These are just some things that surfaced in a week of trying to live smarter, and lean heavy on grace.
Not much to say on this, except that we can survive without them. Mine was in for repairs. Strangely – surprisingly – I live to tell the tale. I also found myself doing startling things, like looking my children in the eye.
The thing we’re praying most for our boys right now is that they would be heart smart. We want to help them understand who they are, where they are, and what they’re dealing with. The constant flux of the indifferent, swirling world around them will exert random and various pressures and influences, but we want to hold their hearts steady – to equip and embolden. My sister tells me that our two boys – inseparable cousins – were being laughed at for playing superheroes. I’m ok with superheroes. I’m even ok with superheroes being laughed at. So long as they wear strong hearts on their superhero sleeves.
I was encouraged by this from Ann Voskamp last week:
‘Always keep eternity before them. Think of eternity — and live backwards from that.’
Because it’s their hearts we’re after. And their hearts are forever.
I’m doing Crystal Paine’s Make Over Your Mornings course, because breakfast with bed hair is the core, consistent family time in our day, and we want to make it count. Crystal is wise, real, relevant and incredibly practical. If you’ve ever arrived at school or work soul-bruised and relieved that the morning ordeal is over (and I haven’t met an honest mom or dad who hasn’t), then I would highly recommend this course. (Not an affiliate link; nothing in it for me.)
I love listening to the lives God brings into my inbox and our kitchen. But lately I’m heavy with so many stories of depression, abuse, same-sex complexities and controversies, loneliness and brokenness. I’m sad for those who have had to reap what others have sown sordid and selfish. I’m sad for those heading down roads of seemingly no return because, I guess, if you feed an appetite it grows. Which is why Paul said it loud and un-PC – ‘Run from sexual sin! No other sin so clearly affects the body as this one does.’ (1 Corinthians 6:18)
So I’m just putting it out there – if you can relate? Maybe you could forget for a moment about what’s right, wrong, legal, unfair, deserved, permissible, harmless, consensual or common – and ask yourself, for every invitation, opportunity or decision:
‘In light of my past experience, my current circumstances, and my future hopes and dreams: what is the wise thing for me to do?‘ (Andy Stanley)
Look ahead. What do you hope your life will look like one year from today? Set yourself on a wise trajectory to get there. And know that where every human idea and endeavour eventually falls flat, there is unbroken hope in the changing, healing grace and truth of Jesus, who loves you.
People sometimes ask why I blog about my personal life. I always say the same thing – that to open the hearts of others we need to open our own, but also, that there’s a boatload of stuff I don’t ever – and will never – write about. Because it’s the sacred and the secret.
And then my father-in-law sent me this piece by Frederick Buechner, on secrets, and I thought how smart it is, and how beautiful, to have some.
We tend to think right away of dark secrets – things we did or failed to do that we have never managed to forgive ourselves for; fierce hungers that we have difficulty admitting even to ourselves; things that have happened to us long ago too painful to speak of; doubts about our own worth as human beings, doubts about the people closest to us, about God if we believe in God; and fear – the fear of death, the fear of life.
But there are also happy secrets we keep like treasure less because we don’t want to share them with the world for fear of tarnishing them than because they are so precious we have no way of sharing them adequately. The love we feel for certain people, some of them people we scarcely know, some of them people who do not suspect our love and wouldn’t know how to respond to it if they did. The way our hearts leap at certain things which the chances are wouldn’t make anybody so much as turn a hair – the sound of a particular voice on the telephone, a dog-eared book we read as children, the first snow, the sight of an old man smoking his pipe on the porch as we drive by.
We are our secrets. They are the essence of what makes us ourselves. They are the rich loam out of which, for better or worse, grow the selves by which the world knows us. If we are ever to be free and whole, we must be free from their darkness and have their spell over us broken. If we are ever to see each other as we fully are, we must see by their light.
‘Search me, O God, and know my heart!’ cries out the great 139th Psalm, which is all about the hiding and baring of secrets. ‘Try me and know my thoughts…for darkness is as light to thee.’ Even our darkness.
It is the secret prayer of us all.
(From Wishful Thinking. A Seeker’s ABC)
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