This was taken in a Books-a-Million store in Pennsylvania. Look what “Haven” is next to! Ah…delicious irony!
It was Wordless Wednesday. Well, I thought it was going to be Wordless Wednesday that particular day until I was driving home, mocha in hand, and along about County Road 7, Someone Else changed it up.
“Speak,” He said. “Tell this one. Today.”
I’d been thinking as I rode along in the **BMV, favorite CD poked in, about those we love who are running away. Thinking how there’s no one here, nobody at all, who doesn’t know someone who’s runnin’.
You don’t get to live down here and dodge that bullet. The world’s too big and folks are just so different that it never works that way. Everyone – everyone – knows a runner, loves a runner, or was a runner, and in all of that, there’s a lot of hurtin’ that happens, and it can nearly take a person out if you don’t know how to look at it.
Everyone has a story, see, and you can’t usually tell on the face of it what a person’s carryin’. Maybe that’s why Jesus said, “I look past the outside right on down into the heart,” and, “Don’t judge the other fellow,” and stuff like that, things this girl needs to listen to more, and she’s tryin’. But that’s another post for another day.
Anyway. Back to this thing of runners and those who love them. What if (this is what He whispered to me plain the other day)…
What if those who are running away – running from us, running from Him – are actually running right to Him, even if they don’t know it yet? What if that?
What if this all-knowing, all-wise, everywhere-present Father we love, you and I, is just that big that He can guide the wildest runner’s steps and lead them straight to Him? Even when they’re running in what looks like the absolute, opposite direction from Him and us? What if that?
You can see how much peace this spoke to my own heart, can’t you, as I thought of the precious runners I love? Can you see, you who pray and weep and intercede over your own beloved runners, the peace He means for you?
He really is that big. He really is that wise. He really is that loving to guide a runner’s steps straight back to Him. He can, and He will.
Praying for you today, dear friend, and your runner.
**BMV – Blue Mommy Van
I’m still floating from the She Speaks! conference in Charlotte, North Carolina. I knew I would have an interesting, challenging weekend–(was leading two workshops)–but I didn’t know that I would enjoy it as much as I did! Proverbs 31 Ministry knows how to put on a conference–it was outstanding. Here’s what amazed me:
Attention to detail. Every minute counted and every person counted, too. The attendants’ time was highly valued–each workshop was filled, the speakers were excellent (not just good but excellent), and they cared about the little stuff. Kleenex at the tables, coffee and snacks in all the right places.
Toolbox. If you had an interest in speaking or writing (non-fiction)–this is the place you want to be. They provided speaker and writer evaluations, tips to improve, a photographer for headshots, workshops that tackled specific concerns (writing a book proposal, telling a powerful story), agent and editor appointments.
Encouragement. This is what wow-ed me. I made a point to sit at different tables for every meal, to meet as many people as I could. I can’t think of one single person who hadn’t received some kind of encouraging news during the weekend. Even if they weren’t leaving with the dream realized that they had come to the conference with…their dreams were still intact. And a little closer to coming true.
If you need a little help with speaking skills, or you’re wanting to ratchet up your nonfiction writing, this is the conference to attend. I can’t recommend it highly enough. I was sorry to leave. Here’s the info: Proverbs 31 Ministries, She Speaks Conference.
I’ve been on a biography jag lately…finished up “Steve Jobs” by Walter Isaacson (definitely recommend) and now I’m nearly done with “Open” by Andre Agassi. Even if you’re not a tennis lover, not into Wimbledon right now (really?!), I think you’d enjoy it. It’s a fascinating, well-written read.
Agassi’s father was very abusive and controlling–off the charts. Most of his life, it seems, is spent untangling his father’s influence over him. There’s a moment when Agassi seeks out a pastor. I’d love to know your thoughts on this conversation:
I talk about my father. I tell J.P. about the yelling the pressure, the rage, the abandonment. J.P. gets a funny look on his face. You do realize, don’t you, that God isn’t anything like your father? You know that–don’t you?
I almost drive the Corvette onto the shoulder.
God, he says, is the opposite of your father. God isn’t mad at you all the time. God isn’t yelling in your ear, harping on your imperfections. That voice you hear all the time, that angry voice? That’s not God. That’s still your father.
I turn to him: Do me a favor? Say that again.
He does. Word for word.
Say it once more.
I thank him.
There’s no doubt that we all need reminders of forgiveness–both to be forgiven and to forgive. Maybe that’s why there’s Forgiveness Day on June 26, Global Forgiveness Day on August 27, and International Forgiveness Day on the first Sunday in August.
Forgiveness is far more important than we realize. There are all kinds of studies that support how essential forgiveness is for mental and physical health.
But the problem is that forgiveness is so difficult! It’s counter intuitive to our basic human nature–which is to deflect and blame.
Forgiveness takes work. It takes God’s help. Personally, I think it’s all God’s work.
So, on this day set aside to celebrate forgiveness, take a moment today and think through your life. Consider those you have have wronged, and ask those persons to forgive you. Just as important, sift through your life for any grudges you’re holding onto. Ask God for help to forgive those individuals. It isn’t a one-step process, like a light switch. It’s a continual process. Trust that forgiveness will come, and move on.
Even better…strive to make each day Forgiveness Day. Now…that’s something worth celebrating.
“Bear with each other and forgive whatever grievances you may have against one another. Forgive as the Lord forgave you” (Colossians 3:13).
This happened just a few days ago at the U.S. Open–it’s such a funny, odd moment! Apparently, the bird call guy is an environmentalist who wants to draw attention to deforestation. Next stop, he says, is the House of Commons. I’ll be watching…
This post came to mind as I was thinking of this month’s blog theme, “Small is the new big.” Really, this is nothing new, for in God’s economy, it’s always been the small He’s chosen to do the big. From shepherd boys felling giants to a tiny band of soldiers armed with trumpets and jars, that’s just how He works. Thus, I shouldn’t have been surprised that a little boy’s prayer could be accomplish the big.
It was an odd sort of place to intercede. I wasn’t looking for it to happen there. Actually, I hadn’t really expected it from him at all. But there he was, Little (a.k.a. Mr. 4T), praying for his cousin as he balanced on the edge of the seat.
It was two weeks ago today that word came via Grandma Schrock that a brother-in-law and sister-in-law were on their way to a far-off hospital with their own boy, small, who’d begun his day with seizures. From out of the blue, they’d struck, scaring them dumb. Snatching him up from the floor where he lay, his big, strong daddy had rushed him to the local physician who then sent them on to the nearest hospital where a specialist was waiting.
Our own little boy had heard me tell it that day, and to my glad surprise, he’d sunk to his knees on the kitchen floor and prayed aloud, head resting on folded hands: “Dear Jesus, please heal Daunte…”
After several days, a couple of tests, and much conversation with the specialist, they’d returned home. To more seizures, more questions, and more medication. Unsettled and fearful, they’d called the doctor who asked that they return with him this week.
I don’t recall mentioning it to him. Perhaps he heard me telling his father that Grandma had called again and that all was not well. But there he was when I went into the bathroom to help him finish up. He was perched on the edge with his head bowed. What are you thinking, little boy?
Curious, I asked him the question: “What are you thinking about?” And this was his reply, “I’m praying for Daunte right now.”
“What are you praying about?” I pressed.
He mumbled then, and I caught “healing” and “tickle” and “arm.” Ah, yes. Daunte’s seizures begin with a tingling in his arm. Knowing this, he was praying for Jesus to heal the “tickle” in his cousin’s arm.
“Oh, Gabriel,” I said, happiness in my voice. “I’m so glad you know how to pray. He needs your prayers right now ’cause he’s still sick!”
“He needs my prayers, doesn’t he?” he said, looking at me with those piercing blue eyes.
“He sure does, Gabe,” I said. “He sure does.”
With a grateful heart, this mother gives thanks that the Spirit of the Living Christ works in the hearts of the smallest and the least who, at the tender age of four, can intercede for those they love.
Update: Cousin Daunte has, indeed, gotten better. With the help of skilled physicians, the right medication, and the power of prayer, he’s doing well.
Rhonda Schrock lives in Northern Indiana with her husband and 4 sons, ages 22, 18, 13, and 5. By day, she is a telecommuting medical transcriptionist. In the early morning hours, she flees to a local coffee shop where she pens “Grounds for Insanity,” a weekly column that appears in The Goshen News. She is an occasional guest columnist in The Hutch News. She’s also blogged professionally for her son’s school of choice, Bethel College, in addition to humor and parenting blogs, and maintains her personal blog, “The Natives are Getting Restless.” She is a writer and editor for the magazine, “Cooking & Such: Adventures in Plain Living.” She survives and thrives on prayer, mochas, and books.
It happened again. Driving along in the predawn darkness on my way to the coffee shop, there it came.
As I often do when driving alone, I was speaking aloud my heart, my concerns, picturing Jesus Himself in the seat to the right. Thinking, thinking, praying…
Here and there went my thoughts, from this to that to the other thing, telling Him, the One who knew. Briefly, they landed on the sore, the thorn I’d picked up the other day when I ran across her blog. I’d done the one thing I ought not – I’d compared. Mine to hers, hers to mine, and I’d come up small. In nearly every way.
On raced my thoughts, praying once more to love Him more, to know for sure His love for me, before landing briefly on the tight, small place in which I find myself now. And then it came.
“Embrace the smallness. Embrace the stillness.” It was His voice. Not audible to the listening ear, perhaps, but ringing clear and true to the ears of my heart.
“One day, you, too, will be greatly used. But for now, embrace these two.” So gentle, so loving was the Voice that my troubled spirit quieted with a simple, “Yes, Lord.”
Settled, finally, at my favorite table, the corner one with the lamp, coffee in hand, I opened the Word. Then, before starting the column, I turned to my other source of daily bread, “God Calling.” And heard again His voice:
“The joy of meeting Me should more and more fill your (life). Your (life) must first of all be narrowed down more and more, into an inner circle life with Me, and then, as that friendship becomes more and more engrossing, more and more binding, then, gradually, the circle of your interests will widen.
“For the present, do not think of it as a narrow life. I have My purpose, My loving purpose, in cutting you away from other work and interests for the time. When (you have) gained strength and learned (your) lessons in the inner circle, it (will then) widen, working this time from within, out, taking to each contact, each friendship, the inner circle influence. And this is to be your way of life.”
Inner-circle life. Inner-circle influence. If that’s what I desire, then I must embrace the smallness, the stillness of today. During this time of relative solitude, of “smallness” in many ways, He and I are becoming friends. I am learning to trust Him more. Learning to love Him more.
And the rest? Well, that’s up to Him. For now, I’m embracing today; embracing Jesus, and finding, in the end, that He is really all I need.
Tiny houses. Have you seen the new trend on living in tiny houses? I’m fascinated that a married couple can live in a home that’s smaller than the average parking space.
It’s amazing to think a couple can stay happily married living in a 130 square feet space. Every single day. (Where can the wife retreat when her husband gets grumpy?)
These tiny houses have everything people need, including kitchen and bathroom space.
Our family grew closer in our small space in China, but this may be a little too close! And their lifestyle is probably a little more “green” than most people would be willing to go. (If you watch this video, I think you’ll understand why.
For more on this couple go here, http://rowdykittens.com/our-tiny-house.
Interesting … If I only had the space of a van to live in, what would would I need on a daily basis? What could I do without?
Over the past 60 years, the trend has been to build bigger and bigger houses. However, over the past 10 years or so, that trend has started to reverse. Land has become more expensive. The economy has taken a toll.
Living in a smaller house has many pluses, besides being the green thing to do. A smaller house takes less energy to heat/cool. There’s less temptation to shop—because there’s no place to put much but essentials. Think of how many things you wouldn’t buy if you just kept reminding yourself, “I don’t have room for this.”
And then there’s the best part: less to clean!
What do you think? Could you see yourself in a tiny house? What about a smaller house? Could you downsize?
I found this link to some of the most unique tiny houses on a website devoted to living not just small, but tiny.
Here’s a Tiny House Board on Pinterest. Some GREAT spaces.