Life lessons from an ordinary girl with a lot to say about the life God's given her before and AFTER triple negative breast cancer. I'm pretty much a simple book worm, a wallflower and a nerdy girl who grew up to marry the love of her life, fought the beast and by God's grace raised two amazing young men.
In a nut shell : I'm a wife, a full time working mom, a teacher, a Star Wars geek, comic book nerd, Disney enthusiast, hockey Mom, a decade long breast cancer survivor, and oh let's not forget such a happy, sassy, southern mess!
"What you're going through does not go unnoticed. God sees every injustice. He's got you in the palm of His hand." ~ Unknown
Life can be unfair, can't it? One day every thing's right as rain and the next somehow you've bitten off more than you can chew. It may be through no fault of your own or it could be you put yourself smack dab in the middle of that particular rodeo. Either way, the storm's coming and there's not a whole lot you can do about it either. Many times you're just an innocent bystander in all the ruckus. Just in the wrong place at the wrong time. Sadly you may just simply be an escape goat or punching bag for someone else's failures. Maybe it's because you had a different opinion or just simply didn't have one. Possibly you decided on reinforcing your emotional fences and in the process they were trampled and smashed. The reality is when we start building healthy boundaries, that's when the storms roll in and the stampede rushes our spiritual and emotional perimeters. Those folks, they come to test us and like a wolf, to blow our newly carved out and constructed boundaries down. The thing you have to remember when you're being attacked on all sides is found in a wonderful quote by Lydia H. Hall, "Healthy boundaries are not walls. They are gates and fences that allow you to enjoy the beauty of your own garden."
We all know those days, the kind when you're caught by surprise, unprepared and realize you just might end up with your feathers not just ruffled, but possibly pulled out by the roots. Seriously, we all have those days, even seasons of our lives that seem to go on and on. Before you can get a handle on the situation the sun has retreated, the clouds are growing darker by the second, the winds are not only picking up but getting colder and the rain is becoming heavy, sharp drops falling on your head from an ominous sky. All we can think of in those moments is to find shelter, a place to cover our heads, protect ourselves from the flying debris, take off our rain soaked clothes and sip from a cup of something warm and comforting. Depression, sadness and anger can settle into our lives, especially when you're battered by those same storms on a daily basis. And it's easy to say to someone, God has a purpose for your pain, even a reason for your struggle. Now while this may be true, the reality is if we can't respond with real compassion and actual action by opening our own hearts to the wounded, then our words as Christians are worthless. We have all known the feelings that come from being downhearted and discouraged, so why then is it so hard to show compassion and empathy when others are in need? How come we can be put out by those who deny us room at the inn, and yet still hang a sign of our own that says, "no room" on our door? Why are we not being Jesus to those who need His compassion and grace?
So back I come to myself, to you and how we respond to those who reject us and cast us out of our comfort zones. It's never an ideal situation when we're opposed by those we're connected with but sometimes we need that kick in the butt even if it bruises our pride a bit. Depression and discouragement can come in like a bat out of hell at this point. It's true, it's easy to feel downhearted, as if you've been banished, exiled, booted out and falsely accused. And why, well we may never truly know the answer to that question honestly.We can respond with anger, hostility or even with a malicious and vicious self righteous stance, but that perspective only leads us further into the badlands, alone and condemned. This is the thing. You are worthy, and nothing about you is undeserving or unlovable. Truthful, you have to look at it this way, "Small minds can't comprehend big spirits. To be great, you have to be willing to be mocked, hated and misunderstood." You also have to be capable of forgiving and letting go, showing compassion even when you don't feel like it. Being misunderstood, rejected and dismissed is hard, but sadly it's just the nature of the beast I suppose. Is it right? No, but how we respond and react to the world's criticism of us determines how well we rise after the storm has passed. Take your moment, let your emotions sweep through you, let discouragement wash over you but then let it all fall like water off a duck's back. When it comes to the world and their 'opinions' of you, remember they are just that, an opinion, a view or a judgment formed about you , sometimes having nothing to do with you. These viewpoints aren't based on fact or knowledge, but conceptions. Personally I believe what Bill Bullard says is true, "Opinion is really the lowest form of human knowledge. It requires no accountability, no understanding. The highest form of knowledge is empathy, for it requires us to suspend our egos and live in another's world. It requires profound purpose larger than the self kind of understanding."
What I have come to understand is this truth: I will not be liked, or even loved by more than half the people I meet. The reality is you may be too much for some people, but I say be too much. There is a greatness inside all of us, but not all of us are able to achieve that greatness. Not because we're not capable, but because many do not know how to be humble in the abilities they've been given. Those who walk in humility, who still open their doors and show compassion are the one's who tend to be outcast. Never forget Jesus was rejected, and He was tossed out of His own town. So when you are shunned, just remind yourself of the amazing company you keep in your heart. Understand, you will find yourself at the center of someone else's opinions,sentiments and storms of rage at some point. The rains will come, and being wounded, you may be shot down again and again. don't take it personally. Instead take heart and don't be discouraged or downhearted. "God restores everything. When we submit the broken pieces of our lives to Him, He restores us to a beauty far more than what we prayed for." What I have truly learned in my some 43 years is something Isaiah 54:17 says," But in that coming day no weapon turned against you will succeed. You will silence every voice raised up to accuse you." What we need to know deep down in our hearts is even if we're banged up on every level, emotionally, mentally, spiritually and physically we are not a lost cause. I may not be accepted by those who sit outside my front door ready to pounce on my good intentions or my integrity, but I still walk out the front door with a smile on my face, a song in my heart and God on my side.
As I wrap up Life Lesson #156 ~ Downhearted and Discouraged, I want to say to you, rise up and don't allow the world to make you despondent or downcast. Remind yourself of this when the hurt of this world comes banging on your door. "David didn't need to know Goliath's strength because he already knew God's." There are always going to be times in our lives when we feel useless, rejected, hurt and even angry in our circumstances. To say we are downhearted and discouraged is more than an understatement but we are not made by our circumstances, instead we are crafted by how well we rise from the ashes. So as I close this post today I want to leave you with an amazing quote by Morgan Harper Nichols. She says this, "You might not be able to see where you're headed, but I assure you, the Lord can. He's breathing life into every aspect of your present and future. He's shining His light even in the darkest corners of your mind. So hold on tight to Him. Hold tight to His love, knowing that He will never leave you or forsake you, and because of Jesus, you are in His grip forever. No uncertainty, no broken dreams, and no fear of the future can keep you from Him. He is with you always, in all of this. Trust Him. Believe. And let Him gracefully lead you where you need to be." Don't forget your story is still unfolding. Go on look up, the skies are calm, the clouds are clearing and the Son is shining, His light is inside of you and you not only walk in His grace but in His favor too.
"Not to spoil the ending for you but...everything is going to be okay." ~ Unknown