Fragility of Choice

Beautiful weakness.

Question: If God created us, why didn’t he make us stronger, better, less susceptible to weakness and evil?

Answer (in the form of a question lol): If we can’t be tempted, how can we choose? If everything is easy, is that really a choice?

I think it’s beautiful to be weak. To struggle. To choose good, even though it’s hard. To fight the good fight of faith (1 Timothy 6:12). Even to fall. Because there is grace.

Question: If God created us, why did He have to save us?

Answer (maybe): God gave us a choice so that we may love Him freely and honor Him of our own choosing. Come to Him with freedom. Love Him because we want to. He knew that to give us choice, He would have to make us fragile. Capable of falling. But He gave us Christ because:
1. He loved us
2. He knew we would need help

So. We can stand on Christ alone if we fall. That’s gorgeous.

We are fragile. We are weak. We are beautiful.
We are wonderfully and fearfully made.
We are free. We are loved. We are saved.

Thoughts? Opinions? Insight?

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Uncharted Sea

2 Timothy 1:7

For God has not given us a spirit of fear and timidity, but of power, love and self-discipline.

Find what it is, or where it is, that you should be and live with fervor for God Almighty. There’s no time to do less than that.


If God is the wave
And we are the ocean
Let Him move us along
With faithful devotion

Water is deep and still until
It is acted upon by wind
It doesn’t fear, but simply responds
And that’s where living begins

You may be carried far
Be brave and take the blows
Hold on for the ride of your life
Allow the highs and lows

If you can’t raise your anchor and sails
If you can’t submit to Force
You can’t gain new ground
Without trusting the course

If you have faith in God
Look to the stars for hope and relief
You’ll be amazed at the treasures you’ll find
In sailing beyond the reef.

 

Christ=Love

Philippians 1:9-10 NIV

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,


So our love may abound.

That’s not a selfish love for ourselves. That is love for our neighbor. Fellow man, global partner, friend, boss, co-worker, passerby, merchant, customer, homeless man on the street.

Do u think if you knew why a person was a jerk that you could love them more? If you knew why a man was homeless could you hold his hand? Offer him food? Wash his feet? If you heard his story, could you see his heart?

Our depth of insight is shallow. We don’t care why someone takes advantage of us, we just know that we have to fight for our rights! That is the American way. We were founded on this principle.

The knowledge Christ gives us of human relationship is deep and unending. And Christ asks us to overlook our rights to reach the heart of man. He forfeited his rights on the cross to reach us. Right?


I saw a man on the street holding a sign this week as I made my way to the hospital to drop off my collected labs.

AMERICA NEEDS JESUS CHRIST

We surely do. We need Christ. Christ=Love. Love=Unconditional care. Amen, Brother.

So Fracking Philosophical at 8 AM EST–Sorry

Christian or not, until we submit to the Power that created us, Universe or God (as long as we struggle against the nature of things?) we will only know strife and pain. If we submit to the higher power of God/Nature, we will become one with the everlasting.

Experience true peace and happiness.

To try and control that which we do not understand will bring inconsolable sadness and eternal, unquenchable desire.

It is futile to rail against the inevitable in pursuit of the inconsequential.

To misinterpret is human. To understand is divine.

We must embrace the overwhelming power of Creator and become Creature. It’s the difference between Heaven and Hell. And the difference between Languidness and Transcendence.

Good News/Bad News

Bad News: You’ve been here before.

Good News: You’ve been here before.
So you know what not to do. And you’re still standing.
It’s going to be okay.


Good has gone away.
Bad has come to stay today.
Welcome good again.

Irma-gawd

She’s not here yet, but Irma’s on her way. I can’t say I’m not scared. But I’m also not in a panic. I am the appropriate amount of afraid. Category 5 hurricane sounds scary.

First of all, thank you to many friends, family and complete strangers for your concern and advice. Truly. I very much appreciate your nervousness for us. That means our family means something to you and for that I’m thankful. We are watching closely, preparing (packing, obtaining, locating all appropriate needs/essentials), and praying. We will move inland. We will not stay on the island. We will get away from the ocean. For sure. We have a plan and are asking lots of questions. AND we are not currently in the direct path. We are in the “cone of uncertainty” (love that, hope it becomes a meme). Who knows what tomorrow will bring, but we will get heavy rain and winds no matter where we are.

Second of all, I am praying for those fleeing from the storm at this very moment. It’s terrifying. Especially if you have children. But that makes me think of all people around the world right now fleeing from flooding, fighting or famine. Or trapped in those conditions. Our world is on fire or drowning, and it’s scary. Pray.

Thank you, God, for watching over and protecting us. Thank you for our many blessings. Thank you for people who care. If we live, we live for you. If we die, we die for you. Whether we live or die we belong to you. You have brought us so far to help us and not to hurt us. I trust my life to you, Lord. That I may be a blessing to others.
In Jesus’ name.

Third of all, I’m so thankful that I’ve spent the last 5 or so years ridding myself of possessions and pride. The only thing you care about when a storm is coming? Keeping the people you love and live next to safe. Things don’t matter, people do.

If you don’t have a bunch of things to worry about, you can evacuate in about an hour. If you had to. What do you really need when it comes down to it? People all around the world live with very little. I like that. I want to be like that. I am almost like that already.

We are almost packed. We have 3 jugs of water. Flashlight. Important papers. Car. Ready.

You wouldn’t know a beast of a storm is coming. The sky is bright blue today and clear as a Gulf morning ocean.

You can take my couch, Irma, but please don’t take my life, my love or my laughter. I can’t control two out of those three things, but I will always laugh. No matter what.

Footprints

I love the story Footprints in the Sand. If you haven’t read it, go read it now. I grew up with this story on my mother’s wall. It was a pretty picture with the prose mounted in a frame. Did you know that no one claims ownership of this story? Author unknown. That’s kinda cool, too.

I know some people might think it’s cliched. But that’s only because it was so popular. Read it again though. As if reading for the first time. It’s still good because there’s a surprise. Good writing has a surprise.


There are more than just two sets
Of footprints on my beach
There are prints everywhere you look
As far as the eye can reach

One set for God
One set for me
A thousand sets for everyone else
Who has walked along my sea

I don’t do life alone
And the sand is never smooth
Loving other people
Requires one to move


Evidence of life
Is not a car/house/money
It is well-worn shoes

Tough Love

I hate being the Mom. Being the Mom sucks sometimes.

I love being the Friend. The Goof. The Lollipop Fairy. The Boo-boo Kisser. The Cheerleader. The Philosophy Teacher. But I hate being the Mom.

The Mom–defined as the Law Giver. The Layer Down of the Law. The Disciplinarian. The New Sheriff In Town. The Obliterator of Fun. The Queen of Rules.

When my child comes to me and has a problem, my first inclination is to care for her emotions. Natch. But when the behavior continues without benefit from a pep talk or correction, I have to buckle up and hunker down.

My child is an easy one. She’s open to correction, soft-hearted, fair-minded, vulnerable, caring and intentional. Except when she’s not.

And when she’s not? I’m at a loss.

Lately, she’s been resisting change and challenge. This is a normal sign of teenage growing pains. Right? The urge to resemble a couch. I should know, I was a teenager and very much resembled our living room sofa.

She’s almost 14 and showing all the signs of impending, hard-core teen-tric lethargy. It’s concerning. I’m worried about her slipping off into depression if we don’t combat her lack of motivation.

That was my problem. That is a problem of teens, IMO. My freshman year was my most vulnerable. I tried to commit suicide my freshman year because I felt so isolated. Living by rules, wanting independence. On the cusp of adulthood, but still a child. Wanting total acceptance from EVERYONE, including your parents, NO MATTER WHAT!

These unrealistic desires could make any person frustrated, confused and DEPRESSED! Not to mention dealing with complex societal and peer group issues with a not-fully-matured frontal lobe. Suffering from inexperience, lack of impulse and emotional control, and hormonal imbalance.

With my mental illness history, I feel justified in being, at the very least, concerned. And she herself said, without prompt from me, “I’m unmotivated.” That’s awesome self-reflection and honesty. Great sign for us as we tackle her dissatisfaction.

Honestly, she has no reason to be dissatisfied. She has a nice, cozy home. Food to eat. Clothes (nice clothes) on her back and a good school. She has all the conveniences of modern society. I take her to school and pick her up. I am here for her in the morning and when she gets home. She is emotionally supported. And by Dad as well. But dissatisfaction is lying just under the covers of her more-than-adequate, queen-sized, Princess-and-the-Pea mattress.

Why?

It also doesn’t seem to matter that I remind her of her blessings. Put her life into perspective, in sharp contrast to those who have very little and have no opportunity to receive an education or are shot trying to get one. That has no lasting effect. I realize in my attempt to give her the finer things, I have denied her appreciation and gratitude.

We as a society are suffering from the same plight. Teenage apathy. Things are so nice that we forget how lucky we are. We are so dissatisfied after achieving some degree of success that we have to buy a therapist to figure out why. I’ve realized this, but my daughter hasn’t achieved any level of enlightenment in regard to privilege. And even so, do we act any differently? Or do we still chase those materialistic dreams of apparent success?

In my own life, I have accepted the ups and downs of luxury and deprivation. Some days you will suffer and at other times you will have plenty. Days with money aren’t stress free. You have to manage that money. No one has a money tree in their backyard. Any amount of money requires management. It helps when there’s enough to manage. I will say that’s less stressful. But having enough is only slightly less nerve-racking.

I try to be thankful for whatever situation I find myself in and remind myself, no matter what, you’re still breathing. It helps when you’ve been near death to frame life in this way. But I don’t want my daughter to experience what I have to know her place and value and blessing. I want to spare her that. But am I denying her an education in the lesson of life if I try to shield her from any pain or suffering? I’m not sure.

Last night, I showed her frustration on my part. I tried to be soft and kind, but I also let her know how frustrated I was. We try to be honest about our feelings. I let her know, “I’m trying here.” This was in response to her growing dissatisfaction with home, school, life in general. I could tell she was checking out. I could tell she was uncomfortable and uneasy. And she was. We are pretty in tune. Our whole family tends to wear our hearts..well, all over the outside, not just on the sleeve! LOL

I let her know, I’m trying to encourage. Prepare. Provide help-physical and mental. Shop for school supplies. Walk her into the office to learn about lockers. Pick up and drop off. Attend back-to-school nights. Be here physically while she’s adjusting. Help with homework. Communicate. Ask questions. Love. Listen. Linger. Snuggle up at night and let our hair down. Let go of the reins, at times. But doing all the right things doesn’t always leave her happy, well-adjusted or satisfied. That’s tough.

My happy, joyful, outgoing daughter has turned into the occasional emotional lump of tears. That makes me anxious, nervous, concerned. Frustrated.

I don’t want to guilt her. But I’m beginning to understand the power of wielding this device judiciously. Ugh. I hate that. But. A little frustration and letting her know how exasperated I might be? May be the only medicine. And it’s a jagged pill for her to swallow. But it’s also a tough pill to administer. You know the old saying, “This hurts me more than it hurts you.” Now I understand. Except my parents said that about spanking, not tough emotional love. LOL

Sometimes you wanna scoop your kids up. But sometimes scooping doesn’t work. Sometimes you have to be tough and show them, you got it pretty good, Kid. Appreciate it.

*Old man voice* “Back in my day, we rode a cow to school! And we liked it! Thankful to have a cow! And a school! And a butt made for cow-riding!”


NOTE: I did not ride a cow to school. But my mom did. LOL 🙂


What I really want for her is to know God deeply. To rely on him. What I really want is to see her help and work hard and get dirty in the business of God service. I’m hoping after graduation, she and I could find an outreach to really help people. Maybe even overseas. But that scares me. Mission work. Would I be endangering her life with illness or violence?

The Bible says:
Romans 14:8
“for if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s.”

I have to trust that God will protect us if we are about his business. He has plans to prosper, not hurt. But she has to decide what’s right for her. I trust her in that. That is a good feeling! And I know, I never want to be separate from her. That much I know.

And I want her to decide what’s best. Not become what Mom wants, not just do what Mom says. I just want to be a good mom and support her in whatever she does, wherever she goes, whatever decisions she makes. She may want to be a full-blown NYC artist or LA Nintendo character designer or international aid worker. Or Floridian housewife. 🙂 Whatever she does, she will change the world, offer kindness and show God through her spirit. That much I know.

I’m waiting patiently for her to make a decision about where she wants to go after school. It’s still 4 years away. Who knows where life will take us. Who knows what she will want in 4 years or what opportunities she will have. We have to be stable for the next 4 years to get to where God will have us. I think she deserves a 4-year period of stability to get through high school. To prepare her. To ride out this rough patch of frontal lobe and heart development! LOL

I’m ready for anything though. So is she. She has such a willing heart at times. She’s up for adventure, as I am, when we have each other to be brave. She’s my best friend. It took courage to get to Florida. Who knows what God wants for your life until you’re knee-deep in it, right?

After our come-to-Jesus moment last night, she had a pretty good morning. Praying that she has a great day. I pray that every day. But this morning I cringed at the thought of tough love after I dropped her off. But sometimes, it’s required.