Thursday, March 1, 2018

Throw Back Thursday - The Impact of Silence

Welcome to this month's TBT from my old b+ blogging days !  Hope it encourages you.

Monday, October 03, 2005

The Impact of Silence

"It's good to shut up sometimes."
-Marcel Marceau

A rather interesting quote from a man who was made famous because of his silence, don't you think? Makes me wonder about the lessons he must have learned from being so silent and just watching and listening. As I read it I was reminded of an experience we had at our street ministry a little over a year ago. Two of our regular volunteers are a sweet, newly married couple who have great hearts of service and desparately want to serve their God with all that they have. However, at times I have seen pride cause them to struggle with an intense aversion towards a lot of the very people we minister to. I am always asking God to break through that pride and other mental or emotional garbage with them and show them how He sees these poor and homeless people. After all, these people that are so different than what we're used to, are in fact, the entire reason we are out there. They need someone, anyone, to show them love and acceptance in a wounded lonely life where they have had none.

I always love the fact that God is so gentle with us and even has a sense of humor. We tend to lash out and correct or judge harshly making a scene and leaving wounds in the hearts of others all in the name of justice. God is so opposite though. Like any loving father, He tends to discipline in creative ways that He knows will get our attention, and make the lesson stick. This was definitely one of those lessons.

On this particular Saturday, I was behind the table serving soup and the husband of this couple was standing next to me serving the drinks which consist of water and in warm weather iced tea. This was a beautiful warm day so the water was especially in demand. As I waited for the next person in line to reach me, I glanced over to see one of our regular ladies approaching the drinks. She is only about 35, about the same age as this newly married couple, and has a very sweet and childlike spirit due to severe mental illness.

Additionally, heavy medication tends to make her talk to herself a lot....and loudly. Usually though, the things she says keep us all laughing because they are the things a 5 year old would say, blunt and yet, innocent.

She has very curly hair, which she usually lets go fuzzy. She wears every piece of jewelry she has ever owned and odd clothing combinations as well as about five layers of nail polish, all of which are chipped and peeling. She's always so bubbly though that you can't help but smile at her when she comes by. I watched as she approached the table quietly muttering to herself, and then I suddenly felt a twinge in my stomach because I knew who would be handing her the water. I quickly looked at him just in time to see him scanning her up and down and curling his lip at her current state. I was so hurt inside I wanted to lash out at him and tell him to get off the serving line if he couldn't treat her with respect. However, inside my heart I heard God tell me to keep quiet and watch what would happen next.

Just then as I saw her reach for a cup and he pulled his hand away, her muttering became audible for all of us to hear. I watched in amazement as she looked him square in the eye and quoted him the Bible verse, "..And if anyone gives even a cup of cold water to one of these little ones because he is my disciple, I tell you the truth, he will certainly not lose his reward." Just then she took a sip and walked away and was gone for the day.

I wanted to start crying as I watched his eyes get big and follow her as she disappeared into the crowd. God is sooooooooo GOOD, and He always gets His point across far better than we ever could. Had I lashed out at him, I would have set a bad example for all the people around me, both behind and in front of the table. I wouldn't have gained anything, but instead, would have lost the trust and respect of so many who need us to be gentle with them, and learn from our example. I also wouldn't have made the point to this young man as well as God was able to, through the gentle ramblings of the very one who should have been offended by his actions the most.

Sometimes it truly is good to shut up and wait and to let God fight our battles for us. A misplaced word can illicit the effect of a bowling ball on a glass top table…sending shards of glass everywhere that can never be fixed or replaced…and some never even to be found. I'm glad I kept my mouth shut that day, and avoided those shards. I'm not always so successful however, but at least now I know if I can learn the art of well placed silence, I can avoid many regrets for years to come. Besides, God really does handle those situations so much better than we would.


Thursday, January 4, 2018

Throw Back Thursday - Leap of Faith

Throw Back Thursday: 

I recently came across some old blog posts that I had written when I used to be a collaborative writer for a blog titled  b+ (Be Positive). So I thought it might be fun to dust them off and send them out again by sharing them here. So once a month I'll post one of them as a Throwback Thursday fun memory. Here was the very first one, enjoy.

Friday, September 02, 2005

Leap of faith

Come to the edge, He said.
They said: We are afraid.
Come to the edge, He said.
They came,He pushed them,...........and they flew.
~Guillaume Apollinaire

How many times in life have we felt like we are standing on the edge of a frightening and deadly precipice with no way out? I don't know about you....but I have felt that way many times. Each time however I have felt the gentle nudging of my God to trust Him and take a blind leap of faith. When I let go of my fears and my insecurities,my anger and my doubt I can jump......and each time He has caught me.
Much easier said than done though, right? Of course it is. The circumstances we are in dictate those fears and insecurities, anger and doubt. The key however is to come to the realization that as you stand on the edge of that precipice there is no turning back.....only forward. Those things are done and gone, they can not be undone unfortunately,they can not be taken back. So what are your choices from here? You can crumble and give up because things didn't go the way they were supposed to. You can become bitter and hard because things didn't go the way they were supposed to. Or, you can stand up,take a deep and possibly painful breath and somehow go on because for some reason things just didn't go the way they were supposed to. No matter what you can't change the fact that things didn't go the way they were supposed to, but you CAN change how you react to it.
When you feel you're at that edge, with a wasteland behind you.......take that frightening leap........He will never let you fall from His grasp.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

6 More Sleeps 'til Christmas

I love Christmas, I have ever since I was a kid...although back then it was for more obvious reasons....presents! Lots and lots of presents! Since I've gotten older I've really fallen in love with the holiday for another reason. When Ben and I first got married, I went all out. Every single room was decorated in some way. Nothing over the top, our budget never allowed that, but I always made sure that in every room and from every angle that you sat, there was something "Christmasy" in your line of vision. It was fun and cheerful. However, over the years as life got in the way with busy schedules and destinations to be, decorating the house became less and less of a priority. Then some years I would have grand visions of all the wonderful things I was going to do for the holiday season only to be so exhausted that by December 24th I still hadn't put up a tree and I was totally ok with that. The ebb and flow of family and friend relations as well as finances also affected how we celebrated. Some Christmases it would feel like a greeting card with the happy hustle and bustle of activity, while other years we would sit with the poor and homeless at a community shelter, listening and empathizing to stories of life. Some years there would be many gifts exchanged, other years not even a card.
Each year though, regardless of it's joy or sad loneliness, I have still loved Christmas. However, it's taken on a deeper meaning to me. It used to be all about the gifts, decorations, music, food and being surrounded by people....however now, to me it has really, truly become the realization that without the true meaning of Christmas...I wouldn't have the true meaning of Easter...and without the true meaning of Easter....I would be lost.

Yes, it's true....generations ago a group of people combined a pagan holiday with a Christian meaning to create a day in the wrong season of the year to honor the savior who died for me. Over those same generations that altered holiday has become so over commercialized to the point that the true meaning has been lost on the masses. However, the fact still remains that with all it's faults...Christmas honors the birth of the one who died with you and me on his mind and heart. It's not about the highs or the lows of the festivities of the day. It's about the shadow of a cross cast by a star....a star that led the way to where a baby slept peacefully warmed by the breath of stable animals while His earthly parents, one by birth and one by marriage, sat in awe at the lack of festivity to celebrate a child that they knew had been not only sent by, but also entrusted into their clumsy human care, by God Himself to save the world.

We only have a few sleeps left this year until Christmas day. You may be faced with overwhelming last minute shopping and menu planning, or you may be faced with loneliness and silence. Whichever you're faced with, I challenge you to love this holiday. Don't love it because of what we've been taught by culture that it represents...that's temporal, love it because without the birth of Christ, the temporal could not hold hope of the eternal.

💮 Joy All Ways,