I knew I had to guard my heart on these grey, cold, wintry Indiana days; otherwise, I would sink into a dark place, and that dark place is scary. It paralyzes me. I knew what to do, but I didn’t do it.
A time existed when I laughed without restraint in bursts of giggles or doubled over until my belly ached. I laughed at the tickling of my feet, at knock-knock jokes, at cartoon characters propelling off cliffs. Today I don’t watch cartoons or listen to knock-knock jokes or have ticklish soles. In the busyness and stresses of life, I feel like I’ve lost my spontaneous childhood ability to laugh.
For families today, life is busier than ever. There are play dates to keep, story hours to attend, sporting events to get to, school work to complete and much more. Throw in tech time and seemingly few moments remain for just quiet time. The busyness of work, schedules, commitments and daily life overwhelms.
Do you embrace the new year with a sense of exuberance, with the promise of a fresh start as the calendar flips to January? Or do you approach the new year with trepidation, wondering if it can possibly be any worse than the last?
There's power in a love that forgives, that disciplines. I think of how my heavenly Father approaches me. He is gentle. He is king. But He is just. I'm so thankful for that. That little broken angel reminds me of forgiveness. Now, I think I prefer the broken angel. There's a blessing in being broken.
I carry a bulletin in my childhood Bible. I was twelve years old when a Father’s Day bulletin was handed out at my church. It was the same year my dad discovered his love for alcohol that didn’t end for 35 years. But that love affair with alcohol was replaced with the love and grace of Jesus.
I will always feel grateful for the Thanksgiving none of my adult children could come home. That happened two years ago and changed my perspective on a holiday that focuses on being with family. Not that I didn’t want my family with me. But distance separated us and, for the first time ever, none of my three children would be in Minnesota. I could choose to feel sad and alone. Or I could choose to do something that would make others happy. Something that would fit the spirit of giving and of gratitude.
As a child, storms terrified me. Memories of a tornado that killed nine, injured 125 and devastated a small community near my Minnesota hometown lingered into adulthood. Then more storms hit decades later, this time damaging the farm place where I grew up and partially peeling the roof from my childhood church.
My part of the communication equation wasn’t very good. I did what I knew to do in my time of reading the Bible and praying to God my Father. Nevertheless, I definitely experienced a plateau in my spiritual growth, especially during my college days.