Wednesday, February 15, 2017

How's Your Heart

Hi everyone!

It’s that time of year – bears, candy, cards, and flowers appeared before the Christmas ornaments were put away to get people in the mood for romance, love, and Valentine’s Day.  And for some the excitement of waiting for the candy that goes on sale February 15th.  I’m more of a “hand written note,” Lowe’s gift card kind of lady, but to each his or her own.  My kids will tell you I am the queen of the Hallmark channel, but what can I say?  Yes, I am guilty as charged.  I just don’t think we should let the times when we have been unlucky in love put a damper on our childlike faith and enthusiasm in the possibility of happily ever after, but I will not go off on my Cinderella tangent. 

For me personally, this time of year when we are surrounded by hearts means so much more.  As I have written before, when I put in my writing cottage I discovered during the process that the one word that best represents me is LOVE.  I smile as I look around while I am writing this because in my little corner of the world I seem to have hearts everywhere.  They are a wonderful reminder to me that hearts, just like people, come in all kinds of beautiful colors, shapes, sizes, and textures.  Different people show love in different ways, some sparkle like Bohemian crystal, some are rustic and their beauty is in their patina, and some may be broken, but the beauty that surrounds them makes them too precious to part with. 

While a lot of people think technology is a means to help us accomplish more, I find and research supports the fact that the fast pace has also resulted in the sad realization that people have a tough time slowing down enough to really do any soul searching so they can truly discover their heart’s desire.  In their quest to make money and to have a comfortable life they often find that they fall into relationships out of convenience or more like a business venture rather than a partnership through a lifelong adventure.  Their compatibility, happiness, love, and passion were not considered in the process, because in the fast past of the world around them, it never even seemed an option.  So in all actuality I would not consider myself unlucky in love, but rather I was unwilling to settle because I know, that I know, that I know that true love, not lust, but true love is comprised of compatibility, love, passion, and respect and does exist – it’s just a matter of not settling until God decides to surprise me with this precious gift for my heart.  However, I also feel that before we can find this with another person we must first have to find these elements within ourselves. 

As I have been leaning into life, I also find that it is sad that some people do not take the time to see what is inside the hearts of those around them.  This is especially true if the people they come in contact with have an outward appearance that they do not deem is worthy of love.  The beauty of watching for God winks and not being afraid to share with the world the incredible things that the God has done in my life is that the following verse is etched in my soul.    

But the LORD said to Samuel, "Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart."
- 1 Samuel 16:7

I have not been placed on this earth to please man, but to look around me and see those who may need a hug or encouragement or one of my “Jen sized surprises.”  Coming to peace with this has brought tremendous freedom in my life and allowed my soul to find its wings. 

The shallow side of love is not a new phenomenon and cannot be blamed on technology, but in a world that is so quick to take life’s images to Photoshop so that the outer appearance seems picture perfect, it seems to have gotten a bit worse.  Even children at an early age seem to equate their outward appearance as a barometer to determine if they are worthy of love.  On the other hand, some people that we might think look like super models can also feel at times like the people in their lives do not see their hearts, but merely their physical appearance or the perceived balance in their checkbook.  In both cases, the beauty that lies within the heart of the child and the super model have been over looked. 

If I have learned nothing else in this journey called life it is this, love comes in all shapes and sizes.  If someone has an ugly attitude or disposition toward others and has a heart that does not know how to show compassion, then all of the money in the world cannot dress that up to look like a box of Russell Stover’s chocolates.  Loving and caring for others, and having compassion, this is not something that can be bought off of a shelf in your local department store.  Love, real love, is cultivated over time by experiencing hurt and heartache, life and death, joy and sorrow. 

Those of us who are veterans of the trenches of life can truly help others due to the fact that we have encountered some of the same life experiences that they may be going through.  We have survived, when at times we questioned if that was possible and we have the war wounds of life tucked away like long lost Girl Scout badges.  However, the beauty of it all lies in the fact that this is what enables us to reach out and offer a helping hand to those that are trying to follow the yellow brick road in hopes of finding their way back to Kansas.  Yes, I lived in Kansas.  No, I never saw the yellow brick road, but I have experienced all of the good and bad that life has to offer and in the process it has helped me cultivate the heart that I have today.  My travels around the world, the amazing people in my life who have been with me through the good and bad times, my love for creating and music and writing and surprising others, allows me to wake up each morning with a song on the heart and an outlook that sees each day as an adventure.  In a lot of ways I guess all of the hearts in my little home could be looked at as mile markers in my life journey.   

I read an article by Glennon Doyle Melton this weekend and the following quote really spoke to me.  “The Warrior knows that her heartbreak is her map.  It will lead her toward her purpose, her tribe.”  I think her article resonated in my soul because with respect to my own life, my heartbreak has laid out a beautiful map before me.  In fact, I am in the process of planning out my journey because my purpose, what makes my heart sing, was born out of heartache.  Is that any real surprise though?  Think about it, my three beautiful children were all born out of the pain of labor.  They have come to know the Lord because they have watched my own walk through pain, but have also seen that I have never doubted for a second the Lord’s love for me.  In fact, this is THE most important thing that I try to leave with everyone that comes into my life.  If they never remember anything else, I want my legacy to be that she loved with all her being, she never let go of her mustard seed, and she never doubted that God liked to wink at her. 

Until we meet again…         

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