Every now and then I do some personal reflection and think back on the life that the Lord has given me. He has been very kind indeed and given me so many of the dreams and desires of my heart and continues to amaze me everyday by His goodness. There are some people in my life that have been super consistent and have been sources of encouragement, challenge, joy, creativity and examples to me for as long as I can remember. Such as my sister. She is amazing. Everything she creates is beautiful and her life is full of grace. She floats through life with strong conviction, deep thoughts, and a carefree splendor. Ever glamorous and put together, she also will climb any tree that Matt says she can, hold any wild animal that Matt approves, and, take home any reusable treasure that will fit in her car. Her life is balanced and joyful. She trusts the Lord unlike anyone else and knows scripture deeply. She has trusted the Lord for as long as I have known her and been a source of direction, comfort and truth for me. She is a gem and I am the only one in the world who the Lord gave as a sister. Thank you Lord, I get her all to myself. Well except Matt and Ella. She loves them more and I approve. Not that she needs it.

There are some people who I knew when I was little, therefore had a limited relationship with them and have since passed away, but always loved and them and have a place in my heart that wishes I could know them now, as a mom, wife, and adult and glean their joy, knowledge, outlook and skills. Like my Mom’s mom. We rarely saw her, talked sometimes but have heard stories for years. When we were with her it was always amazing to see the food she cooked, plants she grew, art she created and the humor she brought to every area of her life. Many times my sister and I have said we wish she was here now and that we could have known her in her prime. Family members often say I sound like her, make jokes like her and remind them of her. I can see her finger prints all over my 2 cousins Mo and Lana and my sister. I want to know them more, simply because I know that they knew her.

Still there are some people who I really think the Lord brings into our lives even for a short time, but they leave us changed. Their life, opportunity, skills, whatever are exactly what we need at that moment and change the trajectory of our lives. These are the people who you know your life would be different had you never met them. They people are few and far between and sometimes you don’t even know their impact until they are gone. Coaches, mentors, peers, friends, teachers, or sometimes it is something that a one-off person said that you will never ever see again. For me, these people have opened an area of my heart and life and provided great encouragement and challenge for me. When I look back they really are distinct moments in history that I will never forget.

It seems a little cheesy I know but I really think its true. Sometimes it is something that a person did or didn’t do in your life that the Lord has used to shape you. Other times it was an investment of time, or introducing you to someone, sometimes it is a conversation and the words they said totally pierced your heart and have stuck with you. Good or bad. Kind or unkind. Hard to hear or super encouraging. You never know what a new day or person will bring.

In my life there have been 2 times where I have met people and I knew that this was one of those people and 2 conversations that I will never forget. They aren’t my best friends, I haven’t talked to them in years, one doesn’t even know who I am. For posterity

– Freshman year of college meeting Michael Daily, AS President at Chico at the time. That meeting changed my college experience as I got involved in student government for the next 2 years, was able to travel the country, meet amazing Christian men and women in politics in our city, state and country and be encouraged by their faith. It also placed the insatiable bug to be involved in politics and connected to our communities and government. He was a great example to me and I really am grateful for the time I knew him and spent time with him.

– Meeting Lain Hensley during a class presentation in a class that I wasn’t planning to attend that day. He was making a presentation about his company and the team building they do. We talked after class and I was instantly drawn to his field and work, he had a “What Would Jesus Do?” bracelet on too that intrigued me. I ended up having him speak at a conference I was planning. I baby sat for his family and worked for his company for the next 5 years and was blessed by every minute. I caught myself being myself and had my heart changed as I worked with people all over the country.

– I had a professor in college who I really liked and she had the most frank conversation with me and confronted me about blind spots in my life that I was never aware of. I didn’t realize the full implications of that conversation until later but what she said to me was absolutely true, absolutely what I needed to hear, and the most honest and difficult things anyone has ever spoken to me in love.

– I met a lady in Washington DC (If anyone can get me her name or tell me who she was I would be so grateful) at a National Student Leadership Conference. All I know is she was a mother of 2 or 3, had long brown hair and was stepping down from her role at Mustard Seed. Her and her husband spoke about their organization, Mustard Seed, and I had a discussion with her about working, child-rearing, faith and how to balance everything. Her response really has motivated a lot of my choices and outlook in life and how I moved forward from that time. I’ll blog about it soon.

The point of this really can be summed up by Abe Lincoln, “Whatever you are, be  good one.” You never know how your words or actions will shape a person’s life forever. What seemed mundane, a hassle, obvious, whatever to you, really can be life changing for someone. Be willing to help, reach out, invest in and introduce people. Have a network. Make an effort to be with people. Do your work well and work hard. Love what you do. Talk about what you love and encourage those who are younger, interested, making an effort or need some nudging.

There are plenty of other people who I have gleaned from and do things because of them. Really if I kept going this list could be 20 people deep, easy. And 3 other conversations that are close behind. There are so many amazing people in my life that I am grateful for and challenged by.  But I like to keep the “top-tier” reserved for a select few. I haven’t been able to think of anything to call them… check points? game changers? Let me know if you have a name for these kinds of people. Please don’t call them divine interventions. They might be, I just think that is an overused, goofy term.

It is good to gleam, but not good to glob. You don’t want to become a carbon copy of someone else, or a combination of the best things in everyone around you. Strive for Christ, be like HIM. Be encouraged by those around you, seek wisdom and counsel,  and grow, but please be yourself. The Lord made you. Be you, there should be things that you do and say because that is just who God made you to be and is authentic you. If you look around and you are doing everything because of someone else and those around you or because they think it is the best, do yourself a favor and have a personal thought and opinion. Seek God’s Word for answers. Pray and ask the Lord. Trust the Holy Spirit. Be who the Lord made you to be.

And as you are that person, you might just end up being some person to somebody.

Please know that Gavin changed my life in a different way. I had met all these people before I met him and God used those people to make me into the woman who Gavin met. It was many of these people’s input that helped me to be looking and praying for a man like him. They set the standard high and encouraged me not to settle for anything less, all while trusting the Lord. They were examples of Godly men, woman, relationships and professionals that I wanted to emulate. They are a huge reason why I am able to thank the Lord and be amazed by the depth and manhood of who Gavin is. He is a wonderfully deep, moral, strong, accomplished, humble, man who is wise well beyond his years and incredibly fun, loving, smart, romantic and enjoys life. He has loved the Lord since he was 10 years old and never deviated or strayed from what is right. His moral compass is more keen and sharp than anyone else I know. The list of what he has done, seen, and accomplished is amazing for a man his age, some of which I will never know. He is the only man suitable to lead, protect, and guard my life. My heart is so safe with him, and I always have a personal bodyguard too. 😉

Madeline also changed my life too. She is the only person that made me a mom for the very first time. God gave her to me for all of my motherhood firsts, joys and trials. For the rest of my life she will be at the top of my prayer list, a recipient of my time, energy, conversation and one person who I will beg the Lord to seal and save. I look forward to the life of my daughter and being able to help, encourage, and fulfill the desires of her heart and point her to Christ.

There is my long post. Thanks for reading to the end. Be blessed and be a blessing.