Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Discretion, Circumspection and Plain Old Prudence

1The proverbs of Solomon son of David, king of Israel:

2for attaining wisdom and discipline;
for understanding words of insight;
3for acquiring a disciplined and prudent life,
doing what is right and just and fair;
4for giving prudence to the simple,
knowledge and discretion to the young—
5let the wise listen and add to their learning,
and let the discerning get guidance—
Proverbs 1:1-5

Like a gold ring in a pig's snout is a beautiful woman who shows no discretion.
Proverbs 11:22

I, wisdom, dwell together with prudence;
I possess knowledge and discretion.
Proverbs 8:12

As I've been pondering the place of boundaries in my life, the topic of discretion now presents itself.

I realize that much of the hurt and disillusionment I am experiencing with some of the human relationships in my life have come about due to a lack of prudence on my part.
You see, I am good at keeping other people's secrets, but I am bad at keeping my own.

I'm not sure why this is. I could chalk it up to talking too much, but I think it's more than that. It's that needing approval thing again. I think.

I am eager to share my heart with others and be affirmed.

Also, I always liked the idea that with me, people know what they are getting. I don't hide stuff or play mind games with people. What you see is what you get, sort-of-thing.

But sometimes I assume someone is interested in my heart when they really aren't.

Halfway through explaining some great idea I had or something new I learned, I notice the person I am talking to, their eyes are glazing over and they have a kind of plastic smile that looks very polite.... and I am wrecked.
I realize I trusted something precious, a piece of me, to someone who really could care less (even if they are someone who seemingly should care more).

Jesus said,
"Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces." Matthew 7:6

Specifically, Jesus is talking about sharing the gospel with combatant non-believers, but I think a similar application could be made regarding sharing something very precious with someone who is unable to have any appreciation for it.

I'm still not sure how to have healthy boundaries without becoming overly self-aware or come off as snobbish or distant. I know there is a balance somewhere in all that.

What I do know, is that some people simply are not 'safe'. And there are matters of the heart and soul that are private.

It's not melodramatic or melancholy, it just is what it is.

Proverbs 4:23 instructs:

"Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life."

Sometimes I think we can share our heart and still guard it by keeping a tight check on our expectations. And then sometimes, I think we just need to keep our mouths shut. :)

I'll be "shutting up" and tuning out this coming month, with the exception of keeping my gratitude list going on Mondays (the Gratitude Community has been a wonderful accountability tool!).

Perhaps I will find that silence is golden!


Monday, July 26, 2010


holy experience

arriving home safely
our own beds

a house in order

friends who help
friends who understand

watching my children play
watching one do for the other in secret

international long distance calling

a new friend (we prayed for her!) for my dear friend Michelle

kindness from strangers

being comfortable in my own skin

asking for His help and getting it

finding out it's OK to say no

learning to save and savor 'yes'

saying yes to my LORD
saying yes to my Love
saying yes to my Littles

the promise of August

Friday, July 23, 2010

Life in Soft Focus

No matter how crystal-clear any given 'something' may seem to us, almost all of life is seen in soft focus.

Sometimes this is because of the layers upon layers of personal histories and evolutions that have been heaped a top of each other over years, decades, even centuries. All of the differing ways man has drummed up, since the beginning of time, to explain the unexplainable. One lens placed in front of another, and then another... on and on. We can't even know the real sharpness of Truth. The times we are gifted with such acuity leave us bleeding.
The Truth cuts as the Sword passes through.

Apart from Grace there is no way to survive it.

I started thinking about this in my process of choosing what books I will use to teach my kids. I have searched and searched for the books that will tell it like it really is. The history book with no revisions, no agenda on either side of any debate. The science book with just the facts, thank-you-ma'am.

You are laughing right now. I'll bet you are! You are either laughing because you 'know' you have those books on your own shelf (and anyways, what good Christian doesn't know the truth when she sees it?), or you are laughing because you know that such books do not exist.

If that was the end of the story then either case would be cause for great despair.

But there is Grace.

His name is Jehovah Jireh and He provides.

He gives us the Truth as we can handle it. As it is, we cannot handle all of it.... perhaps we cannot handle much of it at all. Because we can not handle Him. And where is the boundary between God and Truth? Where does One begin and the Other end?

But His Word is the Truth! you say.
Yes, it most certainly is. And how are you handling that? Do you have it all figured out? If you say yes, the conversation ends. I simply don't believe you.

His word is Truth, but not all of it. Sola Scriptura has it's limitations. As true as every written word in the Holy Scriptures is, He is not contained within those words.
Perhaps that is why so much of scripture teaches us how to live while we are awaiting His complete revelation to us.

Let's look to the latter part of the love chapter... 1 Corinthians 13: 9-13,

"For we know in part and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect has come, then that which in part will be done away. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I am known. And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love."

I've stopped searching for those history and science books. Oh, we will learn about history and we will learn about science. We will continue to read all sorts of books and we will continue to wrestle with the greatest Book. While there isn't an ounce of me that believes that any Truth is relative, we will search for Truth knowing we will sometimes get it wrong.

And we will be thankful for the Grace that covers us in the midst of the Truth we cannot handle.


Monday, July 19, 2010

#102-128 and counting...

water falls with swimming holes

boys jumping off of rocks

the aunt who swims with her clothes on so she could be with the kids

the other aunt who hikes so she could be with the kids

cousins who love to be with each other even though they hardly ever are

my god-daughter's laugh

time alone with my love


getting stuck on a scenic loop
having a family that forgives that we got home late
a dad that stood on the porch, gazing down the road, watching for our return

cheap flip-flops for sale at the top of the lift

an expensive camera
the sister who knows how to use it

bread made by my mother

gluten-free cake made by my mother-in-law (love) that would rival that of the best bakery

friends that gently nudge me on either side to keep me on the narrow path

new love being tested
old love that passed all the tests

having a home my kids want to go back to
having too many gifts to count just now

God loved Jacob

Sunday, July 18, 2010

What I Learned on Vacation

Rest is good.

The end of our vacation comes tomorrow. We have been away from home for over three-and-a-half weeks. Our time leading up to vacation was like a firestorm. It wore me out more than I realized. I needed watering, feeding and nourishing. I had not noticed how bone-dry the well had become.

Shortly after arriving back to the South, I went swiftly into visitation mode. Seeking to connect with as many as I could.... many more than was possible. It was wonderful seeing the people I was able to see, but exhausting too. And a little sad. There are so many people that have sowed into my life and I into theirs, and I couldn't see them all. The ones I did get to see, I could only really get a little snippet of what their life is now in the time we had together. I am grateful for those visits, but in totality, they left me with a greater understanding of myself than I had anticipated.

It's been two years since leaving the South, and I really can't hold onto all that life was and at the same time live the life that is.

Later, as I spent time with family and friends in Florida and Tennessee, I realized something else. I had disordered my priorities with good things. In seeking to serve the Lord through serving others I had lost the pulse on those closest to me. How many hours had I spent on the phone arranging something for someone I know only casually, and when was the last time I spoke to my brother or one of my sisters? How many times have I fed someone else's kid, and when was the last time I played outside with one of my own?

There were a lot more of these kinds of questions that somehow (Holy Spirit?) invaded my mind.
I realized something else.

I care about how people think of me much more than I would like to admit. Over the past few weeks, I have felt the keen eyes of scrutiny turned in my direction, and often from someone close to me who I know to love me dearly. As they say, 'It takes one to know one'. This is how I know the weight of unspoken criticism..... because I, myself, have been the purveyor of such enough times to know it when I see it. Guess what? I am not enough for some people and for others.... I am way too much. It's truly a precious few that I can be at rest with. And so it is for most folks. I am no exception in this way.

And there is grace for this.
The audience of One.

It has been His way with me to often use others to breathe conviction into my heart and mind. He has spoken to me through His word and Holy Spirit as the only mouthpiece as well. I do not suspect He will discontinue any of His various means of discipline and guidance.

What I have learned is that He sends seasons and reminders. He makes us to turn a corner to show us something new.
He is leading me around a corner. I can feel it's sharp edge. He is pulling me away from my addiction to man's approval, back to the audience of One.

That is His grace.

In the month of August we are pulling back.... my family and me. We are unplugging and disconnecting in order to reconnect and learn to dance again for the audience of One.

This is His grace.

How I need His grace.


Monday, July 12, 2010

25 New Blessings ( #67-101)

holy experience

sisters and brothers
moms and dads

wind and rain
big cabins

choir music
sharing dreams

praying with my daddy before we studied Thessalonians 2 together

talking with my dad about evangelism, Holy Spirit and other mysteries of God

the first look at my parents after a year apart

hugs and kisses
an old, furry cat
my mom baking cookies

silver hair
white beard against bronzed skin

the ability to stand straight and tall

the devoted love of a well-loved aunt

being related to the faithful
knowing and being inspired by those that "run with endurance..."

my mother's love

my mother-in-law and my dad sitting at the table, spurring each other on with their open Bibles between them

feeling so much love for these people I could burst

the sounds of two brothers playing a game of pool

hand cream and nail polish

being loved very well
my husbands embrace

"Oh come, let us worship and bow down;
Let us kneel before the LORD our Maker.
For He is our God,
And we are the people of His pasture.
And the sheep of His hand....."
Psalm 95:6-7

Monday, July 5, 2010


holy experience

sleeping in
cool sheets
ceiling fans

sharing time (however short) with my dearest friend

the smell of the St. Johns
breezes of the water

walking after dinner holding hands

old friends coming together
children growing



the ability to relax

a child's resilience

the songs of crickets and frogs in the evening woods
being reminded to remember