My son (10) informed me last week that he met the nicest person he has ever met. Her name is Hazel. She is a student at his school and this is the first year to get to know her. When I asked what she does to be so nice, he explained that she has a soft voice and she is really nice to everyone and never makes fun of anyone. She likes to help people. And she makes these cool mini clay creatures and sells them for $.25. He placed an order for a bat (the animal, not the sporting kind). Today she gave him the bat to hang on his backpack; upside down of course. He apparently gave her $1 because he liked it so much. Sigh. May he always appreciate the company of the kind and creative Hazel’s of the world.
My 10-yr old son recently had hernia repair surgery. Upon arrival at the hospital, the pre-op nurse began asking me a series of medical history questions about my son. She rattled off a very long list of illnesses and health conditions. Asthma? No. Cancer? No. Lung conditions? No. Neurological issues? No. Heart conditions? No. Diabetes, blood pressure, head injuries….? No. No. No. The list was painfully long. Tears came to my eyes. I began to think of all the families that answer “Yes” for their children and loved ones. And I thought to myself, “Dear God, thank you for this blessed life of ours. Please Lord, please, hold up those that are tasked with managing pain or illness in their lives.”
As much as I had succumbed to “mommy worry” for my son, his issue was minor in the scheme of things. He came home the same day. He will be back to flipping in the gym and competing within 6 weeks. With an overwhelming heart of gratitude, I will not take our good health for granted. I will rejoice in our Lord and say “Thank you.”
“Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I will say, Rejoice. Let all know your forebearance. The Lord is at hand. Have no anxiety about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your request be known to God. And the peace of God, which passes all understanding, will keep your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is gracious, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, do; and the God of peace will be with you.”
When we do feel this way, we tend to look inward and evaluate what is causing the ho-hum feeling within us. But maybe our contentment and joy is really found outside of ourselves.
Don’t look out only for your own interests, but take an interest in others, too. -PHILIPPIANS 2:4 NLT
A selfish life filled with plans only to make a person happy in and of themselves may work short term, but it will fail to bring lasting joy and fulfillment. So it stands to reason that when we begin to help others, our own problems will shrink and the ho-hum blues will lift.
When our God-given time on earth comes to pass, what we have done to help others will be valued and celebrated on earth by the ones we leave behind and in heaven by the ones waiting on us.
So today, take a step to cure your ho-hums. It can be as simple as calling a family member, sending a random card to a friend, preparing a meal for a neighbor, looking at your spouse and saying “You are great and I love you” or inviting someone to coffee. Spend your time listening instead of talking. Try to think of any small thing that might brighten someone’s day. Lifting the burdens of others does not have to be a heroic feat, but even something “small” for someone else will help cure your blues.
Got kids in school? What do your mornings look like before school and work? If it’s anything like my house, it is usually scurry, hurry, scurry and hurry some more! We have five people running different directions with a dog barking at the cat who taunts him from high places. We try to fit in a morning devotional, but sometimes it’s simply me whispering under my breath, “Lord, please help me.” It really is an organized chaos…. Well, mostly organized.
One morning we were all running later than usual. I hear my 10-year old daughter yell from her bedroom to no one in particular, “Has anyone seen my pink sneakers?” I begin to think of all the places I might have seen her favorite pink sneakers, “Living room floor? No. Entry way? No. Backyard? No. Laundry room? YES!” So I holler back at her, “Check the laundry room!”
Then I start to become even more frazzled when my 9-year old son says, “Mom, have you seen my hoodie? I can’t find my hoodie.” Now you can imagine what my self-talk was at this point. And please don’t lecture me about night before preparations. We actually do pretty good most mornings, but this was just an off day and my exasperation was growing.
As I am giving the “FIVE MINUTES UNTIL WE LEAVE!” shout-out, I am feeling like we really need to get going. In all my hurriedness, I look up and notice my daughter running through the kitchen and sliding in her socks around the corner singing as loud as she can with a big smile on her face. She gives a little jump of glee and exclaims “There you are!” as she sees her pink sneakers.
I furrowed my brow and thought to myself, “We don’t have time for such nonsense. Doesn’t she know that we are in a hurry?” And then it struck me like a lightning bolt. Time is going to pass at the same speed and we are going to accomplish the same things we need to accomplish no matter our attitude. We can be hurried and scurried or we can be happy and glad. My daughter had it down. She was being joyful and expressing glee. She was not going to focus on the fact that she could not find her sneakers. Rather, she preferred to express joy for finding them! She made me smile.
Of course we have time for such “nonsense”. I felt ashamed that I was the window for the enemy to bring impatience and frustration into our home where it did not have to be. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if we could all be as joyful as our children? All too often we trade our glee for the hurrying and scurrying of our world. And then as parents, we can sometimes use our exasperation to stifle the joy in our children’s hearts.
So the next time your child is being joyful amongst the chaos, just remember, the expression of glee is Jesus in their heart! Embrace that joyful “nonsense” and maybe sing along with them.
Luke 10:21 (NIV):
At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit said, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes, Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.”
I am 40-yrs old. I’ve been married 13-yrs to my feisty best friend and we have children, a dog and a cat. We live in a beautiful home in Lubbock, TX. It’s beautiful because it’s most often filled with love and laughter. It’s where our family finds provision and security. It’s where we intentionally create a safe place that is nothing like the often harsh outside world. I love our home, but really, the structure itself makes no difference (although I love it too; it’s perfect for us), it’s the life in it that I love.
A week ago, we loaded up the car and drove to my Mom and Dad’s house in the DFW area (aka Meemie & Papi’s house). What is it about “going home” that causes a small ember in our hearts to glow a little brighter? I suppose no matter the age, we long for the comfort of our own mother and father. At least for me, I was fortunate enough to be raised in a home where both parents loved us and provided for us. We lived a modest life, but dad worked hard and mom sacrificed so much personally to care for our home and family. Things were not always perfect; plenty of hardships along the way. But I never feared provision nor did I doubt their love for my brother and me. Their world did not revolve around us kids, but they never lived their lives without us in mind. It was the four of us, and no matter the structure of the house (and there were many because we moved around quite a bit), there was love, laughter, provision and security.
Of course, my brother and I have since left our parents’ home to cleave to our own spouses and create our own homes. But there’s just something special about “going home” to mom and dad’s house that ignites a childish fire inside of me. It’s a sense of joy and peace and comfort. It’s a place where I am unconditionally received by people that know everything about me and love me anyway. And now we watch our own children run around and play under the security of us as parents but also under the cover of their grandparents. Even our pets run in packs and play (well, except for my nervous Chihuahua; he shakes and barks). “Going home” is a good thing and I cherish every precious moment of it.
Not every child is as fortunate as I was to have two loving and selfless parents and adequate provision throughout childhood. Not every adult is as fortunate as I to have both parents living to play with their grandchildren. But we all have a Father in heaven that loves us unconditionally, receives us no matter our past, provides for us more than adequately and is waiting for us one day to “go home”. Yes, there is a small ember in my heart that shines through the giving of love, prayer, praise, worship, sometimes tears and just living life joyfully under the cover of our Father. And if “going home” to Meemie & Papi’s house can ignite such a pure child-like fire within my heart, I can’t imagine the light that will ignite the day my Father in heaven calls me to go home.
I would not want to see the Duck Dynasty family leave television. I appreciate that they offer a different perspective than other reality TV shows I watch. Sure, my personal values are more in-line with the Robertson family on many issues, but I don’t scream at the TV and become outraged when I also indulge in watching The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. Last week Brandi kissed Carlton another female co-star. I may not live the same lifestyle nor embrace the same values for myself or my family, but I understand God gave us free-will. If I want to protest the on-television female-to-female kiss, I don’t call the AP, I simply change the channel and stop watching. I might also pray about it and look to the bible for direction and teach my children different values, but that too is my individual right. That is what makes our country great.
All of that to say, I totally support the Robertson’s if they choose to leave A&E or demand less censorship. No matter what side you sit on some of these issues, the freedom of religion and speech is for the protection of all, including conservative Christians. A&E has every right to censor and filter and edit its shows, but the Robertson family has every right to profess, practice and protect their own biblical values and principles.
It is a fact that Christianity has certain principles and definitions of what constitutes a sin. It is also a fact that we are all imperfect sinners in some way. Christianity’s greatest principle is to love. Whatever our opinions are about what constitutes a sin or unacceptable conduct, ultimate judgment is reserved to God alone. People like Phil and people like me, we use the bible as our guide for our day-to-day lives. I don’t apologize for it, and I imagine Phil doesn’t either. But I would never force it on anyone. God loved his creation enough to give them free-will so all of humanity could choose who and what to love. Without choice, we would be captives by a tyrant. Real selfless love is a choice.
In the end, Phil said it best, “I would never treat anyone with disrespect just because they are different from me. We are all created by the Almighty and like Him, I love all of humanity. We would all be better off if we loved God and loved each other.” For one moment, suspend your personal wants, preferences and self-centered desires. Imagine a world where every single person truly loved God with all of their heart and lived by biblical principles and loved each other selflessly without their own egos or desires or pleasures as a factor…. It might not line-up with current lifestyles, but without a doubt, the world would absolutely be a better place than it is today.