Thursday, July 26, 2012

Birthday Questions, 2012

Last month was my birthday—it was one of those bigger ones. Loving excuses to celebrate, I invited my family and a few friends to a cyberspace (the next best thing to being there) celebration. I asked them to share their wisdom by responding to five questions. Several helpful themes emerged; I want to share the repeated ones and some of their other words with you.

          What has become more important to you as you have grown older?
          Family; friends; honest, vulnerable relationships.
          Time was mentioned twice.
          What has become less important?
          Being overly concerned about what others think.
          Two other responses that I connected with:
     Worrying about who I am going to be (not do) when I grow up.
     Trying to fix myself—I’ve learned, it doesn’t work.
What book do you suggest? (I am only listing those   
            mentioned more than once.) Several others are on my read list now.
                  Choosing Rest, by Sally Breedlove
                  1000 Gifts, by Ann Voskamp
           What qualities or virtues do you suggest cultivating?
            Quiet confidence; inner calm; contentment.
            Thankfulness; gratefulness; appreciation.
            Three others I personally responded to:
                  Developing a heart of wonder.
                  Living in anticipation.
                  Letting my words be gifts to others.
           What questions should I be pondering or reflecting on?
Do I know the nature of my heart?
Where did I see God today?
Is what is important to me, important to God?
What have I given away today?

These answers are so helpful; already they are transforming me. Thank you to all who responded. In my next post I will list a few more of the suggested questions—to be continued …  Please add your comments and questions as well, I—and everyone else who reads these words—will appreciate your wisdom.

“She opens her mouth with wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue.”
Proverbs 31:26

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Wondering Again ~ The Will of God

The future is uncertain. There are opportunities; which is the best?

Pondering some questions help clarify my thinking and God’s leading:
·        What is it about this opportunity that I feel would bring me life?
·        Would this opportunity feeds personal negative thinking?
·        What will be the personal costs of this opportunity?
·        What would it look like for Bill and I to partner in this opportunity?
·        What might God be saying about this opportunity?
·        What cautions might God be voicing to me?
·        Are certain scriptures standing out?
·        What am I hearing?

Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths”.
Proverbs 3:5 and 6

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Iron Sharpens Iron ~ Not only a Verse for Men

“Iron sharpens iron, and one (wo)man sharpens another”.
Proverbs 27:17
MDF is one of my best sharpening friends. Even though our friendship is rather young, we’ve know from its inception that our hearts, our desires were similar. We connected quickly and our friendship has grown rapidly. I am so thankful for MDF.

Her sharpening is not always through her words to me; often it comes as we live life together, work together, share ideas, rub shoulders, drink coffee.

I’m learning about trust through my friendship with MDF.
  • I don’t always need to add my opinions to our (or her) decisions.
  • I need to be aware if my suggestions or even my questions are advice in disguise.
  • I don’t need to share all my concerns about something we’re both mutually vested in.
  • I need to allow her to live out her ideas and the life God created in her.
  • Affirmation is a great way to communicate trust.

I’m also learning that we will disappoint each other; we have the ability to hurt each other; we are going to offend each other and need to seek forgiveness.

In Stephen Smith’s book, The Jesus Life, he speaks of friendship and how when Jesus chose His friends, he started with the end in mind. Jesus knew their strengths and weaknesses—even Judas’ future of betrayal—from the beginning. “Knowing this, He still fully loved and embraced people and invited them in His life and mission”. (page 137)

Jesus loved, accepted, embraced, invited. Because I experience this with MDF, I also am blessed by the sharpening of her life. 

“Accept one another, just as Christ accepted you”.
Romans 15:7

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Chosen for The Team

The teams were chosen; the games ready to begin; and there were some very sad players—those who were picked last. I remember well. Every year some of my third graders were never really wanted on the teams. And they knew. My words had little effect on their sadness.

I remember and I understand. In college, I rushed sorority three times—yes, three times—until I received an invitation. I so wanted to be a part and the first two times my desires were dashed. It hurt. My friend’s words were nice but not particularly helpful.

“Each sunrise is a reminder that Jesus brings us out of the darkness and fills our lives with His glorious light”.

I love these words I found in my new Dayspring journal. I do believe them; They are re-stating Scriptural truth. But sometimes my responses to situations in my life do not back up this belief system.

For instance: last month on my birthday I received many cards and messages with very affirming words. I wish I believed them. It’s a dark area for me .Yuck, am I saying my friends are liars? My inability to believe their words is kind of like the feeling of being the last one chosen for the team.

Once again I turn to my Scripture journal, the place where I record the verses I pray for myself and others too. God spoke loud and clear, “you did not choose me; I chose you”. God wants me on His team. I am chosen. I believe truth I hear from God; and God’s words give context to the truths I hear from my friends. The darkness lifts—once again.

I ask myself some questions:
*Am I not immersing myself enough in the truth of
*Is the darkness of my past brighter in my mind than the
  light of my now?
*Is this a good place to be—no pride for sure?
*Will I ever change?
*Did I just stumble onto the next step of growth?

The last question encourages me the most. I want to grow!

“For it is you who light my lamp; the LORD my God lightens my darkness”.
Psalm 18:28

Monday, July 2, 2012

Firestorm of Epic Proportions

My prayers need to change. Several of our friends know they lost their homes; their stuff; their memories. The pictures are horrific. In the midst, my friends are becoming more of my heroes everyday as I watch them walk through this horror. None lost their lives; none lost their hope.

Father, I pray today for my dear friends who lost their homes and so much more in the Waldo Canyon Fire.

*I pray they would allow themselves to be; to grieve; to feel.
*I pray they would know what else is true and they would listen to Truth.
*Father, thank you that …
            Your care has not stopped.
            Your provision has not ceased.
            Your character has not changed.
            Your love remains consistent.
            Your mission is still clear and compelling.
*Father, thank you for so many in our town who are scrambling to help. Please help them to know how to love well; how to connect appropriately.
*I pray that You will provide for the physical, spiritual, emotional  needs of our friends.
*I pray that You will provide the abundance of wisdom they need to know what to do next.
*Father, we who have not been so directly touched by the fire need wisdom too. We want to help; we want to show our care and concern. Please lead us in the path of righteousness in this situation.  Amen.

A thought that God brought over the weekend,
Sometimes walking away is the best way to draw near.
Give space.

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end.”
Lamentations 3:22