Hanging On To Hope Without Handholds

Hanging On To Hope Without Handholds

~Janet’s Blog

Hanging On

Kaboom!

Ka-boom, ka-boom!

Kaboooom, kaBOOM, KABOOOOM!

My heart pounds harder and harder, threatening to jump out of my chest. A salty bead of sweat runs down my forehead into my eyes.

“Ow! Now, why is it that I wanted to do this, again? And on my vacation?” I ask myself while struggling to find the next handhold while clinging onto the side of a cliff at Smith Rocks, Oregon. My husband, Joel is belaying, below on the ground, holding onto the other end of my rope. He’s yelling words of support while keeping me from falling to my death. (more…)

Milestones, Transition and Living With Purpose

Milestones, Transition and Living With Purpose

~Janet’s Blog

Early Milestones…

In Washington State you cannot get your driver’s license until you are 16 years old.  I think this is a very good rule and always will.  Why?  Let me tell you a story…

Shannon was a nice friend to have at church.  She added a lot of joy to the singing quartet I led when we were in high school.  She always invited me to youth group and encouraged me to hang out with her and her friends.  And she made me feel wanted, cared about, like one of the gang.

Shannon was a social butterfly, very comfortable around boys, laughing, joking etc.  She taught me a lot about being a teenage girl, kicking back with gal pals, and flirting with the guys.  She was a fun, popular, and genuinely a nice person.

In the Spring of ’85 (yes, a long time ago), she invited me and my dear friend, Katie, to go to a Michael W. Smith concert.  I’d never gone to a concert before.  I was so excited!  That night we laughed, sang, linked arms, and swayed to the music.  I had never had so much fun with gal pals ever!  In spite of the fact I couldn’t hear worth a darn afterward, it was awesome!

Some Milestones Are Better Than Others

No sooner had this whole new world of fun and frolicking opened up to me when, “BAM!,” I was overcome by complete devastation. Some milestones aren’t welcome.

Shannon died.  She was in a car accident the night before we were to sing some special songs at church.  We were all crushed.  How could this be, God?!  She’s just a kid!  Everyone loved Shannon, so why not take me instead?!  Oh, I wrestled with that feeling of guilt and unworthiness most of the summer.

Our quartet stopped singing.  We went through a time when we really didn’t even interact with each other.  It hurt too much!

Thank God, our mom’s were watching out for us. They helped us pick up the pieces and move forward.  It was hard, at first.  Shannon’s parents stopped coming to church.  This was sad.  I felt like if I had just run over to them and hugged them that maybe they would have stayed.  I think the reality that even kids can die was so frightening that I was just emotionally frozen for a while.

It’s amazing how some of our greatest losses can have the most incredible impact on the directions of our lives.  At church, I was suddenly viewed as a leader in the youth group.  I ended up changing my career path from majoring in Music to majoring in Youth Ministry. More milestones.

Little did I know the pain I experienced as a kid would provide me with the tool of compassion.

As the years go buy I think of Shannon often, all the amazing gifts of life she has missed out on because of one mistake in a car.  I sing this song and share this story so kids can hear first-hand about the importance of taking driving seriously.   No texting, speeding, goofing around…please!!  You have so much ahead of you. Don’t miss it! Arrive at all the positive milestones you can.

What has been a significant life-shaping event in your life?

Add to the conversation! We’ll be glad you did. And if you’d like, you can listen to a sample of my song, “Milestones” on iTunes.

photo credit: Viernest via Photopin cc

“Drive” Isn’t Only About Driving, It’s About Living

“Drive” Isn’t Only About Driving, It’s About Living

~Janet’s Blog

The Drive to “Drive”

Drive is a song I co-wrote with my friend, Jeff Lowery, awhile ago.  We met through a youth ministers’ local support group in Yakima, Washington.  When Jeff told me he had written songs before and was open to trying out writing together, I just about jumped out of my skin!  The week after I “retired” from youth ministry we started writing together.

Working with Jeff helped me find the confidence I needed to trust my own songwriting abilities.  He would play the guitar and we would write together. After awhile we would take turns presenting an idea of a potential song and then together we would finish it.

Our time writing and singing together was truly a great gift to me.  If you are out there in Facebook-land, thanks, Jeff!

The song “Drive” was our first song. The first verse starts off with,

Drivin’ down the road is an easy thing to do,

just jump in, turn it on and let it go. 

It gets a little harder when a fork comes in the road,

to the left or to the right, how do I know?

Life As A Journey

We often don’t know what is around the bend as we journey through life.  All we can do is pray driveand try to make good choices.  Sometimes our decisions take us further down the road we were on but other times the fork takes us on a wild goose chase.

The words to the chorus, “God is always with you, no matter where you go” I find very comforting.  Knowing that no matter who I am, what I believe or what I do, doesn’t change the fact that God is always with me!  That’s pretty cool!

You can know that throughout your journey here on earth, God is right there with you.

There is an excellent dialogue in the movie, The Stand written by Steven King that takes place between Mother Abigail and Nick, that goes like this. “What if I don’t believe in God?” In response to Nick’s question Mother Abigail gives out a hearty laugh and says, “It don’t matter whether you believe in God. God believes in you!”

If it doesn’t feel like God is with you, maybe there is a reason for that.  Have you given God a chance to be in on your life or have you kept Him at a distance?  Have you stopped your busyness for a moment and tried listening?  Could you possibly not have received the answer you wanted, so subconsciously you are angry at God? Perhaps you have withdrawn?

No matter how we feel about God it makes no impact on the reality that He is right there with you.

Spin on these ideas and see what you come up with. It’s worth it. Laughter returns. Joy bubbles. And you’ll find yourself able to “drive” again.

Add to the conversation below. We’ll be glad you did.

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