Category Archives: micro

How We Might Overcome Evil; One Click at a Time

Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. Romans 12:21

The term “keyboard warrior” aptly describes any of us; given the perfect storm of elements. In this digital age, communicating in the heat of the moment becomes an all to real temptation. The moment we read an article or comment that pushes our buttons, the adrenaline alarm rings inside. The heart beats faster, the mind begins racing, anger pulses through our veins. And our fingers impulsively gravitate to the keyboard in order to type out a response.

But what if we practiced the discipline of pause?

Oh, there’s much to lose by it. Power. Immediate gratification. A feeling of self righteousness.

But what do we gain?

humility. The voice of the Holy Spirit. Conviction. Empathy.

We tend to literally live in the moments. Bytes of interaction make up our days rather than relationships cultivated over periods of time. Our interactions become a series of transactions determined by non connected narratives.

What if loving our neighbors as ourselves included practicing the hard things for both our benefit and someone else’s?

How might we shine the light of Christ into the dark places of other’s hearts by responding to them in a counter cultural manner? One that would clearly affirm to them that we are not actually citizens of this world?

Oh, this is hard stuff. It doesn’t come easily.

Which is why we have to call on Jesus to make it happen. And we have to want it enough to do that.

So let’s do it together. Let’s covenant to do the hard thing. I want to witness the transformation that happens when we yield to Jesus; one heart at a time. What about you?

This post was written for the Five Minute Writing Community. Come join us! http://fiveminutefriday.com/

 

Advertisements

How Others Became a Mat For Bringing Our Son to Jesus

One day, while he was teaching, Pharisees and teachers of the law were sitting near by (they had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and from Jerusalem); and the power of the Lord was with him to heal.[a] 18 Just then some men came, carrying a paralyzed man on a bed. They were trying to bring him in and lay him before Jesus;[b] 19 but finding no way to bring him in because of the crowd, they went up on the roof and let him down with his bed through the tiles into the middle of the crowd[c] in front of Jesus. Luke 5:17-19

The man was dependent on others who saw his need. We don’t know much about these men. Were they inconvenienced? How well did they know each other?

Several years ago, something miraculous happened.

My oldest son’s health deteriorated. Months of stomach issues followed by unexpected epileptic seizures left us exhausted. After months of seeking medical treatment and diagnosis, we reached a dead end.

“Why don’t you got to Mayo Clinic?” Someone suggested.

Though the idea seemed great, how would we get there? Who would watch our other two kids for a week?

I let the idea slide away. In my mind, it didn’t seem realistic.

But a few weeks later, his doctor encouraged us to consider pursuing Mayo Clinic.

“OK,” I thought. “Maybe God  speaking here.”

After, praying about it and laying my concerns at Jesus’ feet, my husband and I decided to pursue it. But how would this come together?

I thought about our “tribe.” Our church family and neighbors with whom we do life. It seemed risky to ask others to take on such a great responsibility. We would depend on them to be “us” in our absence-feeding my kids, getting them to school (or helping home school), helping with homework, transporting my son to karate, and making sure they were clothed and ready for their impending activities.

Who would do that?

Friends. People like the men who carried the man to Jesus. People who love you enough to see what you need and are willing to be inconvenienced to help you get there.

As they worked together, they wove a mat which carried my son; despite the distance. The days wove together seamlessly. The individual threads connected with one another; some never having been in contact before. They became our support. Because they loved us.

The trip to Mayo holds its own miraculous testimony. My son found treatment and a diagnosis. He has recovered from his stomach issues and is in a stable place with the epilepsy.

We are forever thankful for our friends who brought him in front of Jesus.

This post is written for Five Minute Friday. Come join us! http://fiveminutefriday.com/

*I may have gone over the five minute limit here. It’s a good story 🙂

 

 

To the People Who Embrace My Daughter: Depression, Anxiety, and All

Words barely express the ways your actions have breathed life into my daughter. Movement into unknown territory involves risks. Your willingness to do that does not go unnoticed. Connecting with her isn’t easy. I know that. As you know, she’s not one of those outgoing social butterfly types. She’s an observer. In addition, her mental illness, makes identifying and controlling emotions challenging. She realizes the impact of her actions and words, yet, managing the whirlwind within becomes difficult at times.

By inviting her into your space, you moved beyond the walls of fear that easily keep us from engaging. with those who seem different from ourselves. Sometimes the fears are rooted in real experiences,yet, each of us has our own narrative. You have demonstrated to others that learning how to give and receive support is a significant life skill. There is no “us” and “them.” Everyone faces their own struggles.

We, her parents, are walking in unfamiliar territory. We have gleaned much about the way our society values others as well as the assumptions aimed toward families who don’t capture the “All American Dream.” Stigmas and fear feed the perceptions of parents whose children’s disabilities appear “fixable.” When behavioral and emotional issues manifest themselves, the journey becomes a lonely one for the whole family.

You have witnessed the storm of emotions blow out of her with a breath-taking pace. Out of her mouth, harsh words may have been hurled in your direction. Yet, you saw that she was more than those utterances. The open invitation to your home created a refuge and gave her purpose. How could you have known that her desire to conquer an 8 hour day of cognitive and emotional difficulties was rooted in the reward of spending time with your family? Thank you for loving her unconditionally.

To those unsung heroes at school, you are appreciated more than you can grasp. Her struggles impact our whole family. As parents, we transport, cajole, and encourage her to embrace the school day. But the reality is that some days, we all feel wiped out my 9:00 am.

How do you fight the clutches of anxiety/depression which attempt to pull your child back into bed? Some days, the nuances of battle were apparent. She arrived with eyes, swollen and puffy. But you welcomed her nonetheless and let her sit. Sometimes, you even provoked a smile and a laugh. You far exceed your job expectations.

Thank you for loving my child. Whether you welcomed her with a simple gesture or invested time with her, your kindness reaps a harvest in her soul.

This post originally appeared here: https://themighty.com/2017/05/a-letter-of-gratitude-for-loving-my-child/

How Buying Bologna Became My Work

 

 

 

When my daughter was a preschooler, she was asked to fill out a worksheet which identified her “world.”  As expected, she was asked, “What does your mother do?”

Her answer? I go to the store and buy bologna.

After a chuckle,I had to let that one settle.

Really? That’s what I do?

I thought about my identity. For several years, I found fulfillment in my career in ministry. I had followed God’s leading on an unexpected journey. With it, came dreams and goals. And I saw the fruit of those seeds placed on my heart. Yes, it was my work but it was also my calling. God gave me that name (pastor) and that purpose for “such a time as this.”

At the time my daughter identified my new name (mom-who buys bologna), I was in the midst of recognizing my new calling. It was also work. Harder than I expected. Long hours of physical and emotional investment with few immediate rewards. And no pay. In fact, it cost us money.

But, this work was also a calling for “such a time as this.”

It took me a while to acknowledge that truth. Because our culture doesn’t.

We tend to be a culture that prides itself in work that reaps visible material fruit. Identities are largely defined by what we “do.” What we possess symbolizes how well we “do” it.

But what if, instead, we focus on who we are? Because who we are ought to dictate what we do. No matter how visible “it” is. Regardless of how much “it” pays.

It’s been thirteen years since she filled out that worksheet. And during that time, I have learned to embrace the work God gave me. My daughter is about to enter her senior year and is thinking about her future. She feels led to study culinary arts and maybe own a cafe.

Maybe she will. But she also may be called into a similar place of work as I. When asked what she wanted to do when she grew up, she responded, “I want to go to the store and buy bologna.”

If that’s the work God has called her to, then I say “Amen.”

“A person may have many plans in their heart. But the Lord’s purpose wins out in the end.” Proverbs 19:21

 

What I Learned About Community From Childhood Summer Play

Oh the places we traveled; the small tribe of us. I was blessed with a dozen or so companions in childhood adventures.

Who knew a refrigerator box would be the vehicular venue through which we could see the world? In those hot sticky days, a few of us would gather inside the box to blast off. A crayon drawn monitor became our “means” of communication to the Earth. The cardboard walls were privy to hours of conversation and giggles. And sometimes; silence.

When our rocket was not destined for take-off, parades took place. Within our community, leadership emerged.  Organization took place. Who will lead? How will the  event be communicated to our small loyal crowd of families?

I learned much from that tribe. Much like the “Backyardigans,” our play allowed creativity to be unleashed. Visions gave way to projects. Together, we made them happen. Listening, learning, and collaborating. In a way our interactions became a blueprint for thriving in community.

How do you respond to someone with whom you disagree?

What’s the best way to complete a project?

Who are the leaders? Who are the followers?

What do each of us offer?

Play. It is a blessing. In its most pure, unplanned form.

I am thankful planned play dates had not evolved.  Learning to live with those put in our midst is called community. Finding our place in one allows us to peer into God’s face. To partake in the beauty of God’s creation.

Community can form in the workplace, standing in line, in church, on a train…

And even in a refrigerator box.

This post is written for the Five Minute Friday Writing Community. Come join us! http://fiveminutefriday.com/2017/07/06/link-up-play/

 

 

 

To the People Who Embrace My Daughter: Depression, Anxiety, and All

Words barely express the ways your actions have breathed life into my daughter.

Movement into unknown territory involves risks. Your willingness to do that does not go unnoticed. As you know, she’s not one of those outgoing social butterfly types. She’s an observer. In addition, her mental illness makes identifying and controlling emotions challenging. She realizes the impact of her actions and words, yet, managing the whirlwind within becomes difficult at times.

By inviting her into your space, you moved beyond the walls of fear that easily keep us from engaging with those who seem different from ourselves. Sometimes the fears are rooted in real experiences, yet, each of us has our own narrative. You have demonstrated to others that learning how to give and receive support is a significant life skill. There is no “us” and “them.” Everyone faces their own struggles.  Read more at:

https://themighty.com/2017/05/a-letter-of-gratitude-for-loving-my-child/

Reflections On the Limits Of a Mom’s Control

Ambulance sirens shriek as through a megaphone into my ears. Goosebumps attempt to arise. Some memories find themselves woven into my senses.

2014 became the year of the unexpected for my family. Detours and valleys frequently marked our path. Most notably; my son’s health deteriorated. While my husband and I sought answers, his symptoms grew became more baffling. Watching your child suffer draws out a fierce desire for control that previously lied dormant.

One evening, after dinner, I faced the most horrifying moment as a parent: The prospect of losing my son. In the midst of routine, we found him seizing. We were caught off guard. Nothing prepared me for the sight. Stunned. Horrified, Grasping…..for resolution. I found myself screaming at the 911 operator. Desperation and panic evident in my voice. For I realized in those moments that, as a mom, I thought I had a sense of control over most things in his life. But the reality hit me-death was not one of them.

How can a mom not save her own son?

Fortunately, by the time the paramedics arrived, my son had regained consciousness and began to recover. But the encounter with the truth hit me like a ton of bricks. He is ultimately God’s child. I am blessed to be in his presence. I am humbled by the responsibility to care for him and point him to the one who literally breathes life into him. But, he is not mine.

The thought of Mary facing such a reality musters up feelings of admiration; yet, conviction. As she  watched her beloved son’s final days, she had to have recognized her control had ceased. Could I have embraced it so willingly?

How can a mom not save her own son?

She knew whose he was. It was revealed in the beginning. But there is a bond between mother and child that stings in the stretching. It’s the attachment that drove her to frantically look for him when he was missing. It’s what fuels the emotions she felt as she gazed at her young son and “treasured all these things in her heart.” (Luke 2:19). And the sting was felt most prominently when she, in her humility, knew that God’s purposes for Jesus prevailed her Earthly maternal ones.

For now, I embrace the gift I have. The opportunity to be his mom and learn to trust in the one whose purposes for us ultimately result in “life.”