When I was born, I had a tumor in my neck—a tumor the size of a man’s fist in a newborn baby’s neck. Of course, the doctors said I would die if the tumor wasn’t removed, but even with the surgery my chance of survival was only 50%. Once the surgery was over (and I was still alive), these same experts were so convinced that I would be so physically and/or mentally handicapped that they tried to get my parents to put me in a state home that could better care for me.
Today, unless I tell you about my minor physical handicaps, you probably wouldn’t notice them. I’m a fully walking, talking, creative being who is alive and pursing her passions.
Statistics say I should have died. And, if I did survive, then I shouldn’t be able to care for myself. But I serve a God who is bigger. Bigger than life. Bigger than statistics. A God who chose me for a purpose. A God who gave me a passion for life and people.
But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light. (1 Peter 2:9 NKJV)
The tagline for my business these days is SHINE Beyond. To me, that tagline sums up the #LiveChosen message. And it is how I try to live my life.
I want to SHINE Beyond my circumstances, my experiences, my fears, my dreams, passions, my worries … When the world looks at me, I want them to see that precious light.
Life is a gift. A temporary gift. We are all given one life and one opportunity to leave our mark on this world—big or small. In the end, is success important? Money? Status? Power? No. Of course not. Just like life, these things are only temporary and fleeting.
What matters then? Relationships. People. Hope. Love. Faith.
I got into writing because I wanted to give people hope and encourage them wherever they are in their lives. And I wanted to give them the tools and confidence they need to SHINE Beyond, influencing the people in their circles.
I got into social media for the same reason. But it’s a different approach because social media is all about being social, it’s all about relationships. When people are real and authentic, in addition to providing value online, that’s when they find success in social media. Success is not defined solely by numbers, but also by engagement—in other words how people respond to their message.
To #LiveChosen, I strive to leave each person I meet a little bit better than before I met them. A little happier. A little smarter. A little more encouraged. Whatever “little more” they needed for the day. I help people achieve the dreams.
And to think, some experts thought that I wouldn’t make it to my first birthday, or that I wouldn’t have be able to care for myself. Look at me now! God chooses people and calls them according to His purpose. And what a ride that is!
Whether she’s wielding a fantasy writer’s pen, a freelance editor’s sword, or a social media wand, Ralene Burke always has her head in some dreamer’s world. And her goal is to help everyone SHINE BEYOND! She has worked for a variety of groups, including Realm Makers, The Christian PEN, Kentucky Christian Writers Conference, and as an editor for several freelance clients. Her first novel, Bellanok, is available on Amazon!
When her head’s not in the publishing world, she is wife to a veteran and homeschooling mama to their three kids. Her Pinterest board would have you believe she is a master chef, excellent seamstress, and all around crafty diva. If she only had the time . . .
You can also find her on Facebook, Twitter, or at her website.
I have been so excited to share each of these #LiveChosen stories with you. I hope you are encouraged and inspired by them. It's not over yet, there is still more to come this month, but don't forget to enter the GIVEAWAY!!!