Oh Be Careful Little Mouth


   Reality check: little pitchers DO have big ears. And they hear more than we will probably ever realize. 
   I was folding the laundry the other day while my 1-1/2 year old was playing with something (I don’t even remember) a few feet away. I started singing “Good, Good Father” and when I got to the end:

Cause you are perfect in all of your ways

You are perfect in all of your ways

You are perfect in all of your ways to us
You are perfect in all of your ways

You are perfect in all of your ways

You are perfect in all of your ways to us

my little one would look innocently at me after each line and say “way”. I had no idea throughout the entire song that he was even paying attention. He had no idea how impactful those little words he spoke were to me. 

   I thought, “I really need to watch what I say!” 

   I did a Scripture search on words. This is what I found:

   I tell you, on the day of judgment people will give account for every careless word they speak, for by your words you will be justified, and by your words you will be condemned. Matt. 12:36-37 ESV

   Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear. Eph. 4:29 ESV

   Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Col. 4:6 ESV

   And on and on. 

   It got me thinking, who else hears my words? Who at the park or the library or the grocery store hears the things I say? We can be lights of encouragement without even realizing it. Or we can be blankets of discouragement. 

   I heard a man’s testimony once of how as a boy he was bullied everyday. It was so bad that he wrote a suicide letter to his parents and decided that if no one said anything nice to him at school that day he was going to go home and end his life. The whole day went by, and as he was getting on the bus to go home, thinking, “this is it”, a girl walked by him and said something along the lines of (I forgot the exact quote) “It was good to see you today, Nick.” 

   Wow!

   She saved a life. 

   Life gets busy. Problems happen. It’s easy to let things slip to our parents, kids, spouse, co-workers, friends, or retail workers in the heat of the moment that under a less stressful situation we never would have dreamed of saying. Have you ever stopped, closed your eyes and wished that you could take something back the second it left your mouth? 

   The good news is that God’s grace and mercy are new every morning. Every minute actually. In any moment you can repent and start over from that minute on. There isn’t a talley of all the horrible things you did or said to be reviewed and repented of each day only to try again in the morning. 

   Although I don’t have a three-step solution to help you speak more kindly, (though I’ve heard counting to 3 or 10 or 1,000,000 before you speak may help), I can testify to the help of the Holy Spirit. It sounds so Sunday school basic, but the biggest lesson God has been teaching me is to simplify my life. Take it back to the basics. Stop trying to over complicate my problems, and just hand them over to Him. He is MORE than able to restore anything I break. 

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Empty Days

  
Dear Empty Days,

As I look ahead on my calendar and see you looking back, waiting for me, I wonder what you hold. Life is short, and only God knows how many of you I will receive. 

In the last week two deaths have come to my attention. One was an older man who lived a full and vibrant life. He passed into Heaven surrounded by loved ones. The other was a 22 year old collage student. The details of his death are still under investigation. All we know is that he died alone, bleeding to death in a driveway while we slept. I don’t know if he is with Jesus. 

I want to make my time with you count. I want you to matter. 

“This is the day that he Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.” Psalm 118:24 ESV

You do matter, Empty Days. You matter because you are made by the Lord. From the beautiful warm sunrise to the stunning sunset every detail of you was thoughtfully planned by the Creator. 

I try to make you better. Sometimes I think that I can tweak you, add a detail or two or take one away. But the Creator doesn’t make mistakes. I need to relinqish you to His loving care. I need to let Him write the story. 

“Do not be deceived, my beloved brothers. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.” James 1:16-17 ESV

God only gives perfect and good gifts. That includes you. If I try to write a different story for myself I will only be miserable. 

As I look at you on my calendar I say, “God, fill my days. Lead me where You want me to go. I surrender this gift back to you so that I can enjoy it to its fullest.” 

How can I spend my time wisely? We are made to be a blessing to others. Ever smile, every simple act of kindness makes more of an impact than we realize. 

So, I will keep my heart joyful as I anticipate Tomorrow’s birth, and be grateful with each day’s ending trusting that my small part brought glory to God. Creator God is a multiplier. He takes our smallest offering (Mark 6:30-44) and speads it around so that all are blessed, all have more than enough. Even the smallest stone can make ripples that reach out farther than it could by itself. 

So rest easy, Empty Days. You matter. 

Love, A Trusting Pilgrim

The Giving Tree

   Generosity: 1. the willingness to give or to share. 2. an act of unselfish giving.

Selfishness: concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself.

I feel drained. Empty. Unable to give. How can I keep going on? Do I even have anything that someone needs?

The answer is yes, I can keep going.

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matthew 11: 28-30 ESV

The answer is yes. I believe that at any moment in our lives we have something to give. But, sometimes we do have very little. Sometimes we do need to be filled.

The mom’s group that I attend at my church is going through Jennie Allen’s Bible study Restless. In it we are digging deep and exploring into ourselves to find out who God made us to be so that we can know what we are supposed to be doing.

God told me last night that one reason, (one of probably a few million), I feel restless is because I am a giver, and I haven’t learned how to receive yet. If I am a glass of water and I give a drop or a sip to anyone who is in need eventually I will run out of water. Eventually I will be dry.

The reason I put the definition selfishness above is because I want you to understand that I am not talking about being “concerned excessively or exclusively with oneself”. I am talking about being filled.

“that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith–that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:14-19 ESV

I think that it is selfish to think that we can keep on giving. I know it is when I am focused on myself that I don’t see my need for Jesus. I don’t see that He is holding his hand out offering me wisdom, strength, joy, peace, patience, understanding, and anything I could ever need and could ever have to offer someone else. I dry up when I only look at myself.

My trying to be strong, and independent does not do anyone service. I am weak, and I need to rely on God for everything.

I am restless because giving is part of who I am, and I can’t be that part of me when I am dry.

The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein came to my mind when God told me that I need to learn to receive. I read it before I started writing this post. I find it beautiful and sad at the same time. The tree was so loving, so generous. I realize that in the end she still had one thing left to give, and that it was exactly what the boy needed, and that the author said that the tree was happy, but as I looked at the picture of the stump I thought, “you can’t give much when you are just a stump.”

“So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all to the glory of God.” 1 Corinthians 10:31 ESV

I think of the apple tree. Tall and with beautiful branches reaching out in praise to its Creator. I see it dressed in green and bearing tasty fruit. I see mother birds and squirrels building homes and raising families. I see activity, life, and beauty. Things are moving and growing and happening. People seek the tree out hoping to receive something good. I see the tree bringing glory to God.

If I allow myself to give until I am just a weary, lonely stump, I will not be bringing glory to my Creator. He wants me to thrive and be filled so that I overflow to others. That is how we are a city on a hill.

As a wife and mom I am giving on a daily basis. Minute after minute I am pouring into my family. (That is not counting all the other people who come across my path) So isn’t it realistic that I need to be filled by God on a minute to minute basis also? I believe so.

So I pray this for you:

“that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, having the eyes of your hearts enlightened, that you may know what is the hope to which he has called you, what are the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and what is the immeasurable greatness of his power toward us who believe, according to the working of his great might that he worked in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. And he put all things under his feet and gave him as head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.” Ephesians 1:17-23 ESV