Thankful Thursday: Disability

You are a diamond created by the crushing, pressing fires in life… in other words the journey.

I am no working on my 4th step which is “We made a searching and fearless morale inventory of ourselves” which is pretty damn scary.  It means reflecting back on my resentments and the part I actually played in certain situations.  I am reminded every day, this is to the best of my ability because my memory definitely falls short.  It is a process and in order to get to the other side, I need to walk through this step.

:I will admit there are days when I look back at what used to be and wish life was different. I have even envied others who didn’t have an addiction or a disability. What? I know I can’t change the past and dwelling on it will not change the journey I am on.  I know I shouldn’t think like this but thoughts happen.  Some days in my head can be kinda scary. I can think of some crazy ideas and have some equally wild woe-is-me moments. Then there are days when I can’t remember anything from the past which I think is God’s way of keeping me at peace.

I’m not going to lie and say I’ve never wanted things to be different, because I have. Those thoughts seem to appear most when the struggle is at its worst. I don’t like feeling that way, but it happens. That’s just me being real.

I could let my addiction or my multiple sclerosis sour my life.  I could let it cause me to become as miserable as my body feels with thoughts of what used to be and what could have been, or I could spend each day trying to become a better person.  I can vaguely remember spending countless hours working on self-development – trying to change me especially where my business was concerned.  The truth was I needed to rid myself of the inner gremlins which have been haunting me for years instead of just stuffing them behind a locked door.  Sometimes the learning process was hard and it still is, but the lessons I have learned along the way are invaluable.  I am learning asking for help is not the sign of weakness I always thought it was – it is a sign of strength.  The ability to admit when we don’t know something or need help is a gift because it allows others to share with us their strength, hope and experiences.

One thing being back in recovery has taught me is to be thankful.  I’m even thankful for the MS.   Many people won’t have the opportunity to get through today; like the addict who will take their last drug.  That is enough to make me appreciate everything I have, whether it’s pain, the inability to do something, or the lack of memories MS and addiction can throw my way. I’m thankful through it all.

Fear is real but I can overcome anything if I am willing to let go and let God.  I can’t do any of this on my own – I need other addicts to walk me through recovery and I need others with MS to show me how they cope each and every day.  On those bad days, I take my day and break it up into tiny chunks.  Someone told me recently it’s easy to eat an elephant. STOP!  No haters – Not a real elephant, but a giant obstacle you are facing. Do it one bite at a time.  One step at a time which is why they are in a certain order.  So I break my day up…one bite at a time. I may find things hard to swallow at times, but when I keep at it I find I’m able to get through it. That impossible elephant suddenly becomes possible.

Having a dual disability (MS and addiction) has prepared me for the rest of my life. It has given me a better perspective on what’s really important. That highly successful career I held on to for way too long, wanting a big house, craving a fancy car, and lots of material things – they are no longer a focus for me.  I wonder why so many of us strive all our lives for stuff and titles? Those things don’t matter in the end. What matters is loving people and knowing you are loved. Everything could be stripped from me and I know I would make it.  Okay, so I am still working on this BUT I know God would provide.  Some days I wonder if other people could get through even one hour of what we with disabilities face, let alone a full day.

Living with a dual disability gave me an advantage over the rest of the world. In essence a second chance.  I learning  to appreciate the roses and the sunsets as well as the storm clouds and looming tsunamis. I choose to live life on my terms… not how other people think it should be done. It may appear strange to others, but I’m not trying to win an award. I just want to get through each day knowing I did the best I could with what I was given.

Whatever your life’s path…..You’ve got this. Don’t ever doubt your strength or your worth. You are a beautiful diamond. Your journey through your crushing pressing obstacles, and your  fire has made you the AMAZING person you are. Now’s your time to shine!

Have a blessed day!

The Secret of Being Content

Thank you Michele Cushatt for today’s message.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. (Philippians 4:12, NIV).

“It’s too hot!” he complained over the kitchen counter, complete with rolled eyes and his best pre-adolescent attempt to pretend he might pass out from the heat.

Nice acting job, buddy. I restrained rolling my own eyes.

Moments, before I’d told my twelve-year-old to go outside and play with friends. He needed to get some fresh air and sunshine. Otherwise we both might have a meltdown.

Granted, it was close to 90 degrees outside. Warm, no doubt about it. But not scorching or dangerous. And our neighborhood boasted plenty of large trees and front porches providing shade. It was a normal summer day, but already the break from school had lost its luster.

“It’s beautiful outside!” I told him. “Besides, remember a couple weeks ago?”

I went on to remind him of those early June days when the temperature had remained unseasonably cool and the summer shorts stayed in the drawer.

“You didn’t want to play outside then because it was ‘too cold.’” I grinned, hoping he’d see the irony. Instead …

“70 degrees!” he countered. “Every day needs to be 70 degrees. That would be perfect.”

I couldn’t help but laugh. He had a point. Seventy-degree sunny days are just about as perfect as they come. But expecting every day to deliver perfect weather is not only unreasonable but impossible. The planet needs a combination of rain and sun, night and day, to thrive.

Sometimes I’m not all that different from my son. Although I don’t wake up expecting perfect weather, I do expect my life to go according to plan, to follow a predictable routine and meet my every need. In a sense, I want a string of seventy-degree days. I don’t want too many crises, too much discomfort, too many challenges. And if life doesn’t deliver my definition of perfect weather, I can easily grow frustrated and lose my peace and contentment.

In his letter to the Philippians, Paul claimed he’d learned the “secret of being content in any and every situation” (4:12). That means on the hot days and cold days alike. His secret?

Finding an outside source to regulate his temperature.

Like a furnace and air conditioning unit regulates the temperature inside the house regardless of the weather, we need an outside source to help us stay centered even when life grows uncomfortable. We need someone who can counteract our crises with his unwavering presence and soothe our anxiety with his unending peace.

Jesus. The one who comforts day after day with his nearness.

To pine away our days waiting for perfection will only leave us complaining in the kitchen about everything that’s wrong. In the process, will miss what’s waiting for us outside, the fresh air and sunshine and adventure of a life in Christ. No, we can’t control the weather. But we know One who can. And He makes the difference from being a woman who melts down in the heat of life and a woman who knows how to shine in spite of it.

Have a blessed day!

Thankful Thursday: Labels

Thank you  for inspiring today’s message…..
Who are you? I mean your “identity” beyond titles, labels and your history?  For me, this is a tough one because I never knew who I was so I was always used a “label”……

 

“Who are you?” is a really powerful question.  With so many of us are looking for personal growth you would think it would be an easy one to answer.  What is the first thing you think of when you are asked this question????

For me, I would usually answer: what I did – mom or social worker or now retired.  Occasionally I would say self-employed.  I have friends who would answer with one of these:

  • what we are working, wishing and hoping for (nope this one wasn’t for me)
  • who means the most to us and
  • where we’ve been and how we got to where we are

But, who are you? Think about it for a moment. Can you answer the question without rattling off your rank, title or accomplishments?  I know I can’t or at least I couldn’t before walking back into the doors of NA 16 months ago.  I was always a label, never knowing who I was.  A pretty scary thought.  I may not have an answer but I am working on one…https://deanafarrell.com/do-you-know-who-you-really-are-beyond-titles-labels-and-history/

I’m a wife, a mom, retired social worker, MS warrior, grant writer, Jesus lover, entrepreneur, reader, blogger, daughter, sister, friend, encourager, crafter, recovering addict,  jean wearing, often a hot mess who is making progress to being a better version of me! If I really thought about it, I’m sure the list could go on and on…. just like yours, right?

My list reflects my story,  labels given to me by others, some I cherish while others I struggle with.  I remember (vaguely) a time when I had it all right – years ago my first time around in recovery.  I was confident in who I was and where I was going.  I didn’t let what others think control who I was or what I was doing.  I realize when I had my identity right, everything else fell into place.

Is who you are defined by labels or are you defined by the core values you cherish?  Are you a reflection of who you were created to be or are you still struggling with finding yourself?  I will admit, I was eager to work my fourth step because it I wanted to get to gut-honest.  I wanted to take a “searching and fearless moral inventory of myself”….. be careful what you wish for.  LOL. I may be struggling through the process but I can see the light at the end of the tunnel.  I know once I can identify who I am beyond the titles, labels and my history – I will be a better strong version of myself able to make decisions – even the touch ones.

I love these words from Deana:

You will find yourself very clear on the direction you want to go, even if you’re not sure of what it will take to get there, because you know WHO you need to be in order to get there.

Stop trying to fit in. If nothing else today, take some time to ponder this BIG question “Who are you?”.

I know by continuing on this journey, I will become the person God meant for me to be.  Believe me, I am right there with you Working on making progress toward what I need to do in order to live out who I was created to BE !

Have a blessed day!

 

Real-Time Relationship

Thank you Elisa Pulliam for today’s message.

Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. Above all, clothe yourselves with love, which binds us all together in perfect harmony – Colossians 3:12-14, NLT

I expected my usually happy teenage daughter to bounce into my office singing VBS songs from her morning spent serving at church. Instead, her sullen face conveyed another story. She was battling feelings of betrayal, insecurity, and jealousy after receiving a message from a friend about something that was happening in a completely different place.

Let’s just say this mama llama wanted to spew more than a few unpleasantries about social media and towards the adult involved behind the scenes. Yet I could feel God urging me to not be so easily offended. I’d been down this road enough times before to recognize what was happening.

Satan was busy writing the story in my head according to his own agenda.

Can you relate?

The Holy Spirit prompted me to take hold of my thought life before doing or saying something I might regret. While I’ve been practicing taking my thoughts captive (2 Corinthians 10:5) and asking God to align them with His truth (Romans 12:2) for the last decade, I’ve come to see that I have a harder time doing this when a relationship is at stake. It’s hard to find your voice when you’re already wounded and fear more rejection. Yet, avoiding conflict never leads to relationship restoration.

So I skipped the easy-out texting approach and took the risk with an old-fashioned phone call. I put into action the best communication tactics anytime conflict is brewing. I prayed for God to speak through me and asked the open-ended questions I’ve been trained to use as a life coach. It worked! As I listened and affirmed my commitment to our friendship, her voice softened. Her defenses dropped. And the truth rose beautifully out of it all.

Turns out that there was no reason to be offended. There was no intention to hurt my girl or betray us. There was no ill will. There was a perfectly good explanation that social media failed to capture. I should have known!

Satan is the King of Drama ready to destroy every relationship God created for His glory and kingdom purposes.

Maybe that’s why Paul urges the Colossians and us to clothe ourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience, making allowance for each other’s faults. Yes, it’s always beneficial when we choose to seek forgiveness and extend it. It’s God honoring when we put on love in the pursuit of unity.

When we live according to God’s design, we get to experience a whole lot less drama, along with the blessings that come from real-time relationships restored by His love and extravagant grace.

Have a blessed day!

Spiritual GPS


Thank you Mary Southerland for today’s message:

Trust in the LORD with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek His will in all you do, and He will direct your paths (Proverbs 3:5-6).

GPS has changed our lives. So much so that many people today cannot even read a map. We don’t have a clue how to figure out North, South, East and West. We don’t have to.

We have GPS. Global Positioning Satellite systems.

We have it in our phones.

We have it in our watches.

We have it in our cars.

GPS has changed our lives. It helps us know where we are going and how to get there.

To pursue God’s calling in my life, I must discover my spiritual GPS.

The G in spiritual GPS is gifts. Finding God’s calling for your life begins with gifts. The spiritual gifts God has given you. The supernatural, better than your average bear abilities He has put within you. When God calls you to do something, He gives you the gifts that will enable you to do it. God’s plan never lacks God’s resources.

Check out the first part of Ephesians 2:10: “For we are His workmanship (His own master work, a work of art)” (Ephesians 2:10a, AMP).

You sometimes have to give some thought and effort to discovering your spiritual gifts.

Here are three of mine:

  • Teaching is one of my spiritual gifts. I have always had the ability to take complex truths and make them simple. I thought and often still do think that everyone can do that. Not true. I call it “putting the cookies on the bottom shelf.”
  • Encouraging is one of my gifts. I often spell “encourage” as “in courage” – because when you encourage someone, you pour courage into them.
  • Laughter is one of my gifts. I can make people laugh. Sometimes they laugh with me. Sometimes they laugh at me. But they laugh. And the Bible tells us that laughter is good medicine.

God placed those gifts in my life when He created me in my mother’s womb. The more I use them, the more they grow.

We all have gifts that God has given us. We need to know what they are. Because they are hints at God’s plan and design and calling for our lives.

So, the “G” in spiritual GPS is gifts.

The P in spiritual GPS is passion.

Ever notice how different people are passionate about different things?

We had a tornado this week in the area just West of Kansas City. Some of our church members are so passionate about helping people, they simply had to go do something. My son and daughter-in-law took a day off of work to go help their neighbors. Some of those neighbors lived less than a quarter mile away from them – and lost everything. There were so many people showing up to help that the police had to turn some people away because of the unusually heavy traffic on the rural Kansas road that runs through the area.

Back to the next part of Ephesians 2:10. “For we are created in Christ Jesus (reborn from above – spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used).”

Reborn …

Transformed …

Renewed …

Ready to be used …

Sounds like passion to me!

I have been speaking for women’s conferences and writing books and devotions for women for 30 years. I love it. Why? It lets me do what God created me to do. It fits my gifts – encouragement, leadership and teaching. It fits my passion – helping people become everything God created them to be.

So, the G in GPS stands for Gifts.

And the P in GPS stands for Passion.

The S in GPS stands for Story.

God – who designed me with a purpose in mind – is writing my story. He has been writing my story all of my life. The Bible tells us that He knew who we would be before He even created the world. The Bible tells us that He planned our story while we were still in the womb. The plan came first!

He is writing His story in and through you and me. And that story – our experiences, good and bad – helps us find our calling.

Back one more time to Ephesians 2:10 for the last part of that verse: “For we are created … for good works, which God prepared (for us) beforehand so that we would walk in them (living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us).

Did you catch what that verse says? God created you for doing good. God has prepared and gifted you to do good. God has given you passion for doing good. He is writing a good story in and through us!

Throughout the course of your life, God has been at work in you. Writing His story. Giving you the desire and the ability to do what He has created you to do. Why have these gifts and passions always been present in your life? Because they are part of your story.

God will help you discover your spiritual GPS – your calling.

You will find it in your gifts.

You will find it in your passion.

You will find it in your story.

Have a blessed day!