I am a living witness that often times you wrestle in the area of your gifting. I am an encourager, a counselor, a communicator. I’m passionate about helping others see their gifts, their impact and be introduced to the “them” they haven’t met yet. Over the course of decades, I have literally sat with, listened to, and talked with thousands of people- heard thousands of stories as to why they think they can’t accomplish or be something. I’ve watched them take that dreaded first step into new directions that ultimately changed their lives and their world around them. Whether it was a homeless client, a disgruntle employee, a pastor who needed refueling, kids that didn’t understand why their parents can’t be happy together, CEO’s struggling with secret addictions, a young person, not even of voting age, being told to pick out the day she wanted to die and how she wanted to spend her last days because her heart would fail and she was not eligible for a new one, a spouse seeking affection outside of marriage, a kid trying to get off drugs, a university student still being raped by her dad when she returns home on the weekend… I’m telling you, I’ve almost heard it all. I’ve seen the tears, the breakdowns, the anger, the confusion, the emptiness that most people don’t want you to see. I’ve kept their confidence as they shared their secrets, their struggles, their hopes, their dreams…
I tried to provide a safe place for others while often failing to create one for myself. I’m human. I have at times wrestled to stay encouraged. I wrestled with pursuing my dreams. I’ve wrestle with wondering if my life is making an impact. I have bottled up my feelings at times. I have wrestled with the expectations of others or with folks whom I love not “getting” me or seeing my value. And just like I had to do today, I’ve had to remind myself that God is my safe place. I can share my heart with Him at any time. When I close my eyes in meditation, I remind myself that there is nothing I have to “do” or “become” that would make me more beloved, protected, favored and valued than I am right now by the Father above. He just loves me for who I am- the me He created. Therfore, I’m allowing me to be who I am- loving me for who I am. Creating that safe environment for myself- Treating myself better than anyone else could possibly treat me- Releasing myself to flow in my gifts- Keeping good people in my circle-Helping others and allowing God to reveal me in any way He chooses.
What about you? Where is your safe place? How well do you take care of yourself? Are you stuck in the struggles or are you anchored to hope? Are you wrestling with becoming or have you found the grace and power of being? Just some off the cuff thoughts today.
Welcome to 2016 (Sweet ’16)! May it is filled with peace, restoration, fulfillment, amazing people, positive increase, laughter and great transformation! I hope we have shaken off doubt, fear, insecurity, other people’s definitions, other people’s expectations, discouragement, disappointment and all things unhealthy and negative. My prayer for us is that we dare to really live- not just because we are in a new year, but simply because it is time!
This is my first Blog of the New Year and I plan on being more consistent. This is not a new resolution. I have just rediscovered the purpose and passion for it. With the exception of my commitment and responsibility to Beauty Come Forth Magazine, I’ve written sporadically (publicly) throughout the last year. As I encountered life, I found myself in unfamiliar territory and uncharted waters. It was challenging to do a lot of public writing as I navigated through it all. Finding a clear pathway in the midst of storms and transition took a lot of energy, especially when I was Wendy led.
Writing is about truth to me and I might have been a little uneasy at sharing my truths. Perhaps I was in a place where I was trying to figure out my truths. You see I am forever learning, growing, adjusting… And trust me I have learned, grown, adjusted… a lot over the last couple of years. While the foundation of my faith and belief system has not changed, the way I view the world (or at least parts of it) has. But isn’t that true for us all? Very few of us view life the same way we did as a kid (or even 5 years ago). As we grow, as we encounter life, we adjust.
Anyway, whatever I have been through- the good, the difficult… whatever I’ve endured- the gains, the losses- everything has brought me here- to this place in my life- a good place- an amazing place… a place where I am whole, strengthened, stablished, and settled… a place where I have reached a new appreciation and need for God’s love, His mercy and His grace… a place where there is only room for authentic friendships that sharpen, prioritize and celebrate me and I them… a place where I understand that I have the ability and the responsibility to make a difference- an impact… a place where I am truly ready to live out and celebrate the fullness of who I am. I pray the lessons I’ve learned (and those I will learn along the way), as well as the words I write and share with you during this year and beyond, will reflect that as well as encourage and challenge you on your journey.
So, are we ready? You bet we are! Sweeeeeeet! Let’s go make an impact!
To say that this has been an interesting month would be putting it mildly. Lots of things to celebrate (my birthday, my Dad’s 85th birthday, friend’s accomplishments, the Magazine’s 6th anniversary…) and there’s stuff going on that’ll make you want to cry. I want to challenge you (and me) to go ahead and find a way to laugh today. Dig down deep and find a stream of joy. See, If the enemy can rob us of our joy, he will rob us of our strength. The joy of the Lord IS our strength and in His presence, there is fullness of joy… fullness of strength! His strength, that joy, and His love and faithfulness will get us through the toughest moments and propel us into peace and manifested victory.
Listen, it doesn’t matter what things looks like, It doesn’t matter what the enemy says. It doesn’t matter what it feels like or what you feel is going to happen. God will prevail & we must stay positioned, stay prepared and seize the opportunity for victory. I didn’t just get that from the dramatic victories experienced by the MSU Spartan’s and the Detroit Lion’s this past weekend- although they did serve as a reminder. But I got it because it seems like every time I turn around, the enemy is throwing low blows, challenging my faith- my belief- perverting the truth, attacking those closest to my heart. I have to keep reminding myself that I’m the champion! Me! Neither the harassment of the enemy nor my feelings or circumstances determine outcomes. Although the enemy looks like he is winning, he doesn’t get to determine my position, my stance, my countenance, my moves and he does not get to win– Period. I am fully prepared, fully trained, fully equipped to win- even against the odds. I know that at any second, on any day, an opportunity for God to show out in my life is going to show up! Spectacular! Impactful! Game changing! I’m ready for it. I’m looking for it. I’ve trained for it. I’m prepared for it! Don’t play with me today!
When you are challenged, when you’ve had the wind knocked out of you, when it hurts to breathe- breathe you must. You were given this life because you, whether you feel like it or not- whether you choose to believe it or not, are strong enough to live it! Know that! Know the truth. The enemy is afraid- afraid you’ll finally get unleashed- afraid that the real ‘God-designed’ you will emerge. he is afraid of your power, your influence, your impact- afraid you’ll wake up and declare God’s word- afraid you’ll see that you (with God) are so much stronger, more powerful, more amazing, more creative, more inspiring, more equipped,… than he is! That is why he comes at you- at your family and the people and things closest to your heart- to distract you from truth and to make you lose your hope, your passion and your effectiveness. Ugh! he does not get to win!
So hey, don’t you quit! Don’t you give up! Don’t you buckle under the pressure or the pain. Know and stand on the word of God! Don’t you expect or accept defeat. Don’t question your ability! Don’t you give up on what God said- on what He promised! Even if it looks like you’re losing, you’re not. Even if it seems as if the Word isn’t working, it is. Even if it appears there isn’t enough time for a comeback, there is. Even if it looks like there is just no way, there is a way. Even if everyone has counted you out… you’re all up in the mix. Positioned. Equipped. Prepared. Mentally tough. Fortified. Expectant. Look for the opportunity to win. Here it comes. 10, 9, 8… Manifested Victory!
Don’t you play with me today.
“For 20 years, I worked in the trenches with families and with individuals who were experiencing immediate crisis- addictions, child abuse, serious physical and mental illnesses, homelessness, domestic violence, hopelessness- and everything that came along with it. I’ve worked with thousands of people, seen more tears than you can count and heard stories that would break your heart. But what never ceased to amaze me were the reactions I would receive from my clients when after they shared their stories, I would say something like, “Wow. How did you do it… I don’t know if I would have had the strength you had to endure what you have endured.”
What… Strength? Did you not just hear what I told you? I’m broken. My husband beat me. I was gang raped. No one knows but I’m 16 trying to raise my 3 younger siblings becuase our parent abandoned us earlier this year. I sold myself for money. My once sweet little boy now has oppositional defiant disorder. My mom gave me my first hit of drugs. I lost my children to the system. I had… (Continue reading @ bit.ly/1K3nCZq)
—-#WendysWord: I’m Still Here! #Truth
Hey everyone. It has been a while since I’ve written anything here. I took some time to myself. Usually when the New Year rolls in, everyone is fired up and ready to tell you all of their new resolutions and revelations- all the things they have committed to do over the next year and all of the stuff that you need to do as well. Me, I just needed something different and I wanted to give something different. I didn’t want to be just another voice in the background saying the same old stuff that leaves you excited and motivated for 5 minutes. I needed something different. I wanted something different. I had to get back to my truths and to what is essential in my life. I needed to be in a place where I could listen… truly hear, get rested, and feel whole so I can continue helping from a healthy and authentic place.
This year marks 25 years of my professional career- a career marked with ups and downs, challenges, victories, and a lot of hard work. 25+ years of listening to the hearts and issues of other folks- the crises of their lives- walking with them through some of their most difficult and intimate times. Doing so has been an honor. It’s part of who I am. It may look easy but it can take a toll, especially if we forget to keep ourselves as a priority in our own lives and begin to pour out of a depleted place. I needed to be replenished, reminded, restored, poured into, encouraged… I took some time. Yeah, I took some time. I’m thankful to God for it. I’m better for it. I’ll share more at a later date. I’m strengthened, lifted. And hey, what better day to emerge then today…
Five years ago today, I instituted our 1st “March 4th International Holiday!” We shared with each other how we were marching forth and what we were marching forth toward. We took time to celebrate & encourage each other on our journey. My facebook, website, email, & phone were flooded with messages, declarations,… Remember how amazing it was?
This year, when it seems as if folks are marching all over the world for freedom, change, justice, unity… let us continue our tradition of Marching 4th and purposely helping others do the same. In celebration of the 5 year anniversary, let’s keep it going for 5 days. I think we often forget how we need one another- how we have the ability and responsibility to link with each other, lift each other, walk with each other, and help each other along the way. A three fold cord is not easily broken (Eccl. 4:12). When we come together, when we stand or walk with one another, and fight for one another… whew! Watch out!
We have all faced storms, tough times, good times, setbacks, breakthroughs, victories… We could all use encouragement. So lets give it. Share with us and with others (at home, on your job, at church, at school, …) how you are Marching 4th & what you are Marching 4th towards? What inspires you to keep going? Someone needs to hear Your real story- your truth, your transparency! Talk to folks over the next 5 days. Invite someone to coffee, lunch… Ask them about their journey. Listen to their hearts. Don’t just listen to respond but listen to understand. Encourage them on their journey. Let’s flood and rock the world with encouragement and concern. Let help one another March 4th.
Somebody is tired on their journey. It might even be your child or that friend who has it all together- that Mom who loves on everybody, that person who pours out all he has to help others, that neighbor whom you hardly see anymore… Yeah, someone is tired, struggling, falling, giving up… and you don’t even know it. What you need to know is this: you have the words, the hope, the kindness, the solution, the concern, the ability, and the responsibility to make a difference. Will you?
For the next 5 days (and beyond), let’s Hear, challenge, empower, and uplift one another on purpose. Let’s help each other live. Lock arms, Lock hearts, and March 4th together. Are you ready? Let’s go!
Be encouraged and encouraging.
I grew up in Michigan. We laugh about it being the state where you can experience all 4 seasons in one season- sometimes in one day. The temperature was in the 30’s yesterday morning and by the mid day it was in the 70’s. Did I mention that we are a few days shy of November? This morning as I type, it is literally storming. Hard rain. Blowing winds. Thunder. Lightening. You just never really know. Last Winter, we broke the Michigan record for inches of snowfall. It was crazy. You could barely go outside at times and driving- well you did it at your risk… and that’s saying something, as we Michiganders know how to drive in snow.
Growing up in Michigan has taught me to 1. Stay prepared for anything. Keep an umbrella, boots, mittens, sunglasses, a sun visor, blankets (for an outdoor picnic or to keep you warm when it unexpectedly turns chilly), some great snacks, flashlights (with fresh batteries) and a fully charged cell phone with you at all times. It’s tough being caught off guard without the things you need to enjoy or survive the season. 2. Embrace the moment. Nothing like walking the beautiful campus of Michigan State University enjoying a delicious ice cream cone from MSU Dairy or sitting on Lake Michigan- drinking a Faygo Pop, looking over the glistening waters on a warm day at South Haven or perhaps dancing in the rain, or snuggled in your bed (perhaps hiding scared under the covers) enjoying the sounds and blasts of thunder & lightning or standing in awe at the first signs of snow- all in the same week. Ha! Don’t live a life of “brace yourself”. Loosen up a little and embrace it all. Breathe it in. In every season there is something to learn, experience and yes, even enjoy. 3. Tough it out. When hard weather hits, dig your heals in and tough it out. If you’re stuck inside (maybe without power), make the best of it. My Mom would perform monologues to entertain us. When your basement is flooded from the rain, face the mess and get to cleaning. When your journey is rocky and hindered by Michigan potholes, make sure you take care of your vehicle and keep watch on your alignment. When the sky drops a foot of snow and your snow blowers gives out, grab the shovel and join the neighbors outside. When the tree falls on your house, take the steps needed to remove the tree and fix the damage. Yeah, you’ll gripe, cry, get angry, get tired… but then you’ll do what needs to be done. 4. Hang on. Michiganders know that no situation or climate will ever define us. It’s going to change at any given moment. Just when you think one climate has settled in, another one will enter. The darkened sky that brought the record number of rain that flooded your basement will soon turn to a beautiful blue sky right before the temperature drops to freeze your butt off. Our outer circumstances are temporary. We are not our outer circumstances. It is that which is within us that defines us. 5. Be resilient. Michiganders know how to bounce back and come back stronger then before. It may take a little time but we face adversity and deal with the stressors of change. We pull ourselves together. We patch up our roads, help our neighbors in whatever way possible and we recover, often at the astonishment and disbelief of onlookers.
It’s sort of like life, you know. The climate of our lives can change at the drop of a hat. Stormy situations that brought grief, unemployment, rebellious teens- those dark days that ushered in betrayal, isolation, foreclosures, bankruptcies, bad grades,… those seasons that made us cold or sent us running scared to hide our heads under the covers can and will change to seasons of opportunities, happiness, abundance, joy, new friendships, growth, … Stay prepared, embrace the moment, tough it out, hang on and be resilient. Take it from me, a Michigander.
Until next time,