Thursday, October 18, 2012

The Kindness Challenge

"Be kind to one another." 
Ephesians 4:32a

This was the very first Bible verse I had my kids memorize.  It seems like it was the first lesson I ever taught them, as well.  Unfortunately, my 15, 13, 11, and 9 1/2 year olds have not mastered it, and maybe that's because their mother isn't always the greatest at showing kindness herself.

Yesterday, things came to a head with another random act of unkindness, and I instituted "The Kindness Challenge."  The entire ride to the dentist office, I established the rules and guidelines, clarifying terms (a great vocabulary lesson, by the way) and setting expectations.  I'm sure that my son was relieved to be out of that car and into the dentist's chair, under the drill and away from my lecture.  Nevertheless, I was serious, and when I put my mind to something, nothing can stop me.

From now through the end of October, I have challenged our family to

"Be deliberate, purposeful, intentional, proactive, extravagant, simple, consistent, selfless, Spirit led, Spirit filled, humble, and sincere in sharing kindness to one another."

Today, I watched.  I also made a concerted effort to be kind.  I started making a list in a mini journal that says LOVED on the front.  Tonight, I called everyone together and read the kindnesses I'd observed throughout the day, inviting them to share the kind things that they had seen other people doing.  I told them that this was not a time for boasting about the kind things that they had done themselves.  I encouraged them that even if no one mentioned a kindness that they had done, God had seen it, and no kindness goes unnoticed by Him.

The one benefit that I'm already seeing is that it's a good attitude adjustment to notice and share the kindnesses of others.  Lately, there have been frequent cries of, "They're always being mean to me."  It's good to recognize that that's not really true.  Noticing how kind others have been is akin to practicing gratitude in a way.  Too often we take each other for granted and have a sense of entitlement.  Recognizing that even the simplest things are acts of kindness combats this arrogant, self-centered attitude and replaces it with a thankful heart.  It takes the focus off of "me, me, me" and puts it on someone else.  It can be humbling as well as inspiring.  

My husband prayed for our family after we were done sharing, and I really hope that everybody takes this challenge to heart.    With as busy as we have been lately, it's easy to take out the fatigue and frustration on the ones who are closest. It would be nice to see that irritability replaced with kindness. 

A little bit of kindness goes a long way.

Grace and Peace,

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Christian Love for Amanda Todd?

I just watched the Amanda Todd video, and I have one question:

Where were all the Christians?

It may be an ironic question for a home-educator to ask.  I've been accused of abandoning the public school system, and kids like Amanda Todd, who need to be befriended by my kids.  So maybe I have no right to ask.  But not every Christian homeschools.  There are still lots of Christians in the public school system.  Many tell me that they wouldn't homeschool because they want their children to be "salt and light" in the public schools.  So, where was the salt and light in Amanda Todd's life?

This scenario hits a little close to home because my own mother experienced extreme bullying and shunning in Junior High.  Between the horrible school life and the horrible home life, she tried to commit suicide as well.  Fortunately, by the grace of God, her attempts failed, or else I wouldn't be typing now.

I've often wondered, where were the Christians when my mom was alienated and ostrasized by the entire school?  Was there not a single believer in that California school back in the early sixties?  I'm confident that there had to be at least one.  Why didn't anyone stand against the bullying and befriend my mom?  And if I, or one of my kids, had been in that school, at that time, would we have extended friendship, or we would we have cowardly joined the crowd, not daring to go against the majority?

What would Jesus do is a pithy saying that gets bandied about quite frequently these days.  I don't think anyone needs to ask WWJD? with regard to Amanda Todd or the others she represents.  I just think we need to do it.  Jesus came to seek and to save those who are lost.  Jesus came to give His life out of love.  Jesus came to challenge the religious leaders of the day who were so consumed with their rules and selves that they had lost all compassion for the hurting, broken, and dying. Jesus came to offer true love, abundant joy, forgiveness of sin, lasting peace, salvation, a Comforter, and power to live a righteous life. 

The question we need to ask ourselves is, "Am I more like a Pharisee or more like Jesus?"  The question that immediately follows for parents is, "Am I raising little Pharisees, or am I raising kids who will boldly and courageously share Jesus' love with the least of these, the untouchables, the outcasts, the wounded,  the hurting, the abused, the ones who are cutting and turning to drugs and alcohol to escape?"

God preserved my mom's life, and in 1970, a Christian girl prayed that she could touch the life of one person during her summer break.  That person was my mom.  The family of that girl loved my mom to the Lord.  They took her in.  They were like Jesus. 

Are you bold enough to pray that prayer as well?  Are you willing to allow God  to use you to save the life of another?  Are you raising your kids to have that heart for the lost?  Are your eyes open to the Amanda Todds of this world?

Amanda Todd said, "I have nobody.  I need somebody."
There are so many more like her who are silently screaming the same. 

How will you respond? 

Grace and Peace,

Friday, October 12, 2012

God is In Control: Guest Post for Joy McClain

God is in control.
We believe that His children will not be forsaken
God is in control.
We will choose to remember and never be shaken.
There is no power above or beside Him, we know,
Oh, God is in control. Oh, God is in control.

It had been at least ten years since I’d listened to this Twila Paris classic; and yet, as I lay awaiting my biopsy, this was the song that flooded my brain.  Biopsy.  The very word had brought tears to my eyes the day before in my doctor’s office.  The mass that appeared on my neck would surely prove to be cancerous, and a CT Scan had just revealed a second mass in my breast as well.  But as my world seemed to be turning upside down, the peace and power of faith in God’s sovereignty overwhelmed me, and I was not afraid.  

God was in control.  

I knew that God was in control because I was firmly rooted and grounded in His Word.  Years of inductive Bible study had given me the foundation to withstand the cancer I now faced.  I had also known firsthand the power of God to bring healing. 
This was not my first bout with cancer.  Just a few months earlier,continue reading at A Passionate Pursuit of Joy McClain

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Dusting off the Blog

There are quite a few dusty blogs laying around.  It's been 2 years since I touched this one.  I hardly read blogs any more, and most of my favorite bloggers abandoned theirs as well. 

We all blame Facebook.  It's easy, convenient, there's an app on my phone.  It takes a second to post an update, and in a few minutes, you can scroll through a whole list of posts, catching up with friends while sitting at my kids' piano lessons.  I've also noticed that my attention span isn't quite as long as it once was.  My mind starts wandering after just a few lines. 

I've wondered what to do with this blog.  Do I take it down?  Delete it?  Let it be. 

A part of me has hoped that I could start writing again.  I still have things to say.  There are days when the Facebook status update box seems so small.  But I remember the time it took to keep up a blog.  I don't have that time, not with
  • homeschooling high school, 
  • soccer practice, 
  • American Heritage Girls, 
  • piano, 
  • choir, 
  • teaching Bible study, 
  • leading worship, 
  • supporting my husband in his ministry, 
  • visiting friends in the hospital, 
  • supporting fellow home-educators,
  • praying, 
  • reading, 
  • cleaning the house, 
  • cooking, 
  • learning how to live gluten-free...
These are just a few of the things that have kept me away from blogging, and yet, these are the things that fuel my desire to begin writing again. 

I've been asked by a friend to write a guest post for her blog.  It's been so long, and my thoughts just aren't flowing the way they once did.  I'm rusty.  Still, it's awakening something within me.  Maybe it's the push I need to start writing again. 

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Monday, October 11, 2010

With Wings As Eagles: Scripture & a Snapshot

I captured this bald eagle in flight during our rafting trip down The Snake River through the Grand Tetons in September.  I couldn't resist sharing it with one of the best verses in the Bible.  Who doesn't love this one?  The entire chapter is so solidly encouraging!  How could it not be considering verse one begins with, "'Comfort, O comfort My people,' says your God."?!?  Isaiah spends the next 30 verses doing just that with challenging questions of,

"Do you not know? 
Have you not heard? 
Has it not been declared to you from the beginning?"  

Sometimes, when I'm consumed with myself and settling down for a pity party, those are the exact kind of questions I need to hear!  But Isaiah doesn't just ask hard questions; he continues with the Truth of Who God is culminating with,

"The Everlasting God, the LORD, the Creator of the ends of the earth 
Does not become weary or tired; 
His understanding is inscrutable.
He gives strength to the weary..." 
(verses 28-29a).  

And then, The Climax...the soaring on wings like eagles, the running without getting tired, the walking without fainting.

Some people think faith in God is a crutch.  Crutches are cumbersome.  Crutches are inadequate.  If anything, faith is a wheelchair that completely carries us; better yet, it's the wind thermals upon which eagles soar.  Eagles don't strain themselves while in flight.  They soar, riding the waves for hours. 

And it's majestic! 

Do you not know?  Have you not heard?  Your God beckons you to wait on Him, to put your hope in Him.  He alone can renew your strength and cause you to soar on the wings of eagles. 

Grace and Peace,

Visit Katie to link up with your own Scripture & a Snapshot! 

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Midway Geyser Basin: Scripture & a Snapshot

The Bible and doesn't get much better than that, so I'm excited about this brand new "Scripture & a Snapshot: giving glory to God through our photos" Challenge.

Being in Yellowstone, it was hard to deny the handicraft of God, so it was easy to pick a photo that gives glory to God and easy to pick a Scripture to go along with it! At times, it just seemed like God was totally showing off.  Time and time again, He took my breath away with the majesty and diversity of all that He had created.

This photo was taken at the Midway Geyser Basin. It was a place unlike any I'd ever seen, and truly the photo doesn't do it justice.  You really have to go there yourself.

"Holy, Holy, Holy is the LORD of Hosts,
The whole earth is full of His glory."
Isaiah 6:3