Life Happens

From the Heart of Grace Waters…


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Growth in Adversity

Our world is in the grips of a pandemic unlike anything we have seen before. Shelter in Place orders have been sent. Curfews have been established. Restaurants and businesses are shuttering their doors, temporarily for some, but indefinitely for others. People are panicked and searching for answers. In the midst of a tumultuous time, our world could use a glimmer of hope. Every day, the media recounts the rising number of people affected by the Coronavirus. The news is often bleak and dismal. There seems to be no light at the end of a neverending tunnel. Stores have run out of essentials-bread, milk, eggs, and surprisingly enough, toilet paper. It reminds me of Charles Dickens novel “A Tale of Two Cities” in which he writes, “It was the best of times. It was the worst of times.”

As we look at all the negativity surrounding this pandemic, we see another narrative evolve; This narrative shows families coming together unintentionally for some much needed family time…married couples have a chance to reconnect…those of us who have big dreams that we put on the shelf have time to pursue the passions which life had begun to extinguish. That book…now, you can write it. That virtual class…now, you can take it. That teenage son or daughter you seem to always bump heads with…now, you can refresh your relationship. Yes, the extra time with family can get annoying or frustrating, and yes, too much of something CAN become a bad thing, but now we can pursue, reconnect, rediscover…a very bad virus is opening the door for some major rejuvenation in our society.

As I was leaving home one day to go to the grocery store for some essentials, I took a moment to look around at the stillness. No one else was outside. The air felt like it was holding its breath, but not in an unappealing way. I felt an expectancy, a hope, a promise for the future. I saw how the flowers were still blooming and the trees were beginning to show their colors…and still, the ground was opening up to yield the next flowers which will add color to the world…I saw us, the world, after this.

Things will be different. We will have to readjust to a world that was ravaged by an unexpected pandemic. Some will have to reconcile the loss of loved ones with the thought of continuing in a world without them. I’m sending prayers up for you. In all, however, the world will resume. Just as the flowers, trees, and bushes know to blossom every Spring, our world has the capability to heal and walk in the new awareness this pandemic brought to light. Don’t let this “opportunity” pass you by. Grow from this. Take advantage of it. Come out of this better, stronger, more loving and kind…you owe it to yourself, and a better you makes for a better world. Use wisdom. Be safe. Grow.


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It’s In Me

A few days ago, I was sitting in a restaurant with one of my clients. As I sat, it felt as if someone was staring at me. With a quick glance around, I noticed an older gentleman looking my way. I acknowledged him, but then continued on with my client meeting. As I continued to share with my client, out of the corner of my eye, I saw the gentleman leave his table and head towards ours. In my head, I was not sure why he would be approaching the table. Honestly, I was prepared to show him my ring finger so he could understand I wasn’t open to being approached in “that” way if this was his intention. I mean, you can’t be too sure when a stranger approaches you. 🙂 His actual intentions blew my mind.

As he drew near to the table, he greeted us and then turned directly to me and began to ask questions. He asked me what I do for a living, and I told him that I am involved in several things, one of them being an inspirational speaker. At this, his eyes lit up, and he said to me, “That’s it. That’s what I sensed in you. There is an aura about you that draws attention, and I had to come over here to see what it was about.” From here, he proceeded to tell me, a complete stranger, about his hopes and dreams, and what he wants to do. At this point, I am completely in awe at this interaction. It felt surreal, and it caused me to pause within myself for just a moment. Here I am, functioning in a completely different capacity, but this man sensed something in me that had him interrupting my meeting to tell me about it. As he continued, a part of me rejoiced, while another part of me wondered why I had ever doubted the part of me he was able to see.

When you function in a certain capacity, sometimes you doubt whether you are effective. At least, I have. Sometimes you wonder if your purpose has expired, and you consider throwing in the towel, believing that no one will miss what you do and who you are. You become a comparison analyst, looking around and seeing that others seemingly do what you do, and do it better. You watch as others “flock” to someone else, and you determine that maybe you will let things rest for a while. Oh, maybe that wasn’t you, but it was me. But, that man reignited the flame in me. He reminded me that Grace is not something I made up. Me as the writer, speaker, encourager, uplifter, motivator, adjutator, lover…is just in me. Even when I am not specifically functioning as such, there’s just something about me…

Maybe you have doubted yourself…maybe who you thought you were came under attack because of life. It’s now time for you to be revived. There are many who may seemingly do what you do, but they are NOT you. They can’t touch those whom you can touch. They are not meant to encourage those you are meant to encourage. There is only ONE you, and you were created to be uniquely, naturally, and amazingly you. So write, speak, function, be. It’s in you.


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Fruitful Barrenness

I remember it like it was just yesterday…”you have PCOS…” Then, I remember as the doctor’s, year-after-year, told me that I would need medications to regulate everything. As time went on, doctor’s begin to talk about infertility. I watched them make faces each time they asked about birth control and I denied using any. They asked about how long I had been married, and they made more faces. I saw it in their faces before they told me it would be highly unlikely that I would be able to have children due to my condition. Then, my last doctor stopped returning my calls, letting me know there was nothing else she could do unless I opted for an experimental surgery that could possibly help. So, there I was, at the end of the line, or so I thought.

But during the journey, despite the heartache and struggles, in spite of watching so many others get what I so desperately desired, I was planting seeds. I encouraged others. I pushed others to believe. I wiped others’ tears. In the back of my mind I knew that even in my heartache, others still needed me to be who God created me to be. Slowly, I began to see the fruits of my labor. I saw people at the moment they chose to keep believing. I watched as others saw their dreams realized, and I rejoiced. Aching inside, I celebrated the fact that while my body appeared to barren, my spirit was alive and well. It was a daily battle, but one I chose not to lose.

Just as I remember the doctor’s telling me about the blemish in me, I remember the day I started feeling a bit “strange.” It was an uncanny feeling, and I took a pregnancy test more to rule out the possibility than to affirm it. To my surprise, what I had almost given up on had become a reality. Three more tests later, I finally believed. My body had rejected what the doctor’s told me.

Ten years later, I am finally seeing what was becoming a distant hope. This was a reaffirming moment, a necessary moment.

So, today I come to encourage you. Maybe you have some things you are believing will come to pass. Maybe the naysayers are more rampant than the encouragers. Keep believing even if the belief shrinks to just a glow in the corner of your heart. In the waiting season, sow into others. Be to others what you sometimes need people to be to you. In your barren place, be fruitful. Let your spirit flourish in the midst of. This is not the end.


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Grow Through It

I had the opportunity to travel to Hawaii recently in celebration of my 10 year wedding Anniversary. I was excited to rest and relax, but even more excited to have no real plans for about two weeks. As my husband and I drove to our hotel from the airport, I admired the view. The landscape was different, but beautiful. I saw the water, and then I saw the volcano rock. All around, there was rock. I wondered about wildlife and vegetation in this area of the drive. Then, I started noticing a grass-like growth seemingly right from the rocks. I admired the steadfastness of the growth and the fact that while nothing else was growing out of that rock, this grass was. I remarked to my husband how amazing that was, then I began to ponder on the significance of what was going on. It made me do some thinking about life. Sometimes our situations seem dark and do not, seemingly, have a foundation from which we can grow. In the midst of our trials, we despair. We fret. We struggle to see the end of the process; But we forget that every process produces growth within us. Just like the grass growing out of the rocks, out of a hard and impossible place, we too grow and evolve. We SURVIVE. The situations may not be ideal, and we may not like how we come to our growth moments, but it happens. So, we have to be as resilient as that grass growing out of the rock. Keep growing. Refuse to bend. Decide not to let go. But grow through it. Thrive. Be. Do. Just because you can.


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Tangled Up

I was minding my business when a colleague approached me asking for a favor. I used to automatically respond, “Sure, what do you need?” Not anymore. I have gotten myself into some sticky situations by automatically agreeing. 🙂 So, as I waited for her to tell me what she wanted, she held up a tangled necklace and asked if I could fix it. Now, staring at the mess in front of me, I wondered how in the world she thought I could fix it, but she had faith in me that I could. So, I watched myself (kind of an out-of body experience) reach out my hand to accept this jumbled mess. I told her I would get to it in a bit, but as I stared at the mess before me on my desk, I could not resist at least trying to get it right. The going was intense. Every time I thought I had fixed the mess, another tangle seemed to appear out of nowhere. At some point, I felt myself getting frustrated and almost deciding that it was not worth trying, but I kept going. When I heard myself in my head giving myself a pep talk, “Slow down. You’re going to get it. Just one loop at a time.” the chore became more of a puzzle. I love puzzles, so that worked for me. Finally, I got to the last knot, and I began to hurry because the suspense was almost over, but then it seems the necklace got more tangled. So, I remembered my advice to myself and I slowed down. After what seemed like forever, I finished untangling the mess, and came out with a beautiful necklace. Now, I am patting myself on the back for a job well done.

As I untangled the necklace, I thought about how life happens, and sometimes the decisions we make or the decisions others make regarding us leave us in a bind. We get tangled up and frustrated, and many times it may seem that we will never be able to straighten out the knots and twists that life has brought to us. But, just like the necklace took time and patience to untangle, so do our lives. The great thing about life is that things can always get back to “normal”, but it is the twists and turns that make it a bit more interesting. Even when our lives get jumbled up, there is always an opportunity for us to get ourselves together. Just as I had to help my colleague, sometimes, we have to help others untangle their lives. Even if it is left to us to fix the “mess” of our lives, we have to remember that some messes can’t be fixed immediately, but they take time, patience, and some setbacks. The blessing is that when we work to fix it, we appreciate the finished work.

Maybe your life has seemed like that necklace. A mess.  Tangled up. Confused. Maybe it seems impossible to fix. But, I challenge you to take it one “knot” at a time. Keep working at it. Don’t give up when things seem to get more difficult. Just keep in mind the image of what you want your life to be, and work towards that goal. After all, we are all “a mess”, but we don’t have to stay that way.


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Good Enough

Have you ever thought to yourself, “I’m just not good enough”, and you believed it deep down on the inside of you? Have you found yourself comparing yourself to someone else’s greatness, and finding your own self severely lacking? When was the last time you looked at yourself and said, “I am good just how I am?” Are you still thinking? That long, huh? Yeah, I understand.

I had a discussion with someone not long ago, and he reminded me that in the whirlwind of all that I do, I had lost the capacity to consider myself. I helped everyone else. I got pleasure from seeing others happy. But when he asked me what makes me happy, it took a while to think about it. Caught up in everyone else, I realized that part of my drive to make everyone happy was so that they didn’t look at me and see that I was struggling. I didn’t want anyone to see that I didn’t think I was good enough to live up to the big dreams God put in me, so I pushed everyone else’s vision, supported everyone else, encouraged everyone else…and somewhere along the way, I forgot about me. It is easy to do. Sometimes, we get so great at hiding our need from others that they begin to think we don’t need anything from them, and they become content allowing you to push their vision while yours gets dropped off on the side of the road. It’s not totally their fault. But as I spoke with this person, I began to remember the dreams I had put on the top shelf, not totally out of reach, but far enough away so that I wasn’t bothered by the sight of unrealized dreams.

I understood again that if the dreams were given to me, then I am good enough to function in them. It is timeout for losing the essence of me trying to be everything else for everyone else. Not to say that we shouldn’t support others and help push others, but not at the detriment of losing ourselves in the process. So maybe you have allowed yourself to believe that you’re not good enough, pretty enough, old enough, young enough, popular enough…destroy the lie. You ARE good enough. Now own it.


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My Truth

I am socially awkward. I am that one who CAN talk to everyone in the room, but probably won’t. The wallflower that is vibrant and vivacious, but would rather stay to myself. That one who loves everyone, but still gravitates to seeking my own company. I used to wonder why God gave me the personality He did. Why did he make me quiet and observant as opposed to outgoing and the life of the party? Why couldn’t he make me to be the one with a whole lot of friends and associates, rather than the one with very few friends and even fewer associates? I have watched those who seem to be well-liked by everyone, and I wondered about their secret. Then I tried to mimic who they were, but it made me feel fake and out of pocket. Eventually, I came to realize that the me the way God created me to be would have to do.

If you think about it, all of us having the same personalities would make for a very bland world. No differences. Same way of doing things. There is a place in society for all of us. For the quintessential wallflower, the gregarious life of the party, the easygoing in-the-moment participant…all of us. Now, I know that our lives sometimes shape who we are. Looking back at my childhood, my experiences shaped me to be unnaturally suspicious of anyone I encounter. Trusting someone is not always first on my list. Then as I grew older, my own mistakes led me into hiding. I used to think, “What if they knew all the things I have done. The wrong I have done to others…THAT mistake? Would they still think I had value?” But that is a mindset that has to be broken. Our lives lead to us portraying ourselves in certain ways, then we project that on others and stop being true to ourselves. I decided I would live my truth.

So now, when I say I am a wallflower, it is not out of fear of what people think about me. It is because I have learned to speak when I have something to say. But, I am the one in the gathering who will most likely be off to myself. Not antisocial. Not standoffish. Just comfortable in who I am. It took years to get here, but it has been worth the journey. Spend time getting to know yourself, and being comfortable with who you are. Your experiences shaped you, but they don’t define the rest of your story.