So… I saw Bad Moms, and I laughed.

In case you don’t have any clue what movie I am talking about, here is a promo shot:

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First, I’d like to admit right out of the gate I didn’t walk into this movie with naive expectations.  The trailers gave a pretty good indication that there would be some inappropriate humor.  Second, I am not planning on giving away any spoilers.  There were definitely some parts I thought the movie could have lived without, not only for the story line but even in the presentation.  Sometimes it could go too far.  Third, there were some parts of this that were REALLY unrealistic when you are talking about any group of moms.  Lastly, there were also a LOT of truths.

Overall, I laughed and I laughed hard.  At one point I laughed so hard (as I was taking a sip from my straw) that I pushed air through the straw, which caused a small tidal wave in my cup, and that resulted in my drink landing in my eyes.  Which just caused a whole other fit of laughter for myself and those sitting around me.  I laughed until I cried and my stomach hurt.  Yet, there were some moments that I nodded in solidarity.  There were moments that were uncomfortable.  And, yes… as I said before totally unnecessary.

What I want to write about (and I’m up for conversation too) is WHY a movie like this not only resonated with moms but was drawing us in like moths to a flame.

My first thought is probably the most obvious, there is an enormous amount of pressure on moms to be it all, do it all, and do so perfectly.  Whether it is the perfect birthday party, bento box lunches, or simply making it to every school and sport activity… we feel the pressure.  We notice so much of what is around us, like the mom who has the perfect hair and make up in the parent pick up line… when we were struggling to get out of the house with a bra under our pajama shirt.  We see the kids with the perfectly styled hair, accessories, and sparkling white sneakers…. and we just spent the last 40 minutes looking for eyeglasses or a belt.  Other moms dropping their kids off early, and we are 10 minutes late because we had to go back home and pick up the flute that was left behind… or because our darling child took 15 minutes to brush her teeth.

How do these moms do it?  We cast shade in their direction, but really we are asking ourselves… why can’t I do it?

I think there are a number of moms who have run the scenario through their head of just saying no.  No to the requests by the husband, kids, school, coaches, etc.  An opportunity to just walk away from the pressure and enjoy life again.  To make the choice of not being the perfect mom anymore, and instead be the bad mom.

This brings me to my second thought, as you watch the trailers you see a group of women having fun. We are not talking bunko party fundraiser fun, but the kind of fun we had as teenagers  and young single adults.  The fun we had when we didn’t care what others thought, where it was ok to be silly, and there was an expected freedom in the general knowledge we were going to make mistakes and bad choices.  It takes us back to a time when we didn’t have to be an adult, and could just let loose and be free.

With motherhood came some sort of unwritten code of conduct, that we couldn’t be silly anymore.  We began to take everything too seriously, including ourselves.  Let’s face it, books and the advice of television “experts” reinforced this.  Reminding us over and over again that it was time to grow up, put away childish things, and get our heads out of the clouds.  As we did this, many of us sent fun sailing away for good.  We stopped smiling, we stopped laughing, and we stopped being silly.

The movie Bad Moms called out to that free spirit inside of us, that desperately wanted to laugh… and laugh hard.  So, it pulls out all the stops.  The women let loose in a way we couldn’t, and we live vicariously through them.  They say the things that roll through our minds & do the things we secretly wished we could.  (Ok, maybe not all of the things they say and do, but you get the point).

I also believe this appeals to Christian women so deeply because of the bar that is set for our expected behavior.  If other moms are feeling the pressure to be perfect in their every day life, Christian moms understand the additional expectations put on the Christian mom.  To have perfect children that love Jesus, quote the bible, volunteer with the elderly, and gladly donate all their birthday money to the missions fund.  To be women who are serious about the study of the Lord, leading small groups, inviting women over to mentor and pray together, to dress in simple clothes, and be ever diligent in our choices of entertainment.  There is a pressure that all of our time should be so seriously focused on Christ, that we can’t let loose and laugh until our sides hurt.

Confession… I saw the movie on opening night.  It’s taken me almost a month to admit I saw it, because frankly… I expected to be judged for it.  I was worried about what my church friends, my readers that look to me for wisdom, the women or leaders who are reading through my blog trying to decide if I would be the right speaker for their next women’s event… what would these people think of me?

I learned something from the movie though… my eyes were opened to how long it had been since I had laughed so much and so hard.  I realized how seriously I take myself and made the decision not to.  I embraced that silliness is okay and even healthy for my kids to see.  I made the decision that I wanted to laugh more, but with those whom I am the closest to… not a theater full of strangers.  I want that girl posse who has my back, in the most biblical way possible… and who will be silly with me.  Women who know how to laugh, smile, and stop trying to be something that is impossible to attain… perfect.

All of those parts of the movie that I thought were unnecessary, they don’t have to be part of my life.  But the good stuff… I welcome it.  We are all GOOD MOMS despite our imperfections and the times we muck things up… because we are LOVING MOMS.  In the end that is what matters.  The Lord didn’t call us to a life of misery, but of fulfillment and joy as mothers… and laughter.  So much laughter.

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An Open Letter to THAT Teacher…

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Dear “THAT” Teacher,

My daughter came home from school the other day to tell me that you were in pretty big trouble.  As she unfolded the rumor spreading like wild fire from the school, I shook my head but hardly in disbelief.  Why?  Because, your story is becoming all too common.  You are one of the many reasons why my homeschooling friends do not trust the public school system.  You are the evidence that even a “uniform school’s dress code” won’t keep our children from being objectified.  You are the reason my daughter is worried about her grades right now (13 days before the end of the school year) because instead of doing your job, you were busy entertaining a relationship with one of your students.

Every day, I send my children to school for an education.  I pay for the articles of clothing that fit into a particular dress code, in order to ensure our children are modest and not drawing attention to themselves in a way that is distracting.  I entrust my daughters into the hands of trained educators who are more than aware of the ramifications of having any inappropriate relationships with their students.  I entrust my children into the hands of educators who are supposed to protect them.  And, I do not blame any of the teachers who actually did their jobs as described.  In fact, I applaud the teacher who called you a pervert… among other choice phrases.  It served as a reminder that not all teachers are bad, and that there are simply sick people who take advantage of situations that give them access to our children.

I don’t care that the student was graduating this year, and technically a legal adult. She was your student, and that makes this far from okay.  I don’t care that you claim to be “in love” because this was your student and “in like” should have never happened in the first place.  I don’t care that you claim it was “consensual” and she backs up your claim, because she was a student and you should have known better.  In fact, you did know better. You knew the consequences for your behavior.  You knew the consequences that would fall upon her if your relationship was discovered.  You should have been an adult and never allowed it to happen in the first place.

Now, this poor girl can’t graduate as they investigate the grades she received in your class.

Now, this poor girl walks the halls of the school knowing everyone is talking about her, as rumors have spread quickly.  Trying to avoid making eye contact with other students as she walks by and hears their whispers “Isn’t that the girl….”

Now, this poor girl who is “in love” with you is carrying guilt that she has messed up your life.   Do you even understand how WRONG that is, that she is going to carry guilt because you couldn’t do the right thing?

Now, this poor girl will be thrust into a spot light she never intended for herself.

Should she have known better?  Sure.  But she is a child, and children make childish decisions.  Which is why we count on the adults to fill that gap, and make adult decisions.  You put her future and your own on the chopping block and you can’t fix that mistake.  You took something from her, she will never gain back.  You made secret promises to her, you will not be able to fulfill.

Now, you will pay your consequences… starting with your job.   And, who knows how much more will come as the investigation continues.  Leaving many of your students scrambling to make up for your mistake so they can still graduate or pass their grade level.  Forever, when someone googles your name… you will be THAT teacher.

That teacher, who crossed the line.

That teacher, who lacked self control.

That teacher, who took advantage of a student.

That teacher, who smudges the name of the public school teachers who ARE amazing people that positively impact students every day.  But those teachers won’t make the news, because it’s your face that is going to be smeared across the news and social media.  People will talk about my daughter’s school and say “Isn’t that the school where the teacher had a sexual relationship with one of his students”. 

This is your legacy as a teacher… to be THAT Teacher.

Yes, as parents we are furious.  Yes, you should be ashamed.  And, yes… I’m not quite ready to talk about forgiveness yet.  Why?  Because I’m too busy having to talk about this subject with my middle schooler, since what you did is public knowledge … and she now has questions.

What is Life as Normal, Anyway?

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As I write this, we are a matter of hours away from one week since my Father In Law passed.  When we got the news that his cancer was back, that there was nothing they could do for it… it was January 29th.  The surgeon said we would have a few months.  The oncologist, a few weeks.  Hospice, even less than that.  I knew that the best thing to do for my husband, was to put aside as much as I could to be there for him.  I was going to take a break from school work, cancel all of my obligations that I could, and set aside as much as possible.  My husband took some time off of work in that first week, so that he could spend time with him.

It was decided that he would spend out his remaining days at home, and we were there when the hospice transport picked him up from the hospital and followed to his house.  At that point, we believed that we were already on limited time.  We couldn’t have imagined that six weeks would go by.  We are thankful for the time we were able to spend with him.  As a wife the greatest gift I could have given my husband is the support he needed at that time.

As we approach the one week mark, it is time for us to return to life as normal.  My husband has to go back to work as his family leave time is over, I need to plug back in to my classes…  life goes on, right?  I know that my Father in Law would not want us wallowing in sadness and stop our lives in light of his passing.  However, after taking so much time off to cleave together as a family… what is “life as normal” anyway?  And, how much do we want to go back to it?

It’s been nice spending time together as a family, prioritizing our time with each other over all of the distractions that pull us apart.   It was nice not having an overwhelmed schedule, trying to fit too much stuff into too little time.

They say that death can bring out the worst in families, but I think it can also bring out the best.  It becomes an opportunity to die to our self and put others as priority.  When it becomes less about what I want to do, and more about what you need for me to do.  But this shouldn’t be something that is brought about by death, or illness.  Yes these are specific occasions where we SHOULD drop anything and do whatever we can to make those last memories with someone we love.  However, we shouldn’t wait for someone to get sick or become terminal, or pass away before we recognize what our priorities in life are.

Pick up the phone and call the people you love, the ones that are your family or the ones you consider family.  Don’t let too much time pass before connecting with those who are important to you.  Visit when you can, and don’t make a million excuses for why you can’t.  Whatever obstacles may get in your way, are just that… obstacles.  Obstacles don’t have to stop you, they just may delay you.  Or, they may require creative thinking or humbling yourself to ask for help.

The road goes in both directions.  Phones make and take calls.  Relationships are not one sided, but are built when both parties make the effort.

I’m not sure what “life as normal” will look like for us, but I am certain it will not look the same.

#Write31Days – Post 10 – The Worry of a Mom

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I have three beautiful arrows in my quiver.  I adore my daughters, but I can’t help … much like many a mother … getting caught in moments of worry.

The first time I worried, I was still pregnant with our first.  What if something happens to me while I am pregnant?  My request to my husband was to chose the baby over me.  It is amazing how quickly a selfish woman can become selfless… all from a little pink plus sign in the window of a plastic stick.

The worries continued to build after she was born.  Who could I trust to baby sit her?  What if she got an illness?  What if I was in a car accident, and I was unconscious… would someone help her?  Would someone take her?

When she was school aged, I remember the first time I waited in the parent pick up lane and she was no where to be seen.  My heart was leaping into my throat, while she was totally unaware of my panic as she walked slowly back from the classroom to the outside waiting area.   She had forgotten her lunch box.

It’s been sixteen years, three daughters, and panic still will strike.  My middle school aged daughter is usually one of the first three kids out the doors at the end of the day.  Just a few days ago panic would strike as I watched the number of kids waiting dwindle, and she hadn’t walked through the doors.  She had forgotten her flute.

I can’t completely stop the what if panic attacks from happening, we live in a world where media likes to remind us daily of everything that can happen to our kids.  However,  I no longer let those moments have the debilitating power they once held.

Many years ago, a friend of mine shared with me that her son was going on his first trip with his father out of state.  Her marriage was an abusive one that ended in divorce, but the courts had given him unsupervised visitation of their son.  She had attempted to keep him from being able to take their out of the state, but ultimately the court didn’t agree with her.  As she shared this with me, I could feel my own emotions as a mother starting to boil.  I tried to think of the hundred ways she could keep this from happening.  Yet, she seemed really calm.

“I have to trust the Lord with my son, Gena.  He isn’t mine, he belongs to God.  God can bring him home when ever He chooses.”

Let me assure you, all the air escaped from my lungs as I gasped at the words that came out of her mouth.

Even today, as I type these words… I am still in blown away by her words.  Do not mistake that she wasn’t worried about her son’s welfare.  She knew what her ex-husband was capable of doing.  She also knew that God was more than capable of protecting her son from his father.  She also trusted that if God would take her son, that His ways were not her ways.  She wouldn’t understand it, not from a human mothers perspective… but would trust that God’s plan was bigger and better than her own.

TO HAVE THAT FAITH!

In the years since, I have begun to understand it more.  I understood it when I was staring out the sliding glass doors of our apartment, rubbing my pregnant belly, as tears ran down my face.  In my routine testing precancerous cells were found in my uterus and cervix, I was also pregnant.  I was being faced with a procedure that might affect the pregnancy.  My husband patted my arms and said “God wouldn’t give you this baby just to take it from you.”

I replied:  “God may have given us this baby just to save my life.”

It wasn’t that I didn’t grieve over the thought of losing my baby, but that I accepted that His ways are not my ways.  You see, I was really behind in getting my annual exams done.  Had I not gotten pregnant, I wouldn’t have gone to the doctor… not until symptoms presented themselves.  At which point it would have meant that I was dealing with Cancer… not precancerous cells.

Being on the cusp of potentially losing a child certainly has made me appreciative of the three lives God has entrusted to me.  I do my best as a mom to make the best decisions in raising them.  I have moments where I am absolutely terrified, when they get hurt or take too long exiting the school.  I can’t relax until all my kids are home where they should be.  Even something as simple as seeing a police car too close to the school can be enough to make my imagination run wild.

It is impossible as a parent to NOT worry about your child.  But, I have chosen to not be crippled by that fear.

When I was little, a child had been abducted from a mall a few hours south of us.  Unfortunately, he was not recovered alive.  This had a profound affect on my mother, who did everything in her power to ensure that we were never in the position for something like that to happen.  When other kids walked home from elementary school, I was picked up by my grandmother.  I was in 8th grade before I could stay home alone after school, but my grandmother still picked me up from the bus stop that was only a few streets away.  Every day, through my senior year of high school, I would call my mother when I returned home from school to let her know I was safely there.

My mother was terrified of what could happen.  Because of that, there were a lot of things I missed out on as a child.  I am not blaming my mom, because now as a mother myself… I TOTALLY GET IT.  Not to mention, my mother was doing the whole parenting thing alone.  There wasn’t a second set of eyes keeping an eye on us.

Today, I am able to find a balance between being concerned, vigilant, and watchful… at the same time as allowing the kids some freedom to do what kids do.  I’ve stopped worrying about car accidents too.  In part, because my children are older versus being infants.  Also, because I have taught them what to do,  included safety cards in the glove box with their information & who to contact in case of an emergency.

The most important part, is that I have surrendered my children to God.

This is why I can send my children to public school every day without being in a constant state of worry over mass shootings, bullying, or whatever other thing that might cross my mind.  I am an involved parent, I have taken the time to understand the policies of the school, put in an effort of being communicative with the teachers and staff, I pray for their safety, and I trust that God’s word is true…

Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified

because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you;

he will never leave you nor forsake you.

Deuteronomy 31:6

I relieve my worries by:

  • Doing everything within my power to ensure the safety of my kids.  Through educating them and myself.  Talking over safety measures, being mindful and watchful, being prepared and having plans in place.
  • Praying over my children, their schools, our community, and the world at large.  I pray for safety, wisdom, and discernment.  I openly rebuke evil impacting their lives and surroundings.  Which means when I am praying for the protection of my kids… I am praying for the protection of all the kids with them.
  • When the worries or panic come, I call on the Lord.  I find peace in His promises and I do not let my fears overwhelm me.  It’s ok to OWN the worry, acknowledging it… then let it go.  I am far better prepared to deal with an emergency if I haven’t allowed myself to build up into a state of panic.

Be Still My Heart…. I’m Twitterpated.

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I was having a conversation the other day about relationships, particularly romantic ones.  I had shared a bit about how my husband and I met, my initial thoughts on him, and how my perspective about him changed the more I got to know him.

When we were dating, the things that attracted me most to him were observations I made.  I knew he worked hard, and had strong work ethics.  I knew that he went to church, regularly, and had read the entire bible many times.  I knew that he was very respectful of his parents, and cared for his family deeply.  I was able to witness him interacting with a little girl that his sister was baby sitting, and I knew that he was amazing with children.   While he was certainly attractive, it was his character that brought me to a place of falling in love with him.  I knew that he would be a good husband and father.

Seventeen years later, and I am still in love with him…. but for such very different reasons.

I felt it when I walked in on him painting his daughter’s toe nails.

It stirs when he is hanging up hurricane shutters, protecting his family.

I am reminded of it, when I see him drop everything for a family member in need.

My heart swells in his small gestures, like bringing home the kids’ favorite candy bars as a treat.

Every day, this man puts us before everyone else in the world.  Including himself.

He goes without, so that our kids don’t have to.  He works overtime, to bring extra income in for our long term security.  Broken things are repaired and replaced promptly.  He supports all of my crazy designs, notions, and ideas because he has confidence in me & my abilities.  Even when he can’t see it for himself.

He comes home every night.  Turns down opportunities to travel for work, even if it would pay more, because he can’t bear to be away from his children for even a day.  He doesn’t escape from them, but TO his family.

Sometimes, in the every day moments, we can take for granted that the other person will be there.  We may lose the feeling of butterflies in our tummy when we see them walk into a room…

… and it is replaced with the knots of uncertainty.

When he doesn’t answer his work phone.

When he should be home but is late, and he didn’t call.

When they wheeled him into surgery.

No matter what kind of frustrations and difficulties marriages face, even when you feel like you have “lost that loving feeling”…  in the face of uncertainty and risk, suddenly you feel something immeasurably greater…

The despair that accompanies the notion of losing him.

True love doesn’t happen the moment you realize you want to spend the rest of your life with someone.  True love is revealed in that moment you realize you can’t imagine spending a day without him in your life.

As I spoke about “practical love”,  found in the every day motions of our marriage… I got teary eyed.  It was like my wedding day, but sweeter.   On my wedding day, my tears were over what was in store for our future.  That day, my tears were over the many things that I take for granted, and how I fail to let him know exactly how much he means to me.  The realization of all the ways he shows us, myself and the children, that he loves us… puts us first…

Always.

 

Unused Gifts

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1 Corinthians 12:4-11

There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work.

Now to each one the manifestation of the Spirit is given for the common good. To one there is given through the Spirit a message of wisdom, to another a message of knowledge by means of the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healing by that one Spirit, 10 to another miraculous powers, to another prophecy, to another distinguishing between spirits, to another speaking in different kinds of tongues,[a] and to still another the interpretation of tongues.[b] 11 All these are the work of one and the same Spirit, and he distributes them to each one, just as he determines.

It was about 11 years ago, when a man went with his church to a Promise Keepers conference.  The truth was that this man had grown up in the church, he had gone through discipleship training, and at one time had a spirit that was thirsty for the Lord.  He had read his bible cover to cover, many times.  He had wisdom and knowledge of the scriptures.  Life, however, would distract him.  His fervor for service would diminish.  He toiled and labored to provide for his family, so much so that it was hard to give up that one day during the week that he didn’t have to get up for work.  Most days, he would… the family would head over to church and he and his wife would discuss the message on the way home.

He was too tired at the end of a long shift to sit through family devotions, or read the scriptures with his wife.  He trusted her with the spiritual leadership of his children, the managing of the home, etc.  This trip to Promise Keepers was just what he needed to open his eyes.  The message directed at the men convicted his heart, he recognized that he had become a lukewarm Christian.  An ember began to burn that called him to service in his church.  He was renewed in spirit.

On the bus ride home, the Pastor asked some questions of the men from the church.  The man stood up and announced “I was a lukewarm Christian, I was wrong, I don’t want to do it anymore… where can I serve????”

A few men shouted, “AMEN!”… there were some high fives as he moved toward the Pastor.  The Pastor put his hand on the man’s shoulder, smiling… and said “No brother, how can we serve you?”

The Pastor’s intentions were good, but because he didn’t take the time to get to know the man and what he had to offer, he dismissed the man’s offer.  The man was crushed, he wanted to serve, use his talents, but he was denied.  He returned to his seat, but the high fives on the return trip suddenly felt empty. 

When he returned home, it would take him several days before he could even bring himself to share what happened with his wife.  She could see how hurt he was.  He had a lot to offer, but he wasn’t going to be given the chance.  He wanted to serve, but he was turned down.  In the days following the trip, and the weeks even further out, not a Pastor or Elder would reach out to him.    They were not even going to follow up on their offer to serve him!  Time passed, and the ember went out. 

It’s been 11 years, and to this date … the man has never offered his gifts again.  The church missed out on an amazing opportunity, and frankly so did the man. 

I understand how he feels.  There have been plenty of times in my life where I felt like I was being over looked for the gifts and talents I had to offer.   In some cases, I was overlooked completely for a task that I was more than qualified for.  In other cases, I was given something totally outside my of my gifts because it was just naturally assumed I would be good at is… simply because I am a woman.  When a person is overlooked or rejected enough times, they will stop offering.  If you only offer them the tasks that you assume they are good at (without ever talking to them about it), resentment and frustration can build.

This happens in the church quite a bit, the man’s story is not unique.  God has given us all gifts to be used for His glory, but that’s the key… we need to use them.  We want to use them in the church, but if the church isn’t willing to recognize them or utilize them, one of two things will happen:

  1.  We stop offering our gifts.
  2. We take our gifts elsewhere.

I took an informal poll of some ministry leaders, the question was:  Do you have your volunteers (or church) take a spiritual gifts test, regularly?

I was surprised by the few who answered, YES.

If we look back to the story I shared (which is true, by the way)…. it could have gone a lot different.

The Pastor put his hand on the man’s shoulder, smiling… and said “Brother, that’s great! Call me this week and we’ll talk about where you could serve.”

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The Pastor put his hand on the man’s shoulder, smiling… and said “Brother, we’d be happy to have you serving with us.  Stop by my office this week, I’ll have spiritual gifts test waiting for you.  Fill it out, and let’s set a date to have lunch.”

or

The Pastor put his hand on the man’s shoulder, smiling… and said “Brother, that is so exciting.  Do you know where you’d like to serve?”

In all three examples, it would have given the man the opportunity to meet with the Pastor, to share his background and experience, and provided the groundwork for identifying his spiritual gifts in order to determine the best place for him to serve within the church.  It acknowledged him, without rejecting him.  It created a plan of action that was immediate.

This is something that we must be careful of, with the members of our church.  We can’t make assumptions about what they are good at, or their knowledge, the time they have available, or what we think their gifts are.  We also can’t ignore the fact that every person in the church has a gift.  We need to make the effort to get to know the people, find out what their gifts are, and plug them into the places they can use them.

Our gifts are more than the choir, parking team, nursery, greeter, and info desk volunteers.

Women by nature are not all gifted for VBS and Sunday School, because they are women.

Men are not by nature all gifted for landscaping and construction, because they are men.

I wonder, when we talk about women leaving the church, as well as the younger generations, how much of it comes from a lack of not feeling utilized by the church?  If you don’t feel wanted or needed, why stay?

What if…….

  • all new members classes included a spiritual gifts test?
  • fall small groups started off with group leaders handing out spiritual gifts tests?
  • instead of saying to the whole church we need these few volunteer spots filled… we looked at their tests and placed everyone … somewhere.

I think we know that realistically, not everyone will turn in their test.  Nor, can we expect that everyone is going to be available to volunteer.  People do have jobs, kids, and even other volunteer commitments.  However, by starting the process of identifying their gift we can engage their minds.  They will begin thinking about if, when, and how they could be used in the church.  We can guide them toward ministries that are seeking volunteers, or even come up with something for people to do in their gift range while they wait for something to become available.

If we engage people’s gifts into the service of the church, on a regular basis, they become invested & connected members of the body.  They will feel wanted, valued, connected, important, and feel they have a purpose for being in this body of believers.

An unopened gift can never be fully appreciated.

There Are Some Things You Simply Can’t Fix

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My husband and I were talking the other day, about friendships and just relationships in general.  Sometimes we mess up, we say things we shouldn’t have even though we were joking.  Or, we speak into a person’s life when we have no authority to do so…. or at least were not invited to share our opinions.  Sometimes the person is carrying emotional baggage and is extra sensitive & you were unintentionally careless with your words.

In situations like this, my husband and I can recognize we messed up.  We even try to fix it and make it better.   But, unless the other person is just as invested in the relationship… it’s going to be a one sided battle.  And no matter what you do, how many times you apologize, how many different ways to try to repair it… you can’t fix it alone.  It won’t matter if you saw it coming and tried to be proactive, or if the damage is done and you are trying to repair… you can’t force the other person to value the friendship like you did.  Repair and reconciliation must be something both people want and are willing to work toward.

And, if the other person doesn’t want it…. you have to be able to let it go and move on with your life.   You learn from it, grow from it, and become (hopefully) a better person from that experience.

Romans 12:18 – If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone.

Only God can soften someone’s heart, once they have hardened it.  Only the Holy Spirit can move them and convict them into the path of reconciliation.  But through Jesus, we can pray for that person.  Because of Jesus, we can extend copious amounts of forgiveness and grace…. and ask for the same in return.  We can confess our wrongs to Jesus, and seek His forgiveness, even when others have become unforgiving.

And we can have hope that reconciliation with our brothers and sisters in Christ will happen, it just may not happen on this earth.  But, we will be reconciled in Heaven as a body of believers.  And then, as we are celebrating together, whatever it is was that separated us will be like grains of sand at the bottom of the deepest ocean.