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I found this writing prompt that said, when you look at your life, looking back, what did you do with the time you were given Have I been living my best useful life? My first thought was sorrow. In my life, I look at it in segments of time. There’s before I was sick, a 7-year gap, then after the gap. Before I was sick, I led a full, rich, busy life. My time was devoted to raising my children, loving and supporting my husband and building my network marketing business. I was busy.
I contributed to the school, I was PTA President, Brownie leader, and soccer mom. We took the kids to all their ball games. We sat there in the cold and cheered them on. I was living what I thought was a useful life.
While everyone was either at school or work I took care of the household; I shopped, I cleaned, I did laundry. During that time I was working to build us our business. I could do presentation calls while I took care of our home. I had a system and it worked. I was making progress, we were making money, everyone was busy, life felt good. Yes, useful!
Then in 2001, I got sick. A flesh-eating bacteria paid my body a visit. In addition to removing sections of my body, in order to save my life, they had to remove my hands and feet. The next seven years, segment 2, involved physical healing. Of course, that didn’t take seven years.
However, the mental healing took, what seemed like, forever. I couldn’t figure out how to succeed in life. Where should I go from here? My husband Mike, ever the supportive one told me to take all the time I needed. It wasn’t as if I was going back to work because I had always worked from home. I wasn’t living the useful life I should have been. The question was, how would I contribute? As a mom, I’d always been present. I just needed a project. A book? A blog? Wait!
It took me 7 loooong years to jump on the blog bandwagon and once I started, it seemed to take roots, thankfully. So now, we are in segment 3, which is the “moving forward” segment. I’m starting to feel useful again. I’m blogging, I’m researching, I’m learning, I’m excited. Everything is good!
My relationship with my Lord has been pretty consistent through my adult years. I didn’t accept Jesus as my Savior until I was 26 years old. However, my 7-year healing gap was when I really learned to trust Him. I spent more time in His Word and I called on Him more for strength and guidance.
So what have I learned about living my best useful life?
Living useful means that you have to be “present” with your family. Focus on their well-being. Teach your children.
Living useful means you have to raise your children in the Lord. Teach them to have a personal relationship with Him, not just salvation. Yes, that is critical. However, they need a real-life relationship with their Savior. His Word tells us to “Train up a child in the way he should go: And when he is old he will not depart from it.”. Proverbs 22:6.
Living useful means teaching your children to be independent. My kids learned to cook and to care for mom when she needed help. When it came time to live on their own, they flew, and I believe successfully.
Living useful means you understand that God is with you at all times. It’s so important to be with Him as well. He loves you, he cares for you. Be present with Him.
Living useful means you must nurture your relationship with your spouse. Mike was never disgusted with my body like I was. He dressed me every day and never once flinched, yet I cry every time I stand naked in front of a mirror. My husband is my hero for everything he does for my kids and I. He’s been patient and supportive and loving. I thank God every day for him.
Living useful is not about physical abilities. It’s about where you are mentally. I had moments where I felt sorry for myself, heck I had years when I felt sorry for myself. Life is too short to waste it like that.
Living useful is to give back. Help others. Donate to charities. Sit with a friend when they need a shoulder to cry on. If you would like some great ideas, here is a wonderful post called 105 of the Best Random Acts of Kindness that will help you in giving back.
Living useful is to make use of your downtime. Read a book. Learn something new. Study your Bible. Pray!
Living useful means you must challenge yourself. I don’t typically like to shop by myself. However, there have been times when I needed a gift and I just jumped in my car and went to the store. The clerk helped me with checking out. Those were the most rewarding days. I did it myself! I can do it! WooHoo!
Living useful is finding joy in your life. We have so much to be thankful for. God is so very good. He’s blessed us in so many ways, every day. You might look at me and say, “Wendy, how do you figure?” I’m alive! I’m fairly independent. My family loves me. I am so very grateful!
Living useful means you forgive. Forgive yourself and others. Life is too short to carry a grudge. For a long time, I struggled with my situation. I hated being a burden to others. What I’ve come to realize, however, is that I’m still a blessing to my family, friends, our church, even to people I’ve never met. My prayer is that I can inspire others. I pray I inspire you. I’ve learned to forgive myself…finally.
I challenge you to let go of the baggage that’s holding you back and keeping you from living a useful life. What has been in your way? How can I pray for you? Please leave your comments below. I’m so thankful for each of you who reads my blog. I want you to know that I pray for you. I encourage you to pray for me as well. Let’s live usefully together. Additionally, if you enjoy what you’ve read here on my blog, please consider subscribing. Here is a great testimonials page regarding the 5-day e-course called the Daily Dose of Inspiration that all new subscribers receive for free. Check it out!