This morning I could hear my 7-year-old say to her big brother, “you treat people how you want to be treated,” as she began to tackle and tickle him. It was funny, and yet a glaring reminder of how our #1 family rule was being misused. My attempt to teach them to treat others well is sometimes used as a means to justify a negative response. Truly, it’s a pretty human response. How often do we use other people’s own words against them when they fail? Or take one or two scriptures and use them to attack or condemn another person? I seriously doubt God’s intention for His words of instruction was so we would have a larger arsenal of tools to use against one another.
Consider your heart and intent towards others. Are you more often convicted in your heart of your own shortcomings, or are the flaws and imperfections in others more evident to you? Even if justified, our anger and negativity towards others serves only to create a more toxic environment; to stifle growth in ourselves and others.
Choose today to love well. Extend grace. The bible says that “love covers a multitude of sins.” Chances are the person you are convicting already knows they struggle in that area, and further condemnation only feeds the feelings of inadequacy and hinders their ability to move past it. Choose to edify and lift up your neighbor. Remember, we treat others how WE want to be treated…
The treasures of King Tutankhamun are in Seattle again – their last visit here was in 1978. I was 7 when I walked through the maze of priceless gold and art. I still very much remember his baby crib, made entirely of precious metal. Whether the remarkable history, grandeur of it all or simply the beauty, it made a lasting impression on me. As soon as I heard this display was coming back back, I made plans to take my kids to see it as well. It made such an impact on me, I long to share it with them as well.
What are the moments that have resonated in your spirit? What thoughts come to mind when you think of your childhood? I know that for myself, there are not a lot of memories from when I was young, but those that remain are clear and distinct. Some good and some not so grand, they stand as pillars on my heart, reminding me of where I have come from, what the world has told me about myself.
I long to create moments for my kids that are lasting, that are positive. I want to create an environment and series of opportunities, both great and small, that they might be able to carry with them long after I have gone. Moments that will propel them to want more and to seek greatness, moments that they will share with their kids.
It doesn’t have to be huge or extravagant, but what it does need to be is meaningful in some way. The times I choose to sit and eat popcorn while watching Elmo instead of doing the dishes. Opting for a backyard picnic over the kitchen table for no particular reason. Holding my teen’s hand while sharing my heart and vision for their life. Walking through endless rooms of priceless artifacts and drawing a picture of a real person and a real culture of people that affected the course of history. The face of the world.
Create a moment today – there are more opportunities than you may think. And as you begin to seek out the wonder in everything that is around you, that passion will spill over into your child’s life and, into yours.
Last year my then-kindergartner was having a very difficult time with another little girl in her class. They had a mutual best friend, and the competition was getting extremely negative. My daughter was coming home hurt daily and I did have a few occasions to witness some of the behaviors going on. To be honest, I wasn’t quite certain what to do outside of pray and continue teaching my child the importance of loving others, not responding in anger, and using her words to try and graciously create harmony. It was a rough season. So difficult that at the end of the year when we were looking at which classes to put her into for 1st grade, I was seriously considering denying her request to take the block class with the other girls and the elective classes she had been invited to take with her friends.
After much consideration and prayer, I did enroll her in classes with her friends. The very first day of class didn’t bring much promise, and I was unsure if I had made a good choice or not. But she and I kept praying and the relationship began to turn. Good reports began coming home and I was encouraged.
Yesterday, I watched as my daughter joyfully made a gift for her one-time adversary. She lovingly chose things from the gifts on hand to add to the bag of goodies. Her new friend is moving away and my daughter is extremely sad to see her go. She has worked out on her United States map how far away they will be from one another, and has been sharing her desire to keep in contact with her. How much she will miss her.
You see, God answers prayer. He hears the desires of our hearts and in His time, unfolds a response. Even in the small things, God wants to show Himself big. Do not be dismayed or deterred by His timing, for it is perfect. Never be discouraged with His answer, perhaps this way is better. We cannot see our lives at a whole, but He can. Trust that the good work He has started in you, He will finish. One prayer at a time.
I recently had a complete change in perspective on an issue that I have struggled with for quite some time. It’s extremely difficult to put into words, but it is as though the picture has been turned inside out. Or perhaps I have walked from one side of an object to the other – it looks very different. What is interesting about a perspective change is that is can largely affect many other aspects of your life. As a woman, I tend to tie everything together somehow, and emotions and thought patterns are closely tied to circumstances and my personal point of view. When the positioning changes, so does the way I live my life. Literally.
The challenge now is that when my brain goes to familiar veins of thought, I am stopped in my tracks – they don’t ring true anymore. I must now set my thoughts on new things. It feels foreign and not quite like ‘me’ anymore, and I feel as though some other areas of my life are also in need of redefining. Change isn’t easy, especially when core values and beliefs begin to shift.
I wonder if that is the fear for many people in seeking a relationship with Christ. When we begin to follow Him and His ways, read the bible which directs people down a very different path than most of the world, it can be a distinct challenge to accommodate our new beliefs and filters to an old world view. The majority of people struggle with such change – it’s so much easier to stick with what we know, even if it’s detrimental.
Today, consider where you are in your journey? Is your unwillingness, or inability, to change, keeping you from moving towards your destination? Are you missing out on healing, on peace, or personal growth as you face a change in positioning? Grab a hold of someone who’s done it and go for it. You just may end up on the ride of your life!
Relationships can be hard; both parties absolutely have to be invested in order to achieve success. And yet, often we find ourselves in positions where only one is willing to put in the work. The other person might SAY they want it, or imply a desire to be connected, but they allow their own filters and perceptions to keep you apart. As a result, division is maintained through strife, misunderstanding or offense. I have faced this struggle on more than one occasion. While on the one hand, I have amazing, fulfilling, long-standing friendships, still others have brought with them a deep pain. There are people I love a great deal who cannot get past their own interpretations of what my heart, mouth, and actions, are really saying. It’s very difficult to let them go, and yet impossible to do life with someone who is unwilling to receive me for who I am, or who is not open to accepting me at face value. Oftentimes, the internal agendas we walk around with can overshadow our ability to see clearly, those who are closest to us. Today, consider the relationships you struggle with the most and take the opportunity to honestly evaluate what the core issue is. Are your expectations or interpretations, your filters or history, keeping you from the fulfillment you seek? Be willing to invest; to go out on a limb and accept others at face value. Give those you love the opportunity to be who they were brought into your life to be in the first place. At the end of the day, relationship is all we got.
Growing up in the Northwest, we struggle with a significant light deficit – the sun is often veiled by some form of grey and when it does make its appearance, we strive to make the most of it. And, justify our decision to continue living here with so few days to enjoy our beautiful outdoors.
This morning I am sitting on the back deck with coffee (and obviously, computer) in hand. The sun is shining and the birds are noticeably grateful as well. There is a small tug of guilt as I sit – it feels as though I should be accomplishing something. I just find it so hard to pass up a moment like this.
In the busyness of life, we can often miss that which will fulfill us at the deepest level. As we pursue money and accolades, accomplishment and praise, we often find ourselves still feeling as though we are chasing the unattainable. And in some way, I believe we are. God has given us so many gifts, but one of the most precious is full access to His presence in our lives. Sitting in the quiet, enjoying His creation, taking a moment to reflect and refuel, may seem a bit dry in today’s fast-paced culture, but could quite possibly be what exactly what our hearts and spirits need.
Today, take a moment to enjoy that which brings you joy – a cup of joe, bare toes in the grass, simply appreciating the flowers on your back deck. The laundry list will wait, but this moment will soon be but a memory. Enjoy.
Yesterday I had a prime opportunity to be offended. Funny, since that is the very thing our pastor spoke on this past Sunday. A woman at the kids’ school took it upon herself to point out how she felt I was not making a good choice as a mother. Having lost my cool with her over the exact same situation (different topic) last year, I chose to not say a word and walk away. It’s difficult for me to deal with those who would appear to care little for the opinions and boundaries of others. There is a distinct difference between a mother who parents from perhaps an opposing world view and one who is just negligent – but this particular woman seems to feel her brand of parenting is best.
But, here is the kicker. As adults, her own children have had considerable struggles and I would submit to you the possibility that her over-zealous attitude towards helping those around her make the “correct” choices in raising their own children, may be her way of trying to make up for what she feels are her own inadequacies. The pain of watching her own precious ones struggle may propel her to action whenever she sees something that reminds her of herself. Past mistakes can be debilitating.
Needless to say, after breathing deeply and silencing the arguments juggling around my brain, I have chosen to forgive and love this person. Nothing I can say will ease her pain, nor change the course of her direction. The only antidote to pain is love. Love someone today.
The day started off poorly – not enough rest, grumpy 3-year-old, husband leaving for business trip. Fed the animals, made the coffee, matched some socks and sat down to write. Brain stuck. I clicked around on the internet for a while, read a little scripture and still felt a little off. Not a bad mood necessarily, but definitely, well, disenchanted. Ever have one of those days? A funk moves in, sometimes for no particular reason, and it sets the stage for the rest of the day. Come on, somebody! But here’s what I did and you can, too – it’s making all the difference. Worship. I clicked on Pandora and Awaken Me by Jesus Culture starts to play. As the very first notes reached my ears, I could feel my body relaxing, my spirit lifting. In true Pavlovian response, my perspective and attitude was immediately and radically altered. There is absolutely nothing more powerful in your set of spiritual weapons than worship. Don’t waste another moment in a position that is not beneficial – move into a position of gratitude and peace and watch your world change! Or, at least your Monday.
Who are you when nobody is watching? Who are you when certain people are watching? With your family? At work? Church?
In the past few days I have had two different people come up and share a good report when it comes to my 7-year-old daughter. One person told me that her children adore Kenda and consider her to be a “sweet girl.” Another person came up to me today and shared that when Kenda left the room, a couple of other kids started talking about her. They said what a good friend she is and how when other kids put them down or make fun of how they did their art project, that she always comes over and will encourage them and lift them back up. I love who I am hearing my child is when I am not there to enforce the rules.
I really hope I would get a good report – not only from others, but from my God. I long to make Him proud; to live my life as best I can in representation of Him – even if He is the only one who sees!
My prayer for each of us is that when we leave a room, we have also left a mark of grace, acceptance and love. Even if nobody is watching.
I love to write. I have loved it as long as I can remember. There is something cathartic about it, and I find it especially helpful with my personality, as I usually have multiple thoughts and scenarios running through my brain at once!
Recently, a friend told me she could tell my writing was different. I found it interesting that she noticed, to be honest. Being in yet another season of change and healing, my flow is not what it’s been. I don’t find that God is speaking through me as freely as He usually does. When my writing comes from divine inspiration, it comes quickly, like a rush of water, and I will always get feedback from a reader letting me know it was exactly what they needed to hear that day. That’s all God.
As much as we think we have a gift that belongs to us; it’s been given to us by God, to glorify Him. While I can certainly write a decent paragraph on my own, it’s only when He is speaking fluidly through me that the words I share are truly anointed to bring blessing and life-change to others.
Remember to use your giftings to bless and edify others. And by all means, don’t neglect the relationship with the One who gave it to you.