Dealing with Difficult Relatives


Your friends, family and your love must be cultivated like a garden. Time, effort, and imagination must be summoned constantly to keep any relationship flourishing and growing.
-Jim Rohn

Hello all and Happy Late Thanksgiving!  Or maybe it’s Early-Merry-Happy-Whatever-You-Celebrate-This-Time-of-Year, I’m not sure.  I do know I’m not wishing anyone a Happy Black Friday 🙂  Whatever this time of year means for you and your family, I do know that what most of us want is Happy-Merry and what a lot of us feel is pressure or disappointment.  Contrary to what the Hallmark store tells you and Black Friday retailers want you to believe, this can be a stressful and sad time for some people.  I actually think it could be a much happier time of year if we weren’t all so pressured to make it a happy time of year.

I mean…really.  If you don’t see your family on, say the 4th of July, do you feel like you’ve missed out on something?  I think there is so much pressure on this particular holiday season because paradoxically it reminds of us of what we are missing, rather than what we have. I don’t mean to sound like Eyeore, I actually had a lovely Thanksgiving, the first big family gathering since my mom died in September.  It was a bittersweet day but there was actually a lot of freedom that came with it, to be honest.  We really mixed up the old traditions and a good time was had by all.   The funny thing is that I think she would be happy we did that now that she’s gone, but I also think she probably would have not wanted to change the tradition while she was still here.  Funny how that seems to work out.  I actually enjoyed the way we did it this year a lot more than how we’ve done it in the past and it was considerably less pressured.

So I’ve been thinking about family and what we seem to want this time of year as opposed to what we might give or get around the holidays.  Which leads me to something I read quite some time ago that I want to share in case it might be helpful.

Having said that….OK, so I admit it.  I’m not normally a reader of Max Lucado’s work.  He and I disagree on many things theologically in terms of belief and approach.  But this is a great piece and I have had so many chats lately with a lot of people feeling pain about the “hellidays,” family time, obligations and expectations, stresses and so on that I feel compelled to address it.  So, I thought I’d pass along something someone sent me about how Jesus dealt with his own family. Nothing original here…not in terms of what I’m posting, but also not in terms of the challenges we all face with the folks we want to love, or wish would love us.

It can be so painful for a lot of people this time of year…it’s lonely for many and the truth is that I think most of us wish for some version of Norman Rockwell when in truth we have some version of the Manson family.  So, as we go into a time that is intended to celebrate the harvest and abundance of another year, I thought I’d post this as a reality check.  Because if the guy a lot of people believe is God in the flesh wasn’t understood or appreciated by his family, then maybe it’s a little easier for us to let go some too…

So, even though I didn’t get here before Thanksgiving,  here’s my wish for all of you anyway….May you feel the blessings and peace of a loving and abundant universe.  May you live in peace and dwell in gratitude.  May you feel the arms of a loving God in the hugs of friends and family.  May you celebrate another year of bountiful, joyful harvest in your life.  May you giggle and chuckle, rest and play, eat, drink and be merry.  May you be blessed with good friends and a spiritual family that is deep, rich and wide. May you feel compassion for and peace with difficult relatives.  May we all experience love and forgiveness in our families. And, if you are so inclined, May you remember all for whom this time of year is painful and send them a few prayers and some of your own joy as well.  Thanks.  Peace and blessings to all…

With that, I leave you with Max Lucado…

Dealing with Difficult Relatives

by Max Lucado

Does Jesus have anything to say about dealing with difficult relatives? Is there an example of Jesus bringing peace to a painful family? Yes, there is.

His own.

It may surprise you to know that Jesus had a difficult family. If your family doesn’t appreciate you, take heart, neither did Jesus’.

“His family … went to get him because they thought he was out of his mind” (Mark 3:21).

Jesus’ siblings thought their brother was a lunatic. They weren’t proud—they were embarrassed!

It’s worth noting that he didn’t try to control his family’s behavior, nor did he let their behavior control his. He didn’t demand that they agree with him. He didn’t sulk when they insulted him. He didn’t make it his mission to try to please them.

Each of us has a fantasy that our family will be like the Waltons, an expectation that our dearest friends will be our next of kin. Jesus didn’t have that expectation. Look how he defined his family: “My true brother and sister and mother are those who do what God wants” (Mark 3:35).

When Jesus’ brothers didn’t share his convictions, he didn’t try to force them. He recognized that his spiritual family could provide what his physical family didn’t. If Jesus himself couldn’t force his family to share his convictions, what makes you think you can force yours?

Having your family’s approval is desirable but not necessary for happiness and not always possible. Jesus did not let the difficult dynamic of his family overshadow his call from God. And because he didn’t, this chapter has a happy ending.

What happened to Jesus’ family?

Mine with me a golden nugget hidden in a vein of the Book of Acts. “Then [the disciples] went back to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives.… They all continued praying together with some women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and Jesus’ brothers” (Acts 1:12, 14, emphasis added).

What a change! The ones who mocked him now worship him. The ones who pitied him now pray for him. What if Jesus had disowned them? Or worse still, what if he’d suffocated his family with his demand for change?

He didn’t. He instead gave them space, time, and grace. And because he did, they changed. How much did they change? One brother became an apostle (Gal. 1:19) and others became missionaries (1 Cor. 9:5).

So don’t lose heart. God still changes families.

From He Still Moves Stones
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 1999) Max Lucado

Smile at Fear


Many of us crucify ourselves between two thieves – regret for the past and fear of the future…

~~~Fulton Oursler

Because we are afraid, we develop all kinds of habits which over time lead to addictions.  Human beings are funny like that–We look for strength in the things that weaken us…

~~Pema Chodron,  Dharma Teacher

I took this picture over Labor Day weekend while hiking the Continental Divide Trail (CDT) in New Mexico.  For those of you with eyes over 40, that is a cow patty with flowers growing out of it. Lovely, isn’t it? 🙂

You have to understand the enormity of the canyon and the area in which we were hiking to fully appreciate this image–ginormous doesn’t begin to capture it.  The CDT runs from Mexico to Canada, it’s hundreds of miles long.  We were in the Rio Chamas Wilderness section, just a few miles from the CDT trail head in New Mexico.  There are countless acres and square miles in which this flower could have planted itself, but it chose to land in cow poo and stay there, to use the inherent qualities of the excrement for fertilizer and grow just a bit taller and stronger than the surrounding flowers.  Let us take some instruction from this brave little wildflower– it was not afraid to get down in the muck and take root in order to grow and thrive in an otherwise harsh desert environment.

This is the area in which we were hiking…gorgeous, yes.  But fully sunny, hot and dry during the day, chilly at night.  Deep in canyons surrounded by mountains in the Chamas River Wilderness Area, about an hour outside of Santa Fe, 13 miles back on a red dirt road then walking toward Ojitos Canyon on the CDT…Desolate but full of Life, a blank slate on which nature and Life can assert itself to grow and thrive.

So that little flower could have inserted herself anywhere.  But Life doesn’t necessarily choose what is easy, Life chooses what is Life-Giving.  And let’s face it: sometimes Life acknowledges that shit makes great fertilizer.  But the truth is that as humans, we fear the pain, the stink, the stickiness, appearances of “how this will look,”  so we go for what seems easy in the moment, rather than what might actually feed us and give us more life.  But choosing the easier, softer way may not always be life-affirming; if we are not discerning, it can also lead to addictions and much more pain.  Fear can make us choose things  which in the moment seem easier–it seems easier in the moment to avoid tears and pain.  But in doing so, we often strengthen habits which just lead to more pain and fear and so on and on the cycle goes.  The biggest obstacle to true healing is our fear, because what usually happens in the middle of big healing experiences is that our fear arises and we shut down or check out.  Yet we can also use that same fear to move us forward or feed us, to strengthen us and lead us to seeking out a new way of being.  Discernment is the key here.   (I  wrote a more in-depth post on this concept called Spiritual Fruits or Just Nuts? You can read that here if you are interested. )

There is something really powerful and encouraging about knowing that since the beginning of time, humans have felt fear and elation, grief and joy, happiness and sadness, compassion and rage, resentment and forgiveness, hope and despair.  The list of feelings and their opposites could go on and on, but the truth is we are not so different than our ancestors.  All of the Religions of the Book and all of the sacred scriptures of each religion address this…each time the Angel of God comes to a prophet or recipient of Divine Love or Intervention, the first thing the Angel says is, “Be not afraid.”  Not, “Hey Joe, it’s your lucky day!”  But, “Fear not!”  Fear is natural and human, but so is love.  So is compassion.  So is forgiveness and grace.  It’s all true at once, and so we have to choose.  We have to choose to heal.  We have to choose to love.  We have to choose to move forward in our fear, which of course  is the hardest time to choose something.  But it can be done and you don’t have to do it alone.

Humans have always divided off into groups or tribes and have always liked to talk about how civilized we are and how that group over there is so wrong or bad…you can see it now between Christians and Muslims, Muslims and Jews, Republicans and Democrats and on and on.  But the real enemy, if there is an enemy at all, is our fear.  Our fear of change, our fear of loss, our fear of success, our fear of failure, our fear of abandonment, our fear of getting what we want or not getting what we want, fear of really living, fear of what “they” will think, fear of how it will look if we ask for help or tell the truth of our lives, and on and on it goes.  But if we get down to the basics of life, a Muslim parent in Afghanistan wants the same health and safety for his children that an American Baptist parent wants for his kids.  We all want to be loved, to be nourished and to have happiness and freedom from want or suffering.  We all want to be free of the things that bind us, we all want to feel safe and happy and know those whom we love are  safe and happy as well.

There is always something in the press about 9/11 and our fear based reactions to that date, to that event.  What people fail to remember is that Iran was the first country to send condolences to the United States after the Twin Towers fell.  Yes, Iran.  Not Great Britain or Israel, but Iran.  They were the first country to hold a prayer gathering and other Muslim countries quickly followed suit, because in that moment we were not enemies without official relations, we were all just human beings, all feeling the horror of the enormity of that loss.  Human compassion was able to override fear and mistrust and bring forth compassion and prayer.  Mistrust reigns again, but in the deepest moments of need, compassion can always take root.  Like that flower, Life can always find a way to grow through the pain, through the fear, through what looks like shit, and come out smelling like a rose on the other side.  Life just does that, because Life is rooted in Love, in our Oneness, in our connection.

The danger comes when we decide to root into our fears and just create more fertilizer in our life without ever really planting good seeds of compassion, growth, love or humility.  The seeds we plant will always grow–of this there is no doubt.  And poo makes great fertilizer regardless of the seeds, but as any gardener knows, too much fertilizer can also kill the plant.  So when in fear, I have some choices…Will I ask for help?  Will I be discerning about which seeds I am sowing?  Resentment seeds seem to germinate faster than seeds of compassion, but both need fertilizer to grow.  So which seeds am I planting today, which seeds am I feeding? What do I want this garden of my life to look like in a few months?  Because have no doubt–the seeds you plant today will be harvested tomorrow. You can call it karma or what comes around goes around, you can call it fair or unfair, you can call it what you want and what you call it won’t change what it is:  your responsibility.  It us up to each of us to choose which seeds we will nurture and feed, because we all carry the seeds of hate and love, fear and faith, hope and despair within us.  We can choose.  I can choose.  You can choose.  It is not always easy, but it is always possible.  This does not mean shutting off feelings, but really honoring them, inviting them in like a wise guest and accepting the gifts they offer us.  It means we can choose which seeds we will cultivate over time, what we will feed, what we will harvest in the future.  If you plant apple seeds you are not going to get pear trees, that’s just a fact.

The Buddhist teacher Pema Chodron speaks of smiling at our fear and of embracing it, and speaks of the Buddhist saying,

Place your fearful mind in the cradle of loving-kindness…

It is a beautiful image of holding our own pain and fear with the same gentle loving-kindness we would extend to a beloved child.  Fear is not the enemy.  The “other” is not the enemy.  What we truly wrestle with is our own inner demons, our own fears, our own sense of inadequacy.  Our fear of not having enough makes us cheat or lie, steal or withhold, go too far or not far enough, hold back or shut down, hurt ourselves and others.  Interestingly, the definition of a fully enlightened being is one who is fearless because they are intimate with their fear.  Not that they don’t have fear, but that they have smiled at it, befriended it, invited it in like a wise teacher and discussed its gifts over a cup of tea.  The enlightened ones are fearless because they know the nature of fear and no longer fear their fear, not because they have managed to shut it down or off permanently.  This I like very much, this I find tremendously encouraging.

So today, like that little flower, we can choose to plant seeds of growth and abundance, of rooting down into the people, places and things which help us grow, regardless of how it might look from the outside.  Today we can choose to plant seeds of compassion and love, of forgiveness and loving-kindness and just stay with it, even if it feels or smells like shit in the moment.  Today we can smile at fear.

If you would like to watch Ani Pema Chodron talk about Smiling at Fear, you can see a snippet of that video below.

Wishing everyone peace and blessings and the peace and joy that comes from knowing we are all One, even in our fears.  Have a great day.

I’d Never, Ever, Ever, Ever…


Hello all!  Blogger Slacker is making up for lost time, at least for today.  This is not an original post, in fact it is a total copy job from Lynne Farrow.  This is such a beautiful post that I wanted to pass it along.    If you’d like to learn more about her or her work, you can find her here. Enjoy!!! 

 

 

 

I’d Never, Ever, Ever, Ever. . .

By Lynne, on January 26th, 2011

Some days the teacher’s not the teacher. Some days wisdom rises up through a single voice to give voice to our collective experience and pain.

We’re working on an Inside/Outside project at The Lighthouse, a faith-based residential treatment program for women recovering from substance abuse, for the next few weeks. Someone in recover recently said  that what goes on in her inside often doesn’t match how she looks on the outside. She may look to others very put together, but feel wretched on the inside. So our art project is to explore that dissonance and explore steps toward becoming more congruent.

Last Friday’s art piece was an exploration of the negative self-talk each of us lives with daily.  While we may speak ten thousand words a day in conversation with others, we might speak millions of words to ourselves in an unchecked internal conversation of comparisons, complaints, putdowns, and condemnations. Those critical voices I’ve come to call the committee that meets inside our head and votes against us. Part of recovery is to slow down that internal talk and check it out – identify it, examine the grain of truth in it, and update it to constructive self-talk.

Each woman was invited to create an image, on the inside of a manila folder, including the most common negative self-talk she speaks to herself. Many of their drawings contained similar words and phrases – stupid, ugly, you’re a loser, only good for sex, you’re a monster, I’ll never change, you’ve ruined everything, and on and on… When it was Amy’s turn to share her painting, the anguished honesty of her words were powerful – ”I’d never, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever, ever….say to another person the things I say to myself.”

Sometimes we are so much more able to love our neighbors than ourselves. And if we’re going to extend that same kind of love to ourselves, we may have to tackle the committee that meets inside our head and votes against us. We may have to fire a few, instruct others on being appropriately supportive (which also includes constructive feedback and caution), and discourage others from globalizing, catastrophizing, degrading, and condemning, just to name a few.

If you were to draw a picture of the committee that meets inside your head, what would it look like? Who would be a part of it? And what would they say? Are there some folks that meet inside you head and vote against you that you might like to give some loving guidance to? What would you say to them? How might that change any negative self-talk you might have?

I’ll look forward to your comments. I love it when you describe the art work you would create in response to one of my questions.

Distance Healing


“And God declares,  I will restore you to health and heal your wounds…”
~~Jeremiah 30:17

A few months ago on the Blessings Blog, I started a conversation about distance healing.  In the first post, I talked about science and research regarding distance healing. If you are interested, you can find that information in a post here.

Several people have asked me about distance healing lately, so I wanted to post that article again here.   If you would like to learn more about healing in general, I wrote an article for The Heroic Journal about the difference in healing vs. curing, which can also be found here, in the July 11 archives of the Blessings Blog.

About half of my Blessings Enterprises practice involves distance healing. I have clients of all ages, all seeking a healer for different reasons on the surface…depression, anxiety,  childhood illness, cancer and a myriad of other things.  I  have a lot of clients who feel good but want to feel great, who want to grow by working with a life coach or spiritual director, who want to develop a spiritual practice or just move through some challenging times.  Everyone is welcome and everyone comes for a different surface reason, but all seek the same underlying thing–everyone is seeking healing. The people who come to me all have a certain level of faith that healing is possible, or they wouldn’t come to someone like me at all.  Children often don’t know they are being worked on, but their parents have faith—or at least hope—and so they come seeking relief for whatever plagues the ones whom they love.

I think in order to have faith, you have to have hope.  Yet many who come to me suffer from a true crisis of faith, a loss of hope or both.  But I  believe that buried under the fear or grief that makes a person feel as though there is no hope, there is a spark of life that remains, a soft spot that is open and receptive to healing.  This is what opens us to even greater healing and often into a whole new way of being.

Distance healing is a different experience for the person on the receiving end only in the sense that you are not physically here.  But that doesn’t mean we aren’t together. Buddhists, Hindus, Christians and most traditions incorporate distance healing into their repertoire of health and healing practices because it works and has worked for centuries.  Because I believe All Is One and we are all connected at a deep collective and energetic level,  I believe all healing is possible.

The Buddhist practice of Tonglen, Hindu and Buddhist practices of pujas or other ceremonies, Shamanic journeys in many traditions and intercessory prayer in the Christian tradition are just a few examples of distance healing practices.  There are several Biblical examples of healing, but my favorite is the Healing of the Centurion’s Servant, found in the books of Matthew and Luke.  A few things to keep in mind about this story…Let’s just say for the sake of argument that this all happened the way it is written.  I’m not as concerned about the details as about the story and the events that unfold here.

A Centurion was a Roman soldier, sort of like an Army Captain.  He had 100 men under him and was part of an occupying force in the city.  Technically, since Jesus was a Jew, this man had authority over Jesus, the Centurion was an oppressor.  But he recognizes the authority of Jesus to heal someone he loves, and because he understands authority—even when he isn’t present—he has faith that Jesus can heal his servant at a distance.  The book of Luke says that the centurion’s other servants came to Jesus, not the centurion himself.  While there have been some arguments over the two versions of this story, to me it remains the same, because I understand representatives and authority.  Put another way, if I have authority over you and send you as my representative, it is as if I came myself.  It’s no different than us expecting our elected representatives to really represent us, or knowing the Secretary of State represents the President and entire U.S. when she travels abroad.

The Faith of the Centurion (Matthew 8:5-13)

When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed and in terrible suffering.”

Jesus said to him, “I will go and heal him.”

The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”

When Jesus heard this, he was astonished and said to those following him, “I tell you the truth, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. …Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! It will be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that very hour…

This is the essence of what distance healing is all about.  Someone we love needs healing, and so we seek that out, even if the “someone” is us.  So many people show up at my door saying they cannot believe, saying they cannot love themselves, full of self-hatred or fear, depression or anxiety.  But the truth is that’s not who you are.  The truth is that another thing Jesus says in the book of Matthew is true and that is,

You are the Light of the World.

Because you are the Light, and I am the Light, and we are all in that Light together as One, this allows distance healing to be possible.  The Centurion understood this in a way even the followers of Jesus did not.  He understood that when we use the gifts we’ve been given, it plugs us into the reality and understanding of that Light.  He understood that to ask in faith and to really be in our own authority as the giver and as the receiver opens the door for healing.  He understood that the healing he sought for his loved one was physical, but the true healing taking place was spiritual.  The Centurion didn’t have to ask for this—the man for whom he sought healing was a slave.  But he loved him.  And that love opens him up to asking, which opens him up to receiving, which opens everyone up to healing.

In a previous Blessings Blog Post,  I spoke of the science of healing.  But there is an aspect of healing that is so personal, yet so universal, that science may never capture it–the art of love.  Love makes us do things for others  society tells us we shouldn’t, like a Roman military officer approaching an oppressed subject seeking healing for a slave.  Distance healing is outside the mainstream western understanding of curing.  But healing can take place at any time, any place, in many ways.

Just as you can love someone at a distance, pray for them or remember them fondly at a distance, you can heal at a distance.  Just as you can feel the agony over the suffering of the pains of the world and of loved ones and seek out a cure, you can look for that at a distance.  All of the religions and spiritual traditions have practices and beliefs about this and in their most pure form teach this concept.  The religions are not the same, yet the mystics of each tradition share similar experiences and tell us over and over that we are One with the Divine.  Separation is illusion.  Because you are One with all that is, healing at a distance is possible, because the distance truly is only in your mind–it is an illusion.

I believe it is our Divine right to be happy, healthy, whole and free.  This does not mean that we won’t have struggles or get sick, need healing or have a full range of emotions.  That is your direct experience so be with it and really see what it can offer you, whatever it is.  The great mystics, shamans, teachers and healers all got sick, all had severe illnesses and pain and all said it made them better healers and teachers.  As the saying goes in Zen,

The obstacle is the path.  No pain, no compassion.

Needing a healer isn’t failure or evidence of some terrible spiritual malady.  It just means you are at a place in your journey in which you can come more deeply into who you are and who you were created to be.  I believe by doing so, regardless of your beliefs about God or any particular faith tradition, that you can find a depth you may not have experienced before.  You can call this God or your soul, your Buddha nature, your karma, your prana or any number of other things.  What you call it won’t change what it is—pure essence, pure energy, pure Light.  And you share that essence with every living being, science proves that over and over, and the mystics teach it again and again.

As the saying goes, we are not promised a quiet journey, just a safe arrival.  Sometimes we need another person to help us with the journey, a guide and a witness to help us honor our path.  Healing is part of that and just like love, healing comes in many people, places and things. And just like with love, distance is irrelevant.

If you have questions about distance healing, or healing in general, or would like to ask a question or make a comment, feel free to do so on the blog or contact me directly.

Peace and blessings.

Happy Merry all you may celebrate this time of year!

Dealing with Difficult Relatives


Your friends, family and your love must be cultivated like a garden. Time, effort, and imagination must be summoned constantly to keep any relationship flourishing and growing.
-Jim Rohn

 

OK, so I admit it.  I’m not normally a reader of Max Lucado’s work.  But I have had many chats lately with a lot of people feeling pain about the “hellidays,” family time, obligations and expectations, stresses and so on.  Not a lot of excitement about connecting with the famdamly in these conversations.  So, I thought I’d pass along something someone sent me about how Jesus dealt with his own family. Nothing original here…not in terms of what I’m posting, but also not in terms of the challenges we all face with the folks we want to love, or wish would love us.

It’s painful for a lot of people this time of year…it’s lonely for many and the truth is that I think most of us wish for some version of Norman Rockwell when in truth we have some version of the Manson family.  So, as we go into a time that is intended to celebrate the harvest and abundance of another year, I thought I’d post this as a reality check.  Because if the guy a lot of people believe is God in the flesh wasn’t understood or appreciated by his family, then maybe it’s a little easier for us to let go some too…

Also, if I don’t make it back here before Thanksgiving~~  May you feel the blessings and peace of a loving and abundant universe.  May you live in peace and dwell in gratitude.  May you feel the arms of a loving God in the hugs of friends and family.  May you celebrate another year of bountiful, joyful harvest in your life.  May you giggle and chuckle, rest and play, eat, drink and be merry.  May you be blessed with good friends and a spiritual family that is deep, rich and wide.  And, if you are so inclined, May you remember all for whom this time of year is painful and send them a few prayers and some of your own joy as well.  Thanks.  Peace and blessings to all…

With that, I leave you with Max Lucado…

Dealing with Difficult Relatives

by Max Lucado

Does Jesus have anything to say about dealing with difficult relatives? Is there an example of Jesus bringing peace to a painful family? Yes, there is.

His own.

It may surprise you to know that Jesus had a difficult family. If your family doesn’t appreciate you, take heart, neither did Jesus’.

“His family … went to get him because they thought he was out of his mind” (Mark 3:21).

Jesus’ siblings thought their brother was a lunatic. They weren’t proud—they were embarrassed!

It’s worth noting that he didn’t try to control his family’s behavior, nor did he let their behavior control his. He didn’t demand that they agree with him. He didn’t sulk when they insulted him. He didn’t make it his mission to try to please them.

Each of us has a fantasy that our family will be like the Waltons, an expectation that our dearest friends will be our next of kin. Jesus didn’t have that expectation. Look how he defined his family: “My true brother and sister and mother are those who do what God wants” (Mark 3:35).

When Jesus’ brothers didn’t share his convictions, he didn’t try to force them. He recognized that his spiritual family could provide what his physical family didn’t. If Jesus himself couldn’t force his family to share his convictions, what makes you think you can force yours?

Having your family’s approval is desirable but not necessary for happiness and not always possible. Jesus did not let the difficult dynamic of his family overshadow his call from God. And because he didn’t, this chapter has a happy ending.

What happened to Jesus’ family?

Mine with me a golden nugget hidden in a vein of the Book of Acts. “Then [the disciples] went back to Jerusalem from the Mount of Olives.… They all continued praying together with some women, including Mary the mother of Jesus, and Jesus’ brothers” (Acts 1:12, 14, emphasis added).

What a change! The ones who mocked him now worship him. The ones who pitied him now pray for him. What if Jesus had disowned them? Or worse still, what if he’d suffocated his family with his demand for change?

He didn’t. He instead gave them space, time, and grace. And because he did, they changed. How much did they change? One brother became an apostle (Gal. 1:19) and others became missionaries (1 Cor. 9:5).

So don’t lose heart. God still changes families.

From He Still Moves Stones
Copyright (Thomas Nelson, 1999) Max Lucado

Getting There


Do not go where the path may lead, go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.
~~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Hello all 🙂

I was talking with some folks over the weekend about the paths we walk…how we think the path we are on will lead to a certain place, but part of the journey is accepting when it wanders into other areas.  Staying on the path and getting there aren’t necessarily the same thing, but probably all part of the same path.  It reminded me of the wonderful poem by David Wagoner, so I thought I’d post it.  We’ve all earned this ” worn-down, hard, incredible sight  Called Here and Now…”  I hope this finds you enjoying it.  Have a great day!

Getting There

You take a final step and, look, suddenly
You’re there. You’ve arrived
At the one place all your drudgery was aimed for:
This common ground
Where you stretch out, pressing your cheek to sandstone.

What did you want
To be? You’ll remember soon. You feel like tinder
Under a burning glass,
A luminous point of change. The sky is pulsing
Against the cracked horizon,
Holding it firm till the arrival of stars
In time with your heartbeats.
Like wind etching rock, you’ve made a lasting impression
On the self you were
By having come all this way through all this welter
Under your own power,
Though your traces on a map would make an unpromising
Meandering lifeline.

What have you learned so far? You’ll find out later,
Telling it haltingly
Like a dream, that lost traveler’s dream
Under the last hill
Where through the night you’ll take your time out of mind
To unburden yourself
Of elements along elementary paths
By the break of morning.

You’ve earned this worn-down, hard, incredible sight
Called Here and Now.
Now, what you make of it means everything,
Means starting over:
The life in your hands is neither here nor there
But getting there,
So you’re standing again and breathing, beginning another
Journey without regret
Forever, being your own unpeaceable kingdom,
The end of endings.

~ David Wagoner ~

(In Broken Country)

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