Different but still loved

I have three boys. My oldest tends to share characteristics with both my younger boys. However my younger two boys are complete opposites.Image

 

This is the side of the room that belongs to my slightly OCD son who is into sports and extremely organized. He is not a great fan of video games and would like to be physically active most of the time. He fights hard for his grades, with much effort and care. He will erase his homework over and over until the work is just perfect.

 

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This is my other sons side of the room. He is what the world would label ADD. He is not athletic in the slightest, he prefers books, intellectual aspirations and using his grande range of vocabulary. He gets great grades without trying and has little interest in perfection. He likes playing video games often. To get him to be physically active, is as bad as pulling teeth.

 

These two boys of mine are completely different and completely loved. I could not imagine my world without either one of them. I am extremely blessed. They are compassionate, loving and use their many talents and gifts uniquely. 

They are a small picture in the larger scale of life. Think of these two in the world around us. They are as different as night and day, as are the children of the Lord.

We are all equally loved, equally thought of and He is a jealous God that wants time with each and every one of His children.

He sees our differences… he already knows them… He created us uniquely for His purpose.

I know it is common that if someone doesn’t think the way we do, or see the world the way we do, or take action the way we would our hackles go up. But that is not the Love of the Lord. The Lord gives us all free will, why must we try to force others into our box and into our way of thinking, judging and full of hatred. This hatred is tearing the country apart and often leaves Christians with a horrible reputation.

My son that is the neat freak gets a daily dose of learning how to live with another completely different than him. He used to go insane being in the same environment with his brothers mess. But he has learned how to help his brother in his weakness and love him for his differences. 

I am looking at these boys, as their example on how to show the love of Christ despite if they are driving us insane with their differences. Jesus called us to love one another. In these struggling times it is so easy to point the finger to the one with differences than us. But let us not forget that we are to love them, God holds them every bit as valuable.

Ephesians 4:2-3
 Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.  Make every effort to keep the unity of the Spirit through the bond of peace.

I want to radiate

I am aware the background to this message may sound like I am a tad bit spoiled. Trust me when I say that I know I have been. Here is a glimpse of that spoiled child in me anyway. 🙂

We live right next to a highway. On that noisy highway, are the neighbors, a gas station and a restaurant.
We blissfully slept in our new home the first few months, then one night when we clicked off the lights there was still  so much light in the room we could see the expressions on each others faces from across the room. There was now a flood of bright white light pouring in. Our neighbors so graciously bought floodlights for their parking lot and pointed them straight at our bedroom window. Previously we lived on a quiet 22 acres in the country that was stark black at night, this was a drastic change.

It could have been broad daylight it was so bright in the room. We had no money for curtains, so for a few weeks we slept (or tried to) in the light. Payday came and we found some discounted black curtains on clearance and it was blissfully dark in the room again, with only a little light seeping through the edges of the curtain.

Thinking on this light and the fact that it wasn’t very pleasant, still makes me think about how light works and how it pierces the darkness and changes a room.

A dark room with a few carefully placed lit candles becomes warm and friendly.

Reflecting on light and how bright and persistent it can be, reminds me of my desire to be that kind of light. One that changes an atmosphere and continues to shine, just because I am there. I want to lighten a room (in a GOOD way) by bringing joy and a hope.

One of the definitions of light in the dictionary is : The radiance or illumination from a particular source.

I WANT to be that particular source.  I so desire to radiate with the love of God, with HIS light. I do not want to bring darkness to a room with my grumbling, gossiping, worrying, complaining, sad self. I want to be SO full with the joy of the Lord that it can not help but spill out and onto others around me.

I want the surroundings about me to brighten with joy and animation because I am there and the Spirit of the Lord is a part of me.

One way to be the full light the Lord has for me to be, is to dig into the word and allow Him to work in me. Spending my days in prayer and worshiping the Lord in Spirit and truth continually and asking Him to always have His way in me. It is so important that I change the focus of my world around me and circumstances to a focus of Him and a love for His people. Taking steps towards being a light and letting go of the things that darken me is the only way I will be a light that penetrates the atmosphere!

Challenge this day my friends: Decide to be a light, and go for it.

Let me know the things you have done to be a light to others. Let’s share our ideas and experiences so we can grow together.

Psalm 89:15-

Happy are those who hear the joyful call to worship, for they will walk in the light of your presence, LORD.

New Living Translation

Gardners

I wrote the blog below, right before my season of spreading joy to others began anew. It is because of the careful tending and encouragement of some amazing people in my life that I now am taking the time and energy to be a blessing. It is because of the dry and decaying season that I learned there could be joy in spite of the pain. We just need to sometimes recognize the joy comes from deep down and not from what we see.
The seasons of feeling that life is being sucked out of me, I had to allow others to attend to my heart, body, soul and mind. When man could not do it, I realized Jesus always was there. And when I needed a connection with human, he sent that too. Don’t forget to turn to the very one that created you to be great! Don’t forget to turn to Jesus when the people are stomping on your beauty.
I encourage you to read this previous post to see where I was, and where I am now. There is a great opportunity for joy when we actively see what is being done in our lives and we have joy regardless of the moments.
Posted on October 29, 2010- I am a plant in the garden that was flourishing and full of beautiful green plumage. When all of a sudden some plant hater decided to throw dirt over the top of me to hide me.
I have been hidden, starving for air, the beautiful plumage slowly dying and decaying beneath the new weight that had been thrust upon me.
Then along came people in my life that were turning the soil, fertilizing the soil, watering where the beautiful plant once was and only cracked dirt lie. Many tending the soil didn’t see the growth they expected of me and silently left, shaking their head in quiet disappointment. I was still suffocating under the weight and while they were no longer tending the garden feet trampled over the top of it.
I sat there, quiet, slowly dying as day by day the sun-scorched the cracked parched ground.
Then along came a new set of gardeners. Ones that were diligent and true to their passion for beauty to thrive. They watered and tended once more where others had given up. Where I myself was ready to lay dormant for another long season.
My roots you see were always deep. I was sure the life would return somehow, I just couldn’t bring it about on my own.
I began to grow that beautiful green plumage back. It was a great sight to behold for the ones that tenderly coaxed me. To see a sprout rise up out of the ground a brilliant green. And to their wonder and amazement as I rose fully above the ground my strong leaves did not remain the size they were before but had doubled in per-portion. I was not the same as I was when trouble came, I was stronger and excited to show the new life that I have become.
 Today: I realize the importance of having deep roots in good soil, that while I was in a season of dormancy and hurt, the truth was always there, just needing to be tended and reminded of what exactly I am planted in!
We are born and created to flourish; cultivate the good foundation!
  Challenge this day my friends : You were created to flourish and produce life! Time to cultivate the good foundation anew and if you don’t have the strength to do it on your own, connect with some good gardeners that will help you on your way! If you are in a strong point, till the ground of ones hurting; giving them the truth of God’s word, encourage, bless, or be a helping hand.
Mark 4:3-8
“Listen! A farmer went out to sow his seed, as he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it all up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil, it sprung up quickly because the soil was shallow, but when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants,  so that they did not bear grain.
Still, other seed fell on good soil, it came up, grew and produced a crop, some multiplying thirty, some sixty, some a hundred times.

Hello ?

On my most recent visit to the in-laws; the boys and Dan were teaching the parents how to use the newest phone technology. It amazes me how quickly the younger generations pick up on all that you can do. It was during the discovery of the phones and their capabilities that Dan conference called his dad, mom, and our three sons.

I sat watching as the five were sitting in the same room and talking to one another on their phones, all five saying “hello?”. I was laughing at the silliness of it all when a thought occurred to me during this exchange.

They were laughing and enjoying being ‘connected’ to one another.

There is such joy in being connected to people. I personally know how easy it is to hermit away. I have been hurt and it is so much simpler in my own mind to hide away and not allow myself to be hurt or let down again. But then the moments of joy are never experienced when I allow myself to do this. There is such joy in laughing with a good friend, sharing together, praying together and being a support system to one another.

God can be our all, and meet all our needs, and one way he does this is by supplying us with companionship. Man was not meant to be an island all alone. Community is a very important part of living in joy.

One suggestion I do make from my life experiences; make sure the people you are giving your energy into are also supplying you with their energy as well. Unless God calls you to be light into a specific life your friendships should not be only one direction. When you find a friend that puts into your life as much as they take, hold on to them, feed that friendship and stay connected!

My friends, do not forsake fellowship with one another. Do not be a hermit and try to take everything on your own shoulders without the experience of letting another person share your load.

Stretch out of your comfort zone and be a good friend. It is very true that you will reap what you sow. If you sow into lives you will reap great rewards!

Today’s challenge : Be a good friend; send an encouraging note, make a phone call or share your heart with someone you can trust. Do not be a hermit.

Hebrews 10:24-25

And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another and all the more as you see the day approaching.

(NIV)

It is time to make things tasty

I am working on controlling my tongue, anger, lonliness, self and depression. I am working on changing myself for the benefit of the Kingdom and those around me. I desire to walk in blessing rather than the curse of selfishness. In these character transformation moments, there are times I try to stamp down something that is ingrained in me.

I am finding in self discovery that there are areas in my personality that at times I want to stifle or erase from my being because I find it embarrassing or less than perfect. Very characteristics that God himself has placed inside of me that I am to cultivate, not disintegrate.

We are called to be the salt of the earth. I am to flavor the earth in just the way that GOd created me to. I have shared with a friend in the past that a thought struck me, there are many kinds of salt; sea salt, garlic salt, iodized salt, seasoning salt, or rock salt just to name a few.

We are to be flavorful and to season this earth with goodness. We are to not lose our flavor. But we can be original to our own design. He creates many flavors and personalities for His purpose. While I encourage myself to change for the Kingdom glory, I need to be mindful to not change the flavor he has made me. It is time I make the world around me tasty in the only way that I was created to do. I will NOT lose my saltiness.

Challenge this day my friend:  Discover your own original gifts and share them with the world, not losing your flavor but sprinkling all you come in contact with the Lords goodness. Do not stamp out what He has placed in you that is unique only to you.

Matthew 5:13-

“You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt looses it’s saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

(NIV)

I failed at love and then learned what it truly is

With Valentines day coming up, I am seeing hearts and cards in the stores and it got me to reflecting on LOVE.

LOVE, what does it really mean? Now I know there is that lovey dovey heart , emotional feeling love. But our emotions and feelings can be so fleeting, if we get in our own way or start ‘feeling’ out of love.

Often my family and some friends have pushed my patience level to the brink. I have been hurt that they are not listening, they do not call, or come around unless they need something. Simply put, they were not being aware of MY needs. When these trials arose  I would often pout, shout  or shut down completely into a world of poor me.   I would begin to get bitter and turn them away, so that they could not use me and hurt me any more.

I  have cut some of these people out of my life when the hurt becomes constant, because I have held on to each offense.

I am so thankful for the lessons in life that have taught me the truth of the situations. As hard as it was to look at myself straight in the mirror, I had to do it. It is in front of that mirror that I discovered; the issue is not them, but me.

Why is it that I find all their actions, concerning me so much? Is my comfort level that much more important than they are? Is my happiness supposed to out shine theirs?

Where my immediate family is concerned , in the past I have completely ruined the atmosphere in my home with my grumbling and complaining because they were all playing too loudly or discussing too admittedly their concerns with each other. I would  blow up because they are arguing or talking back, rather than giving the soft answer that the bible calls for.

I ask myself, “why is it, the ones that I love the most, can push me over the edge the quickest?” The answer is startling! I am not loving them.

In order to understand the fullness of joy the Lord has for us, we MUST comprehend love. Love is not-self seeking. When my children are ‘irritating’ me, often there is no reason for me to be irritated. I am just annoyed, because I am seeking what I want over what they are.

If my husbands expressions of how he loves me, are different from what I wanted, I would grumble and criticize. I was trying to change the very gift that the Lord had given me with him.

When I’ve  seen someone hurt that has once hurt me, I have boasted or been proud.

God made it very apparent to me what love was awhile back. And for the most part, great joy has come in as I settle on the word and apply love like His in my life.

I do fail and I do miss it, but thankfully I fail and miss it less and less as I learn more and more.

Love is an action. It is not a feeling. When I am irritated and impatient I am not acting in love.

The bible is very clear on the actions we are to take in love. Jesus was loving, he was giving, he was kind and I am to be Christ like. Who else will be the prime example in my children’s lives while they are home? I want my friends and family to see the kind of love that lives and dwells in me, when I allow my self to get out of my own way.

Challenge this day my friend: Find areas that we can exhibit love that we never thought was an act of Love before. And feel free to comment on the steps we have taken on our comment section. I would love to hear the different ways we are actively  loving our family, friends, coworkers, teachers, church members, neighbors and more.

Lets’ spread true love, one action at a time by following these words below :

1 Corinthians 3:4-7

Love is PATIENT, Love is KIND.

It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.

It does not dishonor others, it is NOT SELF-SEEKING,

it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs

love does not delight with evil, but rejoices in truth.

It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres

(NIV)