God's been challenging me this summer. Actually, He and I have had a few wrestling matches. Through these spiritual wrestling matches, I've learned one thing ... He. Will. Always. Win. Why do I resist? Why do I think that my ideas and thoughts are better than what He has planned? When will I ever learn to trust Him? I'm human. It's in our human nature to want our way. To fight for the right to be heard, to be right, to do things the way we want them done. I'm not making excuses; I'm simply stating a fact.
This summer, Bronie and I have been spending time together doing Jennie Allen's Bible study “STUCK: the places we get stuck and the God who sets us free.” I have had this study on my shelf, collecting dust, for over a year now. Every now and then, I'd take it off the shelf and look at it, knowing that I needed to start it but never did. Finally after a conversation with BV, we decided that we would start. It looked like an innocent enough study, BUT after watching (with tears rolling down my cheeks) the intro video, my heart was pricked. Was it too late to back out? I thought, "Uh, BV, I can't do this! I'm tapping out. Good luck with the study." But I knew in my heart it was exactly what I needed. Over the last few weeks, I've had to analyze myself. (Do you know how uncomfortable that can be?) And through this process, God has called me to surrender. I have had to surrender so many areas of my life; my thoughts, my worry, my anxiety, my family, my everything to Him. That is hard for someone like me who has major trust issues. He even challenged my to surrender that, too! All of these things had become a security blanket for me. If I could worry about it, then in my mind, I had control over it.
Surrender is a daily process. Just like making wise choices about the things we eat, read and listen to, we have to choose daily to surrender to God. If we chase what the world deems right and good, we will lose ourselves. As Christians, when we let Jesus lead us, we find ourselves. We can't ride the fence on this. It's a choice we have to make daily - do we let Him lead us or do we do our own thing? When we surrender to God, we stop resisting Him. And it's in the moment of sweet surrender that we find freedom. FREEDOM!!! Freedom from this world's idea of the best life. Freedom to be who we are created to be. Freedom to trust God with everything. Freedom to live the life God wants us to have. Freedom to embrace life to the fullest.
I love the way The Message puts it in Matthew 16:24-26: "Then Jesus went to work on his disciples. 'Anyone who intends to come with me has to let me lead. You’re not in the driver’s seat; I am. Don’t run from suffering; embrace it. Follow me and I’ll show you how. Self-help is no help at all. Self-sacrifice is the way, my way, to finding yourself, your true self. What kind of deal is it to get everything you want but lose yourself? What could you ever trade your soul for?'" He is in the driver's seat. He knows where we are going, and He knows how we are going to get there.
Embrace life to the fullest,
During the Expect a Challenge Lab, Suzanne and I shared many people who were amazing examples of how we all hope to face challenges: my precious sister Leslie who allowed God to use her challenge to show His grace and love, sweet Henry and his mother Jessie who clung to the hope of Jesus and heaven in the face of a crisis, and Michelle, who chose to praise God on her flute even though she was suffering from immense loss and grief. It is so easy to hear those stories and be moved to tears, and maybe even be inspired to want to face challenges with that much grace. But how did they do it? How did their faith get to that point? What did they do to get past the anger, grief, fear, or frustration?
Though I cannot speak for them, nor do I know the exact details of their faith-walks, I can share a few things I have observed as I watch them and others face challenges . The principles I see are simple, but living them has to be intentional.
1. Remind yourself of Who God IS: the Lover of Your Soul, Protector, Redeemer, All-Sufficient One, God Most High (in control of ALL), the Beginning and End, Shepherd, Companion, Wonderful Counselor, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, Creator, Provider, God Who Sees, and Immanuel, God With Us. Reminding yourself of the hugeness of God can often help counteract the hugeness of circumstances.
2. Remind yourself of who you are: God’s Beloved Child, a child of the King, Servant of the Master (Jesus), heir to a Heavenly Inheritance, an Amabassador of Christ, a Representation of the Savior, Holy, Set Apart for Good Works, In the Palm of His Hand. Remembering how precious you are to God can bring comfort and peace.
3. Remind yourself of your purpose: set apart, with a purpose for good works, God has plans for you – for good, hope, and a future, for HIS glory, to bring HIM praise. God has a purpose and plan for you IN THE MIDDLE of this challenge.
4. Intentionally Choose Trust. Trust Him with your future, with your life, with your plans, your hopes and dreams. Trust Him when things appear hopeless and bleak. Trust Him when everyone else fails. Then, ACT OUT that trust in responses (after all, our actions are what really show our beliefs). Live your life based on that trust. At first this can be scary, but the more you truly trust, the easier and more freely that trust comes.
5. Remember Who Has Won!! Jesus said it best: “In this world, you will have troubles, but take heart! I have overcome the world!” (John 16:33). The battle is won, victory has come, and nothing can change that. In your challenge, claim God’s victory, and set your mind on how he overcame. He overcame through suffering, forgiving those who hurt him, and living solely for others. In the most unexpected, most marvelous way, He overcame. And you can too.
As you read this, I hope that you will be reminded of the amazing power we have when we choose to follow Jesus. I pray that you will choose Him when all else fails, when life is hard, when no one else does. I pray that you will be grounded in the knowledge of our Savior so that the storms of life cannot move you. I pray that through your challenges, He will shine bright, and that you will be blessed by peace even in the midst of life’s messes.
Live With Purpose!
“And we know that God causes all things to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to His purpose for them.” (Romans 8:28) I love this verse! But I really only began to understand it in the past few years as circumstances that in no way were “good” came into my life.
There was a point during the toughest times when I hated that verse. How could good come from what has happened to me? This is just NOT GOOD, God! I can’t ever imagine seeing good in the things that my family has had to go through. Those words became a part of my prayer life at that time, and sometimes I was ashamed to say those things to God. But, as I was honest with Him, He showed me something in that verse I had never noticed before.
It does not say all things ARE good. They just aren’t. To pretend so would be to believe a lie. But when I really listened to the words, I learned that though the circumstance was not good, it just might work together FOR MY GOOD as I choose to love Him and follow His Purpose for me. And, when faced with a challenge, we can respond in a way that shows His good to the world.
How does the good happen? Who does it happen to? Well, second half of the verse is clear: “those who love God and are called according to His purpose." Recognizing the good and fully receiving it are directly tied to loving and following Him. So, even though life was NOT GOOD, I had to choose to love the ONE WHO IS GOOD and focus on HIS GOOD PURPOSES. Easier said than done, and I have not always gotten it right, but progress is progress, imperfect though it may be. As I purposely and intentionally made the choice to love and follow regardless of how I felt, amazingly enough, the good did come! Not by a change in my circumstances, but because of those circumstances. So many people – family, friends, even total strangers became the arms of Jesus as they wrapped me and my family in hugs and spoke words of encouragement. Being loved like that is an amazing feeling.
But even then, the greatest good came during the time when I felt all alone, when I had no one else but God to turn to. HE WAS THERE, right beside me. Walking through it all with me. I think God knew that in some way, I needed to “lose it all” to truly find Him. I needed to be in a place where He was my only source of hope, peace, comfort and JOY. Joy in the midst of my challenges and suffering, not joy in their absence. Joy in Who He Was, not in what I was going through. The struggles brought me to a place of utter dependence on God, and that has been good, VERY GOOD. Without the struggles, I would have never been in that place to trust so fully and completely. Looking back, I know that it was not that things were good, but that God used those things to bring good to me, to grow my faith and character in ways nothing else could. To make me who I am today.
This is the epitome of God’s amazing mercy – making good come from the bad, making beauty from our ashes, trading our mourning for joy, giving a garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (see Isaiah 61:3). I love how my daughter's Bible, the Jesus Storybook Bible, puts it: “Jesus makes sad things come undone, and death come untrue." Mercy brings hope, and hope brings a new perspective and attitude.
The song “Fall Apart” by Josh Williams is easy for me to identify with. The chorus says: “My whole world is caving in, but I feel You now more than I did then. How can I come to the end of me and somehow still have all I need? God I want to know you more! Maybe this is where I start. I find You when I fall apart.”
When life gets challenging, my prayer is that you will FIND HIM. Find the God who loves you, has good plans for you, and is always there. Find your Savior, the Friend of Sinners. Find peace knowing that even in the challenges, God has power to bring good. Allow Him to use the challenge to chisel away the things in your life that keep you from being a Masterpiece.
Rejoicing in His Goodness,
Mercy and Grace in the Midst of the Storm
I have been pondering for weeks now what to write about for a follow-up to the session Claire and I lead on Mercy and Grace. Shortly after that SHE event, our family was delivered some life changing news. Henry, the four year old nephew of my brother in law, Joe, and my sister, Michelle, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He underwent surgery almost immediately, and surgeons were able to remove 50% of the tumor. No more treatment will be done at this time, and Henry is currently under hospice care. When you hear news like this your mind begins to buzz with millions of questions and emotions. Whatever emotions or questions you may be asking as you read this; I have already felt or asked over the last month. On Halloween, the local news station in Georgia did a story on Henry. I will link it for you to watch, but be prepared, you WILL need tissues.
As I watched the video, I was overcome once again with a deluge of emotions. Yet, as I reflected back on it today, I see lessons that Father can teach all of us. When Claire and I lead our session, we never said that extending grace and mercy to yourself and others would ever be easy. It is a struggle and a battle. He wants us to lean on Him and His strength for EVERY NEED. The Kelley family is doing that right now. They are in the midst of leaning on Father to meet their every need right now. They are not only doing that, but they are proclaiming the HOPE that can only be found in Jesus during this time. The fact that the news station did not edit Jessie’s words about her faith shows that Henry does have a story to tell. Is this the story Ian and Jessie dreamed their son would tell?? Of course not, but they are just following Father’s hand as He leads them through their story. "We believe that Jesus's heart is for us, and for Henry, and for healing and restoration," Jessica said. "We may not see that on this side of glory. We'll still be with him in a short amount of time, forever."
In one of the most poignant parts of the video, Jessie described a recent experience with Henry.
"We were throwing pennies in the pond and I said 'You're supposed to make a wish before you throw the penny in the pond. What do you wish for? If you could do anything in the world right now, what would it be?' And he said, 'This.' And it was the most amazing lesson to me to just enjoy the moment with him, that there is joy and peace because right now, my little boy is throwing pennies in the pond and we can smile and we can cherish that to a new level."
Children can teach us so much. They see the world in such a different way than we do. Sometimes, we just need to sit back and take a look around us and be thankful for the situation we are in right at that moment. I did that recently as I sat with some friends and thought back to when I first got involved with Total Woman U. It was amazing to sit back and see how Father’s hand had guided me and lead me to where He has me today. That road was not smooth and straight…it was bumpy and rough and lead me through some tough times, but without them, I would not be where I am today.
Henry’s situation is not fun nor is it something any of us would want our children to go through. I just know that when these kinds of tragedies rock our world, there is someone who can keep us from falling. Father holds us up in such an amazing way and makes Himself known to all those around us. Jessie, Ian, Henry, and Miri Kelley are allowing Jesus to shine through them wherever they go. Do they have rough days?? YOU BET THEY DO!! Please pray for them over these next few months. Continue to pray for a miracle. Our Father can do amazing things. Pray for peace in the midst of this storm and for comfort.
I am praying for all of you that Father can give you His perspective in the midst of your circumstances. Know that ALL of the ladies on the TWU team love you and pray for you. Next time, I will be reflecting on a song by Matthew West on our perspective.
I love you!
http://www.11alive.com/news/article/262491/3/Henrys-Last-Holidays Story Link
I recently read a wonderful daily devotion regarding forgiveness. Forgiveness is a very interesting word that carries with it all kinds of emotions. Some of those emotions are negative, like disappointment, bitterness, and even anger - which are emotions which might have caused reason for forgiveness in the first place. And some of those emotions are beautiful - emotions such as joy, peace and relief from experiencing forgiveness.
But forgiveness is also a word loaded with action! Forgiveness only happens when action is taken, right? The ACT of forgiving. We could focus on so much when it comes to the action of forgiving, but today, I'd like to focus on forgiving YOURSELF - who, for many of us, is probably the hardest person to forgive. When was the last time you actively forgave yourself? I know that might be a strange concept for some of us, but when? When was the last time you did something that you regretted, had to ask someone for forgiveness, AND THEN actively forgave yourself for the wrong-doing? When was the last time you said something that was misunderstood and even though the other person didn't hold it against you, you held it against yourself and carried that guilt with you?
There are many situations in which we might find a need to forgive ourselves so that we don't carry around the guilt and condemnation that comes with UNforgiveness. And, if God can forgive us, then shouldn't we forgive ourselves?
Here's the devotion I read last week. It's written by Os Hillman.
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness." - 1 John 1:9
The apostle Peter was one of three disciples who walked with Jesus closer than the other nine. He was the most enthusiastic and the one man who was willing to step into territories where others would not dare. He was the first to step out of the boat and walk on water. He wanted to protect Jesus at times when Jesus rebuked him for having a demon influence him. He cut off the ear of the guard who wanted to arrest Jesus in the garden. As Peter matured, the Holy Spirit harnessed his many extreme emotions.
The greatest trial for Peter was when he denied the Lord just before Jesus was crucified. Three times he denied knowing Jesus. Jesus predicted that the cock would crow after the third time just to reinforce the prophecy to Peter. Peter was crushed when he realized he had failed His Lord so badly.
The Lord forgave Peter for his denial. However, gaining forgiveness from Jesus was not the most difficult part for Peter. The hard part was forgiving himself. As we mature in the faith, we begin moving in victory after victory with our Lord. Then out of nowhere, an event happens that reveals our true sin nature, and we are confronted face to face with this reality. We cannot believe that we are capable of such sin. There is no good thing in us save the grace of Jesus Christ and His blood that cleanses us. When God looks at us, He looks at the blood of Christ that has covered our sin. He does not look at our sin once we confess it.
When we have difficulty forgiving ourselves, this is pride at its deepest level. We are making an assumption that we should never have sinned and that we are too mature to sin. This is a trap from the enemy of our souls. People who cannot forgive do not recognize from what they have been forgiven. That includes us."
Satan is the author of confusion and he's rather good at it! If you've considered yourself to be a Christian for a long time, sometimes it's REALLY hard to forgive yourself when "confronted face to face with [the] reality" that we are still capable of sin. We still hurt others with our words, we still do things we shouldn't, we still think things we wouldn't dare vocalize. And because of that, Satan can really push the guilt on us! He can confuse the issue - make us feel we are being humble by being hard on ourselves, rather than potentially prideful. He can confuse the facts that Jesus' blood covers ALL sin no matter who sinned and no matter when we sinned.
And if you are a new believer in Jesus, Satan can confuse the fact that no matter who you are or what you've done or haven't done, if you confess your sins and believe in Jesus, you will be saved. That's it! Jesus' blood that He shed on the cross covers ALL the sin and God FORGIVES ALL THE SIN! His forgiveness is not an excuse to keep sinning, but rather a call to actively forgive and, as Jesus said, "Go and sin no more."
If you are trying to become all God created you to be, then maybe you should forgive yourself of your past - whether distant past or recent past - and move toward Him. His arms are open. He forgives you - maybe you should, too! :)
Thanks for being you!
Q: Can you think of something right now for which you've had a hard time forgiving yourself? How did you handle it? Have you forgiven yourself? Comment on this post, or email us with your answer. (You don't need to give details of what you needed to forgive, just answer the latter questions.)
"So, is it just me? Please tell me it's not just me! PLEASE!!!! TELL ME I'M NOT ALONE!!!!...."
Have you ever felt like that? Have you ever made statements like that...out loud? To God? To a friend or a spouse or a relative? I know I have. And what is usually the answer you get back??
"YOU ARE NOT ALONE!"
I know for me, I've asked these questions at different times of my life. I remember even when I was Elementary School age, I would compare myself to girl named Cori because my best friend Lesley seemed to begin liking her more. In Jr High I was was more aware of my appearance and felt awkward. In High School, despite all that I was involved in and all the friends I had, I still felt like I didn't fit in. I was very "successful" in school and I realized shortly after I was finished with school, that much of my identity was wrapped up in my accomplishments. Now that they were gone, who was I really? Who did I want to be? Am I able to make a difference? Do I really even matter?
Of course, life continued...as it always does. Have you noticed that life around us doesn't stop when we have a question or need to figure something out?? Wouldn't that be nice! If you are considering a job change or purchasing a new house, wouldn't it be nice if everything else around you slowed down so you could really focus on the decision at hand? Haha!! I think that'd be way cool! :) BUT, alas, it does not, and it did not when I was younger either.
During my early twenties, I married the love of my life, and 3 years later, we had our first child. Oh what joy that was! I LOVED being pregnant! I LOVED when I could finally feel my baby kicking around inside. I did NOT love all the weight I gained! UGH! But, to have that little boy - he still brings me such joy! A few years later, another baby. We didn't find out the gender of our first baby, but we decided we would find out for this one. We took Jordan, our son, with us to the ultrasound. The tech asked him, what is the baby's name? Jordan said if it's a girl, it's Emma. The tech asked, "What if it's a boy?" Jordan simply replied, "We don't know yet." Well, needless to say, the tears came streaming down my face when the tech said, "Looks like we have an Emma!" Oh, the joy! A couple of years later, another precious baby. This pregnancy was a bit different and I went into early labor at 33 weeks. I was put on bedrest and medication but that only held him off 2 weeks. One night, I realized I had not felt my baby move in quite a while. He had been such a mover and a shaker so it was quite obvious. It was late at night, I told my husband, we prayed and went to sleep. I already had Dr's appointment the next day, but I called in the am and they wanted to see me right away. Long story shortened, Carson was born that afternoon via an emergency C-section. He was in NICU for 6 days, but miraculously, everything the Dr's had seen wrong with Carson was gone and he was beginning to gain weight. One of the best pieces of advice I ever got about motherhood was from my own mother. She said, "The first 4 months are the most self-LESS of your life." I thought then that she meant it would all get easier, but I think now, she really meant that those are the months you FEEL it more because of the transition to self-LESS-ness and motherhood. The other great piece of advice she gave me, "This too shall pass!" :)
I tell you this in hopes of you being able to relate. Maybe it's not with school and marriage and pregnancy and motherhood, but maybe there were other things in your life, GOOD things, GREAT things, and sometimes tough things that you can remember going thru. It's not always the bad things that cause us to get wrapped up in life. There are those seasons...I bet you already know them, and if you don't, you will probably get to know them at some point. You know, those "dry" seasons, the desserts. Desserts don't have to just be when things are bad or desolate, it can be that life is just dry. Maybe you feel unappreciated, unused, unseen.
I always wanted to be a wife and a mother - and by the time I was 30, I had been married 10 years and had 3 children. I felt so blessed!! I was living the life I'd always dreamt of. I was VERY involved in church, had a devoted husband and 3 amazing kids - and we were all healthy! So, now what? As fulfilling of a life as I was living, and it was fulfilling, I still had the "dry" seasons. The seasons that I began to feel unappreciated, or like I didn't really matter. I felt bad because, although I absolutely loved being a wife and mother, I felt there was something else on the inside of me. There was so much I want to do! I was fine to postpone those dreams for now, but would I ever get a chance to pursue them?
Is that just me? Am I alone? I daresay, no!
I don't believe we will walk desert-free until we are in the presence of Jesus. But I've come to realize, it's ok. :) His presence here on earth can help us through those times. At least now, I am able to recognize those dry seasons in my life and instead of trying to get through them alone, or beat myself up because of them, or listen to the lies that inevitably come, I involve my husband, my friends, my family...whatever it takes, and I allow God to navigate me though.
There is a wonderful book called Anonymous and it's written by Alicia Britt Chole. It was life-changing for me. She talks a good bit about Jesus' temptations in the desert. She refers to these seasons as a season of hiddenness. Here is a little excerpt:
"In each season of hiddenness, our sens of value is disrupted. Stripped of what others affirmed in us, we are left staring at our undecorated selves, wondering what makes us truly special.
Surely no one experienced this disruption more drastically than Jesus. He came from heaven to earth, voluntarily stripped of His glory. Yet He does not seem to question the value of His undecorated self. During His hidden year, Jesus clearly came to terms with what made him significant. Actually, that what was a Who: the God whose loves does not ebb and flow on the ever-vacillating waves of human perceptions.
What grows in anonymous seasons? An unshakable identity."
When we struggle with our own identity and purpose, when we are in dry seasons, or hiddenness, or living anonymously, as Alicia Britt Chole reminds us, "Father God is our only consisten audience. Others come and others go, but only He always sees. ...When no one else is interested in (let along impressed by) our capabilities and dreams, God is still wholeheartedly with fatherly pride shouting His love over us."
I hope and pray you realize you are not alone in this life and that you feel God's fatherly pride shouting His love over you always!
Thanks for being you~
WOW!!! August 8th!! My heart is racing!
Why is my heart racing on August 8th? My oldest son started Jr High today! My daughter started 4th grade today! My youngest child started 1st grade today!
Perspective is an interesting thing, isn't it?
My oldest son started Jr High...I remember Jr High! It was where social classes seemed to begin dividing up, where my skin started changing and a new daily goal emerged - to catch the attention of the cute boy. It was where I became more aware of my wardrobe and my hair, who noticed me and why, was I in the cool-crowd or the not-so-cool crowd? Was I gonna forget my locker combo? Would I be late for class? Would I forget something in class and look or feel like an idiot? Will I keep making good grades? ... WAIT! I'm old enough to have a child in Jr High?! ;)
4th grad - LEAP testing!! Changing classes for main subjects, not just library or art or music. Higher learning and more expectation. No older brother at the school now - she's the oldest there. The challenge of making her own imprint instead of trying to walk in her big brother's BIG footprints that he left at the school. Living up to teacher's expectations of her because of who her brother is. Making a name for herself not just being known as his little sister. Leading, not just following. Continuing to set an example for her little brother. I am the middle child - and oh the pressures I put on myself as the oldest daughter and middle child. While many of those pressures pushed me to excel, will she excel or withdraw? She and I are very different. When does the identity in children begin to get questioned, for little girls in particular?
1st grade! He's the youngest in our family, but will be one of the older kids in his class. Will he be a leader? He gets frustrated so often when he can't do something he think he should be able to do well. Will he get frustrated as he's learning? Will he quit? Will he be nice to the other kids and make friends? Will he be shy in class? Will he be too talkative trying to make others laugh?
It's funny to think about the challenges I remember experiencing myself, as well as the ones I now anticipate for my kids. It's also very interesting to see that some of those challenges remain similar all thru life. Social classes, keeping the eye of my husband, looking nice, being "cool," forgetting important details, being late, saying something that makes me look like an idiot, not knowing something I should know, following in others' footsteps, living up to expectations, leading, personal pressures, excelling at whatever I do, setting an example with my life, being younger than some and older than some, being frustrated as I continue to learn, making friends, quitting ...
Can you relate to any of this right now in your life? I remember hearing something about relationships when I was younger that stuck with me. It may be puppy love, but it's real to the puppy. These issues we face at different times in our lives are so similar and yet so different. To a 7th grader, at a new school, with a new schedule, and new friends, it may be simply daunting to think about forgetting your locker combination or worse, remembering it and not being able to make it work. As an adult, we look at it and say - just go ask a teacher for help. That need for help might represent something to that 7th grader that could possibly dent his self-confidence. How does it make me feel when I have to ask for help? Does it "dent" my self-confidence? Do I let that lack of knowledge or know-how affect how I see myself? What about social expectations? Fitting in, looking just right, comparing oneself to others, being younger, being older... what about all that? Does aging suddenly solve those issues? I would gently say - HECK NO! I've dealt more with those things as I've aged than ever before.
Perspective - You've probably heard that life is not about the destination, but rather about the journey. I can buy into that! If that's the case, then maybe we should all try to keep our lives in perspective. The issues we face today and the challenges we face today ARE VERY REAL. The issues our children face are VERY REAL to them. The issues our neighbor faces or the child we teach, or the family we come across at Chic-fil-A are VERY REAL. We shouldn't diminish them because we can't fully relate to them, or because we now feel OUR issues are bigger than theirs or worse or whatever. Have some compassion on others in this life. Life isn't always about how YOU are affected by something else but it CAN be about how you can affect someone else - both positively and negatively. Take your eyes off of your issues to help someone else thru theirs.
And, when it comes to your own issues, find some friends you can be real with, those you can share your challenges with. Someone who can help talk you thru some of your concerns. Friends who can remind you "this too shall pass." Your issues and challenges are real right now, but the issues won't be there forever. And they may not all be as big or bad as you think right now. Maybe there's something else at work in your life. Maybe there's a reason something is happening. Or maybe despite something bad happening, something good can still happen out of it.
Jonathan and I have spent quite a bit of time over the last couple of weeks helping our oldest son prepare for his newest adventure. We've asked all 3 kids questions about how they feel, what they are nervous or concerned about, what questions they have and so forth. The more we talk, the more we prepare together, the more we explore, the better they feel about starting the new school year. I'm still nervous for them, but they feel better. :)
So, if your heart is racing about something...
ENGAGE! Don't run away, don't diminish, don't crumble - ENGAGE! Engage in the lives of others. LISTEN to their story - they have one to tell. Sometimes their stories can actually help you thru yours.
HAVE COMPASSION! Recognize the issues in others' lives are VERY real - help them when you can! Take time for others.
SHARE! Share your story, share your faith, share your experiences. Take a risk - try to have a bigger perspective about this life and who's in it! Try to discover something new about your journey and what you might be challenged to do thru it. :)
thanks for being you ...
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