Happy First Anniversary to Me :)

Happy first anniversary of blogging to me! The year has been filled to the brim with lessons that have taken me out of my comfort zone and pushed me beyond what I thought possible. I marvel at how God has taken my desire to share my journey with my sweet grandbabies and turned it into something so much more. In my thirty-three years of teaching, I was constantly telling my students to write about their lives because no one else could write their autobiographies. I journaled my pain, but I never found the courage to write my own story until a dear friend encouraged me to write for Lillyann. Audience makes all the difference when it comes to writing, and I was suddenly motivated to tell the truth with love so she, and now Mylah, could hear Gigi’s heart.

Life and love are about hearing one another’s heart, and that has been the biggest lesson I’ve learned as I’ve brought my story into the open. It’s a lot like taking off my clothes in front of a large group of people, and I almost didn’t do it. I put it off until God made it clear that I needed it even more than my little granddaughters. Telling my story has opened my heart in a way that I could never have imagined a year ago. I thought it would be easy to blog about my life, but that has not been the case at all. For those of you who write and share your stories, you know exactly what I mean. Writing takes a toll on the heart, and I’ve always known that. In my classroom, I had photos of famous authors all around the room. I thought it was important for my students to see the face of the person who wrote the literature we were reading.

One day, a middle school student asked me very seriously if all the authors on the wall had sad life stories. I was cautious how I answered that question because I wanted my students to be encouraged to write, but I also wanted to be honest. I told him that many of the authors did have tragic lives; I saw a teachable moment and knew I needed to be honest. I love middle school students because they are so very real and know the pain that brings into their own lives. I told my students that writing takes a willingness to let others see your pain and feel your hurt, and that takes a toll on the heart and the soul. It isn’t for the weak and takes more courage than anything else in this world. I didn’t tell them that was why I avoided real writing like the plague. I wasn’t ready to reveal that much to them. I wish I could have been a better example in that regard.

They understood as only middle schoolers can, and I’m sure many of them saw my own cowardice. They didn’t call me on it, so that means they either didn’t notice my fear or they understood and respected it. I do remember wishing I was as brave as those faces looking down from the wall that day. I have thought about that question many times and find great irony in the fact that I taught writing yet didn’t write. I see now that my passion came from the fact that I could not do what I so wanted them to be able to do. Like a prisoner pleading for those on the outside to enjoy the open air, I was pleading with them to do what I could not bring myself to do. I was fifty-seven before I found the courage to write as I knew I should and fifty-nine before I found the courage to share my writing with others. I would say late is better than never, but I know timing is much more complicated than that.

I know the importance of readiness when it comes to learning, and the teacher in me knows that my heart wasn’t ready to write or admit that I couldn’t in that classroom long ago. God used my passionate desire to write to encourage my students to write. He really does make all things work together for good. He was writing His story on my heart all along, but I wasn’t ready to hear it. The most difficult critic to get past when writing is self, and I imagine that’s true for all writers. A year ago today, I struggled with sending my first post. I know I read it a hundred times and cried almost as many times before finding the courage to take my clothes off in front of the world and say here I am. I smile when I read that now because my heart has truly come home, and I love myself in a way I never believed possible. I marvel at how God works, and I thank Him and all who have given me the courage to open my heart and be who He created me to be.

Here’s my first post. Lessons in Love

Lessons in Love
Lessons in Love

Intersecting Lives

My life is meant to intersect with the lives of others while walking in the world. Sometimes the intersection is only for a moment, and sometimes it’s for a lifetime. The place of intersection provides an opportunity to share my heart and hear the heart of another. Busyness and fear cause me to miss the connection if I am not careful. I am lucky to have friends and family whose love enables me to reach down and up in ways that change my heart. Love changes everything, and that makes each intersection an intercession if I’m heedful in the moment.

People will always come and go in my life, and some will connect in powerful ways. Those who allow me to be who I am stay near my heart even when they are no longer present because of geography or circumstance. Clinging is comfortable, and it’s natural to want to hold on to beautiful connections and moments. Allowing others to come and go is much more difficult. I’ve always done the best I knew how when it comes to connecting, and I believe that is true for most of us. It’s important to let others be who they are and be who God wants me to be. It’s the only way intersecting lives can become beautiful connections. If I stay the course God has in mind, my life will intersect the lives of many. If I veer off His path, I will miss opportunities to love as He desires.

Only God sees the way intersecting lives come together and produce the harvest He has in mind. I look forward to understanding it one day myself. For now, I can only rely on God to open doors and give me the courage to walk through them. Kindred hearts are what heaven is all about. The euphony of lives touching one another in love is sweet music to God’s ears. The clanging cacophony of discord breaks God’s heart, and it sometimes makes me want to run and hide. The sweet love I feel when my life intersects with another as God desires gives me hope and allows me to open the door to my own heart a little wider.

Intersecting Lives

Look! It’s Touching the Sky:)

Pepe and Ray opened the pool today, and the girls were mesmerized by the process. We had to put little chairs by the door so they could watch. When they finally got to go outside, Lillyann pointed to the water and said, “Look, it’s touching the sky!” I smiled as I heard her perfect description and wished I had thought of it:) I also couldn’t help but think about how wonderful it is when we touch God through His Holy Spirit. Just as the pool touched the sky when the cover was removed, so did my heart touch God when I allowed His Holy Spirit to remove its cover. The pool was covered all winter, and I know that water was happy to see the sky. My heart was hidden for far too long, so I understand both the longing and the joy involved in touching the sky:)

I love watching the water, especially the little ripples created by the filter system. The openness is inviting, but I know I have to wait until the filters and potions do their magic before venturing in. It’s fun to watch the transformation taking place, and I can already see a noticeable difference in the color and clarity of the water. Until the transformation is complete, I can only look at and anticipate a refreshing swim. The girls were just beside themselves, and Lillyann kept asking if she could get in. I know she will love swimming, and I know we’ll have a lot of fun playing together in the water. I hope I never forget her reaction to the pool the first time she saw the water because it will remind me to make sure she sees God in me the same way she saw the sky in the pool.

Opening my heart is a lot like opening the pool. Like pools, hearts must go through a transformation before they are ready to love as God desires. The first step is touching Him and reflecting His love in a way that invites others to come in. The lessons this week have been powerful ones that helped me open my heart a little wider and touch God in a beautiful way. Pastor John reminded me that I am God’s child, and that gives me the courage to reach up, touch God, and open my heart to the love He has for me. Pastor Jodi reminded me that I need to be filled, and I thought of her honest and beautiful message when I looked at the pool today. No matter how beautiful the pool, it’s of no use when it’s empty. The same is true for my heart. The images this week have been powerful ones that I pray will stay with and continue to bless me as I touch God, remember who I am, and remember to stay filled:)

Touching the Sky