Saturday, May 28, 2011

Silence Sometimes Speaks the Loudest

I write for a number of sites on a variety of topics, everything from pursuing your dream to raising teenagers and politics. Because I am a writer, I invite (whether I like it or not) opinions and comments from others.

Thankfully most of the feedback I receive is good. But sometimes it isn’t. Anyone who works in a field or a ministry where you are likely to get feedback of some kind, you know that there is always the chance someone won’t agree with you. Or they may not even like you.

With the political site that I write for, I get some crazy stuff. One time I got a very lengthy email that started out this way, “How can I get a hold of a Nazi leader here in Minneapolis, Minnesota?” I don’t think I have to tell you how strange the remainder of the email was.

Then on another site where I write about pursuing your dream, a reader apparently took the time to look into my other work and saw I was a Christian. That person decided I needed an email correcting my views and how Jesus would have been a liberal and so on. The very views this person was declaring I had, were not expressed by me anywhere. He had just assumed he knew what I thought.

The reason I share all of this is because it provides a foundation to the real message of this blog. It’s about turning the other cheek…turning the other cheek when people say unkind, cruel or untrue things about you (or to you).

Sometimes we can get so wrapped up in the words of others that we begin to dwell on them. Depending on your personality, you will react a few different ways. For some, dwelling on the negative things said about them causes them to begin to believe it must be true. You start looking down on yourself or you begin to question who you are and what you do.

For others you become hurt. The hurt can be so deep that you give up or you allow yourself to sink into depression. And still for others, you become angry. You are ready to lash back at the person and give them a good word whipping.

Can I tell you something? No matter how you choose to react to the negative things said about you, the other person is doing perfectly fine. They aren’t wrapped up in feeling bad or angry or depressed. In fact, they have probably long forgotten whatever they said about you.

This is something God has really had to help me with because in all honesty my initial reaction would be anger. I would be ready for a good comeback, yet 99% of the time I know that I am to remain silent.

Do you know how hard that can be for some people, me included? It is almost gut-wrenching to sit back and not defend myself. It seems unfair and unjust. Don’t I have the right to say something?

All I have to do is think about Jesus. Did He not have the right to say something, yet He remained silent. When He was falsely accused and called names, He didn’t respond.

The only time I have ever felt led to respond to one of the emails I have received was when I got the one about how Jesus was liberal. I can’t recall the exact words but I said something along the lines that I was sorry he had made all of these assumptions about my beliefs but that he was wrong with just about everything he said.

You know how I knew I had responded the right way? I didn’t get a reply. There was nothing to be said. Didn’t Jesus sometimes speak others into silence? Remember the woman the Pharisees were about to stone to death because she had committed adultery? Jesus told them that whoever had been without sin could throw the first stone. No one replied. He spoke them into silence.

However I personally believe that most of the time we are to say nothing. Silence sometimes speaks louder than even the vicious words of others. And even if you see no good come of your silence, you can at least have peace knowing that you are right with God.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Are You Ready?

As I am writing this, I am waiting for the “end of the world.” Well not exactly. I am actually wondering what the people, who are holding signs up forewarning of “Judgment Day,” are going to say when the time comes and goes…

What explanation will they give?

There are two things about all of this that really bother me. One is that scripture is being totally cast aside. The Bible tells us that the Second Coming of Christ is not known by angels or even Jesus. Yet so many are deceived (or prideful) to think that man would somehow have the upper hand, that man would know something that even Jesus doesn’t.

The second thing that bothers me is how it takes away from the truth of God’s Word and how it will actually cause others to be drawn away. Have you seen the mocking of Christians over all of this?

There are many who will think that Bible believers have endorsed this whole May 21st doomsday and so why believe anything that they say?

But I will tell you this…it definitely has me thinking. What would I like to be doing the day Jesus does return? If I were to somehow believe all of this, that He is coming at 5 p.m. or 6 p.m. (I hear conflicting times)…what would I want to be doing?

Would I choose to do something that I might not otherwise have done? Would any of us? Would we choose to quick pick up the phone and tell a loved one that they need Christ? Would we dust off the Bible and try to quick get in as much as we can? Would we get on our knees and pray?

Or would we be in a place where none of that is necessary because it has always been our lifestyle? We wouldn’t feel a need to do something that “earns” our way because it has been a choice each and everyday.

Remember the parable of the ten virgins? They had lamps in which they needed to be ready at any time their bridegroom would come for them. But five of them weren’t ready. They had squandered their time. They thought it was taking him too long to come and so they became tired and fell asleep.

I don’t want to be a drowsy Christian. Yet I don’t want to pretend that I know better than Jesus.

I don’t know what is going to happen in a few hours. The reality is that yes, Jesus could come. But it wouldn’t be on account of what man has said. I am ready…would you be?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Your Pain Is Real

This past week was somewhat of an emotional rollercoaster for me. As a mother you never want to see your child in pain, whether it be physical or emotional pain. But that is what we have been going through for nearly a year now, with our youngest son.

He began to have stomachaches toward the end of 5th grade. They would occur every-so-often but as time went on, they began to happen more frequently. Then they got to a point where sometimes they would last for several days. He would be bed-ridden, miserable and in some cases, vomiting profusely.

It was probably the end of 2010 when it seemed like every month he was getting sick. But each doctor visit would leave me without answers. In fact, one of the last times we went to our family doctor, after running blood work and taking an x-ray, we were made to feel that either our son was exaggerating the pain or it wasn’t real.

I know that was very frustrating to my son and it was certainly frustrating to me as a mother. Long story short, this past week we finally saw a specialist at Children’s Hospital who works specifically with abdominal pain. It was good timing because my son was symptomatic at the time. He had been sick for nearly 6 days by the time we saw the specialist.

As the appointment unfolded and the doctor spoke, I began to feel such a sense of peace wash over me. We were finally getting answers and a diagnosis but quite honestly, what gave me the greatest hope was to hear him say, “The pain is real.” Those words wouldn’t leave me. They were comforting because they meant yes, what others thought wasn’t real actually is. I’m sure it was comforting to my son as well.

All week those words reverberated inside me. It got me thinking about those who suffer from conditions like fibromyalgia. To others who don’t understand it, we can question the reality of their pain. While they cry out from within, “The pain is real!”

What about the pain we feel emotionally? When we lose a loved one, when a marriage ends, when a disappointment comes our way? Others, in an effort to try and make sense of it all, will say things that almost dismiss the pain. They are things like, “God will make a way.” “It was his time.” “Joy comes in the morning.” “This too shall pass.” “It will all work out.”

The intentions are well and good but who, after losing a loved one, wants to hear that “God must have needed him”? Because inside they are crying out, “But I needed him!” We almost dismiss the pain of others when we try to lather them with Christian phrases or even Bible verses.

I know to some that might sound “un-Christian.” Aren’t we supposed to throw Bible verses around? Not necessarily. There is a time for everything and when someone is in the midst of pain, all they really want to hear is that their pain is real. They want it acknowledged. They don’t want it glossed over.

Eventually you get to that place where you are ready to hear the Word of God. You get to that place where true healing comes through it. However in the midst of pain, in the midst of being so very human, you just want someone to understand that your pain is very real indeed.

I don’t what pain you are feeling today but I do know that what you feel is very real. Remember this the next time you see someone else hurting or struggling…then acknowledge to them that you understand how real their pain is.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

When Will It Be My Time?

Have you ever thought to yourself, “When will it be my time?” As a mother it seems like all you do is give and give and even when you are running on empty, you have to somehow muster up enough to give even more.

But one day…it will be our time. It will be our time to no longer hear slamming doors, loud music or arguments about who gets to ride in the front seat.

You will walk past those bedrooms that used to make you shudder inside and you will no longer see clothes all over, toys in the wrong bins, empty cans of soda or your favorite lipstick sitting on your daughter’s shelf.

You will get to enjoy a quiet meal because there will no longer be sounds of, “Ewww, I don’t like this” or who can burp the loudest.

There will be no more Hot Wheels to step on or Barbie doll shoes to look for. No more DVDs out of their case and no more missing scissors. You will have all the batteries and Scotch tape you could ever want and you will always know where to find it.

No more scheduling your days around your children’s schedules. You will be able to go where you like and do what you like with no football practices, dance lessons or orthodontic appointments.

No more getting gum out of hair, untying knots, sewing on patches or mending a broken heart. You won’t have to worry about attending any more PTA meetings, parent/teacher conferences or soccer games.

You won’t have anymore late nights of waiting to hear your child come home. No more middle of the night thunderstorms that land your kids in bed or tummy aches. Fevers, coughs and scraped knees will all be a thing of the past. And then guess what? It will finally be your time.

So in my quest to search for “my time,” I have discovered that my time is right here, right now…as a mother to my children.