When Words Fail…

I’m a writer, so I obviously love words. I share them and sometimes they flow…But, there are also times when words fail me. Expressing appreciation and in the midst of conflict are the two most common times. Multiple times, I’ve caught myself saying, “I know this sounds meager, but thank you.” But, is it really? Because I can also think of times I would have appreciated nothing more than hearing a “thank you” or an “I’m sorry too”. I think most can relate. When words fail, how about getting back to the basics?

I’m sorry & thank you.

On my lunchtime walk today,  I was running these situations through my head. When hearts are hurt and heads are hot, words can go flying. It’s happened to me more than I’d like to admit. Then, I’m at a loss. I’ll bet most of you can relate. We have three choices. Let the relationship suffer and possibly die, stay in conflict, or do our part. May I suggest “I’m sorry”. This doesn’t mean the whole thing was your fault, it means “I’m sorry for my part in it.” How the other person accepts or responds is on them. Most conflicts are two sided. Can we just say “I’m sorry”. And, “What can I do differently here?”

When expressing gratitude for love given, lives shared, or deeds done, words fail me. I feel I could go on and on and on and it’s just not enough. So….”Thank you” will have to suffice. I can think of a few instances where I’ve gone above and beyond for someone who hasn’t done the same for me, and not even a “thank you” followed.

I remember thinking, “Man, not even a thank you!” How simple is that? Are they thankful at all or do they just not know that they should say it? We don’t know, so it leaves us feeling taken advantage of. Thank yous matter…they should be shared and not taken for granted. Thank a person. It’s the least you can do and honestly the most you can do for something they’ve given or done for you. Anything. Be it forgiveness, a listening ear, a hug, and ride, a sweet note, met you halfway, fed you.

As parents, we often say to our kids..”What do you say?” When a “Thank you” or an “I’m sorry” is warranted. So, how about as adults, we recognize how powerful these although “simple” phrases really are and what a long way they can go in our adult relationships? In some cases, what more can you say?

When someone shows they love me, I’m thankful. When someone says I’ve hurt them, I’m sorry. When words fly and fail, use them. They may just salvage or cement the relationship. If you truly mean them, you will have done your part in doing so.

 

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Same Kind of Different…

I look at hearts for a living…Every day, I take an ultrasound probe and I look into people’s chests. I look at the blood flow through the valves and chambers. I assess size, shape, function, and Doppler velocities.

After 17 years, I’ve come to realize that when I’m looking at the screen, it doesn’t matter what the person looks like laying beside me. Our hearts are all designed the same. The person I’m scanning could be black, white, Asian, overweight, anorexic, 95 years old, 18 years old, Catholic, atheist, smoker, vegan, a millionaire, homeless, a cheater, or the cheated. I can’t tell by the way their heart looks on my screen.

If I was only looking at a case study on a screen or was scanning through a sheet, I could only guess what that person looks like or lives like. It could be the cardiologist who reads my tests, for all I know!

This got me thinking about the God we serve. He knit us together in our mother’s wombs. He created our hearts physically and spiritually…the same. To physically pump and fire in a certain way. To spiritually crave Him. To seek Him for satisfaction when the world fails us. To love others and to find our greatest joy in serving Him. So…we are the same.

Yet, this same God who created each one of us in His image also thrives on variety. He made us to look different, gifted us differently, walks us through different stories, gives us different passions and interests. He loves variety. So….we are different.

I look at hearts everyday, but I am so relieved that nobody knows my heart like the One who created it. He sees it, He sees me, and He loves me anyway. He supports and heals my heart. He inspires and strengthens my heart. He pushes it to share and He helps it to rest.

The next time you see someone who looks or acts differently than you, think about their heart beating in their chest, it looks like yours. And, it is loved like yours.

Passion, Calling, Gift, Career…

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My passion is learning and teaching healthy love, which flows from the love Jesus has for us. I believe wholeheartedly that this is my passion because I didn’t know healthy love before. I married unhealthy love because I was unhealthy. I didn’t know any better. Under nourished falls for over bearing and controlling. Makes sense now. This is my passion.

Now that I know better, because I know Jesus’s love better, my passion is to share with others. Others who may not know. Others who turn to unhealthy relationships, marriages, or vices to satisfy their God-given cravings. Others who don’t know their worth in His eyes, how to be treated respectfully, speak up when they need to, give God their pain, ask Him for help, or look to Jesus first. Because I didn’t. I know the loneliness and desperation this can lead to. So, I share. This is my calling.

I’ve always loved to write. I’m able to articulate my thoughts and feelings better this way than verbally. The words flow and come relatively quickly when a topic comes to mind. I thank God for that. Writing relieves me. When I write, I can actually feel sadness, confusion, and stress leave my body like a pressure valve inside me. I feel better. I feel lighter. Like I did what I needed to do. It energizes me and calms me. If it helps anyone else, bonus. I’ve been told that it has. This must be my gift.

I earn my living looking at hearts. I’ve done cardiovascular ultrasound for 16 years. Yes, sometimes it gets monotonous. But, I know it’s important. I know it helps others and serves a need. I don’t like missing field trips or summer breaks with my girls. It pangs me that I can’t pick them up from school or take them to dance class. I hate rushing them out the door on the mornings they don’t have to be at school. But, I provide for my girls and God knew that I’d need to. He led me to this career path. I have a job that needs filled. I have a job that helps others. And, I am thankful. I am thankful that I can provide for us and save for retirement in an air conditioned office with an ultrasound probe. This is my career.

While I get paid to look at hearts all day, my passion is ministering to them. I recognize how one supports me financially and the other supports me emotionally and spiritually. I had my career before I had my passion. Oh, how I would love for them to come together one day…

Nonetheless, I feel more fulfilled than ever knowing my passion, accepting my calling, and sharing my gift. If God opens the door for my passion to support me financially, I will enthusiastically jump aboard. But, in the meantime, I will continue to lean, learn, grow, and work. I will thank God for what He’s taught me, the courage He’s supplied to share, the format in which to do so, the hearts I’ve been able to touch, and the hearts I’ve been able to see.

Truth is, we may or may not be able to make our livings pursuing our passions. But, we can always take them with us. And, we should. Do you think plumbers, welders, septic tank workers, grave diggers, or proctologists were born with a passion to do what they do for a career? Possibly, but not likely. Thank God they do it. We need them! Make a living to support your family. Bring the joy of your passion with you. God will honor that. He will use you to bless others and touch hearts right where you are.

One day the door may open to earn your living with your passion, but if it doesn’t, remember that God placed you where you are and He put that passion within you for a purpose. Earn your living and share however you can. There are many jobs that need to be filled. Take your passion with you. We need you.

Wind Blown

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Is there anything more inviting than standing on the beach, smelling the air, and feeling the wind in your hair? Or a leisurely drive in a convertible on a sunny day. Imagine your hair blowing back (not sideways or in your mouth), but perfectly back. This feels so good to me. We like the wind blown look. We like the wind blown feeling.

Contentment. For that moment, we feel carefree. Even though problems are still there, in that moment we feel like all is well with our souls, lives, families, hearts. Wind blown.

Can we hang our heads out the window and enjoy the ride? Can we rush through our morning routine, drop off kids, drive to work, schedule activities, gather costumes, buy gifts, and feel the wind in our hair? Only when we lay our hearts down and ask the Holy Spirit to do His work in our lives and place His words in our mouths. In this hectic life, peace feels elusive.

The Holy Spirit is referred to as wind in the Bible. Can we let Him be our wind? Can we believe that He hears and knows? Can we feel the wind in our hair even when our hearts feel heavy or anxious? Sometimes the wind can feel refreshing, sometimes it blows us over, sometimes the wind takes our cares away, and sometimes it knocks things over. Still, I’d rather know He’s there, even in the tornadoes, than question His presence in my life. So, Jesus bring the Wind.

And suddenly there came a sound from heaven, as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the whole house where they were sitting. Acts 2:2 (NKJV)

He rushed in as a mighty wind.

Can we ask the Holy Spirit to fill us like wind? To move in us like wind? To have His way with us like a flag in the wind? I would like to be wind blown by the Holy Spirit. Blown whichever way He wants me…Truly Wind blown.

This is the wind in our hair in today’s world. This is where contentment overrides stress and peace passes understanding.

Lay it down and let the Wind blow!

Live Loved

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For a girl who grew up questioning love, living loved is a phenomenon. Learning about and growing aware of God’s love for me is a continuous life changer. His love allows me the freedom to speak. To feel. To let go of perfection. To walk away. To walk towards. To be me. To really live.

When we question love, we seek constant approval from others. Constantly wondering “Do they love me?”, “Did I do something wrong?”, “Did I say something wrong?” We latch onto those who don’t show us love and try to change their minds or squeeze it out of them. Thinking if they do, we will have proved our “lovability”. This leads to a prison of pain that the devil wants nothing more than to keep us locked away in. Constantly seeking love. Jesus’s unfailing love turns the key to this prison, wraps us up, feeds us, and slowly but surely and consistently loves us back to life. In turn, we long for others to feel this new love we have in our heart. This love that warms and reassures our questioning hearts like never before.

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. Ezekiel 36:26  (ESV)

I used to think a “heart of stone” meant only apathetic, unloving, uncaring, mean. A hard heart. While, no doubt, God’s love can soften a heart like this and turn it completely around. My “heart of stone” felt opposite. It felt too soft. Hurt and scared. Unloved, desperate, clueless, unaware of this Great Love just yearning for me to take notice and strengthen it. To feel it. To live in it. To immerse my thirsty heart in this unending and unexplainable love. Living aware of His love changes everything! Remember this when you feel rejected or abandoned. He’s still right there. He never left. He’ll never leave. He loves you more than any human being ever has, ever could, or ever will.

God’s love will soften and strengthen our hearts of stone. He will turn them into hearts of flesh filled with His Spirit. Are you thirsty? Hard? Soft? Hurt? Consider the Ultimate Source. His love is the source of unquenchable love we seek. Our desperate (stony) hearts looking high and low for acceptance and approval can rest easy and come to life in His love. Soak it in, squeeze it out by sharing with others, and go for another soak.

Live loved today and every day. Because you are.

 

Out With the Old…

out with the old

…..and in with the new. The new year is fast approaching and it always feels like a fresh slate. I’m so grateful for what I’ve learned this past year. Each experience and leap of faith has strengthened me and reined in my focus. The holidays this year were tough for me. Just emotional. I cried tears of joy, sadness, sentiment….all true. There is truth in tears. I came to the conclusion that the heaping dose of emotion was because Christmas highlights families. When our families are broken in any way and most of ours are either by death, divorce, or estrangement, the feelings associated with the brokenness are also highlighted. God’s design was for us all to be together in peace, harmony, and love. When this isn’t the case, our souls understandably grieve.

The more we love, the more we grieve the loss of love. I found myself leaning on the Everlasting Arms more than ever and asking for a real life squeeze. I also found myself relishing in my blessings more than I had before. Getting emotional over my girls getting older and their Christmas lists changing…I found myself in tears over the birth of Jesus and wondering what more I could give to Him and others because of His gift. I know Jesus rescued me. He’s been with me every day whether I’ve felt it or not. In the physical loneliness, He is still there. Protecting me. All this I know in my brain. At certain times, like the holidays, our hearts are harder to convince. And, He knows that. He’s still there.

I’ve spoken to several friends who were also struggling or know someone who is during this season. The compassion and stories we shared, felt like a special gift. Coming together, relating, listening, and welcoming honesty is so healing. Having a safe place to share our feelings is priceless. Because we all have them. Our feelings make us human, our actions show our strength.

Take your feelings to God first. Get them out and be honest with Him. I’m so thankful that He welcomes our neediness. He craves it. Needing Him is how He created us. He longs to comfort and fulfill us. This is also His design. Then, cherish the friends you can share and be honest with. Cherish the ones who love you on your worst days. Cherish the friends who pray for you, cry with you, send you scriptures, and point you to the Jesus. They truly love you and want to spend eternity with you. We usually can’t fix each other’s deepest issues, but we can point each other to the One who can.

Regardless of our relationship status, we all have a God-shaped hole in our hearts that only He can fill. OUT with the old ways of trying to fill it, mask it, cover it, or deny it. And IN with the only way to live and love in this broken world….and that is with the love and strength of Jesus. Living in His strength all things ARE possible. Family members can reunite, siblings can bury the hatchet, new families can form, and healing can take place. A fresh slate is a beautiful thing and heaven is on the horizon. In with the new…