Browsing Tag

relationships

Blog, Ebooks, Family, Friendship, Writing

True friends

Me and my BFF Maria

Me and my BFF Maria

“The most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart.”– Elisabeth Foley

In my blog on spring, A Chance at Life Again, I shared about my first children’s book that I’m writing, which should be launched in mid-March or late March 2020. It is about my and our daughter Leah’s black cats, Natalya (Nat) and Jax. The theme is friendship. 

Jax and Natalya

Jax and Natalya

I’ve never been the type of person to have tons of friends. Usually, I have anywhere from two to 10 close friends, with whom there is a depth of relationship, instead of having a lot of friends, where the relationships are shallow and even superficial.

In high school, there were cliques. Depending on your looks, clothes, type of car you owned, class grades, your family’s economic status, and more ridiculous things, the cliques were:

    • the “popular” group (usually rich, good-looking people who everyone wanted to be friends with);
    • nerds (intelligent students in the accelerated learning classes, and sometimes the popular kids were in this group, too);
    • jocks (students who played football or basketball, wrestled, were on the gymnastics team, and/or who participated in other sports and were good at them–they were often in the popular clique, too);
    • druggies (kids who usually smoked cigarettes and/or pot, drank alcohol, and/or took other drugs. Some of the popular kids indulged in drinking and drugs, and would have parties);
    • others who didn’t fit into any of the above cliques.  Painfully shy and socially awkward, I was in this group, often eating my lunch alone. It was a difficult, lonely time. As I matured and grew older, I learned better social skills and began developing close friendships. Today my friends are a vital part of my life, and I love them so much! You know who you are!

     

    I believe that Jesus’ ministry time here on earth exemplifies the types of relationships we can have with others:

  • The crowds of people whom Jesus taught. This would be similar to your and my Facebook “friends,” who are really more acquaintances (or even strangers we don’t know), our social media “peeps,” audiences where we speak, readers of our books and our blogs, etc.
  • Jesus’ disciples. These included men and women who followed Him more closely. These would be friends who we start to spend more fun time with, such as having over for dinner at our houses, doing a Bible study with at church or in our homes, etc.
  • Jesus’ 12 disciples. Your friends who you begin to confide in, asking prayer requests from (I have a team of intercessors who pray for me and my family), hang out with for a bbq and a movie at your house, people who are aware of the more personal details of your lives, whom you can really trust. Jesus chose these 12 men after all night in prayer, so they would spend time with Him, to preach, and to cast out demons. They would later spread the gospel throughout the world. These would be like my friends Liz, Ruth, Gala, Susan, Jane, Stephanie, and Dana.
  • The inner circle of 3, Peter, James, and John.  They are always listed first in the Biblical record whenever the apostles are listed by name. Peter along with his brother Andrew, along with James and his brother John, were the first set of disciples called by Jesus to follow Him. These three were the only disciples to witness the raising of Jairus’ daughter from the dead (Mark 5:37-42; Luke 8:50-55); Christ’s Transfiguration on the Mount (Matthew 17:1-2); and Jesus travailing in prayer at the Garden of Gethsemane, before He was crucified (Matthew 26:36-39; Mark 14:32-36).  Jeff Atchinson said, “the Perfect Leader, Jesus, showed us the importance of narrowing in on a smaller circle for the highest degree of intimate training.” These would be like your best friends, who you’d trust with your very life. You know they  are loyal and they always have your back! These are usually people who, even if you go separate ways (such as moving), you can always pick right back up where you were the last time you saw each other, such as my friends Shelley Valasek and Kim Weber.
  • John who lay on Jesus’ breast, hearing His heartbeat. This is your very best friend. For me, that would be my daughters and my sister Maria. These are the ones I laugh with and cry with. They really know me–and love me anyway! My sister and I talk about everything, and we understand each other so well (we both have the same kind of warped humor!). 

Sometimes we meet people who are definitely not and will never be our friends. They simply rub us the wrong way, and/or vice versa. 

The Bible says in Romans 12:18 NASB, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men.”

I believe this passage indicates that sometimes it is not possible. I think this is often due to personality types. They (or you!) are bossy, manipulative, narcissistic, controlling, rude, hateful, arrogant, or have something about them that just irritates or angers you. Sometimes people rub you the wrong way and/or vice versa. You know the type: people with an attitude who you feel like just slapping, but you control yourself!

woman shooting bird

I’ve experienced this in my own life, even recently. There was a woman at a part-time job where I worked for a season who, for whatever reason, seemed to not like me at all and would get easily angry at me. I tried my best to be nice to her, but she’d storm out of the office, offended over what seemed to be little, ridiculous things. Sad to say, we never got along. I no longer work there, and I’m so glad that I don’t have to deal with her any more!

Not everyone is going to like you or get along with you, or you with them. We can try our best to walk in God’s agape, unconditional love and forgive, but you and that person may never become friends. 

Woman in jacket. Source: Unsplash

Woman in jacket
Source: Unsplash

However, sometimes it IS possible. My children’s book is about that hope. I’m praying to launch it soon.

If you aren’t already signed up on my website’s mailing list, be sure to sign up with your name and email address on the welcome page at the bottom of the page. You’ll also get my free video training for speakers and writers about sharing your heart’s message, when you do. 

I’m personally so thankful for the friends I do have. Like my salvation through Christ and my family, I consider them a precious gift from God. 

Me and my precious friend Shelley Valasek, at the fountains by Crowne Center, Kansas City, MO

Me and my precious friend Shelley Valasek, at the fountains by Crowne Center, Kansas City, MO

 

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Blog, Faith, Family, Featured, Fitness, Parenting, prayer, Stress

The waiting room

Leah in waiting room at her physical therapist’s office

Have you ever been in a hospital or doctor waiting room or in a line for a long time? It’s hard. I am there now. So is our beautiful, precious daughter Leah.

As you may have read, near Christmas 2019, Leah fell on ice and snow in her driveway at her rental home and it broke the fibula in her right ankle, which required surgery. It is not an easy, quick fix for the fibula to heal, especially after surgery. The surgeon put a heavy, thick, black boot on her ankle during surgery and ordered her to elevate her ankle most of the time and rest as much as possible. He said that she could not work or drive for at least 6 to 8 weeks, maybe longer. 

Leah's heavy black ankle boot

Leah’s heavy black ankle boot

Initially Leah stayed three weeks with Ray and me after her surgery for us to watch over her (Ray has been a paramedic over 30 years) and to help her by cooking meals, washing her laundry, dispensing her pain medication as needed, taking her to her post-surgery appointments, etc.  She’s now back at her house, recovering.

Leah at our house with her ankle elevated, pre-surgery

Leah at our house with her ankle elevated, pre-surgery

I still help her as much as I can, taking her to doctor and physical therapy appointments, running errands, etc. She is still in her heavy, black ankle boot and she still can’t drive or work.

But yesterday she accomplished a major milestone: Leah is now at 50% weight-bearing on her ankle. She is on her way to walking again! Leah is doing amazing! Praise You, JESUS!

Leah at physical therapy, at 50% weight-bearing on her ankle

 

Leah at physical therapy with her therapist Sam, who rocks!

Leah’s physical therapist Sam rocks! When Leah’s surgeon Dr. Carroll ordered physical therapist as part of her post-surgery treatment, I began praying for God to hand-pick her physical therapist and I truly believe He did! Sam is so nice, very knowledgeable, and funny. He makes Leah and me laugh with his quick wit.

He is a very positive person who speaks LIFE over her, for which I’m extremely thankful. I always agree with him out loud, “Yes!”, when he encourages her that she’ll be walking in no time and just fine!

“Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.” (Proverbs 18:21, ESV)

Leah on one crutch, using 50% weight-bearing on her ankle

 Yesterday Sam had Leah walk with both her crutches and then one crutch, using 50% weight-bearing on her right ankle, as she walked along the indoor sidewalk with parallel bars and around the inside of the clinic. This is not easy after you haven’t been walking for months.

Leah at physical therapy, 50% weight-bearing

One difficult thing is maintaining your balance. She didn’t want to fall over and then put all her weight on her broken ankle, as that could re-injure her. But she did great! She was so excited to reach this progress of 50% weight-bearing.

Two other exercises Sam taught her how to do to strengthen her ankle was squats, rising from a sitting position and putting 50% of the weight on her right ankle (about 15 repetitions at a time, to be done throughout the day). She also puts a blue, tied elastic band inside a door (closing it) and wraps the other end underneath her knee. Then she raises up her ankle/leg for 15 to 20 repetitions at a time, doing the exercises repeatedly during the day.

Sam showing Leah how to tie the elastic band to raise and lower her ankle

Leah doing “squats,” standing up from sitting position

Yesterday before her physical therapy appointment, Leah and I met my daughter Heather at Panera Bread for lunch. It was so good to see Heather, as she works full-time, takes care of her two daughters and her fiance Andy’s three kids, and is always busy. I was so happy to spend time with my beautiful, precious daughters!

My precious, beautiful daughters! Leah, Heather, and me at Panera Bread for lunch

The broccoli cheddar soup and 1/2 turkey-bacon-avocado sandwich I ordered was delicious! Leah and Heather also ordered the “Pick 2” option. Heather ordered the Turkey Bravo sandwich and potato soup, and Leah ordered the steak and cheddar sandwich with mac & cheese. 

Delicious Panera Bread lunch

This week at Heather’s workplace (a convenience store), an armed man barricaded himself in the bathroom. Thank God that Heather had already left work two hours earlier, and no one was hurt in the incident. The man had intended to hang himself in the bathroom, but I think he may have had plans to shoot people first. The police managed to get the assistant manager and all the employees safely out of the store, and took the man into police custody. This is WHY I pray the blood of Jesus over me and my family every day!

Pray the blood of Jesus over you & loved ones daily

As we chatted, Leah talked about the annoyance of her numerous attempts to get state or federal government assistance for her rent, utility bills, food, and medical bills. The government websites are difficult to navigate and confusing. When you call the phone number, you’re on hold for sometimes half an hour or longer. Leah has already received one denial for assistance, even though she’s physically unable to work (on her surgeon’s orders), and has run into obstacles trying to contact other agencies. I’m praying God intervenes in her situation. He will provide for her!

I told Heather that I feel Leah is trying to rush the process of healing her ankle and is being impatient. She really wants her boot off (she has to wear it 8 to 10 weeks post-surgery to protect it) and to drive and to work again. Heather laughed when I said that I understand Leah is tired of her mom “toting” her around, as she puts it.

The waiting room is a difficult place to be. Yet how often God has us in that place to grow our faith in the dark and to teach us to trust totally in Him. 

Leah and Heather.
Leah feels impatient.

I know Leah is tired of using her little green “knee walker” scooter (which I think is an incredible invention! It has helped her to get around so much easier than her crutches!), as well as the crutches. I know she wants to work and drive on her own, and to do the things she’s used to doing. I’ve encouraged her that this is just for a season, God is going to heal her, and she will soon be walking again. Please continue to pray for Leah’s complete, speedy healing. 

Leah at Hobby Lobby on her green scooter

I know it’s hard for Leah. There are things that I am waiting on in my own life. Things I’ve prayed for years and I’ve been waiting a long time. I have felt impatient, too, and at times I’ve been very discouraged that it seems to be taking so long. God’s timing is not like ours. You wonder if your prayers are bouncing off the ceiling and if God even hears your prayers. He does. Don’t give up! Keep the faith in Him and continue praying to God. You will soon see victory through faith in Jesus!

me & our precious daughter Leah at Jose Pepper’s restaurant having lunch

*******

Are you in the waiting room? Don’t quit praying. God loves you and He hears your prayers, and will answer. Check out my book on prayer, Walking With God, available for sale at Amazon here.

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Faith, Family, Marriage, Parenting, prayer

Don’t wallow

Yesterday my  husband Ray and I were having a conversation about a relative who has basically gone “no contact” with our entire family, out of hurt and offenses. Although we have done our best to make amends with this person, and to ask forgiveness for any wrongs committed, relationships remain strained. My fervent prayer (daily) is for reconciliation.

I was sharing with Ray how deeply hurt I am over the situation, and Ray’s frustrated response was, “I know it hurts. This hurts me, too. But we can’t wallow in the hurt, Beth! We can’t stay there for the rest of our lives. We need a future!”

hurting woman

hurting woman
Source: Psychology Today

I knew Ray was speaking the truth. His word wallow bothered me a lot. The definition of “wallow” is:

  • to roll oneself about in a lazy, relaxed manner (like a pig wallowing in the mud);
  • to take unrestrained pleasure in something (like silk sheets);
  • to become abundantly supplied (like a family wallowing in sudden wealth);
  • to indulge oneself immoderately (like wallowing in self-pity);
  • to become or remain helpless.

No, I don’t want to be a victim, wallowing in hurt, anger, and self-pity! I want to be free in Christ. Jesus died for this freedom and for me and those I love to have an abundant life!

rhinoceros wallowing in muddy waterhole

rhinoceros wallowing in muddy waterhole
Source: wildlife-pictures-online.com

Pigs, hippopotamuses, elephants, rhinoceroses, warthogs, and bison instinctively wallow in dirt, mud, snow, or water. They do this for temperature regulation, parasite removal, and sun protection (their skin can get sunburned). They may also rub their scent glands around wallowing areas, possibly to mark their territory.

But as humans, our protection is in God. We can’t control what other people do or don’t do. But we can be responsible for ourselves and our own growth. We don’t have to stay stuck in the devastating hurt, or anger, or confusion. We don’t need to wallow in anything. 

She did not do wallowing

The name of the Lord is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe.” (Proverbs 18:10)

“For it is He who delivers you from the snare of the trapper
And from the deadly pestilence.
He will cover you with His pinions,
And under His wings you may seek refuge;
His faithfulness is a shield and bulwark.

You will not be afraid of the terror by night,
Or of the arrow that flies by day;
Of the pestilence that stalks in darkness,
Or of the destruction that lays waste at noon.” (Psalm 91:3-6, NASB)

In the article, Sitting with your stuff vs. wallowing, Coach Kate Swoboda writes that “wallow” conjures up images of being stuck, hopeless, sad or defeated, and “perhaps even a little pissed,” yet being a total victim and doing very little about making any changes whatsoever.

It’s like you being seated on a plane to fly to your eagerly-anticipated vacation destination, but the plane is still sitting on the tarmac, going nowhere. Or you sitting on a train, yet the train is not moving on the rails.

It’s important not to avoid your “stuff,” since whatever you repress just gets stronger. But blowing up at whoever you’re upset with and telling him or her exactly what you think might not be wise, either.

My story

Kate says the difference between “sitting with your stuff” versus “wallowing” is in the Story. Some stories, like people are generally full of good intentions and do their best, serve you.

But a story that people are just mean and selfish doesn’t serve you well. In these situations where you believe that people are always mean, you might think, “Why does this always happen to me? My life feels like it will never change. It never works out.” You are, yes, wallowing!

In the first story, sitting with your stuff instead of wallowing, you might think, “I don’t like how this feels. I’m so sad. Yet this where I’m at right now. This really sucks. But it won’t last forever.”

Kate encourages us to make space for the parts that make us human (where we might be inclined to wallow, i.e., the emotional pain), but not let it define us. And as my husband Ray said, to not let it be our future.

I personally believe forgiveness is a large part of not letting hurts define us. Forgiveness takes time, God’s power, and our will. It is not an easy or quick fix, but necessary for spiritual growth and maturity.

Understanding our true identity in Christ also helps set us free. No one and nothing else defines who we are: a royal daughter (or son) of the King!

The future

Are you wallowing about anything right now? I encourage you to bring it to God and let Him help heal you so that you can move forward with your life and God-designed purpose. One day at a time.

*******

A good resource to help you with this issue is Coffee with God: Starting Your Day Right With Prayer & The Bible. You can get this encouraging eBook at Amazon here.

Coffee With God eBook

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