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Friday, May 29, 2015

To the grandmother at Cookout

I assume you're a grandma. Considering the difference in our ages and the incredulous fact that I'm a grandma you may even be a great grandma!
You had the look about you   Your mannerisms were gentle and easy. Your temperament was sweet and the way you insisted on going last at the drink station let me know you've had lots of practice being selfless. We had a fun albeit quick little chat about how confusing the drink dispenser was.  Your smile was engaging.

I went on to my table and enjoyed my burger with Betsy.  As she set out to conquer her cookie dough milkshake, I took a moment to scan the restaurant, wondering about the hubby I expected to see you sitting across from.

I found you.

But not him.

Not anybody.

You were alone.
Eating your burger and fries.  In solitude.

I think my heart stopped beating for a few seconds as my mind covered the gamut of the possible scenarios of your life.

To lots of young Moms, getting to eat alone - even if only a Cookout burger and fries - sounds like an unattainable luxury!  But I wonder if that maybe isn't how you felt at all.  I don't know what circumstances surround your alone-ess but I think your being here by yourself takes courage.

Maybe you were out running errands and your hubby is at home but it was time for lunch and so you just came in to eat. 
It still takes courage to sit by yourself, surrounded by people.

Maybe you are driving to visit family and this was a stop along the way.
It still takes courage to sit by yourself, surrounded by people.  And to figure out the drink refill thing.

Or maybe your story is that you're alone every day.  That your hubby of a lot of kids and years is gone.  And you're out to eat to beat the alone-ness.
That takes an awful lot of courage.

While Betsy made sure that she left no molecule untouched in her delectable dessert, I wondered if you'd been alone long.  If you'd had a happy marriage, the blessing of children, and a good life.  If you have dear friends that you get together with regularly.  If you feel loved and valued.

Or if you're really lonely and if the prospect of eating by yourself surrounded by people sounded better than eating by yourself all alone.

 The tears that were welling up in my eyes as I considered that this might be your story mean that I admire you.

And that my brief goodbye and watery smile as Betsy and I passed by your table on our way out were meant to pay homage to your courage.

I hope you enjoyed your lunch.  And I hope somehow that you're on your way to a great party to celebrate you.
And I really really really hope that you're not lonely.

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Pick Your Side

There's an awful lot of angry debating going on these days.  Hostility over views and opinions and perspectives.  Name-calling and vitriol and hurling of insults.  Right and left and up and down and all over.

What bothers me the most are the sources.

Not from "people" but from Christians who insist that their "side" is right and demand that everyone agree with them. 
Or else.

I  personally have strong convictions about right and wrong.  I hold to certain defined beliefs on all sorts of social issues.  And I act on those beliefs - in the voting booth and, hopefully, in my life.

But I do not believe for one minute that those beliefs entitle me to label other people, to belittle them, to try and discredit their faith. Nor do I believe I should crumble under someone else's screaming insistence that their view is the "right one".

I appreciate a passion for dearly held beliefs - even if (especially if!) those beliefs differ from mine.  And I understand the yearning to stand up for those beliefs, particularly when we feel they are underrepresented or misrepresented.
I can respect that.
But I am deeply troubled by the growing tendency (made ever so visible and cancerous by social media) to blast those who differ with said views. To characterize our detractors as all sorts of vile labels.
All in the name of Christ.

Recent events and subsequent reactions made me think about this passage- Joshua 5:13-15

 When Joshua was by Jericho, he lifted up his eyes and looked, and behold, a man was standing before him with his drawn sword in his hand. And Joshua went to him and said to him, “Are you for us, or for our adversaries?” 14 And he said, “No; but I am the commander of the army of the Lord. Now I have come.” And Joshua fell on his face to the earth and worshiped and said to him, “What does my lord say to his servant?” 15 And the commander of the Lord's army said to Joshua, “Take off your sandals from your feet, for the place where you are standing is holy.” And Joshua did so.

In our fervor for elevating our "side" to the #1 position, perhaps we should consider the position of the Commander of the Army of the Lord...the pre-incarnate Christ.  That is the fact that all people on all sides of all issues are sinners in need of a Savior.  He is not concerned about the positions of our sides but rather that we need saving. 

I can be firmly convinced that my convictions are right....and still respect those with differing views who feel just as strongly. Truth be told, we don't know what God's stand is on some things.  Some social issues and doctrinal tenets and denominational divides.  I know we think we do, but lots of times we just might be really wrong. Instead of railing against those on the "other side", I want instead to reach out with the Gospel  Rather than blasting my "opponents", I hope to build a bridge that they can walk across to the Savior.  The unbelievers and my brothers and sisters in Christ.  The only truth I can stake my life on is that we are all sinners in need of a Savior.

And certainly we would do well to respond as Joshua did, when confronted with the truth that Christ presents - to be unconcerned with "our side" and instead worship Christ.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Guest post - Bondage

Today  I want to introduce you to my friend Irene.  She wrote a book (I think that is so cool!) that was just released.  After being burdened by seeing fellow believers be so careless about what they put into their minds, Irene sat down at the computer and downloaded her heart.  Nothing Gray about It was the result.

Take a read of this piece she wrote for Living Letters and I think you'll see not only why I love her, admire her, and am grateful for her presence in my life but also why I highly recommend her book.
She has graciously agreed to let me give away 3 free copies of her book to the first three women who email me privately at  Someone you know (maybe even yourself!) would greatly benefit from this book.  Contact me and the first three gals will land a copy.

Here's Irene....

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

It's not your faut...but you can fix it

Are you in conflict with someone right now?

Maybe it's your teenager.  Or your co-worker.  Somebody at church or in the neighborhood.

Maybe it's your spouse.

Ask yourself some questions about that...

What bothers you about that person?
What is the source of the angst between you?
What would you like to change about this relationship/that person?
Do you think things can get better?

This isn't a post about changing the other person to make this better.
And it's not a post about changing yourself.

This is a post about the problem.

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Happy Mother's Day

Happy Mother's Day.

To all the women who are physical or spiritual Moms.

In all the stages of motherhood.

Thank you.
Bless you.

Don't quit.

Happy Mother's Day.

Wednesday, May 6, 2015

Just keep sowing

It is my privilege to have my toe in several different life circles, simultaneously.  From my vantage points, I get to observe the varying pressures, comforts, fears, joys and demands of lots of stages of life. 

I have come to one conclusion.

Tuesday, May 5, 2015

My first couple of rodeos - 27 lessons I hoped I had taught

In my earlier post about graduation, I explained how I could anticipate the pain of a child leaving home.  I've done it twice already --- this ain't my first rodeo. 

That got me to thinking about what it felt like those first two times.  Some of the same feelings.  Some different. 

Thought I'd share about those...

Both my first two are girls.  I didn't realize the difference that made until I observed the difference in Paul's response to our son's leaving.  There's something about when the departing child is the same gender.  The anticipatory feelings of loss are the same...but the anxiety about their preparation is a bit different.  When a daughter leaves, the Mom feels responsible for her readiness to face the world.  Apparently, it's the same for sons and Dads.

So when each of my girls left, I felt a sense of panic, actually.  Were they equipped to be women?  Had I trained them adequately? Would they make wise choices?  And if they made wrong ones, could they rebound successfully? And, since I had been primarily responsible for their academic education, I can promise you I fretted about that, too.