His Word, Kids/Parenting, Link-Ups, Soul Relationships

Perceptions

As I was driving today, I was mindlessly flipping through the radio stations and I stumbled upon the song “Harper Valley PTA.” I knew I had heard the song before, but it had been a while. I missed the first part of it, but tuned in just to hear the words, ‘they were surprised when Miss Johnson wore her mini-skirt into the room.’

I continued to listen to the song and the lyrics and noted that the song was from the ’60s. (I love it when Sirius tells me when the song came out.) It occurred to me that the lyrics describing the situation then aren’t too different from situations nowadays.

I was intrigued enough about the full song to Google the lyrics. Here is what I found:

I wanna tell you all a story ’bout a Harper Valley widowed wife,
Who had a teenage daughter who attended Harper Valley Junior High,
Well her daughter came home one afternoon and didn’t even stop to play,
And she said, “Mom I got a note here from the Harper Valley PTA.”

Well the note said, “Mrs. Johnson, you’re wearing your dresses way too high.
It’s reported you’ve been drinkin’ and runnin’ round with men and goin’ wild.
And we don’t believe you oughta be a bringin’ up your little girl this way.”
And it was signed by the secretary, Harper Valley PTA.

Well it happened that the PTA was gonna meet that very afternoon.
And they were sure surprised when Mrs. Johnson wore her mini-skirt into the room.
And as she walked up to the black board, I still recall the words she had to say.
She said, “I’d like to address this meeting of the Harper Valley PTA.

Well, there’s Bobby Taylor sittin’ there, and seven times he’s asked me for a date.
And Mrs. Taylor seems to use alotta ice, whenever he’s away.
And Mr. Baker can you tell us why your secretary had to leave this town?
And shouldn’t widow Jones be told to keep her window shades a pulled completely down.

Well Mr. Harper couldn’t be here cause he stayed too long at Kelly’s Bar again.
And if you smell Shirley Thompson’s breath you’ll find she’s had a little nip of gin.
And then you have the nerve to tell me, you think that as a mother I’m not fit.
Well this is just a little Peyton Place, and you’re all Harper Valley hypocrites.”

No, I wouldn’t put you on because, it really did happen just this way.
The day my momma socked it to, the Harper Valley PTA.
The day my momma socked it to, the Harper Valley PTA

And it got me thinking…isn’t this how we all can be? We can be more critical of others than ourselves. We can judge others by their actions and ourselves by our intentions. We can ignore the plank in our own eye and focus on the sawdust in others’ eyes.

I’m not sure what it will take for us to take an honest look at ourselves…to look at ourselves in a spiritual mirror.

I hear this in my kids…I am guilty of this with my husband or my family…

When my son or daughter offends the other, I hear one say, “Well, that’s not what I meant,” and then the offended party retorts, “Well, that’s how it felt.”

See what they did? The offender measures their intent and the offended measures the offender’s actions.

We are all guilty of saying, “Well, look at Miss Johnson’s short mini-skirt, but pay no attention to the nip(s) of gin I’ve had.”

This may seem like an odd place to tie this in, but I’m struggling with the word God has for me for 2016. I’ve toyed with all of these: brave, courageous, still, peace, and now trust. While all of these are good in and of themselves, I can’t possibly try to focus on ALL of these for 2016. So, what about choosing one that encompasses them all?

Focus…

It takes focus to be brave…it takes focus to be courageous…it takes focus to be still and have peace…it takes laser-like focus and intention to trust.

It takes focus to not judge others…but if I do slip into that old pattern, then it takes focus to look at their intentions and not always focusing on their actions.

 Intentions vs Actions

See, a while back, I was reading “Love and Respect” by Doctor Emerson Eggerichs. One of the ideas he discusses in the book is to look at the other party’s intentions before reacting. The way he suggests doing this is to ask yourself if the offender has general ‘good will’ toward you. See, if I know that my husband generally wishes me well and doesn’t want to hurt me, then I can more rationally determine whether he meant to hurt me or not. Most times, his intention isn’t to hurt me, but there’s a general miscommunication happening based on our perceptions.

Merriam-Webster defines perception as: the way you think about or understand something or someone. Our perceptions are based largely on what has happened to us and how we have reacted to it. Two people can go through the exact same situation and handle it differently…because of their backgrounds and what they’ve been through in the past.

We are all unique and we all deserve the same grace.

Link-Ups, Soul Relationships

Do You Measure Yourself?

This post was originally published on April 25, 2014…

A journalist visited a town famous for its rampant unhappiness to see if he could understand its origin. Walking down the street, he noticed a man ahead of him. 

Suddenly, a little man, no more than a few inches high, appeared and ran up the man’s leg. He started sticking pins into the man and sewing things to him. 

Instantly, the man was covered by these tiny tailors, all sticking him with pins. He looked completely miserable as he shuffled off.

The journalist saw this happen to one person after another, until he was ready to give up and go home. The town was completely infested with tiny tailors; no wonder everyone was unhappy.

Then the journalist noticed one woman covered with tiny tailors who apparently said something, and the tiny tailors just melted away. 

The journalist ran over to her. “What did you say to get free of them?!” he exclaimed.

“Oh,” she answered, “it was nothing. I just told them I’ve decided to stop measuring myself.”

–Guy Finley

How many of us allow tiny tailors to attach themselves to us? To our outsides…to our insides…

How many of us walk through life feeling defeated, because we feel like we don’t measure up to some impossible standard of living?

Whether it’s the way you feel you should be talking to your spouse, or the way you feel you shouldbe interacting with your children, or the way you feel you should lose weight, or the way you feel youshould treat yourself.

In all of these examples, we should ourselves. We should ourselves almost to the point of exhaustion and defeat.

Surely, I’m not the only one?!

This year was supposed to be the year I came to accept myself and who I am. Not that I was content to just remain stagnant where I was when the year started, but to just accept ME. for ME.

I’m not sure I’m progressing in this goal.

And it makes me kind of sad.

What example am I setting for my children if I walk around with LOADS of negative self-talk going on? That does nothing for the environment in my home.

Just this morning, I felt like I was failing at life. And then my daughter, my beautiful daughter, wrapped her arms around my neck and said the sweetest words to me, “I Love You, Momma.”

WOAH! It was like a ton of bricks were lifted off my shoulders.

Then, my son echoed her sentiments. He said, “It’s OK, Momma.”

And I knew I was right where I was meant to be…being ‘measured’ by the ones who love me most. Who see me at my best…and at my worst…

We are our own worst critics. Let’s band together and silence the inner voice which tells us that we’ll never measure up…

Link-Ups, Series, Soul Relationships

Friend

This post was originally published on April 25, 2014…

Hey Friends! Here we are, at another Friday (already?). So, I’ve been doing some thinking…scary, I know. I’m going to start writing more frequently. There for a while, I was writing almost daily and it has slowly trickled off. But, as I’ve said before…I need to write like I need to breathe. And sometimes, it’s not much…but just taking the time to sit down and get all of the thoughts out of my head and onto paper (21st Century translation = computer screen).

Today, as with all Fridays, I’m linking up with Lisa-Jo Baker for her Five Minute Friday writing challenge. Today’s prompt is Friend…ready? GO!

It’s funny to think of the word friend. Sometimes, I think that I haven’t got a friend in the world, and then other times, when I take a long-hard look around, I realize I’m blessed with an overwhelming supply of friends.

Those who encourage me with the things they say or do.

Those who lift me up when I’m having trouble lifting myself up.

Those who pray for me when I feel I don’t have the strength or stamina to pray for myself.

Those who remind me of the song of my life and sing it back to me when I forget it’s chorus or the verses.

Those who let me know that it’s okay (and perfectly normal) to yell at my children on occasion. (Side note: thank God for His grace and mercy that I don’t stay in ‘that place.’)

Those who push me to do more. To be more. To love more. To forgive more – even when I feel I. Just. Can’t. Forgive. Again.

Those who love me when I feel I’m at my most unlovable.

Those who have care and compassion for me when I’m hurting.

I have several girlfriends who fit some or all of the above. And I’m so grateful for each and every one of them.

I know that you, my dear reader, have this person or people in your life that do these things for you. Oftentimes, it’s the person we would least expect it to be. In my case, it’s my children.

I know that I can’t share all of my personal woes and life struggles in detail with my children, but they have been my best friends lately.

They remind me that I’m their superhero. I’m their mom. I’m their first friend. And I hope to be their best and last friend they have.

His Word, Kids/Parenting, Soul Relationships

There is Power in the Name

Fear…there are a lot of feelings that this one word can elicit in someone when they hear it.

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For those of you who have the Proverbs 31 Ministry First 5 app, you know that today, Lysa TerKeurst writes about Matthew 1:20 and fear. The fear Joseph had when he found out Mary was pregnant – and it wasn’t his child. Fear of the shame that would be heaped upon him by the towns people. Fear of the anger toward Mary for ‘stepping out’ of their marriage. Fear of the confusion he felt about the circumstances.

These are all tactics that the enemy uses to try to incapacitate God’s children. To keep believers from accepting their God-given assignment. To prevent us from fully walking out in our purpose.

Lysa further goes on to say that, just as in Joseph’s day, the enemy wants us to be afraid today. And it’s not the good, healthy kind of fear that keeps us from dare-devil stunts and protects us. No…not this fear. He wants to keep us tangled in his lies, stifled in the discomfort of living without purpose, and suffocating in the fear of the darkness he covers us with.

While we are otherwise occupied by focusing on fear, he is stealing our joy. The gospel of John tells us in chapter ten that, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” The thief John is referring to is the devil. These are the words of Jesus, so He is who we will find a full life in.

He is stealing our purpose, he is killing our present moments, he is destroying our dreams.

It’s a total God thing that I read this today. See, just yesterday I was dealt a devastating blow. I mean, this was one of those below-the-belt sucker punches that not only knocks the wind out of you, but completely buckles your legs until you are on your knees on the ground. I mean when I first got the news, I felt every emotion on the spectrum. My first thought was, ‘Who the hell do they think they are?’ (yes, good church-going, Bible-reading, praying-momma, me had that thought). My next thought was, ‘Is any ounce of what they are claiming true?’ Even though I knew, deep down, it wasn’t.

While I’m ashamed these were my first two thoughts, I can say that I didn’t linger here very long before reminding myself that The Lord has this. He has this entire situation in the palm of His hand. He already knows the outcome. And, nothing, no NOTHING will come to me without first going through Him to me.

While knowing all of these facts, there is a part of me, however small, that is still living in FEAR about the situation. There is the perpetual ‘what if’ that keeps running through my mind. Because this is where the enemy wants me to unpack and camp out. He wants me to live in fear…so that I can forget about the purpose God has for me…so that I can focus on the ‘what if’ rather than the mission that God has given me, the calling He has on my life…so that I can NOT focus on the life-giving love around me daily.

The other thing that I need to remind myself of daily is that I’ve been here before. Well, maybe not in this EXACT place, but I’ve been in a very similar place. Where I was fearful of the outcome. And guess what? God delivered me from that. He kept me in the palm of His hand. When I was fretting about how the resolution would come, God already had it worked out.

So, leaning on the words found in Philippians 4:6-7, I will not be anxious about anything, but I will present my requests to God, and then the peace that surpasses all understanding, will guard my heart and mind in Christ Jesus.

The final comment that Lysa makes, and the nifty image that illustrates today’s lesson is this: ‘Proclaiming the name of Jesus brings power, protection, and a perspective that crushes fear.’

When the enemy tempts me to be fearful, when he allures me into worrying, when he seduces me into thinking nothing is going to turn out, I am just going to say, ‘Jesus help me,’ and I will feel the tension leave my body. I will feel the peace come to rest on my shoulders. And I will remember there is power in the name of Jesus.

Soul Relationships

How I Will Know

my dear, i’ve wondered for some time how i will know when i meet ‘the one.’

i’ve asked the question of others. i’ve pondered answers to my own inquiring mind. many have said that i would just know.

for a long time, i felt that was their cookie-cutter response to someone who just didn’t know a thing about true love…

someone who has yet to see a healthy relationship in action…

someone who has divorce and infidelity running through the roots of her family tree…

someone whose heart has been broken more times than can be counted…

someone who has become jaded and cynical and questions what love truly looks like…

someone who desperately wants to believe in the fairy tale, but really can’t afford to waste hopes and dreams on such foolishness…

well, my love, i’ve learned a thing or two in the past few months

i’ll know i’ve found the one when he provides a listening ear – and offers well-thought out advice…advice he himself would follow

i’ll know i’ve found the one when he mows my yard for me – and not just once…because he knows that my time with my kids is limited and precious..and because he wants to do something nice for me

i’ll know i’ve found the one when the texts which read, ‘good morning beautiful’ and ‘good night’ come without fail. every. single. day.

i’ll know i’ve found the one when doors are opened for me – and my daughter…and not because we are incapable, but because he wants to show respect and admiration and manners and chivalry. and it is so important for my daughter to see this side of a man. {sidenote, for all of the cynics out there, i truly thought chivalry was dead. turns out i was wrong.}

i’ll know i’ve found the one when nearly every song on the radio has a deeper meaning and prompts a memory – whether it’s a shared experience or a shared dream

i’ll know i’ve found the one when we have more inside jokes than not {and this drives other people CRAZY}

i’ll know i’ve found the one when he leaves me unexpected cards or notes around the house. just because.

i’ll know i’ve found the one when there is an appreciation for all you do for them – and it doesn’t feel like you do anything significant

i’ll know i’ve found the one when there is a strong hand holding mine telling me daily that he’s there – he’s not going anywhere – and he will fight for me. for those are words that have never before left lips and fallen on these ears. and ladies, trust me when i say that these are the sweetest words that you will ever hear uttered from a man’s lips.

you see, my love, these are just a few of the ways that i’ll know i’ve found the one in whom my heart trusts completely. and with that trust comes a lifetime of respect, devotion, and love.

and i know i’ve found the one