Family, Friendship, Homeschooling, Parenting

Admonish. Encourage. Help.

And we urge you, brothers, admonish the idle, encourage the fainthearted, help the weak, be patient with them all.

1 Thessalonians 5:14

When I recently re-read this verse, I remembered a sermon Dr. Bill Clark (Lay Counselor Institute) preached over a decade ago. Admonish. Encourage. Help. He gave an example where he had to employ all three with a client, but usually only one was needed.

I was struck how my “go to” response of helping was not always the best choice. Occasionally, my response was random.

I admonished the fainthearted when I should have encouraged. I helped the idle when I should have admonished. I encouraged the weak when I should have helped.

The only “go to” response in this scripture is “Be patient with them all.” That was rarely my first choice.

Do you naturally admonish, encourage, or help?

Family, God's Faithfulness, Sharing Stories

Share Your Stories

I have not hidden your deliverance within my heart; I have spoken of your faithfulness and your salvation; I have not concealed your steadfast love and your faithfulness from the great congregation.  

Psalm 40:10

At my age, I am more on the giving end than the receiving end of stories. Most stories I want are unattainable. I either waited too late to ask or was too young when it was time to ask. Therefore, I am becoming more deliberate about passing down family history and information, especially if it demonstrates God’s loving care.

Along the way, I learned that the more I tell or record my stories, the more I am the one who benefits. Like Deena Kastor, I reflect and process both the fleeting moments and the long hours that rushed by me. (See here for more.)

Telling a remembered story usually leads to a forgotten story and sometimes a second forgotten story, which all remind me of a special time or an important truth. Both the remembered and the forgotten bring necessary comfort or conviction.

The more I share, the more I am blessed.

Do you have a favorite story that blesses both you and others?

Family, Memories

Memories Impart Value

Along the way, I learned that memories impart value.

My uncle bequeathed me the contents of his home. As I packed china and depression glass and debated shipping furniture, my brother held out an item.

Is this the M&Ms dish?

“Yes,” I said without hesitation. I remembered its place by my grandfather’s recliner and the forbiddeness of snitching a chocolate morsel.

My brother remembered the too-loud clank of the glass lid when he was naughtier or perhaps braver than me.

I carefully packed the M&Ms dish, and later cried when another tried to claim it.

Look what I found.

This time my brother held out Rook cards, the same vintage as my parents’ cards.

The colored numbers brought back images of my parents playing Rook with their friends. Once, I got in trouble for peeking over shoulders and announcing a player’s hand. I felt like an adult when I was old enough to play Rook with my siblings.

My brother happily packed the Rook cards.

What made two objects—costing less than $20 each—priceless? The memories.

I wonder which objects my boys will eventually claim. (See Their Memories, Not Yours Here.)

Do any objects invoke your childhood memories??

Basics, Family, Homeschooling, Parenting

War, Not Battles Pt.2

Be pitiful, for every man is fighting a hard battle.

Ian MacLaren, Zion’s Herald, January 26, 1898

Along the way, I learned that most people are fighting wars, not battles. What is the difference?

War involves a series of battles. War takes longer. War requires more resources. War has more setbacks. War causes more damage.

No matter the victor, war requires more repairs. War needs a longer recovery. War demands more time to process the experience.

I wish I had known I was fighting wars rather than battles. I would have been better prepared for both the fight and the aftermath.

Are you fighting or recovering?

Basics, Family, Friendship

War, Not Battles

Be kind. Everyone is fighting a battle.

I encounter these seven words regularly. They have been attributed to Socrates, Plato, and Plutarch. Once I heard them attributed to current celebrity Maria Shriver. Some reciters imply the words are their own.

Research reveals the originator as Rev. John Watson, a Scottish minister and author, who used the pseudonym Ian MacLaren.

Be pitiful, for every man is fighting a hard battle

Ian MacLaren, Zion’s Herald, January 26, 1898

This man beside us also has a hard fight with an unfavouring world… we are moved to deal kindly with him…

Rev. John Watson, The Homely Virtues 1903

The sentiment is compelling. No wonder various forms of it have been repeated for over a century.

Along the way—as family and friends and even casual acquaintances shared their stories—I learned that most people are not fighting battles. They are fighting wars.

Have you recognized the fight for what it is?