This past Saturday I participated in an event near and dear to my heart. The Youth Commission in my city hosts a S.P.E.A.K. (Suicide Prevention Education Awareness and Knowledge) week each year and one of the events is a 5K walk, which was Saturday. Having been touched–and devastated–by suicide with a friend several years ago and again with my step-daughter almost nine years ago, the number of people who showed up to band together and walk for this cause made my heart swell with a kinship to others who have had to endure such a traumatic event in their lives.
Suicide leaves those left behind in its wake with so many questions. Did I fail? Was it my fault? Should I have seen it coming? Could I have seen it coming? Could I have done something to stop it?
It also leaves us with so many “What if’s.” What if I would only have answered that one phone call. What if I would have followed my gut and made that one last follow-up visit to check in. What if I did/said something that triggered it. What if s/he had wanted to open up to me and I wasn’t emotionally available. What if…
The fact is that all the questions and the what if’s will not bring someone back. The day I was finally able to release all of those questions to God, the healing was able to truly begin. And it was important to me to know that healing does not mean forgetting. To me, healing is the ability to be able to let the guilt go and use the experience to help others. To bring awareness to a tragedy that brings so many people to their knees.
And it was when I was on my knees with grief that I was able to find God. Right beside me, holding me up from falling onto my behind.
Our guardian angel, shining bright.
Letting those balloons fly high into the sky, each with the name of a loved one written on it, watching until they were no more, was beautiful and symbolic to letting our loved ones fly to the heavens. As the balloons disappeared from sight, we knew they were still there. Just as our loved ones disappeared from our sight, we know they are still there. And I found such comfort in that.
I created a new page on my blog for those wishing to participate, to write prayer requests, for me and anyone who reads the page. If you want to request prayer for someone you know who’s going through a difficult time, emotionally or physically, or would like to request prayer for yourself, it’s an open place to ask.
“For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.” Matthew 18:20 (NASB)
Nothing is too small or insignificant to ask for prayer. Whether there is someone in your family who is ill or experiencing a time of grief, if you are feeling in need of strength or serenity, or simply in need of inspiration for your next book/article/essay…
“Therefore I say to you, all things for which you pray and ask, believe that you have received them, and they will be granted you.” Mark 11:24 (NASB)
It’s my belief that unanswered prayers aren’t the same as unheard prayers. I believe God hears all, but chooses to answer according to the complete picture that only He can see, and according to what’s in our best interest. I’m extremely grateful He didn’t answer all my prayers the way I wanted Him to. Yikes! I wouldn’t be in a very good place right now.
If you choose to participate, feel free to leave your name by your prayer request, or not. It’s completely up to you. All prayer requests will remain on the page so those who listed requests can re-visit from time to time as a reminder of how their prayers were answered.
My Top Ten:
10.) Always follow the golden rule–Treat others as you would like to be treated.
9.) Be what you want to be, not what someone else wants you to be.
8.) It’s okay to hate the sin, but love the sinner. We are all, every one of us, sinners.
7.) True happiness isn’t found in external events but from internal peace and acceptance.
6.) The people who are hardest to love are the ones who need your love the most.
5.) Every morning upon waking say “thank you.” It sets the stage for the rest of the day.
4.) If you want to write, write. If you don’t, don’t. Be true to the desires of your heart.
3.) Your thoughts are your reality. Make your reality a place you like to be.
2.) Live every day as if it’s your last, because it just may be. Tomorrow is not guaranteed.
1.) No matter what’s going on around you or in your life, always love. And never pass up the opportunity to tell your loved ones you love them.
I would love to hear what some of your greatest life lessons have been.
I was so grateful to stumble upon the website Insecure Writers Support Group. Realizing I wasn’t the only insecure writer on earth was such a relief. Somehow, knowing I’m not alone in the sea of insecurity helps rid me of the albatross that at times makes me feel like a fraud, certain that everyone else is better at writing, at creating, at word combinations…
Why is it so natural to compare oneself to another? To allow ones self-worth to be defined by what someone else accomplishes?
I have learned through the years, however, that when I’m feeling that obnoxious, uncomfortable stirring in the pit of my belly, I’m usually taking my writing and myself too seriously. Writing is something I love to do more than almost anything else, but when I’m wound up in knots over whether I’m “good enough,” it sucks the enjoyment right out of it. Besides, I’ve begun to ask myself, “Good enough for what? For whom?”
How good my writing is–or isn’t–is not what defines who I am, and that’s a burden lifted. I am a mother, wife, grandmother, child of God, and yes, I am a writer (I love those words! 🙂 ). Those roles combined make up who I am. And with that I’m more than okay. In fact I’m happy, content, at peace.
If you haven’t visited the Insecure Writers Support Group website, I would highly encourage you to do so. It contains a wealth of information and resources. And who among us couldn’t grow from that?
In the comments, please share your favorite writing website.
So I couldn’t decide to post on forgiveness or faithfulness, because both are critical for me to live a joyful, successful life. Faithful, however, seems to jive with my theme a little better for the A to Zing fun, so Faithful it is.
Dictionary.com defines “Faithful” as such:
[feyth-fuhl] Show IPA
1. strict or thorough in the performance of duty: a faithful worker.
2. true to one’s word, promises, vows, etc.
3. steady in allegiance or affection; loyal; constant: faithful friends.
4. reliable, trusted, or believed.
5. adhering or true to fact, a standard, or an original; accurate: a faithful account; a faithful copy.
“Faith” is a trust or belief in something that is not based on proof. The Bible says in Hebrews 11:1 (NIV), “Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”
I think it would be fair to say that most people connect faith with Christianity. In that way, faith is what I live by. It is of all-importance to me. Without faith, I would have nothing.
But “Faithfulness” encompasses such a wider breadth of meaning.
Being faithful to someone is what makes a successful relationship.
Being faithful to one’s beliefs is what gives life its meaning.
Being faithful to my writing is what makes me so incredibly happy and feel successful. Writing is what sets my mind and heart free to explore the unknown. It’s what sorts out the complications life brings, helping them to make sense. Or at the very least, to better cope with them. It’s sticking with it, through good times and bad, in sickness and in health…
And it’s believing that after the storm of rejections and insecurities will come the calm and serenity that can only be felt by weathering the storm and not quitting.
Being faithful is not giving up. Ever. No matter what.
Today I will strive to be faithful to my loved ones, my God, and my writing.
“I’m writing a first draft and reminding myself that I’m simply shoveling sand into a box so that later I can build castles.”
― Shannon Hale
That four letter word that I actually enjoy. It’s the editing phase that teaches me the most about being a better writer and a better person. It’s the refining process that turns tarnished metal into gold.
When my stepdaughter was an elementary teacher, she took a writing class for needed earned credits. In that class the instructor told the participants never to use red ink when correcting papers because it was too harsh. They were told to use any color but red.
That got me thinking how far back it is ingrained in kids to fear the correction–or editing–process, and how it frequently carries into adulthood.
I read about a process called story editing in which small changes in one’s own life stories and memories help with emotional health. My bet is it doesn’t use a red pen. It includes making small changes in how one interprets life events, and essentially taking control over that which once controlled you.
Today I will wear red, as a color of power rather than dread and fear, and I will rewrite–and edit–the color for what it is. Vibrant and beautiful! 🙂
One of my favorite keys on my computer? That tiny little delete key.
My biggest enemy on my computer? That darn huge delete key!
I love the delete key when I type something in error, or when I change my mind on what I’ve written. Keeping the delete key depressed and watching the words quickly disappear is a simple thrill.
However, I’ve also been on the opposite end, accidentally depressing the delete key, erasing a brilliant thought or musing–okay, maybe not so brilliant, but something I wanted to keep, nonetheless. And then the only thing I wish I could delete were the words all too quick to come from the same mouth with which I strive to praise God.
The “key” is being mindful of my actions and my words. To delete that which is intended to be deleted, and to not allow what cannot be deleted.
When my kids were young I used to teach them that words are like toothpaste–once it’s out of the tube, no matter how hard you try, there’s no getting it back into the tube. Once words are “out there,” there’s no taking them back or erasing them. Unless, of course, I accidentally delete them and then I can’t remember them for the life of me.
Today I strive to live mindful of my thoughts, words and actions, so the delete key function is not necessary.