Categories
Emotions

Does your Emotional State feel More Unstable Now as the Crisis Ends?

Does your Emotional State feel more unstable now, as the crisis ends? I am thinking about the global Pandemic and the move by many countries toward what has been called a new normal. But my question is prompted by a personal experience to which you might relate.

The aisle was extremely crowded at the Super Center as my four-year-old daughter and I turned down it. I let go of her hand and stretched to reach an item I wanted from the top shelf. Oops, not that one, I needed the one just on the other side of the shopper on my right. I waited for him to move and stood on my tiptoes to grab it. I turned back toward my child, but she was no longer there. I called out for her and waited for her response, but none came.

I hurried to the next aisle and the next, and the next, looking past and through the throng of people, hoping to see her little blonde head. I wanted to scream. I was tempted to yell at the shopper who’d been in my way. I felt like a bubbling cauldron inside. My face was hot, and I was embarrassed for not paying enough attention and mad at my daughter for wandering off.

Lava simmering: Does your Emotional State feel More Unstable Now as the Crisis Ends?
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I hoped she’d wandered off and not been taken… No! I couldn’t think about that. I pleaded with God to keep His eyes on her and bring her back to me.

Finally, I found an employee who used her store radio to enlist help. There was an almost unbearable tightness in my chest, but I gulped it down and stayed focused. There was a crisis and I needed to be alert.

After what seemed much longer than it probably was, there came a voice over the walkie-talkie that a child had been found who matched the description I’d given. Simultaneously, a woman came around the corner, speaking those words into her hand-held device. In her other hand, she held the hand of my little girl.

I was so relieved! I ran, fully aware that I was running in the store and not able to control my sudden energy. I collapsed onto my knees to be the same size as my daughter and gathered her in my arms. I was sobbing. My emotional state felt more unstable now that the crisis was over.

Erupting Volcano: Does your Emotional State feel More Unstable Now as the Crisis Ends?
Photo by Clive Kim on Pexels.com

In an eruption of emotions, I experienced everything I had been forcing back. Fear, anger, embarrassment, worry, panic – it all gushed forward, bubbled over, and then receded into gratitude. I wondered if I’d ever be able to pry myself off of my stunned little girl.

This experience has come to mind quite a bit lately. The Pandemic was gut-wrenching, yet throughout the crisis, I witnessed resolve. I saw bravery and self-control. There was grief, loss and intense fear and yet people were resolute. There was a crisis to overcome.

Many of the mandates related to the Pandemic were lifted today, where I live. Fewer people are sick, and many are fully vaccinated. But I wonder, as the crisis ends, and the threat declines does our collective emotional state feel more unstable? Has anyone experienced it this way?

I look around and see so much that seems out of control. There is unsurpassed division, aggression, sadness, frustration, confusion and exasperation. Perhaps more concerning is the growing apathy toward things which were once meaningful or sacred.

Lava spewing: Does your Emotional State feel More Unstable Now as the Crisis Ends?
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I’ve heard the explanation that people have forgotten how to behave in public. Do you think that is the case? Would people, who remember how to ride a bike after several years without practice, really forget how to treat each other in eighteen months?

I am praying that these emotions are just erupting now because they can. I know the Pandemic was much more brutal and long-lasting than my experience of briefly losing my daughter, so it stands to reason that it may take longer to fully vent our feelings. But I am hopeful that soon, our unstable emotional state is going find its footing and melt into matchless gratitude.

I know that might sound like ‘pie in the sky’ thinking or an overly optimistic idea. In all fairness, that is how my mind works. But it makes sense, right? I am not ready to give up on us – the people who occupy planet earth today, who have been through so much, who individually want to emerge from this crisis victoriously.

Line of people in cohesion: Does your Emotional State feel More Unstable Now as the Crisis Ends?
Photo by Kindel Media on Pexels.com

Collectively, we are the sum of our parts. What if you and I decided to be more mindful of our unstable emotional state? As the crisis ends, there will be an initial adjustment to the relief we feel. But let’s not linger there, acting on the ugly emotions that emerge. As the saying goes:

“It’s ok to not be ok, but it’s not ok to stay that way.”

Author unknown

“No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

Romans 8:37-39

Let’s choose together to express the pervasive gratitude that we also feel. There have been hard things. We’ve lost and sacrificed and grieved. But we have been given another day and it has dawned in glory. If you and I can look to Jesus and grab hold of His promises, we can start springs of His goodness flowing into the instability. I believe it will be well received because our world is parched and yearning for refreshment.

Sunrise and waterfall: Does your Emotional State feel More Unstable Now as the Crisis Ends?
Photo by Sachin C Nair on Pexels.com

“With this in mind, we constantly pray for you, that our God may make you worthy of his calling, and that by his power he may bring to fruition your every desire for goodness and your every deed prompted by faith.”

2 Thessalonians 1:11

Does your emotional state feel more unstable now as the crisis ends? It’s okay! Lean in! Feel it out. But don’t act upon that which surfaces first. Let’s wade through to the good stuff and spread that! We get to shape our new normal. Let’s make it better than before. We’ve paid a hefty price. We should have something great to show for it! What are your thoughts?

Categories
Devotions

Do you Hope for Pleasant Ways and Peaceful Paths your Whole Life Long?

“My son, find wisdom…
Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor.  Her ways are pleasant ways, and all her paths are peace. She is a tree of life to those who take hold of her; those who hold her fast will be blessed.”

Proverbs 3:16-18

My beloved child,

Do you hope for pleasant ways and peaceful paths your whole life long? I desire this for you, so much! Wisdom keeps the keys to these luxuries. Don’t settle for counterfeit knowledge, which will over-promise and under-deliver. Acquire the wisdom which radiates from God Himself.

Embrace wisdom with every ounce of you. As her arms encircle you, take hold of the long life that is in her right hand and the riches and honor she has for you in her left.

Stay beside her because her ways are pleasant. She traipses on paths of peace. Oh, treachery will come! But you will be unshakable if you have wisdom. Meander with her and you will experience her wonder.

Do you hope to be whole and full of life? Wisdom is the tree from which grow the blessings you seek. Take hold of her, put your roots down with her. Hold fast and you will thrive.

It is my hope for you to enjoy pleasant ways and peaceful paths your whole life long. I pray you always persist in your pursuit of wisdom; that you hold her fast, come what may. You are blessed. You are a blessing.

You are truly and deeply cared for.


“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy.”

James 3:17

This post is part of a series which was born the day my son moved out of the house. Please read Wait, one more thing! for the backstory.

Other posts in this series, which you might enjoy, are:
Live Long and Prosper
Fear the One You Trust
How to Measure your Treasure
Don’t Despise Discipline from the One Who Delights in You
Why Wisdom Wins ‘Best Choice Award’ in Every Value Match

Categories
Reflections

5 Things You’d have to Endure from Me if I Were Like my Father

“I will not grow up to be like my father!” I’ve heard teens melodramatically lament about the unjust expectations put upon them by the people who’ve raised them more times that I can count. Their complaints are corroborated by their friends and grow into deep seeded mantras in young adulthood. They vow to do and be much better when they finally have children.

Well, I called upon my 5 kids (and my husband too!) to genuinely judge our journey on this general, generational injunction.

The prompt was simple: “What are the first 2 or 3 words that come to mind when you think of Gramps?” (That’s what we call my dad.) We censored nothing. Here are 5 things you’d have to endure from me if I were like my father.

1. If I were like my father, I’d be: A Wise and Witty Whistler.

Three words that came up immediately were wisdom, wit, and whistle. The word wisdom may have exited every mouth which gave input. And it was in reference to Godly wisdom; not preached at you but gifted with love and a twinge of wit, which makes it go over as easy as a spoon full of sugar makes the medicine go down.

The whistle is a separate story, but just as accurate. There is a bird call which my father uses to beckon loudly when we are out of earshot of his voice. To this day (and I’ve been grown for quite some time), it stops me in my tracks and propels me back in his direction. My kids all respond to it. It is miraculous to me, because I can barely whistle at all.

2. If I were like my father, I’d be: Faithful and Funny.

My father has had the audacity to be faithful to God, my mother, his kids and grandkids, his calling and everything else he has committed to. He serves without desiring recognition and does the right thing for Jesus’ sake.

And he’s funny. I mentioned that the word wisdom came up several times. The idea of humor was a close runner up, but it came in the differing terms of funny, wit, and puns, which brings us to thing number 3.

A bowl of nuts: 5 things you'd have to endure from me if I was like my father
Photo by Mehran B on Pexels.com

3. If I were like my father, I’d be: Nuts and Punny.

Puns, dad jokes, zingers and one-liners. Eye roll with my father’s puns. He tortures us all with amusement, but he did a grape job raisin me. (Ba da bum!)

And if I were like my father, I’d be nuts! I mean, I’d like nuts! When the word “nuts” was mentioned, it was followed up with “pistachios and cashews and almonds”, which are his favorites.

4. If I were like my father, I’d be: Simple, Sensible and Strong.

My father likes to keep things simple. If God said it, he believes it. And he lives by what he believes. He is sensible. There are no contradictions about him.

He is in good health and maintains an active lifestyle, but the kind of strength that was noted here was an emotional and spiritual one. (There is that wisdom again.) He is a pillar against which we all lean.

5. If I were like my father, I’d be: A Leader with a Legacy.

My father is a servant leader. He doesn’t command anyone to line up behind him; yet he has inspired a long trail of people who follow him as he follows Christ. He’s built a legacy of hard work, Godly surrender and humble leadership.

Oh, I will not grow up to be like my father!
(Not without God’s help, that is.)

Some of this has been taught, some of it has been caught, but most of it I continue to pray for. These 5 things, you’d have to endure from me if I were like my father, are things I can only hope to offer you as I am sanctified and renewed day by day. (All except the whistle; I’ve pretty much given up on that one.)

Happy Father’s Day!

To my father and to all the dads out there who serve Jesus, their families, and anyone in arms distance who needs a hand, I thank you. I honor you. And to all of the father figures who have selflessly stepped up to fill gaps, not caused by you, I want to recognize you too. Happy Father’s Day!

I need to acknowledge that some people really do/did suffer at the hands of their fathers and are doing their best to change their family legacy for the better. I sincerely admire your dedication to overcome any evil which has been perpetrated against you.

I want to encourage you that your Heavenly Father offers a different story, which you can become a part of today. He wants to adopt you into His family and redeem your hardship. Please read The Gospel in a Nutshell and/or contact me if you’d like more information.

“Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.”

John 1:12, 13
Categories
Reflections

This 1 vital something reminded me of my value and stopped my tailspin

My eyebrows threatened to send me into a tailspin a few minutes ago. I’m not kidding, I was on my way down. It doesn’t take much some days! But then I remembered something vital, which eased me back into sanity. And I wondered, “Am I the only person who sometimes forgets that vital something?” I thought I’d sit and write about it, just in case anyone else is in a tailspin and needs to be reminded of their value.

So here’s what happened. I had just gotten back from a quick lunch date with my husband; nothing fancy, just a quick burrito at the place around the corner. I glanced into the mirror and noticed that my eyebrows really need reshaping.

Suddenly, I heard the voice of one of my friends echo in my head about how vitally important it is for a wife to look ‘put together’ for her husband. I saw her beautifully kempt face in my mind’s eye, and I felt so inferior. “My poor husband must not feel as honored by me as my friend’s husband does by her.”

Old and dirty airplane: This 1 vital something reminded me of my value and stopped my tailspin
Photo by Jonathan Borba on Pexels.com

Also in the mirror, I could see the shower door. It had water spots on it. The voice of another friend quipped up about how vital, and easy, it is to keep a clean house.

I stepped back and really gazed into the mirror at myself and the room I was in. I would need to spend hours to get us (me and the bathroom) up to the standards of those two friends. But when?

I could feel the tailspin starting to swirl… But I wasn’t going to fall for it. “Oh nah-uh! Sorry, Satan, not today, not over this. I’m not going to listen to you, even if you’re using the voices of some of my most precious friends.”

You see, when I think of the gals who make up my best friends, I see skills! I see beauty, cleanliness, talent, hours of volunteer service -, I see so much that is worthy of praise! But this is the 1 vital something:

I do not see it all in the same woman.

We each have our strengths. We each have our weaknesses. We each have our own people with whom we live and serve. We should never try to be each other and never-ever should one of us try to be all of us!

This is where the tools I’ve previously shared in the post entitled How to Distinguish Between Urgent and Important come in really handy!

Neither God, nor my husband is disappointed in me today because my eyebrows need attention. Neither of them has the shower doors at the top of their priority lists. I am spending my day serving them both as best I can, in the ways they’ve let me know are important to them.

I was thinking about this and wondering if my voice enters the heads of my girlfriends when they are lacking in an area where I am strong. Their verbal encouragement to me was turned around by the enemy and used against me. Do my words get used against them? I would never want that!

Maybe instead of words, we should use our actions. What if my beauty guru friend came over and whipped my eyebrows into quick submission in exchange for some homemade cookies for her family? What if we each used our strengths to make all our households more well-rounded?

Several planes in formation: This 1 vital something reminded me of my value and stopped my tailspin
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

I realize that this WordPress community is scattered all around the world, but what could you organize for your local group of friends? Could you tutor your friend’s child while she helps clean your kitchen? What can you offer and what do you need?

For any Back Porch guys who are still reading, thank you for sticking with me on this one. I’m not sure if this same dynamic plays out in bro friendships. Maybe you can let me know. But if you’re in a relationship with any girl, I have a vital something for you too.

Does your wife, significant other, daughter, or favorite girl know what you value in her list of priorities? If she doesn’t have the time in her day to study, cook and clean, earn a paycheck, make herself stunning, volunteer in the community, care for the kids, practice an instrument, feed the animals and whatever else she is trying to do, does she know which things she can stop without letting you down?

If you’ve never explicitly told her, I encourage you to do so. It might help her to let herself off the hook when something small is about to send her into a tailspin.

Two planes in the sunset: Several planes in formation: This 1 vital something reminded me of my value and stopped my tailspin
Photo by Pixabay on Pexels.com

Nobody can do it all well, but we can all do some things well. You – yes, you – my precious Back Porch friend, have amazing strengths. Don’t let the enemy send you into a tailspin over something as silly as your eyebrows, or their equivalent in the mirror into which you gaze.

God has made each of us on purpose and with a purpose. This 1 vital something reminded me of my value and stopped my tailspin. I don’t need to be who He made you to be, and you won’t be who He made me.

What are you good at? Where could you use some help? Do you have a group of friends with whom you can partner to remind each other of your value and stop your tailspins? I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Categories
Devotions

Why Wisdom Wins ‘Best Choice Award’ in Every Value Match

“My son…
Blessed are those who find wisdom, those who gain understanding, for she is more profitable than silver and yields better returns than gold. She is more precious than rubies; nothing you desire can compare with her.”

Proverbs 3:13-15

My beloved child,

Wisdom will always win. It is the single item of greatest and unmatched value that you will ever acquire. Seek it, find it, guard it. This will be the recurring best choice you will ever make. Nothing would make me prouder than to see you sitting on a fat stack of Godly wisdom!

It is possible – no, it is likely – that you will be tempted by that which glistens more seductively. Silver seems profitable, gold promises returns in any market, and precious gems lure you with their very name and ask for your desire. But these things will vanish and fade.

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Pexels.com

Do not be deceived. Wisdom wins in every value match, every time. It is proven to be unsurpassed in profitability and promises superior returns for your investment. It is that precious item whose desirability is incomparable. Collect wisdom. Stay the course. Build your stash, precept upon precept. It will equip you always.

Believe God when He tells you that wisdom is better than wealth. Obey Him when He tells you how to find favor. God says “blessed are those who find wisdom” and this is why wisdom wins ‘Best Choice Award’ in every value match.

You are truly and deeply loved and prayed for.

“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.”

Psalm 111:10

This post is part of a series which was born the day my son moved out of the house. Please read Wait, one more thing! for the backstory.

Other posts in this series, which you might enjoy, are:
Live Long and Prosper
Fear the One You Trust
How to Measure your Treasure
Don’t Despise Discipline from the One Who Delights in You

Categories
Devotions

Don’t Despise Discipline from One Who Delights in You

“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline, and do not resent his rebuke, because the Lord disciplines those he loves, as a father the son he delights in.”

Proverbs 3:11-12

My beloved child,

I despise little more than to see you hurting. But sometimes, pain serves a purpose, especially when it is allowed by God. Discipline is invaluable, if gets your attention and causes you to alter your course to be more consistent with the one the Lord has perfectly charted for you. Embrace it.

Your father and I corrected you when you were in our home because we absolutely delight in you and want the best for you. Your Heavenly Father cares for you even more and will continue to discipline and shape you into His image until He takes you to His home.

Turn toward the Lord when He brings correction into your life. Lean in. Learn well. Know that He wouldn’t be giving His time and attention to teach you if He didn’t love you immensely. Don’t despise discipline when it comes from the One who delights in you most.

You are truly and deeply cared for, by us and by your Lord.

This post is part of a series which was born the day my son moved out of the house. Please read Wait, one more thing! for the backstory.

Other posts in this series, which you might enjoy, are:
Live Long and Prosper
Fear the One You Trust
How to Measure your Treasure