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31 Days of Loving Well & FMF: Discover

Discover

Discover
verb
: to see, find, or become aware of (something) for the first time
: to show the presence of (something hidden or difficult to see) : to make (something) known
: to learn or find out (something surprising or unexpected)


Is there anyone we take for granted more,
assume that we know so well
that we do not see the need
to discover anything new about them,
than our loved ones (family and friends?)

This is the place into which today’s FMF prompt has ushered me –
The recognition that I have not taken the time to ask questions of my loved ones.

Do not get me wrong. I do ask how they are doing and, most of the time, listen closely as they speak.

It is also true that, especially for my siblings, I can sometimes sense that something is not okay, just by the sound of their voices or what they do not say.

But I realize that there are details of their lives that I do not know.

Yes, it is true that, as the youngest in a large family, aspects of their lives occurred before I was born.

But this makes it even more necessary for me to intentionally create opportunities for them to tell me their stories.

To have them tell and me listen with caring curiosity, is an act of loving well.


Today’s post was written for Day 20 of the 31 Days of Loving Well series, and Five Minute Friday. This series, 31 Days of Loving Well, is part of the 31 Days of Five Minute Free Writes event. The prompt is, “Discover.” To read other posts in the 31 Days of Loving Well series, please click here.

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Complete: Five Minute Friday

Complete“to make whole or perfect” (2)

These three words have been repeated at least 100s of thousands of times –
In movies.
In poems.
Whispered sincerely by lovers,
and even by besties (BFFs).

But whenever the words, “You complete me,” are stated by one human being to another,
they constitute a falsehood,
because no human being,
no matter how loving,
how selfless,
how noble,
can complete another human being.

There is only One who can complete us –
God.
We can enrich each others’ lives.
Be used by God to sharpen each other,
to move each other toward our destiny,
to encourage and uplift,
but never complete.

To expect someone to complete us
is to put a burden on that person
that he or she can never carry,
and it set us up for disappointment.
Let us look to God to make us whole.

FMF

I am joining the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung, for our weekly writing adventure. Please click here to learn about Five Minute Friday.  (My post took a bit longer than 5 minutes). This week’s prompt is, “Complete.” The definition of “Complete” used in this post is from merriam-webster.com.

 

Bouquet

bouquet

We make associations based on what is familiar to us. As such it would not be uncommon for most of us to think of flowers, when we hear or read the word “bouquet.” For the wine connoisseur, the owner of a vineyard, or someone who makes perfumes however, the association made is likely different. These individuals may associate the word “bouquet” with fragrance, for “bouquet” is also “the characteristic scent of a wine or perfume.”

Speaking of scents … the psalmist-king, David, implored God, “Let my prayer be counted as incense before You; the lifting up of my hands as the evening offering” (Psalm 141:2). And I wonder, does worship have a “a characteristic scent,” a fragrance? If worship does have a fragrance, what does our wholehearted worship smell like to Elohim? Similarly, what does our dutiful, obligatory worship smell like to Him? I wonder.

Let us accept the invitation to worship issued in Psalm 95:6-7 (AMP):

O come, let us worship and bow down,
Let us kneel before the Lord our Maker [in reverent praise and prayer].

For He is our God
And we are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand…(Psalm 95:6-7 Amplified Bible (AMP).

May our worship be a sweet fragrance to Him.

Crowd: Five Minute Friday

Crowd

“Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith, let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance the race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith. Because of the joy awaiting him, he endured the cross, disregarding its shame. Now he is seated in the place of honor beside God’s throne” (Hebrews 12:1-2, NLT).

I think of them sometimes, “The huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith,” mentioned in Hebrews 12:1. Among them are those whose stories are documented in the Bible: Abraham. Debra. David. Martha. Paul. Esther. Naomi. Jonathan. Moses. Joshua.

Also among the crowd are those who are nameless to us but  known intimately to God. But those who names we know and those who are nameless to us testify of the same truths. Truths such as “God is faithful” and “Every trial, every heartache pales in comparison to the glory of seeing Him face to face and living in His presence forever.”

I think of them sometimes, “the huge crowd of witnesses to the life of faith,” mentioned in Hebrews 12:1. I think of them and I pray, “Great God, let me be a good witness to the life of faith here on earth and when my days are over, may I be among the crowd mentioned in Revelation 7:9-10.

When this was done I looked again, and before my eyes appeared a vast crowd beyond man’s power to number. They came from every nation and tribe and people and language, and they stood before the throne of the Lamb, dressed in white robes with palm-branches in their hands. With a great voice they shouted these words: “Salvation belongs to our God who sits upon the throne and to the Lamb!” (Revelation 7:9-10, PHILLIPS).

FMF

I am joining the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung, for our weekly writing adventure (on a Saturday). Please click here to learn about Five Minute Friday. This week’s prompt is, “Crowd.”

 

 

Memories

memories (1)

We use varied tools to help us remember:
Mnemonics.
Handwritten lists.
Posit notes.
Smartphone apps.

But for some events
we need no memory aids,
for those events are imprinted in us,
and we recall them in vivid detail years after they occurred:
Where we were.
The time of day.
Who we were with.
What we were doing.
And smells can transport us backward.

We cannot change the events that created the memories but we can change our present and determine the memories’ future impact.

If our memories have imprisoned us (even pleasant ones can keep us stuck “in the good old days”), may we get the help we need to walk in freedom. May we refuse to be held hostage any longer to a past we cannot change.


Today is the 17th anniversary of 9/11. We remember the thousands of precious lives that were lost. We remember also the selflessness, courage, compassion, and unity that shone in the midst of the horror. May we remember and be moved to eschew the divisive, hate–filled rhetoric that characterize our national discourse. May we commit to civility and respect and when we disagree, remember the humanity and inherent worth of each person, including that of the one we see in the mirror.

Five Minute Friday: Rain

Rain

This was the progression:
the sound from the vent of my stove alerted me to the possibility that it was raining;
the desire to confirm the possibility as reality led me to a bedroom window.
And there was the evidence on full display – the desired rain coming in sheets.

Color me grateful and color my yard from brown to green because
rain seems consistently to do in minutes
what hours of costly water from my sprinkler cannot.

And I am reminded that the best of human effort will always fall short.
We always need our God to do what only He can do.
And we can trust Him as we wait.

FMF

I am joining the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung, for our weekly writing adventure. Please click here to learn about Five Minute Friday. This week’s prompt is, “Rain.”

In this place

in this place (1)

“Surely the Lord is in this place, and I was not aware of it” (Genesis 28:16, NIV).
This was Jacob’s thought after he awoke from a dream in which God revealed Himself to him and told him what He would do for and through Jacob.

As children of God, we have His promises that He is always with us. We can be certain that there is no place where we are that He is not. David, the psalmist-king, testified to this fact.

7 Can I go anywhere apart from Your Spirit?
Is there anywhere I can go to escape Your watchful presence?

8 If I go up into heaven, You are there.
If I make my bed in the realm of the dead, You are there.
9 If I ride on the wings of morning,

if I make my home in the most isolated part of the ocean,
10 Even then You will be there to guide me;

Your right hand will embrace me, for You are always there.
11 Even if I am afraid and think to myself, “There is no doubt that the darkness will swallow me,

the light around me will soon be turned to night,”
12 You can see in the dark, for it is not dark to Your eyes.

For You the night is just as bright as the day.
Darkness and light are the same to Your eyes.

(Psalm 139:7-12, VOICE)

We have His promises that He is everywhere, even when His presence is not manifested. Even when we do not sense Him near. But sometimes we forget what He said. We forget who He is and we allow our circumstances to define our Father to us. Evidence of our amnesia is our responses to life events, to circumstances “we did not sign up for.” “Where are You, God?” we may mutter, whimper or scream. And, although He has proven His faithfulness over and over and over, I believe He is not offended by our questions. I believe also, however, that there are some truths we need to settle in our innermost being once and for all. One such truth is, “God never abandons His children.” When He said, “I am with you always,” He meant it. At some point, we must make the decision to trust His word over our feelings, over the lies of our Enemy. And our Father gives us the grace and strength to do so.

Prayer: Father God, You who are faithful and true and love us unwaveringly, help us to be faithful to You, no matter what. May we so hide Your Word in our hearts that when life squeezes us, Your words spill out. Help us ground ourselves in You. Whereever we are, may speak this truth with confidence, “God is in this place, even when I do not feel His presence.” In Jesus Name. Amen.

Five Minute Friday: Rush

Rush (1)

I have seen it.
A leaf dislodged from a branch
and wafting softly to the ground,
carried on a gentle breeze.
There is no rushing there.
Just a quiet, slow fall.
A surrender(?)

I want to yield to the Spirit in this way.
Without resistance.
Give myself permission to engage in what a spiritual teacher describes as “the scared slow.”
In the midst of all that requires my attention.
In the midst of legitimate tasks.
Recognize in the midst of it all
there is one thing that is always necessary:
The turning of myself to God.
The tuning of my spirit, my inner ear to Him.
My yielding to Him.
Allowing Him to set the pace
so that although my body may be moving quickly,
there is a stillness within.
No rushing there.

FMF

I am joining the Five Minute Friday writing community, hosted by Kate Motaung, for our weekly writing adventure (on a Saturday). Please click here to learn about Five Minute Friday. This week’s prompt is, “Rush.”