“Everyone has a story to tell, a lesson to teach, and wisdom to share…Life is a beautiful masterpiece bound together by your experiences. Open up and share your story; become an inspiration to others. You can make a difference because you matter. You were created with purpose. Live your life with intention, go out there and make a difference by being the difference.”
I can’t tell you how many times I have heard, “You have a story that can help someone.” I believe I can help someone in some way. And, I believe God created me for a reason. What I couldn’t figure out was my story and how I was to use that to help people.
You see, I have gone to a lot of seminars, listened to a lot of self-help tapes and almost all of them had a hard-luck story or difficult challenge they overcame…they were not loved, they grew up as orphans and were mistreated, they were homeless, addicts, or survived domestic abuse. Despite these challenges, they bettered themselves and went on to help hundreds if not thousands of people. I think you get my drift. They had a story. I had nothing like this…nothing dramatic to share. Over time, I came to realize that I do have a story. A story, though not dramatic, it is still a story that could be an inspiration to others.
My life, growing up certainly was not what the world would consider glamorous. I grew up in a little mining camp in West Virginia. My Father was a coal miner and my Mother a homemaker. I was number 7 of 9 children…4 boys and 5 girls. We were not rich as far as money and material wealth go, but neither were we poor. In fact, I never heard my parents say, “We’re poor.” We had what we needed when we needed it and sometimes we even had some of our wants. What we did have was an abundance of love. We were taught to care about each other and that family is important. We learned about God’s love for us and watched our parents demonstrate faith repeatedly. We saw our parents caring for others and giving when they saw someone in need. We were taught the value of education and encouraged to do our best and never stop learning. My story, although not dramatic, is a story that gave me the foundation for parenting God’s way, a way that I can share with others.
Needless to say, my story does not stop there. Fast forward some years. After college, I joined the military and became an Army Nurse. I met my husband, Dennis at my first duty station. We were married and had 4 children…3 girls and 1 boy.
Fast forward again, to the next part of my story. Our children grew up, went to college. They all attended and graduated from The United States Military Academy at West Point. For many, during this time, it was unusual for a Black family to have 4 children graduate from West Point. After graduating, they all became officers and served their country. As people learned about our family, they would ask, “How did you do it? How did you get all of your kids to do so many good things?” Many of them would add, “You should write a book.” On more than one occasion I was told, “You should write a book.” One day, I was sitting in the airport waiting for my plane. A lady sat down and started talking. We shared things about our families and as I got up to board my plane, she said, “Has anyone told you that you need to write a book?” I told her yes and she added, “Well, do it.”
I finally paid attention during a family reunion. The minister said, “Someone in here has a book inside them and they need to write it.” Yes, that got my attention.
I remember a conversation I had with my husband about all of the people telling me that I need to write a book. He said, “The Book has already been written.” He was talking about the Bible. I realized that we had, for the most part, followed biblical principles raising our children. And, I realized that some would not open the Bible to learn how to raise their children. But, there was a great possibility that something in my story would capture their attention, and I could share the principles that guided us.
Yes, I have a story to tell, a masterpiece bound together by my experiences. It is time for me to open up and share my story and become an inspiration to others.
As I opened up the shades this morning, I was greeted by a kaleidoscope of colors… leaves falling to the ground forming a colorful carpet on the green grass…grass, preparing to go dormant for the winter.
I love autumn! In fact, it’s my favorite season. I love the sight and sound of geese migrating, the sweet smell of the cool autumn air, watching squirrels hide their nuts and hearing the laughter of children as they tumble in the leaves. Autumn, the season when God prepares a festival of colors just before He puts His earth to sleep for a long winter’s nap. Autumn is beautiful; even though everything begins to turn brown and the trees that once held an abundance of leaves, start displaying empty branches. There’s hardly a memory of the colorful leaves they once held. But yet, the trees seem to know that in a matter of months, they will welcome new life.
As I pause to take in the wonders of nature, I am reminded of how similar our lives are to the seasons. Conception and birth up to adolescence is the springtime of our life…spring, everything blossoms and comes to life. It’s just like birthing a child and watching him/her grow and blossom as new skills are learned and developed.
Young adulthood is like summer. Summer, when we see the full beauty of nature…flowers at their peak and fruits are the sweetest. The summer of one’s life is at the highest point…achieving and making a mark.
Middle age is autumn…time to harvest and yes, time to let go. Autumn shows us the beauty of letting go. Trees don’t hold on to their leaves. It is as though they realize the beauty of releasing the old and preparing for the new. A crisp breeze blows and the leaves tumble gently to the ground.
Autumn, so amazing! We enjoy the cozy autumn days and the crisp fall nights as we prepare to welcome in winter. And as we prepare, we harvest the memories of our spring and summer years.
Remembering where we have been, and wondering what’s next in our lives can bring about concerns… concern about losing our sense of identity now that the children are gone and retirement is looming ahead… feeling as though we have placed everyone’s well-being ahead of our own, and we look to reconnect and find a sense of purpose.
Once we enter our autumn years, some may say, “It’s a wrap.” I say, “We’ve only just begun.” Yes, there comes a time in our lives when we must “wrap” things up, but we must also prepare for our winter years. Even as we prepare, we must remember that each season offers a chance to be productive. It is never too late to enjoy life regardless of the season you’re in. There is a season for everything and we must change with each season of life.
We’ve made it through spring and summer and adapted to the changes required by each. And likewise, we’ll change, adjust and enjoy autumn. We’ll enjoy sweatshirt weather, the smell of pumpkin and cinnamon spices and hearing the crunch of leaves under our feet. And yes, we’ll adjust to the empty house and enjoy retirement as we prepare to welcome the next season…winter or the season some call old age…the age of wisdom!
Gray hair is a crown of glory; it is gained in a righteous life. Proverbs: 16:31
The house is empty; now is the perfect time to spice up your marriage! It's never too late to reconnect and reclaim that same spark, excitement, and creativity you experienced before you had kids. 26% of Empty Nesters say they will feel like newlyweds when their kids are gone and even more (34%) say they will feel closer to their spouse without the children around. Those statistics aren't too shabby, but let's see if we can raise them a little higher and add some spice to our marriages!
Here are 3 ways to keep your marriage fresh and exciting:
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