Thankful Thursday

Thankful Thursday: 3 Life Lessons Daddy Taught Me

I’m so thankful to both my parents for all the things they’ve taught me over the years – more things than I could ever list. The older I get – and the older my kids get – the more I appreciate those life lessons and the memories that go with some of them. Since yesterday was my dad’s birthday, today I’m going to share a few important things he’s taught me through some favorite memories.

thankful Daddy lessonsMemory 1: We went camping – a lot! – when my sister and I were growing up. Sometimes we went with a group of friends, but a lot of times we’d go by ourselves. One of my favorite spots was Indian Springs State Park because it had the biggest swing set I’d ever been on. I LOVED to swing – and Daddy was always ready to push me. He would get me going so high that he’d have to jump to grab the seat and push me again. I would laugh, he would laugh, and at some point Mama would start telling us that he was pushing me too high. I would yell, “Higher, Daddy!” and he’d keep me going as high as he possibly could.

The lesson from Daddy: Going high might be scary, but it might also be the best thing you’ve ever done. But you’ll never know until you have someone there to help push you.

Memory 2: Daddy is a man of few words. I think he’s always been that way, but living for years in a house full of word-loving women didn’t give him much chance to live differently. But, just because he wasn’t always in the middle of the conversation didn’t mean that he wasn’t listening or that he didn’t have his own opinion. Believe me, when he did speak up we all listened! And learned.

The lesson from Daddy: Open your mouth when you need to, not just because you can. I’ll be the first to admit I’m still working on this, but like to hope that I’m better than I used to be about listening instead of automatically jumping into the conversation.

BiblesMemory 3: My parents are Christians and they raised us in a Christian home, which included being involved in multiple things at church. During the rest of the week they both live their faith in quiet, everyday ways. All my growing up years, Daddy got up much earlier for work than the rest of us did for school. I’ll never forget one morning when I woke up and had to go to the bathroom. I padded down the dark hall and glanced through the den into the kitchen. Daddy sat at the table with his steaming mug of black coffee, reading his Bible. I’d never known that he read his Bible or had any kind of devotional time before going to work. I’d never thought about it, actually. But that image of him reading in the semi-darkness struck me in a special way and has stayed with me ever since.

The lesson from Daddy: No matter how early your day starts, no matter what time that alarm goes off, there can be a few minutes for God. And, faith should be a built-in part of your day and who you are, whether other people see it in obvious ways or not.

Of course, there are lots of other lessons I’ve learned from Daddy (and Mama, too). These three are resonating with me especially much these days, so that’s why I shared them. I hope my kids will someday realize that I’ve set a good example and taught them some valuable lessons, too.

Your turn: What’s a lesson you learned from a parent or other adult while growing up that has a favorite memory or still resonates with you?

Categories: God sightings, Living in Faith, Thankful Thursday | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thankful for the Truth Tellers

Tell the truth. It’s something we’re taught from such a young age we don’t remember when we first heard it. We’re told that the truth is always best, and it is – but that doesn’t mean it never hurts along the way.

I think we’ve all had times when the truth hurt so much that we wanted to run and hide from the world and never come back out. Surely if we just stayed curled up under the covers and went to sleep long enough, when we woke up everything would be back to the way it was just a little while ago.

thankful truth in loveUnfortunately, life doesn’t work that way. And the thing is, being the one who has to tell someone an unpleasant truth can be just as hard as being the one who hears it.

Granted, there might be times when we’re so hurt or frustrated or angry ourselves that we just blurt out the words without letting them pass through our “how are they going to take this?” filter.

Paul talks in his letter to the Ephesians about speaking the truth in love (Eph. 4:15). He’s just talked about how Christ helps different people (pastors, teachers, and others) work together to build each other (and the church) up. As we grow together, we learn how to discern the truth of things and not be so easily deceived, “blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.” We speak the truth in love to each other so we can build and support each other as we all keep trying to figure things out.

It can be a delicate balance, walking the fine line of speaking the truth without destroying the other person – especially when that person doesn’t want to hear what you have to say. It’s something never to be taken lightly and always to be taken with prayer. Because without prayer, without asking God to block my own stupid words and replace them with His perfect ones, I don’t stand a chance.

Hopefully, God will give us those words so we can get past our fear and say what needs to be said. Hopefully, we have a close enough relationship with the other person that she knows what we say comes from our heart and our love, not a desire to hurt.

My hat goes off today to those people around me who are brave enough to speak the truth in love to whoever they believe needs to hear it. I just pray that I can say the same thing about myself when God puts me in that situation.

Your turn: Author Flannery O’Conner once said, “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” Which do you think is harder most of the time – hearing the truth from someone you care about, or speaking the truth in love?

Casting Crowns has been one of my favorite Christian groups since their first CD released in 2003 (wow, has it really been that long?). I thought you might enjoy the video of their song “Love You With the Truth” from their CD Thrive.

Categories: Living in Faith, Scripture Lessons, Thankful Thursday, What I've Learned Lately | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thankful when God connects the dots for me

Now that my kids are older and don’t get quite so much stuff on Christmas morning, one of the things I try to do is find a new book for each of us. Theirs were easy and I didn’t have much trouble finding one for my husband either. But for myself? There were just too many great choices!

AudaciousI saw Audacious by Beth Moore in a Lifeway sale flier and thought I’d like to read it. But I didn’t get to Lifeway and the store I visited didn’t have Audacious in stock, so I ended up getting another book instead. No big deal, I thought. I’ll get it sometime later.

Then one day right after Christmas, I heard the DJs on one of our local Christian radio stations talking about a weekly TV show with Beth Moore that would be starting in January. What?! I was so excited, because I love her teachings. There’s no telling how many hours I’ve spent over the years digging in her Bible studies and soaking up what she taught at a few of her Living Proof Live conferences that were phenomenal – for the teaching and for the wonderful women I went with.

I checked the station’s schedule and actually remembered a few days beforehand to set the show to record. The show’s description was pretty generic, just saying that she guides viewers to live and love God through Bible literacy. But I didn’t care what she’d be teaching about. I was going to have mini Beth Moore conference time in my own den!

In the meantime, I did get to a Lifeway store and picked up Audacious. I read the back cover copy, but it was still on my desk when I sat down to watch my first recorded episode of the show. Turns out, they’re airing 30-minute episodes from one of her live conferences.

And – here’s the best part – these first episodes are from one weekend when she taught about being … audacious.

I laughed out loud when I realized that. Because, in case you don’t know, she doesn’t teach on the same subject at each Living Proof Live event. Each one is different because she waits to see what God leads her to talk about. Of all the conferences she’s led, of all the topics she’s taught – audacious.

Extremely bold … recklessly brave … fearless (according to dictionary.com). In the context Beth is teaching? Audacity is being bold enough in our faith to trust and do what Jesus wants us to do, even when it’s scary or no one around us understands. It’s making up your mind to be fearless, going beyond what people might expect you to do as “normal.”

thanks connect dotsIt’s having the guts to do what Jesus wants so that He gets all the glory.

I love that. And when I’m honest I have to say it’s something I need to work on, here in my safe and usually not-too-exciting corner of the world. I haven’t done too much related to my faith lately that required much guts.

God knows it too, so maybe He’s using this to wake me up a bit. Seeing the book in the flier, hearing about the TV show (which was unusual in itself because I don’t listen to that station as often as some others and never heard mention of it elsewhere), getting the book, matching it up with the show’s episodes. Seems like He’s connecting some dots for me.

Audacious. It’s a bold word just rolling off my tongue, let alone living it. We’ll see how it goes.

Your turn: What’s something big and bold you’ve done lately, that can encourage others when they’re trying to act that way themselves? Or, what’s something you can do to have a little more audaciousness in your life?

Categories: Christian non-fiction, Christian speakers, Living in Faith, Thankful Thursday | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

Thankful for fun in unexpected places

Last Friday I did something that’s out of my comfort zone – I went to a networking meeting for local business people. Now I don’t say it was out of my zone because I don’t enjoy being around people. But I’ve never been much of a schmoozer so walking into a room full of strangers standing ready with hands full of business cards isn’t always my idea of fun.

But it could also be a good way to meet some local folks who might need a writer someday, so I put on my big girl persona and went.

About 50 people were there, which apparently was a bigger-than-normal crowd. The entire time was focused on networking – mingling beforehand, everyone taking a minute during the meeting to introduce ourselves and tell what we do, and more mingling afterwards.

I survived all the chit-chat, and then the unexpected fun happened.

AMS race

Photo Credit: Darrell Ingham/Getty Images for NASCAR

You see, different businesses in the county host the meeting each month, and this one was at Atlanta Motor Speedway. I’ve been to the racetrack quite a few times over the years, but this was different because we were meeting in the media center, which is smack in the middle of the track’s infield.

Driving through the tunnel from the perimeter road to the infield was kind of neat – because, really, how many people in all the thousands who are there on race weekend get to do that? Parking at the media center and taking a minute to look up at the stands was a little overwhelming. Being flat on the ground and seeing how steeply the track angles up and how far the stands reach toward the sky is a humbling perspective. It was all so much bigger than it seems on TV, or even on race day, because it was empty and quiet.

Talk about feeling small! Even if you’re not a race fan, you’re bound to be impressed.

The AMS staff people were great hosts and ended the meeting by inviting us to ride around the track if we’d not done it before and could spare the time away from work. I thought about the newsletter I was trying to finish and send out for approval. I thought about the other one that I should have been halfway finished writing but hadn’t even started.

And then I thought, “I’m doing it! I’ll probably never get the chance to do this again!”

That was a big deal for this list making, plan loving, deadline oriented girl. There’s a reason my family has a running joke that I never buy anything at the grocery store if it’s not on my list (though I really do – just maybe not very often). 🙂

AMS race 2

Photo credit: AJC.com

The meeting had already gone past the usual hour and I hadn’t planned on spending extra time away from work. But the day’s plan went on hold when I signed the waiver (!) and followed the others outside. That’s when we learned that “ride around the track” didn’t mean we’d be taking turns loading into a car with one of the marketing folks who’d done this before. No, it meant we’d each be in our own vehicle following a staff person in a pace car.

What?! I’m going to actually drive on the track myself?! In my little Equinox?!

Yep.

I was excited, but also a little nervous. What if I was the only one who did something really stupid or who was too chicken to go fast enough to stay on the track? What if driving at that crazy angle made me dizzy or sent my always-present tinnitus into overdrive?

They gave us three bits of advice:

  • It’s steep and pretty bumpy moving from the apron to the track, but you need to be on the track.
  • You’ll want to be going around 60 when we get to turn three.
  • The middle of the track or a little higher is the best place to be.

And that was it! We got in our cars and snaked our way through the parking lot and down pit road. Just before we started, I glanced in my mirror and saw the lady behind me taking a picture with her phone. I should’ve done that! But at least I did shoot a quick text to my husband letting him know what was going on. “Guess who’s about to drive on the track?” “You?”

Proof that wonders never cease.

Thankful ThursOur leader was right. Moving from the apron to the track was steep and bumpy, and the car did seem easier to control once I reached the middle of the track. It was strange to be riding at such an off-kilter angle – my car thought it was strange, too, and immediately popped up a warning light about checking my stabilizers (which fortunately cleared itself when I was back on flat territory). I definitely kept both hands on the wheel but dared to glance at signs and up at the stands a few times.

Four laps went by super fast, even at only 60 mph. And it was a blast! I can’t imagine what it’s like to be out there side-by-side at nearly 200 mph with thousands of screaming fans.

When the season starts back in a few weeks, I’ll have a new perspective and appreciation for what those drivers do. I’ll have a happy memory of my tiny taste of what’s happening. And it all started when I pushed myself out of my comfort zone and RSVP’d for the meeting. Maybe I should put down my list more often and look for a little more fun. Couldn’t hurt, could it?

Your turn: If you tend to be married to your lists and plans like I am, when was the last time you said “forget it!” and shook things up with an unexpected opportunity?

Categories: Living in Faith, Thankful Thursday | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments
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