I’d been numb all day. Since six o’clock that morning I’d had to hold in my emotions. The parents had searched my face, wondering if I would be that stronghold their children needed while they went to work. My fourth graders were quiet and well behaved, holding themselves together exceptionally well. I kept the conversations focused on the lessons and not what was swirling around us in the world. My face kept up the façade of confidence that all would be fine.
My grandmother used to give me advice by tapping into her never-ending supply of “cliché” sayings. In her case, as far as I can remember, those sayings were very true and many resurface in my mind even today.
She used to say:
“Not everything that shines is gold.” In one simple phrase, she tried to warn me from prematurely judging people and opportunities, especially those wrapped in a shimmering cover. She wanted me to look beyond the surface.
She also used to say:
Discouragement is a universal experience for ministry leaders and the word self-defines itself…dis-courage meaning no courage. Some of the Bible’s greatest characters faced it: Moses, David, Paul, Mary the mother of Jesus, and the apostles. Nehemiah, the great Old Testament leader faced it when he led the Jews to rebuild the wall. Yet, his response offers us hope when we face it.
Baseball is not one of my favorite sports. The game moves slowly, the season is incredibly long, and honestly, I was never good at playing it. Yet, despite my love of every other sport, I found myself glued to the television during the recent world series. You see, I live in Houston, Texas, and this series was about more than just baseball. The hometown team was playing for a larger purpose; one fueled by strong team comradery and the knowledge that the city really needed a victory after Hurricane Harvey. The dramatic win in game 7 brought an amazing sense of excitement, joy and apprec
I tend to be curious and want to know about lots of things. I often get distracted by a topic or thought and then pursue it. Several years ago, I read a fiction book that made a reference to Charlemagne. I realized during reading that the only thing I knew about Charlemagne was that he was considered the father of modern Europe. So, my curiosity got the best of me and I bought four books on Charlemagne. One of them was written by someone who had worked for/with him. After four books, I learned all I needed and that was the end of my Charlemagne search.
This is the day the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Psalm 118:24
When each of my parents died, I had a choice to make. But when the news came, what happened next didn’t seem like a choice.
Neither passing was a total surprise. Both were ill. Still, when death came it was like a punch to my heart.
People can hover on the brink of death for months, even years. We think we are ready for the ultimate transition. Then we learn – painfully -- that we’re not. The event is so final, the loss seemingly so complete.
When would you use the word “thankful” vs. “grateful”?
What do these two words mean to you?
We discussed the idea of being thankful or grateful after reading one man’s realization that he’d been misspelling the word “grateful” as “greatful” his entire life. He said that he’d been grateful so seldom in his life that he never knew how to spell the word.
“I had been spelling it as though a greatful person was a person full of greatness, rather than a person full of gratitude.”
“Don’t tell me it’s a beautiful day. Show me!” This ongoing message to my writing students over the years encouraged them to use descriptive words and action verbs. I wanted them to talk about the radiant sun, the cotton ball clouds pinned to the azure sky, the warm, gentle breeze bending the daffodils. Help me see it!
When it comes to our Christian life, we also need to do more than just talk about it. We should show by example, not by anecdote. Our lives should be the picture of God’s message of love and grace.
What battles rage on your field today? Are you disappointed in someone who has let you down? Are you frustrated in your job, suffering from financial loss, grieving a loved one, struggling with addiction? Take “time out” to regroup your troops and “stand down.” King Jehoshaphat led the Israelites in a literal war against their evil enemies. These same lessons can be applied to today’s spiritual battles.