To A Wild Rose: Straight From the Heart of Tracie

Next up in the series, you have the pleasure of meeting my friend Tracie.  We’ve known each other quite a few years from the days of pushing our little ones around in baby strollers, to now sharing the bittersweet moments of waving goodbye as our “babies” drive off to college.  Tracie is proud mom to three amazing kiddos, and wife to Pastor Richard Boyd.  She serves our school district as the Help Desk Technologist, and is one of the most giving ladies you’ll meet. From taxiing around our kiddos, giving me much needed reminders, and so much more I’m blessed to know Tracie… and I think you will be too as you read her honest, open words.  

As I sat this morning, all alone, looking at the decorations in our house, drinking coffee, and remembering where each ornament came from I was flooded with love, and something else.  I realized I have wasted alot of time.  I have held grudges, judged others, not forgiven, and not shared the gospel like I should.  My dad is in the hospital right now, and I just lost my grandma and a lady who was a spiritual mother to me, so my heart is kind of heavy.  More than the heaviness of the loss of people, is the loss of time.

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I didn’t speak to my dad for five years when I was a teenager, and I have always felt a little estranged from him, but last year when his dad passed away, things changed.  He needed my help, and I freely gave it.  We have had the best relationship in this last year because I let us.  I let go of old hurts and pain and just loved him where he is.  I let him love me in his way, not the way I want him to love me.  I let go and let God.

My dad is not saved and I have tried to discuss it with him before, but he doesn’t see a need for a relationship with Christ.  I have tried to live my life in front of him, and hope that it has been a witness, but as I sat there this morning I thought, “Has it been?”  “Have I shown the love of Christ with my grudges and un-forgiveness and judgmental-ness?”  “Would anyone want to know about Christ watching me?” The answer is no.

Young couple holding hands in the wheat field on sunny summer day.

Time is short people!  Even if you don’t believe in the end times, you can look around and see how fast time passes!  My daughter is looking at colleges, my son is grown and gone, I will have another teenager in a month, time has passed me by!  I have wasted something God has given me with “MY” hurts, that I really haven’t shared with the fixer of those hurts, Jesus.  

Please don’t let the time continue to go by another day having “junk” that keeps you bogged down to the point that you can’t live for Christ as you should, or share the gospel like you should.  Forgive people, love people, and tell people about Jesus.  There is someone looking at your walk, whether it is your children, husband, friend or stranger.

Walk in a walk that they will know He is walking with you.

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acceptance

father-son-walking“Acceptance: receiving another person willingly and unconditionally; being willing to love another in spite of offenses.”

Acceptance.  Wow.  What does it mean to feel accepted?  This need of ours as human, emotional beings is majorly overlooked in the daily forefront of our minds, yet there it is… not just a desire to feel accepted, but a need to be accepted.

Maybe one of the reasons that we often starve, and hurt inside for this need is how we view ourselves, and those around us. We feel rejected, criticized, and often live under the weight of trying to impress others with our intelligence, works, education, money, and even how effectively we relate to others, all to gain something to feed this hunger for others to accept who we are. We toil daily under a weight of the fear of rejection, and we put on masks so that others will accept us.  And, oh my, the need of acceptance can NEVER be met by someone accepting us for the mask we wear, because that deep, down need will never be met when we know really it’s only the mask they approve of… our courage to be vulnerable is squashed as we fear others seeing the true “me.”  And, maybe this all stems from a mis-interpretation, I think, of how we receive one another, and even how we receive our own selves.  We often place our approval ratings on what we can accomplish, and not simply who we are.  And, yes, there is a difference.

We have learned in our culture to be human-doings rather than human-beings. What about a busy, vibrant young mother who finds herself with a debilitating disease?  She cannot care for her children in the same way as before, and even herself.  Has her value changed because she cannot “do” anymore?  Then, there is our dear friend, who is an older veteran who served his country with passion and protection.  He now is seeing the sunset of life, and is confined to a chair, communication even difficult for him.  Is his value different than in the years before? When we think about examples like these, it is easy for us to see the answer!  It makes it so clear.  Of course, the value is not determined by what they do! What about the weak, strong, blind, young, old, prideful, rich, poor, crippled, athletic, homeless, well-spoken…?  What about me, what about you?  Is our value placed within the external acts? All human life has its worth determined by our Maker.  Our worth is not diminished or increased by what we do (or don’t do!), it is simply who we are.

We can accept one another, not because the other gets it right, or wrong in our view.  And, we can even accept ourselves because we meet all the criteria necessary to be “ok.”  We are accepted because we are an amazing creation.  Made in the image of God! Eternal beings that are a miracle from conception!  You were never an accident, and your very breath was breathed into you by an all-powerful God with purpose!  Wow!  I don’t have to jump through your hoops, or ring my bells just right to be accepted.

Accepting one another may look like, “You might make mistakes, but that doesn’t make you a mistake!  Your wrong behavior doesn’t make you wrong, my friend.  Let me walk beside you, and help change behaviors that are hurtful for you.”

“Even though you’re not perfect, I’m not either – we are in this together!  The welcome mat is still out for you.”

“We might disagree, but that doesn’t change how valuable you are, and how important it is to hear what you have to say.”

“You don’t have to do anything for me know that you are valuable.  You are.  Just as you are.”

Giving a sense of consistency in your care for them – “I’m in this for the long haul!  Ups and downs!”

Sometimes we might see the need for acceptance met in unhealthy ways, such as gangs, cults, or maybe as we see in all of us, the propensity to “group thought,” rather than knowing our own core, personal thoughts and beliefs with the freedom to be ourselves. silhouette-of-sitting-man-looking-at-the-sunset-and-the-moon

Who meets your need for acceptance today?  Is it even being met, or do you feel the pangs of starvation?  Is it met in an unhealthy way by those who aren’t really nourishing your soul?

It’s our job to find ways to meet these needs in our own lives.  Just like it’s my job to drink up on the H2o, we have to own this need, and look for the people in our lives that can meet this need, and fill up a bit of our accepted tank.

And, as an important side note, remember our little ones.  We do have the responsibility to meet this need in their lives.  Just as a two year old won’t be able to meet her needs of nutrition for her growth, she also doesn’t have the means or ability to find ways to meet this need for acceptance.  And, it is oh-so important for our littles.  What an honor that we can serve our little ones in this vital way!

Let’s remind ourselves and others; We aren’t production machines whose value is placed by performance.  Our worth has been determined and set by our Maker.

So, who can we offer the gift of acceptance to today, and how can we care for this need in our own life?

Would love to hear your thoughts!

Thanks for joining the conversation! This is the second post from this series of talking about our human basic emotional needs.

References:

Some of the concepts discussed were taken from writing by the Center for Relational Care, Robert McGee, Abraham Maslow, and more. Bible verses; Psalm 139:13-16, Romans 8:32, 1 Samuel 16:7, 1 John 3:16-17, Genesis 1:27-28, Colossians 3:12-14.

the possibilities

The reminder started yesterday…

…whilst I was at my sister’s house, with lovely women buzzing around me — singing, sweeping, cleaning, and dancing (to some groovin’ tunes) as we worked together. Julie’s cutesy twin daughter’s were watching a video, and the song, “I Am A Promise” started to play… A simple song.  An old song.  “I am a promise, I am a possibility, I am a promise with a capital “P”! I am a great big bundle of potentiality!”IMG_2670

Little children’s faces started flashing across my mind… faces with chocolate stains, faces with snot crusted and dried on, laughing faces, and the big, gummy, no-teeth grins.  Faces that have little legs dancing under them, and faces with tears flowing down their cheeks.  Unborn faces that I see on the ultrasound screen wiggling, and waving.  Faces of all colors, shapes, and sizes.  Faces of hope.  I saw faces of “bigger” kids… the man who calls the street his only home, the boy who just received his first paycheck, the girl who dreads school because of the ridicule she feels, the man who completes his first original song, the woman who cries alone in the motel feeling she has no choice but to sell herself to survive. The elderly woman, who opens a knock on her door excited to see her grandson. The angry man, who no matter how hard he tries, falls again into an outburst — shackled by insecurity.  The happy couple that just had news of their first child.

Faces.  The faces of promise.  The faces of possibilities.

Your faces.  My face.

This day is new for you!  In the words of Jon Foreman, “Are you who you want to be?”  Dare to move!  Dare to work through whatever it is you face that keeps you from who you are created to be. Rejoice in the beauties, and know that the dark days are not forever. Don’t believe, or despair that your low point today will be the same low point tomorrow, and that you can never change. The possibilities are there.  The promises are there.  You are so uniquely created, by our loving Father.  Reach for Him.  Just one step at a time, my friend.

FullSizeRender (30)The growing process is slow… Be patient with yourself.  Your Father is!  Be kind to yourself, and don’t give up.  Screw up?  Pick yourself up, and reach for Him. Dig down deep, and grab hold of those things He has given in your care, and look to Him as your source of strength.  Even though this world around us sometimes swirls fiercely, He remains the same.  His love is steady, and His ways peace-filled.

You are full of potentiality!  You are made in the image of God, and He has plans for you.  Good plans!  You are a miracle. You!  An awe-inspiring miracle, uniquely designed, and wonderfully made by God!

(And, so is that person sitting next to you… so, treat them accordingly, too… but, that’s a whole another blog post.  😉 )

I’m a big fan of yours!  But, most importantly… your Father is.

 “You will show me the path of life: in Your presence is fullness of joy; at Your right hand there are pleasures for evermore.”  Psalm 16:11

“i painted you a rainbow”

Quick confession:  I enjoy eavesdropping on children sometimes.  It is so fun, and insightful!  I always learn so much about them, but also myself…. 🙂  I recently listened in on one of those special conversations that I will not soon forget.  My niece Taylor (4) was very dramatically telling my son Wesley (6)  how very much she loved rainbows.

“Rainbows are my favorite EVER!

“Rainbows are BE-YOOOO-TIFULL!”

“Rainbows are all about God!”

“I like God. He is good, and He makes RAINBOWS!”

Well, you get the picture.  Tay-Tay loves rainbows.  But then, the conversation turned to a sad note.

“Why can’t there be rainbows all the time?”

“I hate the storms.”

“I wish there was a rainbow now….”

Later that evening, my son Wesley ran to his room, and emerged much later with a bright, colorful artwork of a rainbow.  “See Mom!  I figured it out!  I made Tay-Tay a picture of a rainbow, so she can have one ALL the time.”

As simple and childish as it seems, this was such a great reminder for me.  We:  fathers, mothers, teachers, guides, husbands, wives, sisters, brothers, co-workers, daughters, sons and friends have the opportunity to joyfully paint for those around us rainbows.  Those around us often are fighting the turmoil from the storms in this life… and we as an encourager can do exactly that:  encourage.  We cannot take away the pain, we cannot often take away the storm.. but we can be an arm wrapped around our loved ones – sharing comfort in the midst.  Easing the journey with hope of our destination.  I’m so thankful for those rainbows in my life.

We can paint this rainbow, by trusting in our Father… and knowing that no matter what may come our way we can trust!  We can smile, we can rest, we can know… God is good, and His love endures forever through it all.

But…. Do we instead nag?  Gossip?  Gripe?  Mope?  Frown?  Whine? Doubt?  (Ouch.)  Are we actually painting more storms for them within their storm?

Let’s paint rainbows.  Let’s remind those around us of His promises.  Those promises that tell us He will never leave us or forget us.  The promises that remind us that the Lord is always near when we call out to Him.  The promise that His love never fails.  Let’s remind our loved ones of what God says, and how we can trust the One who loves us.  A beautiful gift for those around us…  Rainbow painting.

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Intentional…. for little hearts

button-be-intentionalOnce upon a time, a few blogs ago… we thought together about being intentional.  We thought about time, and how we spend it — flippantly floating or intentionally living.  This has definitely been on my mind again, as we see New Year’s resolutions everywhere.  And we all cling to the word new.  New year.  New day. New choices.  New ways.  New mercies.

So, in this post as I talk to myself, and you… 🙂  I am thinking about being a mom.  What an amazing, beautiful, crazy, busy, overwhelming, enjoyable adventure it is to have the responsibility to encourage these young hearts!  I am not sure if you are a mom, a dad, an older sibling, a teacher, an aunt or uncle, a grandparent, a mentor, counselor, or friend…. but we all have little people in our lives that look to us for love, guidance, acceptance, and comfort.  We have this moment, this day, this time to help shape their future!  Wow!  And, yes…. it involves sacrifice on our part.  But, oh how sweet the reward!  The joy of seeing little hearts experience the love of God… and share His words to be imprinted on their hearts!

So, here are some “intentional” ideas:

1.  A designated Bible study/worship time

2.  Writing cards with verses of hope and encouragement for lunch-kits, to place in their room, bookmarks, ect.

3.  Reading time with good, inspiring resources

4.  Taking time to explain terms the child might not know, and grow up assuming rather than knowing the amazing, life-giving definitions.  (IE:  Redemption, grace, sanctification, ect.)

5.  Time to discuss what the child heard in the sermon, or in their class

6.  Be careful what the little eyes and ears see/hear. 

7.  Love. Intentionally. Fully. Always.

032Throughout the years I have found some children’s resources I love…. feel free to share and add to my list what you have found that is helpful!

http://www.childrendesiringgod.org/ has great curriculum for all ages!  My son Jonathan loved two of their “youth” age studies.  I’m ordering “Rejoicing in God’s Good Design” for this year!

Realllllllly like this website:  FREE is always a YAY!  http://ministry-to-children.com/  This site offers free printables, and lots of help getting started.  Also, much encouragement from others sharing the same purpose.

http://group.com/childrens-ministry is a ministry that is always helpful, and has some unique, creative ways to assist you in sharing God’s word.

Praise Factory is specifically a curriculum for Sunday School, and Children’s Church ministry.  It also can be helpful to you on a number of levels… so check them out!  http://www.praisefactory.org/

http://www.kidsofcourage.com/ is a great website with videos, stories, and ways to teach our children about the persecution that people have experienced in the past, and in the present places of this world for their faith in God.  Great way to help broaden our children’s perspective.

Christian Focus 4 Kids is a great place to find very creative, Biblically sound resources to use for yowesleygrandcaymanur children.  My friend Paul has worked on a summary of the Bible that I am so excited about!! I love to see God’s beautiful tale of redemption unfolded through the stories of the Bible.  This will be great for you to study thru with children; complete with thought-provoking questions, timeline, and more.  http://cf4k.christianfocus.com/index.php/2012/12/04/66-books-one-story/

So many great resources!  SO many ways to share true love with our little hearts entrusted to our care.  Can we intentionally share love fully today, so that in our tomorrow’s we have no regrets that we did not treasure this opportunity?

children

It’s everywhere I look today.  The media are splashing details all about. My Facebook page is filled with comments.  Everyone around me is talking about it.  My newspaper has numerous articles surrounding all aspects of the trial.  The sad tragedy of Caylee Anthony tugs at our heart-strings, and stirs a sense of realization at the pain, suffering and injustice that children must walk through in this world.

Sadly, the fact is Caylee is not the only one.

There are millions of children all around us in pain.  They carry burdens that are far too heavy for the strongest of us. They suffer physical, emotional, and verbal abuse.  They are alone.  Neglected.  Cold.  Starving.  Hurting.   Some are only just down your street.  Some are across the ocean.

Let us not be stirred to only use our words.  Caylee has left this harsh world… but many, many more remain. How can we help?  What can we do?  Is there even one that we could assist in easing their pain?  Look around you.  Ask God how you can be His hands and feet to show a young heart the way to relief, and to share with them the hope of eternal joy.

 

‘For I was hungry, and you gave Me something to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me something to drink; I was a stranger, and you invited Me in; naked, and you clothed Me; I was sick, and you visited Me; I was in prison, and you came to Me.’ “Then the righteous will answer Him, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, and feed You, or thirsty, and give You something to drink? ‘And when did we see You a stranger, and invite You in, or naked, and clothe You? When did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’

      “Then He will also say to those on His left, ‘Depart from Me, accursed ones, into the eternal fire which has been prepared for the devil and his angels; for I was hungry, and you gave Me nothing to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave Me nothing to drink; I was a stranger, and you did not invite Me in; naked, and you did not clothe Me; sick, and in prison, and you did not visit Me.’ “Then they themselves also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not take care of You?’ “Then He will answer them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did not do it to one of the least of these, you did not do it to Me.’ “These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.”  Matthew 25:35-46

Some ideas for a few places to contact. Find out how you can get involved to help:  (If you have a recommended place to share, please add to list…)

World Vision

Casa

Compassion

Holistic Christian Ministry

Forgotten Stories

Buckner International