Monthly Archives: February 2016

Scar Story

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“He bore our sins in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; by his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Peter 2:24 NIV

Ever find yourself lying unconscious in the gutter? No?  I never expected to either! So imagine my surprise when I opened my eyes to find myself wedged between the tires of a car and the curb…literally lying in the gutter!  It was one of those moments that moved in slow motion and seemed like a dream or in this case a nightmare.  As I looked up from my undignified position a crowd of unfamiliar eyes stared down at me.   Sprawled on the pavement, one flip flop on, one off, my clothing askew, and a throbbing head made me want to disappear down the drain I was laying on!

I was a teenager on vacation and I’d fainted as we were walking along the sidewalk, souvenir shopping. I’d had too much……….not what you’re thinking…….sun. As it turned out, I had to get stitches in the gash near my eye. I still bear the scar on my face from that embarrassing adventure long ago that I’d rather forget.

Scars are like that. They stick with us. They tell the story of imperfect moments in our journey through life. Everyone’s are unique.  You NOW know that some of mine tell of accidents, some say I’ve survived health issues, and still others remind me of times I might not have used good judgement or paid close enough attention.

We don’t just display our scars on the outside, though.  Our story continues with the ones we wear on the inside, too. Maybe we’ve been “stabbed” in the back by a friend. Our heart’s been “pierced” by someone we love. Words have “cut” deep into our soul. Insecurity has “carved” its way into our thoughts. These scars can feel as if they’ll never heal. And they don’t if left on their own. Here’s the Good News for you and me….we’re NOT left on our own!

“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Psalm 147:3

What a comfort to know that God not only knows every hair on our head but also every hurt we endure. And just as He designed our skin to repair itself on the outside,  He takes our inward pain and layer by layer knits the damaged pieces into a place of strength.

There have been times I’ve wished my scars weren’t there, but as I’ve grown older I realize that inside or out; each bump, bruise, scrape, and gouge has been stitched together to create who I am today. It’s my scar story. A story that’s full of hurt, disappointment, and fear, but it doesn’t end there.  It’s also a story that tells of this girl’s healing through forgiveness, love and grace. Now THAT’S a story that will stick with you!  What’s your scar story?

If you want to read more about loving your scars, click on over to http://www.tsuzanneeller.com for #livefreeThursday wisdom.

What Could Be Worth More?

My name is Cindy and I am a recovering Perfectionist.

For a long time I didn’t recognize the signs, even though looking back they were there. It wasn’t until I heard the words; words that caught me totally off guard because they came out of MY mouth, that I realized there was a problem. “If my own father could leave me, I can’t be worth much.” Where did that come from?  I’d never consciously had that thought before the very instant those words tumbled from my heart onto my tongue.

I’ve come to realize that somewhere in the traumatic moments as my dad turned his back on the sobbing eleven year old me and walked out our front door, a lie seeped into every crack of my freshly broken heart.  A lie so painful that typing about it now brings me to tears.  A lie that told a little girl that if she’d only been better, her dad wouldn’t have left.

Funny thing about lies, they’re often easy to believe and this one grew and intertwined itself in every part of my life until I was convinced that to be loved, I had to be perfect. Well, we all know how that turns out, don’t we?  Trying to be the best student, teacher, wife, parent, Christian…doing all that I could to give that flawless performance so others would see my worth…. so I could see my own worth… backfired.  The harder I tried, the more failures I experienced, the more failures-the more guilt I felt, so what did I do?  I tried harder. Striving to be perfect was exhausting!

Speaking those words that had been hidden in my heart for so long was the beginning of a journey I’m still on.  A journey of recovery. A journey of freedom. A journey of grace.

“But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Romans 5:8 (NIV)

Did you catch that?  It’s taken me a long time to embrace this wonderful truth. God’s love doesn’t wait for us to be perfect!  We are loved when we’re angry. We’re loved when we are judgmental. We are loved when we fail. And yes, we are loved when we are imperfectly doing everything we can to be perfect

I am a recovering Perfectionist.  I am Cindy and I am loved! Friends, you are too!  What could be worth more?

Linking up again today with Suzanne Eller’s #livefreeThursday at http://www.tsuzanneeller.com Today’s prompt? “When you’ve done all you can” Enjoy!

Seeds of Living Hope

This post is a little different from what I normally do but I’m excited to share it with you.  Recently I was asked to consider writing a series of  true, short stories about God’s miracles which have occurred over the past few years in the starting and growing of Living Hope High School in Bungoma, Kenya. I prayed, got advice, and yes, worried even though I know I’m not supposed to. It’s an important project and I wanted to be sure I was the one for the challenge.  Now, I was praying for a “neon sign” that would flash a message that it was God’s plan for me to write these stories,  instead I received a soft whisper that said; “Just write and I’ll take care of the rest.” This “want to get it right all the time girl” has a hard time stepping into the unknown but “just write” is what I did.  I hope you enjoy this and the stories to come.  I pray they bless you as they have me.

Alan / Pixabay

Seeds of Living Hope

This is the first in a series of miraculous true stories about Living Hope High School in Bungoma, Kenya. Stories that share the divine inspiration and dedication to helping students of poverty, who once had no hope, reach their full potential. 

“Still other seeds fell on fertile soil, and they produced a crop that was thirty, sixty, and even a hundred times as much as had been planted!” 

Matthew 13:8 NLT

What happens when, called by God, one teacher sells everything she can and begins on a journey that takes her to the other side of the world to plant seeds of hope? I invite you to join her in this adventure and witness the miracles of God, the obedience of a woman, and the lives that are changed along the way.  Maybe just maybe…. one of those lives will be yours!

Marilyn Uhl had been a teacher for several years in the small rural towns of Seneca Rocks and Circleville, West Virginia.  From there she became a Masseuse for the many workers in the poultry industry of Virginia. But it was in 2006 Marilyn found herself in Tennessee as the teacher/principal of a high school for the behaviorally disabled. Unable to function in the public school system her students had drug addictions, mental health issues, and criminal records. It was a bleak, stressful, and challenging job.

Being an avid gardener, Marilyn could often be found working the problems of the day away in the soil of her flower beds. Helping something grow and bloom was just what she needed.  As she worked in the dirt she also worked on an idea.  What if she could pass on her love for gardening to others? She turned to Rotary International, a service organization, known for their dedication to mission trips. She joined the club and drafted her plan for a gardening mission trip, her mission.  Rotary International provided half the funding she needed and Marilyn worked tirelessly to raise the other half.  When she was done she had the money she needed, 15,000 packs of donated seeds, gardening tools, and was awarded the “Outstanding Project Award”.   What started as the seed of a dream had been planted, grew, and bloomed!

In 2007 Marilyn and all of her seeds arrived in Uganda at a Pentecostal orphanage.  The orphanage was made up of several small cottages where children and their guardian lived.  For two months Marilyn worked side by side with those children and adults until they’d planted a garden at each cottage.  She then reached out into the community to help them plant gardens, too.  Before saying goodbye to her budding gardeners and always the teacher, Marilyn also taught them how to collect and save seeds for the next year’s crops.

Summer had come to an end and school began as it always had before but this year something had changed in Marilyn.  Time passed and early one winter morning Marilyn sat at her kitchen table with a cup of coffee working on her lesson plans. Her old dog Jesse slept beside her in his basket.  Suddenly, without warning the quiet of the room was engulfed by what seemed to be a voice…. God’s voice!  In that miraculous moment He revealed three things to Marilyn: “They went to bed hungry.”, “Go.”, and “I will provide.”  Stunned, she sat frozen, straining to hear more, but silence had once again settled on the kitchen. Dazed and shaking, Marilyn called her school and told them that she wouldn’t be in.  Hanging up, she sat staring not sure what to think or do next. She was not idle for long as a prompting had her opening her closet doors. At once she began sorting and organizing, all the while trying to make sense of what had just occurred. By the end of the day two loads, the first of many to come, were packed and ready to take to the thrift store. She returned to school, life moved on, but Marilyn knew God had planted another seed. She never stopped thinking about the words she’d heard, especially “They went to bed hungry.” Something told her “they” were the children in Africa and her desire to go to them intensified.  God’s seed had “fallen on fertile soil” and in “thirty, sixty, and even a hundred” ways life as Marilyn had known it was about to change dramatically!

Copyright Living Hope High School, Bungoma, Kenya