Iron Sharpens Iron at the Family Table

Coming back following holidays left my mind tired yet full. This thought rose above others tonight…

Sometimes, it’s difficult to be with family after a long absence.

Well, duh, Captain Obvious. 🙄

It’s also difficult to leave them when time draws nigh.

Also pretty much a well duh statement. 😏

There are the numerous delights and countless challenges alike to our spirits in coming together after extended months apart.

You’re no longer a child and your tendency is to attempt earnestly to prove it, all to varying degrees of success.

For, there is also the something of being in their midst that pulls you back to that place of littleness compared to the elders in your life.

In my particular case, there’s a lot of shadows to that former existence, some areas stepped into tentatively, others not at all.

Apprehension can seize my soul if I don’t take care to surrender it to His hand.

Now, forgiveness has been flowing in abundance among us for decades now, and, yet, must still rise up to be met again in entering into one another’s presence.

Past is not swept under any rugs, by any means, but, in looking back, love softens the edges of the pain.

Hearts don’t necessarily forget all the twinges, but they do connect afresh through the knowledge Christ makes all things new.

Including each other.

And, then, we get to share that newness of being. What a wonder that is!

Thoughts fly back and forth across the table. Struggles are examined in a different light, growth is noted, wisdom imparted.

Each moment, both the tender and the hard, threads itself to the ever-changing tapestry of our existence, tethering us tighter together.

Iron sharpening iron sounds sort of scary at first glance, but, how it shows itself in our lives can be incredible.

Home can be a great place to see this at work, for you get to surprise each other with what God’s given us to bring to the table.

You get to witness the learning you each have done and become that safe place to reach across said table with it.

It may not exactly feel like light family fun at times, yet these times the Lord affords us to deepen our walks, both with Him and with one another, are vital.

Hence, the observation at the beginning.

Difficult to be there, difficult to leave…

But, this truth I hold fast to to keep me going:

God grants us fond memories to soothe the bittersweet and carry us through to the next day we meet.

In Him, we are never truly apart.

I hope your Thanksgiving was a blessed one, dear friends. May we ever seek those iron sharpening situations, whether by family, by friends, or both.

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.