On a very cold and gloomy morning, I woke up to find that I had overslept. With an angry groan, I rolled out of bed and began to groggily get dressed. Then I remembered! We had a Women’s Day project early this morning that I was supposed to go to! Our mission had worked out a few different celebrations of women in South Africa, and today we were supposed to go to a center for mothers in crisis and have a morning tea with them, bringing them all sorts of little goodies, including a carrot cake, charming little Swiss rolls, and a gift bag with an assortment of grooming and personal beauty items.
I was one of the hopefuls that started last year with a brand-new planner. 2020 was full of promise, and I thought I had some control over the direction of the year. I had a long planned/postponed trip to see my family slotted for early spring, some home improvement plans, a saving/financial plan, plans for family vacations, etc.
I’ve heard and read many encouraging stories about the positive aspects of people’s experiences embracing the changes that come with aging. Well, now it’s my turn! I’m discovering the benefits of embracing change in new ways.
It is said that there are three artists that give us music: God, who gives us magical wood to make the instruments; the instrument maker, who after months of labor awakens the music dwelling in the wood; then the musical maestro, who liberates the music from its woody confines to set the listener free.
I witnessed firsthand an illustration of music’s redemptive power when I visited a women’s prison in Uganda. In some cases, these women were pregnant or lived within the prison walls with their children in tow, as there was no one else to take care of them.
Sandra felt as low as the heels of her Birkenstocks as she pushed against a cold winter gust and the florist shop door. Her life had been easy, like a spring breeze. Then in the fourth month of her second pregnancy, an automobile accident had stolen her ease. During this week she would have delivered a son. She grieved over her loss. As if that weren’t enough, her husband’s company threatened a transfer. Then her sister, whose visit she coveted, called saying she couldn’t come. What’s worse, Sandra’s friend infuriated her by suggesting her grief was a God-given path to maturity that would teach her to be thankful for the good things in her life and allow her to empathize with others who suffer.
We all go through experiences in life that leave us with scars, and whether the scars are physical or emotional, we often try to hide them out of fear of what others might think if they were to see them. These scars could be anything about ourselves that we may feel ashamed of and try to hide—such as buried hurts from the past, inner struggles we face, physical traits we aren’t proud of, etc. Throughout my life I have come to learn that there is great freedom in being open about our scars rather than hiding them. Here’s an example of one of my proverbial scars I’ve learned not to be ashamed of.
By nature I’m a brooder. Any topic or event will do, real or imagined. What’s astounding is that until recently I hadn’t noticed the way my brooding was impacting my interactions with others, and specifically my husband. I think all women attempt to read a person’s looks, gestures, and other unspoken communication, but I have a tendency to fixate on those musings until they’ve developed a life of their own. Sometimes my conclusions might be correct, but often I’m either off the mark or can’t fathom the full picture, and I’ve wasted a lot of mental energy and emotion without good cause.
My father had profound mental health issues which caused him, my mother, and us seven siblings much grief. I had a very unhappy childhood.
When I was two years old, I was seriously scalded by a pot of boiling water. To this day I still bear the scars over several parts of my body.
1. Make a list of all the good things you currently have in your life.
“That’s not fair” must have been my three most-used words when growing up. It seemed that someone—or everyone—always had it better than me.
By my early teens I had a well-developed measure-and-analyze mindset, and I was particularly obsessed with comparing my looks, personality, and abilities with those of other girls my age.