May I start by saying God is amazing?
Over and over again He finds ways to show me His awesomeness and I’m humbled to be pursuing His purpose for my life. How do I know I have found His purpose? Quite simply because of the people I am meeting on my journey and the witness to His impact in all corners of the world. God speaks to us if we are willing to listen.
I am coming off the longest tour I have had the privilege of pilgrimaging since I declared my responsibility to share my broken journey that is so completely whole. It is not my message, but God’s message so that He might reach through a microphone and breakdown the metaphorical wall between the stage and the audience so we can bring our hurt into focus and realize how WE can use our hurt for the greater good. Through challenges we have the opportunity to more intimately know our Maker and how strong He has made us.
Wow, it sounds like I’m going to break into a sermon and quite possibly thump my Bible. Lol No, I won’t do that… it’s just a testament to show how humbled I am by God’s amazing love. The beauty of it all: everyone has the opportunity to bask in His love. It is, after all, a choice!
For those of you whom I have had the privilege to work with know I share (from the stage) choices that can have a profound impact on our lives. I used to call those choices “steps” or “tools”, but it sounded too much like I was at some self-help seminar. As I started growing in my message I began to realize they are not steps or tools, but choices. We choose. Yes, for better or worse we choose our destiny.
Over the course of three weeks I met some incredibly amazing people, and what I find so interesting is what makes them so amazing… the people who inspire me are those who are in the fight to overcome their own adversities. Seeing people actively define perseverance has a way of inspiring. So while I’m accused of inspiring audiences from a stage it is really the conversations beyond the stage that encourage me to continue to keep sharing my heart as authentically as possible.
In an effort to not be quite so broad, let me share with you some of the people who have inspired me (and these are in no particular order)
In Ohio, I met a man who showed me his vest that was filled with batteries. Batteries that were hooked to his heart. During the day that is what kept him alive (the batteries kept his heart beating) and while he slept at night he hooked himself to an entirely different machine while the batteries recharged. He has been on a donor list for a new heart for two years. His smile is imprinted in my mind, especially when he began telling me about the four times he died on the operating table. He described what is in store for us on the other side. Let’s just say… none of us should be scared! While I’m not done here on earth I will be ready to walk in the light and run to my Savior!
In Kansas, I met a young lady who was in an ATV accident. The machine rolled on top of her. Physically, her right arm and leg were ripped apart. I marveled at her scars as she told me of the upcoming surgeries to help heal her wounds. This beautiful young lady was in the midst of one of her greatest trials as she was learning to forgive the driver, forgive herself, and learning how to process people’s comments. You could see the fight in her. Being in her presence inspired me to fight my own battles with more gusto!
In an unnamed town, I had a “come to Jesus” spontaneous conversation with a group of about thirty teenagers. They asked what really happened in the field the day of my accident. I described the scene to them and how Jesus’s presence was so evident among such hurt that I wouldn’t trade that moment for anything (the moment I severed my foot and the years of complications to follow). Within moments others started sharing similar stories. We stood together with tears rolling down our cheeks as incredible stories of our Savior came to be in the midst of great trials.
Should I tell you about the tall young man who had won his childhood battle with cancer and was determined to be the greatest oncologist known to man… and would find the cure to cancer? He was a senior in high school with sights set on the best medical schools in the country.
What about the young lady who wanted to start a business and give the proceeds to St. Jude’s because they were the reason she had at least one working eye (the other was glass) and she was currently in remission.
Or the young lady who had me hold her nub as she clicked muscles where her elbow should have been. We talked about what life was like with 1 ½ arms and what it would be like when science was ready to give her a working hand.
Or the young lady that walked up to me and said, “you changed my life.” My response, “I shared a message. It’s up to you to make the change.”
Or the emails from kiddos who are fighting depression or anxiety and because of my hurt they feel confident they can ask for help.
There are many more stories. I will keep collecting them and keep sharing my own as long as it is in God’s favor.
May I ask a favor of you? Please pray for this journey. Please pray for the youth of our country and our world. Listen to them. They want to be heard. They are capable of so many wonderful things and they need reassurance of their awesomeness. Pray with me that we may be the reassuring voices in their lives.
Remember, the moments of true inspiration don’t come on the stage but in the intimate moments beyond the stage lights. Inspiration comes when we are willing to share our hurt in order to make a positive impact. Embracing life’s obstacles is part of living a whole life.
Check out the KSHSAA highlight video by yours truly