Monthly Archives: February 2017

Overcoming

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earth-1650713_1280My thoughts today are not in a straight line. You’ll have to pay attention and, if you will, be a little more patient with my ramblings than usual.

So, what I’m thinking about is fear. And how I’m tired of it.

I’m tired of people telling me how awful things are – and hang on… they are only going to get worse.

I’m tired of words that separate us because of fear.

I’m tired of feeling “less than” or “less-holy,” “less-inspired” because I don’t see it the same way you do.

I’m tired of living on a tightrope.

I joke about the balance – how it’s my life word and how we will get through this “together.”

But I don’t feel like I’m together with very many people anymore. And I’m not sure how to make it all of us again.

I’m tired of being misunderstood.

I’m tired of wondering if I should say something or just shut up even though I know God loves me no matter what – and gave me a voice to speak love and truth.

I keep things hidden – I tell almost no one how I really feel about controversial issues. About how I don’t feel intense anguish about the same issues as other people I know pretty well.

But I do feel distant and angry when I witness how some people speak and act about those issues. And even more distant when it appears that demonizing and creating political fervor about intensely personal issues is more important than protecting the souls of those living with really tough decisions, holding those troubled hearts up in prayer.

And feeling that way about others feels dark. And ugly.

So I’ve been taking these things to Jesus on a pretty regular basis. I haven’t always felt super connected to Him, but this has been a couple of really good years.

I do, however, have some trouble hearing his voice the way many do. Hearing “words”. (Well, I think I did, once. I can remember exactly where I was when it happened. The conditions and words aren’t important, though – because I don’t think I really understood what He was telling me. And maybe that’s why He speaks to me differently.)

I am working on the practice of listening. And, good golly, Miss Molly, it ain’t easy. Sometimes, when I am stuck on a post or article or idea, I’ll lay my hands flat on my keyboard and just pray for help. I pray that I will get some guidance and wisdom beyond myself.

And then I might take a shower or clean the kitchen. I practice not letting my mind wander off, just clearing my mind from other thoughts and remaining open to God’s voice and peace.

I usually come back to my studio refreshed, at the very least, and ready to loosen anything that was stuck. And, usually, I find success. I find the words I need, or the focus for a post that seems scattered.

It’s not that I “hear” Him. I’m not suddenly inspired or awestruck by an idea. In fact, even at the most significant crossroads of my life, I don’t remember one time feeling that God had whispered in my ear. Even when I decided to retire, it wasn’t until I had a journal full of other people’s words and ideas and prompts and song lyrics that I knew  – I just KNEW – those ideas were coming straight from God’s love.

I tried, again, to choreograph my life (read more about that here). I thought for sure I knew how this writing business was going to pan out. I was, again, dead wrong. Let’s just leave it at that.

So, my lovelies, I’m in listening and waiting mode again, waiting for signs of what’s next. But I’m not far from Him. And  although I am just the slightest bit off balance about what is next for me – because I know it’s coming – I am not afraid. I’m curious, but not afraid.

I’m puzzled, but I’m not afraid.

I’m not sure Tim and I are ready for another rocking boat, but I’m not afraid.

I watch Audrey and Asher growing up in a violent and selfish world, but I’m not afraid.

I watch neighborhoods declining in economy and hope, but I’m not afraid.

I wonder how we are all going to weather the political and social storms that seem to be gaining strength and speed. But I’m not afraid.

Because here it is. Straight from the mouth of Jesus, “…in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)

In fact, the Bible’s most frequent commandment is “Fear not.”

Jesus has overcome the world.

Please, stop telling me anything different.

 

Jesus said, “I have overcome the world.Please, stop telling me different. Click to Tweet.

Opposites aren’t always different

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window-933485_1920I started to write about some minor stuff today. You’ll see it sometime soon, but this happened – and I had to tell you about it.

Quick background: Bill Burton, my first and late husband, had four children when we got married. They were half grown already. Then we had Ana together. Bill’s kids started having babies, and I was a grandmother at 38.

Good golly, Miss Molly.

Taao was the first Burton grandbaby,  all grown up now and on his own. I don’t see him often, but we are Facebook friends, so I get an occasional glimpse into his life. Like this story he shared yesterday…

Apparently the man in the Mini Cooper was in a big hurry. He drove out of a parking lot and cut off a LOT of people in every lane, creating quite the kerfuffle. As horns honked, Taao simply changed lanes and moved on, shaking his head in disbelief.

Apparently the man in the Mini Cooper didn’t like Taao’s harmless form of disapproval. He caught up with Taao, rolled down his window and started a rather loud and heated conversation. Taao smiled, laughed, and kept driving.

Apparently the man in the Mini Cooper did have enough time to continue his display of disapproval and aggravation. But this time, he didn’t stop with words. He held up a gun, making sure Taao saw it.

Yowzers!

Now at this point, I would have, oh – I don’t know… put on the brakes? changed lanes? wet my pants a little?

But Taao took a different route which, to say the least, scared the bejeepers out of me and his mom and dad and anyone else who read the account. He rolled down his window and asked, “What are you trying to do?”

And that was it. The man took off, almost wrecking his little car as he cut Taao off once again.

As you might expect, the FB comment section was a flurry of colorful language and interesting ideas. Most of them were either report the [guy] (there were various descriptors used)  or oh, my GOSH, be careful/safe/cautious…

Taao did make note of the license plate, color, and model of the car. And he did the right thing. He reported the incident to the police. Being threatened with a gun is no small matter, and he knew better than to ignore what could turn into something uglier.

But it’s what Taao said while reporting the incident that makes me so proud. These are his words:

In talking to the officer I made the conscious decision not to pursue it.
He asked if my life felt threatened. I said no.
He asked if the man looked dangerous. I said no.
He…looked like he was having a rough day and I literally watched his expression, when I asked him what he was trying to do, turn to what…am I doing? and he sped off.
I think he knows he made a mistake and we will leave it at that.

Oh, my. Every time I read those wise words I break down a little.

Taao and I are pretty different from each other in a lot of ways. The biggest gaps between us are distance, age, and faith. He lives across country from me. I’m, well, his grandmother. And Taao doesn’t believe in God.

But, my lovelies, just because we are different doesn’t mean we can’t build a strong relationship on love and respect. It doesn’t mean that Taao will always do the opposite of what I would do. It doesn’t mean that everything he does maligns what I believe so strongly. It doesn’t mean that I won’t talk to him about what is important to me. Or that when I do talk to him, he turns a deaf ear.

Do I pray with anticipation that someday Taao will get to know Jesus a little better? Sure I do, just as I pray for other family members and people I love, people I barely know, hate mongers, and those misled by liars and false prophets. I pray for government leaders and foreign tyrants, too. I don’t think any of them are too far from God to feel His love.

But today those differences are on the back burner.

Today I just want to tell Taao, I’m so proud of you.

 

Just b/c we’re different doesn’t mean we can’t build strong relationships on love&respect. Click to tweet.