I’m eternally grateful for my inability to control the love of God in me.

Just wheat

Many times in my life, tears of joy have streamed down my face uncontrollably.

Once, when I was watching Elizabeth, my stepdaughter, earn her yellow belt in Taekwondo, I found myself crying while watching other kids compete. The children grinned contagiously, pulling the joy out of every parent in the room. Mind you, I wasn’t watching Elizabeth compete yet; I was watching children I didn’t even know.

So why was I crying?

I can only suggest that sometimes the spontaneous love of God wells up in me, and it’s impossible to keep it in.

The same thing happened to me once while listening to a young orphan in China play his small violin for a group of visitors. We had just heard the story of how he lost his parents and came to live in the orphanage. He sat silently during the story, one tear sliding slowly down his cheek…

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Keep em separated

Having gone through several events which are less than honorable, or difficult to talk about, or painful for others to come to terms with–divorce, bankruptcy, drug and alcohol addiction of those I love, to name a few–I’ve learned that those who truly love me share in sorrows and in joys, regardless of how well their opinions and beliefs mesh with my own. It’s easy to separate who truly loves me unconditionally from who is a fair-weather friend if I simply pay attention to their reactions to the big events–both good and bad–in my own life.

James and I dated for about a year and a half before we discovered last month that we were going to be parents together in November. This was not a planned event, and even though we were elated about the little life inside of me, we were also overwhelmed with the notion of our own plans and timelines being blown to bits with one piece of news. We adjusted and are going to be fine. What’s interesting, though, is that it has not been as easy an adjustment for others in our lives. Many people who should be closest to us will barely discuss it and seem ashamed of the reality which we accepted weeks ago.

Rather than dwell on the people who have not been supportive or have been completely silent for various reasons, we choose to spend our time and energy on friendships with people who are actively  supportive, who share our joy, and who want the best for us. The result is a long list of people, gifts, cards, and hugs to be grateful for. By limiting contact with people who foster negativity and can’t seem to let go of their own pretenses, I’ve found that my life is more peaceful, full of forgiveness and love, and overflowing with gratitude.

I can’t wait to share this kind of life with our child.

 

Honestly

Honestly, I’ve figured out that when I’m not being honest with myself or with other people, there’s something wrong.

It might not be something huge and glaring, like a hidden affair or a concealed scar from an awful experience, but if I’m hiding it, there’s a reason why.

And it’s probably not for my own good or the good of others.

Recently, when I discovered that someone close to me was hiding something from me, it made me think back to all the times I’ve hidden things from other people. What was my motive? What was I getting out of doing that? Why was the benefit worth the risk and/or harm it caused others?

Every time I’ve hidden something, there’s been a reason. If I’m hiding something from someone I love, it’s normally because a) I’m benefiting from the very thing I’m hiding enough that I’m not willing to disclose it or give it up for fear of losing it, or b) I simply just am not unselfish enough to put others’ feelings and needs in front of my own desires in that moment. Sometimes it’s more complicated than that, but most of the time, it boils down to fear and selfishness.

Let me tell you from experience–hiding the truth has always hurt me. Whether it was ever uncovered or disclosed is irrelevant; I still suffered the consequences of lying to myself, not being an honest, trustworthy person, and feeling coated with a layer of guilt and shame. Thankfully, through forgiveness and learning how to live an open, honest life, I’ve learned how to avoid those terrible consequences by being honest and truthful to begin with.

If I have to hide it, maybe I just shouldn’t do it.

 

 

Sometimes all the blueberries cover the floor of my kitchen, too. So grateful for this reminder from a fellow blogger.

letsrecovertogether

There I was putting groceries away, after having a rather crappy day. I was not in the mood for surprises of ANY kind, not even if Bruce Springsteen showed up at my door on a motorcycle and asked me to go for a ride. Seriously, I’d be bummed, but I’d say, “Bruce, that’s sooo sweet of you, but could you come back tomorrow …. I’m having a crappy day”. So, there I was riding the roller coaster of life in recovery from codependency, on a definite downward slope. Apparently, my tired brain was taking a snoozer and my tired hands dropped the blueberries I was putting away. 2 quarts. TWO QUARTS. They roll quite nicely – did you know? All over, in every direction possible – North, South, East, West and every where in between. I wanted to cry, so I did. I let myself cry. I felt it, I…

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Choosing to be an advocate

Thank you, Henry Petty, for sharing this inspiring story with us! For more from Henry, check out his blog.

Today, our company had a bone marrow drive to benefit those in need of a match and for Leslie Harris.  I had the pleasure of meeting Leslie, as she stopped by to say, “thank you,” to everyone participating.

Leslie Harris contracted a rare form of leukemia and has six months to a year to live unless she finds a bone marrow match.  She doesn’t look like someone who has cancer.  A former meteorologist for Fox News, she looked like what one would think a TV personality would and not a cancer patient.

But watching her tell her story of how she heard God speak to her when she was told the news of cancer made her not so much an untouchable TV celebrity, but someone truly humbled.  She said God spoke to her in that moment, “You can either be a victim, or an advocate.”  She decided to be an advocate not for herself, but for children who don’t have a voice in need of a transplant.

She started to break down as she spoke of how difficult it is to ask of others, and even harder when they say, “no.”

It’s surreal when you stand there with someone who possibly could be gone within the year.  She is stronger than I am, for sure.  She definitely spoke not of the latest fashions or frivolous material things, but of what really matters in life – her son.  She just wants to see him grow up.

I am truly grateful for her selflessness to help others knowing that God will take care of her.

For more information about Leslie Harris, you may visit http://www.loveforleslie.com/

 

The heartbeat of God

Photo by Phoopla Photography

Yesterday, my husband and I had the privilege of hearing our baby’s heartbeat for the first time.

Instantly, I cried. I knew I probably would; I have become a much more emotional person than I used to be. The closer I get to God, the more in tune with my own feelings I am. I feel things more deeply and am more likely to recognize and experience the beauty and wonder in things around me now than I used to be.

I’m grateful for the change. Transitioning from a somewhat Stoic, cynical individual to one whose heart is full of gratitude has been a rough journey but one worth taking. I’m fully alive now.

Lying on the exam table in a silent room, listening to the quiet beat of my baby’s heart, I was reminded of how often I am just like Thomas, Jesus’ disciple, who simply could not believe until He could see the scars and feel the hole in His side.

I knew our baby existed. I saw the proof on the pregnancy test and have been experiencing multiple symptoms which point very clearly to its existence. But something about hearing it for the first time made it more real to me.

God is like that.

He’s always there, even when we can’t see, feel, or hear Him. His heart keeps beating for us and waiting for us to listen.

 

I can relate. So grateful for the people like this in my own life.

living in gratitude

I’ve been traveling solo, and enjoying an uncommon pleasure — staying with friends.

Some I’ve known for 30 years, some less.

I have been away a long time, working and playing in other countries, from India to America.

These friends all have families, some with children and dogs and cats at home.  Others would be called empty nesters, because their children are young adults, away at university or in new careers.  The nests are still filled with all the trophies and ribbons of childhood accomplishments, and — lucky for me — many photos showing the children’s happy development, their travels, friendships, and milestones of youth.

I’m struck by a common pose in these photos: A child is hugging friends for the camera, all with big grins, all flashing that hope and promise of soon-to-be adulthood.

It’s the same in every home, no matter the family’s origins or circumstances.

I want…

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