One Year Off Facebook – Best Year of My Life

Hello Healing Partners!

I enjoyed one year staying OFF Facebook. So why in the world would I get back on this site? Here are a few lessons I learned.

1. If we want to change the conversation, we need to participate. Contribute. People will talk about the same things unless we give and share something different.

2. Go where people are talking and connecting. We don’t do telephone calls anymore. I learned not to fight the technology, but use it in a great way to leverage how to get the message out to a lot of people at one time. Uh, kinda like this blog! 🙂

3. Be brave enough to share your story. I probably would’ve been fine burying the cancer journey and all its difficulties. But God showed me that there are too many people who are healing from something. I learned what to apply in my life by watching other people heal. Maybe your story will help someone, too.

The healing journey shows that we can approach familiar things differently. Facebook is how most of my family communicates. Instead of dreading the barrage of online stickers or oddly-posed selfies, it was time for me to engage in the conversations and start contributing with messages that show the love of God.

I’ll be guilty of the occasional food foto and even a two-sentence rant about standing in line for way too long (you know, things that don’t really matter). But my prayer is that those are limited. Instead, could you pray that I use social media to show the powerful and purposeful, life-changing love of God to others?

The one year off Facebook might seem like the best year of my life, but there is so much more to come.

What about you? How do you benefit from your online activity? (other than having a great time here on my blog? Okay, I’m kidding). How has online content influenced you in your own decisions? Do you regularly learn new things online?

Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer.” Psalm 19:14

Blessings,

Mahal

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I’m in this! – Video with me in orange scarf

Look, Ma, I’m on tv! Well, more like a short video that was shown during the Christmas programs. Either way, my mother was proud 🙂 I’m the one with the orange scarf! A personal thanks to Mr. Nathan Larson, a youth pastro at the church, who has an incredible talent (and tolerance) for editing and production. Enjoy and share the video freely!

Christmas musical 2014 from Nathan Larson on Vimeo.

The new way we celebrated new year’s eve.

2012 going into 2013: home. probably asleep before 11pm. I had just finished chemo/radiation treatments. I was back at work, thankfully working from home, but still struggling to get through the day without a nap.

2013 going into 2014: same thing. Sensitive to crowds and loud noises, feeling like I survived the first year of recovery and feeling too vulnerable to be out late at night.

So when I decided that we would go house-hopping for new year’s eve this year, my daughter was surprised. We hadn’t stayed up this late, other than our occasional movie nights at home. For me to have endurance with more than one audience in the same evening was a new experience for both of us.

We were able to enjoy family and friends and bring in the new year with lively energy. We arrived home safely, in the 40-degree version of a Los Angeles winter. Warmed with vanilla tea, homemade tamales and banana creme pie, we reminisced on the unexpected wow moments of this past year. We came home after 1am, with a new memory of how we celebrated new year’s eve.

This experience is a marker of healing. I really felt that the Lord turned around my previous holidays, as Proverbs 10:22 reads, “The blessing of the Lord, it maketh rich, and headdeth no sorrow with it.”

He showed me that He really walked with me through the new stages of healing this past year. Psalm 1:3 reminds me that the Lord gives me due seasons, “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.” The Lord gave me these memories right on time and when He provided us with opportunities to bond as a family, He didn’t hold back.

There were many times last year (ha, I can say that now) when I felt like I wasn’t enough and I felt like I was falling behind on too many things. Even with my episodes of doubt and discouragement, the Lord walked me through those moments and reassured me that I could trust Him. And tonight, I really saw the the reward of His grace. God gave us a rich life with simple things.

Healing through my first client. How God brought me back to work.

I took on my first coaching client after almost two years of focusing on recovery and getting my life basics in order. I probably didn’t feel completely ready but the Holy Spirit told me to “Just listen.”

After receiving her the first completed assignment, it was clear that she was in her own season of renewal. On our first call, I asked her if she was healing from something. The extended pause on the other end was validation. She proceeded to tell me about the recent events of loss that come along with the new life stages, as we get older.

I had to thank the Lord again on how He used this return to coaching as a way for me share my own healing. What a clever and wonderful God who knows exactly how to get me back to work! 

I hesitated for months before deciding to coach anyone. I felt so inadequate, weak and clumsy. I began doubting what I could possibly contribute in a conversation with another person when I felt like everyone else’s life was more “together” and orderly. But God’s grace picked me back up and sent me this client in a way that was only possible through His power.

I also want to share with you how GENTLE the Lord was in bringing this new situation into my life. He didn’t force it, or slam it in my schedule with a jolt. It was almost effortless and the timing went so smoothly and without pressure. I used to compartmentalize work from my faith, thinking it was an area of life where I had to push and perform. Thankfully, the trials in my life have shown me that God is eager to manage everything. Psalm 119:71 reads, “It is good for me that I have been afflicted; that I might learn thy statutes.” I find this to be true. That it is good that I discover the beauty of God’s grace in the workaholism that I so viciously guarded as my own.

The result of this blessing is that I’ve also added “healing” as one of the facets of my coaching practice and I’m appreciating that I’m in a tender place to build it, one brick at a time with God’s loving, helping hand.

I pray that you can ask God to intervene in the issue of work, time off, leave of absence and even returning to work without feeling overwhelmed. We are in such a rush for normalcy and it can put us in a vulnerable place of inadequacy. But I pray that you can seek the Lord and remember that He is enough.

Blessings,
Mahal

2 Points on Joy. 2 Days to Prepare. Yikes!

With two days to prepare, in the midst of a frenzied workload, the Lord showed me a lesson on JOY.

I’m humbled when my Sunday school teachers ask me to speak. It’s usually on something short, around 4 minutes long. They give me a topic with guidelines and what they would like to be communicated. Then, I usually do some research, jot down the first few truths that come to mind, search for supporting verses and then try to overlook the anxiety that seems to intensify the closer I get to the speaking time.

I don’t mind the short notice. God can work in any timeframe. 🙂 This time, it was 2 days notice. The event was for the ladies of the church to put together gifts, note cards, cookies and other crafts for other members of the church, needy families and a non-profit pregnancy clinic in the neighborhood. The devotional was to cover the three gifts from Jesus’ birth (no, not the frankincense, myrrh stuff. I know. I thought the same thing when she first told me). Rather, it was Love, Hope and Joy. Ohhh, THOSE gifts. (light bulb dimly lit above my head). I was assigned to speak on the topic of Joy.

But may I share the wonderfully simplistic lesson that the Lord showed me as I tried to prepare? There is also a sweet little story in it.

Purpose: The birth of Jesus gives us purposeful joy, a purposeful life. Joy isn’t a feeling or a burst of emotion. It is a genuine, personal, sustained sense of hope and peace and excitement all mixed. But it must start with salvation. Consider that God humbled Himself to go through what we went through, from the actual birth as an infant, the process of maturity, then sacrifice, then death and His victory over sin. Joy has a Source and the story can begin by remembering how Christmas plays out. Yes, there are gifts, budgets, parties, lists, families. But let’s not forget that our joy has purpose, including the hope of heaven, the serving of others and to glorify God.

How that purpose unfolds for us in our daily lives really depends on how willing we are to get to the know the Lord. We’ve got to be consistent in reading His Word and purposing to be in His house. Psalm 51:12, though typically used in the context of repentance, also plainly names the element in salvation, “Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.”

For those of us who may be more mature in years and have enjoyed more Christmasses than others, may we never tire and yet continually cherish the joy that is inherent in salvation.

Pattern: Christ set a pattern for joy. If you’ve heard of joy as an acronym (J stands for Jesus. O for Others. Y for You), you’ll even see the recipe for joy by prioritizing Christ, others then ourselves. In His ministry of sacrificial giving, Jesus consistently showed us how serving others was a priority. He demonstrated a pattern of joy for us to follow by being in the middle of God’s will and loving others in the process. After the humble act of washing the apostles’ feet, Jesus states in John 13:15, “For I have given you an example, that ye should do as I have done to you.” How He cared for His apostles was a pattern that we could follow to have the joy in serving others.

Four minutes can feel like 45 minutes when you’re facing an audience of 80 women, some of whom you know to be godly women with way more experience in their Christian walk than you do. [cue my hot flash from nervousness here, sheesh]. But the Lord was so gracious to ensure that I was able to share His truth about joy, even with new women in the audience, who haven’t attended a church service yet, but were there for the gift-wrapping event. What started as a harried talk was also an opportunity to witness to others.

And…Do you know who put my notes together? My daughter!

I was scrambling through verses. As I blurted out topics, she typed a brief outline and had it printed and ready before I rushed out the door. (She wasn’t able to attend with me that evening. She stayed home to win over a cold). In preparing to give a talk on joy, the Lord made sure I got a dose of my own joy by allowing my daughter to be a part of this experience in her own special way.

I pray that we don’t walk too quickly through this preparation for Christmas. I pray that we remember this as the beautiful beginning of what God has done for us and how the gift of salvation and the life we choose to lead with the Lord has so much more hope, love and joy than we could possibly imagine.

Blessings,
Mahal