Same Kind of Different…

I look at hearts for a living…Every day, I take an ultrasound probe and I look into people’s chests. I look at the blood flow through the valves and chambers. I assess size, shape, function, and Doppler velocities.

After 17 years, I’ve come to realize that when I’m looking at the screen, it doesn’t matter what the person looks like laying beside me. Our hearts are all designed the same. The person I’m scanning could be black, white, Asian, overweight, anorexic, 95 years old, 18 years old, Catholic, atheist, smoker, vegan, a millionaire, homeless, a cheater, or the cheated. I can’t tell by the way their heart looks on my screen.

If I was only looking at a case study on a screen or was scanning through a sheet, I could only guess what that person looks like or lives like. It could be the cardiologist who reads my tests, for all I know!

This got me thinking about the God we serve. He knit us together in our mother’s wombs. He created our hearts physically and spiritually…the same. To physically pump and fire in a certain way. To spiritually crave Him. To seek Him for satisfaction when the world fails us. To love others and to find our greatest joy in serving Him. So…we are the same.

Yet, this same God who created each one of us in His image also thrives on variety. He made us to look different, gifted us differently, walks us through different stories, gives us different passions and interests. He loves variety. So….we are different.

I look at hearts everyday, but I am so relieved that nobody knows my heart like the One who created it. He sees it, He sees me, and He loves me anyway. He supports and heals my heart. He inspires and strengthens my heart. He pushes it to share and He helps it to rest.

The next time you see someone who looks or acts differently than you, think about their heart beating in their chest, it looks like yours. And, it is loved like yours.

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My Love Story….

My love story will be different…It won’t be a “married to my high school sweetheart” story. It won’t be a “rocky marriage and reconciliation” story. It won’t be a “happily ever after right after divorce” story. No, my love story will be different.

My love story will be learning about how much God loves me, even in the midst of painful losses and rejections. My love story will be learning to love myself in the midst of them to0. Learning to love myself even when made to feel unlovable. Learning to love myself after being torn down to a nub by men in my life. Learning that not all men and women are the same….

Right after my divorce, I fell hard for a guy. He gave me more attention that I’d ever received from my ex-husband. We dated over a year, but he refused to commit. So, heartbroken again, I knew I had to stop the rollercoaster of not knowing what he wanted from me. Cue the next few guys who wanted to marry me after our first date. And some even before. What was going on?!?

First guy turned out to be on parole for double homicide (his wife and another guy)! Next two had mental issues, so much so, that suicide was mentioned after ending things. The fear of God set in. What was a single mom with two daughters to do?  Just stop? Or keep trying, trusting God. I chose the latter……My love story will be different.

The only way I could trust God with my romantic life after these stories was IF I loved Him enough and trusted His love for me. I can’t tell you how many times, I’ve cried out, thinking it won’t happen for me. It just can’t after these stories…The fear would be too great or the rug would be yanked out from under me, again.

I dated a guy who truly loved me, but we split over spiritual beliefs. I’ve dated a guy recommended by one of my best friends. I thought that he was my reward for standing up for my beliefs. That turned out to be false too and ever so painful and confusing all over again. What was going on?!?

The guy before has come back around. God spoke to his heart in my absence and it turns out our spiritual beliefs aren’t as different as we thought. Surprisingly, close. He knows all my fears, issues, and concerns. His love still rings true. God’s will be done.

My love story will be different….God will be my first love. My love story will be an open book of the love we share. I will run to Him when I hurt. I will lean on Him when I’m scared. I will share who He is to me. I will trust Him with my life. And, if it turns out that He just wants me all to Himself, my love story will be complete. I will live to please and honor Him all the days of my life.

 

 

You be You

you be you

Do you struggle with feeling like you’re too much or not enough? I sure do. Do I post too much? Do I write too much? Do I share too much? Do I care too much? Then, I think of what Jesus did for me and instead of reassurance, I’ll feel like I don’t do enough. I should share Him more. I should write more. I should reach out more. I should take more pictures. I should share more pictures. I could never care enough. I should visit my friends more. I should love more.

This “not enough/too much” syndrome is a silent peace stealer. It, once again, does all it can to steal our joy, kill our enthusiasm, and destroy our hope. Today, remind yourself who and Whose you are. Be thankful for who God made you to be. Be proud of how far you’ve come. Be grateful for who God has blessed you with. Be amazed by who Jesus is and what He’s done for you. And, rest in His love for you.

Let your joy come from Jesus, a place of unending, unfailing, unchanging love. Soak yourself in it and love others with it. Only when we feel it, can we share it. I’ve come to realize that I may not always feel peaceful, but I can still have peace in the truth that Jesus is with me. He sees me. He knows me. And, He will never leave me. There is peace to this truth. This truth may not always come with a warm fuzzy feeling, but the peace is in the truth. The faith that I have in Him.

When the enemy knocks on the door of your heart and tells you that you are not enough or too much just by being you, shut him down. Know that you are not alone. David struggled too with “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts.” Psalm 139:23 and praise Him “because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well“. Psalm 139:14. He may not have felt it, but He knew it.

We don’t always feel the love from those who love us. There are many times I don’t “feel” the love from my kids. Same goes for friends and family, but I trust that it’s there. I KNOW they love me. Sometimes, we just need to know. Same goes with the love of God, there are times I may not feel it and there are times I feel it so strongly that I’m high and euphoric from it. As fabulous as the highs are, the lows are when we need to know it. And, that takes faith. I thank God that mine has strengthened. He is with me in the highs and the lows.

We are all made differently. We have different gifts, preferences, interests, strengths, and weaknesses. We all need a Savior. We all need love. Celebrate with those who love you for you and guard your heart from those who don’t. We are ALL precious in His sight.

 

 

Raising Two Different People

sisters

My girls are almost exactly 5 years apart and just turned eight and three years old. The age difference is tough because they are into completely different things and, until now, couldn’t even carry on much of a conversation with each other. My oldest is extremely strong willed and my youngest is extremely sensitive. Competely different people! Just like so many other things in parenting, once you think you get it down, something changes.

I can relate more with my youngest’s personality. So, I “get” her actions and reactions more. But I’m also very aware of the struggles that come with heightened sensitivity and hope to build her courage, will, and sense of worth. My oldest appears to have no problem concerning self confidence, buy may need some sensitivity and gentleness training now and then. Lord, give me strength and patience.

I knew I had a strong willed child when my oldest was three.  I asked her numerous times to pick up her toys in the living room to no avail. I decided to get firm, surveyed what was on the floor, and told her that I would throw the ones she didn’t put away in the trash. She picked them up and threw them in the trash herself. She was THREE!!! What do you do with that? How on earth do I handle that strong will?? Lord, give me strength and patience.

My youngest is very sensitive. She’s a crier. Sometimes she still cries for absolutely no reason. It’s like it’s her native language….Lord, give me strength and patience.

Raising little ones doesn’t come with an instruction kit. The same discipline tactics may devastate one and not even faze the other. At least half the time I feel like I’m doing it wrong. But, I do LOVE my babies with all that I have. Their strong will and sensitivity are important parts of what make them who they are. It’s day in and day out, it’s hard, it’s humbling, it’s a daily lesson, it’s a precious gift. Lord, thank You for the strength and patience to raise two different people.