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.

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.