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Monthly Archives: April 2014

What a Whistling Grocery Cart Pusher Taught Me About Life And the Purpose of My Life

DSCN6809It was the second week of August 2013. The sun was shining and the sky was blue. For some reason, I had more time than normal before my last speech-language therapy home visit that day, so I took the opportunity to stop at the grocery store where I planned to do business banking and pick up an ice cream treat.

But I never did make it into the store that day.

This thing that happened? It was a little crazy.

So I got out of my car at this grocery store I’d never been to before, and all I could hear was somebody whistling in the parking lot. It was the kind of whistling that was hard to ignore, although everybody but me seemed to be going about their grocery shopping business as usual.

I looked around and looked around some more. There were NO signs of a whistling person anywhere. But then I looked a couple rows down and saw an older man with a line of grocery carts. He was pushing the carts towards the store, and I noticed he was the one, HE was the one whistling!

So I crossed the two lines of cars separating me and that man in the parking lot because, hey, I had a little time and I really wanted to know what compelled this man to whistle so intently while he was working! I approached, told him how lovely his whistling was, how it captured my attention across the parking lot, and asked if I could tell his story on my blog.

When the man responded, I discovered a MAJOR problem…

He didn’t speak a lick of English. In fact, he responded to my inquiry in Spanish.

Hmm….

What was I to do?

I’d only been blogging for 13 months at that point, and I’d never run into a situation like this!

If I was any other sane person, I would’ve let it go at that. But no. I had to do something!

So I went back to my car and pulled up a translation website on my iPhone while keeping a close eye on the whistling grocery cart pusher. One of the first sites that came up was www.webtranslation.paralink.com, so I clicked on the link, found Spanish translation, and crafted something to say to the man. (And ya, I knew that whatever I said had to be simple and to the point, because I hadn’t taken a Spanish class since high school, so even with translation, I wasn’t going to be blowing the dude away with my Spanish proficiency.)

This is what I had translated on my little iPhone…

I love your whistling. Can I write an article about your lovely whistling for the internet?

OK. OK! So 8 1/2 months later, I realize this is craziness, utter stupidity! The fact that I went back to this whistling, Spanish-speaking grocery cart pushing man just to say that seems ridiculous. I admit it. But for some reason, in that moment, I was compelled to return to him and know more about his story, and those were unfortunately, the best words I could muster in those moments of rush in the parking lot.

So I got out of my car, took my handy dandy phone with those words translated to Spanish, and sought out the whistling grocery cart pusher once again.

Utter craziness, I know.

When I approached the man, he recognized me from before and stopped immediately. I pulled out my phone and read the words, in my feeble attempt at Spanish.

Amo su silbido. ¿Puedo escribir un artículo sobre su silbido encantador para el Internet?

(I love your whistling. Can I write an article about your lovely whistling for the internet?)

The man must have understood at least some of what I said, and must have thought I was fluent in Spanish, because he then proceeded to tell me what sounded like his life story – IN SPANISH! 

As he proceeded, sentence after sentence, I debated in my mind – was this rude, demeaning and inappropriate to let this man go on and on in Spanish, when I don’t understand much of anything he’s saying? Or is it OK? I let my heart and my gut rule, and I decided I’d stay. Although I have to admit, it made me feel a little uncomfortable and desperate for a translator because I knew he was revealing to me, right there in the grocery store parking lot, a story that was heart-wrenching and incredible.

So there I stood, in the middle of a grocery store parking lot, listening to this man tell me his life story, in Spanish. And I didn’t understand a thing. Or did I?

My “translation” and understanding of bits and pieces of the man’s story compelled me to stay when logic told me it’d be better to flee.

This is what I understood of the whistling, Spanish-speaking grocery cart pusher’s story, despite our language differences. Words paired with gestures, paired with my strong intuition and skill interpreting others’ communication from 14 years of experience as a speech-language pathologist, led me to understand this.

The man had been whistling since he was born. There were no tears when he was born, just whistling, right from the start. He was most definitely sure of that.

He had no schooling. He could write only a few words.

He’d experienced and observed many devastating and horrific things over the course of his life. His wife died. He gestured having an arm cut off from the elbow down three times. He gestured getting his head cut off another time. He took my pen and wrote “WICKED” on his hand, and had many names for Satan in Spanish.

But even in all his pain, the whistling, Spanish-speaking man had a deep faith. In our short time together, he pointed to the ground and then back up to the sky several times. There were many references to “Biblia.” And he even brought out his lighter and lifted it high to the sky to demonstrate the power of God in all the pain.

After about twenty minutes of chatting, it was time for me to go. I didn’t want the man to be fired, so I found an opportunity to politely wrap up the conversation and bid the man a warm farewell as best as I could.

I returned to my car and scribbled notes about my encounter with the man.

I went home that night and told the story to my husband. It all seemed a little crazy, but there was another part of it that felt holy, like it was a divine appointment between me and this whistling stranger.

My notes and the grocery store flyer sat on my night stand for weeks. I finally decided to tuck them away in a special spot in case I wanted to refer back to that story someday.

Six months later, I took that trip to Haiti. And it wasn’t until I returned from Haiti and sought wise counsel about next steps for my life, that I realized – my encounter with that man was profound. I finally got it. I finally understood.

That whistling, Spanish-speaking grocery cart pusher taught me the only thing I need to know about LIFE. Though life’s handed us the worst, the most devastating and horrific of circumstances, we can CHOOSE to be joyful, we can CHOOSE to whistle and make the most of each and every day. We can CHOOSE to let faith rule our lives rather than fear.

It’s true for me, and it’s true for you. Will you choose to be brought down by your circumstances? Will you choose to let life get you down? Or will you whistle your way through life with faith, finding joy and opportunity in every moment?

That whistling, Spanish-speaking grocery cart pusher taught me the only thing I need to know about the PURPOSE of my LIFE, too.

The purpose of my life is to be a translator-of-sorts.

To translate stories of fire and ashes – into beauty.

To translate stories nobody understands – into stories everyone can understand.

To translate stories untold – into stories told.

To translate stories of lifelessness – into stories of true life.

To translate stories of pain – into stories of purpose.

To translate stories hidden – into stories brought to light.

To translate stories of misunderstanding – into understanding.

To translate stories of doing what you love, and loving whatever it is that you have to do.

Yes, it’s mysterious work. And I’m still trying to figure it all out.

Before, I believed there was no purpose in me sharing this story – because I didn’t know all the details, because I didn’t understand all of the man’s words, because I didn’t really know his story after all – so I stuffed it away in a hiding spot to keep to myself. There was simply too much mystery in it to believe it had value.

But now, I rest in peace, knowing the mystery is what’s profound. The mystery is where I’m meant to reside. This gift of translating mystery into some sort of beautiful reality? It’s what I’m meant to do.

So whistle on, whistle on people.

Whether you’re winning or losing or somewhere in-between, whistle on, whistle on.

Amy

Peggy Lynn Groenwold - Of we could be so happy and caring.April 28, 2014 – 10:56 pm

Amy - Thank you, Deb. I, too, enjoyed our time together this weekend and am grateful we were able to meet. I LOVED our table of women! What a great combo of personalities and life stories. Looking forward to connecting more online and in real life with you and the other ladies. :) Have a great week.April 28, 2014 – 9:08 pm

Vicki Thunstrom - This is just my very favorite! It is also one of my most cherished lessons in life…The joy of the Lord is our strength…. Thanks for sharing this! April 28, 2014 – 7:43 pm

Deb - You have such a beautiful heart and a peace about you that makes others feel at ease & want to share. Glad I finally got to meet you this weekend!April 28, 2014 – 3:16 pm

Haiti. Where My Heart Longs to Linger.

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That last night in Haiti, I sat on the edge of a bed in a Port-au-Prince hotel room facing my roommate, Georgeann. I’d just met this woman one week prior, but I’d learned enough of her to know she was authentic and completely trustworthy. So in that moment, both of us bare-footed and ready for bed, with all the noise and clamor of Port-au-Prince in the background, I shared the secret of my heart.

There are things I’ve experienced here in Haiti that I’ve never come close to experiencing back home.

Yep. These are the things that have been weighing on my heart. These are the things that have been pressing on my soul since I returned from Haiti, nearly two months ago now. These are the things that call to me, speak to me, dare me to find the soonest opportunity to return to that beautiful country. These are the things I long for when I know in my heart I’m missing Haiti.

How was it possible for me to develop such a deep and rich love for a country I visited only one week?

How is it possible that an adoptive mom’s story really is true, that she’s never heard of anyone going to Haiti just once?

And the question I’ve asked myself time and time again since I returned – why would God have brought me to a place I loved so much, a place that sat so perfectly with my soul, only to take me away again?

It takes me a second to realize the obvious – my family and friends are here in the United States. Of course I desire, of course God desires for me to return to my country, to live, love, nurture and serve those He’s placed in my path. Here.

My life is here.

My life. is here.

My life is beautiful, blessed and rich beyond measure.

But my heart still speaks. That deepest place calls out, longs to linger in the beautiful match Haiti was for my soul.

Perhaps you understand if you’ve been to Haiti.

So I believe. God will have me return.

I believe God is already preparing a way.

I believe He knows exactly where I’ll go next, exactly where He’ll have me next.

And I’ll be open, beyond ready when it’s time to go. Because I know, He will call.

It’ll be specific. And it’ll be with people and for purposes far greater than myself.

Because I simply can’t afford what Haiti needs. Nor can I afford what Haiti has to offer.

So I lend myself as an offering, before He calls. I’m willing to go, it’s my desire, no doubt.

But in the quiet God tames me. He says wait. Hold up. I’m working. Wait. Not yet. Let My plan unfold. I will show you the way.

So I wait.

Patiently.

Very patiently.

I ponder and pray over every clue, wondering if this is what He’d have me do.

And I ponder all the reasons I dared to utter that sentence in the Port-au-Prince hotel room…

There are things I’ve experienced here in Haiti that I’ve never come close to experiencing back home.

I keep these things close, tucked away in the recesses of my heart. For God bestowed on me these most precious gifts, and I’ll treasure them as such until He calls me to return to that beautiful, soul-stirring place called Haiti.

That beautiful place where mamas aren’t afraid to tell truths about the depths of their pain, and they aren’t afraid to share the source of their joy either.

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That beautiful place where girls showed me what it looks like to have a servant heart. That beautiful place where I learned what it really means to receive.

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That beautiful place where kids from extreme poverty say “I love my life.”

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That beautiful place where dreamers dream and believe ALL things are possible, with God, through Christ – even when ALL signs suggest otherwise.

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That beautiful place where words mean something. Yes, that beautiful place where words are powerful, limitless, LIFE GIVING.

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That beautiful place where simplicity wins, integrity shines, and dignity is always of the utmost importance.

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That beautiful place where creativity is fostered, not forced.

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DSCN6180That beautiful place where leaders rise among sleeping giants. That beautiful place where great leaders of a country literally stand before you. And you can feel it, this rising up of of a nation as they fulfill their call.

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That beautiful place where hearts just like yours affirm, make you feel known, completely understood, tell you you’re beautiful, we love you just the way you are.

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That beautiful, beautiful place where humble hearts reign. And you’ve never experienced humility like that ever, ever before. And you finally know, THAT’S what true humility looks like. Yes, that’s a beautiful place.

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That beautiful place where joy is unspeakable. And pain is never, ever far away.

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DSCN6250That beautiful place where faith crosses every border.

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That beautiful place where human souls sing, triumph, keep pressing forward…even if, even though…

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That beautiful place where eyes can’t help but notice the poverty, the destitution, the lack of everything, everywhere. That beautiful place where I couldn’t help but notice the wealth, the riches, the abundance in everyone, everywhere.

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Yes. Those are the things about Haiti that I can’t quite replicate here, back at home. Those are the things that have been hard to explain. Those are the things that have lingered in my heart. Those are the things that call me, beckon me to return.

Is it possible for a heart to be 100% engaged in one place and 100% engaged in another? So be it. Let it be mine.

If, for any reason, these words have spoken to the deepest part of you, whether you’ve been to Haiti or not, please let me know via comment, Facebook message, or email. Whatever God has in store for me and Haiti, I’m most certainly going to need travel partners. I’m believing He might have one or more of you join me in the future. Who’s it going to be?

Some food for thought this Friday afternoon.

Blessings on your journey, wherever it may lead you.

Amy

**If you’d like to read about my journey to Haiti in February 2014, click on this link and read to the bottom where you’ll find links to every post I wrote about Haiti. It’s an honor to invite anyone and everyone into this life changing story.

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Antonio Macias - Amy I see that we are truly united by the same heart. I have not been able to express in words how the people of Haiti have changed my life. My spirit cries out to return. My spirit cries out to share Haiti with all of those who I love. It cries out so loudly that before I left Haiti I was all ready making arrangements to return. In March 2015 I plan on taking my wife and 4 kids with me. I’m also taking my neice as her graduation gift and may end up taking more people. I must share this beautiful place and these beautiful people with others. God is truly doing an amazing work in Haiti.November 19, 2014 – 5:50 am

Amy - Dear Summer: While we’ve never met, I’m convinced, based on all I know about myself and everything I’ve read on your blog, that we’re soul sisters. I have SO enjoyed following your story and watching it unfold the past year and a half, and am convinced we’ve experienced similar feelings along the way. Of all the posts I’ve ever written on this blog, this would be one I would definitely NOT want you to miss. So I’m glad you found and read it today, Summer. Thank you for taking time to share your thoughts. I appreciate it so much, and it is SO good to know we are not alone. So good to be able to say “me too.” :) Blessings, and grateful we’re on this “outside of our comfort zone” journey together!April 28, 2014 – 9:21 pm

summer saldana - Oh Amy, I loved this post more than a comment could ever capture. You have written my heart & thoughts exactly, and close even to what I’ve written from my journey as well!

I love my life here. But there is an unbelievable joy, peace and contentment when I’m serving in the DR or wherever God calls me outside my comfort zone.

I know God has called our family to do more, go more, and be more…and while I have no idea what that looks like, I know that more than ever I am his willing servant.April 28, 2014 – 12:03 pm

Grandpa and Grandma’s Little Light

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My sister sent the text at 5:06 p.m. I read it just as I was pulling in the driveway from work.

“The ambulance is getting dad from the golf course.”

Dad had a heart attack on the golf course. He’d just finished the 4th hole and wanted to finish a 5th, but things had been going downhill fast, so he knew he had to get back to the clubhouse as quickly as possible. He made his way back to safety and the owner of the golf course called the ambulance immediately.

Dad was transported via ambulance to a nearby hospital, and then transferred to a bigger hospital where he’d receive more specialized cardiac care.

My husband and I kept the news to ourselves for a while, but then decided to tell the kids, “Grandpa’s in the hospital.” We gently reminded them that grandpa’s lungs have been sick for a while, noted the oxygen tanks they might’ve seen around grandma and grandpa’s house, and indicated special concern because grandpa had a heart attack tonight.

After some debate and a couple phone calls from mom, we decided the situation didn’t require urgent action on my part. I’d wait until morning to travel and visit dad in the hospital.

I wasn’t sure if I should bring our toddler with me to the hospital. Annother great unknown in this realm of parenting. I debated all the way up until leaving the house. Should I send her to daycare for the day? Or should I bring her with me?

I’m glad I decided to bring Maisie with me.

She was a light from the start.

When we arrived at the hospital and began down the long hallway to grandma who’d been waiting at the cardiac unit, Maisie ran all the way to grandma. She ran what was probably a block, with arms open wide until she landed safely in grandma’s loving embrace.

She was a light from the start.

When we were brought to the consultation room and told by a doctor dad had not one, but TWO arteries in his heart that were 90% blocked, and would need stents placed immediately, Maisie was there. She found a sticker and put it just about everywhere – on the door, on the table, on a landline phone, on my hand, and even on my nose. She brought joy and laughter where there would’ve been none.

She was a light from the start.

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After we waited an hour and a half for the stents to be placed, after the cardiologist came in to give us the thumbs up that the procedure was successful, we proceeded to dad’s room on the cardiac unit. When Maisie saw grandpa for the first time, she greeted him without fear “Hi grandpa!” And when grandpa was parched and in desperate need of water or just about anything to quench his thirst, Maisie got a cup of ice chips just like grandpa. With help, she fed grandpa not one, but two ice chips from her cup. Best yet? It was all her idea.

She was a light from the start.

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After a cafeteria lunch, we headed back up to dad’s room. Maisie reached out for grandma’s hand. “Hold hand,” she said. So grandma and Maisie held hands, all the way to the elevator that brought us back to floor 2.

She was a light from the start.

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After the cardiac technician got dad resettled, flat on his back for another hour or two, I decided it was time to go. Maisie was getting louder. She was getting tired, and she’d missed her regular nap. But she was still up for a great big hug good-bye for grandpa. She leaned in to give him a kiss, and then that great big hug, with her arms wide open the same way she’d opened them wide for grandma down that long hallway five hours prior.

She was a light, even to the end.

I left content, knowing my decision to bring our two-year-old was right. She was light in a place filled with dark and heavy burdens. The innocence and love that radiated from her tiny toddler body was felt and appreciated by all.

For grandpa, for grandma, and others unnamed – may your burdens be lifted, may your steps be lighter, may your hearts feel a bit brighter – because of her tiny, bright light.

Amy

Peggy Lynn Groenwold - Thanking God for Maisie’s love and attention to grama and grandpa… She is truly a ‘light’.April 25, 2014 – 2:54 am

Diane Minnella Marretta - Blessings bring things to a whole new life. Thank GodApril 24, 2014 – 2:34 am

Monica Anderson Palmer - Oh sweet Maisie!! Love your light sweet girl! April 24, 2014 – 2:05 am

Tom Baunsgard - Precious! Blessings Abound!
April 24, 2014 – 2:05 am

Finding Your Way Back to Truth (Part 4)

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When you’ve been deceived, it’s crucial you find your way back to truth.

So I sat in bed with nothing but my laptop, my Bible and a pen, ready to receive revelation about this I’m too much, not enough business.

Little did I know, revelation was about to kick in because of the words on that pen.

20 months ago, I stood in line at the Women of Faith conference in Iowa, waiting to meet Ann Voskamp, my favorite blogger. They counted us off; there was time for 35 of us to meet Ann. I was 31st in line. There were only two or three people in front of me when the security guard told us it was time to shut down the line. The conference was about to resume. Those of us remaining in line wouldn’t be able to meet Ann.

I didn’t get the opportunity to greet Ann that day, but I learned something important from her, something really important. She showed me a bit of Jesus. Before she left, she looked at each one of us in line, cupped her hands in gratitude, and graciously and lovingly waved good-bye. She noticed we were there. She hadn’t forgotten us, even in the hurry, even when she was being pulled in another direction. I saw her heart, and I saw His heart for me.

After Ann left, the woman who accompanied her gave us a pen. While I could’ve chosen to view that pen as a consolation prize and thrown it in the junk drawer, I’ve treasured it for 20 months. Printed on it, One Thousand Gifts and the verse Ephesians 5:20.

It wasn’t until this Good Friday that I sat on my bed, with my laptop, Bible AND pen in hand, and read Ephesians 5:20.

As I read more of Ephesians 5, it dawned on me. This is the book, this is the chapter I’ve been living this Holy Week. This is the battle I’ve been fighting. This is the truth I’ve been trying to believe, live.

On Monday, in the first post of this series, Too Much, I stated the following…

“If we bring these lies into the light, we’ll expose them for what they are – flat out lies, false beliefs we’ve held about ourselves for way too long, for no good reason. And truth is? We’ve got to release these lies. Or the enemy will keep us right where he wants us. Flat on the ground, no good for anything, and certainly not up to fulfilling the awesome plans God has in store for us.”

And on Good Friday, there with my Bible and pen in hand, I read this…

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth, and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” Be very careful, then, how you live – not as unwise but as wise, making the most of every opportunity because the days are evil. Therefore do not be foolish, but understand what the Lord’s will is.  Ephesians 5:8-17

The fruitless deeds of darkness…I’m too much, not enough. I exposed and explored those lies all week. It felt good to let it all out, and my decision to do so was intentional, purposeful. Because I’m desperate for you to know you’re not alone, desperate to rid myself of the lies and live in the light.

But putting all those lies out there with no response, no resolution, no hope, no promise, have left me, for the most part, feeling shameful, empty, purposeless. I’m pretty sure that’s right where the enemy wants each and every one of us – stuck in the den of lies.

So it’s time to live in the truth of Ephesians. It’s time to wake up, rise from the dead, live wise, make the most of every opportunity, and understand the Lord’s will. Because I want to live in the light, not in the darkness.

I proceeded to review truths that came to mind throughout Holy Week…

For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God, and are justified freely by his grace through the redemption that came by Christ Jesus.  Romans 3:23-24

My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.  2 Corinthians 12:9

For sin shall not be your master, because you are not under law, but under grace.  Romans 6:5

Perhaps it’s true. We aren’t enough, we are too much – if we live without Him.

Perhaps it’s grace I haven’t understood. What is this grace anyway?

Perhaps in all these feelings of inadequacy, I need to believe, more fully, the truths about grace.

For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith – and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God – not by works, so that no one can boast. For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  Ephesians 2:8-10

Grace. It’s key to the freedom, peace and joy we’re all seeking.

And faith? It’s about our believing – in Him. It’s about us trusting – He has us in the palm of His hand – even when this great big world seems like it’s falling apart.

So how do we live as children of light?

Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.  Romans 12:12

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.  Romans 12: 21

And we must not forget to put on the armor of God. Because this believing everything about us is too much, not enough? It’s proof we’re in battle. The enemy’s plotting and scheming, struggling to find his way in to our souls, into our everyday lives.

Therefore, put on the full armor of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God.  Ephesians 6:13-17

And remember, before Jesus bowed his head and gave up his spirit on the cross, He uttered these last words…

“It is finished.”  John 19:30

So live in the truth.

It. is. finished.

He paid the price for me. He paid the price for you. It’s His gift, for us.

So live, knowing it’s not your good works that save you, but faith. 

Live, knowing it’s not about your performance. It’s about your growing understanding of grace, God’s free and unmerited favor.

Live, knowing you’re ENOUGH, with Him.

Wake up sleeper, rise from the dead.

You’re ENOUGH, with Him.

Amy

*This is the final post in a 4-part Holy Week series titled “I’m Too Much, Not Enough.” If you missed the first three posts, check them out at the following links…

Part 1: Too Much

Part 2: The Real-Life Implications of this Too Much, Not Enough Business

Part 3: When It’s Good Friday and You Just Know You’re Not Enough

Tom Baunsgard - Amy, Thanks again for your blog and contributions of wisdom and insight via scripture. Patient in affliction…. WOW! I need to always remember that “His Grace is enough…” The Peace of the Lord and his Blessings Abound!April 21, 2014 – 6:37 pm

Tara Dorn - Wonderful series, Amy!!! Wow, you are such a wise and authentic woman! I just love reading your posts and then taking time to let them sink in. We are so blessed to be enough with Him! And that is all that really matters.April 21, 2014 – 2:17 am

Monica Anderson Palmer - Amen! Looking forward to studying those verses for myself. Thank you for your authenticity & humble heart. April 20, 2014 – 1:17 pm

When It’s Good Friday and You Just Know You’re Not Enough (Part 3)

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It’s hard to live up to the world’s elusive standards.

We wonder if anything about us is enough.

We wonder if we’ll ever be good enough, strong enough, tough enough, sensitive enough, or smart enough to bear the weight of the world.

The measuring stick’s out. And we know, we just know we don’t measure up. There’s no way, no way we can meet those standards. We fall short, judge ourselves against the biggest, the baddest, the brightest on the playing field. We work hard to become better, attain whatever it is we believe will make us whole, worthy, acceptable. It’s hard work, and sometimes it’s even exciting, fulfilling and exhilarating work. But even in all that, even after we’ve done our best, worked our hardest, there’s still a part of us that feels we could’ve done better, we could’ve done more, we weren’t quite good enough. We ask the inevitable question, is it enough to just be myself? Or will I constantly have to be better, go further, longer, harder to meet the standards of this world?

Yes, that’s the space I want to address today.

The space that whispers quietly, but persistently – You’re not enough. You didn’t do enough. You just don’t measure up. You’re not good enough. Nothing. about you. is. enough. It‘s all a bunch of lies. That’s right. A bunch of lies.

Those ugly words? They leave you in a constant state of defeat. And that’s never a good place to be.

So let’s go there. Let’s unpack those dirty old lies – I’m not enough, you’re not enough.

And I’m starting with me. Yep, that’s right. I’m about to toss all those lies out, right into the trash pile. The enemy of my soul wants me to be stuck in a place of defeat, of never being enough, and I’m tired of it. He will not win this battle. So I’m tossing his lies out the door. Right now.

Let me be clear. These are lies.

This is how I feel about those lies. And this is what I’m going to do with those lies.

You’re not enough.

Kicking it in the trash pile.

You’re not good enough. You’ll never be good enough. Just keep working harder and harder and harder. Don’t stop. Never stop. You’ll never be good enough. Never. Keep working until you’re dry to the bone, until every drop’s dried. Do it. Do it. You’ll never live up to the standard of good. Never. But you better keep trying because that’s what good girls do. They work hard and they always do good. Just be quiet. Say less. Be more. Do more. Work harder. Keep striving. Never stop. You’re not good enough, so keep working, keep working, keep working.

Enough. Kicking it to the trash pile.

All those roles you play? You’re most definitely NOT good enough in any of them.

Garbage toss.

Epic mom failure? Yep. Not always the mom you thought you’d be? Yep. Try harder. Never fail. Be hard on yourself, that’s what you have to do when you’re a mom. Never a break for the weary mom. Keep working mom. You’re never enough. Kids made a mistake? It’s your fault. You didn’t say enough, do enough, try hard enough, watch closely enough or pray hard enough to make the kids behave well enough. Kids had a victory? Good job! But keep working! A mom’s work is never done. No rest for the weary. Keep trying because you’ll never know when they’ll fall. You’ll never know when your best won’t be nearly enough. So never let down. Never give in. And keep your guard up. Because being a mom’s the biggest job of your life and there’s always something lurking around the corner. Don’t mess up because if they’re not enough, you’re not enough.

All those expectations, all that pressure? Tossing it out.

Epic friend failure? Yep. Totally not a good enough friend. Wasn’t there for her child’s hospital stay, had no idea how her marriage crumbled, didn’t know she was getting divorced until it was nearly complete, had no idea how this or that happened and now you feel like an idiot for asking because so much time’s passed, let the ball drop on those get togethers, let months and years pass without contact? Epic failures. Epic, epic failures. So not a good enough friend. The elusive bar you’ve set for adult friendship? Completely unattainable.

Toss the guilt. Toss those expectations, again. Toss the bar that marks good enough, not good enough.

And that house. Oh my. Never good enough. Always too dirty. You won’t ever be able to get it clean, or keep it clean. But you’d better keep working. Because you know, if you keep working, you might just be able to make it happen. There might come a time when you’ve cleaned well enough that everyone will finally say YES! That’s good enough! Great job! You finally did it! The house is clean once and for all! Excellent work! Thank you so much for keeping this house clean enough! So keep working. It’s always dirty, there’s always more laundry, the kitchen counter’s always a disaster in the making. It’s never. good. enough. You’ve never. done. enough. So keep doing. Keep moving. Keep cleaning every second you can.

Toss it. Out the door. Go. Now.

All those dreams you hope for? All those plans you have for your future? Let me tell you…you’re not good enough. You’re not smart enough or clever enough, and you’re most definitely not funny enough. You’re not nearly as eloquent, and not nearly as put together as she is. You’d never be able to motivate like that, connect like that, write like that, or speak your mind like that. You’re not Christian enough for them, and you’re too Christian for them. And you can’t keep up with any of them. So just drop it and get it out of your mind. Those not enoughs? Maybe they’re true. Not enough. Not enough. Not enough.

So ugly. Oh so ugly. Such horrible lies. Toss them like the wind. Toss them.

Then come all the random not good enoughs. Don’t wear high heels enough. Don’t wear sweat pants enough. Don’t wear your hair down enough. Don’t prepare homemade dinners for your family enough. Don’t buy or prepare organic food enough. Don’t worry about GMOs enough. Don’t watch your kids’ diet closely enough. Don’t chill enough. Don’t drink enough. Don’t come party with us enough. Don’t give enough. Don’t volunteer enough. Don’t keep up with the mail pile and finances, the photo albums and weeds in the garden well enough.

Blah. Ugh. What a weight. Toss ’em.

It’s enough to kill a person, isn’t it? This burden of not enough?

So you sit. You find yourself on the ground, lifeless, next to this trash pile of not enoughs. You know, there’s GOT to be a better way. You admit – I’ve had it. This. is enough.

You allow yourself a moment. To sit. And be with the trash. You call it what it is. Trash. Pure trash.

You realize – the enemy’s lies have held you captive for far too long.

You’re worth much more than this.

The trash leaves you empty, hollow, lifeless.

You must rest. And then you must go.

Get away from the trash piles and never come back.

And don’t you dare start a new pile wherever you go next.

Because you’re so enough.

You’re so enough, even when the world and all the evidence says you’re not.

So that weight of the world you’ve been trying to bear? It is not. yours. to bear.

Believe it.

Rest.

And know.

God is good. He sent Jesus to witness our burdens for Himself. He bore the weight of the cross, this Good Friday, so we could be rescued from everything about us that’s too much and not enough.

Good news is on its way, folks. Good news is on its way.

Amy

We’re working through a week-long series titled “I’m Too Much, Not Enough.” In Part 1 of this series, we talked about different ways we believe that everything about us is just Too Much. In Part 2, we went deeper into the real life implications of this too much, not enough business. In Part 4, we’ll explore why we truly are. enough. Hallelujah!!