Connection, Kindness

Choose Kindness

shutterstock_160575743A few years ago, my son was super into origami. Spending countless hours meticulously bending and folding paper into mini masterpieces, he protected his crafts with a ferocity rivaling a mother dragon. As only a nine-year-old boy would, he proudly displayed his creations in his bedroom’s origami museum to protect and admire his labors.

That’s why I nearly fainted when he offered one of his freshly crafted origami cranes to a stranger.

We had just come out of the library that balmy summer afternoon. Bustling along, clicking errands off our To Do list, I prepared to squeeze myself into our tin can of a hot minivan. Just before the leather seat threatened to scorch my hamstrings, I heard a little voice mumble something indistinctive in another direction. Realizing it was my son’s, and determined to attack our next task, I turned to bark some version of mama orders like “Get in the car! We’ve got things to do and can’t be late to pick up your sister!” But my “mama ire” was quickly stalled by a disheveled elderly man sitting alone in his car. Panning over to my son, I soon gathered that he was attempting a conversation with our chronologically gifted friend.

Like a freight train screeching to a halt to spare someone sprawled across the tracks, my attention laser-beamed on my son. Why is he talking to this man? Doesn’t he know not to talk to strangers? Plus, this particular stranger looked next in line for the Curmudgeon of the Year award, complete with curling lip.

“Sir, would you like my crane?” my son interjected through my protective panic.

And then it hit me… yes, my son knew all of those things, yet he chose kindness.

He chose to step across those invisible boundaries we erect for ourselves and our children. Ones grounded in good intention, but dividing us from real connection. Ones that mean to protect us and our children from harm – borne out of responsibility – but sometimes fueled by fear.

As our curmudgeonly friend’s face transformed into a picture of grace received, I knew God was whispering through my nine-year-old. I could hear his tender voice lift me on waves of eternal hope with these reminders…

• Busyness blames, but kindness cares.
• Fear kills kindness. Kindess bears love. God is love.
• Kindness can be an act of worship – paying it forward in God’s name.
• Kindness can be His love expressed, and there is nothing greater. (1 Corinthians 13:13)
• Kindness can be sacrifice – of time, of energy, of prized possessions. Yet Christ made the ultimate sacrifice for us. Let’s follow His lead.

Like my son’s origami, God bends and shapes us to prepare to add us to His eternal museum in heaven. We are His masterpieces (Ephesians 2:10). As His masterpieces, let’s keep fear from leaving us reluctant to abide in His love, balking at our chances to choose kindness. Dare to choose kindness, as God boldly chooses grace for us everyday.

Reflect:

1. What is one small act of kindness you can integrate into your daily life?
2. How can you push fear aside to fuel love and kindness?

Resources:
A Case for Kindness by Lisa Barrickman
Listen, Love, Repeat by Karen Ehman

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Humility

Pride Monsters

 blog pride monster picI have a confession: I’ve been arrested by the “pride police” on many occasions.

By this, I mean I’ve been caught red-handed in major acts of mom hubris. I grin widely, giggle with glee, and feel that much better about myself when my kids get recognized at school or in sports. With toddler-like gusto, I post their accomplishments to social media, anxiously awaiting “likes” and comments.

Before I go any further, know that, in my opinion, celebration and pride are two very different things.

Celebration is totally acceptable and something God wants us to enjoy. The key is to give all the glory to Him. We’ve only arrived in Problemville when that gladness gives way to human superiority. When our identity shifts because of that achievement. When we give ourselves the glory instead of God.

Now that we have that established, let’s jump back into my impending arrest…

I revel in the glory of achievement and the approval of others. I’ll take a good pat on the back – in almost any form – any day.

But after the rush inevitably fades, I find myself drained – physically, spiritually, and emotionally. Then I ask myself: “What was so great about that?”

That’s God’s way of starving my pride monster. I know it’s what I need, but don’t always want.

What is a pride monster?

He’s that snarly, scaly little critter who puffs out your chest and creeps into your heart to feast on your insecurity. He’s the evil gremlin who clutches your neck so you’ll stick your nose up to gasp for high-brow air. He’s the Enemy’s child and he’s always on the prowl for souls in need of earthly recognition.

I wish I could say that my pride monster, after many forced fasts, looked more akin to a shriveled gremlin instead of a fluffy moguai, but in the interest of full disclosure, he is somewhere in between. Just when I think I’ve deprived him of all nourishment by praying, Facebook fasting, and Bible study, he tilts his pitiful little head and thinly squeaks, “Feed me!”

I try to ignore his cries and tune them out with prayer, but he’s a tenacious little thing, ripping at my unbelief, reminding me how good that initial rush of recognition feels.

Then, I remember His Word…

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.” (Proverbs 11:2)

“Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Proverbs 16:18)

The creature finally goes quiet. I breathe in and lean back into God’s arms. But I know he will be back and I’ll be arrested again. It’s just a matter of time. It’s just part of being human and the reason why we need God. Every minute. Everyday.

Reflect:

  1. What do your “pride monsters” look like? What are yours?
  2. What verses or prayers do you use to starve your “pride monsters?”
  3. How can you invite more humility into your daily life when “pride monsters” invade?

Dive Deeper:   A Platform of Pride. First 5, Day 11, Covenant Plan.

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Introduction

Blog Coming Soon!

Welcome to my shiny NEW blog!

So thrilled you’re here!

I’m a mom of three who loves to encourage women, study the Bible, make meaningful connections, and have deep conversations! I’m a lover of all things fuzzy (especially blankets), long walks on a warm summer afternoon, and great reads. And… I struggle with early morning bus schedules, housekeeping, and managing tween angst… among other things!

Like many of you, I have also survived life-altering experiences that have rocked me to the core. These experiences have forged the cornerstone of an exciting and deepening faith. And that burgeoning faith is the genesis of this blog!

Although I’ve only lived a little over four decades, Continue reading “Blog Coming Soon!”