Saturday, January 31, 2015

Beautiful Talent

"Once upon a time in a faraway land, there lived a beautiful fairy princess who loved to dance. She was a very good dancer, but she did not feel comfortable dancing in front of other people. She was very shy.  Well one day, the people of this beautiful kingdom heard about her beautiful talent, and they were eager to see her dance. At first the beautiful fairy princess refused to dance for the people, because she was so shy. Until that is, she looked up and saw all of their smiling faces. She knew she had to be brave and share her talent with them. And she did. And she danced beautifully."

This is the story that I  overheard our 13-year-old son telling his little three-year-old sister, when she was tucked in for bed tonight. And of course in the middle he included her name specifically, which caused her to beam from ear to ear, and with sparkling eyes, respond "that's me!!".  And of course my own eyes were grinning and heart was weeping as I witnessed this from across the room.  What an amazing big brother!  And what an amazing story!  

And how fitting, considering it's been the topic of the week for me. Living out our God given purpose with our God-given talents, by pushing away any obstacles that may lie before us.  Personal obstacles such as shyness, pride, ambition (driven)....or perhaps external forces...the material world, people, chaos. With a modern world that does not allow for very much quiet, the constant chaos itself can so easily distract us from not only seeking our purpose to serve Him, but from having any kind of personal relationship with Him in the first place. A daily dialogue. I have just started a new study with a group of ladies in my neighborhood. The study is called "restless". And as women, so many of us do feel restless, and that we need to be doing more. Are we living out the purpose God has given us? Are we using all of our natural talents, or letting obstacles get in the way? Just a century ago, the majority of women were spending their days cooking, gathering food, tending to the children, cleaning without the modern conveniences, and praying. Praying together as a family was a natural part of daily life. And although things were so much simpler without the level of chaos and busyness that there is now, most of their day was spent on necessity. I feel like it's a stark contrast to where we live now.  The material world alone consumes so much of our time, even though all the modern appliances get so much done for us. We have so much stuff, which takes time to organize, clean, sort through, donate, collect, organize again, and clean! 

My nine-year-old daughter and I are a tad bit romantically attached to the Little House on the Prairie series right now. This utterly simple way of living, though hardships were ever so present, is so appealing.  All of the little things stood out as the best things... the best moments.  A simple dessert was the highlight of a Christmas celebration, verses a room full of expensive gifts.  Now everything is bigger, bigger, better, better, and the thrill factor has been overdone. It's hard to know when we will hit the ceiling!  We continue to seek bigger and better as a culture, yet we are really just seeking Him.  Simple.  And as for taking that restlessness, and doing something with it, I do recognize that it will be an intentional daily calling. Living radically in this country means living counter culturally.  It means going back to simple. It means not having attachment to the material. It means parenting intentionally.  It demands praying daily for His will to be done, and for us to gracefully accept His will. And as in the beautiful fairytale story, hopefully someday, we will see His smiling face looking down at us.  And we too will be grinning back at Him, knowing that we gave our best for Him.

Monday, January 19, 2015


When you hear the term "value" when residing in a capital-driven consumeristic society, our minds instantly jump to "a good deal", "bargain", whether pertaining to a real estate venture, vehicle, new pair of jeans, or service.  And I will be the first to admit that I get a little rush when I come across a Lilly Pulitzer dress for one of my girls, while browsing through the isles of Salvation Army.  What a value!  But truly as a culture, I pray that we can unite on the importance of putting more value on human life itself.  Regardless of religion, race, ability.  To recognize how valuable life is in the weak, the sick, the disfigured, the poor.... the unborn without a voice.   And so rarely is this talked about in our politically correct culture. We don't want to offend anyone.  How did we get to a place where we are comfortable with this though?  How many of us are really comfortable with this?  If we are not, perhaps we need to be a voice, or the hand of change.  One of my greatest role models next to my mom, is Mother Teresa.   The amount of love and service that she showed to complete strangers, is such the perfect example of what we are called to do. She held no prejudice, fear, nor synicism  towards anyone she came in contact with. She spoke and acted only out of love.  If you have not had the pleasure of learning more about this incredible woman, I encourage you to do so. We can all be inspired.
"People who love each other fully and truly are the happiest people in the world. They may have little, they may have nothing, but they are happy people. Everything depends on how we love one another."-Mother Teresa