Perfect and Complete

IMG_3766“And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing” (James 1:4).

Perfect and complete. Sounds good, doesn’t it? I would love to get to that point where I feel like I have nothing else to learn, nothing else to gain.

But you know what comes right before verse 4? Verse 3: “for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness.”

Oh boy. The testing of my faith. Do I really have to go through that in order to gain steadfastness, which is what leads to my being perfect and complete?

And you know what comes before verse 3? That’s right, verse 2? Want to see it? Are you sure you’re ready?

OK, here goes: “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds.”

IMG_3257Trials of various kind. Producing steadfastness. Leading to being perfect and complete.

Got it.

ho, boy

So I guess that “lacking in nothing” part that comes at the end of verse 4 would mean that I have everything I need to face these trials of various kinds. That’s comforting. I know that no matter what I encounter in my life, God is always there with me. That old adage that is completely false and non-biblical can be thrown out. God certainly will give me more than I can handle so that I will depend on Him.

P1000628And I will gain steadfastness.

And I will be perfect and complete. In Jesus. When He takes me home.

Amen.

This post is a part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Join the fun!

FMF button

Advertisements

Seeking the Silent

Today’s 10-Minute Tuesday post is on the prompt “silent.”

IMG_3060My brain is running at full steam.

What if? Why not? Would it be so bad?

I try to stop. I try to quiet it. I try to sleep.

Not going to happen.

There is no silent night in my thoughts. There’s always something roiling and boiling.

Sleep eludes me as I search for ways to shut it down.

Let it go.

Think about it tomorrow.

My brain doesn’t listen. It refuses to be silent.IMG_4424

It yells. It sings. It reviews or previews every conversation.

Could I have said that better? Did I say something wrong? What if I say something wrong?

Be still, my soul. Be silent. Rest.

The hum of the air conditioner. The chirping of cicadas. The croaking of frogs. Lots of frogs. The crash of ice from the ice maker into its bin. The snoring of the dog on the floor of my room.

Nothing is silent in my house.

Breathe. Deep, slow breaths. Out. In. Calm your thoughts.

Pray.

IMG_6175Ahhhh. That’s the ticket. So many people to pray for. So many concerns in the world. If my brain is not going to shut down, might as well put it to good use. Put my cares in the hands of my Creator.

He hears. He knows. He cares. He’s got this.

Finally. Sleep. I know He’s got this.

IMG_5216

 

Take Me Out With The Crowd

IMG_8034I’m headed out of town with David today. We’re going to St. Petersburg, Fla., for the weekend to watch my beloved Oakland Athletics play the Tampa Bay Rays. Last year we went to a doubleheader. The year before that we took the kids to a single game. It’s become a tradition for us to attend at least one game of the series when the A’s are in Florida.

I love being out with the crowd. The noise, the pristine field mowed perfectly. (OK, so the Trop is a dome and therefore an artificial surface, but a girl can dream, can’t she?) I’ve never caught a foul ball. I hope one comes near us this time.

There’s nothing like the roar of the crowd when a batter hits a home run. Do you know how far those little white balls have to travel? A football field is 100 yards, that’s 300 feet.IMG_8029 Most home runs have to clear a fence that is nearly 400 feet away from home plate.

That’s pretty far.

There’s strategy and mystery (ever try to figure out the signs the managers and coaches are flashing?) and joy and sorrow (ever had your slugger strike out when the bases are loaded?).

The lyrics to the iconic 7th-inning-stretch song fit me well.

 

Katie Casey was baseball mad,
Had the fever and had it bad.
Just to root for the home town crew,
Ev’ry sou
Katie blew.
On a Saturday her young beau
Called to see if she’d like to go
To see a show, but Miss Kate said “No,
I’ll tell you what you can do:”

Chorus

Take me out to the ball game,
Take me out with the crowd;
Buy me some peanuts and Cracker Jack,
I don’t care if I never get back.
Let me root, root, root for the home team,
If they don’t win, it’s a shame.
For it’s one, two, three strikes, you’re out,
At the old ball game.

Katie Casey saw all the games,
Knew the players by their first names.
Told the umpire he was wrong,
All along,
Good and strong.
When the score was just two to two,
Katie Casey knew what to do,
Just to cheer up the boys she knew,
She made the gang sing this song:

(Jack Norworth and Albert Von Tilzer, 1908)

IMG_8041

 

Today’s post is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Join the fun!

FMF button

Toddling Along

Today’s 10-Minute Tuesday post is on the prompt “Toddler”

xy+NaiZ5SBibbrRWXUJb0gToddlers have a bad reputation. They’re said to wear out their mothers, challenge anyone in their way, and be impossibly hard to keep up with. They’re just learning to explore their world, so they wreck havoc wherever they go.

I have an 8-month-old grandson who has just started pulling up on everything and is beginning to cruise from furniture piece to person’s leg to couch, figuring out where it is he can go next. And, maybe it’s because I’m Nana now, but I think it’s the best thing ever.

Babies need to explore their world. It’s what has to happen in order for them to figure things out. They need to face challenges, they need to overcome those challenges on their own, and they need to test their boundaries.

325xpAUERdKaBNwe257SpABecause I have my grandson 5 afternoons/evenings/nights a week, I get to help him navigate some of those challenges and learn to respect the boundaries. My 16-year-old daughter, who helps a lot with him, is fond of chanting “Choking hazard! Choking hazard!” if there is the slightest small thing that might end up in his mouth.

We are all aware of the dangers.

Before he even became mobile, we hauled the pool fence out of the attic, just in case someone should forget to latch a door and he would make his way to the pool deck. Having barriers and boundaries in place is wise, but cushioning his every tumble would just set him up to expect to never encounter a difficulty.

I keep him from pulling the cats’ tails while teaching him how to treat them nicely.

I keep a fence up around the pool, but take him swimming to allow him the joy of the water on a hot day.

I move games with small pieces while allowing him to touch and taste and explore those things that he does not yet know how to open.

IMG_0142Freedom within guidelines. This will help him grow and learn and develop in a safe environment without making him fearful that there’s danger around every corner.

God gives us guidelines as well, not to keep us from having fun, but to keep us safe while growing and learning and developing.

If the Son has set you free, you are free indeed (John 8:36), but do not use your freedom as an excuse to sin (Romans 6:15).

When I put up the pool fence for my grandson, it wasn’t so that I could say to him, “Ha! See that refreshing water? Looks fun, doesn’t it? Well, sorry! You can’t go in it!” No, that would be very mean of me. I put it up to keep him safe. He is a baby. He doesn’t know how to swim. If he were to wander into that water, he would drown. And that would be a tragedy for us all.

In the same way, God’s guidelines are not to keep us from having fun, but to actually give us a chance at abundant life.

We, like toddlers, want to move and explore and learn new things. It’s a joy to watch. But when we get close to those things that could hurt us, God is there to move us away. It’s the loving thing to do.

GZ9wojPiR+uwCUeIxWm7CAWe diligently watch Zayne whenever he is with us, because at this point, though he is not yet a toddler, he is crawling around as quickly as he can, seeing what there is to see and what he can explore (read “get into”) next.

I will never stop watching him, because I love him to the moon and back and want him to be safe while still desiring that he experience as much of his little world as he can.

When It Rains, It Pours

RainI live in Florida, so the saying “when it rains, it pours” makes a lot of sense. Seldom do we ever get just a gentle sprinkling for more than just a couple of minutes. Usually it becomes a gushing downpour that doesn’t usually last long. But in that time, it’s torrential.

In the heat of summer, those respites of rain are welcome, but the aftermath of flooding can cause major problems.

What’s necessary to avoid that is a good drainage system.

Kind of like with the showers of blessings in our lives.

If all we’re doing is letting the flood of good things come down on us without having any outlet, our lives will look like the swelled streams and overflowing banks. All that water really should go somewhere it can do some good.

When we are in our rainy season, and places like California are in a drought or experiencing devastating fires, we wish that we could take some of that rain and send it their way. But with weather, that’s not possible.

But it’s possible with the wealth of resources or time or emotion that we can give to someone in need.

Certainly let it rain on you, but then share the wealth with those around you.Rain3

Find yourself with time on your hands? Volunteer to help where it’s needed.

Get an unexpected bonus at work? Give a portion to a worthy cause.

Finding yourself overflowing with joy? Share that emotional energy with someone who could use a friend.

When it rains on you, pour out on others.

 

This post is a part of the Five-Minute Friday link up. Join the fun!

FMF button

Your Story Matters

Today’s 10-minute Tuesday prompt is “story.”

I have a picture of the Golden Gate Bridge on my Discover Card, so I get to see it often.I’m typing this on my iPad today because my daughter is using my laptop for schoolwork while her computer is being upgraded. In the mobile version of the WordPress site, there is a space for a blog post title, and then under that the words “start your story here.”

Made me think for a minute. Where did my story start?

Several years ago, the staff of Cru was challenged at a staff conference to write out an essay that was called “I am from.” It’s a look back into your personal history to learn what it is that has made you what you are today. It’s not to give an excuse for our shortcomings because “that’s just the way I was raised,” but instead to give insight so that we know where to go from here.

fullsizeoutput_6badTherapist Adam Young talks about giving our parents too much of an out when we say that they did the best they could. I know I’ve done that. But if that were true, then my dad would have stayed with AA and found a way to curtail his drinking. My mom would have tried to learn how to be open hearted and really tried to know her kids. And their parents before them would have read and practiced and learned how to do better.

I have copied my “I am from” poem here, just to share a piece of my story. Consider writing one yourself, because your story really does matter, more than you think it does. I would also encourage you to listen to Dr. Young’s podcast, “The place we find ourselves.

I am From

I am from the Golden State
I am from the winding, hilly roads overlooking the San Francisco Bay
I am from mountains & beaches, rocky shores & tide pools waiting to be explored
I am from sunshine & foggy mornings with the tips of the Golden Gate Bridge just peaking through.
I am from the country, the smell of alfalfa & the lowing of cattle
I am from searing heat & shimmering highways
I am from the Old Country, where garlic & olive oil permeate the air
I am from family, from privilege, a name & a reputation to maintain
I am from the land of bagpipes & brave hearts
I am from clan Grant, an unknown entity in my life
I am from a popular mother & a father who wasn’t sure who he was
I am from the affects of alcohol & disappointment & dying dreams
I am from generosity & volunteering & friendships that lasted through decades
I am from a love not sure about how to be expressed
I am from acceptance & forgiveness & new life
I am from purpose, from words knocking at the door, waiting to be let out
I am from unconditional love
I am from the heart of God, written on His timeline before it began

The Blessing Of An Unhurried Life

IMG_2437Every family has experienced it. The frantic rush in the morning to get everyone where they’re supposed to be going. Do the kids all have their homework? Is their lunch packed? Where are their shoes. Hurry! The school bus will be here any minute!

Stick a PopTart in the toaster, gulp down a glass of milk, and run out the door. Barely time for a hug and a kiss, let alone sweet words that might fill their souls for the day.

Sound familiar?

Do you hate living that way?

Is it only on vacation that a slower, unhurried pace of life can happen?

There’s a saying: the hurrier I go the behinder I get.P1000562

Last year we made the decision with the full agreement and enthusiasm of our 15-year-old daughter to have her enroll in virtual school. That means that we don’t have a 5:30 wake up to make sure she gets to a 6:20 bus. Our mornings are calm, later and unhurried. It’s a huge blessing.

As I look closer at living an unhurried lifestyle, I see it as giving ourselves room to breathe. I know that not everyone can make the same decisions we have, but I would encourage everyone to take a look at those hurried and harried times and see if there’s any way to bring some peace to them.

Can lunches be made and backpacks packed the night before? Can clothes be laid out? Shoes put by the door? Pre-made breakfasts be ready to go?

IMG_1888I have a daughter who is not a morning person, so she made some of these choices herself as she grew, and I certainly know that not all children will fit well into this mould.

But if you’re finding yourself getting frazzled before the day has barely begun, give some thought to how you might give yourself and your family some breathing room.

 

This post is part of the Five Minute Friday link up. Join the fun!

FMF button