not enough

Sitting in my living room this morning, sun streaming in the windows, worship music on the stereo, one little reading, and another playing on my phone, scrolling Facebook and reading articles about politics and culture in America today, I am wondering if I am doing enough.

We pray every morning. Over our day, over one another. We thank God for our blessings like food, water and safety. Serve at church. Give to the poor. Talk about giftings and purpose and destiny. Attend a school where it’s ok (even encouraged!) to talk about our faith. Play worship music in our home and cars daily. Memorize scripture…

But where is the life change?

I get so frustrated some days. Arguing. Selfishness. Short fuses and curt words. Whining and complaining. Entitlement. And those are just my own tendencies. Ugh.

As parents, it’s not always easy to know if the seeds we are sowing will take root. Walking in my own imperfection and scars, it’s a challenge to even feel I have the right to ask more of my children than what I am sometimes capable of. And yet, I am called to train my children up in the way they should go.

Perhaps one of the greatest things we can show our children is that on our own, we are not enough. We can never be all we are designed to be when we function singularly, in our own strength. Whether part of a company, church, community or family, our gifts are only able to operate at its greatest capacity when jointly fitted with the gift sets in those we are in relationship with. Even those who are most decidedly different from us can offer great balance when we appreciate that we are all put together, if only for a season, to most effectively carry out the plan for each of us; as individuals and corporately.

Sometimes, the very gaps we unintentionally cause in our children’s growth (emotionally, spiritually) are the very gaps God intends for another to fill later in life. In our imperfections, we are still the parents that God chose specifically to raise up our own children in the way they should go. (Whew!)

Be encouraged today to walk this thing out. Keep pressing in, never being fully satisfied with where you are, but never doubting your contribution in this moment. Right where you are, you are enough.

Romans 12:3-6 and 10 – For I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. For as we have many members in one body, and all members have not the same office: So we, being many, are one body in Christ, and every one members one of another. Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us…Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love; in honor preferring one another…

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giving up

This past week I have experienced a couple of milestones which have brought me to a place of introspection. At this point in the game, watching my older two children approaching adulthood, I find reflection to come more frequently. My past experiences, failures, triumphs, and tragedies, all swirl around in my mind at the most unexpected of moments; dancing in and out of my conversations and alternating minutes.

I remember my mom when she was how old I am now. Being a teenager, knowing “everything,” and being in the middle of my own hormonal jungle, it was not always easy, if not impossible, for me to relate to my mom. Upon reflection, having the awareness I do now and the wisdom that has come with age and experience, I am amazed at how well she insulated myself and my siblings from the sometimes insurmountable pain and struggle she lived with daily.

Now in that same season, and having walked a little bit different road (but with some striking similarities), I marvel at how well adjusted and whole my children are. And, hesitate in my feelings of perceived success. To be perfectly honest, it’s only by the grace of God I still stand, only by His faithfulness my children have blossomed into the people they are becoming.

I think I would encourage anyone in a state of chaos, indecision, pain or loss, to walk this life out in faith. To take everything to God in prayer. To stand strong in personal conviction and to do your best to not retaliate or let bitterness take root. Let forgiveness reign. I am aware of my limitations, but even more aware of how strong and reliable my God is in those limitations. It is in my experience that only in walking out a life of true humility, faith, and obedience is God able to redeem those things which would otherwise be lost.

Please be encouraged today to keep fighting the good fight of faith. Please don’t give up. On yourself, or on Him. Life is a marathon, not a sprint. God has given you everything you need to flourish in the life, and season, you are in, whether it feels that way today or not…

Shalom.

fake

What does friendship really mean today, and how valuable is authentic relationship to our daily lives?

In a world where we know more about the history of our favorite movie heroine than our “best friend,” and care more about the number of Twitter followers we have than number of people who know our hearts, it seems that “friendship” is now just about as predictable, and constant, as the wind.

The other day I was chatting with a friend who had mentioned that she had been deleted from Facebook by one such mutual contact, after said person had posted a statement that if people didn’t respond to her post, she would be removing those people who “clearly” hadn’t placed value on their relationship. Upon investigation, I found that I, too, had been dismissed from her list of friends by not having appropriately responded to her request for comment. And yet, only a short time ago, I had bumped into this person, (blissfully unaware of my dismissal) and we had had a lovely exchange, smiles, hugs and laughter…

I guess friendship just doesn’t mean what it used to.

It would seem we’ve been reduced to a purely statistical society when it comes to relationship. Over the years, some who have left our church have deleted our connection, but have remained “friends” with hundreds of others, even though I fully supported them as they made their decision. On the flip side, people I hardly know at all, want to connect and comment on my life, when I know absolutely nothing about them aside from worshiping in the same building.

What exactly is going on??

I don’t exactly know where I am headed with this, other than to express my sincere confusion and moderate irritation at the state of humanity at this point in history. And, yet, also a sincere gratitude for those with whom I DO share a deep connectivity outside of our wonderful¬†internet community – people who know my heart, share theirs, walk alongside me in life and love me just where I am, regardless of the time that passes between conversations. Friends who don’t delete me because I didn’t “like” their profile pic, or neglected to comment on their demand for response…or better yet, choose to remain in contact with me even though I didn’t choose to follow them to their greener pastures…

I am beginning to understand the loneliness that psychologists have been warning about in this world of technology – fake lives and fake friends. Regardless of who I choose to be, sometimes the greatest sadness comes in the realization that what I thought was real, was all a delusion – conjured up by some to make me “feel” I belonged, when all they wanted was another head count on their followers list.

Or, someone to delete so that they feel powerful…

Behind every profile is a person with feelings. Behind every smile, a life experienced. For every stroke of the keys, an opportunity to reach out and connect. Having been designed by our Creator for relationship, the need for deep human contact couldn’t be any more important than it is today. Don’t let the relationships that make life meaningful become erased by the very medium that was meant to bring us all together. When we die, all we take with us is love – the love that is right there in front of you…