Five Minute Friday: Imagine

Five Minute Friday

No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.

Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

5 mins of writing on a set topic.

I’ve decided that if I ever wanted to do more writing….and to really get serious about it then I need to be able to just write. Simply write. So I’m going to join some friends linking up at Lisa-Jo’s blog and we shall see what fun ensues…..

So here goes….

START –

Imagine.

My sixth form Latin teacher was one of my absolute favourites.  She had an unfortunate name for a teacher; Mrs Waddell, but thankfully she was too slight a frame to actually waddle.

Mrs Waddell was very high up in management and discipline in the school.  Everyone knew her.  Everyone knew what behaviours she expected.  Everyone knew she was firm but fair.  The best kind of disciplinarian there is.

But in sixth form Latin, Mrs Waddell shed a little of her harsh exterior. Nobody takes sixth form Latin if they don’t want to. The students of sixth form Latin were there purely for the love of the language.  And so…Mrs Waddell would joke with us, and dream with us.

And as we journeyed along the Appian Way and got to know characters such as Cornelia and Sextus, Mrs Waddell would tell us ‘When you see the Colosseum’, ‘when you travel to the ruins of Pompeii’…..

There were no ‘ifs’.  No ‘maybes’.

There was no hesitation in Mrs Waddell’s mind that all nineteen of us, spotty cheeked, hormonally charged seventeen year olds would one day be successes, and would one day travel the world. Would one day use our education to the max.  That our Latin would come alive.

Mrs Waddell knew what it is to imagine.  To meditati.

She looked at what could be.

Instead of what was before her.

And we were given a gift – to believe in ourselves.  To live a life beyond ourselves.  To imagine.

STOP.

colloseum

Be the change.

There’s a blog post that is being shared galore today, in my little world of facebook, and it is a good post.  I agree with the post, it talks of the whole modesty issue – concerning swimsuits – and the writer’s choice of favoring a one-piece over a bikini.

This is my little ole response to that – not to take anything away from it, but hopefully to add a little more perspective……

As the weather warms up, shorts and skirts and dresses get shorter and shorter in length, and tops get lower and lower.  That’s the way it is.  Those are the main styles sold in stores and you’re hard pushed to find much of a selection of longer shorts.  It’s true.

There are times when it is necessary for youth group leaders and young adult group leaders to take some time to address the whole modesty issue…the whole what is appropriate to wear to church on a Sunday or to the summer camp, or the whatever.  Those leaders will get up the front and talk about how it is your responsibility to not cause your brother to stumble, to not lead him unknowingly into temptation and boys are such visual creatures.

All true.

And young ladies will respond in various ways…….ranging from ‘but it is hot’…..when it is 100 degrees outside you don’t want to wear a lot of clothes.  ‘But that is the only style available’……yes true….those styles are the most readily available (but if you do look, you can find other more modest styles and if we all started opting for the more modest styles, then demand for that would increase and more styles would be available….)

Sound familiar?

Seems to be the one of the cries of summer.  Alongside the missions trips to Mexico, the epic water fights and the road trips and concerts.

While I’m totally in favour of covering up my heiny, and I do get embarrassed when I see a girl’s ‘girls’ a little too clearly…….I’m wondering if our message to young people needs to have more substance to it.  More than just ‘dress this way, because that’s what is expected of good Christian ladies’.

You see for people to change habits and lifestyles, there has to be some element of heart change.  There has to be that inner desire, that comes from doing something because YOU actually want to do it and not because Youth Leaders X, Y and Z are telling you it is a good idea.  It is a respectable idea.

For me, the best motivator for change, and the best motivation for how I live my life, is simply because I love Jesus.  And I know He loves me.

It is amazing what flows out of a heart that is in love with a Creator God.  Love is a very powerful motivator.

I don’t feel I need to dress a certain way to feel sexy, (and let’s face it, girls dress a certain way to make themselves feel good) – no matter what styles are for sale in a store, how a piece of clothing makes you feel determines if you wear it or not, unless you are motivated by a higher love. Then you don’t rely on clothes to make you feel a certain way.  I’ve gotten to this point in life because of who I know.  My God.  My creator.  The One who makes no mistakes.  The One who died on a cross for me.  He who loves me with an everlasting love.  Whose love is higher than the skies and deeper than the oceans.  This I believe.  This is ingrained deep down into my soul.  And because of this, I don’t feel the need to impress my peers, or be suggestive in my attire.

Along with the ‘why modesty is important’ talks and blog posts and cutesy pinterest posters, there has to be more in it for the teens and young ladies.  There has to be a revealing of just who Jesus is and what He has done for us.

There has to be a falling in love with Him, before there can be a falling in love with oneself and acceptance of oneself.

For with that acceptance of oneself, comes a natural form of modesty.

Imagine how life would look in your church, in your youth group, in your community, if believers would just do things out of a motivation for an audience of One.  Be the change.  That’s what would happen.  Be the change.

 

 

On being robbed.

Violated.

Uneasy.

Sick to the stomach.

Anxious.

Nervous.

I’ve never been robbed, but have been told that these are the feelings one feels after such an event.

Not a good mix of feelings at all.

While I’ve never actually been robbed, just lately I’ve been realizing, very clearly, that my days are robbed from me.

And I’m the one who is leaving the door wide open to my intruders.

My front door has been wide open – and I’ve been robbed of peace.  Robbed of joy.  Robbed of hope.

And I kinda reckon, I’m not the only one who has been welcoming intruders.

Your intruders may have a different root cause, or motivation than mine.  But they are real enough.  They come in through the front door, and not only do they take a wander through your jewelry box, they have the nerve to help themselves to a drink from the fridge, sit down on the sofa and make themselves well and truly at home.  They are there to stay. Until they have eaten you out of house and home, taken all your treasures, and left you completely at your whit’s end.

Well I’m saying enough.

No more.

No more worry eating at me.

No more doubt cracking through my peace.

No more.

Enough.

First I’ve needed to recognize what it is that has been intruding my home, my heart.  One of those things for me, is worry over my third son and his speech delay.  If you’re a Mother of a child who doesn’t fit within the range of ‘normal’ you’ll get this.  You’ll get this.  It hurts.  It is hard.  For me, something happens to my heart whenever I hear of a friend’s child telling them something cute, and all I want is a simple sentence from my own cherub.  So I think of what he doesn’t say, and I dwell on how far he has to come, to be considered ‘normal’.  And then I doubt my own parenting skills, and I play the stupid comparison game and so on.

It is a vicious cycle and a slippery slope down, down to basically being down in the dumps.

I forget who is ultimately in control.

I forget the progress already made.

I forget how uniquely different and wonderfully made my own child is.

I forget to notice the giftings he has.

I choose to look at what he’s not – instead of looking at who he is…..all because that intruder of worry, that intruder of self-doubt, has taken up residence in my home.

So how do I stop the intruder from coming in?  I simply need to lock that front door. By golly that intruder may knock, but no way can that intruder enter.

We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ – 2 Corinthians 10: 5

You see I know what God says about fear.  He says not to.  Just don’t.  Many, many, many times in the bible.  And worry is driven by fear, and I don’t want either of them in my house.  And if I’m worrying, then I not obeying Christ, simple as that.  And not obeying is sinning.  Simple as that.  So to obey Christ, I need to take every thought captive.

By taking every thought captive, I’m not letting it in the front door.

By taking every thought captive, I’m not letting the negativity take root, and take possession of my mind.

By taking every thought captive, I’m choosing to believe that God is in control and his ways are not our ways,

So while your intruder will most likely have a different name to mine, is the nasty perp getting past your front door?

Do you keep leaving your door open a little?  Cos once that big toe is in the door, the intruder muscles its way in…it doesn’t need much convincing.

How about you join me, as I learn to deadbolt my front door.  As I say to fear, doubt and worry ‘Not my house, not my heart.  Not today and not any day’.

Taking every thought captive. That’s my best defense against intruders.

deadbolt

 

Five Minute Friday: Song

Five Minute Friday

No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.

Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

5 mins of writing on a set topic.

I’ve decided that if I ever wanted to do more writing….and to really get serious about it then I need to be able to just write. Simply write. So I’m going to join some friends linking up at Lisa-Jo’s blog and we shall see what fun ensues…..

So here goes….

START –

SONG.

I love that God made birds to sing.  I love that different species of bird have different calls and sounds and songs.

There’s something so magical about waking up in a new and foreign to you country and hearing the native birds singing.  The chorus at first light.  Welcoming the new day.

Even after natural disasters, birds sing on.

If someone is listening or if no-one is listening, birds sing on.

Birds don’t need score cards or record deals, they don’t require positive feedback or constructive criticism.  They just sing on.

I think we all could learn from the birds.  The games we play and all.

I can’t help but wonder what our worlds would look like if we just sang the songs we were supposed to.  What if we didn’t look to the left or the right, but just up?

What if we didn’t check stats or facebook comments and likes, retweets and responses?  What if we just wrote the lyrics of our songs, the words God places on our hearts?

What if, like the birds who don’t need to sow or reap, for their heavenly Father looks after them, what if we didn’t worry about how we would be received?

What if we all sang the songs we were created to sing – because we couldn’t not do that?  What a mighty sound that would be.

STOP.

birds

 

Pedestals and Stepladders

One of the hats that I wear is the ‘co-ordinator for the childcare for the Mom’s group’ that I go to.  It has been an interesting role.  One I felt called to, but not one I’ll be sad to pass on.  In fact we have our last meeting for this school year this coming week and then that’s it for me….I’ve printed out all the checklists and need to know stuff for whoever takes over this role…and I’ve already handed it over.  Can you hear the angels singing?

Anyway, as always finding volunteers is never an easy thing and for about a month I knew I was a helper short for our last meeting.  So I did some advertising on my church facebook pages and held my breath, and waited.

No nibbles. No nibbles for three weeks until I got a message from the senior pastor’s wife saying she would love to do it.

Seriously?  I love that lady.  My initial thought was ‘No way, I can’t let her loose with the two and three year olds’…..that’s the class where altercations sometimes happen.  That’s the class with squabbles.  Stolen toys.  Noses out of joint.  And poopy diapers.

Seriously? Out of all the people that had seen my cry for help, this lady was the only one moved to step out and do something to help?  This lady who already does so much for the running of the church.  Whose phone rings at all times of the day and night with people needing her.  The demands of community.  The demands of position. The constant giving of herself.

Seriously?  Then I thought to myself, silly me, this lady is in control of her time and knows her boundaries.  Don’t put her on a pedestal Fiona.  She is leading by example.  Serving out of a love for her church, and a love for those children.

Maybe we all need to take people off these pedestals a bit more.

The pedestals that we create for them.

Maybe we need to lower our expectations of people and not try to size up their boxes for them.

Leaders.  Ministers.  Pastors.  Elders.  Yes they hold positions of authority.  But first and foremost they are people.  People who love the Lord.  People who love you and me.

Let’s give them honour and respect, let’s encourage and support them, but let’s partner with these people, instead of putting them on a pedestal.  Let’s not place undue expectations on them.

I’m swapping out the pedestals in my life, with stepladders.  Yes I will honour those who are in authority over myself, but I’m right there, holding onto their stepladder, making sure it is steady, doing all I can to make their job easier. To be a support in whatever capacity they need.  Wouldn’t it be neat to be a generation of stepladder holders?  Instead of pedestal makers?

I do hope though, that my own little two year is a cherub on Thursday at Mom’s group…….we shall see…..;-)

stepladder

Five Minute Friday: Comfort

Five Minute Friday

No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.

Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

5 mins of writing on a set topic.

I’ve decided that if I ever wanted to do more writing….and to really get serious about it then I need to be able to just write. Simply write. So I’m going to join some friends linking up at Lisa-Jo’s blog and we shall see what fun ensues…..

So here goes….

START –

Comfort.

It comes on a frosty winter’s morning, with fluffy socked feet snuggled under my soft, brown blanket.

It comes with that first sip of the day of strong, freshly ground coffee, the scent permeating throughout the house…. it stealthily creeps up the stairs, a very welcome intruder.

It comes with another hand in your hand.  The joining of souls, the linking of limbs with hearts united.

Comfort can come in so many ways.  In many varieties of forms. Sometimes it is a tangible thing that brings comfort, and other times…..not so much.

A word spoken at the right time is like gold apples on a silver tray.’ – Proverbs 25: 11

The comfort that an encouraging word brings, lasts.  The comfort that a loving word brings the ability to endure.  The comfort that a word from God brings with it much courage, boldness and fearlessness.

Let’s use our words to comfort.  Let’s use God’s words to inspire, to change lives, to point the way

STOP.

applesofgold

 

Five Minute Friday: Brave

Five Minute Friday

No extreme editing; no worrying about perfect grammar, font, or punctuation.

Unscripted. Unedited. Real.

5 mins of writing on a set topic.

I’ve decided that if I ever wanted to do more writing….and to really get serious about it then I need to be able to just write. Simply write. So I’m going to join some friends linking up at Lisa-Jo’s blog and we shall see what fun ensues…..

So here goes….

START –

Brave.

“We have to be braver than we think we can be, because God is constantly calling us to be more than we are.”  – Madeline L’Engle

I think that the people I think of as brave and courageous, wouldn’t naturally think of themselves as brave. They are just in the ‘doings’…..

The single Mum raising her children.

The young high school leaver joining the armed forces.

The most un-teacherish (by self-proclamation) Mum choosing to homeschool her kids.

The cancer survivor, reaching out to others who have a terrible, awful prognosis.

The former CEO leaving his job to commit to serving and empowering youth in his city.

A friend who is constantly stepping out and above her fear of man, to inspire and encourage those around her.

Dear people we know, pregnant again after loosing their last little baby just six weeks after his birth.

Those boys of mine readying their hearts to uproot and settle in a new place, to make a new school their own and to share their lives with new people.

Brave.  Or just living out what they are called to do?  The things set before them.  God is constantly calling us to be more.  I’d like to think we step into that thing known as ‘brave’ as we choose to follow Him, and we are intentional with our actions, our thoughts and the state of our hearts.

When God calls, He enables.  Of this I am absolutely sure.  And when the feet make the move to step out in our callings, bravery enters the heart, so the ‘doings’ or the ‘brave acts’ are just a natural progression of who we are.

STOP.

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