Thursday, November 8, 2018

Before the internet became Dr. Spock

My daughter shared a sweet piece on Facebook the other day written by a mom encouraging other young moms to hang in there.  So many of the younger generation have so many good words, funny words, touching words they use to encourage each other.

Thirty plus years ago, gulp, I'm starting to sound like an "old" person, aren't I?  Thirty plus years ago BEFORE the internet took over our world, before we had blogs and text messaging and countless websites feeding our souls with garbage as we looked for the jewels, for the words that you and I need to read, that speak to our souls, that fit the search criteria and meet the keyword we have punched into our search bars - BEFORE that - all we had were a few things.

In no particular order:

1.  Family close by, or if you were a military wife like I was your military community was your family.  We talked on the phone, for hours sometimes, while the kids continually interrupted and ran just far enough where the phone cord couldn't reach them when the millionth "I'm on the phone" didn't work anymore and we'd threaten with the spoon.  We had babysitting co-ops and we didn't overthink a million little things because we didn't know the million little things we were supposed to over think.  The internet didn't exist to tell us those things.  We just did the best we could and sometimes just a mindless discussion on the phone took care of the "I think I'm going to kill my children because they won't stop crying or fighting or whining or acting like hooligans."  We didn't have Facebook parenting groups with strangers across the country or the other side of the world.  We had face to face, or at least voice to voice interaction.

2.  Only a few channels on the TV.  Another monster for this younger generation to sort through.  No one can be Martha or Joanna or Rachel or any of those unique individuals who we admire but who, through no fault of their own, make the rest of us everyday chums feel inadequate and less than....what?  Who knows.  We didn't have the internet to tell us.

3.  Common sense.  We didn't have to worry about our every move being recorded on someone's cell phone and splashed all over social media if our child acted out in a store or they did something cute never to be witnessed again.  We had more freedom to be what our kids needed in the moment, and yes, sometimes that was much more authoritative than edited video would glorify or crucify depending on the circumstance. We let children throw a tantrum, we didn't know to say "use your words."  We just swatted or threatened with taking away promised treats or whatever if they are "good."  Yeah, we weren't perfect and many of us wish we had the "use your words" tool in our tool belts back then but we didn't.  And you grew up anyway.  Yes, now you have some true feelings about that but keep reading.

4.  We didn't constantly think and talk about our feelings or compare our feelings with others.  Feelings?  We didn't know they could be talked about because we thought they had to be pushed aside to get the task at hand done.  Our teachers didn't care about our feelings, and most of our parents didn't seem to think they were worth stewing over.  The generation before them DID NOT have the time to think about their feelings either, they were busy....working, growing their own food, sewing their own clothes, chopping their own wood for winter heat.  Now, are things better because it's discouraged to shove everything down to our toes?  Maybe.  But then again, not every feeling is a feeling that needs attention.  Sometimes life just stinks and we have to get over it and move on.

We had our faults no doubt and we can't undo what we have at our fingertips.  You're reading these words right now and if it weren't for the internet you wouldn't have any idea what this middle aged woman thought nor would you care.  We can't throw out the baby with the bathwater, but we can look back at what did work better and readjust.  You are the first generation raising children with tools no parents since Adam and Eve have ever had.

Your children will be the ones to look back at your techniques and judge which ones were good and which ones were not useful.  What do you want them to see?  What tools do you want them to have in their tool belt that will ALWAYS be there no matter what technology dictates or takes away?

Raising children is the quickest way to enter into a relationship with the Father in heaven.  I learned through crying, whining, fighting, and utterly beautiful joyful moments with mine what a great Heavenly Dad we have.  He knows EXACTLY what it's like to raise crying, whining, fighting humans.  And he knows the utterly beautiful joy in moments no technology can replicate.  When you don't have the answer and His Spirit is telling you NOT to go on the internet,  go to Him.  That's really all we and the thousands of generations before us had.  He was and is all we need.

He has not changed.  His words are timeless and His power is mighty.  Go to him before you go anywhere else.  Stay off the internet as much as you can.  Stop reading every article related to whatever subject you think matters.  Use the brain He's given you and ask yourself, "How would my grandma or her grandma handle this problem?"  Their childrearing wasn't all bad because it did lead to you so they must have done a few things right, even without all the noise of technology interrupting their chicken plucking and tomato canning.

God loves you, Momma.  He loves your kids more than you ever can.  Remember, they were His before they were yours.  Hand them over to Him.


Monday, September 10, 2018

When you need a sign

I have come to appreciate the names of people in the Bible.  Especially the lesser known, see them once and move on names.  I often wonder why they are listed and I hope I meet them in heaven so I can ask them why they got picked to be included.

I came across one such name today.  A name Paul called out in a very nonchalant kind of way.  Just fourteen words were written to this person but as I read them, I couldn't help but sense the Holy Spirit was telling them to me.  And maybe, when you read them or this you might get a similar message.  I don't know, but here I go.

If you read Paul's letters, taking particular note of who the letters are written to and who is included in the farewell, you will find interesting details about the early believers.  Paul mentioned Erastus, the city of Rome's director of public works.  He also greeted the first believer in Asia, Epenetus.  (Romans 16).  He sent greetings to "All the saints" in Philippians.  Several others were mentioned in his letters but none got the specific encouragement as Archippus did.  Included in the letter to the Colossians he gets the only personal shout out:

"See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord."

I have these questions:

Why did Paul address Archippus specifically?

What was the work he received in the Lord?

Why wasn't Archippus finishing the work he received in the Lord?

If you look in the rest of Paul's letters, only Archippus is given personal encouragement.  "Tell Archippus..."  You know how when someone you are with is on the phone and there is a three way conversation between the two people holding the phone and you, standing by trying to listen in or be a part of the conversation?  Before we had speaker phones it went something like this:

Person holding phone #1:  Ok, well it was great talking to you.

Person holding phone #2:  It sure was.  You take care.  Wait....wait a minute....what?

Person standing next to person holding phone #2:  Tell Person holding phone #1 I say "hi".

Person holding phone #2:  She says Hi.

PHP#1:  Hi!

PHP#2:  She says Hi back!

PSNTPHP#2:  Come down and see us!

PHP#2:  She says, "Come down and see us!"

PHP#1:  I......

Well, you get the picture.

Letter writing took longer than speaking.  If you were dictating a letter, as someone most likely was in the letter to Colossians, it took even longer.  Paul was in prison so there was probably not much to write on, so every word mattered.

Archiippus' work was worthy of taking up space on precious writing paper.  Archippus.  Whatever the Lord knew he needed most to hear from Paul was said in fourteen words:  See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord..

Had word gotten back to Paul that Archippus was feeling defeated?  Fearful?  Were their reports he was getting lazy?  That he didn't believe what he was doing mattered?  Was Archippus questioning whether or not he really had an assignment "in the Lord" and maybe was struggling to going back to his old work, out of the Lord's will?  Or maybe it was just the Holy Spirit putting in this sentence and Paul knew nothing about what the Lord was trying to tell Archippus.  Maybe Paul wondered as he heard himself dictate the words, "What in the world is that about, Lord?"  Maybe the Lord said, "Mind your own business."

I don't know.  But I'm so curious, aren't you?

Complete the work.

See to it that you complete the work.

See something physical with spiritual results so that it can be fulfilled, completed.

The work came from the Lord.  Now finish it.  See the task with spiritual eyes so you can do the physical work.

991 blépō – properly, to see, be observant (watchful).  991(blépō) suggests "to see something physical, with spiritual results (perception)." That is, it carries what is seen into the non-physical (immaterial) realm so a person can take the needed action (respond, beware, be alert). bible

The Lord wasn't done with Archippus.  The task he had been given wasn't complete.  Paul wrote that. When the letter was read and Archippus' name was spoken and his ears perked up hearing his name, can you imagine the emotions he was feeling?  I wonder, had he been struggling, praying, struggling, looking for a sign to confirm he wasn't crazy and then, BAM!, here comes Paul's words:

Tell Archippus:  See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord.

Maybe you need that very sign today.  Maybe instead of putting Archippus' name in that verse the Lord is putting your name.

__________:  See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord.

What has the Lord tasked you with that you have put aside?  What work did he start in you that at the time you were sure was Him telling you to do it but as time has gone on you have let doubt creep in.  Insecurity has taken a seat in your heart where once you were fearless and bold and.....sure.

See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord.

There's your sign.....if you needed one.



Saturday, July 28, 2018

When walking away means walking towards

Walking away.  We walk away everyday.  Mindlessly sometimes.  We go to the refrigerator to get a drink and we walk away from the refrigerator towards the table.  We walk to the mailbox to get the mail as we walk away from the house to walk towards the street.

Walking away from something and walking towards something else is part of our activities of daily living.

When a movement such as the walkaway campaign I mentioned in my previous post begins to grow, with a specific entity being walked away from, the intention of walking away is one that takes thought, planning, praying, and in the end, a decisive mindset that says, "I will walk away from this type of thinking/behaving/believing."

But whenever we walk away from something, we walk towards something else.  Like a deer spooked by a rustle in the grass, we can sometimes run away with no forethought of what we are now running towards.  When green grass is found in the place we run to, we can rest just as easily and quickly in our new spot as we once did in the place we just walked away from.

The object of what we are walking from so that we can walk towards a new object or idea or ideology or way of thinking must never be one that we are comfortable enough to settle into and fall asleep again when we get there.

For example, the Christian walks away from sin and spends their life walking away from revealed sins/habits/stinkin' thinkin'.  We walk away from disbelief to belief.  We walk from sin into freedom in Christ.  We walk from despair to hope.  We walk from fear to faith.  Over and over again, throughout our faith life we walk away to walk towards.

The question is, what are you walking towards now?

When we see the error of our ways and feel the remorse in our soul for choices we regret, where do we go when what we once held dear no longer fits inside our souls' clothes?

Chase what God wants.  Walk towards what the Lord Jesus Christ wants for you.  That's where you are going to end up anyway, so why not cut through a lot more pain, confusion and wasting of precious time and just walk towards the light of Jesus Christ.  He can fill the needs you have.  The needs of








He has everything you are looking for that you once spent your life trying to fulfill in meaningless and false narratives.  He has your back when you are walking towards him.  Spend these next precious footsteps walking towards someone called Jesus.  If you're not walking towards him, you might as well go back to where you were.  Without Him as your final destination what you are now walking towards will hold no greater value than what you just walked away from.

He is your hope.  He is your glory.  He is your purpose.

The light has been turned on.

Walk away from darkness and walk to Jesus.


Wednesday, July 4, 2018

Riding on a Float with a breeze in my face

Forgive me if I've told this story before.  Maybe I've written about this event, maybe it's been hanging out in my heart just waiting to be told.

I had just turned 10 years old during America's Bicentennial year, 1976.  The little town I grew up in, and led by a small Homemaker's club of which my mother was a member, had the audacity to throw a parade to celebrate.  The population of Cataract, Wisconsin at the time, was probably two hundred souls within its blink-and-you-miss-it-border.  The surrounding area was mostly dairy farms, worked by some of the hardest working people I have ever known.

My grandfather, whom I have written about before here, had a collection of Maytag motors.  (You can google that if you want an explanation, I only know they were a prized possession of his and many others who tried to buy them from him over the years).  Anyway, Grandpa took it upon himself to pay the entry fee for the parade and arranged some of his prized collection on my uncle's hay wagon.  Because every float needs someone to throw candy to the onlookers, my mother made a period costume Betsy Ross dress and hat for me and I rode on the float.

Our little town increased its population that day, in my 10 year old mind one hundred fold, if not more.  Riding on that float, surrounded by an old Maytag washer and motors I knew nothing about, I saw our streets filled with people from all over the area and beyond.  There were makeshift parking lots in yards and the town's two churches, two bars, and Sportsman's Club field.  All to celebrate the birth of our country, the United States of America.

A ten year old at that time knew nothing of gunmen coming in schools and shooting.  We had no idea what illegal drugs were outside of "pot," we had no cell phones to distract us, no social media to follow or watch events "live" as they took place.  We lived in the moment and the moment I was in forty two years ago today on a bright sunny Wisconsin day was pride and joy.

Pride and joy in:

Community, before community was cool or something we had to invent or make or design.

The United States.  We were a two hundred year old country, which by ancient standards is a baby, but I knew, whether or not I comprehended the significance fully, it was a big deal.  I lived among not only Vietnam, Korean, and WW2 veterans, but also WW1 vets.  American history was still fairly young.  Although I was several generations removed from the founders, it didn't seem we were that far removed from our ancestors who had come over on boats seeking a better life.  We were all children of immigrants and understood that.

It was a great day.  I remember feeling like it was one of the best days ever.  The spirit in the air was exciting.  I've never forgotten the feeling from that day, riding on my Grandpa's float, throwing candy and waving at people who truly seemed happy and proud to be an American.

That feeling came back to visit today, for the first time in a long time.  Thanks to #walkaway.  America, such a divided place for the last few years, is finding its way back to its original intention again.  The tools that were used to divide us are now the tools being used to unite us once again.  We are witnessing a period of renaissance and revival and renewal among the citizens of this country.

We are finding our way back to what once was easy to do - live civilly amongst each other, respecting each other's viewpoint, being grateful for our American freedoms.

If you haven't heard of the #walkaway campaign, go check it out.  It will renew your soul if you thought American excellence was dying.

God is opening the eyes and ears of His people to see Truth and to protect what He created two hundred forty two years ago today.

God bless America and God bless you!


Tuesday, May 1, 2018

Z is for Zzzzzzz

It's not been my best challenge.  April was a busy month.  Last April was a busier month, well, actually it was an odd month.  We were in our transition phase, having sold our house in Wisconsin and living with my parents until we could move into our new home in Tennessee.  This year I'm sleeping in my own bed, writing at my own desk, and it's like I've been asleep at the wheel when it came to writing for the challenge.  Hence, Z's word, or rather, sound.

I hope I didn't bore you or disappoint you.  I won't make promises for next year because none of us knows what next year holds for us.  I know that in April of 2016 I certainly wasn't planning on making a move in April of 2017.

So whatever you may have gotten from this month's visits, I pray if nothing else God blesses you with a longing to know Him.  I pray that you seek the truth which can only be found in Him.  I pray you turn to Christ, if you've never done so before, and find Him to be worthy of all the bragging I've done on Him here at this blog.

I pray for those of you who are in Christ and come here for whatever reasons you do.  I pray that God strengthens you, encourages you, challenges you, but most of all, I pray that my words can remind you of how awesome is the God you and I both serve.  If we never meet until heaven, just know that I think of you when I write.  I pray that God gives me words that uplift you, not hurt you.  I pray for boldness, for both of us, that we may speak the truth in love to a world shouting in pain.

Jesus is the answer.  He certainly has not made my life boring or put me to sleep while just waiting around waiting to go to heaven.  I hope you are fighting the good fight and getting your hands dirty in this culture that is crying out for peace that passes all understanding.

Stand strong, stand up, and stand ready!  Don't fall asleep!

Z is for Zzzzzzzz.