Our Life is Our Legacy

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A godly woman is beyond average because she keeps her word. She honors her vows. She exhibits great faith. She overcomes great obstacles. And she affects her family, her community, even the world. ~ Elizabeth George

 

Recently I sat through the most endearing, beautiful, and honoring memorial for a long-time friend, Lewis Clark, Sr. I listened with rapt attention while his sons, grandsons, friends and pastor stood and shared the life of this amazing man. All the while I struggled to make out their faces through the blur of tears. I’ve never been to a memorial as beautiful as this one.

Some of the constant themes of Lewis’s life-legacy were how he taught men to be men, how to worship, how to grow in faith, and how to love their wives. Such endearing words were spoken of him that afternoon. He would have been humbled to hear them. While I sat in the service I thought of his widow, Patsy. It occurred to me that in the same way Lewis taught men to be men, Patsy mentored women. I am grateful she is still with us and I want to take the time to share what she means to me.

I met Patsy during one of the lowest times in my life when my first husband walked out on our three-month-old daughter and me for another woman. He never looked back. The only time he saw our baby daughter was when his mother kept her and invited him to dinner. I can’t begin to express the emotional traffic jam that went on in my head. Rejection – was I not good enough for his love? Did he care what happened to our daughter? Fear – I dropped out of college to marry him. I’ve jokingly said I got a M.R.S. degree. Now it had been ripped from me. How was I supposed to support our daughter and myself? At that time there was no such thing as the Internet. To go back to college meant I had to attend classes. My parents worked and I had no money for childcare. Add to that anger and a terrible self-image.

But even worse, back in those days, as far as most Christians were concerned a divorcee was considered tainted. I felt doomed to living my life alone. Honestly, one could have received forgiveness for murder easier than divorce. Well-meaning people told me, “God will be your husband,” and “God will be a father to your daughter.” I was only twenty-one. This didn’t comfort me—at all! I needed God with skin on. Needless to say, I felt like an outcast even in the Christian community.

Until Patsy.

She created a ministry for women and invited me to join. I was so lonely and I gratefully accepted. There was no condemnation in her sweet expression. Her touch was healing. Her hand was an extension of Christ to me. She was Christ’s love with skin on.

That poor woman listened to me for countless hours as I mentally processed all that had happened to me. I always called her as the sun set because that was the loneliest time of day. I guess because it was the time my husband used to come home. She always picked up the phone. I said the same thing over and over and over and to her credit, she listened patiently. She would say to me, “Linda, you can’t unscramble eggs. Jesus knows that your heart is bowed before him.” What comfort I found in her words.

 Later, Neal Apple came into my life. He loved me with the love of Christ. He adopted my daughter and we were blessed with four more children. I continued on in the women’s group where Patsy taught the ladies how to pray, how to worship, how to be Godly women and how to love our husbands.  As time went on she saw potential in me and mentored me to teach. In fact it is Patsy who set me on the path I follow today as a speaker for an international ministry. And it is she who inspired me to be a mentor to others.
When my soul was darkest, she was a light. I did heal. I did forgive. She was Jesus with skin for me. Patsy is faithful to the legacy God entrusted to her care. Today I want to honor my dear friend while we are still on this earth together.
I love you Patsy!
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Drop the “S”

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People love that you’re human and that we’re frail and we face the same situations. Honesty tends to communicate with people better than standing up there like you have an ‘S’ on your chest. ~ TobyMac

This quote really resonated with me the other day while looking for my daily quote to put on my personal Facebook page. I scrolled past it several times, but something inside me kept urging me to go back to it. It reminded me of a time when I was having coffee with a friend. She was telling me her troubles with her teenaged son. I felt her pain and shared with her how my own son had been involved in the same thing. I’ll never forget her expression. She said, “Your son?” She had a totally different impression of our family. When I was genuine and didn’t pretend I was supermom, the whole atmosphere changed. My friend relaxed and our conversation went deep and was healing.

Someone today needs to take that fake S off their chest and be real. Connect with others on the same level. Share your experiences and how you overcame.

Some of you need to take that fake S off your chests and let others help you. Accepting help isn’t a sign of weakness.

We need each other. We are all woven together in the fabric of humanity. Allow the beautiful pattern to emerge

Moving Forward

Getting over a painful experience is much like crossing monkey bars. You have to let go at some point in order to move forward. ~ C. S. Lewis

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This quote really hit home with me. I remember hanging on those bars as a child. My weight pulled me down toward the ground. The longer I hung there the more my hands ached and burned. I had a choice. Give up and fall down, or move forward. When I reached the end of the Monkey Bars, my hands still hurt for a while but soon it was forgotten. I had moved on in play.

As an adult I still have a choice. Do I hang onto a painful experience and allow it to pull me down. Do I choose to let this experience cause me to ache and burn? Or will I let it go and move forward?

I choose to move forward. And even though the ache still lingers, it will be forgotten as I move on in life.

 

 

 

Let It Go

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It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out; it’s the grain of sand in your shoe. ~ Robert W. Service

Have you ever had a pebble in your shoe but didn’t want to take the time to stop what you were doing and take it out? Instead, you just kept shaking it from under your foot, only that darned pebble kept making its way back. Has that happened to you or am I the only one?

This can also happen in your soul. That irritating grain of sand, that bothersome pebble, could be anything. Maybe it is an offense, an unmet expectation, or it could be fear or worry. All of these rob our peace and set the course of our day which affects our relationships, our communication, and our dreams. And even so, we cannot seem to let it go.

I have several grains of sand in my shoe at the moment. So how do I let it go? For me, I remind myself of all the things I have to be grateful. I remind myself to tell myself the truth. What is true for this moment? For really, isn’t that all we can count on? The moment we are in?

If I am to climb the mountain, then I must deal with the sand. How about you? Do you have something you need to let go of and if so, how do you let go?

And The Rest Of The Story Is…

 

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I used to love listening to Paul Harvey’s program, The Rest of the Story. He would share the unknown facts to a familiar story that completely changed what I understood as the truth.

Two incidents happened this week that have reminded me of how much I need to know the rest of the story before I make judgments.

The incident I’m about to share happened this week. Two neighbors had pets. One neighbor had two pit bull terriers, the other a seven-month-old cat. The pits broke through their neighbor’s fence and ran into their yard. One of the pits grabbed the cat into its mouth and bit the cat in half. The cat had been sleeping in as sunny patch in her own yard. Because there are children and dogs in her family she had no fear of the sounds of an animal running toward her. She had no idea she was in danger. Frankly, she probably didn’t even know what hit her. The pit’s family was away for the day and the cat’s family had no choice but to call animal control to do something about the pits in their yard.

Animal control took the pits away and because one of them killed a pet in that pet’s yard they were held under the vicious animal act and were to be euthanized within 3 days. When the owner of the pits returned and learned of their pets’ plight, she put out a plea on Facebook saying her dog killed the neighbor’s cat and that her dogs were going to be euthanized. She asked if anyone outside of the town would be willing to rehome them and save their lives.

That’s when it hit the fan. Comments on Facebook went crazy. All of a sudden people accused the cat of tormenting the dog. One fellow said, “Dogs kill cats all the time.” Others wrote that the only reason these dogs were going to be put down is because they were pits. (Which was not the case. The law states that any animal that tresspasses and kills will be considered vicious.) Some even went on to say the owners of the cat were irresponsible.

How did they come up with such conjectures?

Now for the rest of the story: these pits regularly escaped their yard and ran all over the neighborhood. On multiple occasions several neighbors had asked the owners of the pits to control their dogs, to fix their fence or build higher fences. The owners never complied. On the day of the cat’s death, the owners had left their dogs in the back yard because they were going to be gone for the entire day and didn’t want to leave them cooped up in the house. They did this even though they knew the dogs could escape. Frankly, all the neighbors were sick of being terrorized by these dogs and were relieved to be able to give statements to the animal control agents saying as much.

When the owners of the cat heard of the dogs’ fate, they went to the pits’ owners and said they would do what they had to do to save the dogs if only the pit owners would build a higher and more sturdy fence. The cat’s family also has a newborn son who would soon be toddling around in the back yard. They needed to feel safe in their own yard. But the law prevented the cat owners from intervening. The dogs either had to leave the town or die.

Fortunately, someone out of town offered the dogs a home.

So the rest of the story leads to the correct conclusion that had the owners of the pits been more responsible, this would not have happened and they would still have their beloved pets. However, now neither neighbor has their pet. Thankfully, it was a cat instead of a child.

Remember the story about the doctor being dragged of a United Airlines jet a few months ago? The media portrayed a grim scene. This week I heard the rest of that story by someone well acquainted with the situation. As it turns out this doctor had already agreed to give up his seat and left the jet. However, when he found he couldn’t fly out later in the day, he wanted his seat back and tried to take it even though it now belonged to someone else. Did we hear that side? Nope.

So, both of these situations give me reason to pause. Before I let a Facebook post or a news story raise my blood pressure I need to remind myself to stop and consider, what is the rest of the story?

Building Bridges Instead of Walls

IMG_2088.jpgThe greatest communication skill is paying value to others. ~ Denis Waitley

If I wanted to help someone go from point A to point B, but there was a great divide separating A & B what would I do? Build a wall or build a bridge? The obvious answer is to build a bridge. The person may decide to stand his or her ground on point A, but, this person also has the option to cross over to B. 

Now, say I wanted to help someone go from point A to point B and I build a wall, what happens? I’ve created a barrier. 

I’ve seen a lot of wall builders lately. And if these people honestly wanted to help others to see the other side, they would build a bridge of reason, not a wall of anger and hyped-up fear. I also see wall-building in relationships. Friends who have everything going for them except for one thing—politics. And yet they sacrifice that friendship on the wall. People are actually devaluing their friends for a temporary situation. 

Listen folks, Trump isn’t the only wall builder in this country!

Our State of Mind? Our Choice!

Watch your manner of speech if you wish to develop a peaceful state of mind. Start each day by affirming peaceful, contented and happy attitudes and your days will tend to be pleasant and successful. ~ Norman Vincent Peale

Every election year the same thing happens. If the Liberals win the Conservatives bemoan the end of the world and the coming of the Antichrist. If the Conservatives win the Liberals bemoan the end of the world and the coming of the Antichrist. The four years that follow, the losing side posts divisive things on Facebook trashing the elected president and elected officials who are not of their persuasion.

I get so sick of this cycle and want to scream, “STOP IT!” We are all a part of this country. We need to pull together no matter who is president! What Norman Vincent Peale said in the above quote may seem simplistic to some, but it is true. We need to focus on peaceful, contented, and happy attitudes. AND we need to do this for our fellow Americans. If we must post on social media, then post affirming things. NOT repost hateful, divisive, fear-mongering things that may not, and probably is not, entirely true.

Let us be an instrument of peace to both ourselves and to others. Let’s guard our minds, focus on what we are absolutely certain is true (not rely on the media for truth for Heaven’s sake) and be grateful.

2017. What will our attitude be about it? It is our choice.

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