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Have you ever known someone who was in a situation that as you observed their actions, you just felt so sure that if you were in it, you would handle it much differently… much better? Of course there are obvious circumstances that you would choose to do better like choosing not to steal or murder when someone else did. I’m not talking about obvious situations like that. I’m talking about being on the outside looking into someone else’s life. For example, you let your children wear makeup, date, stay up late on school nights, and watch countless hours of TV, while your best friend Sally Sue decides not to let her children eat anything but organic food, be in bed by eight every night, make their beds every morning before homeschool, and doesn’t own a TV. Do you judge her actions as wrong? Does she judge yours as wrong? I would hope that neither of you do but respect each other’s differences and pray for one another.
I often try to picture myself being one of you on the outside of my life and wondering if I would judge a person like me who has a child with cancer, living 100 miles away from home, our closest family 6 hrs away, and 4 other children to try and give “fair” attention to. Let me tell you, after walking this road for 21 months now… this agonizing, heart-wrenching, I’ve seen things I wish I hadn’t road that we’ve been traveling… I will try to never look at someone else and judge what I think they should’ve done in whatever situation they find themselves in. One big reason I feel this way is because you never really know EXACTLY what is going on in someone’s life because you’re not them. How in the world could you pretend to know what you would do if you were them if you are not living that person’s life, feeling their hurts, listening to their thoughts, their worries, their concerns? It’s impossible! Another big reason is that we’ve met so many parents just like us who are struggling to take care of their sick child, making crucial decisions on their child’s health, living a roller coaster, but yet are trying to take care of home, bills, other children, and worrying about all of it incessantly to the point of anxiety attacks and stomach ulcers! They have people in their lives who believe they are handling things wrong and on top of all the emotions they are trying hard to contain every day, loved ones begin to judge which is devastating to them. And they cry often, as we do, feeling as though we’ve not done enough or given our best to every aspect of our lives. Thank goodness we have the knowledge that God is the only one Who could perfectly navigate this road and we can only do our best and keep our eyes on Him. We will keep sharing that message with others around us for the rest of our lives.
So please – the next time you see someone handling a situation “oh so wrong” (at least in your eyes), stop yourself and think things through. YOU are not THEM. We all raise our children differently, operate our marriages differently, worship differently, LIVE differently. That’s because God made us all differently. We should lift each other up, pray for one another, offer advice if it’s asked for, go to that person in your life that’s making obvious mistakes – but go in Christian love. But don’t ever tell someone that they are running their life wrong according to the way YOU see it. And don’t ever assume to know how you would act in certain situations if you’ve never been in them. This will never win you the trust of those around you, it will only inhibit your relationships which is very sad. God wants us to love one another and treat others as we ourselves would want to be treated. Appreciate each other and your differences – you might learn something!
Though many things happened to me before the year 2001, I consider that year to be one of great learning, soul-searching, and so many lessons that were just beginning to unfold. It was the year that I met the man in the picture – my best friend, my husband. So many obstacles to overcome that I won’t bore you with, but I learned a very distinct lesson and a very hard one that year: follow your heart, your instincts – even though they may have led you astray at other times in your life, if God is at the center of that heart, then everything should turn out as it should be. So here we are 8 ½ yrs later. I consider those to be the best years of my life so far. I have learned more deeply what it means to be a person and truly care for someone to the core of my being and put their needs above my own desires. I have learned what it really means to come to grips with my shortcomings and meet my demons head on. I have learned self-worth that I thought would never develop and how to protect myself… well… from MYSELF. I have learned to grow a backbone to protect my family and stand up for my God who gives me everything. All of these things were taught to me as I was growing up, but the person who reminded me and reinforced these things in my life was the man in the picture. He reminded me to never fear, to never think I’m alone because God is with me at all times, to delve into my Bible as though I’ve never read any of it before, and to love with trust knowing that no matter what happens in life, we will do it together with God at the helm. The man in the picture is the inspiration for this post because he reminded me that even HE is not the most important thing in my life… God is. With that knowledge, I can believe in myself and not waste my time throwing away opportunities. I hope that you will do the same.