“Mama, would you help me with this problem?”
“Mama, would you help me with this problem?”
Alone in my car, driving to the emergency room, I screamed at God: This is too much!! I meant it with every fiber of my being. Even now, eight years later, I feel the hurt and panic of those moments.
Both of my children have enjoyed playing on various sports teams. And I am so thankful for the life lessons my kids are learning from being a part of a team. They are learning how to work hard, be disciplined, take correction, win graciously, and lose with heart.
So you’ve heard the phrase, “Don’t take it personally,” right? Well, let’s consider the opposite. I recently read an article about the increase in the numbers of sports fans who are women. It’s not an accident, either. The sports industry has made an effort to include our demographic.
Are you a sports fan? My husband and I like to watch sports. We have a couple of teams we follow, and we like to watch big play-off games. Games have also become a fun family activity we enjoy with our kids.
Why is it that we often root for the underdog? We love to see the little guy in the football game make the big plays. We enjoy watching the short basketball player fly through the air to dunk. What about teams like the Bad News Bears? They were the definition of "underdogs" - a team of misfits who pull together to win. We enjoy rooting for the unlikely hero.
Certain sports and teams are known for their fans. Have you ever seen a Green Bay fan wear a cheese head? That’s a loyal fan. You’ve seen the shirtless guys wearing body paint rooting on their team in freezing weather. Yep, that’s extreme. The word, fan, is short for fanatic, which the dictionary describes as someone with extreme enthusiasm or zeal. From accessories to body paint, these fans support their team with enthusiasm. Their loyalty exceeds circumstances, and their love is unconditional.
The apostle Paul can be such a pest, ladies. Yesterday I found myself caught up in the life of the Proverbs 31 woman, considering it possible to sport her ruby-red virtue in the company of family and friends and like-minded believers. After all, they should be willing to forgive and forget my shortcomings. Today Paul propels me out of my circle of comfort into the world of the outsider where critical scrutiny reigns.
All dressed up in your virtues? Looking for the perfect place to go to shower love on everyone? Look no further than your daily routines. Wherever you go, you live worthy of the Lord by working at whatever you do with all your heart. Now isn’t that just too simple?
Yesterday Paul left me contemplating the vice grip of self and the need to put to death—to mortify—my earthly nature. And today, his solution—change my wardrobe? Hmm.
Paul’s prayer for my being filled with the knowledge of God’s will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding (Colossians 1:9) has challenged me, ladies, to read on for the specifics. Paul is not one to leave his readers hanging for long. If he’s noticed a problem, he’s sure to venture a solution.
Ladies, don’t you just love the apostle Paul’s flair for the dramatic? In this truly classic letter to his friends in Colosse, he first thanks God for their stellar reputation of faith and love based on eternal hope (Colossians 1:5). He then hits them squarely between the eyes with the enormous challenge of living worthy of the Lord in order to please him in every way.
I wonder in amazement at all that’s covered within the few words found in the benediction in Numbers 6:22-27. Thirty-one words cover the totality of all Christians desire in life: May Yahweh bless you and protect you; may Yahweh make His face shine on you and be gracious to you; may Yahweh look with favor on you and give you peace.
I’m enjoying this season of life as a grandmother. I, and others like me, especially ‘look with favor’ into the smiles and twinkly eyes of the little ones we love so much. Their youthfulness seems particularly vulnerable to all the potential snares and dangers that lie ahead of them. I’m paying attention in a different way than I did as a young parent. I look with an expanded heart that’s grown wiser and, hopefully, more compassionate through the years.
God instructed Moses to tell Aaron and his sons to bless the Israelites through one of the most beautiful benedictions in Scripture. The phrase invoking Yahweh to be gracious to them captures my heart. I’ve asked for help, protection, encouragement, mercy, wisdom, and strength, but I don’t think I’ve ever asked God for His graciousness in my life.
God spoke to Moses in Numbers 6:23, saying, Tell Aaron and his sons how you are to bless the Israelites. The benediction God communicated to Moses included an intriguing phrase. Aaron and his sons were to ask Yahweh to make his face shine upon them.
Through the years, I’ve had the opportunity to correspond with Christian friends from various countries. I’ve particularly noticed that they always include a blessing at the beginning and the end of their correspondence, whether written or emailed. My typical American reply seems shallow in comparison to the richness of theirs, yet attempting to add a benediction always seems somewhat contrived.
As we drove away, my children went on and on. “Mom, I’ve never seen you so friendly!” While this wasn’t necessarily encouraging, I also wondered what had come over me. For some reason the young woman working the drive-thru looked like she needed encouragement. I asked her a few questions and realized she was new to town. Would she like to attend church with us? The answer was yes!
My children have recently earned the privilege of staying home alone. At first, my husband and I would only take a walk around the block. Next, we felt comfortable running an errand, and now we leave them alone for a few hours at a time during the daylight hours.
Sleep is the most precious commodity to a new mother. She will do just about anything to ensure her baby rests for as long as possible. Note on the door? Check. White noise machine? Purchased. Whisper and tiptoe. Obviously.