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What’s Your Beam?

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Sins of the tongue probably rate as the worst kinds of sins as far as harm to others goes.  Yet, we sit in our churches with blazing tongues, spreading hurt to all with no qualms.  While I believe homosexuality is a sin because the Bible says it is, I sometimes question the obsession with it that I see among Christians.  It’s like we’ve separated the sins into acceptable and unacceptable categories.  We have our pet sins; those go into the acceptable category.  Then we have the ones that don’t bother us as much; those go into the unacceptable category.

 

Let me tell you no sin is acceptable to God!

 

We are all sinners.  There is none righteous, no not one.  We cannot gloss over some sins and sit in our pews as holier-than-thou whited sepulchres, spewing ungodliness in our judgmentalness.  We ought to do one and not leave the other undone.  We should worry about sin – all sin – our own sin first.

 

The Bible tells us to take the beam out of our own eye first.  Then we will be able to see clearly to help others remove the speck in their eyes.  As long as we have these sins that we cling to and justify and ignore as ‘not so bad’, we will be unable to help others with their sin.  This is the problem when it comes to speaking out against sin.  We do not have the right to do so until we have cleaned up our own back yard.  I am not saying we shouldn’t speak out.  I’m saying we should clean up that beam and then speak out, when we have the right and the ability to help others in the same mess we found ourselves in.

 

We have the answer:  Jesus Christ.  But we besmirch His name when we excuse sin in our own lives while condemning others for theirs.  I have been asking God for over a year to show me the truth about these matters.  He is slowly but surely moving me into His will as He teaches me how to walk with Him and how to know Him as He truly is.  This is a difficult concept for most Christians,  but it is difficult in its very simplicity.  The same is true of salvation.  It is simple, and yet we make it hard.

 

So what beams do you have in your eyes, keeping you from seeing clearly? 

 

In this series, we will talk about the beams we can have and what they look like.  Tune in for more. . . .

 

 

It starts with words, but it doesn’t end there

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“Well done is better than well said.”

 “The road to hell is paved with good intentions.”

“Talk is cheap.”

~*~*~

However you say it,

words without action mean nothing;

intentions without follow through mean nothing;

promises without promise keepers mean nothing.

Words are easy; actions are hard.

Say it — Do it — Be it!

~*~*~

Communication begins with words.

It does not end there.

Communication with only words seldom communicates anything,

especially if the words do not match the actions.

At least, it seldom communicates what the speaker hoped.

~*~*~

When we stand behind our words:

Others hear that we mean what we say.

Others hear that we have integrity.

Others hear that this person is trustworthy.

Others hear the intent of the heart,

because it has not been divorced from right action.

~*~*~

God wants us to stand behind our words to Him.

He always stands beside His to us.

Don’t say, “I love You.” when you don’t obey.

Don’t say, “I love Your Word.” when you don’t read it.

Don’t say, “I love Your people.”  when you don’t show compassion.

Don’t say, “I trust You.” when you continue to doubt.

~*~*~

Words

Words (Photo credit: sirwiseowl)

The words you speak my reflect what is in your heart,   But the actions you take prove what is in your heart.

Watching the end of the run

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This week my Mother-in-law, Ginny, is with us again.  Seeing her yesterday was rather shocking because she has gotten worse even in the short time since Ginny last yearwe saw her last!  Physically, she’s rather zombie-like at the moment (that could change any time).  But she’s in the mental mode where I have to remind her to drink or eat and she can’t do even the simple things without help.

 

Watching someone Die

It is one of the most difficult things to watch someone dying, whether slowly or quickly.  I have done this many times in my life, and it never gets easier.  You watch as the “life”, the part that makes the person who he or she is, slowly fades out.  You can see it best in the eyes.  The body begins to die the moment we are born, but when the soul and spirit of a person is trapped inside a mind and/or body that can no longer function, you know physical death is eminent.

In some ways, watching others die around you is a rite of passage of sorts.  It comes to everyone, and we all await our turn.

 

The Good News

The good news is that when someone dies in Christ, they pass through death into life everlasting.  This makes watching death easier in many ways for those of us who believe.  We know it’s only a temporary separation.

 

Entering Death Valley

Entering Death Valley (Photo credit: Frank Kehren)

Watching someone Die

There is another way we have to watch people “die” at times.  I have a family member (well more than one) who keeps making bad decisions.  We are born with the tendency to make bad choices; it’s called a sin nature.  However, as we grow, we should learn the consequences of our bad decisions and begin making more and more better ones.  The child learns that fit throwing gets discipline, so they learn to ask politely and accept the answer (well somewhat ;] ).  Once you touch something hot, you learn not to touch it again.

But some people seem set on a path of destruction.  I’m not talking about the besetting sin, or a sin that plagues

Eye death

Eye death (Photo credit: @Doug88888)

all of us in that we continue to struggle with it.  I am talking about someone who consistently makes bad decisions or self-sabatoges.  Watching someone in this mode is not fun, especially if it is someone you love.  You can see the cliff as they run toward it.  You try to warn them.  You weep as you see their steps running ever nearer to certain destruction.  You weep as they self destruct.  You weep in your prayer closet as you take them before the Lord.  In the end, God gave them free will, and they must make that decision.

My Soul is Sorrowful unto Death

My Soul is Sorrowful unto Death (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Sometimes you can help them put things back together when they finally get to the end of themselves and realize there’s a better way.  Sometimes, they have to touch that hot stove again and again and again before they finally get there, if they ever do.

 

The Good News

I have also watched God turn people around many times.  These people often seemed as if a hopeless case, and yet, God stepped in and softened their heart.  He used their poor choices (sin of rebellion) to teach them about Himself until they finally got it and turned around from the cliff to the path He has chosen for them.  They begin to grow and flourish and watching this is just as beautiful and brings almost as many tears as watching the other.  This time, however, they are tears of joy and hope.

As long as there is hope, we can survive anything.  We can persist through unimaginable things if we have hope.  I can tell you that there is always hope in Christ.  Things do change.  People do change.  Life goes on.  We grieve for those we lose, those who don’t make it, and we keep going until it’s our turn to step over that threshold into the shadow of death ourselves.

 

 

Have you had to watch someone die?  Have you watched some self-destruct through their own bad choices?   Has that ever been you?  How did you get through it?  Have you seen God do a work in someone’s life when the world had given up on them?  Do you have hope?

 

 

Birthday Bash

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Happy Birthday to Me!

Happy Birthday to Me! (Photo credit: jo-h)

Saturday was my birthday.  I was born on my parent’s first wedding anniversary, so it would have been their 55th.  The birthday was great.  My mother-in-law was here and she was able to sing Happy Birthday to me, even though she said “dear lady” instead of Angie.  The thing is that for many years, my mother-in-law was always the first one to sing to me on my birthday.  She called in the morning, and it was something to look forward to.  It’s been a few years now since I’ve heard that song from her, and it made my day!  It’s important to remember that, sometimes, it’s the little things that really make an impact.

Sunday was the big day, however.  My husband’s birthday was last Tuesday.  He was away for work, so we couldn’t celebrate.  So, Sunday was celebration day for both of us.  My request to my middle-born was for him to come and go to church with me, and he did 😀  He came in and sat by Grandma Ginny and we had a hard time keeping her quiet because she wanted to talk to him and talk to us about him:)  My oldest and family did not make it till after church, because my daughter-in-law had to work in the morning.  The oldest grandkids were with their dad this weekend, so we missed them:(  They sent me some beautiful hand-made cards though!

So, we had all our kids, two grandkids, Grandma Ginny, and a family friend here for steak on the grill and lots of other goodies.  We had a great time.  One The middle child :Dof my favorite things {TMI warning} is when I’m in the bathroom, which shares a wall with the dining room, and I hear all the laughter and talking going on out there.  I just love to listen to it and feel blessed 😀  [and for my writer friends-I know 😀 is not a punctuation mark, but it expresses how I feel.]  About 4pm, the middle son had left for work and friend gone to work too.  I tried to lay down for a minute when I hear this voice.  Hmmm, that sounds like Glenna.  Couldn’t be!  Eventually, I went out to investigate and my Uncle Dave and his wife, Glenna had come down!  I didn’t get my nap, but naps don’t matter in the scheme of things.  The important thing is family and friends and spending time together.  That’s what I wanted for my birthday, and that’s what I got!  What could be better?

Building MemoriesPart of the backbone of communication is building memories by spending time together.  My Uncle and I tell people we are twins.  I am one month older than he is, but we are a LOT alike!  We can make a half statement and the other knows exactly what’s coming.  We know each other so well that communication doesn’t even have to involve words.  It’s an intuitive thing based on years of memory building and time spent together.  It is built and maintained on connection.

The same is true of communication with God.  We build our relationship with Him by spending time with Him, listening to Him, sharing experiences with Him, and just getting to know Him.  Trust is built.  An intuitive knowing of Him is built.  The ability to truly communicate at a deeper level is built.   He attempts to communicate with us from the beginning, but it is only as we begin to walk with Him and learn of Him that we find that inner joy and peace that comes from truly knowing Him.

Learning about Him is kind of like learning new facets of a multi-faceted diamond (infinitely faceted).  If you’ve ever studied the names of God (Jesus/Holy Spirit), you know that he often has names that express some aspect of His personality.  We could not bear to see Him all at once, so He reveals Himself to us slowly, building that relationship in much the same way as we build them horizontally with others by building memories and learning about one another.

Sometimes that “knowing” can backfire in the realm of horizontal communication, especially with family.  It’s never that way with God though.  Each new thing we learn about Him makes us thirsty to learn more.  We will spend eternity learning about Him and never get to the end.

In the meantime (before that eternity) building connections with others is heaven on earth!

What do you have to say?

Political Communication: Is it possible?

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As the USA heads closer to election time, people’s’ humanity (sin nature) seems to be rising to the top.  It’s everywhere.

“I’m right.  You’re stupid.”

“I know what’s best.”

“Only an idiot would believe that.”

“Libs are . . . .”

“Conservatives are . . .”

You know you’ve seen/heard it all too.  How can a country that has become so polarized ever find neutral ground and begin communicating with one another?

 

Real communication starts with respect.

1.  No name calling.

2.  No trying to out-yell another to get your point across.

3.  Really listen to the other person instead of formulating your argument or interrupting.

4.  Try to turn off your filters and hear the other person without bias.

5.  Recognize that stupidity, bias, greed, etc. runs in both parties.

6.  Turn off the arrogance!  You are not God and do not know everything.

7.  Recognize that your rights end where my nose begins.

8.  Remember that people often want they same things, they simply have a different plan for arriving there.

9.  Recognize that your world is not the universe.  Where you live, how you were raised, and a hundred other factors go into your world view, and everyone’s world view is at least somewhat unique even though common characteristics may exist.

10. But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law.  (Galatians 5:22-23).  Exersize these fruits and begin to plant seeds of kindness, and respect as you go about your daily life.

11.  If you are a Christian – pray for them.

 

This a start to the list.  Can you think of other ways to show respect to others?  Are you guilty of disrespect to those who disagree with you? 

 

By the way, silence is not respect.  We need to speak up, but we need to do it in a respectful way that acknowledges others as human beings.  I can and will stand on my principles, especially those that God laid down in the Bible.  But,  I will attempt to do so as Jesus did.  He was tough when needed, but always thought of what would bring others to God.  He was/is the embodiment of the Fruit of the Spirit.

 

Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man shows, this he will also reap.  For one who sows to his own flesh shall from the flesh reap corruption, but the one who sows to the Spirit shall from the Spirit reap eternal life.  And let us not lose heart in doing good, for in due time we shall reap if we do not grow weary.   Galatians 6:7-9

 

 

That sounds like a you problem

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“Sounds like a you problem.”  –Tim Young

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I borrowed this phrase from my middle son.  Did I mention I used to be an enabler?  Hmmmm, well, I was.   People just had to look like they needed something (especially in an emotional/psychological way) and Angie was right there.  They didn’t even have to ask.  I have since reformed after a major crash of a symbiotic relationship with a friend went horribly wrong.  I learned something.  People need to take responsibility for their own problems.  That doesn’t mean I can’t help them.  It means I choose when, where, and how I do so.  I don’t put myself and others at risk to jump to the rescue when the person needs to learn how to rescue him/herself.  Painfully, I realized that taking on other people’s problems wasn’t good for either of us.  Quitting was difficult as well, especially for those used to having me say yes all the time.  But, they got over it and so did I.

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Feel free to use the phrase, because it works very well at deflecting those who want to make  their problem yours.  My grandchildren hear this phrase a lot.  One granddaughter likes to hang off me and say, “I’m bored!”  I say, “Sounds like a you problem.”   I may suggest some things she can do, but my point is to teach her how to entertain herself.  “I’m not the entertainment committee.” works here too.  It’s amazing how life changes when you allow other people to have their ‘you problem’ without making it a ‘me problem’.

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Have you ever taken on someone else’s problem either by helping them too much or by worrying about them?  Do you try to get others to take on your problems?  Do you get angry when they don’t?  Do you recognize the dangers of enabling?

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Then, a week or so ago, I was in prayer mode.   Thinking about someone else and praying for their issues, thinking about something they do that bothers me.  Then, I hear this (inaudible) voice saying, “Sounds like a you problem.”  Hmmmmmmmm.   OK, God, I get it.   The other person didn’t have a problem, I did.  I wanted to make it that person’s problem because that would put all the ‘happy place’ back into my life.  However, just because something bothers me does not make it a problem for others.   I hate it when God uses my own words to smack me up side the head and make me take a hard look at myself.  I’m so glad He does it though.

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Do you try to make your issues into other people’s problems?  “I would never….” “If only they’d….”  “They need to keep their child in check….”  That’s not how you do it…..”  Have these or other similar words ever crossed your mind or your lips?  Can you recognize the difference between a YOU problem and a ME problem?   How do you set boundaries between you and me problems?  Do you allow yourself to be guilted into saying yes?

Super Granny?

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Draw it for me Grandma

I often draw super heroes for Roland.  In general, I have to have a picture or something to look at.  Roland wanted Iron Man tonight.  I have no idea what Iron Man looks like, so I told him I would have to have a picture.  He disappears with a crayon and a piece of paper.  Soon I hear, “Yup, that’s it.  That’s Iron Man.”   He brings me the drawing and says, “Here you go grandma.”  Needless to say, Grandma had a little bit of trouble drawing Iron Man from Roland’s drawing.  I’m quite impressed by it, but still.  So we looked him up on the computer and I printed one out that he took instead of a grandma drawing (whew!).

Once again, I find myself thinking of the innocence of children.  Roland had no doubt whatsoever that Grandma could perform the task.  She’s Super Grandma, after all!   Do we still think of God in this way?  God can do anything!

“…with God all things are possible.”  Matthew 19:26b

“For with God nothing shall be impossible.”  Luke 1:37

“Is any thing too hard for the LORD?”  Genesis 18:14a

“…Is my hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem? or have I no power to
deliver? behold, at my rebuke I dry up the sea, I make the rivers a wilderness:
…”   Isaiah 50:2a

But the men marvelled, saying, What manner of man is this, that even the winds and the sea obey him!”  Matthew 8:27

“And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in
heaven and in earth.”  Matthew 28:18

“Wherefore he is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them.”  Hebrews 7:25

Those are but a few of the many that tell us about the strength and power of God in all three forms of the Trinity.  I have personally seen His power many times.  I know He will never fail (unlike Grandma).  So do you trust Him?  Completely and totally like a child?  Or do you make Him prove Himself repeatedly, forgetting what He’s done before, forgetting who He is?

A friend and I were having a conversation recently.  She was talking about how someone had told her when she keeps bringing up old sins, she’s crucifying Jesus all over again.  This applies here too.  When we say, “I trust you. I don’t trust you.”  We’re flipping and flopping and not really trusting at all.  It is only when we fully trust that God can do anything and will do anything He said He would, that we can fully trust Him.  I think the question is this:  Do you believe or do you not? 

What do you think?

Kicking it boy style!

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This week is the grandson week.  My 4 yo grandson is all boy, and I’m tired already!  We have a great time, however, and I’m always glad to see him come.  Today is a posting of random (or *promiscuous ?) thoughts, or ‘things I’ve learned’.

 

Fingernails boy style

When Klar was here, I had hello kitty on my nails.  For Roland, we have super heroes.  The first night he was here, we did our nails.  I took super hero stickers and cut them down to fit on our fingers.  Then a coat or two of clear polish to set it.

 

Jewelry (girl stuff) boy style

The grandson is just as fascinated by Grandma’s treasure box as the girls.  However, our play is a bit different.  So far this week I have seen him with a pile of necklaces hanging off his head (not neck), a clump being pulled behind his tricycle, and swinging behind like a cape.  He likes to wear the eye patch and funky teeth (also in the treasure box) and pretend to be a pirate with his ‘booty’.  He owns a wrap bracelet, that we call a ‘power band’.  If he has that on, he has super powers and can beat all the villains!  He also plays with the kitchen items.  Sometimes he ‘cooks’, but most of the dishes are now stuffed into the trunk on his trike.  Hmmmmmmmm

 

Karen 1/2

Karen 1/2 (Photo credit: -gigina-)

Hey Babe – crushing it boy style

Roland has a serious crush on his Aunt Karen for some reason.  She’s a bit creeped out about it, but it is a normal rite of passage for little ones.  He has been wanting to hang out with her, calling her babe, and crying if she looks at him wrong.  I remember just a couple months ago when he asked me to marry him!  How quickly they forget.  He was not happy when he found out Grandpa and I were also going to the mall with him and Karen (for Karen’s birthday).  He thought the two of them were going alone.  For some reason, he gets offended if we laugh too.  Ah well, who will be his crush next week?  Watch out Jason (his dad), this is only the beginning!  For Karen, I remind her that he is learning how to relate to others (especially ones he really likes), and she can help him do that or scar him for life hurt him by her responses.

 

I need something boys can watch.

Braun HF 1 television receiver, Germany, 1958

Braun HF 1 television receiver, Germany, 1958 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

When the television is on, Roland will say, “I need something boys can watch.”  He means sports or cartoons.  Grandma started thinking (Oh  no!)  about this.  How often do we mindlessly watch television, unaware (or uncaring) that the subject matter, etc., may not offer healthy input for children.  I don’t watch a lot of things, but I occasionally have something on (like Dangerous Minds or any of the CSI shows).  These shows have quite a bit of violence on them, and the CSI ones often show very inappropriate images of a sexual nature.

I often have television on for white noise.  It is a mindless noise in the background that I seldom pay attention to.  This isn’t good for me.  It is certainly not good for any children in the area.  Here comes the conviction!  The Holy Spirit has used Roland’s words to remind me that what I think of as mindless, is anything but.  Time to make some better choices.

 

I hope you injoyed looking in our window 😀

What do you think?

Accessing the power of the Holy Spirit

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My Sunday School Class has been studying the Holy Spirit recently, and it has been a wake up call for me.  I didn’t realize I had drifted.  I used to be the first to tell others to leave room for the Holy Spirit to work, and yet, I found myself not doing that myself at times.  The Holy Spirit, an often neglected part of the Trinity, is vitally important to our life here on earth.  He is in believers.   But, just like I must turn a switch to access power for my computer, I must tune in and turn on that power I’m already plugged in to.  The Spirit is our Need-Meeter in every way as we walk this earth.  How often do we forget we have the power if we would only access it?

English: Gian Lorenzo Bernini - Dove of the Ho...

English: Gian Lorenzo Bernini – Dove of the Holy Spirit (ca. 1660, stained glass, Throne of St. Peter, St. Peter’s Basilica, Vatican) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Who is the Holy Spirit?

6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.  John 3:6    The Holy Spirit is the third part of the Trinity:  Father, Son and Holy Ghost.  He was sent to us when Jesus ascended to the Father to be our helper and much more.  He is the presence of Christ in our lives and teaches us all things we need to know, if we will but listen.

Why was His coming so important?

7 Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.  John 16:7    Jesus told his disciples, sad that He was leaving, the importance of His departure.  Jesus had to go so God could send the Comforter to them, the person of God they would need to do the work He had called them to do.

4 And, being assembled together with them, commanded them that they should not depart from Jerusalem, but wait for the promise of the Father, which, saith he, ye have heard of me.  5 For John truly baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the Holy Ghost not many days hence.   Acts 1:4-5     The Holy Spirit was (is) the promise of the Father.  In other words, He is the guarantee of God’s promises.

13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, 14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory.  Ephesians 1:13-14    I don’t know about you, but that makes me excited!
Three Important Tasks of the Holy Spirit

8 And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment:  9 Of sin, because they believe not on me; 10 Of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more;  11 Of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged.  John 16:8-11

>He will reprove the world of sin.   He is that one who convicts of sin.  He shows us that we are in the wrong and need a Savior.  He doesn’t convict us to make us feel bad, although that is a part of conviction.  He convicts us so we will trust Christ and be set free from our sin.

>and of righteousness.  One way He does this is to show that Jesus was and is righteous.  Another way it convicts us is in showing us the righteousness we have in Christ.  When we give Him our sin, He gives us His righteousness.  No longer do we stand before God or man in our own righteousness (inadequate at best).  We stand in Jesus righteousness!   The Spirit reminds us of this when we hear that whisper in our ear that says “you are not worthy”.  Of course we’re not worthy, but He is, and it is He that is judged for our sin, not us.  So we can stand boldly before God and man clothed in Jesus’ righteousness.   The Spirit points us to righteousness and away from unrighteousness as well.   Even though we are righteous before God, we can still slip into unrighteous living.  The Holy Spirit convicts us about what Jesus expects of us to bring us back to righteous living.

The spirit works in the lives of unbelievers to point out their need for Christ.  He continues that work in believers to cultivate a life of righteousness.

>and of judgment.  The Spirit also reminds of the final end for those who do not trust in Christ.  Satan and his band have been judged.  Hell was made for them.  God does not want people to go to hell, so He made a way for us to escape the judgment.  The Spirit shows us that we must forsake unbelief and unrighteousness in order to avoid the coming judgment.

 

Are you aware of the Holy Spirit’s work in your life?  Do you access the power, ignore it, or refuse it?   The Holy Spirit does much more than this, but that’s for another post.  Ask the Spirit to show His power in your life today.

But I need you!

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Tonight, I sit here just resting from the quiet and the stress of the week with my #2 granddaughter.  I get a few days off before I get my grandson, so I will be working on VBS and writing, writing, writing.  This week I did not get any writing done at all.  I did more the week I had the Mother-in-law and the #1 granddaughter at the same time.   I adore my #2 (my Rissa Roo).  She is, however, extremely needy.  She is #2 of 4, and often gets the short end of the stick.  Since the advent of her 2 yo sister, she has taken up baby talk.  This is one of many annoying habits, but it is one that compares to Chinese water torture nails on a chalk board.

I have tried many tactics to eliminate this habit (at least around me), but to no avail.  We did make progress this week, but it got to the point where I had to turn away from her and tell her she could choose to talk baby talk somewhere else or choose to play with Grandma.  The point was to show her that her choices are her choices – a habit if you will – and she has the ability, at 8, to make better ones.  We had a few hour long sessions with tears and more, but in the end, she was doing much better.  The thing is that this child is so needy.  She is also bossy.  Along with that and some other quirks she has picked up as a bid to get attention (unconsciously), something has gone wrong.

So what? you may say.  The point here is that the child is desperate for attention.  However, the things she does to get attention work against her bringing negative attention instead of good attention.  Of course, all children will choose negative attention over no attention.  In my little Rissa Roo’s case, I have to worry about her because the attention getting behaviors are so bad and so hard to take, even for her grandma who adores her!  I want to help her learn how to 1) entertain herself, 2) accept that she doesn’t need attention 24/7 (it’s never enough) and 3) learn that the negative behaviors are choices that do not work, and so teach her better choices.  She also talks a blue streak and needs to learn that it’s ok to be quiet sometimes, but that’s another story and may have help from her ADHD. 😀

Horizontal communication, that between us and others cannot happen in this kind of environment.  It may take an 8 year old a while to understand, but I know adults who have this issue as well.  They are overly needy and seek to have that need filled in ways that push others away instead of drawing them.  Sometimes, these behaviors are habits, learned early and left over from childhood.  Some of us outgrow these behaviors as we grow.  Others, either because they do not see them or because they don’t know any better, continue in behaviors that effectively cut off their ability to truly communicate with others and thus get their attention needs met.

Vertical communication, that between us and God, can look like this at times too.  We may not see it as ‘attention getting behavior’ (and neither does the child or the adult in the above paragraphs) but it works the same.  Let’s say God does something for you.  You say thank you (sometimes), but not much time lapses before you want something else.  Some people get upset if God doesn’t do what they want in the time they want, forgetting all that God has already done for them.  It’s like God has to prove His love over, and over, and over, and over.  Jesus death on the cross is proof enough, and if we get nothing else, it’s more than we deserve.  Yet we can act like a young child who loves mommy when she’s happy, but tells mommy she’s a ‘bad’ mommy when angry.

The Israelites displayed this behavior, and I believe God used their stories to show us how we do this too–so no judging allowed.  God would do miraculous things for them and as soon as life got a little tough, they would turn away from Him or whine because they are unhappy with the now.  They forgot the big things God did!  We may wonder how they could march across a sea/river on dry land, among other miracles, and ever gripe to God again, but they did.  And so do we if we do not watch out.  I sometimes wonder if it breaks God’s heart as much as it breaks this Grandma’s to see a child hurting and doing all the wrong things to deal with it.  I’m sure this is something He sees way more than I do:  People looking for love in all the wrong places. . . 😦

Do you have attention getting habits that interfere with your horizontal and vertical communication?  How do you keep a grateful heart, appreciating what you get, while not griping when things don’t go that well?  Anyone have advice for teaching this to an 8 year old?  I’d love to hear what you have to say about this topic.  

BTW–the other kids have wrong behaviors too, but they are just a bit easier to deal with and more amenable to correction.  AND I l♥ve my Rissa Roo no matter what she does or doesn’t do.  😀

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