(Again a) Five Minute Monday: Lack

Gentle Reader,

There is a light at the end of the tunnel of busyness.

Maybe it’s a freight train…

Kate says: lack.

Go.

I lack the ability to see myself as others see me.

Yes, of course, we all deal with that. We’re all surprised by the compliments (and criticisms) that seem to come out of left field. But me, I’m far less taken aback by the criticism. Maybe it’s because, left to my own devices, I’m a real pessimist. Maybe it’s because we women are incessantly told that we don’t measure up to an ever-changing standard. Maybe it’s because I spend far too little time immersed in the healing, loving presence of God, something that I suspect is an issue for many, if not most of us. (I might relate hardcore to Martha and her need to get the chores done).

All I know for sure is that, when I’m complimented, I have no idea how to respond.

It’s not false modesty. It’s not fishing for more compliments.

It’s, “Huh. He really likes me. She said something nice. Why?”

Brain can’t make it compute.

A reminder for me: What I say truly matters. Can really make a difference. Because there have to be others like me out there who’ve latched onto the rough words rather than the smooth. There have to be others who, while not engaged in active self-hate, see themselves as…lacking. And in that sense of lacking, then lack the ability to see the good that others do, the good that God placed there.

Lord, I know that I can’t control my tongue. Any bridling comes straight from Your hands. So Father, please, come reign over my words. The words I speak to others. The words I speak to myself. The words I speak to You. Let my lips be ones that drip with the honey of kindness, gentleness, grace and truth.

Stop.

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Five Minute Friday: Offer

Gentle Reader,

Fifteen or eighty-five.

In my heart, I’m fifteen, complete with the attendant maturity level. (I don’t know if this is due to spending increasing amounts of time with actual teenagers or if this is just…me). My body, though, it’s about eighty-five today. All my joints hurt. If my hands had the ability to speak, they’d yell at me right now for making them type. Every knuckle throbs.

Nauseated. Why? Because it’s Thursday.

Accidentally fell asleep for three hours this afternoon.

Looked in the mirror a bit ago. Ghostly pale face. Dark rings around my eyes. Why the Victorians were into this fragile, wilted-flower look, I’ll never know.

Nothing fun about it. But a most excellent reminder to dwell on thoughts of Heaven, to hope for renewal, to have faith in restoration, to remember Jesus.

Kate says: offer.

Go.

Evan Welcher reminds people of God’s love for them every day on his social media accounts. Literally; he posts the words “God loves you” every single day. The simplest of offerings with the most radical potential to change lives. Three little words containing an eternity’s worth of meaning.

I am thankful for his consistency, for I am easily distracted from this fundamental truth. You know, the Devil, he doesn’t play fair. He knows where the weak spots are and goes after them continually. If he can get me to doubt God’s love, then he’s won that battle. I am wrecked when I take hold of the lie.

That’s got me thinking about the words I offer to others. If everyone needs to know that God loves us (and everyone does need to know), then I think perhaps we need a revival in our speech, a scrubbing of our tongues. For if God loves us (and He does), then shouldn’t it be natural for us to use words like beloved, darling, dear and precious with each other? Not in a creepy or saccharine way. In the way that reminds us of who we are in Him.

So hear me tonight. Because God is love, and He loves you:

You are the beloved. You were created by the Master Artist, placed into this context for a reason. God does not make garbage.

You are the darling. God watches you sleep at night, like the proud Father He is.

You are the dear. You are the apple of His eye. He is proud of you every time you make the hard choice to obey Him.

You are the precious. Every breath is given to you as a gift of grace.

The world and the Devil in it will throw a lot of other words your way. Instead of accepting them uncritically, take each one and hold it up in the light of truth. There, the darkness dissolves.

Stop.

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Five Minute Friday: Reward

Gentle Reader,

When did life get so heckin’ busy?

It’s weird, though. I am so very tired, and yet I have this bubbling energy. Perhaps a new facet of this thing called “joy.” Definitely need a nap or five. Wouldn’t turn down a day at the spa, complete with full-body massage. But I want to go and do and see. Have some adventures.

That’s why I get mad at my body. It consistently lags behind my spirit. Recently I decided that I’d like to climb a mountain, but these bones and muscles are all, “Yeah, how about no?” Annoying. But I’m gonna do it someday. Just you wait and see.

In the midst of all the busyness, I really have missed my writing people the last two weeks. You all speak grace, life and love into my soul. You are the Jesus-kids, the God-folks, the Spirit-poets.

Kate says: reward.

Go.

I can’t see for crap in the dark. Not that I see that well when it’s light; depth perception is not something I’m known for. Hashtag running into things and hashtag always a bruise somewhere. That’s why I suck at sports. Oh, I’ll play, and I’ll have fun, but I’m not going to score the winning goal or anything.

I’m also easily frightened. I’ve seen a grand total of two horror movies in my life, and don’t plan to see any others. Once made the mistake of watching a documentary about Jack the Ripper one night, all alone, because history is great, and I couldn’t even finish it. Give me comedy, always, or give me drama, but nothing scary, please.

So when I got invited to a young friend’s birthday party yesterday, and found out that she wanted to play a game inspired by the movie The Quiet Place, inside the pitch-black church…I was the opposite of into that. But this friend is awesome, and I love her so much, so I accessed what little bit of courage I have and joined in.

As the lights went out and I went to station myself in the sound booth, the first thing I did was smack into a wall. Much grace. Such style.

The game progressed. At one point I made my way cautiously down the very not-up-any-building-code-ever stairs. Because some new people in my life have discovered that it’s easy to make me jump, and this is funny to them, I about fainted when I came around a corner and encountered one of the “monsters,” who walked away chuckling. A bit later, this same monster made a noise and hit me with a pool noodle, which resulted in me gasping and kicking, and my ankle connected with a table that was inconveniently placed.

Honestly, it was pretty funny – once the shock and the “I’m going to die!” passed.

And so I’m full of warm, fuzzy feelings today. Relationships – they are the reward. Possessions, they don’t matter. I’m not going to look back and think, “I’m so glad I bought ______.” I will, however, always remember fondly the night I played a silly game with some teens and a few adults who consistently behave like teens. (We do have our serious, mature, adult-y moments). I will always be glad to have spent those hours eating cake, laughing, conspiring with my soul mate and wrapping my arms around the birthday girl.

That’s a shift for me. Not the understanding that people are what counts. But desiring to fully invest in new relationships. Insecure, shy, timid – those have all been words for me in the past. I’m working out what it looks like to break through those self-imposed barriers and be a woman who embraces life. Because I just want to love. And love is bold.

Stop.

Of course that was longer than five minutes, but everyone in this group constantly breaks that rule. Sorry, Kate!

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Five Minute Friday: More

Gentle Reader,

I can’t tell you how much this little across-the-miles writing community means to me. Social media is a double-edged sword, to be sure, but when it’s good, it’s very good. The way God knits hearts together through the ether and the words…I am blessed.

Kate says:

Go.

“I say to you, my friends, don’t fear those who kill the body, and after that can do nothing more.”

– Luke 12:4 (CSB)

Jesus is something else, isn’t He? Always kind, always gentle, but not one to mince words – ever. He is constantly, through the words of Scripture and through the Spirit, teaching us the correct order of things. Teaching us how to be free. Teaching us how to walk through this life yielded to His direction.

Last night, I stood in line to receive an ashen cross on my forehead. A symbol of mortality. A reminder of what the Savior did for me. For us. For all of creation. Nothing magical or mystical about it. Simple elements that washed away with a bit of water. A transient mark upon my transient flesh.

I belong to God. People, they will come and go, just as I come and go. Some relationships last longer than others, of course, but ultimately, it’s me and Him. Acknowledging this doesn’t deny the reality or importance of the Body, the corporate aspect of Kingdom life. I am not a person alone, but surrounded by and part of a great group of witnesses.

And yet, the bottom line, the realest of real things – God.

He is more than I can imagine or dream. He provides more than I could want or need. He is the true treasure, the great reward. He is the source of my life and identity. He is my King.

When I pause and really think on this, everyone else takes their proper place.

Stop.

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