It was my freshman year of college. I stood nestled in our college choir with the second-altos, clad in a uniform dress that somehow carried the ability to transform my appearance into that of a black olive. The first few notes of the piano introduction were lilting over the auditorium, in our first number after the break: Jesu, Dulcis Memoria. Jesus, sweet memory.
But as the notes softly vibrated, a member of the crowd, we found out, had been seizing. What I did not anticipate was that, as the word Jesu slipped out of our mouths, the seizure would cease.
I’m sure that some could call it superstitious or unfounded to correlate the two. And I’m willing to admit there are other explanations. And yet—I’m fascinated by stories like this in Scripture: God’s power in Elijah’s bones; in Jesus’ coat; in Peter’s shadow.
I posted recently on this idea, at Ever Thine Home’s blog (with Barbara Rainey of FamilyLife): The Power of a Name. Hop on over and check it out!
By the time you read this, my family will likely have wrangled our carry-ons into that taupe-colored hum of a 757, bound for six months stateside. (After the lunacy of this week, preparing to abscond for six entire months, I surely hope we make it to the plane.)
I feel conflicted over this.
My son—my oldest—turned twelve a few weeks back. Helping him with his piano lesson, I played a few notes of the “New World Symphony” for him. He didn’t remember a bit of it—though we played it night after night after night for him as an infant, willing that cranky boy to go to sleep in one different house after another during a crazy season of life. We visited 13 states in his first 13 months of life. I’m pretty confident he was grumpy in all 13.
But mothering him well looked so different than what it does now. Now we’re having conversations about puberty, about ethics; he just finished reading The Hobbit, and borrows my phone to play TobyMac while he washes dishes. Each stage—crabby or not—has enveloped me in a rich joy that could only be flattened if I attempted to describe it to you.
As we celebrate another year—and really, come to grips with the fact that two-thirds of his time under our roof has already passed—I think of God’s fathering of me. I marvel how He’s brought me beneath that gentle, wonderfully all-encompassing kingship whether I was in kindergarten, or that awkward and painful freshman year of high school, or that new, cautious bloom of my first year of marriage. His steady, wise Lordship has expanded its definition in my life year after year.
I’m contributing again on Ever Thine Home’s blog (with Barbara Rainey of FamilyLife) today about this whole idea. Hop on over and check it out!
Sometimes it’s hard for me to locate the goodness of God in poverty.
A project with a Ugandan friend of mine, completing her counseling internship, had trailed me into the slums after her. In some ways the dry season made it more tolerable than I’d anticipated. The unnaturally-colored, stagnant water clotted with trash would soon rise bearing cholera, typhoid, and worse.
My heart and my senses were constantly scuffed to a raw alertness. The ten women our project was seeking to assist earned about 1500 shillings per day; about 50 cents. We ducked in their darkened huts, my rudimentary Luganda tripping over my tongue like my tennis shoes over the jutting paths outside.
I could sense it in a conversation the other day, creeping over me like a bony hand on my shoulder. Later, I guessed it was similar to what some women feel when a confident, charming vixen sweeps into the room, swiveling all the male heads, and you’re in your sweatpants and greasy ponytail: immediate intimidation. And was that…jealousy? Ick.
Completely Pretty much hypothetical situation. Say one of your kids—well, one of my kids, anyway—teases a sibling to the point of tears. (I know. Whose kids would do that?!)
Let’s take a gander at a few of our parenting options, shall we?
a. “How could you do that to him/her? You are such a bully. Ugh. I am so disgusted with you.”
b. “Get over here! What were you thinking?! I cannot believe you.”
c. “Hey, we need to talk about this. Take a look at your sister for a minute. Let’s think about what it’s like to be in her shoes right now. What do you think she’s feeling? Have you ever felt that way? Do you think you built her up, or tore her down? What do you think you should do?”
I hope I would choose c; I do. But, when forming this decision in a perfect storm of hormones, loathsome traffic, summer heat, and a full week of kids acting as if they were raised by wolves, I wish I were not so enticed by options a and b.
What’s the difference between leading our kids toward appropriate guilt—and shaming them, otherwise known as (gulp) toxic parenting?