As a woman…
As a speaker…
As a writer…
My words have power.
Nothing in my life has brought me greater joy than spoken or written words.
Nothing in my life has caused me more pain and heartache than spoken or written words.
I love words. The ability to express oneself well, is truly a gift. I know many who have this gift and use it well. I also know many who have this gift and use it in ways that brings division and strife because their opinions are not covered in the love and the grace of Christ.
The enemy of our souls is the father of lies. He whispers words of offense and words of division. He tells us that we will never be enough. He tells us that since they don’t believe the same, we should not love. He drives us to put down others and to inflate ourselves. Our ideas. Our opinions. Our truth.
The power of words.
We live in a culture where words abound. Every day, we are bombarded by opinions, articles and speeches. When I wanted to start a blog, I went online, looked at a few YouTube videos, and started my first online site with blogger. It took me an entire hour to create my own little corner of the world so I could share my thoughts and opinions. No one asked me for my credentials or education. No one asked if I could spell (Thank goodness!) or if I knew how to type. The best part, it was free! All I needed was a computer and a large cup of coffee…emphasis on the coffee!
We live in spectacular times and our words do matter.
My desire and my passion is for the Lord to use my words to bring life to those around me. I want people to know that when they are with me, they matter. Truly…I want to be known for being a woman who intentionally uses words to encourage others. I am a cheerleader at heart (minus the jumps and back handsprings).
You don’t have to look far to find someone willing to tell you your faults or shortcomings. You don’t have to search long to find someone willing to put you down or in your place. To find a woman who is willing to join you on your journey of life and is committed to speak encouragement to your heart…is a gift.
I pray that we would be women willing to be intentional with our words; intentional with our loved ones, our friends, and to strangers. I pray that the light of Christ would shine so brightly that people would be drawn to us and that we would recognize their pain and their heartache and speak life to their souls.
Because our tongue has the power of life and death and God has entrusted us with the gift of intentional words, both spoken and written, that bring life.
Living Completely Undone
Mason was excited to qualify for the All-Star swim meet. He has been on a swim team on and off (mainly on) since he was 6. For 7 summers, Mason has laughed and cried, dealt with feelings of frustration, had some amazing swims, and had some extremely disappointing ones. Swimming is one of the best things we do as a family and I wouldn’t trade the lessons we learn every summer for anything.
This year, Mason’s swimming seemed to step up a level. It was exciting to watch. He wasn’t first, but he was consistent. Every meet, he got a bit faster. By the end of the season, Mason had made it to All-Stars for 2 events; the IM and the 50 Meter Backstroke. Once he got over the disappointment of finding out the All-Star meet was on a Saturday (Prime Video Gaming Hours) he was looking forward to swimming.
The day of the meet arrived and we were anxious to see how the day unfolded. It was hot…very hot, which always makes the smell of a meet more exciting. There was definitely a different atmosphere at the meet. It was a combined meet of all the All-Star swimmers in the league and both Philip and I noticed there seemed to be more pressure for the swimmers.
It was time for Mason to swim. I love him, but we already knew going into this meet that he wasn’t going to win. Some of the swimmers on our team are amazing and they work hard to get there. Instead, our focus wasn't on winning, but on improving times. We knew he could pull his weight and be an asset to his team.
Mason swam the backstroke first. He did a fabulous job. I believe he beat his time, but to be honest, I don’t remember. It was great to watch him push through his nerves and swim. We were very happy for him.
His next event was the IM. He was a bit nervous, because he isn’t comfortable swimming this event. When he made All-Stars for IM, he was initially disappointed. He thought the last meet of the season would be the last time he had to swim the IM for the year. Unfortunately for him, he qualified for All-Stars instead. Haha! I love being a parent.
We hugged him, told him we believed in him, and that we knew he could beat his time. He stepped up to the edge of the pool, dove in when he heard the start, and came up out of the water with is goggles down on his face. So devastating! He was painfully slow. We found out later that he was having a hard time breathing, which for a child with asthma is very scary. Our cheers took on a totally different banter.
“You can do this Mason!”
“We know it is hard, but you can finish!”
“Keep going! Don’t stop!”
Ugh! It makes me tearful even thinking about it. I know he wanted to stop. I know he wanted to give up. It was his slowest swim of the summer…and it was at the All-Star meet in front of the best of the best.
When Mason finished his race, he got out of the pool. He didn’t talk to anyone. He walked over to where we were sitting and quietly fell apart. It was horrible. I wanted to sit right next to him and weep. He still hadn’t caught his breath. He was so mad at himself and his googles…it is always good to have a scapegoat in those situations.
When the sadness stopped and his breathing evened out, Philip and I began to sing his praises. The reason I don’t remember his time for the backstroke is because it didn’t matter to me. What mattered was that my kid pushed through something hard, really hard. He didn’t give up. He didn’t stop. He finished dead last…but he finished.
It would have been just as easy for him to grab onto the wall when his breathing got difficult. He had an excuse. It would have been easy for him to put his foot down to straighten his googles, but he didn’t. Yes, he was sad when he got out of the pool and he was upset, but he came out a champion.
Success isn’t always about winning. Success is often about pushing through the obstacles and the difficult moments in our lives to obtain our goal. The goal that day, to finish well. Although his time was ridiculous, the lesson he learned was that sometimes success, is just determined by your willingness not to give up and to finish.
We’ll get it done next summer.
Living Completely Undone
I worked all last week to schedule something at the last minute for an event. It took a lot of my time, many emails, and a few cold calls, but It finally fell into place Sunday afternoon.
I could breathe (and sleep).
Early Monday morning, I got an email telling me that our plans needed to change. Instantly, I got upset and I could feel my face begin to flush. Without thought, I began hacking out a reply. I wasn’t angry, I just didn’t have any more time to give.
I rationalized that it really wasn’t a big deal and that it would all work out. I was telling myself this as I was quickly creating my response. Philip told me that it was all going to work out, but I was anxious and I wanted to start immediately on the new plan.
Then I stopped… I needed to be sure that my response was not an emotional reaction to the circumstance or the time crunch I felt creeping up on my shoulders.
I needed to walk away. To pause.
I ended up sending a quick text to a friend who also was part of the planning. I asked her to handle the situation because I had Monday morning plans with a friend. She assured me that she was up to the task and encouraged me to enjoy my morning coffee.
After my friend left a few hours later, I sat back down at my computer. Everything was still on hold. There weren’t any new emails or texts to let me know the new agenda. I began to work again on my original email from the morning.
Again, I stopped.
You see, I am a doer, not a waiter.
I am a mover, not a lady-in-waiting.
I like a plan that comes together without cutting any corners.
But…sometimes in my need for tidy corners and straight lines, I lose sight of the bigger picture.
The bigger picture is not the event or the details or a perfectly executed plan. The bigger picture is the people who God has placed in my path and the relationships that will form as we work together towards a goal or a task.
Do you know what destroys the bigger picture in our lives?
Quick, reactionary responses that cut and wound the people we are called to serve.
We live in a time where quick responses abound, but a woman who loves from the center of who she is… learns the power of a pause.
The gift of waiting.
The wisdom of digesting.
The importance of praying.
The opposite of a pause is persistent progress. How many times have I pushed through when I should have waited? The emails, phone calls, and immediate conversations have often gained momentum in a direction I did not intend. Relationships have been destroyed in my quickness and women have been left with wounded hearts.
After years of saying, “I’m sorry, please forgive me.” to more women than I am willing to admit, I am learning at the front end of my reactions to focus on the end goal, the bigger picture.
My friend called later that afternoon when she had worked out the situation. She handled it perfectly and we were able to move forward. Nothing needed to change and no apologies needed said.
For another day, God allowed me to keep a teeny amount of my pride because he reminded me of the bigger picture right before he reminded me of my big mouth.
Living Completely Undone
I normally don’t piggy back on my posts. I want people to read each piece individually and walk away complete. I am a “closure” kind of gal. But I have had several friends talk with me about my last FB Live and I believe there is more to be said on the topic of becoming THAT girl.
I doubt myself often.
I question how I come across.
I walk away from conversations unsure.
I write and delete.
I write, post, and wonder.
I reach out and then feel stupid.
And I truly believe I am not alone.
The biggest obstacle to being THAT girl is me. I find myself confident on the outside and doubting and questioning on the inside. I am not fishing for compliments here…sometimes I am just completely insecure and I doubt my ability to make a difference.
When it comes to social situations or stepping out into new thing, we all have our own way of moving through. My sister told me once that she couldn’t believe I felt insecure in high school. I am not sure how I faked it so well that she had no idea I was wracked with insecurity and self-doubt.
I am THAT girl. Bold. Confident. Decisive. Inclusive.
BUT…I am also the OTHER girl. Insecure. Doubting. Anxious.
I have learned in my adult years that not everyone needs to see the OTHER girl. I have been hurt many times by women, leaders, and pastors when I have exposed my weaknesses. The enemy of my soul would love nothing more than to bind me up so tight that I am rendered powerless…
I am at war with the girl I am, the girl I want to be, the girl who takes risks, and the girl who wants to live below the radar.
Jesus tells me I can be THAT girl, even when I struggle with the OTHER one.
I know many of you knew me in high school and can remember my broken years. I can’t believe you would ever read anything I write today. It is humbling. When I talk with my sons at night, I tell them that middle school and high school have absolutely no determination on where they will end up in life. They don’t need to worry about peer groups, girlfriends, or social position. They have the rest of their lives to work on themselves and no one “arrives” at graduation from high school.
I know many of you gasp as you read this, but our culture puts so much emphasis on grades and sports that we are missing the character lessons that make our children conduits of hope. My prayers for my kids are that they will be a light in their schools, kind to their teachers, and friends to the kids who don’t have friends. My hope is that they would truly be the hands and feet of Jesus. Grades and sports have their place…far behind compassion, character, and integrity.
In the start of this school year, a girl who went to middle school with Elliot transferred over to his high school. At Back to School Night, she was standing off by herself. I asked Elliot to go and talk to her. He went over and started up a conversation. Since then, Elliot and his closest friend have completely included her into their world. I heard them playing on the computer and she was playing with them. When I asked Elliot about it, he told me that her family was going through a difficult time and that she was going to be okay.
I got completely choked up. Yes, I admit it. I have so gotten all soft these days.
I cried because I knew she wasn’t starting the year off alone.
I cried because I knew what it was like to go through a difficult time at a young age.
I cried because I knew what it was like to start a new school in 11th grade.
I cried because my son gets it.
Everywhere we go, people are struggling with being THAT girl or being the OTHER one. Sometimes, all it takes is someone willing to move beyond their own comfort zone and their own struggles to make a difference.
At the end of my life, I don’t care if I have a big house, fancy clothes, or a firm backside (although that would all awesome). I want to be known as the girl who made a difference and that everywhere I went, people felt included and knew they mattered.
You are not invisible.
You are not alone.
You can be THAT girl.
We are in this together.
Living Completely Undone
Love others from the center of who you are. Click on the link below for this FB Live.
I am a girl passionately in love with Jesus, my husband, and my children. I am forever learning how to live a life completely undone for my God. This blog is about my journey and a few funny stories in between.