After I graduated from college I had no idea what my future held, so in an effort to postpone making the very adult decision of what I would do for the rest of my life, I decided to enroll in law school. Did I want to practice law? No, but I went anyway. It was an opportunity squandered. I hated almost the entire experience and my time there only lasted a year. Needless to say, I accumulated a little legal knowledge, a good amount of student loans, and a career that went in a completely different direction. (I did meet some wonderful people.)
During that year, I continued to struggle to find my own personal identity, I was in the throws of love with my now-husband and I battled against the new realization that all my best friends had packed up and moved back to their respective home states after college. I was left nearly friendless in my college town. I was in a new phase of life and it wasn't one that I enjoyed all that much, except for the love part.
My best friends were aware of my struggle and even though miles and state lines keep us from close physical proximity, we were always chatting on the phone, sending emails, and Facebook messages - anything that could keep us connected. They too were living out their new-found realities after college. One returned home to her new husband, another back to the cold of Canada, and another to the beautiful views of Colorado. One of my very best friends returned home to a job she didn't particularly love and to the realization that her mom was battling a very aggressive form of cancer.
To say that her situation put perspective on my own "perceived" unhappiness is nothing short of the truth. My best friend lifted her head from her pillow each day and took on the world with strength and dignity and so did her mother. With the faith of Jesus in both of these women's hearts, they battled daily with the intimate knowledge that cancer and Christ claim lives in their own time. There were a lot of ups and downs. Tears were shed and bonds were strengthened and some broken.
I remember coming home one day to a small box sitting on my front stoop. I love snail mail and immediately opened it to discover post-it notes, a journal, a Starbucks gift card and a card from my best friend's mom - yes, the one battling cancer.
Her note said she thought of me, she prayed for me, she knew I was facing challenges in law school and she asked God to comfort me on my journey. She sent some goodies to ease my burden. Ease my burden. Let that sink in. This amazing woman, who was facing quite literally the fight of her life, wanted to help ease my burden. She prayed for me. She was thinking of me.
I was shocked, stunned might be more accurate. How selfless she was in her time of need and how selfish I was to think that my healthy reality could be that bad. I learned a lesson from that moment, although it's taken me years to really understand it. I learned a lesson about intention. That while the intention of our hearts may hold kindness, thoughtfulness, selflessness and other amazing virtues without action those intentions are just fleeting.
I walk through the aisles of Target and see all the beautiful greeting cards announcing Grandparent's Day or some other upcoming special occasion. I see gorgeous little headbands that would be perfect for my friend's little girl. I notice the song playing in the background that makes me smile and think about some of the dance parties I had with those great college friends. Yet I don't buy the card and send it to tell my friend I'm thinking of them. I don't normally buy the headbands or send the text telling those amazing and special women in my life that the memories I have with them mean the world to me. Why? I honestly don't know, a lot of time I make up some excuse like "I don't have enough time" or "I would but it's so expensive..." Today I am making the commitment to be more intentional with my thoughts so that they become prayers and actions. I want people to remember me like I remember my friend's mom: selfless, thoughtful, caring, and a women of God.
Proverbs 20:5 tells us, "The intention of the human heart is deep water, but the intelligent draw it forth."
I know that in my heart flows deep rivers of intention but I, to this point, have been unintelligent. I have let those intentions grow stale in my heart and fade to the backgrounds of my memory. If I learned anything from my best friend's mom it is that you don't know how many days you have ahead, you cannot sit around thinking that you can put the intentions of your heart on hold until tomorrow. Tomorrow might not come. Therefore, I've made a small list of things I plan to do to be more intentional:
1. Send letters or cards to five different friends or family members - just because.
2. Call two people I haven't spoken to this month, to catch up and really listen to what is happening in their life.
3. Send two small care packages with something bought and something homemade in each. These would go to people that don't receive the letters/cards mentioned above. (I want to reach as many people as possible).
4. Designate a day to someone and be very intentional with my thoughts and prayers for that person. This will be done in the privacy of my own heart and I will NOT tell the person about my intention but God will hear the cry of my heart.
5. Make baked goods for two different neighbor families. A new family just moved in with twin two-year-old boys - I have a feeling they are going to be great friends with my littles.
I challenge you to be more intentional with your thoughts and prayers. Join me in this commitment to manifest the intentions of your heart. What are some things that you can do in your everyday life to bring forth the deep waters of your heart?
This post was originally written as a guest post for New Crunchy Mom.