Archives For God

What I know today

September 30, 2018

What I know today is a result of a decision I made back on Sunday, January 7, 2018.

On that day, I attended church. Going to church on Sunday is not a big deal normally. Plenty of people do it.

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But you see, it had been awhile since I personally went. And the reason I attended service that day was because a friend of mine, whose son committed suicide at the tender age of 15 exactly two years prior, gently nudged her Facebook friends to go to whatever house of worship they felt most comfortable with in his honor.

And I just couldn’t come up with any good reason why I shouldn’t fulfill that lovely woman’s request.

So, on January 7, I walked into a church and thought of her son and reflected on his life as well as my own. I thought about how I am parenting my own three children. I contemplated the job I was working, that was located far too far away from our family’s home.

While I don’t publicly share much about my faith on this blog, I am beginning to question why I don’t. People often share their opinions on perceived polarizing topics without fear of repercussion or being misunderstood. I don’t automatically agree with all of my friends’ beliefs, nor do I expect them to adopt all of mine.

Friendship is not something that I think you must believe a certain way to earn or share. I think the best we can all do is talk less and listen more on this short thrill ride we call life.

As a reader of this blog, I ask that you listen to me as I would you while I share what I know today. And if you’re up for it, tell me in the comments (or reach out to me privately) what you know today.

  • I know that I walked into church wanting answers, especially after having suffered my own personal loss at the untimely passing of my cousin.
  • I know I signed up to receive Wednesday prayer reminders and that I look forward to those moments of reflection to break up my otherwise hectic weekly routine.
  • I know that one of the verses that has meant a great deal to me is John 3:30 that reads “He must become greater; I must become less.”
  • I know a quote that resonated with me was originally offered by D.L. Moody, “Our greatest fear should not be of failure, but of succeeding at something that doesn’t really matter.”
  • I know that, earlier in my life, my goal was to be noticed. Now that I am later in my life, my goal is to make a conscious effort to notice and be grateful for life’s blessings.
  • I know that job satisfaction can be determined in just six weeks. I have known how it felt to realize I wasn’t where I should be, as well as what it feels like to fit in naturally.
  • I know that God is looking out for my children when I am not, connecting them with friends who they can rely upon in times of triumph or tribulation.
  • I know that I don’t always agree with everything that’s affiliated with organized religion, but I will always believe in God as well as the power of connecting with people.
  • I know that God believes in my immeasurable value. Just as my life is enriched beyond measure simply because my children exist (not tied to what they do), it is an amazing feeling to know that I am worthy of unconditional love by being, not competing.
  • I know that many of my friends and family experience every day suffering and that their struggles remain in my heart and mind even when I don’t always reach out to tell them so.
  • I know I am a big fan of Hands Free Mama, Rachel Macy Stafford, and I encourage my friends to read her blog and books.
  • I know I am grateful to have supportive people in my corner…at the top of the list are my parents, my husband, and my in-laws.
  • I know that tomorrow is not guaranteed so I ask that you let those you love know how much they mean to you as freely and as often as you can.

For the young man who made that final choice to end his life because he thought he had no other solution, know that your story has impacted my life and countless others.

Remember to #bekind.

Written by Heidi Woodard

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I hope you have all heard the beautiful melody with even more lovely lyrics, “Leader of the Band” by Dan Fogelberg at some point in your lifetime.

Fogelberg penned the song for his own dad, Lawrence, who was a musician, educator, and band leader. In Dan’s words about his paternal inspiration, “I was so gratified that I was able to give him that song before he passed on. In his final years he was interviewed many times by the national press because of it. He went out in a blaze of glory, which meant a lot to me and my family.”

My husband’s grandfather passed away in the early morning hours this past Father’s Day.

I can’t help but think of William (Buck) Woodard, aka “Poppy,” a role model for all who knew and loved him, when listening to these lyrics.

“His gentle means of sculpting souls took me years to understand… My life has been a poor attempt to imitate the man. I’m just a living legacy to the Leader of the Band.

Isn’t that how life and death traditionally unfold? We rush through life, attempting to keep pace with everything and everyone buzzing around us?

And then a loved one passes and it is as if God gently places a hand upon our shoulder to slow us down, to pause and reflect on those we love and the life we live. It is during this time of reflection when we soak in the magnitude of the people who have helped shape our lives for the better.

I was able to tell Poppy goodbye and he gave me the same comforting smile and hug he always extended to family and friends.

He was, and will remain, the Leader of our Band.

In loving memory of Buck Woodard

Written by Heidi Woodard

I don’t know you. I mean, I don’t really know you.

Yet…

I have learned, by watching your example, that it is possible to be so passionate about helping children that you sacrifice personal gain.

I handed over my future to you. Three different times, I cried as I placed a defenseless creature into your care, got into my car, and returned to work.

I bawled even harder when the time came to move them from your house to preschool.

I witnessed your influence on my children as they began to rattle off their ABCs, color within the lines, and sing hymns of praise.

I am in awe that you are as proud of their Christmas program performances as I am.

I give praise that you teach them about God and how to love their friends and enemies.

I am grateful that you allow me to interrupt you at any moment of the day to check on how my children are doing, as if they are the most important people on the planet.

I ask for forgiveness for rarely reading the newsletters, study guides, and graded assignments you send home.

I thank you for recognizing strengths in my children and for pushing them to maximize their potential.

I thank you for organizing every PTA meeting, classroom party, and fundraiser.

I thank you for being willing to not only prepare my children for the real world, but also to protect them from it.

I thank you through my writing because it’s the best way I can express my heartfelt gratitude.

I thank you on behalf of every child whose voice is silenced.

I thank you for doing a thankless job.