Growing up, I knew I was different because of my skin disorder and my burn scars. I stood out. Unfortunately, that was not in a good way. However, I grew to accept who God made me. Embracing not being the same as everyone made me happy to a point. As I got older, not being the same caused emotional strain because I was not treated fairly. Not wanting to be left out constantly, I tried to fit in. Do the things others were doing in hopes they would let me into their cliques or what have you.
Many years ago, someone told me I should be more like another person. At a young age, my reply was, “I don’t want to walk in anyone else’s shoes.” I’ve always been one to dance to the beat of my own drums and do things as I please.
When I did that, a few things happened I didn’t expect. My reflection in the mirror changed to someone I didn’t know or even like. In trying to find a sense of belonging, I looked to cliques for acceptance, but I endured heartache and pain instead. Without realizing it, I started walking in someone else’s shoes.
Through this unpleasant time, God showed up as He often does in times of distress. He asked me why was I trying to please someone other than Him. My brain couldn’t find an answer because there was none. The only one I should please is Him. 1 Thessalonians 2:4 NLT “Our purpose is to please God, not people. He alone examines the motives of our hearts”
This was the day I started living for myself and looking for no one’s approval but God’s. This is the day when I smiled because no longer did I carry a burden of upsetting someone for not living up to their expectations. Or doing the things they wanted me to do. This is the day I finally freed myself from not belonging. This is the day I realized I belonged to someone and his name is Jesus, because I am a child of God.
Are you living the life you want to or living for someone else? If you’re not living for yourself, it’s time to because you only have one life to live.
For the past several weeks, I’ve been going through a few things, mentally and physically. Hence my lack of posting, for which I apologize. It seems like my mind thinks it’s twenty-five. However, my body reminds me I’m double that age.
In life, sometimes, we have to just stop and take a moment to realize that if tomorrow is meant to be, God will let it. We have to come to terms with not being able to be superwoman or superman because not even they could conquer the world without help.
Help doesn’t come as someone literally picking you up off the ground. It comes when your friends and family call, text and stop over to make sure you’re ok. It comes when they send you gifts to say they’re thinking of you. When they remind you to ask specific questions about your next doctor’s appointment. It comes because they love and care about you.
I want you to know when you’re going through something, go to God. Trust me, this will make your day so much brighter. He, will carry your burdens for you.
After seeing myself in some very unflattering pictures, I decided it was time for me to lose weight. Living in a large city where parks are rather far away, I had to drive to the park just to take a walk around a large spacious area. To me, it felt like I was defeating the purpose. So, one day, I decided to walk instead of driving to the grocery store a mile away. After all, I was only going to get a few things.
As a lifelong resident of my city, I thought I knew all the best stores and places of interest to patronize until I started my daily walks. Rather than walk on the main streets, I opted to walk on the side streets, away from the hustle and bustle of the big city. On my first walk, I came across a small café nestled in between a row of brownstone homes. I eagerly wanted to stop and sample a fresh cup of flavored coffee, but I had to continue my walk. I entered the store’s phone number into my cell phone to make a note to stop in one day.
A few blocks later, on a tiny curvy street, I came across a store that had some very nice dresses displayed in the window. I was surprised to find that the store had the same dress that I had paid twice the amount for at a department store. Had I known the store existed, I could have saved some money and purchased a matching purse as well. Once again, I entered the store’s phone number into my cell phone and continued my walk.
Thirty minutes later, when I reached my local grocery store, I realized I had actually enjoyed my walk. I felt like I was sightseeing in my city for the first time. I found two stores that I will visit in the future. It was a wonderful adventure that I enjoyed very much. So much that I started to take walks every day for exercise and to explore my city and see what other treasures it holds.
The treasure I have found so far includes a historical landmark that I had once read about in a magazine, an antique shop and a mom-and-pop bookstore. I have lost some weight, which was my main goal. My exercise had paid off in more ways than one. Now, through walking regularly, I get the exercise that I need and can feed my shopping habit as well.
My above article was originally published in 2007 on the former Della Donna Zine. Although I can no longer walk as frequently and as far as I used to, I still find different ways to enjoy myself while discovering this beautiful world around me.
Park the car and take a stroll. You never know what gems you might find.
May 1st blog post is by one of my writing critique partners Stephanie Goddard. Enjoy her wonderful writing!.
From a local publication dated February 15, 1904:
Egg stories seem to be the prevailing fad just now. Hens lay golden eggs this time of year.
As an egg farmer, I could relate to this in February this year. During the short, cold months of winter, the hens like to take a little break, using their energy to keep warm. So the eggs are not as plentiful as in the summer. Hence the ‘golden eggs’ in February.
Every Easter, our family pulls out the box of plastic eggs. The parents and grandparents fill them with candy to hide in the now snow-free yard. It’s fun to watch the young ones rush out the door and scatter around, searching for the eggs. Among all the pinks, blues, greens, and yellows of our egg collection, sometime along the way we gained a golden egg. What joy when one child finds the golden egg!
Jesus is in the business of finding lost things. He told a story once about a shepherd who had a hundred sheep. As a good, caring shepherd, he carefully counted them each day as they settled down for the night. One night, he was upset to discover one of the sheep missing. Though the shepherd might have been tired from a long day of work out in the pastures, he left the ninety-nine in the open country and went out after the missing one. It may have been getting dark, and he knew the poor defenseless creature was at risk of becoming prey to a wild beast. The shepherd searched and hunted until finally he found the lost sheep. Imagine his joy at finding it! He put the lamb on his shoulders, tenderly carrying it to safety with the flock. When his shift with the sheep was over, he went home and called his friends and neighbors together. “Rejoice with me, I have found my lost sheep!” Again, Jesus says there is even more rejoicing in heaven over one sinner who repents.
Another story he told, about a woman who had ten shiny silver coins. It is said that they were worth ten days’ wages. It could have been the family’s savings. Another possibility was that the coins were the woman’s dowry, worn as an ornament, like a wedding ring. In the course of her day, she lost one of the ten coins. She stopped everything she was doing and searched everywhere for it. She turned on the lights, swept the floors, checked under every piece of furniture. I can relate to this. Once, I lost the diamond out of my engagement ring. I was frantic, distressed. And overjoyed when my husband spotted it on the bathroom floor!
The woman in the story must have been pretty desperate to find that missing coin. When she finally found it, she was so overjoyed, she even called her friends and neighbors together to celebrate. “Rejoice with me, I have found my lost coin!” Jesus said the rejoicing is like that in the presence of the angels of God when one sinner repents.
People search for God. But did you ever think about our Lord searching for us? He calls for us, and when we turn to him, like that little lost lamb turned to the voice of the shepherd, He is overjoyed. You are precious to him, even more than a silver coin or a diamond.
The eggs my chickens lay in February are special because they are rare. The golden egg in my Easter egg collection is special because it is unique. You are like that special golden egg, unique, valued and treasured by the One who finds you. The God who made you uniquely you treasures you. He calls to you and rejoices over you by singing as you respond to his call.
Be the golden egg!
Stephanie Goddard is a wife, mom, grammie, and Christian author from Sandwich, New Hampshire where she operates a small vegetable farm. She writes Christ-centered contemporary women’s fiction and romance. She is an active member of ACFW (Association of Christian Fiction Writers) as well as being a member of two ACFW critique groups. Her story, Rocky Haven, was the winner of the 2020 ACFW First Impressions Contest in the Short Novel category. Stephanie also won the 2018 First Impressions Contest Short Novel category for her story, Sleighbell Inn. Additionally, in 2021 Stephanie was a finalist in the Genesis Contest. She has completed three full-length novels and two novellas. She is a contributing author to the devotional book, The Courage to Write, (2021) and writes a weekly column in a local newspaper, The Meredith News. Her passion for writing is birthed from her desire to show—through story—the mighty, redemptive, and healing power of Christ.
To reach Stephanie Goddard simply click on her name in the orange box below.