Five Minute Friday: Graceful

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…..

Start.

Graceful.

‘Hi.  I’m Fiona.  As in Shrek.  But I’m no Princess’.  Has been a common opening line for me.

Fiona.  It is an ok name.  I could take it or leave it.  It means ‘fair one’.  Apparently my Dad chose it for me.  I never really liked it growing up, but no biggie.  If I’d been a boy I would have been named Luke.  I was a surprise in more ways than one, my parents so generously tell me.  😉

Now my middle name, that’s the one I love.

Charis.  Fiona Charis Brown.  That’s me.  It is greek for grace.  It comes from the same derivative as charismatic and charisma.  Sounds the same too.

I love meanings of names and when we named our boys we took into account what their meanings are more than how the names sounded, or what the initials spelled out or what the name could be shortened to.

Nathanael – gift of God

Luka – bringer of light

Asher – blessed, happy.

One of my many hopes and prayers for my boys is that they live up to their names.  That God is honoured in and through their lives.  Just like for me and Charis.  I have a constant reminder of what I’m about – who I am – is all about Him.  All about grace.

Unmerited.

Undeserved favour.

I’m so grateful for the grace in my life.  i want to be graceful in all I do.

May my life ever be an outpouring of grace to others, for all that the Lord has done for us, and will do for us.

Five Minute Friday: Story

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…..

Start.

Story.

Blessed assurance, Jesus is mine;
Oh, what a foretaste of glory divine!
Heir of salvation, purchase of God,
Born of His Spirit, washed in His blood.

I think we get it wrong a lot of the time.  The whole our lives tell a story thing.  That’s the first thing I thought of with this prompt.

How can we live our lives to tell a story?

What can we do?  We think our words on paper or on the interwebby are the story too.  We place great emphasis on these words.  We tweet about them.  We draw attention to them.  We want to be read.  We want to be understood.

Perfect submission, perfect delight,
Visions of rapture now burst on my sight;
Angels descending, bring from above
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.

But I think more often that not we get it wrong.

Completely wrong.

The story is not ours.

It is not about what we can do.  What we can write.  What we can talk about.

The story is His.  The story is the Lord’s.  It is about what He can do in and through us.  How we can lead others to Him, because of what He is doing.

The Christian life was first about doing and being. Before it was about writing.  The life led by the Spirit, in turns brings about the story.

This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.
This is my story, this is my song,
Praising my Savior all the day long.

His story, is our lives.  I want my story to be His story.

Perfect submission, all is at rest,
I in my Savior am happy and blest;
Watching and waiting, looking above,
Filled with His goodness, lost in His love.

STOP.

Getting a grip on……

……griping.  

Here in North America we’re fully in summer holiday mode.  Or should I say summer vacation mode.  Our school district has been on holiday for three weeks now and we have ten weeks to go until school starts again.  

Thirteen weeks all together. Day in.  Day Out.

13 weeks.

For some Mothers this is glorious.  Wonderful.  Blessed.  For others, this is a struggle.  

Did you read that, above?  Thirteen weeks of having all your children around.

For me, personally, this time is to be cherished and for us all to enjoy – but – there will be some challenges along the way with expectations and behaviour and I know that my home will not be tidy or fully clean for this entire time.  

While no family is perfect and each family has their own difficulties…..I’ve noticed that school holiday time, no matter where in the world you live, is a time where Mothers seem to get together and they gripe.  They moan and they groan and they grizzle and complain and they gripe.  For the mostpart.  Sweeping broad generalization I know.  But I’m sure you all have people in your lives that do this – even if you make an effort not to join in.  And if you do join in….I bet ya don’t even realize you do this.  So this is for you.  ‘Cos you gotta stop.  Actually this is relevant no matter how old your kids are.

Yep.

 

‘Gentle words cause life and health. griping brings discouragement’ – Prov 15: 24

I’m a firm believer in sowing and reaping.  You get what you sow.  When you talk negatively about your kids and what they are doing or what they’re not doing….you aren’t actually sowing seeds that encourage improvement.  You’re highlighting an issue yes, you’re putting a spotlight on it, and you’re magnifying it.  But there is no solution and no resolution.  

Now there is a huge difference between confiding in someone and seeking wisdom – being real and honest with someone you respect who may be able to help you……a huge difference between being proactive and just griping about an issue concerning your family in particular.

And we know when we’re doing it.  We know if we’re just going on about a subject to join in with conversation.  We know in our hearts the difference between reaching out for help and going on, and on and on.

We had a great playdate yesterday with a great friend and her children.  For a short time our conversation focussed on where we were at with parenting and things that are happening in our lives – that comes with being Mothers and comes with being real about where we are at in life.  But the conversation wasn’t limited to that and wasn’t stuck on that.  We quickly moved onto other topics.  And I came away from that time with my friend feeling blessed and encouraged.

And shouldn’t conversation with friends do that?  We should come away from encounters with other Mums feeling like we’re in this together, that no family is perfect but we’re called to bigger and better things.  Not just to focus on our problems.  Our summer problems.  Our 13 weeks of having kids walk in and out of the house all day long, wet feet and all, leaving the door open and the constant wet swimsuits being left everywhere.Or the fact that the oldest kid is still learning some social skills.  Or the fact that the youngest really needs to learn some more words.  Those problems.

‘Let our conversation be gracious as well as sensible, for then you will have the right answer for everyone’ – Collosians 4:6

Have you ever noticed that the longer you spend focused on griping and verbalizing your own issues, the harder it is to be able to give the right answer to others?  To be able to speak a word in season to someone, because you do know what they are going through and you have the right answer through Jesus Christ?

 If you’re too busy joining in with the groans and grizzles, you can’t provide hope and truth.

Yes I believe in accountability.

Yes I need friends to be real with, to glean wisdom from.  

Yes I do not have a perfect family and my children are far from angelic.

But I am trying, really trying this summer to not join in when the conversations around me turn to griping.  I’m sure you know in your heart of hearts when your conversation turns to griping.

Let’s offer solutions to people, let’s offer the right answers to people – and we can, when our words are seasoned with grace.  

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My little graduate.

Extra Grace Required

  Vulnerable –  capable of being physically or emotionally wounded.  Open to attack or damage.  Comes from the Latin ‘vulnerare’ – to wound.  

  My blog is and has always been about being honest.  Real and honest words.  Today I’m taking it one step further and I’m making myself vulnerable.  Please be gentle – my skin thickening process is still a work in progress.

  When I was student one of my dear Pastors, with the most loving and kindest of hearts would talk about ‘extra grace required’ people.  Or EGR for short.  She coined this term to describe the people in our lives…that stand out from the rest…that possibly drain our emotions..they don’t always fit in so well. Sometimes they seem to suffer from the same ‘affliction’ over and over again.  They seem to listen but not hear.

  I think we all can think of at least a few people in our lives that fall under this EGR category.  Maybe you’ve dealt with them in the past, or are currently navigating doing life with them now.

  Sometimes people are very happy to be takers.  They turn up to events that they haven’t helped set up, they leave without doing their bit to help pack down. We can take take take in any areas of our lives.  It is easy to be  spectators in this life.  

  What happens when we constantly have people in our lives that want to take, take, take from us?

  How are we to react appropriately when friendship is NOT reciprocal?

  What is the correct response when communication only happens when the other party needs you?

  Yes, this is a real situation in my life.  And to be honest and vulnerable with you, I have had trouble knowing what my response should be.  As a women desperately seeking to become changed and moulded into Godly ways, into thinking of others and putting others first…..how can I outlive this in my own life?  When I hurt.  When I feel used and abused.  When there is a cycle going on.

  I’ve swayed in my responses so far.  I’ve done the rescuing thing. I’ve done the create some distance thing.  And neither option seem to help.  To my shame I have harbored real anger and frustration and I’ve thought such thoughts as  ‘Why can’t I fix this person when I’ve invested so much in her’.  Yep.  Not my finest moment.  Not the ‘better person’ option and I’m ashamed to admit it.

  I’m used to liking people.  I’m used to getting on with a wide variety of people.  At the risk of blowing my own trumpet I think my people skills and communication skills are ok.  

  Then why does it hurt so very much, to be in friendships that are not reciprocal?  To feel like I’m taken for granted?  

  Here’s what I’m trying to do to help myself…..

  *  Recognize that other people’s expectations of a friendship may be different to what my expectations are.

  *  Sit down and really look at the person’s strengths.  Focus on the positives. Not dwell on the negatives.

  *  Verbalize to others the positives this person has.  It does something in your heart when you jump to defend someone who needs defending – especially when they are not there.

  *  Make sure your EGR people know you are there for them – but know it is ok to remove yourself a little.  Even Jesus took time out from the crowds to spend time with the Father, but he was still accessible.  Now I know I’m not God – but I am trying to be like Jesus, so I want my friends to know that at the end of the day I still care and I still want to be there for them. 

  I’m still working out how best to honour and love on Extra Grace Required people.  It isn’t the easiest of things.    I believe strongly in loyalty to friends and that my word is my word. How do you love the extra grace required people in your life?  How can you be Jesus with  skin on?  How can you allow yourself to be vulnerable – yet still take some responsibility and not enable further behaviour that is going to harm your friendship?  

Extra grace is certainly required of me. The challenge is how to outflow this grace in a real and even a tangible way.  

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