shhhh… i’m listening for a quieter voice

in our world obsessed culture, it almost seems redundant that i am writing something at all. that is really how i view these words typed out in front of me. but writing has a loftier goal for our human spirit, for the ways in which we long to be interconnected at a level deeper than the surface skimming that we do most frequently in our verbal winsome wordiness.  writing is for the ways in which we think better when we are forced to close our mouths and open our ears to a quieter voice, a still and small voice that prompts us to ask more questions of ourselves and the world around us.  this is a simple process, writing. it is letters and words and phrases that express something otherwise left unsaid. in the marketplace of ideas, mine are lost among the mileu, but they are not lost to me along my journey.  this is also a complex process, writing. words commit us for a time to an idea or notion and when we share these written words, they become our present identity to the world. do we dare to write the things which normally dash around inside our head? do we dare?

in a season where much of our world is observing a tradition that makes us intentionally aware of our addictive, compulsive and otherwise thoughtless behavior, we have this yearly opportunity to let these behaviors have less control over us.  it is called fasting. it takes place during a time called Lent or Lenten season.

there are so many things i could deny myself that would open new opportunities for learning and listening to God.  there are so many things that distract me from pure dependence on God. i am inviting my children to fast with me for the next 40 days and to bring their new thoughts together at the end of the day. i am hoping that we will all learn from each other in some way the value of listening to what is central to life and quieting the louder and less important voices.

welcome lent.

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simple words

As a mother of four, I have watched the language development process with great awe as my own children acquire words. Words are powerful. Words bring life. Words create meaning. Words influence culture. In a family, all of these truths about words are evident—especially as you watch your children respond to the words that you diligently teach them.

God’s word impacts our family in powerful ways. As a parent, I know that modeling good behavior is only part of the way I communicate God’s truth to my children. Taking concepts from Scripture, I speak them repeatedly in real life situations to give my children opportunities to experience the power God’s word. For example, I often tell my “Be a blessing.” It is our simple motto. We talk about specific ways that a person can be a blessing in different environments. At school they might practice blessing kids that bother them by offering forgiveness. At home, we bless one another by looking not only to our own interests, but to the interests of others in the family. In a grocery store, we talk about ways we can be peaceable and patient.

The power of these words, these simple words, has been pervasive. These words put even my youngest children into places of influence as they look for ways to bless others with their presence, their kindness, their service, and their love. These simple words have the power to bring life within and beyond our families. These conversations transform ordinary activities into places where God’s word has the power to transform us and transform our environment.