one of our interactions with others matter! God wants all of our brokenness to be healed and if I decide to be intentional in my daily interactions with people, I come alongside Him in that purpose and His glory is revealed. My big a-ha was that I don’t have to look to necessarily make a BIG impact for the Kingdom, but purposeful impact in my daily interaction with others. These are the front lines of the Kingdom!”

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Tracy Mathews
“I have the unique honor of holding leadership roles in two separate organizations. I feel an incredible responsibility to both, however, the workload became overwhelming.

It became clear that God was calling me to focus on one organization. I felt a sense of commitment to the other where I've held an executive leadership role for three years and a commitment to the CEO whom I regard as a friend. Nevertheless, I worked through the frameworks and found myself empowered to walk in obedience and ultimately positioned to confront the perfectionism that had me bound. I struggle with being perceived as incapable. As a result, I often found myself burning the proverbial candle at both ends in pursuit of competence and therefore "value." I am still allowing God's love to heal me, however, the frameworks permitted me to deepen my understanding of the counterproductive nature of this mindset.  Finally, I had a very vulnerable conversation with my CEO. In the end, he allowed me the time away that I need to focus on the other organization, with a part-time schedule which is utterly not germane to my industry.“

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Tracy Mathews
"There are so many moments now that stop me in my path, [to] reflect and implement the different tools.

They help me focus on a Christlike way of dealing with life.  When I was on the subway there was a problem - it was stuck. People were angry, I could [have] joined in too, very easily. It was not moving for a good 1/2 an hour. But what was going through my head?  “What would be a Christlike response? How can I let Jesus be there thru me?” I was thinking of the Formation Lens. I used my words and attitude in a Godly way. Praise the Lord.”

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Brooke Grissom
"I'm exploring a major business transition with my boss.

Up until this point I have been focusing on the technical side of the transaction - the costs, benefits, ROI, etc.  One 20 minute conversation using the TC2W facilitation approach helped me see the need to connect with my boss on a human level, too.  I was amazed how in such a short period of time, with a facilitator who is willing to put aside impulses to advise/judge etc. and create the space for the Holy Spirit to work, what great things can be done.  Next time I met with my boss, he commented on how he saw me more enthusiastic that day than he had in our 3 years or worked together. Great experience!”

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Brooke Grissom