Monday, May 13, 2013


What is gentleness? 
We think of it when we carefully hold a newborn, or when we give instructions to the movers as they unpack your grandmother's fragile china. We use it in directions to our children as we unravel brother's hair from sister's sticky fingers, and when we comfort a friend grieving the loss of a loved one gone on before. 

But do we really know what gentleness is? Focus On The Family Gary Thomas writes: 
"Gentleness is a strong hand with a soft touch. It is a tender, compassionate approach to towards others weaknesses and limitations. A gentle person still speaks truth, sometimes even painful truth, but in doing so guards his tone so that the truth can be well received."

Gentleness takes on many outfits in the daily life of a woman. It's worn in your smile as you patiently work with intense and highly energetic children in your ministry. Its worn in your touch as you shake the hand of a stranger, making him or her feel welcome in your home or church. Its worn in your attitude as you listen to your husband talk about his day, instead of unloading on him about your own.

Gentleness isn't just a cute little kids song we sing, or a word we notice in the Bible every once in a while. Paul said he was gentle to the Thessalonians as he shared the Gospel with them because "you are dear to us." 1 Thess 2:7-8 
He told Timothy that a "servant of the Lord must not strive (struggle or or fight vigorously) but be gentle to ALL men..."
And the wisdom that God gives us "is first pure, then peaceable, GENTLE...." 

Gentleness is not necessarily a gift, as much as it it a choice. Max Lucado writes:
"I choose gentleness. Nothing is won by force. I choose to be gentle. If I raise my voice, may it only be in prayer. If I make a demand, may it only be of myself." 

Gentleness does not mean that you will become less. It means the very opposite. It's not me who says so; its God. 
Psalm 18:35 - "Your gentleness has made me great."

Jen Matthews

Thursday, May 2, 2013

I haven't blogged in a while, but I have been reading other people's blogs; and I was so encouraged by this one I just had to share it with you guys.

It was one of those days. I was driving to the airport in the pouring rain. The skies were grey. The day felt a bit gloomy. And honestly, so did I.
There were just a lot of little things swarming my thoughts. Feelings of inadequacy stinging. “There are so many things I’m responsible for and never enough hours in the day. I do enough to keep things from sinking. But I just wonder if I’m doing anything well. I don’t think I am – doing anything well.”
The more I focused on these thoughts, the more overpowered I became. The more overpowered I became, the more withdrawn I felt.
I pulled into the parking space and started the fight with my luggage. My suitcase has two wheels missing. And of course I keep intending to do something about this. But I don’t have time. So I make do with a crazy suitcase and a crazy life and a crazy sense I should just pack my family up and move out west somewhere. Live on a ranch where we grow our own food and I cook beans in a black pot over an open flame.
Surely that would fix everything.
Except that I know it wouldn’t.
Because the chaos isn’t from my circumstances. It’s inside me.
I boarded the plane. I stared out the window. I watched the grey clouds envelop us.
And then the grey broke.
Suddenly, we rose above the clouds and the sun was shining crazy bright and far wide and fabulously clear.
The clouds were just a temporary covering. They didn’t stop the sun from shining. They just prevented my eyes from seeing the sun. And it wasn’t just the sky that appeared a little brighter. My mood did as well.
I started to shift from feeling overpowered to empowered as I realized three things:
Just because I feel it doesn’t make it real.
Just like I felt the sun was gone but it was very much still there, I might feel like I’m not doing anything well, but it doesn’t make it true. The fact that I have weaknesses doesn’t make everything about me weak. I have plenty of strengths.
All I have to do is ask a couple of my friends or my family members to help me see what I do well. I can celebrate those, and then get a plan for bettering things that need improvement. I can start by identifying one thing to improve on this month. And do a little toward making that one thing better.
There are a lot of people who would trade their best day for my worst day.
Yes, I have a lot to manage. And yes, sometimes things get a little foggy. But that doesn’t mean I have to stay swallowed up in the grey. That means I need to get my head above the clouds and see all the many places where the sun is shining brightly in my life. So, I can start making a list of things for which I need to be thankful.
My mind needs some space to think.
If I always run at a breakneck pace, I’m eventually going to break. My mind is a powerful tool, capable of seeing things that can be done more efficiently and effectively if I give myself time to think. When is the last time I just sat quietly with a pen and paper and asked the Lord to help me think?
As 2 Corinthians 12:9 teaches, God’s power is made perfect in weakness. When I’m sinking in thoughts of inadequacy and plans to relocate out west, I remember that my ability is not based on what I can do. My ability and strength come from the One who can do all things. With the Lord working in me and through my weaknesses, I can feel the transformation from being overpowered to empowered taking place.
If the clouds have been looming close lately, maybe it’s time to stop. Pause. Lift your eyes to an altitude that can rearrange your attitude.