My Five Minute Friday prompt this week is—WHOLE. This largely unedited “rough draft” form of writing stretches this perfectionist, in the best of ways. I write for five minutes on a given topic. If you’re interested in learning more about 5-Minute Fridays, check out our hostess, Kate Motaung’s site. Or, click on the link at the bottom of this post. As you read my simpler Friday posts, I hope you’ll join in the conversation!
As a little girl, I began my school years feeling whole. Confident that I was a nice person, worthy of having friends. Who wouldn’t want to be friends with me?
It only took a couple years of being picked on to see that I was not really all that “whole” anymore.
A couple more years, and the lies broke apart my self-concept, leaving me fractured.
As I’ve written before, I spent decades trying to work through the fractures in who I thought I was, and align it with who God says I am.
I’m watching my boys walk through some of those same childhood struggles. Kids picking on them. Friends turning on them. It breaks my heart.
Always it’s the words that inflict the most damage.
I’m not advocating fighting, but boys sometimes throw a couple punches, and then they’re done with it.
But when the words come in? Those are what devastate a spirit.
When we believe what people say over what God says about us, that’s when our whole spirit becomes a fracture, a broken reflection of who God intends us to be.
That’s when we refract a crooked sort of injured light to the world around us. It’s filtered through the pain of words that broke our spirits.
I pray for my boys that they won’t walk through the years and years of pain that I have. I pray they will begin early to see who they are in Jesus’ eyes, rather than who they are spoken to be through their peers’ mouths.
It’s when we can begin to see that Jesus has made us whole—that He is the One who offers healing, that He is the one who puts the broken pieces back together—that we can be whole again.
It’s when we come under the sometimes painful revelations about the lies we’ve believed, the coping mechanisms we’ve developed— and when we allow Him to strip them away—that we can become the clearer reflection of who God created us to be.
What about you? How have you seen God making you whole in some of the broken areas in your life? How has God done some healing in your life, making you more whole?
I first met Jill Kemerer over at the Books and Such blog. When I was ready to brave beginning my own blog, Jill stepped up to answer my every last question (with much patience, I might add!). We’ve since met in person, and she has become a special friend. I’m so excited to host her here today for the final installment in my series about Life Lessons. (You can read parts one, two, three, and four here). Read to the end and learn about her latest book and a giveaway.
Please welcome Jill!
What life lesson has changed you the most?
When Jeanne posed this question to me, I had no idea it would be so hard to answer. Unfortunately, I’ve learned a lot of life lessons! I am NOT perfect.
But looking back, I think the one thing I learned that changed me the most was to make an effort with strangers and acquaintances. I’ve always been introverted yet oddly social. As a kid, I loved making my friends and family laugh, but I felt awkward around people I didn’t know.
For some reason, I always had this feeling that I didn’t have anything to offer, like why would they want to talk to me? Silly, huh!
As I entered my teen years, I made friends naturally, but I heard the following a few times, “When I first met you I thought you were stuck up, but you’re not like that at all.”
My first reaction? Gee, thanks. But I took their words to heart. I realized I had a different view of myself than others did. By allowing shyness to prevent me from making an effort, I was unknowingly giving the impression I was arrogant.
I began talking to people I would have been too intimidated to speak to previously. I’m not going to lie. It felt uncomfortable. Sometimes they weren’t friendly. Other times they were wonderful. But I realized how they reacted wasn’t the point. If someone didn’t like me, no big deal. At least I tried.
I’m glad I learned that lesson early, because my entire adult life has involved relocating every few years. Starting over in a strange town would have been much more isolating and difficult if I had never learned this lesson. When my kids were young, I joined playgroups. Often there were clusters of other moms who knew each other from way back when. I forced myself to talk to them. Sometimes it took three or four different tries before they were receptive. In other towns, I was blessed to connect with a kind soul right away.
I also learned not to jump to conclusions about people. If I’m at one of my kids’ practices and a mom I don’t know is sitting off by herself, I don’t assume she’s stuck up or antisocial. It might mean she’s uncomfortable or lonely. It could mean she had a bad day or had a bad experience with some of the parents. Maybe she’s nervous about her kid’s performance. Who knows? It’s none of my business. What is my business is to introduce myself and make her feel welcome.
Now when I’m at a writer’s conference or a dinner with strangers, I do my best to be friendly and welcoming to anyone I meet. And you know what? I think this was the real me all along. It feels good to brighten someone’s day. So many people feel lonely at big events. I’m glad God is using me to encourage others.
Thank you so much, Jeanne, for hosting me today.
Have you ever felt shy and self-conscious around strangers? If so, how do you work through this?
Jill’s newest book is releasing TODAY! She’s hosting a giveaway that begins at 6:00 a.m. on August 31st and ends at 9:00 p.m. September 5th. This contest is open to US residents.Read about her book and enter by pressing on “Entry Form” below to earn entries.
His Surprise Daughter
After five years apart, Tom Sheffield is shocked to find his ex-wife, Stephanie, on his doorstep. The news that they share a child he’s never met sends him reeling. Four-year-old Macy has his eyes, his mouth and, from their first encounter, his heart. Things with her mother are much more complicated. He doesn’t understand what went wrong between them or why she kept their daughter a secret. And he’s afraid of falling in love all over again. Yet he feels a glimmer of hope that somehow he can convince Macy and Stephanie to stay in Lake Endwell—and with him—for keeps.
Jill Kemerer writes contemporary romance novels with love, humor and faith. A full time writer, she relies on coffee and chocolate to keep up with her kids’ busy schedules. Besides spoiling her mini-dachshund, Jill adores magazines, M&Ms, fluffy animals and long nature walks. She resides in Ohio with her husband and two children. Jill loves connecting with readers, so please visit her website,jillkemerer.com.
I met Tiffany Parry on a weekly link up we both do calledFive Minute Fridays. As we’ve gotten to know each other through our blogs, my respect for this lady continues to grow. She’s a beautiful writer and a sweet lady with a vibrant relationship with God. I asked her to share part four of my series Life Lessons. (FindParts One, Two, andThreehere). I look forward to the day I get to sit and have coffee with Tiffany in person. Until then, I will continue to enjoy the words she shares on her blog.
Please help me welcome Tiffany!
My 40th birthday is a few weeks away. As I look ahead with anticipation, I also look back and assess the landscape of my life. I’m counting what I’ve accomplished, the dreams I’ve pursued, and even the longings I’ve allowed to slip through my fingers.
It’s true what they say: youth is wasted on the young.
This is part three in a five-part series about life lessons. Some friends and I are answering the question: What life lesson has changed you the most? You can read part one and part two here.
I don’t know when I fell in love with photography. As a girl, I begged for a camera. And for my tenth Christmas, my parents gave me their old Kodak 110 camera. I made everyone shrug into their winter coats and stand outside on bare, brown ground so I could take family photographs. My camera made occasional appearances after that.
I’m beginning a five week Tuesday series. I’ve asked some friends to join me in sharing their answers to this question: What life lesson have you learned that has changed you the most? Please stayed tuned as Shelli Littleton, Michelle Lim, Tiffany Parry, andJill Kemerer also share what life lesson changed them the most. And please join in the conversation each week!
I thought I’d begin by sharing my answer.
“What’s love got to do with it?” Everything, it turns out. Sorry if I just put Tina Turner into your heads.