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It’s time I take my own advice.

It’s time I take my own advice.

Conviction.

For we know, brothers loved by God, that he has chosen you, because our gospel came to you not simply with words, but also with power, with the Holy Spirit and with deep conviction. You know how we lived among you for your sake. You became imitators of us and of the Lord; in spite of severe suffering, you welcomed the message with the joy given by the Holy Spirit. I Thessalonians 1: 4-6

Last week I wrote about MENTORING. While I have mentor/friends in my life and occasional coffee chats – informal accountability – I am not regularly mentoring anyone. I love the idea and am so thankful for my go-to mentors, but I haven’t actively pursued true mentoring. Anytime the topic of mentors comes up, I put it a little higher on my to-do list, but it quickly falls back down the priority list. “I’m comfortable with my walls. What if mentoring challenges me? It is definitely NOT in my comfort zone right now.” Those thoughts keep me from living what I preach.

Until Today.

Conviction stirred in my heart AFTER I posted that message. It’s time I take my own advice.

Today I am meeting with someone to discuss mentoring options for me. Will I be a mentor or a mentoree? Maybe both?

I. Am. So. Nervous.

The butterflies are battling it out deep inside me.

It’s time to live what I preach.

Building bridges often moves you out of your comfort zone.

Trapped on Train Tracks

Life feels like I’ve been railroaded.

If I turn around, I might see that chasing me.

I can…

A. Not blog for awhile

B. Post some of the blogs that are waiting in my drafts folder.

C. Get REAL.

Well, I hope you picked C, because that is what I’m going with.

I feel like a train is chasing me down and there’s no option but to just keep moving. Because giving up or jumping off is not an option. So I am trucking along. Wow, that sounds so dramatic. Nothing that dramatic is going on over here. (Will someone please inform my teens of that?) We are all relatively healthy and relatively happy. We have a job, food, roof, and a car. So why do I feel this way?

What’s going on?

Well, the doctor appointment was today. All is well. I’m so glad I didn’t spend all week worried because of my One New Thing. (those of you I emailed in a panic… don’t tell ‘k?) No really, I did spend more time praying than wringing my hands in worry.

And… the doctor appointment was today. There will be major changes around here – all in the name of good health and torturing the kids. More on that later… but first, here’s hint: a FAMILY One New Thing is coming up!

The other things are spiritual in nature. God keeps giving me things to think about. I feel like the same concepts are following me around. God is trying to tell me something. I’m just not getting it. Now I’m stuck on the train tracks until I get it. Just me, God, and lots to think about.

I think.

I pray.

I try.

I fail.

I keep trying.

…and failing…

….and trying…

because I know that He will not give me more than I can handle.

So I’ll keep building bridges… even when I fail.

Coffee, Tea, and Mentoring

Heads bowed in prayer and hearts united in honesty as two women embrace the teaching in the second book of Titus. Steam rises from their tea and coffee as their prayers reach the heavens. A Bible is open before them revealing these words:

Older women likewise are to be reverent in their behavior, not malicious gossips nor enslaved to much wine, teaching what is good, so that they may encourage the young women to love their husbands, to love their children, to be sensible, pure,workers at home, kind, being subject to their own husbands, so that the word of God will not be dishonored.

Life is often messy. Being a wife and mother is hard. Being a godly wife and mother is such a difficult task, we are not called to do it alone. 

Mentor. A phrase often thrown around – businesses provide programs for new employees, schools pair older students with younger ones to provide opportunities to learn leadership and relational skills, churches even have programs of mentorship. The concept is not a new one. It originated in Bible days with this passage.

Do you have a mentor? Does it follow the principles of Titus Two?

The importance of mentorship is found in Titus 2: 11-15.

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men. It teaches us to say “No” to ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age, while we wait for the blessed hope—the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all wickedness and to purify for himself a people that are his very own, eager to do what is good. These, then, are the things you should teach. Encourage and rebuke with all authority. Do not let anyone despise you.

It is not easy to follow the path and principles in Titus Two. Our society is filled with words that are sweet and dishonest in order to not offend as well as words that are quick to judge which often offend. The key is to live the principles, hope in Christ, and walk with others who will teach, encourage, and rebuke.

As the prayer ends and the coffee is cold, the women’s hearts are warm. Words difficult to hear were spoken. Words difficult to speak were received with hope.

Building bridges with mentors requires living and teaching in honesty – ready to encourage and rebuke.

Heroes

Today is a day to think about heroes.

I heard a stat on the radio that over 800 first responders have died since 9 – 11. Many are due to lung disorders and cancer. As I researched this, the numbers appear to be higher, closer to 1,000, as the number of 800 is actually from 2010.

I can’t help thinking – the tragedy of that day will never end.

I also wonder if this knowledge will keep people from responding in the future.

No, I don’t think so.

Those who rush head-long into dangerous situations are heroes. Hero’s do not let things like stats keep them from saving lives.

Am I a first responder? Do I step into a dangerous situation to lend a hand? No. I am not a hero to the world. But I am to my kids and my husband. I am their first responder. Maybe someday I will save the world. Right now, it’s just my family. But to me, they ARE the world.

A hero doesn’t just build bridges, hero’s save them.

*Remember the post about one of my hero’s? If you don’t remember, you can read about her here. There is an update that I haven’t yet posted, but if you follow me on facebook, you’ve heard about it. Instead of my words telling you about it, you can hear it in her words in the documentary Blind Judoka.*

Comfortable in Uncomfortable Skin

I want my kids to be comfortable in their skin. You know, comfortable with who they are AND comfortable BEing who they are.
Last week I shared with you my daughter’s camp experience my experience of my daughter’s camp experience. Being around other kids who share the same life struggles she does taught her a lesson I never will be able to. It’s a lesson I can’t really even put into words. The lesson of living life with someone who struggles with the same thing you do – seeing them for who they are and loving them, then turning that love on yourself and loving yourself with the same things you see in them. Whew! Even that explanation doesn’t begin to explain it. I told you I would follow that blog post with an explanation of her skin condition. So here it is –

My daughter has a condition called ichthyosis vulgaris. There are lots and lots of different disorders in the ichthyosis family. You can read about it here. FIRST (the logo above is theirs) is the only national nonprofit foundation in the United States dedicated to helping those affected by ichthyosis.
My daughter has a very, very mild form. In fact, I’ve only seen it fully show itself about five times and we were able to restore her skin that same day. We are very, very fortunate. As long as we follow the skin routine, she’s fine.

Not really.

She struggles that she has another something different (read this post to find out what that means). Her skin is not soft and smooth. It is painful. The lotion sometimes burns. The other lotion (the cheaper, easy to find lotion) doesn’t smell pleasant. Jeans are uncomfortable. I could go on and on with what she doesn’t like.

Even though her condition is manageable, she struggles with it.

She even asks God “WHY?”

(She has never done that with her birthmark.)

Ever since camp, she happily puts on her lotion without complaint. Thank you, Camp Dermadillo!!!

As her mom, I am so thankful. So thankful. So thankful!!!! That it is not a serious condition. My heart goes out to all of the friends I have met along the way who struggle with their ichthyosis conditions. She doesn’t see it that way yet – the whole gratitude thing. As long as I keep modeling it, she will get there. Right now, she thinks it’s a pretty big deal in her life. I feel that and I honor it. It is a big deal to her and it’s up to me to keep her comfortable in her uncomfortableness. Or at least do my best.

One thing that is the same for all of us, no matter what our something different or our level of disorder, we all want to know there is someone else. With the internet as wide reaching as it is today, there are groups out there for so many different issues. If YOU have a something different, find a group that gives you information and support you through your journey.

Building Bridges with others is recognizing we ALL have something different and finding how to support each other in our differences.

In another one of my parenting mistakes, I learned a powerful lesson. My daughter HATED to wear jeans. I made her anyway. She wanted to wear PJ pants to school and I just wouldn’t allow it and would force (by literally putting them on her myself) her to wear jeans. Read between the lines here and figure out that it must have been laundry day or the middle of winter when skirts weren’t appropriate and jeans were the only option besides PJ bottoms. So, the jeans went on. Then I started researching her skin disorder. Someone along the way mentioned jeans hurting. Someone else thought jeans eased their skin issues. Either way, I realized, if my daughter isn’t comfortable in jeans, don’t make her wear them. It’s that easy. I can help her level of comfort. If I’m ok with it, she’ll be ok with it. If I force her to fit a certain mold, the more uncomfortable she will be. So now, if you see her walking around town in PJ’s, you’ll know why.

Building Bridges is about being comfortable in your skin even if it’s uncomfortable and letting others be comfortable in their uncomfortable skin too.

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