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This morning in church, our pastor announced that our theme for the year is “building bridges.”
All I could do was nod my head and my heart in acceptance as God confirmed yet again something He has been tugging me toward for a while now.
In June of last year, I felt a strong conviction about my desire to build a platform, a name for myself. I wanted that to change.
“Speak the truth with your life. Change the world around you by first looking right beside you.“ (Brooke)
“A platform is a stage with the spotlight on you. A bench is a community with no spotlight at all. Build your bench.“ (Emily)
I asked myself how I could follow that advice – taking the spotlight off of myself, looking beside me, and building a bench rather than a platform. I thought about the people in my life that I care the most about. I thought about my closest friends and their needs.
I reached out to my two best friends who are both mothers of children’s with special needs. With their collaboration, I wrote a post with the intention of simply being a blessing to them, building a bench between us as mothers and women who probably have more in common than we realize.
If there was ever a post I wrote where my heart was genuinely in the right place, it was that one.
This post has been widely received and passed around within the blogging community. A dialogue has been started. Advice has been given. Hard questions are being asked and answered. Women are feeling less alone. And that, more than any number of post views, is what I consider to be one my biggest successes.
I am amazed at the power of empathy.
In the past six months, my eyes have been opened to other areas in society where there are gaps. In my church I have noticed gaps that exist between single women and married women, young moms and older moms, young women and older women, bloggers and non-bloggers.
My time in the military community and now my time out of that community has showed me the gaps that exist between military and civilian communities.
For the special-needs community, I’m already collaborating with an even bigger group of moms to bring yet another post to continue the dialogue that was started there.
These are all issues that I want to talk about. I want to be a voice that builds benches or builds bridges or bridges gaps or whatever you want to call it. I want to be a voice that spreads grace and heals divisions. I want to be a voice that starts a much-needed dialogue between people facing different circumstances and difficulties. I want to be a voice that helps create unlikely friendships through the power of empathy.
This will take time. It will take collaboration with people I might normally not even talk to. It will take my stepping outside of my comfort zone to look beyond my needs to the needs of others.
And this will take your participation. We need open hearts and minds, sensitivity to the needs and situations of others.
Will you help me, join me on this journey of building bridges? Will you help me spread empathy, grace, and compassion between people in difference life situations?
Thanks in advance,