Getting Ready!

I’m working on my next book, my 365-day devotional;
and every day I remind myself how easy I thought the process would be. I
thought it would be different than writing a book, for some strange reason. But
it is not. I have decided to stick to my self-imposed schedule, but I have also
decided, as is always the case, to make sure I have beautiful well-thought out
content.  I really want the women who
purchase this book to find deep solace in its pages. There will be some great
additions, inserts, and interaction. I am so excited!
I will not beat myself up if it is not ready by my
initial deadline, but I plan to have it finished as soon as possible.
To get you ready for ‘21st Century Hannah
365 Days of Praise’, here is a rough draft sampler of one of my ‘days’.  The day can change, so I will not mention
which day this is: 

‘Favorites. Do you
ever wonder if God has favorites? Do you ever notice how some people seem to profoundly
mess up, but God blesses them anyway? You find yourself talking to God, telling
him how you just wanted one thing your entire life, but he said no. In fact, as
in my case, he seemed to block every possible way that my prayer could have
been answered! Yet others are blessed over and over, and some of them
apparently oblivious. Well, let me remind you that the comparison game creates
a slippery slope that can take you to bitterness and sadness. Don’t go there!
Concentrate on you, your life, your relationship with Christ; and with others.  Make sure you are where you are supposed to
be physically, spiritually, and emotionally. This is one of the few times in
life when it is about you’.  ©     
Remember, this is a rough draft, I may make some changes in
the final draft. 

Please also remember that this is copyrighted
information. 

White paper

I have been planning my strategy for quite some time
now. What do I say? How much do I say, when? Then, in November I made the
life-changing decision to quit my job. I had never done anything like that
before. I have been laid off after 11 years of service, and I have been
fired…once, after two and half years of service.  Neither event was particularly pleasing, but
it is all part of life. You roll with the punches, sink or swim.  But to walk away from a job, a paying gig, it
was one of the scariest moments of my life.  I walked away because although I had and have,
bills to pay, it was now or never.  I
planned, freshened up my social networking sites, did everything I could to be
ready.
Ready for what? Ready to step into the role I believe
God prepared for me, or maybe it’s prepared me for. I have often heard people
say that if they had to go through their particular adversity again, they
would.  They would not change a
thing.  I am not of the same opinion, and
I do not foresee changing my mind about this. 
You see, well, let’s first define the term ‘white
paper’:
 ‘An informational document issued by a company to promote or highlight the features of a solution, product or service.  White papers are sales and marketing documents used to entice or persuade potential customers to learn more about or purchase a particular product, service, technology or methodology.  White papers are designed to be used as a marketing tool before a sale, and not as a user manual or other technical document developed to provide support to the user after making a purchase.’ (Investopedia.com).       
Well, I hardly feel that I am ‘persuading potential
customers…’, but more like I am providing ‘an informational document issued…to
promote or highlight the features of a solution…’ In my case reaching out to a
particular segment of society.  A segment
of society that we do not hear much about.  Why do I have to explain what I am doing?
Well, I do not really have to explain.    I want
the segment of society, the women that I am speaking to, to understand.  To understand that I understand, what they are going through because I have been
through the same thing.
What is that? I want to encourage women of all ages who
cannot/could not, have children.  Maybe
it’s me, but have you ever noticed that people start to squirm whenever that
subject does not come up?  People are not sure what to say when you tell
them you do not have children.  There is
an uncomfortable lull in the conversation, and then you can see their brain
working on an exit strategy from the conversation, from you.  Others say silly things like ‘children are
overrated’, or ‘you can have mine, they’re a pain’.  Most people are joking, but it’s just not
funny.  It would be better to say ‘I’m
sorry’, or say nothing.  I plan on
speaking to the hurting heart of childlessness, giving a voice to the pain.
Why?  Because I believe when you give voice
to your fears, your losses, your pain; although that pain might not completely
go away, it becomes less ominous.  I plan
to help make the pain less ominous.

My white paper, then,
is to help childless women realize that they, we, are as relevant to society as
women with children.  I want to be the ‘marketing
tool’ in the ‘white paper’.  We are not filler,
existing on the fringe of society.  We
are not bitter, hateful or weird.  Trust
me, I have heard it all.  

Unfortunately
some people will see my ‘white paper’, my mission, as a threat.  They will draw their children closer when I
enter the room, or they may make veiled remarks of feeling threatened.  Please know that if my message is not for
you, it’s OK.  I know for a fact that
there are millions of women around the world for whom this message will resonate.  I also believe that there are also millions
of men and women around the world who are open-minded enough, and not feeling
threatened, to want to understand.  I
applaud you and thank you.  I look
forward to helping others better understand that we all have different fears, losses,
and pain.  But we can overcome these facts
of life enough, to live a relevant and joy-filled life.  

I intend to…

Intention. It seems like an innocuous word filled with hope doesn’t it? Honestly, it’s a word that gets on my nerves because it is usually preceded by some task that was supposed to be completed but was not.  Usually the task or event was not done because something else got in the way.  ‘I intended to wash the dishes, but I got caught up in a long telephone call with Aunt Nelly’.  I intended to go to church this morning, but I decided to sleep in after a late night of studying’.  ‘I intended to finish my homework by the deadline, but I got sidetracked’.  Excuses, all excuses.  Even if the excuse is a good one, it is still an excuse.  And though I believe intentions not followed through are excuses, we will all be found guilty of these in-completes at one time or another through out our lives. The best we can do is to make sure our in-completes become less as we mature.

We can do this by making sure we do not have too much on our plates at any given time.  We have to make our no mean no, and our yes mean yes.  It takes work, we might lose friends and acquaintances, but we must remember that we only live once and life is short.  We cannot afford to get mired in overly long to-do lists and being talked into taking on tasks we have no business saying yes to.

But what if we turned intention on it’s head? What if we decided to live life with intention instead of intending to do things we never get to?  What if we chose intention instead of bitterness? I believe, as do most people, that life is about choices.  We choose to get out of bed in the morning whether we want to or not.  We choose to go to school or work whether we want to or not.  We choose joy instead of bitterness.  We choose happiness instead of sadness.  Don’t get me wrong, I am not saying to pretend we don’t feel a certain way.  We are beings with emotions: happiness, sadness, anger, etc.  But what we do with those emotions is what is important.  As we mature physically, emotionally, and spiritually, we must live with intention.

Life takes us through some very sad places.  For many of us life did not turn out the way we expected. Some of have been hit with untimely death, unwanted divorce, a marriage that never happened, or children we never had.  For many of us, our hearts have been broken and twisted into unrecognizable forms.  Hearts broken into so many pieces we do not believe they will ever be put back together again.  But what would happen if we lived with the intention that whether our hearts healed or not, we would be a positive force in our little corner of the world? What if we lived with the intention that our broken hearts would not rule us, but that we would rule that brokenness? What if we realized that the brokenness became less, even if it never completely disappeared?  What if we found that in the brokenness we realized our calling, the reason we were put on this earth?

No, the broken heart and broken dreams are definitely not the path we would have chosen, but the fact is it happened.  What we do about it is what matters.  What if we lived with intention?

My heart was set

Have you ever just known, I mean you knew without a doubt, that something you had hoped for or just assumed, would happen.  I mean there was no doubt and you didn’t even give it a second thought because you just knew!  And then it didn’t happen.  I’m not talking about a trip you had planned or a college to which you applied.  I’m talking about something that when it did not happen it rocked you to your core. 

I believe if something like this has never happened to you, you are fortunate.  But really, you haven’t lived until you have had to fight for every minute of every day, minute by minute.  Sounds rough huh?  Well there are a lot of people going through this very scenario.  Some people survive the blow and some do not.  For some it’s the loss of a loved one they thought would be around for at least a very long time.  For others its a prayer God did not answer.  It’s pretty tough when you pray for years for something and God does not answer.

What do you do, how do you recover, how do you make it through the rest of your life?  There are a lot of smug answers: ‘well God is in control’ or ‘we live in a fallen world’, or what about this one ‘we will understand it better by and by.’  When is ‘by and by’?  Why do we have to wait until then to understand? 

A lot of things do not make sense and as human beings, we want things to make sense.  What do we do when we can’t get things to make sense?  We struggle with ‘it’ making sense one day and then the next day we’re back to being completely dumbfounded.  We want two and two to add up to four and it just isn’t adding up.

Let me tell you from my humble perch.  I am there.  I want you to know that if I can make it so can you.  Allow yourself to question God, allow yourself to struggle until you just don’t struggle anymore.  Whatever you do, don’t give up, keep going.  If you don’t have a core group of trusted people to talk to, seek professional help.  One day you will see the light at the end of the tunnel.  One day you will use your experience to help someone else.  Sure, you would  prefer that your prayers had been answered but they weren’t.  You won’t be the first and you won’t be the last, neither will I.   Take every bit of your experience and put it to good use.  Everything will be alright. 

        

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