I was privileged to speak last night at the All Saints Lutheran Church. I have to say what a great evening it was and once again, I found myself surrounded by incredible women.
I mentioned that I would put the notes of my talk on my blog so, here it is…
This scripture makes me realize that we are all God’s hands here on earth, we need to be ready and willing to do the things He needs us to do, but first I believe that we need to make sure we have our lives in order.
I try to go over a check list in my mind every now and then, about how I am doing in certain areas that I think are vital in order to serve with the Savior with all my heart
.Here is my check list …
#1… Do I put on my air mask first?
I believe that one of the hardest things for women to do is to take care of themselves. I remember thinking as a young Mom that I had to do everything! I really struggled taking time out to eat right, exercise or get enough sleep. I actually felt guilty if I did anything fun for myself. How foolish I was back then, some time wisdom comes so slowly and so painfully. It is vital to take care of ourselves first, so that we have the ability, the energy and the strength to help others
"Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." ~World Health Organization, 1948
"The... patient should be made to understand that he or she must take charge of his own life. Don't take your body to the doctor as if he were a repair shop." ~Quentin Regestein
#2… I think we need to ask ourselves what baggage are we carrying?
28 years ago Jeff and I were going to meet a Counselor for my depression. Why was I depressed? Well, I was a child of incest and I tried to tell when I was 5 years old but I was not believed. Now I had just delivered my first baby and it was a girl. I was terrified that like me, she would too become one of my grandfather’s victims… IF I DIDN”T SPEAK UP and stop the chain of abuse.
The first thing the counselor asked where our little girl was, and I mentioned that my parents were watching her. He then asked if they knew I was getting counseling. My comment was " No, this is about me and my family, which only includes just Jeff, Amy and I" Next he said something that I will never forget, he said "Lynn, when you are really ready to get rid of this baggage you are carrying, that does not belong to you, then let me know and we will meet again". At the time, I was so upset, I thought he didn't understand my situation, but I soon realized that he actually understood it better than I.
He was right, I had been carrying baggage around for years that wasn't mine, I had become so used to carrying it, that I didn't even realize the damage it was doing to me, from bearing that type of weight (emotionally) for so many years.
This quote reminded me of my situation.
"We can easily manage if we will only take, each day, the burden appointed to it. But the load will be too heavy for us if we carry yesterday's burden over again today, and then add the burden of the morrow before we are required to bear it." ~John Newton
Now even 28 years later, I still have to work at checking what baggage I am carrying each day. I also need to remember what the Savior said, to each of us in
Read… Matthew 11:28-30 We need to remember that the Savior helps us with our burdens, shares our load, but does not take them away from us. We do not need to carry it all on our own!
# 3 Am I willing to OBEY?
Mary ( the Mother of Christ ) is such a great example to me of Obedience. Even after the Angel came unto and told her that she had been chosen and to be the Mother of Jesus Christ the Son of the Highest, even after she questioned how all this could possible come to pass? Her ultimate answer was…“Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word”
Sometimes I wonder if we shouldn’t be more like Mary, she wasn’t perfect … but pure in our thoughts, words, deeds and motive.
Later in that same chapter we read when Mary and her cousin Elizabeth were talking she said
“ My soul doth magnify the Lord” Mary was willing and obedient!
#4 How is my faith doing? And do I daily communicate with God?
They say that “great faith has a short shelf life” what that means to me is that every day there will be things that come along to shake our faith, whether it is illness, loss of a job, death of a loved one, pain or bad choices…it is important that we continue to check and see how our faith is doing.
" Faith and doubt cannot exist in the same mind at the same time, for one will dispel the other" ~ Thomas S. Monson
There is great power in prayer and I have personally witnessed this over and over again in my life. I can not deny it! When I was diagnosed the first time with Cancer, I was overwhelmed by the many friends who prayed for me and my family on a daily basis. I was touched as I would be in the grocery store and a stranger would come up to me and ask if I was Lynn Woodard. As I said yes, with a puzzled look…she then smiled and said “Oh I thought I recognized you from the photo someone brought to church. We are praying for you on our Prayer Rolls! I couldn’t believe it a stranger ( one of the Lord’s laborer…was praying for me !)
Then 7 years later when I was diagnosed for the 2nd time with Cancer, once again, I felt the strength and support of loved ones and friends.One of my dear friends went as far as to make me a Prayer Shawl, she reminded me to wrap up in my shawl often and feel the love and prayers that were going Heavenward in my behalf…and I did and still do!
So remember this quote about prayer by James E. Faust…“No earthly authority can separate us from direct access to our Creator. There can never be a mechanical or electronic failure when we pray. There is no limit on the number of times or how long we can pray each day.
There is no quota of how many needs we wish to pray for in each prayer. We do not need to go through secretaries or make an appointment to reach the throne of grace. He is reachable at any time and any place.”
And remember this quote on faith by Patrick Overton…"When you have come to the edge of all light that you know and are about to drop off into the darkness of the unknown, Faith is knowing one of two things will happen: there will be something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly”
# 5…Perspective… "If you were told you only had a week, a month, or a year to live, what would you change?
This perspective empowers you and I… to understand what really matters in this world. If we change, if we improve, there is a rippling effect of love and strength, which has the power to change our family, community, and so on..."
Proverbs 23:7"As a man thinketh in his heart, so is he."
We need to be happy. The Savior said it himself. Sometimes that sounds too simplistic I think. But in actuality, we have more happiness if we choose to consider things from a positive perspective. Everyone goes through the ups and downs of life, however, we can make a decision to dwell on the negative or like they say… “When life gives you lemons, make lemonade!”
"If the only tool you have is a hammer, you tend to see every problem as a nail." ~ Abraham H. Maslow
It is important to associate with people who are positive and uplifting. In order to stay healthy and happy you need good energy, and let’s be honest not everyone has that
. (story of Lauren and the cut up straws by names ) . I was grateful that she was protecting me, when maybe I was too weak to protect myself!
So let’s go ahead and each day try to change our perspective for the better. Let’s not compare ourselves to others but just be our best selves.
They say anyway… ““The only normal people are the one's you don't know very well.” ~ Alfred Adler
# 6 … Service and Gratitude… I always ask myself… what I could be doing for someone else?
"When you find yourselves a little gloomy, look around you and find somebody that is in a worse plight than yourself; talk to him and find out what the trouble is, then try to remove it with the wisdom which the Lord bestows upon you; and the first thing you know, your gloom is gone, you feel light, the Spirit of the Lord is upon you, and everything seems illuminated." ~ Lorenzo Snow
Read… John 12 :35-36
…One of the great blessings of living in the great North West is all the Lighthouses we have close by. We love visiting the beaches and looking at all the different lighthouses
. I this quote from George Bernard Shaw…“I can think of no other edifice constructed by man as altruistic as a lighthouse. They were built only to serve.”
In the dictionary is tells us what al·tru·is·tic means...unselfishly concerned for or devoted to the welfare of others "
We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won't need to tell anybody it does.'” Lighthouses don't fire cannons to call attention to their shining, they just shine." ~ Dwight L. Moody
No matter how much pain I am in, how sad I am feeling, there is always an immediate lifting of my spirit when I stop thinking of myself and serve.
I love this story that a Mother relates…
She says Years ago when our four month old son had an operation. I felt forsaken and alone in the hospital waiting room. Another mother there was particularly comforting to me. She took me down the hall to meet her twelve year old daughter who was suffering from leukemia. I found her to be like her Mother, peacefully and cheerfully accepting this fatal illness. The girl was busy knitting dish clothes for her nurses. Her brightness helped me put my own concerns temporarily aside. A few days later, our little one, now at home, and was much better. I received a note from this Mother. The illness had taken my new young friend back to her Heavenly Father, but before she died, she asked her Mother to send me a hand-knit dishcloth. What a beautiful example of the Savior they both were to me.”
Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best …”It is one of the most beautiful compensations of life, that no man can sincerely try to help another without helping himself.”
#7… Humor… How important will all this be in 20 years?
You know as a Mom you do the best you can and sometimes you just have to laugh and realize that life is not perfect and your not perfect but trying.
I like the saying “Triumph is just ‘umph’ after the try”
Story of the homemade spaghetti sauce and acidophilus
Story of the Aloe Plant
Another thing that I think is funny and makes me smile is when I was trying to come up with a name for my Quilting/Sewing blog. I needed to make a card for it and so of course I needed a name. I decided to call it Mandie and Me Designs. That has a nice ring to it, doesn’t it?
Well, my kids didn’t really think so because they know that Mandie is the name of my prosthetic. I am not sure why I did that, probably because I got tired of saying and spelling the word prosthetic all the time! J The truth is Mandie and I go every where together and because of her, I was able to go back into life with much more confidence and peace after my mastectomy.So I feel blessed to be able to have replaceable parts for the ones that are not working any more or gone, in my case both problems applied
.My quote for myself and Mandie is this one…"Oh, my friend, it's not what they take away from you that counts - it's what you do with what you have left." ~Hubert Humphrey
# 8 Purpose and Knowledge… “What is my purpose here on earth? And am I doing it?
The answer to this question is in James 1:5-6…Who better to find out what our purpose Is, than from God? There are many out there in the world that continually try to tell us what we are or what we should do or look like, but I want to know from God what it is that my particular mission is. Once you find that out for yourself…then you will never be bored again, because you will realize what you need to do.
I love the story of Queen Ester…we know that she was an orphan, she was a Jew, and she was raised by her cousin Mordicai. Circumstances came up to where she was privileged to become the Queen, the King did not know that she was a Jew. To summarize more, at one point Esther’s cousin told her about danger that was coming to the Jews, if she didn’t intercede. He suggested that she go to the King and talk to him, but to go to the King uninvited could be life threatening but she realized she may be the Jews only hope to have deliverance. Here is what her cousin said to her to help her with this terribly hard decision…Esther 4 :14….’Who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this?”
"Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before."
Do we know what the Lord needs us to do and are we ready and willing to do it?
Remember…”Knowledge is Power”
Hannah Snesh said “In my life’s chain of events nothing was accidental. Everything happened according to an inner need.”
We need to know that the Lord won’t give us more than we can handle, we need to trust in His power
Yes, "Every trial endured and weathered in the right spirit makes a soul nobler and stronger than it was before."
Do we know what the Lord needs us to do and are we ready and willing to do it? Remember…”Knowledge is Power” Hannah Snesh said “In my life’s chain of events nothing was accidental. Everything happened according to an inner need.”
We need to know that the Lord won’t give us more than we can handle, we need to trust in His power
Yes, “ There are some things you learn best in calm and some in storm.” Willa Cather
#9 Self Worth and Self Esteem? …Do you know the difference?
Three years ago on November 13th 2008 I wrote this in my journal… “My spirits were high until I got ready to leave the hospital and first took a look at myself in the mirror, what a shock. My whole chest is wrapped with ace bandages so I actually couldn't see the effects of the surgery but my body still looks deformed already. I couldn't help but cry when I looked again in the mirror. How could this really be happening to me and how will I ever feel normal and good about myself again? I know there are many women who have gone through this and worse, but for today I am just talking about me. How can such a routine surgery now days, leave someone feeling so ugly, empty, sad and doubtful?”
I had forgotten at that moment what my Self Worth was!
Self Worth is who you are…a daughter of God, however Self Esteem is how you feel about yourself. I believe if we could remember more often our self worth… then our self esteem would be better!
“The choices we make about the lives we lived, will determine the kind of legacies we leave.” ~ Tavis Smily
I have this quote on my mirror and I read it every day , to remind myself just exactly who I am and the work I need to be doing!
“ Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest
fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our
darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be
brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually , who are you NOT to be? You are a child of God. Your
playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing
enlightening about shrinking so that other people won’t feel
insecure around you.
We were born to manifest the glory of God within us. It is not
just in some of us- it is in everyone. And as we let our own light
shine we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically
liberates others.” ~ Marianne Williamson
I know this post is long but I hope for all of you who wanted to come but couldn’t will feel the spirit of what I was talking about.
Good night dear friends!