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Reflections on This Winter

Today, I am linking up at Emily P. Freeman’s blog, Chatting at the Sky for What We Learned this Season. Hop on over and join us!

 

As I reflect on what I’ve learned this season, just for my own brain capacity, I’m going to divide this up into the main areas of my life.

Spiritually

  • I have been doubting God’s wisdom. I know right? Not really what you want to admit to, but I’ve been going through Chip Ingram’s book, The Real God (I’ll be doing a review later this week). It highlights seven attributes of God, and when I went through the chapter on God’s Wisdom, I got an ugly surprise. I didn’t even realize a part of my heart was questioning God’s wisdom or that I was harboring a niggling doubt that I somehow knew better. Yes, knew better than GOD ALMIGHTY! As I read through this passage in Job, I found myself repeating those words to God in repentance of my attitude.
  • I don’t always have to be right (see above!). This past election season and the aftermath has been a major training ground for me in this area. Part of the problem is I have a real issue with truth and unfairness, but I have to ask the hard question of – what is my purpose in engaging in this forum? Is there anything profitable that can happen or is this going to dissolve into a virtual shouting match? I’ve found most of the time, it’s better to just let it go and move on.
  • God’s goodness and generosity to me is based on who He is and NOT on my personal performance. Yes, I knew this in my head, but somehow reading it (again in the book by Ingram), sealed it deeper in my heart. It was kind of a beautiful thing.

Family

  • I have grown in my ability to serve. I’m going to be honest. I have ZERO serving gifts, and taking care of my family has always been something I want to want to do, if you know what I mean. While I have a long way to go, when my oldest son got the stomach flu in January, I realized I had also come a long way in this area (although I have to admit I did my serving with rubber gloves on!)
  • My parenting is now one more step removed from hands-on. If you have young kids, this might seem like a distant dream, but as my kids get older, I’ve found more and more that I need to get out of the driver’s seat and become a passenger. This has become especially glaring as my oldest son goes through his freshman year of college. He has chosen to go to a local college and live at home, but this is NOT high school 2.0.  He’s a great guy, but he makes some choices that I definitely wouldn’t. I’m learning to listen and keep my mouth shut. (See the above on always being right to understand the difficulty!)

Writing/Calling

  •  I can’t do everything at once. I know – duh, right? With way more ideas than follow through, I thought if I only buckled down, I could do all the things. In recent months, I’ve found that doesn’t really work. Instead, I need to focus on one thing at a time. I actually end up getting more done than if I try to multi-task! Monotasking – the new thing!
  • I can’t listen to all the voices. There are so many GREAT people out there that have all this GREAT advice. Maybe some people can take that all in and filter it, but I can’t. I have found that I need to choose just a few experts to listen to and let the rest go. Same with all the great advice. For me, in order to not feel completely overwhelmed, I have to just focus on the next thing – not all the things!
  • I like writing for upper elementary/middle school much more than early readers. I do have one book written that is for the younger reader and I am finishing up a picture book, but overall, I find myself drawn to reading and writing stories for kids who are a bit older. Trying to force myself to write for younger readers just smothers my authentic voice.

Odds and Ends

  • I can do hard stuff. In January and February, I did a Whole30. For those of you unfamiliar, during the Whole30 you avoid grains, sugar, dairy, legumes and alcohol for 30 days. As someone with a die-hard sweet tooth, those 30 days were much easier than I thought they’d be. Because I also felt about 300 times better than I normally do, I decided to do another Whole30 this month.
  • I spent much of February working on planning and dreaming about this space. Over the years, I’ve basically shared what God is showing/teaching me. I have realized I need to be a bit more organized and intentional if I want to any kind of consistency, and let’s face it, with my current schedule, that isn’t going to happen without some kind of plan . I’m excited to say that starting this week, I’ll actually start posting regularly, and I have a real plan on what I’ll be writing and when!

Winter is often considered  a time when everything is asleep or hibernating. I’ve found these months have been a time of planning and dreaming for me. I’m excited to see what sprouts this spring!

 

An Open Letter to the Church Post-Election

For better or worse, the election is over. What a crazy ride it’s been, right? There have been ups and downs, shocks and surprises. and it’s been vicious – not just between candidates either. People have been tense and anxious and that anxiety and fear has played out across social media with people lashing out at friends and loved ones, burning bridges and torching relationships along the way.

I wish I could say that the Church was not a part of all that, but that wouldn’t be true. The ugly has seeped into our interactions, too.

I remember thinking, “Please, just let it be November 9th and then it will be all over.” I was thinking, that no matter who won, we’d could just move forward and get on with our lives. I even wrote about the election and the fact that life would go on (you can read that post HERE).

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Unfortunately, even though the election is over, there is still a whole lot of nastiness still going around. Both candidates and President Obama have said all the right things. They’ve extended the olive branch to each other. However, the deep wounds in our country are still bleeding and festering and we the people have become we the enemies. Worse, those within the Church walls have become enemies – many times bitterly.

I don’t know if you voted for Donald Trump, Hillary Clinton or neither one. I do know, Church, that we are on deck. Our number has been called up, and it is time to act. We are called to shine the light of Jesus into the darkest places. We are called to love and to be peacemakers.

But before we can help a hurting world, we need to stop attacking each other. 

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We can’t, with any degree of integrity, share the love of Jesus when we can’t even love each other. 

As believers, we need to move forward, so we can be that light in the darkness for a lost and hurting world. The pages on the kingdom calendar are flying by, and the time left to share the Gospel grows ever shorter. In the light of eternity, an election seems little.

I believe there are four things I think every believer needs to stop doing and three things we all need to start doing (if we aren’t already).

Stop with the Moral Superiority

Never has the Church been so divided over what the right thing to do was than this election. There are believers who are feeling relief and thankfulness, believing that God is giving America one more chance. There are believers who sincerely believe America is over and done. Through all the turmoil and confusion, one thing I’ve seen over and over again, is this smug spiritual superiority based on who someone voted for. Honestly? This doesn’t really help anyone. You can’t judge someone’s faith and their relationship with Jesus based on who they voted for, and you really shouldn’t try. You may not agree with their choice, but people have all kinds of reasons for voting the way they do. Even if you truly do feel your choice was the more spiritual one, it is amazing what a humble spirit can accomplish.

Stop Calling People Names

This leads me to my next thing – please stop calling other people names. Seriously. How does calling people names promote any kind of unity? How does this do anything other than make people defensive? I know my first response is to defend myself. While everyone is responsible for their own actions or reactions, let’s make it a bit easier on each other and stop baiting each other by name calling. Again, I’m pretty sure when Jesus said to love each other and live in unity, that didn’t mean calling someone a baby-killer or a bigot.

Stop Telling People How to Feel

For those who see a Trump presidency as the start of the apocalypse, they are in mourning. They do feel sad and grieved and maybe even scared. Give them space. At the same time, allow people to feel relief and gratefulness, too. This idea of my feelings are legit, but you shouldn’t have yours is very alienating. If your candidate won, be gracious enough to put your arm around that person who sees things differently. If your candidate lost, don’t take someone else’s joy as a hostile move.

Stop Believing Lies

Here’s the deal – Donald Trump doesn’t have the power to fix the world or destroy the world. Yes, I know he’s the president-elect, and yes, I know he will have access to the big red button (at least I’m assuming that nuclear button is red). But, he isn’t, ultimately, in control. God is. I’ve heard a lot of doomsday language over the past few days. It’s easy to get caught up in the fears in our head. That’s why it is so important to exam those thoughts. Arabah Joy has a great post on truth journaling. (you can read it HERE) Remember, Satan is the father of lies, and he’d like nothing better than to see you paralyzed by believing lies – either that the world has ended or that now you can sit back and relax.

Start Praying

Pray for Donald Trump. Pray for the other elected leaders. Pray for the people in your community. Pray for Hillary Clinton whom I’m sure is having a really bad week. Pray for fellow believers. Pray for those people you view as your enemy. Pray for those that disagree with you. Pray that we the Church can be a light during this tumultuous time. Pray that our unity will be a testimony to the unsaved world. Prayer is the single most important thing any believer can do.  If you are devastated by the election results, pray more.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.. Phil. 4:6,7

Start Loving Those Around You – Right Now

As believers, our actions and our words should be different. We should stick out like sore thumbs – in a good way! No matter who the president is, we can love the people around us. We can demonstrate peace during turmoil, triggering people to wonder and ask what’s our secret.  In our own communities, there are numerous opportunities to reach out to those who are hurting, to see those who feel invisible and to hear those who feel silenced. Don’t wait for change at the government level. Change starts with you!

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5 Minute Friday: Test

It’s been a while since I’ve written in this space, but what better way than to dive right in with 5 Minute Friday! If you are unaware, 5 Minute Friday is when women from all over all write about a one word prompt. It’s truly amazing the wide range of things one word can inspire. I hope you’ll hop over and check it out HERE.

5 Minute Friday: TEST

 

When I saw the word for today, I thought it was quite a coincidence. I was working on my Sunday school lesson this week. I’ve been teaching about women in the Bible, and I am also reading through the Gospels, personally, at the moment. I really had no idea which woman I should teach about in my upcoming Sunday school class and then I stumbled over the Canaanite woman in Matthew 15. I love it when God meets me in the crossroads of two studies like that!

I was familiar with the story, but as I read through it again – more slowly – I was struck by the uncharacteristic way Jesus responded to this woman. He was, dare I say it, kind of rude. First, the woman is crying out for mercy and He simply ignores her. This is so opposite of how He normally responded to people, that it made me stop and scratch my head.

Then, when the disciples ask Jesus to do something since this woman was following along, crying after them (and wasn’t that embarrassing?), Jesus tells them that He was sent to the lost sheep of Israel. In other words, this woman who was a Gentile, was not His intended audience.

Again, this made me stop and scratch my head. Jesus was the man who ate with tax collectors. He interacted with prostitutes and treated them with kindness and compassion. He spoke to the Samaritan woman (who was half Gentile  and half Jewish, which to some Jews at the time was worse than being wholly Gentile). Why would He deny this woman the help she so desperately needed for her daughter who was demon possessed.

The woman persisted, coming nearer and bowing down and worshiping Jesus, again asking Jesus to help her. Again, Jesus’ response is not what you would expect. He asks her if He should give His children’s bread to the dogs. To understand this comment, you have to get into the mindset of this time period. The Israelites or Jews were considered God’s children. Gentiles were generally despised by Jewish people and often referred to as dogs.

The woman responds with one of the best one-liners in the New Testament. “Truth, Lord: yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Notice she doesn’t defend herself by saying, “How can you call me a dog when I’m coming to you for help?”

It’s only in verse 28 that Jesus seems more familiar to us. He responds by praising her great faith and granting her request to heal her daughter.

As read and reread this story, I was still a bit puzzled by Jesus’ response, so I turned to my favorite commentator Matthew Henry. He pointed out that Jesus was testing this woman’s faith, and the reason He did that is because He knew the outcome.

Well, call me slow, but that statement just hit me like the proverbial lightening bolt. I don’t know about you, but I often fail the tests that God brings my way. I don’t respond the way I should, or I out and out throw a royal tantrum.

It hit me rather forcefully that God tests us KNOWING THE OUTCOME. I mean, I should know this. I know God is sovereign and He knows the beginning and the end, but I am always sucked into the finite thinking that is my lot as a human.

God knows the outcomes of the tests He puts in my path which means He knows the ones I’ll fail. He sends them my way anyway. Because I know God works all things for my good, I can trust in the fact that even the tests I fail in some way work for my good.

I am reminded that it was only AFTER Peter failed so spectacularly by denying Christ 3x did he become such an effective leader in the church.

Maybe the whole purpose of tests is not just the “lesson” we are supposed to learn, but the overall idea of trusting in a good God that loves me and wants the best for me.

What test do feel like you are failing? Know that God already knows the outcome – whether passing or failing – and is working it for your good!

Blessings, Rosanne

Five Minute Friday – FIVE

If you’re not familiar with it, Five Minute Fridays are when women from all over come together over at Katie Motaung’s blog, Heading Home, and using the same one word prompt, write for five minutes. No editing, no censoring – just five minutes of free writing. Then they hit publish. You can join us HERE.

FIVE

 

I know we are all busy. Life is rushing by at a blurring pace. When you ask someone how they are, they tend to answer with a single word: busy. How would life be different, how would our relationships be different, how would the world be different, if we all decided to slow down? What if we all decided to practice the rule of five?

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What do I mean by the rule of five? The rule of five (to me, at least) means taking five minutes to focus and listen.

That means, when my husband comes home, I take five minutes to focus and listen when I ask, “How was your day?” Too many times, I have called that question from the kitchen or my office, and only listened with one ear. More embarrassingly, sometimes I’ve not even listened at all, leaving me clueless.

That means, when my student comes up to my desk and holds out the paper or test or quiz that holds a letter they didn’t want to see, I take the time to stop what I’m doing, to look them in the eye and engage for five minutes.

That means, when my friend is hurting or tired or overwhelmed, I take five minutes to pick up the phone or jot a note or look them in the eye and listen. Not just with half an ear. Not with my mind on other things. Not with half glances at my phone. But to focus and listen and hear.

That means, when my neighbor shows up at the door, I don’t rush her off because I’m busy. Instead, I step out onto the porch and give her my attention for five minutes.

That means, when my kids are struggling or needing attention or a listening ear, I give them five minutes. Not minutes divided between a task or the computer or the phone or whatever else is tugging at me. But five minutes to look them in the eye, to see them, to hear them.

We are all busy, but we all have five minutes to give freely and wholeheartedly to someone else. Imagine a world where people took five minutes and gave it away?

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5 Minute Friday: HELP

It’s been a few weeks since I’ve participated in 5 Minute Fridays since I was on vacation for a few weeks, but I’m so glad to be back. If you don’t know, 5 Minute Fridays is when women from across the country (and probably globe) write for five minutes on one word. We all link up over at Kate Motaung’s blog, Heading Home. Check it out HERE.

Today’s word is HELP.

I could talk about a lot of different things when it comes to the word help, but lately God has been teaching me something I didn’t actually want to learn.

Not everyone we want to help wants to be helped. I know – bummer isn’t it? It seems like your good intentions should be enough to help someone over the edge. Your desire to make it better or to give someone a hand up should be enough.

But the sad, hard truth is: you can’t help everyone. Some people will refuse your help, and when we insist on continuing to offer it, sometimes, I think it can be a pride thing.

It doesn’t feel good when someone throws your good intentions, your sincere care back in your face. It makes me feel kind of helpless (no pun intended!), and if I’m really honest, a bit angry. After all, here I am going out of my way for you and you aren’t even grateful for it.

And there’s the rub – when we desire to help others, I think it’s really important to identify our WHY in all of that because if we don’t, we can end up going down a rabbit hole of our own making.

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Do we want to help out of guilt?

Do we want to help out of a sense of we should?

Do we want to help to make ourselves look better?

Do we want to help because by helping we give weight to a certain identity we want others to see in us or we want to see in ourselves?

Do we want to help because it someone how makes life more comfortable or at least less uncomfortable for us?

Here’s the thing – Jesus came to this world as the ultimate helper. And people reject His help, so why do I think my offers of help will be 100% successful?

God has to deal with a lot of rejection, and I’m sure He is looking at us wishing we’d accept His help instead of always trying to do everything ourselves, in our own strength.

At the end of the day, by faith I offer my help. In the same way, the outcome has to be left in God’s hands. Sometimes, trying harder isn’t actually what God wants from us. I don’t like to think of that as giving up but in giving over.

How about you? Have you had your help rejected? How did you handle that? I’d love to hear about it!

Blessings, Rosanne

Fear is NOT From God

Spirit of fear

I have been on vacation the last two weeks. In fact, I hadn’t even planned on blogging at all over those two weeks, but as things sort of imploded around our country, I felt compelled to write about it. You can read that post HERE.

In that post, I talked about how FEAR plays such a big role in the racial issues that keep boiling over. As I’ve meditated on what fear is and how the enemy uses it to distract us and shut us down and turn us against each other, the verse in 2 Timothy keeps coming to my mind.

“For God has not  given us a spirit of timidity (or fear), but of power and love and discipline.” 2 Timothy 1:7

The fear that is choking our country is NOT from God. That fear is from the enemy because he wants to kill and destroy.  Instead, what God gives us is power, love and discipline.

The word power is from the Greek word dynamis (also the root of dynamite) which means strength or ability.

The word love is from the Greek word agape which means love feasts or benevolence or charity. (personally, my favorite is love feasts).

The word discipline is from the Greek word sophronismos which means moderation or self-control.

I don’t know about you, but I think the world could use a little more strength and love and self-control.

It would be so easy right now to feel helpless and hopeless. It would be easy to feel like the answers are too hard or too complicated. It would be easy to be overwhelmed by the violence and death, to drown in the waves of grief and hate and rage that seem to be all around us.

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But that isn’t truth. If we are God’s children,  He tells us that HE has equipped us to to do what we can’t in our own strength. He has equipped us to combat fear at its root.

We can’t do that, though, if we allow fear to win.

This morning I was reading Psalms 118, and a few verses stood out to me.

Oh let those who fear the LORD say,
“His lovingkindness is everlasting.”

From my distress I called upon the LORD;
The LORD answered me and set me in a large place.

The LORD is for me; I will not fear;
What can man do to me?

The LORD is for me among those who help me;
Therefore I will look with satisfaction on those who hate me.

It is better to take refuge in the LORD
Than to trust in man.

It is better to take refuge in the LORD
Than to trust in princes.

What stood out so clearly to me in these verses is that who and what we put our trust in is the key to defeating fear. It would be so easy to put our trust in so many other things: politicians and movements and protests and hashtags, even our own anger. But our true refuge in any crisis is God, and I can’t help but think that the answers start there too.

What about you? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Blessings, Rosanne

 

 

 

Race is Not a Black and White Issue

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In the last week, it seems like our country has imploded in violence. Death peers at me from the television screen, from the newspaper, from the computer screen, and instead of mourning together, we have segregated our grief.

We stand across a chasm that seems too wide to ever cross, blame shouted from both sides into the void. We point to facts and stats and whatever else will back up our opinion.

And people continue to die. 

One person posts a list of ways white people are racist without knowing it. The hashtag reads Black Lives Matter.

Another post has a white man sharing FBI statistics, trying to disprove the effectiveness of the Black Lives Matter narrative. The hashtag reads All Lives Matter.

And people continue to die.

I wish I had the answers to the issues that plague our country. I wish I knew how to draw people together instead of watching us rip each other apart. I wish the solutions were simple. I wish we were talking about any solutions rather than continuing to throw words at each other.

Because people continue to die.

On the one hand, my heart bleeds for my black brothers and sisters who are hurting, who live with real fear, who have legitimate complaints. Who deserve justice and fairness.

On the other hand, part of me feels defensive, like I have to apologize for being white. That I somehow am held responsible for a society that has unwritten rules that I didn’t write. That the fact that I was born white, somehow means I have colluded to have whatever privilege that affords me. My mind whirls as it tries to wrap itself around the many issues that make up racial division in our country.

Meanwhile, people continue to die. 

So, I do what I always do when I want to know more – I read and I read and I read. I want to share some of what I read because I think it is important. The two articles I’m sharing were both written by black police officers. As both black men and police officers, I thought they had a unique perspective in all of this. I also thought it extremely interesting that their perspectives were very different.

Please take the time to read BOTH articles because together I think they really give a full picture from all sides of the issues facing us.

The first is a Facebook post by Jay Stalien. You can read it here, but the basic premise is that Black Lives Matter only refers to black lives that are taken by police officers or white people, that the huge number of black people killed by other black people don’t matter. Stalien shares about growing up and watching many people die and how bothered he was by it, how that was his reason for becoming a police officer – to help. But instead, he is the recipient of hate and anger. His own anger and heartbreak over this is palpable.

In the other article, Redditt Hudson shares his own perspective HERE. He wrote about his own experiences of police officers that intentionally abuse their power over the people they are supposed to serve. He talks about the idea that bad officers corrupt the departments they work in, and that the idea of viewing being a police officer as a noble profession (which it is) allows the corrupt ones to hide. While Hudson gives his negative views without pulling punches, he also offers hope and solutions. Not only are there groups of officers who want to address these issues, but he advocates for the use of body cameras to ensure a more objective view of incidents that do happen.

The reason that the issue of race isn’t black and white (and I don’t mean that as a pun!) is because BOTH of these men’s narratives are true. Both narratives hold the seeds to the issues facing all of us.

The problem is we have decided in our own wisdom that you can’t simultaneously believe BOTH of these narratives, and until we embrace them both we will never find solutions or peace. Until we embrace them both, Black Lives Will Continue to Not Matter.

And people will continue to die.

I’m a white woman who grew up in a middle class suburb surrounded for the most part by other white people, so I know less than anything about a black person’s life experience. What I’m learning, though, is that black people face daily challenges that put their lives at risk.  I’ve naively believed that while abuses happen, it was the exception, not the norm. I’m learning that just because I don’t participate in racist words or attitudes, that those words and attitudes and actions happen much more regular basis than I ever imagined.

I’m a writer who has never even handled a gun or come face to face with a criminal, so I know less than anything about a police officers’ life experience either. I’m learning, though, that they also face daily challenges that put their lives on the line.  I’m learning that even if you have a lot of training, making life and death split second decisions is never easy and that being the object of hate is hard to deal with day in and day out.

As I’ve been reading and thinking and praying about this, I keep coming back to the word FEAR. And I can’t help but think that a lot of the issues we face are rooted in fear.

Fear of police harassment and abuse.

Fear that every call to a situation might be the last.

Fear of being falsely accused and targeted.

Fear of being hated.

Fear of dying by violence.

In I John 4:18-20, it says, “There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love. We love, because He first loved us. If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.”

The one thing I do know is that we can never change things unless we are willing to love each other – not the way the world defines love but the way God does. God clearly lays out what HE means to love in I Corinthians 13.

Love is patient.

Love is kind. 

Love is not jealous. 

Love doesn’t brag and isn’t arrogant. 

Love doesn’t act unbecomingly. 

Love does not seek it’s own.

Love is not provoked.

Love doesn’t take into account a wrong suffered.

Love does not rejoice in unrighteousness.

Love rejoices in truth. 

Love bears all things. 

Love believes all things. 

Love never fails. 

As a white woman, I have to love my black brothers and sisters enough to really see and really listen to them, to be willing to step outside the world I thought I knew into the reality about which I’m still learning. I have to love enough to have hard conversations without putting up my defenses, to listen without an agenda or trying to prove I’m right. I have to love enough to hold on to hope and offer it to others even when the world says we don’t have any.

I’m going to leave you with this video of a young woman, Osheta Moore, who articulates quite clearly what she needs from her white brothers and sisters right now. I really hope you’ll take time to watch it.

Blessings, Rosanne

 

5 Minute Fridays: REST

Another week has gone by, and it’s time for 5 Minute Fridays again. If you aren’t familiar, 5 Minute Fridays are when women from all over write about one word for five minutes – no editing, no second-guessing – before they hit publish. Come check it out HERE.

Today’s word is REST.

The word rest seems sort of serendipitous today, as I come off a week of feeling rumpled in spirit (you can read about how God met me in all my wrinkled messiness HERE) and sort of blah. I’ve had a serious lack of focus and clarity, and the desire to start my vacation early even though I still have quite a bit of work to get done before I can officially be “off.”

I am deeply aware this week of my need for rest, but it’s not just rest for my body. Don’t get me wrong, if I have to operate on much less than 8 hours for more than a day or two, I get VERY grouchy (just ask my family!). But more than physical rest, I need mental, emotional and spiritual rest.

Have you been there? That feeling like no matter how much you try to relax, you just end up feeling restless? Here’s the thing, as I was praying and walking today, God showed me that one of the reasons I feel SO weary at the moment is that I have allowed myself to be overloaded and that I have failed to be still, to be unplugged and quiet.

We live in an age where we have information coming at us from every direction ALL. THE. TIME. It’s easy for our minds to be like gerbils running in a wheel from the time we get up in the morning until we close our eyes and try to go to sleep.

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Physical rest is important, but it doesn’t matter how many hours of sleep you get, if your mind is never allowed to reset from the information overload, you will never feel rested. Worse, you’ll always feel this vague sense of stress.

It became very clear to me on my walk today that I have been scrambling around, distracted by fractured goals with no clear sense of where I’m going and, more importantly, why. I have heaped a mountain of meaningless tasks on my plate without stopping long enough to ask myself why they are on my plate to begin with.

For the past couple weeks, I’ve struggled with what to write on this blog. I’ve sat and stared at the screen many mornings and wondered what in the world I had to share that would help anyone when I felt so depleted myself.

How can you give water to the thirsty when your cup is dry?

It was like God said to me as He did to Martha, “Rosanne, Rosanne, you are busy with many things.” All this time, rest has been waiting for me at the feet of Jesus. I just need to take those moments to stop, to be still, to take the time to fill my cup again.

How do you find rest when you are weary? I’d love to hear about it!

Blessings, Rosanne

5 Minute Friday – Lose

It’s Friday again (how did that happen?), and it’s time for 5 Minute Friday. Not familiar with Five Minute Friday? Well, it’s simple really.  Women, from all over, write about one word for five minutes. No editing. No self-censoring. Just write and hit publish. Sound interesting? Then I encourage you to hop on over to Kate Motaung’s blog, Heading Home, and join us.

 

LOSE

Lately, I’ve been forcefully reminded that in order to move forward, to go through the doors God opens for me, I have to let go or lose something else.

I have to say no. I have to turn something down. Every yes choice I make, means saying no to something else. Because time is finite. No matter how organized or how productive I am, I am allotted 24 hours just like everyone else on the planet.

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To gain one thing, I lose something else.

But we don’t want to admit that, so we try to hang on to what we should be letting go of. In our world, anxiety and depression and that sense of drowning in the demands of our own lives is rampant.

And I think it lies in this simple truth – to swim, to stay afloat, we have to let go of or lose what is weighing us down. If we insist on hanging onto it, we WILL drown. 

Mark 8:36 says, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul?

In many ways, in our culture today, we are losing our soul because we are trying to gain the entire world. There is so much pressure on every front, that it is no wonder our souls feel a bit shriveled and dry.

We go and go and go with no end in sight because we are afraid of losing – an opportunity, a moment, a met expectation.

But we weren’t made to do everything all the time for everyone, and the effort to do that is killing us slowly and surely.

I once read this quote and it has stayed with me. “The greatest freedom is the ability to choose our own prison.”

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Each choice we make means we lose the ability to make a different, opposite choice. Trying to hang onto both just tears us apart.

What do you need to lose today?

Blessings, Rosanne

5 Minute Friday – WANT

It’s Friday again, and time for 5 Minute Fridays. Haven’t heard of it? Well, it’s when women from all over the country (and maybe even globe) get together and write about one word for five minutes with no editing and then push publish. Want to be part of the fun? Join us HERE!

WANT

You can’t look at Facebook or any other media channel over the past few days and not read someone’s letter or post or message to someone involved in the Brock Turner rape case. Usually, the letter is directed at Brock Turner’s father who (now famously) wrote a letter to the judge asking that his son not get a long prison term. Or the open letter is written to parents in general.

All of them share a general theme of what parents SHOULD be doing  so their child doesn’t become a Brock Turner. Anytime something like this happens, blame happens – usually at parents.

Why? Because we WANT a guarantee. If we can blame someone, then we convince ourselves we will or won’t do whatever that parent did or didn’t do, and then we won’t find ourselves sitting in a courtroom listening to the details of how our son sexually assaulted an unconscious young woman and forever changed and devastated her life. Forever destroyed his own life too.

We WANT to know we can prevent it if we just do this or avoid that or teach this. Unfortunately, there are no guarantees in parenting.

Brock Turner’s father has gotten a lot of condemnation for the letter he wrote, reducing what his son did to a young woman as “20 minutes of action.”

This very well may be a case of an indulged, privileged young man whose dad has always covered for him, who has always softened or mitigated the consequences of his son’s actions. That’s certainly what it appears to be on the surface. Brock Turner didn’t even seem particularly sorry for what he’d done – only made excuses and fabricated the best story to explain things in his favor.

First, let me say, there is NO QUESTION that what this young man did was horribly wrong. There is NO QUESTION that he has shattered a young woman’s life and that the consequences of that “20 minutes of action” will stay with her for the rest of her life. There has been a saying for a while that “no means no.” I’d like to add that unconscious should also mean no, that it shouldn’t even be a question really.

But, before we condemn the parents for the actions of the son and before we try and judge a man on the contents of one letter, let me just say I understand why Brock Turner’s father wrote that letter. I don’t agree with it, but I understand.

Because, you see, prison for a young man like Brock Turner would have been horror day after day. Do you have any idea what would have been done to a rich, privileged kid like that in prison? I bet Brock Turner’s father had an idea and that idea terrified him.

I understand why a father would go to any lengths to save his son from being beaten and probably raped repeatedly in a prison. I hope I would have the strength of character to allow my child to reap the consequences of so grave an action, but I would be tempted to try to save him, too. If you are really honest, you’d probably want to try to save your child, too.

Maybe some would say that is what Brock Turner deserves after what he did. Maybe they are right. All I know is that I’m glad Jesus didn’t give me what I deserve.

Yes, Brock Turner is NOT the victim in this particular scenario. The young woman he assaulted is the victim, and my heart and prayers go out to her. But Brock Turner’s parents are also in pain. If they were parents who did all the right things (and I don’t know that we can tell the caliber of their parenting by one letter written in probable desperation), I’m sure they are asking themselves what happened. I’m sure they are gutted and shattered to think a child of theirs could do something like this. If they didn’t do the right things and contributed to this young man’s attitude of taking what he wanted and feeling he was above consequences, then they will sit with the guilt of their failures daily for the rest of their lives.

Before you try, judge and condemn his parents, maybe you should take a moment and imagine it was your son facing prison and all that entails.

We all WANT that guarantee – the guarantee if we just do the right thing as parents then nothing bad will happen to our kids, that they won’t make bad choices, that they won’t do horrible things. But there is no guarantee and no amount of blame will change that.

Blessings, Rosanne

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