Thursday, July 11, 2019

Feeling less than? You don't have to.

Life is a mixture of calm, peaceful moments and chaotic uproars. Just when you arrive and have smooth ground underneath your feet, you come face to face with a mountain.  Do you detour? Do you climb it? Are you prepared for the task? 

It wouldn't necessarily be life if this didn't happen, right? After all, isn't the point of life to be challenged and grow while transforming into your best self? How else will you grow if you don't get pushed and tested?


It is easy for these large mountains of troubles to bring us down. They can be overwhelming, frustrating, and seem impossible. You may walk through day-to-day life as if everything is fine only to go home and sit motionless wondering what you are going to do to overcome. 

There is a good chance that someone along the way has told you that you ought not to focus on the negative things and, instead, focus on the good in your life. Sure. If only it were that easy, right? Let's just dismiss those struggles and that gigantic mountain blocking the sun and focus on the fact that we woke up this morning. 

Exactly!

Wait, what? 

When you feel like you are struggling under the weight of everything, finding the beauty in life itself can make that rugged mountain a bit easier to tackle. Showing gratitude can be a great way to remind yourself that, although you have struggles in this moment, your life is still magnificently beautiful. 

But, what if you had something even better? What if you had your own best friend who is always there no matter what - and not just to tell you to look on the bright side? This best friend can... 

Provide you comfort when you are feeling anxious. 
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Lend a helping hand when you are feeling less than. 
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Remind you that you are loved and worthy of goodness. 
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Heal your broken pieces when you feel defeated. 
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Show you that your troubles will create a new, stronger version of yourself. 
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GOD will hold your head up when you can't. 

There was once a little guy named David. He went up against a giant - Goliath - that no one else could defeat. Everyone thought he was being foolish. But, David knew he had God on his side. All it took was a huge amount of faith in his best friend and a tiny little stone. Using his slingshot, he took down the giant. 

“...You come to me with sword, spear, and javelin, but I come to you in the name of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies—the God of the armies of Israel, whom you have defied. And everyone assembled here will know that the Lord rescues his people, but not with sword and spear. This is the Lord’s battle, and he will give you to us!" 
- 1 Samuel 17:45, 47 NLT 


Won't you allow God to let the mountains ahead of you build your strength and solidify your faith?

Saturday, July 6, 2019

Raising Someone Else’s Kids

Raising Someone Else’s Kids

“Do you have kids?”

That is always a tough question for me. And I always find myself stumbling over my answer. Yes, technically. I mean, they aren’t necessarily mine as in the normal way one has kids, but, in all other ways, yes, I have kids.

To be more specific, I have a stepson and two nephews. In my mind, though, they are all my kids. I didn’t have them so-to-speak, but they are mine.

And, here’s why. This is what it is like raising someone else’s kids.

When someone plays too rough outside and falls off a skateboard, tumbles over a basketball, or skids off a bike, you make sure you are there to wipe the blood, clean the wound, and dry the tears.

When someone feels beat down after a rough day at school or gets frustrated with a homework assignment, you speak uplifting words and provide encouragement.

When someone has a favorite breakfast, you go out of your way to make sure it is available in the morning.

When someone has interests, goals, and the like, you do what you can to guide their pursuit. You let them explore the things that matter to them.

When they do well, you praise them.

When they make a poor choice, you correct them.

When a kid gets excited about something, you feel yourself getting excited, too.

You brag about them.

You show up for them.

You sing with them, act goofy, and have your own inside jokes.

You do what you can to not let them down. And, if you ever accidentally do, you beat yourself up for it long past the time they’ve stopped thinking about it.

You make sacrifices to see them smile.

You hug and kiss them goodnight.

And, by all means, you tell them you love them.

Life is not easy. Life with kids is surely a rough ride. And, nobody – including myself – is perfect.
Raising someone else’s kids should be no different than raising your own biological children. Moral of the story? It doesn’t matter who had the darn kids – you raise them as if you did. You treat them as if they are yours. And you love the heck out of them.

You know, one of the wisest women I know once told me that you don’t ever love any kid differently, whether they are your own or your stepchild or another child in your care. She said that each child deserves to have unconditional love.

When I first fell into this role in my life, I had a hard time believing that. Not that I didn’t think all children should be loved unconditionally, but I felt that there is a certain piece of you that is bound to that child when it is biological. Something that I wouldn’t know for sure, of course. Perhaps I am wrong – I will leave that to all of you biological parents to discuss.

But I have grown into the woman that I am knowing that the love I have for the children in my life is not conditional. That there is not possibly anything I would do more or less for them if they came from me. I give them my all. Every day. Rain or shine. And, I do it because they are mine. All three of them.
  

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Be a diamond - shine bright

Life is not always easy, is it? Could you imagine if it was? Everyone would walk around happy, stress-free and carefree. And, while that may sound perfect, it isn't. Why? Because we grow out of the struggles we face. 

Many of us are either in the middle of something rough or we know someone who is. Life's hurdles will be different for each individual but encountering things such as: 


losing a job

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battling cancer

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dealing with teenage struggles

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waiting to hear a doctor's diagnosis

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walking away from a marriage
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the loss of a loved one

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These are awful events that are capable of bringing even the strongest person down. They can make us turn inward, leading to anger and frustration, and, maybe even a bus ride straight into a life of darkness. 


But, let's stop and think about Jesus for a minute. This guy lived his life in the light. He encountered resistance and doubt during his travels. He endured unimaginable pain and torture. And, he was killed as if he was one of the most horrible criminals. 


Did he complain? No. Did he turn inward? Nope. Did he get angry and frustrated? Not at all. Guess what else he did not do? He never blew out his light. 

So, no matter what you are going through at this stage in your life, do not let your light go dark. We live in a world where so many people do -- and where so much darkness exists. 



God needs you to shine so that you may show others the way. "Do everything without complaining and arguing so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. Hold firmly to the world of life..." - Philippians 2:14-16

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Feeling less than? You don't have to.

Life is a mixture of calm, peaceful moments and chaotic uproars. Just when you arrive and have smooth ground underneath your feet, you come...