Throughout my life there have been many influential people, those I admired and respected and who helped shape my world view and self view. I could write entire posts about those people.

I listened to a speaker this week, one who has had influence on me and many around me, and thought how much I’d love to be able to have the impact and influence he has. Just a portion even. But one of the things he spoke about was the importance of leaders in our churches who partner with parents to influence our children. Influence + influence = even greater influence.

That got me thinking about how everyone has influence in some way. Each of us has influence in ways we realize and ways we don’t. We hope our influence is more good than not. We sometimes forget that though we don’t necessarily have influence over thousands, those we do impact matter just as much.

And our influence is probably greatest than we ever know. I wonder if Austin could have ever known what influence he would have. His name is known by many he never knew, and he’s now pushing me out of my comfort zone to have influence on a few through sharing my experiences. He’s having influence through my mom who is sharing her time and skills with families going through the same.

I needed the reminder that though my influence is small, someone is watching everything. My children are influenced by my actions more than my words daily, and they will also have influence one day. I need to never forget that.

You have influence. How are you using it today?

– Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

If There Were No Valleys

I’d like to write a post about how much better today was than yesterday, some lesson about how a new day brought a new perspective.  In a way that was true, as Michael actually went 12 hours in a deep sleep with no shower or vomiting (shower= even better than meds when he’s sick).  We thought he was turning the corner on this episode.  I even got a few hours sleep, even if it was in a chair.  But that’s a lot better than the night before.

Instead, a new day brought news of my grandmother suffering two strokes in the night.  And my mom, who has been watching the boys while I focus on Michael, needed to go be with her.  But to add to the struggle, her car needed work that she can’t really afford, leaving means taking yet another unpaid day (or more) off work, and of course there was the matter of figuring out how to get my boys taken care of.  I reached out to friends to help solve the matter of the boys, and as I knew they would, faithful friends took that burden away.  There was still the puzzle to figure out of who would take them when, and what they needed, and where they needed to be, but there’s no question of them being taken care of and loved on.  My mom’s car/financial situation didn’t magically resolve itself, and as I write the work still isn’t done and she hasn’t been able to leave yet.  But God will provide, I do believe that.  

Reaching out and asking for help isn’t in my comfort zone.  It’s a phobia to tell the truth.  But I know that I can’t do it alone, and I miss out on so much when I don’t get pushed out of what’s easy.  With our search for Austin and our battle with Michael’s illness, I spend more time asking for help than I’d ever choose to.

But I can tell you this… if I didn’t face these valleys I’d never know the full gratitude of love and friendship.  I would miss the chance to be encouraged by a text, phone call or email that just checks in.  I’d miss a cup of coffee being delivered that wasn’t even asked for but much needed, that warmed more than just my hands.  My kids would miss the chance to know that they can count on others too, that this life is meant to be lived together.  They might grow up thinking church is a place we go, instead of the people who live it.

I’m not crazy, if given the chance I’d skip the valleys.  But since we’re here, might as well look around and enjoy the view.  I couldn’t ask for more.