Breathe!

Self control must be taught! When it is taught early, children grow straight and strong and right on time. When self control is not the focus, the wildness of the little ones can dominate, bending their tender shoots in all the wrong directions.
Children mimic their elders.   When an elder places their chin in their hands, watch, the child will do the same.  When an adult smiles, they smile; when we growl and become irritated, so do they.  If we are lacking self-control, they will grow to accept outbreaks and loud expression as the way we do life.  They will mimic that.   So imagine with me from the view point of about three feet, plus or minus a few inches, how confusing it is when a child copies the behavior of the adult and then gets in trouble for it!   Lack of self-control begets more demonstrations of that lack, and the child gets the punishment as though at the tender age of one or two or four or five they are suppose to discern between the appropriate response and inappropriate minus the controlled example of a calm teacher! Pretty tall order for a kid, don’t you think?

How much better it would be for everyone if the adults mastered self-control and portrayed that openly before their offspring.  Ah! How peace would permeate our homes, and love would rule the day!   Here’s an idea to accomplish this end.  Breathe!  Simple, but so effective!

You see, as adults, when we are honest and admit that self-control is not one of our strong character traits, it is incumbent upon us to fix it!  Some of us hate to be told “no.”   When we do not get our way, feel over-burdened with the tasks of daily life, or are hungry or just out-of-sorts, it is easy to lose control of our behavior.  We may just display a little body language or eye rolling; or we may slam cupboard doors and fly into a verbal rant of some sort.   Whether mild or strong, the little ones will mimic.
Furthermore, in times of excessive stress, there are certain hormones that our bodies secrete.  There is a kind of “high” that comes from this anger/stress/disgust attitude that actually feeds on itself and sub-consciously becomes our drug of choice to help us cope. Much like a sugar high, the rush of adrenalin can become quite addictive, to adults and especially to children. The fix is BREATHING! You hear it all the time: “Just take a deep breath and relax…” and that is about all…we just hear that.  Yet, when we actually DO that, the secretion of stress hormones is reduced, the blood is oxygenated and the self-control returns.  Try it.  Next time things go wrong, force yourself to breathe deeply several times. Just STOP where you are and breathe very deeply holding the air in for a few counts and exhaling fully; then holding it out for a few counts.   Repeat this three or four times.

Now, once you have actually taught yourself this technique, demonstrate it.  Let your little ones see you breathe and change to a calm, loving human right before their eyes!  When they pitch a fit about something, instead of matching their fury with your own, breathe, and teach them to do the same.  Make it fun.  Make it work.

Those who rock the cradle, rule the world and Jesus knows our world needs more peace and love.  Let’s start with our breath; after all, it is the gift of life from our Loving God.

Spring is here (almost)

Embarrassing how hard it is sometimes for a writer to write! Everyday it seems words, ideas and duty flood my mind and the swelling seeks an outlet; yet issues of the day keep a plug in the dike of creativity.

That said, I welcome the season change. It has been a slow season change this year. The daffodils all came up and shuddered in the cold, and the cherry trees are in full bloom reluctantly, but the earth is still too cold to plant. The promise of 60 degree weather for a few days prompts the planter in me to get dirt under my fingernails once again. This weekend, we plant some veggies.

There is a deeper desire and burden however that presses to the surface of today. I want to plant the Word of God into the good soil of someone’s hungry heart. This season means newness and beauty springing up through chilly earth to shine in the warmth of the sun. To me though, the desire to see a soul walk in newness of life, springing up through their cold and hollow past into the loving glow of life with The Son means so much more!

As the dirt collects on my hands and the seeds are lovingly hidden in the warm soil, may my sensitivities remain keen as I listen for the creek of a door opening in the heart of a neighbor; a friendly wave that is more of a beckoning; a look and a word that signals readiness to learn and a hunger to find the Ancient of Days forever.

Moreover, may all of us step outside our own world long enough to be available to the hurting humans hungry for a relationship with Deity; and I pray He will lead and guide us into all truth as we reach out to help others find their way back to the Garden. Plant On, Christian worker, Plant On!

 


 

Birthday Blog

So the last entry was on the birthday of our first born son…this entry is on my birthday.

This is the coldest February 25th in NW history I guess…must be the result of global warming, right? The sun beams, the snow and icicles glimmer and the three-day fire warms the house. Life is good because of Love.

You know, the Love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost. Recently, I have a new appreciation for phases lifted from The Word of God.

For example, ‘shed abroad in our hearts,’ ‘As a man thinketh,’ ‘issues of life,’ ‘loins of your mind,’ and ‘ponder the path.’ So much in The Word speaks about our mind and heart; how we think and how we Love, perhaps God really does know and care about how we conduct our daily lives.

As I ponder the path of my feet and harness the mental component, it becomes obvious that depth and meaning are the treasures of Love buried in the heart-field of humanity. We can sell all and own that field in victory, or we can avoid the responsibility and live as a victim. Those are the only two choices.

Personally, the early learning years were brutal. The life of a victim seemed familiar and a rather comfortable wallow. Raised as a lonely, only child by a single parent in an era where divorce-branded children were to be shunned, victim-hood was natural. Nobody liked me because I had no father. There was no way I could change that; no amount of tears washed away reality; they didn’t want to play with me. No matter how hard I tried to be happy and smile, the grip of loneliness held a firm choke-hold on my sense of self-worth.

By the time the rocky teen years arrived, the victim mentality became a way of life. There was a father in the picture by then, however, as my mother married a good man when I was sixteen. It was a good thing for her, but it was too late for me.

I began to make bad choices in life as victims often do. “Who cares what I do, anyhow? What difference does it make to anyone how I live? Mom has her life now, and no one cares about mine…so, it doesn’t matter what I do.” A tragic downward spiral accelerated as My Creator let out the line and watched me sink.

For the next ten years I fell, a victim of life and loneliness. Beneath were some Everlasting Arms, however, that one day let go completely. I was in a strange room in a strange California Autumn when suddenly I dropped fast and far and the scream of fear was so deep it never made it to the surface. I heard the word, ‘WAIT’ escape my throat, and I made a promise to someone I didn’t know.

Jesus dropped me that day. I guess He had had enough of my victim-hood. I did not know until years later who or what let go of me, I only knew that if I didn’t change my outlook on life, and change it fast, there would be a deep nothingness out of which I would never surface again. That was the first day I became a victor instead of a victim.

Instead of life happening to me, it would now happen because of me! The story of my path to Today, to this particular February 25th must wait until another post because you are tired of reading already.

Summarily speaking, Jesus reeled me in, netted my wandering mindless days, and lifted me tenderly into His Ship of safety. He blessed my lonely life with fabulous children and a life’s mate that daily amazes me with his Love and devotion to God and to me.

I bought a box of tomatoes the other day at a very good price, and this is what he wrote on one of them with a sharpie pen:
“U R my tomato!” All my friends and sweet family members are wishing me a happy birthday even now. Loneliness still dogs my trail from time to time, but the Love of God shining through others keeps me in VICTORY!

Happy Birthday to me, i have victory, with Jesus in the leeeed, i have all i’ll ever need.

Where oh where has our true worship gone?

Recently I came across a quote from a book by Gary Erickson called Pentecostal Worship. On page 102 he writes: “Hand clapping and shouts can be just a response to cheer leading, and the people can amuse themselves with a game of group exercise.” Wow! How true this is today! When noise is the objective, and the congregation is bombarded with demands to “get with it,” one cannot help but long for the good old days!

I remember when the worship leaders would step away from the pulpit after a song and allow Jesus to move in our midst. We would throw our heads back and reach our hands to heaven as spontaneous worship filled the room for five to ten minutes after each song. Only when there was a collective awareness of a slight lifting of the Spirit of God would the worship leader step back to the microphone to make an announcement or call out the page number for our next song. Every service was different. God was the leader, the celebrity, and the one we came to see; it was His power and direction to which we were submitted.

Then, it all changed. Suddenly there were “praise singers” on the platform; worship leaders held the microphone close to their own words building a crescendo of noise that was really only an empty echo. The volume increased to a deafening pitch, and “skilled musicians” replaced the simple anointed players of not so long ago. Our hymnals no longer clutter the room, and the words to the songs speak of man instead of deity; earth instead of heaven; our worship instead of His blood. Our ‘agenda’ has replaced His move.

It seems the form of our services is more important than the liberty of God’s Spirit. No longer do we feel the rush of His moving and the tarrying in that place of Glory. We used to see the cloud of His presence, and weep and or worship for hours, so the ministers just gave the service to the Power and waited until next time to preach. Now the desire for entertainment and the urgency of the next item on the agenda has moved God right out the back door; and we like frogs in a pot of hot water just join in the group exercise and don’t even realize that God isn’t there.

Just what do we think the backsliders feel when they return for the Glory they once experienced only to find the same atmosphere of the world they desire to leave? People, call for the old paths, wherein is the good way, and walk ye in it. We need a revival of true Pentecostal Worship, not just more glitzy professionalism that magnifies us instead of Him.