“By an act of faith, Israel walked through the Red Sea on dry ground.” Hebrews 11:29 msg
I read this verse this morning and had to smile. Perhaps when life seems dry, there is no change and each day is a choice to “walk by faith, and not by sight”, could it be that we are actually walking through our Red Sea? And what happened for these children of Israel? They kept walking and fighting until they reached their promised land. Keep walking as an act of faith and we will be there before you know it.
Last night was the homecoming game for our school district. Our family put on the school colors and headed to the game. I maybe watched a total of two minutes of the game because I was distracted. And instead of lashing out in judgement and criticism, I feel like an apology would be more appropriate.
To all employees of our school district, I am sorry. I am sorry you could not sit down and enjoy the game with your family, after a full day of work. I am sorry you have so many responsibilities placed on you other than teaching your assigned subject or leading the district. I am sorry you have to make and enforce a dress code and stop all kinds of behavior. I am sorry you have to hire police and beg for volunteers. I am sorry you go unnoticed until there is a problem. Bottom line, I am sorry for not doing my job as a parent at all times. If I am doing my job, yours would be so much easier. Our time at home when schools shut down proved I cannot do your job. My children need you to teach them what I do not have the skills to do. It is my responsibility to teach them about love, integrity and self control. It is my job to instill in them true worth and identity, so they do not feel the need to find any of this in outward appearance and foolish behavior. They would know who they are and dress, behave accordingly. There would not be the need to ban bags and containers that house false courage and peace. So many things you are asked to watch for instead of the game and I am sorry.
An apology without action means nothing, so I want you to know something. I am committed to doing my job so you can do yours. We need each other. I also want you to know that this little mama is cheering you on and praying for you. And one more thing, I would also like to ask for your forgiveness. I have been imperfectly parenting for almost twenty years. I do not have all the answers or solutions, but I know the One who does. So I am counting on Him to empower me to make the difference in our children’s lives and hopefully make your job easier. And that is a victory we can all celebrate!
*Just to clarify, our children did not get into trouble. This is just my way of taking responsibility for my job as a parent.
“Indeed, we felt that we had received the sentence of death. But that was to make us rely not on ourselves but on God who raises the dead.” 2 Corinthians 1:9
Our Bible study group gathered yesterday for the first time this semester and it was good. We are working our way through 2 Corinthians and this verse stuck out to me. Sometimes experiences we walk through feel pretty close to death. Somewhere in there we question so many things and can come to the end of ourselves. In my experience, this has felt like the lowest place I could go. And then the unexpected happens. Something like a light seems to be shone on the path that led you there. All the times you were sure you were in control. How deceiving that lie can be. And then the God who is as powerful as He is merciful, does what only He can do. He offers to take over and asks you to rely on Him. From death to life you begin again…
I walked into a new beauty shop yesterday, not knowing a soul. The space was open and busy with activity. There were women of all ages and hair colors filling up the space. I patiently waited my turn and took in the scene before me. Everyone had a part to play and all seemed included. The stylists helped one another out and shared whatever they had. Compliments were flying, each were genuinely spoken and received. When the precious woman was working on my hair, we talked about how she had gotten her start. She said it was because of one woman’s timely words. We talked about what a difference words can make. And as I walked away from the shop, I thought that perhaps I had just caught a glimpse of love. “Love is patient, love is kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful…”. (I Corinthians 13:4-5). It amazes me what can be seen in the everyday. Don ‘t miss it.
“Where were you when I laid the foundation of the earth? Tell me, if you have understanding.” -Job 38:4
I love writing in a new journal. The first page of a fresh book, always comes with a sense of excitement. The other day was such day and I had to wait before I pressed my pen to the page. From experience I know there will be somewhat of a theme from beginning to end. There is something the Lord will shape in me. I waited… and the verse came from Job. It reminded me of my smallness and the greatness of our God. He has no beginning and no end. It was He that laid the foundation of the very ground we stand on, but it was also He that made you and me. And according to His word, He “saw everything that He made, and behold, it was very good.” (Genesis 1:31). Sometimes we just need to be reminded.
These two words came up recently and needed my attention. To be offended is usually a difference of opinion or the way we think about something. To be hurt is different and goes to the heart. Questions come to mind, do we allow others to have an opinion without getting offended? Do we get hurt too easily? Do we allow each other some grace as our opinions are forming or being reshaped? My honest answer to all would be that I have failed to be gracious when speaking my opinions so many times, but my heart has softened and my skin has thickened these last few years. There is plenty of differences because we have all been shaped differently. Our stories are unique. This gives all of us an unlimited supply of opinions that have the potential to offend or hurt. However, there is just as many things that we have in common and plenty of grace to be extended. This does not make wrong right or right wrong, but it gives us an incredible opportunity to listen to each other and space to practice being nonjudgmental. Who knows? We may make a lot of new friends in the process and expand our sphere of influence to those who desperately need a savior, but want nothing to do with religion. Sound like the making of a bridge to me. One we could name grace and mercy.
One of my most favorite books in the Bible is Nehemiah. This last verse in the first chapter happens to give the job title of this man. Reading it again, a thought came to mind; we are the cupbearers of the King! His word says, “Whoever believes in me, as the scripture has said, ‘Out of his heart will flow rivers of living water.” (John 7:38). Our heart is the cup that is filled with His living water and everywhere we go we have something to serve. Friends, our world is in desperate need of “water” that will satisfy thirsty souls. Many things are advertised, but they do not quench the thirst. So, may we go about our days, wherever the Lord would have us, filled with living water and serving our King.
“Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!” Psalm 126:5
This past weekend, our family traveled to North Carolina to celebrate our nephew getting married. It was good to see relatives, meet new people and to be apart of such a happy occasion. So many times the verse about sowing in tears came to mind. For it was ten years ago that many of these same people gathered for my moms funeral. Tears were sown that day and many, many more afterwards. However, this weekend felt like we were reaping joy in a way. It was a choice each of us had to make years ago. Would we allow the Lord to use this loss for good and His glory or would we refuse His presence in our grief? It was encouraging to look back and see how much our love for God and others has grown, experience fellowship that will continue in eternity and to be reminded that joy is possible again. And I look forward to more celebrating!