do you remember the story about the woman who was teaching her daughter to cook a roast? she began by telling her to cut off both ends of the roast before preparing it for the seasoning. when her daughter asked the reason for the wasted portions, the woman did not have an answer other than her mother had taught her to cook a roast this way. the mother and daughter decide to ask the grandmother why the ends of the roast must be removed before cooking. her reply was the same, her mother had provided the instruction and she had always followed it. determined to find an answer, they presented the inquiry to the great grandmother. they were surprised to find that the pan she used to cook a roast in was too small for the cut of meat. she trimmed both ends off the roast to ensure it fit into her pan. the truth in this amusing story is we are products of traditions, values, and characteristics of our history. understanding the things we do in light of the impact of that history allows us t0 measure what we do and why to help us reach our goals for personal growth and wholeness.
women like, Susan B. Anthony, who fought for women’s rights, changed the world for me. those women of history impacted my life. i can only reflect on what their struggles were, the strength they had to muster or the victories they obtained. i remember discussing career paths with my high school guidance counsellor and hearing that architecture was a predominately male dominated career. she gently advised i look at other options. today, young girls study in most any field of interest because women before them forged the way to reform opportunities available to women. impact.
my mother was the first woman to impact my life. i formed my ideas concerning friendship, motherhood, and relationships as i watched her loyalty, commitment, and investment. i learned characteristics like resourcefulness, resilience, strength, selflessness, love, gentleness, patience, forgiveness and endurance. she offered me support while respecting my right to make my own choices (even if they would lead me through a bit of pain). i could depend on her acceptance and love. i have always had a safe place in her heart. my favourite lesson has sustained me through many circumstances in my life-“you may not always be happy about your circumstances but you can be content in the midst of them”. that lesson always draws me back to a pursuit of contentment when discouragement hits my heart because i am not happy about my life in the moment. impact.
my sister, sue. amazing woman: adventurous, bold, joyful and determined. when her son was 5 months old, their family was in a truck accident that left her a quadriplegic. watching her journey inspires me. it reminds me that i can dig deep when circumstances require. i know that strength comes when it is needed the most. i witness that hope and faith do not have to die because of tragedy. she challenged me to continue to pursue my dreams because she pursued hers. her biggest dream was to be a mother. she has two beautiful children; one born after recovery from the accident. now, there are grandchildren…and they delight her heart. impact.
my baby sister was the first to impact me toward responsibility to my circle of influence. i was a teenager when she was born. i have watched her reach for her dreams and pursue it with her whole heart. she is passionate. she also knows how to ask for help and trust in the support around her. these two women also have provided a place of belonging. when my pursuit of acceptance found disappointment elsewhere, my heart always knew i belonged. i had sisters. impact.
my aunts demonstrated a flair for life, independence, resourcefulness, to stand out in a crowd rather than blend. My grandmother stood strong throughout her lifetime on the foundation of her faith. she was diagnosed with brain tumors. she reached a place where she would become agitated or disoriented. when i would see her in this state, i could tell her that i wanted her to quote me Psalms 91 from the Bible and the words would flow from deep in her heart. it seemed to calm her. it amazed me how clearly she could speak. i witnessed what an anchor faith would be to my life. impact.
my friend, lori, opened my world. we explore the outdoors, fitness, commitment, enduring friendship, faith, hope and dreams. i saw something the other day that said, “talking to your best friend is sometimes all the therapy you need…”. she knows that a good run and work out are a great way to clear the mind and blow out the cobwebs. she is trustworthy, faithful and dependable. if i need a good dose of reality, she is not afraid to make the confrontation. she listens passed the words…she can see it in my eyes when i am struggling. she knows when to talk and when to be quiet. impact.
family, friends, teachers, mentors and sometimes even strangers have impacted my life in positive and thought provoking ways. impact.
the negative and positive impacts have helped me to develop who i am and desire to be. they serve as reminders that when i am missing the mark of where i want to be as a woman that adjustments can be made, improvements applied…the journey is not over.
this week i took a simple look at why i do the things i do. this reflection helps me to understand the woman i am and how i got here. it provides me the opportunity to define myself as capable and competent instead of being defined by the adverse circumstances of my life. i develop insight, skills and an appreciation for the journey i have been on. i am not satisfied to just survive…i love to thrive.
i have found common driving factors for behaviour are the cries of the human heart for love, acceptance and value. this drive pushes us to some bizarre behaviour and cycles on our journey. those cycles can feel like traps.
Here are a few questions you can use to look inside your heart:
- how do you define yourself? can you pinpoint your strengths and weakness and why you have each? do you define who you are by you successes and failures? do you celebrate the beautiful woman you are becoming?
- do you find your self in cycles that are unrewarding? do you rely on addictions to cope? food, substances, performance, shame, or blame?
- are you honest with yourself? do you know how to tap into your strengths? can you confront your weaknesses?
- do long for love, acceptance and value?
- do you have a plan? do you have a plan for growth? do you have goals and dreams? if unfulfilled, can you bring yourself back on track? if achieved, do you celebrate? are you prepared for emotional emergencies and adept facing them head on with out breaking?
i plan to share how, once i was able to look at why i do the things i do…the simple and complex…i was able to develop a plan, set goals and appreciate the successes. feel free to join me…any time. i’d love to have you come by for another look inside my heart.
remember…nothing remains forever. what i am going through today will pass. i will be able to move forward. life moves in times and seasons.
wise Solomon said:
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:
- a time to be born and a time to die,
- a time to plant and a time to uproot,
- a time to kill and a time to heal,
- a time to tear down and a time to build,
- a time to weep and a time to laugh,
- a time to mourn and a time to dance,
- a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,
- a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,
- a time to search and a time to give up,
- a time to keep and a time to throw away,
- a time to tear and a time to mend,
- a time to be silent and a time to speak,
- a time to love and a time to hate,
- a time for war and a time for peace.
there is still time…don’t give up!