Learning is a lifelong process. A process I’m learning to notice with intention. Today, I’m joining Emily Freeman, sitting down to share, in no particular order, some of what I learned in October and November. And I’m looking forward to hearing what you learned too!
1. Scarves are in style. So in style! I see them everywhere. Different colors, shapes, and textures. And I’ve tried them, really I have. But between living in a warmer climate, and looking like my neck’s been amputated and swallowed up by my scarf, I think it’s best for me to pass on this particular trend. Trust me on this.
2. In order for a star to shine, it must first be crushed under pressure and broken.
Ann Voskamp spoke about this during her keynote at the Allume conference in October. She spoke of stars and constellations, and all of us shining together. All of us, a supernova, declaring Him to the world.
But to be stars, we must first be crushed in and collapsed. Broken to shine. Together, pointing the world to Him.
The One who has come for us.
The One who has redeemed us.
The One who is with us, and for us.
We are broken to shine.
And so, in our brokenness may we remember. With the pressure of our crushing, God is producing an extraordinary result, as He brings beauty from our brokenness–as He shines His glory through it all.
3. I LOVE the Voxer app. Because what can be better for an extroverted communicator-relator, than to be able to leave a recorded voice message for a friend?
Using this app is like a conversation at your own pace, whenever and wherever you are. And I. just. love it. Especially because so much communication get’s lost when you have to type out messages in a text or email. There’s no inflection, no intonation, and little emotion in the written words compared to spoken ones. And the Voxer app brings all that to life.
4. Precepting a student can be so fulfilling. I had the privilege of serving as a preceptor again, for eight shifts last month. And it was so much fun.
Nicole is a senior, about ready to graduate with her Bachelor’s degree in nursing from Biola University. And she did her nursing leadership preceptorship with me in labor and delivery.
Her enthusiasm is contagious. She is so smart and kind, hard-working, and knowledgeable. We learned, experienced crazy patients, and helped mamas give birth to their babies. What a gift to have been with her!
5. Do it afraid. Last December, I dared to write out my story in twelve parts here on the blog. And I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t afraid. Because I was.
But this year, after countless emails from women who now do not feel alone, I am learning. Learning that when it comes to writing and letting God use you, the afraid-feeling is actually an indication of a felt need–an indication we should do it anyway. Do it afraid.
I’m about to do that again. God willing, this month I’ll be releasing an eBook version of my story, free for subscribers. It will have some added information discussing what happens when an affair intersects our world, along with some helpful resources.
Let’s continue to let God use us, even if we’re afraid. And I think we’ll be in awe of what He will do!
6. My life can make art. If there’s one thing I thought I knew for sure, it was that I was not an artist.
But Emily Freeman has challenged me to reframe my definition of an artist. She is teaching me that being an artist, is simply and bravely doing something that makes us come alive, and brings God glory. In A Million Little Ways.
And so I’m learning, the question isn’t, am I an artist? The real question is, what has God placed in me, that makes me come alive as I glorify Him?
And that is how my life can make art.
7. Toilet paper makes a lovely wedding veil. How do I know, you ask? Well, because of an afternoon with my girls.
They summoned us all to an event in the classroom. And once the boys and I arrived, we took our seats next to the entire stuffed-animal audience. When we were all present, they proceeded with the wedding.
A wedding of dolls, complete with toilet paper veils. Oh how much I love them for this! For their imagination and passion. How they think and dream. How they plan an event, and execute it with style. It’s true. Girls really are something special.
8. Not all things we are thinking, need to be said. Sometimes, we talk out loud just to ease our own hearts, and it ends up being a detriment to others.
Lately, I’ve often been reminded of that wise proverb echoing in my mind…
When words are many, sin is not absent, but he who holds his tongue is wise. Proverbs 10:19 (NIV)
And so I’m praying the Holy Spirit would convict my heart long before I let my mouth begin. Because it really is my heart’s desire for what I say to be helpful in building others up, that my words may truly be a benefit to those who hear.
9. Online friends are real friends. I have been so blessed to develop friends through writing and blogging. And last month, I had the joy of attending the Allume conference for the third year in a row. And there’s just something so special about meeting online friends face to face.
(L to R: Laura Boggess, Mary Bonner, Denise Hughes, Michele-Lyn Ault, Alia Joy H, Holley Gerth, & Kathy Schwanke)
There were hugs that lingered long. Meals with connecting conversation. And chats lasting into the wee hours of the morning, with not enough pictures capturing it all. I suppose that’s what happens when you get caught up being present in the moment.
These online friends are so very special to me, and I’m counting the days until I can see them face to face once again.
10. Jesus IS the greatest gift. And I’ve been reminded this year, each time I recite Romans 1 and Romans 8. Reminded how much it was ALL Him, and none of me at all. I’m reminded how He came to earth, suffered and died, and rose again, so that I could live. So we all can live.
I’ll be memorizing the end of Romans 8 this month, verses 35-39, and then moving on to Romans 12 after Christmas. And I’m loving that this advent season I’ll be meditating and memorizing there–such beautiful verses reminding us that there is nothing that can separate us from God’s great love.
I also just finished Ann’s new book, The Greatest Gift. And I’ll be starting it again today–marinating and soaking-in the message all over again. A message that points me to Jesus and reminds me: From the beginning of time, He’s been coming for me all along.
He is with us.
He is for us.
He IS the greatest gift!
What have you learned in the month of November?