Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Do You Validate?

I had an interesting “aha!” moment last week that I want to tell you about because it kind of woke me up a bit. And that’s always a good thing! It changed something inside of me & so far I really like the change.

The background is that I have had a few tough weeks at my job, which is weird to call a “job” because I love it so much that I would do it for free (and have). My hubs & I, along with a team of others are overseers of a ministry school that is really more about getting your inner life transformed than becoming a preacher. In fact we kind of shudder at the thought of creating more preachers & pastors in a world that really needs more passionately caring surgeons, bankers, teachers, carpenters etc.

I love what I get to do every day but……..there are always a few students who complain & criticize the school, even though they chose to come & are paying to be there…….& those negative words about what we do were kinda getting to me. It happens every year & I have been learning not to take it personally but it’s amazing how 2 negative words can so outweigh 10 positive words! Why is that?

So my “aha!” moment was last week as I listened to some of our former students come back & talk to the current students about their lives & how impacting their school time was for them & how thankful they are for our school. Two of our students from Denmark graduated last June & are now married & leading a church there using the things they learned in our school. Two others talked about their recent move to the Philippines to start a school like ours. They described the practical ways they are changing the lives of the people who live in the slum areas & providing college scholarships to the children there. Another young lady is working as a mentor to at-risk teen-agers in her town; they are referred to her by the local Juvenal hall. Another student described praying for a guy in a motorcycle accident on the freeway even though the EMT had given him up for dead, no pulse. The student said his mind was blank & he tried to recall all he had learned about praying for the sick & remembered that the words & formulas are not important. So he just found a clean spot to touch the guy & said ‘God, don’t let this guy die.” The guy coughed sat up & said, “Hey I think I was in an accident!” Ha!

As I sat there listening to this stuff my eyes filled & I felt overwhelmed to be a part of their lives. I also thought, “I wish the rest of the church staff could hear this.” (The school is connected to our church.)

A few days later other former students shared similar stories at the church staff meeting & again my thought was, “Wow, I sure wish the current class could hear these stories.” Immediately I “heard” God ask me a one word question…."Why?” Oh man, He is good at those tiny little one word questions that carry some huge meaning!

Now I could easily have said that my reason for wanting others to hear the stories was because I wanted to uplift them & encourage them….but nope that was not my motivation at all. So, my honest answer (what other kind of answer can you give Him? Ha!) was, “Umm validation?” I wanted others to see what we have done in the school & that it was a worthy & valid thing we were giving our lives to. I want some credit, some kudos. God then said one more thing to me, “The only ones who need to know the true value of what you do, are you & your husband.”

And those last words I heard made a huge difference inside me. That difference has also affected the outside of me now as I am walking straighter, looking my co-workers & students in the eye with a new authority & confidence. I know where my validation comes from & that assurance has given me a new strength & joy in what I do & in who I am. Last night as I changed the status on my Face Book page I hesitated before pushing the button to post it. Can I really say this about myself? Yep! My new status line says, “Brenda is changing the world one handful of students at a time!” Woo-hoo!
(Here are a few of our gang telling a special couple on our staff who were moving away, what God had to say about them. They wrote, drew & sang His words to them! )


  1. I LOVE the story about the guy who prayed at the car accident scene. I have been reading about prayer this week and I've been wrestling through a few things..I needed that story today!

    I also love what your school is doing-or can I say- what God is doing through people who want to put HIM first. Thanks for the thoughts and insight.

  2. Very profound post. We are bad to look for validation, aren't we? Thanks for this wake-up call.

  3. Oh I hear you! It's kind of like the prophet who has no honor in his home town...just being obedient and giving God room. But what a glorious testimony to how God has blessed your obedience...

  4. Debbie- I wouldn't say we are bad for wanting validation. Everyone needs it actually, but our self-esteem should not dependant upon it, especially from other people.

  5. First of all, way to go on moving around already! Woo!

    Secondly, although you did not write this to garner anyone's validation, I do want to say that I think your ministry/job is fascinating and exciting, and I would wholeheartedly agree with your status update. I really get where you're coming from, working in youth ministry. You see kids' lives changed, and then some part of the church (the BODY) criticizes the effort. But people on the outisde don't know the intricate details of what happens in our kinds of situations. So I think I get where you're coming from. And isn't it great to get encouragement by seeing the fruits now?!

  6. Good for you! Love it! One aha moment at a time does take care of any negative thoughts that may perpetrate the happy positive circle.
    Love it!
    You go girl!

  7. This is so wonderful...what testimonies!!

  8. Hello! thanks for visiting Three Words. :)

  9. oh goodness when I read this susie I had a couple of tears form. If you could see the impact from heaven of what you are doing...the generations that you are transforming that you will never even see.
    PH was a life saver for me! I am eternally grateful for everything I experienced in your home!!!
    yesterday Bill said something that really stuck..."it is easy to devalue something or someone because they don't value you what you value."
    I think PH is one of those experiences in life that exponentially grow in value over time. When I am 80 I will look back and see PH in a deeper deeper value than I can possible imagine in the now
    and you are the facilitator of that!!!

    God is saying..." ain't seeing nothing yet!"

    haha. love you.

  10. Thanks Sandra - You are a treasure!

  11. Keep at it Brenda--be a weekend warrior!

  12. You may have gotten this award already, but there is one waiting for you over at my blog. :) I hope you are having a great weekend! :)

  13. Such a great post. So true - our worth is not based on what the rest of the world judges us on, but on how God values us.

  14. Great post! Sometimes God needs to pop us upside the head so we can see things a bit more clearly. It's nice that you "get it" with only a slight nudge!

  15. I've grappled with this on a smaller level... and it is such sweet relief to accept that we can only do so much. And that is ALL we can do. That is simplifying it, because I have to run, but I am so happy to read your thoughts on this and know that others find comfort in accepting this, too. :) Thanks, Brenda Susan!


Hi Thanks for reading! Please leave a comment even if it has nothing to do with the specific blog, it's great to know that you are writing stuff that real live people actually read, ya know?