I just knew the 40’s would be magnificent. I’ve always sensed it and perhaps it’s simply that….the attitude with which I’ve entered my 40’s is with great expectations. Year one is now in my history files and left some amazing marks. Some painful but all worth it. Here is what I thought on my 40th birthday last year.
My gift to you all today is to share some wisdom that runs out of those wounds that are healed and those happy tears that were shed and mostly from those quiet moments with my flannel shirt Jesus (He’s real to me that way, just to give you a visual).
When your mission is clear and you stick to it, you find inner peace even in the busiest and most challenging times.
The world could be swirling mad around you, fighting against your mission, disagreeing and wreaking havoc. But if you are clear about your mission and you have confirmation from God, nothing will deter it. Unless you lose your focus from the mission and listen to the lies and deceit. If you lose your focus, you lose your inner peace and confidence and you can no longer perform the mission very well. Ruh roh.
The small stuff truly does matter.
A simple hello. An unexpected thank you. A personal note. Missions are completed by many small steps of relationship with others. Not by “likes” on a facebook post or even how many “fans” you grow or even how many blog posts your write. It’s about picking up the phone or physically going somewhere and connecting with people in person.
For as much time as I spend using social media and blogging to share good words, all the best blessings and all the best parts of FirefighterWife.com have happened through personal relationships. By going to events and meeting fire wives, firefighters, chiefs and others in the industry in person. Good hearted, intelligent, hard working individuals who want to make a difference.
So allow me to be direct here about another wise point. In this world of mass marketing and mega social media…..
Never draw your conclusions strictly from what you are reading in a blog or a tweet or a status update until you look that person in the eye or hear their voice and know the true story.
Do your due diligence and investigate what’s behind it. Don’t just jump on the charity campaign until you know where the money is going. Don’t believe all the junk you read about “make $10,000 a month working from home on your computer”. The headlines you read are a marketing line to draw you in to their products. PICK ME! PICK ME! It is not a personal connection with someone who knows YOU, unique, special, one and only YOU. It’s some words on a screen floating in the internet space that can be more quickly deleted than they were typed. Be discerning and know what you are getting into.
I say this especially from experience because I’ve been duped and really strive to not be that marketing B.S.er here but to just give it to you all straight and transparent and real. In other words, a real deal fire wife who’s striving to create a sustainable support system for our fire wife community. I’m not just talking about that cheesy country song “I’m so much cooler online.” I’m talking about all the psychology unraveling in this new social media realm. Do your due diligence and apply those critical thinking skills to discern what’s behind those words. Anyone can throw together a Facebook page or group. Anyone. Anyone can pretend to be anything online. But do you really know who they are? Think about it.
But I digress….stepping back of the soap box and into your living room. Pretend I’m looking you in the eyes 🙂
The more love you sow, it comes back to you ten fold.
For every thank you I hear from a fire wife or her firefighter or a fire service business partner, I feel more blessed and grateful than any amount of monetary satisfaction could ever deliver. Every thank you is a confirmation of the mission we’ve been tasked with being responsible for here. If you all handed me $100 with every thank you, it wouldn’t make a difference because there truly is so much gratification in knowing that someone has been well served and recognizes it.
And now the tough stuff. The stuff that rips a tender, giving heart. But when you let it shape your heart for more love, instead of hardening it, wow. That’s where true growth and strength come from.
The truth is, there are hurt people in the world who are way too hurt to be ready to be helped.
And people so hurt they will try to rip apart any good thing because they just aren’t ready to receive it. God I pray for their hearts to soften. I pray that one word, one inspirational photo, one slap in the face quote I put on this site will place just a little crack in that armor. That it will open up the eyes of their hearts. And I don’t even care if I never see the results of their freedom, because truly, it’s about helping people to break free and live an abundant life. And their abundant life could be down an entirely different path than mine.
When you are doing a good thing, you will be vulnerable to attack. People will steal, lie and try to destroy.
This is not an excuse. It’s wise preparation. My response to this is no longer “OMG! I can’t believe someone would do that!” but instead it’s expected. While that is sad in one way, it’s also a sign of growth and wisdom. Bring on the challenges because they only refine what we’re doing and make it stronger and better.
Finally, work hard. Don’t expect it to come easy.
Don’t expect some mentor to swoop in and show you all the secrets because their path is different from yours and no matter what kind of internet sensation they are, they make mistakes too (and too many times they just want your next dollar to tell you so.) Remember the discernment and due diligence I mentioned before? Apply it liberally when picking partners, advisors, mentors and training programs so you don’t waste time going down their path. That’s not the one meant for you.
If I had to sum up in a succinct sentence (which is really tough for me you know) the wisdom of this past year and the growth of FirefighterWife.com (we added over 20,000 fans and over 1,000 members and, and, and…..) it would be this….
We have been given a rare responsibility to meet fire wives in their tender places. Serve with all your ever loving heart the ones who are ready and don’t let the ones who are not distract you from that task.
Love them where they are but don’t lose focus on serving where you are called at the moment.
Perhaps best summarized in my quote of the year from Gary Vaynerchuk
Care your face off.
Patience. Maturity. Calm, wise responses always out of love. This is the wisdom that has settled in me in my first year of forty. I still mess it up occasionally but the more its practiced and the more I let Jesus carry me, the more I find freedom and peace.
It’s crazy to say that in a season of my life when I have never been busier.
Full time corporate job with international travel. Managing this fire wife community and our team of 10+ advisors and helpers. 4 school aged kids from 8th grade to 1st grade all active in their own activities. Girl scout leader. Bible study attender. Taking more time than ever before to keep my marriage strong.
It doesn’t seem possible for me to say that I’ve never felt more peace and freedom. But it’s true. I can close my eyes and feel the sweet comfort of just calling His name.
And that’s just where the “secret” lies. I’m walking closer than ever to Jesus, listening to His callings on my life and discerning my way through every big and tiny step of my day with a peaceful heart.
This my friends is my birthday wish for you. Heaven on earth is hearing God so clearly and following His will. Can you imagine heaven when we’re all in that perfect harmony? Soft hearts. Gifts being used to the fullest. That is an abundant life.
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