Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Word Nerd

I learned long ago what a word nerd I am.  Writing is a fun hobby for me and as I look back over years of journaling, I realize that I often use a $50 word where a $5 word would suffice.  Recently as I set a new goal in my writing,  I enjoyed breaking the very goal I was attempting to set.  I love irony.

"I should use acceptable, abbreviated words where appropriate and applicable.  (Alliteration is an appreciated appliance.)"

Looking back over what I'd written with fondness and satisfaction, I noticed a pattern.  Almost every word beginning with an "a" has twin second and third letters.  AHA!  Now I realize that I'm not only a word nerd, but a number nerd as well!  Balance is beautiful.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Fun: Cubed

 Today, three of the kiddos and I talked about cubed numbers.  This topic followed our recent discussion on square numbers.  While I was in the shower, the THREE kids created the cubed number 27, which is the product of 3x3x3 (or 3x3=9; 9x3=27)
I recognized the challenge they had in working on one cube together, instead of individually.  Teamwork is such a beneficial skill, but one that my kids struggle with!  Today they succeeded, and there were not even any fistfights. ;-)

 I asked them why working as a team can be so helpful.  They each offered their opinion and then we talked about the biblical concept of "one body, many parts".  I asked them which part of their body was more important.  They discussed their thoughts, eventually concluding that we can't place any higher importance on any one part...of a body, a church body, or a family.

Then we discussed the verses found in Ecclesiastes 4:9-10, "Two are better than one because they have a good return for their work: If one falls down his friend can help him up." (Numbers are everywhere!)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Sacrificial Love

"If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing." I Cor, 13:1-3

Lately, as I've asked Jesus  how I can be more effective for His Kingdom, He has answered me with two simple words: "love people".  Why is such a simple concept so hard for me to live out?  For one, I recognize that in order to love someone in a way they feel and accept love, I need to think about them and how they're wired.  Loving someone in a way I understand and receive love may not reach them at all.  They may never even know I'm trying!  I am challenged with the task of giving in a way the receiver understands and can accept.  My offerings are nothing without love.

"And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love." 1 Cor. 13:13

Sacrificial Love-
"This is how we know what love is:  Jesus Christ laid down His life for us.  And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers." 1 John 3:16

What will I sacrifice today, in order to love someone?  Love is an essential factor in a relationship, but until sacrifice is required, it's almost meaningless.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Even the Sparrow has Found a Home

We have experienced some challenges lately.  I'm so thankful for God's work in my life, for as I recognize the familiarity with which I face these, I remember my past reactions to such concerns.  Almost always worry was the best word to describe my response, the kind of worry I feel most acutely in the very pit of my stomach at the very cusp of waking every morning.  I've prayed about this issue over the years.  Some struggle to set aside worry as they attempt to drift off at night.  I struggle at the other end of sleep, and I hate it.  I've asked God to help me eradicate worry altogether, adding that,  at the very least, could He please help me relocate it to any other part of my day??

As a chronic Over-Thinker, I've tried to find balance in the way I deal with troubling circumstances.  I classify myself not as an optimist, nor as a pessimist, but as a realist.  I attempt to live neither in denial (optimist!) nor under a perpetual cloud (pessimist!).

Naturally, when faced with a difficulty in life, we mentally scramble to consider someone else who is going through a bigger difficulty, so as to gain "perspective".  Then we tell ourselves, "Quit your whining!  It could be so much worse!"  I have decided that I disagree with this method.  Validating our emotions, thoughts and feelings while navigating a trial is so important.  I coined a non-eloquent phrase years ago: "No one else's trials can invalidate my suffering."  (I know, I know- it contains a double-negative.  But I've never been very good at math. ;-)

Often, we Christians feel compelled to label everything a blessing.
 I've come to the point where I view that as being just plain dishonest.  Yes, life is stuffed full of blessings, beginning with the very first breath I draw upon waking.  And God does promise to bring good out of every trial, even turning our mourning into dancing!  Amazing!  But hard times are not in themselves blessings.

Today as I was flipping through my Quote Book (in which I record important words I want to retain forever), I stumbled upon a good reminder from one of my very favorite books, The Sacred Romance, by Curtis and Eldridge.

"Pretending that life is easier and more blessed than it really is hinders our ability to walk with God and share Him with others.  Faith is not the same thing as denial. Blessings come...tend to be infrequent, unpredictable, transient...our journey is shaped more often by dragons and nits- crises that shake us to the core and...troubles that nag us to death...Are they tragic events and random inconveniences, or part of the plot through which God redeems our heart?"

Even the sparrow has found a home...
And therein lies the beauty of trials. Not only are they tests God uses to show us where we are in life, but they provide an invaluable opportunity for us to flee from fear, worry, and run straight to Him, laying our burdens at His feet.  How lovely is His dwelling place!  "Even the sparrow has found a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may have her young- a place near your altar."  (Ps. 84:3)