I am feeling emotional.

Today is my youngest son’s 6th grade graduation.  As I look back at the pictures from the last seven years, I wonder where has the time gone. 

He is excited about the transition to middle school.  I am happy for him too but also very aware.  Aware of how quickly time keeps moving and how bittersweet transitions can be.

June is a big month for transitions with graduations, retirements, and weddings.  Single to married.  Working to Retired.  Living at home to living in a college dorm.   House full of kids to empty nest.

All these big changes leave us full of emotions.

I want to encourage you this month to put words to what you are feeling.  Some transitions can be smooth and easy, but some are more difficult and can leave you feeling sad.  There is loss as you go from one season to the next, and it is important to acknowledge it so you can deal with it. 

So, whether your baby is heading off to Kindergarten this coming fall or traveling hours away to attend the State University, remember that change can be hard. 

Give yourself lots of grace as you adjust to your new season of life.

I think one of the biggest gifts that we can give our children is teaching them how to deal with transitions in life.  Honestly, if we think about it, we are constantly going through transitions.  From baby to preschool to elementary school, junior high to high school, college to working, single to married, no kids to having kids…. Then the process repeats.

If your child is entering a new chapter, help them identify their emotions. Ask them what they are excited about and what makes them nervous.  I like to remind them that everything they are experiencing is normal as they transition from one school to the next.

Friends, if you find yourself entering a new season of life, pause and reflect on how you are feeling. Journal and write out your emotions and then share them with your friends.  

Be honest and open so others can encourage you when you are having hard days.

This month, I am praying for all the graduates whether it is 6th grade like our house or high school or college- my hope is that you will embrace the new adventure God has for you.  Praying for the parents of graduates, especially those with an empty nest coming this fall- my hope is that you will feel God’s love and comfort during the difficult times.

Whether you are facing a giant transition or a small one, remember you are not alone. Reach out to a trusted friend. Maybe they are feeling the exact same way and together, you can help each other through this transition.

Love, Jodi

Ripple Effects

I love this illustration.

“Just think if ripples spread out across our lake when you throw your rocks into the water, how do the words you say and the things you do affect the people around you?  And then, how do these people affect the people around them?”

In her new book, Ripple Effects, Pam Tebow shares how she taught this important lesson to her kids at a young age.   Her youngest son, Tim Tebow, is a well-known football and baseball player.  He positively influences others by sharing his faith and helping others through his foundation.   

I remember reading his book, Shaken, a couple of years ago and thinking it would be amazing to meet his mother and ask her what lessons she instilled in her son.  I am so thankful that she shares all of this in her new book and I highly recommend reading it. 

Listen to this quote: “Who has the power to impact a decision, inspire a positive action, prompt a helpful change, turn a life (or many) around for the better, and leave an eternal imprint?  You do!” 

Friends, we all have influence, the power to positively influence others! 

We do not have to be famous or have a huge platform.  Our choices, our words, our actions, they daily influence our kids, our friends, our co-workers, our neighbors, and everyone we meet.

Pam shares an important truth; “Our influence is not about whether we are adequate.  It’s about allowing God to use us and our experiences to leave an eternal imprint on the people we encounter in our lives.”  I love that God uses our stories to make an impact on others and tell His Story. 

God use our strengths as well as our inadequacies, our mistakes, and our challenges. 

None of this disqualifies us.  Listen to what Pam says, “Don’t give the enemy access to your pen or computer to finish your story.  Remember even the challenges can be moments of influence.  People in your sphere are watching you.  They need to see if you can trust your God when your world falls apart. Is a happy ending still possible? Is your God big enough?”

Friends, when your world is turned upside down, yet you still choose to have faith that God is in control, you are sending out influential ripple effects of faith!   Pam says in her book, “the way we respond to tough circumstances reveals what we believe about God.”   

I truly believe how we respond to the storms in our lives impacts those around us. 

What does your life story reveal about your faith in God?  Are you pointing others to God during your tough circumstances?  

I know it is not easy to trust God when your world is falling apart.  I have been there. I know there are doubts and questions. I think it is okay to ask why but friends, I don’t want you to get stuck there.

God wants to exchange your “why” with a “what”.  Instead of asking, Why do you have me in this hard circumstance.  He wants you to ask, What do you want to teach me as you guide me through this circumstance? 

As we run to God in the pain, my prayer is that we can trust Him through the questions and doubts and build a strong faith muscle that others can see.  My hope is that your story will become God’s story and impact others!

Love, Jodi