Working as a middle school nurse for many (many) years, I’ve come to expect that quite a few—or maybe even more than a few—of the young visitors who come to my office don’t actually want the services I have to offer. Based on my assessment, they can finish their school day with a cough drop, or a Tylenol. And, yes, I make loads of phone calls to parents just to inform them that I’ve seen their child and they might want to recheck their child’s temp that evening as, of course, things do progress. But, for now, I send the student “BTC” (back to class).
It does not make me popular….
…because it was not the “help” they were hoping for or expecting. Ah, growing up is hard to do, as I check the child’s throat while fighting back my own migraine, or offering the good old staple of Saltine crackers while hiding my own stash at my desk after taking a couple of Tums that morning myself. Life is not always as we would want it, kid; let me “help” you start figuring that out now.
At this writing, Bob and I are waking up in a Portland airport hotel after scooping our kinder from Norway and waiting on the New Yorker to arrive after which we will travel a little more to meet additional loved ones for a week of high fives, and plenty of family-based jocularity. I missed a really great photo-op as we cruised right past Mount Hood, but here’s a reasonable facsimile:
In typical fashion, being the only early riser in the whole extended clan, (thus the name “Dawn”, I suppose), I am sitting out on some backside patio before the hotel’s breakfast is even ready, listening to the birds compete with the jet planes roaring off in the not-so-far distance. I’m impressed by the sound of their immense power, with just two puny little humans at the helm. Wow.
Now, granted, those two puny little humans had to go to school and learn some pretty impressive things, like to properly engage that immense power. Otherwise, that plane, as pretty as it looks, is just not going anywhere.
Or worse, yet, it might go somewhere it shouldn’t…
“We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure. This makes it clear that our great power is from God, not from ourselves…For the Kingdom of God is not just a lot of talk; it is living by God’s power.”
One of the challenges for Christians in my culture (translated: for me) is the misunderstanding of the power that resides within us/me. I look in the Bible and see things, powerful things, and I have to wonder, “Am I really living all that God has for me?”
(Oh! There goes another one into the wild blue yonder!! Man, those engines are huge.)
Or am I just shaking my head and thinking, “Yep, that’s a nice plane”, but never bothering to go to school and learn to fly for myself?
The thing is, God says the power, His power, the power His Son died for, is already in all of His children. Fueled up, ready to go. Many times, however, I stay grounded, not only by ignorance, but also by fear, self-contempt and blame, offense, and the list goes on.
This doesn’t mean God doesn’t love me any less—no way. It’s just that He calls me to more. And He needs me for more. Others need me for more:
“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up…”
This morning, I sit here in the aftermath of a celebration. Here in this country, we celebrate the liberty and freedom afforded to us living here. It came at a cost. Men gave all so that we may have what we have today in the United States of America.
I wonder what those men would think about what we are doing to the gift they gave us.
Sunday in church, I was reminded that whatever men may give, whatever the price they pay, no matter the depths of emotion and devotion they feel, it is as fragile as a snowflake on a summer’s day. It will erode and fall away.
But Christ gave a gift, a gift far beyond what I credit him for giving. He put aside the things I cling so tightly to, revenge, anger, self-image, and became the worst of what I am while he was…
I was always one of the tallest kids in class. Back in high school I used to joke that the main reason I was on the girls’ basketball team was so that I could get off the traveling bus first just to intimidate the opposition. Despite what they may have initially seen, in reality they didn’t have much to worry about. My lack of athletic prowess may have been caused by hidden orthopedic challenges (no longer hidden, I might add!), latent asthma (ibid.), or simply a lack of interest and/or talent. Like my 6’5” brother once observed, tall people rarely have to jump…for anything.
Nevertheless, what we see with our eyes can be scary, because we have a way of interpreting it through the lens of past experience, which is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it’s a safety mechanism. If there’s a motorcycle coming down the road, past experience says it behooves me to move. Unless, of course, I’m an 18-wheeler with the right-of-way, then I expect the burden of wisdom to rest with the motorcycle.
I get all kinds of requests for money, you know, you make one donation and the scent of blood is sensed for miles. Some of the requests are causes with which I would agree, some not so much. But even the ones I would tend to support, well, let’s face it, there’s only so much to go around.
Which really isn’t the point. The real issue is the fact that it’s not “my” money anyway. Sure, it’s in my name, my account with my beneficiaries and all that. It goes to pay my bills, my taxes, and my retirement (such as it is). It puts food on my table and gas in my car. It’s not that I haven’t worked hard for it all; sure I have. And yes, some of that hard work has taken a toll I’d care not to admit, but there it is.
Still, the truth is, it’s not mine.
Not any more. Because I actually belong to a larger government than any on this planet—the kingdom of God, (which is, I might add, far more just than the IRS…just saying.)
It fatigues my already tired mettle when that worn out rag of an opinion resurfaces that Christianity is somehow anti-female. Of course, now that the definition of “female” is under debate, I suppose that is, itself, a shifting deck in a storm of opinion. No matter, because at least, historically, there is in my mind (admittedly, for what that’s worth…) substantial evidence that feminism has its actual roots in true Christianity. Note the word “true”. Not necessarily organized religion, because most people never bother to check out the Source Document for themselves, and if they do, it’s merely a cursory study without much in depth “what’s-really-going-on-here” desire to know truth. I realize that’s a scathing indictment, but there it is.
I like to consider myself I an at least somewhat responsible parent, but for some reason, I don’t know why, I seemed to have a mental block when it came to remembering orthodontic appointments for my kids during that phase of our lives. Thanks to our dear orthodontist (and his secretary!) for their good graces and common sense to make routine phone reminder phone calls. I’m sure it saved them money for missed appointments and I console myself that I probably was not the only one. But even if I was, I’m still glad I had the reminder!
To this day, I’m not offended with reminders. I live with sticky notes. I email myself from work to home, and vice versa. I tell people to call me. If I don’t write it down, it’s a gonner. There are just so many brain cells for Continue reading “Where are my sticky notes??”
Moses, what a guy. Talk about job stress—the perks were pretty great but so were the occupational hazards. (And I think I have tough days!) At least there was clear communication with the Boss; no lost email trails or intra-office misinterpretation of body language, all that. God’s instructions were always unmistakably clear, right down to what colors of decorative embroidery thread to use for the big church tent!
One year into their miraculous escape/rescue from centuries of Egyptian slavery, God now has them positioned to pull up the stakes and start their journey in earnest to the Promised Land. He has also promised to be their Guide, a cloud by day and something that looks like a pillar of fire by night. Again, fairly distinctive, even for someone directionally challenged, like me. When Continue reading “Decisions, decisions!”
Hot, humid, it’s southern Missouri and the first official day of summer, so what else is new? I’m already a sweaty mess working in the yard, and the compost needs turning, so out comes the pitchfork (à la American Gothic) and the back muscles are put on notice.
It’s during this little exercise in semi-organic gardening that I observe a real surprise—two tomato plants growing, quite well I might add, to the side of my large, homemade compost bin, hidden between the garage and the fence line.
Huh?!? And they’re as large or larger than some of the ones I have growing now in my suped-up garden with my organic, sore-muscled compost mixed with expensive dirt that grows things “miraculously”, and is watered with our very, very expensive third-stage (whatever that is) city water! Continue reading “Hey, where’d YOU come from?!”