Joan’s Personal Retreat: How I looked forward to my personal retreat at a cabin in the woods. I planned to take walks among the tall pines, read on the patio, answer to no other person, journal, relax, nap, rest and pray.
After unloading the car and putting away my food for the next few days, I stared at my stack of books. What to read first? The book titled Go Back and Be Happy by Julie Papievis (http://www.gobackandbehappy.com) seemed to call my name. I had never met Julie prior to the day at the Christian Book Expo when she autographed her book and gave it to me.
Julie Papievis: I read the first few chapters and learned how Julie experienced a devastating brain injury thattook her to the gates of heaven. As she was about to enter she heard an unusual message, “Go back home and be happy.”
Her story captivated me and I couldn’t stop reading. I jotted notes to myself in the margins as tears threatened to spill from my eyes. (And this from a woman who rarely cries!?) After arriving back in my office, I sent Julie an email expressing how much I appreciated the inspiring message in the book she wrote with writer Margaret McSweeney.
The 700 Club: So it is a delightful privilege to invite you to hear Julie Papievis share her story on The 700 Club (http://www.cbn.com/700club) this Tuesday, September 1, 2009. If you don’t have the opportunity to watch the television interview on Tuesday, visit Julie’s website (http://www.gobackandbehappy.com) after Tuesday afternoon to watch the video.
Julie says, “I think the Lord wants me to keep telling His story of hope!” I strongly recommend that you read Go Back and Be Happy (http://amazon.com) and then share it with your family members and friends. Let’s pass around the hope!
Richard and I recently returned from a dream-come-true trip to Paris, France. Feeling like stars in a movie, we dined in quaint sidewalk cafes, attended mass at Notre Dame Cathedral, gazed at the Mona Lisa in the Louvre, enjoyed a panoramic view of the city from half way up the Eiffel Tower, and cruised the Seine River at night.
Looking at this photo of us during our dinner cruise on the Seine, I remember a story I wrote in It’s a Wonderful (Imperfect) Life.
I wanted to be a perfect wife—to be all Richard desired and make him happy he married me. But my initial goal turned into obsession. I felt compelled to modify my personality, beliefs, talents and hopes to match his. It looked good, but it felt awful.
Eventually my unrealistic expectations led to burnout. The outward me could no longer live in disharmony with the inner me. I had to do something or crumble. Yet, the thought of changing the way we related to each other scared me.
“What if you don’t like me or our marriage when I share the real me?”
“I will,” assured my husband.
At first I didn’t believe him. And truthfully, adjusting our conditioned relational patterns—the way we’d learned to interact with one another—felt unfamiliar and awkward to us both. Yet gradually we’ve grown more comfortable sharing our needs, vulnerabilities and desires.
We’re discovering how to combine who we are on the inside with what we appear to be on the outside. I think we’re growing into the individual persons God created us to be. We’re also enjoying our imperfect relationship–loving our everyday times together, as well as the unique times like Paris. And I’m grateful. Imperfect, it’s true, but grateful.
I’d love to hear from you about your travels in Paris or your experiences as an imperfect, but grateful person.
Joan C. Webb
Writing, teaching, coaching to empower and set free.