I Want The King for My Friend

I’ve been working my way through a book that has done something incredible in my life.

It has dried up my words.

And, honestly? I’m okay with that.

Reading Keep It Shut, by Karen Ehman, has been life-altering. My brain, and by extension, the mouth that’s connected to it, have experienced some blissful radio silence. I’m not even going to try to guess the number of people around me, who also consider this new frequency blissful.

I’m a gap-filler, you see. If there is a lull in conversation, I’m your girl. When the small talk at a party dwindles, I jump right in. In the midst of an awkward situation and not sure what to say next? Count on me!

Usually, these aren’t necessarily bad things.

But sometimes, they aren’t really good things, either.

The abundance of words that accumulates within me doesn’t actually mean that I need to voice every single one of them.

Amen? (Not you, Nana. We all know you’re saying “AMEN!”)

Not much is added to a filling-the-gap moment that is true, noble, right, pure, or lovely. Certainly not much is admirable, excellent, or praiseworthy. So, what exactly am I adding to conversations?

That is the ultimate question I’ve been asking myself, lately.

For the first time in probably ever, I see that many of my words aren’t attaching anything of benefit to the discussion. And, that’s not to discount the meaningful chats I have with people I care about. Nor does it mean that I need to throw out the fun back-and-forths I might have with friends and acquaintances.

Pause_Before_Piping_Up_KIS_Missindeedy

It is, however, a fantastic reason to do a lot more pausing before piping up. It’s also a great reason to do a little more listening with those two ears of mine and a lot less talking with that one mouth.

The more listening I do, the more I see what I haven’t seen as my lips were moving. The hurting neighbor. The angry relative. The hesitant friend. There are hearts that I am hearing, that I’ve never even known were trying to talk.

Allow my inner 80’s teen to re-emerge, please? DUDE!

There is no small beauty in a heart that is finally heard.

Don’t we all know this to be true? What relief, what joy, what profound satisfaction in our souls when some beautiful ear finally bends to hear?

Maybe the most amazing thing of all is that as I speak with more grace, which means more listening before speaking, my friendships will deepen. Friends that I long to connect with – deeply hear from and be heard by – will appear.

How do I know?

“Whoever loves pure thoughts and kind words will have even the king as a friend.”

Even The King.

I don’t know about you, but, I want The King for my friend.

Yes indeedy.

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Let’s Learn to Zip It, Shall We?

My mouth gets me into trouble. Anyone else?

A lot. Tell me I’m not alone, here!

Really, though, it’s a head problem. Can I get an amen?

And, if I’m being completely honest, it’s a heart problem. Oh, yes indeedy.

I’ve always longed to be one of those wise women who say very little. You know the ones… they don’t often speak their mind, but when they do, WHOA NELLY, it’s important! Alas, God apparently thought better of that idea. In fact, I often wonder why He allows me to speak at all!

But, He does. In His completely unfathomable infinite wisdom, He gives me the freedom to speak the words in my head.

Here’s what I’ve found to be true: if I don’t check those words against His Word, what tumbles from my mouth can be a) too much, b) too loud, c) too soon, or d) all of the above.

So, you can imagine how thrilled I was to find out that the next book that Proverbs 31 Ministries’ Online Bible Studies is going to work through has to do with exactly this issue!

Hallay-glorious-lou-ya!

And, sweet Moses, do I ever need it!

On January 26th, over here, we will begin a study of Keep It Shut by Karen Ehman. The author provides phenomenal insight into “What to say, how to say it, and when to say nothing at all”. (I believe I especially need help with that last one. Also, Sweetman seems a bit too happy that we are studying this particular book.)

I’ve had the privilege of reading Keep It Shut over the last month. There are far too many gems, throughout, to pick just one. (Or, ten!) In fact, there is so much wisdom packed into this book, that I would like to heartily encourage you to pick up a copy and join the study.

You can do that here.

You can buy the book here.

And, if you do decide to join the 20,000 plus people who’ve signed up already, you may just see me hanging around on the Proverbs 31 Ministries Online Bible Studies blog.

Yes, you might just.

And we can learn to zip it together.

What do you say to that?

(Psst… say yes.)

I hope to see you there!

KISBook_Missindeedy

With That Red (Or, Read)

Let. It. Go., by Karen Ehman, has officially Now. Been. Read.   And, in case you missed it, I’ve kind of talked it up a storm.  Because, y’all!  I have some serious control issues.  Can I get an Amen?  (Not needed from The Nana, thank-you-very-much. Not that I’m trying to control what you’re saying or not saying. Just saying…)

As part of the final Blog Hop over at Melissa Taylor’s Online Bible Study page, I’m coming to you live, from my couch, to tell you one surprising thing that I am taking away from this study.  And it was a doozy of a lesson, if ever there was one.  You see, I’ve been all about being controlling as a wife, as a mama, as a reformed Plotter & Planner.  But, I knew that.  That was not up for debate.

What was?

Trust.

Letin_It_Go_Finale

Well, that was unexpected.

Karen Ehman makes a point at the end of the 3rd chapter that rocked my socks!

“We begin taking our cues from him (God) rather than listening to deceit and becoming convinced that we know better… Then we, for the first time perhaps, walk by faith, not by sight. Nor by strategy. Nor by plotting and positioning.”

Oh. My. Stars.

And later, in chapter 8, she writes,

“I responded by doing what I could… and trusting God with the outcome.

This is hard for me.  Sometimes, I’ve learned, I take control because I’m scared.  I’m scared that the outcome won’t be a desired one.  Or, that if I don’t dictate circumstances now, then the outcome I do desire won’t ever come to pass.  And that is okay!

And that’s what I’m slowly coming to learn.  I’m coming to see why this verse spoke so powerfully right into my soul:

“But I trust in you, Lord;
I say, “You are my God.”
 My times are in your hands
.”

Psalm 31:14-15

I am learning to trust God for The Outcome.  I’m learning to do what I can, and that involves some planning, yes. But, it also means that after I’ve done some planning, it’s time to Let. It. Go.    How many times have I told some of you, right here, that God’s got this?  He’s got you?

He is a patient God.  For He bears my turtle-like crawl toward realization.  He is a loving God.  For He patiently waits as I begin to put my hope in Him and not in my own plans.

I’ve certainly been held close to The Refiner’s fire during this study.  No one likes discipline at the time, and I am no exception. But, I am thankful.  Yes, indeedy.  And I know there is much practicing that needs to be done.  I’m ready to Let. It. Go.

Anyone want to pray for me?

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If you have a few minutes and would like to read what some of the other women who’ve participated in this study had to say about it, click here.  There are plenty of other fantastic insights to read on this blog hop page.

Serenity Now and Then

Have you ever tried to stuff a sleeping bag back into its original shape and wind those stretchy cords around it, just so?  Does it work out that well for you?  Because it never does for me. And I can tell you one word that most certainly would not describe me at the end of that effort? Serene.

Sometimes, I feel like our life with Sweetboy, this child that has Autism, is just like that.  I know what the “shape” of a typical boy should be.  The rough and tumble, boisterous, full of gusto world that is so often spoken of by parent after parent.  And I just can’t seem to fit those blasted stretchy cords over his atypical person.

And so…

One of the ways that I’m able to get my “Let. It. Go” on is in relation to parenting our Sweetboy. There are these kinds of days:

tumultuous_waves_missindeedy

And then, there are these kinds of days:

Calm_Sea_Missindeedy

And guess what?  I don’t get to choose.  I’m 101% certain that most parents will agree, typical child or special needs child, it doesn’t matter.  There will be moments where that parenting thing? It just will not roll your way, simply because your child is an entirely separate human being from you.  And he or she is going to feel, think, and say things completely other than you would.

Much like we think differently from our Father, who art in heaven. He leaves no room for uncertainty here.  And I am so grateful.

“My thoughts are nothing like your thoughts,” says the LORD. “And my ways are far beyond anything you could imagine.

Isaiah 55:8

And my child, with an Autism Spectrum Disorder?  He teaches me, daily, about reliance.  On God.  And His timing.

“But I trusted in, relied on, and was confident in You, O Lord; I said, You are my God. My times are in Your hands;”

Psalm 31:14-15

I, quite simply, must rely on, and rest in, His ability to control the outcome.  Serenity is so much easier said than done, though.

Because, some days?  Some days when I stumble down the stairs to see All The Hopping, I also see that it’s going to be a day filled to the brim with this:

cardboard_drawer

And I think to myself, “Alrighty then. If that’s how we’re going to roll today, Lord, I’m gonna need some help.  And serenity. Because that wouldn’t hurt either.”

As Karen Ehman so eloquently put it in her book, Let.It.Go.,

“Instead of longing for God to change the trajectory of your life’s story line, look for his face as you practice your faith at each twist and turn along the way.”

Amen to that!  Now, bring on the cardboard. And the serenity, please. Oh, yes indeedy.