Monthly Archives: May 2015

Loving others

Ever have those days where “relationship” is a four-letter word? When people in general just suck, and everyone gets on your nerves, or you get on everyone’s nerves, or you feel lonely, or overrun by others, or like you’re never going to figure out how not to kill every person you’ve ever met? Every felt left out? Injured by someone’s words or actions? Hopeless when it comes to figuring out your significant other, or child, or neighbor, or boss or random Facebook commentor?

People are hard, and tricky to deal with…..and everywhere.

 We have to deal with them in just about every circumstance and setting.  We’re called to be in community with them, and to enter into healthy relationships and have fruitful interactions, showing love and respect to those around us.

It’s exhausting at times, especially when we think we’re the only ones struggling with this issue.  If this sounds familiar, rest assured that you are in good company.  Everybody has to work at this. It’s so much better when we do so together.

I am part of a fabulous little Facebook group that began a few months ago.  It’s a safe place to put together relevant topics and read/write/pray over devotional series.  We just began a new one, 10 days walking through relationships the way God calls us to.  Today was our first session, and I thought it might be fun to share here as well.  Every day, for the next 10 days, I’ll post a reading with some guided questions to facilitate reflection/journaling. It’s a super simple forum, and doesn’t usually take very long.

I know this is not the usual format for this site, but let’s give it a whirl, shall we? The more, the merrier.  Let me know what you think.

Here’s Day 1

 Relationships – Day 1

I think in order to effectively study the topic of relationships according to Biblical principles, we have to open our minds to a profound concept: People, ALL people, are important to God.

Read 1 John 4: 7-21
What jumped out at you?
Here are a couple of mine….. 

v. 16: And we have come to know and to believe the love God has for us. 

Therein lies the 1st step.
We have to believe that He loves us – beyond limits, without strings, without end, beyond what human words can express.
Do you believe this?
Do you see it in your everyday life?
Do you marvel that He created an entire planet just so He would have a place to put us? And then, when our ingratitude and lack of comprehension continued to distance us from Him, He sent His Son to walk among us, build RELATIONSHIPS with us, and save us for all eternity? 

It takes your breath away, doesn’t it, when you truly grasp the idea? 

List 3 examples of God’s love in your life.
What made you choose those instances?

v. 27: And we have this command from Him: The one who loves God must also love his brother. 

You don’t get much more straightforward than that.
It’s a command.
We MUST.
He loves us without exception, and He expects us to do the same for each other. 

So, what if we did?
What if we sat back, took a deep breath, and opened our minds (and hearts) to the possibility that EVERYONE around us deserves to be loved…because they actually already are.

What do you find most encouraging about this?
What do you find most challenging?
Write down the names of 5 people you find easy to love.
Write down the names of 2 people you find difficult to love.
Write down the names of 3 people you’ve never prayed over before.
Mention all 10 names in your prayers today.

I bet you’ll be surprised at what this does for your heart. 

Solidarity, sisters.
Much love to you all.


 

Three-ThingsOk, so technically, the launch part comes first.  Because my new site is finally live!!!

I am so very excited and grateful and ecstatic at having a website that looks better, works better and is hopefully easier to interact with and comment on.  It’s like I have a Big Girl Blog.

Hallelujah!

In the interest of full disclosure, the site went live last week, and we worked out bugs and formatting issues and got ready to have the launch of my lifetime….. Until my husband went out of town.  Which those of you who know me and/or have been reading this blog over the past two years know never bodes well for me.

This time was no different.

Hence the three things.

1.    I had oral surgery

A tooth extraction and bone graft, to be exact…which would be painful and irritating under any circumstances, but seeing as how I had to deal with tooth pain, multiple referrals and options, and the agonizing choice not to try a do-over for that tooth’s root canal (because doesn’t that just sound like the best day ever?) – the decision to go ahead and give up on the tooth, thus having it pulled, gave me massive anxiety, seeing as how one of my recurring nightmares is to have my teeth fall out.

I know….there are worse nightmares.  And to those of you who experience scenarios of ax murderers, or horrific disasters, or clowns as your dreamtime terrors, it may seem silly, even laughable.  But it’s not.  Trust me.

2.    All three of my children managed to get strep throat at the same time.

Yes, this was every bit as fun as it sounds.  Especially since Drew’s bout started with a massive headache that had him crying for a three hour span that culminated in a rather impressive episode of vomiting all over the kitchen at 3:30am.  Naturally, the other two were symptomatic within 12 hours.  Shockingly, Gregg ended up having to head to a clinic on his trip for antibiotics, which can only mean that the curse is getting stronger if it was able to tag him four hours away.

Ironically, I am almost positive that my saving grace was the fact that I was already on antibiotics from the tooth infection/procedure.  Score one for the silver lining.

3.    Just when you think you’re out of the woods…….

Everyone went back to school Friday, and I thought we were all clear…and we were, right up until I picked up Emry from pre-school – and the staff told me she had literally just started complaining about a tummy ache and was running a fever (again).  So, naturally, she threw up the whole way home, much to the horror of her brothers (not to mention me).  They were completely freaking out and gagging, so we rode home with the windows down and their heads hanging out like a couple of human Labradors.

Thank goodness Whataburger gives out those handy plastic bags.

In the words of Forrest Gump: “That’s all I’ve got to say about that.”

I will add that she also broke out into a quite interesting rash the next afternoon as well.  It’s just not been her week.

Some days, my life is a sitcom.

I’ve spent the majority of the past two to three weeks on pins and needles, waiting for the blog changeover.  And the week it happens, so does all this other stuff.

Impeccable timing, that.

Normally, this kind of thing throws me into a tailspin of doubt and frustration, setting off the cycle of questions like:

Is this a sign?  If so, which side is trying to stop me?

Am I a fool to even try and write at all?  Who cares?  Who even reads this?  There are so many more talented and interesting people out there with better stories….

I’m dead in the water!  I’ve been off the grid for three weeks!!  It’s all over!

Why do I even bother?

What if I only thought this was my path, and now God is smiting me for going the wrong way?

I am nothing if not dramatic.   

Oddly enough, I was saved from this habitual downward spiral when I was perusing old journal entries, looking for blog fodder. I came across an anecdote I had written about Luke’s first middle school “girlfriend”.

Here’s what it said:

“Last night, Luke’s girlfriend sent him a text apologizing for all the drama she brings into his life (good grief), then sent a follow-up text that read, ‘I don’t even know how you can handle me’…. Which is a ridiculous statement between 11 year-old kids.

However, it reflects how I feel in these moments exactly.

I continue to hem and haw and repeat the same questions and complaints until I am actually sick of myself. I repeatedly fall off the proverbial wagon and stumble around in the general vicinity of God’s path for me, though all too often not directly on it. I whine and cry and flail my arms dramatically over such silly and inconsequential things, missing the point and His instructions an embarrassingly high percentage of the time.

I don’t even know how He can handle me.

Yet, He does. Every time. And He does it with joy and gentleness and love and patience.  All I have to do is show the slightest inkling of discernment or obedience. All I have to do is put one toe back on the right path, or look up, even for a moment, and He’s right there.

Smiling at me. Encouraging me. Giving me signs and reinforcement so obvious that even I can’t miss them….”

Little did I know when I wrote those words last November how badly I would need to read them now, or how gratefully my future self would cling to them.

So, I sucked it up, put on my big girl panties, and pulled out the Psalms….

Psalm 62:1-2

My soul finds rest in God alone; my salvation comes from Him. He alone is my rock and my salvation; He is my fortress, I will never be shaken.

Psalm 16:5

Lord, You have assigned me my portion and my cup; You have made my lot secure.

Secure. As opposed to a vacillating, whining cry-baby.

I hugged my babies.  I cleaned up vomit.  I waited for Gregg to come back before breaking down in any form.

And then I sat in front of my computer, resolved to be patient and open and hopeful.

And determined to engage in my first ever giveaway, as this sweet and talented woman I have gotten to meet through the For the Love launch team generously sent me her fabulous book to share with you all, and has been patiently waiting for me to pull it together enough to do so.

So…… Let’s check just how easy this commenting thing is now, shall we, friends?

Leave me a comment about one of your sitcom moments (or days or weeks, whatever). I’ll leave the comments open until Wednesday, May 13th, then randomly pick a winner.

You’ll win this little gem, a beautiful Bible study by Katie May Tramonte called

Gospel-Centered Womanhood.Three Things BookIt’s a treat, and I am so excited to share it with you.

So drop me a line.  I’d love to hear from you.  You’ll be hearing from me soon, I promise.

Solidarity, sisters. It’s a new day.