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Wallflowers and Wildflowers – God Created You With Purpose

Wallflowers and Wildflowers – God Created You With Purpose

“Why am I not more like her?” you think as she walks into the room. She is beautiful and poised and confident. Everybody loves her. You just know she was meant to do big things.

And then you step in front of a mirror and you see your mousey brown hair or your freckled face or your body shape that has always left you feeling insecure and your initial thoughts are reinforced. God obviously has awesome plans for her, but you were born to hide in the shadows.

You don’t even let yourself think about the possibility of big things. Instead you settle into your wallflower life believing that this is what you were made for. You were created to be the one who just hangs with the crowd; never stirring the waters, but never making your mark either.

It’s a lie.

 We girls often find ourselves so entranced by the world’s deception that we not only believe the lie, we think it’s good. We think it’s right.

But what if we choose to think differently? What if we choose to believe truth even when the voices in our heads try to convince us otherwise? So you may not be gorgeous by the world’s standards, and your presence may not command the attention of everyone in the room. But God did not put you on this earth to blend into your surroundings until the day He returns. He has blessed you with talents and purpose. The beauty of what God created you to be will become increasingly evident as you trust Him to use the gifts He’s placed in your very being.

You don’t have to be a wallflower. You can be a wildflower. Once wildflower seed is tossed on the ground it grows and it spreads covering vast areas of ground with brilliant colors.

So go ahead. Throw your seed on the ground. Ignore the loud deceitful voices and listen to the quiet one beneath all the rest of them. The one that never changes, but often gets drowned out. Click To Tweet The one that whispers, “You are loved. You are worth it. I have blessed you with a good and perfect gift. Toss the seed, and I will make it grow.”

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James 1:16-17 Do not be deceived my dear brothers. Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.

 

 

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Sisterhood by Marti Skow (The Girl God Gave Me to Do “Life with Boys” Together)

by KimHarms 2 Comments
Sisterhood by Marti Skow (The Girl God Gave Me to Do “Life with Boys” Together)
I met Marti when I was 36 weeks pregnant with my now 16-year-old. We spent 2 hours getting know each other in the back of an extended cab truck on the way to an office lake party (our husbands worked together.) We then spent a whole day on the beach just talking and hanging out. At the end of the day, when the sun was setting, I was convinced those 8ish hours passed in about 30 minutes. That’s how it is with best friends, and that’s what we became.
Today, I’m reposting the story she wrote a few years ago. We had been through a lot together up to that point, but now we can add breast cancer, some pretty intense spiritual battles and teen drivers (Eek!) to the list. We don’t see each other often enough, but we always pick up right where we left off.  I treasure her friendship, her humor, her humility, her love of Jesus, her wisdom. Every woman needs a Marti. 

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Sisterhood (originally published in 2014)

by: Marti Skow

I’ve been living this life of “mommy” for over eleven years now. This past December, like an assault from an angry lunch lady with a greasy frying pan, I was whacked over the head with a revelation. For the past eleven years I’ve been putting up a fight to my own detriment. My mantra has been, “I can do it on my own. I don’t need help. I’m just fine. I’ll figure it out. It’s okay. I can do it by myself.” Repeat.

Well, I wasn’t fine. Not even close to a resemblance of fine. Pretty much the farthest thing from fine a momma could be. I was confused about pretty much everything there is to be confused about as it relates to motherhood. I felt lonely even though my Facebook page says I have 650+ friends. I planned, re-planned, scheduled and re-scheduled. I organized and tore apart. I budgeted and filled out spreadsheets, but at the end of it all… I was back to square one, not fine.

You see, for years I’ve tried to “fix” the parts of my life I could wrap my arms around. I can whip up an Excel spreadsheet and make a budget to save for the new “used” car Dave Ramsey says I can afford. I can meal plan a month ahead for the new sugar-free diet I’m putting my family on. I can try to shrink everyone’s waistline, including my own, according to my plan. I can synchronize everyone’s electronic devices to the same iCloud calendar so as not to miss a meeting, game, match, event or planning session.

So, as I spun myself into my own “I Can Do This Myself” frenzy I began to quickly deteriorate. Suddenly, my Excel spreadsheet, which I had tweaked only days before, couldn’t answer my questions about why my current vehicle wasn’t enough. My sugar-free diet didn’t give me answers for why I turned to a Hershey bar every time my stress level rose too high. My iCloud calendar didn’t remind me to look deeply into my son’s eyes before sending him into wrestling practice to tell him how proud I am of him. At least 500+ of my Facebook friends don’t even know my birthday.

Now this is the part where I get whacked by the pan.

I was sitting at a beautifully decorated table at my dear friend’s church. It was a few weeks before Christmas and she was scheduled as the key speaker at the women’s dinner. I’ve known Kim for the past 12 years and over those 12 years we’ve seen each other through thick and thin. I’ve seen her become a mommy three different times. And I’ve seen her through a miscarriage. I’ve seen her through mountaintop highs and deep, dark, low valleys. She’s asked me tough questions and I’ve asked for her forgiveness. We’ve walked this journey of life together, and I have been the better for it.

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It was during this dinner, as she was talking to a crowd of eager women, that I saw her through a new lens. I’ve always known her to be my dear friend. I’ve always known her to be someone I could count on through thick and thin. I’ve always understood the bond we share. But that night, under the soft glow of Christmas lights, I saw her as my gift.

Ladies, there are few people in this life who have seen my real ugly. The real, down and dirty, no holds barred, nitty gritty side of Martha Ann Skow. Kim has. There are few people who have talked me through tough decisions that I knew would be breaking my children’s hearts. Kim has. There are even fewer people I call to share the latest poop joke my youngest son has concocted. I call Kim. Immediately.

After my “revelation” on that cold night there have been some things that have changed inside of me. Through my new lens, I’ve realized that some of the items I’ve placed so highly on my list need to be drastically pushed to the lower rungs of the ladder. You see, it’s the relationships we’re investing in today that are going to carry us beyond a failed budget spreadsheet, a fleeting diet plan, an ever growing social calendar, and 660+ virtual friendships. It’s about getting down and dirty in this life with those God has gifted to us. It’s about getting real, sometimes real ugly, with those we’ve been blessed with. Entrusted to. It’s partially through these relationships that God grows us, molds us, and forms us into who He has intended us to be.

So, my advice to you out there in the land of the Webinets… log off, pick up the phone and meet one of your besties. Drive over there right now if possible and sit with her. Have coffee, tea, water, spritzers, Moutain Dew or kombucha with her. Laugh until you pee or cry until you shake. Whatever floats your boat. But please, I beg you, pull your nose out of that “How-To” book and “10 Step Blog” and find someone with experience, and a pulse, who can “Let’s Do” life with you. Life is not meant to be done alone. We were created to do this thing together. Now get going…. I’m serious!

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19 Ways to Love Your Wife

19 Ways to Love Your Wife

I’ve been on the receiving end of sweet selfless love since my wedding day 19 years ago. Corey has got loving me figured out. Want to make your wife feel loved? Read on. 19 ways to love your wife.

Date Her.

This is much easier for us now that our kids are older, but alone time is just as important when you’ve got toddlers running around. So put on a button down shirt, shave that scruffy face and take your woman out for steak. Or grab Hy-Vee Chinese and play board games in your living room. Or pack a lunch and go to a park. The options are endless, but they won’t happen if you don’t make them happen.

Love Her With Actions.

There will be times when more than anything in the world, you will want to carry her burdens. But sometimes you can’t. What you can do is hold her up while she carries them. Shortly after I was diagnosed with breast cancer, Corey showed up at home in the middle of the day simply to rub my feet and hold me while I cried. This is love in action.

Love Her With Words.

Tell her she’s beautiful. Sometimes we ladies need to hear it a million times to believe it. After my bilateral mastectomy, when the mirror spoke lies to me, Corey gently covered those lies with truth-filled words. Over and over and over he told me I was beautiful.

Give Her Flowers.

This is a no-brainer. I’m sure there’s a woman somewhere who doesn’t like flowers, but I haven’t met her.

Watch a Chick Flick.

We don’t watch a lot of chick flicks over here in boy world. But it’s a beautiful thing when Corey spends two hours with me eating popcorn and watching Jane and Mr. Rochester fall in love.

Teach Your Children to Respect Her.

We’ve witnessed a lot of kids sassing their mamas at social gatherings and events over the years, and Corey always seizes the moment to train my boys. The car ride home usually goes something like this. “You remember how (insert name here) was sassing back to his mom? If I ever hear your disrespecting your mom, you are going to regret it for a long long time. I helped bring you into this world, and I’ll take you out.” Your wife’s life will be easier if her children respect their mama, and you can play a significant role in making sure they do.

Eat Her Mediocre Cooking.

Unless she makes Tilapia that tastes like gelatinous lake water. Then tell you love her, and order a pizza.

Push Her Out of Her Comfort Zone.

If Corey hadn’t pushed me out of my comfort zone, I never would have hiked 11 miles to camp on a secluded beach and shower in a waterfall. I wouldn’t have spearheaded family backpacking trips to Northern Minnesota and Colorado. And I wouldn’t know the physical challenges that I am capable of enjoying and conquering.

Photo by Kim Harms

Our tiny tent at the base of a waterfall at the end of the Kalalau Trail.

Sacrifice Your Sleep for Her.

I had jaw surgery when we were dating and was left with a face shaped like a balloon and a mouth tightly banded shut. I sounded like Darth Vader when I breathed, and I honestly thought I might die if I fell asleep. So he stayed up with me all night in my folks living room. In my mind he was keeping me alive, but probably in his mind he was tolerating my insanity. Regardless, that’s the night I realized I was in love.

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Body Parts I Never Imagined Discussing with My Kids (and it has nothing to do with breast cancer)

Body Parts I Never Imagined Discussing with My Kids (and it has nothing to do with breast cancer)

I wrote the following little story several years ago as a guest blogger at Leanne Shirtliffe’s website. I recently started receiving spam comments with advertisements for Cial@s and Viag@a and realized this post was the culprit. I guess if you mention male anatomy multiple times in a post, crazy drug companies will find you eventually. (You’ll notice I added an @ symbol to certain words in the hopes of avoiding more comments from prescription drug companies) 🙂

Reading through the story again made me giggle. I’m reposting it today in the hopes of making you giggle too. My Lewis was five when this fun conversation took place. 

Body Parts I Never Imagined Discussing with My Kids

Bears on Wheels is a one of Lewis’ favorite bedtime story books. My youngest son loves it because it’s one of those books he can “read.” Mostly my little man just looks at the pictures and states the obvious, but he can almost quote the whole thing verbatim.

“Four bears on one wheel. One bear on two wheels…” You get the picture.

Well, one night not long ago as we were reading the Stan and Jan Berenstain classic, Lewis was a bit distracted by one of the body parts that is ever so popular at our house. His p@nis. A mom of all boys, I often feel like I’ve been dropped onto another planet as I listen to their conversations and the noises their bodies emit. Though my three handsome boys have (what they deem to be) hilarious nicknames for their various body parts, we do not shy away from using the proper medical terminology either. P@nis is just another word at the Harms home.

If you were raised in a home like me where privates were never mentioned, much less joked about, I dare you to say p@nis out loud a few times. I’ll wait…

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How A Bunch of Teenage Boys Unexpectedly Cured My Sadness

Photo by Kim Harms

 I seldom fear cancer will come back.

I’ve read the stats, and I know that because I found my tumor early, my chances of another bout with it are very slim. And aside from the fact that I tend to write about cancerish things a lot, it’s a rare day that cancer thoughts overwhelm me.

But every once in a while I’m caught completely off guard by deep despairing sadness or unrelenting unsubstantiated fear.

Monday was one of those days.  

I found myself baking (what? I don’t  bake) and dripping tears in the cookie dough while Tim McGraw sang sweet songs to me via Spotify. (Hello name is Kim Harms, and I’m a country music fan.)

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Flip Shots – How YouTube is an Answer to a “Mom Prayer”

Flip Shots – How YouTube is an Answer to a “Mom Prayer”

It has long been a prayer of mine that God would make me aware my children’s gifts and talents. And that He would help me to be a dream cheerleader not a dream squasher. I used to watch my friend, Cinnamon, (yes that’s her real name) and think, “She’s got this mom thing figured out. I want to be like that.”

When my boys were just toddlers, I watched her let her 15-year-old daughter play in a band. She invited that band to practice (drums and all) in her house. And she supported them when they sought out coffee houses and other small venues at which to play. She knew her daughter’s gifts, and she encouraged her to use them. Today that grown up daughter is one of my favorite guitar playing vocalists on the planet.  (If you follow this link she might become one of your favorites too 🙂 – My Redeemer Lives)

You may watch my Owen’s two minute Flip Shots video above, and think, ‘Oh that’s cute or funny or whatever.’ But let me tell you what I see.

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Say No to Fear and Yes to Freedom – A Guest Post By Cathy Baker

by KimHarms 0 Comments
Say No to Fear and Yes to Freedom – A Guest Post By Cathy Baker

Cathy Baker is a writer friend I’ve never met. Funny how this crazy online world works. 🙂 She blogs at Cultivating Creativity and her second devotional book, Pauses for the Vacationing Soul: A Sensory-Based Devotional Guide for the Mountains, just came out this week. I’ve had the privilege of getting to know her to through our connection at inspireafire.com., and I’m honored to share her guest post here on Life Reconstructed today. If we allow God access, He will reconstruct the broken parts of our lives, and that is what He is doing with Cathy. He’s helping her say no to fear and yes to freedom. Read on, she’s got good words to say.- 



Say No to Fear and Yes to Freedom

Fear has plagued me since an automobile accident over three decades ago.

Its invasion began soon after the accident when I refused to get on a highway. Driving or riding, it didn’t matter. Like a disease, the fear began spreading into other areas of my life. Within a matter of years, I was afraid to drive or ride over bridges, through tunnels, or busy roads. Our lives, unlike the fear, became very contained.

I’ve missed out-of-town birthdays, trips to my husband’s hometown in DC, and early on, even a few family beach outings. Truth is, I’ve missed out on much more but even I can’t bear to admit how much. Guilt clings to fear like a well-fitted backpack, creating a heavy load for anyone to carry, especially a Christ follower who has taught adult Bible studies photo by Kim Harmsfor over twenty years.

I know that love casts out all fear and that fear is not of Him. At one point, I considered stepping away from teaching because guilt constantly whispered how can you call yourself a Bible teacher when you struggle with all these fears? Recognizing this voice was not from God, I sought counsel from a wise friend and scholar of the Word. He asked, “How would a good father respond to your fears? Would he banish you from his home or heap guilt on your already weary soul?” I drove home with a fresh appreciation for my good, good heavenly Father and moved forward in many ways.

Over the years, I’ve kept a journal of God’s faithfulness. When a difficult trip came up, I wrote it down. Sometimes the sentence was as simple as Lord, help me drive to the grocery store in the storm. Every time God chose to miraculously clear the skies or the roads, I gained confidence. And on those days when the skies refused to clear or a kiss from the bumper from behind left me rattled, I found comfort in knowing God was there, allowing it for my ultimate good.

A year ago, in an effort to move closer to our grandchildren and to the mountains, we decided to leave our beloved century-old home and the city we’d lived in for twenty-five years. Leaving everyone and everything I knew to move an hour away (which was approximately 55 minutes outside my comfort zone) required a tremendous step of faith. We found a home that sat on four acres with a spectacular view of the mountains. The only downside was the drive to civilization.

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When Cancer Pushed Me Out of the Boat and Into the Water

Photo By Kim Harms

I’m talking about cancer and water and sinking and faith strengthened by a stormy sea at inspireafire.com today. You can start reading here and follow the link at the bottom to the rest of the story.

 

When you pass through the waters I will be with you. Isaiah 43:2

The image of water was a big deal to me during my cancer year. The power. The tranquility. The danger. The beauty.

Cancer was my water. Fear-inspiring, yet fused with the beautiful. So hard, yet covered by a peace I cannot explain. The water was rough, but Jesus was constant.

One night long ago on the stormy Sea of Galilee, Peter jumped out of a boat and began walking to Jesus. He sees a man walking toward him on the water and says “Lord if it’s you, tell me to come to you.”

In her book, Crossing the Waters, Leslie Leyland Fields describes Peter’s walk like this.

“He walks atop the waves anyway for a few steps, but fear opens his eyes and ears too wide. He hears the wind; he feels the water at his ankles. He knows this is impossible-and he sinks.”

Whatever it is that got him out of that boat, he did it, and the most dynamic personality among the disciples took his first steps on water. But then his circumstances got the better of him.

When I think of Peter, I’m reminded of my rough waters turned serene.

I didn’t jump out of the boat into the storm like Peter.

I was pushed.

Follow this link to the rest of the story – When Cancer Pushed Me Out of the Boat and Into the Water

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The Backpacking Story that was Years in the Making

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Four years after sending a query to Creation Illustrated hoping to write about my first backpacking trip, I received an invitation to write the story.

Four. Years. (I’ve had to wait quite a while for responses to queries in the past, but four years is crazytown. )

It was worth the wait, however, because that query turned into an 8-page spread in the magazine. I love writing for online publications, but there is something extra sweet about pulling a magazine out of the mailbox and finding your byline in print. The fact that it was backgrounded by a giant photo of Palisade Head on the North Shore of Lake Superior and the article was sprinkled throughout with photos of Corey and me made it even more awesome.

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I’m thankful I married a guy who pushes me out of my comfort zone. If it hadn’t been for his insistence, I never would have taken that first backpacking trip or the half-dozen more we’ve taken since.

I wouldn’t have stood on top of Mount Trudee. I wouldn’t have traversed the infamous “Crawler’s Ledge” on the Kalalau Trail in Kauai. I wouldn’t have showered in a waterfall or bathed in a river. I wouldn’t have eaten guava straight off the tree or had the sound of ocean waves lull me to sleep in my tiny little tent on a beach in Hawaii. I wouldn’t have watched my boys skip rocks across a lake high on a mountain in Colorado and I don’t think I would understand the draw of a trip to Tanzania to climb Mount Kilimanjaro (Corey’s next adventure).

I’m also thankful I get to be a writer. I don’t think I will ever tire of arranging words on a page. Even though sometimes it takes four years to get the go ahead to write 🙂

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Backpacking and Breast Cancer

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I posted the following statement on July 18, 2016.

We cancelled our plans for a family backpacking trip to Colorado this summer because a backpack and chest expanders are a bad combination. (Just wearing a seat belt across my chest right now about drives me batty.) Next summer the Harms family will be climbing some mountains.

On July 11, 2017 we climbed a mountain. Well, kind of. We climbed most of the way up a mountain in Byers Peak Wilderness in Colorado. We camped by Horseshoe Lake 11,200 IMG_6535feet above sea level where we were secluded from the world (except for one other family and their 4 alpacas 🙂 )

It was fantastic.

I love backpacking with my family. Something about all of us doing a challenging thing together brings me great joy. I love the taste of  Mountain Meals eaten out of a bag while sitting on the ground, and I love relaxing by the campfire together before retiring our sore bodies to our tiny little tents. I could do without the middle of the night trips to the outdoor loo, but I guess it wouldn’t be backpacking if I didn’t have to pee outside. IMG_6542

The Gift

When I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year, our friends/tax guy/realtor Chris and Tami Hicks offered us a week of their timeshare. Not only did they offer it, they made sure we took them up on the offer by reminding us every month or two that they wanted to give us a vacation. So thank you Chris and Tami for the condo with a view of the Rockies, and for helping me accomplish a goal.

We had a fantastic week of swimming, rafting, hiking, eating lots of junk and relaxing in our own personal hot tub room.

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An Easy Section of the Hard Trail

My boys might say that rafting or cliff jumping was their favorite part of the trip, but for me it was definitely the backpacking.

Goal Achieved

Last year at this time I was recovering from reconstruction surgery #2, and dreaming about the day when I might be able to extend my arms over my head again. This year I strapped on a 20 lb. backpack and climbed a mountain.

Last year going for a half-mile walk with Corey was a grand accomplishment. This year I hiked for hours on what alltrails.com lists as a HARD trail.

Last year I had no feeling in my alien breasts. This year…still no feeling 😉 (A relatively small price to pay to rid my body of cancer.)

But that’s not really what this is about. This is about living the life God gave me to the fullest.

Last year that meant a lot of resting and letting other people take care of me. This year it means checking the goals off my Post Cancer To Do List and hopefully encouraging other women who are in the midst of hard things.

Backpacking is my last checkmark.

List complete.

I guess it’s time to write a new one.

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