|Posted by jlemmert on January 29, 2013 at 12:00 AM||comments (22)|
I was thinking about people who inspire me and one of the first to come to mind was my mother, Marilyn Willenbrink. She is in her late 70's and is choosing to sell her home and move to a senior living condo in a community that has a care plan to allow people to transition from independence to assisted living to full nursing care if necessary.
She feels sad to leave her current active community, but she realizes that she isn't physically able to care for the upkeep of a home. She has a limp that makes it difficult to walk 100 yards, but she still golfs on the days when carts are allowed. As a retired registered nurse she still volunteers at a medical clinic for the needy each week. She is active in her church and community and once joked that she was busier retired than she had been when she worked full time. I love that my mom chose an active life-style with retirement. But, now, she is slowing down. She's had back surgeries, knee replacements and other medical challenges. She isn't waiting for her children to choose where she should go next. She is living as pro-actively now as she has for her entire life and I admire her willingness to embrace each phase of life with wisdom and dignity.
I am always learning from her. When I was a mother with young children, I thought about how she would handle difficult situations. When I had to let my children go off to college or their careers, I thought about how she graciously and lovingly encouraged me and let me go. When I became a mother-in-law I thought of how she welcomed my husband into her heart and I, in turn, welcomed my new daughter and son-in-laws. I am watching her now as she transitions into this new phase of aging. I don't want her to get old. I want to have my Mom around forever so I can call and ask her advice or share a funny story. I love my Mom with my whole heart and soul. I pray that I will be a mother who inspires my children and grandchildren and who accepts each new transition in life with dignity and strength. My mother is a woman worth emulating and I thank God for her example. I hope we'll all be women (and men) who love, encourage and inspire others.
|Posted by jlemmert on May 19, 2012 at 3:35 PM||comments (3)|
Years ago I was preparing to speak and lead worship music at a Christian retreat and my delightful, talented friend said, "I wish I was as talented as you are." It stunned me to realize that she didn't see all of the talents and gifts God had given HER. She saw my gifts clearly, but was blind to her own. I knew I sometimes did the same thing in my life. For example, when I went to the beach I only saw the woman who had the "perfect" body, not the many who had "normal" bodies like me. Or, when I sang I always wanted to sing harmony or play an instrument someone else played. I never saw my gifts as anything special. I always wanted the gifts someone else had.
I knew this discounting of one's gifts and wanting someone else's gifts must grieve God, so I spent time in prayer and asked Him, "What do you want to say to us, Lord?" He inspired me to write the Love Letter from God which reminds us that He gives us gifts that are unique for each of us and our personalities. It is our job to draw close to Him, spend time in the Bible and in prayer so He can reveal those gifts to us. As an artist (painter) I love that God sees a masterpiece in each of us. I picture Him with a large paintbrush in His hand, mixing up wonderful colors and sweeping them across the canvas of our lives. Over the next several weeks my blog will walk through the verses of this Love Letter from God . I pray it will bless and encourage you.
Day 1 "You are my masterpiece."
God sees a masterpiece when He looks at you and me. Yes--imperfect me. Imperfect you. He formed us in our mothers' wombs and He loves us with a deep, incredible love. Sometimes we don't feel His love. We feel lost in the darkness and alone in our sin or pain, but God does not abandon us. He promises He will never leave us. He knows everything about us and still loves us. He created us and He sees a masterpiece in the making.
Thoughts to Ponder:
Think back on a time when you felt hurt, lost or alone. Try to describe what it felt like and what you needed or wanted from others. _________________________________________________________________________________
|Posted by jlemmert on September 5, 2011 at 3:00 PM||comments (2)|
I remember when I turned 29 and my stepdad was dying. He was only 61 and it hit me that my life might be half over and I had not done half of the things I wanted to do. That was the year I started taking piano lessons and painting classes. The year I gave myself permission to let my creative soul free. What a gift! Hard to believe that 20 years have passed, but the good news is I'm still playing piano and painting is now my livelihood, passion and platform for raising awareness about domestic violence.
I have learned much and suffered much in the past twenty years. (My stepdad died, my marriage ended, my 37-year old sister, Amy Latus, was murdered by her boyfriend and my 53 year old sister-in-law, Laurie Emmert, was recently killed in a car accident.) But, I awoke today with joy and stretched with contentment. I have learned to live in the moment and not take for granted the simple joys of life or the people I love. I hope you feel joy today, even in the midst of your difficulties. Life is precious and today is a gift. Unwrap it and let yourself feel ALIVE!