Sunday, December 21, 2014

When does wrong become right?

Often I would tell my older kids that if they don't want their little sister doing or saying it, why is ok for them? In other words, it's not ok for younger kids to do drugs, smoke or drink and we really don't want them cussing or having sex. So, why is it ok to do it when we "reach the right age?" We say "you're too young to (fill in the blank)." Ok, what exactly is the right age to do what is wrong? Why don't we instead stand up and do what is right, no matter how old we are?  -late night ponderings

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Questions without answers

I have a friend who is having a baby boy, Ezekiel.  He is due to arrive in November.  He has been diagnosed with Thanatophoric Skeletal Dyslasia, which doctors say means he will not live long after birth.  I have a friend who lost her husband in April, cancer, very quick and unexpected.  He died within 2 months after diagnosis.  This same friend just lost her 23 year old son 2 days ago, motorcycle accident. I have another friend who was diagnosed with breast cancer.  And another friend who has really bad COPD and another who has neuropathy so bad he can't feel his legs.  And another who lost her husband, also in a motorcycle accident, just over a year ago.  I just learned of another friend who will not be allowed visitation of her grandson because her daughter's parental rights were terminated (seriously??!!)  All looking for answers to questions they have.

I also have a friend who had brain surgery, a friend who had major surgery near his ear which affected his ability to produce saliva.  I have a friend who had rotator cuff surgery & woke up unable to use his arm, yet it was this turn of events that led to him becoming a Christian.  I know someone who thought what she was missing was a friend of hers that died years prior, and this too led to her becoming a Christian. I know someone who survived a childhood cancer, and someone who survived a terrible diving accident that left her paralyzed.  I know a couple (several actually) who struggle financially to make ends meet. They too look for answers to questions they have.

My point is, I know people who have gone through major tragedies and trials.  I could list so many others, from young people who committed suicide, to those who are in jail from choices they made to those who HAVE been healed and restored.  All of our life we have questions.  Questions about jobs, relationships, where to live-life is full of questions.  Sometimes we get the answer, sometimes we do not, at least, not the answer we are looking for, like - why?  Why do some get healed and others don't?  Why are some protected and others not?  Why does surgery work for some and others it didn't?  Why didn't my marriage work?  Why did my friend die?  Why did my friend move? Why can't we seem to get ahead of our bills?   why why why?   How many why's have you asked lately?

Maybe your question of choice isn't "why," but you still wonder and question and ask.  The questions go both ways too, but we don't usually question the good why's, like "Why is my business successful?"  or "Why did I survive that accident?"  We question the "bad" why's though.  Either "why," I don't know how to answer.  

I don't know how to answer the why's of life.  They just seem to happen and there isn't any rule they follow. There are no boundaries, they don't care about the color of your skin, what language you speak, where you live or if you have money or not or how old you are.  The why's just seem to be a part of life, and they begin when we are little and last til we are old.  I wish I could answer every question you have.  Not as one who has it all figured out, but simply to help you find the answer.  That won't happen, ever. Because some questions will not be answered, in our understanding that is.  

Truth - it is impossible for us to understand everything in life.  Truth - life keeps going, it does not pause for you to catch up.  Truth - You CAN find the strength to push through.  And I'll end with this last truth, by Rose Kennedy - “It has been said, 'time heals all wounds.' I do not agree. The wounds remain. In time, the mind, protecting its sanity, covers them with scar tissue and the pain lessens. But it is never gone.” 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

Made for more

What if God had a specific plan for your life that would bring blessings beyond your wildest imagination? A plan that would fulfill the yearning you feel inside?  But you avoid it, either because you never ask or because you choose not to believe.  You think "God is not real, after all,  if He was...(fill in the things that challenge your belief)."  You never ask Him what He wants for your life because you are afraid He will tell you to sell everything you have, or move to Africa, or quit your 6 figure income job. Whether you believe it or not, we were all created for a purpose and in each and everyone of us lies a longing for something amazing. In each one of us is an ability, a talent, a gift. Maybe you say you are happy, even doing what you want to do. I ask, what if there's more?  I ask, "do you stand at the edge of yikes?" Where you're willing to go beyond the border of comfort?  What if we have all been missing out on absolute fulfillment of every passion that ever lived in us? All because we were afraid to ask, or because we simply choose not to believe.  Here's the deal, we all have our reasons, we even think we have truth all figured out, whether its that God does not exist or that we are good where we are at.  I ask this, if your truth is different than my truth, how can we both be right? And to that I say, go beyond what you believe right now. Step out and ASK!   Take the chance to go deeper.  There is something more, for each and everyone of us.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Today she gave me $5...

She walks the streets at all hours of the day checking garbage cans. Every week she is out there, no matter how cold.  Rain seems to be the only time I don't see her.  It appears life has not been easy for her and I'm sure there are some who have told her to scram and leave their garbage alone.

What started out for me as something so simple has changed me more than she knows.  She has taught me the value of letting people give you things and simply saying thank you, even though I know she has what most of us consider to be less.

In a previous post, http://shine2day2.blogspot.com/2012/11/who-gave-me-fish.html, I shared a little about my friend. Since then, I have received another fish, bananas and now, $5.  But I will tell you, words cannot express what she has truly given me.  Very few words are spoken between us, she always smiles when she sees me come out, and always says thank you.  Today, I told her thank you.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

A Search for Significance

I’ve been thinking lately. We all desire to belong, plain and simple. We all desire to be recognized, to know that who we are means something. Not that we all seek to be president, or the best doctor or the next “Bill Gates”. No, many of us just want to be known.  We hear about someone getting an award for a job well done and a part of us thinks “man, that should have been me” whether it’s because we played a key part or simply because we know that we have done something amazing too.  We say we don’t need to be in the spotlight, which is true, I believe, for most of us.  Yet something inside longs to be recognized, to know we are making a difference, to be told we are doing something right.

Growing up, most of us have someone in our life that tells us how pretty or handsome we are, what a good job we’ve done or some form of compliment.  We draw or color pictures for our family and watch for their approval (hoping our picture would go on the frig).  Maybe you received an award for perfect attendance or student of the month.  We receive report cards from school saying something, even if it was that “Johnny talks too much.” Because a negative comment is still recognition, the acknowledgement that someone noticed us.  As we get older and develop our own opinion, we look for someone to agree with us.  As teens, we look to our peers for acceptance & reassurance.  But then we get out of school.  We begin to search again, to belong, to be recognized.  We search for jobs, relationships, companions, places to live, cars.  Many of us find a job, have a family, yet in some way, we are still missing something that says you made a difference.  Think about it, if marriage was enough, the divorce rate wouldn’t be so high.  If having kids was enough, our young generation would be thriving.  If the perfect job was enough, depression wouldn’t be regularly diagnosed.  If being single was the answer, dating websites wouldn’t be so common.  People who are single often think they just need to get married.  People who are married think maybe they married too young, too late, the wrong person.  Even though as an adult we learn to accept the way things are, we still long to hear some sort of recognition, something that says “you’re doing it right.”

I guess what I am trying to say is I just want to exist for more than cleaning the house, for more than just cooking another dinner, for more than just existing.  In a way, I believe we all do.  Let’s face it, if we all really looked inside, we’d agree that when we receive a compliment or are acknowledged in some way, it makes us feel better.  Seriously, men don’t want to just be known for working hard and taking care of the yard and women don’t want to be known as a “just a stay at home mom” or the “working mom who does it all.”  Within each of us is a longing for more, our mind KNOWS we were made for more. 

So, here’s my challenge.  What if we stop being so critical and judgmental and thinking “other” people are really messed up?  What if we stop getting mad at the person who cut you off?  What if we stop judging the disruptive kid?  What if we DON’T leave an ugly note for the person who parked too close or too crooked?  What if we stop cussing people out, flipping people off, calling someone names, chasing people because they drove too close to us?  What if we stopped getting mad at the cashier because they move too slow, stopped screaming at the person on the phone just because we don’t like what we hear?  What if we stopped comparing people?  What if we stopped demanding to get “our way?”  


AND INSTEAD, we start focusing on what people do RIGHT, let people pass us, find a way to harness the active kids energy into something positive, I mean, look at Jacob Barnett (see link below).  What if we just park somewhere else, speak encouraging words, smile more often, be kind to the cashier, spoke respectfully to people on the phone, stop demanding our way and consider the fact that maybe the person who sped passed you is racing to get to the hospital to say goodbye to a loved one?  Maybe, just maybe we would see that we are all just trying to get somewhere and looking for a way to belong.  And maybe, just maybe we would hear “you’re doing it right” more often, even better, we’d know.
















Jacob Barnett:
http://themindunleashed.org/2014/02/genius-child-kicked-school-able-learn-win-nobel-peace-prize.html
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/05/11/jacob-barnett-autistic-14-year-old-nobel-prize_n_3254920.html

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

perfection, rules, choices

I don’t mean to make it about perfection; I don’t mean to make you think you can’t make mistakes, or worse, that you better not.  It is not my intention to make you feel guilty or make you feel that you aren’t good enough.  I’m sorry for all the times I have.  I tell you how to live, give advise on what you should and shouldn’t do and try to help you understand what it means to be a Christian, because I want what is best for you. But, as I look back, I realize that my looks and my words can make you believe that you have screwed up; or that my look says “you better not…”  I even put a sign up that says “make God choices today,” which isn’t a bad thing, but what does that do to you as you walk out and then, maybe make some not-so-God choices.

You aren’t perfect, neither am I. You won’t ever be perfect, neither will I.  I love you no matter what choices you make, no matter what mistakes you make, no matter what you do.  That is where my words come from, my love for you, because I want you to make choices that will draw you closer to Christ; because I want you to walk in the blessings God has for you.  But I also know that trials WILL come SO THAT your faith and trust will be made stronger, and proven real.  Which I also want, you to find your own relationship with Christ, because it’s not me that gets you to heaven.  And it’s not your “good deeds” that do either.  And that is GREAT news!  NOTHING you do or will do or have done will make God love you any more or any less! NOTHING!!  It's not about the "good" or "bad" you do or did.  It’s all about what Jesus did for you.

So, I pray that you will love Jesus with all that you are and truly trust in Him, that He will be your answer.  And as you (hopefully) read what is below, you will realize that in my passionate talks or my crazy "square" ideas, or my corny, old-fashioned choices you will see Jesus, and not a critical or judgmental person who thinks you better not make mistakes, because this truly is why I do and say what I do and say...


Taken from the “Pearls and Grace” blog

The hearts of women who want to be known for following Jesus.
  • She will truly have His heart and His eyes to see sons and daughters when she looks at His people.
  • She will be a doer of the word and not a hearer only.
  • She will refuse to judge and condemn and do her best to love people back to wholeness.
  • She will be a fountain of mercy and grace and one who will breathe life back into dry bones.
  • She will know that it is the love of God that breaks every yoke.
  • She will be a living epistle of love and humility and will demonstrate the scriptures with kindness and gentleness and compassion.
  • She will give credit where credit is due.
  • She will point others to Him. She will give Him all the glory. All of the honor. All of the credit.
  • She will understand fully- the truth that is this. If it were not for the grace of God- there go I.
  • She will reach to the back row and encourage and minister to the hearts of the women who can't get past the grief and sorrow of their own life.
  • She will look past circumstances and situations and appearances that look different than her own to see daughters of the living God who have yet to discover their worth.
  • The new church lady is looking for opportunities to be a blessing- instead of looking for her own opportunities.
  • The new church lady knows that the only way up is down. She knows that "humility isn't thinking less of yourself but it is thinking of yourself less."
  • Graciousness is her hallmark.
  • Gratitude is her beauty treatment.
  • She is a woman of her word.
  • She is a worshipper. In spirit and in truth.
  • She is a prayer warrior and holds trust from others as sacred.
  • She is supportive of others and is not an opportunist.
  • She understands that to become the Proverbs 31 woman- you can't skip chapters 1-30 – (my input - or for that matter, Genesis through Revelation).
  • She is fully aware of her own shortcomings and seeks Him daily for His love and guidance.
  • She recognizes hopelessness and worthlessness in others and speaks life.
  • She is an excellent listener. She listens with her head and her heart. She hears what is not being said.
  • She is a lifter. An encourager. A hope giver.
  • She forgives- fully.
  • She knows that the same grace that was made available to her- is also available to everyone else.
  • She does not gossip. She does not constantly brag or boast. She speaks blessing.
  • She sees the best. Believes the best. Hopes the best.
  • She places a high value on God's people.
  • She invests in the greatest investment in the world - His people.
  • She is known for what she stands for.

“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy, good fruit, impartial and sincere.  ~ James 3:17”