Racing to camp for the kids. Preparing curriculum for next year. Helping to plan a wedding. Planning a major life event. Moving family out of state. One thing right after the other. Good things. All good things.
And yet, I’m overwhelmed. Feels like it’s coming to fast. No time to breathe. Can’t get it all done. Feels like I’m barely hanging on.
And then I realize why. I’m trying to do it all in my own power. Not resting in the peace and power of God.
Ah… another year. I woke up this morning with joy in my heart and peace in my spirit. Of course I wanted to express it in my favorite way. Writing!
I have so much to be thankful for. I praise God that I know me – and love me! (That was a process well worth the effort!) I’m thankful for patience with myself and others. I’m thankful for a true loving giving partner in my husband. I’m thankful for my sons’ laughter and smiles. I’m thankful to do what I love – write, encourage and motivate others. I’m thankful for loving supportive family and friends. And I’m thankful for a hope in and love for Jesus that brings peace that passes all understanding.
The older (and wiser) I get, the more my perspective changes. I get what really matters. It’s funny, when I was younger I was all about climbing that career ladder, getting my big break, being on my hustle and my grind, and making it happen – whatever it was. I still have goals and aspirations. Now, however, they take a back seat to things a thriving career, and a networking connection can’t get for you. In honor of the Thanksgiving holiday I was so blessed to celebrate with friends and family dear to me, here’s a look at some things I’m thankful for.
A husband who cooks, cleans, is humble, and selfless. He’s an amazing daddy and an incredible marriage partner.
Two beautiful boys who are my heartbeat. Their smiles, their unconditional love, and their innocent acceptance make me want to continue to do all that I can for them. My heart melts when they laugh.
Parents who are living, love me and are an integral part of my life.
Siblings who are now dear friends.
Inlaws who I genuinely love and appreciate.
The privilege to homeschool my boys. Yes, I am sacrificing much, but boy, is it worth the sacrifice.
A place to lay my head, clothes to put on each day and food to eat. Truly things we usually take for granted. Truly things to be grateful for.
My health. So very precious to be healthy.
Joy! The joy of the Lord is truly my strength.
Peace of mind. I could write for days on this one ……
And last, but certainly not least, the love of Jesus that permeates my being and makes me who I am today.
I Googled myself. Have you ever done that? I write a number of articles, have a few IMDB credits to my name, and just wanted to see what popped up. It was interesting. I found a few places where my writing has been posted that I wasn’t aware of. I found intriguing comments that I’d missed on some of my writings. And I was able to take a nostalgic stroll down memory lane.
As I read through an online summary of my professional and public life, I realized how much was missing. While it highlighted some achievements, it didn’t express how important my family is to me. It didn’t talk about the importance of my faith in God and love for Jesus. It failed to communicate my desire to put people above things. It didn’t capture the essence of me … and what I want others to remember me for.
And it helped put some things in perspective. It feels great to be recognized for good work, or professional achievements. I smiled at the number of articles that came up with my name attached. I felt accomplished. However, none of that matters if my heart for God, devotion to family and love for people isn’t seen. When I strip it all away, that’s what really matters. And that’s what I want to be remembered for.
I was busy. Who isn’t, you’re probably saying? But I was the type of busy that it truly took too much time and energy to consider taking a rest. Between working a job, freelance work, homeschooling my kids, volunteer work, and being a wife and mother, I was stretched way too thin. And signs of wear were starting to show. I felt in a constant state of stress. I was barely sleeping at night, and snapping at my family during the day. There just weren’t enough hours to get everything done. I was sinking. Fast.
A precious, dear friend of mine recently passed away. After awaiting details of a service for Sharan, I learned we were convening at a banquet hall. Hmm, interesting, I thought. Not sure what I was in store for, I went. Instead of a funeral, or even a homegoing, I encountered a party! The atmosphere was filled with love, reminiscing, food (yes, we had dinner), laughter, music and fun. It was amazing. I had a blast. Yes, I missed my friend, but the thoughts of sadness were far exceeded by beautiful memories and the good time we had. Her life, and subsequently her death and the way we remembered her, have really caused me to reflect.
1) I will live my life being true to me! I am a unique expression and creation of God. Life is too precious for me to be concerned about others’ opinions, thoughts and ideas about what I should be doing. Sharan surely lived that way. God bless her, she didn’t give a flip what you thought. And I loved that about her.
2) Live an impactful life. Sharan lived life to the fullest, and judging by last night’s turnout, she touched and impacted hundreds, if not more. Her love, compassion, thoughtfulness and integrity managed to make a mark on many lives that can never be erased. I want to live that way.
3) When it’s all said and done, celebrate the fact that I lived. I want people to be better for having known me. I want people to have joy and laughter as they remember me. And I want them to feel like my life exemplified Jesus. Now go party!
Farewell, dear Sister. You lived life to the fullest. Thank you for letting me be a part. And thank you for continuing to teach me, even in death. Until we meet again ….