The Whisper Within

" Believing that God powers strange coincidences and the journey that lies ahead."


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I got to admit, I haven’t blogged in a while. Work. Kids. Family. Life. These have taken the wheel and blogging ,well, it is not even in the back seat but has been riding cargo,stuck in the trunk.

But tonight, I made room to reflect and allow for my thoughts to move up to “ shot-gun.” Yep, riding next me as an active passenger in my congested life.

Here’s what this week brought.

I walked into a church. A new bible study. A women’s group. I took a workbook and took a seat .

“ Hi! I’m Cindy. I really need this group because I am a widow and been raising my kids since they were seven and eight.This group kept me grounded.”

My mouth twitched.

“Wow,me too.”

“You’re a widow?”

“No, but definitely a single mom.”

My shoulder was touched and a tear formed in my eye.

It was like the seat had a reserved sign that read,“ Sit here. Welcome to Santa Barbara.”

I drove home and thought about random seats.

Indianapolis.A month ago. And an empty airplane terminal seat.

“Is this seat taken?”

A fresh freckled-face smile coaxed me over.

“No, you can sit here.”

Her nervous chatter was like her jaw,chomping gum.

“I’m 18. I’m headed to Australia for the summer. My mom doesn’t want me to go but I need to pursue my dream .She thinks I should do something practical but I love music…”

I listened. I nodded . I smiled.

“God gave you gifts and he expects you to use them. You will be great. You need to be happy.Your mom will understand.”

Tarah chimed in,”Yes,my mom always says to dream the big dream.”

Her lids lowered and a soft smile appeared.

“Thank you. Honestly kinda nervous about the trip. Sorry for talking your ear off. It’s just that my dad is a cop and he was injured on the job and is on disability. This trip is a lot of money for my mom.”

I glanced at the ceiling. Seriously, God, a cop who is disabled ? Same as my kids’ dad. Did you plan this?

“Oh, honey. I understand but your mom wants you happy.”

We hugged and departed.

A seat. Yep, a seat brought strangers together.

Who knows maybe our hope down the road depends on our seat choice?

Sit next to a stranger. Listen. Really hear them. You may help someone take the next corner with ease versus bouncing around in cargo.

“Is there anything as Christians cheering each other up?”

Phillipians 2:1


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Are you willing to crawl towards a better finish even when faced when obstacles?

The saying goes, “You have everything if you have your health…”

Almost four years ago I finished a triathlon and shortly afterwards I started to have weird symptoms; burning, electric shocks, and my body feeling like I was a cell phone set on vibrate. My Chicago doctor blamed it on adrenal fatigue but then the laundry list of symptoms starts piling up like the dirty laundry basket of my two teenage athletes.

The symptoms of vertigo, tinnitus, night sweats, insomnia, and numbness mirrored the dreadful diseases of MS, Parkinson’s, and ALS. I did not recognize my own reflection in the mirror. I am a buck twenty, maybe a buck and quarter on a good day. After losing twenty pounds over a few months, I found myself sitting in the shower, too weak to stand, hoping the shower would drown my wails of anguish.

After months of MRIs, C-scans, blood work, my doctor was fresh out of ideas and handed me a prescription for Zoloft. I crumpled up the scrap of paper, tossed it in the garbage,and with a crooked smirk laughed, “Come on. You know me. I have been through a divorce, my ex becoming a paraplegic, raising the kids alone for the last dozen years as a single mom , a robbery… Seriously, depression? I will walk my way out of this … just like everything else. I will exercise until I feel better.”

As he walked out the door, he cocked his head around the corner, “Let me know how that works for you?”

Well, it didn’t. No flip turns in the pool would turn my sickness upside down. I was stuck running vicious circles at the track, hoping an answer was around the next bend.

Finally, after a year of misdiagnosis, I had an answer. Lyme disease. Yes, a little crawling tick created all this chaos.

Three year later, watching a crew of wetsuits enter the fog-ridden shore of the Pacific Ocean, I was a little jealous wishing I too could dig my toes in the mushy shore and get in the race. Since my restless energy would not be expended, my curious nature got the best of me. Silently I thought, “Why did this happen to me? Why did I need to be on the sidelines?”

In disappointment, I turned and watched athletes from previous heats cross the finish with smiles plastered across their face, proud of their character of “going the distance”. A smirk crossed over my face, as I realized how far I, too, have come. My course was not easy but through some waves, potholes, and flat tires, my character developed .God was using a rough course to design a better me.

Anyone who knows me, would testify that I am a strong individual competitor, not needing or wanting direction.( You don’t get the nickname ” sassy pants” for nothing.) I like to think, I became sick so maybe, just maybe, I could be weak.

“For when you are weak, He can be strong.” 2 Corinthians 12: 10

I am better me. I have surrendered that it is ok not to always be the strong one. I will get back in the game. I will walk away and leave Lyme disease in the dust and hopefully, God-willing, swim, bike, and run to a better finish …and maybe, just maybe I will stop being an individual competitor and allow for a running partner to run beside me or better yet run ahead of me to clear the obstacles so I can have an easier finish.

The journey has been long but I am getting better . Day by day,month by month, year by year, I see the progress . And until my body, completely catches up with my brain, I will keep getting out of bed,work hard,and believe the whisper,” I AM WELL.”

” I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.” Phillipians 4:13

Are you willing to face your obstacles, head- on?

Believe in your inner strength , Your Whisper Within.


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“Hey, Mom can we go to Mc Donald’s?”

“Sorry, Peanut. Not today.”

“We never go.”

“Tarah, you know mom can’t afford that.”

I looked at the rearview mirror. Umm, my boy. He gets it. I’m doing my best to just hold everything together with a safety pin. First the divorce. Then the accident. Their dad, my ex is a paraplegic. And now I’m broke. When does it end? 

I pulled through the library drive- thru.

“Hello. I’m picking up movies.”

Across the way, I see a Harry Potter movie poster in the window. Only $3.69 a rental. Nope, sorry Blockbuster; the library is free.

 The library clerk handed me the movies. “Ok kids, just one more stop.”

We entered the red dot store. Oh boy, not the dollar bin.Stick to the list and only the list! The basket was filled, but then a wheel came off my cart.

“I want gum.”

“Stop it Tarah! You can’t have any.” He straightened his baseball cap and grabbed her hand.

Buuutt I waaanntt it.”

“Tarah. No. Mom’s in line. We need to go.”

“But Jake, there are Pokemon cards for you.”

I pushed the cart to the side and got out of the checkout line.

“It’s okay, mom. I don’t need anything.”

I dropped to my knees, folded his little body into mine and whispered, “I love you, Jake Gunnar.”

“I love you too, Mommy.”

“You’re my good boy.”

 Inches away, this Hallmark moment was contrasted. Keds were stomping and pigtails were beating the tile floor.

I scooped Tarah up, pushed back my cart, and in one big swoop, threw her on my hip. “Well, we’re out of here.”

I waved my point-finger in Tarah’s face. “That was not nice.”

“Yeah, Tarah. You know Mom can’t buy that stuff. Gosh!”

“Okay. Jake. That’s enough.”

I started the car, turned on the radio and cried. Help me, God. Life should not be so rough. I looked in the rearview mirror.

“Mommy, are you alright?”

“Yeah, honey.”

“Don’t worry, Mommy; ‘God will meet all your needs.’ Philippians 4:19.”

I looked over my shoulder. “What did you say?”

“God will meet all your needs. It’s our memory verse this week.”

It was It’s a Wonderful Life moment.

“Daddy, teacher says every time you hear a bell ring an angel gets his wings.” And George exclaimed, “That’s right! That’s right!”

I closed my eyes, wiped my tears, and squeezed his hand. “That’s right. That’s right. Thank you, Jake Gunnar.”

“No problem, Mommy.”

I backed up the car and looked up at the clouds. Nothing gets pass you. God had the small details of my life and used my own little boy to teach me the biggest lesson.

That was fifteen years ago, and today, just like that moment, is HUGE!

Fifteen years ago, I went through a divorce, months later my ex became a paraplegic. I struggled trying to raise two little kids. I spent nights at the kitchen table teaching math while trying to balance a dwindling checking account. The calendar was always packed; even when bank account wasn’t. I never thought I would survive those years, let alone, ever see the day come when my children would graduate college.

Well, today is that day. Through the grace of God, WE did it.

Yes, Jake worked his butt off at Purdue. I worked my butt off teaching him, saving for him, and paying for his college. But God did his part too. You see, God gave me enough strength. I heard him whisper, “I got you, Lisa. Now get out of bed and do it.”

And God did bless my little engineer, with the gift of math and science. Funny, to think seventeen years ago, I saw his gift ( see the video) and today, Jake is a Purdue University engineer graduate. And if you are wondering , yes,I cried like a baby .

God really does have the plan. Can you trust the Whisper?

“ And we know that all things work together for good, for those who love God.” Roman 8:28

 


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How do you talk to a best friend?

Do you have to be somewhere special?

Do you need to arrange a special time?

Do you have to prepare a special speech?

Do you get nervous telling your best friend bad news?

Do you get excited to tell your best friend the good news?

Who do you call when you need the really hard advice ?

Yep, a best friend !

This is how I talk to God … like a best friend .

When my ex had a snowmobile accident leaving him a paraplegic and I, a single mom, was headed for financial ruin with two little kids in tow … I yelled at God ,”Do you see me ? I need your help … come on !”

When his second wife sued my home owners insurance for HIS accident AND won … I looked up at the sky and yelled,”THIS ISNT FAIR … Show me ,you’re with me .”

When my kindergarten girl was banging her head on Target’s floor because she wanted gum but a tile away was soft hazel eyes saying,”I don’t need anything Mom ,” I silently begged with tear-filled eyes ,”Come on God ! Life shouldn’t be so hard … I need help!”

And years later,when my business grew, I allowed my lashes to fall as I saw my picture in Chicago Magazine as one of best financial advisors in Chicago ,”This was ALL YOU, God .You rescued me.”

And when I walk on the beach and look up at the sky ,”YOU did this . You brought me here .”

So on National Day of Prayer, I’m challenging you .

Don’t go anywhere special .

Don’t think of the right words.

Don’t arrange a special time.

Talk to your best friend .

Tell him ….

I’m lost.

I’m sad.

I’m happy.

I lost my job.

I’m broke.

I feel my life is going nowhere.

I love my life.

Like a best friend, he wants the real you … the good, the bad ,and the ugly.

Some of you may say, “I pray but I don’t hear answers back .”

Well, I do find, the time I do hear answers ,are when I’m quiet .

Not praying in a pew in church .

Not praying in bed before I close my eyes .

But in nature ,walking .

And yes ,my daily walks on the beach are my best conversations with God . I simply say, “So here’s what’s going on ..”

My friends say I’m like Batman and I have a direct signal to God.

I don’t know about that, but I do know, as I walk ,a quiet calmness comes over me that can be only described as the Whisper Within…

Hope you,too, can hear the whisper.

“Don’t worry about anything but pray about everything and you will feel his peace .” Philippians 4:6


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Today, I needed to take a break from work. Coffee wasn’t the drug I needed to get rejuvenated.  I knew a walk would do the trick after stepping outside and feeling the warmth of the sunshine on my face. Heading around the corner, I saw a man standing on a driveway looking in my direction.

He said, “Hi. Are you taking a meditative walk?”

Looking at the stranger I asked, “Excuse me what did you say?”

As he walked around his carpet cleaning van, coming closer to me, he repeated the question, “Are you taking a meditative walk?”

I admitted my truth, “Yea. I needed to relieve some stress.”

He says, “What I do is look up at the sky and ask for help, His Ever Lasting Presence.” He then added, “You know how to restart your day?  Hugging.” Without hesitation the man leaned and wrapped his arms around me.

After a few seconds I pulled away and with a gentle smile said, “Thanks I needed that.”

The older, weathered-looking man glanced back at me and asked, “What’s your name?”

“Lisa, and yours?”

“Pete.”

“Nice to meet you meet you Pete.’

The stranger confidently added, “Lisa, our paths crossing was no coincidence. It was God knowing we both needed a hug to restart our day.”

As I stepped back to examine the worker all I could say was, “Wow.”

He then added, “I know, kinda crazy getting advice let alone a hug from a complete stranger.”

Silently I laughed and with a smirk added, “No, you obviously don’t know me. I hug and talk to strangers all the time.”

With an inviting smile Pete added, “Me too. You see I am trying to turn over a new leaf. I spent time in jail and daily I am trying to do good, even in small ways.”

God has the small details in our life and can use anyone to make a difference. You just need to be open to it and keep looking up for HELP, His Ever Lasting Presence.  Do you have a story that a complete stranger made a difference? Feel free to share in the comment section below

 


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July 4th 2001. Not single yet… but definitely beach bound.

 

I was not planning on blogging today but then  found  this picture . Looking at it  I see so many ironic messages . I was alone  even though I was married . I was headed to the beach; my happy place then and now.  The smiles were contagious . How could I be sad when I had my two greatest  gifts by my side? Even though the picture is faded and blurry,  I remember the day very clearly.  This was the day I found out that I needed to be brave and be single. Little did I know HOW brave I needed to be. Months later, I was divorced, financially broke, and my ex became a paraplegic.

” Always be full of Joy in the Lord; I say it again rejoice! Don’t worry about anything but pray about everything” Phillippians 4:6

Some say, ” Fake it to you make it,” or “A smile disguises a broken heart.” But I disagree. You don’t need to fake it.  TRUST God will give you answers and the courage to daily walk forward. He gave me the special gift of the Holy Spirit to guide me daily on my journey through the good, the bad ,and downright ugly.

Fifteen years later, I am still not married but I am not alone. Even though my kids are both in college and not glued to my hip, their smiles still make me contagiously happy. I don’t just visit my happy place on occasion , I moved there. Yes, to the beach. The picture is clearer now, too- literally and figuratively.

“Philippians 4:12 I have learned the secret of being content in every situation … I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength.”

 I trusted God  and he has given me the strength to be single. He whispered to me then that I would be alright and today I hear him loud and clear!  God has used my time of being single for a purpose. As a CFP(R) I teach  Women and Investing seminars to educate woman how to be financial independent. In addition, I lead a  single woman’s small group. We inspire each other to be strong and  be content – just where we are.

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All Grown up !


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Misery To Ministry… Just Another Sleepless Night.

I call it the gift. The gift is my unadulterated skill to fall asleep anywhere, anytime…within minutes. I embrace my talent without any shame. I could be on a plane and before the pilot can announce, “Prepare for take off, ” I am already sound asleep, mouth wide open like a big mouth bass, letting the drool dribble down my chin like a hook is stuck in the back of my throat.  This was my gift… until unexpected  about a year and half ago, the Grinch appeared and robbed me. And just like a wide-eyed  Who from Whoville, I was left with an empty stocking hanging on the fireplace mantel with only the Grinch’s stench left behind.  No, I take that back, he filled my stocking  with an expected present… insomnia. insomnia-math-skills Continue reading