Love first, ask questions later.

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Last fall I attended the Allume conference and was privileged to hear many amazing authors and speakers. I returned home from my trip with piles of books and pages of notes. But out of all of the amazing talent and famous names that graced the stage, there was an Iraqi High School teacher who has challenged the way I think about the world every day.

The Middle East feels so far removed from my every day life. It’s hard to identify with the struggles of a far off place I’ve only seen on the nightly news. But Nassir’s father changed my heart in 2 minutes and 46 seconds. It took 2 minutes and 46 seconds to move from apathy to concern. My heart broke at the 34-second mark of this video. I hope you will take a moment to watch.

“His Surgery Would Be Five Years Away”—A Father Shares His Story! from Preemptive Love on Vimeo.

I wept, missing my own daughter after having been on the road for weeks, and I wept for Nassir, his father, and the many children of Iraq who are struggling with very little hope of healing. I cried when I thought of the countless parents who feel powerless to help their children. Because of the use of chemical warfare in Iraq over the past three decades, heart defects affect roughly one in ten children. Although expensive in the U.S., children here at least have access to life-saving surgery.

Picture the landscape of Iraq: cities devastated by war upon war, large populations now running from ISIS. Many of the most skilled professionals left the country years ago for more opportunity. Hospitals are understaffed and under qualified to meet the surmounting needs of the people.

And that’s where Preemptive Love comes in. For less than $1,000, a child can receive a life-saving heart surgery. A tagline printed on Preemptive Love t-shirts explains their heart perfectly: Love first, ask questions later. It’s a beautiful motto for me to remember all day, every day. Love first, Ginger. Love first.

 

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Needless to say, I was touched and moved by the stories shared by the Preemptive Love Coalition. I couldn’t stop telling the stories of Nassir and other children like him. What would I do if my daughter had a life-threatening condition and no possible hope? Our small group from church determined that we wanted to take part in giving hope to Iraqi families.

 

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So we gathered our excess, picked a Saturday, and had a garage sale to benefit Preemptive Love. All proceeds benefited that one organization. We planned, advertised and THE PEOPLE CAME. (Hallelujah!) We had so much stuff, so much traffic, and so much craziness in one morning. It took time and effort, but the result, both in memories and monetarily, was completely worth it. I have a deeper connection, and a truer love for the people God has placed in our community. Serving alongside our small group served to connect our lives and unite our hearts in a new way.

 

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It was so encouraging to see friends, strangers, and neighbors all together in one space. In all, thanks to donations and sales, we raised roughly $1,900 and will help to fully fund two heart surgeries. Two lives. Two stories changed for good.

 

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Damaged hearts in Iraq broke my heart, but something else may tug at yours. I am deeply touched as I watch the world being remade, rather than undone, by acts of love. My friend Tanuja donates her time and energy to tutor and teach reading every Saturday in New York City. My friend Mary works tirelessly with the refugee population of Phoenix. My mother-in-law has volunteered every Monday for over two-decades at a homeless shelter. Countless friends have opened their homes and hearts through fostering and adoption. In such a dark world, your light is desperately needed.

Not every problem in this world has your name on it, but I guarantee you, something does. Someone needs your hands, your presence, and your generosity. How can you help mend the broken places? Sometimes writing a check is the answer, but sometimes, God is asking you to stand with your people and do the work. I cannot perform a heart surgery, but I can educate, promote, and stand in the gap.

So, what breaks your heart?

Following,

Ginger

 

P.S. THANK YOU to so many of you who have reached out with kind and generous encouragement over the past month. 2015 has been full of unexpected moments, but God continues to give grace each day. From the bottom of my heart, thank you!

P.P. S. With Joy BE retreat is ONE month away and we do have a spot left for you! There’s even a little scholarship waiting. If your heart just perked up, head here for more info and to message me. We want you here!

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Starting Fresh in 2014

 

“The object of a New Year is not that we should have a new year. It is that we should have a new soul and a new nose; new feet, a new backbone, new ears, and new eyes. Unless a particular man made New Year resolutions, he would make no resolutions. Unless a man starts afresh about things, he will certainly do nothing effective.”

– G. K. Chesterton

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Today I’m honored again to be blogging over at The Whaterever Girls about the process I utilize to set goals each year. I’ll admit that the steps waere a little more challenging this year for me personally, but I still went through each one. Find the full post HERE.

Next week I’m excited to talk books: my favs from 2013, what’s on my list for 2014, and I’m very much looking forward to hearing about what tops your list!

Happy Friday, Friends.

Following,
Ginger

Growing Forward in 2014

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Usually I am so jazzed to be making lots of lists this time of year, looking back and dreaming forward. I do have pages of notes full of lessons learned in 2013 and thoughts for 2014, but when I saw my friend’s pointed question at the top of my newsfeed, I couldn’t help but reevaluate my lists.

“What are you most excited about in 2014?”

I set my fingers on the keys and considered responding in various ways.

The deeply spiritual: experiencing God’s Grace.

The attempt at humor: showering daily.

The practical: sleep.

But my honest answer?

The first thought that came to mind when I read that question: a night away with my husband… next October.

I love Norah to the moon and back, but baby girl won’t take a bottle, thus making us fairly inseparable.  So call me crazy, but I’m looking forward to getting away, if even only for two days… next fall.

But if I step back and examine the goals I’m laying out for 2014 (here’s my process for creating goals), I can admit to not feeling a ton of excitement. Does that sound awful?

Let me rephrase.

The other night I was working through my goals and I began to feel very, very overwhelmed. Paralyzed, in fact.

The reality of my days has changed so much in the past year. I told my husband through tears that all of this goal-making was important, but it just didn’t seem feasible. I’m lucky if I do much more than keep my daughter and I fed, clean, and out of pajamas by noon. So when I keep seeing tweets and posts about goal-setting and BIG dreams for 2014, I can’t help but start to feel a little discouraged.

Are there seasons where we hang up our dreams for a while?

I don’t believe so. I think there are seasons where we simply need to think about our goals differently.

“Consider the lilies how they grow.” Luke 12:27

The whole point of making goals for the year is to foster growth. Even if a goal is about scaling back, I make that goal in order to grow. So yes, I make the goals and declarations (maybe not a 30 point manifesto or even 10 big hitters) but I claim something for 2014 in order to grow forward, to lean into the gospel.

“God doesn’t want us to give more, God wants us to give the best.” –Margaret Feinberg, Scouting the Divine

How can I give God the best this year?

How can I live out of joy, gratitude, and contentment rather than worry, stress, or anger?

How can I do less and yet experience more of what really matters?

My word for 2014 is INTENTIONAL. If I desire to see growth in all sorts of areas: social, family, career, physical, personal development, and spiritual – I must look at even the smallest moments with intentional eyes. Joy will come when I give thanks, when I notice, when I appreciate, when I acknowledge God’s hand each and every day.

I’m looking forward to 2014. I’m excited for the growth that’s coming.

Following,
Ginger

Dreams Awake

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I had the craziest dream last night. I can’t tell you all the details. Maybe if I kept a dream journal I would have more luck retelling my nighttime adventures. I have a few friends that keep those kind of detailed notes. My dreams never seem to convey anything other than fantasy, though. I’ve certainly prayed for dreams that give direction from the Lord, but I don’t think they’ve yet to come my way.

I like telling my husband my dreams, but his eyes tend to glaze over. “…And then I was on a bus with Brian Williams from NBC news when we stopped to go surfing, but there wasn’t any water.”

“That’s great, Babe. Thanks for telling me.”

Dreams while we sleep are entertaining, but the kind of dreams I want to pursue require wide and opened eyes.

“Our truest life is when we are in dreams awake.” -Henry David Thoreau

“Wake up, sleeper,
    rise from the dead,
    and Christ will shine on you.” 

Ephesians 5:14

More to come …

Following,
Ginger

For days when the dream feels too big.

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November 4, 2010 – Journal Entry

Father, I feel all tangled up inside and as disorganized as our bedroom. I am so thankful for this home, for my new husband, but I don’t know what I’m doing.

I keep saying that on Monday I will start writing a book, but I’m doubtful of my drive, my passion, and even my abilities. I see others trusting You in this FOR me – having faith – and it makes me want to at least try.

 

November 12, 2010 – Journal Entry

I am striving to write this book. I can see the end product far down the road but I am hesitant to do the work. I don’t know if I am fearful or lazy. My excuses abound.

 

You have dreams, right? My guess is that we all have some form of hope, goals or dreams for the future. I love listing my goals  for the year rather than making resolutions. I have a huge top 100 things to do in my lifetime list, and another list for travel that my husband and I are still creating. Some of the items on my list are totally manageable and achievable. “Cultivate an herb garden.” Although a bit challenging with Arizona heat, it’s definitely doable. I’ve managed to keep my basil plant alive for the whole summer. This has led me to believe that we can indeed manage the full garden.

But other items on my list feel HUGE. Writing a book was like that. At first the dream was just to have a completed manuscript, but then I realized I wanted it to actually benefit someone else – so it would have to be printed. I wasn’t going to print out copies on my printer and hand it out to friends, so I needed to explore publishing. It felt as though the closer I came to actually making my dream a reality, the more decisions had to be made and the more tasks completed. Some days, actually most days, the dream just felt way too big.

So how do we move from dreaming to action?

November 16, 2010 – Journal Entry

I was reading about Solomon today. He took 7 years to build the temple. One day he just STARTED. He did everything to the highest quality and the best standards. Like his father, he would not give to God that which cost him nothing.

Yes.

We take the first step. We write the first word. We get up early and we stay up late. If you have dreams resting in the back of your mind and on the tip of your tongue, may I challenge you to follow Solomon’s example?

“Hiram king of Tyre sent ambassadors to Solomon when he heard that he had been crowned king in David’s place. Hiram had loved David his whole life. Solomon responded, saying, “You know that David my father was not able to build a temple in honor of God because of the wars he had to fight on all sides, until God finally put them down. But now God has provided peace all around—no one against us, nothing at odds with us.

Now here is what I want to do: Build a temple in honor of God, my God, following the promise that God gave to David my father, namely, ‘Your son whom I will provide to succeed you as king, he will build a house in my honor.’

… Four hundred and eighty years after the Israelites came out of Egypt, in the fourth year of Solomon’s rule over Israel, in the month of Ziv, the second month, Solomon started building The Temple of God.” (1 Kings 5:1-5, 6:1, MSG)

This was an immense project, one that Solomon could have continued to put off. But instead, at the beginning of his reign as king, he simply started.

Don’t let fear keep you from creating and experiencing all that this life and our Father has to offer. The dream will likely always seem big, but keep reminding yourself that God is bigger.

“The foundation for God’s Temple was laid in the fourth year in the month of Ziv. It was completed in the eleventh year in the month of Bul (the eighth month) down to the last detail, just as planned. It took Solomon seven years to build it.” (1 Kings 6:37-38, MSG)

Following and learning,

Ginger

For the Readers, Listeners, Seekers, and Dreamers

Eleven years ago I was working as a summer camp counselor at Pine Cove, preparing to enter my senior year of college, and already starting to worry that I was nearing that portion of life when I would need to know what I was going to be when I “grew up.”

Camp afforded me many opportunities to pick up and learn new skills over the many summers I spent working with junior high students, but none were as valuable as discovering my love of communicating God’s Word with young people.

The idea that I could speak for a living sounded challenging and far-reaching, but not inconceivable. I knew it would take time and drive, and I wasn’t afraid of the work because it’s my joy and passion. But on that Friday night in 2003 my friend Chris put forth a new challenge.  We were sitting on the steps of the old dining hall when he said, “If you ever wrote a book I would read it.”

I was flattered but didn’t really think much about it. I always tested well enough in my English classes and enjoyed my playwriting class, but I did not consider myself a writer for even one second. Even now I acknowledge that I write the way that I speak- somewhat of a blessing and a curse. I thought about the challenge from Chris over the next few years and even wrote out a first chapter idea in 2006. At one point I boldly declared that I would write a manuscript by the time I was 25, but that time came and went.

Other friends have pushed me to think further about the idea and to stop resisting out of fear… because really, that’s what the problem was. I could list those fears out faster than you could ask me about them:

  1. I’m not a writer.
  2. Who would read it?
  3. What would I write about?
  4. I read reviews and blogs online and watch other people get SLAMMED – could I take that kind of criticism?
  5. On and on and on…

But then the more I thought and prayed the more I realized that I did have a story to tell and an audience to share with. The more speaking opportunities that came my way the more frequently I would have young women approach me and ask, “Do you have a book?”

I could recommend other books by countless gifted and talented authors on various subjects… but I couldn’t answer their question with my own.

In 2009 I began to get serious about the task at hand. I wanted to continue the conversation I was having with young women in auditoriums, sanctuaries, and classrooms. In the fall of that year I met the man who is now my husband. He has been my constant cheerleader in all of this: to write my book, to speak, to travel, to embrace the gifts that God has given me. So after we were married in October of 2010, we took a leap of faith. I stayed at home to speak, blog, and begin writing a manuscript.

Yesterday I submitted my final, final version of my book. It’s finished. No more drafts. No more changes. No more avoiding the question, “How’s your book coming?” Now comes the deep breaths and the prayers for courage as I await the printed copies from the publisher’s printer. Nothing like sharing your heart and guts with the world.

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I don’t have an official launch date to share yet, but “Forget the Corsage” will be available in e-book, soft cover, and hard cover sometime this fall.

So thank you for your patience as I took LONG breaks from blogging this summer. Between my new baby girl and this baby of a book, my time has been filled to the brim. I’ve had to say “NO” to a ton of things in order to say yes to these two precious dreams.

I wanted to share this news with you, because you have indeed become so dear to me. This is my labor of love for the readers, listeners, seekers, and dreamers. I can’t wait to share more details with you as the release draws nearer.

There are countless people to thank with a project of this magnitude, but that will come with time. For now, thank you all for making this little space on the internet so very special to me.

I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!” Ephesians 1:16-19, MSG

Following with joy,

Ginger

Getting Ready

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Does anyone else find anxious thoughts to be a default mode when it comes to the unknown future? Anyone else feeling nervous about a coming transition?

Had you asked me  a month ago to identify my nerves on a scale of 1-10 (1 being totally calm, “ain’t no thing” and 10 being “I can’t fall asleep at night/these thoughts consume me”), I would have likely said a 6 or maybe even a 7. The more books on pregnancy, delivery, and child rearing that I read, the more fears I seemed to add to my list.

But in the last week I’ve felt and watched that worry level drop all the way down to a 3… and at times even a 1. I KNOW. It’s been amazing.

Although you aren’t likely in the exact same situation of anticipating the birth of your first child while finalizing the manuscript of your first book, I believe that the tools for combatting worry are the same regardless of the extenuating circumstances. These points carry over the various question marks in our lives.

1. LIST IT AND MATCH IT.

Once I’m able to take those circular thoughts that keep racing around my head and put them on paper, they seem to lose at least a portion of their strength. Often the list is shorter than expected. If it’s something stealing peace in your day then make sure you write it out, even if you feel like it’s silly. Sometimes seeing how silly a worry looks when written is all that it takes before I’m able to cross through it.

For example:

  • We still don’t have everything we need for a newborn baby.
  • My face might be swollen in our first pics together as a family.
  • Labor could be far more painful than I’d ever imagined.
  • I don’t get to eat while in labor. (I am the worst case of hungry [hungry + angry] you’ve ever seen.)
  • Embarrassing moments will happen at every turn in the hospital.
  • I will have to fight for my preferences in the hospital.
  • I will never finish the manuscript.
  • AND ON AND ON.

Once I captured every worried thought, I jotted down two Bible verses on the top of the list.

“The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 2 Corinthians 10:4-5, NIV

“You will keep in perfect peace
    those whose minds are steadfast,
    because they trust in you.
Trust in the Lord forever,
    for the Lord, the Lord himself, is the Rock eternal.” Isaiah 26:3

So how do I take those thoughts captive and keep my mind steadfast, trusting in God?

I identify each fear and assign a truth match. Something like this…

Even if labor is more painful than I’d ever imagined… He will be with me, strengthen me, and help me.Do not fear, for I am with you; Do not anxiously look about you, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, surely I will help you, Surely I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Isaiah 41:10

Even if I have a gazillion embarrassing moments in the hospital… it really ain’t no thing in the grand scheme. I have to remind myself that the medical staff have all seen CRAZY things during their career. This part of life is beautiful AND messy. At the end of the day… I can cast all that anxiety upon the Lord, because He cares about my worries and fears.Cast all your anxiety upon Him, because He cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:7

2. CARRY THE TRUTH.

Once we’ve identified the problems and set out to get rid of all that anxiety, I believe we have to make the choice to actively walk in that truth. So after you’ve matched your fears with God’s Word, jot it down on notecards and keep it at your side! Memorize the verses. Choose to take God at His Word.

“Beloved, belief is not a feeling. It’s a choice. We may live many days when we don’t feel loved or lovely; but in spite of our emotions, we can choose to take God at His Word.” – Beth Moore, Breaking Free

3. TALK THROUGH IT.

I’d recommend that you talk through the whoppers on your list with someone who has walked a similar path, a specialist, or someone who is spiritually mature in this area. I have been asking specific questions of my doctor. I’ve talked through my specific fears with my husband and he and I talked about ways he could encourage me during labor and delivery. Sometimes keeping yourself in the dark can produce way more fears than you need. Vocalize what’s keeping you up at night to someone you trust. 

4. PRAY THROUGH IT.

Life up your fears and requests to the Lord throughout the day. Share any remaining fears with a prayer partner. I love when someone asks me to pray specifically for a need. As much as I enjoy writing out a long list of names, I am always challenged to pray more when I know what to ask my Heavenly Father for.

“So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead? Or if he asks for an egg, will give him a scorpion? If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!” Luke 11:9-13

5. GIVE OUTWARD.

Sometimes I just need to get out of my head and concern myself with something other than MYSELF. Loving others is a great way to shift our focus outward. A laundry list of worries can keep us self-focused and isolated. Call your friend. Send a card. Pick up your neighbor’s paper. Hold the door open. Volunteer with the refugee family. You get the idea. When I start giving my capacity to worry decreases immensely.

“Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God.” 1 John 4:7

Regardless of the date my daughter arrives or how prepared I feel, this transition is going to happen.

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  • You will start college in the fall.
  • You will find the job you’ve been hunting.
  • The move will happen.
  • The unexpected will occur.
  • Your friend might transfer to another school.
  • Your plans might have to change at the drop of a hat.

Transitions are coming. We can’t control much of the circumstances but we can choose to control our thought patterns.

I don’t know about you, but I would much rather spend these weeks in joyful expectation rather than anxious trepidation. Life is too short and our God too loving for us to spend it walking on eggshells.

“All around you, people will be tiptoeing through life, just to arrive at death safely. Dear children, do not tiptoe. Run, hop, skip or dance, but do not tiptoe.” –Shane Claiborne, Irresistible Revolution

Following more and worrying less,
Ginger

Ready

“God called unto him… And he said, Here am I.”  Exodus 3:4

“Readiness for God means that we are ready to do the tiniest little thing or the great big thing, it makes no difference.  We have no choice in what we want to do, whatever God’s program may be we are there, ready.

Be ready for the sudden surprise visits of God.  A ready person never needs to get ready.  Think of the time we waste trying to get ready when God has called!  The burning bush is a symbol of everything that surrounds the ready soul, it is ablaze with the presence of God.”  (Oswald Chambers)

Getting ready for summer… getting ready for what the next months hold.

Following,
Ginger

Dear Ginger: How can I be happy?

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Dear Ginger,

…I have convinced myself that I am the most self-conscious person on earth. Which is probably true. I have never believed truly that I am beautiful or that I am a good person. And after reviewing your website I wish I had the help you receive from God. Truthfully I am not the most religious person out there… Right now in my life I am absolutely self-conscious about everything I do, unaware as to what I will do in my life, or how to be happy in life. So my question is this, “How can you achieve a happy life? With no doubt in your my mind that you are beautiful on the inside and out and that you can rise from the ashes and become something new.” It seems so easy to say but impossible to achieve. I am sorry for the long letter, but I’ve really never really opened to anyone or asked for help. Thank you so much for reading this letter…

Best Wishes- S

Dear S,

Thank you so much for your heartfelt and beautiful note. I finished reading and immediately admired your maturity and honesty. Thank you for taking the time to write and share so much of your struggle with me.

I am so sorry that you’ve never felt lovely, good, or confident in whom you were made to be. I hurt knowing that you’ve been bullied or made to feel less-than by anyone else in this world. But I can also hear the glimmer of hope in your question: “How can you achieve a happy life? I have no doubt in my mind that ‘you are beautiful on the inside and out’ and that you can ‘rise from the ashes’ and become something new.”

Thank you for entrusting me with this precious question. First of all, let me say that I don’t know if I will be able to answer in such a way that you will feel any immediate change in your life. My own growth and self-worth have taken place over several years and dramatically over the past year through counseling. It’s true; my faith plays a huge role in the way that I see myself. My belief in God does influence how I handle the worst days. So even if we come from a different spiritual place I’m just going to speak from the heart and pray that something I type encourages you in your own journey.

I remember when I was in fifth grade and played soccer on my school’s team. We were called the Lions and proudly wore purple and gold. On one particularly sunny day I was dressed in uniform and standing on the sideline just waiting for my chance to play. Only I wasn’t really ready. I had completely stopped paying attention. Out of nowhere, a soccer ball came flying in and hit me hard in the face. It was a pretty rude awakening. Not only did the ball burst the blood vessels in my left cheek, but it also raised a pretty nasty bruise in rapid time. Of course fifth grade pictures were scheduled for the next day. True story. Pull out the yearbook and the rest of the class is all facing forward in their photos. I’m the only one facing a wall in profile.

We can quickly lose sight of the fact that we are in a battle here on this earth – and that’s a dangerous place to be. If we don’t recognize that we are in the middle of a fight, we are left vulnerable. There is no such thing as a sideline when it comes to battle. We don’t call time out. Think of the movie Lord of the Rings or any big battle scene from an epic film. The soldiers are ready for war, the challenge has been given, the screaming speech has been delivered, and now the two sides are running toward each other in slow motion.

Now picture those thousands of men fighting when suddenly one of them starts daydreaming. He notices a spread of wildflowers on the ground and promptly sets down his battle-axe to gather a bouquet. Highly unlikely, right?

We’ve got to keep our heads in the game! It’s those times when we forget we are actually warriors in an army that we incur the greatest injuries. Just like my soccer ball to the face scenario, I allowed my weight struggle to influence my self-esteem to such an extent that I was crippled for battle.

Here’s what I mean by battle. I believe that we were created for a purpose. You weren’t a random speck of dust or anything close to an accident. The God who created the universe imagined and designed you to enter this world at a specific time. I believe that 100%. God created both you and I as human beings with a mind and a heart, with fears and desires. Not only that, he created us to live out an incredible story during our time on this earth. Sometimes though we let the distractions (our worries, stigmas, body issues, fears) keep us from living out the role that we alone were created to fill. It is a daily battle to not get discouraged from that very purpose.

Here’s the thing I’ve come to know and believe about God: He doesn’t force himself on us, but He does invite us to participate in His effort to overcome the conflict and junk in this world.

That’s where I think lasting happiness originates. (Confession: I’m not “happy” every day but I have found a source of joy that’s more than momentary.) When I drop the distractions of how I look and feel and just pursue loving others and living an exciting story – I find joy, peace, and contentment. No amount of journaling, self-help, or positive thinking changes my outlook for long. It’s the living that changes my perception and brings fulfillment. The recognition that my smaller story has a HUGE part to play in the bigger story God is telling gives me purpose each and every day.

“What if the positive and negative turns of your life have prepared you for something great? …Do you know that the world needs something from you? There are probably days when you feel like the world would be better off if you stayed in bed but it isn’t true. God created you and He created you with the power to bring light into darkness and order into chaos. You are necessary. And the sooner you believe that, the sooner you’ll bond with God in living a great story.” (Donald Miller, Storyline)

So where do you start? Find yourself a quiet place, maybe the library or your bedroom. Turn off distractions and take time to really consider the story your life is telling and the one you want it to tell. List out all of the gifts that make you unique, the things you enjoy and are good at. What do you like to do? What are some goals you want to accomplish in your life? Take your time.

If you need somewhere to start on your list I can already tell you that you are a gifted writer! I didn’t post your whole letter today, but you should know that you have a powerful way of conveying ideas. I’m so glad you were willing to be vulnerable and ask for help.
Take the vulnerability you have on the page and translate it into some of your relationships. If you continue to struggle with eating or cutting at any point please, please take a step and share with a trusted adult. I believe you have an incredible life ahead of you filled with both happy and challenging moments. The hard moments make the joy that much sweeter in the end.
Your story matters. You matter.
Praying for your journey,
Ginger

What she could…

I’ve been sitting in front of the computer for almost two hours trying to come up with something to share. I’ve pulled out so many books looking for inspiration that now my desk is in total shambles. I’ve responded to some e-mails in the midst of the hair pulling and thinking. I tried a glass of blueberry lemonade, but all it seemed to do was make the baby kick and turn within me. I was still left with a blinking cursor and an unforgiving clock.

So I asked myself, “Does this mean you aren’t learning anything if you don’t have anything to share?”

The last thing I want to do is ramble on or post if there isn’t something remotely beneficial to say. So I opened up my journal and took a refresher course in the past week. And in doing so I found my connection.

Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” (Mark 12: 41-44, NIV)

jar

AND

Now the Passover and the Festival of Unleavened Bread were only two days away, and the chief priests and the teachers of the law were scheming to arrest Jesus secretly and kill him. “But not during the festival,” they said, “or the people may riot.”

While he was in Bethany, reclining at the table in the home of Simon the Leper, a woman came with an alabaster jar of very expensive perfume, made of pure nard. She broke the jar and poured the perfume on his head.

Some of those present were saying indignantly to one another, “Why this waste of perfume? It could have been sold for more than a year’s wages and the money given to the poor.” And they rebuked her harshly.

“Leave her alone,” said Jesus. “Why are you bothering her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. The poor you will always have with you, and you can help them any time you want. But you will not always have me. She did what she could. She poured perfume on my body beforehand to prepare for my burial. Truly I tell you, wherever the gospel is preached throughout the world, what she has done will also be told, in memory of her.” (Mark 12:1-9, NIV)

Two women. Two sacrifices. Both did what they could.

Sometimes I don’t feel like I have anything to offer or give. On days like that I ask for help, I make a cup of hot tea, I write a letter, and I keep my eyes up. I do what I can.

There’s nothing wonderfully spiritual about this revelation or statement. I don’t share the stories of these two women to bring guilt into the picture, but to simply show that He noticed. He sees you. He hears you. And on the days when you feel like all you have is a measly penny to offer, He smiles when you give that beautiful, tiny thing. It’s never not enough for the One who can take five loaves and two fish and feed thousands.

I need that reminder today.

When I feel empty, I give.

When my gift feels out-of-place, I pour it out. It’s for Him.

Following,
Ginger