Friday, September 23, 2016

Five Minute Friday: Five

And for the real prompt for this week.... 5

Yesterday at our Thursday school we were reminded once again to sign up for a performance that a couple of the students from the school are performing in late in October. The tickets are only $5, the kids are friends of our kids, and I live the closest of anyone to the place where the performance is being held so I put down my name and contact information and the number 5.

When I had a free minute later in the day I texted Glenn asking what his schedule was going to be the day of the performance to make sure that he didn't randomly have the day off. He texted back, "Probably not. Clinic all day." I told him, "OK. I just put 5 anyway." Then he replied, "So you are saying we have met before?"

Yes. We've met before. I love the random days when we get to be 6 but, during residency, more often than not we are 5.

Five Minute Friday: Listen (Take 2)

We're finishing up week 4 of school for the year. School is going pretty well this year. There are still the sinful people reacting sinful when sinned against issues that come with living and learning with sinners but... overall things are going pretty well.

One of my favorite things that I've added to our school year this year is Friday one-on-ones with mom. They came out of a suggestion from a friend who meets with each of her kids on Fridays to talk over what their goals are for the next week.

I schedule appointments with them and they report to the back room and sit on the couch, eat a piece of chocolate, and tell me about what is going well, what isn't going to well, and what they would like to change. It has been such a privilege to just listen to them one-on-one with no interruptions and get a glimpse into their hearts.

The number of Friday afternoons I have left that to spend with these precious ones in my home is getting smaller and smaller and I'm so thankful for the encouragement to just sit with them and listen.

Five Minute Friday: Listen

Hannah, a few other teens from church, and I have started volunteering leading Kids' Praise (the opening 15 minutes of SS). This fall the kids in Sunday school at our church are studying 1 Peter for the months of September and October. I love the book of 1Peter and I have given the kids a "First Peter Challenge" to read or listen through 1 Peter every week for the whole two months. I told them if they read or listened to or had their parents read them one chapter of 1Peter every day Monday through Friday they would get to read through 1 Peter 8 or more times and it will help to get more out of what they are learning in Sunday School. The first week I had 2 participants, last week there were 10-15 (I'm rewarding them with candy...).

Since I gave the challenge I decided to take the challenge as well, even though we're in the OT in my class. I have loved listening to 1 Peter through the Bible app. It's a book I've always wanted to memorize and I'm starting to be able to quote more and more of it along with the reader.

I usually listen to sermons while I run so that I can do something I enjoy while I am doing something I have to do. I think that God wants me to work through 1Peter even more because something happened to my podcast app one day and it jumped me ahead a couple of weeks ago to the first sermon of a series on 1 Peter. I figured it was appropriate so I've been listening to it as I run and I've loved hearing about a proper response and perspective on suffering and the reminder that we are strangers here and need to live on mission because we are not home yet.

(This is actually last week's prompt but, on my run today,  I was thinking about how much I am loving listening to 1Peter and this series that I needed to write about it.)

Monday, September 05, 2016

Five Minute Friday: Path

On Sunday at the end of the service we sang the song, "I Surrender All." That song always makes me think of a young man from Nigeria who was a student with us in college. He told us he didn't ever sing that song (though it was often the song that closed the church services at that time) because he didn't want to lie.

We don't sing it often but I think of him whenever I do and I sing it as a prayer asking for help to surrender more.

Our path has had many detours along the way but all along the way there has been a call to surrender our goals, our plans, our timing, our independence, our self-reliance, our pride and so much more. It's not easy to surrender those things but He has been faithful and I'm so thankful that He continues to invite us to be a part of His story.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Five Minute Friday: Lift

There are some people in life that no matter how much time passes between visits you can spend time with them again and connect in a deep, meaningful way and walk away humbled and encouraged and lifted up. We are not good long distance people. If we don't live near you, you know this. Honestly, we're not great nearby people either, unfortunately.  

Last night we flew into Charlotte for an interview today. It was a great day and we met some really great people that we'd love to work with and follow each other's paths from near or far. It's funny how many of them we already had mutual friends with.

One of the unexpected blessings though was that the shuttle driver last night told us he actually lives in SC, just across the border which immediately made me think of friends who I know live in a border town somewhere and live and work on opposite sides of the border so I immediately jumped on Facebook to message them to see if they were indeed close by and if we could meet up. We were able to go out for coffee with them tonight and catch up on their lives. Though we've never lived close they are some of my favorite people because they have shared hard stuff they've gone through with us and shown us a glimpse into how He has used it to crush them and transform them. They are blatantly honest with their struggles and how hard Kingdom work is. Many of the things they have gone though I think would have destroyed me but they are still seeking Him and His place for them and they still know He is good. I love to talk to others like them who don't have it all figured out and to end our time lifting each other up to the One who knows. 

I don't know what the outcome of today's interview will be. I don't know what our next steps are. I don't know what is next for our friends but He knows and for that I am very thankful. 

A bit longer than 5 minutes... Thanks, friends. 

Monday, August 01, 2016

Five Minute Friday: Hidden

Since we've been in TX my blog has been pretty silent. There has been a lot that we have gone through. Many struggles I have had but they have been hidden. I used to use my blog as a way to walk through and think through my struggles but I've avoided it for several years now. I don't know if I'm afraid of what will be revealed to me by going deeper, too many distractions, or what it might be.

This morning after finishing my scripture writing I glanced back through my journal as I sat at our campsite's picnic table. It was humbling to remember some of my struggles and faith bolstering to know how He brought me through those struggles. I guess I have avoided evaluating what I'm going through openly but there have definitely still been seasons of seeking Him in struggles in that hidden place. It's just not as easy to navigate and search back through as on my blog.

When blog posts come up in my memories I'm always convicted that I should start writing again. So, I've decided to start blogging again on Fridays (or sometime shortly thereafter) with the Five Minute Friday prompts. Maybe it will prime the pump on my writing and I will resume blogging more regularly. Maybe not.


Until next week

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Conflict Happens... I'm thankful for grace

This morning I was upstairs doing something in the kitchen when I heard angry noises coming up from the basement and saw a shot from a play doctor's kit go shooting past me very quickly. I knew that the conflict in the basement was not going to resolve itself and I ran downstairs and had everyone sit down in a circle.

There are currently 8 sinners living in this house in a situation that is far from normal for any of us. Some have parents and baby brother far away getting a new sister, some are far from home and far from their dad. The one thing we all know is there is just 3 more sleeps until our situation changes and 4 more people come/ come back to live in this house. We are all excited for that day, for "Mommy and Daddy and Si-Si" to return and to meet Haddy in person. Many of us are also excited for the day not too long after when we will no longer be homesick because we will be home.

We've had a lot of fun and made some fun memories and gotten to know each other in ways we have never had the chance to before. I'm grateful. Our time together has gone well, better than I expected really. These three precious kids have gone through a lot of change in the last few months - a new house, a new baby brother and now their parents have been gone for longer than they have ever been gone before and very soon a new rambunctious 2 year old sister will be living with them. I think of those stress level quizzes and their levels would be off the charts. They have done really well but everyone is getting weary and I figured this last week would get progressively harder on everyone.

This morning was a prime example. It was not the first conflict we have had but it was definitely one of the biggest.

I knew I had a group of sinners, few (if any) who were innocent in the conflict. Rarely is it just one person's fault as we sinners tend to respond sinfully when we are sinned against. After sitting down with the kids in a circle on the floor I gave them the opportunity to confess their sins and ask forgiveness from whomever they had wronged. I started with the oldest. They all admitted what they had done wrong (with some reminder coaching to not use the "but" word because an apology with a "but" in it is blame-casting not a true apology, taking responsibility for wrong done) and asked for forgiveness and forgave. We then moved on to confrontation of any wrongs that were not confessed using OIC (Observation - just the facts, Interpretation - how I view the facts, Confirmation - did I miss anything?) and some things were cleared up that were not clear before. Everyone wasn't completely happy after our confessing/ confronting exercise and some people were still not thrilled that those people didn't want to do the activity that they really wanted them to do with them but things were returned, relationships were restored and play resumed after a quick prayer of thanks for forgiveness.

"Be kind to one another, tender hearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ's sake has forgiven you." Ephesians 4:32 is quoted at my house pretty often. In every conflict people have opportunities to be kind or opportunities to forgive or both.

Being kind and forgiving do not come naturally and I'm thankful for tools that I have been given to use in conflict. Rarely does a day go by that I am not thankful that we didn't get into medical school starting in the fall of '08 (as painful as that was) so we were still in Rochester and going to Northridge for the Fighting Fair series and for all the helpful relationship tools I was introduced to as a result of that series. I am a different person and my family is different because of the perspective we've gained about conflict through that series. If conflict is a part of your everyday life or even if you don't encounter conflict often I highly recommend a listen through either the 2008 or the 2014 version of Fighting Fair. (Yes, it's so good and so important that it was repeated. I listen to it at least once a year.)

I'm thankful for the conflict the kids had this morning. I've had neat conversations with many of them as a result of it and it makes me so thankful for God's grace and forgiveness.

It's funny, as I was starting to write this Abigail saw what I was typing and said, "Mom, you know, I actually didn't even remember about this morning. See? Forgive and forget."

Thank You, Lord, for opportunities to grow through conflict. I love You. Please help these 7 little and not so little ones to grow in their love for You and their love for each other as a result of trials in their lives and may they not become bitter, may they be kind and quick to confess and quick to forgive. Me too. Thank You for forgiving us.
My cute, crazy companions.