Thursday, February 13, 2014

All You Need is Love

O the precious gorgeous grandmas! I put out a request at the begining of the year, 2014, to make this year a year to reach out and help others. I had a great response. We had moved away from the original purpose of the grandma reach out to the less fortunate. We continued meeting doing crafts for ourselves and our grandkids, having coffee, dinner or ice cream together, but no real outreach. I missed those opportunities we had done in the past...making sock monkeys for the crisis nursery, paper beads for women in Africa, scrap book photo albums for people in the hospital, Christmas baskets for shut-ins...the list goes on and it's all blogged :). So back on track grandmas!
We have in our group several families whose children or family members are serving in the mission field. One family has children in Africa serving the dying, one in Thailand housing and helping girls and boys get out of sex trafficking, one in Mexico carrying on a dream her and her late husband forged together. It's beautiful and touching hearing the stories, but it's hard work and they need support!Our goal this year is to see if we can help somehow.
Right here in my own back yard my husband and I had started challenging each other to become mini misionaries with the scripture out of Matt:25. When I was hungry you fed me, when I was thirsty you gave me something to drink, when I was in prison you visited me, when I was naked you clothed me, when I was sick you came to me. The part of this scripture that really challenged me is when believers reply back to Jesus. They respond by saying "when did we feed you, when did we give you drink, when did we visit you, when did we clothe you?" Then Jesus replies, "When you did it to the least of these you did it to me."
How come those people didn't pat themselves on the back and say "Hey You noticed! Awesome!" It was the opposite. They didn't even know they were manifesting the heart of Jesus through compassion and care and it seems they didn't even care that no one saw what they were doing. Could it be their hearts were so transformed that they didn't think twice about helping someone?
I know some of us are naturally gifted in serving. My husband is one of them. I think God gave some people that gift so at least there would be somebody who would reach out even if it was inconvenient. But that's just it. When it's done in our own strength and in our own time there may not be the unconditional love that goes with it. I've noticed even gifted servers want to do it when its convenient and when its done on their time schedule or maybe even expect something in return. I think when we have a heart that's transformed through the power of the Holy Spirit we are able to lay down our own expectations and do what's needed for that person at that moment. I confess, serving in some areas is not my forte. I would much rather direct, tell you what to do and how to do it. But the Lord is teaching me to love out of His love. To see people the way He sees them. To care.
4. To the best of your ability make people feel welcomed and loved.
This is my fourth lesson I've learned about life.
Have you ever walked into a room full of people you know and felt so alone? It can happen, especially if you are inclined to be more introverted. We want people to approach us, we want to know someone noticed us when we walked through that door, we want to be loved. That is the universal need. Everyone wants to be loved. So I am learning to notice people and to make them feel like they've been noticed. Once again in God's upside down kingdom the very thing you want is produced by dong the opposite action. I want to be noticed, start noticing others, I want to feel included, start including others, I want to feel loved, start loving others.
Well, that's not natural for me. I can't fake it! Haha. I've said that so many times and I've gotten the same results by behaving the same way....expecting people to come to me. They sometimes don't, they sometimes won't and you always can. You may feel like a fake in the beginging but because your heart wants something different it will change.
I should say that I have had people who loved on me many times and I'm sure that's what validates my expectation, but we are not inherently good. We have a very selfish sin nature that wants to be nutured. If you don't believe me just do a quick inventory next time you do something "good". You will probably find it feels proud, or successful and you are hoping someone noticed. Is that all bad? No, in fact that is the very need God placed in us to let us know we need Him. He is the ultimate lover, noticer, comforter, rewarder and esteem builder. In fact, if you let Him meet all those expectations, you will feel less rejected and unloved. Your expectations will decrease. You will get the revelation that everyone feels just like you and that is why only God can fill that void. So whose gona make the first move. To the best of your ability make people feel welcomed and loved and you will too.

The gorgeous grandmas put together homeless bags to give to people on the street, letting them know someone cares and someone sees them. Finding out their name and chatting with them for awhile can help make them feel valued and loved. Who knows you may even make a friend.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

I Get It!

  3. God loves us soooo much. He is not trying to squelch our fun!

My granddaughter and I had one of those " battle of the wills". She wanted a pretzel stick and I wanted her to finish her apple. Sounds pretty silly. This grandma has everything a little person would want. Cookies, candy, ice cream and chips but the only rule that goes along with those delicacies is you must eat something good for you first.

Granddad cut the apple up in several sections, giving a couple to each of the 3 grandchildren. The 7 yr old gobbled his apple sections right down, the 4 year old soon after but the 2 year old refused to finish her second piece after seeing the other two rewarded with a long pretzel stick. "I want a prethel! I want a Prethel!" You can't have a pretzel until you finish your apple. "Nooooooo!" Tears popping out of ducts, feet and arms swinging. "I Want a PRETHEL!"

Sound familiar? If you're a parent or a grandparent I'm sure you have had the opportunity to witness and/or enter the battle of the wills. Ok so this turned into a battle that I picked! O dear.... I lifted my granddaughter off the stool and sat her in time out. I held on to her while she screamed and kicked. In a calm voice I said "Katelynn, Go Go loves you and I want you to have a pretzel. Look at me. I WANT you to have a pretzel, but you have to eat your apple first."

Really.. that's all it took. She wanted to know I wanted her to have the pretzel! Some how in her little mind when I said she can't have a pretzel until she finishes her apple, all she heard was "she CAN'T". She sat right back up on her stool and finished her apple and soon after was rewarded with the pretzel stick.

We sure don't like the word "can't" at any age. And we definately want what we want! Are you wondering how I got my third life lesson "God loves us so much. He is not trying to squelch our fun?" Well go back and put yourself in the story. You be the grandaughter and your parent is God. How many decisions have you made that you insisted on doing or having what you wanted and those decisions may not have been the best choice for you? In some things we are like a 2 year old. We don't really know what's good for us and in some things we know exactly what we are doing but don't heed the warning that there will be a consequence down the road. That consequence almost always effects ourself negatively and the people we love. God knows that, just like I know my granddaughter should eat the apple first. I can hear you. What's so bad about a pretzel? Nothing..but in her case if she eats too many simple carbs it can cause some painful elimination down the road, if you know what I mean:) God WANTS you have the things you desire, but maybe done in moderation or maybe you need to wait or maybe its just not the best for you. He's got all the cakes and cookies you could want out of life. He's really not a big bad god whose trying to take all your fun away. He's a Loving Father who wants the very best for His kid!