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Live Dead Joy

I wrote a post on social media this week in which I spoke of the way I was recently called out for “competitive suffering”. It wasn’t positive feedback or constructive criticism, and immediately put me on the defensive.

I firmly believe God understands my need to help myself by utilizing the tools He has given me. And I believe He expects me to pay it forward as soon as I’m able. Support is a good thing, and collaborative health is my ultimate goal.

I pray the following article strikes the same chord for you as it has for me. It was written by D. Brogden and appears in Voices of the Martyrs, April 2016.

Be strong. Be Blessed, Y’all.

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Live Dead Joy: Collective Suffering
Jesus never intended for us to suffer alone. We may not be able to cross oceans or deserts and sit in lonely cells with colleagues, but we can traverse that distance spiritually and bear the burdens of our brothers in prayer. Knowing that they do not agonize alone empowers followers of Jesus under duress to bear unimaginable suffering. Collaborative suffering is bearable suffering.

Knowing from Scripture and from history that others have suffered and blossomed in pain is necessary preparation for our own trials. We can shore up our souls for trouble by reading and meditating on how those who have gone before us found strength to glorify Jesus before snarling beasts and men. The trials of others help us, and our trials, in turn, help others. “Blessed be…the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our tribulation that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God” (2 Cor. 1:3-4). Paul went on to explain that both sufferings and consolations abound in Christ, and because there is a collective experience of both, there is endurance for salvation and consolation.

If our collective prior suffering helps those now under pressure, their current anguish also comforts us. Our suffering helps others. When my Sudanese brothers and sisters suffer, it draws me to them. It puts my marginal trials in perspective and gives me courage for my challenges. God, too, participates in collaborative suffering—primarily because He suffered for us but also by allowing suffering so “that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God who raises the dead (2 Cor. 1:9). When our hearts are overwhelmed, God leads us to Himself, the rock that is higher than us (Ps. 61:2). Suffering collectively teaches the body of Christ to depend on Him and to anticipate life from death. Suffering is intended to be redemptive, and suffering for the gospel always results in unreached people responding to the gospel.”

Excerpted from the March 2 reading in Live Dead Joy: 365 Days of Living and Dying With Jesus by Dick Brogden, Copyright, Live Dead Joy, Voices of the Martyrs, April 2016

What Do You Say

For look, the wicked bend their bows;
they set their arrows against the strings
to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart.
When the foundations are being destroyed,
what can the righteous do? 
~ Psalm 11:2,3 ~

‘What can the righteous do’… or say… when they are overwhelmed by sorrow?

I saw a post on social media this evening that truly stunned my heart. A friend’s family member was a victim of a senseless, violent crime. The article did not give much detail, but did confirm her family member died from his injuries.

I know all too well that the death of a close family member is invariably difficult. But the violent, sudden death of a loved one leaves entire generations reeling. Google can tell us how they are SUPPOSED to feel. But every person experiences loss differently. No response is the same, therefore, no path to “peace” is predictable. And there is still no way around grief.

Who can adequately explain such circumstances to his widow? To his children?? To his grandchildren??? Who can make any of them feel protected or whole? I don’t know. I don’t know what to do. I certainly don’t know what to say. Sometimes, I guess, there really are no words- at least no words I’ve ever written.

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But You, O God, do see trouble and grief;
You consider it, to take it in hand.
The victim commits himself to You;
You are the helper of the fatherless.
~ Psalm 10:14 ~

Maybe I can only lend my heart and sincere prayers to my friend. I can stand by and wait in The Lord. Without words.

Then they sat on the ground with him
for seven days and seven nights.
No one said a word to him,
because they saw
how great his suffering was.
~ Job 2:13 ~

 

 

 

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2016, you’re mine (Reblog)

Yep. 2016 is my year! Southern Gal, here. Happy New Year, Y’all. This is a reblog- a lovely article. I’m not feeling well, and I’ve fallen behind in my writing. I will get through this snag, and get back to writing my own entries soon. In the meantime, be blessed, Y’all.

 

Maybe this past year was difficult for you. Maybe ‘difficult’ is an understatement. Maybe it was cruel. Maybe it crushed you. Maybe you’re still trying to catch your breath and are bracing yourself still after receiving blow after blow. Maybe you’re heartbroken. Maybe you’ve lost someone who can never be replaced. Maybe you’re wounded. Maybe … (Read more…)

Good Mamas

All mamas are programmed to protect. From our earliest days of parenthood, we child-proof and sanitize our homes, yards, cars, Grandma’s house, and buggies at Target. I’ve actually been known to sanitize other people’s children, in my more zealous moments. All new mamas have.

We cover electrical outlets, pad corners, anchor furniture, prop open doors, and install cabinet locks. And that’s before our babies are even ready to crawl.

My son was already a toddler by the time he came to me. There was no containing him then, just as there is no stopping him now- but I surely tried. I fenced and cross-fenced the interior of our base housing unit like a boss.

Don’t touch that. Don’t wipe that. Don’t pick that. Don’t eat that.

I slept on the floor underneath his toddler bed when his fever was high, because I was afraid he’d have a seizure in the middle of the night. And because I’m a nurse. And a little medical knowledge is dangerous.

I kept all the medicine locked in a fire-proof safe. Until my husband called me at work in a panic. Somehow the ‘baby’ had managed (with a torch, evidently) to get ahold of a bottle of vitamins, and gobbled them all down! I gave him the number to poison control, and flew home, fully expecting to rush right back to the hospital. I found them both sitting in the kitchen floor crying. I scooped up the little one, and the vitamin bottle clutched in his fat little fist. Vitamin C. He wasn’t going to die. But I was gonna want to with all the diapers I’d be changing. Lack of a little medical knowledge is also dangerous.

No matter how hard I tried to be everywhere, I couldn’t. He broke his nose. He almost broke his arm. He got a
cavity. He fell out of a swing and landed on his head. Well, okay- I was there for that one… It was a swing I pushed, and a fall he has never let me forget.

He is already both fearless and dauntless. Fearlessness comes is handy when I need a fellow adrenaline junkie to ride the biggest coasters with me. And not so handy when I catch him twenty feet up the neighbor’s tree. In the dark.

He is never deterred by obstacles. Mostly he doesn’t see obstacles as deterrents.

While he learns to fly, I am learning to let him. Knowing me, I will always want to pick him up, dust him off, and put him together again. All good mamas do.

I have stopped trying to pack him in styrofoam, or encase him in bubble-wrap. He says I’m taking all the fun out of crashing. Don’t all good mamas try?

Not all obstacles can be predicted, prevented, or circumvented. Sometimes he just has to fall back and reconsider his way. He knows I’m right here when he needs me. All good mamas are.

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Be blessed, Y’all. All mamas have been.

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Tiny Kingdom

I may be a bit premature in declaring this week a Parental Victory before the week is actually over. But Saturday is just a technicality.

For the past several weeks, my son has kept my pocketbook empty with his social obligations. I didn’t mind letting him have fun with his friends. Until he popped off at me when I told him I didn’t have $15 for another new DVD. I told him no. He called me “chintzy”.

Wednesday afternoon I was paying bills. He strutted past, mumbling- which provokes me to wrath every time. He said it was funny that I had money when I needed it, but not when he needed it.

Hey, Tiny Little Man, you wanna go a round? Bring it on.

He brought it! I sent it right on back.

He now lives in Tiny Kingdom in which he has been demoted to Apprentice. He serves under a Queen (guess who). Queen Moi serves only The Almighty King.

Tiny Apprentice has a job: he is a full time student-athlete. His wages are earned at his primary place of employment, his school. There is no set wage- he must earn his pay based solely on his performance.

Queen Moi has enacted a hierarchal pay scale in which only best effort is rewarded.

Test Marks: >91 earns 1 coin.
Quiz Marks: >91 earns 1/2 coin.
Notebook: Must be submitted for review on Thursday evenings. Each subject requiring no corrections, earns 1 coin.
Report Card: > 97 earns 10 coins
Report Card: > 91 earns 5 coins

Since Tiny Apprentice loves his sports and riflery activities so much, he has been granted provisional permission to participate unless his grades fall >10%. Queen Moi always covers the costs incurred for team sports. Handled correctly, team sports build disciplined character.

But even a Tiny Apprentice must share equally in maintaining Tiny Kingdom.

Room Cleaning: earns 1 coin per day
Bathroom Cleaning: earns 4 coins per week
Clearing clutter: earns 1/2 coin daily
Trash Detail: earns 1/2 coin daily
Laundry Detail: earns 1 coin per load (washed, dried, folded, put away)
Floor Detail: earns 1 coin per day
Dusting: earns 4 coins weekly
Meal Planning, Budgeting: earns 5 coins weekly
Yard Work: earns 1 coin per hour
Tiny may request extra chores if all else is done, and school work is completed.

Queen Moi utilizes a template to record, verify, and compensate her tiny subject appropriately.
Tiny Apprentice must: save 10% weekly, and give/tithe 10% weekly, and must provide 10 coins toward gifts purchased for parties. Any remaining balance is discretionary.

He may choose to receive compensation in either cash or points (1 coin: 1 point: $1). Tiny must also self-track earnings by reconciling them in a checkbook-style manner.

The Tiny Apprentice must pay to play. Priorities, Young One.
New toys, movies, music, electronics, and TV time are assessed and taxed equally.
Electronic exposure time must be prepaid with earned coins. 1 coin: 1 hour of use. Saturday’s are free if the Kingdom is in order. Otherwise, the only free activity is reading.

Charity coins may be used in many ways. Tiny Apprentice has submitted a list of creative ideas, for consideration. So far, Queen Moi is very pleased with Tiny Apprentice’s enthusiasm.
This morning, Tiny was up at 5am working through his obligations. No quarters are as fair in all The Land!

Truly- as his parent, it is my responsibility to equip my son to efficiently and capably manage his responsibilities and obligations. He is physically approaching independence, but must learn consistency and discretion. By removing myself from the equation, I’m placing all accountability in his control.

He’s a Prince- not a frog! Someone’s Princess will appreciate my efforts…someday.

Be Blessed, Y’all!

 

(c) 2015