Friday, August 28, 2015

Power Can Come From Pain





Dreamers. We get this preconceived notion that most of life’s “great” people were dreamers. They were motivated, called, and successful people. Maybe gifted.

Some probably were. Some people like Einstein were born to make a dent in society.

But a lot of the greatness that we see out there – whether it’s the people themselves, or the movements, ministries, organizations, etc that are started – they did not dream them. They fell into them.

Great pain often can produce great results. If we let it fuel us.

The family that lost their child – thus leading to the “Amber Alert” system; probably never thought that their personal pain would lead to such a monumental and lifesaving system.

Susan G. Komen and her family probably never dreamed that the devastating news of breast cancer for their family, would lead to a national organization to fund, research and encourage those who undergo the same battle.

There are so many people out there who have gone through deep loss and pain. People who have started suicide hotlines, scholarship programs, alcohol awareness organizations, wigs for cancer patients, blankets for abandoned babies, spousal abuse safe houses… the list goes on and on and on.

We underestimate these hurts we go through in life.

We can impact so many, if we allow what happens to us, to fuel us into loving on others who are also hurting. It’s our choice.

We can stay “there” in that pain. We can wear it with us daily. We can let it steal our smile, joy, and will to be a blessing to others. OR, we can turn what was meant to harm us – into something good for someone else.


Power CAN come from pain. Blessing can come from tragedy. And love can come from hurt.

Sunday, August 23, 2015

There Will Always Be Someone Who Doesn't Understand You


Can you live with it if you’re never understood?  That thought occurred to me one day when I was “rationalizing” in my head how someone was never going to understand what I’m all about or what I do.

And I wish they did. But, I’ve come to accept that they may never appreciate who I really am. They may never completely understand who I am as a person, or what I do for my family, or for others.

I’ve come a long way.

There were times in life where I’d fret and toil in my heart and head over the fact that someone didn’t “get” me. Now, I understand that there will always be someone in life who DOESN’T “get” me. There will always be someone who doesn’t like me. Someone who misunderstands what I’m about.

I will be misjudged.

I don’t like it. I don’t want it. But I’m making peace with it.

I’m making peace with the fact that some people will never understand my heart and soul because I’m learning to accept myself more. I’m learning to have more peace with who I am, and I’m learning to place more value in what God thinks of me, than the world.

It doesn’t mean I don’t care. It doesn’t mean I don’t have wishes of understanding or acceptance. It simply means I’ve decided not to prioritize those thoughts in my head. I don’t want to give them space where they can tamper with something good and valuable that I’m doing (and being).

I am who God has made me to be. And I’m trying to be the best ‘me’ that there can be. That has to be enough. It has to carry me through the times when others think less of me than I’d want or prefer.

Some people may never appreciate you. They may never truly understand who you are. They may never “get” your heart. That doesn’t mean their assessment of you is right. It simply means they don’t understand. But I promise you, there WILL be people who DO understand you and DO get your heart , for God always tries to encourage our hearts when we’re doing our best to stay the course in life.

Friend, you and I will both be misjudged at times. Many more times, probably. And I’m sorry for you, for those times. But I pray that you can accept who you are enough to carry you through those frustrating moments. For you are valuable, and valued for the unique and special person that you are.


Just “be” the best “you” that you can be. Find peace in that.  I have.

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

To The Parent Who Wants To Hold On


When my kids were young, I never wanted to go on a trip alone with my husband because I wanted to be there to protect my little ones. When they got to be in high school, I didn’t want to go on a trip alone with my husband, because I knew time was short, and they’d be out the door before I knew it.

When my daughter was home, I’d complain to her about all the glasses she left around the kitchen. But when she was away for the first time at Christmas, all I could think, was that I wished she was home to leave those glasses around again.

This parenting thing. It’s not for the faint of heart.

You cry when they first go off to kindergarten, you cry when they first drive away with their brand new license, and you cry when they leave home.

You want to hold on
. At least I do.

But you can’t. The tighter you hold on, the more they want to fly away  - never to return. So you have to swallow hard, and open the door.

It’s the hardest thing you’ll probably ever do.

But it’s a gift. We were created to do this. To hand life over to the next generation. To let part of ourselves live on in a new and exciting way. To watch our love take hold as lessons are learned in life and hopefully, our children return to the fold – nearby in some part, or merely in heart and soul.

So you let them go. And you let part of yourself go. But in the process, you learn that there is more to yourself than these beings that have taken up all of your heart and then some for 18+ years. You learn that life goes on. You learn how to think of yourself again. You become stronger.

No one will ever take those places in our heart that belong to our children. Those are precious spots that will always remain dedicated to them alone. But our hearts can grow bigger. They can learn to love on others who have empty spots inside that aren’t filled like ours are.

Part of you will always hold onto those days and moments with the best gifts God ever gave you. And that’s okay.

You are brave, dear mom and dad. You have loved deeper, wider, and further than you ever thought possible. You have invested your time, your thoughts, and your heart into making someone else’s life better. And now’s the time to see the return on your investment. So smile. Watch them go. Watch them dream, hope, learn, and grow. It’s scary. I know. But trust in the One who gave them to you. The One who loves them even more than you do. He won’t let you down. He won’t let THEM down.


It will be worth it. He will be faithful.

Friday, August 14, 2015

Serving God FOR God, and Not For Myself




I took a strengths class with my husband last Winter. Empathy was one of my top core strengths. One of the instructors told me how rare that was. “It’s like a sixth sense,” she said. I guess a lot of people have empathy as a complimentary strength but not as one of their main strengths.

It made so much sense to me. How I invest myself personally into everything I do. How I take everything thrown back at me, personally, as well. Because of empathy. I emote. I relate.

I feel. And I feel. And I feel some more. I feel for myself. I feel for you. And with you.

It’s just who I am.

So it makes sense that I struggle in my skin sometimes. I struggle to remind myself of who I want to be, and why I do what I do (writing).  For I can so easily ingest those follower numbers, those likes, and those blog comments. I can personalize them and focus on “me.” When that’s really not what I want to be about.

I do what I do BECAUSE of my empathy for others. For YOU. Not for me, at all. Yes, I enjoy it, but that’s because I enjoy loving on others. I enjoy encouraging others. I enjoy impacting a life. It does bring me great joy.  But from time to time, I have to analyze my motivation and my perseverance in what I do. Is it so I get more attention – more followers and likes? Or is it so that others can see God in me, and that I can draw them closer to seeking Him?

It’s the latter I want. It’s the latter that will give me true value. And yet I still struggle with personally wanting to be liked. Loved. Accepted.  As we all do.

Empathy.

It’s my strength, yes. But I think it’s also my weakness.

I am so thankful to get realigned from time to time. I’m humbled, and thankful to be reminded I’ve strayed off of my focus and intent. I’m blessed to get back on track with serving God FOR God, and not for myself.  For I don’t ever want to use His name, His values, and His words – for my own attention.

“Lord, I am your servant. A servant that does indeed, go astray from time to time. Thank you for lovingly always bringing me back into the fold and never chastising me with anger. You are my God. And I WILL serve you.


Always.”

Monday, August 10, 2015

I Am Happy

I’ve been feeling so content and happy lately. I am just in a spot where life is good. I love who I am, WHERE I am, and who I have around me.

I feel so blessed. So overwhelmed at times, because I’m humbled and in awe of how much my God loves me. Of how good He is to me.

I am happy.

It feels good to feel happy. To feel content. To know that you are blessed and to just sigh, and relish in it.

It seems like so much of life is overcoming challenges, travelling up hills and navigating curves and climbs. It seems like there is so much bad news. Too many tears. The good times deserve to be relished. They SHOULD be enjoyed, felt, and appreciated.

I don’t want to overlook the thankfulness in my heart. I don’t want to miss the appreciation I feel. For I know there will be new challenges, heartaches, and trials ahead. After all, I am living. There are always trials in living!

So for today, I smile.  And I celebrate life. MY life. I heartily love.  And I acknowledge, mostly. I acknowledge that I am seen, valued, loved, and heard.


And that means everything.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

The Best Leaders Are Teachable


The best leaders are teachable.  I was reminded of this recently as I’d written a couple of articles that were sent back to me to be “rewritten.” 

I didn’t like that.  I felt comfortable with what they stated and how they stated it. But this was the first time I’d worked under an editor. And she was very gracious in stating what she was looking for and why.

I had to rewrite them.

At first, I was perturbed. Irritated. As I let the thoughts settle in with my heart and mind a little bit more, I realized that rewriting these two articles would only be in my best interest.  Having to solidify and clarify my points would only make me a better writer in the long run.

I would learn. I would grow.

King David stopped listening to Godly advisors in the Bible and he fell victim to controversy and scandal. He listened to his flesh and it landed him in trouble.

You see; we can never become too big to learn. We are never too powerful to listen to wise advice, and we are never in a position where we can’t still grow.  When we think we are, that’s the exact juncture in time where we need to be taught the most! When we are humbled, that is when we are often able to see the most clearly. That is when we are able to listen with an open heart, and receive what someone needs to say to us with a teachable spirit.

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.” Proverbs 19:21

I may have an agenda. I may think I know what I’m doing and where I’m going – but God knows more than I. He has a higher purpose and a purer goal.  Sometimes that goal may simply be in refining me in the process. My destination may not have been wrong,; simply my heart or motivation may have needed some redirection. Other times, my destination is a little off, and I need some realignment to see where it is that God would rather take me. Either way, if I allow God to use others to teach me, I will always win in the long run. For I will grow and be more of the person, and the leader, that He is crafting me to be.

So whether it’s rewriting a couple of articles to please an editor, changing some policies within a company, or listening to a teenager tell you why they were hurt by something you did as a parent – each one is important. Each one will help us become better at what we do, and who we are, for the Lord.

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