Sunday, June 27, 2021

Life Cycles and Stages

A few weeks ago I returned late from a dinner to celebrate a friend's birthday. Apparently it was birthday night at the restaurant because, as we discovered over the course of the night, most of the tables on the patio were celebrating a birthday. As we were seated, the table closest to us commented that they were celebrating a birthday as well. At their table, Robin was turning 65; at our's, Ana was turning 40. As we each turned back to our respective tables, one of our new friends at the table next to us commented that she wished she was 40 again.

Really? I thought.  Hadn't our table just been talking about divorces, diseases, and problems with children - all a result of this moment in our lives.  Yet, at 65 this woman wished she were 40 again?

The evening passed and we had a pleasant evening.  The meal was finished, the tab was paid, and as we made our way out of the restaurant, the scene changed.  We saw a group of girls, maybe in their mid-twenties.  My friends and I looked at each other, and there was an understanding: it would be easy to wish we were them again.  Remember the thrill of wondering where life would take you?  The energy to stay out late and get up the next morning unphased?  The carefree moments when you could do what you wanted because you reported to no one else?

And then almost as quickly: Remember not having enough money for rent?  Being mistreated in a relationship?  Desiring the respect your age made hard to earn?

In writing about developing mature love, the apostle Paul wrote:
"When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I became a man, I did away with childish things." (1 Corinthians 13:11, NASB)
Similarly, we must learn to put former days behind us.  Have you ever met someone who was desperately hanging on to their youth? It always makes me sad to think they are missing out on what is happening in their life because they are attempting to gain something they'll never have again.

I hope that when I'm 65, I enjoy being 65. So, I must begin that practice now.  I appreciate that I'm 39, at least for a few more days, because this is where God has me.

* * *
Dear Reader,
This post was written several weeks ago and fell between the cracks.  I was reluctant to post it, having just written about slowing down as I approached 40. Two posts in a row about turning 40?  I promise I am not obsessed, as I thought you may consider me.  Instead, I choose to own it.  I am almost 40, and these are things I'm thinking about these days.  It is what it is.  So I hope, friend, that you will bear with me as I learn to let go of being 30-something and embrace being 40-something.

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Slow, Still, Wait.

A few years ago my family started taking vacations. Though we had been married almost fifteen years, it was not until that point in our relationship that we had the desire, finances, and ability to align our schedules to take a significant trip together. Since then, we've been all over the United States and twice to Canada. I love to see landmarks and experience once in a lifetime moments.

We've also been working on capturing these moments with photos. I don't want to be that mom who takes pictures of everything their child does (you know that parent, right?), but I don't fully trust myself to remember it all. As I type these words, I look to the corner of my living room where many of these photos are hung.  My mind goes back to those moments when...
My son lost his tooth at a baseball game.
My family got free ice cream.
My son ordered strange food at a restaurant.
We toured a battleship.
My husband and I ate at a restaurant with a fantastic view.
Dee Strange-Gordon picked my son out of the crowd to give a baseball.
Both times my sons pretended to be chased by a dinosaur.

As I approach forty (ten days, and counting), I find myself slowing down.  Not slowing down as if my battery was running out of juice - though that's certainly happening more - but as if I don't want to run through life as fast.  Perhaps that's what happens when you realize it's possible you have fewer years in front of you than behind you.

I mentioned to a friend this week my reluctance to turn forty.  He reminded me that I may want to reconsider my stance; turning forty, after all, is better than the alternative. Point taken.

Yet even in my slowing, I find it hard to be patient. I remind myself that some things just take time. Patience is a work of the Spirit in me (read: here). When Jesus told His disciples to wait, they started asking Him what He had planned (read: here). The disciples weren't the only ones to struggle, think Abraham, Jacob, Joseph, Aaron, and all the Isreaelites in the desert for that fact.

Instead, I seek to live in patience.  To worry less about what is happening around me, and to allow my paitence be a holy act of commitment to God. I will wait.  I will be still.  I will not be upset. I will not allow sin to win.  As the psalmist wrote:

Be still and wait patiently for the Lord to act.
Don’t be upset when other people succeed.
Don’t be upset when they carry out their evil plans.
Turn away from anger and don’t give in to wrath.
Don’t be upset, because that only leads to evil.
(Psalm 37:7-8, NIRV)

Friday, June 25, 2021

FMF: Quiet

“If you keep quiet at this time, someone else will help and save the Jewish people, but you and your father’s family will all die. And who knows, you may have been chosen queen for just such a time as this.”
(Esther 4:14, NCV)

I sometimes forget God uses the unlikely to accomplish His will.  What a great reminder because, honestly, most of the time I wouldn't choose me for my own team.  But God sees people for their heart, and He places them in places that give them opportunity.

Esther was raised by her uncle, and she was chosen for a nationwide search for a new queen after the previous queen had been killed by her husband.  You see, the king was afraid that his wife would empower wives and create marital unrest, so he had her taken care of. Is it any wonder that that Esther's uncle, Mordecai, told her not to tell anyone in the royal palace that she was a God-follower (Esther 2:10).

Yet time passed and the believers found themselves in a precarious situation, one that would mean the end to their people. Including Mordecai.  Including Esther.  And, so, it was Mordecai again who instructed Esther to speak up.

In Eccesiastes 3 we are reminded that there is a time and a season for everything.  Sometimes we speak.  Sometimes we refrain. May God give us the wisdom to know when to do each, and like Esther, may many people be saved as a result.

* * *
This post is a prompt from Five Minute Friday
and was written in approximately five minutes.
For more information, visit
* * *

Friday, June 18, 2021

FMF: Lift

When the cloud remained over the tabernacle a long time, the Israelites obeyed the Lord’s order and did not set out. Sometimes the cloud was over the tabernacle only a few days; at the Lord’s command they would encamp, and then at his command they would set out. Sometimes the cloud stayed only from evening till morning, and when it lifted in the morning, they set out. Whether by day or by night, whenever the cloud lifted, they set out.  Whether the cloud stayed over the tabernacle for two days or a month or a year, the Israelites would remain in camp and not set out; but when it lifted, they would set out.  At the Lord’s command they encamped, and at the Lord’s command they set out.
(Numbers 9:19-23a, NIV)

In trying to follow God's will for my life, I have found that He has sometimes led me places I don't entirely love.  I have remained at jobs for longer than I wanted because that was how God was providing for my family during those days. I have delayed from doing things I felt I should do because there was no way for it to happen, and then one day, God made a way. God's timing doesn't always make sense. Why did the Israelites camp some places only one night and camp other places for longer periods of time?

Ultimately, it doesn't really matter why.  It's not too different from young children who bombard their parents with "but whyyyyyyy?"


God's "because" doesn't give me the warm fuzzy feeling I want from my faith, but I don't recall reading about warm fuzzies in scripture.

And in Numbers 9, we see the mysterious nature of God.  The God who sometimes settles His Spirit and sometimes lifts it up.  It is our job to keep watching.  And to follow.

* * *
This post is a prompt from Five Minute Friday
and was written in approximately five minutes.
For more information, visit
* * *

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Camp Bound

But God showed his great love for us by sending Christ to die for us while we were still sinners.
(Romans 5:8, TLB)

Today was a milestone day in our house: my oldest son moved out, sort of. We packed up his things and drove him to a campground about two hours away, where he will live and work for the next two and a half months. Of course all the normal parental emotions welled up inside me.  There was some stress trying to make sure he had everything he would need ("How much underwear are you taking?") and that he knew all the important things he would need to know ("Do you know about tipping at restaurants?").  There was some nervousness as I wondered if he'd miss home or have a hard time making friends. And of course, I was excited for him thinking about how much fun he'd have and all the memories he'd make.

There was also a sense of nostalgia as I remembered the multiple summers I spent at that very campground. It was on that property that I learned how to be away from home, how to make decisions for myself, and so many other things. I laughed, and made friends, and cried.

But the most important experience I had at that campground was deciding to follow Christ. It's amazing to think my son will sit in the same ampitheatre where I first heard God call my name. It was there that I learned about God's great love for me, and I pray that my son has similar experiences.

Friday, June 11, 2021

FMF: Disagree

Stay away from foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they grow into quarrels. And a servant of the Lord must not quarrel but must be kind to everyone, a good teacher, and patient. The Lord’s servant must gently teach those who disagree. Then maybe God will let them change their minds so they can accept the truth. And they may wake up and escape from the trap of the devil, who catches them to do what he wants. (2 Timothy 2:23-26, NCV)

I'm graduating college today.  Well, as much as any one "graduates" in a school district that is still closed for the pandemic. One of the most important things I've learned over the past two years is to agree-to-disagree with others in my educational community.  Sometimes I disagreed with classmates on trivial things.  Did they matter?  No, so it was easy to let it go while getting to know them. Other times, disagreements were more substantial.  I'll never forget the professor who taught adamently against racism and in the same class said that "Mexicans like Impalas."  Did I disagree with her blind hypocrisy?  Absolutely.  Was I ever going to change her?  Never.

Yet, when it comes to matters of my faith community, the agree-to-disagree situation is more challenging. In Paul's letter to Timothy it's clear that he's not talking about trivial things; he's talking about important issues that believers were letting the devil use to "gain a foothold"  in their spiritual walks, as Paul writes in Ephesians 4.  Paul doesn't tell the leaders to argue with them until they realize the error of their ways. His instructions are to be gentle.  To be kind.  To be patient.  To let the Holy Spirit do what the Holy Spirit does becuase only God would be able to let them see the truth.

* * *
This post is a prompt from Five Minute Friday
and was written in approximately five minutes.
For more information, visit
* * *

Friday, June 4, 2021

FMF: Slow

Then Moses said to the Lord, “Please, Lord, I have never been eloquent, neither recently nor in time past, nor since You have spoken to Your servant; for I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”

But the Lord said to him, “Who has made the human mouth? Or who makes anyone unable to speak or deaf, or able to see or blind? Is it not I, the Lord? Now then go, and I Myself will be with your mouth, and instruct you in what you are to say.”
(Exodus 4:10-12, NASB)

I've often wondered what was wrong with Moses.  Did he have a stutter?  A stammer?  A lisp?  Coming from a family familiar with speech delays, it's been a quality of Moses that I've considered more than once.

When my sister was about three, she saw a speech therapist.  My family cherishes a cassette tape they have of her singing.  What family wouldn't cherish a little child singing at that age?  Did it matter that the sounds weren't exact?  Absolutely not.  It was endearing.

I myself struggled with pronunciation when I was small.  It wasn't yellow; it was yeh-whoa.  It wasn't a cheeseburger; it was a chee-buh-guh.

And when I became a parent, I discovered that both of my sons needed help with language.  When my oldest saw a speech therapist, she emphasized how much he spoke.  That wasn't news to me!  He still loves to talk.  A lot.

But with any of us - my sons, me, my sister, Moses - what was wrong with us?

In a word: Nothing.

For whatever reason, this was how God made us.

* * *
This post is a prompt from Five Minute Friday
and was written in approximately five minutes.
For more information, visit
* * *

For another speech therapy anecdote, you can read about my son's first session here: Ka- Ka- King.