Today I would like to welcome my friend Nicole to Casual Conversations as a guest writer. I met Nicole face-to-face in July at the She Speaks Conference. She is bubbly, beautiful and bold. She is a wife, mom, a breast cancer survivor, she worked as a news anchor and is a former Miss Wisconson! She is beautiful inside and out! Her writing is raw and godly. She inspires me with her confidence and wisdom. Please give a big welcome to my friend, Nicole!
I was at the edge of what anyone would call an alcoholic. I found my joy, my release from the mundane, in alcohol, food, and sleep. Life felt passionless and pointless.
Ironically, I had everything I had ever wanted. Why wasn’t I happy? I was married to a Division 1 men’s basketball coach. I had three sweet small children. And I had just been offered the opportunity of a lifetime: the chance to write about anything I wanted for the launch of a new women’s section in the newspaper. The publisher suggested I write about politics, which I politely but immediately declined; he suggested cooking and I told him I’d made lasagna twice and forgotten to put in the noodles; he suggested parenting and I told him I was totally on board-- once I figured out how to do it.
Have you ever felt the way I felt back then? Knowing you have every advantage in the world and yet asking yourself, Is this all there is?
Maybe you live in a nice house, but wish it was a little nicer.
Maybe you have beautiful, healthy kids, but wish they didn’t constantly need something from you.
Maybe you go to a job all day and hold it together so well for strangers that by the time you get home at night, you bite the head off the person who meets you at the door.
How is it that we can have every possible human comfort within our grasp and still be miserable?
What’s the solution?
My answer came on a rare hot summer day in Fargo, North Dakota. I dragged myself and my three kids to the community pool. That’s where a girl in a gold bikini taught me a secret that changed my life.
This girl, barely 17 years old, had to be the world’s best babysitter. She was engaged and attentive and totally smitten with the toddler at her feet. But after a short conversation, I realized this wasn’t the nanny. The girl in the gold bikini was a mom, just like me. Only she seemed to be doing it better. With fewer resources. And a shakier support system.
Leaving the pool that day, I felt compelled for the first time ever to give money to a stranger. As I handed it to her, I told her what an amazing mom I thought she was and how I just knew she was going to make a big impact in life, even if the day-to-day logistics seemed a little overwhelming right now.
I’m certain Gold Bikini Girl left the pool feeling relieved to have enough money to put gas in the car. But I left the pool feeling like I had been given a new lease on life.
Do you want to know the secret that Gold Bikini Girl taught me? It’s this:
Kindness isn’t about them, it’s about you.
Kindness is like a secret passageway through which God takes care of others and us. Only He’s not trying to keep it a secret-- it’s written all over the Bible. For every act of kindness we impart, God guarantees a reward.
Listen to a few of these promises. They are magnificent!
From Luke 6:35: “Love your enemies! Do good to them. Lend to them without expecting to be repaid. Then your reward from heaven will be very great...”
Proverbs 11:17 says, “Those who are kind benefit themselves...”
From Acts 20:35, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’
He tells us what to do and then He tells us why! He gives us the key to happiness! It’s right here.
We were created to be kind. But it’s awfully hard to find our stride in life when we refuse to step into our eternal purpose.
I would never have believed that one act of kindness could change my life, but it did. I went home after that day at the pool and wrote up my very first newspaper article. Five years later, I still get to share stories of goodness in my weekly Kindness is Contagious column. Oh, and shortly after that day at the pool, I stopped drinking. I lost 25 pounds and most importantly, I began to realize that kids and husbands and homes are blessings, not burdens.
God didn’t give us the command to love other people because he was trying to get us to do His job or take some of the load off His own shoulders. He told us to love other people because he knew it would be the pathway through which He would shower all of His children with blessings.
Read more stories of kindness on Nicole’s website at www.nicolejphillips.com or connect with her on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/NicoleJPhillips/.