Eleven Essentials for 20/20 Soul Sight

How well we see is a game changer. When I was younger, my vision was awful. I was legally blind. The numbers on my alarm clock—which was placed as close to the bed as possible—were blurry without my glasses.

(Image from Pixabay)

When I heard of a relatively new procedure called radial keratotomy (RK), I was all in. To this day, the closest thing to a miracle I’ve ever experienced was having my vision corrected.

This last Christmas, my gift to my husband was the successor to RK called Lasik. We aren’t the youngest ducks in the pond and there are always risks of complications with this procedure, but because his vision was so impaired we figured why not go for it.

For years I tried to explain to my husband how glorious it is to see the world after vision-correction surgery. Colors are . . .

Courage for an Unknown Season

It’s something we all long to possess yet it’s one of the rarest qualities to find. I’m talking about COURAGE. Courage is the internal fortitude to keep moving forward in the face of fear, hardships, and challenges.

Courage enables us to cultivate endurance and resilience; it is the by-product of a tenacious spirit.

  • Professional life coach
  • Wife of 50 years
  • Mother
  • Grandmother
  • Teacher
  • Author
  • Lover of life

Jan Silvious offers a lifetime of wisdom to all of us learning to navigate life with joy and hope.

This interview presents three truths that are critical to life:

  1. God knows
  2. God cares
  3. God provides

For every season in our lives, these truths are foundational to having a courageous spirit.

Watch the Interview

If the Walls Could Speak

While sitting in a doctor’s waiting room the other day, I wondered, If the walls could speak, what would they say? Stories of sorrows, successes, survivors, suffering, surprises, and more?

(Image from Unsplash)

I mean, what would the walls say about our thoughts when all is silent and we wait?

I bet the walls would speak of wordless things like our . . .

  • Fears
  • Loneliness
  • Sadness
  • Self-doubt
  • Loneliness
  • Questions
  • Bewilderment
  • Anger

. . . and oh, did I mention loneliness?

Henri Nouwen says this about silence:

The Root of Relational Joy

One winter, my son Austin and I sat on the patio warmed by the embers of a small fire. We laughed over his childhood memories that at the time felt far more chaotic.

Mom and Son
(Image from Pixabay)

Back then, I wanted to be a perfect mother—as if there is such a thing.

I was like most parents who want their children to experience a happy childhood, at least one happier than theirs when they were growing up.

  • I wanted laughter to echo through the halls, to kiss away every pain, to life free of all disappointment.
  • I wanted Austin to develop a sense of self, an empathetic kindness toward others, a genuine love for Jesus, and an understanding of scriptural truth.
  • I wanted to protect him from the twisting damage of bullying and abuse.
  • And, of course, I wanted him to love his mother.

Is that asking too much?

What Should I Say to Hurting People?

Ever wish you could reach out to a friend in crisis, but you’re just not sure what to say? Most of us tend either to avoid the person or situation altogether or to rush in and say too much.

(Image from Unsplash)

The list below demonstrates some ways you can effectively support people in need.

Notice how these responses acknowledge and reflect the person’s feelings without judging him or her or offering unwelcome advice.

What Effective Caregivers Say

Truths to Remember When Times Are Dark

Some people are beautiful . . . even when they cry. I am certainly not one of them . . . especially when I cry. When my heart breaks, tears gush; one little tissue is of no help.

Crying Woman
(Image from Pixabay)

I grab the toilet paper ROLL . . . yep, those double-sized, extra strong rolls . . . hoping it will be enough to absorb all the bodily fluids pouring out of my face. It is not a lovely site.

I grew up hearing my mother say, “I need a good cry,” and I thought, What the heck is a “good cry?” After my son was born with disabilities, I learned a lot about good cries.

A good cry is a flood-like release of emotions, a torrential outpouring of grief, usually precipitated by an unexpected, life-altering experience. It’s the kind of experience that forces one to come to terms with the truth that we live life on God’s terms, not ours.

He allows these irreversible and intensely painful experiences for a purpose we often cannot see at the time. We feel split open and vulnerable; a good cry is part of the letting go.

A Double Disaster Daily Survival Guide: What You Must Do Now

The West Coast is no stranger to natural disasters. I was 4 years old when our chandelier began to sway like a playground swing at recess. Time stopped as the earth rocked and rolled beneath our feet.

(Image from Pixabay)

We had just moved to Southern California; none of us knew what to do except hang on for dear life.

Living through Disaster

Growing up in Orange County, California, I remember seeing the glow of wildfires consuming the surrounding beautifully landscaped hills. It was sometimes weeks before we stopped smelling like smoke and wiping ashes off our cars.

In addition to earthquakes and wildfires, the mudslides were awful. Some of our friends experienced their homes being ripped in half—the front part left perfectly intact, while the backside was torn off and taken away by mud.

Living on the West Coast means one accepts the beauty along with the possibility of total devastation.

I recently watched the Thomas fire devour more acreage than any other fire in California’s recorded history and was reminded how awful natural disasters can be. The worst part of the Thomas fire came after it was contained and almost extinguished.

The burnt, root-bare terrain didn’t stand a chance of staying put for very long in the horrific mudslides.

As we saw, in a matter of seconds, boulders tumbled into living rooms and mud washed a neighborhood off its foundations. The once exclusively quaint, seaside Santa Barbara county was devastated. The wreckage swallowed up lives and land without warning.

A Life-Changing Way to Look at Your Relatives

We waited more than a year for this day to come. My husband, my son with disabilities, and I arrived early to the courthouse. It was 9:30 in the morning as we walked nervously toward the room that would change my son’s life.

father and son
(Image from Pixabay)

A Whole Person

My son is now a legal adult. But he will never really be an “adult” as you and I may define adult, unless the Lord chooses to change how he currently functions.

At his age, a typical person’s life is full of opportunity to make an impact. The world is his or her oyster. There’s just enough life experience to be dangerous, just enough education to believe one is brilliant, plenty of friends to fall back on for support, and barely enough money to move out and make it.

I know this because I watched two of my three kids progress through the developmental stages who are now young adults. They . . .

  • Received an education
  • Won awards for gifts and abilities
  • Have great friends to call at any time
  • Have grown up to be mature
  • Have grown up to be resilient
  • Have grown up to be full of hope

If time and interest permitted, I would write a book on how proud I am of who they have become, the challenges they have endured, and the joy they have brought to my life (except for a few teenage years they are lucky to have survived).

However, their younger brother Jon lives a life that couldn’t be more different from theirs. He lives looking through different lenses. Unless the Lord plans otherwise, Jon will never . . .

  • Graduate from a prestigious school
  • Feel the intimacy and delight of being loved by a marriage partner
  • Manage a bank account
  • Get his driver’s license
  • Be independently employed
  • He won’t ever read a book and understand it
  • Have a conversation and comprehend it
  • Have typical friendships and enjoy them

Jon has disabilities which change the way this world treats him. This world isn’t taught to look at the heart first . . . typical or not. Because this world focuses on things like appearances and abilities, he’s not seen as a whole person.

People can’t seem to see past the acne, the earphones he wears, his mismatched clothes, his untied shoes, his ill-fitting sunglasses. This world doesn’t slow down to care for his heart that carries tremendous fear and anxiety, along with unfathomable pain from being bullied and assaulted.

This world misses his blue eyes that cry when he’s rejected repeatedly. This world has no clue of what it’s like for a person who is unable to have a conversation and have people laugh at one’s jokes.

I understand this in my head, but my heart aches for his pain every day.

Unconditional Love

We were called to the front of the courtroom, Jon, my husband, and me. The judge looked over his glasses at the three of us and asked what brought us here.

My husband began to tell how we met. He shared his love for me and for all three of my kids. As he began to tear up, the judge looked at Jon with all the tenderness of a doting grandfather.

As Toban finished, Jon was asked if he was okay with Toban adopting him as his very own son. Jon stumbled out the words . . . “Um . . . yes, YES, s-s-sir; I would like that very much for my life, sir.

He is my daddy and loves me.” There’s something about a 20-year-old saying “daddy” that strips away all pretense.

What took more than a year to prepare took only moments to complete. My husband adopted my son. A person who this world pushes away was embraced by an unconditionally loving man.

father and son

(Image from Pixabay)

You Are of Immeasurable Value

I don’t know your story, your abilities, your needs, or your longings. I do know you are a person created by God with immeasurable value. God has made no mistake in creating your life. He cares nothing of what you can “do” for Him but about what He has done for you.

See, what God did as our heavenly Father is what my husband did that day in the courtroom. God saw your need, saw your value, and said I want you to be mine.

God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 1:5).

All you have to do is say, “Yes, yes, I would very much like God to be my daddy for life.”

God has done all the preparation by sending His Son, and He knows that without Christ you cannot make it through life. You and I have disabled souls.

Try as we might, on this earth we will never be free of this lifelong human condition. But Jesus became one of us, redeemed us, and brought us near our Father who made us His own (Ephesians 2:13; Galatians 4:7).

Romans 11:33–36 says:

Oh, how great are God’s riches and wisdom and knowledge! How IMPOSSIBLE it is for us to understand his decisions and his ways! For who can know the Lord’s thoughts? Who knows enough to give him advice? And who has given him so much that he needs to pay it back? For EVERYTHING comes from him and exists by his power and is intended for HIS glory. All glory to him forever! Amen. (emphasis added)

Friend, just as my son cannot change his earthly diagnosis, you and I cannot change our spiritual diagnosis. It requires Jesus, who chose to die and who rose again so that you may have eternal life.

His love doesn’t depend on you or your abilities because in His eyes you and I are no different from Jon. When we accept Christ as our Savior, we are fully adopted into the family of God.

You are cherished.

Let Me Hear from You

I leave you with one challenge. Next time you see someone with disabilities, will you look into his or her eyes? Will you take time to look beyond the earthly differences and see eternity in him or her?

By knowing Jesus, Christians are in God’s family for all eternity. Welcome home!

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Three Tips for Sitting Securely in the Suck

It was colder than the arctic when I stepped out for an evening walk. I needed space to breathe. Life was anything but balanced; I felt disrupted and tired. Layered in clothes, I resembled an irritated woolly mammoth roaming the frozen tundra trying to figure out which way is north.

Walking Woman
(Image from Pixabay)

I don’t do well with ambiguity and was hoping a walk would provide clarity.

Order and Clarity? . . . Ha!

Just to be clear, balance has never been simple for me. I’m captivated by those who . . .

Where to Turn When Sorrow Suffocates Seasonal Joy

I remember my first holiday season as a single parent. Surrounded by ringing bells and colorful bows, the only box I wanted to open was a box of Kleenex. Ever been there?

Christmas Box
(Image from Unsplash)

You Are NOT Alone!

We desperately wish it were the most fun and festive time of the year, but some Christmases aren’t fun and festive at all.

Neighborhood lights are twinkling, kids are singing, Santas are ringing holiday bells, but these sights and sounds only magnify our pain.

Those who have faced loss or who live with unresolved family conflict or who are haunted by childhood physical or emotional trauma often dread the holidays.