Category: Blog

headshotBy Christian Bonner

September 28th of this year will mark the fourth anniversary of my Grandma’s passing. As you can imagine, my thoughts have been filled with memories of her, mostly sweet. I don’t know, maybe we clashed in personality, but some are painful and have left wounds that I am unsure will be healed on this side of heaven. But the good I remember, it is oh, so good! I think at times she was a hard woman because she had to be. She had a lot to manage as one woman. She not only raised eight children but aided in raising a few of her grandchildren, myself included.

As the memories of her life and her last days flood my mind, the words “purpose” and “moving forward” keep popping up. (more…)

kori pic 3By Kori Yates

Great ideas can be tiring, but God-ideas are inspiring.

I am learning. Gradually.

I love to volunteer, jump in, help out, run the show. However you want to put it, I’m in. I joke periodically that God gave me my sweet husband to hold my hand down. While not altogether true and knowing he is far more of a blessing than that, I do know that he helps keep me in check and remind me of my priorities before I drive us all crazy.

God calls us to many things in our lifetime. Whether acts of service to others or stewardship of resources, not a day goes by when He does not speak to our hearts about something. But there is a drastic difference between the “business of God” and the “busyness of God.” (more…)

Deb Blue 5x7 tighter cropBy Dr. Deb Waterbury

Being married is hard.  Being a mother is hard.  Being in any relationship for any length of time with any person is hard.

I mean, let’s face it: We all live this life through a lens focused on self, and self often doesn’t like it when self is being mistreated.

Truly this isn’t news to any of us who have lived in adulthood for more than a few years, but what can be news to some of us is that this “self lens” is a lie, and it is the source for more of our life-spun angst than we are many times willing to admit. (more…)

FullSizeRender (1)By Raena Isaacson

You could feel the tension in the air while the eleven-year-old girl stood timidly, at the edge of the high dive, reluctant to take the plunge…

As the she stood there contemplating what to do, I could only imagine the fear and self-doubt that was racing through her mind. Even though parents and swim teammates were rooting for her and encouraging her to “JUMP,” she just couldn’t muster enough courage of her own to jump. (more…)

Laurel photoBy Laurel Strasshofer

Hide me in the shadow of Your wings from the wicked who despoil me, my deadly enemies who surround me. They have closed their unfeeling heart, with their mouth they speak proudly.” (Ps 17:8b-10)

If you are like me, when you are crying out to God to rescue you from your current circumstances, especially from the wounding of a brother or sister in Christ, you tend to shy away from praying such prayers as David did. Surely, such calls to God for safety, protection, vindication and rescue are only meant to be asked when those who don’t know Him are the source of our wounding or troubles! It would be wrong to ask Him for such deliverance from the hands of fellow believers, right?

I was pondering over this a short while ago – and feeling guilty for making the cry of the Psalmist my own prayer – when it occurred to me David’s own call to God for rescue from his “deadly enemies” had to do with his flight from Saul.  Saul – who once considered David his confident and friend.  Saul – appointed of God to be king of Israel. Saul – a God-follower. A God-follower who unwittingly fell into fear and pride and as a result became David’s accidental enemy.

…though I am God’s child, I can become an accidental enemy of those I lead…

This made me wonder, “Have I ever, through my own actions, become an accidental enemy of those I lead?”  How many times, when thinking I was doing right by my team, had I actually inadvertently “closed my heart” and been a source of wounding to them? This caused me serious introspection as I considered the consequences of unintended harsh leadership that can come from blinding pride.

It is sobering to know that though I am God’s child, I can become an accidental enemy of those I lead by:

  • Responding to people based on perceptions instead of reality (assuming instead of asking)
  • Expecting the worst of someone (starting with distrust instead of trust)
  • Speaking negatively (gossiping about or criticizing instead of speaking well of those we lead)
  • Behaving with indifference (being aloof; treating people like things [or a means to an end] instead of valued contributors with hopes, dreams, hurts and joys of their own)
  • Self-promoting (taking credit for the work of others instead of recognizing and elevating them)
  • Blaming (pointing fingers instead of accepting responsibility)
  • Minimizing efforts (demoralizing with words like, “How hard can that be?” or, “What does she do all day, anyhow?” This could also be done by frequently changing plans without consideration for the work your team has already invested in the process.)
  • Letting ego rule (responding out of fear someone might outshine or know more than us instead of ceding to his expertise and encouraging his growth)
  • Holding onto offenses (bringing up the offense or continuing to use it as an excuse for distrust long after the incident is past instead of offering restoration)

So, what can we do to try to avoid becoming the source of someone’s cry to God for rescue and relief?

Perhaps we could follow David’s cue. Because he was keenly aware of the deceitfulness of pride and that he may have his own blind spots, he regularly gave God permission to expose those things in him. It was not uncommon for him to make his prayer, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” (Ps 139: 23 & 24)

I am making this my prayer today, too.  May I lead with love. Always.

 

 

By Holly Trask

Noise, it fills her ears. People, they gather all around her. Aromas, they fill her nose. Walls, they trap her in. Heat, it fills the room. Joy, it is glowing all around her. Thoughts, they fill her head.

She sits at a party, and how she feels is the same each time. Not sure why, she pushes herself past all the terrible things she feels because it’s important to all those around. If she appears to have a bad time, she fears she will hurt them, and she doesn’t want to be the reason why.

She has struggled with people all her life. She never got close and never cared to open her heart to those who showed her care. Her biggest fear was losing those she loved. She didn’t want to lose her heart, let it be torn, let it be crushed. She guarded it with all she had because of her lack of trust.

Drowning herself in the crowd of people, she sits alone full of sorrow. She doesn’t want to be seen; she doesn’t want to open up. With a tear on her cheek, she raises her head from her knees.

A swift movement catches her gaze. She follows it until she sees a man. With curiosity she looks and gazes upon a face. This face is like no other she has ever seen. He drew her in and she wanted to know more. His eyes locked on hers. In the room crowded with people, he was the only one she saw. Full of questions she saw he was coming near. He extended his hand out to her and asked her if she “would dance with him a Waltz of Love.” Accepting his offer, she took his hand and entered his dance. His Waltz of Love would soon be her very own song to sing and shout for every day to come.

He began his dance and brought her in close.  Taking her hand, he held her tight.  She felt him close and began to trust. When she gazed upon his eyes of love, she started to realize something new. With a voice so faint, she uttered one word, “Why?” and began to cry.

With eyes so sincere, he captured her gaze.  He answered simply, “Trust in your heart”.

He wiped away the tears and began to dance his Waltz of Love. A message so clear she began to see, see who he really was. He continued to lead and guided her through. He showed her each step as she followed him.  She was beginning to trust him and open her heart.

One little stumble was all that it took to shake her trust and set her back. Without saying a word, he picked her up and brought her back into his warm embrace. She pushed away because of her failing trust. With a firm but gentle hand, he was able to show her that she could trust. He pushed away the hair from her face and tilted her chin so she could look into his eyes. Once he had her eyes locked on his, he told her to trust because he was love. He told her this dance was her song as well, that she could be happy and trust that she was loved. He told her his guidance and tight embrace is what she needed most because without him she was a lost soul. She let go of her fear and let him inside. Her heart was open for the very first time.

As his loved poured and flowed into her heart, she was happy for the very first time. “Oh Lord oh Lord,” she cried out to him, “your love is so beautiful, for I do not deserve.”

With a sweet simple reply, “My child, my beloved, my love is so good and so perfect for you.  Trust in me and it is forever free.”

With tears of joy and a heart full of hope, she continued his waltz, for it is now her new song, and forever and ever will be the dance that she sings: The Waltz of Love.