As the founder of the Linden Pay It Forward Project, this post is written from my heart.
Many years ago I became a part of the Linden community by marriage. Some of you know the person I married, others may not; that is not important. What IS important is, after the marriage ended, I felt abandoned in a community I did not know.
I had to find my way and it wasn’t easy. But God’s grace is sufficient in our time of need and that grace was more than I ever hoped for.
For whatever reason, I believed my self-worth was based on my martial partner. Hmm…. any of you been down that path of misconception? Now, at age 63, I can’t even imagine that I gifted that former spouse a digit on my scale of worth. But it happened.
My point of sharing is to enlighten you that WE create our future; WE reshape the circumstances that we thought would define our destiny.
I started to step outside my comfort zone. I joined a gym where I met some forever friends. I became active in my community through a Bunco group with friendships still shared to this day.
My daughter’s participation in sports throughout high school brought new friendships with parents in the community. When I started a home-based global business, I hired students from Linden High to help out. To this day, these gals are like daughters to me.
Bottom line, I choose to reshape my destiny. I went back to college, finished my degree and in the process recognized that I was worthy. I finally got it.
I finally got that my faith, the love of family, friends and community is what really matters. Some of you know my deepest struggles, some don’t. Again, it doesn’t matter. What matters is the knowledge that whatever life throws at us, God’s grace and community friendships will see us through the pot holes of life.
The community that once felt foreign to me is now my safety net, my fortress and my forever hometown.
PAY IT FORWARD
My reason for starting the Linden Pay It Forward Project had a dual purpose. It was inspired by an act of kindness by two high school boys within our community. On a more intimate level, it was a desire to make people feel like they belong. Perhaps, their life story differs from mine, but in the end, it’s all about a need to be accepted, appreciated and loved.
We all have stories of loss, personal heartache and remorse. I can think of no better way to recover, regroup and regain whatever it is we have lost than to reach out to others in their time of need.
You are so right about how important those human connections are for all of us, Denise. And I love that God created you to be such an encourager (and to your cousins, too). He has gifted you with creativity, hospitality and compassion because of what you’ve come through. Don’t you love how He does that? I’m so glad you write for Him, too.
I do love that about God. He takes us down paths we never intended. Knowing Him is a path of self-discovery.
Denise, you are amazing. God has given you so many talents and you are using them for his glory. Love your kind heart.
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