Courage is sadly lacking these days in relationships. And social media makes it worse. Thriving relationships can only happen when we let our guard down and share our hearts. And that one person in your life who you have trouble with? If somehow you can see their heart in all its vulnerability, your feelings for them would begin to change. Recently this happened to me. Someone I have trouble with opened up to me and my heart thawed. Being honest gently is like a laser beam of healing.
We get used to ourselves behaving in a certain way. We know our limits. We know what we can and can't do. We get into routines with ourselves.
But then something changes. We have an injury. We get sick. Our brains aren't able to focus. Maybe we are immobile. Maybe we're tiring easily because of health reasons.
Whatever the cause sometimes our bodies and brains can't do what they normally can do. When this happens we can get very frustrated with ourselves. The enemy will tell you what a failure you are.
We gotta give ourselves grace in these times. We aren't machines (even if we were, they break down too). Our bodies and brains will go through seasons just as earth does. Our job is to recognize this and give ourselves grace. Jesus never condemns us. He doesn't love us because we can do certain things or perform in certain ways. He loves us because He loves us.
Are you frustrated with yourself because you just can't do it? Let go of the frustration. If it were someone else you'd give them grace. You'd tell them it is okay. You'd tell them to be gentle with themselves. Do the same for yourself.
I write this because I'm having difficulty concentrating. And normally this is one of my strengths. Normally I can read and read and soak stuff in but I really can't right now. I just sit in front of my Bible and Journal and write things like, "I don't know what to write" or "I'm just sitting here."
I write these sentences hoping it will spur me on to write more, but it doesn't. Things I normally would find easy to understand are difficult presently. It may be the summer season. It may be the difference in routine because of summer vacation. It may be my medication. It may be just because it is.
So, I'm going to give myself grace.
I pray you will give yourself (and others) grace too.
People are interesting. They, along with God, are the reason we are here. So, let's say someone in your life is being cold to you or maybe they are failing miserably or they refuse to talk to you or they're mad at you or whatnot. And let's say you didn't do anything to warrant the behavior. Or, let's say you did do something to warrant the behavior, but you did your best to fix the situation, but they are still not responding to you. What do you do?
You give them time. We often want to "fix" people. Women are really prone to want to "fix" those they love, but we need to resist this thought. We can't fix anyone anyway! God's gotta do the "fixing."
Our job is to love and and pray for those we love. And when led by God we can speak or even address something, but we really need to have any words we say encased in encouragement. Yet, if you aren't sure you are supposed to speak, then don't. Sometimes our words which are intended to build up will be received in a way we didn't intend them to be received. Instead of giving love they might give pain if we aren't led by God (Then again, we can only do our best. So if you mess up, get up, apologize and try again).
Another thing we ought not do is to take it personally. Very likely a spiritual battle is going on within that one person, and possibly you remind that person of something he or she doesn't want to think about. If that's the case take it as a compliment. You very well might be standing for truth in his or her life, a truth that isn't being received yet. And that's okay.
Just love and know you are loved by our Awesome God.
So, we've been praying for rain. And the other day we got some. I walked out to the rain gauge and found out we got 1/2 inch of rain. I was thrilled. I told someone how much we got and this person said, "That's it?"
Later, this person thanked God for the rain.
And I realized I do this same thing often. I am hoping for something of a certain amount or for something to do go a certain way. God provides but not as much as I hoped or not the way I wanted Him to, and I forget to tell Him thanks for what He did do.
This morning I did this. I had a bill I forgot to pay and I got a notice it was overdue and I had to pay it. I had just enough money to cover it. I wasn't grateful at first but then I remembered the rain conversation and I thanked God.
I guess it comes from being human to ask why all the time.
We see this in little kids. They ask, "Why?" over and over. And if it they are older eventually you might even say, "Because I said so."
Sometimes God says that to us too, "Because I said so."
This week I painted over a painting I painted back in 2013. Why? I don't know why. I guess I don't need to know why. I call the painting, Two Fairies. My youngest daughter asked me what I was going to do with it. I told I didn't know. Presently it sits on a high shelf just because.
Are you a frustrated parent? Maybe the following post will give you some measure of comfort:
As I age I find that different parts of scripture and the spiritual life give me comfort where I never needed comfort before. Let me give you two examples (I hope I don't shock you too much).
First (and I've shared this before), it gives me comfort to know that lots of God's children don't act right. They might do horrendous things. Name a sin and there is probably a few of God's children who have done it or are doing it.
Why does this give me comfort?
Because Father God is the perfect parent and He still has problems with His children. So when I have problems with my children I think of God the perfect parent and realize it very likely isn't my fault. Children, no matter what age they are, are individuals. Yes, we guide them, but when they get to a certain age they make their own decisions. Whether good or bad, those decisions are theirs. They might embarrass us or make us proud, but we can't take credit for their actions.
Second, Psalm 18:26 says, "To the pure you show yourself pure, but to the wicked you show yourself hostile."
I know we don't want to call ourselves or our children wicked, but sometimes, very often, we are. Anytime we don't do things God's way we are doing it the anti-God way and being anti-God is wicked. Any kind of rebellion is wicked. This verse came to my mind today after I had to threaten my son by telling him I would withhold all the cookies from him if he didn't get his clothes put away. Okay, it isn't a scary threat, but for him, cookies are important. So I think my threat probably is working.
I hate to have to use threats with my kids, but sometimes threats are all that work. We could also call them consequences. If they do this, then A happens; or if they do this, then A doesn't happen.
Consequences are a part of life. God uses them with us too. He'd rather us just do what we know we are supposed to do, but sometimes our flesh wants something NOW and so we satisfy that lust for whatever and we have to pay for this rash behavior.
So, I guess threats aren't bad (the nonviolent kind that is). Sometimes they are necessary.
One word of caution though when dealing with kids who frustrate you. Don't get angry. If you're angry tell them you'll come back later and deal with the situation then. Anger can quickly escalate into bad things. Instead, find humor in the situation. I'm working on this one myself.
Let's talk about Hagar and Sarai. You know the story I'm sure. It's found in Genesis 16. Sarai desperately wants a son so after years of trying, she tells her husband Abram to take her maid and have a son through her. That son would then be seen as Sarai's son in that culture. I've read this story often and felt a lot for Hagar. From our modern perspective she's being used.
And no one likes to be used.
There's more going on here. We just don't really get it when looking at this story with our modern eyes.
But in their culture, by Sarai choosing Hagar to essentially be Abram's second wife, she elevated her place in the world. She now had signficance. She now was not just a servant. She was going to be the mother of the heir to a vast fortune. It also shows that Sarai must have loved Hagar.
Think what Sarai had to give up to allow this to happen. She had to share the spotlight. She was the very beautiful wife of Abram. Now she was going to be one of two wives to Abram.
Once Hagar is pregnant, she gets an attitude and flings it at Sarai. Sarai complains about this attitude. Abram says do what you want with her so Sarai treats Hagar "harshly."
Hagar flees and God finds her. He asks her where she came from and where was she going to go (she was in the middle of the desert -- we women can really get illogical in our choices).
After she answers God, He calls her on her attitude. He doesn't condemn her but he tells her to go back and "submit" to her mistress Sarai. He tells her to lose the attitude and be respectful of Sarai.
But then God also speaks to her heart's cry of signficance. And He spends a lot more time on this part then the correction part. He tells her HER son (and God recognizes Ishmael as her son, not Sarai's) is going to be a "wild donkey of a man, His hand will be against everyone, And everyone's hand will be against him; And he will live to the east of all his brothers."
That might not sound like a particularly positive prophecy for your son, but if you were a servant, a nobody, it would give you comfort to know that no one is going to control your son. He will be his own man. He will be unstoppable. He will live the life he wants to live. That would be a very good thing for a servant to hear about her son.
She responds wisely that God is the God who sees her. He sees all of her -- her sin and her dreams and her fears. And God addresses all of them in this chapter. He calls her by name (no one else does). He doesn't give her pity because she's a servant. He tells her to take responsibility for herself and her behavior and do the right thing. And then He gives her a glimpse into her son's future.
What a gift.
God sees you and me too. He sees to the very core of us. He sees things we can't see. He loves us so much. Talk to Him. He's waiting.
I'm the first to admit I have no idea what, if anything, will happen with it. It was a ridiculous thing for me to begin, but I did begin it and I finished it -- the first draft that is. I wrote a screenplay and completed it yesterday. I call it The Syrrrannite. Some of you will know what a syrrannite is -- it has to do with vulcans. Here's a picture of my first draft:
It's definitely a first draft for I already know some things that need to change. I have to add a bunch of camera directions that I have no clue how to do. Well, I have a clue for I got a guide for that but I still am doing it pretty blindly since I've never been behind a movie camera (well, once I was for a TV show and once I ran a spotlight that is kind of similar but not really but none of that applies here).
Even after I get done with the drafts, it may never be anything but a project. It may never have any future but a drawer.
And I will be the first to admit that I really hope it will be bought and that when it is bought that it will be made into a movie (for I really want to buy my husband a truck).
But if we look at statistics, the most probable future is a drawer or a shredder. For like any kind of writing, there are lots and lots of writers who write lots and lots of stuff, but most rarely get bought by publishers or producers. Most end up in the trash.
Yet, it feels good to finish something. And I learned how to write a script. And I stuck with it. My kids saw me choose to create something and they saw me finish it.
That's important -- that is really important.
Why did I bother if eventually nothing comes of it?
Why not? If nothing else it got my brain working creatively. Will we ever know how many flowers God creates that are never seen by a human eye? How many stars that were created eons ago that have yet to be seen, that might never been seen?
Sometimes we can create just to create. There is a life in that creation time that nothing can touch.
You gotta create. Please follow that dream. Please make that thing you've wanted to make for so long. Please cook that meal you've wanted to try. Please write that song that is driving you mad. Please write that book about your life. If nothing else your grandchildren will really want to read it.
We don't have to do things just because they might be huge successes. Why do we have to be a success?
Why can't we be like children who just color to color; who just draw to draw; who just play in the mud because mud feels good? We can though. Jesus calls us to be child-like. In the realm of creativity is a wonderful realm to be like children.
I hope you create this week.
Dream and follow that dream.
Heck, who cares if its thrown away! Just enjoy the process.
The process is a blessing.
The process is where we grow.
Time is strange. I'm kind of glad it is just an earth thing. When we get to heaven time won't be a part of life. I say it's strange because the days of summer vacation often go by so slow. A day feels like it has an extra ten hours tacked onto it. It isn't true of course. We all know that, but the feeling is there.
Feelings are so unpredictable. We really ought not plan our days or make any decisions based on feelings. Well, you can make a decision about what to eat or something like that. I am on a medication that has worked really well for me, but lately it has a side effect that I'm struggling with. It makes me drowsy. I told my husband today that I'm going to skip the dosage for tomorrow and Sunday to see if I am right about it being the meds (he got a scared look in his eyes because Jane off of medication isn't a pretty sight). If it is I guess I'll see if taking it at a different time will help. I sure hope so. I hate being drowsy. Even though part of me would like to sometimes, I can't spend my days in bed. It's hard to focus on stuff. I had a discussion today with someone in the gas station I hadn't seen for a while. I'm afraid I might have looked a bit loony.
It helps so much when we know things we deal with are being dealt with or have been dealt with by other people. A person I love is presently being overwhelmed with life. I wish I could help. I pray for the person. I do my best to encourage the person, but I know the real change has to come from within that person. Only the Holy Spirit can enter that place and make a change. I pray for that (please pray for that for my loved one).
I'm reading a book called The Professor and the Madman: a tale of Murder, Insanity, and the making of the Oxford English Dictionary. It isn't what I expected at all, but it is very interesting. I just read about Samuel Johnson writing a very good dictionary and while he did this over a period of six years he barred himself in a set of rented rooms so his creditors couldn't get at him. He called it his fortress. Johnson ended up being very successful so it turned out well for him, but for some reason reading about his creditors gives me a bit of comfort -- comfort in that despite how technology has changed over the years, people deal with the same problems they have for hundreds of years.
My youngest daughter asked if I had an imaginary friend when I was a child. I was far too serious to have an imaginary friend. Yet, once I started a diary with the words "Dear Kitty." Someone found it and made fun of me. Kitty wasn't a real person. I got it from The Diary of Anne Frank -- that's how she started her diary entries. But being made fun was enough for me to quit that practice (I wish I hadn't -- would love to have diaries from my childhood).
Yesterday I was gone most of the day and much of the evening. I wonder sometimes what the house is like when I'm not around. I asked Shannon. He said, "It's boring." Boring? He said I add excitement to the family dynamic which is odd for me to think about because I am just me. But I guess he thinks I have an excitement kind of vibe. Do you ever wonder what your places you inhabit are like when you're not around? There's really no way to know.
According to my youngest daughter I changed and never changed back when my middle daughter died March 21, 2013. I guess I changed some. You can't help it. When you deal grief it will change you. When you lose someone so close to you it will change you. But despite that I think I'm back to what I was before except maybe I'm a bit more tired. But my daughter seems to think I always use to be fun and crazy. Kids remember things differently than adults do. I still have my fun and crazy moments, but they are finite amounts of time (they were before Maggie died too).
Like I said this medication is making me drowsy. It's like I'm two people -- the one I usually am who is in front of my eyes and the one behind my eyes who just wants to sleep (though sleep doesn't seem to appear even when I try).
A friend is recovering from sugery. She's hard on herself because she thought this time would be a great time to study her Bible and pray. Yet, her pain medications are affecting her brain in ways that make reading and concentration difficult. It's temporary but sometimes we get caught up in the temporary and think it is permanent.
On the way home last night I heard Dr. Charles Stanely on the radio. He was talking about Joseph. One of the points he brought up was that the darkness we walk through or are living in presently will only be as long as necessary. God will take that darkness away immediately after it is no longer necessary. He also said we learn a lot more in the dark than in the light (spiritually that is).
6/14/17 -- GOD GAVE US SOME RAIN! BUT WE STILL NEED MORE. THANK YOU FOR YOUR PRAYERS.
Who is Jane Hinrichs?
Jane is a wife, a mom, a writer, an artist, a lover of the Word of God. She has been studying the Bible since 1987 and has been writing about it almost since then. She loves to hear from her readers. Email her at:
BLOGS/Websites JANE READS:
Dreaming Beneath The Spires
Gail Carson Levine