Love and Support


How
Did the rose
Ever open its heart
And give to this world
All its
Beauty?
It felt the encouragement of light
Against its
Being.
Otherwise,
We all remain
Too
Frightened
          ~Hafiz

I think everyone is afraid of something. It’s what makes us human. I know people who are afraid of public speaking, love, intimacy, spiders, bees, death, and interviews. The important thing to remember is to never make fun of someone’s fear or discount it in any way. Fear is real to the person experiencing it, and it can be paralyzing in its effect.

The quote above was sent to me in an email today. It made me realize how much I have needed the support and encouragement of someone at times in my life for difficulties I have been experiencing, but the person I reached out to couldn’t give it. We can’t give what we ourselves don’t have.

Sometimes we’re unable to give to others what they need because we are too stressed ourselves. Sometimes we’ve never experienced the quality another is looking for from us; therefore we cannot relate to what is needed. In the process, feelings get hurt, misunderstandings occur, relationships end, and communication breaks down.

To me, that is incredibly heartbreaking. We are all hurting human beings in some way, shape, or form; and we need to be an encouragement to one another. We need to reach out in love and be kind even when we don’t know how to provide what the other person needs. Sometimes just being honest can do wonders. We aren’t always capable of walking in another’s shoes and experiencing life as they have, but we can sit down and listen as they attempt to explain what they are going through. Sometimes they just need to know that someone cares.

When all else fails, a hug speaks volumes. Acknowledging a person’s feelings is sometimes all that is needed. Giving them a sense that they are loved and valued is priceless. When I know I’m loved and valued, I open up like the rose in the poem. I perform better, my outlook on life is brighter, and I feel invigorated.

If reading this post has brought someone to your mind today, send them a quick note to let them know you appreciate them. It may just be the very thing they need to brighten their day.

Come on now … let’s spread some sunshine together!
Lori Lynn

Spring Is in the Air


“Let us be grateful to the people who make us happy. They are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom.” — Marcel Proust

I absolutely adore spring! It is a time of hope and a time of renewal. It’s a time of excitement and a chance to start over. All things are new. I especially love the warmth of the sun. It makes my body relax and my soul feel good all over.

As I was walking home from work this evening, I realized it has been a long time since I have really had the opportunity to enjoy something. The past 20 years have been so difficult. Somehow my light within got snuffed out, and it has been difficult to get it burning again.

A few things have happened over the past few months, though, that have stoked the embers and fanned the flame, at least to the point where there are flickers of possibility filled with promises of something exciting to come.

Probably the most drastic thing that has happened is I’ve become a bit of an empty nester with all of my kids in college and away from home now. I’ve gone back to school myself to work on my Master’s in Strategic Communication. I’m succeeding in a completely new area of learning, which is allowing me to use my God-given abilities and get my creative juices flowing again. That in and of itself is wonderful. I’ve so missed the freedom to be creative!

On a more somber note, the second thing that has happened is that I have lost a friend. This has been the most devastating thing ever. My friend didn’t die; he just chose to no longer be my friend. He may as well have died. The result in my heart is the same.

The thing is, I wasted 20 years of my life over this man. I never gave up on him. I loved him deeply. I fell in love with him in my 20s and thought he was “the one.” (I still do.) Unfortunately, apparently he didn’t feel the same. Too bad I didn’t learn that 20 years sooner. Things might have been so much easier.

For a long time, I decided to ignore my feelings for him. I was married. I had children. Then, I eventually realized my marriage was over. I had given it my best shot for 20 years and couldn’t do it anymore. Then the pendulum swung to the opposite extreme, and my feelings took over. I had been lonely and miserable for so long that I wanted to rekindle my relationship with the man from my past. He never married, and I was now divorced. It seemed logical to me.

Unfortunately, lonely and miserable people do not think clearly. They act strangely. They do stupid stuff. I was no exception. I wanted to believe he never married because he couldn’t get over me. Friends told me to forget him; he had obviously moved on. I thought, “But they don’t know him like I do.”

When we met (in a Dale Carnegie class), we started a four-year relationship that blossomed into something incredibly special. We discovered we had so much in common. We had both lived in Salt Lake City, Minneapolis, Boston and New York about the same time. We had the same political beliefs. We enjoyed just being in each other’s company. We brought out the best in each other and became better people because of it. Unfortunately, we also had a lot of baggage; and life got in the way.

In retrospect, I guess it wasn’t so much that this man couldn’t get over me; it was  the demons from his past that kept him bound as a bachelor. He is an adult child of (very high-functioning) alcoholic parents. I don’t know a whole lot about alcoholism, but I do know that it can result in rejection and abandonment issues that never quite go away. My friend lost all trust in me and refused to communicate. I had abandoned him in my 20s, and he took that to mean I no longer loved him. Therefore, I could no longer be trusted.

After years of attempting to make things right, I have finally reached the point where I can honestly say, “I have done all that I can. There is nothing more I can do.” I never gave up on him (and at least I didn’t go down without a fight), but it is time to move on. We can’t make people love us.

So, with spring in the air, I am looking forward to moving forward, starting over and seeing life blossom anew. Next year at this time, God willing, I will be close to finishing up my master’s program. I am hoping to start over in a new career. Virginia or North Carolina are calling my name. I may not get there next year, but I’m hoping to head that way within the next five years. Maybe God is preparing a new love for me there. I can’t wait to meet him! 🙂

Starting over,
Lori Lynn

Dear LORD … thank you for all things new. Thank you for the chance to start over. Even though our hearts may always feel sadness over a lost or broken friendship, we trust that You will either redeem it or have a new friend cross our path. Help us to remember that You sent Your Son, Jesus, to be our closest Friend. Amen.

Dreams and Purpose


I want to remember that no one is going to make my dreams come true for me … it is my job to get up every day and work toward the things that are deepest in my heart … and to enjoy every step of the journey rather than wishing I was already where I want to end up. — Anonymous

Miracles start to happen when you give as much energy to your dreams as you do to your fears. — Anonymous

God is so good. A few years ago, I would have never guessed I’d be where I’m at today, but He has blessed me so abundantly.

I met Max on an employer-sponsored trip to Australia. We sat next to each other on the flight over. He was so funny. We started talking, and I felt like I had known him forever. During our trip, we spent the majority of our time together. We found we had so much in common, having lived in many of the same places over the years.

Max is much more outgoing and adventurous than I am, which I absolutely love. He brings me out of my shell and makes life fun; but he isn’t too adventurous … he doesn’t take unnecessary risks.

Max and I enjoy being in each other’s company, but we also enjoy doing our own thing. We love to travel (the majority of the time together) and have gone to such exciting places as Iceland and Bora Bora. When I’m busy working on a book, he is usually busy putting together a business deal. He’s taught me so much. I’ve always wanted to do philanthropic work, and now I have the chance. Max is a venture capitalist, who does a lot of work with nonprofits.

Last year, Max and I flew to New York in September to kick of a gala for The Jazz Gallery. This past August, we flew out to Napa Valley to attend the V Foundation’s fundraiser to help support brain cancer research. We try to get involved in two major events per year and are hoping to create our own foundation next year to help end human trafficking. We’re in the process of lining up a trip to India in May to meet with our associates there.

It will be a busy year. My next book is due out in August, so I will have to make the most of every opportunity and use my time wisely. Luckily, Max and I will be in New York again in December (we go every year to see Chris Botti play at The Blue Note on New Year’s Eve), so I’ll be able to meet with my publisher then as well.

Once the foundation is off to a good start, I’m thinking about going on the speaking circuit. God has laid on my heart a desire to minister to lonely, hurting, brokenhearted people who, because of poor choices they’ve made, find life isn’t going quite like they expected it would go. Through my writing and my speaking, I hope to inspire and encourage them to find their way to a better place … a place of hope and purpose, a place of love and fulfillment.

I am so grateful for Max. He has inspired me, loved me, and helped me to blossom into the person God created me to be. He makes me laugh, he values my opinion, and he encourages me to pursue my hopes and dreams. He has helped me to see that I am a person worth loving, a person with a lot to offer to others. He’s the mentor I’ve been searching for forever and my very best friend. We can sit and chat for hours, or we can spend hours together not saying a word, just enjoying being in each other’s presence. I think what makes it work so well is that we appreciate one another. We spend so much time apart—Max with his business and me with my writing—that when we are together, we fully value that time.

We enjoy doing lots of things … we especially love cooking. Most Saturday mornings, you will find us at the local farmer’s market or the local fish market. We then go home and do our own thing until midafternoon, when we meet in the kitchen, turn on some jazz, pour a glass of wine, and create our dinner. Sometimes we go out to see a movie afterwards or curl up on the couch and see what’s showing on Netflix.

I never used to get outside much, and I missed it desperately (having grown up in the country). Since meeting Max, I now spend a lot of time outdoors. We hike, bike, go kayaking enjoy picnics in the park, or go rowing. We both love sailing, and Max is slowly teaching me about cat paws and rigging. I may never be the captain, but I sure do enjoy the wind in the sails! There’s just something about blue skies and water that does a soul good.

My kids love Max. They appreciate his sense of humor as much as I do, and they are thrilled that he takes an interest in what is going on in their lives at any given moment. I’ve noticed that they often seek Max out for advice and use him as a sounding board for ideas they are contemplating.

Arianna has settled in Virginia and has taken a teaching job at a private school in the DC area. Josh is finishing his PhD in Economics at MIT. He did an internship at the UN last summer and is hoping to get a permanent job there after he graduates. Lexie is finishing up her Master’s at the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She couldn’t decide if she wanted to continue to pursue a career in forensics pathology or pursue her writing. The writing won out, but it’s interesting to see that a lot of her stories deal with medical issues and hospitals. Nothing much has changed there.

I have learned that God really does use all things for good, and He does restore souls. He has restored mine. He has redeemed my life, and He has redeemed my children. Healing has come, and it is good.

Lori Lynn

Author’s Note: Max is not real, but he is based on a dear man I fell in love with in my 20s. This story is based on a writing assignment I was given a year ago where we were told, if you were to write your own ideal story, what would your story look like. This was my story. 🙂

Fear … Is It Holding You Back?


Fight your fears and you’ll be in battle forever; face your fears and you’ll be free forever. — Lucas Jonkman

Everything you want is on the other side of fear. — Jack Canfield

We stopped checking for monsters under the bed when we realized they were inside of us. — Charles Darwin

Fear is only temporary. Regret lasts forever!

Fear is the brain’s way of saying that there is something important for you to overcome. — Rachel Huber

What we fear doing most is usually what we most need to do. — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Fear is a powerful thing. Depending upon how we view it, it can paralyze us or spur us on to greater things.

I have a dear friend who is terrified of intimacy in relationships. He wasn’t always this way. He met a girl once whom he fell head-over-heels in love with, so much so that it scared him. He had been in love before but never to such a degree that he felt out of control, and it was that lack of emotional control he couldn’t handle. The relationship lasted for about four years, until the girl finally got tired of his shenanigans of pulling away and saying they needed to see other people. She decided that could go on forever and decided it was time to let go.

Now, 25 years later, the girl is back. She contacted my friend, whom she never stopped loving, in an attempt to restore the relationship they could have had if both of them hadn’t messed it up so badly. He wants nothing to do with her, not because he doesn’t still love her, but because he went through hell the first time he lost her and doesn’t want to experience that feeling again. He also doesn’t want to go back to having no control over his emotions.  The thought terrifies him.

I find their whole situation so sad. They both care deeply for each other, but he is so paralyzed by his fear that he won’t even communicate with the girl anymore. Think of what they are both missing out on … perhaps the greatest joy either one of them has ever known.

My problem is public speaking. The thought of getting up in front of people and speaking brings back fresh memories of 7th-grade speech class, when my voice shook so uncontrollably that everyone watching me was embarrassed for me. They were probably just as uncomfortable watching me as I was standing up there in front of them. My fear of public speaking is unfortunate, especially because I’m fairly certain my future dream job will require me to have this skill. I’ve spent my whole life avoiding it, but it’s time to stop running. It’s time to turn around and face this thing once and for all.

I’ve gone back to grad school after 30 years. I absolutely love it! The problem is, I have to do a YouTube interview with a classmate where we each take turns pretending to be a journalist and a PR professional discussing a crisis situation. Doesn’t sound too bad, unless you have an extreme aversion to being on camera. My first thought was, “I’ve got to drop this class.” I immediately rejected that idea because, as I said, I love the class.  My second thought was, “I’m going to contact the professor and tell her I’ll take an F on this assignment.” Unfortunately, that idea seems pretty stupid even to me. I finally came to the conclusion that as much as I hate the thought of actually doing this assignment, I want to get past the brick wall my fear has succeeded in putting in front of me for so many years.  It’s time to break through that wall. I may not like the process, and it may hurt; but I am doing this thing.  It’s time.

How about you? Is fear holding you back from something you want more than anything? What are you going to do about it? I would encourage you to not let it define you. Get help. Move past your fear. Your greatest accomplishment/love relationship/purpose may be on the other side. Don’t miss out! As Joyce Meyer says a friend of hers once said to her, “Why don’t you do it afraid?”

You’ve got this. Get going! 🙂
Lori Lynn

Dear LORD … when we are too afraid to follow through on your best for us, give us a nudge. Help us to visualize what is there on the other side of our fear and to want it so badly that we’re willing to do whatever it takes to make it a reality. Give us the courage to knock down our brick walls of fear knowing that You are there with us every step of the way. In Jesus’ Name. Amen.

 

 

 

When God Doesn’t Make Sense


This post was originally published in 2012.  However, since our Lenten service last night focused on Abraham sacrificing his son and the corresponding sacrificial Lamb of God in the New Testament, I thought it was appropriate to post it again…

Blessings to you this Lenten season,
Lori Lynn

After all this, God tested Abraham.  God said, “Abraham!”

“Yes?” answered Abraham.  “I’m listening.”

He said, “Take your dear son Isaac whom you love and go to the land of Moriah.  Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains that I’ll point out to you.”  –Genesis 22:1-2 (The Message)

Don’t you wonder sometimes what went through Abraham’s mind from the moment he first heard God make this command until the time he followed through in obedience?  We read it and think, “Abraham knew God.  He was a giant of the faith.  He didn’t struggle.  He just did what God told him to do.”  But as I ponder this passage and think of the incredibly difficult decision I am faced with in my life right now, I can’t help but wonder, “What really happened in that white space between the end of verse 2 and the beginning of verse 3?”  It’s the instructions written in invisible ink in that white space I could use right about now.  The ones that tell me how to get from  point A (listening) to point B (obedience).

I have found over the past few years (more than a few actually), that I have become quite adept at second guessing what I think God may be telling me.  I can believe I hear very clearly God telling me one thing; but over the course of a few days, I have completely tied myself in knots wondering if I heard right.  And then begins the tug of war… “Did God really tell me that, or is that the devil trying to trip me up?  I am certain God told me that, but it just doesn’t make any sense.  I could see how God could use that (and work good from it), but it doesn’t seem like it goes according to what I know from His Word.  No, that CAN’T be God.”  Then I find myself right back at the starting point, continuing to stay stuck in a rut of indecision, paralyzed by insecurity and doubt.

Isn’t it interesting how God gave Abraham three days to think about things after he decided to obey God.  Three long days to travel to Moriah.  Three excruciating days to torment himself with thoughts of what God was telling him to do.  Unlike Peter, who took his eyes off Jesus and began to quickly sink amidst the crashing waves on the Sea of Galilee, Abraham continued steadfast on the path God was calling him to follow.  He did not waiver in his obedience.  He remained calm amidst the storm of his emotions.  He kept his [spiritual] eyes on God and kept his [spiritual] ears tuned to the radio frequency of God’s voice.  If we did the same, how much different would our lives be?

I often think of the analogy of the clenched fist.  If we are desperately holding onto something we can’t bear to part with, how can we expect God to bless us with anything?  Our hand will be too tightly clenched to receive the blessing.  In order to receive something, we have to let go… either by holding out our hands, open, with palms up, or by reaching out with an open hand to grasp onto the hand of God and go with Him to the place He can’t wait to show us.  Then, and only then, can God give us something that we may find is a much greater joy than we could ever have imagined.

I’m going to challenge you in something.  Over the next month, pay close attention to what God is telling you.  Listen to the message He puts deep within your heart.  Pray about it, asking God to reveal His truth regarding the particulars of whatever it is He is telling you.  Now here’s the kicker… FOLLOW THROUGH on what He is telling you.  I’d love to hear how He has blessed you through your obedience.

Walking in faith,

Lori Lynn

Dear LORD… just as You blessed Abraham through his acts of obedience, we pray that You would bless us.  May we be willing to unclench our fists and let go of those things that are hindering us from receiving the best that You want to give us.  Through this letting-go process, we pray that You would use our obedience to bless others as well; and through it all, may You be glorified.  In Jesus’ name we pray.  Amen.

 

She Used To Be Mine


My friend, Gina, sent me the link to Sara Bareilles’ song below.  It is such a beautiful representation of (and expresses better than I ever could myself) the feelings I’ve battled for so long … the sense of being broken, lonely most of the time, not recognizing who I’ve become, longing (in part) for who I used to be, and the desire to give it all back for a chance to start over and rewrite the ending for the girl I used to be.

Life is messy, isn’t it.  It doesn’t always (in fact, rarely does) go the way we’d hoped.  The good news is, there is always something to be learned along the way; and where you are now doesn’t mean that’s where you have to stay.

Past is a LessonI had such awesome plans and high hopes when I graduated from high school.  I intended to join the Foreign Service, travel the world, and become a foreign diplomat.  My life now in no way resembles that previously imagined life, but I’ve learned a lot along the way.

For starters, I’ve learned that it’s not always WHAT you know so much as WHO you know.  It’s not so much a matter of how many”book smarts” you have as it is how well have you developed your people skills?  (I know some people who are incredibly intelligent but do not have an ounce of common sense or know the first thing about getting along with others.)  I’ve learned that life isn’t about acquiring things or making more money; it’s about making a difference in the lives of those around you.  It’s about contributing to society and making the world a better place.

God has given me a chance to go back and rewrite my ending for the young girl I used to be.  I hope I’ve learned enough along the way to make better choices from this point going forward, and  I hope He continues to bring people into my life who will challenge me to grow in ways I never thought possible.

19157-Move-ForwardYes, life can be hard at times and not go at all the way we had initially planned; but it can be a wonderful life if we take the focus off of our circumstances and past mistakes and put it instead on reigniting the fire that used to burn in our hearts when hopes and dreams and wishes and moonbeams shined in our eyes for all to see.  There’s a beautiful life filled with possibilities out there waiting for you.  Go capture it!  I’ll be cheering for you …

Lori Lynn

Dancing In His Arms …


I am not a good dancer; so when I knew I’d have to dance at my wedding, I was extremely nervous.  I have no recollection of dancing with my husband, but I do distinctly remember dancing with two of my uncles.  (My grandmother loved to dance, and it was she who taught my uncles how to dance.  She would put on waltz music and teach her boys smooth moves in the kitchen after the evening meal.)  When I was dancing with them, I didn’t need to worry about my inability; they wrapped me firmly in their arms, guided me across the dance floor, and allowed me to relax and enjoy myself.  It was a pleasure (and an honor) dancing with each of them.

Today, two of the devotions I read pertained to dancing and singing and praising God. One of them encouraged me to put on my dancing shoes, allow the LORD to play a song for my soul, and feel myself move to the beat of His heart.*  I imagined myself in the arms of God, feeling the same sense of security I felt in my uncles’ arms while dancing at my wedding … safe, warm, and loved.  The second devotion confirmed that feeling:

As you relax in My everlasting arms, sense how safe and secure you are.**

Jack Vettriano

Jack Vettriano

My quiet time with the LORD got me thinking … I want to spend more time dancing.  I want to spend more time wrapped in the everlasting arms of my heavenly Father, forgetting my inabilities (my insecurities, whatever I lack), relaxing in His strength, allowing Him to guide me along this dance floor of life.  I want to be in His will, hearing His song, moving to the beat of His heart.  I can’t think of a more comfortable place to be.

Start the music, Abba, and sweep me off my feet!

Lacing up my dancing shoes,
Lori Lynn

* Shepherd, S. R. (2008). Dance With Me, His Princess Bride: Love Letters from Your Prince, p. 19. Grand Rapids, MI: Revell.

** Young, S. (2009). WorshipJesus Lives, p. 14. Nashville: Thomas Nelson.

Write the Vision


Write the vision; make it plain on tablets, so he may run who reads it.

— Habakkuk 2:2 (ESV)

I love the prospect of beginning a new year.  It is filled with possibility and excitement.  It’s a chance to start over, an opportunity to think about where you want your life to go and setting goals to get you there.

Something I’ve learned over the past few years (and am planning to finally implement this year) is the importance of creating a vision board.  Last year, I wrote down things I wanted to accomplish in 2015 and, much to my delight, the majority (if not all) of them came to fruition.  Awesome!  This year, I want to add visual reminders to my goals … hence, the vision board.

That isn’t to say that I buy into the whole “Law of Attraction” and new-age concept that go along with many of the articles you can access pertaining to vision boards.  Nonetheless, I do believe that if you are a visual person and have a bit of a type-A personality, vision boards can be very beneficial in keeping you on track and focused with what you want to achieve.  By having your goals in front of you daily, research shows you are more likely to succeed (9 things rich people do and don’t do every day).  Whereas my #1 goal in life isn’t necessarily to make a lot of money, I do admit it would be a very nice (and welcome) benefit to satisfying two of my heart’s desires: 1) fulfilling God’s purpose for my life; and 2) helping lonely, hurting, brokenhearted people.

I don’t know about you, but the busyness of life keeps me very distracted.  At times, I almost feel like I have become so adept at multitasking that I have developed a full-blown case of adult-onset ADHD.  Being bombarded with e-mails at home and work, social media, and the responsibilities of being a mother have re-trained my brain to flip from task to task without really enjoying any of them.  To counteract that, mindful meditation and balance have become new words in my vocabulary.  Dr. Amit Sood and Dr. Roberto Benzo (MBSR training) have become beneficial gurus in showing me a new way to live life.

Habakkuk 2:2 refers to the vision God gave to Habakkuk regarding the fall of Babylon and His judgment of the Chaldeans.  Habakkuk was supposed to write down what God showed him so that the people could plainly and clearly discern what was written. 

In addition to creating a vision board, I will still write down my goals in list form.  Just the process of thinking about what goals I want to put on the list is helpful in reassessing where I’m at in life and where I want to go.  Once I know where I want to go, a roadmap will be important in getting to my destination.  Just looking at the vision board and “wishing” to attain my goals won’t get me very far (and is not the purpose of a vision board in the first place).  Follow-through and action are important.  I’d like to say that’s the “run” portion of Habakkuk 2:2, but I realize that throws the verse entirely out of context. Nonetheless, it does help me remember that movement is a necessary component of the written vision.]  The actual meaning of “run” refers to the common practice of the time where public notices were written on clay tablets in such large letters that they could be read easily by someone running by and also, perhaps, so that the reader could run and warn others (if the notice was a warning).

I think it’s also important to note that in the previous verse (Habakkuk 2:1), Habakkuk is on the watchtower standing guard.  He has positioned himself to hear from the LORD.  He has asked the LORD a question, and he is watching diligently for it while he waits.

I think we need to do more of that.  We need to ask the LORD more questions and then stand “upon the watchtower” scanning the horizon for His answer.  Habakkuk 2:3 tells us we may have to wait for it (until the appointed time), but it will surely come.  Once God lays something upon our heart, writing the vision (or creating the vision board) can remind us of what God’s purpose is for our life when the results don’t come as quickly as we would like.

Change is hard; but with proper motivators and a plan, it can be done.  In the year ahead, I encourage you to envision your future, seek God in prayer, and write down the goals He lays upon your heart (both short- and long-term ones).  You might be surprised at the results!

Wishing you a Happy (and Healthy) New Year!
Lori Lynn

 

When Love Hurts


It takes only a minute to get a crush on someone, an hour to like someone, and a day to love someone, but it takes a lifetime to forget someone. — Anonymous

The love that lasts the longest is the love that is never returned. — William Somerset Maugham

I have spent the majority of the past 25 years trying to forget someone I loved very much.  It hasn’t worked.  I married (and tried to love) someone else, continued on with life, and really just “existed” through much of that time.  I spent many hours wondering what was wrong with me that I couldn’t forget “him”.  Many people have survived loving someone they had to say “goodbye” too without really wanting to, and they seemed to survive just fine.  Why couldn’t I do the same?

Here’s what I’ve learned:

  1. We can’t always choose whom our hearts are drawn to.

There is a physiological response going on that we may have no control over.  Our hearts are drawn to certain people.  If these people bring joy to our lives, give us a sense of being valued and appreciated, and/or elicit favorable memories, we may have a more difficult time letting them go.  When an event occurs in our life that creates a chasm in the relationship, it can be devastating.  If communication breaks down to the point of little to no response, the devastation can often be magnified.  Human nature is such that we want (need) to know what is causing the rift.  WHY won’t this person respond?  What have I done to warrant a lack of response?  How can I rectify the situation?  When there continues to be a lack of response to our questions, the wondering becomes unbearable. Apparently there is such a thing as lovesickness (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lovesickness). Who knew?

This is where valuable lesson #2 comes in …

  1. We CAN control our thoughts.

It may be difficult to comprehend sometimes, but it is possible.  Sometimes the worst enemy we encounter in life is located right smack dab in the territory between our two ears:  our mind.  There is a fascinating world being explored out there pertaining to neuroplasticity and neurogenesis.  We can formulate new thought patterns.  We can form new neuronal pathways in our minds.  We can change our thinking.

This is a problem I have seriously struggled with for some time.  Events in my life over the past three decades have taught me learned behaviors that need to be changed.  The metamorphosis in my thinking was gradual, so gradual I didn’t realize it was happening.  Not until I moved back to the part of the country where I grew up (after having been away for 15 years), did it start to become noticeable.  I could never understand where my children came up with some of the ideas they had about my likes and dislikes until I was able to step back and see that I really hadn’t given them an opportunity to know me at all … not the real me.  The person they saw was not who I was, it was who I became.  Sounds weird, right?  However, if you’ve lived it, you know exactly what I am saying.

After wondering why I have spent the greater part of a decade feeling so extremely alone, it finally dawned on me that I was no longer allowing people to get close.  I had shut down.  I had sheltered myself from love … from giving it and from receiving it … to the point that I was no longer projecting outwardly what I (thought) I was feeling inside.  I was coming across very negatively on the outside.

My feelings of rejection weren’t coming from other people; they were coming from inside my head. I had convinced myself that I had become incapable of loving and, therefore, (in my mind) I was incapable of being loved. The interesting thing about that thought process is that the more you feel incapable of being loved, the more you isolate yourself and become self-absorbed.

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  1. We CAN choose to respond differently.

My saving grace has come in the answer to prayer. I asked God to send me a friend, and He sent me someone who is helping me to see the kind, warm, caring person I used to be … the one who disappeared many years ago, the one who has been buried under a mound of abandonment, guilt, and shame. I am learning, through my interactions with this angel from God that I am not as awful a person as I thought I was. I’m okay … quirky at times, but okay. I am worth loving. I am worth spending time with. I am worth getting to know. And those feelings have generated a rebirth within me that make me want to reach out and get to know others and let them get to know me … the REAL me, not the one they think they currently know. As I become more comfortable in my own (new) skin, I will once again let my humor shine through. I won’t care so much what people think of me, for I will find that as long as I like myself, others will like me too (and, if they don’t, they weren’t meant to be in my life anyway).

I no longer want to be a people pleaser. I want to be a God pleaser. I want to fulfill my purpose. I want to make a difference in the world. I want to matter. I want to succeed at something. I want to continue to learn new things. In order to do that, I am going to spend more time with my Father. I am going to speak affirmations over myself that remind me Whose I am and how much I am loved. I am going to be grateful for the new friends He brings into my life, and I am going to be a light to others who feel the pain of being rejected and alone.

As we say goodbye to 2015 and embark on a new year, let’s let some old mindsets go. Let’s embrace who we really are and use it to create wonder and beauty in the world around us. The future is looking brighter!

Let your light shine …

Lori Lynn

 

 

 

 

Life Lesson #8: This Too Shall Pass


THIS TOO, SHALL PASS

When things are bad, remember:

It won’t always be this way.

Take one day at a time.

When things are good, remember:

It won’t always be this way.

Enjoy every great moment.

— Doe Zantamata

When I began my first real job as an adult, my boss would frequently say, “This, too, shall pass.”  It became one of my favorite reminders when things got stressful.  Over the years, it has served me well.

After twenty-plus years of chronic stressful situations, I have learned it is very true that everything really does eventually pass.  While our lives may not ever be the same afterwards (sometimes they are better!), there is always a nugget of gold to be mined from each event.

What can I learn from this experience?

Sometimes we get so caught up in the busyness of life that we need a catastrophic event of sorts to sort of “knock us in the head”. We are brought up short, caught off guard, and sent reeling with the impact. At the time, it is painful. It feels as if life as we know it is over. We wonder, “How am I ever going to survive this?” Other times, the “event” was immensely pleasurable, making our hearts soar with love and joy. We can’t believe this has happened. We can’t believe we’ve been so lucky. (Remember the butterflies associated with spending your first “date” with the man of your dreams or hearing that you received the promotion you’ve been hoping for forever?) Whatever the experience, there is always something to learn.

What can I be grateful for in this moment?

With catastrophic events, it isn’t always easy to be grateful initially. The grief and disbelief keep us pretty focused on the hardships ahead. Once the initial shock wears off, however, we may be able to broaden our thinking.

A few years ago, one of my daughter’s was having health issues. I received a call at work from her doctor saying they wanted to do further testing … that she might not ever have children … that she might have a “syndrome”. My initial feeling was that the room was spinning. My heart sank, my mind starting thinking worse-case scenarios (She’ll never have kids? Is it my fault?), and I was heartbroken (for both her and me). Shortly thereafter, however, the following thoughts broke through my devastation: Wait a minute. This doctor doesn’t know anything at this point. She is just speculating. God is in control here. He has held my daughter in the palm of His hand since the day she was born. I am trusting HIM. Just because she may never experience pregnancy herself doesn’t mean she will never be a mother.

As the days passed, and my daughter had the recommended testing, it turned out the syndrome the doctor suspected was a false alarm, and there is nothing to suggest she will have difficulty with pregnancy. The doctor made a poor judgment call in alarming us before the fact.

In the interim, during the unbearable waiting, I prayed; and I contacted some of my best prayer warriors to ask them to pray. Prayer is a powerful thing. Until you’ve tried it and experienced it for yourself, you may not realize that. (On a side note, if you have not yet seen the movie War Room by the Kendrick Brothers, please go see it. It is such a wonderful movie!)

What is really important to me and do I need to make some adjustments?

My father always taught our family that everything happens for a reason. Sometimes catastrophic events are allowed in our lives to make us reassess our lives and figure out what is really important. After some serious soul searching, I discovered that in the big huge scheme of things, whether or not my daughter could have children one day really isn’t a “big” thing. It’s more important to me that she is happy, that her overall health is good, and she finds meaning and purpose in her life.

When my son was six years old, he was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes. We were told the news the same day that the doctor suspected my youngest daughter might have TB. It was not a good day. My son was crying that he didn’t want to go to the hospital; my daughter was crying because she felt crummy from pneumonia (turns out she did not have the TB the x-ray alluded to). For a while that day, life as we knew it, stopped. For the next week, my husband and I lived at the hospital with our son while I learned how to care for his needs in a whole different way. (My husband has Type 1 diabetes as well, so he and my son were fine to come home sooner; but it was important that I know how to care for him, so they had us stay longer.) While my son adjusted to four insulin injections a day and at least as many finger pokes, I adjusted to giving the injections and learning how to monitor food portions and carb/protein/fat ratios. Life was never the same … not bad, just different and with more responsibility.

There were days that followed where I felt sorry for myself and our family; but the beauty of spending time at Children’s Hospital-Boston was that all around us were parents and children who, while tiptoeing through landmines of cancer and debilitating diseases, were making their way through it with smiles and grace. It put a whole new perspective on things. I didn’t have to contend with wheelchairs and IVs and ports, lengthy hospital stays, or the prospect of death; I simply had to make some minor adjustments. I’ve found that everything in life is all a matter of perspective.

In every experience we encounter in life, there is always something to learn. We learn how to think differently, how to put things into proper perspective, how to be grateful, and how to become resilient. We learn what is really important, and we discover what we are made of. We learn what is worth fighting for and what we need to let go of. We learn that life is worth living and people are worth loving. We learn that we can’t do it alone.

We still have bad days at our house, when life gets overwhelming and the responsibilities weigh us down, but amidst it all, we remember … THIS, TOO, SHALL PASS.

Walking in gratefulness …

Lori Lynn