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Showing posts from 2014

Why I Can Honestly Tell My Kids "You're Special"

When I was growing up and someone would tell me, "You're special!" I would always wonder what they meant by that.  I was never sure if this was a compliment or if it was a condolence prize to make me feel better when I didn't feel better than I did.  Sometimes people would say, "You are SO special!" or, "God made you special!"

The word 'special' began to mean nothing to me.  I thought about what it means to be special and realized that I figured since everyone in the world is someone God made, then telling everyone they're special means absolutely nothing.  Being special, I thought, should mean one is outstanding, better, set-apart from the rest.  I thought to be special I had to do or be something extraordinary - or aspire to some high ambition or demonstrate a quality that no-one else could possess.

In the end I just figured people who told me I was special were just being nice and didn't really know me that well, or just igno…

What Will China Gain if the Protests are Heard?

I have not set foot in the homeland of my birth in over 10 years.  And yet, I still feel a close bond to the people of Hong Kong.  And as I watch and hear and read of all taking place there - these tumultuous times - I can't help but to chime in here with my small, timid, perhaps unheard voice.  Because we in America tout the virtues of democracy - but will we speak up for those who risk what they know not, who sit and protest and voice their own desire for freedom?

I will.

Though this is a small, not oft-read blog, I'll throw in my two-cents about this matter of democracy and freedom.

China stands to gain SO much if they heed and hear the cry and protests of those within its governance.  Did you catch that?  I said, 'those within its governance.'  Catch that, please.  It means not only those who raise their protest in a land claiming democracy - namely, Hong Kong.  It also means those within the border of mainland China.

China is a huge country.  It is a huge force …

The Problem of Being Intentional. Or Not.

It's a buzz phrase these days: Intentional.  It sounds so...purposeful, determined, self-directed, controlled.
Sounds almost too good to be true.

Let me just put this out there.  I am intentional about a very few things in my life.
And the rest, well, I like to leave the door wide open for the spontaneous.  Don't get me wrong - this can be problematic too.  Because I want to allow room for people who come along who weren't on my to-do list (if I really had one, which I don't usually).

I'd like to be intentional about so much, but I just don't seem to have that gift.  I do think it must be a gift.  It is a gift given to the driven, type A - and well, I'm just a type B, or C or maybe a Q or X or Z.  Haven't figured that out yet, and being a non-type A, I may just never get around to typing myself into a category.  Which is really okay, because who has time to stare inward - navel-gazing, I call it - ad nauseum figuring out where I really fit into some …

The "Don't Listen To Me" Prayer

So I have this big thing against complaining.  I feel justified in my anti-complaining stance - after all, God isn't fond of it either, and since we are to imitate Him, well, you draw your own conclusion!

The thing that gets me about complaining is that at the heart of it it smacks of discontent and ingratitude.  I know a few particular people who have a big thing against ingratitude, and if you know any, you will know how easy it is to raise their ire.  Just don't thank them.  Enough.  Or sincerely enough.  Or at all.  Or act entitled.  The offense this causes is my reaction to complaining.  My children know it.  My husband knows it.  Complaining is simply off limits in my house.

In fact, it is so off limits, that I even react when it is subtle.  Or not so subtle since you'd have to be a genius to slip complaining by me in any form and have it go unnoticed.  I may be kind and ignore it.  Or I may just call you on it.  Don't try your luck!

So you will be shocked to k…

Things Aunt Lydia Taught Me

It has been less than a week since Aunt Lydia made her transfer from earth's shadows to heaven's glory.  I can just hear her voice, with a chuckle, saying, "If I'd have known how great this would be, I would've booked my trip sooner!"

Her birthday was December 19, just one day after mine.  Because of that, and because kids tend to think the day is somewhat significant, I have always felt a closeness to her.  That and because she was my aunt meant I could tell her almost anything and not get in trouble for it.  Aunts are supposed to fill that place in a kid's life, I guess.  They are supposed to be a non-parent, family-type who can get away with spoiling their niece or nephew and listen to them complain about everything under the sun - including secret opinions of other relatives.

Aunt Lydia loved beauty.  She always had growing things spread around her house - perhaps I got a little touch of that in me.  I love the magic of planting and growing - of seei…

How Much Should a Wife Submit?

This is an anonymous posting from a trusted Missionary Pastor that I know.  He teaches the Bible to many, and often has occasion to teach on marriage from a Biblical perspective.  I will share these with you for your edification and growth.


THOUGHTS ON SUBMISSION

QUESTION:  In light of these verses (see below) is the submission of husbands and wives supposed to be  50 – 50, or 60 for wives and 40 for husbands, OR some other combination such as 90 – 10 with wives submitting 90% of the time or should wives submit 100% and husbands not at all?


From Ephesians:

22 Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. 23 For the
husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the
church, his body, and is himself its Savior. 24 Now as the church
submits to Christ, so also wives should submit in everything to their
husbands. 25 Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and
gave himself up for her, 26 that he might sanctify her, having
cleansed her by the washing of water with th…

Forgiveness, Remorse and Measurable Repentance

I was following up with some comments about my recent Forgiveness rant, Part 1 and Part 2...

 And there were parts I left out that I need to mention.  My source said not to quote him, so I will quote him without citing him.  He said that there are only five words that apply to this discussion.

5 Words.

What are those words?  Scroll down please....










WHAT




DOES







THE











BIBLE










SAY?






Yup - What does the Bible say?


I said, 'What about if I'm not sorry enough - or if I'm really sorry and trying to enter into the other's pain that I have somehow caused, and they don't feel my genuine sorrow or remorse?  What then?  Am I beholden to the yoke of their anger and unforgiveness?'  He said, 'No - you forgive them for not forgiving you and move on.'

"But what if I'm not sorry enough?  What if I come across as ingenuine?  What if they can't feel my repentance?"

"It doesn't matter - the answer lies in the question: What does the Bible say?"

Well, it seem…

When Forgiveness Is Denied (Part 2)

In my first post I was basically talking to/about the person who withholds forgiveness.  Now I want to talk to the one who is denied being forgiven.

If you have apologized and asked forgiveness - once - not many times, not in repeated trials to demonstrate enough penance - ONCE, then you have done your part.

You ARE forgiven - by God.  And He, after all, is really the only One Who matters.  It is sad, and a terrible grief to bear - that others refuse to forgive.  This is a matter they have between them and God.  You are free - free from the burden to work to pay for your sins.  You are free to live before God with the knowledge of HIS grace, HIS mercy, HIS forgiveness.  You are free to worship because you embrace the Gospel.

You are not beholden to some checklist of works-righteousness that wins you the salvation you have already received!

You are not subject to the faulty view others have of you!

You are not guilty because another deems you so!

You are not what others think of you…

When Forgiveness Is Denied

I am going to address this from a certain angle and I don't want my readers to be confused.  I am not speaking here of forgiveness of grievous, outright obviously sinful atrocities committed against you or which you have committed.  This is not the kind of forgiveness I am addressing, though perhaps some thoughts will apply.  I am talking about when others harbour bitterness, anger, resentment, and an ongoing refusal to grant forgiveness especially regarding their perceived (valid or otherwise) injustices.

We all hurt others in our lives regularly.  Some of these matters are actually sinful and wrong.  Many are not - we are simply dealing with overly sensitive, self-centered individuals who nurse conjured up wounds that were never actually inflicted.  When we deal with these kinds of people (though we'd rather not, frankly) it is fair to offer an apology - whether it is actually warranted or not.  In my opinion, this is a matter of extending grace to those who have hang ups t…

Blaming Emotions

I'd like to address this issue of maligning emotions - as if they are inherently bad.  "But you were emotional when you responded!"  Sounds like an accusation or something.  I wish we could get over this concept that emotions are wrong.  That we must float through life robotic-like - oh, no, not really - with plastic smiles plastered across our from-here-on-out robotic affect.

I wrote a bit about this in a previous post (Two lies that burn holes in relationships), and received some feedback from an insightful relative.  I asked her permission to post her thoughts here as I thought they warranted a broader audience.  She says it better, and with more credibility than I could!




Thank you so much for your helpful insights, and good observations about those two lie-beliefs regarding emotions! I've been fascinated with the topic of emotions and feelings for a LONG time. Here are just a few brief comments, on a few random observations that seem true to me, about emotions. …

Anger in Parenting...strikes again

So last night there was this episode:

We don't normally have drinks other than water.  But I decided to have a special juice mix and went to find a carton of peach nectar I had stashed in the fridge downstairs.  It had been there a month or so, unopened - chilling for the right moment.  And now it had come.  I open it.  *Gasp* It had been opened!  I smelled it.  Fermented.  Yuck.

Scene 2:  I call a particular child who is known to take liberties.  Did you open it?  Yes.  How long ago?  A while ago.  Do you know it is now ruined?  Yes.  What are the rules about this sort of thing?  Why didn't you ask me first?  Why didn't you tell me?

I expressed my honest frustration and exasperation at that moment.  I didn't, in fact, YELL.  I told him how disappointed I was that now it is wasted all on account of his failure to obey the rules.  I went on for a few minutes.  He slumped and mumbled a weak (and lame) 'sorry.'

Scene 3:  Supper is on and he doesn't eat.  He s…

Situational Contentment and CCD

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I hear the term 'situational ethics' thrown around with scoffing tones.  And I'm sure there's good reason for this.  But I'd like to highlight something that is far more common, more subtle and more agreeable to our collective palates.  Situational Contentment.  That contentment, shalom, peaceful calm, serenity, blissful reverie that finds it's joy in the situation at hand.  I don't want to knock it - no, we can rightly enjoy the stuff of life - money, houses, land, nice weather, vacations, health, well-being, relational harmony - because they simply ARE enjoyable.  The problem comes when we can only be content if these things are all fine and dandy.  When we can define each area of our lives with glowing, gushing, delightful phrases that make people wonder if we live the realm of normal.

Today I read Psalm 16.  Let's go through it together, shall we?  (It's the cure for the common contentment disorder.  Otherwise known as CCD, it is known to strik…

MH370

The news story of the missing Malaysian Airlines plane has had our family transfixed.  We have no personal knowledge of anyone on that plane.  Perhaps it is the magnitude of the grief and tragedy that these families have faced over the past 18 days.  Perhaps it is because both Sam and I have extended family that frequently travel similar routes - my parents even more often.  But after thinking about it and watching the daily headlines and wondering what good can come of this, and entering - albeit from a huge distance - into empathetic grief along with the families affected, I came up with what I feel is the worst aspect of this situation.

CHINA's ONE-CHILD POLICY.

Wait, what does that have to do with this?

Everything.  A number of families have been affected and are facing seasons of grieving and piecing their lives back together.  But the families of Chinese citizens, whose only child was lost in this disaster - these face more than mere grief.  They face anger, betrayal, inju…

Two Lies that Burn Holes in Relationships

There are many factors that harm what could otherwise be healthily functioning relationships.  But there are two that are especially toxic - two lies that, left unchecked, uncorrected, un-remediated, will without a doubt wreak havoc on your relationships.  Think over them carefully and see if you have fallen prey to the trap of believing (and acting upon) these two lies:

1.  I cannot be happy/content unless others do/say/behave/operate according to a certain set of prescribed behaviours.  (These can be as varied as how the tube of toothpaste is flattened to whether my spouse/friend/child attends Church regularly).

What does this look like in relationships?  Here's how it goes...
  Scenario 1:
Joe wakes up one morning.  Kind of groggy, sleepy and headachy.  He drags himself downstairs and puts on the coffee.  Only to find the filter wasn't changed and it was day-old grounds left in the machine.  The water then spills over the top.  He fumes.  "Why didn't she change it…

Perfect Love

Valentine's Day is charged with emotion - hopes, fears, and sometimes just a wishing it would all go away and pass quickly.  The love we wish for isn't always there - whether we're married or single.  And the love we feel from those who genuinely love us isn't always enough, or thrilling or everything we were hoping for.

Too much is chalked up to how I feel about these things.

I used to hate Valentine's Day.  Thought it was so gushy, mushy, sentimental, sweet and so not real life.

And then I got married, and wanted to make the most of it.  In fact, I thought in marriage it would be the best time to celebrate wedded love.

Well, I won't say much on that, 'cuz we just happen to not be the sentimental sort - except for every other day of the year, when I am showered with love that is undeserved, unmerited and so beyond what I had every hoped for.

But the bedrock of my life is not romantic love.  It is PERFECT LOVE.

I base my existence on the fact that I am pe…

What Not to Say to Job - Part 2

I have more to say on the Book of Job.

Going back to his lame-o friends...  Yeah, they needed a good theology lesson.  And here I am centuries later to give it to them.

I think they had issues.  Real issues.  They couldn't handle that God is sovereign and acts according to the counsel of His own will - sans our input or even any obligation to give us an explanation for what He does.

They got it wrong because God was behaving contrary to what their human wisdom/reasoning would expect.  They thought God was there to serve them - that God's job was to act according to the plan.  That plan is: Play fair (according to my understanding of fairness).  Reward and punish within good reason (human reason, that is).  Be powerful, but beholden to my will.  Those are the kinds of things we would expect God to do and be.  Because we are human we so badly mix up our desires for how we want God to act with our understanding of Who He really Is.

He is sovereign.  End of discussion.  He acts a…