Seasoned

Bear with me while I repost again. My comment button is once again on the fritz. 🙄

Time.

It’s in His hands. So, why can it feel like such a cruel taskmaster?

It moves so swiftly some days, aging us all the more swiftly in the process.

Like my beloved George Bailey, I have always felt, in many respects, I was born older.

Couldn’t bypass a photo of his earnest prayer here. Courtesy of cinemaarchives.com

Not necessarily just due to my attraction to things of a bygone era, though being the only twelve-year-old I knew with an antique display worthy of the PBS roadshow was somewhat a clue. 🙂

Admittedly, that is a piece, but, really, it goes deeper than that.

Even beyond the childhood abuse that can simultaneously stunt growth and drag one to premature adulthood, though I’d be remiss to not acknowledge that role as well.

I can’t say I never had innocence or naivete of any sort, because it was there, in some manners and forms.

My older brother, for example, could persuade me of a lot of things that had not a shred of truth in them. 😉

But, inexplicably, almost paradoxically, the eyes of one who can see through the world to the unseemly underside were also often there.

And, needless to say, looking at the world through such eyes can be a weighty prospect at best, whatever your age.

It’s honestly hard to remember a time I didn’t feel a certain amount of heaviness in my soul.

And, coupled with it the unfortunate tendency to look for some way to safely unburden it, or, as bashfulness rose up more pronounced the more rejected I felt, to at least long to.

I became quite the quiet, grave little soul as a result, only unwinding some of which had me so tightly wound around said brother, who mostly understood the unusually oldish creature in his younger sister, though even he could become baffled and annoyed at times! 🙂

This heaviness stayed with me over the years, by and large, like a shroud, lighter sides of me only breaking through at rare moments or upon being on stage. ( Ah, for I wasn’t me then! )

Such an asset in socal gatherings, let me tell you! 🙄

For a long time, I walked about with this odd duck label.

So serious. 😐

The wallflower. 😔

The overthinker. 🤔

Almost always feeling the need to apologize for it.

For, surely, it must be a shortcoming.

I think of Amy March describing- in hushed tones- her sister, Beth, in “Little Women”:

She has an infirmity. She’s shy.

It was much, much later I pinpointed my autistic tendencies via my children’s diagnoses. This did help shed quite a new light on what I had coped with all those years.

Undeniably helpful.

But, whereas it is in fact integral to the human makeup He created me with, it’s not the be-all end-all of me, either.

It’s why, where I appreciate deeply recognition of special needs, I no longer feel it need always be what I personally talk about. But, I have tread this road before, so, let me stop circuiting…😏

All this to say, all those pieces, all that weight on my shoulders, the harshness of life and the rapid beating of time…all so acutely evident in my sight, needn’t become an unhappy, isolating thing.

I don’t have to apologetically stammer how I’m older than my years, subject myself to a burning silence, or consider myself a lonely curmudgeon, an embarrassing oddity of nature for all time.

For, what the world calls odd, He often calls seasoned.

Matt. 5:13 says:

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

Seasoning is a necessary part of the Christian life. Without the salt to preserve our faith, this world can quickly contaminate it.

To be seasoned, to me, means being able to recognize the true from the false.

Even when it’s uncomfortable or unpopular.

For, when we can taste and see that the Lord is good, it ruins us for all other flavors.

And that’s a good thing! ☺

As is the burden, if you will, of helping others recognize this fact.

It has been such an irony to me, honestly, that God directed me to places seemingly contrary to my rather old-fashioned ways, both in previous years and now.

Teaching toddlers and ministering to youth would seem to call for a child-like energy and some level of, shall we say, “coolness”?

Where I did and do allow myself some youthful zest where able, no one could ever accuse me of “coolness”. 😏

Yet, I feel God tell me not to assume what they have need of.

For, who am I to say they don’t need the sort of seasoning He has uniquely called me to help provide?

In seasoning should also come a growing confidence in His goodness and wisdom, after all.

And, as I referred to last time we spoke here, beautiful bridges can be built between generations.

So…if you feel older than your years…

Feel good about it. To be seasoned is not a bad thing.

And if you feel younger, or, maybe even just your age, that’s okay, too.

Your seasoning can still be there.

And when we surrender to its aging us, we can see it’s not actually done cruelly, though it might seem to be, but, rather, beautifully in its time.

And guess Who has it all in hand?😉

Blessings and prayers, friends. May we each embrace who we are in Him and season the earth with His truth.

Seasoned

Time.

It’s in His hands. So, why can it feel like such a cruel taskmaster?

It moves so swiftly some days, aging us all the more swiftly in the process.

Like my beloved George Bailey, I have always felt, in many respects, I was born older.

Couldn’t bypass a photo of his earnest prayer here. Courtesy of cinemaarchives.com

Not necessarily just due to my attraction to things of a bygone era, though being the only twelve-year-old I knew with an antique display worthy of the PBS roadshow was somewhat a clue. 🙂

Admittedly, that is a piece, but, really, it goes deeper than that.

Even beyond the childhood abuse that can simultaneously stunt growth and drag one to premature adulthood, though I’d be remiss to not acknowledge that role as well.

I can’t say I never had innocence or naivete of any sort, because it was there, in some manners and forms.

My older brother, for example, could persuade me of a lot of things that had not a shred of truth in them. 😉

But, inexplicably, almost paradoxically, the eyes of one who can see through the world to the unseemly underside were also often there.

And, needless to say, looking at the world through such eyes can be a weighty prospect at best, whatever your age.

It’s honestly hard to remember a time I didn’t feel a certain amount of heaviness in my soul.

And, coupled with it the unfortunate tendency to look for some way to safely unburden it, or, as bashfulness rose up more pronounced the more rejected I felt, to at least long to.

I became quite the quiet, grave little soul as a result, only unwinding some of which had me so tightly wound around said brother, who mostly understood the unusually oldish creature in his younger sister, though even he could become baffled and annoyed at times! 🙂

This heaviness stayed with me over the years, by and large, like a shroud, lighter sides of me only breaking through at rare moments or upon being on stage. ( Ah, for I wasn’t me then! )

Such an asset in socal gatherings, let me tell you! 🙄

For a long time, I walked about with this odd duck label.

So serious. 😐

The wallflower. 😔

The overthinker. 🤔

Almost always feeling the need to apologize for it.

For, surely, it must be a shortcoming.

I think of Amy March describing- in hushed tones- her sister, Beth, in “Little Women”:

She has an infirmity. She’s shy.

It was much, much later I pinpointed my autistic tendencies via my children’s diagnoses. This did help shed quite a new light on what I had coped with all those years.

Undeniably helpful.

But, whereas it is in fact integral to the human makeup He created me with, it’s not the be-all end-all of me, either.

It’s why, where I appreciate deeply recognition of special needs, I no longer feel it need always be what I personally talk about. But, I have tread this road before, so, let me stop circuiting…😏

All this to say, all those pieces, all that weight on my shoulders, the harshness of life and the rapid beating of time…all so acutely evident in my sight, needn’t become an unhappy, isolating thing.

I don’t have to apologetically stammer how I’m older than my years, subject myself to a burning silence, or consider myself a lonely curmudgeon, an embarrassing oddity of nature for all time.

For, what the world calls odd, He often calls seasoned.

Matt. 5:13 says:

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet.

Seasoning is a necessary part of the Christian life. Without the salt to preserve our faith, this world can quickly contaminate it.

To be seasoned, to me, means being able to recognize the true from the false.

Even when it’s uncomfortable or unpopular.

For, when we can taste and see that the Lord is good, it ruins us for all other flavors.

And that’s a good thing! ☺

As is the burden, if you will, of helping others recognize this fact.

It has been such an irony to me, honestly, that God directed me to places seemingly contrary to my rather old-fashioned ways, both in previous years and now.

Teaching toddlers and ministering to youth would seem to call for a child-like energy and some level of, shall we say, “coolness”?

Where I did and do allow myself some youthful zest where able, no one could ever accuse me of “coolness”. 😏

Yet, I feel God tell me not to assume what they have need of.

For, who am I to say they don’t need the sort of seasoning He has uniquely called me to help provide?

In seasoning should also come a growing confidence in His goodness and wisdom, after all.

And, as I referred to last time we spoke here, beautiful bridges can be built between generations.

So…if you feel older than your years…

Feel good about it. To be seasoned is not a bad thing.

And if you feel younger, or, maybe even just your age, that’s okay, too.

Your seasoning can still be there.

And when we surrender to its aging us, we can see its not actually done cruelly, though it might seem to be, but, rather, beautifully in its time.

And guess Who has it all in hand?😉

Blessings and prayers, friends. May we each embrace who we are in Him and season the earth with His truth.

Joyful Noises Among the Generations

We’ve had an especially wonderful couple of weeks of youth group.

Typically, we are all about food, music, Bible study, discussion, game.

And that is nearly always the order.

Oh, occasionally, it’s been game first, then Bible study- particularly when the game happens to be a good object lesson to lead in to the scriptures we’re focusing on.

But, these past couple of weeks were somewhat a needed shake-up of all that.

Not that there’s anything necessarily wrong with a routine.

Kids, even when they reach the teen years, truly appreciate the familiarity of knowing what to expect when ( Particularly the food. That’s a big chunk of my department. 😉).

And we do normally have great discussions, awesome worship, some fairly major feasting, and a whole lot of fun.

But, this year we have a different group. A significantly smaller group as others have graduated and/or moved on.

But, really, it’s not a bad thing!

Because, it’s a core group. A group hungry for the Lord.

And a group hungry to serve!

It’s a lovely thing to behold.

That last is what lead us beyond the usual order of business these past two Wednesdays.

Instead, we chose to seek a way to minister to our community.

Now, we’re an incredibly small town, as I believe I have mentioned in previous posts, so it takes a bit of creativity to find places to plug in at times.

But, creativity is one trait these kids have in spades.

So, what did we do?

Well, it may not seem exactly earthshattering, but I truly believe we filled a need.

Taking up our guitars, our drums, and our sheet music, we trooped over to the nursing home across the street for a bit of a jam session.

There was a lively mix of old hymns and newer worship songs sung with the residents there.

There were chalk drawings done depicting a lighthouse and an eagle to remind us all how the Lord is our guide and our uplifter.

There were encouraging verses spoken in the normally rather quiet living room area of the assisted living facility.

Best of all, there were stories swapped of God’s goodness and the richness of a life lived for Him.

Frail hands squeezed ours with surprising strength and hugs were generously given. Brightened eyes smiled into ours with amazing alertness.

Ah, the beautiful bridges that were built between the generations-ones I know we will return to again and again as the Lord leads.

There’s something to be said for not neglecting the wisdom of our elders or dismissing their earnest desire for a listening ear.

There’s also something to be said for recognizing that, for all the decrying of the current state of our youth, the young still have much more to offer this world than we often give them credit for.

Sometimes, it’s all just a matter of bending the routine a bit and bringing the joyful noises of the generations together. ☺

In this, we find countless simple yet profound ways to serve one another.

Prayers and blessings to you, friends! May we each realize all we can learn from one another and look to the generations both younger and older to serve and to be served by.

True Love, Take Two

Ok. Thanks for bearing with me through technical difficulties. I can’t seem to go back and turn on comments for my post yesterday, so, I am reposting it for those that might wish to leave a comment. Blessings to you!

Rembrandt I’m not, but, this is a personal oil crayon doodling that seemed to suit. 🙂

So many things have been written or spoken on love.

I think of Shakespeare and his observations-both the tragic and the comic.

Gatsby’s everlasting vigil over the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock.

Or maybe some classics of film: Casablanca: “Here’s looking at you, kid.” or Breakfast at Tiffany’s: “I love you. You belong to me.”

In song: The Righteous Brothers’ soaring “Unchained Melody” or The Beatles’ beautifully simple “All You Need is Love”.

I will leave aside the more current views but to say where the wrestling with the definitions of love are old as time, they are certainly heading in more and more a bluntly defiant direction…

Yet, for all the aspirations therein, for all the carefully constructed phrases and sometimes astute, sometimes skewed examinations, we are but scratching the surface of love most times at best, mangling it at worst.

For, not a one can hold a candle to the words of He who is love.

Think of one of the most well-known verses in all of scripture:

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

God so loved the world. This world-a broken and bitter place, so riddled with sin and strife we’re drowning in it.

Somehow, He could look upon us and, instead of wiping us out as we fully deserved, offer His son as a sacrifice in our stead.

That’s true love. Unconditional. Irreproachable.

And His son, in complete keeping with His Father’s will, spoke this truth at every turn, teaching this essential principle:

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:3

And He was faithful to demonstrate that truth in life, death, and resurrection.

For us.

That’s true love. Not a morsel left back for His own concern. All in for our sake, unworthy and fickle though we may be.

And if we could only fathom but a bit of that kind of love.

The kind of love that’s strong enough not to leave each other to our own devices.

The kind that sees us sinking in our own filth and lifts us up from it.

Honestly. Tenderly. Unswervingly.

Wow. What a wonderful thing that would be.

All I know to do is to keep striving for it, greatly treasure it, and be ever in prayer He can bring my heart right in His spirit, and thereby become a means to share this true love with others…

Prayers and blessings to you all! May we each seek to value the true love only found in Christ- in all its depth and breadth.

A Quick Note

Hey, folks! It’s been called to my attention that my comments were turned off for I don’t know how long ( Grr. Technology and I have this love/hate thing from way back. 😏).

I am not sure just how this particular incident happened at all, but, I think it’s been fixed.

I hope.

If you see this, I’d appreciate a comment of some sort so I can know for sure.

Thanks! Prayers and blessings, friends! ☺

True Love

Rembrandt I’m not, but, this is a personal oil crayon doodling that seemed to suit. 🙂

So many things have been written or spoken on love.

I think of Shakespeare and his observations-both the tragic and the comic.

Gatsby’s everlasting vigil over the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock.

Or maybe some classics of film: Casablanca: “Here’s looking at you, kid.” or Breakfast at Tiffany’s: “I love you. You belong to me.”

In song: The Righteous Brothers’ soaring “Unchained Melody” or The Beatles’ beautifully simple “All You Need is Love”.

I will leave aside the more current views but to say where the wrestling with the definitions of love are old as time, they are certainly heading in more and more a bluntly defiant direction…

Yet, for all the aspirations therein, for all the carefully constructed phrases and sometimes astute, sometimes skewed examinations, we are but scratching the surface of love most times at best, mangling it at worst.

For, not a one can hold a candle to the words of He who is love.

Think of one of the most well-known verses in all of scripture:

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

God so loved the world. This world-a broken and bitter place, so riddled with sin and strife we’re drowning in it.

Somehow, He could look upon us and, instead of wiping us out as we fully deserved, offer His son as a sacrifice in our stead.

That’s true love. Unconditional. Irreproachable.

And His son, in complete keeping with His Father’s will, spoke this truth at every turn, teaching this essential principle:

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. John 15:3

And He was faithful to demonstrate that truth in life, death, and resurrection.

For us.

That’s true love. Not a morsel left back for His own concern. All in for our sake, unworthy and fickle though we may be.

And if we could only fathom but a bit of that kind of love.

The kind of love that’s strong enough not to leave each other to our own devices.

The kind that sees us sinking in our own filth and lifts us up from it.

Honestly. Tenderly. Unswervingly.

Wow. What a wonderful thing that would be.

All I know to do is to keep striving for it, greatly treasure it, and be ever in prayer He can bring my heart right in His spirit, and thereby become a means to share this true love with others…

Prayers and blessings to you all! May we each seek to value the true love only found in Christ- in all its depth and breadth.

We’re Missing the Point

There are moments in our lives where we really think we’ve got it all together.

Thoughts are threading nicely, dreams are dovetailing with reality.

Plans meet in a beautiful, purposeful way, blossoming out before our wondering eyes.

It is in these moments we are at what we see as the veritable heights of humanity.

The pinnacle of delight in our own achievements…

And the most vulnerable- if we forget to acknowledge the Giver of these good things.

Beyond just a flippant throwaway grace over dinner. 😉

Now, comfortable doesn’t have to be bad. Comfortable is something we each of us quite naturally crave.

In my special needs family, it can be extremely important on any given day! 🙂

Yet, I don’t really think it’s the chief aim of the Christian life.

Because, when we’re overly comfortable, we as humans are prone to neglect gratitude.

Far too prone.

Abundance was a hallmark of my previous church existence. We all of us were expected to have it or thirst for it.

Abundance isn’t evil, of course.

Jesus did say, after all, He came to give us life and life more abundantly.

But, then, consider that the word “abundant” can have several interpretations.

Some temporal, as my old church clung to.

Some eternal-that which I now tend to believe Jesus was really referring to.

Abundance in the former defintion, again, is not necessarily wrong in of itself.

In fact, it can be amazing, but in it often comes the danger of falling into a dismaying forgetfulness.

Of the life prior to it, of the lives in the shadow of it, of the promise of abundant life to come.

Most of all, of the Lord who benevolently pours it all out.

We may start out with a hearty “Thank you, Jesus!” but, without taking care, that thankfulness tends to fade.

We begin thinking somehow we did it all, that something in our infinitesimal efforts is what caused these blessings to be.

Pride slips in, entitlement soon follows, and, sadly thereafter, enters in a sour dissatisfaction with the current level of abundance.

There comes in a stingy sort of fear that what we do have can be snatched, that only in anxious grasping as at an old blanket can we hold on to it.

That only in further chasing down can there be a return to the brief time on the mountain top.

We stumble through screaming for our rights, but we lose all sense of righteousness in the process.

When triumph comes, we tend to say, “Look at what I did!” with nary but a cursory glance at He who equips us.

But, when struggle comes in, when life looks a little less rosy?

Ah, then we recall Him! Typically, either to vent anger or to beg favors.

And, in all that fruitless scramble, we tragically miss the point of living for Christ altogether, reducing Him to a kind of slot machine we love when all is overflowing, but resent when our land isn’t so plentiful.

Oh, this should not be so, friends!

To cheapen this gracious gift of the Christian life to a lot of “what-about-me’s” just cheats our hearts and souls in the end.

Of the joy of the Lord that is born in the thick of the come what may.

Of the love of God that sees beyond the temporary trappings of this world to the eternal hope of heaven.

Of the blessed truth that sheds light on the struggling we might not otherwise notice in our state of abundance.

Points we really don’t want to miss in the midst of “having it all together”.

Prayers and blessings, dear friends! May we seek ever after gratitude for all He gives us, especially the gift of eternal life.