Stepping Stones

Irony? Coincidence? Luck?

What do you think?

How many times have you looked back on chapters of your life to see the “ah-ha” moments, where the stars aligned to make sense? You finally see the purpose in the valley you were in, which is much easier to see from the mountain top, right? Actually, it’s the only place you’ll see it! There is a peaceful comfort, when looking back to see how God strategically joined pieces of my life, where I jumped from one stone to the next, in perfect rhythm. One stone could not happen without the one before it, and on and on. Sometimes one stone was about to sink in the sand, just when the next one popped up. Some painful, some pleasant – they each have purpose.

The same way I’ve wanted to be a runner, a morning person, have the confidence and bravery of a public speaker – I’ve also always wanted to be one of those “readers”.

I want to love books. Well, I actually do love them. I buy them, but I don’t read them. I just look at them and think about reading them one day. I’ve even got the cutest magnetic bookmarks ready to do their job, and a few special shelves at home where these books live, just waiting on the breakthrough. I feel terrible for the books, just wasting space and collecting dust. My mom always feels awful for the last green bean in the can that gets tossed into the trash – same level of sadness here. We all want a purpose – even the last green bean and the dusty books!

I’m in a Facebook fitness group with some amazing women. We’re a community of chicks just encouraging each other, sharing recipes, workouts, and life stuff – in a safe place. You must admit, big Facebook world can be scary. Some of the chicks are “readers’ who share their personal development books – then of course I buy the books they talk about, to add to my dusty collection. Our fitness coach tossed out a challenge a few months ago, to drink a gallon of water in a day – I gladly accepted. While drinking a gallon of water that also means a gallon of going to the bathroom. While out running errands, the nearest potty was at Barnes & Noble. As I was leaving the book store bathroom I passed by the end cap where all the best sellers are displayed, and stopped to scan for more books that I will never read. I picked one up, read the back, sounded great, and put it under my arm to hold onto. Picked up the next one by the same author, sounded great so I grabbed it too. The potty break at the book store ended up costing me about 30 life-changing-bucks.

I decided to give these books a chance. The first one was Love Does by Bob Goff. The next morning I got up early, flipped on the fireplace, grabbed the book, “Bruther” (sweet-mean-dog), our favorite fuzzy blanket and actually started to read. It was a surreal moment, “who am I”? It was almost comical – kind of felt like playing dress up – at 43 instead of 4, it was still kind of fun, but so weird. I was reading, on purpose, early in the morning, and it wasn’t a book about Sales from my boss.

Side note: Before this particular day, the only other book I had ever finished (sorry boss!) was The Notebook, in 2004, on an exercise bike with tears streaming down my face. I kept peddling because I could easily disguise the tears as sweat, and it was just-that-good! Anyway, as I began to read Love Does by the fire – I could not put the book down. My dreadful mornings of lying in bed with lists swarming in my head, had turned into being excited to get out of bed and read this book. I finished Love Does, and went straight into the next one, Everybody Always. Same connection. Same love. Same Bob.

One quick second…Who is Bob Goff anyway? Glad you asked….

“Bob Goff is the New York Times Best-Selling Author of Love Does, as well as an attorney who founded Love Does, a nonprofit human rights organization operating in Uganda, India, Nepal, Iraq and Somalia. Bob is a sought after speaker for leadership, church and university events, inspiring current and future influencers to get to the “do” part of life. Choosing to live audaciously, Bob connects to audiences in a powerfully inspirational, yet down to earth manner. Love Does has now been translated into ten languages!” (bio from PremierSpeakers.com)

Bob’s books are stories of his own experiences in life, of everyday normal things – that turn extraordinary when the view finder is flipped. He writes to express how simple it is to find Jesus, in everyday junk – showing love in ways that Jesus did, and loving types of people like Jesus did. I crave true stories, true struggles, and true victories. I want to fill the space in my head with things of real value where I’ll grow, learn, become better and maybe even pass it on to others who come behind me. Iron sharpens Iron – and this is where I find the magic in reading books about life stuff that genuinely matters. Bob Goff’s plain cover, no frills, simply written books – were the perfect gift I never knew I needed, all from that gallon of water challenge from my “stepping stone” friend, the fitness coach from Facebook.

Once I had finished Bob’s 2 books, I then read Sweet Maria’s book (Bob’s wife), Love Lives Here – which was equally amazing. What’s next? Aside from Bob needing to write more, I was now very intrigued with this early morning stuff. I had shocked myself to say the least… Girlfriend, let’s keep going! Next I started reading Miracle Morning by Hal Elrod – another game changer! I’m now realizing at this age how many great books and a wealth of information I’ve missed out on. I simply can’t get enough.

Being a new super-Bob Goff fan, with red cape and all, I’d find myself scrolling on social media seeing his speaking events and conferences all over the country, day dreaming of when and how I could attend. I had a thought to contact our pastor at church, and plant the seed about this Bob guy and how he’d be a great speaker for one of our services. Nah, there is no way. Bob is a really big deal, probably too big for Argyle, TX. Fast forward a few weeks – I’m scrolling and see that Facebook has suggested an event that I might be interested in, “Bob Goff, at Cross Timbers Church in Argyle, TX”. WHAT? Yes. It’s true. I didn’t’ take another breath before I had recruited my family for attendance, made our dinner plans for the night of the event, had husband committed to arrive early for front row seats, and planned my outfit. I couldn’t contain how excited I was – we talked about it each day leading up to the event, I even emailed Bob – yes I said I emailed Bob. He wrote back….

“Hi Laura!
What a beautiful note. You’ve got a knack for words. I wonder if there’s words inside you that needs to get out of you? Honest. Give it some thought. I’m so honored to be part of this adventure you’re on. Keep loving people the way Jesus did. I can tell you’re good at it! ….Bob Goff, Chief Balloon Inflator”

That’s one of many, really cool stepping stone stories. I don’t know what your trials are, and you don’t know mine (well, you might soon), but I do know that God knows what he’s doing and it’s always His plan not ours. This is a silly story about an author who touched my heart, but the story has a purpose, way bigger than me. Keep moving forward, one stepping stone at a time. It will change your life, even in the valleys. Oh yeah, read the books, and drink more water, a gallon if you can.

XOXO,

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