We Will Make It

 

IMG_6125Often my mind is quite far away, thinking of children that are hurting and hungry. Children that because of their special needs aren’t given the chance to experience being a child, to know what it is to be loved. I dream night and day of when I am able to hold one in my arms, to be surrounded by these precious gifts that have been hidden away in one place to stay for all their years. To bring joy into their eyes for the first time.

How I will ever reach this point, I don’t know. How long it will be before I can be of any help to these hearts that are yearning I can’t predict. But God will make a way where there seems to be no way.

Wherever God leads us, if we are following, nothing can get in the way. There will be things that seem to get in the way that are actually better preparing us. It takes faith, patience, and a whole lot of perseverance, but if it’s where God is leading us He will get us there.

We have to trust that if it’s where He wants us, we will make it.

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A Simple Life But With A Calling

Sitting outside in the woods in my tiny little garden on a spring morning, listening to nothing but the sound of the birds, just me and God…one of my favorite ways to spend my time as a teen growing up. Unusual, perhaps, but beautiful. Beautiful and perfect.

I’m pretty introverted, but at the same time I’m not afraid to get out and do something different. I don’t want a normal life. I want to make a difference in the world for the better. It took me awhile to reach that point, but I’m here.

Feel free to laugh at this–I laugh at myself for it sometimes–but growing up I’ve always been intrigued by nuns and how they live. Now, I’m not Catholic, but just the simple way of life they have, with a humility and love seen in what doesn’t seem like could be much more of a sacrifice of their life, somehow seems so peaceful and perfect to me.

For awhile I pretty much wanted something not too far different…to be out of this world as possible. Get away—live in the middle of nowhere if need be. When I looked at the world around me, I didn’t like what I saw. I didn’t want to have anything to do with it.

When I was around 20 years old, God placed right in front of me something that changed everything.

Without even looking for any job of the kind, I was asked to be a personal care attendant for a special needs child. I took the job, started working within three days, and I began to see things I had been so blind to before. I began to realize that around the world there are thousands and thousands who are hurting—spiritually and physically.

God opened my eyes to see more clearly that He wants more from us than just a relationship with Him. While our relationship with Him should come first, He also wants us to be sharing His love with others in a tangible way. We were meant to make a difference in this world. We all have a calling. I realized how selfish my way of thinking had been, and He slowly but surely has continued to help me focus on Him in a way that opens my eyes to do what He has called me to do.

I’ve got a long way to go, but hey, that’s life! ;D

“Just keep swimming!”

As I’m doing all the learning I can from books, lectures, and studying to hopefully one day be able to help special needs orphans, there are many times it feels like I’m getting nowhere, as there is no fruit to be seen, I have soooo much more to learn, and really, always will.

It’s easy to be discouraged and quit when there is no fruit seen of our efforts. But we shouldn’t be discouraged. What is happening is our roots are becoming stronger and deeper. Our branches are thickening and spreading further, preparing to be able to hold the weight of the fruit. This part of the process of fruit-bearing is so very important to a good, healthy harvest!

It takes determination, motivation, discipline, and many other things to keep going, but if we choose to, we CAN keep going. (And this is where I picture a cheerful Dory saying, “Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming! Just keep swimming, swimming, swimming…”)

I think we all have different ways/things that help us keep going, and it’s important we find what those things are. Something I’d say we all need is accountability: people that ask us regularly how it’s going, what we’ve been working on, encourage us to keep going, and are caring enough to tell us when we’re slacking or overdoing it. Something that helps me is reminding myself of what in the world I’m preparing for, and what needs are out there that I hope to help with one day.

So, if you don’t have that accountability, get some. If you don’t even know what your goals are, make some, but get the accountability first. Sometimes others can see what we are capable of better than we can see ourselves, can help us set goals, and then help us reach them.

And remember: it’s a process. Sometimes it’s long and hard, but it’s worth it. 

 

 

Let Christ Define You

Many people who know me would define me as “the girl who plays all those instruments” or “paints all those paintings”. I’m working on that. When people look at me, I don’t want them to see me, but Christ in me. I want Christ to define who I am.

I’ve only known a small handful of people who when described to someone that has never met them one of the first things said is something of their relationship with Christ–how they truly love the Lord, serve others with a humble heart, and have a rare kind of joy–people who Christ tangibly defines who they are. Over the years I’ve noticed people with this special kind of trait have become increasingly rare. Why is that?

To put it into one word: Selfishness. The world has become more and more self-centered, self-reliant, greedy, and just plain selfish!

Why the increase? Well, my answer to this is just my opinion from what I’ve observed: We’ve grown. We’ve found so many ways of making life more convenient and comfortable, our overall knowledge has increased, (not to be confused with wisdom) we have invented so many things that cause us to rely on ourselves, and oh, the entertainment…I am blown away at how much people put into their own pleasure. And yet, despite these things, this seems to be just about the most unhappy, unsatisfied generation ever!

We are surrounded by SO MUCH. It used to be just “the grass looks greener on the other side”, but now with the way we can easily drive from state-to-state or get online we can see thousands of “greener hills”. The more that’s available the more we aren’t as easily satisfied and are therefore greedy. We find ways to make providing for ourselves easier, which gives us the idea that we can fully rely on ourselves. We know a lot, but we assume we know more than we really do. We see people who’ve got an easier life than we do, making us think of how hard our life is and making us self-centered. We’ve found things that make us “happy” that have distracted us from knowing what true joy is really like.

I could be wrong, but I believe we have a whole lot more temptation going on with these things than we did just a few generations ago. It is so easy nowadays to have this jealous, self-centered, self-reliant mindset, which is hardly the mind of Christ but quite the opposite.

We don’t have to let the world define us, but it’s no easy task to prevent it. That’s where we are denying ourselves and surrendering to God.

Now, before you say, “I’m not selfish!” look at yourself. Are you living selfishly? When you get on your feet each day are you doing and saying things for your own benefit or for the benefit of others?

It has sadly become quite normal to live selfishly. We are typically living how we feel like it. Occasionally we are helping people when it’s not too terribly inconvenient and we feel like we ought to, but then it ends there.
Let’s not allow this selfish way of living define who we are. Let’s see if we can figure out what it really means to die to ourselves. Let’s break this habit that we’re surrounded by and allow Christ to define who we are.

High Expectations

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“For you, brethren, have been called to liberty; only do not use liberty as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another.”
‭‭Galatians‬ ‭5:13‬ ‭NKJV‬‬

First, I want to mention that I realize there are many people out there such as stay-at-home moms that are needed 24/7. In my opinion, you’re already saving lives, so, keep up the good work. 😉

Each and every one of us are capable of doing great things. Hard things. Problem is, most of us don’t realize it…or if we do, very few of us are willing to try. We see great things that have been done or need to be done but our instinctive reaction to the very thought of us achieving them ourselves is, “Oh, no…I couldn’t do that!”

As I’ve thought about it more lately, I’m realizing how just plain selfish that is! We all, not just some, but all, are capable of saving lives. Yep. You read that right. Believe it or not, YOU are capable of saving lives.

Before you roll your eyes and go away like you don’t care, read on:

There are SO many ways we can save lives. One way I want to mention first is by our relationships. As followers of Christ our relationship with Him needs to be put first, but it doesn’t stop there. Perhaps you have an unsaved family member. Or, maybe you have a friend who is saved that just needs to be loved and reminded that their life is valuable. We should all be living this way and our saving lives doesn’t need to stop here either.

We can help by meeting the physical needs of others. There are so many places you can volunteer whether it’s in your own neighborhood or in another country. Even if it’s for one week out of the year…you can make such a difference!

Something I specifically wanted to make clear in this post is that you are unique! We each have our own gifts as an individual to reach out to others that no one else has.

Now, there are things we can do fairly easily that don’t require training/experience, and there are things that may take months or even years of preparation. That’s where it requires setting high expectations of ourselves, and that is where so many of us tend to give up.

Well, you don’t have to give up. Whether it’s by learning another language, studying to become a volunteer nurse where there are people dying daily from things that could easily be treated if there was someone willing to give their much-needed time and effort to help, using your skills as a photographer to help spread awareness of a need, preparing to teach, cook, build, mentor, and many other possibilities…just face it…no matter your current education, profession, age—whether you’re prepared right now or not—you have the capability of becoming prepared, setting high expectations, and yes, to save lives!

Perhaps I’m coming across as being too harsh…I sure don’t mean to, but I just couldn’t keep this to myself today. So many of us here in America are just plain lazy and selfish. We can spend hours in entertainment—but saving lives? And which is truly more satisfying?

So, take some time to ask yourself a question, “Am I willing to do this?” Not, “Can I do this?” because without a doubt, you CAN. Question is, “Are you willing to do what it takes to save lives?”

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My Calling

1494209990522Ever since I was a kid I never wanted to be normal. Like, that’s just boring. I didn’t know right away, and still don’t know in great detail what God has called me to do with my life, but I know for sure normal is not who I want to be. (And does God really expect us to be normal?) I’ve always felt like there is so much potential in life, and that time is so important…it can be used for great things, or it can be wasted away. One thing is for sure: I do not want my life to be wasted away.

Now, you may be wondering what these “great things” are. It’s taken me years to figure that out myself, and I’m still working on it. One of the biggest things I’ve learned is doing “great things” starts NOW. Some of the greatest things you can do can seem so unimportant, so little, and even pointless. I know if I ever want to do the kind of things I dream of doing one day it’s going to require lots of learning, advice, questions, lots of prayer, and experience.

To put it simply, I want to love people. I want my love for them to reflect Christ’s love for me. I want to be at their feet willing to get dirty. I want to share the truth bringing light to darkness. I want to be there for people who just need someone to listen to them. I want to show my love by providing long term physical care. I want to show my love through teaching the truth of God’s Word. I want to show others how they can love too, so it’s not limited to what I can do myself. And do I really have to wait to start loving people? Of course not! I’m surrounded by people who need to be loved and cared for. Everybody needs to be loved. And, it provides lots of learning experience for myself. God has placed me in so many opportunities to teach, to learn, to love, and to care for people around me…I have been so blessed!

So, that’s the basics of it, but more specifically God has placed a desire in my heart to help orphan children with special needs.
Though the idea of helping orphans has been in my mind since I was a young child and saw commercials for nonprofit organizations asking for donations to support a child, it wasn’t till much later that the idea of helping orphans with special needs even occurred to me, simply because I wasn’t aware of the need.

When I was 20 I had the privilege of being asked to be a personal care attendant for a then 13 year old child with Spina Bifida and transposition of the great vessels. I would do things like homeschool, take him to PT, go along to appointments, cleaning, laundry, home exercises, keep meds in order and such…most importantly, just be a friend…what a wonderful experience it was! I worked with Seth for nearly six years.

I’ve had epilepsy for many years (9), and the family has been incredibly gracious to me as there have been many days I needed to leave early or couldn’t make it.

Finally, in November last year, I lost my license and had to stop working. Even if I could get to work the seizures were becoming too frequent to actually DO the work.
Thankfully, we found help. Seeing a new neurologist, within 10 minutes of telling him what had been going on he recommended brain surgery. So, after doing many tests over the last couple months, I am in the process of getting surgery. (Currently scheduled for July 26th) I am really hopeful of this being a huge help as this surgery typically 80% of the time completely stops seizures, and otherwise greatly reduces them.

Meanwhile, with books as pictured above, I’ve been keeping myself busy with reading and research with some more from Amazon on the way! 😊 I feel like in a lot of ways I hardly know where to start, but every time I’m reminding myself, if God is calling me to something, He will prepare me and open doors and lead me to that calling. If anyone has any reading suggestions, share in the comments below. Prayers appreciated!!!

Am I where God wants me to be?

I think so…or so I thought. Just when I think I’m where God wants me to be, things start to change…I begin to second guess myself and ask, “Am I truly where God wants me to be?”

Step by step, and moment by moment, we should be in a continuous motion towards our goal: towards Christ.

As what is going around us changes, sometimes it’s so gradual we don’t even realize it’s happening until everything is completely different, and other times the changes are so rapid and frequent it’s hard to know how to react.

So things change. What now? Did I go the wrong way? Sometimes a change in our life is a result of our own choices and decisions, and sometimes it is a result of something completely out of our control…maybe even a little of both.

The question that really needs to be asked, is not whether I’m where God wants me to be, but rather, “Am I going the Way God wants me to go?”

It wasn’t until recently that I learned that to figure out where God wants me to be so I can just stay there is a never-ending battle. It just doesn’t exist.

It’s like a first-grader working so hard to get to second grade, and then once that is achieved, becoming content and proud of where they are in life and decide to stay there.

Does this mean we should skip “second-grade”? No. We need to have goals ahead of us to work towards. Just getting the idea that when we have reached a set goal, we are where we should be and should stay there, is going to cause a major set-back in our growth, maturity, and understanding of what Christ being our goal truly is.

Everybody is different, so our goals are going to be different, right? Not necessarily. No matter who we are, where we are, or what situation we are in, Christ doesn’t, hasn’t, and never will change. Christ should be the center of everything and everyone. So how do we make Christ our goal, what we are running towards with all our heart, mind, and strength?

Typically, we want to find two or three not-so-hard-to-change things in our life that we notice Christ is not the center of, and work towards making Him the first priority of those things. But are we putting Him before ALL things? (This includes our relationships, how we spend our time, our jobs, who we put our trust in, and more)

If He is not our One, True desire, then it’s like we are running the right direction backwards, with our eyes on something else, which will very quickly lead to going off track and running into unexpected bumps in the road. (I mean, come on folks, we’re not Mater)

Often times we think, “How do you MAKE yourself want something? It’s impossible.” Love. It might take some digging deep to see it, but Christ LOVES us. More than anyone on this earth possibly can. If we open our eyes to how much He truly loves us, even though we will never be able to compare to His immeasurable love, we will very quickly want to honor, respect, follow, love and be forever devoted to the One who has love so great as Christ has for His children!

Now, we can’t trust in someone we don’t know, we can’t live for someone we don’t love, and we can’t have a desire for something we’ve never tasted or seen. We have to taste and see that the Lord is GOOD. Get into His Word, learn that He is a fair and just God. He is loving in all His Ways…oh, what a Mighty God we serve!

Once we have our eyes set on drawing closer to Christ as our goal, there is no stopping us! There will be distractions, for sure. But if we continuously remind ourselves why staying in “second grade” is just plain foolish, that walking the right direction with our eyes off track is very quickly going to lead us into many unwanted and unnecessary challenges, and that God’s immeasurable, continuous love is a gift that we can either accept or turn down, we will quickly have a desire within us to run, full-force, towards Christ, making His Way the path that we are on.

If you want to make a difference in this world, make Christ your goal. It’s a life-long journey and commitment, but it’s WORTH IT.