Ever read something that changed your life forever? Bored in study hall one day, I had no idea what was about to happen to me. I picked up a book, turned a few pages, saw the truth within, and tears began to stream down my face as I saw words that would change me forever. As I let the truth of the words sink into my soul, they sank further and further.
Friends, I am ecstatic because Nandi Roszhart is my guest blogger this week. She taught me so much in a 25 minute conversation that I couldn't resist asking her to give us some advice on how love people unlike us. I hope her vulnerability challenges you as it did me!
Has someone you cared about hurt you on a regular basis? How do we love them? Or...should we even try to love people who don't love us back?
I was once in a situation where someone close to me provoked me on a daily basis. I wanted to love them freely, but they were controlling, manipulative and insulting. I survived by adopting sarcasm as a second language, avoiding one on one situations with that person, and putting up walls to make me feel as safe possible. To other people, I appeared strong and confident, but on the inside I felt lonely and misunderstood.
I came home from work to a roommate sitting in the dark on our living room couch, tub of ice-cream and spoon in hand. News that her boyfriend had been dating two other girls reached her ears that afternoon. Obviously this news ALONE was devastating, not to mention the regret she was feeling from letting the relationship progress too far physically. The culmination of all her emotions felt crippling.
We took down our Christmas decorations December 26, 2016, not because we are grinches, but because we had to be in California to speak at a student event. Unfortunately, we were out of travel-sized shampoo, so I stopped in the drug store. It was decked out already, not with Christmas or New Year's decorations, but with pink and purple hearts. Stores were already getting ready for the consumers to jump on the Love Month bandwagon.
Has anyone ever told you they couldn’t count on you?
It’s definitely not the most awesome sentiment to receive. Especially when it seems to come out of nowhere!
My boys always discover ridiculous videos to entertain our family, like Good Mythical Morning with Rhett and Link or Dude Perfect. Well, one time they found this video called Brain Games. The producers of the show conducted an experiment with nine elementary-aged kids. They were stuck in individual rooms, each sitting at a table with a plate of irresistible, fluffy, pink cotton candy. Here were their instructions. “You can eat this now, or wait fifteen minutes and get two more cotton candy balls just like this one.”
“Go!” my coach shouts from across the gym. I wonder how many suicides we have left to run. I abhor the end of practice. Everyday, we shoot 10 foul shots. Then, for every Varsity player who doesn’t make 7 out of 10, we all run a suicide for each missed basket. Think about it. If 11 players only make 6, that’s 44 suicides. Absolute torture!
As I sit at the dawn of a new year, I am aware that I have two choices. I can see opportunity or obstacle. I realize that I’m naturally wired to see opportunity. Yes, I’m a glass is half full kind of gal. But, I do believe that facing a new year requires self-leadership to focus on the opportunities God is creating in the messy, unresolved baggage I carry from 2016 into 2017.
Hello friends. I hope your Christmas and New Year is going well. I hope you're not feeling intimidated by the monstrous date before us, the inevitable January 1, 2017. You know, the day where we're all supposed to start all over, make up for the failures of last year, and begin again.
Are you ready?
Sometimes I live in fear for my children.
Fear they’ll walk the same dreadful path I did. Fear I’m not good enough. Fear I’m not what they need. Fear I don’t measure up to the “got-it-all-together-beloved-mama” label that’s been plastered across my forehead.
It's exhausting, and I just want to do it right.
I used to love Christmas! Until I didn't. And there was a reason I stopped loving it...for a season.
Simply put, I experienced real loss. The kind of loss that sucker-punches you in the lower gut and knocks the breath out of you. The kind of loss that leaves you dazed and confused and wondering if you'll ever come back to a good place again. And it wasn't just one loss. It was one after another...and another...and another. Strung out over twelve years.
We were standing in her kitchen talking about kids and Christmas when my friend said, “I was trying to explain to my daughter that Christmas is about Jesus, but she said, ‘No mom, it’s about getting presents.’ She’s only four, so I get it, but I’m just trying to figure out how to teach her the true meaning.”
I'm driving down the road to see a friend. I love her, her parents and her relationship with her twin brothers. I'm even willing to love her dog, even though I'm allergic, because I just want what she has. I actually just want to have her life instead of mine...or maybe mine with a few adjustments. I love everything about my family, my mom, my brother, my grandparents, my aunts and uncles, and all of my many cousins. But, if I'm to be honest, I feel disappointed in the dad area.
I am a terrible test-taker. When I was in high school the SAT experts trained me to, "Go with your gut. Stick with your first answer because it's usually right."
But, it never looked right. It never felt right.
Finishing, I took their last piece of advice to heart, "When you're finished, go back and review your test before you turn it in." If they hadn't said this, I might have been able to resist changing my first answers, but because "they" said to review, I did.
I'm sitting in the audience listening to my husband preach while also praying we all can receive God's word to us individually. In the middle of my prayer I heard the Lord ask, "Why would anyone stay outside the gate when I offer my protection for those inside?" Each of us started outside that gate. I wonder what kept us outside for so long.
The reason many of us stay outside is because we don't think Jesus is a good shepherd. Perhaps we think he was a good man, teacher or had some good ideas, but we don't really believe he has any relevance to our lives. Will he really lay down his life when we are in danger?
Parenting. The word itself carries so many emotions: joy, fear, hope, doubt and pride. When my first son was born I was honored and terrified at the same time. How could God trust me to keep this child alive, much less guide him spiritually? What if I don't have what it takes to be the parent he needs? What if I give him the wrong advice or steer him in the wrong direction? What if I'm not loving, wise, caring, strict or compassionate enough? What if I'm not up for the calling?
Realistically, though, there was no going back. I had to move forward. So I did.
I'm standing in the kitchen with Joseph when I hear a deep voice in the hallway. We've been in the process of building our house and trying to get the punch list knocked, so I expect my youngest son to reply that a contractor is here fixing his bathtub. Instead, a silly grin emerges on his face, and looking at me out of the corner of his eye, he says, "Mama, that's Jacob."