Blog:

 Tips  on spiritual growth, emotional health, and relational healing.

"

Lessons from Weakness: Elizabeth Maxon Interview

Mar 3, 2016

From many of us, our story is the ground from which our calling will emerge.

This is the story of Elizabeth Maxon. Her work as a writer and author emerged from a very unexpected crisis in her family. She writes with passion and authenticity and is developing a community of people who are being moved by her words. I met Elizabeth last fall as part of my Author Coaching Network and we hung in Nashville earlier this year. She was a huge encourager for me and I’m looking forward to hanging out with her family in the future!

elizabeth maxon

I’m really excited to share a conversation we had recently, so you can be encouraged and empowered as I have!

Who is Elizabeth Maxon?

Scott: Elizabeth, tell us a little bit about yourself. What roles do you play and where?

EM: I’m Elizabeth.  It’s a long name so close friends and family sometimes call me Liz or Lizzy.  I am wife to Joey (a college golf coach) and mama to Lucy (7) and Oliver (6).  Our family lives in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in a little town called Clemson, South Carolina.  You may have heard of our football team.  They are kind of a big deal (wink, wink).

In addition to being a wife, mom, and Tiger fan, I am also a blogger, author, and speaker.  My greatest passion is journeying with others from splashing in the shallow waters of this world to diving into deep truth and real community. I routinely choose to read a book rather than put away laundry and visit with friends rather than do the grocery shopping. That makes me a terrible housekeeper and an average cook, but my people love me anyway. I may have dirty dishes piled in my kitchen sink but you’ll always find fresh flowers on my windowsill – priorities!

SS: Elizabeth, we met through Chad Cannon’s Author Coaching Network. Tell us a little bit about the book you’re working on and why you believe in it.

EM: First of all, I love our community of authors and influencers!  It has been such a gift to connect with you and the others.  I think everybody needs that kind of community to support them in their gifts and calling.

I’ve been writing on my blog and various other publications for years, but I recently published my first e-book called Type ONEderland.  The book chronicles our family’s journey with Type 1 Diabetes.  Our daughter Lucy was diagnosed with T1D when she was 5 years old and at the time it seemed like our entire world was falling apart.  All the plans we had for her and for our family were flipped upside down.  We felt weak and vulnerable but by simply turning towards God in the midst of our grief and suffering we soon realized that he was doing something significant through that crisis.  We know that having a child diagnosed with a chronic illness is not a good thing, but we believe that God is faithful and powerful enough to do a better thing within our struggles.  We have seen the evidence of that in unbelievable ways over the past two years.

The message of Type ONEderland is that hope and healing is sometimes found in the hardest of places if we know how to look for it.  I am desperate for people to hear this message because I believe it will help them face their own crisis in a completely different way.  I believe our perspective is more important than our position and so my hope is that my honesty in sharing our story will give fresh perspective to others who may be suffering.  The book is not just for families impacted by T1D.  It is for anyone who has faced a life that did not go according to plan.  It is for families who have had their dreams ripped away from them and need to hear the truth that God wants to replace those dreams with his.

Because of the positive response I received from the e-book, I just released an expanded version available in paperback on Amazon.

Elizabeth Maxon on Vulnerability and Art

SS: During our last network meeting in Nashville, we got a chance to see a spoken word poem you had done. Tell us about the piece and what led you to write it.

EM: When I first performed that spoken word piece, I was blown away by the response of the audience.  People were completely broken by the truth of what God was communicating through those words.  It was evidence to me that our vulnerability in sharing the ways God has worked through our own personal struggles has a powerful impact on others.  One woman came up to me afterwards and said, “That was the most beautiful thing I have ever witnessed.  I would love to know the story that led you to write those words.”

The piece is actually a response to a season of my life in which I came to the end of myself.  I was going through a divorce and I literally found myself balled up on the floor of my closet, weeping and wondering how I had gotten to such a dark place.  I looked at my face in the mirror and didn’t recognize the reflection.  I realized I did not know myself at all.  I had been pretending to be someone I was not for so long.  In that very broken place God whispered a word to me – new It was the beginning of me releasing the tight grip I held on my own life so that he could do something new in and through me. I could have never guessed where that would have led.

I am actually in the process of writing that story as part of a Bible Study I will be leading for women later this year.  I hope to make the study and the story available for others.

Isolation Author Coaching Network

Elizabeth Maxon on the Voice of Fear

SS: I’m assuming you have dealt with and are still battling fear when it comes to writing and your life as a mom. What does the voice of fear sound like for you?

EM: Absolutely – so much so that I had my talented friend Amy make a leather cuff for me with the words FAITH > FEAR imprinted on it.  I wear it almost every day.  I need that kind of constant reminder.  Here’s what fear most often sounds like to me:

Who do you think you are?

Those words immediately create a fear of inadequacy in me.

I battle fears associated with my children and my husband.  I especially fight against fears about Lucy’s health and the possibility of her blood sugar dropping when she is asleep or away from me, causing her to die.  But the greatest attacks on me are related to my calling as a writer and teacher.  So often when God gives me the opportunity to share his truth and grace with others I am bombarded with the fear that I am not equipped to do what he is asking of me or that I am unworthy of the platform he has provided.

Who do you think you are?

It’s an accusation from the great accuser and it is meant to scare us into believing that we should not even attempt the task in front of us because of the risk of failure.  The fears I struggle with most are the fears of failure and disapproval.  In the past, they have caused me to ‘play it safe’ in many cases and in other cases I head right back to the familiar sidelines and decide not to play at all.  That kind of fear really can be debilitating.

Elizabeth Maxon on Courage

SS: What helped you become courageous in the face of fear?

EM: The first time I preached a Sunday morning message I was petrified.  I knew God was asking me to do it but I was still shaking in my boots.  It was the first time a female had preached at our church and it was the first time I had taken a Sunday morning stage.  The day before, I had lunch with a good friend.  She prayed for me, encouraged me, and before she left she said – Remember.  This is not about you.  It almost seems counterintuitive – to build yourself up by minimizing yourself.  But that is absolutely what is necessary for me to live out my calling free of fear.  The reality is – most of my fear is rooted in pride.  I am too worried about how a situation will impact me or reflect on me.  Over and over again I ask God to remind me of how big he is and how small I am.  Over and over again I beg him to show me the greater picture of what he is accomplishing for his kingdom and his glory, not mine.  Over and over again I pour myself out to make more room for his Spirit to fill me and use me.  Over and over again I remember how faithful he has been to provide exactly what is needed for me to follow where he leads.

Because the approval of others is such a hang up for me I go back to this passage often – Am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God?  If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ. {Galatians 1:10}

The other absolute necessity for me is community. In addition to my husband, I have a group of women I meet with regularly and we share our fears and struggles with each other.  We are committed to being prayer warriors and cheerleaders as we each step more and more into the places God is calling us.  Fear is dispelled quicker when it is acknowledged in the presence of others who care about us and who can remind us of God’s truth over the enemy’s lies.

Elizabeth Maxon on Lessons from Motherhood

SS: What have you learned from being the mom of a child with Type 1 diabetes? 

EM: My trust in God has been taken to a whole new level.  There are so many unknowns about Lucy’s health.  There are so many things that could go wrong with her condition that are out of my control.  If I want our family to live in freedom I have to take the lead on trusting God with all of that.  I have to believe he will provide all of us with exactly what we need.  That has become my new go-to prayer.  I can easily become overwhelmed with all the information and advice out there.  I can put tremendous pressure on myself to find an answer to every question and concern.  As parents we want what is best for our children.  The good news is – God already knows what that is.  Instead of constantly spinning my wheels trying to figure out what to do and how to do it perfectly I have been making this simple request – God, give us what you know we need.  I’ve stopped trying to find all the answers on my own and allowed him to lead.  He has never let me down.

Elizabeth Maxon Encourages You

SS: What would you say to encourage readers who are battling fear?

EM: You are not alone.  Don’t be afraid to bring what you are carrying in the dark to light – the light of God’s word, the light of Godly counsel from friends, the light of God’s faithfulness proven over and over since the beginning of time.  Be vulnerable.  Speak it aloud and watch it grow smaller as God grows bigger.  What seems so heavy and looming inside of you may turn out to be just a small splinter of wood causing all that pain.  Get it out and get on with the life God is calling you to.  Find your courage not in what you believe you can or cannot do but in what he has proven he can and will do.  Fear is full of empty threats.  Identify them for what they really are.  Fear is heavy to carry.  It will weigh you down to the point of becoming immobile.  I’ve been there. Let’s all agree to set it down and find freedom as we watch it dissipate like a vapor – no longer holding us down, holding us back.

You can connect with Elizabeth online at her blog – www.mywordsandwonder.com – and you can also follow her on Instagram (@elizabethmaxon). Her book, Type ONEderland, is available on Amazon. You can also watch Elizabeth share her story and see what overcoming her fears looks like.

If you enjoyed this post and want to receive more like it, directly in your inbox, you can subscribe below.

Newsletter Signup

Get a new email from Scott every week!

Sign up to receive weekly tips on spritual growth, emotional health, and relational healing. I’ll also send you 3 of my most popular resources as a thank you!