Staying Steady Through the Rocky Roads of Life

How do you handle the tough stuff in your life? We all face obstacles, difficulties, and even tragedies at times, but the question is how will we respond to these challenges. Personally, I’ve weathered through my own fair share of sad circumstances. I’ve learned to grieve the loss and grow in strength through each.

This past week, I shared a bit of my story on a podcast with my friend Tasha Calvert. Listen in by clicking the link. I hope it will give you encouragement and strength in the difficulties you face.

Photo by Julian Hochgesang on Unsplash

The Toughest Job You Ever Loved

The process of shaping the child, shapes also the mother herself. – Elisabeth Elliot

Motherhood made me a better person. I must admit, before having children I was a fairly self-focused young adult doing whatever I pleased, whenever I pleased. But when that first little bundle of Grace arrived, I grew to understand a depth of love and selflessness that I had never experienced before.

Caring for someone else’s needs above our own changes us. It stretches us, grows us and creates a hidden beauty just waiting to be uncovered. It seems a bit counterintuitive, and yet it’s true – the more we give from the heart, the more our heart is filled.

Whether you’re a mother or you have people in your life whom you pour into, may we continually find joy in the giving and not the taking, the stretching and not the hoarding, the sacrifice and not the self-centeredness. We are put here in this world for a purpose, and it is not for self-promotion, rather it is to give our lives away in loving and serving others. That’s the joy of motherhood! It’s the toughest job you ever loved.

Photo by Caroline Hernandez on Unsplash

For more of my thoughts on Motherhood, check out The Power of a Positive Mom

Encouragement for Moms

Ever felt a out of your comfort zone? As moms and grandmoms, there are times when we can feel a little overwhelmed. For the next few weeks I want to provide a few inspiring devotionals for moms, as you serve in the hardest job you ever loved. Here’s a Mother’s Day devotional from the book of Esther.

 “Appearances can be deceptive. The fact that we cannot see what God is doing does not mean that he is doing nothing.” 

Sinclair Ferguson

Key Scripture Esther 4:13 – 16: ‘Don’t think for a moment that you will escape there in the palace when all other Jews are killed. 

If you keep quiet at a time like this, deliverance for the Jews will arise from some other place, but you and your relatives will die. What’s more, who can say but that you have been elevated to the palace for just such a time as this?” 

Then Esther sent this reply to Mordecai:  “God and gather together all the Jews of Susa and fast for me.  Do not eat or drink for three days, night or day.  My maids and I will do the same.  And then though it is against the law; I will go in to see the king.  If I must die, I am willing to die.”

Devotional: God placed Esther in a place of honor; a long way from her humble beginnings as a young Jewish girl.  She held the title of queen, living in a Persian palace.  Little did she know that God had an even bigger plan for her life.  After a decree to destroy the Jews was unwittingly signed by the king, she had to step out of her comfort zone and into unknown territory.  One thing was for sure, she knew she must depend on God.  As she began her walk of faith, she asked for her people to fast and pray.  She didn’t rely on the comfort of her position, but rather the comfort of God’s sovereignty.

It would be nice if we could live in a comfy, safe situation with all of our ducks neatly in a row.  Unfortunately that’s not always how life plays out.  It may be a stretching experience like being asked to serve in a leadership capacity or it could be a stretching experience due to injury or tragedy.  Whatever takes us out of our comfort zone, takes us to the throne of grace. We can learn a lesson from Esther:  Trust in God’s sovereignty, pray for His help, and make a wise plan of action.

Prayer for Moms:

Sovereign Lord, praise you that you have plans that are far bigger than I can see.  I trust you and know that you are working in ways that are beyond me.  Thank you that no matter what I go through, you are with me.  No matter where I am, you are there.  In the nice, comfy times and in the stretching, scary times I know you will never leave me.  Please grant me strength and wisdom for the path you want me to take.  In Jesus Name, Amen.

“God’s ways are behind the scenes, but he moves all the scenes which he is behind.” – John Nelson Darby

This devotional is from my book, “The Power of a Positive Mom Devotional and Journal.”

The Joy of Life

When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.
Colossians 3:4

As followers of Christ, He is not just a part of our life or a nice guy that we segment off to Sunday mornings.  Christ is our life. He is in us, He lives through us. He gives us strength and wisdom for our journey. Most importantly He gives us the promise of eternal life. He is the one who makes us who we are. He is our life and without Him our lives would be incomplete and without purpose.           

This verse from Colossians is filled with great promise.  It not only reminds us that our life is abundantly fulfilled and enriched here on this earth through Christ, but we also have the beautiful promise that He is alive and we will be with Him in glory. What a beautiful future awaits us in our heavenly home! What joy for those in Christ who have gone before us! As we head toward Easter, let us celebrate the risen Christ who gives our life meaning as well as hope for eternity.  

Photo by todd kent on Unsplash

Celebrating a Life Lived with Purpose

This past week we celebrated the life and home-going of my dad, Garry D Kinder. I had the honor to speak at his funeral, and I want to share my tribute with you:

What a privilege and blessing it is to be Garry Kinder’s daughter.

What a kind, generous, positive, loving, loyal, honest, godly man and father he was!

  • Some of my earliest memories include dad pushing me on a swing at the city park in Pekin Ill.
  • I remember him pushing me as I learned to ride my bike on Thornhill Drive in Akron Ohio.
  • I remember dad pushing me on a sled, down giant snow-covered hills in Detroit Michigan.
  • I remember dad pushing me to go to every ..home… football game of the Cleveland Browns, Detroit Lions and his beloved Dallas Cowboys.

But dad also gave us positive pushes –  mentally, emotional and spiritually.

Every January 1st, he gave us a big positive push to start off the new year with a motivational slogan. We woke up to his voice blasting over the intercom –

  • We’re going to do more in 74!… or
    • Let’s strive in 75!… or
    • It’s going to be great in 78!

And then there were those Kinderisms:

  • Everyday in Every way I’m getting better and better
    • If you are not 10 minutes early, you are late (I always struggled with that one)
    • Finish Strong! Finish Well!
    • Make a decision, then make it a right decision

He gave us a positive push of encouragement at our weekly family meetings.

He gave us a positive push every Sunday to get us to church on time… (and I mean every Sunday – even after staying out most of the night for homecoming or prom)

Dad gave us a positive push when mom died, as he showed us how to grieve and handle hard things.

He pushed us by his kind example of loving everyone and finding the best in them. He was generous and thoughtful, which has impacted and influenced me to this day. And I now see it so clearly in the lives of our daughters and nieces and grandkids – the legacy continues!

A few years ago the tables turned, and I ended up pushing dad to write a book with me called Positive Connectivity ( a future best-seller I’m sure). It was a great joy to draw out timeless principles and stories from his career. We shared many hours in his twilight years working on this legacy together.

One of the things I discovered is that every month dad wrote out his life mission, along with monthly goals and prayer requests. Here’s his life mission:

To help literally hundreds of millions of people to better lives:

more secure financially, more satisfying spiritually and more fulfilling emotionally

Certainly, he was successful in fulfilling his mission and many of you are recipients of his influence over the years, not only in business but in life. You know as well as I do, that he gave a positive push to countless people around the world.

Later when dad went to Tradition’s memory care, I pushed him in his wheelchair. He was peaceful and quiet.  I remember thinking one day as I was on my way to visit him, “Lord, why do you allow my dad to linger in this state?”  Of course, God was not obligated to answer me in any way, but that very day God gave me a precious glimpse that He was still using dad.

              As I pushed dad to his lunch table, there was a young care-giver feeding another patient. The care-giver said to me, “I love your dad. I read his books to him and I want you to know they are changing my life. My grandmother taught me about God when I was young, but I haven’t thought about God in a long time. But reading your dad’s books to him has made me start praying. In fact, I’ve started praying at every meal and before I go to bed.”   

 ……..God wanted me to hear that. I brought her a Bible and rejoiced that God used my dad to bring one more person to a deeper faith in Christ.

Whether he was impacting thousands or simply one care-giver at Tradition, dad made a positive difference. He saw the best in each person he met. And given a choice, he would say it was worth it to linger a few more years even for one person!!

If dad were standing here today he would say:

  • See the best in every person!
  • Give everyone you meet a positive push!
  • And most importantly, point them to Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.

Now I have three in Heaven. I’m thankful for their legacy and their faith in Christ. I know they are having a wonderful time together. I hope that as a result of my dad’s service, you are inspired to look to Jesus and place your faith in Him.