Saturday, March 11, 2017

If You Think Something Nice, Say It

I haven't been to an over-abundance of funerals in my life, but I've been to enough to notice a few things.

Each time I'm at a memorial service, as kind words are bravely spoken from the pulpit by loved ones, I always have one great hope as I manage the lump in my throat:

I hope this person heard these words before they passed. I pray they knew how beloved they were.

I picture the person being remembered sitting in a chair receiving the words. Eyes beaming. Tears streaming. But the problem is they aren't there to hear them and have it impact their life here on earth.

What if this wasn't the case?

What if our loved ones knew all the good things we thought of them when they were living?

Imagine how this would bless them. Imagine how beautiful our world would be if the good were praised and the criticisms hushed? Imagine the impact it could have it just one more person were encouraged and built up?

We hold back so much.

Maybe because we think if we tell our loved ones how much we appreciate the good in them, it will mean we accept the bad parts too? I get this.

I once heard Pastor Craig Groeschel say, "Never withold a blessing. If you think something nice about someone, say it." 

I've been so challenged by this.

If we think something nice, we ought to say it. Is there anything more simple yet so impactful?

Who might benefit from hearing your offering of kindness? The hearer? The hearer's family? You just never know what kind of waves a single act of kindness can make.

Gracious words are like a honeycomb,
    sweetness to the soul and health to the body. - Proverbs 16:24

Thursday, January 12, 2017

What 2016 Taught

Every once in a while, I like to stop and recount what I've learned after a long stretch of life, and the start of 2017 seemed like the perfect time to pause and look back. Here are my major takeaways from 2016.

1.  I don't always know the answers. My gut isn't always right. 

As hard as it is to swallow, 2016 showed me that my pride and assumptive abilities have no place in any area of my life, but especially not in decision-making. I sometimes assume the answer is whatever I'm "feeling" the most. Guilty. 2017 will be the year of me not always following my gut.

2.  You can never go wrong when you choose to serve others rather than self. 

I'm not talking about neglecting ourselves here, I'm talking about service. Real, genuine, uncoerced acts of love and service for the benefit of others. Too often we make sure we get what we want and do what we want, and forget the bigger picture. Jesus modeled this kind of others first living, and it's something I want more of.

3.  Yep, it will be hard, but it will also be worth it. 

2016 taught me to wait out the storm, take a big leap, and trust even when the way is foggy. Good things can be really, really hard and also absolutely worth it.

4.  My family needs and deserves my best. 

I don't have many words to share here because I've already said it all. My family, this gift from God, deserves more of me.

5.  Regardless of others' opinions, follow God's words to you. 

Sometimes following God's lead involves receiving some backlash from those you know. That's okay. Be gracious and keep on following Him.

6.  Unconditional love makes a difference in my heart and theirs. 

One of my top struggles as a human is the habit of temporarily withdrawing my affection from those who have wronged me when unconditional love is what's needed instead. This takes place mostly in the parenting realm. I want to be a steady mother who gives consequences for poor choices from a place of mercy and grace rather than bitterness and swinging emotions. This post I wrote over on The Masterpiece Mom speaks to this.

7.  Good skincare and well-fitting pants are important to me. 

Laugh if you will, but how many times have we neglected our skin and worn pants that are way too uncomfortable? Way too many times. I pledge that my skin will be cared for and my pants will not make me want to unbutton them. Amen.

Well, there you have it. 2016 in a nutshell. Speaking of 2016, Anne-Renee and I just released a new podcast episode where we talk about all our favorites from last year. Clothing, music, books, TV shows, mothering moments, etc. You can listen right here: Episode 58 - Best of 2016

Happy January! What did you learn last year?

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