Saturday, January 24, 2015

Five Minute Friday - Share

     Five Minute Friday is five minutes of writing straight from your heart.  I preface with that by way of explanation.  Should you choose to read what follows, understand that it is my heart laid out in words.  I am fully aware that there are many who will not only disagree with me, but disapprove of sharing.  Please, just understand that I am putting my truth out there as clearly as I know how, that this is the deepest part of my heart and soul.  I share as a way of explanation, in the hopes that some might understand where I’m coming from and why.  
     I love Jesus.  My saying that, or anything related to that is not meant to shame anyone, belittle anyone, convince anyone, or harass anyone.  It is just the truth.  And for me, it is the most important truth.  And the why is the most essential part of the whole thing, and the reason I keep blabbing about it.  I realize that religion and faith and Jesus stir up crazy, powerful emotions.  That’s not what I’m talking about.  If we can, let’s look at this rationally.  If I truly care about another human being then it is logical and rational to think that I would want to share what is most important to me with that person.  Again, if I care about a person, it is logical and rational that I would want them to know and be a part of what brings me joy most especially, if I truly believed that it would bring them joy.  Therefore, if I truly believe that Jesus literally has the power to get people into Heaven, and if I truly believe that He is the only way to get to Heaven, it is logical and rational that I would feel compelled to share that with the people I love.  Please hear me clearly, I am not arguing about how valid my beliefs are, or whether you agree.  What I am saying is that if I am willing to share my favorite restaurants, my favorite stores, my favorite movies with you, why would I not share with you that which I believe is the key to all things good?  If I claim to care about you, but keep from you the one thing I think will determine your eternity, than I am either a liar or inherently cruel.  One more thing, the fact that I think you need a Savior does not and never has meant that I think you are somehow worse than me.  It does not mean that I believe you don’t deserve to go to Heaven.  It means that I believe that every single person, eve, other than Jesus, needs a Savior.  Most certainly, me.  My wanting you to know Jesus has never, ever been about judging you.  Yes, there are people who are all about the judgment and the anger.  That’s not me.  I just think that I have the most wonderful gift ever, and I want to share it.  That’s it, period.

Monday, January 19, 2015

Reflections on Martin Luther King Jr.

     As I graded papers today, I was struck most by the notes my fourth graders took on an animated movie about Martin Luther King Jr. While it would be impossible to encompass the work of Martin Luther King Jr. in one hour, their notes show that his message was very clear. The following sentiments are the ones that showed up, in some version, repeatedly in my students notes:
~Anyone can make a difference in the world.
~He was always doing good things for other people
~He wanted everyone to be friends.
~He believed in non-violent protests.
~He changed the world.
     There is so much to say about who Martin Luther King Jr. was, the impact that he made on the world, and the work that is still left to do. But, these five ideas, noted time after time, are powerful components of that conversation.  They are also a great place to start if we want to change our world.

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Five Minute Friday - Send

Linking up with Kate Motaung and Five Minute Friday.  Where writers are able to write for five minutes, from the heart, on the same prompt.  No editing, no over-thinking, just writing.  Friday's prompt - Send.

Like farmers in the midst of a terrible drought, we cry out to God to send us grace, send us mercy, send us love, send us peace.  We groan from the weight of the grief, of the stress, even of the mundane.  We need refreshment.  We need strength and joy and hope.  The good news is that He will provide everything we need.  But not always in the ways that we think or expect.  Sometimes, we have to look for the joy, sometimes we have to give grace and mercy to receive it, sometimes we have to take the time to refresh ourselves.  When we really stop and take the time to invest in other people, to look for the good in the world, we will find little pockets of beauty and joy.  We will receive back in the measure that we have given.  It’s really a beautiful design – give and get.  Hard sometimes, but most certainly worth the effort.  

Saturday, January 3, 2015

I Love New

     I love new. New year's, new books, new purses, new crayons, new chances. I love the prospect that this time could be better and brighter. Happier and fuller. I love the idea that maybe the best really is yet to come and that quite possibly I am embarking on just that journey. 
    Yes, I  am keenly aware of the opposite end of the spectrum. I have a deep understanding of failure and grief and darkness. So it is not in denial of those realities that I choose to embrace hope. It is because my hope is in a Savior that works in the ultimate good. Who promises that in the end, it will all matter, it will all work for good, and there will be no tears. He promises that in this life there will be joy and love and light. I have clung to that and He has been shown faithful. 
    Knowing this, I choose to be excited about all that may happen during this next year. This next season. The dates don't particularly matter, but renewal does. We all need and deserve renewal. A fresh slate,a new plan, more energy. I have learned that this renewal doesn't just come. It has to be sought. And claimed. So take some time, find some quiet, do something that brings you joy and search for that peace, that renewal. And then enjoy. Life won't be perfect - but it can be good.