Tag Archive: lara harler lahr

apart from having one of the greatest full names known to personkind [say Lara Harler Lahr out loud or sing it to the tune of ‘Deck the Halls’] Lara and her husband Chris and their daughters Alexa, Moriah and India are good friends of ours that we met in Philly in our previous season of life…

having made some very similiar decisions to Nigel and his family in the previous post and demonstrating some true inspiration of what incarnation is really about and how perhaps more of us are called to live like this, here is Lara Harler Lahr…

from left: Moriah, Lara Harler, India, Chris, Alexa

from left: Moriah, Lara Harler, India, Chris, Alexa

We started raising our kids to be world changers before they were even conceived. The day we returned from our life changing summer in  India in 1997, we decided to live differently. It was that experience that led us to name our first daughter Alexa, which means defender of mankind. Soon after, we moved from Wilmore Kentucky to Philadelphia PA. We sold everything except what we could load into our van and bought a house in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Philadelphia 13 years ago. I knew that bringing an almost 1 year old to the ghetto of Philadelphia made no logical sense to our family or much of our friends…and there were days that I thought we were crazy as well!

Our next door neighbors fought a lot. I remember fearing for the woman next door and for those sweet boys of hers. As the screaming went on for hours on end, all we could do was pray…or so we thought…. We started talking to our neighbors a little here and there and eventually decided to take down the little gate between our two back “yards.”  We went in halfsies and bought a baby pool.  I never had any deep conversations with them during that first year, and never pried into their problems. One day Chris was on the front porch hanging out when he saw our neighbor talking to other neighbors. Afterwards she came to Chris and said “Did you see that?! I just talked to a neighbor!! I never talk to neighbors, but I have been noticing you and Lara talking to neighbors and I decided I shouldn’t be the neighborhood bitch anymore!” Then she went on to say that she had noticed our relationship and it really brought hope for a healthy marriage!!

We realized at that point that having a healthy marriage and a healthy relationship with our kids does change the world!  Especially in the area where we live…where hardly and kids have a two parent home!!

Fast forward 13 years to today. We have three daughters who go to a local charter school. We have been part of a local church in the heart of the “Badlands” of Philly.  They witness the reality of poverty, drug addiction, prostitution, incarceration, shootings, and other violence. We have had to listen to our girls share heart breaking stories that they have heard from friends at school. My younger ones love to play homeless like most kids like to play house! This is just the world they know. Because my girls are exposed to such difficult and seemingly unchangeable circumstances, we put a lot of energy into teaching them to pray.  We have had morning devotions every morning for several years now and we are teaching them to pray and believe.

Two years ago we were able to travel to India to visit with our friend and her 48 kids and the child that we have been sponsoring for years. I had been in a car accident that left me with a settlement that covered our trip, and I wanted to go there more than do anything else so that my kids could witness and be a part of the faith of these kids in India. I could go on and on with stories of how much faith these children have and how God answers their prayers. I want my girls to know that closeness with God and to have that kind of faith. My girls hearts were changed. They are being molded more and more every day by their experiences which give them love for people and a deeper reliance on the power of prayer that does change the world.

[For another exciting story on raising children as world affecting people, click here for the story of Lisa Scandrette and her family]



Too Sensitive?

Is it possible to be too sensitive? For most of my growing up years, I was told that I was. It was usually after a fight with my mom, or after telling her about something a teacher or a friend said at school that mom was quick to say “are you sure you aren’t being too sensitive?” I hated it then just as much as I hate it now. It caused me a lot of pain when I was younger. Not only did I get hurt easily by my mom, friends, teachers, etc. I also thought that there was something innately wrong with how sensitive I was. I would often wish I could be more like others who were so confident and not so easily wounded. On top of that, I have dyslexia and an eye disorder that caused me to wear a patch in school. You can imagine how much fun kids had making fun of my poor reading skills and pirate costume every day!

Well, one of the things that I love about Jesus is his love for children. Remember how he said that a child would lead us?….having a daughter much like me has taught me to start seeing my sensitivity as a blessing.

My almost 13 year old daughter is wired much the same way as I am, with a very sensitive spirit. She is also dyslexic and has been getting teased a lot these past two years by peers. Recently, I caught myself telling her that she was too sensitive! I seriously felt pain in the pit of my belly as I heard those words come out of my mouth. I had to ask for forgiveness for doing to her what I had done to me. There are some things taking place in her life that are far too painful for a 13 year old to experience, and I realized that she needed to know that the way she is wired (her sensitivity), is exactly how God intended her to be. This is what I have been in the process of learning myself, as a 37 year old, so imagine if she can start believing this at such a young age! Imagine the pain that she could avoid and the strength she could carry to offer the world if she truly believed that her sensitivity is actually a gift!

I explained to my daughter how much pain our sensitivity can cause us if we aren’t anchored into the truth of God. If we base how we feel about ourselves on how others think about us, we will be tossed about in the turbulent waves of the ocean. I reminded her of when we are out fishing, we sometimes purposely don’t drop the anchor so we can drift until we start catching fish but if we aren’t careful to keep watch we may drift too far into a crab pot, another boat, or too shallow of water. But once we find fish and we drop the anchor, we will not drift away. We will stay anchored to the place we know that provides plenty of fish….. As it is with our anchoring to the Holy Spirit. When we know who we are in Christ and Christ in us, our sensitivity becomes to the things that are life giving, things that bring hope, light, love, joy, peace….

I shared with my daughter how I have found my sensitivity to be a gift. As a mom, I can see when my children hurt, as a friend I notice when there is need for a long talk and listen, as a nurse in one of the poorest neighborhoods of Philadelphia, I am able to show love and compassion to women whose stories break my heart! But more than anything, my sensitivity is a God given gift to make me sensitive to God. I feel when I have distanced myself from God. I feel it when I have done something wrong that needs forgiveness. I cannot go on with life as usual if something is between me and God or between me and my family and friends. Isn’t the greatest commandment to love God and love neighbor? My sensitivity keeps me in check!

I have come to accept that I am “too” sensitive at times. I do get hurt easily, but I am much more aware of not hurting others and when I do, I am quick to make things right. My prayer is that the more that myself and Alexa are anchored into the Divine one, the more we will sense God’s love for us…the more we will love others…the more we will love each other. I am so thankful God gave me a child so much like myself. In many ways it has helped me to self-reflect and see the gift of what I once saw as a weakness. It may have taken me decades to figure out how to anchor this sensitivity thing, not that I have fully figured it out. I have learned that the scars created by my weaknesses are becoming beauty marks! By the grace of God, I know that I was made to be this way and it is a gift, not a curse!

[Lara M. Lahr RN. – head on over to Lara’s blog to read more of her wisdom and stories…]

to read the WOO factor Strength Weakness of my mate Rob Murray go here

the other day i was listening to one of my friends share some of their story with a group of people – four of our friends were speaking on the topic of serving God [and people] with our Time, our Talents [skills, giftings] and our Treasures [money, things] with each person dealing with a specific one of them.

as i listened to Lara [who is, among other things, a mom, a wife, a daughter, a nurse, a church member, a Simple Way board member] speak about Time, something she said jumped out at me and i was hit once again with the idea that sometimes our biggest strength can also become our biggest weakness [or if not the biggest then at least a source of weakness]

i think for me, something like competitiveness can be a good thing because it drives me to succeed and to push and to go further than maybe others think i can and so on, and to attempt things a lot of people might not, but when it is bad it is really bad and it can be a source of choosing goals over relationship, or getting into a bad mood [and generally helping other people feel bad] when i am losing in a game [Stop nodding, anyonewhohaseverplayedabunchofgamesagainstme!] or having some choice but not to kind words to say to the opposition on the hockey field.

it becomes tricky because unlike something that is just seen as a bad thing in my life, the answer is not eliminating it because it is a strength as well. and so i have to learn how to work on and emphasise the strong points while looking at diminishing or at the very least being aware of the weak points so i can hopefully let them appear less.

but that was just a taster… i have asked some of my friends and people who i respect if they will take some time to look at their own lives and choose a strength that they have which they have also witnessed the weakness side of and a number of them graciously agreed and so i will be running this series over the next few days.

i invite you to take a look at some of the strengths you have and see if you can identify the weakness that might lurk behind them. and feel free to share in the comments section. i am hoping that awareness of this will help us to be more focused on strengthening the strengths and weakening the weaknesses.

what is your Strength Weakness?

read the story of Steve Graybill as he speaks about a THIRST FOR KNOWLEDGE

read the story of Tshego Motiang and her experience with EMPATHY

read the story of my good mate Bruce Collins and his experience with PEOPLE…

read the story of Lara and her take on SENSITIVITY…

read the story of Robert Murray as he speaks about the WOO FACTOR

read the story of Shae Leigh Bloem and her experience with being HARDCORE

read the story of Dalene Reyburn and her experience with AMBITION…

read the story of Sharné Finn Osborne and her experience with INCLUSIVITY

read the story of Tim Tucker as he looks at being a MULTI-TASKER

read the story of Jane Lee as she talks a little bit about CONTEXT

%d bloggers like this: