Category Archives: growth

Listening and Learning

Grieving Together and Growing Together

I shared this photo and caption on my Instagram account yesterday after spending much of this past week trying to read people’s experiences and listen to their stories:

Listening and Learning

I’ve mainly been listening to conversations and needs and experiences over this past week and grieving over the suffering in so many places. I want to learn. I want to grow. But no matter how much I try, I will never totally be able to understand the fullness of my white privilege. But I will try to listen and to support and to be willing to change.
Because change is the only way things get better.
And maybe one way to change is to remember each of us is a person. A person on this one earth at the same time together, called to share love. (@mercyhouseglobal bracelets made by some amazing, skilled people, neighbors on this planet. Thank you, Lillian and Esther.)

I don’t know the answers, but I do know we all need to share love more and more. I pray we can learn to do that together.

A few of the voices I’ve been reading and listening to this week:

“It’s just that it’s unhelpful. It’s an attempt to erase an actual crisis under the guise of being fair. And by continuing to use “All Lives Matter” to drown out the cry of “Black Lives Matter,” the real problems the movement is trying to address are being ignored. … The context of “Black Lives Matter” is not that other lives don’t. The context of “Black Lives Matter” is that the value of black lives remains under assault in the United States.”

  • This tweet about listening.
  • This from our President during a press conference: “To be concerned about these issues is not to be against law enforcement … So to all of law enforcement, I want to be very clear: we know you have a tough job, we mourn those in uniform who are protecting us who lose their lives. … When people say Black Lives Matter, it doesn’t mean blue lives don’t matter, it just means all lives matter, but right now the big concern is the fact that the data shows black folks are more vulnerable to these kinds of incidents. This isn’t a matter of us comparing the value of lives…”
  • This post from Lecrae on humility being key to understanding race relations.

Just a sampling of the people I follow on social media that are voices I trust and are involved and I try very hard to listen to and learn from:

How about you supporting neighbors during this past week and beyond? I’d love to hear your thoughts and ideas.

Side note: I also believe where we spend our money votes on what kind of world we want. When I’m looking for certain items or for gifts or something to brighten someone’s day, I love to support non-profit organizations that work to help real people with real stories. Today, one of my favorite organizations, Mercy House Global, is having a one-day flash sale on some great fair-trade items for women, kids, men, and home. (Earrings are buy one, get one free today only. The “fair trade grab bags” are only $10, which make great gifts. And our family is going to be working through one of the global family kits together this upcoming school year.) These items provide jobs for refugees here in the States and for women in various countries around the world. Please explore the site and learn about the amazing work Mercy House Global does.

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Our Sins, God's Grace series at DoNotDepart.com

Believing Through Unbelief

By nature, we’re created to hold on to something. When we don’t hold on to faith, we end up holding on to a mess of other things that truly, well, make a mess of things.

Today at Do Not Depart, I’m discussing a little bit of my journey of believing even through periods of worry and doubt. Join me over there, and please check out the other posts in this month’s series, as well as the extra resource I shared at the bottom of today’s post.

Our Sins, God's Grace series at DoNotDepart.com

What Love Sees

What Love Sees

We’re doing a series on “Love Songs” at Do Not Depart this month. But, before you cringe and turn away, know that these aren’t your ordinary love songs.

We’re talking about God’s love and loving others this month and sharing some of our favorite traditional and contemporary worship songs that inspire us to remember His love and share that love more.

My post today references a great song from Jason Gray and talks about the opportunities love sees.

This post has a lot of my heart in it. Please join me over at Do Not Depart today and share your experiences.

What Love Sees

Small Talk by Amy Julia Becker

Listening and Learning {Book Review – Small Talk by Amy Julia Becker}

Ever since my son was 1 or 2 years old, I’ve said that I’ve learned much more from being parent than I ever did in the years in was a public school teacher. And that statement keeps growing in truth.

Small Talk by Amy Julia Becker

Amy Julia Becker shares numerous examples of this growth in her book Small Talk: Learning from My Children About What Matters Most (Zondervan, 2014). This memoir-style book follows Amy Julia’s journey through several years of parenting two, then three, children, including one of whom has Down Syndrome. This series of stories encourages readers and highlights how we can see grace in the small moments of our lives.

“In the midst of snow days and sickness, in the midst of yelling and tears, grace enters in.” – p. 12, Small Talk

Amy Julia tells the story in present tense with some past tense reflections to draw readers in. She lets the reader know in the introduction that this is not a how-to book. She utilizes a lot of “I think” and “I wonder” and “I understand” sentences to show her own thought processes and conclusions on what she’s learning as she grows along with her children.

My favorite components of these stories are the family conversations. The dialogues between children (child-to-child and child-to-parent) are so realistic and so pure. Any parent can identify, and, as a parent of a child with multiple special needs, I especially relate to many of those conversations and specific fears. She doesn’t present herself as perfect, and these thoughtful stories help spur reflections of the reader’s own family and circumstances.

She covers holding on to certain things, letting go of others. Her children help her realize the importance of forgiveness, understanding, growth. She recounts stories of waiting, of tragedy, of community, of understanding dependence, of marriage. All while exploring God’s presence in all of it.

The reader won’t leave this book with all the answers, and the reader might not even agree with all of the author’s conclusions. But the book will allow readers to marvel in the insightfulness of children and the ability to reflect and grow, no matter one’s situation.

“…But the reminder of God’s promises quiets my soul. A gentle encouragement to trust. This Christian life of ours if messy and mysterious and beautiful. Like water, running down and spilling over.” – p. 219, Small Talk

What have you learned most from your children?

Disclosure: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher (through the BookLook bloggers program) in exchange for my honest review. I was not required to write a positive review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate for Signing Time and Amazon Associates. If you click on a Signing Time link or Amazon and then make a purchase, I receive a small commission. This does not affect your final cost at all. Thank you for supporting this blog and my family!

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Learning from the Mess - a Five Minute Friday post {undergodsmightyhand,com}

Learning from the Mess

I passed by a church sign a few weeks ago that read, “Thank you Lord for the cross.”

Some folks might feel something so terrible and devastating is awfully hard to express gratitude towards.

And it is.

But, look at the beauty that came after the devastation.

“The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.” – John 1:14

Learning from the Mess - a Five Minute Friday post {undergodsmightyhand,com}

My family’s own struggles are nothing compared to what Christ suffered.

But there are things I’ve learned through parenting a child with special needs that I never want to unlearn.

My child, with all his “extra” needs and all his beautiful aspects, teaches me so much about growth and life and even God, who he’s just beginning to grasp.

I’ve learned that:

  • Smiling beats ignoring.
  • Hard work often brings satisfaction more intense than the end product.
  • Perseverance leads to progress.
  • Gratitude spurs perseverance.
  • A hug heals.
  • Dancing is a great way to express joy. 
  • Jumping up and down is a great way to exhale frustration.
  • Challenges inspire creativity for options.
  • Together works better than fighting.
  • Listening and observing (usually) reveal more than talking. 
  • Genuine smiles, especially from a child, cheer up the grumpiest grumps.

I’ve learned all this from mess. From the messy everyday, from extra challenges thrown our way, from my children (thankfully) interrupting my messy ways.

In all this mess, there’s beauty. There’s opportunity to say “yes” to my husband, my kids, my God.

There’s opportunity to renew, to remember, to love, to share grace. All from saying “yes” to the mess and the growth and beauty within it.

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

What have you learned from your mess? How have you practicing saying “yes” within that mess?

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It’s been quite a while since I’ve joined Lisa-Jo’s Five Minute Friday. Five minutes without edited, where “we write without worrying if it’s just right or not.” This week’s prompt is “mess.Join in on the five minute fun, won’t you?

Five Minute Friday