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Dinner Plans

 

supper

Recently I read an article about a way to improve communication that seems so simple but is really profound. The next time you are sharing a table with several people, agree to not break off into smaller sub-groups. You don’t need to make a proclamation about it, just see if you can steer the talk so that everyone is involved and no one is splintering off. What comes from it is fascinating; you instantly have a group of people who may not know each other well, and each has something important to say.

When three or more couples get together, invariably the women will pull together and talk about the kids and relationships, while the men will discuss…..I have no idea what. Later that night, you walk away with your spouse feeling like you have enjoyed your time, but you may not feel anymore connected than before dinner. Now, imagine if a woman who spends most of her days at home with children were to discuss a Public Relations situation with a Corporate Manager, or a high school teacher shares his heart with a female restaurant owner. Now you’ve got some rousing conversation! The best way to do this is to allow everyone into the same shared conversation.

Obviously this isn’t something you will want to do all the time, occasionally it’s nice to spend time with your tribe, but I can look back to a few times when I really felt heard by people outside of my family, and it was when we were all investing in the same topic. Think about how rare that is in everyday life.

It seems that so often we sit with our friends and spend time with those who are most like us, but if we were to change it up some and give everyone the respect they deserve for simply being at the table, I think we could all learn some things, and walk away feeling a little more connected. I want to challenge you to simply give it a try, whether you are in mixed company or a large group of like individuals; decide to stay on one topic at a time and see where it takes you.

 

Shelter

shelterDo you have that person who you know you can call and feel better after spending time with them? Not because they will say what you want to hear, but because they really know you, and remind you of who you are.

This person provides shelter, protecting you from the lies of the enemy and the darts of man. If you’re really fortunate, this friend also turns your heart towards God, reminding you that He is the ultimate shelter.

I am so thankful that I have more than one of these in my life, pouring into me, encouraging me and having my back. And hopefully that allows me to turn around and be shelter for others.

 

What is That to You?

tribeI spent some time on the phone with a dear friend recently, she’s a member of my tribe, one who truly speaks into my heart and life and lets me do the same for her. We were talking about the difficulty of living with intentionality in all things. We also touched on our thought lives – you know, the words we say to our selves that really guide our emotions and allow them to get away if we’re not careful. My friend told me that she has placed a post-it with a simple question in her kitchen to remind her of both these issues:

What is that to you?

It’s a question that begs to be answered all day, everyday and could be even further boiled down to: So what?

When fear pulls the very breath out of you regarding one of your children, what is that to you?

When the fog of doubt permeates the air regarding your spouse, what is that to you?

When that worn out message of ‘you’re not good enough’ invades your heart, what is that to you?

Each of us has a choice in what we do with these thoughts. We can allow them to slow us down or even paralyze us, or we can intentionally capture them, examine them and make a decision not to entertain them. I’m thankful for a friend who understands my heart, and can give me a reminder of the way I need to be thinking, because it dramatically affects the way I am living.

For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete.2 Corinthians 10:3-6

 

Being the Leaver is Easier

roadtripOur two youngest kids are 17 months apart, both in high school, just a grade apart. And they each consider the other their best friend. The oldest is a boy, and has convinced his sister that the ability to play Call of Duty and to really understand football are elements that will make her the perfect woman someday.  I am so proud of them, navigating high school with a sibling can be very difficult, but they have found a way to do it with respect and concern for the other.

Over the summer, our kids spent most of their down time together, along with a group of mutual friends. But our daughter had a couple of opportunities to travel over her break, and left her brother at home twice, two weeks at a time. It was pitiful; Coleman moped around the house, texting his sister, trying to talk her into coming home early! He didn’t play certain video games the entire time she was gone, because it wasn’t fun without her. She, on the other hand, had the time of her life, experiencing new things and meeting new people along the way. Watching our son feel the loss reminded me of something I learned years ago from moving so much: being the leaver is easier, the one left behind has a much harder time because nothing is new, everything is known.

Many of us are in a season of either leaving, or being left behind. We have children going to school, to the military, to college, to work. And we have friends who move away and start new lives in other parts of the country. If you are feeling left behind, try to be happy for the person you love who is experiencing a new adventure, let her know that you love and miss her, but celebrate with her that she is starting a new life. Be open to others who are new to your circle of influence, and invite them in. If you are leaving a strong network of friends or family, leave with the confidence that has been invested into you, honoring those who have supported you but understand that you have the easier role, and try to understand how hard it can be for the others.

No matter what, we need to celebrate the changing seasons in the lives of those we love the most, appreciating whatever time we have together.

 

 

I Saw Jesus at my Daughter’s Party

IMG_1726We had a graduation party for our oldest this past weekend; family and friends came from several states away and our girl was grandly celebrated. What could have been a tense situation, because of divorce, was actually an opportunity to bring about closure. Everyone was on their best behavior, and thankfully our daughter was able to be the center of attention. It went better than expected, and as well as I could have hoped for.

 

What I didn’t expect was to see Jesus. In the form of my friend who flew to our state three days prior to help me prepare for the party, and proceed to do anything and everything needed to pull it off. In the form of a dear older couple who drove six hours each way just to love on us, and bake 400 cookies! In the form of local friends who were willing to loan us tables and chairs for our event. In the form of friends who really understood the details of the situation and had been praying for us for days, both near and far.

 

I am so grateful for these friends who love God and love our family, too. I am especially thankful for their willingness to show us Jesus in their acts of love and service when we really needed it. Now it is time to clean up all the decorations, return what was borrowed and look around for opportunities to love on others like Jesus, exactly like what was done for us.

 

History Lesson

addressI found a historical document this week without even trying. It’s a 19 year old address/phone book that we have had our entire marriage.  I rarely use it, but it gets pulled out a good bit during the holidays, as I go through, deciding who to send Christmas cards to. Each year I put a quick note of the date next to the name so I know when I sent a card to a specific family.

As I was thumbing through the book, I was struck by all the changes that have taken place through the years. Whenever someone moves, I put a line through the previous information and replace it with the new address. I have changed information on some four or five times. I was struck by the number of deaths and divorces within our circle; I can’t ever bring myself to mark through those names. Our family has moved five times, so many people have been added through the years and quite a few have simply fallen off. I’m so thankful for the people who have followed us through many moves and changes, and still keep us in their books.

What a powerful and personal reminder that life is constantly changing, and yet we are often so resistant to change. In the past, I have been tempted to put all the addresses into the computer so I can print off address labels, but now I know this is better for me to see and be reminded of the people who have been in our lives through the years, and to be thankful for each of them, for where they are in my life, and for the changes that keep coming.

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