You Are Already There

I have a group of 5th grade girls that pop into my office after school. Although my counseling “duties” are over and I’m wrapping up my day, I still cherish this group of ladies. Like myself, their favorite game to play in my office is Jenga. However, I play Jenga a little bit differently. On these Jenga pieces are questions. Once you pull the Jenga piece you have to read and respond to the question before moving to the next player. We played a full round until CRASH went the tower. Instead of playing another round the girls decided to do something different. We each grabbed one Jenga piece at random and we had to read our question and share our answer to the group. “Ms. Barth, you go first.” I turn over my block and the question was:

“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

Well, I’m 28 so technically I’ve already “grown up.” But I still have some things I want to achieve. So I answered with this:

“I would love to write a book and be a motivational/inspirational speaker.”

All of the girls added there thoughts into my statement and after all the chatter among the girls settled, one of them said , “but Ms. Barth, you already are a motivational speaker.” Right there, it dawned on me…”I am already there.” You see, for most of my life I have wanted bigger and better. It wasn’t enough for me to settle in one school district and in one city. I wanted to travel. Be known. Be liked. And being a motivational speaker meant it had to be on a big level. With all my “big dreaming” I didn’t realize that God has already placed me in the role as a motivational speaker. Each week, I have the opportunity to speak to over 210 students about life skills. Each week, I have the honor to share my wisdom and help strengthen people’s characters. EACH week!!! I am already there! God has already fulfilled one of my dreams.

To everyone out there, God has you right where he wants you. You don’t need a publishing house to deem your words worthy for the world to hear. You can already tell your story to that one individual who needs it. You don’t need a social platform to tell you that you are worthy of affirmation. Just look to your friends and family who love you. You don’t need 500+ likes on Instagram to tell you that you are beautiful because you already are. You are already there!!!

My Continued Battle

Sinking deeper into a state of darkness. A place where there is little light. Looping thoughts of frustration, sadness, and hurt. I expressed these feelings in my past post called Soul Expression and yet I am still dealing with it.

 

Many people would be shocked to know that I am facing this battle. I have so many wonderful things in my life: a supportive, loving fiance, a job that gives me the ability to help students through tough times, a family that roots for me everyday, my health that allows me to be active, friends that always see the best in me. But inside, I still am hurting. Inside I am searching for my light, my fire, my passion. With self-reflection, I realized what I am missing. I am missing the one person that gives me that ability to truly be joyful in all my blessings. His name is Jesus!

 

From the wise words of Albert Einstein, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results.” Confession…that is me. I haven’t been doing much to face my battle. I have read my bible here and there, prayed only when moved and been seeking a church but I haven’t planted my roots anywhere. A once passionate soul, now a searching soul.

 

This is my spiritual battle. I am going to reclaim my passion and what God has called for my life. Today I declare that I, Lindsay Kathleen, am taking authority over my situation and creating change in my life, to take back what Satan has held onto.

 

Face that battle! And tackle it head on. Spiritual warfare is alive. Satan is in every corner of your life. He likes you to think that he has the ultimate power over you. And I am here to tell you that HE DOES NOT. The same power that conquered the grave lives in you. Jesus has already won. We need to only seek him and make practical steps for spiritual growth.

 

For 2016, here are my practical steps that I am taking to reclaim my passion:

  • Eliminating distractions:
    • I will be fasting from Social Media for 21 days starting tomorrow. Sadly, I am that person who checks her facebook and instagram the minute I wake up (don’t judge…you know you’ve done it too)
  • Intentional time with God:
    • A relationship can’t grow unless you make intentional time with that person. And my relationship with God is no different. I want to have him in every part of my day. It starts by making time for him.

 

If you have lost your passion or feel like the world is crushing you, reclaim your life! Stand up to Satan and cry out for God. Make practical steps that will allow you to seek God. My practical steps may look different from yours. Pray about areas in your life that are a distraction to your relationship with God.

Let’s hope. Let’s strive. Let’s do.

Hugs,

Linds

Perspective

A monthly visit to the phlebotomist seems to be the most difficult task for me. Not because I am fearful of needles but more out of its pure inconvenience.

As a stroke survivor, I have to take a blood thinner, called Warfarin, to prevent me from having another stroke. Warfarin is a tricky drug. It requires monthly moderation because if undetected, your blood could get so thin that you internally bleed. And a simple change in diet (along with the prescription) could affect your blood level.

Today was my blood draw day. I waited to see a phlebotomist for 1.5 hours due to my lab order being misplaced. Complaining in my head and finding myself getting a bit short with the phlebotomist, I took a look around the room. Across from me sat a man in his mid thirties, accompanied by (what I am assuming was) his parents. I was immediately humbled. His ability to function was that similar to a stroke victim. Mouth partially paralyzed. Eyes not having the ability to focus. Needing help walking with not only a walker but also two grown adults. Slurring of his words.

All I thought was, “that could have been me.” Geez Linds, and here you are complaining about how long it is taking to get you blood drawn. A blood draw that ensures you that you will never have a stroke again. Talk about putting things into perspective.

Sometimes, all it takes is changing our immediate perspective to find content in the moment and give thanks to all you have.

Changing our perspective allows us to be humble, give thanks and receive hope. Instead of focusing on the negativity in your life, shift your perspective. Write down all the things that you are thankful for. My advice is not a “cure all” but it could be a step in the right direction for you. And we only ever achieve a goal one step at a time.

Hugs,
Linds

Soul Expression

When I stare at this blank white screen, I see it is an opportunity to create. An opportunity to make words come to life. A place where my soul can express itself.

 

For the past year, I haven’t let my soul express itself and I have been missing it. There are a couple times where I found myself ready to start writing but for whatever reason I just couldn’t. My mind constantly on overdrive and with all these thoughts, fears, and emotions, where do I even begin. Today, I am going back to the core. I need Jesus.

 

Life gets overwhelming and it gets overwhelming fast. Sometimes out of nowhere, I find my mind doing circles, getting stuck on a thought that makes no sense. I become anxious. I feel trapped. I see what I need to be feeling, thinking and acting but for whatever reason, I can’t get there. In the midst of my frustration and sinking, I become more panicked. I become more worried. It just keeps piling up. I want to escape. I want my soul to relax and run free. But I can’t.

 

 Most of my anxious thoughts are about things I can’t control. Whether it is about my career, relationships or my health. I seem to think that the more I worry, the quicker the answer will come to me. Or that with this control over my future, it will turn out perfectly. My mind begins to run away with itself. How do I reel it back in? The only answer to that is Jesus. And sometimes it will takes days, weeks or even months to act on what I know I need to do. But when I do rest in the fact that my journey has already been written, I am at peace. I am reminded that it is not my job to create my beautiful journey, it is Gods. We are not called to worry for Jesus but rather to worship Jesus.

 

Philippians 4:4-7

Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God,which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.

 

If you are finding yourself in the middle of a battle in your mind, take this simple step: make a date with Jesus. Find a place where you feel comfort, whether it is your room, a coffee shop, a walk around your neighborhood or the beach. Ask God to speak to you. Let him speak calmness over your life. Begin to rest in his peace. Peace that surpasses all understanding .
Life was never meant to be easy. God wants to refine us and continue to solely rely on him. In order to refine you, you have to face challenges and battles head on with Jesus as your leader, your protector, your best friend. He will not forsake you.

Hugs,

Linds

The Fault in Our Stars

This past summer, everyone was buzzing about the new movie, “The Fault in Our Stars.” Even so much, that we made it a requirement for our students to read the book while we went on our college road trip. As the leader of the trip, I was given a book just like my students. I was supposed to read it too (shhh, I didn’t even open the book). I am such a rebel.

There was a part of me that wanted to watch the movie because I knew it was going to hit close to home and a part of me didn’t want to watch the movie because I knew it was going to hit close to home. Well, I finally gave in last night and I practically used a whole box of tissues.

There was a point in the movie where Hazel Grace was sharing the eulogy she wrote for Augustus. Augustus wanted to view his funeral and be able to hear Hazel’s words. Both Augustus and Hazel knew that their days on earth were few. So they loved lavishly, experienced life abundantly and took in every moment with each other.

When I was in Michigan, going through all my health challenges, I kept a journal of my thoughts and prayers. One night, my emotions were so raw that I wrote an entry as if my time on earth was so few days:

September 1, 2013

“Could this be my last journal entry? What would I write about?

I would write about my thankfulness for the people God has surrounded me with. Whether they were in my life for only a season or witnessed my whole life.

My parents, what isn’t there to say about them. So selfless and God honoring. They drop anything they are doing to help me. They have been my rock through all my health problems. They have taught me that Christ is real and our one true God.

My brothers…they couldn’t be more opposite (well kinda). Kevin has the biggest heart and always loves having the family together. He is a free spirit that loves like no other. Although it took Bryan and I several years to become friends, I am now SO comforted by his brotherly attributes. Always concerned with my happiness and my well-being. He also has a HUGE heart (it’s a Barth thing).

My family has been everything I have needed. I would tell them to not feel a lose that I am gone. But know that I am in a place where there is no suffering. I am free, with Christ, dancing with the stars….

….My heart (she) is weak, almost exhausted. She has had the strength to push through so many obstacles. She has been the reason I have had a blessed life.

God, hear my cry and search my soul. I am not ready to go. I selfishly want to experience more of life…

Please heal my heart. “

It doesn’t matter if you have had cancer, or your parents divorced, or you have a heart condition, or you have lived a semi-comfortable life…we ALL go through moments of uncertainty. But no matter what season of life you are in, never forget that the God of the universe knows you by name and loves you. It is Jesus that gives me peace in every situation. Through him, I will be able to love lavishly, experience life abundantly and take in every moment.

Conversations with a Stranger

Conversations with strangers…do we have them anymore? Many people choose to focus inward and sometimes forget that there are hundreds, literally thousands of people that they can interact with on a daily basis. If only you just looked to the left or right and began the conversation. The endless possibilities…maybe you will learn about a new culture, maybe you will make a new friend and heck, maybe you will meet your future spouse.

 

If the possibilities are endless, then why do we put on the face of: “I am untouchable and I have ZERO desire to talk to you. Can’t you see that my iPhone is more important.” Oh society, where are you taking us.

 

A few weeks ago, I traveled to Houston. I’m sitting in the airport, surrounded by thousands of eager, frustrated, and anxious travelers. As I was boarding the plane from Salt Lake City to Houston, an older gentlemen and I began a conversation. What sparked the conversation? To tell you the truth, I can’t remember. But as we were boarding we chatted away. And as I found my seat, he looked at his ticket and realized his seat was right next to mine. I said “Well, it was just meant to be.”

 

People would say, “What a coincidence”. I say,“There is no such thing as a coincidences. Everything happens for a reason.”

 

For the 2-hour flight, we did not pause once. We talked about his family, his religion, his morals, and his job. We talked about my job, why I was traveling to Houston, my religion, and my future plans. We are different people, we have a different lifestyles and we are in different phases of life.

 

As the plane pulled into the gate and our conversation ended, we realized we will never see each other again. But what a joy it was to have a rich conversation and hear about someone else’s life experiences.  All this happened because we both extended ourselves and we were open for conversations. We weren’t glued to our phones, as if our lives depended on it. We didn’t listen to music, to tune out the world. We were just people, creating conversation.

 

My challenge to you this week: extend yourself. Put yourself out there and be open for a conversation with a stranger. Who knows what could come of it!

 

Investing in Yourself

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to attend a seminar called Game Changers, hosted by C3 Church. The seminar challenged me to invest in myself, create goals and to never give up.

We often find ourselves running around, with a task list in our hands. Before you know it, it is time for bed. You ask yourself, “Where did the day go?” And sometimes that leads to, “Where did the month or year go?”

In all our craziness, how much time do we actually invest in ourselves? Do you find time to work on yourself, create your goals and evaluate where you are at and where you are going?

At times, I am guilty of being stagnant. It is easy to get into a routine and only look forward to the weekend. It is easy to not challenge yourself.

But instead of saying, “No, I didn’t invest in myself this month.” Let’s start saying, “YES, I made time for myself. I invested. I dreamt. I produced!”

Through the three-hour Game Changers seminar, I learned many tools that will help me invest in myself. Here are three examples:

 

All growth happens OUTSIDE the comfort zone.

–       Continue to challenge yourself. You don’t know where to begin? Here are some places to start

  • Sign up for a language class at your local community college
  • Join an adult sports league
  • Travel by yourself
  • Join a MeetUp in your area (www.meetup.com)
  • Go on a blind date
  • Try playing a new instrument

Create a Vision Board

–       Your Vision Board should include your dreams (dream job, where you want to live, where you want to travel, what you want to own). Get a blank cork board, search through magazines, cut out pictures, type out phrases and display your dreams on a board. Hang the board in a place where you see it EVERYDAY. You will be constantly reminded to aim for your dreams. (And trust me, you don’t have to be an artist to create one!!)

What you feed, is what you become

–       I am sure we have all heard the saying, “You are who you hang out with.” Well, it applies to our adult life too. Be aware of where you invest your time. Are you hanging around friends that lift you up and challenge you? Or do you hang with friends who empty your tank? Do you spend most of your time watching reality TV or are you reading? All your choices help shape you. The more positive things you feed into your life, the more positive outcomes will occur.

 

The most important thing we can do for ourselves is to invest in ourselves. Today or tomorrow, take time to reflect on where you are and where you want to go. Start believing in your dreams. Start pursuing those goals!

Habakkuk 2:3

 

 

Exactly What I Needed

Looking back on this month and a half, I can’t say it was a breeze but nor can I say it was an overwhelming challenge that was impossible. It was exactly what I needed, for so many reasons.

I needed this journey for the obvious fact that my quality of life was not where it could be. I maneuvered through these past months with a huge health burden. I was weighed down physically and mentally.

But I also needed this journey to be fully connected with Christ like I never have before. When it comes to my health, I have little faith in God.  Instead of trusting, I would worry. I would worry about my future and I would try to hold my life’s plan so close to me. But what I found out is that worrying does nothing…NOTHING (What a concept ehh?!?!). With much prayer and time with Christ, I began to let go.

Coming to the point of letting go completely is so freeing. Because I realized that my worrying wasn’t going to make the surgeons hand more steady, it wasn’t going to make the anesthesiologist give me the right amount of medicine, it wasn’t going to make the x-ray technician capture the best image and it wasn’t going to help my body heal faster or better.

So when I faced my health again and  walked into the operating room and laid down on the table, bright lights above me, I was confident in God’s plan for my health for the first time. I didn’t have to convince myself that everything was going to be okay. I had faith that whatever was going to unfold was a part of his big plan, no matter how great or how grave the results would be.

With my restored health, I owe all glory to Christ for providing me with a tremendous cardiology team, a family that goes to the moon and back for me, friends that know exactly how to be there for me and for all the prayers.

I write to you today with a new lease on life. I write to you with confidence in my future but not wanting to suffocate God’s plan for me. I write to you today because I hope that in your journey, you realize that your battle is never too great for you. Be encouraged that overcoming battles  allows us to persevere and in turn, strengthen our character (Romans 5:3-5).

Hugs

Just Hours Away

The day is just hours away.

Many have asked me, “How are you feeling about the surgery?” and many would assume that I would be nervous and scared.

In life, we all face a battle. Your battle could be losing a parent, marital issues, physical disability, financial burdens or an unexpected trial.  We can’t control which battles are given to us. But what we can control is how we handle them. We get to decide how we react and how much it will affect our life.

With my health battle, I have chosen to grab a hold of it and run beside it.  My battle keeps me humbled. It gives me tenacity to try new things. It gives me hope that there is more work for me to do on earth.

In dealing with your battle, are you going to let it define you or refine you? 

So, to answer the question, NO! I am not nervous about tomorrow. I will come out refined and ready to take on the world!

 

Tomorrow’s plan

Check in: 6:00am

Start of Procedure: 7:30am

Duration of Procedure: 1.5 + hours

 

Plans for Procedure: They will be placing a new pacemaker near my left shoulder. I will also be getting new leads (the “wire” that connects to the heart and back to the pacemaker).  My incision will be minimal but it will be another scar and another story to tell.

 

Recovery time: I will be in the hospital overnight. I will be given high doses of antibiotics, through an IV, to prevent any infections. After I am discharged from the hospital, I will be laying low for a week, with little to no physical activity.

 

I am truly thankful that they were able to discover a large amount of heart healthy tissue through my last heart catheterization. Because of this great news, tomorrow’s procedure will be less invasive and less risky. But, in any case, it is still an operation that has risks.

 

The next time I write, I will be on the road to recovery. How exciting is that?!?!

Not Alone

Meet Mike Watson.

He is 28 years old, has a twin brother and was born and raised in sunny San Diego. From the outside, Mike seems like a normal young man. But if you get to know him, you will find out that he was diagnosed with Congenital Heart Disease (CHD) minutes after he was born.

Mike and I met a few years back at a Congenital Heart Disease support group for families. We were asked to share our stories with parents who have or will be having a child with CHD. As adult CHD survivors, we were able to give insight and hope to parents. But in turn, we were also humbled to hear the stories of other CHD kids and survivors.

After meeting each other, I think it is safe to say that we felt comforted knowing that we are not alone. In times of fear and frustration, Mike has been my sounding board. I am truly grateful for his friendship and his ability to relate to all who have CHD.

Check out his story below!

Meet Mike Watson