Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Week 2 - You Matter More Than You Think

The Grinding Stone & My Head is in the Dirt (23 pages)

It seems that God in His perfect timing knew that this book would be right on the head at this time in my life. I know that there are so many women all over the world who wonder “Am I really making a difference?” and I am thrilled that we are able to go on this journey together.

Let’s take some time to go through each of these two chapters and hit some of my favorite “highlighter” moments together…

The Grinding Stone
Page 37
– “A woman’s pain either makes her bitter or makes her better.”

Page 37-38 – “Pain can come in the form of infertility, breast cancer, divorce, loneliness, the death of a child, the turmoil of a torn-up family, or hundreds of other of other agonizing experiences. Pain, in one way or another, eventually touches every woman’s life. And that pain either does us in or makes us the woman we aspire to be. Ultimately, the pain we carry in our hearts is the grinding stone that shapes us to love. It sharpens our capacity to be tender with another’s wounds and to empathize without judgment.”

Page 42 – “Philip Yancey thoughtfully calls pain ‘the gift nobody wants.’ But make no mistake. It is a gift. The pain we carry in our hearts is the continual grinding of the sea against the sea glass. It takes the sharp edges of our personalities and slowly smoothes them into a person who can be tender to another’s wounds.”

Page 42 – “Because of pain, you make a difference. Pain will give you permission to walk into places you’ve never dreamed you’d enter, and it can change your relationships like nothing else.”

Ponder…
1) What experience in your life has had the biggest ripple effect? Explain.
2) In the midst of your greatest pain, have you discovered any surprises? Any gifts? If so, what are they?
3) Because of your pain, have you been able to walk into any difficult places in others’ lives? How?


My Head is in the Dirt
Page 46
– “The pain I have endured has made me the woman I am. And the more gratitude I find in my heart for the pain I have suffered, even unjustly, the more my life seems to matter.”
(CAN I HEAR AN AMEN on that statement or what!?!?!?)

Page 49 – “People who make a frequent practice of being thankful are ‘not only more joyful,’ the study concludes, ‘they are healthier, less stressed, more optimistic, and likely to help others.”
Page 52 – “Gratitude also cultivate humility. The Masai tribe in West Africa illustrates this plainly, and I love the image of their language. They have an unusual way of expressing gratitude. Instead of saying ‘Thank you’, they say, ‘My head is in the dirt.’ When the Masai express thanks, they literally put their forehead on the ground because they want to acknowledge gratitude with humility.”

And one highlighter moment that really touched me was on…

Page 55 – “Or perhaps your heart is still too tender after a hurt you didn’t deserve, or you’re still struggling to find a toehold of gratitude (that’s me). That’s okay (really…yeah!). This can take time. But in time, you will experience the fact that when it comes to revealing God’s love, it is impossible to do so without gratitude. Through the eyes of gratitude, my rearranged family actually became one of the treasures of my life, like a fragmented piece of sea glass, misshapen and worn, but still able to uniquely reflect light.” (absolutely beautiful!!!)

Ponder…
1) What are you grateful for today?
2) Do you agree that gratitude is a balm for transforming pain into a means of loving others more effectively? Why or why not?
3) Can you imagine being grateful for the hurts you have suffered?

With my head on the dirt for YOU,

5 Mel's World Friends Comments:

Denise 6:58 PM  

This book is really speaking to my heart. I feel that my experiences with infertility, and cutting have made me be able to encourage others that are dealing with the same things. I am grateful for my life, and I am grateful for the hurts that I have suffered. They have made me a stronger person. I am more compassionate and loving toward others who are hurting.

Shelly 9:13 AM  

That is very good! So true! Pain does get us stronger and more greatful for things in our lives. I am greatful for my life and how I got to where I am through all the things that I have been through. I was strong before, but because of situations I am even stronger.

MamaGeek 8:09 PM  

Mel, you always have such powerful passionate words!

AlaneM 12:40 AM  

Hi Mel, just stopping by to tell you I tagged you for a meme...please don't shoot!! :)

Karen 12:44 AM  

Mel, you have to stop suggesting such great books - because I will have to buy them all!! I've been meaning to post a comment for days, it's been so busy but you've been on my heart. Wow, you've been through some deep stuff, I sense a lot of injustice has been directed your way, and you know, I believe God has a new day, a path that means Mel can be gloriously wonderfully Mel, not anyone else, not an imitation - but totally perfectly individually Mel. So relieved to hear that your son is OK, so hard, such a worry - thanks to God!

Oh back to the book
"Page 37-38 – “Pain can come in the form of infertility, breast cancer, divorce, loneliness, the death of a child, the turmoil of a torn-up family, or hundreds of other of other agonizing experiences. Pain, in one way or another, eventually touches every woman’s life. And that pain either does us in or makes us the woman we aspire to be. Ultimately, the pain we carry in our hearts is the grinding stone that shapes us to love. It sharpens our capacity to be tender with another’s wounds and to empathize without judgment.”

Going through a divorce at 29 after
7 years of marriage was painful, I had to walk a path, and with God's amazing grace we blessed one another in our future lives, chose kind words and not to be bitter - although during the marriage and the break up it wasn't so pretty. I have empathy for others in this sphere now.

We wanted children and he wasn't able to. For 5 years we had this desire. I know the pain of wanting children and nothing happening. So the blessing of the wonderful marriage God has given me, and these 2 wonderful children - gifts, gifts from God.

I've seen a friend come through breast cancer with bravery, an amazing quiet but solid faith in God - wow. I've seen another lose a child in heart breaking circumstances and become very bitter - so heartbreaking.

Oh that we would not become hard, but that God can work in our lives -bless you heaps Mel. Your blogging is such a blessing!

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