Decisions, Friendship

The Victim Is Not Always The Victim

He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide disputes by what his ears hear

Isaiah 11:13b (ESV)

I think one of the saddest things I wish I had known was that the victim is not always the victim. Much is hidden that cannot be discerned—even by people who are daily witnesses.

The apparent victim may tell the best story. Or have the most pathetic or sweetest voice. Or an appearance that invokes trust. Or experienced a tragedy. Or a serious illness. Or always makes sure his or her version is told first.

I have been fooled by all the above.

The one who states his case first seems right, until the other comes and examines him.

Proverbs 18:17

Many times, I did not have an examiner. The version I or a friend heard occurred miles away or years ago. The truth was not discovered until I or another had sympathized with or given aid to an instigator or bully or liar.

I learned along the way to be wary of the “wounded.” They may have been the one wielding a sharp sword.

Have you been misled?


Speak Up

One evening, I looked around my crowded living room where families had gathered and wondered, “Am I crazy, or are they crazy?”

My husband and I continued to wonder if others saw the same dysfunctionality that we did. When the group gathered for a meal, we wondered if our host and hostess were naïve.

Finally, my husband met with a leader. The man was working quietly to rectify the situation. The young couple who had hosted our meal left the organization. Later, we learned that they had found the situation intolerable.

I learned a lesson I have never forgotten. Even in silence, I am not alone in my perceptions. Some may not have the disposition or courage to speak up or have done so and been shut down.

A decade later, a friend expressed frustration about a situation and asked, “Why won’t others say something. I’m told I’m the only one concerned.”

“That’s not true,” I said. “We’ve complained.”

Another decade passed. Another friend told me about a school situation and asked, “Why won’t other parents complain?”

“Maybe they have and have been told that no one else cares,” I said. “Add your voice and support them.”

Speaking up?

Decisions, Homeschooling

Homeschooling This Year?

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not of your own doing; it is the gift of God. not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

Homeschooling did many things for our family. My children could learn at their own pace. We weren’t confined to grade levels when choosing curricula. We had flexibility if I didn’t let others claim it. (See here.) We shared experiences. We traveled outside of the summer season.

Most importantly, homeschooling allowed my husband and me to share and reinforce our Christian beliefs. However, one thing homeschooling could not do is impart saving faith to my sons.

The fact that only Jesus saves should be obvious—like the fact that homeschooling works best if you want to homeschool (See here). However, my friends and I occasionally crossed into dangerous territory by believing that our “works”—such as homeschooling—mattered as much or perhaps even more than Jesus.

As my family and others look back over our homeschool efforts, some of our children chose our faith and some didn’t. Discouraging? Not necessarily. Their stories aren’t finished.

Setting any goals beyond your control this year?

Basics, Decisions

Learning New Limitations

My scheduled Sunday post did not appear this week. You may not have noticed, and at times, I didn’t either. What happened?

Although this week’s blog was written months ago, I was too tired to edit it last week. And I am still too tired to edit it, so those words have been rescheduled for December 2023. Stay tuned.

When money used to be our family’s major limitation, my husband and I saved and budgeted so that we not only covered all our needs but also any emergency. As we age, time and energy are our new limitations. I can be more careful of how I spend both, but unlike money, neither can be put in a bank for future withdrawals. And I am constantly learning the extent of these new limitations. They seem to be increasing faster than I can adjust.

So today, I acknowledged that I cannot rebound quickly from overscheduling and a recent emergency. Not only will the blog be postponed but also certain decorations will remain in their boxes and Christmas cards sent after the holidays. And it will be fine.

Did you acknowledge something recently?


The Night I Simply Showed Up

I feel the breath of 70 on my neck, which makes maintaining muscle tone more crucial than ever. To reach that goal, I walk, swim and have a consistent water aerobics routine.

One day, as I thought about my upcoming evening at our community pool, I realized that the joy of being in the water was gone. I worried about losing levels of fitness if I didn’t maintain and attempt to increase both my laps and my water aerobics’ repetitions. I kept mental track of every exercise—until that night.

When I stepped into the pool that night, I knew that lowering my standard to simply showing up would prevent me from dropping out.

I didn’t count repetitions. I skipped routines, knowing I could incorporate them another pool day. I realized that—if I was to continue—I needed the relaxation of being in the pool as much or more than the physical exercise.

Has lowering standards kept you from giving up?