Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Starting Over

In high school, I wore braces. For two years.

I had the whole “headgear thing,” then had 6 teeth pulled (including 4 wisdom), and my braces for two years.

I was so glad to get those things off.

In early adulthood, I had to have a gum graft. My gums were receding too much. It wasn’t comfortable, and took a bit to heal. I was glad, too, that that was done with.

Then it started again. Only a few years after all of this, as my life transitioned to different cities, I began to hear different dentists speak about the functionality of my mouth. I needed braces again, they murmured. And possibly jaw surgery.

I heard that from more than one source. It was frustrating. Disappointing. Depressing.

Hadn’t I already been down that road?

Some people go their whole lives without having to wear braces, and here I was, being told I’d have to wear them a second time?

I put it off. I ate bagels less. I rarely chewed gum. Things that would put extra stress on my jaw.

I got a retainer to help a tooth that had retracted inward.

I did what I could, while being in denial that I’d have to face things one day.

Then, it happened. While I was away on a trip, my jaw started popping and clicking every time I ate. My husband could even hear me eat – not because I chewed the food loudly – but because he could hear my jaw clicking and popping.

I knew. I knew I’d put it off as long as I could. I had hoped that maybe I wouldn’t have to go down this road. I was terrified to have jaw surgery. I mean, God gave me this jaw! The surgery scared me – but the braces idea on top of that? That humbled me. What gorgeous grown woman wears braces, I thought? My vanity struggled.

But I got to the point where I knew I was going to move down that path. It wasn’t one I wanted to travel. But it was one that was needed for the future functionality of my teeth and mouth. And I knew, I needed to be brave and do what needed to be done for the future health of my mouth and jaw.

Why did I have to endure this? Why would I have to wear braces twice? Why was my jaw made to work against my mouth and teeth? Only God knows.

I realize many people have to go through things twice. Maybe more. This is my “lot” in life to bear, as much as I hate it.

It’s just another chance for me to see how strong I am. How humble I can be about my looks. And just what God can do through unfortunate circumstances.

It’s not what I would choose. But it could be a lot worse.

So, I’m starting over again. Starting back at where I was in high school.

I’m going to have the best attitude I can with it. I’m hoping to learn. Grow. And be better. Not just to have my teeth and mouth improve and be better – but my whole character.

Here we go.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

When Your Heart Feels Like Crying

My heart feels like crying.  Have you ever felt that way? Like you know something is coming, something you dread….but it’s not there yet?

Do you ever fear something you know in your heart of hearts will happen, but you have nothing to base it on?

I love with abandon. I love deeply. And so, it can be hard for me to fathom someone ever questioning that love, or thinking that it might not be enough for them.

Of course, it hurts.

 But ya know what? Sometimes my love ISN’T enough for others. It’s not enough because it’s trying to fill holes that should already be filled by that individidual themselves. There are empty places inside of lives that aren’t there because no one loves them. They are there, because they are searching for love in all of the wrong places and by the wrong means.

It has nothing to do with my love at all.

I can tell someone, “No one will ever love you more than me.”  But if they are seeking love in the form of constant material $, items, and help – they won’t see that. They won’t hear what I’m saying with their heart, or with their head.

I can tell someone that I’ve given them every ounce of love energy I have – but they won’t agree if they don’t know how to stand on their own feet. Because they will need and want more of me (or someone) than I have.

Love has to be tough sometimes. It has to bleed. It has to watch someone not choose it and go off in a different direction.

That’s the risk of love.

But I wouldn’t change a thing. For the memories of loving someone and being loved by them – whether a family member, a friend, or a neighbor – are worth it. The laughter shared, the hugs given, the photos snapped, and the moments where neither party walked alone?..... All worth it.

When you love someone, you will always want to be chosen. You will always want to be understood. You will want to be appreciated, valued, SEEN. But it won’t always happen.  And it can be crazy how the heart can sometimes see those moments coming.

And when it does, it feels like crying. For that’s what a heart does – it FEELS. It sees past what is said. It looks past what is occurring.

So someone may not have chosen you. Or, it may be nearing the time when they don’t choose you and the love you so freely offer to them.

For that, I am so so sorry. But don’t despair. Because the crazy thing about love is that it stands the test of time. It is seen, felt, and reflected on, even if you do nothing more. It LASTS.

You WILL be loved in return. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow – but it will happen. Just wait for it.

Even if for today, that means your heart must cry a little.

Friday, February 3, 2017

When We Head In the Wrong Direction

 We try to make sense of God’s ways at times. We know He wants what is best for us and that He can see into the future – where we, cannot.

We know His ways are perfect.

And yet, at times, they just don’t feel that way.

Some things in life hurt. We make mistakes. Those we love make mistakes. And we don’t know how to deal with them. We don’t know how to correct them without damaging relationships.

We head in the wrong directions. And He lets us.

Sometimes we have something so good right in front of us, and we don’t see it. We don’t want it. We turn away from it and head in another direction altogether. We think that’s the right one for us.

When it’s all wrong.

But you can never go back. “Back” always changes. We think things stay the same as we remember them – but they don’t.

Everything changes. EVERYONE changes.

So we tilt our heads to the One we love so dearly, and we try not to doubt. We try not to question. We wait. We pray. And we grip onto Him with every ounce of faith we have – hoping it will all turn out okay.

That’s faith. That’s the risk of love.

I wish we all could see life clearly. I wish we could take off those rose-colored glasses, and see everything come into focus. The past, the present, the future.

I wish we could see that just because someone else has gone on a certain path, it doesn’t mean that path is also meant for us.

I wish we could see the love that lives in our life, right where we are. And that it’s GOOD.

But, if we don’t – and we stubbornly forge our own path, may He never leave our side. May He weave HIS plan, amidst our own and turn it into something better. Something GREAT.

May He never leave our side. Never let us go.

And may we, in our own humility, SEE IT.

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Courage Is In Short Supply

"Courage is in short supply these days." I heard that phrase from General Jerry Boykin.  It gave me chills, because he nailed it. He is SO right.

Courage IS in short supply these days.... especially from believers.

I'm not talking about the kind of courage someone would envision. The kind of courage that is ready to physically fight an intruder. No. I'm talking about a spiritual kind of courage. A kind of courage that is ready to stand for a faith it says it believes in.

That kind of courage is scary. It's scary, because it risks being laughed at. Misunderstood. Ridiculed. Hated. Left lonely.

But that's what God asks us to do.

General Boykin made an interesting statement. He said that often, Christians talk about how "God is in control." And He is. His sovereign hand is over everything. But he observed how we often use that statement as an excuse, to sit back and do nothing.


We don't take a stand for what's right. We don't let our voices be heard.

Do you know why some people constantly fill up our news screens? Because they are speaking - no shouting - loud enough for their voices to be heard. Even if they are aimless, they believe in what they are standing for and they aren't afraid to say it and stand for it.

Why aren't we?

I don't want to constantly "zip my lips." I want to speak wisely, and gently. I want to stand with love for humanity. But I also want to speak for what is morally right. I want to stand for my faith. I want to stand for all that is good.

It has to be done the right way; but it has to be done.

God doesn't NEED us to fight for Him. But He WANTS us to. 

I would never abandon my family without fighting for them. If they were lost, I would search for them until I found them. If they were attacked, I would defend them. I expect the same out of myself for a Lord that I say rules my heart and my life.

I HAVE to stand up. I HAVE to speak up. I can't be afraid what others think. Political or not. Spiritual or not. Emotional or not. Physical or not.

I am an heir to the kingdom. And I am here to defend and stand for its legacy. I am here, to fight for its cause. In love. In dignity and integrity.

Are you?

Saturday, January 21, 2017

It's Time to Label Yourself With a New Identity

We all like to hide the things we aren’t proud of. Those flaws and scars that we’d rather pretend aren’t there. I’m talking not just about the emotional flaws and scars we’ve gotten in life, but the physical ones, as well.

We like to hide the varicose veins, the scar on our stomach, the tooth that is fake, and the toes that are crooked.  Most people don’t know about them. Why show off something that isn’t pretty? So, we camouflage it.  We use makeup, clothes, and doctors. If we can.

Some of us can’t hide our physical flaws.  We can’t hide the braces, the lazy eye, the thinning hair, or the heavier weight gain. It’s there for all to see.

And it’s not fair. Not in the way that we can’t hide it, but that we feel “not normal” in some way. That so many people forget that they are hiding their own flaws, so they look weirdly at those of us who can’t.

I can guarantee you, that EVERYONE has a flaw somewhere. Whether it’s two different colored eyes, a mole, or a birth mark – everyone has something that makes them unique and distinct. If only we could see those things as beautiful, instead of as blemishes!

If only we told each other about our flaws. Our physical AND our emotional ones. If only we could see that if we brought them out into the light, that they would lose their powerful hold on our identity.

No one wants to feel like they are different. But the thing is? We are ALL different. And we are all the same. We all feel the same things. We all want to be valued. We want to belong. We want to feel lovely.

Maybe if we looked at flaws as things that make us stronger, instead of weaker, we’d look at them differently? Maybe we could see that they are simply tools we can use to help someone else who is hurting. If we could see that, maybe we would grow to not just endure them, but use them to our advantage?

I know I will probably always hate some of my flaws. But the thing is – I never hate someone else’s nearly as much, as I hate my own. I can usually see past the image, to the heart. And I can find someone beautiful. I’m betting a lot of people can, because there is so much beauty to be seen.

It’s US that labels OURSELVES. It’s US that teaches one another what TO and what NOT to accept.

We can love one another despite the flaws and scars we’ve gained in life. And if we can love one another, maybe we can learn to love ourselves too.

Bring those flaws out into the light. Don’t let them hold you hostage anymore.

It’s time to label yourself with a new identity.

Sunday, January 15, 2017

Holiday In Bora Bora

I’m still dreaming of Bora Bora. It’s a place that I never thought my feet would land on.  A place that offered my soul some much-needed “down time.” Of course, I was thrust right back into life when I came back home, as there was Christmas and then I got sick for two weeks. But, I digress.

Bora Bora.

I see so many people post pictures of Bora Bora, and say that it’s on their “bucket list.”

And now, I’m fortunate enough to say I’ve been there.

So, I thought I’d share with you a little bit about what I observed, and what tips I would recommend – if you should ever find yourself flying in that direction.

1.     It has the most stunning water I’ve ever seen. If you wonder when you look at pictures, if the water is really that clear, and that blue? Yes. Yes, it is.  It’s awesome. (Does saying, “awesome” date me?)  But, it WAS awesome.  You could see the coral, the stingrays, everything.  And if you are flying in, it is breathtaking to see the different shades of blue as it goes from the island, further out into the ocean.


2.     Bora Bora island is small.  And I mean small.  It has one road that goes around the whole island. You can rent a car, or a scooter and drive around it a couple of times in one day.  There are only – maybe 2??? Smallish towns. Don’t expect to see a movie theater, a mall, or fast food restaurants. They don’t exist.

3.     We stayed at Le Moana Intercontinental. HIGHLY RECOMMEND. Yes, we were in bungalow huts over the water. It was so peaceful, so quiet, and very tropical-feeling. You have a glass coffee table in your room and you can open it, (or not,) and look down at the tropical fish below, feeding on your coral. It was one of my favorite things to do. I saw new fish each day.  You also have a private deck. And just the room itself, was terrific. A huge bed, a tall, bamboo ceiling with an overhead fan, and a nice size bathroom.

4.     Bring a collapsible cooler. Our fridge didn’t seem to want to cool things down very much – and I’ve heard this said of others, as well. Get some ice from the ice machine, load in your cooler, and you can put your drinks in there, and put the cooler inside of your fridge. A great alternative.  We could walk to a little market from Le Moana, and buy some sodas there to put in our cooler. Also, Le Moana, gave us a new water bottle each day, which was wonderful.

5.     Food.  Food can be an issue if you are on a budget. Food can be extremely pricey. And we had a hard time finding food that was more affordable. There is a pizza place within walking distance from Le Moana. You can eat there, or get it “carry out” and eat back on your private deck. It’s big enough to share between two people.  There is also the option of ordering from the bar, if you want more casual food. You can also get this as “carry out.” It took us a few days to realize that most places didn’t open till after 6 for dinner, and that if you wanted a burger, fries, or sandwich, they called that type of restaurant a “snack” shack.  A few places seem to be restaurants or snack shacks opened up in people’s homes. But we could never figure out their hours of operation.

We also got the breakfast buffet in our plan, so we ate a big breakfast, snacked on munchies we brought with us and skipped lunch, and then ate dinner. This also saved us some $$.

6.     There is not a lot of tourist shopping. And I love to shop on vacation! Black pearls are HUGE here on Bora Bora. And I mean, HUGE. You will find a lot of these shops. But the pearls are EX-PEN-SIVE. If you want cheap pearls, (under $100), look for locals to sell some at their tables alongside of the road near the towns. But be prepared to find a rougher-looking pearl.  Other than that, you can find a few souvenir shops and that’s about it. Not much comparing of prices or merchandise.

7.     Le Moana offers free paddle boarding, kayaking, canoeing, and snorkeling. We brought our own snorkels and a couple of pool floats that we blew up once we got there.  Bring a book, or some magazines to read. You can even bring a dvd or two – as our TV only had a couple of channels and they weren’t in English. But honestly, we didn’t need to watch anyways.

8.     RELAX! Don’t go to Bora Bora if you don’t want to relax. This is a place to unwind. Slow down. Chill. And relax. It’s a place to recharge.

9.  Be prepared for long wait lines in America and in Tahiti. The airlines don’t seem to open too early before flight time, and they love to “herd” people once you arrive in Tahiti. Just be patient. Wear layers (as it’s very humid in the Tahiti arrival zone and you will get hot and sweaty quickly) and you’ll make it through!

We loved it. The staff were extremely friendly. The location was lush and breathtaking, and it was a gorgeous getaway. It’s like nowhere I’ve ever travelled before.  And I miss it.

Feel free to ask me any questions, and I’ll do my best to answer them. And if you’re going, soak in every second. It’s a joy and privilege to get to go.

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Are You Willing To Love Them Through It?

Your friend’s child wants to change their gender.

Another friend is grappling with the thought of suicide.

Your cousin is headed to prison.

Your niece has been in and out of a mental institution.

Most people say, “I’m sorry.” They say, “I will pray for you.” Then they disappear. Or maybe they are there in the beginning, but then grow weary and disappear after a time. After things get REALLY tough.

For a lot of us adults, we remember 9-11 when the twin towers were struck by planes. We know and we remember, how firefighters, police, and rescue workers ran INTO danger, instead of away from it. They ran in to help.

That’s what we need to do. We need to run IN to help.

Who will rescue someone who needs a friend in their moment of need, if everyone is running out of the building? Who will love them when they need to be loved the most? If no one is willing, no one will ever get healed. No one will ever get rescued. No one will ever feel like they are worthy enough to overcome what it is they are battling.

I have this instinct. It is to “love them through it.”  Maybe they don’t think they need me. Maybe their instinct is to push people away because they don’t want what they think they will get…. Pity. Judgment. Ridicule.

What this world needs more of, is love.

Our families, our friends; they need us to love them through their personal battles and struggles in life. That doesn’t mean we need to condone their choices. But we can certainly love them despite them. 

It’s the only way.

Some people don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel. They don’t think anyone will be waiting for them on the other side of their challenges. They don’t think anyone can give them grace, or mercy, or forgiveness. They don’t value themselves enough to believe they can overcome, or even that they are cared enough for, to have someone believe in them.

I want to be that someone. Do you? Can you?

Can you love someone through it, instead of running away from something that may be ugly, embarrassing, or tough? Can you love someone enough to invest in helping them find a way to love themselves?

There are people in my life, in your life, who need you. They need not just your words, but your heart.

We are ALL capable of loving.  So love. LOVE! Love with abandon.

And watch lives transform.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Sometimes We Have to Push Through the Difficulties

Sometimes we have to push through the difficulties.

If we ever want to see a reward in our life, we have to “stick in there.”

And we are so good at quitting.

It’s like the rungs on a ladder. Instead of climbing up one by one, pushing ourselves to grow, and go further and higher, so that we can turn around and look back at how far we’ve come…. We look up at the ladder and say, “that’s too high. That’s too hard. It’s too far.” And we dig up our roots and start over somewhere else. In another situation. With other people.

And all we do, is live a life where we are starting over all of the time. We never grow the muscles we need to endure the tough stuff. We never learn that great reward comes AFTER those trying times.

God knows what our heart and soul needs more than we do. We are so good at seeing what we WANT, that we fail to see what we NEED. And sometimes, we just need to be sifted. We need those times in life that seem to go on for a never-ending stretch.

Because God is doing a mighty work in us, and He really wants to complete it!

We interfere. We take the control away from His hands, and navigate our own path.

I love looking back at my path in life and seeing how those times where I shed so many tears, have brought deeper tears in my heart now….. tears of joy and thankfulness at how far I’ve come and at where I am.

I can see all those times where I longed to rely on human skin to help me through… when God told me, “no. I want you to rely on ME.”

So, sometimes we have to push through those difficulties. We have to hold our breath, and keep swimming. There may be choppy waters and strong waves along the way, but we will make it. And we will be forever marked.

It is those “marks” in our life that mold and shape our character. They help grow us – not just for ourselves, but for others, so that we can help mold and shape them along the way too. So that we can help encourage, minister, and cheer them on as they, too, need to learn to dig deep and hang in there.

I’d rather walk like a giant in life, with thick skin, knowing that I’ve made it through some intense battles, than walk with thin skin who can’t withstand much in life, because my muscles are so weak.

The answers may seem far away at times, but God is always working. He’s working even when we can’t see it. He’s working on US.

Let Him.

Wednesday, December 28, 2016

We Don't Have to Disguise the Hurt

We’ve all heard it. The words of that well-meaning family member, or friend. They don’t know how to make things better for us, so they offer words that they feel, will lift us out of our frustration.

“It will all work out.”

“It will be ok. You’ll see.”

“Someday, (insert name) will understand all you did for them.”

“You’ll be fine.”

And the words go on and on and on.

They aren’t bad words. But they also, aren’t always TRUE words.

Everything ISN’T always fine.

Everything DOESN’T always work out.

So, here’s what I want to tell you. Grieve about it. Be angry about it. God is big enough to handle it.

Acknowledge that something unfair happened to you and in your life. Don’t try to bury it. Don’t try to ignore it. Don’t try to pretend you are stronger than the unfairness of what happened, or the moments and dreams that you may have lost.

Grieve about it. It’s OK. In fact, it might be necessary.

If you ever want to be healthy, whole, and able to move on with your life… you need to be able to dwell in your frustration, sorrow, anger, and hurt for a bit.

For a “bit.”  Please, don’t live there forever. There are so many more GOOD moments in your life that are waiting to unfold and happen!  But do allow yourself the freedom to feel what you are feeling. There’s nothing in the world wrong with that.

Not everyone gets a fair shake in life. I wish we all did. So many things take left turns and plummets in our lives. But we don’t have to let them defeat us forever. We can turn them around into our testimonies.

Some of those spots in our hearts will always remain a little soft. Tears will always cling to our eyes when we speak of them. Let them. That time HURT. It’s ok to say it, and let people know it.

We don’t have to be tough all of the time. We don’t have to disguise the hurt.

If the bottom drops out of your dreams, you can still climb back up from that pit. Maybe a little wiser because of what you’ve endured. But climb up, you can.

Just take it rung by rung, step by step.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

It Doesn't Matter If You Are Different Than Everyone Else Around You

I’m not a big scarf girl. They look so cute on women, but they kind of strangle me a bit.

I don’t like coffee. I know the whole world pretty much, wants to meet at the local coffee shop for conversation and “catch-up” chats. But I don’t drink coffee. It’s ok. I can have a smoothie, or something else. It’s just the fact that people ASSUME.

I love cats. I always have. I love how you don’t have to worry about where you step in your grass, lest you might step in the wrong spot. I love how they purr when they are happy. I love how they love to be loved and snuggled. And I LOVE how they love laying in the sunshine. Just. Like. Me.  But, this is a “dog” world.

And so, I’m often in the minority.

I don’t have a tattoo.

I don’t drink alcohol.

I don’t like Chinese food.

I HATE to camp and I detest running.

These are things that just astonish people at times. Because people often expect other people to be just like them. To like what they like. To enjoy what they enjoy.  It’s easy to think others are weird if they don’t do what the majority of the world is perceived to be doing.

But that’s ok with me.

I like what I like. I don’t like what I don’t like. That’s how God made me.

We so often want others to mirror ourselves. We feel more accepted, more normal, if others are a reflection of who we are and what we think. But it’s ok to have friends who DON’T mirror you. To enjoy people who are different. In fact, it can be very enjoyable. They can expose you to a lot of new and interesting things in life.

It doesn’t matter if you are different than everyone else around you. Standing out can be a great honor. It can immediately put you in a place of leadership and influence. Even if you are an introvert, people will watch and listen to you – intrigued by your differences. And, an individual is always more memorable than a “pack.”

So, be YOU. Be you in all of your intricate, unique glory. Soak in the thrill of enjoying something that may not be common. Enjoy being different and not having to partake in the trend or fad that everyone else is throwing themselves into.  Trust me…. If you didn’t want to wear a “beehive” hairdo in the 70’s and got made fun of for it? No one would know now. For everything has a time and a season.

You were created to be just as you are. Different than those around you.

Never try to reflect someone else. You are just as you should be.


Related Posts with Thumbnails