Keep your windshield clear!
It’s hard to see out of a dirty windshield. Plain and simple. But, one little bug here and there, or a little dirt doesn’t necessarily keep us from seeing out of our windshield, right? And sometimes, we can even let things build a little – maybe even a lot – before we actually realize we can’t even see where we are going.
There are so many issues when we can't see clearly - we might turn down the wrong path, we may even go off the path all together, we might end up traveling down a road we were never meant to travel. If we can’t see to keep our journey in check, we definitely can’t help anyone else along their journey. And heaven forbid we steer them in the wrong direction because we can’t see what’s in front of us.
So, what’s our windshield? We see, feel, touch…we experience life, we filter everything through our emotions. How we feel any given day at any given time for any given reason. As women, we tend to be quite influenced by our emotions. When we are living an honest life, the little bugs that seem to splat on our windshields can easily be wiped away. They still hit the windshield, but you have enough water in that little button in your wipers to clean it off. Even when it rains cats and dogs and we just want to pull over, when we are prepared with sharp wiper blades, the water brushes aside almost as quickly as it hits the glass.
However, when we hide what’s going on inside, when we don’t surround ourselves with close confidants who can “tell us like it really is,” stuff inevitably starts building up on our windshields. We push our feelings down and let the hurt build. Someone hurts you and you push it down, you pretend you aren’t hurt but really, you ARE hurt. Or maybe you get let down by a friend. Again, you push your feelings down and hide them. Maybe you find out your co-worker was recognized by your boss and you weren't. You know you SHOULDN’T be upset, but you are. You aren’t willing to admit that such seemingly insignificant things bother you. You lie to yourself. You don’t let anyone else know what you are dealing with. You don’t let anyone else help you get to the REAL root of any of those issues. Now your windshield isn’t only dirty, but the jealousy and bitterness that is building has caused you to take your eyes off the road entirely.
Now I’m NOT saying you SHOULD allow little things to bother you. As believers, we need to be spiritually minded and try to see the bigger picture. However, we ARE human and there will be things that hurt us in this life. What happens when you allow something that genuinely hurt you to sit? Something begins to grow. It grows and it develops roots. Then one day, somebody says or does something and you explode – you look up and you can no longer see the road, so much so that you now run the risk of wrecking the car. What grows is ugly and it’s dangerous. Jealously and bitterness are 2 emotional cancers that can destroy much more than your ability to lead.
Most of the time, it is easier to disguise what’s going on inside than to admit we are struggling with something. But, we have got to keep our windshields clear! Try your best not to hide your feelings and let disappointing emotions build up in your life. And don’t deny them in an effort to make them disappear, either. We’re talking about being transparent. You can’t pretend nothing is bothering you so you CAN pretend to have a clear windshield. The truth WILL come out – one way or another, your true emotions will emerge. Don’t simply DENY that you are struggling. That doesn’t keep your windshield clear – it only adds mud to it. And in the end, it will take a lot more to get your windshield clean.
Sometimes you can clean that windshield all on your own. If you admit what’s been going on, maybe even go to the person you are upset with and let them know they hurt you – they may not even know it. Sometimes, simply praying and confessing to God how you feel can make you feel better. Sometimes writing a letter that you trash when you are done helps – it’s a safe way to vent so nobody but God has to hear. :) Sometimes, praying for the person who hurt you will help since it's hard to stay mad at someone you are praying for.
But sometimes, you just can’t do it on your own. I wouldn’t suggest you share your challenges with just anyone, but find some peers, friends, mentors that you CAN be honest with, who make you feel safe to be transparent. These women can help you keep your windshield clear. They can encourage you as you cry and they can challenge you to see the big picture. It’s not always easy to get that windshield clean. It may take a little scrubbing – it may even take someone else helping you to scrub. It may be a little embarrassing that you weren’t able to clean that windshield on your own, but it’s ok. God has given us those friends – allow Him … to work thru them … to help you.
Being a "Christian" doesn’t mean you never struggle, never have questions, never lose your cool, and never make a mistake. Being a Christian means that even when you are struggling you have the hope in Jesus that you can grow thru your struggle and become a better person on the other side of it. Being a Christian is recognizing that you can’t do things on your own. It is discerning who to ask for help and then having the courage to do so. Being a Christian means keeping bitterness and jealousy off of your spiritual windshield so you can not only see your own path, but so you can help guide others as well.
Praying for us all to have clean windshields!!!
Thanks for being you,
and for allowing me to be me!
Mercy and Grace in the Midst of the Storm
I have been pondering for weeks now what to write about for a follow-up to the session Claire and I lead on Mercy and Grace. Shortly after that SHE event, our family was delivered some life changing news. Henry, the four year old nephew of my brother in law, Joe, and my sister, Michelle, was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He underwent surgery almost immediately, and surgeons were able to remove 50% of the tumor. No more treatment will be done at this time, and Henry is currently under hospice care. When you hear news like this your mind begins to buzz with millions of questions and emotions. Whatever emotions or questions you may be asking as you read this; I have already felt or asked over the last month. On Halloween, the local news station in Georgia did a story on Henry. I will link it for you to watch, but be prepared, you WILL need tissues.
As I watched the video, I was overcome once again with a deluge of emotions. Yet, as I reflected back on it today, I see lessons that Father can teach all of us. When Claire and I lead our session, we never said that extending grace and mercy to yourself and others would ever be easy. It is a struggle and a battle. He wants us to lean on Him and His strength for EVERY NEED. The Kelley family is doing that right now. They are in the midst of leaning on Father to meet their every need right now. They are not only doing that, but they are proclaiming the HOPE that can only be found in Jesus during this time. The fact that the news station did not edit Jessie’s words about her faith shows that Henry does have a story to tell. Is this the story Ian and Jessie dreamed their son would tell?? Of course not, but they are just following Father’s hand as He leads them through their story. "We believe that Jesus's heart is for us, and for Henry, and for healing and restoration," Jessica said. "We may not see that on this side of glory. We'll still be with him in a short amount of time, forever."
In one of the most poignant parts of the video, Jessie described a recent experience with Henry.
"We were throwing pennies in the pond and I said 'You're supposed to make a wish before you throw the penny in the pond. What do you wish for? If you could do anything in the world right now, what would it be?' And he said, 'This.' And it was the most amazing lesson to me to just enjoy the moment with him, that there is joy and peace because right now, my little boy is throwing pennies in the pond and we can smile and we can cherish that to a new level."
Children can teach us so much. They see the world in such a different way than we do. Sometimes, we just need to sit back and take a look around us and be thankful for the situation we are in right at that moment. I did that recently as I sat with some friends and thought back to when I first got involved with Total Woman U. It was amazing to sit back and see how Father’s hand had guided me and lead me to where He has me today. That road was not smooth and straight…it was bumpy and rough and lead me through some tough times, but without them, I would not be where I am today.
Henry’s situation is not fun nor is it something any of us would want our children to go through. I just know that when these kinds of tragedies rock our world, there is someone who can keep us from falling. Father holds us up in such an amazing way and makes Himself known to all those around us. Jessie, Ian, Henry, and Miri Kelley are allowing Jesus to shine through them wherever they go. Do they have rough days?? YOU BET THEY DO!! Please pray for them over these next few months. Continue to pray for a miracle. Our Father can do amazing things. Pray for peace in the midst of this storm and for comfort.
I am praying for all of you that Father can give you His perspective in the midst of your circumstances. Know that ALL of the ladies on the TWU team love you and pray for you. Next time, I will be reflecting on a song by Matthew West on our perspective.
I love you!
Trying to forget my, feelings of love." Remember that song? There were several versions of this song about FEELINGS of love lost. Emotions are a funny thing, aren't they? They can float us high in the air, or bury us deep in the ground. And you know the saying, "You can't argue with feelings." :)
I read in a devotional this morning about feelings. Here's part of what was said:
"Many things stir my emotions: worship, silence, a kiss on the forehead from my husband, my son's belly laugh, the voice of a treasured friend. Most of the time, however, what awakens my feelings is less heart-warming; being misunderstood, driving on icy roads, sleepless nights, and customer assistance numbers that do not let you speak to a human.
Whether pleasant or painful, our emotions are in need of cautious and careful monitoring. Why? Because we live in a world that loudly proclaims, "What feels good, is good. What feels bad, is bad." And in such an environment we can easily confuse feeling with fact."
AIN'T THAT THE TRUTH!?!?!
Have you ever confused feeling with fact? Boy, have I been guilty of this! ESPECIALLY when it's something negative - or rather something I perceive as negative. I'm a very emotional person - I know that shocks some of you - ha ha!!! But seriously, when I watch movies, I put myself in the character's situations. When I read books, I find the character I relate to the most and I take on their emotions and challenges. When I hear stories, the same happens. When I listen to a song, YUP, you guessed it! Almost everything I encounter on a daily basis somehow affects my emotions.
Texts and emails are THE WORST! Do you feel that way? Do you ever catch yourself saying, "well, what did she mean by THAT!?" when you read a simple one line email? "Was she mad at me or something? Why such a short response?" Or possibly, "what's behind THAT statement?! Does she think I'm stupid or something?" Have you ever been guilty of projecting emotions onto others? Creating a scenario in your brain of what's happening and therefore confusing the scenario you've created with the true situation? Maybe she responded so quickly because she was about to get in the car and drive somewhere but wanted you to know your text or email was important enough to respond to immediately. Did you think about that? Or what if her child needed help at the moment she was sitting down to type you an email and she could only get out one sentence?
It's way too easy to confuse feeling with fact? And why is it that many times, we don't give each other the benefit of the doubt when it comes to things like that? What is your initial response? Do you find it easier to believe someone was mistreating you or that there might be something about the situation you don't know?
What if we put some extra effort into giving others the benefit of the doubt? What if we put extra effort into understanding there are always at least two sides to every story? We might find that we get along better with others and even that our own emotions seem to simmer down a bit.
And to take it one step further, what if we spend more time reading truth in God's Word than constructing negative scenarios without having all the facts? I love how my devotional put it this morning, "Our safeguard in a world where culture and media seek to benefit by manipulating our emotions is God's unchanging Word. God's truth is subject neither to hormones nor to Hollywood. His Word is nonperishable, non-pliable, and eternally free of decay."
Again, AIN'T THAT THE TRUTH?!
What a relief!!! We know God's Word isn't affected by hormones - HALLELUJAH!! Nor is it affected by Hollywood's lures. It doesn't perish, it isn't soft like clay so just anyone can shape it into something else, and it does NOT decay!! That is powerful! That is strong! That's something I can stand on. When there are questions about emotions, how I should emotionally handle situations, I can run to His Word. When I need encouragement because of something I've created in my own head, I can run to His Word. When there is reality to the negative in my life, I can run to His Word. For help, for a safe haven, for advice, for comfort, for encouragement, I can run to His Word. It's alive and it's real and it's applicable to my life today.
"The law of the Lord is perfect, reviving the soul. The statues of the Lord are trustworthy, making wise the simple. The precepts of the Lord are right, giving joy to the heart. ' Psalm 19:7-8 (NIV)
Anyone up for a run? Let's make our first run in every situation a sprint to God's Word and see how that will positively change our lives!
Thanks for being you...