The One?

There is so much talk about finding “the one”. How do you know if he/she is the one? When you’ve thought you found the one before and it tanked, it can leave a person scratching their head. The whole “You’ll just know” theory is forever tainted.

Something I’ve learned and am still learning…always learning is that “The One” is the one you’re willing to fight with and for which means work through anything and everything. But, it must go both ways. If you were willing to do this for someone and they weren’t or vice versa, you weren’t the ones for each other either. No doubt, you’ll learn a lot from this experience and hearts will break, but making it to the end with each other will take mutual desire and commitment. This is what real love deserves.

The one you can be honest with. The one who loves you in your bad moods as much as your highs. The one you’re willing to trust again after your disappointments and betrayals. The one who is willing to deal with your stuff. And…will you deal with theirs? No one is perfect, including ourselves, so to find a person who you not only want to do life with, but are willing to, is the one. Because, life is hard. Cherish that person.

Love after divorce is different. Eyes are more open, deep hurts have left crevices, sometimes children, exes, and location limitations are involved. There has to be more than infatuation because you know the difficulties of marriage now. What do you need? What can you give?

In order to enjoy the vacations, we need to love well in between. The hard stuff. The mundane stuff. The painful stuff. The unknown stuff. If you’re both willing, congratulations are in order. Because, that’s the hard stuff to find!

The one you want to go through everything with is the one for you.

We don’t love perfectly. We have issues, baggage, fears, scars. But, when you find someone who decides to love you through them and you decide to do the same, enjoy your one. And love and appreciate them like crazy. I realize this more and more as my stuff continues to rise to the surface. To be loved anyway is a miracle in itself.

“All of Me” by John Legend is really just that. For someone to want and take all of you includes so much more than your body. It’s your past, present, future, collateral damage, and most importantly your heart.

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What the What??

Today, I performed an echo on a woman with Situs Inversus. This is a very rare condition “in which ALL major organs are reversed and mirrored from their normal positions”. Basically, everything on our left is on her right side and vice versa.

I’ve done a couple echoes on patients with Dextrocardia (this is where the heart is on the right side instead of the left, but all other organs are in their “normal” places).  But, in my eighteen year career, this was the first complete Situs inversus that I have seen and can remember in the flesh, outside the textbooks I learned about them in.

She was my last patient of the day and arrived about fifteen minutes late, so I was already ready to go. Normally, I think I would have seen “Situs inversus” in her chart and groaned. This would take SO much longer than a normal study! But, this time, I didn’t. I thought, “Cool, let’s see what’s inside and how good of pictures I can get on her. I wanna see this.”

I had to turn her the opposite direction we normally do. My probe had to be turned completely opposite of how I normally hold it. It was truly a mirror image. A challenge. An anomaly. A needle in a haystack. An amazing sight to behold. A lesson.

I asked her how she found out about it and she told me that it wasn’t until a surgeon couldn’t find her gallbladder during an operation to remove it, that she knew she had this very rare condition. They eventually found her gallbladder…on the other side of her body. Her kids didn’t have it. Her parents didn’t have it.

I kept telling her how special she was as I scanned her. Her organs were perfectly functioning, but they were put together and placed in her body completely opposite from yours and mine. By her Creator. She was made that way. Perfectly, but differently.

She was a blatant and beautiful reminder to me that we are all created differently. Yet, still wonderfully and fearfully. Knit together in His own way. Divine fingerprints.

For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place, when I was woven together in the depths of the earth. Your eyes saw my unformed body; all the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be. Psalm 139: 14-16 (NIV)

I couldn’t wait to get home and write this. She excited me. I come across people every day with organs that are put in the “normal” way, but don’t work right. Hers are perfectly functioning, just switched. Made that way.

She was my first. I may never see another Situs Inversus person from the inside, but now I’m aware they are out there, looking just like me from the outside. I thank God for the lesson He poured into my heart while I was searching for and scanning hers.

As she left my lab, I reminded her that God made her super special. And, that goes for you too. Different and set apart for His purposes. To proclaim His name and share your story of who He has been to you, Who He is to you, and why you still cling to Him….after everything.

Fearfully and wonderfully made.

Unexpected Ease

We planned it months ago….Time got closer and closer. He got more and more excited, and I got more and more concerned. About the kids. About the money. About the feeding everyone. About the long road trip. What would happen? I feared the whining would make my ears bleed, or worse, his. When he asked me what I was most concerned about, it was that. The twelve hour road trip, just the six of us. For the first time…ever.

When I asked him what he was the most excited about, he had the same answer. The road trip!?!? He yearned for and was excited about the time together. Completely foreign concept. Even to me…

When we arrived at the condo, I watched him pull $1000 cash out of his wallet and lay it on the counter to pay the landlord. This was money I knew was hard to come by and that he needed. This was money he had set aside. This was money that could have easily been used elsewhere, but his priority was us and the memories we would make there. And, even though he paid for the place, he gave me the room with the queen size bed and separate bathroom. Meanwhile, he slept on the pull out couch in the living room and shared a bathroom with the kids.

With his aching back and all, I woke up to his warm smile, hugs, and coffee every morning. He was THANKFUL we were together and it showed. Different rooms, different beds, all the kids. But, together as much as possible in this season.

He showed love by playing games, cards, laughing, putting us all at ease. One of my daughters is super affectionate, the other one not so much. So, when I saw her take his hand walking through town, my heart melted. She must know. She must know he loves her back….

We enjoyed the clear water and white sands of Destin. It was my first time to see it. We enjoyed a condo by the beach, amazing food, quality time with our kids, and LOTS of laughs. All this considered, my favorite part was the unexpected ease. The kind of ease that makes me WANT him on every family vacation from now on…The kind, quite frankly, I’m not used to.

Traveling is one thing. Traveling with ease, laughter, joy, and love is quite another. Thank You, Lord!

 

In the Ring…

A boxing match kept coming to my mind….The punches, the spit, the blood, the countdown, the adrenaline, the exhaustion…

I’m not a fan of boxing. I don’t like watching others fight for fun or money. But, I know many are. I admire the athleticism and endurance it takes to fight, but I still don’t like to watch it. This correlates perfectly with the punches we take on in this life. It’s not pretty to watch others get hit over and over and it doesn’t feel good to be hit so hard that your head spins and your “teeth” fall out.

Do you ever feel like you are in a battle? Like you may get hit multiple times in one day and then out of nowhere once you manage to get up on to your feet, you’re taken down again? Each and every time you wonder if this may be it? The big one. The KO. But, it’s not. You wake up the next day with one heck of a shiner, feeling weak and sore from the fight, but a little bit stronger and quite honestly surprised you’re still going.

If you feel like you are in a battle, it’s because you are. And it’s warring every day. We are in a battle and it’s not against flesh and blood. It’s not with the people throwing the punches or our own bodies. It’s not with the bank or your boss. It’s not with your spouse or your ex. It’s not with your parent or your child.

Paul writes…

 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. Ephesians 6:12 (NLT)

Our opponent thrives on division, wars, conflict, stress, and despair. His MO is to give us a KO. To knock us out of the running. To keep us from sharing that God is LOVE, still loves, will always love. To keep us from sharing how He works and how He is already wearing the Championship belt.

He doesn’t call us to fight as the world fights, but in the Spirit. In truth, peace, faith, His Word, and prayer. (Ephesians 6) This is war against an enemy who wants the EXACT opposite. He’s relentless in his pursuit to deceive, steal peace, intimidate, keep you away from the Bible, and away from heartfelt sincere prayer. I know this…because I’m fighting too.

When we fight with the weapons of the Holy Spirit, even to exhaustion, God promises…”no weapon turned against you will succeed.” (Isaiah 54:17)

In the heat and hurt of the battle, remember that He helps us fight our enemy. We are not on our own. It may feel daunting when you see that next fist coming at you, but his days are numbered and yours are infinite in the mighty hands of Jesus.

In preparation for this article, I looked up the word “Uppercut”. It’s defined as follows: “The uppercut is a punch used in boxing that travels along a vertical line at the opponent’s chin. It is, along with the cross, one of the main punches that count in the statistics as power punches.”

How fitting. I don’t know what a cross punch is, but it is because of the Cross that we have victory. No matter how beat up you feel, chin up fighter. I’m cheering you on, praying you through, and fighting in the ring next to yours.

Afraid To Be Happy??

Is that a thing? Like a real fear? Turns out yes. It even has a name: Cherophobia

It’s a real fear, people.

If you’re a Christian, you’re more than likely aware that joy is a fruit of the Spirit found in Galatians 5:22-23. But, joy and happiness are two different things. As a follower of Jesus, we can have joy even in the hard times because we (can/should) trust that Jesus is steadfast and never changes or leaves us. Joy in Jesus, regardless. But, happiness is a different animal. Happiness comes and goes based on our circumstances. We shouldn’t let people steal our joy, but they can definitely affect our happiness. The hurts and losses are hard and sad.

Rejoice with those who rejoice; mourn with those who mourn. Romans 12:15

The Bible also says to rejoice (be happy) with those who are happy and to mourn with those who mourn. This can lead to a quandary. We need to sympathize with those who are hurting, empathize is even better, but not let it affect our own happiness on our happy days.

Have you ever been so hurt or scared, that you’re afraid to be happy? I felt the Lord speaking that over me this morning. Letting others know you’re happy is not wrong, it’s not insensitive. It’s not rude or uncaring of their hurts. It’s the rainbow after your particular storm. And, I have dear friends who have been praying that for me.

The people who know you will be happy you are happy. The others will think life just comes easy for you. The thinkers and feelers struggle with even admitting happiness because we fear that we are not only “jinxing” ourselves, but that others will be jealous of our “perfect” life. It “must” be if she’s happy today. Nothing could be further from the truth. Let your happy days be just those. Happy days.

Image result for afraid to be happy

Who over thinks being happy? It’s more common than you may think.

I’m sharing because I struggle with this too. I have “appeared” happy when I’m heartbroken. Appearances are just that. Appearances. But, when a true sense of happiness emerges to and from my heart, it’s like a warm gush. A gush I almost fear….because what’s gonna happen next? Something. It’s always something. Or is my happiness going to hurt someone else?

I’ve gone through a really rough patch in my life where I’m sure some people feared their happiness would hurt me. Consider the wonderful marriages when your friend’s is falling apart, or the pregnancy when your friend’s just came to an abrupt end or hasn’t happened at all yet, the Mother’s Day brunch when you friend is missing hers. The vacation you are about to take when your friend can’t. The relationship or engagement that you’re so thankful for, but your single friends are still waiting for that love… It can make you think and fear happiness. For other’s sakes. We may feel guilt over our own happiness.

With women’s ministry as my passion, I am confided in and trusted as a prayer warrior for many precious friends and women. I am aware of struggles and I pray for their hearts. My heart goes out for their sadness in the midst of my own. Can we still fight the fear to share our happiness when it shows it’s lovely face? Can we dare to allow the happiness that flows in to warm our hearts when they’ve been heavy with burdens?

I say yes. I say, being willing to share your hurts AND struggles AND your happiness gives people hope. Not being willing to share one or the other doesn’t ring genuine. We need both. We want our friends to have safe places, hearts, and friends to share hurts with (because we all have them), and then to see their happiness can literally bring tears to our faces and hope to our situations (because we all desire it). May we all DARE to let the happiness wash over us and not FEAR the outcome or fallout. It’s a gift that can and should be relished.

Happiness comes and goes, anyone who says they are happy all the time, I might give the side eye. That’s not possible in this life. But, to be real, admit hardships, and express happiness when it’s present is a blessing to yourself and to others.

I love to see my friends happy, so I trust they feel the same for me.

 

 

 

 

The Day My Tire Blew…

Just a typical Wednesday morning in the summer, I drop my girls off at their dad’s house and get on the highway headed to work. Five minutes down the road and it feels really bumpy. My first thought is that the pavement was under construction and it would smooth out soon. But, it didn’t, so I changed lanes to see if that would make it better. It didn’t. So, I pulled over to the shoulder to check my tires. I also thought I might be dragging something under my car. My rear left tire was completely blown, side walls and all. Like rim was on the road blown!

Cars are whizzing by. I get back in my driver’s seat and I call my dad. My rolodex started turning. Was he in town? What do I do?

He picks up the phone, asks where I am, and says he’s on his way. Praise the Lord! I didn’t have my girls, I didn’t get hit, my car didn’t lose control. The tire looked awful. Still no idea what or how this happened. My tires were relatively new.

About ten minutes after hanging up with Dad, a white truck pulls up behind me. I assume it’s him. Nope, it’s two guys. One covered in tattoos and the other looked like an older white haired construction worker. The guy in tattoos comes up to my window smiling and says “Looks like you could use some help.” The other guy stands behind my car. My heart starts to race. I didn’t know what to do and felt a bit cornered and helpless. Matter of fact, I was.

I rolled my window down a smidge and thanked them both, but told them my dad was on his way. He said “Well, if you have a spare, we can put it on for you…”, (rolling window up) “Where’s your jack?” I responded sheepishly, “I don’t know. I need to wait on my dad”. Do I let them? Would Dad be upset if I let them start the repairs first? Would he be upset if I didn’t? Were they safe? I really didn’t know. I just felt lucky to be alive with my tire the way it was.

They got back in their truck…. and waited. They didn’t leave. They waited until my dad and stepmom got there. And, when I left the scene in the car they brought me to drive to work (another blessing), the guy covered in tattoos was lying flat on his back under my car… helping my dad.

They really wanted to help. So much so, that they waited on my dad to get there to see if he needed any. Complete strangers.

Another awesome reminder that we can never judge a book by it’s cover. They just wanted to help and I am so thankful for people like them. I was scared. My heart was racing for what could have happened and what might happen.

God bless them both today, wherever they are. Thanks to my dad, my blow out happened at 7:45 and my tire was fixed by 9:05. Thanks to God, I’m able to write about what happened.

When Taking is Giving

Contemplating my day yesterday and an interesting parallel came to mind…Let’s do a run down of my Sunday. This is one day in the life of what many of you can relate to.

  • Take clothes out of dryer
  • Take dog to groomer
  • Take kids to breakfast
  • Take car to car wash
  • Take care of flowerbeds
  • Take girls to play with cousins
  • Take ice to baby shower
  • Take kids to Vacation Bible School
  • Take trash to curb
  • Take kids to bed

As parents, it’s in the taking care of things and people that we give. Taking is giving. The giving of ourselves, our finances, our time and energy, our lives. We can’t do it all, but man, don’t we try? I think we’d all take our kids on more vacations if we could afford it. Vacations with kids can feel like anything but, but taking is also making memories that will last a lifetime for all of you. I want the memories as much as my kids do. Sometimes we need to take and sometimes we WANT to take. As a parent, it’s all giving.

Taking our kids to school and taking ourselves to work. Taking our kids to church, dance, softball practice, birthday parties, the doctor, the dentist, camp, the grocery store. Not easy, but still fills our hearts in a way we can’t describe. Because they are ours. Because of our love. Taking is giving.

It’s tiring, it feels never ending, and it’s so precious. It’s in these days of taking that we need to remember what a blessed assignment it is. I’m well aware these days don’t last forever.

It’s not until they become parents one day, that they will also recognize the incessant giving that taking requires. I hope this helps you. When you’ve taken (given) all you can, fuel up on the fact that you were given these children to take places and the ultimate blessing to them and to you that it is. It may not feel appreciated, but I applaud you and one day they will “get it” too.

Think of the gift that taking on someone else’s kids is. I recognize this even more as a single mom. Parenting is hard. Step parenting is ginormous. No one has to. They choose to. And, it may feel even less appreciated by all involved. Still, you take. Give and take.

Being with someone who is all “take, take, take” is frowned upon in relationships. We’d all rather be with a giver. But, with kids, we take, take, take everywhere. With all the taking required in parenting, we also need to remember to take care of ourselves. If married, it’s the same. Taking your wife on a date, taking out the trash, and taking the kids or grandkids out for snow cones are all giving. Yay for the takers, because they are the givers!

I’m so thankful for family that helps me with the taking in any way, shape, or form. I appreciate their giving and recognize it as such. I realize when we love, it’s what we do. It’s how we give. We load up and take.

Once they are driving, there will be less taking. But, oh how sweet to hear those words..”Mom, can you take me….” at that point. It won’t be necessary, it will be wanted. And, I’ll do everything in my power to jump all over it. Oh, how we love…