Fear is not your friend

“God has not given us a spirit of fear.” These were the words I said to my son when he asked why I would not likely ever allow him to go to a “fright fest.”

We make ourselves too comfortable with fear these days. I’m not really talking about haunted houses or scary movies. Although, I’m sure there is a conversation that could be had abut those as well.

After all, We can’t be a good mother without it, you know?

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Fluff doesn’t sharpen

We’re floundering most of us. The mamas raising our young ones. We’re terrified of getting it wrong. We’re helpless to get it right. We don’t even know who to go to when we have questions.

I used to have a wise sounding board. She was full of life, but she was also filled with God’s word.

Mama was the perfect place for me to take my questions, ideas, and fears to. She almost always had the perfect answer, even when it was “I don’t know.”

Having her was a treasure, and I soaked up her wisdom like a sponge.

But when I no longer had Marilyn I realized that others around me didn’t have anyone like her either.

So we all floundered together. Until one day God laid it on my heart to be a sounding board for others around me.

If I didn’t have my Mama and they didn’t have that sound counsel either, why couldn’t we be that to each other?

So we gather at my dining room table each week to sort out the good, the bad, and the poopy.

I keep asking why we are so weak in this area and what we can do about it.

We find this wisdom in organic conversation and real life. We pray that God uses it to breathe life back into our weary souls.

But finding it?

That’s the big problem. We have no idea where to look for it.

Proverbs 27:17 says, “As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another.”

This is not an excuse to sit around with people who are exactly like you on the surface. This is a call to find others who are like you at the core.

The girls that meet at my dining room table started when the Jesus in Marj and the Jesus in me sharpened each other.

It grew even stronger when a different surface but an iron core joined us. Jill wasn’t the same, but she was a sharpener.

Why are we not finding these healthy places?

If we’re honest it is because much of what we find on social media can be fluff, or let’s just say it, poop. Neither of these elements sharpen, nor do they create a protective and steadfast place for us to become better than we were yesterday.

Iron is most often found face to face. It is why we still mostly find it in churches, in school pick-up lines, and in the break room. It is also why we feel more lonely when we don’t find it in these spaces than when we don’t find it online.

Proverbs 2:3-5 also tells us that it will not fall into our laps, “If you call out for insight and raise your voice for understanding, if you seek it like silver and search for it as for hidden treasures, then you will understand the fear of the Lord and find the knowledge of God.” While this is talking about the fear of the Lord and the knowledge of God, I believe those are often found in the small conversations with iron relationships.

The physical element of iron itself is mined for. Rarely is iron found on the surface and if so it is only a trace of all that is hiding below the surface.

I have iron ladies. They are soft on the outside, but the are tough as nails inside. They sharpen me in ways I would never

May we quit looking for iron on the surface, and dig deeper to find the iron that our souls long to be strengthened by. I pray you quit looking for strength in fluff, ignore surface minerals, and search for what will make you stronger, friends.

It is there, but it must be mined.

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Disciplines in the light are for songs in the dark

It’s another season that is difficult. It’s not that it’s going to break me, but I am worn slick.

But I have come to learn that I am not thankful for the disciplines when I need their benefits most. In fact, the last thing I want to do when life gets too heavy is the things that require more of me.

During a funeral is the last time we expect to start being more faithful at anything.

Illness doesn’t help us hold our heads up to look at a memory verse.

A broken heart is the hardest to get to sing praises.

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The little is the biggest

It’s hard to miss the big. It’s right there for all to see. It seems it is a good measurement of how powerful or meaningful something is.

The pastor on Sunday… the speaker on the stage… the position at work… the leadership that one is invited to be a part of… But if we pause and reflect it has mostly been the little things in our lives that have had the most impact.

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Leadership has me face down

If you ask me how to lead people. I’m afraid my only answer is “face down.”

Face down planted in the hard work:

It’s holy-hard to follow Jesus. And to look back and see others behind us makes it even harder.

So we keep our face down in the next thing, working hard to put our feet in the next place the Father ordains.

When we expect it to be work we have a better chance of not being surprised when it actually is.

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