Yesterday, my friend sent me some very comforting words about grieving written by Beth Moore. After I went through Beth Moore's Bible Study on the book of James a couple of years ago, not only did my life change as I incorporated the truth of the teachings, but I also gained respect and even love for the lady who shared them. She shared parts of her own journey that were hard, painful, and which she either already had or was in the process of overcoming. She is quite inspiring.
I have been thinking hard lately about what the common theme is throughout the many ways I express myself--what do I want to happen when you read my blog, my books, listen to my music, or even see my knitting patterns? And I realized that I want you to be inspired. You can love better, knit better, live higher, and just be better ... because I can. And if I can do it, so can you. I want you to be encouraged to not quit, keep going, keep trying, because every adversity is just something to learn from and keep moving forward.
As I pondered what makes someone inspirational, I realized that those we look to for encouragement and inspiration have usually walked a hard road, and lived to tell about it. We believe what they have to say, because they have been in a similar situation and can pass on wisdom and empathy to help us past the obstacle we now face. The mountain may look insurmountable at the time, but they are standing up at the top with a rope and pickax and saying, "Grab on! The climb is hard, but the view from here is spectacular!"
No one gets inspired by the couch potato who plays video games twenty hours a day ... well, unless you are aspiring to beat his high score. We get inspired by the eight-year-old boy who runs a triathlon pushing his younger disabled brother in a special stroller because he wanted him to be a part of it. Or by the guy born without limbs that plays soccer and surfs and climbs mountains (okay, maybe the mountains are figurative). Or the father with a heart condition who completes the Ironman marathon with his son who has never walked a day in his life. Or (one of my personal favourites) the man who makes a difference and helps people by simply giving away "free hugs."
You get my point--we are inspired by people who do things, regardless of the obstacles in their way, or who come out of adversity and are more generous, wonderful human beings because of it.
So if I want to inspire people, what have I done that is inspiring? I mean, I'm just a mom, who works from home, and does quite ordinary things, right? What's so inspiring about that?
Lately, I have begun to wonder if my life is defined by the things I have grieved. After all, my parents divorced when I was a teenager after a tumultuous marriage, my grandmother (with whom I was very close) died a couple of years later in a car accident, my relationship with my mother went through a decade of very rocky years before we finally started to patch that up when she was diagnosed with breast cancer, I have had friendships on the rocks, had close friendships wane simply because of moving to a distance, adopted a child in an open adoption from friends of ours (so, got to experience their grief and grieve for them as well as Levi and our suddenly-changed situation), and most recently, had a close family member come out as transgender.
All of these situations and more have changed me. But looking back, I believe they have changed me for the better. Remember how I shared that when I was a teenager, my fervent prayer was that I would learn to love like Christ? Wow, be careful what you pray for, right?
Just like the character of "God" (portrayed by Morgan Freeman) pointed out in Evan Almighty, when we pray for patience, God doesn't give us patience, but plenty of opportunities to be patient. (That's why I stopped praying for patience a long time ago!! I think I have enough! Lol.) When we pray for our family to grow closer, God presents opportunities (that probably look a lot like challenges) that will bring us together. And when we pray to learn to love like Christ, God puts us in heart-breaking situations, because that is what we asked for!
The beauty of grieving is it's the soul's natural healing process, like the way our body magically mends itself beneath a scab or a bandage. Grieving heals us, and if we allow it to proceed and look for the lessons involved, puts us back together in a way that is more beautiful, more Christlike, and more loving than before. There are actually many lessons we can learn through grief, including how to triumph over adversity.
Which can be pretty inspiring.
So, I hope to inspire in you the firm conviction that no matter what situation you find yourself in, there is a time when it will not be so bad, or so hard, as long as you just keep walking forward. Keep looking for the best in the situation. Keep trying to see how Christ would respond and be that way. Keep learning to love.
To wrap up, here are some inspiring words from Nick Vujicic, the motivational speaker who was born without arms and legs but hasn't let that stop him from living a fulfilling and inspiring life.
I would love to hear who inspires YOU, and why. Who has helped you through a difficult situation, either personally or by example? What is the most inspiring video you have ever seen? Leave your answer in the comments. Happy Thursday, friends!