lessons learned.

its no secret that its been a really, really crazy twelve months. losing my dad, my future career, having a baby, moving, losing a best friend, a church, and selling our first house are all part of our eventful year. reading through that list will tell you that only one of those events was a HUGE positive (lucy, obviously). so let’s just say it’s been rough. i lived a charmed life for 26 years. but charmed life or not, this year has been a raging storm.

i’m not the type to cry and whine or to make a big deal about my feelings. i wear my opinion on my sleeve, but when it comes to emotions i’m a different breed. i don’t like to cry in front of people. i’m real and i have no problem talking about stuff, but i don’t like having people feel sorry for me. i keep that stuff inside.

that’s why i’m glad that i took up blogging when i did. writing helps me process my feelings.  it’s nice to be able to capture my days and thoughts with words. i want to remember life as it is in this very moment. so here i am, sharing some of the lessons i’ve learned throughout this season of my life.

-be thoughtful. i remember being young and trying to figure out what my “spiritual gift” was. in high school i came to the conclusion that it was thoughtfulness. ok, so that’s kind of boring. i tried to put this skill to use…i’d send cards, leave notes for people, buy little gifts for friends, etc. it was cool, i guess, but being thoughtful did not seem significant. i was glad to have this strength but i didn’t realize its importance. until this year, that is. i have recently learned how life changing it is to have thoughtful people around. it has been cool to see god give meaning to a self discovery from years back. something i once thought of as useless is now what i consider to be my life purpose.

-know your purpose. the funeral of our friends’ son, a soldier, was pivotal for me. i’m not sure why and i certainly was not prepared for it. it was a really hard day for me and for my mom and sister. but it was a turning point. i left the funeral that day and felt like my purpose in life was clear. i am beyond certain that god created me to love others, to be thoughtful, and to raise my kids to do the same. it seems so simple. i want my life to matter. i want to encourage people, especially those who are grieving. god gave me the tendancy towards thoughtfulness for a reason…and now i can clearly see his purpose for me.

-be sensitive. this is a big one for me right now considering a trial we’ve been enduring. the leader of the church we once attended recently threw some very, um, colorful words our way. among many things, we were faulted for not having his family over for dinner this past year. he also “scolded” us for not attending church every single week since the death of our best friend. to top it off, he ended the exchange by telling us to stop sitting on the sidelines and licking our wounds. enough said. the bottom line is this: be sensitive to what others are going through. this leader apparently has no idea what its like to stand there and sing those sappy songs after going through two terrible tradgedy’s. its HARD. if you have no idea what kind of suffering others are enduring then don’t pretend that you do. don’t complain to people about your miniscule problems when you know they are walking through the darkest valley. i have learned the importance of watching your words and being sensitive, especially to those who are hurting.

-do what’s right. it seems so simple, right? let’s be honest, it is. i’ve never understood people who can’t seem to just do the right thing. no outside circumstances should prevent you from doing so. its just what you do. now, obviously sin makes things messy. but we’re all adults and we’re past the point of stealing a candy bar from the grocery store. however, in those instances when sin gets in the way and the candy bar is irresistable, what do you do? you recognize your mistake, you apologize, you correct the wrong, and you behave differently in the future. plain and simple.

-love god and love others. we’ve adopted this as our family motto. we want to love god first and love others second. no explanation is necessary. the loving others part is our responsibility as human beings and especially as christians, if you are one. you have no idea how powerful love is until your needs are met by someone who does it.

i’m not thankful for the trials of this year, but i am certainly thankful for the lessons i’ve learned. they are invaluable truths and my life has been enriched because of them. so i’ll take this wisdom and pass it on and hope others can benefit from what i’ve learned. i encourage you today to reach out to someone. love them, pray for them, let them know you’re near. be purposeful with your time and do the right thing. LOVE GOD AND LOVE OTHERS.

“the lord gave and the lord has taken away. blessed be the name of the lord.”

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One thought on “lessons learned.

  1. Love your writing Gretchen! I especially love the “if you have no idea what kind of suffering others are enduring then don’t pretend that you do. don’t complain to people about your miniscule problems when you know they are walking through the darkest valley.” part. You are very real, and real people are hard to find these days. I hate fake people, so i really like you! Thanks for sharing, and thanks for being real. :-0

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