Updated: Feb 6, 2021
As I was scrolling through Facebook this evening, I saw a post written by Laura Riley. I’ll get back to her post shortly, but allow me a moment to rewind so you can understand how much I was blessed by what she posted.
I don’t know Laura very well, but her nephew is dating my daughter. One day he was talking about his aunt who needed an intensive surgery to repair a serious heart condition. I started praying for her and keeping up with her story. I’m so happy to report that several months later, she was finally able to have the surgery. In fact, she is recovering from it remarkably well even as I type this blog.
Having accumulated a mountain of medical bills myself through the years, I wanted to do something to help Laura and her family with some of the expenses related to her surgery. I decided I would sell masks and donate the profits to Joe, Laura, and Kadin. I am beyond grateful for the generous response from so many people who helped me make this a success!
As I was brainstorming ideas for the mask design, I did what any intelligent person does when they want to be overwhelmed with a million ideas...I googled!!! I searched for heart and love quotes, and oh my! I got results that ranged from Bible verses to lingerie ads! Somewhere in between, I saw a little quote that said, “In a world full of hate, be love.” THAT WAS IT! BE LOVE, I like that!
Now, let’s fast forward to me scrolling through Facebook and reading Laura’s post. She recently read a book (which is now next on my book list) entitled Girl, Wash Your Face by Rachel Hollis. Her post was about how she neglected her health for years because she was caught up in the rat race. I related to so many of the comments she made in her post.
In 2013, I was an overachiever and a perfectionist with the goal of becoming mom of the year, teacher of the year, and pastor’s wife of the year all at the same time. I was already preparing my speeches for the awards ceremonies!! 😝 What was my motivation??? I guess it was more money, more praise from others, more recognition for my accomplishments, more, more, more!!
Well, have you ever heard the phrase “less is more?” This is a truth I learned the hard way, and IT WAS ROUGH! It required a complete transformation of my thoughts, feelings, and goals. After having a stroke at a young age that literally stopped me in my tracks, I had two choices. I could either change my perspective and accept this truth, or I could be miserable all the time and make everyone around me miserable as well.
The perspective shift didn’t happen overnight. It started with a gut wrenching realization that where I am is nowhere close to where I had always dreamed of being. Let’s consider those awards I was trying to achieve.
mom of the year: Does the mom of the year lay on the couch or in the bed while her husband goes to the majority of the ballgames, practices, parent teacher conferences, and school events? Does she have to rely on others to drive her children everywhere because she can’t drive without getting incredibly dizzy and disoriented? Does she have to ask her children to help with EVERY single household task because she tires so easily and the room starts spinning every time she bends over to use a dustpan?
teacher of the year: Does the teacher of the year have a stroke in front of her classroom full of 5 year olds? Does she have to take disability retirement and leave the job she knew she was meant for ever since she was a little girl? Does she forget the names of former students because she’s doing good just to remember her own name some days?
pastor’s wife of the year: Does the pastor’s wife of the year miss more church services than she attends? Does she commit to help with events at the church and then have to back out of them at the last minute because she has a terrible headache? Does she cause her family to be late for church because getting ready to go any place is a huge hurdle?
Wow! I honestly didn’t intend to get that real with my feelings in this post. Maybe I should delete some of that, but I think I’ll leave it because all of the hurt is a huge part of the healing. Sometimes my posts seem too picture perfect and leave the impression that I am so good at handling the reality of my situation. I’M NOT! I cry on a regular basis. I worry that I’m neglecting my girls. I feel guilty when I can’t sleep, and my husband is in bed alone night after night. I dread going out in public because I’m afraid I will forget something or someone I should know. I get overwhelmed in crowds when there’s lots of noise and movement.
The ONLY way I can ever present the bright side is through the grace and love of God. I rely on His strength and peace every single day to help me be content with where I am. That is the final component of the perspective shift and the most challenging one for me. It has been almost eight years since the stroke; and even though I have learned so much, I still get off track. That’s when I have to stop, clear my head, and remember less truly is more!
I don’t have more money, more praise, and more accomplishments, but I do have more time to reflect, pray, and read the Bible. I do have more time to help others. I do have more meaningful relationships with my friends and family who love me just the way I am. Even though I will never officially be named mom, teacher, or pastor’s wife of the year, I will choose to focus on what I can do. I can be kind. I can be compassionate. I can BE LOVE!
Thank you, Laura, for making that post! It blessed and inspired me. As your heart is healing, so is mine!! 🥰