If only we could bottle that sort of compassion

This morning, I started a post to answer some more of the questions I begged and begged for and have only just begun to answer asked of me. It is turning in to a much longer post than I imagined… this particular question struck a chord with me and for some reason I can not manage even an inkling of pithiness in my answer. I knew I wasn’t going to get it done in time to post before everyone went to bed, but I still plugged away.

I went to pick up my daughter from school and by the time we were home, I knew what I needed to write.

This past Saturday, Abigael went to a birthday party. When we arrived, I noticed the lack of cars and children being dropped off. As I walked her up to the door, it became apparent that she was the only other child there. It was a sad sort of affair, this child and her parents wanting to celebrate their child’s birth. It’s not that there is anything wrong with a small get-together. That is how all of our children’s birthdays have been. But in this case, that was not the plan. Invitations were handed out to all of the children in the class. Yet only one child was there for it.

I was so saddened by this. I don’t know why if affected me the way that it did. My heart tends to gravitate towards the loners, the last-choice-for-the-game sort of children. Even though I ran with the popular crowd in school, I hated the thought of anyone being left out.

Apparently, my daughter’s heart does too.

When she got in the car, she handed me a thank you card from the girl and her mother. It was apparent how much it meant to them that Abigael took the time to go. It practically screamed loneliness. I asked her about this little girl, and if she has any friends, and Abbie said just her and K (a little boy in the class).

Abbie has a lot of friends. I don’t think she realizes (maybe it just doesn’t matter?) that she is, in actuality, a popular child. I’ve observed her and I see how everyone brightens when she is around. They are drawn to her; they clamor for her attention. Yet, she has no need for their approval. It simply does not affect her. She merely wants to enjoy herself and the others around her.

If only we could all be that way.

I’ve met me a troll

I experienced my first troll over the weekend. I’ve received a bit of spam before, but never a deliberately negative and hostile comment. The comment wasn’t on this blog, but on another one I have. And I deleted it.

If you’ve ever had to deal with a troll, you’ve probably run the gamut of emotions about it. From anger, to irritation, to hurt feelings and back again, to indifference, to laughing at it.

It’s not like this is some revolutionary topic to blog about, but it takes on new meaning when it happens to you.

Have you encountered a troll on your blog? I’m curious how you dealt with it? Did you ignore it? Respond in a kind (kill-’em-with-kindness sort of way?) Or just flat out call them out?

This article at Network Blogging Tips came out the very day I was dealing with this.

 

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I’m an Immature Agitator with a Questionable Heart

Okay, so that might sound a bit harsh. So let me explain.

Sometimes you can hear something over and over and nod your head in agreement, and then forget about it before the sun sets on the day. Or maybe you hear it, agree to do something about it, but never really get your heart behind it. Same result – any change is only short-lived.

Then there are times where something smacks you in the face so hard, that the imprint is left for weeks afterwards. And you hope and pray that it stays with you. Because that smack in the face was pretty painful.

Yeah – see that big fat red imprint on my face? I think I have had such an encounter.

When I come on this blog each day, I have edited and rewritten any words that I post. I can put my best face forward for all of you to appreciate and applaud for any fine thoughts I might have. I can sound so sweet and flowery – the picture of calm and together-ness.

But I’ve got to level with you.

At the same time I am sounding sweet and flowery, I have probably just turned from yelling at my 2 year old, rolling my eyes at my 5 year old and kicked the cat. Okay – maybe not that last part. (But isn’t that a sad commentary, that we all probably gasped harder about that last bit than the bit about the yelling and eye-rolling directed at the kids?)

The truth is, I am not always nice with my tongue. My tongue has spewed out some hurtful things in the past. I have said things that if someone were recording my every word, I would hide in shame during the playback. Words spoken to my husband, an ugly tone to my children…

I say things to my children at home that I would never say when others were around.

This is hard and painful to admit, but it’s the truth. And I don’t want to pretend that I am someone that I am not.

And yesterday I was convicted of this issue. Even though it is something that I have been aware of, I hadn’t forced myself to make the change. Because of the depression that I have long suffered from, it was easy to hold on to that as a reason. “Ooooh, someone hasn’t taken their meds today. (chuckle chuckle chuckle…)”

But frankly, it’s not a worthy excuse anymore. (not that it ever was).

Our pastor just started a series on James 3, 4 and 5. The series is entitled Faith in Action. Sunday’s sermon was on chapter 3, which focuses on the tongue.

Three things are shown about the tongue in this chapter of James:

Verses 1 -2 show that the tongue reveals our maturity, or lack thereof.
The Greek word used for perfect in this verse actually means mature.
The words we choose and speak reveal our maturity. Were you to walk around and listen to others as they speak, you’d be able to get a sense of that persons maturity.

Last week, I threw a temper tantrum at my kids. I apologized and put myself in the naughty spot when we got back home. It was humbling and, I dare say, embarrassing, but a lesson for us all.

So, I openly admit that I am immature. Temper tantrums don’t sit well with the mature crowd.

Verses 3 -8 reveal that the tongue is an agitator in relationships
Eye rolls, tone of voice, sarcastic and biting comebacks etc. — all are agitators and forms of verbal abuse (though, I recognize that eye rolls are not verbal… they convey a lot).

This type of abuse is prevalent in our world. James’ advice is to not be that person. Don’t go there.

and
Verses 9 – 12 show that the tongue reveals our heart.
From good, flows good. If I am filled with good (the Holy Spirit), then through that, good can flow forth. If I read scripture and memorize it and fill my heart with the fragrant and good that comes from the Lord, then that will show up in my words and actions.

The good person brings good things (words) out of the good that is stored up within him. (Matthew 12:35a)

(*to read the sermon in its entirety, click here)

So, there you have it. ME. But hopefully, God-willing, I can soon say that this was the Past Me, not the Present Me. I want my words to build up and not tear down.

Now where’s that cat? (I’m KIDDING!!!!)

Educational television in primetime. Who knew?

I know when I am out-and-about I tend to notice various parenting styles. It’s so easy to quickly view a snippet of a person’s day and judge them. Screaming child: “Ugg, why doesn’t she quiet him down”. Whining child: “Why doesn’t she just tell her no and let her no mean NO!”. Child running wild: “Can’t she control her children!!” When my daughter was born, she made parenting seem really easy. My confidence as a parent was boosted and I allowed myself to believe that part of it had to do with the fact that I was just an AWESOME! MOM! and just knew how to do it right.

Last night, I was watching one of my all-time favorite shows, The Amazing Race. I am determined to race in it one day. But that is another post.

Two of the racers are a father/daughter team. They are both intelligent, hard-working professionals. But watching them race was painful to watch. I found myself wanting to shake him and hug her and then yell at him and then yell at her. He went on and on to her about her mistakes and her short-comings. His “help” was far from it. It toed the line of belittling. At one point, I was so angry at him, and thought “how dare he talk to his own flesh and blood like that!?

Then I thought, what if someone were filming me? What would they say about how I talk to my children? Would they see a snippet and judge my whole person and think I’m an awful parent?

Remember what I said about how I felt like I was AWESOME! MOM! before?

Fast forward seven years and three more kids later. I like to think that I am more realistic and less judgmental of other parents. Getting around is no simple task with children in tow. It’s hard. And parenting is hard. There are good days and not-so-good days (and the occasional flat-out horrid day).

I watched this father/daughter team as they reached the pit-stop and the love this father has for his daughter became more apparent.

I’m sure when he sees himself on tv, he will cringe and he will be hard enough on himself. He doesn’t need my input. Besides, who am I, other than a sinner who tries to raise her children and love them the best that she knows how, but who daily has to apologize to said children and my Heavenly Father for being less than encouraging and perfect.

We need to encourage our children and lift them up. Life’s hard enough.

Fathers, do not embitter your children, or they will become discouraged. Colossians 3:21

Character: Week 3 – Vision

Okay – so I am changing the way I am doing this study, for 2 reasons…

1) typing the study out probably violates some law and could get me in trouble, that I don’t mean to get into.
2) even if it were okay to do, I’m typing out the lessons and no one is responding. So, my time will be better spent typing the scripture the lesson is based on and then actually writing my thoughts on the topic.

Lesson 3 is based on Matthew 19:16-30

In this lesson, the author describes vision as the following: “First, vision is the God-given ability to see possible solutions to the everyday problems of life. Second, vision is the ability to see beneath the surface of people’s lives. And third, vision is the ability to catch a glimpse of what God wants to do through your life if your dedicate yourself to Him.”

Vision is something I have struggled with. I’ve always struggled with “Is this God speaking to me? or is it my flesh?” I don’t feel that I have a good sense of the difference when faced with a tight spot. Trust me, I can spot it a mile away when it is something obvious. But place that fine line in there and I can analyze it and rationalize it both ways and still not come to a conclusion. It ends up being a leap of faith.

I don’t always see solutions. I’m not a problem solver. I tend to get lazy and give up; throw up the white flag.

I suppose the only vision I do feel that I have is the ability to see below the surface of people’s lives. I can sense when someone is just offering a pat answer or trying to put on a brave face. What I do need to improve on is following through with those feelings. Reaching out to that person. Even as an adult I tend to fall back upon that awkwardness I had as a teenager – “what if I look stupid?” “What if I don’t know what to say?”…

I am reading Get Out of that Pit by Beth Moore. In its own way it is addressing this topic of vision. To see the grime we have surrounded ourselves with. To stop spinning our wheels in the mud and muck and reach out to God for His hand to pull us out of the tough spots. We might have been pushed in the pit, slipped in the pit or jumped in, but we can redecorate it and stay comfortable there and think that it is the only place for us to reside.

But God doesn’t want it that way. He wants to pull us out of it. And He gives us a vision for getting out and what lies beyond… if we just ask.

My prayer after this lesson is that God will infuse me with vision. I pray that I can see beyond the tip of my nose and glimpse the solutions that God has for me.