If instead of a gem, or even a flower, we should cast the gift of a loving thought into the heart of a friend, that would be giving as the angels give. ~ George MacDonald
I started this blog 10 months ago today.
You, my friends, have cast the gift of a loving thought into my heart time and again.
Over the next couple of weeks, I’m going to try to intermingle some thank you notes with my regular TMG posts. I’ve been remiss in not thanking you sooner or paying your kind encouragement forward by passing it on to other bloggers.
Now, because I’ve waited so long, I’m at a bit of a loss as to where to start. I’ve decided to begin at the end and try to work my way backwards.
The Reader Appreciation Award.
Rules to this award:
1. Link the Award image back to the one who presented it to you.
First, a long overdue thanks to Pastor Wrinkles @ Reinventing the We’ll who was kind enough to nominate me for this award back in February. I’m including his description of himself to entice you to check out his blog.
As I walk through my changes good and bad, the good God I serve is always using those changes to reinvent me…to reinvent us. For you see, my change touches others; So my transformation causes there to be a “Reinvention of the We’ll”.
And most recently, my thanks to Jen @ Step on a Crack. If I’d been more timely and responded sooner to Pastor J, I could have nominated you first!
2. List six nominations.
It is not the care of today, but the care of tomorrow that weighs a man down. For the need of today we have corresponding strength given. For the morrow we are told to trust. It is not ours yet. ~ George MacDonald
At my son’s 1 month well baby check, the pediatrician became alarmed. After a long exam, she determined that Dan was blind. His pupils didn’t dilate or follow the pen light she shined in his eyes. He was such a sweet, happy baby. I had absolutely no idea. Fearing that he had a brain tumor, she was able to get him an appointment the next day with one of the top pediatric ophthalmologists in the country. We began weekly trips to the University of Iowa where they found that there was no tumor, but that Dan did have ocular albinism and congenital nystagmus.
When he was 3 months old, just after a session with a specialist from the School for the Blind, a friend called to check on me. I was feeling particularly overwhelmed as I began listing all the things I was afraid Dan might never get to do, all the experiences he might not have. I told her I felt desperately inadequate to give my sweet son all that he might need.
My friend said something I’ve never forgotten: Debbie, God has promised us grace for the moment, not for the what ifs. She was right. George MacDonald was right. His grace is sufficient for everything we face today. Not for all the imagined possibilities down the road – not even for tomorrow.
When I wake up tomorrow, I will find abundant grace for each moment Like the manna for the Israelites, it can’t be stockpiled but it’s always supplied as I need it.
My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made strong in your weakness. Boasting in my weakness, and reveling in His grace, I wish you joy and grace and peace.
Once again, this job has ended and I’m temporarily unemployed. We pull out in a few hours. I don’t know when another job will be provided. I may not have any internet access for a while. I’m learning to live in the joy and grace of each moment. I’ll keep in touch when I can.
The best thing you can do for your fellow, next to rousing his conscience, is not to give him things to think about, but to wake things up that are in him; or say, to make him think things for himself. ~ George MacDonald
Have you ever given advice only to be disappointed or frustrated or maybe even a little angry when your advice wasn’t followed? Like a cross between Dear Abbey and Dr Phil, we often seem to see, with amazing clarity, the path another should walk.
There are times when giving advice is imperative. It’s a part of parenting, a part of teaching, a part of many professions. But if we truly want to encourage growth and courage in a child, a student, a client, a parishioner - in a friend - we need to learn when to stop sharing our life lessons and listen to their life stories.
If a person wants and values our advice, they’ll seek it. I was a young counselor when I learned that basic lesson in advice giving. Ask more, tell less. I still forget that sometimes.
What a gift of grace it is to care enough about someone to wake things up that are in them; to make them think things for themselves. It may not be the solution that we think we can so clearly see would solve all their troubles. But it may be their solution for their path.
So this is my unsolicited advice: If they Don’t Ask, you Don’t Tell. And yes, I know. You didn’t ask.
Let me, if I may, be ever welcomed to my room in winter by a glowing hearth, in summer by a vase of flowers. If I may not, let me think how nice they would be and bury myself in my work. I do not think that the road to contentment lies in despising what we have not got. Let us acknowledge all good, all delight that the world holds, and be content without it. ~ George MacDonald
A short story.
One day, a few days back, my friend called her friend and said: I seem to have lost my serenity. He said: You were so happy and peaceful just a couple of weeks ago. What’s changed?
She said: Nothing. I’m still very happy and everything is going well, but I’ve lost my serenity. Her wise friend asked a few more questions, all of which she was able to answer with a positive. Yes she was eating right, sleeping well, working and praying and serving.
Finally her friend said: Where’s your fluff? He was asking her what she did just for fun. Nothing accomplished, nothing checked off the list, time spent with ‘nothing to show for it’. It turns out, she didn’t have any fluff.
My friend spent a couple of afternoons reading and found her serenity again.
I looked up fluff, just to make sure I had it right. In addition to describing baby bird feathers, it means to shake something so that more air goes into it and it becomes larger and softer ~Macmillan On-line Dictionary.
I thought about that. I couldn’t find the Bible verse that said Thou shalt accomplish a lot today, but I did find the one that said A joyful heart is good medicine, but a broken spirit dries up the bones. – Proverbs 17:22
I checked my bones. They were feeling a little dry. I’ve decided my heart needs to be shaken a little to make it larger and softer. George MacDonald and Lilith are waiting for me.
God will not conquer evil by crushing it underfoot – any god of man’s idea could do that – but by conquest of the heart over heart, of life over death, of love over all. ~George McDonald
You often hear people wishing for some serious evil stomping from MOTU: Master of the Universe. Possibly this is because our picture of a Supreme Being has been defined in more detail by superheros than by the New Testament. If God were true to the ideas of man and Mattel, the evil we see in others but overlook in ourselves, would be stamped out, just as He-Man defeats the evil Skeletor. How could we expect less from a God with powers that exceed even the imagination of the finest graphic novelists?
Omnipotence, by definition, is limitless. God draws His own lines with the marker of grace. He certainly could crush. Instead He chooses to woo. It’s His way: conquest of the heart over heart, of life over death, of love over all.