Do you even see me? #FaithConfessions #LoveHugsAndSunshine #Reminders

Do you even see me? Do you ever feel like you’ve mistakenly put on your invisibility cloak?

Maybe you’re on a date. Maybe you’re out to dinner with a parent. Maybe you’re across the table from your child attempting to pour some great life lesson into them or simply trying to get them to not spill their drink all over the table. Maybe you’re standing in front of your boss. Maybe you’re in the front of the classroom. No matter where you are, I’m sure you’ve had a moment or two where you’ve felt invisible.

There have been so many times in my life where I’ve found myself asking does this person even see me? Sometimes I find myself sitting there thinking do I need a neon sign, flashing lights, and a megaphone? Cause I could get those things if necessary. I’ve already got the megaphone—two actually. 😉

Obviously, I know I’m being seen physically but then there are those times when we truly believe we are invisible, no one sees us, no one cares, and we’re a lost cause. Those are the times we feel lost in the shadows of our troubles. In those moments where you feel deeply hidden I want you to remember, you are seen. My faith tells me God sees me. He sees us. I can tell you people see, too. They notice. They may not always say anything but they see.

I never realized how much people paid attention to me until I lost my husband. Of course, what happened in my life caused people to take note but so many people were there watching before that— like my family, my friends, and my co-workers. After my loss, I spent so many dark nights wanting someone to see me, to save me, to help me, because I was so beyond low I couldn’t help myself. I didn’t even have the strength to make such a request.

But God saw me. He heard me. He’d already sent Jesus to save me from my sins and He sent him again to save me from my broken heart. (Technically he never left but I think you get my point.)

My heart has bruises and scars but I don’t see those as negative things. Those wounds have grown me. Those scars remind me that life is more than making the grade and checking items off the to do list. Those bruises have taught me I don’t have this together, but God does. He can and has done work within my soul and in my life I once thought impossible. So when the fear tries to drown out my dreams and fill my mind with doubts, I’ve learned to turn and say, “No, God has got this. He will make this work. He didn’t give up on me so I won’t give up on Him.”

Friends, family, readers, and acquaintances, have noted how they watched my journey through loss, and now tune in for my travels, life updates, and all the megaphone, truck cruising adventures. It’s like I’ve got my own little fan club, which for the tall, quiet girl who always sat in the back of class feeling invisible, it seems wildly impossible and utterly insane to be seen, noticed, and watched. (In non-creepy ways of course. LOL!)

I bet you’ve got your own fan club, too. You have no idea how many people truly see you. They see how you act and they hear what you have to say. They observe how you live, how you survive, and how you thrive. More often than not, we don’t get the privilege of seeing our effect on other people, of hearing about our influence on other hearts. Nothing shocks me more than how just being myself affects the lives of others. I’ve stopped trying to be the person that the world tells me I’m supposed to be and instead I’m being me and running towards growing into the best Michelle I can be. (That might sound cheesy, cliché, but it’s true.) I want to be all that God created and equipped me to be. Crazy enough, the more I focus on that the more I feel like I’m seen. In this endeavor, I’m fulfilled. It’s the root of the peace and joy in my life.

God has always seen me, even when I felt forgotten and unloved. He was still there. He’s always there, sometimes we just get turned around and can’t see His light anymore.

So when I think about those times, when I’m sitting across the table feeling invisible, when I’m throwing all of my energy into a lecture, when I’m pouring encouragement into a friend (young or old), when I’m wondering if my future husband missed the love boat, or when I’m sitting in the corner of a coffee shop attempting to throw words on the page…

I’m seen. I’m noticed. I’m visible. And so are you. Keep working, keep pushing, keep moving towards whatever God has put in your heart. He sees everything—the good, the bad, and in between. I hope along the way your eyes are opened to some of the ways you’re seen by those around you.

I don’t know why this hit me today but that’s just how my weird soul works. I think I needed the reminder for myself and maybe someone reading this, someone who “watches” me needs to hear this too. We are seen. We are noticed. We are NOT invisible. And because of that we should never give up on our always and forever. <3

#LoveHugsAndSunshine #YouAreSeen

 

 

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Why I Love Valentine’s Day Even Though I’m Single ;) #MyConfessions

It’s no surprise to anyone who knows me that I love LOVE. <3 There is no shortage of hearts, the color red, or love in marquee lights in my home. I’ve always had a thing for the L-word. Hence the romance writing but the most beautiful thing about love is that it is more than hearts and flowers or lovey-dovey hugs and kisses. (Not that those things aren’t awesome cause they are.) Love is opening the door for someone. Love is mowing the lawn. Love is doing or saying something to help someone else. Love is being an encourager and sometimes it is being the person who listens and gives a shoulder to cry on. Love is an endless list of actions.

V-Day isn’t about the flowers, the chocolates, the jewelry, or all of those ways the world has commercialized love. You can’t buy love. You can buy lust but true love is a rare thing that cannot be purchased. It is found, fostered, and grown. It is something we spend so much of our time seeking that we often miss the fact it’s on our doorstep.

I’m learning that we need love from different sources—from our parents, our family, our friends (younger, older, and our own age), our significant others, and ourselves. I wasn’t able to fully love myself until I discovered the love that resides inside me through my faith, which has carried me through some seriously awful days and some amazing days, too. I’m incredibly thankful my heart was opened to that love.

Love has taught me that to live a fulfilled, bold life of purpose that I need the love and support of YOU. We are all connected. We need fellowship. We need encouragement. And no matter how independent we think we are, we do our best work when we work together. We need each other.

So like Thanksgiving is that holiday that reminds us to be thankful for at least one day (even if we should be filled with gratitude every day) Valentine’s Day is a holiday to remind us to love. And while all those gifts you buy at the store are wonderful and sweet, remember it’s of no monetary sacrifice to give the greatest gift of all—your love. The world needs more love and I’ll preach that until my dying day or until we live in a kind, peaceful, loving world, whichever comes first.

I know this day can be a difficult day for some. Believe me, I haven’t forgotten those first gut wrenching V-Days after losing Chris. They sucked. And if I hadn’t found a way to love myself or pour my heart into those around me and shift my perspective on this day, then I’d still be in that rough spot.

If this day is a tough one for you here’s a few things that helped me through:

Love never dies. It only changes forms.

Hearts take time to mend. Hearts take time to heal. Be patient with yourself and others.

You are loved. Repeat this until you believe it. Sometimes our heads can be stubborn.

And of course, never give up on your always and forever. Love covers a multitude of sins and hurts. Love heals the soul. I know this because I’m living proof.

Happy Valentine’s Day! Thank you for all the love you pour into my life! I wouldn’t be me without YOU!

#LoveHugsAndSunshine #NeverGiveUpOnYourAlwaysAndForever #YouGetWhatYouGive #GiveLove #FindYourShine

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