Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Strategy for All Situations Except Food Stains

  Of all the things in all the world, I would never say that I was a mentor or a guide or a leader. I hide and I cry. It's what I do. Of all the things in all the world that I would love to be it is a Titus 2 older woman teaching women about godly women things. I am passionately passionate about it but have yet to attain that goal. This is why it throws me off when another woman says something like, "Give me a strategy for getting through this situation." My face surely displays a look of "Who me!?" 

 Is it the silver highlights that are starting to grace my head or the hands that look like they belong to my grandmother that has fooled them? Something has made them take leave of their senses because they are talking to the woman who left the house with a toothpaste stain on her shirt and possibly forgot to brush the back of her hair (I am still trying to remember if I did, it's a terrible tangle). But, there it was a woman who looked tired and worried asking sincerely for wisdom and wanting to know how I got through situations like her own. 

 This is why I think discipleship is important. No, it's not because I have so much to share. It is because it puts my feet to the fire and it makes me accountable to how I live out my days. Am I walking the walk that I'm talking or am I all hot air? 

 In this situation, it may be that my walk and talk aligned in faith. It was a moment where I got alone and just poured out my heart to God then I was quiet and still and I listened to God and His Word rang out. He reminded me of His sovereignty, that He has given me my being, that He has gone before, and that He is and was and will be. For any situation, a good strategy is to remember that God is in every moment at every moment. He is at the beginning of an issue, in the middle and already at the end. If He put me there then He'll be there on the other side of it. Do I trust that? Do I trust that He is good and holy? Do I or does it just sound good to say? 

 Part of the strategy is to walk through the doubt and come out to the end of it so that you can confess it and move forward. There must be a sorting out of feelings so that they do not wrongly influence our perceptions and we can see Truth unclouded. 

 It is not for His pleasure that we have sorrow or trouble but it does bring Him pleasure when we grow from adversity. The other part of the strategy after you have walked through the doubt and sorted out emotions is to get some solid sisters to ground you in Truth and pray for you. This is where it would be great to have that older woman in your life being all Titus 2. 

 For one brief moment, I thought I may have been close but then I spilled cole slaw all down into my cardigan and all over  the baby. It might be a little longer before I am there. 

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Giraffes say...

 Playing with our Noah's Ark toy, Jellybean takes out an animal and I make the sound for it. Lion says, "Roar!" Tiger says, "Grrr." Zebra makes a whinny. Elephant trumpets. Giraffe says...

 I have no clue and so I look at Jellybean and roll my eyes. He thinks this is funny so that's our new game when someone picks up the giraffe. 

 A giraffe is an awesome part of creation but because it does not have a recognizable sound attributed it does not make it any less valuable in creation. We just get to learn to appreciate it in a different way and take advantage of other senses in perceiving its attributes. 

 Kangaroos say...

 When we look at a giraffe with expectations of it making a sound like a monkey or behaving in a way like a horse, we err. Not only do we err but we miss its beauty and its uniqueness. We miss seeing what God's hand has done. 

 Rabbits say...

  I think of this when I think of my nephew. When he was small no one questioned my sister carrying him or looked at him differently. He was an adorable little tike and he met their expectations but as he grew, she would carry him in places when it was hard to get his wheelchair out. People would stare and some not only stared but made comments like, "You're too big to be carried." They missed the beauty of a mother willing to take her child with her even on snowy days when it meant more work. They missed meeting a child who is really funny, so easy to love, and never forgets a friend. 

 Platypus say...

  I think of this since we have started to get some stares for the tubes and equipment we have. On the rare occasion we do not have to drag in all the accessories, we just get a few stares because this older woman of one color has this baby of a different color. Mostly, he meets people's expectations because he's small and cute but he will grow and what if he still has to have a tube hanging out to eat or he is still flapping his hands when he gets excited or he grunts loudly and points at something he wants. What then? More stares and possibly comments. 

  Antelope say...

   But God says this: "But he, desiring to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?” Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion.  He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’  Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?” He said, “The one who showed him mercy.” And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.” - Luke 10:29-37

 Mercy did not question why the man was walking alone. Mercy had compassion, not pity. Mercy reached out and took care of the immediate need then went beyond that to get the man in a place where he could stand on his own. Mercy presented a clear picture of God's love. 

 God didn't just pity us in our sin and under His judgement. He acted by sending Christ to pay the penalty for the sin but He doesn't just leave us alone after we are in Christ. He gives us the Holy Spirit to strengthen and grow us. We are not just living but thriving. 

 It seems we should not have expectations of which people get to be our neighbors and which should not. A neighbor is whomever God has moved into our path and the response to them is clear - show God-glorifying mercy. When we get to the things in life that do not meet our expectations or we do not fully comprehend, we need to remember one thing:

 Jesus says do likewise. 

 P.S. Just in case you are wondering what giraffes say, you can watch this informative video: What does the giraffe say?

Monday, November 2, 2015

Life Measured in Ounces

 20 - the number of ounces Jellybean was when he entered this world

 28 - the number he lost from August to October this year

 9 - the number he has gained the last week and a half

 5.5 - how many he eats every 3 hours

 4.5 - how many per hour his feeding pump runs

 1 - how many he has been eating by mouth each day recently

 These are numbers that make up almost every day of my life. Striving, I work to increase some and decrease others. The ounces are only in my control as far as what I can do and the rest I have to leave in God's hands. 

 That is a difficult thing some days but most days the struggle is my mind. 

 The gap between me and the world, what I used to do, what I could get done, the people I was connected to...would take enough ounces to fill the Grand Canyon. 

 At the same time, I love caring for Jellybean and seeing him overcome the obstacles in his life. I praise the Lord for the ounces he has gained, the fact that he can be moved around without freaking out anymore, how he can sit and play toys for a few minutes on his own. Every babble and finger point is a milestone celebrated. Even the tantrums are joyous. He has likes and dislikes and he wants to communicate them. 

 Maybe the struggle is in not knowing anything about the outcome. In raising children, you have hopes for their future. You educate them and they go off to college or get a job. You raise them up and they grow into adults and  build lives of their own. 

 Fostering a child...the outcome is unsure and you cannot think that things might go one way or the other. You can work with the family to reunite them with their child. You can work to keep a child safe when reunification is not an option. You can work to do what is best for the child but you have no way to know what the end will be. 

  In one short moment a judge could make an 18 pound 3 ounce hole in my life and then what? A Grand Canyon to cross with a wounded heart.  

  This is where I have to give everything over to my Lord, Jesus. Surely, I know His foot has already crossed the gaps and His plans are better than any I can fathom. He knows much more of loss than I and He also knows the eternal joys that await His children. He poured out ounces and ounces of blood to make it possible for us to have eternity. 

  The only ounce required of me is the one of faith. May each moment of this life be steeped in faith. Praise to God Almighty.