I feel good approaching this next surgery today where my doctor will perform my reconstruction from the double mastectomy I had on December 10, 2018.
I feel good because…I know who I am.
I am not speaking of the roles I am, like mother, daughter, volunteer, sister, event planner, friend… I am talking about the bigger part of knowing who I am.
I am a child of God
“We are not human beings having a spiritual experience. We are spiritual beings having a human experience.” Some of you may have heard these words before, but these words were spoken by a French philosopher, Pierre Teilhard de Chardin.
It’s disappointing to me how many times I have forgotten who I am in this life I lead. Then, I take a walk with nature, sit in adoration or look at my children and I am reminded of the miracles all around me. I am reminded in each friend who reaches out to me during this time of hardship that God is in each of them fulfilling the purpose God created them for. I am reminded that God loves me and with each day, I have a purpose to fulfill. He invites us all to live a life filled with love. He invites us all to confront our own inner brokenness and out of that, we are humbled in growth.
He wants us to surround ourselves with people who love us and are not jealous or try to break us down; people who build us up in life and truly know and want what is best for us. Surround yourself with people who value honesty, integrity, morality and service.
Proverbs 12:20 – He who walks with the wise grows wise, but a companion of fools suffers great harm.
At times, we all struggle with who we truly are. We want to be successful, make a mark in this world, be famous, leave a legacy, make money and we may want power. However, I believe the important question we need to ask ourselves is this…
Who did God create me to be?
Many times, I set out in a direction doing one thing, but then God leads me in another direction. I surrendered and allowed prayer and meditation to lead me in the right direction, that doesn’t mean I didn’t feel sorry for myself or get angry, but I didn’t give up! I surrounded myself with people I knew loved me, who wanted what was best for me and who helped me see through all of the suffering that what matters in life is being what God created me to be.
We have a lot of great examples of men and women who have been led to their vocations and made service a part of their job. Bono the lead singer of U2 has delivered some impactful lyrics in his music over the years. He didn’t stop at being a famous singer, he took the gift of music that God gave him and excelled because of his hard work and went on to co-create the ONE campaign, a clothing company that strives to stimulate trade with poverty-stricken countries. He also co-founded its’ sister organization, RED, which partners with iconic brands to raise awareness about the AIDS crisis. His RED organization has raised $350 million to fight AIDS across the world.
Angelina Jolie might have given up one of the best-looking husbands out there however, she used her God given gift of acting and went on to use her vocation as a way to make good in the world. She has drawn so much attention to global issues such as refugee rights, and has embarked on field missions since 2001. The Jolie-Pitt Foundation is dedicated to helping extreme poverty, protecting natural resources and wildlife, and has contributed to Doctors Without Borders.
The third icon I want to bring up and have blogged about is Saint Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) who was first a teacher, but felt called by God for something greater. She was called to live in the slums helping those who needed her the most. She founded the Missionaries of Charity, a religious order of women dedicated to serving “the poorest of the poor.” Her charity has grown to well over 4000 sisters and thousands of volunteers all over the world.
Oprah Winfrey has said many times, we all can’t be famous, but we all can be GREAT! This is done by excelling in your vocation but never forgetting what we were put on this earth for. We all get so busy in our lives that we miss opportunities. There are chances every day in our profession where we can do great in our job all the while still serving others. Maybe there is a family needing some extra prayers and you pray for them in between conference calls. Maybe there is someone you know who has been going through a tough time and you surprise them with a meal. There might be someone struggling and you send them a card or pick up the phone.
Whatever it is, you do it even when they might not know you did it.
After finding out I had cancer, I realized God was leading me in a different direction. I found myself in prayer a lot and thankfully, he led me to a greater calling which was to start a nonprofit, Living in Abundance. I would set out to gift other women with the “Abundant Pocket Hoodie” so other patients would know I’ve been there and that I care. I wanted them to feel served in this difficult time.
Instead of cancer getting the best of me, God changed it around and helped me use cancer as a platform to do good in this world. It fulfills me knowing when I gift a cancer patient with an “Abundant Pocket Hoodie.” I am serving them which gives me joy and I believe that equals success.
Another reason we may struggle at times with knowing who we are might be because we are called to ALWAYS do the right thing.
That means doing the right thing even when others don’t know you’re doing the right thing. For example, you unload your grocery cart and take it back to the storage area; yes, it is another step but it’s the right thing to do. You may catch yourself tempted by another person to do something hurtful to someone else like gossiping or cheating them and in the end, you are cheating yourself. I can’t say I have ever met an evil person, but I have met people who have done some pretty evil things. This is clearly not who God created them to be. Thus, they don’t know who they are.
When someone harms you, revenge may consume you. Believe me…I have been there. But, just do the right thing and the right thing will lead you to peace. We are all faced with doubt at times, but when we find peace in our lives; we know we are doing the right thing.
Please keep me in your prayers today as I head in for my reconstruction surgery which should take 2-3 hours. It is one more step towards healing, I will have the same restrictions as I had after the last surgery; but I have been told the recovery is much easier.
I leave you with the same words Mother Teresa had hanging on her wall while fulfilling her vocation God called her to. Mother Teresa believed we are all children of God and we all can choose to do the right thing.