good life with jana heckel
Part of cultivating a good life is allowing yourself to be in awe.
One of my very favorite hymns is “I Stand All Amazed.” The lyrics go like this:
“I stand all amazed at the love Jesus offers me,
Confused at the grace that so fully He proffers me.
I tremble to know that for me He was crucified,
That for me, a sinner, He suffered, He bled and died.”
As I have grown and matured, my awe at Jesus’ grace, mercy, and goodness has grown as well. But today I would like to focus on just one small aspect of what I have learned (and am continuing to learn).
Like so very many of us, I was not super confident as a young woman. I would see all of the talents and beauty in everyone around me and would find myself lacking. Often I would allow self-pity and jealousy to overwhelm my spirit. It seemed that no matter where I looked, there was always someone prettier, more talented, richer, smarter, thinner, and just MORE than me. I felt that no matter what, I paled in comparison.
As a young married couple, my husband and I struggled for many years with infertility. During the first 9 years of our marriage, we had 2 miscarriages and 2 ectopic pregnancies (which resulted in the loss of both tubes and the inability to have children of our own). This devastating news proved to me that, once again, I was less than other women. I felt beaten and bruised and was bitter.
And then a miracle happened.
Right after my 2nd ectopic pregnancy, I was recovering in my home when my doorbell rang. I opened the door to find the most beautiful woman bearing a glorious homemade meal for me. This sweet lady was from my church, but I really didn’t know her. She swept into my home and just chatted away. She brought more than just a meal to me; she filled my home with light. This sweet woman and her meal were wonderful, but the real miracle that happened that day is that when she left, I was filled with awe and gratitude that my Savior would send an angel to me in my time of need. At that moment, I didn’t compare myself to her . . . I found myself only grateful for her talents. For the first time, I realized that the talents and blessings that the Father bestowed on others were also gifts of love to me.
In the many years since this experience, I find myself looking for the “goodness of God” in other people. I no longer compare myself to others but am grateful for how others use their gifts and talents to bless my life. In seeing the beauty and being in awe of it, my gratitude for my Lord and His kindness to me has only grown.
So, to me, cultivating a good life is to see the good, feel the awe, and give gratitude for it. Let the angels who bless your life know even if they are perfect strangers. Point out the goodness that you see to the person who is blessing your life. This not only fills them with joy (because who doesn’t enjoy a sincere compliment), but it shows gratitude to our Savior.
He lives. He loves us. And He often times shows us His love through those people who He puts in our path. I truly stand all amazed!
a note from becky
I knew I loved Jana the moment I met her at church, shortly after she moved into our community. She truly exudes what it means to be Christian. She is kind, compassionate, loves without judgment, and she is so quickly willing to serve without hesitation. I’ll never forget the day Jana taught a Gospel lesson in church when she openly shared about her “colorful” past. I loved her more that day. I loved her for being honest and vulnerable. And then when I needed to have surgery for my melanoma diagnosis, she jumped at the opportunity to serve my family with homemade deliciousness and a ride to the doctor’s when I couldn’t drive myself. This woman is a saint! The downfall to being her friend? I may have put on a pound or two because I love her baked goodies too much. She has started a little Instagram-based business where she sells her kitchen masterpieces to locals and it’s genius.
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