Featured Post-the first thing I ever published...

Chaos, Social Justice, and Facing Fear in order to Seek God's Face

You will keep in perfect peace those whose minds are steadfast, because they trust in You.  Isaiah 26:3 A warning in advance-in...

Search This Blog

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Today I'm over at 5 Minutes for Faith....

I'm not a mom of pre-schoolers, not a member of the MOB society. Nobody writes about where I am, so I decided to record the tales of a Mid-Life Mama. Please join me here?
Mid-Life Mama

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Not even possible without Grace…

We are grieving the loss of a very dear friend, and for our family it’s a new kind of pain. It is the first personal loss for our children. They’ve never lost anyone they knew intimately and loved deeply. It feels like we’re all trying to breathe deeply through hot water.

The Lord is close to the brokenhearted
    and saves those who are crushed in spirit
Psalms 34:18 (NIV)
I am clinging to the words of this Psalm right now, knowing that as mama I tend to my children first and bank my own hurt for later. I have walked this tear-stained path; they have not.

What I know is that this walk is not possible without Grace. If I didn’t have faith I wouldn’t have anything to lean against right now.

Precious Lord, take my hand 
lead me on, let me stand'
I am tired, I am weak, I am worn,,,
I am also clear that while dad and mom care for the children, daddy’s looking after mama. Each evening when I am weary, he spreads wide the arms into which I sag and sob. I’ve said it before praising God as I declare, “that man really knows how to love me.”  And I am not easy.

So, if you would take a moment, kindly join us in prayer for the grieving family of my brilliant friend, beautiful, bright, and remarkable in the way she made everything special. I thank God for the gift she is my life. Always. When I think of her, I will not say “was.” She is. Always. Forever. I will not say “was.” EVER.

Saturday, July 19, 2014

When you know better…

Do everything readily and cheerfullyno bickering, no second-guessing allowed! Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society. Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the living God. Carry the light-giving Message into the night so Ill have good cause to be proud of you on the day that Christ returns. Youll be living proof that I didnt go to all this work for nothing.
Philippians 2:12-14 (MSG)

I excel in the art of quiet but biting sarcasm. I yell less now than I have in the past, but I am not yet delivered of my inclination to let my family know when they’ve really ticked me off.  Slyly. Acidic. It’s a ugly habit and I need it gone. When you know better, you do better. I know better. (Note-I wrote this a while ago, but God led me back to it again. I needed to relearn the lesson.)

Grace measured in degrees. 
Center your actions and thoughts on pursuing Christ. 
Know Better. 
Do Better.
After not doing things well one morning, despite deliberate intentions to the contrary, conviction and encouragement came courtesy of a lesson on Philippians 2 on the radio. (Direct hit) I do not believe I am a bad person. Neither were the members of the fellowship at Philippi. From Believersweb.org. we have this overview of a small but earnest fellowship,

Philippians is the epistle of joy and encouragement in the midst of adverse circumstances. Paul freely expresses his fond affection for the Philippians, appreciates their consistent testimony and support, and lovingly urges them to center their actions and thoughts on the pursuit of the power of Christ. 

Focus. This is Grace measured in degrees. Centering your actions and thoughts on pursuing Christ. When you know better, you do better. I am taking Paul’s words absolutely seriously…

                “Do everything readily and cheerfully.”

You know when you’re being ugly. Nobody needs to make you feel any worse about it.  And neither do you need to spread the ugly when things go awry, when people do careless things, ridiculous things and your saltiness hurts, healing nothing.  If it's already a struggle, you certainly don't need the addition of sharp words from me (or anyone). Each time I open my mouth I have an opportunity to bless or curse, and I choose badly, more often than I care to admit. My takeaway, particularly after a reread of Philippians 2, is to not mutter (or think) anything I may regret, or that may cause harm and do no good. Paul’s admonition continues…

“Go out into the world uncorrupted, a breath of fresh air in this squalid and polluted society.” 

If I am living authentically, shouldn’t my life make the case for Christianity? There’s enough crap out there. Live different.

“Provide people with a glimpse of good living and of the Living God.”

If you’re not in worship, not writing, not teaching, not “doing” Christian, there should still be something peculiar about you. Let’s be caught in the act of doing God’s Will. Always.

“Carry the light-giving Message…”

I’m letting my little light shine. On my children. In my home. When I open my mouth. When I don’t. 

I am grateful for Grace measured in degrees. I am thankful for knowing better. Thank God for the Word that guides me; encouraging me. Today, I'm giving myself Grace, to develop the habit that I might extend it liberally to others. Because they deserve it (we all do). Because I should.

We know better. Do better. Do Grace, because where would you be without it?

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Crooked lines…(join me at God-Sized Dreams)

If the path between us and the achievement of our dreams was a straight line, would we consistently be faithful? I wonder, but I’m not optimistic. With a clear, wide, and open path to my dream, I might be inclined to believe I could do it all by myself. In achieving my God-Sized Dreams, I need to rely upon Faith....

Want more? I'm over at God-Sized Dreams with my sisters today, talking about faith, patience, and acknowledging that we can all be a little crazy. Join us

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Find a soft word (or else)…

 A soft answer turns away wrath,
      but a harsh word stirs up anger. 
Proverbs 15:1 (NKJV)

Why are we so mean?? How often do you say or do something only because you feel provoked? According to Dr. Monica A. Frank, Clinical and Sport Psychologist,

"...most people are mean due to some flaw in themselves or distortion in their thinking. Usually, unless you have done something significant, it is not about you." So what would happen if we tried something different?

It’s time for a moult.  I’m shedding a skin, ready to be a little different than I was before.  I don’t want to be so mean.  I don’t like how it sounds coming out of me, I don’t like how it feels coming at me.  I’m finding soft words.

As the mother of two teen-agers, a woman of a certain age, married more than 21 years, I know harsh words and the ruin left in their wake.  I’ve tried a number of analogies, e.g., nails in a piece of wood and the scars they leave, pin pricks in a balloon unseen but no less damaging, I try to model the right behavior, but I’m not always good at living the lesson.  It’s time for a moult, I’m going to choose to find soft words, or else.

Just this morning, Pinky and the Brain (one of my many nicknames for my beautiful babies) were sniping at each other in the car.  I’d just read Proverbs 15:1, and decided to practice what I intended to preach.  We talked about it, I had Pinky read the NIV translation, just to be clear, and we talked about what that might look like.  I’m challenging myself to find the soft words, or the quiet, not just today but long enough for it to become a habit.

I don’t like the harsh sound of my own voice, and if I don’t like being on the receiving end of unkindness, I certainly should not dish it out.  I don’t deserve to be treated that way, and if I don’t, why should anybody else?

A dear friend signs every email with a quote from Mahatma Gandhi, “be the change you want to see in the world.” I’m taking her, and his advice.  I’m finding soft words.  It’s easy to pick a fight.  It’s harder to choose not to…you see, you always have a choice.

I choose Grace.  I choose soft words.  Reading further into Proverbs 15 (Proverbs 15:13 NKJV) I find the payoff, not that I really needed it.  You see, “a merry heart makes a cheerful countenance, but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken. “ Had I to meet my judgment now, I'd choose cheery countenances.  Do you want to explain a string of broken spirits? Go right ahead.

I’m choosing Grace, and am thankful for the choice.  I’m thankful that no matter my circumstances, I am blessed with an abundance of good things to choose.  That abundance is my reminder that God is Good. 

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Rest (a kind of Grace)

so on the seventh day he rested from all his work.
Genesis 2:2[b] (NIV)

Seventh days are for resting…

I am trying to learn.  Ahem. I have learned. I now know that when I am too tired to get in God’s way, His path is cleared to move. Let me restate. I have learned that when I am too weary to rely upon my own strength, the scales fall from my eyes in time to see God move. Let me be clear…God moves whether I am in the way or not; it’s just that I am learning to get out of the way.

The inevitable consequence of my continual failure to get out of God's way is to be quieted and moved, and quiet and moved (by God’s Hand) is not my favorite way to take a lesson. Today I was tired; a pitcher more than half poured out…nothing to give and all worn down. Thank God I remembered that seventh days are for resting.  

Even God the Father took a rest. I’m not suggesting anything except that His is a worthy example, one to which I aspire. In the meantime (as I go off to rest), I leave you with this…
Weary must be how You want me
so I can’t get in Your way.
Lord, please give me Grace for one more day.

OneWord 2015

OneWord 2015

C'mon. Follow along. Please?