My mom is an amazing woman. I get to talk about kindness and reconciliation and God’s great power to redeem because my mom allows me to share her story as part of my story.
Tom Hodson, the host of Spectrum Podcast and Director WOUB Public Media invited me to be on his show to talk about how my childhood opened the door for my mission of kindness. This was the hardest interview I have ever done, and for my family– especially my mom, I’m sure this will be the hardest interview they will ever listen to.
As you listen to this podcast, I hope you will remember that we can and should REJOICE in our trials and even in our own regretful decisions because it is those times of trouble that create in us the ability to love others more deeply. That’s where kindness is born.
Same 40 minute podcast, three ways to listen! Thank you to WOUB Public Media for producing this podcast.
Hello Friends! You know those awesome graphics that we get every week to go with our memory verse? They’re made by my friend Tania Meek. Tania has a way of speaking and writing and creating that leaves me a little bit breathless. I’m always so touched by the way she shares her heart. I’ve asked her to take over this week’s Memory Verse devotional. I hope you enjoy her heart as much as I do.
Have you ever had a verse that seemed to keep presenting itself to you, over and over again – sticking with you even when you were ready to move on? Psalm 46:10 has been that verse for me.
It’s an easy one to remember, especially the first half. I’ve known it most of my life.
“Be still and know that I am God.”
Then, three years ago, it began to weave into my life from different sources and I could not shake it. I quickly realized that God had a message He wanted me to hear. Rather than ignore it, I began to open my heart and study it.
How hard could that be, really?
It is such a simple and straightforward verse.
I didn’t realize He would unpack it in three phases for me, over the course of the next three years.
Phase one – be still.
Ahhhh, surely that’s the message He was trying to get across in my life.
Let’s be honest, though. I was rather lousy at stillness. I am not only a closet perfectionist but a constant striver. My personal drive to live life to the fullest and cherish each moment often leaves me questioning whether I am doing enough, being enough. I come up lacking – each and every time.
The root Hebrew word of the English word “still” is Raphah. One of its translated meanings is to cease.
That first year, God and I had a big conversation about ceasing. He was asking me to cease striving. I walked that out by walking from a career and identity that I had fallen into and loved. I ceased to be her.
The second year of unpacking this verse was one of deep, inner struggle. While the year prior was one of stilling my outer life, leaving a job I loved and learning to say no to outward commitments, the remainder of 2015 and the beginning of 2016 was the phase of trust. He spoke straight to my heart, asking if I understood the next phrase – know that I am God. I knew Him, at least in an intellectual sense, and had my entire life, but this conversation, on the steps of my soul, became one much more intimate. This journey took me from knowing Him in my head to knowing Him in my heart. Did I believe Him? Did I trust Him? Did I realize how very deep His love was for me? Did I surrender to that love? My answers came up lacking.
The struggle came in the surrender – the surrender to be still, to know. To trust that He was who He said He was.
Next came phase three. By this point, I was more than ready to move on. For such a small, easy verse this had been a painful growth process. This final year began with a meme I found online from #5MinWithJesus which stated “The Hebrew root word of be still doesn’t mean “be quiet”; It means “let go.” “Let go and know that I am God.”
Immediately, I felt Him nudge my heart. He was not done. He is not done. These past twelve months have been one of release – a journey of letting go.
It began with letting go of my dreams. My dream to be someone, do something.
Then moved on to letting go of our home – the home we had built to raise our children and make memories.
Next came the release of my expectations – expectations that my life should look a certain way, feel a certain way.
And last but not least, I am currently learning to release the people in my life. Within the last month, I have said goodbye to two pillars in my family. This release has been the hardest. I love my people. Saying goodbye is the true walking out of the knowing God portion of this verse: knowing that He is in control, trusting in Him, knowing He will be honored by every nation, throughout the world.
It has become knowing that this journey is not one about me but one about Him.
What will you learn about Him when you are still? When you cease striving? When you learn to let go?
The kids have been putting together a list of all the things they want to see while we’re in Fargo: our old house, the ferris wheel at Scheels (it’s a sporting goods store), West Acres Mall, and all their favorite old parks.
The list is about two football fields long. I keep reminding them that this is a “working vacation” for me so I may not have time to run them all over tarnation, but who am I kidding? I lived in Fargo for ten years. I’m just as excited to see all our favorite people, places and things as they are.
My kids are especially looking forward to Monday because that’s the day I speak at their old elementary school. They’ll get to see their teachers and Charlie will get to see his former classmates. Jordan’s have moved to the middle school, so I’m just thinking of re-enrolling her for the week we are there. Kidding.
For those of you in the North Dakota/Minnesota area, I want to share my event list so perhaps I can see you in person! Here it is:
Saturday, April 22: Sts. Anne and Joachim Catholic Church, Holy Family Social Hall 5202 25th St. S., Fargo, ND 11am
Sunday, April 23: The Plummer House, Hillsboro, ND (hosted by Our Savior’s Lutheran Church) 2pm
Monday, April 24: North Dakota Today live interview, KVLY, 9:15am
Monday, April 24: Oak Grove Lutheran School, Fargo, ND 10:16am
Monday, April 24: Longfellow Elementary, Fargo, ND 2pm
Tuesday, April 25: Midday Live with Sandy Buttweiler, 970 WDAY, 12pm
Tuesday, April 25: Women Connect, FMWF Chamber, Sanctuary Events Center, 670 4th Ave N, Fargo ND 3:30pm
Wednesday, April 26: Life 97.9 live interview, 8:30am
Wednesday, April 26: Comstock-Hoff Lutheran Parish, Comstock, MN 7pm
Thursday, April 27: Book Signing! Red River Coffee Co., 2600 52nd Ave S Fargo, ND 11-1pm
Thursday, April 27: Calvary Church, Village Green, 2801 Village Green BLVD, Moorhead, MN 7pm
Friday, April 28: Hope Lutheran Church, 3636 25th St S Fargo ND 7pm
For those of you in ND/MN or anywhere else in the world, can I ask a favor? Would you please pray? Pray that God will speak so clearly through me to the hurting hearts that I may encounter on this trip… that not a single person feels condemned, but they may instead find release through this message of kindness… and that even those people who feel they have nothing to learn (i.e. someone dragged them to my presentation), may they walk away inspired by all kindness can do to add joy to their own lives. Will you pray that Kindness becomes Contagious?
Thank you, Friends. I love you.
Watch out Fargo, here we come!