Posts Tagged: discipline

Surfing Suffering

I’m never going to tame suffering. It is an ocean of unpredictable waves.

In my youth, I surfed like a barney, thinking I knew the right moves. But I was a rag doll with a Christian vocabulary tossed from my flimsy board of faith. A Maverick of despair pinned me, revealing my desperation for a savior. Still the waves kept crashing, drowning me in sorrow, Until God rescued me and set my feet on the ground solid with his love. We trained for hours. I looked silly hopping up on my board of faith, awkwardly balancing between grace and works. Up daily for dawn patrol to study the Hall of Faith surfers, men, and women, though scarred by Great Waves, who rode life to the fullest impact. They testified to the reward of daily discipline and increased my quiver. The right board for the right wave. Self-control stretched and retrained my weak muscles. Jesus taught me to respect suffering; lean into the lessons rather than fight their power surge.  I now know what it is like to run my fingers down the barrel, and relax into the beautiful hollow of not being God. I use suffering from top to bottom, carving hope from impossible odds. I respect other surfing sufferers, rooting them on to ride well. I persevere when rung through the washing machine of trials. Experiencing epic peeks with God towards the glorious impact of gnarly suffering.

“Consider it pure joy, my brothers, when you encounter trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. Allow perseverance to finish its work, so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything” (James 1:2-4 NIV).

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When the Evidene is Stacked . . .Windex

Hebrews 12:10 [Fathers] disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God disciplines us for our good, in order that we may share in his holiness. 11No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it.

Daniel had a rough evening out on Sunday, topped off by cleaning the restaurant windows. (He gave me permission to share with you.) While the adults had a good chuckle, we have all been there as kids, this was no laughing matter for Daniel. He felt embarrassed and ticked at all of the adults. He wasn’t quite getting the point of the lesson.

The young waitress had waved off my request for Windex and paper towels, assuring us that she could handle the mess my kids had made. But the owner, overhearing my request, knew that I was wanting to teach my kids to respect other people’s property and to take responsibility for themselves. “Your not a mom,” she told the waitress “this is important.” She brought out the requested cleaning supplies and put my kids to work.

I asked Daniel why the owner should clean up after the mess he and Natalie made? His eyes widened as he looked at the window, and he no longer denied the evidence. His prints were everywhere. He and Natalie were just having fun, they weren’t thinking about causing someone else more work.

Most of Christianity is not a list of don’ts, in fact I’d argue that scripture teaches us to be gentle, kind, loving, and thoughtful to all we encounter. The children, certainly weren’t being bad, and this was not a sin issue. Windex moments are a chance for God to expand our compassion towards other and catch patterns in our lives that may lead to sin.

I still have Windex moments. Especially ,when my temper–I try to blame my Irish ancestors– gets the better of me. Like the waitress, I would be more than happy to let God or others clean up my mess, or let my lack of awareness slide. After all I didn’t mean to, or I was abused as a child so my actions are justified. But, gratefully God brings out the rag and Windex. He brings me into awareness and helps me to mature in faith.

Monday morning I came downstairs to see Daniel already up, Windex in hand, cleaning my patio windows, grinning from ear to ear. I am so grateful for Windex moments that teach us to better love others.

 

Parents Note: Next time I’ll try to save the chuckles for later.

 

 

 

The Discipline of Depression: Finding What Works in the Midst of What isn’t Working

2 Timothy 1:7 For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

What do you do, no matter what? Especially if you suffer from depression, I’d really like to compile a list of helpful habits as a resource to others. Since Jonathan’s death the two places that I am most under attack are in the car, and in the late evenings. I have limited the amount of driving I do. My mind is a landmine of destructive thoughts when I am exhausted, so opening myself up to even the news in the evening seems to fuel depression as I try to sleep.

Categories:

Daily habits that lift your spirits

Example: Singing hymns

Making my bed (seems small, but completing this task daily leads to bigger completions)

Scriptures you bring to mind

The habit of avoidance:

Not staying up late alone

Avoiding TV after 9

Peace in Midst of Sorrow

Peace in Midst of Sorrow

Yielding Peaceful Fruit of Righteousness: The Results of Discipline

Hebrews 12:11 For the moment all discipline seems painful rather than pleasant, but later it yields the peaceful fruit of righteousness to those who have been trained by it.

I shared with you that my son Daniel is learning to play the violin. He is a beginner, but shows real signs of a great musical ear. It is a delight to watch him discover his capabilities. This last week I got a front row seat for a transition in him. His teacher was more firm with Daniel and I saw the look on my son’s face. His response could go one of two ways, either he melted down into tears because he perceived he wasn’t getting it right, or he heard what his teacher was really saying. “Daniel you are too talented for me to let you get by with sloppy playing.” I bit my lip and held my breath watching Daniel process his teacher’s constructive criticism.

“So if I was giving my best, we would be further along in the book?” Daniel asked.

“Yes.” His instructor answered.

From that moment forward Daniel focused and they played a beautiful duet to end the session. Daniel has not been the same this week. He is practicing without much prompting, way past the 15 min we had been requiring, and he has even picked up on how to play the intro to the Star Wars Theme Song just by watching another violinist play it on YouTube. There is a joy, and discipline that wasn’t there a week ago.

What is it that you and I need to take more seriously? God has gifted each of us! Have you taken the risk to find out what that gifting is? Seek the heart of our creator to discover who he has made you to be. Like Daniel and I, you may be in the midst of God’s discipline. We are too beautiful, too loved and too talented, not to embrace our calling. Don’t you dare tell me that you have no gift, I’ve tried that same tactic. To be totally honest I squandered my writing abilities, because I feared rejection, lacked discipline, and didn’t want to take risks. God is changing me through Jonathan’s death, and revealing to me how much my unique creative fingerprint matters. I want to give you comfort and hope in the midst of your trials and circumstances, because God created in me a love for words, they are my violin. There is a drive, and urgency in my sharing my story, because God created my gifts for such a time as this!

Escaping Depression: Finding peace in nature

Matthew 14:13 Now when Jesus heard about John, He withdrew from there in a boat to a secluded place by Himself. . .

I have had two experiences in the woods since my son’s death and they both have lifted my spirits. How many times do I stay cooped up in the midst of depression expecting the walls to suddenly stop closing in on me?

Nature is never walled in. It is wild and open and filled to the brim with stories of our maker. Jesus regularly retreated to refresh and spend time talking to God; he invited his disciples to do the same. The crowds were pressing in. Many times it is in exiting the confines of our daily rush hour and noise that we remember to listen and find contentment in God’s provision. I have lived in city areas most of my life, but the country hillsides of my birth have always drawn me into quietness. I love the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains! They are old and wise. They remind me of the paths I have already traveled, and question where I am going. They celebrate who I am and whose I am. These hills teach me that valleys are where most of my growth occurs. They teach me discipline, to listen better, and to breath deeply.

Do you have a place in nature that you are able to draw away to and find peace in the stillness?

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