Tag Archive | Wisdom

Mama’s Reinforcer

My 3 brothers and I were rambunctious, curious, headstrong kids who were constantly experimenting, trying out new things, building contraptions, getting into scrapes.  Especially when we concocted pretend battles that earned us scrapes and more than one hilarious–if unexpected–outcome. (Tale for another time)

Yet when Mama said jump, we did.  Didn’t ask why.  Or argue.   We just understood that she was Mama, she was in charge, she knew best, and she had a little maple switch to back up her words if we disagreed.

She didn’t use it much.  She didn’t have to.  She knew that our history with her and our aversion to pain had taught us to trust her at her word.  The few times our egos got in the way and that little guy with the horns on my left shoulder prompted me to flip that big toe over the line a bit too far…I had the Truth of what I already knew reinforced.

Don’t get me wrong, I would never dare to complain about this.  It wasn’t excessive; it wasn’t cruel or meant to harm.  It was love in action; love showing us that we had firm boundaries in place for our safety and protection.  We knew that from her perspective, in her many years of wisdom earned the hard way, that she absolutely knew what was the right thing for us to do.  Our doubts were set to rest with a bit of stinging on the legs, a few tender tears, and a much chastened ego.

When I read again John 2: 4 today, (about the wedding in Cana) I had to think about mothers and their children.  As a mother of grown sons today, When I see a need to be filled, I quietly direct my sons in the same way that Mary did.  “Jack, we need more tea,” or “Seth, that box is too heavy for her.”  I know without hesitation that they will acquiesce, and help in whatever way my statement implied.  I know that’s taking huge license with the Saviour and His relationship to his mother, but that’s my personal frame of reference here.

Yet Jesus’ statement in verse 4 was, (as stated in the Hebrew Names Version),

4 Yeshua said to her, “Woman, what does that have to do with you and me? My hour has not yet come.”

Jesus wasn’t being disrespectful or refusing to obey; He was simply asking her to consider His own perspective of His mission of salvation versus her more immediate temporal concern.

That is a huge lesson for me right now.  Recovering from an unexpected divorce, I have my own laundry list of immediate wants and needs that I’ve taken to Him, confident that He cares.  But He’s reminding me that His perspective is different from mine.  His purposes in the trials I face today are eternal, not temporal.

That’s quite a lesson for me.  I wanted to pass it along, for what it’s worth.  And to share with you one more bit of serendipity…the verse to encourage me that came to mind from this study was from I Peter 5:7

Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you. (NIV).

Now, I have a children’s memory verse pad—it’s a post-it note pad with a different verse printed on every page in large print—I guess it’s used in VBS or children’s classes.  The top one was about children obeying their parents.  I used to stick them on the mirror and around the house, as reminders.

Haven’t used it in a while.  In a pinch, I turned it over and scribbled I Peter 5:7 down on the back of the last well-worn sheet that still had a bit of sticky on it. I folded the sticky edge down and stuck it with the verse I wrote showing on my bookshelf beside my desk.  It was a few moments later when I stood up to leave the desk, that I glanced at the notepad to see what the new memory verse would be.  Here it is: “Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”

 

Memory verse pad

“Nothing Can Stop Us Now”

[Once again, this draft was penned in June a year and a half ago.  It’s ancient history now :0), but I’m pleased in a shy way to see how upbeat I was able to be.]

 

The last time I wrote (January 1) I exclaimed, “What’s Next, Father?”  and basically stood amazed, waiting for whatever He brought my way.

I wanted to let the few of you who still read this little chat know what has transpired since then.

Times grew worse; desperate, in fact.  I wish I could list for you all the particulars, but for now let’s just say that I can’t imagine anything worse happening to us.  (What a frightful thing to say, now I see this and wonder if I “jinxed” our journey).

Then on one of the earliest sunny days in 2014 to date, someone that neither my husband nor I had ever contacted called him and asked him to come to work for them.  Right here in Oklahoma.  No 12 hours of travel; no outlay of expense for hotel, or anything.  Just wanted him to come to work immediately.

And a couple of days following that–ending 3 years of unemployment–I was called for an interview that I had joked about a few days earlier.  I’d grown so used to pouring my all into an interview to no avail, that I just relaxed and enjoyed this one. No pressure–if I wasn’t going to get the job, there was no reason to fret and be nervous. So I relaxed, and laughed a lot, and had a great time in this interview. In fact, when I left the boss’s office, I was so pleased just to have a warm and confident interview that I was encouraged just to have accomplished that simple act.

You can’t imagine the awe and delight in my heart when I was asked to accept the position a couple of days later.  It was more than I could fathom that all of this would transpire at the same time.  BOTH of us hired within a few days’ time.

To shorten a long and rather boring tale, we’re now in a new home; smaller, but beautiful.  We have a new beginning; new jobs, new dreams, and thankfully, a new purpose.

Last time it was “What’s Next, Father?” And this time I can truly say it’s all about Him.  To quote my husband’s wedding vows to me, “Nothing Can Stop Us Now.”

 

Never Know How Little You Know Until You Teach

Been teaching lately.  And while it shouldn’t, it still surprises me how much I learn just from preparing to teach.  A few pearls I’ve picked up this year:

  • You do not have the answers to everything.
  •  It’s okay not to have the answers to everything.
  • Expounding longer and in detail while it sounds a bit impressive (to the beginner’s ear) does not improve the percentage of learning that takes place.  In fact, it usually drops the numbers a bit.
  • Students learn as much when you ask them questions as when you provide answers.  Possibly more.
  • The times you’re less well-prepared tend to turn out pretty well.  In spite of you.
  • It’s very humbling to hear simple wisdom emanate from someone you had totally underestimated.  And gratifying, somehow.
  • Wisdom comes in many forms.
  • The lesson you thought you were teaching isn’t always what was learned.  And that’s okay.
  • “Pride goes before a perilous fall”…watch the teacher stumble. Pride shouldn’t enter into lesson preparation OR delivery.
  • About 12 years ago I wrote an article titled “Surprised by Christ.”  It still rings true.  No matter how well I believe I know Him, He continually amazes me.
  • A lesson not bathed in prayer isn’t worth teaching.
  • Timing is important.  I repeat.  Timing is important.
  • Teaching is addicitive.  Or more like a calling.  I’m driven to it; can’t help it.  Can’t get enough of it.

Enough said.

You Make My Heart Smile

Brittanys-Eyes_edited-1I’m learning things from an intelligent and candid young woman.  She is amazingly beautiful to look at, untarnished, unconscious of how truly stunning she is.  Yet what I continue to observe is how radiant she is—how exquisite she is on the inside.  And she’s so young!!  Not yet battered by what the world will send her way, she is already so wise and so caring.

What I have learned from her most recently is the vision she has.  The discernment.  She looks at a large, lumbering, sometimes silly young man and sees so much promise, so much capability—and truly her knight in shining armor.  He is a brilliantly independent thinker, ready with his opinions, outspoken, yet wise beyond his years—so she’s not mistaken.  Just very young to have spotted this ambitious young soul and know without a shadow of a doubt that he’s the man for her.   I’ve loved seeing how her growing love for him has completely grounded him.  What an impact—and I don’t believe she knows that her love for him is the catalyst.

Let me share with you a few comments she has made about him:

They met a couple of years ago, during high school.  And only a few months into their relationship, she listed this poem beside his photo:  “Say farewell to the dark night, I see the coming of the sun. I feel like a little child whose life has just begun, you came and breathed new life into this lonely heart of mine” (Back at One, by Brian McKnight)

Then a few months later: “When a girl is in love you can see it in her smile.  When a guy is in love you can see it in his eyes.”  If you could see the photo she posted with this comment, you would totally understand.

She has been through all sorts of escapades with him, some adventurous, some calamitous and yet she comes up with this statement that’s way beyond her years:  “Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.”

Her continual gratitude for him and what he means to her is a gift in itself:  “You make my heart smile.”

What a sweet, sweet spirit to see him as a gift for her:  “I must have done something right, to have you in my life.”

Beside a photo of the two of them relaxed, laid back and laughing themselves silly is the wise-beyond-her-years admission:  “Thank God I’ve finally found someone I can be my completely stupid self with and we still enjoy every second of it.”

And when he was trying to help her in an awkward private moment:  “Every girl deserves a guy who looks at her everyday like it’s the first time he saw her.”

This young woman will never have to fear her man being miles away and tempted by anyone:  “It’s not every day that you find someone who can put up with your bullshit. Hold on to them with all you have.”

And ultimately a worldly wise woman who knows how to tempt, how to entice, how to endear and “keep” (for lack of a better word) a man’s interest:  “A legal kiss is never as good as a stolen one.”

I wanted to share this portrait of a shrewd and truly perceptive woman’s approach to her relationship and her future in hopes that it will inspire you to do the same.  This world has sometimes fostered a lack of integrity; it encourages lassitude and an almost anarchist attitude toward life.  Yet I’ve learned that she is living proof that somewhere out there is another person who is meant to complete you; who will improve you just by being aware that you exist.

How Wisdom Works

I find it terribly interesting that we call upon bits of wisdom stashed away in our inactive memories all of our lives.  Not necessarily those we sought after and committed to memory on purpose, but those precious grains that were sown by our parents or teachers, those that have proven themselves valuable over years of life and its perils.

Now when I see someone slouching I hear Mrs. Anderson, my 6th grade teacher who would line us up against the wall several times during the day and make sure our shoulder blades were touching the wall, that commanding voice rings loud and clear in my mind, “Stand up straight!”  And  I notice that I’ve already squared my shoulders, back straight.

There’s the obvious learned response of “OUCH, that hurts” when you touch a utensil that just came off the grill. But that’s not wisdom, it’s cause and effect.  Wisdom is knowledge that you knew how to apply.  But how did you learn how to apply it properly?

Whenever I sit down to a meal that I haven’t cooked, I hear my Dad’s voice in my memory  (especially when I see my best friend POURING salt over everything on her plate) “you need to taste each dish first and see what it tastes like; then season it if you need to.”  Sound advice—I’ve ruined a few tasty concoctions by salting or peppering first and tasting second.

And not once have I stepped into a bathtub or shower and begun my ablutions that I don’t hear my mother’s voice (asleep in Christ since 2003) telling me to “scrub those rusty knees!”  60 years I’ve continued to hear this.  60 YEARS!  But I still hear it complete with her inflection and tone.

While I sheepishly admit to singing on Memorial Day or other occasions when they play the National Anthem, right down to the high notes and the last phrase, “o’er the land of the free and the home of the brave”–that it’s all I can do to not yell, “play ball!!”  That’s just a learned response, I suppose.

I find myself, whenever I finish reading a lengthy passage of Scripture, hearing my father-in-law’s voice whenever he completed reading a passage aloud, “And may the Lord add His blessing to the reading of His word.”  And I add the same blessing myself, word for word.  Makes sense.

There’s an old joke of a younger man asking how the older man gained wisdom…he was told that it came from making good choices.  “But how did you learn that a choice was wise?”  “From making bad choices,” came the reply.

Of course, wisdom is a gift from God, and one that you’re instructed repeatedly to search for, to ask for, and to seek with all your heart.  I suppose it may be that nuggets that I’ve retained throughout the years are those my spirit recognized as wisdom.  What do you think?