Family, Friendship

Enjoying Our People

Sometimes, Mom, you just have to enjoy all you can in a person and let the rest go.

A Wise Son

A friend came to town last week. It wasn’t a casual visit. We hadn’t seen each other since the month before Covid hit, and during that time, she and her husband had moved over a thousand miles away. And yet, it seemed casual—as if we had just chatted in the church hallway. We both said so.

But we knew better. And so, instead of our previous too-few minutes talking in person or our hour-long phone conversations, we spent over seven hours face-to-face. Like other conversations, we covered a wide range of topics and emotions, and we prayed.

My friend gave me some advice, which I want to share. She said I could. After listening to her complain about one person’s behavior, her son said, “Sometimes, Mom, you just have to enjoy all you can in a person and let the rest go.”

Wow! We know we should let things go. But do we remember to enjoy what is left? Letting go and enjoying sounds like a combination worth remembering.

Who do you need to start enjoying?

Favorites, Friendship, Parenting

I Need Holding Help (From June 21 2020)

A republished blog for the third anniversary of 100 words.

For weeks, I listened to a tough, tender former Army Ranger instruct his children.  “Do not say, ‘I can’t.’ Instead, say, ‘This is hard. I need help.'” 

He drilled his children. “Yes, you can. It may be hard. You may need help, but you can do it.”

One Saturday, I was hiking in a rain forest in Brazil with this cousin and his four children. We had strayed from the main trail in order to explore, and the miles were adding up. The almost-four-year-old turned to me and said, “This is hard. I need help.”

“What kind of help?” I asked.

“Holding help.”

I picked him up and carried him for a while.

Trails in Guaratiba, Brazil where my cousin’s preschool son required “Holding Help.” (Below, I am in the pink top.)

I took hold of my cousin’s response to “I can’t.” It acknowledges the hard we face. It avoids the argument about whether something can or cannot be done. It supplies a solution.

Do you need holding help for your hard? Does someone need your holding help for their hard?

Family, Friendship

Let’s Let Others Repent

For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.

Romans 3:23 ESV

There are things I hesitate to share because friends and family immediately disagree. They are wrong, and I have become unwilling for them to negate truths.

When I say, “I was too busy with outside activities when my children were younger,” the response is “You did the best you could.”

Did I? Not regularly.

When I say, “I’m inattentive to relatives,” or “I’m not generous,” the response is “That’s not true.”

Am I attentive and generous? Not enough.

Years ago, I witnessed a woman confess her failings. I had been affected by her sin. She needed to repent. This moment could have been healing and helped her move forward, but three close friends immediately negated her honest statements.

These friends had not witnessed her behavior. They wanted to affirm her by denying her imperfections. The woman who confessed did not feel affirmed. She felt frustrated and misunderstood. Being accepted with full knowledge of her imperfections would have affirmed her.

Why do we find it hard—even impossible—to let our family and friends repent?

Family, Friendship

Praying for Questions, Not Answers

Over a decade ago, I was in a difficult situation with friends working together in a ministry. One was hurt over a decision made by the overseers, but her response was to slander the group, especially me.

A friend on the outside was conflicted. Even after talking though the situation with me, she was still confused. I could only bring clarity by damaging the reputation of the offender—something I couldn’t do.

I began praying that the outsider would ask the right questions—questions that would lead her to the correct conclusion. And one Sunday she did. Even better, the answer only required a yes or no from me, not details. Problem solved.

That situation taught me the value of questioning—not only receiving questions but also praying for them.

Has a question ever helped your difficult situations?

Basics, Friendship

Being Yourself

Be Yourself because everyone else is taken. Oscar Wilde

One of my favorite women traveled over 600 miles to my house—in her pajamas. I know because when she arrived exhausted, and I offered her a nap before dinner, she said, “I shouldn’t have changed out of my pajamas to go inside McDonald’s at the last exit. My daughter insisted.”

A friend, who had recently moved, asked if she could crash at my home overnight. Her son had a morning orthodontic appointment. “We won’t be any trouble,” she said. “Fix us peanut butter and jelly.” I did. She couldn’t believe that I believed her. Why not? She’s authentic.

These dear women—both named Sandi—are themselves, which frees me to be myself, which hopefully makes it even easier for them to be themselves. It is a cycle that ministers.

Who is the Sandi in your life?