Boy how life just has ways of throwing curve balls at you doesn’t it. You think you are finally in the right position, your feet are squared and your bat is level with your elbow out. Bases are loaded and you’re ready. You’re eyeing the pitcher and you believe with your whole being that this is it. This is the one that is going to be a hit it out of the Park. A homerun for sure! But as you swing with all your might, you hear the dreaded steeerike, you’re out of here!!!
Luckily for us the Lord doesn’t just give us three strikes. He lovingly comes behind us, puts his arms around us and his hands above ours on the bat. He gently sways with us as we eye the challenge at hand. We follow His lead as he gently prods us to try, and try again. And before we know it, we have hit the ball and we are running the bases. Even though it may be slow at times. As we round third base with all our might, we see Him. Cheering us on at the plate…. Come on, just a little bit more. You’ve got this!
Sometimes we make it all the way onto the plate with a steady jog. And sometimes we have to slide in with all our might to make it there before the catcher tags us for the out. And sometimes, oftentimes, we hit a pop fly and we are out before we even get started.
But the important lesson in all of this is that we keep going. We keep trying… keep pushing, even when the odds are stacked against us. With Christ beside us we can do it. We can give Him the yoke and ask Him to help us pull. And He will do it without reservation.
Matthew 11:28-30 Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.
I realized last week that we are already halfway through 2022! Can you believe it? After the pandemic season in 2020 and then easing back into life in 2021. It’s finally 2022… this was going to be the year! The year that everything makes a comeback, right? At least that’s how I felt.
My last official post/podcast was December 7, 2021. My plan was to take the rest of December off and then come back strong in January. But on the evening of December 28th we got the call that my new granddaughter had arrived!
My daughter had a few complications and instead of me coming into town when the baby was 3 weeks old, we decided that she needed her mom there to make up the difference. She was exhausted. So I jumped on a plane and flew to Utah on January 2nd! I skated into 2022 with my sixth grandchild. It was so much fun to spend the first two weeks of the year in Utah helping my daughter with her first-time-mom experience. It was the best! We just did all things baby! And she was able to recover enough to feel more confident in her momming when I had to leave to come home.
And now it is July! As I reflected last week on the things that I had planned to accomplish in 2022, I realized that I am pretty far behind, as far as MY plans and goals are concerned. However, I think the Lord is right on track with what HIS plans and goals for me in 2022.
Shortly after I returned home I woke up with a severe kinked neck. I didn’t remember injuring it. So I continued working out and doing everything that I normally did. Figuring it would go away within a few days. It did not!
Within a week the pain was so bad right between my shoulder blades that I was popping ibuprofen like it was candy. Then the pain started to extend down my shoulder and arm. I still hadn’t had it looked at because I thought it probably was an injury that just needed to heal.
I went back out to Utah in March for the baby’s baby blessing. I was in so much pain that I would lay on a neck stretcher that my daughter happened to have, and that was the only relief I would get. So I determined when I got home that I would have it looked at.
Long story short, after months of physical therapy and chiropractic appointments trying to heal it, my Dr. finally scheduled an MRI and an EMG to check for nerve damage. Turns out it was a herniated disc in the C 6 vertebrae. Great! I was so depressed.
For those of you that know my history with mental illness, know that working out and exercise is key in helping me maintain and balance my illness. So thinking that I would not be able to work out for maybe several months was literally so distressing to me.
I knew I would be able to walk outdoors for a few months but what would happen when the weather got too hot to walk? Here in TN, 80 degrees feels like 100! But the Lord has been watching out for me. There have only been a handful of days that I haven’t been able to get outside due to weather and the trend keeps going.
My back, neck and shoulder feel better every day. And I’m looking forward to being able to work out at home like I’m used to as soon as the heat gets unbearable.
Meanwhile, (sorry this is getting long). With all of the stress, I’d developed another facet to the mental illness that I have. I’m not quite ready to talk about it yet, but feel like I will at some point. I am currently taking measures to get that under control as well.
Now I don’t tell you these things to make you feel pity for me or give you this big sob story of an excuse for not making another Post/Podcast. Although, it is a pretty good excuse, haha.
I tell you because one of the things that I have learned through this experience is that it is so important to give yourself grace in this life.
We just can’t do ALL the things ALL the time. We are not meant to. There is a time and a season for everything.
In church today we had a speaker that talked about the two great commandments to Love God and to love your neighbor as yourself. But he emphasized that he believed that the third commandment is kind of snuck in there. To love your neighbor… but just as importantly, you must love yourself. Because you can’t pour from an empty cup.
We get so caught up sometimes in serving our neighbor, trying to keep all the commandments, go to the temple, take care of our families needs, work, school, cleaning, cooking. And the list goes on and on. Before we know it we are exhausted and feel so much pressure and anxiety that soon we are trying to pour out what we don’t have to give.
I’ve talked about this before here. And it’s important to note that I am not saying quit taking care of everything and just focus on yourself. No. I am saying take time to make sure that you are doing the small and simple things that fill your own cup. So that when it comes time for you to do all the other things you can pour from a full pitcher.
That’s funny I just used a baseball pitcher and a water pitcher in the same post..that’s the English language for you!
Just to give you an idea of what I am talking about I’ll share what works for me. I have a love to create or be crafty. I never really considered myself an artist, but now when I look back at all the things that bring me joy, they are things that I learned how to do. Then created myself, (which makes me an artist, haha).
And then most often I share them with others because it increases my joy and brings a little joy to the receiver as well.
So I started making time to practice the piano again. I focused on my scripture study, and journaling. I dusted off my crafts and started making and sending cards. I picked up a couple of new talents of creative lettering, quilting, and watercoloring. These things have all been so therapeutic for me.
I thought that I was doing all these things for me. But then I started to get feedback from people who had been recipients of my gifts. And it made me realize that as I was filling my cup, I was also pouring out to those whose cups needed filling in some small way.
Now that’s an example of what works for me. I am certainly not saying that you all need to go make a run to the craft store, lol. Although I can show you all the great deals if that’s what you want to do wink, wink.
You do you! Find the things that bring your heart joy and do more of that! Even if you have to pencil yourself into your very busy calendar! You are worth it! And the Lord will support you in your efforts to fill your own cup. So that you can help fill another’s.
Another thing that the speaker in church mentioned in his talk was that not only do we need to fill our cup, we need to realize how far we have come and not focus so much on the things we don’t have or can not do.
As I said I picked up watercoloring in the last little bit. And just like the strokes of paint, you can’t really tell what the finished piece is going to look like from one stroke. But after the work is done and you stand back and look, you can see the character that each stroke ads and builds to the final image.
It is the same with your life, you can’t really tell what kind of stroke each moment is adding to the final image but you can be sure that without those strokes the final image would not be complete. Don’t underestimate or wish away the small moments and details in your life. They are an important part of the image of you that the Lord is creating. And what the Lord sees is always bigger and more grand than we could ever imagine.
I think getting that injury was God’s way of showing me that I was trying to pour from a cup that was quickly nearing empty. It made me slow down. To take it easy and start focusing on the small and simple things.To notice the strokes of paint that He was using to develop me into the woman that He wants me to be. And now that I am getting healthier again, I can see that he was in all the details of what was happening in my life.
I am constantly reminded of the small and simple things and relationships along the way that were put in my path to help me make it through. And not only that, it helped others make it through their challenges too and brightened both of our lives. That is the way that the Lord works… one by one through relationships.
As I reflect on all the challenges over the past few months and growth that I’ve had, I am reminded over and over that “all things shall work together for thy good to them that love God and keep His comnmandments.” Romans 8:28 and D&C 90:24.
And I can see clearly now that although it truly has been stressful and trying. It has taught me new things about myself, the Lord, and others.
So this is my invitation to you in this halfway point through the year. Take some time to evaluate how full your cup is. And if it’s pretty empty, take some time to do the small things that bring you joy so you can start to fill it back up.
Maybe start with a little brain dump into your journal, of all the things you want to be doing now that you aren’t able to at this time. Then you can come back to that when it’s your season.
But, make sure to find a few things that you CAN do now and start filling that pitcher!
And now if you’ve stuck it out this long, here, the big announcement: I’m finally going live on YouTube!
I’ve been wanting to do this since I started photography 12 years ago. I posted a few videos and then just didn’t have the time or resources to do it. It wasn’t my season 😊.
So you can get to the channel by searching “wendy Bertagnolli” or “Learn. Create. Love.” It’s going to be a lot of fun. Short videos on learning new and fun ideas for just about anything.
But don’t worry, there will still be a lot of Jesus along the way. And you can still listen in here to the podcast for more interviews and all of my ramblings. Hopefully it just gets better and better!