It’s all about Timing.

Sometimes we wonder why things seem bland. Why words that seem to inspire others just seem flat when we read them.

I write knowing deeply that if the timing isn’t right for you, my saying these things will be just as flat. Just as uninspiring.

And yet (what a beautiful word- yet), it may be your timing.

Read John 2.

What do you see?

Do you see two or three stories that may or may not be chronological? Or do you see an example of the beauty of God’s timing, of Jesus’s gentlemanliness, and of our own choices?

I used to see two stories and a weird conclusion that just felt a bit disjointed. I knew that chapters and verses weren’t numbered in the original book so I always assumed that the person who numbered it all just counted out enough lines to make it seem chapter-ish.

Oh, but see. Look and see. There is a beauty in the way these stories connect- and even the conclusion brings the final piece into focus.

The thread running through the whole chapter is a thread of timely obedience. In the first story, we see the immediate and unquestioning obedience of the servants. The request was strange, and yet- in the action of carrying it out, the miracle begins. Jesus could have made it happen all by himself, but by their obedience the servants were able to share in the work of producing the first miracle in Cana.

The next story has been told so many ways, and much can be made of it on its own, but only in counterpoint to the first story, it caries forward the thread. Over time the priests had forgotten to be obedient. Instead of the order of purification and readiness represented by the whole process of offering sacrifices, they focused on convenience. Instead of relying on God to provide their portion, they became usurpers and defiled, degraded, and denied the true work of the cleansing process to themselves and to the people. Jesus actions were not an outraged overreaction, as I have heard some suppose, but a purification of the purification process itself.

The strange conclusion in verses 23-25 tells us the midpoint on the continuum of timely obedience. These are the fence sitters, the ones who live on the fruit of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. They see with their eyes and believe in their minds. But they are not ready. Not ready to get close enough to build a relationship. Not ready to immediately obey. Not ready to do much but think about what they saw.

They saw Jesus take action and they were glad someone finally did something. But that was all. No true response of the heart. They believed- truly they believed. But only in their head- not their hearts.

Jesus will not commit himself to them because he knows that what is in their hearts is closer to disobedience than obedience.

I’ve heard it said that Jesus respects us enough that he refuses to force us- into salvation, into relationship, into anything we aren’t ready to obey him in. Jesus was aware that the people believed, but he also knew the timing of obedience was not in their hearts.

So the thread now comes to us. The final beauty of John 2 is in our choice. Will we, like the servants, obey? Will be, like the observers, think about obeying? Or will we, like the priests distort and twist our purpose into disobedience? Jesus is ready for you. He will straighten out your disobedience if it defiles or confuses others about him; he will wait if you aren’t quite sure; and he will welcome you into the beauty of the blessing if you obey.

Are you ready yet?

You’re Delusional

Isaiah 63 and beyond are so beautiful. A conversation between God and Isaiah- but also perhaps The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit – a memory walk of good and bad times with the Israelites. It shifts from good old days to current bad days and then turns again to seek the hope of future days- foreshadowing a ministry beyond those times, saying that the Lord will “call his servants by another name.”(65:15)

It goes through the blessings to be received by those who call upon him, and the curses that befall those who reject him.

As I sat marveling at the grace and mercy of God, continuing to read, I found Isaiah 66:4 and it’s one of the most beautiful verses to me…

I will also choose their delusions, and will bring their fears upon them; because when I called none did answer; when I spake they did not hear: but they did evil before my eyes, and chose that in which I delighted not.

When we choose to do wrong, or to turn from those things God has given us to do for our benefit- it doesn’t mean we excuse ourselves from his order. We aren’t excused from his design just because we choose to deny it exists.

He chooses our delusions. Do you see that? Right there in black and white- “I will also choose their delusions…”.

I don’t believe that means he randomly selects people to inflict or punish- or that he’s being mean. It means, that even in our rebellion, God understands the workings of the mind- the natural things we will certainly encounter when we choose to deny the truth.

Choices have logical (to God if not to our poor thinking) consequences. When we are turned over to a reprobate mind- it doesn’t mean we are outside of God’s order- just the opposite- we are still right where his order says we must be.

God loves us so much that he allows us to disagree. He allows us to live how we choose. He even allows us to deny him.

But denying the truth doesn’t make it untrue. Truth still exists right we’re it was. A delusion is defined as

A belief or altered reality that is persistently held despite evidence or agreement to the contrary, generally in reference to a mental disorder.

By definition a delusion is a disagreement with Truth. The part of the whole that we choose to disagree with determines the consequences we experience.

Now – that definition also includes reference to mental disorders– which typically brings to mind a serious medical problem. But- think a moment- isn’t our mind somewhat dis-ordered any time we don’t understand something fully? Don’t you enjoy those aha! moments? Those moments where an unclear situation suddenly becomes clear? Don’t you feel more at ease and relaxed when your mind is put in order in that aha! moment?

I’m not trying to diminish true mental illnesses by any means- but simply to point out that order is preferable to disorder. (Even those of us who love to make creative messes enjoy having things back where we can get to them again once we are finished.)

The point really is that He knows the order. He understands where our mind goes when we deny the truth. He knows the path to where we are, because he created the path. He created the mind. He can find us wherever we are– even if that place is a hidden place inside our own thinking.

You don’t have to be deluded. Turn to him and ask him to help you find the path through your tangled mind. Ask him to keep you from drowning in your troubled thoughts. He’s walked on water before. He knows the way. He is the way, the Truth, and the Life.

I have come so that they may have life and have it in abundance.

John 10:10

My Anchor

You all know how I dearly love my little country school. The community in the woods is truly centered around the school; sporting events for that part of the county are not high school events, but Jr. High because the school only goes through 8th grade. The children from my school feed into one of three high schools in the district. 

There are problems with that setup: our kids have a higher drop-out rate from high school, they experience some teasing because of their homes in the woods, they don’t get to start participating in the full range of sports, performing arts and clubs until two years later than the children who attend the other feeder school that is located across the street from the high school, etc.

Two days ago the school board agreed to allow the superintendent to devise a plan, to be presented for approval at a later date, to begin bussing our 6th, 7th, and 8th graders to the other feeder school. The hope would be that then all of the students would have access to the activities allowed by a greater population, they would assimilate better at that age, etc.  

There is no official plan yet, they only agreed to allow the research to be done to create the plan. The plan hasn’t been approved. There is no room for more children at the other school yet, so part of the research needing to be done is a plan for new construction. 

All of that withstanding, the community in the woods is outraged. They feel as if the school board went behind their backs, etc. So much misinformation is being passed around on social media. The plan isn’t approved yet. The buildings have not been constructed yet. Bus routes have not been changed, teachers are not going anywhere yet. Nothing has changed yet. 

But children are overhearing  parents who are panicking over the misinformation they have received. Two days in a row I have had to assure children that they are not going to have to meet new teachers, make new friends, or even find different colored uniforms anytime soon. It would take a minimum of two years for any changes to be made. And there is no plan for any of it yet. 

I know that my life is in His hands. I know their lives are in His hands. I am praying that they will begin to understand all that being in His hands truly means and that they can confidently go forward knowing that whatever comes can be used of Him for their good. 

I am also praying that this post may be read for what it is: a cautionary tale, a plea for adults to see the impact they have on children (even if it is an unintentional outcome of trying to do something in their interest), and a statement of faith.

Faith that comes from knowing that God placed me here, that he isn’t amazed by the goings on, and that He isn’t through yet. So many have responded first out of shock, fear, anger, or even smug take-that attitudes that belie their lack of trust in Him. 

I’m not advocating that this should be an emotionless situation, but I am suggesting – requesting rather – that there should be a change in attitude. We are all in His hands. He’s got this. 

He will, if we call on Him in prayer, bring about the absolute best for those who are His. Whatever it may be.

He’s got this.  

We are so fond of  quoting things about God being our anchor when we feel shaken and are trying to bolster our own emotions regarding His faithfulness. That isn’t necessarily a bad thing. But is it really faith? 

I’m used to being the oddball and I guess I am again. I prayed for God to lead me – and I know He did. I prayed for Him to place me – and I know he did. I prayed for Him to use me for students’ lives – and I know He is. So I also know that He will continue to do so – here, there, or yon. 

He doesn’t bring us to leave us. He brings us to instill in us the trust in Him that is essential to our existence. We must rejoice that the manna arrives each morning and that the doves fly low occasionally. We must lean more into Him in the good times because we have come to know His faithfulness to us, His steadfast purpose for our good, and His patient leading of us in our weaknesses. For then we are strong in Him. For then we can truly claim Him as our anchor – because He was already tied to us, holding us, securing us. 

How can it be otherwise?  How could we truly claim Him as our anchor if we don’t trust in His strength, but try to act in our own emotions while incorrectly invoking His name as the anchor that is barely keeping us from saying those words that fly from angry lips and hearts that are hurting? Do we do that because we remember that we were supposed to trust after we have already been mistrusting? 

I picture the old joke where the boy wants to look tough so he tells his adversary that they better be glad his friends are holding him back. But then he must tell his friends to hold him back so that he doesn’t have to fight after all.  How many times do we tell others that “God will take care of this!” but we are really just hoping God agrees with our take on things?

We must become truly anchored in Him. So much so that we, like Jesus sleeping through the storm, don’t have to be alarmed by circumstances. So much so that we, like Jesus, can speak for those around us saying to the uproar, “peace, be still.”

Too Much or Too Little

I wonder sometimes, if I’m not writing as often because I have more to write about than time to write it, or whether it is because the time I’m spending on other things makes my writing ideas seem unimportant.

I am struggling with disciplining myself to do anything with as much consistency as I should. But I’m  learning to ask God to stand with me when I would rather procrastinate than show the discipline that brings so much more order and peace to my life.

I’m seeing in new coworkers my old faults that I never recognized before the sabbatical, and wondering how to best help them to avoid the inevitable end that they are creating for themselves. Then I stop myself and thank God for showing me (from the outside) what I used to look like to others. I ask, “God are you showing me this stubbornness so that I can know why you have allowed me to endure certain things and to bring me to an even greater depth of gratitude for saving me from myself? or are you asking me to help this person in some way?”  I am inadequate to truly help others who refuse to hear, but I believe in prayer and know that my intercession is the most powerful thing I can do until He leads me in another direction.

I see my children, in each of their new schools, and wonder if I am involved enough, or am I trusting them to grow into the lives and characters we have raised them to have.

I write to my husband each day (just texting really) and know that much is lost in the time difference and awkwardness of a phone interface, and I hope that my heart shows through. Should I write more, fearing to burden him with my day to day struggles? Then a gentle nudge reminds me that keeping him aprised of the mundane, (which the so called experts will tell you not to do to help them focus on their current duties) is actually helpful to him and eases his mind. He needs to know so that he can check those things off of his mental list, and that list will not become a cluttered distraction.  

(Experts think that men don’t worry about whether the car is washed or the deck is swept unless their wives remind them.  But my husband does think about those things, and trying not to talk about that stuff just makes us both nuts. Talking about it gives us some sense if normalcy in a very un-normal situation.)

I am reminded by all of these small juxtapositions that questioning brings hesitation in my faith. (God loves good questions, but my questioning has been of myself – not of Him.)  I am reminded that many of my questions come from old habits of people pleasing and self-doubt. I must trust Him to turn my questions into declarations. 

I am not controlled by my imperfections and my desperation to avoid them – God has begun a good work in me and he is faithful to complete it. 

I am not controlled by the need to prove myself – God is my strength and my shield. He has redeemed me.

I am not controlled by doubt – He is my certainty and my reward. 

I am not controlled by silly advice given by so-called experts who fill us with band-aid cures for long term issues – God is the great physician, who knits us together in our mothers’ wombs, and He knows what brings healing to every hurt and peace to every situation.

It matters not whether my thoughts are too little or too much, I am held in the hands of the most high who places me just where He needs me whether for my good or the good of others. I will trust in Him.

Back on the Steps

Some of you may have noticed that I’ve taken something of a break lately. I’ve had a lot going on. We recently moved our daughter into her dorm, been to banquets with my older son for some of the groups he may be participating in as he starts college, and gotten my younger son started at his new high school as well. Not to mention that I’ve had a few interviews lately. And God has placed me, for the time being, at a middle school again. Not the one I left before, so that is a true blessing. 

This school is truly in the middle of the woods – we have a chicken coop on campus too. The best thing about this school for me – part of God’s blessing- is that almost every bright spot, almost every person that left a school to find a better place- is now at this school. Even our school nurse is married to one of my favorite professors from my doctoral program. 

The principal is extremely supportive and believes in placing God first and family second and school falls somewhere underneath. And yet, or maybe because of that, this little place is the center of life in the woods. 

I must say that there are a few bright spots still not at this school, and I’m trying to maintain contact with them too. 

I am learning that it truly isn’t about my ability as a teacher, or my devotion to my job. God is opening my eyes every day to the fact that it is really about serving the students. Something I thought I was doing before, but my thoughts were a bit out of focus – I thought that my ability (that God blessed me with) was what made me a good teacher. It isn’t. What makes me a good teacher is my openness to allowing Him to meet the needs of my students through me. My body and mind as vessels of His gentleness, His kindness, his joy, and His delight in them. 

I’ve also been bottle-feeding Kitting Kat. She stayed in our bushes when her mama moved the others into a neighbor’s yard. (The neighbor promptly took them to a shelter.) I thought I might convince my family that she was meant to be with us – and it worked on the boys. However, there are people in my home who are claiming to be allergic to her, so we are looking for a good mommy or daddy for her. 

So I’m readjusting to a school day schedule and the realities of having almost grown children. I will keep posting, though it may not be as often as I did this summer. 

Thanks to all who are following for your patience and your encouragement. I’ve learned so much from some of you and I am truly grateful. I look forward to continuing this journey with you. 

As a final note, I’m not changing the name of the blog just because I’m back at school. I have come to believe that the small moments in each day are a little sabbatical in and of themselves. 

Thoughtful Thursday

Today has found me ready to return to a pattern more normal than many I have found myself falling into this summer. 

I thought, yesterday, that I had found a neighbor’s missing cat hiding under my maple tree. It did look very much like the missing boy, but when we looked closer, we discovered kittens cuddled up to a look-a-like female. At first I thought she was grey, but after watching her from a distance she was comfortable with, I noticed that she has almost a double coat. The longer fur is grey, but as she moves you can see a definite yellow coat underneath. Since she has white patches on her face and feet I guess the she is actually a Calico.

As far as I can see under the bush where she has them hidden, there are three kittens: a marmalade, a tuxedo, and a grey tabby.  

It is so hot that I took pity on her and gave her some water and a little dog food – it’s what I had. 

I wish I could get close enough to get a picture, but I’m trying to give her some space. (Because she hisses at me when I get anywhere near close enough.) 

Between stealing peeks at kittens and calls from people I haven’t heard from in a while, I got a text from my mother about a PR snaffu where my Dad works that everyone but the PR department and the president seem to  be completely embarrassed by. I have a little experience with PR and my sister is a certified expert at the stuff and we know we would have been in serious trouble over such things.  So I was truly annoyed for my dad and ready to call his boss and chew him out or at least demand that he fire the so called PR person. But I didn’t. I would only have embarrassed my dad more by doing something so brash. 

PR is best handled with an eye on a yearly calendar – not a daily one. And perhaps that’s why my own timing feels off today. I used to plan a year ahead, adjusting if necessary, but this past year has found me slipping more and more into an hourly outlook – not even daily or weekly. 

The problem I have is that nothing really has to go in order. I’m a very sequential person, but my life is more random with every passing day. 

I am praying for something to change – even if it is my own heart. Because I truly need to find the motivation to do more of the things that need to be done around here. I need to find a way to sequence things so that I am not randomly wandering between three or four tasks instead of actually making progress on something. 

“There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens:”  Ecclesiastes‬ ‭3:1‬ ‭NIV‬

The rest of this chapter poetically names all the things there are time for – and there really isn’t much that doesn’t fall into what it says. I think I will be taking a few days to study it and maybe my heart will begin to find its way through time again. 

Wisdom Wednesday

“I’m no longer a slave to fear. I am a child of God.”

The first part of this post is truly a summary of tonight’s lesson. Thanks to Pastor Mike for the inspiration. The second part is me putting that together with a podcast my husband asked me to listen to regarding finances, so thanks to my husband as well. 

People keep saying that they just don’t understand how our world is so out of control – Baltimore, Furgeson, etc. – they say it’s never been so bad. 

Really? Take a look at Acts 19. There was a crowd of about 25,000 people all  assembled and shouting about their economy and the disrespect they were facing because people were starting to have different ideas. 

Who were they mad at? Paul. Why? Not because he said anything about them or about their goddess in particular, but because one man chose to get upset. He was worried about the effects that Christianity would have on the silver trade, because he was a silver smith. What does Christianity have to do with silver, you ask? Nothing – and that was his concern. He made silver idols and Christians not only didn’t need them, but Paul had the audacity to tell people that gods made by human hands were not gods at all. So this guy (Demetrius) got worried that no one would need him any more, called his buddies together, got everyone all riled up, and they headed out to the streets to find Paul. 

They didn’t find him by the way. But what did happen was still strange on a grand scale. All those guys running through the streets complaining about Paul and yelling about praising Artimus (Diana) got a lot of attention. So much attention that people started following them just to see what was happening.  They all wound up at the local arena (stadium) yelling and shouting. Somebody pushed a Jewish man on stage to explain what Paul was doing – as if he knew – and when he tried to talk, instead of listening, the people started chanting and yelling praises to Diana/Artemis – FOR TWO STRAIGHT HOURS. 

And you know what? All those people that just joined the crowd to see what was going on – never found out until after they had been yelling for two hours. 

The city clerk finally came along and told them they were pretty crazy, that Paul had never specifically commented on Diana/Artemis nor did he have a grudge against their jobs. He reminded them that anyone with a real complaint should take it to a judge in a lawful manner and that if they kept it up they could all be arrested for unlawful assembly. 

And you know what? They all went home. 

Paul didn’t have to get involved and he went on preaching and planting churches.  It was all a bunch of rowdy nothing because people let their feelings get hurt, listened to someone misquote and misinterpret the words of someone who was trying to do good, and got carried away by emotions without seeking the truth. 

Sound familiar? So next time you see a bunch of madness on television, remember that this behavior doesn’t shock God off his throne. He is still in control, and even a city clerk (a government official) can speak in wisdom if he takes the time to think about what is really going on instead of falling into the traps of hypocracy, anger, fear, and confusion. 

We do not have to let fear control us. When we are children of the most high, the future is so much more than any situation we face today. Christian financial advisor, Larry Burkett, once said that most of the financial concerns people argue over (and allow to ruin their relationships) are usually imagined future events. In all his years of counseling people through financial troubles, the greatest persentage of them were more able to cope with the loss of a job or an illness when it actually happened than they imagined they would be before it happened – if they applied God’s principles to their lives. The same is true of rioting crowds and congressmen. If they would apply God’s principles to their lives, they wouldn’t need to worry in the first place. No one has to find themselves swept along in a state of noisy confusion just to see what’s up. 

God always knows what’s up – all we have to do is spend time with Him and listen to what He has to say.

Defeathering the Nest

While my nest is certainly not empty, it is beginning to feel somewhat cramped for space. Not in the literal sense at all; there is more than enough room. But in the figurative sense. With all three children making leaps to new levels in the fall, the attitudinal space is what feels all too cramped lately. 

My husband still feels the need to guide every step and pave the way for every new adventure. And in the way that he does those things, he is right – they still need guidance and advice. 

I, however, being the more emotional one, am admittedly ready for some of these attitudes to find their own way. I love them, and would do anything in the world to help them, but sometimes it’s quite difficult to maintain my own emotional sanity in the midst of the growing confidence of teens and young adults. 

I remember well how they are feeling. At their ages I thought I  was all grown up and was tired of my parent’s guidance. Not that they weren’t good at it, I was just itching to try my own hand at adulthood. I wanted to order my own day and make my own decisions and tell everyone around me how they would fit into my plans (rather than asking permission or seeing how two or more sets of plans could merge). 

That is where it seems my own children are finding themselves lately. Not wanting to be under our roof and still doing our chores and doing what we tell them to. And it is right where they should be. 

But being the one who tries to emotionally balance all these egos is exhausting. 

My husband tells me to mind my own day and they will have to work around me. That makes five people in the house that would all be trying to make it work that way and exactly zero people understanding that some elasticity would go a long way around here. So I try to be the elastic one, but I am sure that some days see my elastic self being snapped across the room – flying through the air on my way to land a sting against an unexpecting victim. ( I have confiscated enough rubber bands from middle school children in my day to know the damage that can be done through a carelessly aimed shot.) 

Now, I am the one having to adjust – still trying to help my husband uncover their unmet needs so that we can make a way for them to get what they need means I still have to do the (figurative) backpack checking to see what is left undone. But that means I have to be creative in doing so in order to maintain my status as helpful mom rather than prying, snooping, controlling wench. 

Everyone wants to be a family, but everyone wants control of how the family works. I just want a nap.

I know that my place is ordained. That it is purposeful in these trying days, but sometimes I struggle to see myself in these verses:

She is clothed with strength and dignity; she can laugh at the days to come. She speaks with wisdom, and faithful instruction is on her tongue. She watches over the affairs of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness. Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: (‭Proverbs‬ ‭31‬:‭25-28‬ NIV)

But I know that it is when I am weak that He is strong. 

Lord, I pray today that you would guide my restless spirit into the peace that you alone can bring. I pray that you will help me to still my tongue when it would be harsh, but let it speak instead your truth and wisdom. I pray that you would order my mind so that there is no confusion found in me, for you are not the author of confusion. I pray that you would guide me through the process of helping our children to become the adults you would have them to be, while not loosing sight of the woman you made me to be as well. I pray also for the comfort and closeness that marriage can bring in all its changing seasons and that I would yet be a helper to my husband and not a hindrance to his own growth in you. Thank you, Lord for all your ways, for they are surely higher than my own.

Quoted: Day Three – Looking for Reset

In that space between waking and “five more minutes, please,” I found all kinds of strange things: John Wayne helping me fix a fender on my minivan (which I don’t have by the way), a deer running across a yard carying a Nationwide Insurance flag in its mouth  (again, I don’t have that brand of insurance), a woman trying to adopt me (hello? I’m grown, and wasn’t an orphan anyway), and a tidal wave being held offshore while I watched a red boat carrying a red trailer as it dove and struggled not to sink (boats don’t carry trailers, do they?).

The strangeness of it all doesn’t make sense without some kind of decoder ring – or a dream interpreter. But as one coherent though peeped through, it started to make sense. John Wayne – from Sunday’s sermon and therefore Monday’s post. Deer with the insurance flag – my husband’s workplace insurance finally coming through on a claim that was creating lots of strange issues (it isn’t Nationwide either, but it is a company I don’t have personally – the deer part is more difficult to explain in the space and time I have here today). The lady trying to adopt me – a mixture of my concerns about the sabbatical and a comment I made on someone else’s post the other day about adoption having more to do with absence than death. The tidal wave and the red boat/trailer combo – that would be my redheaded self trying to sail through something I know is coming up but that I feel I don’t have much control over (again I get the trailer part but it’s really too convoluted for this post).

So I reached for my phone and called my husband, who quietly left for work this morning and let me sleep in, and asked him where the reset button could be found. “Reset?” he said.

“Yeah, I can’t seem to find one on my body anywhere and I was wondering if you knew where it might be?”

He laughed – out loud. He understood, and reminded me that reset buttons can sometimes cause more problems than they are worth because you loose the good lessons too – not just the programming that’s gone wonky. 

I think it’s the first conversation we’ve had this week that made sense to either one of us. How crazy is that?

Which reminded me of someone else, who in later years didn’t make much sense either, that always quoted the same scripture to me on every birthday and Christmas card she ever sent. 

Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways submit to him, and he will make your paths straight. (‭Proverbs‬ ‭3‬:‭5-6‬ NIV)

It used to be the only scripture I knew. I would quote it to others when I was trying to fit in – climbing trees because that’s what good Christians did (see Monday’s post for that explanation). 

But, even though I misused it for a good portion of my life, my great-grandmother’s intent turned out to be right on the money – she gave me something to hold onto when things didn’t make sense. She gave me the reset button I needed – and one that meets my husband’s desire to not erase the good with the bad – because leaning on God’s understanding does both. It resets the bad, showing you how He intended for you to walk through it and how you still can. It makes all things new while reminding you of the lessons you’ve already learned. 

So day three of the three day quote challenge is done – and all because of a crazy dream and a quote passed down by a crazy old lady (to be fair crazy is incorrect – she had dementia and would sometimes fill all the glasses in her cabinet with water and leave them in the cabinet that way.)

And it is now time to explain the rules of the challenge and pass it along to others. I would like to pass this along to some new (to me) folks out there: 

Stubbornly Courageous

Inspiration With an Attitude

Chronicles of a Kid Next Door

And a couple of oldies but goodies- though they are quite young!

Imperfectly Nice

Another Battle Won

And that leaves four more spaces – like I said a couple of days ago, I’m bending the rules here. I would love to see quotes from everyone I’m following or who follows my posts, but I also know you are busy people and I don’t want to annoy you with multiple challenges – since I already have some still floating out there. So, if we regularly exchange comments, consider yourselves challenged.
I – Post your favorite quotes or your own quotes for three (3) posts in a row.

II – Thank the person who nominated you.

III (a) – Pass it on to three (3) other bloggers per quote, each time you post them.
III (b) – Or pass it to nine (9) bloggers if you choose to post all the quotes together, in the same post.

Quoted: Day Two – Worth It

For day two of the challenge, I’m going to use a personal quote – not one that’s out there to be researched or scrutinized. Lillian the Home Poet reminded me of it yesterday, and since it sort of continues the conversation on gifts and identity, I decided that it must be shared. 

One of the best teachers I ever had was Annabelle Timms, a ballet teacher. I drove an hour each way to be able to attend her classes and it was so worth it. 

On one day in particular she pushed us very hard and every time I started to feel as if I was doing something right, she devastated me with a correction of something I hadn’t even noticed I was doing wrong. 

I started second guessing myself and looking at some of the other girls in class to see if I could tell the difference. That only gained a correction for not focusing. 

It just seemed to snowball. By the end of class, my bleeding toes were a mirror to my heart. I was crying mad, frustrated and flattened. I took an extra long time getting ready to leave because I was trying so hard not to cry – I couldn’t walk back through the studio and let her see tears. 

No luck there – she found me in the dressing room and let me know that she understood. I didn’t get it – how could she understand and still put me through that misery? 

That’s when she said, “Heather, I correct you because you are worth correcting.”

I had never heard something like that before. And to be honest I still don’t take most correction well nor do I even want to. But I do sometimes hear the echo of her voice when I’m trying particularly hard to understand why my best doesn’t seem to be good enough. 

And, I have often quoted her to my own students – when they need it. It’s hard for advanced students, who are often praised for their mere existence in a classroom rather than any particular effort they have displayed, to hear that there are improvements that can be made in their work. They aren’t used to having someone take a truly critical look at their work. They have never had someone tell them they aren’t good just because they are breathing, but that they are good enough to encourage toward something even more.

It is a hard lesson, but it’s worth learning. 

It seems God wants us to understand this too: 

And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says, “My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline, and do not lose heart when he rebukes you, because the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.” Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father? If you are not disciplined—and everyone undergoes discipline—then you are not legitimate, not true sons and daughters at all. Moreover, we have all had human fathers who disciplined us and we respected them for it. How much more should we submit to the Father of spirits and live! They disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it. Therefore, strengthen your feeble arms and weak knees. “Make level paths for your feet,” so that the lame may not be disabled, but rather healed. (‭Hebrews‬ ‭12‬:‭5-13‬ NIV)

We are worth correcting. Not because of our abilities or skills, but because we, by grace through faith, have been saved and therefore adopted into His family. 

What areas of your life are worth correcting today? 

I pray that we may find the ability to discipline ourselves in areas where we have already received instruction, not forgetting what we have already been taught; and that we are able to stand under the correction that may come in new areas, showing ourselves to be true sons and daughters who are grateful for our Father’s loving guidance.