Everyone can name things about themselves that they don’t like. The time we spend analyzing those qualities that we don’t like can be never-ending. It is easy to stand in front of a mirror and critique ourselves. “If only I was smarter, then I wouldn’t have to spend so much time on studying.” “If I was a more natural disciplinarian, my children would behave better at school.” “I’ve gained so much weight, I don’t even want to be seen in public.” Whether it is weight, grades, athletic ability, or negative personality qualities, everyone has a list of things that they want to change about themselves.
Why do we have such negative views about ourselves? First of all, everyone naturally compares themselves to others. When we see someone who has a great quality, we admire and focus on that. While we’re concentrating on how great they are at that specific thing, we neglect seeing anything else about them that they might need to improve. Another reason might be that our society says that we should not only appear perfect, but our perfection should also seem effortless. No matter what your flaws are, hating yourself is not healthy. Focusing on your flaws and hating yourself isn’t something that God wants. Everyone does have positive and negative qualities, but we are all blessed that God made us so wonderfully. He created us the way that we are for a purpose, and that purpose is to utilize our gifts and live for Him.
Psalm 139:14 says, “I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Wonderful are your works; my soul knows it very well.”
Leah Whitson is a junior Human Social Services major at Wisconsin Lutheran College, and the Resident Support Intern here at New Beginnings. After college she plans to pursue a Master's in Social Work, and one day she hopes to use her experience at New Beginnings as a good foundation . During her free time Leah likes to travel, play with her dogs, and spend time with her fiancé.
New Beginnings is such an amazing program, and I feel blessed to be a part of it. Every day I am blessed with the opportunity to watch new mothers grow closer to Christ, learn new parenting skills, and advance their education. The blessings, however, are often laced with bumps along the way. One of the most valuable concepts I took away from the conference is that New Beginnings is NOT alone in the struggles we face when working with single, generationally-poor mothers. If the difficulties of doing God’s work ceased to exist, then we would know that we are not doing enough. With growth comes resistance, hardship, and even fear, but it is our job to help each mother recognize her strength and ability to blossom. Is change scary? Yep. New Beginnings can confirm, however, that sometimes the most difficult events in our life help us to flourish the most!
So I say it again: we are not a finishing school. I have never heard someone say, “I have too much knowledge.” What a great reminder that we all have the opportunity to grow; all we need is a little water and sunshine, and a lot of perseverance and guidance from Christ.
But grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever! Amen. (2 Peter 3:18)
Brianne Kluge is the Home Manager at New Beginnings. She grew up in Marshall, WI and graduated from Lakeside Lutheran High School. Brianne has a Bachelor’s Degree in Psychology from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee. In her free time, she enjoys singing, camping, refurbishing furniture and spending time with her fiancé, Daniel.
For the past 10 weeks, I have had the awesome opportunity to spend almost every Thursday evening with the great people at New Beginnings as part of my nursing clinicals for public health nursing. While here, I have been able to participate in some great activities and discussions. One activity planned for me was to provide health education to the group for two of my sessions. Last week was the first one! After discussing with the residents and staff about what topics might be interesting, I decided to talk about nutrition.
Everyone who was present, myself included, was at a different stage of life; whether it was never having had a baby, being pregnant now, having just had a baby, or having had a baby a several months ago. So, I focused the information around nutrition at all of these stages: Nutrition in pregnancy, nutrition in postpartum, nutrition for infants, and nutrition for women at all stages of life. Together, we had a great discussion about how to take care of our bodies by eating well!
One of my favorite parts of every visit to New Beginnings is that we have a group Bible story and devotion after dinner. Since my first day here, we have been working through Jesus' life on earth. These devotions are great for all included -- I love (and need!) the chance to review these incredible stories, and even learn some new facts!
The devotion and nutrition discussion -- though they may not seem connected -- actually go hand-in-hand, and it's perfect that we had one right after the other. We often think of good nutrition and a healthy lifestyle to be good things, but earthly things. And yes, ultimately they are earthly things simply because they are not things we will have to worry about in heaven. But while we are still here on earth, we need to remember that our bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, and ought to be treated as such. When we learn something new about modern medicine and science, it's so exciting because of the possibility to better care for bodies that have been injured or sick. If we are willing to go so far for injured or sick bodies, why not healthy bodies, too? We should not only clean up the mess and rebuild after the temple has begun to fall. We should work every day to keep it in its strong, beautiful state. It's God's desire that we honor Him with our bodies in every way, every day. Keep yourself healthy, and keep your temple strong!
Rachel Kelly is a senior level nursing student at Wisconsin Lutheran College. She has been working at New Beginnings to fulfill her Public Health Nursing clinical. She currently lives in Milwaukee and works as a nursing assistant at Froedtert Hospital, and will be getting married this October. Rachel is excited to graduate in May, and is looking forward to continuing her career at Froedtert Hospital shortly thereafter.
Too often we underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.
Leo F. Buscaglia
“I can live for two months on a good compliment.”
This is so true! If someone says something nice to you, do you find yourself reflecting on that comment from time to time and having it bringing a renewed smile to your face? I know I do.
Acts of kindness can be so small, but mean so much. A compliment or warm smile is absolutely free to give, although for some of us, the ability to hand one out may take some refining. It may seem silly at first, but be intentional about the kindness you show others. If this is not something that comes naturally to you, start each week or day by detailing out what you will do for someone else- and then make sure you follow through. Once you get in the habit of doing small things for others, you’ll find the opportunity arise more and more often, and it will start to come naturally to you. In the end, you may even find these small kindnesses making their way back to you.
“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.” Colossians 3:12
We are always looking for new ways to spread kindness! What are some ways that you have surprised others with a random act of kindness? Find some great ideas for families by clicking on the button below.
Beth Shiels is an Assistant Home Manager at New Beginnings. She graduated from Wisconsin Lutheran College with a degree in Psychology in 2008, where she also met her husband, Zach. Along with working at New Beginnings, Beth enjoys staying home part-time with her four children and assisting in Zach's chiropractic clinic. She loves this crazy busy life God has blessed her with and is thankful to have the opportunity to share His love with the moms and babies at New Beginnings!