My ‘Two-Worded’ One Word for 2017

Recently it was brought to my attention that I like things to be symmetrical.

I may have known this info all of my life but I guess I never really thought much about it.

The first time that it really hit me that I seem to have an over obsessive issue with things lining up perfectly was the first time I stood up after I had knee replacement surgery last September.

The minute I stood up I noticed that the leg with new knee was now longer than the other one. Also, the leg with the new knee was perfectly straight and the other one was bowed back. The thought never occurred to me that after surgery my legs would be different lengths and man oh man did that drive me nuts!

Actually, this bothered me so much that over the course of the next ten weeks I spent a whole lot of time trying to rig my shoes in the hopes of somehow making my legs more even.

I bought several different styles of lifts from the store but all were either too high or too low. After the store failed me I decided to get crafty and began cutting different widths of cardboard and gluing them together to stick inside of my shoes. This helped a little but nothing I tried made them match perfectly.

My physical therapist even measured my legs and gave me a lift that she said was perfect but I still could feel a difference.

My other knee was scheduled to be replaced in November and soon I began worrying that maybe the doctor wouldn’t get my legs even and I would be lopsided for the rest of my life!

I know this sounds like it’s not such a big deal and I did know that I needed to just let it go, but oddly no matter how much I tried to ignore my uneven legs I couldn’t.  The lopsidedness was driving me crazy!

After Surgery Getting Ready for Christmas

Because I had my second knee surgery scheduled for the Monday after Thanksgiving I figured I wouldn’t be able to do a lot of the things I usually do to get ready for Christmas.

I also knew from the last surgery that I should consider my day to be very productive if I was just able to take a shower and finish all of my physical therapy exercises.

Here is a list of some of the things I usually do in preparation for Christmas:

The Christmas tree – I am usually the one who gets the tree ready to decorate by putting on all of the beads and bows. Once those are done my husband and I put the ornaments on together.

Christmas cookies – I usually bake a whole lot of different Christmas cookies.

Christmas Shopping – I usually spend many hours going from store to store to find just the right present for everyone. I then spend several full days wrapping them.

Christmas Dinner – I usually make a full course meal for our family dinner on Christmas day.

I really had no idea how these things were ever going to get done because everyone knows that I am the only one who knows how to do those things correctly…or so I thought….

About two weeks before Christmas my husband decided that he was going to put up the tree and decorate it. He put on Christmas music and I hung out in my chair with my foot propped up watching. I did hang a couple of ornaments but I soon learned that my husband has quite a talent for Christmas tree decorating. I also found out that putting the Christmas tree up was a whole lot of fun this year.

A few days later I found myself Christmas shopping online and without ever stepping a foot out of my house I was able to buy most of our Christmas gifts!

And they all arrived on time!

A few days after the presents arrived I put a roll of wrapping paper, tape, and a pair of scissors in the middle of my dining room table and just left them there.  Part of my knee rehab requires that I take a three-minute walk around my living room several times a day.  Each time I would get up for my 3-minute walk I would wrap a present. Eventually, all the presents were wrapped. It was actually kinda fun wrapping a few presents each day and also allowing wrapping paper, tape, and scissors to live on the dining room table for two weeks was somehow very freeing for me.

The weekend before Christmas my husband decided he was going to bake M & M cookies.

I helped by finding the recipe and explaining a few small details but for the most part I backed off and let him have at it. I soon realized another talent I never knew he had… Baking!

My husband’s cookies came out much fluffier than mine and I will also have to admit that they were the best tasting M & M cookies we have ever had in our house!

For Christmas dinner, this year it was decided that everyone coming would bring a dish of finger foods. This ended up being way yummier than the traditional dinner I would have normally made and also it allowed me to spend more time with my family.

Lesson learned…our family never needed a fancy dinner all we really need is to be together.

Also not spending all my time on Christmas day cooking and cleaning allowed me to snuggle with this little guy while he napped.

I think maybe I might have napped for a bit too.

Even though I was laid up with this knee I think this may have been one of the most peaceful and fun Christmases I have had in a long time. I am not sure exactly when it was that I put myself in charge of everything to do with Christmas but now I can see that I have spent a whole lot of time trying to make a perfect Christmas but all I had really accomplished was making myself dread the holiday season and I had missed all the important stuff like enjoying my family and preparing for the true meaning of the season… which is about celebrating the birth of Jesus which really has nothing at all to do with trees, food or shopping.

Over the past few months, I have realized that I just may be more of a perfectionist and a control freak than I thought I was.

I also have learned that there are a lot of things that I’m holding onto that I need to let go of and let other people do.

The past two years in a row God has given me a sort of theme word for the year. In 2015 my word was Trust and the year 2016 was my year to Believe.

With all that has transpired in the past few weeks, I can tell that I have already been given my one word for 2017 which is “Let Go”….Yep I know that technically that’s two words instead of one…but since I’m working on letting go I think I will just go ahead and go with the two-word one word this year 😀

A couple of things I have noticed by letting go are not only that I can relax when I let go but also that when I don’t hog everything there is to do, it gives others a chance to shine their own talents… hence my husband the awesome baker and decorator.

Also just another Fyi – It’s been 5 weeks now since I received my second knee and am very happy to report that my legs are a perfect match now and I can’t even begin to tell you how much better that makes me feel!

I’m not sure I can ever let go of the symmetrical thing fully but I can truthfully say that I can for sure let go of a whole lot of other things.

Oh, and one more thing…  we ended up having two Christmas trees this year! My husband found a great bargain on the display trees at K-Mart so he bought one and we put it up also! Yay!!!

2016 was overall a pretty good year and I am looking forward to seeing what 2017 has in store as I learn what else God has to show me about letting go.

What is the one word God is telling you to focus on this year?

Will you please share your word in the comments below and if you have written a blog about it post the link so I can read it.

Happy 2017!

Terri Siebert

Giving Tuesday ~ Hurricane Matthew ~ A Visit with Haiti

Unless you live under a rock I’m pretty sure you have heard about the hurricane that hit Haiti this past October.  As you can see by this video the effects of the storm were devastating.

Arial Footage Shows Destruction in Haiti After Hurrican Matthew

Many homes, schools, and businesses were damaged or are completely gone.

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Livestock and crops were wiped out.

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Cholera is on the rise again and people are in need of food, clean water, and medical attention.

Many families lost their homes and are still in need of temporary shelter.

This is Rose

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Rose is my sponsor child.

Rose and her family live on an island in one of the hardest hit areas of Haiti. My husband and I met Rose 3 years ago when we were on a trip with Compassion international.

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Rose is the little girl in the lime green dress

While on that trip, we visited the island where Rose lives.  We also visited the child development center she attends and we also became Rose’s sponsors that day.

The day I met Rose was a really awesome day and also is a pretty cool story. If you would like to read it you can go here and check it out -> Stepping Into the Boat .

Every since the Hurricane, we have been waiting for word from Compassion and praying for Rose and her family.

A few weeks ago we finally received this email.

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I am so thankful that Rose and her family are okay but at the same time, my heart is breaking for them because it looks as if they have lost almost everything.

Even though they lost everything I am very relieved to know that because Rose is in Compassion’s sponsorship program that Compassion is working very hard to make sure she and her family are taken care of.

There were over 3100 children and their families in Compassion’s program who were affected by Hurricane Mathew. Compassion is working hard to help all of them but they can’t do it without people like you to help support their efforts.

Did you know that today is Giving Tuesday?  Giving Tuesday is an international day of giving created to unite people around the world to make a difference in the world.

On this Giving Tuesday in honor of Rose and I would like to share with you an opportunity to help children in Hait who have been affected by the storm.

By clicking these links you can help

Click HERE if you would like to donate to give support to children and their families in Haiti

or

You can click HERE to sponsor a child in Haiti.

And most important of all… Don’t forget that your prayers are always needed.

Will you please consider joining others all around the world on this #GivingTuesday and helping children in Haiti?

What better way to start off this holiday season of giving than by making a difference in someone’s life.

Even though the Hurricane has ended the storm still continues for many families.

YOU can be a blessing in someone’s life today.

Thank you so much for your help and have a wonderful day!

Terri Siebert

 

 

Here is an inspiring story of how a young woman survived Hurricane Matthew…

#GivingTuesday #CompassionBloggers

A Gang of Eleven

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Me and my sponsor child Ericka. We are reading a book that she made for me.

On a recent visit to El SalvadorI learned that gangs are a huge problem in the city of San Salvador. I also learned that children living in poverty are prime targets to be recruited into gangs and sometimes parents will send their children off to school and they never return home because they have been recruited by a gang.

Something else I learned while in El Salvador is that a gang will not recruit someone if they are a Christian. There are parents who will put their child in Compassion’s program to try to help keep them out of gangs. Gang members will even put their own children in the program to keep them safe.

Children go to the Compassion project, learn about Jesus, and bring home what they learn to their family members.  Some parents who were gang members have become Christians and left gangs.

Because of the gang problem in El SalvadorI have started a campaign to try to help children in the country who are waiting for sponsors. Wouldn’t it be awesome to see as many of them as possible to be free from the violence that could await them in a gang? Also with a sponsor to share the love of Christ with them they also will know just how truly special they are!

My new campaign can be found at this link -> A Gang of Eleven.

Please take just a few minutes of your time to check out my page and say a prayer for the children on the page.

Also, if you have a facebook, twitter or any sort of place that you can share the link, please please please share it.

Thanks so much for reading and also thank you for your prayers!

In case you missed the link here it is again – A Gang of Eleven

Have a great weekend!

Terri Siebert

 

Time Wisely Spent

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Why is it that whenever God gives me a job to do I always allow myself to get all worked up into a frenzy?


My biggest fear in the world is speaking in public.

Tomorrow is Compassion Sunday at my church and in order to present the kids waiting for sponsors I am going to have to speak in public.

Last week I was feeling excited for the opportunity to share these children with my church and was not feeling nervous at all.

But then Wednesday afternoon the child packets arrived…

Suddenly things felt different.

Suddenly I felt a huge responsibility to those children.

Within a matter of an hour of receiving the packets I began feeling nervous. By that evening, I began rethinking what I had planned to say in church on Sunday. I soon began writing down a plan and I began practicing what I was going to say over and over. Before I realized what was happening I had myself so worked up that each time I practiced, instead of getting better at what I was going to say I began to get worse.

Yesterday I thought about it some more, changed my presentation again, settled on what I thought was my finished product a few more times, and then finally ended up going to bed very late last night feeling sick to my stomach and panicky at the thought of speaking in front of the church on Sunday.

HELLO social anxiety!  

Did you forgot that you don’t live here anymore??!


After a restless night, I woke up this morning with God’s voice in my head saying, “stop worrying about what YOU can’t do and instead, remember what I CAN do!”

Suddenly I realized that I just needed to chill out and I needed to give this worry to God!  Nothing here has changed except I seemed to have forgotten God is the one who is in charge of all this.

I have already been in this place way too many times in the past so ya think I would have known the drill by now.

So like I have done every time I set out to talk in public, I took out a piece of paper and wrote on it the words, ‘I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength.‘ I threw all my extra notes in the trash and put it all back into his hands.

Tomorrow instead of a bunch of notes in my hand I will hold his words as a reminder.

From this day forward when it comes to the God stuff, I have to remember not to spend my time thinking about what I should be spending my time praying about!


Update… Somehow I forgot to push publish on this post last night so figure I may as well finish the story with what happened today.

So I went to bed last night in peace and then woke up this morning with this crazy notion in my head that because we already have so many child sponsors in our church most likely we would not have many kids sponsored today.  Yep, you guessed it I was already thinking way too much again! Thankfully I caught myself and went for a drive before church and prayed.

God set me straight and I arrived at church excited and knowing in my heart that God was going to make something big happen today. Sure enough, I soon found myself with a front row seat watching as another one of his amazing stories began being played out before me!

From our worship pastor starting us off speaking his own sponsorship story to our pastor’s Compassion tailored sermon everything went great.  It wasn’t about any of us presenting the story today as much as it was about God uniting his children with one another.

27 children received new sponsors today but also at the same time 27 sponsors also received new children.

Many blessings are in the making for all those involved I’m sure.

There was never any need to be nervous or worry.

No need to second guess.

Just show up is all that was required … because just like He always does, God also showed up in a mighty big way in our church today!


If you would like more information about sponsoring a child or Compassion Sunday visit www.compassionsunday.com or contact me through the contact link at the top of this page.

Thanks for reading and have a great week!

Terri Siebert

Trusting is Believing, My One Word for 2016

20160102_202806-1In 2009 Compassion started a tradition that focused on one word  for the year. Two weeks ago I received a blog writing prompt that encouraged me to spend time with the Lord and ask for his guidance as to what word he would choose for me in the coming new year. Though I have never really chosen a word in advance usually by the end of each year I find that there was a particular theme that my year seemed to have taken on as the year progressed.

Even though I have not chosen a word for this year I do know without a doubt my theme and word for 2015 was ‘TRUST’

As 2015 started I began the year with a whole lot of new things on my plate. Now as I look back I can see I had many more things coming my way that I really had no idea were going to be coming. All of those things made way for a whole lot of times I found myself having to Trust the Lord in his guidance and his strength.

There were also many times this past year that He showed me that big things can happen if I just let go of myself and put ALL of my trust in him.


With that said now I will say this has probably been the hardest year in my Christian journey.


I started the year off full of excitement and ready to dive right in to whatever God had in store. But as the year progressed things seemed to get more and more confusing and I will admit it there were times I felt like he was far away, and also sometimes oddly silent.

At one point even though I knew God had led me in to the place I was, things didn’t seem to be going quite as well as I thought they would have been going. I also had conflict going on around me and many times found myself feeling as if I was caught in the middle and for some reason I began to feel as if somehow I was to blame for it. I know now it wasn’t my problem or my fault and also know I did not put myself in the middle of it at all. I can’t really go into detail here but will say that by the end of April my confidence in trusting to what and to where God was leading me was beginning to fall apart. Yet at the same time, he still kept showing time and time again that I was where he wanted me to be.

In April I went on a mission trip to Haiti. While I was there it was really good yet at the same time I had probably one of my worst times ever of feeling like I had somehow messed up and had heard God’s plan in this for me all wrong. Strangely even though I felt that way, at the very same time things happened while I was there that soon proved to me I was actually right where God wanted me to be….Ya I know it sounds totally confusing and weird. It’s a very long story I could never put into words, so I will just say as I now reflect back I can see God’s hand prints all over the place on that trip but at the same time it’s like the enemy somehow was able to distort my vision part of the time that I was there and make me feel really confused.  Another thing that happened while on that trip is I was notified that a really close friend of mine had died and I kept a lot of my emotions about her death bottled up until I returned back home.  I also think maybe the sadness I felt about her dying may have put a bit of a dark cloud over the trip too. I remember coming home knowing that I was supposed to have been on that trip yet also at the same time feeling even more discouraged.

But here is the cool part….

What I didn’t know at the time was that just a week after returning home from that trip I was going to be invited on another trip. On April 23 I received an email inviting me to attend a vision trip in El Salvador with Compassion International. I know this may sound crazy but even though I was at that time doubting my confidence in discerning what was God and what wasn’t God I clearly heard him say to me “GO on the trip.

So I signed up.

After I signed up for the trip my confidence still continued to plummet.

Yet God still kept throwing things out there that said I was in the right place but by then I was even more confused and feeling as if I was losing my ability to trust in what I heard from Him was really Him.

I also felt ashamed of my feelings and I didn’t want to tell anyone what was going on so I spiraled through most of it feeling very alone.

Then to top off all those bad feelings in July I started having some serious knee issues and I realized I most likely would not be able to go on the El Salvador trip.

I sent an email to the trip leader explaining to her the situation and I told her that I would not be able to go on the trip. I knew from past experience of going on a trip like this that I may have to walk in places that I couldn’t walk such as rough terrain or long periods of walking which I knew I could not do. I figured most likely they wouldn’t let me go with my knees like they were anyway.

Once again I found myself doubting and I began to tell myself  that maybe I had made the decision to go in the first place because I had most likely heard God’s voice wrong.  Why would God tell me to sign up for something He knew I wasn’t going to be able to do?

After I sent the email I soon received a reply and a phone call from the trip leader. During the phone call we talked about a lot of things, including the fact that I could possibly have another trip coming up with my church to Haiti, (I forgot to mention that earlier) that I worried if happened the dates may conflict.  As we spoke I began to feel as if she was someone I had known forever even though it was my first time ever talking to her by phone. She told me that the trip would not be very physical and that I could still go with the knee problem if I wanted to. She also prayed with me for discernment I would be able to know what God wanted me to do.

We ended the conversation with me having a few more days to pray about my decision which I did and soon I knew without a doubt that God still wanted me to go to El Salvador!

So once again I said, “yes.”

I felt such relief once I made that decision and then suddenly at the end of July I found out that I would have the trip to Haiti but it was not going to be anywhere near the El Salvador trip dates.  It was so exciting to know God had worked out the dates!!

But suddenly I had another problem… There was no way I could afford to pay for a trip to El Salvador and also a trip to Haiti.

I felt a loyalty to my church, because I was the new Mission’s director plus I had been a part of setting this trip up. Suddenly I felt like I was torn between the two trips and found myself trying to choose once again.  I knew if I was going to have to choose I had to choose my church because I felt a loyalty to our mission there. But God still said to do both! Once again I began struggled with God because I knew I did not have the money to pay for both of these trips!

I made a decision on my own even though deep down I knew God wanted me in both places. I decided I was going to drop the El Salvador trip and I even went so far as to tell a couple of people I would not be going to El Salvador anymore.

As soon as I made that decision suddenly I could not rest.

And God still kept saying, “GO to El Salvador!”

I knew God wanted me to trust him.

I also knew I still had to go on that trip.

I changed my mind and I said, “OKAY, I will go!” but this time I did it differently and I finally gave up my own feelings on the matter.  This time placed it back into God’s hands where it belonged; And guess what happened the very next day????  I found out I would not have to pay for my trip to Haiti!  Wow! All I had to do was say yes and what I thought was going to be a problem was never a problem at all.  God had everything under control!


I know this story is getting really long so if you are still here thank you for hanging in there.  I will now try my best to finish this as quickly as possible.

We will fast forward to September….

Since July things had been going really great but then two days before I was supposed to leave for El Salvador something horrible happened.  I cannot say much about what happened here because I always try really hard not to put things on the blog that may tell something personal and could possible hurt others. What I will say is that what happened totally threw me for a loop and almost threw me back into my mode of not trusting my ability to truly know what God wanted me to do. I spent the whole next day and night in tears, doubting who I was now and for that matter also doubting who I had ever known myself to be. Its may sound crazy but sometimes old wounds can be opened and when they open you may find new ones you never even knew you had. In a matter of a couple of hours of time I went from feeling closer than I had ever been with God to suddenly feeling like a horrible person. At that point I wasn’t sure how on earth I would ever be able to get myself on that plane to El Salvador.

The day before the trip, I talked to God asking him if what had happened to make me feel that way was true?? I had searched my soul and honestly felt like what I had felt the day and night before was because of lies created by the enemy. But I still wanted and needed God’s input very much.

“Please just give me something to let me know I was truly where you wanted me to be!” I prayed.

As I prayed I opened my Bible and this is what I saw hi-lighted inside –  Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” Luke 1:45  That caught my attention and as I recognized the rest of the story suddenly peace just wafted over me.

The next morning as my husband dropped me off at the airport I was still at peace and never one time did I ever find myself thinking that by going on this trip I was making a wrong decision.

A little while later shortly after the plane lifted off the ground I noticed the sun was rising. I remember trying my best to hold back the tears of joy because at that moment I knew like I’d never known anything before that I was exactly where God wanted me to be. I was so thankful that despite all the detours I had taken to get to this place he had never given up on me. I was so thankful that through all the mess I had said yes.20150912_063228

That trip ended up being one of the best times I have ever connected with God and while there he showed me I truly was exactly where he wanted me to be . Another thing about that trip was it was not just a vision trip it was also a spiritual retreat. I had never been on a spiritual retreat before and had no idea what a treat I was in for. Each evening we would all meet for a couple of hours and focus on knowing and just being with God. In the mornings we were encouraged to spend time with Him. we were encouraged to go where ever he took us by walking the grounds or sitting on our porches or whatever felt right. To just BE and connect with God was what we all seemed to do. Never in my life have I experienced something like the closeness I felt with him on that trip. The whole trip from start to finish was perfect. We were very busy yet at the same time it felt like it was the most relaxed time emotionally I ever remember having in my life.  It was like God had taken the worst parts of me and my life away for that week.

Another cool thing is that just as the trip had begun with the dawning of a new day and a beautiful sunrise, my trips last leg was finished with my plane taking off from Houston on the journey home with the sun just setting and it was beautiful too. I felt as if I had somehow come full circle and I also knew without a doubt that another chapter of my life was now closing because a new one had just begun.

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I knew from that moment on in order for me to do what I am supposed to do for God I had to fully get rid of myself and trust Him.

I also now knew that all the things that had seemed to be reasons for me not to go on the trip were actually all the more reason for me to Go.

Since the trip things have not always been easy but I do now know what God wants from me. I also knew I had to give up a few things that I felt like were getting in the way of what He wants me to do. Giving them up wasn’t easy but oddly once I made my decision and did what I know he wanted me to do I felt relieved and also that peaceful feeling once again.

So my word this past year was Trust

When I looked up the definition of trust it said – the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. “relationships have to be built on trust.”

I also found this part of the definition interesting, looking at the word trust used as in law. – “confidence placed in a person by making that person the nominal owner of property to be held or used for the benefit of one or more – others.”

.As I started writing this blog post I had not looked up the definition of trust, though I knew what trust meant I hadn’t really ever thought of it that way. also as I started this post I had no idea what my word of 2016 would be. I had planned to stop this post with the definition of trust and tell you that I still had no idea what my word for 2016 was yet.

But as I read the definition from the perspective of setting up a ‘Trust’ I realized that another lesson I learned in El Salvador was from pastor Carlos when he talked about lending to the Lord (see blog post Casa de Pan Lending to the Lord) somehow seems to go with this definition. Suddenly it has occurred to me that though I place my confidence in God, he also has confidence in me and he has placed me where I am because that is where HE wants me to be. Could it be possible he has made me a nominal owner of HIS property, and now it is my job to use his property for the benefit of others?

As this revelation was flooding over me suddenly I looked up and saw a group of pictures hanging on the wall in my bedroom with the words Dream, Imagine, Love, Hope, Faith and Believe on them. The top word on the pictures is the word Believe. Now I can see that without believing He chose me I can never fully trust myself to do what he wants me to do.

I know God wants me to not only trust him but also to totally believe in his ability to make proper decisions and trust that he can and will make things go exactly as he has planned.

I plan to spend this year focusing on believing that God has my life in his hands and no matter what things may look like from the outside to me or anyone else, God knows the truth, he knows the plan and He is the only one I have to believe in.

I said in the beginning of this post that this has probably been one of my hardest years of my Christian journey. I also know, even though it has been a hard year, it has also been my best year on this journey so far.

I am pretty sure it was a good year.

Now I have a question for you.

Do you have a word you feel as if God has given you to focus on this year?

If so add your word to the comments or share your blog post in the link up below I would love to read it.

Thanks for reading my very long blog post and I wish you a blessed and wonderful new year!

Terri Siebert

P.S. Don’t forget to share your ‘One Word’ below.

 

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