Do I have to Grow Up?

peter pan

I don’t know why so many people say, “Do I have to grow up?”
Perhaps it was Peter Pan, inspiring us all to be children forever.

And I agree with Peter Pan that we should all strive to have the hearts of children, no matter how old we become. The child’s innocence, honesty, openness, curiosity, wonder…they’re all things we shouldn’t let the years steal from us.

But added years and increasing miles doesn’t result in decreased value.
We’re not like cars. We’re living beings!

For that which is alive, growth is a wonderful blessing.
Think about it. Each year things seem to clarify a bit more. Each year we grow stronger and stronger, more sure of ourselves and our Maker.

What’s not to love about growing up? About growing at all, in fact?

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5 Things I learned From Losing My Best Friend

beauty girl cry

Three years ago on this day, and for months after, I wanted to die. I had just lost the man I’d been in love with for four years in a tragic accident. He was also my best friend. When I say I wanted to die, it’s strange because it makes it sound as if I was suicidal. But I was never suicidal. It’s hard to describe the feeling and might be one of those things you can’t understand unless you’ve been there, but at the time, my future looked so black, I couldn’t imagine life without him. Besides, I wanted so desperately to see him and was convinced he was on the other side. I only hoped to die, so that we could be together again. It was the last sort of logic that I had left at the time.

Now here I am, three years later, and my perspective is quite the contrary. It’s hard to believe that today marks three years. Three years of pain, longing, and questions but also of healing, growth and indescribable grace. I question whether we can fully comprehend the sweetness of life without first experiencing its bitterness.

Today, as I miss my best friend like always, I realize not only was it an incredibly sweet gift to do life with him, but the lessons I’ve learned since that loss remain invaluable. Here I share with you 5 things I learned from losing my best friend.

  1. There is nothing more important in life than your relationships. As Max Lucado so tactfully puts it, “When you are in the final days of your life, what will you want? Will you hug that college degree in the walnut frame? Will you ask to be carried to the garage so you can sit in your car? Will you find comfort in rereading your financial statement? Of course not. What will matter then will be people. If relationships will matter most then, shouldn’t they matter most now?” We are called to love others. It is our mission. Our reason for being on Earth. And not just to love them halfheartedly either, when it’s convenient to us, for example. But to love them wholeheartedly, at all times, through all situations, no matter their actions or behaviors. This might seem like a daunting task but it’s this sort of love, relentless and all encompassing, that people most need to see. It is the kind that we need to be most intentional about giving. Develop relationships filled with love like this, and you will know what it means to live.
  2. The best things in life aren’t things. They can’t be touched, or even captured. To try is fleeting. They flutter around like butterflies, here one minute gone the next. An ever-elusive bunch. And when we grasp for them, we miss. But this is what we have hearts for. Our hearts get it. Our hearts know that the best things can’t be described with words. They must be felt. Our hearts know that the best things aren’t tangible…that these things aren’t meant to be captured or even understood; only appreciated.
  3. There are angels on earth. And they exist in your close friends and family. People are placed in your life for a reason. They’re strategically chosen and uniquely capable of holding you just how you need to be held at any given moment in time. We’re all just taking turns on this journey called life, so give love to others while you can. Before you know it, your time will come and you’ll need someone, too. It is then, that you’ll find your angels.
  4. Pain can be a good thing. The good thing about pain is that it breaks down the walls of your ego and forces you into the present – enhancing your awareness of and appreciation for all of the people in your life. When you experience deep suffering, you become comfortable with it. This allows you to empathize with others in ways you wouldn’t have been able to before. It causes you not to run from future sufferings, but to sit with them. Most importantly, it allows you to grow. The best lessons are often found when we are facing unanticipated change and loss. In those moments of vulnerability, longing, and desperation, we learn who we really are and what we are capable of. Pain is not a bad thing.
  5. Life goes on. You don’t think it will and you certainly can’t imagine it doing so, but it does. Whether you take part in it or not, life continues to go on all around you. Time waits for no one. The good news is, even if you’re deep in grief or simply feeling stuck, eventually you, too, will go on. There’s a hole inside of you from the loss and that hole never really seals back up. But that is the beautiful part. You learn to live with the gap, to embrace it. It becomes a part of you. It allows your light to shine through.

Circumstances (A Poem)

They say circumstances don’t define you

but they certainly can reveal.

In the midst of crisis,

you’ve become a person who can heal.

A person who can mold and bend,

more flexible than you thought.

A giver and receiver,

blooming from your most vulnerable spot.

Through the tornado and turmoil,

you’ve stood strong like a tree.

And if these circumstances have revealed you,

then I love who you’ve proven to be.

My Hope For You This New Year (A Poem)

My hope for you this New Year

is forgiveness of yourself and others,

revival of what matters most,

relationships with friends and lovers.

My hope for you is motivation,

bigger dreams, and inspiration.

Realistic goals and follow through,

these things are my hope for you.

My hope for you this New Year

is healing what you’ve broken;

repairing, mending, letting go

of all apologies left unspoken.

I hope when you look back to where

 you were this time last year,

you’re in an entirely different place.

Your truest self is ever near.

I hope that you have grown and changed.

With open arms embrace the pain,

search for joy, and new love, too.

These things are my hope for you.

When Life Lessons Come Full Circle: A Personal Story

I’m an over achiever and a go getter. There’s a frantic, nitpicky air coursing through most of what I do. When I lived in Los Angeles, I shared an apartment with a wonderful free spirit. We contrasted well with her calming, almost floating presence.

I’ll never forget when she turned to me one day and asked, in her innocent, purely curiosity driven way, “What are you going to do when you’ve done it all?”

At the time, her question bounced right off me. Back then, fresh out of college, the only beatings I endured were from myself and generally, I saw no limits to what I could achieve.

Ironically (though probably not), she was the very person with me 2.5 years ago, when my world came crashing down around me. And although we no longer live together in Los Angeles, her question has haunted me throughout the years.

Today, 29 months and numerous universe inflicted battle wounds later, her words ring more powerful than ever.

While I’m still an over achiever and go getter, I now understand and appreciate the gifts of grace and presence, agents of change that my former LA roommate wisely knew all along.

Growing Up

I don’t know why so many people say, “Do I have to grow up?” Me personally, I love growing up. Things seem to clarify year after year. I grow stronger and stronger, more sure of myself and My Maker. Yes, indeed, it’s joyous to grow up, to grow at all, in fact.

Conversation with God – Hebrews 4:16

It is written, “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.” (Hebrews 4:16)

Precious child, I’m glad to meet you this morning once again. I am always near to you and am pleased when you draw nearer to me. Your confidence in me shows your great faith today. With faith, all things are possible. When you delight yourself in me, I give you the desires of your heart.

Do I not already know the desires of your heart? Yes, in fact, better than even you.

Still, the prayer is for your own benefit. It demonstrates your faith, allows you to practice your faith, and grow closer to me. Every time we commune in quiet stillness, your confidence in me grows. I offer perspective as my gift to you, removing your confining lens of the limited glasses through which you see this world.

Yes, prayer is an exercise of faith, and anything you exercise, grows. Remember that your faith is like a mustard seed? As it grows stronger and stronger, your perspective gets wider and wider, your trust in me deeper and deeper, your capacity to love bigger and bigger. And on it goes until you are so open, free, and willing that my power flows through you, giving you all that your heart desires and achieving all of the plans for which I have prepared you.

Oh child, I want this so much for you. This rich, full, abundant life on Earth which is available to you now and yet is only a glipmse into the richness, fullness, and abundance that awaits you in heaven. Yes, my child, this life on Earth is waiting for you. It’s here and now. And it begins with prayer. I love to watch you grow.

Consider every man you meet to be your superior in some way. By doing this, you will learn from him.

Finish Strong

finish strong

God puts chapters in your life. Finish each chapter strong. Finish strong by focusing only on the things in front of you and by not thinking of what lies ahead.

God will give you the strength to finish this day strong. And when tomorrow comes, He will give you the strength to finish it, as well. So focus on today, and be faithful in your chapter.

Don’t Let Change Scare You

It’s funny how most of us have seen how quickly life can change, yet few of us remember this the moment that it does.

Don’t let change scare you.