Thursday, October 19, 2017

Brave

What is brave?

Brave: adjective. 1. Having or showing courage; intrepid. 2. Making fine display; elegant. - verb. braved, braving, 1. To meet with courage and fortitude. 2. To defy; challenge. - noun. 1. A man of courage. 2. A North American Indian warrior. (from the Italian bravo)

What is brave?

To climb mountains? To repel down again? To swim across a lake? To jump from a plane? To cross a gorge on a bridge of rope? To live alone on an island and survive? To drive a car at 130 miles per hour in the Indianapolis 500? To ski in the Rockies? To ride a kayak down the Colorado River? To hike in the desert? To run the Boston Marathon?

Maybe.

What is brave?

To serve in the military? Especially during war-time? To work triage at a metropolitan hospital? To drive the streets of Chicago in a police cruiser, keeping the peace? To fly helicopter for tourists who want to see a bird's eye view of the Grand Canyon, Niagara Falls, Ground Zero?

Perhaps.

I think bravery is living with courage. Raising children. Serving as a waitress. Staying married. Cleaning up after people in hotels, restaurants, streets, public places of all kinds.

I think bravery is living without complaining. Rising above and finding peace in the midst growing utility bills, fuel bills, mortgage payments, grocery bills, medical bills.

I think being brave is going to work every day even though you know all the money you earn will be gone within the week because you are supporting a family.

I think bravery is doing without to help someone else, pulling over to help the stranded motorist, picking up the fluttering receipt and calling to the lady who dropped it, helping the short person in the store isle, talking to the young man who just palmed the candy and offering to buy it for him, listening to the customer who complains every single time all the while smiling and nodding and praying.

Bravery isn't something you're born with. It's something you practice day in and day out. It's continuing the mind-numbing dreary work of dishes and laundry. It's helping your elderly mother more than you really want to (you want a life of your own without this specific responsibility) because you know there is no one else to do it.

Being brave is doing it all with a smile.

Being brave is having a song in your heart when you'd really like to curl up, hug a teddy bear and cry.

Being brave makes the world a better place.

Brave is an attitude.

Be Brave.


Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Share

Share your faith

Share the gospel, share your faith, they say ...

Share, share, share …

But they rarely tell you about the pain, the rejection, the shunning that happens afterward … the friends that avoid you, the people that don't call you back, that person that seemed interested but moves to another isle in the store … emails not answered, texts sent into the cyberspace … forever lost ...

And you are persistent, just like they said, but how much persistence is being a pest and creating an ever larger canyon between you?

The guy that says that the Bible is just a book and interrupts you every time you try to talk about it … even laughing at the fact that you actually believe that Solomon was a real person …

The friend who looks like they are in pain when you try to explain that versions don't matter, what matters is the message, the story of how God loves us, and instantly the conversation turns to cooking …

The cards you sent that weren't answered, but weren't returned either …

The good friend that doesn't have coffee with you anymore …

The group that meets without you now …

Sharing the gospel, speaking your faith, voicing your deeply-held-personally-proven-by-God beliefs is all at once joyful, fulfilling, exciting, painful and devastating …

“I used to say I was a Christian when I wasn't.”

Me too. I used to talk about religion, the Bible, controversies, interesting information … when the subject came up … I used to pray when I got in trouble … I used to pretend …

Then God took me to a lonely place. A place where He was the Only One there. And He became real to me. And this is because people were praying for me, for my eyes to be opened, my good friend Linda, my brother, and others -

and I asked questions

and I read the Bible like it was the only book ever written

So now I pray.

I pray for my friends to trust me again so I can just be their friend – no agenda. I pray that cards might be answered. I pray that the words of my mouth would be healing, encouraging, truth. I pray for hard hearts like mine to be softened. I pray that someone might be put in their path that speaks those final words that break through the darkness.

That darkness of hopelessness and despair I lived in for so long, thinking, if I just work harder, clean more, work out more, eat healthier, be stricter with the children, love my husband more … my life would all work out.

When all the time God was waiting for me to cry out to Him. Jesus was waiting for me to talk to Him, unload, be honest with my stance on ground zero, among the rubble. The Holy Spirit was waiting to infuse me with His wisdom, His insight, His comfort.

All I had to do was let go …

So now I pray.


Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Grow

Grow up

Grow in your faith

Grow big and strong

How long will it take for him to grow

Why doesn't my plant grow

Boy! You sure have grown

We are growing just a little more in our faith each day … but only God can see it

What do you want to be when you grow up

Wow, that novel is still growing ... and so is that afghan ...

That tree sure grew. I remember when we planted it …

The LORD God made all kinds of trees grow out of the ground

And the boy Samuel continued to grow in stature and in favor with the Lord and with people

The lions may grow weak and hungry, but those who seek the Lord lack no good thing

And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the wilderness until he appeared publicly to Israel.

And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and man.

Let both grow together until the harvest. At that time I will tell the harvesters: First collect the weeds and tie them in bundles to be burned; then gather the wheat and bring it into my barn.

But those who hope in the LORD will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.

Grow

Monday, October 16, 2017

Read

They said I was an early reader.

I arrived home one day from kindergarten and went to the frig to get an apple. I looked up at the freezer door and sounded out the word “Frigidaire.” I knew I was right because I had heard my mom say that word many times, referring to our refrigerator. I felt the full, happy feeling of success.

My mom was so proud. I was asked to show off that skill at least three times.

But the truth was I had heard the word spoken and had only sounded out the first half of the word and guessed the rest.

This created a feeling of guilt inside of me. A tiny secret I kept for a long time. I had cheated. I hadn't read the whole word.

But later I forgave myself. As I taught other children to read, and then my own. I discovered that reading isn't so much a skill as a desperation.

We need to know what all those letters mean. Inside the black and white mystery is the key to all knowledge, wisdom, money, fame, acceptance, independence … even power.

So, when a struggling reader comes my way I try all the methods I know to help: Phonics, memorizing, shapes, rhyming, pictures, tricks, cheats, and lots of love, patience and persistence.

Because everyone needs the skill of reading, cheating or not.

Everyone should know the joy of deciphering “Frigidaire.”

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Remain

We came upon what looked like the remains of a cabin. There was the foundation. There was the fireplace. He thought it might have burned down. I said it looked like it had been started but never finished. Then I looked around and realized we were on private property and I began to worry. He said it wasn't a problem and found an apple tree. “See? They even planted an apple tree.” The apples were still a little green. “But where are the remains of the doors and walls and windows? Shouldn't there be old burnt wood in the fireplace?” “It all washed away. It's really old. C'mon, let's pick some apples.” I was unwilling, but he seemed so sure. “We should have brought a bag,” I said thinking out loud. “Let's go.” He wanted to stay. I felt like the owners were watching. We finally left with our jacket pockets stuffed with small, hard, green apples. Mom was happy with our discovery. She made a pie and cooked it in the camp fire. It burned. We ate some of it anyway.

What remains

Remains of the Day

It looks like the remains of a ___

Can I stay?

Remain, stay, rest


If you remain in me …

Remain here while I go over there to pray …

… remain in Me and I in him …

There remain these three – faith, hope, charity …

“... If you remain in Me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from Me you can do nothing. If you do not remain in Me, you are like a branch that is thrown away and withers; such branches are picked up, thrown into the fire and burned. ...” John 15

… remain ...

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Try

“No! Try not. Do, or do not. There is no try.” - Yoda


And that's about the size of it.

Any time I “tried” to do something I ended up not doing it.

Why?

Because within the word “try” is an out.

Try writing a novel sometime … after page 20 the idea runs dry, and because you said, “I'll try,” you feel like it's okay not to finish it.

Try growing a garden. When the weeds get overwhelming (right around the beginning of August) you think, “Well, I've done pretty well for this year ...” and you walk away.

Or maybe it's just me.

Maybe “try” has meant “half-hearted effort” all these years – to me.

Well, I had to change that. I don't try anymore. I don't “attempt”. I don't “play with the idea.”

I do.

“Just do it.”

“Don't think. Just do.”

So, I finished the second rewrite of my novel. I did it. I sent it out to my beta readers.

They were tired of hearing me say, “I'll try to get it to you by the end of the month.” Then stuff got in the way.

I let stuff get in the way.

“Try” is a whimpy word that lets me fail.

“Try” is for the playground, not the Olympic field.

Might seem harsh, but there is it.

(originally published at www.rachelhtmendell.com)

Friday, October 13, 2017

Invite

Did you get the invite?

Nope

Oh, well, you could come with me …


Did you get the invite?

Yes

Are you going?

I don't know. I haven't checked me schedule and …


Did you get the invite?

Which one? It's fall. I have a ton of invites.

The one to The Feast

Oh, yes, I did! Can't wait!


“Let him lead me to the banquet hall, and let his banner over me be love.” - Song of Songs 2:4 (NIV)