Congrats, You’re Married! Now You Get to Learn What It Really Means to Die to Self…

 

So, you’ve found the one you want to spend the rest of your life with; that’s awesome! Congratulations! You got engaged, you had a wedding celebration, and now you’re married. You’re FINALLY married, a dream come true! You went on your honeymoon and had a lot of fun. You basked in each other’s love, so much so you pinched yourself wondering if this is really real or if it’s a dream you will soon wake up from.

Soon, you wake up to the reality that this IS REAL. This is REALLY REAL. You ARE married! You’ve celebrated, you’ve basked, you’ve lived the dream, but shortly after you realize that no matter how much you love and respect your spouse, you have differences. Before you got married you knew this to be true but you didn’t know HOW true it was. You were convinced that THIS is the one you wanted to spend THE REST of your life with, no matter what!

Now, reality has settled in and you both realized you married an imperfect person and that you had an unrealistic expectation of what marital bliss would be. You didn’t realize that there would be times after a petty disagreement or misunderstanding that you would question if this was REALLY the one you were meant to be with or if there was someone who would get you a little better, speak a little more kindly, or romance you a little more. You didn’t realize how much marriage would require of you. You didn’t realize that your Prince Charming wouldn’t always be so charming, or that your Cinderella would sometimes act more like the evil step-sister than a princess–that happily ever after doesn’t come as easily as childhood fairy tales would make us believe. A true happily ever after requires daily sacrifice, hard work, devotion, and yes, dying to self.

Marriage, as good as it can be is not a walk in the park. If you are expecting your spouse to make you happy, you have another thing coming. You are now living with someone in much closer proximity than you have ever had to anyone else. You are no longer dating in which there is no obligation to stay. You are no longer going home at the end of the day to your separate locations. Your home is now together. You are now with this person ALL the time and quickly made very aware of the little things that begin to bother you–things that you would do or say differently, things that you wish they did or didn’t do and have to learn to communicate through it all in a way that doesn’t tear the other person down.

1 Cor. 13:4-7 paints such a beautiful picture of what love is.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. (English Standard Version)”

I often find myself falling short of what is written in those words, but I am working on it. In order for me to love my husband in a way that is honoring to God, I often have to be very mindful of my actions. I have to ask myself, “is what I did or said done in love or done out of selfishness?” Sadly, it is often the latter. In order to consistently love and respect my husband in a way that honors him, I have to put in work and vice versa. Our marriage will not be healthy, bare fruit, or last if we do not take seriously the covenant that we made the day we said “I do.” Marriage requires much more of you than fairy tales and Hollywood would make you believe. There is no such thing as falling “out of love,” for as 1 Cor. 13 stated, “love endures all things.”

My encouragement to you is to honor your marriage covenant. Remember you CHOSE to say YES to your spouse (flaws and all) on your wedding day–CHOOSE to say YES every day thereafter. It may not always be easy, some days you may feel like you got more than what you bargained for; but as I like to say, nothing in life that is worthwhile comes easily. Put in the work, don’t focus on the other person’s faults but commit to fixing your own. Do whatever you must to not just survive in marriage but to thrive in it, even if that means dying to yourself. In the end, after everything’s said and done, it will be worth it.

By the way, CONGRATULATIONS! ; )

❤ From my heart to yours

long-lasting-marriage.jpg

11 Reasons Why My Time Abroad Was the PERFECT Boot Camp for Parenting A Newborn

IMG_0989

Post-grad and prior to becoming a parent, I was privileged to have the opportunity to live and serve alongside some amazing ministries in Cambodia for two years. It was the most challenging thing I’ve ever done, but well worth it. Likewise, parenting a newborn has also come with its fair share of challenges. Living abroad has equipped me to deal with these challenges much more gracefully than I may have otherwise–here’s how.

  1. It’s A Whole New World
    • Everything is new and exciting–albeit somewhat frightening, emotionally demanding, and at times super frustrating.
  2. You Have to Learn to Communicate Cross Culturally
    • Living abroad typically requires having to learn a new language and culture in order to communicate effectively. Similarly, when parenting a newborn you must also learn what this tiny human being is trying to communicate to you even though you don’t speak their language.
  3. It’s Not All About Me Anymore
    • Who am I kidding? It never was. You just come to a point when you realize life is better when you stop living for yourself and are willing to pour it out for the sake of others. There is no room for selfishness in missions work or in parenting.
  4. There Is NO Immediate Return On Investment
    • The days are long and the recognition is little. You invest everything into the task at hand with no immediate or guaranteed reward. The work can often times be spiritually, emotionally and physically exhausting with very little immediate gratification. You are in it for the long-haul, you may never even see the fruits of your labor in this lifetime.
  5. There Is No Definitive Measure of Success
    • You can not measure the impact of love–revisit point number three listed above.
  6. Take It One Day At A Time
    • Most days you feel you are running on empty with nothing to give because you gave it all yesterday, but somehow you manage to make it through again, one day at a time.
  7. I Can’t Do This Alone
    • Most days you have NO CLUE what you are doing and need wisdom that only the Holy Spirit can provide. As a result, you develop a deepened need to rely and trust in Him.
  8. It is Easy To Become Isolated and Lonely
    • Because of the nature of things being so new and somewhat overwhelming, it is natural to retract from people and relationships in a time when you need the support more than ever. Don’t isolate, reach out!
  9. You’re Living the Dream but Didn’t Know the Dream Would Be This Hard
    • This is something you’ve always dreamed of but didn’t have the slightest clue of all that it would require of you. You were ready and willing for the adventure, not so much all the other stuff.
  10. Some Days You Feel Like Giving Up But Are Reminded That This Is EXACTLY What God Has Called You To
    • This one speaks for itself.
  11. NOTHING WORTHWHILE IS EASY!
    • Both living abroad and raising children have their fair share of challenges. Like many things in life that are of any real significance, it requires hard work, dedication, perseverance and sacrifice. There will be guaranteed obstacles along the way but the outcome–immeasurable as it may be–will be greatly worth it.

 

❤ From My Heart to Yours

phpThumb_generated_thumbnailjpg

 

The Gift of Life

A few days ago I read a heart wrenching story about a mom of two little girls who gave birth to triplets and died ten days postpartum due to a blood clot. You can read the story here, but I’m warning you in advance that it is a tear-jerker. My heart ached for this family as I read their story and couldn’t help but imagine the excruciating pain her husband and children must be feeling after losing her so abruptly and during a time that is supposed to be filled with so much joy. Unfortunately, with life comes death and no one ever knows the day or hour  the latter will come for them. This story is one of many where death came knocking seemingly all too soon. I am deeply touched and reminded that life is not promised and that I should  be grateful for each day that I am given.

Even as I write this blog, my three-week-old daughter is sleeping on my chest and my husband is putting my two-and-a-half-year-old girl to bed. My newborn’s birthday itself is a reminder of the reality that life is not promised. She was born on June 12th, 2016; the same day of the Orlando club shooting. My sister wrote to me in a text as I was in the hospital room after delivering my baby  girl: “Where there is death, there is life!”

I am grateful for the lives of these little ones that have been entrusted to me. I am grateful that I get to spend sleepless nights looking after a healthy, beautiful newborn child. I am grateful that I get to chase a spunky, hilarious, and energetic almost-three-year-old around everywhere and teach her right from wrong. I am grateful that we have a place to lay our heads at night, that we never have to worry about where our next meal is going to come from. I am even grateful for the obnoxious daily reminders that there is always laundry to be done and dishes to be washed– all those things signify that life is happening here, and in full force.

May I learn to say “thank You, God” for each moment I am given, for tomorrow truly is not promised. Even when I’m exhausted, even when I haven’t slept a full night in Lord knows how long, even when the house is a mess and I feel like I may lose my mind; may I embrace it all.  May I be fully present in each drowsy, sleep-deprived minute, because as everyone keeps reminding me, this too shall pass–all too fast, and I don’t want to miss a thing.   

Thank You, Lord! Thank You for the gift of life that You’ve given me and birthed out of me; what a true blessing! Would You please comfort those who have recently encountered the devastating grip of death and are currently mourning the loss of a loved one. May we learn to be grateful for each breath of life we are given, Amen.

❤ From My Heart to Yours

Bigger Than Bathrooms (Inside The Target Bathroom Controversey-The Way I See It)

 

 

I’ve been trying to avoid writing about this topic for so many reasons–despite my resistance, here I go.

I get it, at least I think I do. Target is trying to be fair to its employees and customers who identify as transgender to use the restroom or fitting room they feel most comfortable with. Transgender simply means that these people identify with a gender opposite of their biological sex. Gender identification can get much more complex and confusing but for the sake of this blog, we’ll just leave it where it is.

Let me start by saying I am a straight woman who definitely feels and identifies with my womanhood, 100%. I will never understand the struggle of a transgender person or the prejudice they must face on a day to day basis, and I feel for them, I really do. I also don’t understand the battle or embarrassment a transgender person must face each time they are in public and have to decide which bathroom to use: the one of their biological makeup or the one with which gender they identify themselves. Though I will never understand, I do know that just like any other human being, these people–like you and I–deserve to be treated with kindness, dignity, and respect regardless of how they appear or what gender they identify with.

I also understand why this topic is upsetting to so many others and why there are so many concerned individuals out there. The issue the way I understand it is that people are not necessarily fearful of the transgender person themselves, but about how this decision might encourage predators and freaks to “pose as a transgender person” and have open access to enter a restroom of their choice with ill intent and without question. As it is, I have always been cautious when using public restrooms because of the reality that there are sick people in this world, but I can understand how this new Target policy would heighten people’s’ concerns for safety.

I also think that Target, along with other companies and schools that are considering changing their bathrooms from the traditional male/female restrooms, are in for a headache. The way I see it, the solution is not and will not be as clear cut as the decision-makers are hoping. I definitely foresee this as becoming another long, drawn-out social and legal battle that will be fought with little to no real progress made on either side. People have already been doing some crazy things to test how far Target is willing to go to honor its policy of being inclusive and non-discriminatory. I’m sure people have already made threats to sue the company on silly claims and I wouldn’t be surprised if we start seeing the bathrooms being manned by security to “ensure the safety of its customers.” The question lies, where will it end?

On the other hand, what I do foresee and what scares me more than anything is the name bashing, criticizing, and villainization that will take place between the two opposing views. In this case, as I’ve already heard the labels being thrown around, it seems like it will only deepen the gap and perpetuate the divide between the “Christian conservatives” and “liberals.” I especially see this divide being perpetuated by mainstream media and social media outlets. As it goes, the very passionate ones will lash out and the majority will feel silenced because they don’t feel they have the freedom to express their views without being attacked nor do they want to be “labeled” because of a position they hold.

d-man-fighting-people-illustration-person-resolving-problem-two-arguing-person-rendering-disputed-30439743

I am a parent and definitely concerned for my daughter’s’ safety in all situations, but what concerns me more with scenarios like the one happening with Target is what seems to be this push for everyone to think alike. “If you don’t see things the way I do, or if you don’t agree with me on my position, I have a right to throw my kindness and decency out the window, put you in a ‘box’ and label you as ‘one of them’ before ever getting to know you.” THAT IS THE PART THAT SCARES ME THE MOST.

Clearly we are going to be different and have differences of opinion  on certain topics but that is okay. It should be okay to stand up for what you believe in without having to be fearful of what someone else might say or do to you in return (especially the government). As the term goes, “don’t throw the baby out with the bathwater.” So we must not villainize people that we don’t know just for having differing opinions from ours but on the same token that does not mean that we all need to be “drones” and think alike either. Instead of continuing this trend of bashing others, which will only accomplish so much and divide us more, we should feel free to have respectful dialogues about the things we are passionate and concerned about–especially when it is a topic that can be as personal and emotionally fueled as this one. 

What we need to advocate and encourage is the freedom to dialogue and think critically, not stifle it and shut it down. Love one another, treat one another with kindness, and respect someone else’s right to be different and think differently from yourself.

“And as you wish that others would do to you, do so to them. (Luke 6:31 English Standard Version).”

After all, love wins.

This will be an interesting one to watch.  

❤ From my heart to yours

All We Need Is Love

This past Sunday started off just like any other: I woke up, made breakfast, got dressed, and rushed to church. As the day progressed, however, it started to unfold a little differently than usual. This Sunday, I was able to look beyond the typical “Sunday smiles” that people habitually give and saw into their hearts. Despite what people would say in response “to my asking how they were,” all I kept seeing over and over were eyes and human hearts pleading to be loved, pleading to be cared for, pleading to matter.  People are yearning to be valued, are looking for community, are desiring real relationships, and are aching to be loved.

You can’t possibly know what someone has been through or is currently going through unless you ask. You may never know someone’s story or the weight they are carrying; that’s why it is imperative to treat people lovingly.  For example, a couple of weeks ago I sat next to a young man during service who had lost his mom the day before; she was the only family he had. I greeted him as usual, but if the pastor didn’t call him up to pray for him, I wouldn’t have known. Last Sunday I spoke with a woman who had been regularly attending our church that I hadn’t seen in awhile. When I asked her where she had been, she said she had to “serve some time” but was back. There’s another woman who fled persecution and left her husband and home country behind with her two small children. She has been waiting over a year and a half to receive her paperwork so she can start working full time and provide for her family and asked for prayer for a miracle.

In our (small) church alone there have been people who have lost loved ones, lost children, lost trust in spouse, lost faith in God, children who have witnessed domestic violence and abuse, children in the foster care system, families on the verge of breaking up, people who have endured sickness and the list goes on. Unfortunately, all of these stories are real and have happened to people that I know. This world is full of pain and brokenness–we can not escape it, even in the four walls of a church. The more you get to know people and hear their stories, the more this brokenness becomes evident–I’m sure you can think of people you know (perhaps even yourself) who are presently enduring difficult scenarios themselves.

Today I was reminded again of this great need to be loved. My daughter and I attend weekly outreach hosted in the backyard of an amazing family from our church on the street adjacent to ours. There is a solid group of kids who attend outreach on a weekly basis. We typically play some games, hang out, eat snacks, and do a quick devotional. The leaders today did an awesome job at leading the devotional about the Prodigal Son and how God always welcomes us back home even if we run away from Him.

prodigal_son

As we were closing devos, one of the boys started to share how he has contemplated running away from home before but didn’t get to finish his story because there was a lot going on. I made it a point to pull him aside after the lesson was over and asked him to expound on what he started to share. He began opening up to me about how his family doesn’t have a lot of money and sometimes he thinks about running away to a home with a white family because “they” usually seem to have more affluence and appear happier. To make a long story short, after I listened to his heart, I was able to respond in a way that he would receive well, and asked him if he was loved at home. He said “yes.” I then asked him if he would rather go with another family just to have a lot of money and a lot of nice things or if he’d rather live in a home, with his Mom where he was loved. He answered by saying he would rather be loved.

At the end of the day, after all is said and done, I believe that is true for us all. I believe every person’s deepest desire is to love and be loved. That’s why it makes so much sense that LOVE IS GOD’S GREATEST COMMANDMENT. “And he  (Jesus) said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the great and first commandment. And the second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.’ (Matthew 22:37-40 English Standard Version).” Everything Jesus did was done in love and out of love for us and he left us great examples of how to love one another in His Word. If we all chose to follow this ONE commandment, TO LOVE ONE ANOTHER, what a different world this would be.

We can see how lives are changed once people encounter this kind of love–true love, Gods love. His love is “patient and kind, it does not envy or boast, it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on it’s own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things and endures all things (1 Cor. 13:4-7 ESV).” Thank God for His love and that He gives it to us freely. His love bears all things, including our burdens and the weight that we carry if we so choose to surrender them to Him. His love willingly welcomes us back if we’ve walked away from Him.

His love is the ultimate example of true love: unselfish, sacrificial, gracious, giving, and all of those things listed in the scripture mentioned above. WOW! This encourages me and reminds me that I don’t have to bear the weight of the world or the burdens of others on my shoulders, He already has. I just need to love Him and love others the best that I can and watch Him work. After all, all we need is love.

“All you need is love, love–love is all you need.” The Beatles

❤ From my heart to yours

Holiday Reflections (My Thoughts on Easter and More)

(I wrote this on the night of Easter but haven’t been able to publish until today). Enjoy.

Today is Easter a.k.a. Resurrection Day, another “Christian” holiday that’s central to the Christian message: that Jesus died for our sins and was resurrected on the third day. Somehow, Easter is also bombarded by images of bright colorful eggs, a bunny, and other strange traditions. This year, today was just another day for me and my family. We didn’t do anything particularly traditional or super spiritual to celebrate. I didn’t cook a fancy Easter dinner: we actually ate at a bar surrounded by TVs displaying different sports games. During dinner, I overheard a conversation between the women sitting behind me. They were discussing Easter and Christmas and how they actually originated from pagan holidays. I just discovered this information in the past couple of years along with the fact that neither of the days we have designated to celebrate Christmas and Easter fall on the exact days that Jesus was actually born and resurrected. Though this information has been brewing in my mind for a while, I placed it in a category called “Deal With it Later.”

I am finally at a point where I am ready to look deeper into the history behind the holidays I’ve always celebrated in an attempt to make sense of things for myself while simultaneously trying to decide what traditions should be kept in my family and passed on, what new traditions we might like to start, and which ones don’t make so much sense for us to continue.

I am not a historian, nor do I consider myself to be highly intellectual, so researching facts and making sense of all the information I come across is a much more emotional, spiritual, and intuitive process than it may be for someone who is more of an analytical and critical thinker. Therefore you will not find any of the historical details on this blog: if the details interest you, please go and research them for yourself. As I have been taking a closer look at the reasons behind the holidays we celebrate, I am thoroughly confused as to how some of our traditions fused together and have become such wide spread practices that we repeat year after year without giving them much thought at all.

For example, HOW DOES

Easter-Bunny+amazing_easter_eggs=JesusTomb-1200x760?

OR

Santas-Workshop+christmas-elf-tradition1=nativity?

In my opinion, the examples above don’t add up at all. Why then do we blindly go along with following certain traditions and practices when we don’t even know where they come from? Are the traditions fun? Sure. Do we anticipate the festivities with excitement? Absolutely. Are they deeply embeded as cultural norms? Yes. Do all of the practices surrounding these holidays represent what Christians claim these holidays to be about? NOT REALLY.

Again, if you want to know the detailed history as to where these traditions began, please go research them. Let me also clarify that I am not here to judge or condemn anyone. My intention is also not to start a cyber war over this topic as I realize it is a highly sensitive and personal subject. I myself have celebrated these holidays along with all of their mixed traditions my entire life; however, now that I have a family of my own, I am beginning to think a bit more critically and want to teach my children why we do certain things and not others. I want to raise them to be critical thinkers and understand the purposes behind why we do what we do. Therefore, I inevitably have to come up with some sort of conclusion of my own.

The following is what I’ve come up with so far:

“Therefore let no one pass judgment on you in questions of food and drink, or with regard to a festival or a new moon or a Sabbath. These are a shadow of the things to come, but the substance belongs to Christ.” (Colossians 2:16-17 English Standard Version)

“As for the one who is weak in faith, welcome him, but not to quarrel over opinions. One person believes he may eat anything, while the weak person eats only vegetables. Let not the one who eats despise the one who abstains, and let not the one who abstains pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him. Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another? It is before his own master that he stands or falls. And he will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand. One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind.” (Romans 14:1-23 ESV)

and

“Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.” (James 1:27 ESV)

As I search the scriptures and my heart, I do not think that I will stand condemned for doing Easter egg hunts or for having a Christmas tree in my home and having my children unwrap a few gifts, even though these practices do not originate from Scripture or Christian tradition. There are many constructive aspects of celebrating holidays with our families and friends; however, I also see some of the not-so-good aspects that some of these traditions can subtly encourage and instill in our children (e.g., selfishness, materialism, gluttony, greediness, self indulgence, cavities, sugar highs, etc). On the contrary, the qualities I want to instill in my children are to be loving, caring, giving, self controlled, healthy, and to honor God every day, in all things, not just on certain “holy days.”

Though I will not go all out and be the super festive Mom (more power to you if you are, that’s just not me), I don’t think I will ban my children from participating with others when a holiday comes around either. I will, however, be intentional with them about explaining where our traditions come from so that they grow up with an understanding and ability to decipher our cultural history as well the roots of where they come from. More importantly, maybe I will even start new traditions within our family that will entail giving of our time and our talents to serve and bless others so that they will grow up perceiving what really matters. I haven’t fully decided what those new traditions would be or when we’d start them but maybe they would include things like visiting the elderly and sick or volunteering at a food pantry and homeless shelter, etc. Whatever we decide, however we end up celebrating our holidays in the future, I want my family to live by the principle and to grow up with the conviction that it is alwaysmore blessed to give than to receive.” (Acts 20:35 ESV)

From My Heart to Yours

 

Welcome To the Time Wasters Club

Welcome to The Time Wasters Club, a.k.a. Procrastinators United!

This is where all productivity dies, where mindlessness is rampant and frustration flourishes. This is where discipline is non-existent but is longingly wished for.  This is where dreams fade, brains are cluttered and fried, where loads of laundry and dirty dishes pile up sky high and you’re left wondering how you fell so far behind…yet again.

There is so much to do in a day and so little time, yet somehow the time waster manages to waste enough of it that they are left feeling overwhelmed, stressed out, exhausted, and unaccomplished; however, despite the outcomes aforementioned that are all too familiar and quite frankly despised, the time waster manages to repeat the same behavior over…and over…and over again.

How does this happen?

Perhaps time wasting is due to pure laziness. Perhaps it is due to lack of discipline–after all, it takes actual discipline to be disciplined and who has the patience and time to develop it? Perhaps it’s because we live in an age when our brains have to be continuously stimulated so we don’t know how to focus. Maybe there are deeper issues and voids we are trying to fill. Perhap we waste so much time on social media and can’t disconnect from our devices because we desire so deeply to be loved and have relationships that we contstantly check our news feeds,  e-mails and text messages to see if anyone has reached out to tell us that we matter.

ahh-procrastination

Whatever the case may be, time wasting is not a skill that is admirable or one that anyone sets out to achieve. Yet it is all too easy, all too familiar, and I am ashamedly a loyal member of this club.

It doesn’t really matter what the distractions or voids may be that are causing the time wasting–they all end up with the same outcomes. I wonder how much more creative, intelligent, orderly, accomplished, relaxed, and satisfied we would be as a society if we spent the hours we wasted on things that don’t really matter on things that did. How much more time would we have to invest in learning a new skill, reading a book, exercising, praying, developing new friendships (or maintaining ones we already have), spending time with our families, etc. if we didn’t waste so much of it?

There is nothing wrong with relaxing after a hard days work, but here’s the challenge: I am challenging us (myself included) to find new and meaningful ways to “unwind” instead of mindlessly scrolling through news feeds, spending hours binge watching TV shows or playing silly games. Every now and then those things are ok, but if they are things that consume us and are eating away at precious hours in our day, we should reconsider how our time is being spent. Instead of wandering in the abyss of mindlessness, let’s aim for spending our time on things that will help us and encourage us to grow.

I have been a dedicated member of The Time Wasters Club for all too long and I’m sick of it. I want to be better, do better, and live better. If I want to matter and live a life that matters I must indulge myself in things that matter and use my time wisely. I am going to do my best to cancel my membership to The Time Wasters Club and hopefully beautiful things will come of it. Will you join me?

❤ From My Heart To Yours

 

 

A Little Bit About Me

Life is fascinating–all of it. It is full of interesting people to meet and places to explore. My life has been filled with the privilege of meeting many amazing, interesting people from around the world. I grew up believing life was limitless–I was limitless; until I was faced with reality and had to learn my limits. I am grateful for my limitations and my weaknesses because now I am a bit more grounded; not as naive as I used to be. My mind is filled with an abundance of rich experiences; memories that are clouded by the desire to live life fully in the here and now. My life is full of relationships yet very few are as deep as I desire. The depths of my heart are intricate, complex, and delicate–easily misunderstood. I have a tendency to be inspired, yet handicapped by compassion. I wish I could save the world and solve all of its problems, but am constantly reminded that I can’t. It’s not my job.

My job is to live life fully and love others, the best I can…ONE. MOMENT. AT. A. TIME.

I invite you to journey with me,

From My Heart To Yours

Me

{“Don’t ask yourself what the world needs. Ask yourself what makes you come alive and go do it, because what the world needs is people who have come alive.”} -Howard Thurman

What’s In Your Heart?

I had to run an errand tonight; go get some orange juice and some fruits high in vitamin C for my sick husband. On the way home I decided to make a quick little detour to Ross to see if I could find a pair of maternity jeans since it was in the same shopping plaza where I got my groceries. NO. BIG. DEAL. It shouldn’t have been anyway…

Little did I know this trip was going to remind me of the ugliness in human hearts. UGLY. Upon stepping foot in the store, the vibe was already off.  I heard two very distraught screaming little toddlers being antagonized by grandma, slapping them telling them to be quiet. It was nearly 10pm. “Give those kids a break and get them home to sleep. It’s late, they’re tired. You’re being selfish, your shopping can wait.”I thought to myself. I prayed for them, brushed it off and kept moving.

I walked the parameter of the store eyeballing other items that peaked my interest as I made my way to what I was actually there for. While skimming the items on the shelves I saw a picture frame I really liked and picked it up because the price was right.  I was carrying it in my hand as I continued to navigate my way around the store in search of the maternity section. I came to a crossroads where there was a group of people standing in front of me. I could either walk through or around them. I scanned the situation and saw a narrow passage way and decided to walk through.

As I walked by, I said “Excuse me.” I accidentally bumped a lady on her wrist with the picture frame I was carrying and said “I’m sorry” as I walked away. I didn’t think it was a big deal. I didn’t bump her very hard and it wasn’t intentional; stuff happens. Well, the woman went off. She started saying all kinds of nasty things and made sure she was loud enough so I could hear her. “Oh no she didn’t! She just walked by and bumped my hand…Blah blah blah blah blah…” Another lady she was with tried defusing the situation by stating, “she said she was sorry.” That set her off even more. “Who does she think she is?! She’s lucky I don’t beat her down! White B****!!!”

I was offended not so much with the things she was saying, but by the ugliness that was coming out of her heart. UGLY. Her words were sharp and vile and her demeanor, hostile.

“The good person out of the good treasure of his heart produces good, and the evil person out of his evil treasure produces evil, for out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks.” Luke 6:45

I always try to see the best in people. I try to give them the benefit of the doubt, especially when encountering situations like tonight. “Maybe she was having a rough day. Maybe she’s had a tough life.” Maybe both of those things were true, maybe not. Whatever the case may be, her mouth quickly gave witness to what was in her heart: bitterness, rage, frustration, irritability, racism, cursing, enmity, etc….

All I know is that there are moments in life where I am either amazed by the beauty of human hearts or saddened by how ugly and corrupt our hearts can be. Unfortunately, tonight was a reminder of the ugliness and not the beauty.

What about you? What do your responses and how you treat people reveal about what’s in your heart?

My prayer is that the beauty will begin to outweigh the ugly that resides in each of us.

❤ From my heart to yours

 

 

 

 

 

What is Love, Really?

It only seems appropriate that I start this blog on Valentine’s Day. After all, I am fascinated by love. It is a universal topic that is desired by all, causes a wide array of emotions, is talked about all the time, yet is easily misunderstood. People spend their entire lives dreaming of finding it and will go to all types of lengths to acquire it with no guarantee it will last.

I want to explore it further, but I’m going to need your help! Answer these questions in the comments below to help me grasp different opinions on this huge topic!

So, What is love? What is true love? Are there different kinds of love? How did you know when you found it (if you’re in a relationship or married)? What are you looking to find (if you’re single)? What makes it last?

My hope is that everyone will come to know true love…but for now, what is it to you?

❤ From my heart to yours