Sunday, January 31, 2010

Martyrdom or Vengeance? Part 1

Believe it or not, there was a time I professed to be a pacifist. Not the "wear a peace-symbol while spitting on soldiers" kind, but a religious pacifist; a nonresistant, conscientious objector to fighting and war.

Well do I remember my elation when, at the age of twelve, I was socked between the eyes by a peer and managed to "turn the other cheek". The problem was: I was no martyr! That nose-punch was completely and totally deserved!

Less than a month later, my true nature became evident, as I watched that same fellow tormenting a group of schoolchildren, chasing them with his bicycle on our way home from school. As the little ones ran about screaming, the rascal ran a six-year-old into a ditch, pinning him against the hillside with the wheel of his bike.

At first, my response was to ignore the bully, and vainly instructed the younger children to do the same. But then, the hooligan grabbed a 7-foot reed; plucked from the ground with roots and dirt intact and used it as a lance! Foolishly he charged within an inch of a first grader's eyeball- and I SNAPPED!

Without stopping to think, I found myself jumping in front of the bully's bike and grabbing his "lance". As it snapped in two, leaving me with half the stick- plus the large clump of dirt at the end; it was only a split second before I began to swing it, yelling at the miscreant with all my might. Strangely enough, my mind kept instructing, "Don't hit him! Just his bike!" So that's what I did. After smashing his end of the stick to smithereens, I went on to strike his bicycle handle, seat, and wheels- all the while screaming and hurling insults that I can't even remember.

It felt good to see the monster riding for home as fast as he could pedal, but the victory was hollow... I was a fraud and I knew it. And now, a whole school full of Amish kids had seen what I really was.

From that point, I've struggled with this concept and those that spring from it. Should a Christian retaliate in any manner? Should they be involved in politics, or go to war? What about defending the innocent? And how do you reconcile the Old Testament commands like, "wipe out the Amalakites" with the teachings of Christ that promote peace? Beyond that, what do you tell your children to do when they have conflicts with siblings, friends, or bullies?

Please take a moment to answer my poll, and tune in next time for the conclusions that I've drawn since that incident...

Is Kindness a Law?

Yesterday, I watched as Baby Charlotte tottered towards the patio. It's amazing how fast little ones grow up. Seems like yesterday we were visiting her mom in the hospital and seeing the tiny baby for the first time. Now she's almost running.

Unfortunately, the run didn't last long, and despite the gasp and mad dash on my part, the brave sixteen-month-old tripped, then did a nose dive onto the cement stepping-stones that my husband recently installed.

This is such a common occurance in childhood that we never pause to wonder about it. Things fall down. That's what they do. Nothing ever falls up!

We were all taught about the law of gravity. And regardless of how many times we test it, (some of us more than others)the law never changes, ever!

So the virtuous woman is to have "in her tongue the law of kindness". Not just on special occasions, or when there's company about, but constantly, gravity.

Today, as we celebrate Joanna's 5th and Felicity's 3rd Birthday, I desire with all my heart to make it extraordinarily special. But how do I speak to them the rest of the year?

May the Lord teach me to bridle my tongue and equip it with the law of kindness!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

His Story

"Mommy, are we in a story?" the quiet voice of my four-year old broke gradually into the thoughts tumbling about my head. It took a moment to focus on them- to focus on her.

"A story?" usually Joanna's surface questions have a much deeper meaning, so I gazed into the very serious brown eyes and probed, "what do you mean, honey?"

Her reply came slowly, as she carefully chose her words, "you know, like Mrs. Barker. Are WE in a story?"

Honestly, I tried, but could not contain the smile that crept across my face. Mrs. Barker is a special friend and one of my oldest and most cherished memories. The story of her flight from Estonia during WWII has touched multitudes of people that know and adore her.

For this reason, my Aunt Sheri was compelled, and providentially led, to write the biography of this precious saint, Brigitta Barker, known affectionately to friends and family as "Gita".

We all waited with much anticipation for the book to be published. As always, the Lord's timing is perfect, yet we couldn't help but marvel as "The Long Walk Home" went to publication the very day our daughter Brigitta was born!

My eyes returned to those of my oldest child, as I pondered her question for a moment, "Yes, Joanna. We are in a story- God's story. We may never read about our lives in a book, like Mrs. Barker, but our times are in His hand, and our days are written in His book. We are part of the most beautiful story ever written...His Story.

Click the link below to find out more!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Reluctant Blogger

CONFESSION: I was propelled into this "Blogging Adventure" by my dear husband, and am frankly quite terrified. I mean, what do I have to say that hasn't already been said by someone much wiser or more eloquent than I?

True, there was a time the world was dying to hear my opinion (so I thought) but lately I have to wonder why anyone would take note of my insignificant ramblings. Because of this, my best friend has dubbed me, "the Reluctant Blogger".

Then again, every one of us is unique. And it's not just the color of our eyes, hair, or skin that makes us different. Nor do shape, height, or weight define who we really are. Instead, each of has been influenced by our life's experiences, making no two alike. Even our view of Scripture can be sadly tainted by these experiences as we, "see through a glass darkly..." (1 Cor 13:12) While our opinions may be irrelevant, our lives are unique.

I have to wonder if any of my readers have spent three and half years with the Amish, living off the land and without modern conveiences? Has anyone else in the world milked their goats in the Walmart parking lot in Birmingham, Alabama? (Let's hope not!)

This doesn't make me special, just different. And my somewhat-unusual life has had an impact on how I see the world around me. Some of you may have lived on an ostrich farm or spent a year in Guatamala. Others may have taken a leap of faith by removing your children from government schools. What event or circumstance has helped influence the way you view the world? 

So I embark on this new adventure, reluctantly...

Monday, January 25, 2010

Wisdom Without Kindness?

Today is my first day of blogging and I must confess that butterflies have taken control of my abdominal region. But who knows? This may turn out to be fun!

After much contemplation, I chose my blog's title from Proverbs 31:26 because that verse continually convicts me. Speaking of the Virtuous Woman, it declares, "She openeth her mouth with wisdom, and in her tongue is the law of kindness..."

This morning I got angry with my best friend over an issue that is very important to me. While I don't regret what I communicated to her, I do agonize over the way I said it. And, during the course of my young, impetuous life, I've learned (frequently) that it's possible to have wisdom, without kindness. On the other hand, so many today are worried constantly over being nice or politically correct, that they use absolutely NO common sense in their daily life. That's kindness, without wisdom.

It is my desire to use this blog as I strive for both. Will you join me?