Oh, what a difference one letter in a word can make! And even when a word is spelled the same it can have a totally different meaning depending on the context in which it is written or spoken.
In the storms of this life there are times I feel overcomewith anxiety, worry and fear and what I have learned, after many years of experience in this field, is that how I handle the situation will determine whether I let the negative emotions overtake me or overcomethe negative to embrace the peace that is available to me in and through the “overcomer”, Christ Jesus.
Got any rivers you think are uncrossable?
Got any mountains you can’t tunnel through?
God specialises in things thought impossible
He does the things others cannot do. (original chorus written by Oscar C. Eliason)
Lean in on the one who is the Overcomer. His promise is to give you peace, even in the midst of the storm!
I’m going to do something I’ve never done before. I’m going to ask you to share this post. Reblog it, share it on Facebook, tweet it. Someone out there needs to hear this message today. Even if you think you don’t know anyone who has been abused. Even if you don’t read the entire post.
I submitted my essay but I also want to shine a bigger spotlight on this project because I fear that they may not get many submissions. Not because it’s not a worthy cause or because there aren’t enough people out there to contribute but because survivors of abuse are secret…
As the wife of a Master Gunsmith I have found there is much to learn about life from the care and repair of firearms and their ability to help or harm. My husband is retired now but still does some “trigger work” every year for a couple of long time customers. These customers keep coming back because they want someone with experience and the right tools needed to keep the trigger settings within a legal and safe margin.
If the trigger pull is to light (to touchy) the gun can go off prematurely without warning, randomly hitting whatever is in its path. If the trigger pull is to heavy (harder to pull) there is a tendency to pull away from your target and hit what is not intended, missing the mark completely. Adjustments are made by filing and/or adjusting tensions to get just the right trigger set point. Each firearm may have a different set point when it comes from the manufacturer that is within what is considered to be the legal and safe range. Set points may need to be changed in order to accommodate an individuals stature, strength, and the purpose for which the firearm is used, always keeping in mind the legal and safe range.
Just as a trigger on a firearm can be dangerous if it isn’t evaluated and adjusted from time to time, in order to respond appropriately to the pressure being exerted on it, we too have a point where situations, circumstances, and others can “trip our trigger” (pun intended). Where our trigger is set can make the difference in whether or not we miss or hit our mark, whether we harm or help as we fire off our response.
The place we see this analogy play out most often today is in the realm of social media. With the rapidly increasing social media available, every thought, opinion, and challenge is out there for all to respond to and with many of the opinions and responses having little or no filter. Because there is no personal contact, personal responsibility or immediate repercussions to the response or comment posted, the comments are often shot from the hip. When an opinion or comment hits a nerve we are often quick to fire off our own responses and/or comments, defending or rebuking without any thought that they may consequently ricochet and harm an innocent bystander. But on the other hand we may delay our making positive comments or fail to consider not responding at all in order to diffuse a conversation gone rogue.
So where is your trigger set?
Does your trigger need to be reset?
Is it to touchy? Or is there too much delay? Either way you could be missing the mark and end up needing damage control!
Our set points may need to be changed in order to accommodate our individual natures, strengths or weaknesses, and the purpose of our response, always keeping in mind the safe and effective range.
So what are we to do?
How do we find the experience and the right tools to reset our “trigger point”?
Of course a master gunsmith won’t be able to do the job, but on the other hand we have a Master Creator who made us and He knows just where our triggers are set and has given us the tools to adjust them and maintain them at that safe and effective level that will enable us to fulfill His purpose. God has even given us the instruction book, His own word, on keeping that set point in line with His will, His target for building His kingdom here on earth in a positive and effective way. He will guide us, file down our rough spots, and tighten or loosen the tensions to adjust the response time to where it needs to be.
He gives much attention to instructing us to “be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry” (James 1:9) , to have “soundness in our speech that cannot be condemned” (Titus 2:8), and to “Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone.” (Colossians 4:6) These are just a few of our instructions regarding our speech, whether spoken or written.
In the final analysis are we going regularly to the Master to assure our trigger point is set where it needs to be or are we just letting emotions and others determine our set point? Is our aim to be right or to live the righteous life that God desires? Do we want to show how much we know or how much we care, to be grumpy or gracious?
To conclude I leave you with a quote from King Solomon’s practical words for living in the Proverbs:
“A word aptly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.” Proverbs 25:11
Let your words be like “apples of gold” and you will find the “settings of silver” that the Lord wants to reveal in and through you!
Errors in communication have been the source of many a problem for centuries. At times they have caused down-right disasters. But in the Bird household they are often just a source of irritation, inconvenience, and sometimes laughter. And they often produce stories that are passed down from generation to generation.
The following conversations show just a small sample of the result of mis-communication. All of the incidents are true, but names have been changed to protect the not-so-innocent.
MOM – (all set for a cold drink on a hot day and now agitated)”Who took the last ice cubes and didn’t replenish them?”
SALLY (teen age daughter, seemingly oblivious to Mom’s agitation) – “I did.”
MOM – ( more agitated) Why didn’t you put the ice cube trays back in the freezer to make more?
SALLY – (seriously trying to defend herself) “Because they were empty and you told us not to put them back in the freezer empty.”
Out of the mouths of Babes
After a discussion where my husband and I were complaining about paying taxes our daughter, a kindergartner at the time, asked what happens if you don’t pay the taxes? We responded, they will take away our house.
SUNDAY SCHOOL TEACHER – “Does anyone have any prayer requests today?”
NANCY – “I do, if we don’t pay our taxes they are going to take our house away from us.”
After the service: We were approached by the Pastor.
PASTOR – (Very concerned)”We would like to offer some assistance to help you financially.”
ME – (very confused) “Well things have been tight but we are ok, really.”
PASTOR – (Very convinced) “I know it is hard to accept help but your daughter shared the concern that you can’t pay your taxes and may lose your home with her Sunday School teacher.”
I tried to explain but I’m not sure I ever really convinced him it was a mistake?
He Said, She Heard – She Said, He Heard
ME – (to spouse) “I need your help getting the garage cleaned today, winter is coming and we need to be able to out the car in.”
SPOUSE – “We can do that tomorrow.”
ME – “If we don’t do it today it won’t get done.”
SPOUSE – “Remind me tomorrow.”
ME – “Don’t forget we are cleaning the garage today.”
SPOUSE – “I know, you don’t have to keep reminding me.”
BEST OF ALL! Telling on myself.
SPOUSE – (out of town/on the phone) “Don’t forget to check the oil in the car.”
ME – “I don’t know how to check the oil in the car!”
SPOUSE – “You just pull the dip stick out, wipe it off, put it back in and then pull it back out and look to see how many marks the oil is below the full line. Then put that many quarts in using the spout that is by the oil.”
ME – “What is a dip stick?”
SPOUSE – Hesitates, then explains where it is and what it looks like.
ME – (later in the day on the phone to spouse) “Something is really wrong with the car.”
SPOUSE- “Why? Did you put the oil in?”
ME – “Yes, but it wasn’t as easy as you said. The spout you told me to use was way to big and some of the oil spilled. It wouldn’t hold the quart of oil the stick said it needed. And when I started it to go to the store it started smoking under the hood terrible. Something must be wrong with it.”
SPOUSE – “Have Joe (our mechanic) look at it.”
JOE – “There is oil all over the motor.”
ME – “I know, the oil spout thing was to big for the opening where the oil goes and some spilled.”
JOE – “Which opening did you use?”
ME – “Well the one where the dip stick is. That’s where the oil is, duh!”
“Some people come into our lives and quickly go. Some people move our souls to dance. They awaken us to a new understanding with the passing whisper of their wisdom. Some people make the sky more beautiful to gaze upon. They stay in our lives for awhile, leave footprints on our hearts, and we are never, ever the same.” ― Flavia Weedn
For a writing assignment I was asked to do a character study of the most interesting person I had met in the last year and to shape that study into a portrait, not with paint on a canvas but with letters forming words on paper. As I searched my memory, which would resemble searching a card catalog in the library at my age, I thought of those I have met. There was the past president of World Hope, the missionary couple from Sierra Leone, Africa and a well known Fox News contributor, but my heart and mind kept saying, “What about Bob?”
I have picked the pseudo name, “Professor Bob” to protect the privacy of this individual.
I actually have never had the pleasure of meeting Professor Bob in person. I had signed up for his correspondence course on Christian Education as my last requirement for my studies in the ministry. As in all the course work I was given his address, email and phone number and been invited to call or email if I had any questions or concerns about the course. But it wasn’t until that first phone call for help that I really met Bob.
When he answered the phone I could sense in his voice there was a smile on his face. When I told him who I was he responded with the excitement he might have had when hearing from an old friend he hadn’t spoken to for years. Now, I have never had an instructor be unkind but this extravagant greeting caught me so off guard I almost forgot why I called.
As I explained to him my questions and concerns about the assignments he listened intently interrupting only to encourage me to continue. He thanked me for calling and responded by reiterating what he felt I was saying, validating my concerns. His voice was pleasant, caring and cheerful. He set me at ease immediately as he asked me a few questions and then went on to explain just what he was looking for in the assignment. He also shared some of his own experiences in Christian Education, both his success and failures and what he had learned from them. Professor Bob took time to listen to my struggles and promised we would work together so that I would not just pass the course but would be able to develop an effective Christian Education program as a result. After that first conversation, I believed his promise!
I could tell that this man was dedicated to going above and beyond his duty to help his students. Though I had never actually seen him, his voice gave me the picture of a man who had it all together and was fulfilling his dream of doing what he loved, teaching. A jolly fellow of sorts. His words assured me I could feel confident in my abilities to succeed. He was, in my mind, full of life and joy and was living out his dream.
What I didn’t get from at our first encounter, but found out later, was the fact that Professor Bob had some struggles of his own. He did indeed have a passion for teaching and in fact had worked in youth ministry for many years teaching young people, he had become a leader in Christian Education and now was teaching at a college level. But his passion had been sidelined to some extent by some extremely difficult physical challenges due to an incurable illness. He felt he had been “put on the shelf” for a time but then shared positive lessons he had learned while sitting on that shelf.
In later conversations he related some of those physical challenges to me. And as time passed he also spoke of some of his struggle and fears because of them. But he would always finish the conversation on a positive note by touting how much he had to be thankful for and how many opportunities his illness had given him to encourage others in their faith. And always at the end of the conversation I went away encouraged by him.
My course work took nine months to complete and over that nine months there would be many conversations where we would share our victories and our defeats, both professionally and personally. In that nine months we became friends. We connected on Facebook and I would finally get to see and know my friend even better in photos posted of his family and hobbies and through the post made by other friends, and there are many. But never once did he voice complaints and often I would see where he encouraged others in their struggles even though they paled in comparison to his. There were many, including me, who thanked him for taking the time to listen and encourage them over the years.
Professor Bob remains a friend and we continue our conversations even though the course work is completed. I am inspired by this man who, in the midst of physical struggles and uncertainty, puts others ahead of himself. How in spite of his physical limitations and uncertainty about his future he still finds joy in living and serving the Lord as he seeks to reach out to encourage others.
This man has “moved my soul to dance” and awakened me “to a new understanding with a passing whisper” of his wisdom. He has left his “footprint” on my heart.
Thank you Professor Bob!
LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person, and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life. It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.
I love walking the path through the city park on an early fall day. The trees are alive with colors of bright orange, red and gold. Some leaves are stubbornly clinging to the branches against a blue sky, but some are brave enough to let go and dance with the wind over a, still green, carpet of grass.
As I walked along the path my tranquil mood was interrupted as a gust of wind formed an eddy that lifted a piece of white, rumpled, lined notebook paper from the wire basket meant to be the home for unwanted items of those passing by on the path. The bright white paper landed directly at my feet and as I bent over to retrieve this rogue piece of paper and return it to it’s rightful home the greeting at the top of the paper, “My Dear Charlie” in beautiful cursive writing, seemed to beckon me “continue reading”.
The message to Charlie seemed to be a farewell message. Not like a “Dear John” letter but one of painful defeat, frustration and retreat into solitude by someone who wanted to “disappear”, to “go where no one even knows my name.”, to “not have to get up one more morning and be looked at in disgust by you (Charlie) and be told I am a worthless. I want to go to a place where I am not made to feel unworthy to be taking up space in this world.” As I read the letter I could feel the anguish, fear and doubt. I could see the tears and hear the questioning as to whether these labels were valid. However, this letter revealed a spark of courage, a desire to be free of the verbal battering of self esteem on a daily basis.
But, the letter was unfinished, in the wire basket, not signed and never sent. It was torn from the notebook, crumpled and tossed. Did the writer ultimately buy into the lies and manipulation by one who made himself judge and jury, condemning another to a life of defeat and feelings of being worthless, hopeless and void of any self esteem? Is there a soul wandering somewhere convinced this is the final analysis of their life, not worth keeping, to be torn, crumpled and tossed in the garbage. Or is there another letter, signed, sealed and delivered?
I long to find the author and to let them know there is value in their life. I want to tell them “Charlie is wrong!” I want to tell them how God sees value in every person. I long for them to feel loved, appreciated for who they are and valued.
I will be walking in the park again and I will enjoy the beauty of God’s creation but I will also be watching for someone with a notebook and when I find them I will encourage them to write another story. A story of hope, strength and healing. And then I will be writing another story written in my own notebook!
Each piece of music tells a story. Even if there are no lyrics the melody, crescendo and tempo tell a story. The stories may be about an emotion or and experience; about the person writing the music or the person listening to it, one connecting with the other. We all have a story, more than likely we have many stories. Songs often help us express our experiences in life situations in ways we are not able to otherwise. When I listen to a song that speaks to my soul I find myself saying, “Yes, Yes, that’s my story!”
The three songs most important to me tell the story of my journey from isolation, fear and rejection to forgiveness, peace and joy.
The first song, Amazing Grace by John Newton, is a well known song among both the secular and Christian communities. The song is well know but, not as well known is the history, the “story”, of the writer.
Newton had a very painful childhood when at age 7 his mother, who had nurtured him in the Christian faith, died. He became bitter and angry and by age 11 boarded a ship to become a sailor. After years of hard drinking, moral abandon and struggles of many kinds he became a slave trader. “I sinned with a high hand,” he later wrote, “and I made it my study to tempt and seduce others.” Finding himself on a ship during a sever storm, that threatened to destroy the ship and those aboard, Newton recalled the teachings of his mother and. believing his life was ending cried out to God for mercy and forgiveness. After finding himself safe at the end of it all he committed his life to Christ. After his conversion he wrote the words to many hymns and not the least of which was Amazing Grace.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound,
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
T’was Grace that taught my heart to fear.
And Grace, my fears relieved.
How precious did that Grace appear
The hour I first believed.
His story, like mine, is that forgiveness and redemption are possible no matter how far one has journeyed into the depth of depravity. It was my story in 1978. I was in the midst of a storm in my soul. I was in the middle of a spiritual storm of regret and guilt of the past. There was a heaviness of heart and I cried out to the God I heard about as a child. In His grace and mercy, he rescued me and from the storm and lifted a heavy burden of guilt as I committed my life to Him.
The second song, It Is Well With My Soul by Horatio Spafford, is another well known song but, again, not many know “the story” of the author of the song.
Spafford’s story is much different than Newton’s, although both their stories took place on a ship. This man had lived out his faith and was blessed with a family and a successful career. However over a period of about 3 years he lost his only son from scarlet fever, his 4 daughters in a ship wreck and his business. Spafford’s wife was spared and not long after losing his 4 daughters while on his way to meet his wife, as he passed over the area where his daughters were lost he wrote this song, his story.
It Is Well With My Soul
When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou hast taught me to say,
It is well, it is well with my soul.
Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ hath regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.
My sin—oh, the bliss of this glorious thought!—
My sin, not in part but the whole,
Is nailed to the cross, and I bear it no more,
Praise the Lord, praise the Lord, O my soul!
His words describe in a way I never could my story after my commitment to follow Christ. Life didn’t suddenly get and stay wonderful. There have been many blessings but there have also been many challenges over the past 36 years. Some of those challenges carried heartaches, frustration, pain and anxiety but as I leaned into the one who loved me and changed me it was and still is “well with my soul.”
The third song, I Love To Tell The Story was taken from the second half of a poem written by Arabella Katherine Hankey, daughter of a London banker and set to music by by William G. Fischer, the son of a german immigrant.
Hankey had a place in her heart for the poor and hungry people in the poorest parts of London. She and her father were devout Christians. She organized Sunday School classes through out London and taught each week while also publishing poems, and tracts to hand out in her classes. Her hear for missions prompted her to volunteer to go to Africa as a nurse to assist her invalid brother who was a missionary there.
Fischer had his own story. Because of his love for music he practiced, played and eventually taught music at the university level. And eventually started his own music store, featuring the best made pianos in the world. He built his business up to become one of the most properous piano stores in the country.
Verse 1 I love to tell the story Of unseen things above, Of Jesus and His glory, Of Jesus and His love, I love to tell the story, Because I know ‘ tis true; It satisfies my longings As nothing else can do. Verse 2 I love to tell the story, More wonderful it seems Than all the golden fancies Of all our golden dreams. I love to tell the story, It did so much for me; And that is just the reason I tell it now to thee. Verse 3 I love to tell the story, ‘Tis pleasant to repeat What seems, each time I tell it, More wonderfully sweet, I love to tell the story, For some have never heard The message of salvation From God’s own holy Word. Verse 4 I love to tell the story, For those who know it best Seem hungering and thirsting To hear it like the rest. And when, in scenes of glory, I sing the new, new song, “Twill be the old,old story That I have loved so long. REFRAIN: I love to tell the story, ‘Twill be my theme in glory To tell the old,old story of Jesus and His love.
This is my story, about His glory and the wonder of His love!
Where would I go if I could go anywhere? This was a difficult question for me and it took me most of the day to decide.
I thought of all the places I had been, where my favorite places were, and which places I might want to go back to but none of these places inspired me to write about them. You see as an adult, I have tried to go back to some of those places from the past and each time I did I was disappointed because it was never the same. Oh, there were memories and some feelings of nostalgia for a short time but also some sadness when reality reminded me those days were gone and can’t be retrieved. And in some respects I am thankful for that for some of those places weren’t places I would want to go back to. I have grown up and moved forward and life changes as we move from one season to the next. I read somewhere, a few years ago, it is good to look in the rear-view mirror occasionally but better to spend the majority of your time looking at what is right in front of you.
As a child in a dysfunctional family, secondary to my father’s alcoholism, we moved many times. I never had a permanent place I could call home or a home town. The longest we ever lived anywhere was eight years. Now I am not saying this to complain because I made many friends along the way and even remain friends with a few of them, but I say this as my explanation why I don’t have any real attachment to one place.
After I was married my husband and we did live in the same small town for 43 years. WOW – culture shock, but we did move to eight different houses in that little town. The town was in a valley and the mountains surrounded us. This was the first place that I really felt secure. I’m not sure if it was the mountains that made me feel secure or just being in a place where I could put down roots. It was the place we raised our children. It was a place where our children would go to the same schools from kindergarten to 12th grade. So as adults they would be able to talk with friends about “remember when we were kids” and share the stories of growing up together. The conversations that I have never been able to be part of. It was the place where I learned God loved me and where I committed my life to Him. It was a secure place, a “home town.”
The view from the room I prefer is one in the future. This room would be in a little bungalow with a breakfast nook, a picture window and a view of the mountains, I love the mountains. Mountains make me think of God’s strength and majesty and because I’m His child, that makes me feel secure.
A bungalow where in our retirement our children and grandchildren will come and visit Papa and I. We will tell stories about our kids growing up years and read to the grandchildren from the same story books that I read from to there parents. We will have Sunday dinners together when they visit after church. And in the quiet time when everyone’s gone home, while my wonderful husband is playing games on his computer and watching TV, I will continue writing so that all our memories are preserved for generations to come.
“Then God said, ‘Let there be light’; and there was light. and God saw the light, that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness. God called the light Day, and the darkness He called Night. So the evening and the morning were the first day.” Genesis 1:3-5
“Then God saw everthing that He had made, and indeed it was very good. So the evening and the morning were the sixth day.” Genesis 1:31
Are you someone who is up with the sun or are you just getting going when the sun is setting?
An early bird is a person who usually gets up early in the morning and goes to bed early in the evening and the opposite is a night owl, someone who usually stays up late and may feel most awake in the evening.
I happen to be an early bird (pun intended) and enjoy being up ahead of everyone else to enjoy some quiet time. This love for mornings most likely began when we had six children at home and I would get up an hour ahead of them in order to have a cup of coffee in peace and quiet before starting the days routine, which was usually anything but routine.
I love the idea of a new day, a fresh start. I love the sights and sounds of a new morning, the sunrise, the birds chirping, and in the winter a fresh new fallen snow that has not yet been spoiled by tires, boots or shovels. I love that first cup of freshly brewed coffee as I communicate with God through His Creation, His word, and in prayer. This has to be the best part of the day!
Over the years I have developed some attitude about those who sleep past 6 am. I would sit up on my lofty perch and tell them “You are sleeping through the best part of the day.” I just couldn’t understand those “night owls” who were out on a limb and missing out on the beauty of early morning.
Recently one of our granddaughters (who is a “night owl”), unknowingly, opened my eyes to my limited view of the beauty and blessings in creation from my perch. She shared with me how her most productive and creative times were in the evenings and reminded me how inspiring the sites and sounds of the night can be, like a beautiful sunset, an orange harvest moon or the sound of the Whip-poor-will’s song. And what about a clear night sky with a host of stars brightly lighting up the darkness.
Yes, I was reminded that all of creation was made by God for His pleasure and ours and He said it is all good. Whether we are early birds or night owls He has something for us. He does not slumber or sleep and we can come see His handy work any time of day or night.
By going out on a limb and leaving the comfort of our own perch we enlarge our view and have a better understanding of those who have a different view than ours.
This “early bird” grama will be setting up an evening with her granddaughter to hear and see more from the “night owl’s” view for sure!
Per the assignment, from Blogging 101, I have changed my Title on my blog home page. The new title, “View From The Bird House”, better describes what the site is all about. We all have different views in life as a result of where and with whom we have lived and our real life experiences.
My blog is, hopefully, an accumulation of experiences from living in “The Bird House” for almost 50 years and how that has helped to shape my views about marriage, children, God, work, play, life, death and everything in between. And just maybe in my sharing those experiences others may be able to relate and we can encourage each other, and laugh, and cry together as we learn from each other. Because I have found that whatever your experience is, good, bad, or ugly, someone else has had a similar or even the same experience.
As a close friend always reminds me “we get better together.”