mistaken identity

I struggle with labeling people. I do. It’s terrible and I didn’t fully realize I did it until recently. At the parent partnership where two of my kids attend school, there tends to be a bit of a cultural bent towards self-entitlement – something that is a deal breaker for me on an interpersonal level.

Well, the other day I was super irritated when I saw a van parking up on the sidewalk next to the school (along with several others who had already arrived). Parking is a premium here, and some choose to make up their own rules when it comes to where they set down their tires for the day.

When I saw the driver, however, I saw that it was one of my favorite staff members. I instantly softened, and realized that perhaps staff parked up there so the rest of us had space… Or she was late and couldn’t find anything else…Bottom line is that I know WHO this person is, and I realized that I had mistakenly labeled her decision as one of entitlement, but that is not at all who she has proven herself to be.

Bottom line is that it’s really easy to label or get frustrated, but until we actually know someone’s heart or intentions, we really don’t get to pass judgment on someone else’s choices. Nor should we.

I’m learning as I go. Learning to live and let live can be one of the hardest of lessons sometimes. But, if I desire to be seen for who I am, I must first choose not to mistake another’s identity, either…

 

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When others don’t believe in you, or won’t choose to elevate or propel you towards your destiny, or desired position, always believe and know that God will fight for you. He will promote you; He will place you firmly on the ground He has already taken for you. Always trust the heart of those you love, but remember that they are only human. It is God alone who knows fully what you are capable of.

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“There may be no trumpet sound or loud applause when we make a right decision, just a calm sense of resolution and peace.” – Gloria Gaither

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the value of rest

Waking up this morning, thoughts of sadness and appreciation for our troops, both lost and still serving, are mingled with the sheer contentedness of a cup of coffee, my computer, and nowhere to be. At all.

Lovely, she sighs….

Then I open my email and there is an ad for a pretty decent deal at Target. Today only. Suddenly I feel like I might miss something if I don’t make sure I get up there and take advantage of it. My mind goes to my basket of coupons and I begin to formulate a plan to go and return with a victorious bounty of great deals.

There goes my peace.

Fasting Facebook this past week has revealed to me just how addicted I am to social media. To being connected. Now that there is no Facebook, I compulsively check my email…watch for my turn in Ruzzle and Dice… And while social media and games and gadgets are amazing, I think we can sometimes allow ourselves to be robbed of significant moments in our lives. Moments when our brains turn off. Our hearts open up. God can speak. We can HEAR Him speak. Dreams and ideas are born. Healing occurs…

God Himself saw the value of rest at the end of a busy week of creating. The bible tells us He rested on the 7th day, once He had deemed His work as “good.” We are afforded many things in this life, and so much of it is good. But we shouldn’t forget that active, intentional rest is needed as well.

Enjoy your holiday!

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superficial things

When the kids were younger, I used to be pretty patient when things would get broken. Even if it was something extremely valuable or sentimental, I would let them know that while I was disappointed, ‘relationships are more important than things.’

Pouring my coffee this morning, I chose a friendship mug that one of my longtime friends had given me for my birthday last year. It’s beige with funky black flowers on it and it reads, “friends are like flowers…you get to pick them.” I absolutely love it, and this morning when I took it out of the cupboard, it felt like a big hug.

Things, while inanimate, are attached to people.

I love to surround myself with textures and pictures – it creates a cozy atmosphere. But more than that, I love the feeling I get when I look at the pillows my stepdaughter and her mom got me… Or the lantern from my mother-in-law… The telescope Chris’s dad got the kids…The great deal I got on those candle holders at a yard sale with a dear friend…When I wear my grandmother’s opal ring…

As I get older, my possessions become more valuable to me. Not because of what they are, or how much they are worth, but because I know now more than I have ever have before, that the loved ones who are attached to those things will not always be with me. They have become precious reminders of the abundant love God has blessed my life with.

We may never have all we want, but we can love all that we do have. Even if they are just superficial things…

 

 

mountains

I started thinking this morning about some pretty big things I am believing God for; many of which have been in my prayers for years. After an amazing time of worship on Wednesday night, our pastor called for a fast, and, sharing in his feeling that it’s a season for breakthrough, I am participating.

What really struck me this morning is how double minded I have been.

Certain areas of my faith walk have allowed wiggle room for weakness of conviction, and my disappointment and feelings of helplessness have slowly snuck into the nooks and crannies of my spiritual reality.

You see, we cannot say to one that we are “believing God” for something, when we look at our spouse or ourselves in the mirror, and have fear. Prayers of pleading, instead of declarations of victory and faith, create an environment where fear prevails and pushes out any hope of seeds of hope to grow. What we speak into our atmosphere, our homes, or over our lives, will take root. Created in God’s image, we are to speak life over our circumstances. When He created the world, He didn’t merely think about how nice it would be to see green pastures, or say, “gee, I really hope an ocean rises up over here…” But rather He commanded the existence of His creativity and “hopes” into His surroundings.

My hypocrisy ends today. No longer will I choose any words other than those which speak to the hopes, dreams and faith in my heart. Imagine if we all chose to speak the solution rather than the problem. I am supremely excited to start seeing my mountains move….

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death by tomato

This afternoon I called a friend to pray with her and instead she ended up praying for me. I was about to take a bit of a cracker topped with pesto and a cherry tomato when the tomato rolled into my mouth, straight into my throat, and lodged itself there. I couldn’t breathe, nor could I ask her for help. The only other people in my home are the two littles and I have done a piss-poor job of teaching them what to do in case of an emergency.

Thankfully, after a few minutes of hearing me gurggle, but still having no idea what was going on, she began to pray. Just then the tomato flew back up and into my kitchen sink where I was trying unsuccessfully to use the Heimlich Maneuver. To say I was relieved is an understatement, and our address was immediately posted on the refrigerator.

Here is my thought this afternoon. I called my friend to bless her and cover her in prayer. She ended up praying over me. The bible says when we “water [bless, refresh, fill up] others, we ourselves will be watered.” It’s been my experience that every time I have chosen to bless, pray over, reach out to, or lift up, another human being, the benefit to myself and my own spiritual and mental well being has far surpassed any good thing I thought I was bringing to another.

When we reach out, we are doing God’s will – in return, He will always reward us as well. Even  if it’s saving us from death by tomato.

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timing is everything

Years ago someone very close to me lost a loved one to a tragic and unexpected accident. It created a pretty significant chasm between he and God, and the grief process was a long one for him. At one point I gave him a Jeremy Camp cd. He’s a Christian artist who lost his first wife to cancer at a young age, and early in their marriage. I believed Jeremy’s songs and personal journey would be beneficial to my dear one.

Some time later, my friend came back to me, and let me know about the personal journey of this artist and to be honest, I was a little irritated as clearly I had not been heard when I first explained the significance of my gift. Recently, a similar situation happened, only I have learned something that gave me far more grace.

Timing is everything.

In my own life, I know there are seasons of growth, of reaping, harvesting, lack and blessing. Lessons come in their own time, at the appropriate time – when God knows we are ready.

Every good thing we share with another person has the opportunity to grow and come to its fullness when the time is right. Whether it’s in that moment when a much-needed word of encouragement lifts their spirits, or at a later time when what has been spoken blossoms into fullness of reality.

Plant, plant, plant. Invest in others and allow others to invest in you. God brings to fruition that which we need, when the time is right.

rub me the wrong way!

Some of the most life-changing conversations that happen in our home occur while hanging out in the kitchen. Whether I am cooking, cleaning, unloading the dishwasher or chillaxin’ with a cup o’ joe, the kids will often pull up a bar stool and the dialogue begins.

Every day with the exception of Saturdays, we all get up early, so I usually like to make a decent breakfast and take it a little more leisurely than the rest of the week. Today was pancakes, and as I might expect, up came a teen (there are 3 of them living here, currently), and the exchange began. Today, we discussed her desire to not get married.

It’s hard for kids who come from divorced families, to sometimes even catch a glimpse of what God’s plan for marriage looks like in action. Media certainly doesn’t help, and with a divorce rate bursting at the seams around 60%, many can’t even imagine what spending your whole life with someone might look like.

This child’s concern is with contention. She thinks there is a lot of arguing/conflict in marriage, which is funny because my husband and I rarely argue, nor do the other set of parental units. If I were to be honest, she makes me laugh because she always wants to avoid conflict… Like that’s possible! We talked about siblings and friends, bosses and coworkers, spouses and yes, children. If we are breathing, we will deal with the occasional confrontation. Certainly,  to live life is to be challenged.

I shared how the bible talks about “iron sharpening iron,” and how when we rub up against a different personality or point of view, it can often cause friction. But, that it can also help us to grow, to be sharpened in our spirituality, skill set, or capacity to relate with others, and can oftentimes be a good thing.

Hang out in the kitchen more. Learn. Let others sharpen you. Sharpen others. Growth is never easy, but always so rewarding.

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