Silently Correcting Their Grammar

Few things slay my inner grammarian like hearing someone botch a perfectly good word or phrase. Folks do it “alot” (ahem).

And I’m silently correcting their grammar.

Hearing Americans talk and write about the Republican and Democratic “cannidates” could spell disaster for the future of our country. And, I’m talking about the mispronunciation of candidates, not the potential election results.

I’m silently correcting their grammar, and praying for the elections.

Listening to a young lifeguard friend tell about the time she had to swim “acrosst” the bay to make sure someone didn’t “drownd” while goofing around in the surf, makes me cray-cray.

I’m silently correcting her grammar, while thanking God for her bravery.

But, for all intensive purposes, I think it’s best if people stop using that phrase. Because, for all intents and purposes, it’s being used incorrectly.

Providing me another opportunity to silently correct grammar.

And I make jokes with my other grammar abiding friends about this private act of silently correcting others’ grammar.

Never once did I give it another thought.

Until…

jokingly used a phrase with my sweetkids the other day. “Listen up peoples!”

And my children not-so-silently corrected my grammar.

Humility…I am still learning it.

Parenting, it is a mighty teacher.

Oh, yes indeedy.

I am trying to train those children up in the way they should go. But, Lord? Could my training not come back and hit me upside the head so very often?

While my defenses rose and I felt the need to shout-explain, “I know that!”, I felt Humility, Himself, knocking on my heart’s door. With each knock, there was a growing unease in my soul at my many silent corrections.

Proverbs 3:7 harked back to mind,

“Don’t be conceited, sure of your own wisdom.”

But, as usual, grace laps over the edges of my spirit as I submit my desire to know more to His desire for me to love more.

The rest of that “train your children up” verse? It says to do so in the hopes that when they are old, they won’t depart from it [their training].

I’ve departed. Oh, how I’ve departed again and again.

But Grace…

I’d like to stop departing now. Please, and thank you.

In the meantime, I’ll stop silently correcting grammar.

Thankfully, there is no statue of limitations on grace.

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Not Seven, But Seventy-Seven

Forgive.

That many times.

That’s a lot of times.

When patience is thin and esteem is low and culture is riding, seventy-seven is an awful lot of times to forgive.

Maybe it’s just me that finds that such a hard concept to wrap my heart around.

But, here’s where I get the clue that my humanity is a detriment to my thinking – I want to make it all about a number.

“Seventy-seven? Really? C’mon!”

It’s not about a number.  It’s about a heart posture.

Humility, another traveling companion of Grace, says that even though I could stand here and lord it over you, I won’t.

I can’t.

Because, He doesn’t do it to me.

And He has mighty good reason to do just that to me.

Humility and Grace stand shoulder to shoulder and present a united front. They look at you and say, “It’s okay that you screwed up. Hang around a minute, it’ll be my turn next.”

Today, I’m extending forgiveness even as it’s being extended to me. And I’m thankful for the grace that travels heart to heart, as it happens.

I’m hoping that I won’t hit anywhere close to that seventy-seven times today; but, if I do, Grace will surely be right there.

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This post is day 7 in the Write 31 Days challenge.

Extra Grace Required Here

I’ve been thinking about those Sandpaper People in my life.  You know the ones I mean – those “extra grace required” folks. The ones who take often and need even more often. They rub you the wrong way with just a word. Opinions are spouted. Indignation is their default. It’s their way or the highway.

And you wish, For The Love, that just once,  they’d opt for the highway.

But, as I was thinking on these folks, and asking God for greater patience with them, He showed me something else, entirely. Instead of receiving an extra measure of grace to deal with those people, I received an extra length of rope to hang my pride with.

“Hold your heart up to a mirror, child.”

Oh God! Not me…

He says nothing. But in the quiet moments, conversation after situation after comment rush into my mind. And self-reflection smarts. I’m rubbed raw, in fact, by all of the sandpaper inside my heart. I recognize that I am the one for whom extra grace has been required, lately.

And, my need to get quiet with this Truth right here becomes obvious:

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Love is not always convenient.  And love – real love – takes some mighty and serious sacrifice, at times.   This, I know to be true, because it was modeled for me. On a cross. By The Only One who could model it perfectly. In such humility as I cannot even fathom.

The King made low. Willingly.

It’s modeled right in my home, too. By Sweetman. Until I met him, I’d never met a saint, but I hear they were masters of Bearing With Patience.  And I’m here to tell you that patience like that? It wins every time. Because of Love.

Gentleness, too, is modeled by the friends who come alongside my Harsh and soften it. With their encouragement, with their words, and with their very presence. Because of Love.

I’m desperately in need of grace. With each new realization of my own sandpaper moments, my pride comes crashing down. Sometimes, I’m laid low, so very unwillingly.

Because of Love, the extra grace that’s been required around here is given. To overflowing. And I find that it rubs my rough places a bit smoother.

Those who were wishing I’d get on that highway? The good news is that I’m on it!  And the destination is a place with more humility, gentleness, and patience.

Yes indeedy.

Stilled Sails On Alert

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You are about to embark on an adventure.  Your sails are all puffed up with determination and your boat is all gassed up and ready to go. You have charts and maps and emergency plans and contingency plans and plans for your plans.

In the days leading up to this great journey, you dive into the cool refreshing waters of some serious quiet time. It is needed. With all of the planning you’ve been doing, you have neglected to nourish yourself on the inside.

So you do.

You crack open The Good Book and your eyes instantly light on a verse like “We make our own plans, but the Lord decides where we will go.” (Proverbs 16:9).

Your journal stares at you from the tabletop and begs to be touched and opened and written in.  You do. And your eyes are drawn to your last entry where you wrote of “wanting Adonia to make you aware of anything in your heart that is not of Him.”   He does.

And because that was not enough to avert your gaze from your All Important Goal, you finally hit the alarm the morning of Go Time, stumble from your bed, and find that your boat has suffered damage. You cannot set off as you had hoped to, determined to, planned to.

There is violence done to your prideful ego as it becomes clear to you that your plan wasn’t His plan.  Not for now, anyway.

Humility sets in.

For just the eleventy-hundreth time in your life.

You realize, for what you hope will be at least close to the final time, that all of your striving and goal-setting and planning and preparing is for naught, if The Wind wills your sails to be still.

And so they will be.

Humbled, yet again, I accept that my sails will not even flutter until they are willed otherwise. And, not by me, but by the only One who can put proper wind into them.

My job, until then, is to stay alert and be prepared.

And so I will be.

All The Editing

I’m keeping the tone of what I have to say light, but be sure of this – I’m sharing deep here, today.  And it’s scary deep, to me.

“Conversations happen in real time and cannot be edited.” *  This quote, my friend Katie heard recently, really stuck in my craw.

Hard.

Then, a few days later, I listened to an online message about looking for likes in all the wrong places. And my ears perked up all over again at this: “Instead of trying to sound interesting, build others up.” (by Steven Furtick)

Ouch.

In all of the thinking I’ve been doing about these two quotes, I keep going back to that first one about conversation. I’ve realized that people only see a sliver of what’s really going on in my real life on social media exactly because I do so much “editing”.

All The Editing can’t be a good thing. It makes it seem like I am so much more witty, intelligent, or jovial than I really am.

Don’t get me wrong here, I don’t believe that being any of those things are negative. In fact, I’m a firm believer that God gave each of us particular gifts to be shared with the world.  As long as we’re pouring Him out into and onto others as we go along, and doing it all for His glory.

But here’s the rub, for me: I start to believe that I am nothing if I’m not able to make enough people laugh (at me), or join the conversation (with me), or show interest.

In me.

I’m cringing as I’ve tapped out those two little words.  They tell me all I need to know about the condition of my heart, deceitful above all things.

I just can’t get that initial conversation quote out of my head, either! Maybe because I’m not supposed to. It sure felt like that quote was directed straight toward my heart when I first read it.  The dagger of truth only sank deeper and deeper in each time it crossed my mind.

I truly can’t edit a conversation. Right? Not if it is happening in the now. Oh sure, I can go back and tweak it, or polish it up to make a point, or highlight certain words for emphasis that I hope others will find interesting or important or impressive.  All of those “I” words that our God actually cares nothing for.  He is not interested in my highest highs being the only thing others see.

He’s interested in being the only thing I show others.

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The more I think on it, the more I believe that was the lesson for me.  No matter how I go about living my life, what tweaks I make, or places in my life that I decide to polish up – I need to be doing it for God’s glory. And His alone.

Every detail, for God. Period.

*(Click on the quote at the beginning of this post and you can read more about what sparked all of this thinking in the first place. You’re going to want to check that out. I Promise.)