7 Billion Ones {The “YOU MATTER” Movement”} Adoption.com article

About a year ago, I met with professional photographer, Randy Bacon and his wife, Shannon.  I was asked to share my story for their project, 7 Billion Ones.  Since meeting the Bacon’s, I’ve become more involved with their project.  7 Billion Ones is now a movement and it is absolutely rich with humanity.

I wrote an article for Adoption.com about this movement.  You can read it by clicking on this link:  7 Billion Ones {The “YOU MATTER” Movement”}

I am a firm believer in the truth that everyone has a story to tell.  Everyone has a story that matters, and we can all learn from each other.  Whether it is substance abuse recovery, domestic violence, life-threatening illness, suicide, adoption, or any other life experience, there is always something to be learned from another person’s walk.  Sharing ourselves with the world promotes empathy, understanding, wisdom, healing, and connectedness.

Please go check out the article and stay a while on the 7 Billion Ones website!

Blessings,

Caroline

Don’t Lose Sight of Your Vision

Keep Calm

These past few weeks have been somewhat of a blur for me.  I went on a min-vacation with some friends, our school year has ended, and our summer schedule has begun.  In many ways, I’ve felt a little “blah” about most things.

Recognizing these feelings has caused me to do some introspection about my life. I’ve thought about ending this blog, disengaging from social media, and giving up on personal goals.  I’ve wondered where God is, and why in the world do I feel like He has not been listening to me, or perhaps, why I have not been listening to Him.  Oh, my.  We are vulnerable, aren’t we?

At a staff chapel this past week (yes, we have chapel at my job!), the Pastor spoke about having a vision for our lives, and  immediately, this caused my heart to stir.  He reminded us of the importance of hanging on to our visions, praying over them, giving them to God, and realizing that the Enemy wants to destroy our vision.  He also talked about spiritual warfare when it comes to our feelings of giving up what we feel God has laid on our hearts to complete in life.

Every time the Enemy is mentioned, I immediately go back to what I felt growing up knowing I would not have biological children, wondering about motherhood, and tasting the bitterness of confusion and despair.  It seems like a lifetime ago, but in reality, these feelings and thoughts were an ever-present part of most of my life.  I never believed I would ever tell anyone my inner thoughts about life, especially barrenness.  I’m not one to over-spiritualize everything, but man, I’m so glad that I happened to be in the office the day this Pastor came to share and encourage us.  It was one of those moments when you feel like the message was meant just for you.

I needed the reminder that we are engaged in a war.  This war is not a physical one.  It is a spiritual one.  There is an ever-present need for continual prayer for our children, our spouses (if married), our communities, our nations, our neighbors who are considered the outcasts of society,and for ourselves.

Over the past few weeks, I have not felt the need to write, and in some ways, lost the desire.  I’ve wondered if I’m done speaking my history of barrenness to the world, and if it is time to close this chapter of my life.  However, the reality is that in the end it does not matter the size of an audience, nor the popularity, likes, followers, and shares that  we have.  What matters is that we wrap our lives with authenticity, humility, and the tenacity to focus with the full measure of what it is to be a believer.  I’ve also been reminded that my children deserve for me to be faithful and fully present.

The Enemy tried with great effort to make me feel as though the Lord had forgotten about me, and that He was no longer listening to my prayers.  However, my heart continually submerges into the ocean of Grace, and I know that I am not a forsaken or jilted child.

And, neither are you.

Friends, if you have lost sight of your personal dreams, feel as if the Lord has forsaken you, have hit a wall with your creative pursuits, or if you are wallowing in despair, hang on to the Weaver of dreams.

Don’t give up.

Don’t lose heart.

Your story does matter.  Don’t stop telling it.  Don’t believe for one second that your life is not a testimony.  Share your dreams, your wonderful creativity, your eye for fantastic images, and your brilliance with words.  Don’t lose sight of your vision.

What’s God going to say to my questions? I’m braced for the worst.
    I’ll climb to the lookout tower and scan the horizon.
I’ll wait to see what God says,
    how he’ll answer my complaint.

And then God answered: “Write this.
    Write what you see.
Write it out in big block letters
    so that it can be read on the run.
This vision-message is a witness
    pointing to what’s coming.
It aches for the coming—it can hardly wait!
    And it doesn’t lie.
If it seems slow in coming, wait.
    It’s on its way. It will come right on time.”

Habakkuk 2:1-2

 

 

 

Everyone has a Story

“What’s a testimony without a test?”

This question is one that tends to be a mantra of sorts among the Christian community.  While I understand the meaning behind it, instead, I find myself asking,

“What’s a test without a testimony?”

Imagine for a moment, living in a world where we do not share our pain, disappointment, despair, and gut-wrenching experiences in life.

What if we just walked around holding it all in, always saying that we are fine, and never, for one moment, declaring out loud the things that twist our souls to the bottomless pit of pain?  Like emotionless robots, we encase our feelings in a tomb to which we never open.  What would it be like if we kept our stories imprisoned within our own mortal coils?

I am not even sure what kind of world it would be if we never shed our tears with or for others, or if the stark reality of the collapsing of others’ dreams, the dashing of their hopes, and the witness of their afflicted footsteps, did not affect us.

I have had people say to me,

“I had no idea you have gone through so much.”

What this tells me is that I have done an excellent job at tucking away the daggers of devastation and arrows of apathy that have, at times, pierced my walk in this life with doubt, sorrow, and anger.

Even during the time that I was reluctant to tell my story, I knew that it was meant to be told, and that behind the heartbreak of it all, lay hope in waiting, purpose with a passion, and ultimately, the glimpse of redemption through the mercy of our God.

So, what’s a test without a testimony?  What’s hardship without the harrowing details of survival?

What is more important…that we exclaim our victory?  Or, that we seek to tell the stories that encompass those moments in life where the only lifting of our heads is caused by the hint of something better?

I believe the latter is more important.  While I shout for joy at the victories of others, I celebrate with even more enthusiasm at the telling of overcoming mountains, the witness of evading addictions, and the declaration of holding tight to the life-thread of courage.

I believe that everyone has a story.  

I believe that all of our stories are important, and worthy of being told.  I believe that there is not one moment in a single life lived on Earth that does not matter, and that the Creator of the landscape to which we dwell is the same Creator that fills the spaces in-between our devastation, our tragedies, our heart-breaks, our disappointments, and our yearning for something better in life.

Yes, everyone has a story to be told.

 Share your story.

 Embrace your experience.

Wear it as a badge of endurance.  

You never know how your story can affect someone else going through what you have been through, or how the steps you have painstakingly taken can soften the path to which others are walking on.

Your life’s journey might just lead another soul right to the heart of God.

Your story matters.

Your story is unique.

The story of your life is the cadence to which you heart’s song is being composed.  

What a wonderful world it would be if we shared the stories of our lives, the tests that determined our testimonies, and the painful moments that launched our ministries.

Everyone has a story.  What’s yours?

Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.–Psalm 66:16