The Universal Language Of Kindness

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see.” – Mark Twain

The beautiful thing about kindness is that everyone can do it. Anyone … in any season of life, whether young, old, male or female, rich, poor or even sick can show kindness.

Not to be confused with generosity, (which I generally associate with giving money) kindness requires nothing more than intentional action.

Kindness is more powerful than anger, selfishness or even hate. It morphs us into women who look, sound and act more like Jesus. When we clothe ourselves in kindness as Col. 3:12 directs, we affect people in a positive and lasting way. 

Contagious and courageous.

Those who are shown kindness will surely pass it on. Like a train of Dominos, when the first one falls, the rest follow. Taking the lead to demonstrate kindness softens hearts, quiets tempers and provides space for tenderness to grow. So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you. Matthew 7:12 

In close relationships, kindness can overcome the temptation to hold grudges, get revenge and act selfishly. Random acts of kindness toward strangers can break down prejudice, overcome greed and restore faith in humanity.

“Tenderness and kindness are not signs of weakness and despair, but manifestations of strength and resolution.” – Kahlil Gibran

Sometimes the kindest thing you can do is put down a suffering animal. It’s tough to help pack up your best friend to move away from you. Being a listening ear or returning a lost wallet can be time consuming. Keeping someone company till the ambulance or locksmith arrives can mess up your schedule. 

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Say Yes To Jesus!

That’s why they call it Good News

At the close of a retreat last weekend, Camilla* came to me surrounded by her posse. All weekend I had talked about transformation and invited the audience to take one step closer to Jesus. Camilla wanted to know what her next step with Jesus should be.

She said, “I’m not all that close to Jesus, what do I do?”

“That depends. Tell me more. Have you received Jesus as Savior and gone cold?” I asked.

“No,”  she said, “I haven’t ever done that.”

I paused.

“Are you ready to do that now?”

The women standing around her held their position, their encouragement, and their breath.

“Yeah, I think I am,” she said. “What do I do?”

I said, “Put your hand in the air and say, ‘I say yes to Jesus.’”

She tried. The words got stuck. Her eyes leaked. Her face reddened. Then after about three minutes of trying to choke it out, she put her hand in the air, and stammered, “I say yes to Jesus!”

We all whooped and shouted and hugged her.

The process begins with the first step.

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Don’t Give Up Too Soon!

Don’t give up too soon.

It was 17 years from the time God called me to write my story to the time “The Widow Wore Pink” was finished. My literary agent pitched it to umpteen publishers. The book was rejected over and over. It felt like I was rejected over and over.

Whispers from the enemy said, “God can’t be trusted. He set you up to be disappointed.”

I could have given up with a sigh, It’s not meant to be. Or, It was never meant for publication – just family legacy, or (my personal favorite) It’s too late. You missed it. 

But, God …

When it was finally in print and released for sale, I knew I’d experienced a little miracle. That book has gone places and changed lives of women I will never meet. It has opened doors for me to speak that would otherwise slam shut in my face.

Don’t give up too soon. Don’t give up short of your gift arriving, your promise being fulfilled, your healing coming to pass or your deliverance delivered.

God does not make things easy. He makes things possible.

When we come up against hard things, we need to lean into God. As we wait, He builds our character. He builds our trust in Him. He provides fresh testimonies of faith when we trust Him to deliver what we cannot manufacture.

If we never bump into anything hard, we become sloppy and soft. We’d never grow, or experience miracles, or appreciate favor balls from heaven without hard stuff in our lives.

If God was a genie in a bottle instead of our loving father in heaven, we’d never even speak to him except to make a wish. And what kind of faith does that grow?

When all seemed lost

  • On the beach of the Red Sea (Exodus 14)
  • In the fortress of Samaria (1 Kings 6-7)
  • On the 6th day marching around Jericho (Joshua 6)
  • In the belly of the big fish (Jonah 1) 
  • On the road to Bethlehem (Ruth 1)
  • The day after Jesus was crucified

Biblical heroes and heroines in the Bible were tested in their faith and their fortitude. And were rewarded abundantly.

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Be Prepared Like First Responders

Where were you on 9/11/19?

Did you see all the replays and death counts and photos of heroes? I used more than my share of tissues crying over lost lives and shattered dreams.

First responders run toward danger and smoke when everyone else is running out. I know this cuz my kid’s a firefighter in a big city.

He is aware of the danger but executes his job courageously having been thoroughly trained for every conceivable contingency.

Even the photos you see of fallen heroes are part of their training. Eli called me the day his was taken.

He said, “Mom, I had my death picture taken today.”
“What? Your what?!?” I asked, not believing what I’d just heard.
“My death picture. That’s what the guys call it.  We have our picture taken in front of the flag wearing our dress uniform. If we die in the line of duty, that’s the picture they put on my casket and use in the media.”
“Oh.”

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5 Benefits Of A Hated Season

There are seasons for everything.

Some are lovely, others are brutal and hated. There are seasons you’re sure you can’t endure much less survive and yet, when they pass, you are stronger and wiser and your faith is bigger than it could have ever been without the season you just braved.

You may be facing a challenge right now.

What you want to hear is that everything will be okay, but I can’t promise that. What I can promise is that in the midst of this mess, God will be closer than you ever thought possible. In fact, when this thing you hate is resolved, what will remain is a connection and trust in God so deep and complete that as your heart heals, you will miss the closeness, and the need, of it.

This week marks 19 years since my Adventure Boy husband Craig took a routine flight that landed me in a hated season because he never arrived at his destination.

A search ensued that lasted for weeks. It was all-consuming. Not just for me, it imprisoned my children, my extended family, and all my friends. Life as we knew it just stopped.

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Please Don’t Let This Be Our New Normal!

The dreadful call

I answered the phone, expecting to hear a cheerful hello, but instead, I heard, “Mom, I hurt my back. I can’t move.”  Ever the skeptic of my kids antics, I asked, “What were you doing?” I waited to hear that he’d tried to bench press a refrigerator or push start a semi-truck. “I was putting on my sock and something just popped. I don’t know what to do. Can you come over?”

Music to a mama’s ear. He still needs me.

“Of course I can. I’ll be right there.”

Jake’s frame was so out of whack, he drags one foot behind him, like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, wincing with every jostle. He grits his teeth in pain as he inches his way to doctor and chiropractor appointments. He swallows pain relievers and I gently stuff ice packs under him. The pain will not yield.

Waiting without answers

Days turn into weeks and there is no relief. The doctor prescribes narcotic pain killers and orders an MRI. He is put on disability at his work.

We pray.
We ask everyone we know to pray.
We wait.
We pray and we wait.

“God, don’t let this be our new normal!” I cry out in fear. “Heal him!”

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9 Ways to Ease The Agony of Grief

When the heart breaks.

My heart breaks as I listen to the news of killings in our country and around the world. Regardless of who you are or where you come from, when someone you love dies, it blows a hole in your heart, leaves a vacant chair at your table, and changes your life forever. My experience being widowed twice in four years gives me the expertise to say you can easy the agony of someone’s grief.

9 ways to ease the agony of grief. 

1.

Look for the person who is grieving. Smile at them. Talk with her or him. Don’t avoid them because you don’t know what to say, or you feel uneasy. Push through the feeling of awkwardness; they need you.

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Crazy Big Prayers

The bad news is … 

From my home office, I could hear the racket. Loud, clunking arrhythmic noises were coming from something big and mechanical. At first, I thought the washing machine was out of balance and trying to walk out of the basement again but I quickly discovered my central air conditioning unit was the source of the noise.

This is all kinds of bad news! It was 90 degrees outside and there was a lot more summer on the calendar. I shut it down and called the repair man to look at it. His assessment?
“Call the sale office. You need a new unit,” he told me.
“There’s no way to fix this one?” I ask hopefully.
“This unit is 22 years old. It’s served you well. Let it die in peace.”
“I see. Well, can you estimate what it would cost to replace?”
Without a moment of hesitation, he said, “I’d guess close to $3000.00.”

Bad news = Big prayers

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When Good Intentions Fail

What a week!

We met up with both boys and our daughter-in-love for a week of camp. (Not camping, our “cabin” had indoor plumbing) We all sat around talking and eating and playing games. There were many campfires, lots of shooting guns, and some pitiful fishing adventures.

After a full week of revelry, an 11-hour drive home, and more pitstops at Micky D’s than I care to admit, we arrived home late at night. Exhausted, I dumped buckets of tie-dye projects and a ton of damp, sand-filled, smoky clothes in the house and went to bed.

The next day, I was up before dawn to speak at a conference. After two packed days of speaking, I returned home only to face piles of fermenting laundry, the science projects in the fridge, and the 10,000 emails in my inbox.

Lord, have mercy!

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