Not spoken

It’s often what we stop short of saying that speaks the loudest.

NOT saying something IS saying something.

Be purposeful.
Say those encouraging words.
Don’t assume they got the “gist of what you were saying.”
Be specific.

In order to speak encouragement to others we have to notice them.
Noticing requires listening.
Listening works best with looking.
Looking happens when stop.

Stop thinking about ourselves.
Stop moving.
Stop doing what is self-serving.

Self-serving does NOT encourage.
Purposeful kindness does.

Say those words.
They may be exactly what they needed to hear.

Hebrews 3:13
“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today…”

I Love & Hate that Word!

“Patience…” the word we hate putting into practice, but
certainly love it when others “have a little” when dealing
with us. Right?

photo

Peter speaks of PATIENCE in the 1 Peter chapters 1 & 2.
Here’s a few thoughts I jotted down in my journal recently.

————————————————————–
The PATIENCE that Peter speaks of
in 1st Peter 1 & 2 is the kind of Patience that…

– doesn’t need to understand in order to obey God

– loves others, even when their behavior is unfair &
uncalled for (and is OK with “loving from far away”
if that helps keep peace)

– prays for authorities instead of spouting off about them

– trusts God & knows that He sees everything and
handles everything perfectly
—————————————————————-

Nothing profoundly new… but horribly challenging to do.
The more I spend time with our patient, compassionate God
the easier this list becomes!

We Don’t Really…

 

We don’t really understand what we never have to experience.

This explains why the phrase, “Oh, I totally understand what you’re going through,” is SO
frustrating.

HOWEVER… just because someone has not walked in our exact pair of shoes does not
mean that they are unable to offer guidence, insight and assistance.

If someone “who just doesn’t understand you”  but is in a position to
help you, attempts to share insight with you and it totally annoys you,
then perhaps the real issue lies within your heart….
and that you’d rather wait for someone to tell you what you want to hear
than listen to wisdom.

Make plans by seeking advice…”  Proverbs 20:18

Hmm, yeah. I think sometimes the problem is NOT that others “don’t really understand,”
but that we don’t really want to hear anything but our own thoughts & ideas.

 

 

I Should be Good at “Goodbye”

It’s been happening for years… since 1997.
Wonderful students come into our lives, become a huge part of our life & family, crawl into our hearts, cause us to grow and change as they do the same… and then they LEAVE!
But in actuality, it’s all part of the plan… I know it’s gunna happen from the moment they arrive.

You see, My husband and I are dedicated to discipling & mentoring young adults. From anywhere in the USA (and even Guam), post high school students come into our lives to be a part of the mentorship/ministry training program.  All along… from the moment they arrive on day one… I KNOW that they’re coming here to learn and then… to GO. But that doesn’t make it easier. I fall in love with them.

Today  a moving van in metro Detroit is being loaded  in preparation for a young family to move to Conneticut and plant a new church. We’ve know this couple since they were barely out of their teens (back when they totally couldn’t stand each other… or could they??) Now, nearly 12 years later, we are saying good-bye to them and their adorable children. I don’t like good bye. I cry. Often.  Of course they’re following God’s leading; of course they came to train, learn and grow and then leave. Of course I’ve known this for years… But tell that to my tear ducts!

In another area of metro detroit,  a flight is arriving today from California that carries a beautiful young lady. She senses God’s leading and is hoping to join the ministry here as she, too, trains for whatever is next. She’s adorable. I’ve already met her and she jumped into my heart after our first conversation. I’ll be saying, “Hello” to her all weekend.  And then someday down the road I’ll probably be saying, “Good Bye.”  It won’t be fun. But it’ll be right.

I guess if goodbyes were easy for me it would mean that I wasn’t connected to people. Tearful partings reflect the joys of living life together, sharing the ups & downs, together pouring ourselves into the community and allowing ourselves to love and be loved. That’s living life.

Goodbyes are NOT fun… But, praise JESUS, cuz it’s these moments that let me know that my heart is still soft & gooshy.

Goodbye, Quinones Family. You’re leaving my state, but never my heart!
Hello, Brooke. Welcome to my state… you’re already in my heart!

 

 

Something Love Doesn’t Require

If you asked someone to define love they’d probably mention the word trust somewhere in there. But that’s not actually true.

(But before I go on I must say that I’m NOT talking about the kind of love that would lead to marriage! Single People, Don’t even look twice at someone if they’re not trustworthy! And dating should never be a consideration if they aren’t honest!)

One evening not too long ago, as I was praying (and crying) to God about the many people over the years that I’ve made myself vulnerable to, loved freely and then been hurt by, I said, “Lord, I don’t know if I can keep on trusting people.”  He gently replied, “You don’t have to trust to love.”

Loving someone we don’t trust sounds ridiculous! Stupid, in fact. But it’s true. Jesus told us that the greatest kind of love is the one that gives up his/her life for someone else. (John 15:13)  That’s what Jesus did for us… we are certainly not trustworthy… especially when compared to God’s trust-ability!

Giving & living LOVE means we open up ourselves so we can speak encouragement to others, find the good in them, believe the best in them, cheer for them, pray for them, rejoice with them, be ourselves around them, laugh, hug, etc…. Easy enough if the people are trustworthy. Not so easy if they’ve hurt you, taken advantage of you, stabbed you in the back, talked behind your back, took their knowledge of you and made themselves gain something while you lose it. NOT EASY!

So, what was my response that evening during prayer when God assured me that I don’t have to trust to love?  Well,  honestly, a couple of embarrassing whimper noises and few more tears. Then a huge sigh of relief and joy!

Giving love = joy!

 

Teddy Bear Claws

 

I’d just taken out my journal following some time in The Word and prayer, when around the corner came little Chasey with his snuggly soft Teddy Bear in tow.

“Oh, good morning. What’s your bear’s name?”

“Friend”

“What a perfect name for a teddy bear.”

“His nose is fuzzy and his paws are soft.”

“Oh, they sure are. Good thing he doesn’t have  sharp claws like some bears.  He won’t hurt you with his paws when he’s playing. He’s a nice little friend.”

“Mom, his name is FRED!”

“Oh.”

And then MY parent… my heavenly Dad (aka- GOD!) spoke quietly to me in regards to the bear called Friend:

In friendships it’s sometimes tempting to keep your claws, not using them, or course, but just to keep them… in case. But I want you to have soft paws. Soft paws that are quick to help & serve others; quick to comfort and love without hesitation. You are created to be a friend…. a friend with soft paws.

“But Lord, sometimes the other bears play rough & keep their claws sharp.  What then?”

Most times those bears don’t mean to hurt you or anyone. But even if they intended to do so…still be a friend. Comforting. Encouraging.  With soft paws.  

 

Words that Sadden. Wounds that Lie.

“Ouch. They really just said that to me!?”

You’ve thought those words at some point & will again someday. (Nice, Netta, what a depressing way to begin a blog post!) But it happens cuz we deal with humans. Over the years I’ve learned that many hurtful words spoken to me are NOT really spoken AT me or because of me. Hurt people hurt people.

Think about that… Hurt people hurt people.

That said, I’ve learned to remain calm, smile and do my best to keep loving people when they’ve lashed out at me… well, I’ve mostly learned that. Here’s the deal:  that’s not so hard to do unless the person knows you well & is quite close to you. Then the words go deeper.

 

Those words sink in and make me ponder. Now what?

I pray. “Lord, what truth is in these statements?”

I talk with my husband. “What do I need to learn from this?”

I pray for the person, the situation, etc. .

But still…

Those words can start eating at me. They’ve cut me & now there’s a tiny seed of UNtruth that has planted itself there. Something like, “Since they said that about me, they must really think I’m a jerk. What if they’re right?  They probably are. I was probably way off in that situation.”  Then it can grow into thoughts like…. ” As hard as I try, I just mess things up all the time anyway.

Then it grows into bigger lies: “No wonder people don’t invite me over, I’m not really a friend.”  and  “How am supposed to do anything of lasting value if no one wants to be around me?

See how the lie grew?  It began as a sad heart with a wound that started doubting what it knew was true, and it soon turned into a giant lie that had little to do with the original situation.  We cannot blame someone else for that thought process. WE choose it. So, the flip side is… CHOOSE NOT to think that way.

When those thoughts arise, stop them. Talk to Jesus. He ONLY tells you the TRUTH! Think about what HE’s already told you… what you already know is truth!
Philippians 4:8 says to think about things that are true, honest, just, pure, lovely & of a good report!

 

Lots of thought will pop into our heads during the day, but it’s up to us if we’ll keep thinking & expounding on it or NOT!  Choose your thoughts. It keeps Hurts from Wounding us with their lies!

 

Timid is Tempting

 

If you’ve been around me at all, you know that I’m not shy.. or timid… or

even remotely quiet. Nope. Not at all.  Usually I can talk to anyone and

find great pleasure in getting a “don’t-talk-to-me” kinda person to start

talking… and extra points if I can get them to smile.

(Like the somewhat-cranky ol farmer at Eastern Market who sells the yummiest

sweet corn… it’s taken me two years, but this past Saturday I got him

to smirk slightly and then kindly wish me “nice weekend!”  YES!)

But circumstances in life can smack us in the face and knock the confidence

right out from under us. It’s then that I can sometimes be tempted to just

quiet down & be more timid. But  really, those are the moments when I must

face this question:

Did my confidence come from myself?  or

Does my confidence come from my relationship with Jesus?


Sometimes it’s not the earth shattering things in life that mess with us, but

rather the smaller things that wanna play with our heads.  I’m walking

through a few of those situations, and  I’ve certainly winced in moments of temptation…

moments where I wanted to pull away,

stop being friendly & just close up my heart,

be overly cautious (aka fearful),

be too calculated about friendships & discipleship,

let my courage melt a little  (aka be timid)

think about myself,

second guess the “outgoing-ness” that makes me vulnerable,

be what I am NOT created to be simply because it feels safer.

It’s not safer. It’s horrible to be something/someone that God did NOT make

me to be simply because I’m afraid. Giving into fear means I’m

not trusting Jesus.

So…

*When our car is stolen out of our driveway & a check stolen from our front porch,

I will not ponder all the “what if’s.” I will remind myself of God’s calling, protection

& purpose for our lives.

* When dear friends move away, I will not shut my heart to current & new friends

because of the “fear of losing another friend.” (If I do shut out people then I’ve

already lost them)

*If my scale says something that makes me wanna cry, I will continue to do

my best, smile & love people. Self-consciousness only makes me ugly.

I will NOT cave into to any of these timid thoughts. They quickly take over and

gain power over me. It says that so plainly is 2 Peter 2:19  (The Voice)

—— “Whatever you give in to will soon become your master.”

Instead, I will give into the overwhelming, undeserved love & acceptance

of Jesus Christ!  I let go of fears & the damaging thoughts that go with them.

Jesus is my BEST friend. I will think about Him, read His Words, listen to Him,

talk to Him & give into Him. He’s my Master.

Don’t Change cuz…

 

 

 

 

 

 

This morning as I was praying for a person in my life & a  specific

situation I asked God to “change this & that” and then asked

Him what He wanted me to change.  He pointed out a couple of things.

 

I repented and began to make  notes about changing those

areas/attitudes & actions. Then God gently but firmly said,

“Don’t change in an effort to bring about change in

someone else. Change yourself because it’s the right thing  to do.”

 

Ouch

 

(repented again)