TODAY’S EPISODE IS A STORY ABOUT HOW I CRIED MY EYES OUT at my kids swim lesson and why it actually applies to you.
I don’t know if this happens to you, but God has a tendency to swoop in and humble me, when I need it the most. He reminds me what matters and gives me that gift of perspective. And the thing is, the gift of perspective can be pretty short lived if you don’t fully embrace it, but when you do embrace it, when you take it in and weave it into everything you do and the way you see the world, it can change everything.
If you’re feeling the pressure and the stress of juggling your missions in business and at home, if you’re in a season of busy and hurry, if you wonder when you’ll finally feel that fulfillment and the contentment of it all, let today’s episode and Amira’s story inspire you in leadership and in parenthood, and what you’re going to do with the precious time you have left.
Let’s raise them up right!
IN THIS EPISODE, WE COVER:
[2:02] Tuesdays Are Just Not That Day
We have been working really hard as a family to reduce hurry, to really slow down and to be present. But for some reason, Tuesdays are just not that day for us.
Tuesdays are the day that I have all of my team calls and I’m back to back with meetings and then we jump right into the end of the workday and shift gears and have swim lessons with all three kids. By then, my stress level is through the roof and the kids are really hyped up. Which I don’t blame them because they’re feeding off of our spastic energy to get ourselves there.
So, one faithful Tuesday we burst into the humid pool area like a tornado of kids and towels and find the last spot on the bench next to this other family who I vividly remembered from the last class because I was judging them up and down. Why are their kids so well behaved? What is their problem? The mom is so beautiful, and the husband is just playing so nicely with the kids. Why does it all look so good from the outside?
I had no idea about the trap that God was walking us into this fateful Tuesday.
[4:00] Will You Tell Us More About Your Daughter?
Michael, my husband (God bless him) could talk to literally anything and anyone. He is a Midwesterner through and through.
So, we get to the pool and I’m sitting, sweating in my sweater (because I forgot to change), my kids are running around and we are sitting next to this perfect little family. Michael being Michael leans over and says: “Hi”. Already, I’m thinking: This is great. Could my day get any worse? I can’t just sit here in silence and be grumpy. You got to start talking to this other family?
At this point, Michael looks over and he sees that one of the two girls had the most intricate braids in her hair and he says to the mom: “Wow, did you do those braids or did you have them done?” And the mom who’s pretty soft spoken, leans over and says: “Yes, I did.” And Michael is so excited, telling them how basically he has two left hands when it comes to hair. He then looks over at the dad and says: “Please tell me you can’t do braids like that.” And the dad smiles, looks over and he says: “Well, I can’t do braids as well as my wife but I have gotten pretty good at ponytails and more simple braids like that” and he points at his other daughter who was in the pool and had these two simple little braids in her hair. The dad then explains that he had to learn to braid their hair when their oldest daughter ended up in the hospital over the last two years. He had this sweet smile on his face, so Michael continued his friendly conversation and he said: “Oh my goodness, that must have been so hard. Is she okay?” And the father tells us that she was diagnosed with cancer at nine years old. Michael then says: “I’m so sorry. Is she home?” and the dad says: “Well, she’s not home with us but she went home with the Lord last month. She passed away at 11 years old.”
As Michael and the husband are talking across me and I’m just welling up, watching my healthy kids run around like little spasm balls and remembering all these moments of tension about nothing on the ride there. I could just feel tears welling up in my eyes and a lump in my throat and I look at Michael and I see him with tears in his eyes. Without thinking, instinctively I just say to the mom, who was trying not to cry: “Will you tell us more about your daughter? I’d love to get to know her and her story.” She looked at me, smiled and said: “Yes, please.”
[8:53] Amira’s Story
The dad got up, came over and sat facing us. He brought us the story of his daughter, Amira.
Amira was a young girl who fully lived out her mission here on Earth and it changed a father’s heart, a mother’s journey and the lives of her two sisters. Amira changed it all by how she chose to live and lead.
Throughout the whole conversation, I was constantly being humbled hearing about their daughter and her wisdom at such a young age. As her father talked, I had this moment of realization that I’ve been given moments of perspective like this before in my life, moments that were so merciful because they weren’t me having to walk through the agony of what they had to walk through, but I was still gifted the perspective. I think we all walk through that when we hear other people’s stories, but the problem is that in the past, when I’ve heard stories like that, it inspired me and it moved me but it only lasted so long because it wasn’t my reality. Listening to the story of Amira and how her ripple effect continues even after she left this particular life and is now living an eternal one, it helped me make a decision.
I wasn’t going to let her story and the perspective that we were gifted through her story be in vain. I was going to actively remember her and think of her anytime that I chose to take for granted the life that I have, the time I have with my children and the impact I’m going to choose to make with that time.
[11:51] Focus on Your Mission
One of the most incredible pieces of Amira’s story was the story of her last moments with her two younger sisters.
Her dad shared a video of Amira sitting with her sisters, explaining what was going to come next and what she wanted for them. She explained it so composed and so poised knowing that she was going to be leaving them in this life within the next couple days. She told them that this was her mission and her mission was to inspire people to understand that life is such a treasure and such a gift and that we have the opportunity to make an impact while we’re here and we don’t know how much time we’ll have. She said that she was gifted the understanding of how much time she had, so she could stay hyper focused on her mission and not get distracted by so many of the things that we so often get distracted by. She told her sisters that even though she wasn’t going to be by their side physically, she would always be with them, reminding them that they have the opportunity to lead other people in that same mission without having to walk through the suffering that she was walking through.
In that moment, I realized that’s really in part all of our missions – to lead well and to inspire and to live out the purpose that we have with whatever time we have and to not focus on the things that detract or derail us from that. I think the busyness of life and the rushing of life is one of the factors that takes us off track from living how we’re actually called to live in our own homes, with our kids and in our businesses.
[14:17] Life Is Made Up of Little Moments
I share this humbly, admitting that I needed this probably more than anybody.
So, if you’re in a season where you feel rushed or where you feel stressed or you are walking through genuine hardships, I share Amira’s story in the hopes that you can have the gift of perspective that I was given in a time where I was focused so inward and on the wrong things and instead shift that focus to where you’re really being called and how you’re being called to lead, inspire and impact.
Make sure that your actions in those little moments are representative of that mission and that purpose, because life is made up of all the little moments compiled.
I know that today’s episode is not a traditional one, but sometimes the gift of perspective can be even more valuable than the gift of any strategy we could get our hands on. I obviously never had the opportunity to meet Amira in person but her story is going to live with me forever by choice. It’s a reminder of how our legacy and how we’re remembered is based on how we lived. So, in honor of Amira, let’s raise them up right!
Come connect with me on Instagram at @elizhartke and if there’s a topic, a question or a guest you want to hear on the show or an idea you have for us, just reach out and share that.
We do this for you so the more you tell us the more we can serve!
RESOURCES FROM THIS EPISODE: