7 Reasons to Write

One of my friends on social media asked a question the other day.  The question was, “What do you like most about being an author?” A number of answers followed.  I thought about it for a few seconds.  And then I answered.  My answer? Having a voice that will live forever and knowing it will still be making a difference when I’m in heaven.  The following are 7 reasons why I think it’s important to write:

1. You’ll live on
All of us will leave this earth at some point. My Grandma was a wise woman and she loved teaching.  I always hoped that one day she would write a book.  I know she desired to, but she never got around to doing it. I wish I could hear her tell her stories.  Sure, I remember some.  But there are so many details that are missing from the ones I remember.  And it bothers me sometimes that she’s not around to ask.

When she passed, I went digging for some of the cards I knew I had saved that she had given to me on special occasions.  And there I found more than just cards.  I found her voice.
It was like I was hearing her speak from her heart all over again.

Writing is a way of making your voice live forever.  You and I have a voice that makes our voice unique.  Writing brings it to the platform no matter where you’re from or what you’re doing.

2. To encourage without having to say a word
Ever have one of those moments when you’re listening to your child, a friend, or loved one and you feel like you have tons of pearls of wisdom to share, but you can’t get a word in?

Writing provides that opportunity. When you write, you don’t have to wait for someone to finish talking.  You don’t have to even wonder if they’re listening.  Writing allows your children to listen to you even when they don’t want to admit it.

3. You can help make a difference
A couple of the children’s books I’ve published have a piece of my past. I took some of life’s messes and turned them into messages.  What better way to help others than to use your story to do it?

We all have a story.  Maybe you were rich and grew up having everything you ever wanted or maybe you were poor and didn’t have a thing. Whatever the story, you are you and no one can tell your story or the lessons you’ve learned better than you.

4. Creative flow
Like any talent or gift in life, the more you write the more you may be able to write. It’s like cooking or baking or painting.  Creativity comes from within.
And it’s important to start somewhere.  The more you write, the better you’ll become at it.  And the better the flow.

5. It may help treasure the memories
I know life can throw us some hard balls, but it’s also full of so many treasures.  From special friendships to happy occasions to your children’s funny made up words.

I have a friend who shared on social media a page from her Grandma’s journal.  In it was a memory about a homemade pie which was brought to her by her daughter. If we take the time to write those special memories, we can relive those moments.  And one day they can be reminders to our loved ones of how much they are loved.

6. It can be a stress reliever
Believe it or not, taking the time to write might help relieve stress. It can feel therapeutic in many ways.  If you’re like me, you’ll know that there’s just something about making lists.  Once I make a list of to do’s I somewhat feel relieved of the tasks that were once crowding my thoughts.

I heard someone say once that in his quiet time of meditation or prayer, he once found himself trying to fight distracting thoughts.  And he said one of the things that helped him train himself to get through it was to make a note of every thought as it came. He did this until he had no more distracting thoughts and he was able to focus.

7. It can be a form of discipline
Making a decision to write might help you embrace discipline.
I’ve noticed that the more I become disciplined in one area, the easier it is to become disciplined in other areas.

Whether it’s writing the names of our offenders to forgive, writing chores, writing words of wisdom or creative stories, writing can benefit us and others in so many ways.

What and why will you choose to write today?

 

A Call from HOPE

Cinderella.  Who doesn’t know the story, right?  A regular girl.  Someone hidden from the outside world.

She gets mistreated by her stepmom and sisters.  Then right when she thinks there’s no hope for her to get to the ball, a fairy pops up out of nowhere and Cinderella gets a make over.

It gets better.  She has the night of her dreams.  All eyes are on her, including the eyes of a young handsome prince.  I know.  It’s just a fairy tale.

But something got me thinking about that fairy tale recently. I got a call at work.  The woman’s name was Cinderella.  I thought that was pretty cool.  It definitely made me smile.

And then I thought about Cinderella and her glass slipper.  After having the night of her life, she lost a glass slipper.  And when the clock struck midnight, she became her regular self.

The special thing about the lost glass slipper was that it led the prince to the Cinderella in plain simple clothes. She wasn’t dressed in fancy clothes.  She probably didn’t even know how to get her makeup as perfect as it was when the fairy visited her.  But that didn’t matter.  Why? Because the prince had fallen in love. He knew what he was looking for and had found her.

I read somewhere that the moral of the story is about fighting for what you want and keeping a pure heart in the midst of it.  But maybe there’s more to it.

Maybe it was a story about identity.
Maybe it was about a girl who discovered her beauty in response to negativity.  Someone who discovered a happy ending to a messy start.  Maybe it was about a girl who saw that losing a glass slipper didn’t take anything away from her.  Losing it was what led her prince to someone she always was–HERSELF.  Maybe it was about HOPE.

I got a call from someone at work today. She said, “Jennifer, this is HOPE.”  It was the right call at the right time.  A reminder that hope was available.

It’s easy to forget sometimes.  I know. We can get so focused on what’s not happening that we forget what IS happening. It’s in those moments that we need to see with different eyes.

I looked at the word FEAR the other day.  And I noticed something I hadn’t noticed before. There was an EAR in fEAR.  And then I thought, what would happen if we took the time to look beyond the surface? Beyond the surface of others. Even beyond the surface of ourselves.  What if we looked beyond our circumstances?  What if for a minute we imagined getting a phone call from HOPE?  And what if HOPE said everything we needed to hear?  If HOPE had a voice, what would hope say to you?

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” – Jeremiah 29:11

Feelings, You Are Not the Boss of Me!

Ever have one of those days when your feelings are trying to get the best of you?

When my boys were little, sometimes they would argue.  Two of the biggest insults were, “Baby Face” and “You are Not the Boss of Me!”  It made my husband and me giggle every time we heard it.

We have choices.  We can give up on what we’re doing and give into feelings of defeat or we can use the feelings of defeat to fuel our motivation to keep going.  In doing the latter, we are making a statement, “Feelings, You Are Not the Boss of Me!”

Feelings, you don’t determine who I forgive.  I choose to forgive because forgiveness is an action and not a feeling.

Feelings, you don’t count when I feel like sitting down after looking at a scale that won’t budge.  I choose to keep going because I am a winner.  I am not a quitter.

The  Bible tells us that Jesus was hungry when Satan tempted him.  The devil’s first two questions began with, “If you are the Son of God.”

Jesus didn’t respond to him with feelings that may have been attached to his hunger. The truth is that before going into the wilderness, the Bible tells us that the Spirit descended upon Jesus and a voice from heaven said, “This is my beloved Son in whom I am well pleased.” (Matthew 3:17)

It’s like the words of Jesus’ father were what kept Jesus focused. Truth weighs more than feelings.

He knew he was the Son of God and God, the Father knew exactly what to tell him before he was tempted.

I’m not saying that feelings should be ignored.  Thank God for feelings.  I wouldn’t trade the feelings I felt when I gave birth to my children.

But I am saying this. I believe what we know about ourselves will determine how we respond to the temptation of negative feelings. Sometimes feelings need to be told what the plan is and that’s when we take the lead.

I remember one day many years ago when I believed the lie that I had blasphemed against the Holy Spirit. Feelings of doom were attached to that lie. I felt hopeless.

While feeling hopeless and freaked out over that lie, my phone rang. It was my brother who was in high school. He called me from a pay phone.  There were no cell phones at the time.  He had just surrendered his life to the Lord and was on cloud 9.  I said, “Hello.”  He said, “Jenny?”  I said, “Yes.”  He went on to say, “I was in Math class feeling bored.  And I asked the Lord who to pray for.  And He said, ‘Pray for your sister because she’s being tormented and tell her that I have her name written in the palm of my hand.'”

The truth that came through that phone call was exactly what I needed to hear. I was distracted because I believed a lie. I had allowed my feelings to keep me down based on that lie. The truth is that nothing can separate us from the love of God.  Daddy God had reached out to me with a word of truth to comfort me.

John 10:28: I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; no one will snatch them out of my hand.

2 Corinthians 1:22: and he has identified us as his own by placing the Holy Spirit in our hearts as the first installment that guarantees everything he has promised us.

Feelings are nothing but feelings.  How we respond to them will tell us who is in charge. Our feelings or us.

Hebrews 4:14-16 New International Version (NIV) 14 Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven,[a] Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. 15 For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. 16 Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

 

Finding “YOU” in SolUtion will help your reSOLUTION

It’s the New Year.

The gyms are full.

Promises are being made.

Goals are being set.

I have been trying to lose weight for as long as I can remember. I look at pictures of when I was much younger and thinner and I think, “What was I thinking?”

When I was pregnant with my second son, I had major gall bladder attacks throughout my entire pregnancy beginning at six weeks. Because of it, I had to go on a strict fat free diet. I remember asking the doctor, what can’t I eat.  And he said something like, “Pretty much, stay away from anything that tastes good.”  At first I felt miserable.  I was pregnant, and I had to say no to many cravings. It got to the point that one potato chip could trigger another attack.

My choices then became actions of love for myself because they were choices that kept me from suffering.  I weighed 197 on my first visit.  And 190 at my last visit.  I lost 40 pounds in nine months.

This blog isn’t about a fat free diet.  It’s not about any other kind of diet either.  It’s not about making anyone think they are far from perfect. I believe that the first step to healing and to taking care of ourselves is to realize our worth.

About one or two years ago while again trying to lose weight during an afternoon walk, I had a word repeat in my thoughts.  It was the word, “gluttony.”  I knew what gluttony meant. At least that’s what I thought. But the thought of it made me want to look it up.  And I did.

I learned that gluttony means habitual greed.

And that’s when it hit me.  I thought to myself, “Greed?”  That’s not me.  It’s not who I am.  I am a generous person.  Greed sounded selfish.

It sounded hurtful.

And then I realized that losing weight for me wasn’t about becoming someone who I am not. Eating healthy is what I do because of who I am. And losing weight in the process is just a bonus to being who I already am.  

And so today, I will not make another promise to myself or to anyone else.  Today, I choose to say, “I’m sorry” to the person closest to me. Me. Before I can love others, I need to learn to love myself. And when I start loving myself, I can make better choices for my body.

Loving myself starts with saying I’m sorry and meaning it.  The following apology was made with YOU in mind. If you’re dreading another resolution and the stress and weight that comes along with it, maybe you can start with me by starting the year with an apology.

Dear Body, I’m sorry.

I read somewhere that cancer and other diseases have a lot to do with obesity.  I’m sorry for putting you at risk.

I’m sorry for eating like a glutton.  You are a generous person. Gluttony is not who you are.

I’m sorry for the insults.  I’m sorry for the times I’ve looked at you in the mirror and thought you looked awful.  I’m sorry for pointing out the areas  that looked imperfect and for saying cruel things that hurt.

I’m sorry for the negative words like “sick and tired.”  They are not true.

I’m sorry for listening to others who put you down as if their words mattered more. And I’m sorry for believing them.

I’m sorry for standing too long and not resting.  That hurt your feet and legs, didn’t it?

I’m sorry for complaining about you.

I’m sorry for the extra weight.  It’s hard to carry, isn’t it?

I’m sorry for comparing you to others. I realize you are unique and made in the image of God.

I’m sorry for the parts that define my gender that I’ve disrespected.  They are perfect.

I’m sorry for at times looking at stretchmarks as a defect instead of as an honor. Stretch marks are signs of accelerated growth.  I’m sorry for not seeing them as the tools that made room for me to hold life.

I’m sorry for the name calling. I know you are not fat.  You are not a pig.  You are not ugly. You are not a mess.

I’m sorry for criticizing you.

I’m sorry for eating when I’m full and making you feel sick.

I’m sorry for entertaining the thoughts of starvation even if they weren’t my own.

I’m sorry for choosing sugar over better choices like vegetables and fruit.

I’m sorry for blaming you.

Today, I want to fall in love with you just the way you are.  In doing that, I can treat you like you deserve to be treated.

The passion is in the process, and I LOVE YOU. I LOVE ME.