Tag Archives: car

Thursday Thoughts: Why Our Trials Aren't "Just About Us"

 

About midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the other prisoners were listening to them. (Acts 16:25)
When we find ourselves in the midst of trials, it becomes easy to focus on ourselves. And for good reason.
Life, as we know it, has changed. The anxiety surrounding that moment builds as we feel a loss of control.

  • unexpected illness
  • death of a loved one
  • car repair
  • job loss
  • lack of improvement in chronic illness
  • broken/strained relationship
  • consequences of fighting for justice
  • financial stress

The rhythm was altered without our knowledge. The implications may involve physical/emotional hardship. 
The discomfort is unsettling. We seek restoration. But as we seek it, we may develop “tunnel vision.” We look for God’s redemption within the scope of our own lives. 
Yet, God’s movement in our trials speaks to those outside our scope as well.
Paul and Silas were no strangers to trials.  Because of their passion for bringing Jesus’ message to a secular society, persecution was a regular experience for them. But when God acted to deliver them, others took notice.
Others witnessed them calling out to God through song as they lay in pain from their beating. Their response was counter cultural. But “the other prisoners were listening to them.”
As if that wasn’t enough, God’s power came through with a mighty force and blew open the prison doors and loosened the chains! As a result of this experience, the jailer’s eyes were opened. He recognized God’s hand in Paul and Silas’ moment of trial and sought to be baptized.
Our trials aren’t just about us
Throughout scripture, God is about drawing others to Himself.  Whether it be directly (public manifestation) or indirectly (testimony).  Our trials are one venue through which that happens.
How are others seeing God’s hand at work in your trial?
Sovereign God,
No part of our lives is outside your view. We are reminded of your power to break through those situations which come our way and cause distress. Please hear our cries as you have heard the pleas of those who have come before us. We seek deliverance from the hardships we are experiencing (name them). As you restore us, may others see you at work.  Amen 
 
 
 
 

How Running Errands With Your Child Becomes Sacred


We’ve all been there.  After a day or days filled with non-stop activity, or caring for family in a myriad of breathless ways, you long for a respite.
AHHHHHHH!
A dreamy illusion of a bubble bath with soft, relaxing music in the background fades. So you go for the next best thing: an excursion to the store-and maybe a little splurge on a coffee drink as a treat by yourself.  All you yearn for is a few minutes away from the beckoning voices and drama. Yes, it is an errand-but it’s a few moments of gather -your- thoughts solitude. There might even be an opportunity to sneak a peek at some article of clothing or cute piece of dinnerware that usually gets a glance as your attention is diverted by securing the items that were actually on your list.
Ahhhhhhh…….
In my life this is what really happens…. After announcing of my impending departure to the store,  my teen occasionally follows me as I walk out the door. “I’m going to come along.”
What?
I try to explain that, really, I’m just going to pick up a “few things” (including that coffee drink) and I’ll be right back.  But my response is not met with success.
He persists, “I don’t care. I’m bored.”
The voice in my head argues back, “I just wanted to go to the store by myself.”
But saying those words doesn’t feel quite right.
And, despite my best efforts to escape by myself, I find myself giving in. When your teen son wants to tag along with his mother, that becomes a sacred moment.  In this phase of life, a few stolen moments with my son are hard to come by-especially if they are initiated by me.
My son tends to open up in the car-about everything.  His normally quiet demeanor transforms into a verbal conversationalist on all kinds of topics.  Those thoughts that have reserved space in his mind and feelings in his heart let loose.  Burdens are shared and a heart, which often pushes away helpful pieces of wisdom from his “you-don’t-know-what-it’s-like” parent, opens up to receive.
I am reminded of the generations of mamas who have experienced similar tensions.  Maybe the venue was different. Perhaps, it was a matter of finding those sacred moments in the field as they gathered crops or walking to the market.
It’s into those moments that God spoke:
” Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night.”  Deut. 6:6-8 (The Message)
These sacred moments provide the opportunity to allow the Holy Spirit to take the word of God-if even for a few moments-out of our mouths and into their hearts. In addition, we are able to model the incarnate Jesus, who often exuded the love of God by listening and asking questions. Those opportunities don’t always arise at the most convenient times in our agendas-but sometimes what we really need, we don’t always recognize. And that is when I am thankful that the Holy Spirit gives me a nudge (sometimes it’s more like a punch.)
There is nothing wrong with taking time for yourself.  There are times when escaping to your oasis of choice is the absolute best thing for you and those around you.  But also remember, that God answers our prayers in ways we don’t often expect.  It may come in the form of running to the store.
Where do you find your sacred moments with your kids?
 

Why Scraping Your Life's Windshield Affects Your View of the Road


Every January, my husband and I ask each other the same question: “Why do we live here?”
The air stings. Grey skies hover without a slight peek at the sun.  The trees bare their nakedness. Sometimes snow; despite it’s nuisance as it mounts, adds a texture of beauty to this somewhat drab palette. This is Winter in the midwest; Chicago to be specific.
Several years ago, my husband worked temporarily in San Diego. On a weekend whim, I flew out to visit. You can eat outside in January? Who Knew? And the scenery…..hello ocean and hills!
Though we considered the prospect of God perhaps moving us out there (ok wishing), it was apparent that Chicago is our home.
Scraping the ice off the windshield after the night temperatures have plunged below zero is not my favorite activity. It requires early preparation in the midst of a hectic school morning routine. Even with the defroster at work, the ice hardens and resists the effort of my chilled to the bone fingers.
In my rush and frustration, the temptation to simply scrape off enough ice to provide a small “window” of visibility seduces me. Yet despite the increasing windchill whipping my face, I know that taking the shortcut increases my chances of an accident. If the back window is not clear, I cannot see what’s approaching behind me. Despite my kids thinking that I do indeed possess eyes in the back of my head, it’s simply not true. If my rear vision is incomplete, my abilities to prevent certain collisions is impaired. If the side windows are still frosty, I may not see the car next to me as I attempt to change lanes. And even a small circle of transparency in the front windshield does not allow me to gauge the elements of all that lie in front of me.
How similar I find the act of scraping a windshield to approaching sinful areas of my life.
What is blocking your view? 
Fear? At times, it floods the senses; resulting in anxiety as we take in the implications of the journey ahead. The heartbeat escalates, eyes grow big, and hands quiver. Is God really big enough to keep us on track despite detours, pot holes?
Pride? The ever seducing voice in our head lulls us into a false reality. Our wisdom, though faulty and biased to self, rules the world. We know better. Especially when time constraints beckon. But as the sun bears it’s light onto the foggy windshield, we are blinded.  As navigation continues, we find ourselves suddenly braking to prevent colliding with a car which was hidden by the glare. Why am I afraid to “trust in the Lord with all my heart? (prov. 3:5)”
Discouragement? Perhaps staggering to the car, while feeling the sting of the air seems like the best you can do. Scraping off the windshield? The task seems too daunting. Confronting the dawn of a new day while deceitful voices whisper words devoid of hope keep us from preparing early. The defroster’s warmth cannot melt the iciness of the morning’s frost quickly. What thoughts can I surrender to God so that the warmth of His light thaws the frost surrounding it?
How are you enlarging your “window” of visibility? Little Chisels at a time or engaging in the more arduous process of scraping the covering all at once?
Sin, when not scraped off immediately, becomes a harden base upon which more layers mount. The longer it sits, the more overwhelming the task becomes. The temptation, then, becomes avoiding the removal. Little chisels may provide brief glimpses of the road in front but we find ourselves impaired by the lack of visibility.
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us”
Or, In this case, “scrape off” everything that hinders.
Fear, pride, discouragement……….Satan wants nothing more than to block our view of the light going before us as we travel. With nothing impeding the view, we can aim clearly toward the destination.
What is hindering yours?
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

How an Errand With Your Child Becomes a Sacred Moment

We’ve all been there.  After a day or days filled with non-stop activity, or caring for family in a myriad of breathless ways, you long for a respite.
AHHHHHHH!
A dreamy illusion of a bubble bath with soft, relaxing music in the background fades. So you go for the next best thing: an excursion to the store-and maybe a little splurge on a coffee drink as a treat by yourself.  All you yearn for is a few minutes away from the beckoning voices and drama. Yes, it is an errand-but it’s a few moments of gather -your- thoughts solitude. There might even be an opportunity to sneak a peek at some article of clothing or cute piece of dinnerware that usually gets a glance as your attention is diverted by securing the items that were actually on your list.
Ahhhhhhh…….
looking
In my life this is what really happens…. After announcing of my impending departure to the store,  my teen occasionally follows me as I walk out the door. “I’m going to come along.”
What?
I try to explain that, really, I’m just going to pick up a “few things” (including that coffee drink) and I’ll be right back.  But my response is not met with success.
He persists, “I don’t care. I’m bored.”
The voice in my head argues back, “I just wanted to go to the store by myself.”
But saying those words doesn’t feel quite right.
And, despite my best efforts to escape by myself, I find myself giving in. When your teen son wants to tag along with his mother, that becomes a sacred moment.  In this phase of life, a few stolen moments with my son are hard to come by-especially if they are initiated by me.

My son tends to open up in the car-about everything.  His normally quiet demeanor transforms into a verbal conversationalist on all kinds of topics.  Those thoughts that have reserved space in his mind and feelings in his heart let loose.  Burdens are shared and a heart, which often pushes away helpful pieces of wisdom from his “you-don’t-know-what-it’s-like” parent, opens up to receive.
I am reminded of the generations of mamas who have experienced similar tensions.  Maybe the venue was different. Perhaps, it was a matter of finding those sacred moments in the field as they gathered crops or walking to the market.
It’s into those moments that God spoke:
” Write these commandments that I’ve given you today on your hearts. Get them inside of you and then get them inside your children. Talk about them wherever you are, sitting at home or walking in the street; talk about them from the time you get up in the morning to when you fall into bed at night.”  Deut. 6:6-8 (The Message)
These sacred moments provide the opportunity to allow the Holy Spirit to take the word of God-if even for a few moments-out of our mouths and into their hearts. In addition, we are able to model the incarnate Jesus, who often exuded the love of God by listening and asking questions. Those opportunities don’t always arise at the most convenient times in our agendas-but sometimes what we really need, we don’t always recognize. And that is when I am thankful that the Holy Spirit gives me a nudge (sometimes it’s more like a punch.)
There is nothing wrong with taking time for yourself.  There are times when escaping to your oasis of choice is the absolute best thing for you and those around you.  But also remember, that God answers our prayers in ways we don’t often expect.  It may come in the form of running to the store.
Where do you find your sacred moments with your kids?