Solving Problems

We all have problems of different sizes, challenges, seasons & shapes. It seems to me that sometimes problems come in herds – either they’re few & far between or they seem to spill out from every corner & area of life.
Some problems we can solve on our own & some problems require help because they’re beyond our ability & resources. It seems to me that when I get in these problem intense seasons that I can get myopic & only see 1 solution or answer. The problem with myopia is that there’s limited focus & for me it’s usually on the wrong thing (the problem & not God).
So here’s the short answer: God has solutions, ideas, resources & methods for resolution of which we’ve never dreamed. I’m reminded that God has more answers than I had questions & God has more solutions than I have problems 🙂

something to encourage you :)

Here are a few thoughts that I really hope will be helpful & encouraging:

If you’re going through:

  • a season of lack – be sure to be open to the variety of ways that Jesus provides in our lives (time, wisdom, creative ideas, unexpected supply, etc)
  • loneliness – don’t underestimate the continually abiding presence of Jesus with you in every moment & situation
  • a time of confusion – listen for the Holy Spirit to lead you into truth & consider reading the verses about Who the Holy Spirit is in John 14
  • some heightened insecurity – you are nothing less than wholly & genuinely loved by your Creator, Who finds you to be nothing less than tantalizing & delightful
  • failure – celebrate because you’ve crossed off an option that doesn’t lead to success!
  • frustration – sometimes the best reward to frustration is the strength that only comes through endurance

I hope you’re well encouraged today!! 😀

managing isn’t the same as growing

I have some weak spots in my life that can be really frustrating to me:  I don’t like it when I fumble meeting a new person, I don’t like it when I want to get back at someone for a petty insult, I don’t like it when one of my insecurities makes me look stupid & there’s lots more.  But I’ve been thinking about some of these things lately & I’ve decided that I have a choice:  I can manage these weak spots & work around them OR I can change & grow bigger than these weak areas.  I’ve certainly done much in the management realm, but I am feeling challenged to let the Holy Spirit work on me with the change & grow realm.

Ultimately, I’m very happy that the Holy Spirit continues to work with me, knowing that with His help, I can only get better & better!  How about you???  Are you managing or growing? 🙂

I get by with a little help from my friends ,)

In yonder years gone by, the Beatles sang this song & when I read the lyrics, I think it had something to do with getting high.  I still like the idea, however, of getting & giving help to others.  What’s made me think about this today is watching a guy sit & do nothing to help a crippled lady who was totally struggling to open a door.  I looked into his eyes after she finally got the door open & he was completely indifferent.  To this apathy, I found myself becoming outraged!!

Then I started thinking about this lady’s observable disability – I was extremely motivated to help her when I saw her need.  But I felt the Holy Spirit ask me if I was equally as motivated to help those who do not have an observable disability.  Just because someone looks put together & functional on the outside doesn’t mean that they’re not falling apart or disabled on the inside.  I can’t count the number of times that the Holy Spirit has helped me through various people when I’ve been falling apart on the inside & trying to look put together on the outside.  Let’s allow the Holy Spirit to freely express His help and character through us as we help others regardless of how they look on the outside.

love, love and more love :D

I was talking with a friend yesterday & we were talking about our husbands & kids with their different love languages.  I found it helpful to remember to express love to others based on what is meaningful love to them and not just the kind of love that I like.  With this in mind, I decided to do a brief summary of Gary Chapman’s love languages here that you might find helpful.  We all have different ways in which we easily receive or feel that we are loved (we tend to give the kind of love that we want to receive).  With this in mind, here are the love languages that Gary presents:

  • gifts:  the person with this love language likes to receive gifts & when someone gives them something, it is super powerful & meaningful to them
  • quality time:  the person with this love language likes to be with a person they love be that in quality conversation, activities (sports, hiking, shopping), etc
  • acts of service:  the person with this love language likes to do nice things for the people they love (run errands, clean, help with their kids, get fuel, etc)
  • touch:  the person with this love language likes to touch, snuggle, hold hands, . . .
  • words of affirmation:  the person with this love language likes to give / receive encouragement, affirmation, atta boy, etc

Clearly, this is nothing more than a brief summary, but hopefully it helps us to love with greater authenticity & with less manipulation 🙂

On making change

Have you ever been short changed, only to make this discovery when it was too late? This used to really big me, so I would do my best to remember to stay & count my change the moment I received it. The important part was to STAY & count the change.
I’ve been thinking lately about making some important changes in my life & I’ve come to the conclusion that commitment precedes change. A person who doesn’t commit often never changes but they will frequently change their surroundings to avoid commitments that would require them to change. I know that sounds convoluted, but simply put: change is often a consequence of commitment & a lack of growth & maturity is often a reflection of non-commitment.
If you want to avoid being short changed, be sure to hang around & count your change ,)

An update on nightcare :)

Hey friends!! I’m super excited about w nightcare!! For more than a year, God has put the idea of nightcare (in a safe & loving environment, taking care of the infants & toddlers of prostitutes while they work) in my heart. This has been an incredible dream & adventure in my heart because of Jesus’ words that say, “when you do this to the least of these, you do it into Me.” These words ring in my ears when I think about the infants of prostitutes being “the least of these”.
So for more than a year, I’ve been working to launch our 1st nightcare w
Finally, we are now up & running in Cambodia since the beginning of this week & each night, we’ve had a few more babies than the preceding night. We are starting small, building trust w the moms & getting to genuinely love the “least of these”. It’s going SUPER WELL!!!!
I’m returning to Cambodia in July so I’ll be able to share about our progress with more depth then, but I couldn’t wait until then to share this exciting news!!!!!

Some thoughts on being popular

Popularity is an interesting topic. We generally want people to like us & think we’re cool. We like to fit in & feel comfortable around the people with whom we interact – I think this is all pretty natural. Where we get into trouble with the popularity pursuit is when the popularity w people undercuts our popularity w God. It’s nice when our people & God popularity complement each other, but when when we have to make a choice between being popular w people or being popular w God, make the decision now to chose God.
In the long run, choosing God will always sort out with better results than trying to be popular w people 🙂

Christmas in April ,)

We all have lots of things that we want:  more time, job promotion, coffee, happy marriage, safe and healthy kids, security, achievements, healthy relationships, etc.  But with all of these things and lots more, there’s a very IMPORTANT essential ingredient (except for the coffee one, sort of) and that is wisdom.

Wisdom has tremendous value in every area of our lives and when we neglect to pursue wisdom we can often fall short on our goals and the many good things that God has for us.  So remember that James says that we should ask God for wisdom and have faith that He will give it to us.  So let’s be certain to ask God for wisdom on our jobs, in our marriages, with our finances, in our relationships, etc and then watch & listen carefully for His diverse, amazing and relevant wisdom to spring up in our lives 🙂

when I make mistakes

 My husband was recently upset with me for not communicating with him about something that is extremely important.  He called me and I quickly knew that he was displeased with me about something.  Thankfully, when my husband gets upset about something, he usually does a good job about maintaining constructive communication to resolve the issue rather than ranting and raving or taking cheap shots on peripheral topics.  When he explained the problem, I was clearly at fault.

There was another issue this week where I had been responsible to take some notes and had made some mistakes in my note taking.  My gracious friends helped point out some of these mistakes and they were very kind and gentle with their help.

In both of these situations, I totally owned up to my shortcomings.  I didn’t deflect my mistake, blame someone else or have an emotional reaction.  In both situations, I explained that there was no one to blame but me, that I had definitely messed up and I apologized.  I made an internal decision to try to do better in the future for these areas.  I didn’t ingest any bitterness, animosity, resentment or other negative emotional baggage.  When we get corrected, let’s own our mistake, get better and appreciate the feedback 🙂