DFW to MSP and Three Seasons of Life

As I was waiting to board my flight in Dallas, across from me sat two children with their grandma. I could tell they were talking about me. They were wondering why I used the seat next to me as a placeholder for my bag. I became a little agitated. Why would they talk about that? I just purchased a new workbag and I wasn’t about to introduce it to the airport floor. I was quick to judge them and made my own statements in my mind, knowing I would never see them again.
As I boarded the plane, I sat down comfortably in the aisle seat. Moments later, an elderly woman disturbed my relaxation and told me her seat was next to mine. I tell you, sometimes the little things bother me (I need to work on that 😉 ).
And moments later the little kid, who was sitting across from me waiting to board the plane, was the final addition to our row. Wonderful!
We all began to chat as if we have known each other for years (judgement failed…lesson one. STOP judging people). This little boy was 11 years old and he was so articulate. I promise you he will be the next big time CEO. He is an intelligent young boy. He knew everything about iPads, Nooks, technology, etc. I was blown away by his ability to engage with a 24 year old and an 80 year old.
As I looked at our row, I realized we represented the seasons of life. Here I was, a young 24-year-old woman just starting her career. Two seats from me was a little boy. His whole life is ahead of him. And next to me was an 80-year-old woman who has been through all the seasons we have yet to experience.
What inspired me about this elderly woman is that she was just as sharp as this young boy. I was blown away when she told me she was 80. She was spunky and full of life.
I asked, “Why are you traveling to Minnesota?”
She responded, “I am visiting my elementary school friends.”
My jaw dropped. I don’t have anyone from elementary school who I am still close with today. I may see them ever so often but I do not have a relationship with them.
I was curious on how she was able to stay so sharp. Of course, I had to know the secret…and she shared.
She explained to me that she never stopped dreaming. She always tried new things and didn’t retire until she was well into her 70’s. She attends community college and believes in the power of education. She gets lost in books and still socializes. She lives on the fifth floor of an apartment. She has a dog that she walks four times a day and she doesn’t take the elevator. She walks! Walking has been a big part of her life and that is one of the reasons she thinks she is able to be as active as she is today.
This is the true beauty of life. Christ has given each human the ability to experience all of what life has to offer. I have always pushed myself. I constantly create new goals for myself. I never want to be stagnant. And after seeing how vibrant this woman’s life is, I am even more certain that Christ wants us to ALWAYS be growing.
Today, I challenge you to create a new goal. Do something that you have always said you would do. Read a new book. Put on those dusty running shoes and take a walk along the beach. Volunteer at a homeless shelter. Pick up the phone and forgive the person who recently hurt you. Be who Christ has called you to be. Have a life filled with an intentional purpose.

Coincidence? Think Again

I have just ONE wisdom tooth that decided to make an appearance. I discovered its existence a while back but had no need to go through a procedure. But now, it is beginning to affect my 2000 dollar smile (my second home was the orthodontics when I was a teenager, literally).
As I was on my way to my appointment this afternoon, I looked at the clock and realized I was going to be late. Instantly, my anxiety level rose. If you have been around me long enough, you would know that I am a stickler when it comes to time. I am always on time, if not early, to events, work, meetings, etc. But for some reason, I got caught up in the office.
Not knowing how to get to my appointment and running late is NOT a good combination. As I was speeding, yes speeding, and listening to my GPS, I called the receptionist and notified her of my tardiness.
I quickly pulled into the parking lot and made my way to the office. Usually when I stress out about running late, I get in this frenzy and I am not very calm or welcoming. But for whatever reason, I walked in calm and friendly. I started chatting it up with the receptionist and was making the x-ray technician my new best friend.
I sat in the exam room for a few moments until the oral surgeon arrived. At first glance, he looked exhausted.
We introduced ourselves, the usual handshake, with a brief description of my wisdom tooth and what needs to be done. He explained to me my tooth was in a good position and it would not be necessary for me to go under full sedation. But he said, “there is one thing we need to clear before we begin.”
Of course, it was my Coumadin.
My condition enters into every part of my life. Nothing is private for me, in that regard.
He asked me the purpose for me being on Coumadin. I began to explain that I have a congenital heart condition and that I have had several open heart procedures. His eyes lit up, which I thought was odd.
He began telling me one of his 5-month-old baby twin had heart surgery recently. Then my eyes lit up!
I paused and asked him if his son’s surgery was done at Children’s Hospital.
He said, “Yes!” I knew exactly what this meant.
“Was your son’s surgeon Dr. Smith (for privacy purpose I wont mention the surgeons real name)?”
“Yes!”
Both of us smiled.When you meet someone with a similar heart condition as you, there is this instant bond. You share something so deep, that many people will never understand.
I began to tell him that Dr. Smith has preformed all three of my surgeries. We continued to discuss his son’s condition and how they didn’t know if he was going to make it through his first surgery.
My heart felt for this man and his family. The uncertainties he is facing and the depth of his pain can’t be measured.
Some people would call it a coincidence, my oral surgeon’s son having the same cardiac surgeon as mine. I call it God’s divine way. I don’t believe that things just happen for a reason. I truly believe God knows all and puts you in certain situations for a reason.
Today, God allowed me to encourage a man who was searching for hope. We had a great conversation about what he can look forward to with his son. We talked about resources for support and how to raise his son. Instead of feeling uncertain and scared, he saw a glimpse into his son’s future, which can be SO bright.
I am sharing this with you today, not to boast about what I did but to tell you that God can use YOU, no matter where you are in your walk. My last blog discussed my struggles and how I recently let go of something that wasn’t right for me. I have been in a state of confusion and frustration but that doesn’t stop God’s plan from happening. He can use anyone at any moment. We just have to be willing!
I may not always smile about my condition but times like these make me realize how great our God is. It makes me wonder why I ever doubt his greatness.

Producing Fruit

 

Have you ever sat back, examined your life and realized “oh geez, maybe I should rethink some things.”
I have been in this constant frenzy of trying to fit a square peg into a round hole. I have been in such a hurry to make things work, that instead of feeling at ease, I am in a constant stage of restlessness.
(Okay…I have to warn you, this blog may be getting personal =) )
No one wants to be restless. We hope that our lives are calm, with the occasional unexpected turmoil. But lately I have been investing in things that aren’t what God intends for me.
Now, you worry warts…please don’t go to the dark side when I write about wrong investments. These investments aren’t entirely bad, they are just not producing fruit in my life.
I had a conversation the other day with one of my roommates. I opened up to her about everything that I have been going through. She made a statement that has stuck with me and today I finally implemented it.
She said, “Are the things and people that you are investing in, producing fruit in your life or turmoil and frustration? If they are not producing fruit, why are you holding onto them?” (Something along those lines. Don’t quote me! I don’t have the best memory).
Totally taken back.
What stuck with me was, producing fruit. I examined my life and the things that I am putting all my focus in. Are they producing any fruit or are they rotting some areas of my life?
I knew the answer instantly. I knew what God was calling me to do. He was calling me to LET GO! Let go, breath, and trust.
Today, I let go. I feel a sense of relief but I am also scared. I am scared because this has been my norm for over a year. And now, I have to fully rely on God and not my past investment. By holding on to a certain way, I was not producing fruit. I was wasting my time and not allowing God to use my time the way he wanted to.
I want to challenge you, the same way my roommate challenged me. Are the areas in your life, where you are investing all your energy and time, producing fruit or causing turmoil and agony? If you answered with turmoil and agony, ask yourself, why are you investing and what would happen if you let go and trust God?
It is not easy…I know. And if you are not ready to let go, that is okay too. Continue to seek God’s guidance and know that he is always there, full of grace.

One Simple Statement

 

I never understood the saying, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
There are moments in my life where I distinctly remember what was said to me and those words DID hurt. Not only did they hurt, they have also stuck by me all these years.
When I was 16 years old, I worked at Pat and Oscars Restaurant. It was my very first job and I was so eager to do everything right. However, some people never took me seriously. After all, I was standing at a great height of 4 foot 10 inches. I remember one day it was raining (such a foreign thing in San Diego) and an old man slowly made his way to the cash register. I greeted him with my usually smile and Pat and Oscars greeting. Before he even began ordering he said, “You know, they should sprinkle soil on top of your head and set you outside in the rain so you can grow.” This old man thought he was HILARIOUS. I chuckled along with him, while my heart sank.
That was said to me 8 years ago and I am still able to vividly recall that moment. His words were painful. This man exposed my deepest insecurity, my height.
But just as much as words can hurt, words can heal and bring hope.
This past Thursday was the last day of the school year. It is crazy to think that I have been with my students for six months. I have loved every second of my job but at times, I do get overwhelmed. But on that last day, one of my students came into my office and gave me a huge hug. He said, “Thank you so much for everything. This is the first year that I actually liked school and I am going to miss you over summer.” Tears of pure joy started to well up. Those words made all my long days at work worth every moment.
You see, his words were just as impactful as the old mans words were. The difference is, is that my student’s words made my day and encouraged me. In the future, when I think back to my students statement, I will be encouraged and remember why I am called to work with students.
You ask, how can I make a difference in this world? How can I have an intentional purpose? Start by being intentional with your words. One simple statement can truly impact someone.
Having an intentional purpose isn’t about being famous or having a name like Mother Teresa. It is about doing what God has called us to do and be who he has called us to be.
Our words are a direct reflection of where our heart is. If you find yourself constantly complaining or being negative, chances are you are struggling internally. But when you are walking with Christ and your words begin to reflect a joyful heart,you are able to change people’s lives just by a simple statement of encouragement.

Failure Leads To…

Not complaining is HARDER than I thought…wait a second, did I just complain about not complaining.
This 30-day challenge seems to be impossible. I don’t want you to think that I am giving up. Nor do I want you to think that NOT complaining is NOT possible…
Did that even make sense?
What I want to share with you is something that I have learned from this challenge so far and quite interesting enough, it is a lesson that has been showing up in all areas of my life.
I can not change over night. You may be thinking, well duh! But hear me out. Have you ever sat in church and had that moment where everything made sense and you felt a rush of emotions, and then you raised your hand and thought, “wow, how have I never experienced this? Yes God, I will change for you.” But minutes later, you walk out of the sanctuary and reality hits, you haven’t changed. Yes, you realized your desire is there to change and your heart is starting to shift but the difficult part is moving towards that change. As you start to change you also begin to fail.
“FAIL? Lindsay, how is this post supposed to encourage me!” Keep reading.
Guess what? Failure leads to success. I feel God has been teaching me this lesson lately. I have failed more than usual lately and I have been getting down on myself about it. I have failed at NOT complaining, I have failed at work, I have failed in my friendships and I have failed in my past relationships. But as I sat in church today, my pastor spoke about how God has called us to serve and change the world. He spoke about Abraham Lincoln and his famous quote: “If you want to succeed, you have to fail to the top.”
I think we can all agree that Abraham Lincoln truly was a great president and changed civil rights forever. But what some people don’t know is that he failed MANY times. “He failed as a businessman – as a storekeeper. He failed as a farmer – he despised this work. He failed in his first attempt to obtain political office. When elected to the legislature he failed when he sought the office of speaker. He failed in his first attempt to go to Congress. He failed when he sought the appointment to the United States Land Office. He failed when he ran for the United States Senate. He failed when friends sought for him the nomination for the vice-presidency in 1856,” (1).
At that very moment, I began to look at failure as not a negative experience, but a positive one. Without all that failure, President Lincoln wouldn’t have changed America the way he did. Failure allows me to learn from my mistakes. And from my mistakes, I am able to change my ways and grow. And that’s exactly how people succeed. They fail and grow.
In this “NO COMPLAINING” challenge, I have failed countless times. But I am growing from my mistakes and it is now getting easier to identify when I complain or even when I am about to complain. I am becoming more aware about what I am saying.
Yes I have failed. But the beauty is, is that my failure will lead to success.
My hope for you is to realize that your failures do not have to be a negative experience. Take them and use them to build your character. Remember, “If you want to succeed, you have to fail to the top,” Abraham Lincoln.