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Displaying items by tag: empty nest

Saturday, 03 October 2020 12:31

The Dragonfly Effect

 dragonfly effect 2

 

Dragonflies played a lovely part of raising our son. To pass the time while his sister napped, we
counted the dragonflies that sunned themselves on our neighbor’s roof. As he grew, he learned
to capture these delicate creatures and bring them to me for study.
 
Dragonfly eyes dominate the tiny faces of these odd creatures giving them excellent vision.
While our vision sees in shades of three primary colors, the dragonfly sees way beyond that, up
to 30 different primary colors. Their vision captures much more of the vibrancy of the light
spectrum, they even see ultraviolet rays!
 
Body heavy, these fascinating insects look like that couldn’t get off the ground. Yet, their
iridescent wings glimmer in the sunlight as they fly. Masters of flight each of their wings work
independently allowing them to catch their dinner on the fly. At 30 miles per hour they can eat
hundreds of mosquitoes a day.
 
I can relate to the dragonfly. I feel like I’m awkward and unable to do what God calls me to each
day. But if these baffling insects can traverse the air with acrobatic stunts, I too can learn live in
the way I am designed. Free to fly as God leads and seeking the vision to see His next steps. This
is how I see you as well.
 
Dragonfly women fly because they are fruitful, linked, and yielded.
 
        F: Fruitful, bridges to other generations and builds relationships that bring unity to the
            body of Christ. We recognize we need each other but we also value the next as well as the
            previous generation as dynamic members of our community.
       L: Linked by these bridges, we depend on one another because we yearn to nurture
           each other as well as be nurtured. A vibrant woman thrives in community.
       Y: Yielded to the Holy Spirit, we desire a close relationship with God that builds our
           confidence and anchors our identity in Christ. We release insecurity through living as God's
           child.
 
When we learn to live this way, we recognize God esteems us as His daughters. Our mid-life
centers around renewing and restoring ourselves recognizing we are still needed. We are a vital
part of our community.
 

Galatians 5:13 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

 
Published in Devotionals
Thursday, 27 August 2020 16:52

Handling Anger

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Anger wells up when life seems unfair. Recently, a memory snaked its way back into my mind. That waitress was so rude, why didn’t management get notified. Instead I sat there and took it. Rehearsing the speech, I wish I gave I laid awake for hours. Friends that incident occurred years ago. Why did it slip in now? I don’t know but it was something I needed to get rid of.

After laying there for a while I heard this whisper “Why are you holding onto that offense?”

“Well, I don’t know.”

“What are you supposed to do?” The whisper continued.

“Forgive. I forgive that waitress for her insensitivity and the frustration she caused in me. Forgive me for hanging on to this memory like a dog with a bone. I’m so sorry Lord.”

Culturally acceptable, this emotion can cripple us. We allow the imagined argument to swirl around in our heads, feeling justified by the cause.

Ephesians 4:26-27 is a well-known verse among church goers.  “And “don’t sin by letting anger control you.” Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, 27 for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” It is known but seems so hard to do. It is easy to point out in others but difficult to apply to ourselves. Sometimes we don’t even see the bitterness we are hanging onto.

Sweet old ladies welcome everyone, the mood of the room lightens when they are present. Without complaint emotions are faced and dealt with. Forgiveness can get easier with age but only if it’s regularly applied. Unforgiveness leads to bitterness which leads to an inhospitable environment.

There is a woman at my church who has survived a traumatic childhood. Her teenage years were spent in Germany during World War II. She lost a great deal. She came to the United States as a young woman and became a citizen. Now as an elderly member of our church she calls all of us family. She loves the Lord and lives in gratitude for the life He has given her. She is always ready with a hug and word of encouragement. She gives honest feedback but always delivers truth in love. Her presence invites others in as a strong example to those around her. She is a role model for me but scoffs at me when I tell her so.

When I am angry, I need to remember.

God is good

Vengeance belongs to Him.

The other person who made me angry is made in the image of God

The other person deserves God’s grace as much as I do.

Extending forgiveness benefits both of us.

Choose between a lighthearted or bitter future.

It seems easy yet human nature naturally embraces the trap of regurgitating past hurts. Return to the top of the list fight the urge to hold on lay it at the feet of Jesus. He reminds us that His burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30) Always ready for us, He call us, the weary, to Him.

 

Published in Devotionals
Monday, 27 July 2020 18:26

Worrier to Warrior

Philippians 4 6

 

 

Hannah moved back home in March due to Covid-19. Now twenty-one years old, our adult
daughter joined us in our empty nest. It took some adjusting but we are accustomed to our new
unit of three. At the end of this month she returns to Indiana as a senior in college. Our normal
August good-byes are complicated by a nation in turmoil and a pandemic. Will she be safe? Will
she be wise? Will the added stress trigger her anxiety?
 
Worries are not allowed to have free rental space in our heads. That space is to be used for
God’s word. Easier said than done but we are wise to listen to Matthew 6:27 (NIV) “Can any one
of you by worrying add a single hour to your life?” That answer would be NOPE. We are to trust
Jesus with our thoughts. Psalm 9:10 (NIV) “Those who know your name trust in you, for you,
Lord, have never forsaken those who seek you.”
 
For the most part all my thoughts are in place but occasionally, one goes skittering through as if
it has a will of its own. Especially at night, half asleep, when we should be at rest; they pester
us. Whether it is a nagging member of our to-do list or a worry that has no place there we need
the tools to shut it down. It needs a good cleaning but how do you do that?
 
2 Corinthians 10:5 in the NIV says “We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself
up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to
Christ.” First, we must recognize we are to demolish them. Not hopefully we can demolish
them, nope. Remember warrior of God, this is your job and you have the tools to do so. (Judges
6:12) This applies to the worries, but it also applies to the list of responsibilities that don’t go
away. Rest is a necessary part of our battle plan. We are to command any swirling thought to be
quiet until morning. Take it captive – write it down. Revisit it in the morning. This will make it
obedient to Christ. With practice, our minds learn to stay quiet. I want to stress that this is
something we need to practice as a discipline.
 
Let’s look at Philippians 4:6 in detail. “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about
everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (NLT).
1. Don’t worry.
2. Pray about everything. That literally means all things. Every detail matters to God and it
is ok to share it with Him. He will listen.
3. Ask God to provide for you and those you love. This is your time to fight. Remember you
are standing on the victory already provided for you. (Romans 8:37)
4. Thank Him. Gratitude is an amazing weapon against anxiety.
His promises will quiet the wayward thought. This takes practice. One of my favorite prayers is
simple. “I trust you Jesus.” Sometimes it is on repeat until His peace surrounds me and fills me.
Not because it takes repetition to get Him to answer but because I need to believe it myself.
Instead of worrying let’s turn it to a prayer of thanksgiving. She’s growing up so fast turns to
thank you Lord she’s able to go to school. He’s leaving home becomes thank you he has this
new adventure to follow his dream. They might not make it without me converts to thank you
they are learning independence. Through God’s grace we can quiet those pesky thoughts and
rest knowing God is in control.
 
It is not a one and done. This takes time and it is harder when life is difficult. We can feel fear
and worry, we are not to stay there. If this is an ongoing issue remember you don’t have to live
this way. There is no shame in getting help. Your mental health is as important as your medical
health; you're to live in freedom.
 
God is infinitely greater than everything. That is a huge statement. His power is boundless.
Creativity was birthed in His being. God is the source, the beginning – the end. You know this. I
know this. But do we live this way? In transforming into the woman He desires us to be we must
rely on His power. He can turn a worrier into a warrior. Does it surprise you that I referred to you
as a warrior of God? Who me? Yes, you. This battle is the internal battle we each fight.
Remember you are fighting from a place of victory. Do not give up! Keep fighting my friend.
Published in Devotionals