Last Saturday I spoke to several groups of inner city women on the subject of forgiveness. Days before the event, I began spending time in prayer asking God to push me out of the way so His words could be heard. I thanked Him for such a great opportunity given to me.
When Saturday came, I was pleased to see the groups of ladies signed up for our session were small enough to allow the women to feel safe in sharing their stories. We visited subjects from drug abuse to children in prison. Our conversations went from dealing with abusers to moving on from self-loathing. All subjects were cloaked in the purpose of forgiveness. Continue reading →
Ever find that every step you take you feel like you’re two steps behind?
That’s me. My 2016 goals are in place. I have a plan to meet each goal. And they’re good goals, too! The first week of the year went rather smoothly … pacing myself, telling myself You can do this. It’s a piece of cake!
If you’re like me, something happens to throw you off your game. It could be the simple trip to the store for a few things that turns into buying enough supplies to get through Armageddon. Or maybe your neighbor needs you to watch their kids for a while so they can help a relative stricken with the flu. Better yet, your spouse wants to start on that project you’ve been wanting done for years—only they need your supervision.
“I cried because I had no shoes until I saw a man who had no feet”(Gulistan, 1258 aphosism, The Rose Garden)
Perception is everything.
Please meet Ayis Caperonis. Ayis was born in Lausanne, Switzerland with great dreams and a bright future. Yet at the age of thirteen, all dreams were dashed when a crippling brain tumor was detected.
Listen to how Ayis struggled. Hear him talk about his disappointments and weariness. It wasn’t until he began a relationship with Christ that his attitude and determination shifted. He then saw hope—he saw a possible future.
Wow! Can you believe 2015 will be over tonight? I remember when I was small I figured I’d be forty-five years old in the year 2000–if I lived to be that old.
Happily, I did make it to the year 2000 and beyond. This year has had incredible highs and unbelievable lows. I’ve gained many friends and lost a few. I’ve dug my heels in firm on beliefs and challenged others. I’ve welcomed wisdom, purchased with many prayers and requests of The One who offers it. I’ve celebrated with many their successes and cried tears due to horrific losses experienced by others.
American President Franklin D. Roosevelt (1882 – 1945) poses with his dog Fala and a young girl named Ruthie Bie (later Ruth Bautista) on the porch at Top Cottage, Hyde Park, New York, February 1941. Bie was the granddaughter of the property caretaker, and the photo is one of only two that show Roosevelt in his wheelchair. (Photo by Margaret Suckley/PhotoQuest/Getty Images)
Life sometimes don’t turn out as we plan. It begins uneventful enough, just as we think it should. No ripples. No bumps in the road. Smooth sailings all the way. Then on a dime, something happens to change the trajectory forever. Joni Eareckson-Tada dove into shallow water and broker her neck, leaving her a quadriplegic. At the height of his popularity, Franklin D. Roosevelt was stricken with polio. When Bethany Hamilton was fourteen, she took her surfboard to catch a few waves and was attacked by a shark, losing her arm.
When tragedy happens, our lives–and faith–can be rocked. How could a loving God let this happen? Why did this have to happen to me?
My approach to tension since surviving a brain tumor has been to do my best to embrace it. If I don’t feel overwhelmed once in a while, I’m not stretching myself enough. Sometimes when my tasks begin to win over my ability my world is thrown into chaos. I try my best to acknowledge and respect my limitations, step back and re-group. But more times than not, this is what happens:
That’s what I experienced when I entered the world of Christian publishing. There are more writers today than ever before–and they’re GOOD. They have strong voices and incredible talent. I find myself hitting a new nasty wall—the wall of comparison.
Comparison kills Contentment.
I know God’s plan for me is straight and true, just as His plan is for the next person. To compare my life to someone else is insulting to them—and God. It’s apples and oranges. When my heart begins to race from getting a bit manic about the writing process, I try to re-group, re-center, and follow the course set before me. I listen to my agent. I work on my social network. I practice and study writing. But most importantly I talk to others about the God’s gifts of mercy and grace. I do what I know God wants me to do.
I still spend time sitting in front of a blank computer screen, my nervous fingers hovering over the keyboard. Ugh! I hate thinking I should be able to do it just like everyone else.
My challenge: do what God inspires me to do and be content. My eagerness to write the perfect story can’t be more important than God’s Message. God’s gift to me and other beginning writers is beautiful and perfect. And if his plan is perfect, the time spent in preparation for what’s ahead is perfect, too.
For my writing friends, sit back from the computer screen once in a while. Stretch. Look around. There’s lots of good in your life that God’s placed there, but realize you’ll probably need that Calgon again … just as a reminder.
School has started again in most areas. I remember the many first days—for my eldest through to my youngest.
All those days between first days are gone now. I remember so many fondly. But it’s the first days that seem magical. Watching the kids’ excitement over new supplies. Seeing the their faces light up when they talk about the newness of the next grade.
Did I do everything right? Far from it. Did I make the most of what God offered me? Not even close.
Somewhere in the recesses of my mind I knew this day would come. These days I sometimes walk through department stores this time of year and watch other mommies shop with frantic looks on their faces while their kids act embarrassed to be seen with them. It’s their turn to experience their own first days.
Embrace each moment. Cherish all the experiences, because each one is beautiful in its own way. And if you see a lady watching and smiling, never mind, it’s probably me. I’m remembering the firsts days of school I experienced years ago.