Strength

Strength comes in many shapes and sizes,

many forms and functions,

many ways and words.

Strength comes when a mom holds her baby for the first time and knows in that moment that she will do anything to protect her baby. It also comes when her grown baby is in tears because their heart has been broken, or someone has treated them poorly, or they had to learn for themselves that life isn’t fair, and knowing she can’t fix it.

Strength can be found in a grown adult sitting by their parent’s bedside while they are recovering from surgery, still waiting to find out what the next steps are. It can be found in the waiting room of a hospital in the family members hoping, praying, and just being there, being together.

Strength comes when a smart, beautiful, young lady spent her junior year of high school battling cancer instead of her grades. When she shaved her own hair before the chemo could take it away from her.

Strength can be found in the eyes of a 12-year-old girl who finally got up the courage to tell her father that she was raped by her boyfriend. And in her steely response when her father asked if she did anything to encourage the boy.

Strength comes when a woman stands up to the man she loves, the man who promised to love and protect her, but instead filled her with fear and terror. When she finally finds a way to protect herself and her family from the man who threatened to ruin it all.

Strength can be found in weakness, in tears, in fear. Because in those moments, when we are often at our weakest, it is then that we feel the strength to push on, the strength to move forward, the strength to ask for help.

Strength comes from knowing when to walk away, and when to walk towards.

Strength can be found in the arms of a friend, who doesn’t have to say a word.

Strength comes in the familiar “ding” of a text message or email alert from someone who cares enough.

Strength can be found in the amazing people who are in our lives.

To walk with us,

to cry with us,

to celebrate with us,

and to just be with us.

I am blessed for all of the different ways I have experienced strength.

I try every day to accept the strength others give to me, and to be strong for them in return.

I’m not a very big person. I doubt anyone would describe me as physically very tough or strong.

But I have seen strength, I have felt strength, and through my experiences, I have known strength.

gentle strength

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Giving

I love Christmas. I love all the celebration, the excitement, and the anticipation. I love the idea of giving. One of my most favorite Christmas Carols is probably one that many people are unfamiliar with. But it touches on this idea of giving.

For some reason my ex-husband was on my mind this morning. It was strange, I don’t usually miss him, and so I stopped to think about why. I realized that it was Christmas and how much he liked it.

Then I thought about why he liked it so much. He was all show. One of the ways in which he equates love is in buying presents for people. Giving equals love to him. He often tried to buy love. It was showy and pretentious and not a good way to love others.

He used to buy a lot of “stuff” at the holidays, but for some reason it never felt good or right. Because he did just that, he bought stuff, for the sake of buying it. He rarely took the time to think about why he bought something or even the person he bought it for.

But through his buying of stuff and his attempts to buy love, I learned a lot about gifts and about the real joy of giving.

I used to worry about how much money I spent on people and getting a bigger or better gift for people. But I’ve learned that the price tag isn’t important. I’ve learned that the best gifts are the ones that come from the heart and are thoughtful. I love when I have found just the right gift for someone. I’m like a little kid, I can hardly wait to give it to them.

My younger son and I have spent a lot of time this Christmas thinking about people and trying to buy, or better yet make, just the right thing for them. I’ve tried to teach him that buying something for the sake of buying it isn’t as important as thinking about the person you are buying something for and finding just the right gift.

This Christmas we have purchased some “just right” gifts as well as crafted a number of homemade gifts for family and friends this year. We have also spent time writing letters or sending cards from the heagiftrt this year.

And even though we have spent less money on gifts we have spent more time on thought on the people we care about this year.

Christmas is a time for giving … love.