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Posts Tagged ‘Family’


Trust

Image by hcii via Flickr

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding” Proverbs 3:5. Such a small sentence in the big scheme of things, but such a powerful indicator of our relationship with the Lord.

I come from a family of natural questioners, and by that I mean if one of us says that something is broken and can’t be fixed, it’s not enough to actually take that person at their word. We have to actually check it out for ourselves, and, many times we come to the same conclusion.

I was pointedly reminded of that when my father came for a visit. I told him my CD player was broken and that I had done everything I knew how to do to fix to no avail. “Well,” he said. “Do you mind if I take a look?”

Of course I didn’t mind because even though I work with DVD and CD players on a pretty regular basis, I don’t know everything. Even though I was almost 100 % sure that it couldn’t be fixed, a second pair of eyes is always a good thing.

As I watched him perusing the player it suddenly hit me how many times I do this myself. If someone says, ‘such and such’, or’ thus and so’, I immediately question the veracity of what they’re saying. Unless I know the person well, and really trust them, I usually need to check it out for myself, especially if it has to do with scripture or some sort of theological teaching.

I had assumed this particular trait came only from my mother who questions everything after the fact, but realized that I actually came by the trait honestly from both sides of the family tree.

And, not only do I have it, but I see it in my son as well. Even though he questions me on a great many things, at the end of the day he trusts what I tell him, something that he doesn’t do with most people. Just recently, his teacher wrote on his report card that he needed to trust her. This may seem like an odd thing to write, but I knew exactly what she meant, because I encounter the same issue with him when he does his homework. He doesn’t really trust that you’re telling him to do a problem correctly unless he can really wrap his head around how to do it himself. The problem is sometimes he just can’t figure it out on his own.

He actually causes himself a lot of undue frustration and stress when he does this. Why? Because basically he’s fighting the very person, or people, who may be able to help him with his schoolwork the most. It’s a battle until he finally gets it all out, listens to what he’s told and believes that he’s being given the correct information. After that, he’s done lickty-split.

After watching my Father over the CD player, my son over his schoolwork and myself in many other situations, I thought how many times do we do this with God? We need to weigh out whether or not He really knows what He’s doing, usually by trying to double-check Him from our own understanding, before we trust that He is more than capable of doing what’s best for us.

And, many times, we do more than try and double-check Him – which is laughable because He has all the facts and we don’t even have a fraction of them – but we actively fight Him until we either give up in exhaustion, or, He’s actually able to get it through our thick skulls that it’s okay to trust Him.

And, basically, that’s a huge part of why we fight Him. We have a fear of trusting. We’re afraid he’s not who He says He is. We’re afraid He’s not going to do what He said He will do. We’re afraid he won’t come through for us. We’re afraid to trust Him because for many of us our own trust has been so shattered over the years that we can’t conceive of someone who actually is completely trustworthy.

The catch-22 of this is the reality is that He is the only one who is completely and totally trustworthy. Why? Because He is incapable of being anything else.

“But I trust in You LORD; I say, ‘You are my God.'”

Psalm 31:14

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Family traits are amazing to see. No matter what family you’re in, there’s bound to be something that you do that almost everyone else in the family does as well.

Many times they are little things, gestures, the way everyone tilts their heads to one side or the other when they’re thinking, or even phrases that repeat themselves, rolling down from one generation to the next.

I was reminded of this just this morning when I was talking with my mom who was telling me a story that ended with “I told him ‘don’t worry’.” When she said that I realized that all of her sisters say the same thing, and so do all of my female cousins, the daughters of those sisters. And, I say the same thing in a slightly different way, instead of ‘don’t worry’ I say ‘no worries’ but it’s essentially the same.

If you’re around any, or all of us, in a group you’ll hear that phrase repeated again and again. Even though none of us have a little gene that has ‘don’t worry’ written on it on our genetic code, you would think there was something like it threaded through our family tree.

When I look around the family of God, I think there’s got to be something like that in His family too. Some little thing that shows others that we all belong to His family, but is untraceable in any type of genetic way, yet is evident in how we live our lives.

What is that trait that should reveal to anyone else looking in at us whose family we belong to? Simply put love. Not love the way the way we see it reflected in the world around us, but love that is reflective of He who alone is love, God Himself.

The type of love that God is is so far removed from us, and how we are, that there is no way we can ever hope to obtain it on our own. And, when we see it in others, it can only mean one thing, they belong to Him and His family.

“My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.”  John 15:12

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Summer is winding down and for a lot of us, our vacations are behind us. For most of us, they’re probably fading fast in the rear-view mirror as we get everyone geared up for the fall and all that goes along with it.

The interesting thing about vacations is even though most of us are having a good time when we’re on them, there are those moments when everyone’s had too little sleep or too much together time and it gets a little crazy for a little bit before it all rights itself and goes back to normal. This is especially so when you are traveling with two generations of parents, with most of them being in the grandparent range.

My son and I went to the South this year (for those of you who are curious this reads as Georgia with a foray into North Carolina & when my mom saw that we were only 100 miles from Nashville, we almost ended up in Tennessee). All of my sons surviving grandparents were with us, which comes up to a grand total of three. All of them were in some configuration directly related to me. I’ll just let you ponder those connections for a while, but the relatively newly coined “blended” is an integral part of it all.

There are pluses and minuses to seeing your parents get older, but the one thing that always makes me laugh is their fearless attitude, especially how it lives and grows in my mother as the years pass by.

Although my mother is an English immigrant, she has been in the United States for well over 40-years and has adopted the express yourself motto  that America is known for with gusto. And somewhere after she turned 60, expressing herself went up a couple more notches, which basically means you find out what she’s thinking whether you want to or not and sometimes other people do too.

This was made so clear to me when we visited the World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta. Coca-Cola being what it is, and meaning what it means in the world at large, there were a huge amount of people visiting the working museum that gave you not only a lot of cool history about the product, but also let you taste the different beverage flavors the company ships throughout the world.

But, it wasn’t the cool flavors from Africa, South America and Asia that rests at the top of my memory heap, it is the encounter that three self-absorbed, to the point of bordering on rude, kids had with my mom who is at that age where she’s going to let anyone know just how she feels.

We were going up one of the large staircases, with my son in front of me and parents behind me, I was trying to keep track of both, which meant I was a little further up the stairs than my mom. If you’ve ever been in the “sandwich generation” you know just where I was, with one eye up the stairs trying to keep track of my son and an ear down the stairs trying to keep track of my parents, it’s an interesting experience in multi-tasking.

So, I noticed the three kids who were going against the tide of the staircase first. Pretty much because I could feel the breeze as the pushed past me expecting everyone to step out of their way as they pushed downwards. Just as the last one passed me, I had less than a quarter of a second to realize that they were heading straight for my mom before I heard her voice behind me.

“Listen kid,” she said, her accent ringing out loud and clear.  “I’m not moving!”

And it was in that tone, you know the one because you’ve heard it. It’s built into every mother who’s ever lived if they just choose to use it. It’s the tone that says, “you’d better not mess with me because you will be very sorry.”

I could feel the kids stop short behind me. They didn’t quite know what to do so they apologized, stepped aside and proceeded down the stairs a little bit more slowly and a lot more aware.

I’m sure the kids thought she was going to move out of their way like everyone else was doing. This is especially in light of the fact that she looks, well, like she’s a little older, very non-threatening and easily moved. But, they got a little more than they bargained for when they tried to get into her space.

The memory brings a smile to my face, and it brings more than a little reality with it too.

How many times does God tell us to stand firm in our faith and we buckle because something rushes at us too quickly, catching us unaware?

How many times does the enemy, knowing our weaknesses, come at us and instead of just telling him ‘no way, you will not pass’ we just step aside, let him in and then can’t figure out why everything’s a wreck?

How many times does God have to tell us that He is our strength and our shield so we can stand firm no matter what comes at us?

It seems to me, if we’d just allow God to be God, believe what He says and when something comes at us, we pluck up the courage from God to just say, “Listen kid, I’m not moving!” we’d be a lot better off.

“Be self-controlled and alert. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith….”

1 Peter 5:8-9a

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