Scars~

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This week I have been pondering this insightful quote: “Never be ashamed of a scar, It simply means you were stronger than whatever tried to hurt you.” Zig Ziglar

None of us will go through this life without a few scars gained along the way. We can be scarred by people, hurtful situations, or physical harm.  We can allow our scars to keep us afraid, over-cautious, and even isolated. We can allow our scars to cause us to feel embarrassed, ashamed, or just simply uncomfortable with ourselves. Whether our scars are Internal ( wounded emotions) or External ( a physical challenge) – the impact can be very similar.

A year ago I met a beautiful young woman with a sweet spirit and bright eyes. As we sat together she proceeded to take off her sweater to get comfortable.  When her sweater was removed I noticed that her arms were covered with burn scars.  I asked her what had caused these scars and she told me the sad story about how her boyfriend, in a fit of despair had tried to commit suicide –dousing them both with gasoline and throwing a match! I was stunned to hear such a horrific story!  I had to ask~~”How had she managed to have such a sweet spirit after an experience like this?  How had she gotten comfortable, socially, with all these extremely noticeable scars?”

Her answers were profound.  She said that for her to walk in hurt and anger would have caused her to have the same despair she saw in her ex-boyfriend; she didn’t want that experience to ruin her.  She told me that she wasnt defined by the scars on her skin; she was fully alive inside and refused to stop living large!  Finally, she told me that she had gained incredible empathy and understanding for others who had experienced situations that caused deep scars externally and internally. Because of this, she was in the process of becoming a child psychologist!

As I think through that story I realize that we all have a choice in how we respond to the scars in our lives.  Do we let them define us or do we look to heal and overcome the situation that caused the harm? Can we learn from our scars and become richly empathetic to others around us?

“Scars are not signs of weakness, they are signs of survival and endurance.” Rodney A Winters

“My scars tell a story. They are a reminder of times when life tried to break me, but failed. They are markings of where the structure of my character was welded.” Steve Maroboli

“There is a big difference between a wound and a scar, Because a scar says, ‘I’ve been healed, and this is my story.’”  Belinda Elliott

Perhaps these thoughts can give you a fresh perspective on the scars you bear; knowing that God can and will redeem our hurts and give us victory.

Even the best laid plans…………………

I love the leaders I serve, so when one of them invites me to join them in an event that’s meaningful to them and those they love~~ well, I’m IN!  Last week was one of those times!  Thursday I was up early, packed and ready to fly to Dallas, TX to be a part of a wonderful Christmas event in an amazing church in Keller, TX.

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Weather reports showed that there “would be” a change in the weather; it would be cold. I was disappointed but knew I would be so involved with my leader and her event that I wouldn’t really notice that the weather had turned cold.  Then… the ICY SLEET fell upon the state of Texas and everything changed.  The moment the plane touched down in Texas I received a text letting me know that the event I was planning to attend was cancelled.

Hmmmm…….Lord, I have flown all the way here….You know everything……..Help me know your purposes in my stay here.

From my hotel window I watched car after car spin and crash into guardrails and other cars, heard the warnings from newscasters to just stay OFF the roads, and the continuing announcements that almost every flight out of Dallas was cancelled and would be cancelled for some time.

Lord, I am all by myself here. I wanted to be a blessing but now feel like I am a burden~~ah, the best laid plans!

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Life throws us lots of twists and turns doesn’t it? Weather, finances, health, even relationships have elements that we simply cannot always control! Finding value, even in the challenge, is a choice we can make.

Let me be totally honest; there were moments this week when the tears were flowing at the thought that getting home would be nearly impossible, moments where I tried to make sense of the fact that I was sitting alone in a lovely hotel without a purpose to my stay….

However, amidst all the hysterics of roads and flights; I was able to get home at midnight last night! 🙂

This makes me wonder about God’s view of things;  was the unplanned conversation I had with a woman who had just lost her son to cancer meaningful?  Was spending time with a precious couple new to my church/community on the plane worth being stranded?  How about the young man who forged his way in the sleet to open the BUCKLE store he managed? we had a long conversation about his journey to find his faith in Christ; his father was a pastor? Did that conversation matter in God’s view of things?

In my desire to catch my 3:30 flight home out of Dallas, I went to the airport around 9:30…….Just to be diligent.  I had a 5 hour wait and needed to power up my phone a couple of times. One of those times there was a man sitting next to me who had been trying to get home for 3 days! He had waited hours and hours before being told his flight was cancelled.  Needless to say –He was tired. Sitting there he began talking about his family; especially his oldest daughter whose choices caused him heartache. Our conversation was meaningful and emotional for him.  Sadly – his flight was again cancelled, so I said that I thought we ought to go to my ticket counter and see if he could get on my flight! Amazingly, the airline employee smiled at him and said “I just had a cancellation, you can take that seat!”  He smiled at me and said to me ” you are either magic or blessed!” I told him blessed.  He was home that night!  Hmmmmm……..In God’s view of things, was that man important enough for there to be value in my “stranded” experience?

How about a surprise encounter with two people with whom I have not had reconciliation for a few years showing up for the same flight as me; getting a chance to talk, to show kindness?  Then the lovely older gentleman who was seated to my left on the final leg of my flight. Just a few years ago he had to file bankruptcy as he was a developer in our area when the market hit bottom; he spent a lot of time talking through his sadness about 3 of his colleagues who committed suicide due to feeling hopeless during that season in the economy. We we got off the plane he introduced me as his “new best friend” to his colleague!

Were these conversations of high trust God ordained or just a chance happening?  No, I can’t answer that…I’m asking you; the reader, what you think?  I am still pondering the possibilities…..sometimes I just wonder about those best laid plans…………………!

Psalm 139:16 says “All your days ordained for me are written in your book before one of them came to be.”  Yes, He knew.

Airports~~

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I’ve done a lot of airplane travel over the past year.  I remember as a kid the idea of flying on a plane caused me to much excitement that I could not sleep all night just thinking about my upcoming adventure.  Though I am thankful for the option of taking a flight rather than embarking on a LONG drive; I no longer find it thrilling.

One thing I find especially interesting is the magnitude of people; all walks of life, all ages, all religious beliefs, all occupations gathering in one place to get to and from business or family connections.  Does God have His eye on each one of them? Is He mindful of their lives?

As I look at each face I imagine what their life may be, where they are headed, or what their family may be like. Based on their clothes, accent, or age I come to my own conclusions about them.  Yet, I am quickly reminded that scripture is clear that ” man looks at the outer appearance, while God looks at the heart.”  Even if my conclusions are not in any way critical, I still don’t really know their story or the condition of their heart like God does.

Being at the airport reminds me again and again how big and broad God’s view of us is; my world and context is so small!  Being at the airport reminds me to try to see “other travelers” with Gods point of view and compassion.  Perhaps you have a place you frequent where people regularly gather; school, Starbucks, church, or even a park. When you look around at the faces, think about how God might see them. It will change your perspective as it has mine.

Just something to consider on this blustery Sunday. 🙂

It’s all a matter of perspective~

Every one of us sees life though our own personal filter.  Our past experiences, hurts, persuasions, faith, and traditions can lead us to come to conclusions in our minds about people or situations around us.   Remember the saying ” there are two sides to every story?”.  It’s true.

Sometimes we come to conclusions or judgements based on what we “think we see”.  However, when seeing a picture of a small iceberg we may fail to recognize  the magnitude of what’s truly there.  Remember the Titanic?

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All of us interact with people and information daily and I imagine we all want to have good clarity and clear understanding. However, sometimes we are too close to the situation to have a balanced perspective.  The statement ” you cannot see the forest for the trees”  expresses this challenge.  Google Earth is so interesting because it can give you a macro perspective and yet also visually take you to a specific address on the planet! Very cool!  Yet, this exemplifies 2 very different perspectives.

Perhaps this year, before we find ourselves making “snap judgements” or coming to conclusions about people or situations too hastily we could take a little extra time to gather fresh information, look through a new lens, and seek to be mindful that we may not have all the information needed; there just might be elements we simply do not see.

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People who look through keyholes are apt to get the idea that most things are keyhole shaped.  ~Author Unknown

Enjoy a fresh perspective today!! 🙂

Proverbs 18:15 says:  Intelligent people are always eager and ready to learn.

MAJESTY~

Psalm 121:1-2~

I lift up my eyes to the hills– where does my help come from? 2 My help comes from the LORD, the Maker of heaven and earth.

Arriving in Colorado Springs this past week I had the joy of walking through the massive rock formations at the Garden of the Gods.  I was so struck by their creative beauty and majesty.  Certainly years of rain, wind, and snow have affected the shape and height of these formations~~ and yet they stand.

As I was walking the view gave me a real visual of the Majesty of God~ He stands tall, weathers the test of time, and shelters those who hide in His shadow.   Looking towards the ground I could see trash, broken glass, marks of footprints, even doggie do-do! Not such a fantastic sight…  BUT–when I looked up to the majesty before me I was struck with Awe and Wonder.

Perhaps if we all keep our eyes on “His Majesty” -our perspective with be re-newed, strength re-vived, and our hope will be revitalized!!

Keep looking UP!! 🙂