Archive for October, 2021

  • Either You Do or You Don’t

    Date: 2021.10.10 | Category: Uncategorized

    This weekend Elyse and I attended the Good For All conference at Valley Church. We found out about the conference because Grace saw that Tim Tebow would be speaking and she knew that Elyse would love to see him in person. When we realized that Katherine Wolf, author of Hope Heals, would be there too, Elyse was so excited she could barely contain it.

    On Friday we went to a luncheon where Katherine was doing a Q&A. We got there a little early in hopes that Elyse might actually be able to speak with her. Elyse got to meet her up close and personal and even got a hug. Katherine was such a delight. She was so down to earth and humble and beautiful and funny. The kind of person you’d love to have as a life-long friend. Someone you know you could really talk about the hard with and she’d get it because she’s lived it. She wouldn’t judge you or hold anything against anyone else because she knows everyone is struggling. She’d really listen and then cry with you and encourage you.

    On Friday at the main part of the conference, Katherine talked about the GoodHard of life. There’s good in the hard and hard in the good. She talked about how churches miss the opportunity to really minister to people because they won’t sit in the hard with them. People don’t know what to say and it’s awkward so they give you a “God’s got a plan.” or “God can make good out of the bad.” or “God never gives you more than you can handle.” Words that can hurt instead of heal.

    Katherine said over and over again that we are called to these lives that God gives us. We are called to be loving. We are called to care. If we wake up with breathe in our lungs, we still have purpose. We are to live the very best life that we can to help others and to love others.

    She talked about her stroke at 26 years old from an AVM (arteriovenous malformation). She had a 6 month old at home, her husband was almost done with law school, they lived in beautiful Malibu in married student housing, she was modeling, life was going well and then the stroke happened. She bled out 5 times on the operating table, she was in a coma for 2.5 months, she was in rehab for 2 years.

    She realized she had a choice. She could either continue to believe in God being a perfect God who doesn’t make mistakes or she could decide not to believe. This hit home for me.

    I had that moment when Kyle died and Codey was hospitalized for 14 months. I so wanted to be a mother. When I found out I was having twins, we rejoiced! I was so happy! Why did this happen? Why did God allow this to happen? I was so angry for a while. I couldn’t understand, but then I realized I had a choice to believe that God is God and I am not, so I will never understand this side of the grave, or to stop believing that God even existed.

    I came to realize, with a deep understanding, that I did truly believe in a perfect God who makes no mistakes, a perfect God that could make good come out of the bad, a God that wanted good for me and not bad.

    But if I truly believed those words, what should I do with that?

    Well, if I do believe it then I should live my life like I believe His word. I should love with a love that knows no limits. I should share what I have. Too many of us go to church and don’t have love in our hearts. Too many of us judge and criticize and hurt others, intentionally or not, with our words. We don’t uplift and encourage and support and share our blessings. I’m guilty of all these things. It took me years to come to grips with what God really means when He commands “pick up the cross and follow me”.

    When Elyse was talking to Katherine, she invited us to apply to a free camp in Alabama that they started for families with children with disabilities. I told her that we have quite a few kids and I’m not sure that could happen. She asked a few more questions about our life and I answered. There are no short tellings of our journey so I shared a little.

    Then during the Q&A she was talking about pain and loving people while they are going through the hard and I had a question. I asked, “How do I honor my children’s pain but help encourage them to not dwell in that pain.” I never want to minimize what they’ve gone through. Before she answered the question she wanted me to share a little of what I had told her, and then she called me a hero. If you know me, you know I don’t like words like that. I am NOT a hero. I am a mother who fought for her children. That’s what mother’s do. Words like hero and saint and “stronger-than-I-could-be”, frustrate me because they make it sound like I am more than and I am not. I am an ordinary girl, who loves her God, and followed where He led. I fail so many times. I struggle and I make mistakes and I am so not a hero. But then Katherine said something to me that will stay with me forever, “Lisa, you are worthy of this calling God gave to you. Worthy!” She then said something to the effect of live your best life. Be the hero in your own life. Do it with the best ability that you have and that struck such a chord with me. Your life is a test. You are supposed to slay for God. You are supposed to love big and be there in the hard. You are not a bystander in this life. You should be the hero in your own story.

    I talked more than I should. I get nervous and I don’t even know exactly what I said. But what I do know and what I want to share is this…

    Either you do believe that God’s word is true and you should follow His commandments and share your blessings and care for the orphan and the widow and those who are hurting or you don’t! There is no middle ground. If you aren’t doing God’s work, then you are an ineffective Christian. When I talk about God’s work, I mean being kind to the cashier, helping a neighbor in need, fostering, adopting, praying for others, etc. Most of the stories shared at this conference were stories of people just being kind. Kind words, kind deeds, these are the things that people remember.

    God commands us first to LOVE Him with all our mind, soul and heart and then to LOVE our neighbors as ourselves.

    I’ve started doing something with our older adopted girls. When they feel something or believe something, I ask them to write down the facts. Just the facts. Not how they feel or what they assume. Just the facts. Whatever they can actually prove. We lie to ourselves often about what we are actually doing.

    So if you are a believer I challenge you to do this too. Write down the facts, the actual times you helped someone. I’m not talking about showing up on Sunday and tithing. I’m talking about times when you went out of your way to show God’s love to someone else. Hopefully, you can say, “Whenever I’ve seen a need, I’ve helped.” I smile often. I encourage when I can. I love others, even those who are hard to love. Now the truth is if you are doing it right, you aren’t keeping an accounting but I’m sure there are a few moments that you can remember. How did you do? Are you kind? Are you loving? Are you patient? Do you listen well? Are you there for friends and family? Do you know your neighbors by name?

    The truth is your life should be all about LOVE. Loving God and loving your neighbor.

    This is what love should look like…

    Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

    I challenge you today to give up the notion of a perfect life and instead embrace Katherine’s truth of a GoodHard life. There is joy amongst the pain and pain amongst the joy. There is good in the hard and hard in the good. There is no perfect life but you can be the hero in your own story. I am now embracing the word “hero”. Not a hero that is out for fame and glory but a hero that is living their most loving life an ending their journey giving everything, every last ounce of love they have to those who need it.

    Run your race, do it well, and as Evie always says, LOVE BIG!!! I believe we can all love more. I for one am going to try even harder to LOVE BIG!

    This song says it all…