forbearance: part 2 in 3 parts

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Musing 1: My mom had mentioned that “forbearance” reminds her of St. Christopher, the Patron Saint of Safe Travel. His name means “Christ-bearer”; what we Christians do on this planet. Here are three different depictions of St. Christopher’s relationship with the Christ child. I’m reminded of how we, in strong and weak moments, are to put on the Lord Jesus Christ.

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How could the man in these pictures forget that life is about Jesus? May my intimacy with Christ be as tangible. This could be the heartbeat of forbearance.

Musing 2: As I’ve been meditating about forbearance, I’ve also been reminded of Saul’s impatience with and jealous of David. Saul became a mess of a murderer because he could not forbear David; he could not tolerate their God-ordained differences. How different Saul’s life would have been if he had stepped back and remembered that life was not about himself – not even about “Saul vs. David” – but about Jesus Christ being glorified (and I do believe that OT believers had a unique type of revelation about the person of Jesus Christ).

Musing 3: Which also reminds me of the beloved ending of Tolkien’s The Hobbit

After an adventure-of-a-lifetime being “the hero,” finding a long-lost treasure, and pursuing justice, Bilbo listens as Gandalf reveals that meanwhile, all over the realm, rulers and kingdoms have been shifting and moving. New – and good – Masters have come to rule, people and elves have been freed, ancient prophecies have proved true. Bilbo comes to the dual-realization that although his part was a part of all of this, it was only a small part of all of this; he is astonished.

“Then the prophecies of the old songs have turned out to be true, after a fashion!” said Bilbo.

“Of course!” said Gandalf. “And why should not they prove true? Surely you don’t disbelieve the prophecies, because you had a hand in bringing them about yourself? You don’t really suppose, do you, that all your adventures and escapes were managed by mere luck, just for your sole benefit? You are a very fine person, Mr. Baggins, and I am very fond of you; but you are only quite a little fellow in a wide world after all!”

“Thank goodness!” said Bilbo laughing, and handed him the tobacco-jar.

Q: What Can You Buy For a $20 Co-Pay?

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A: 2 minutes of a doctor’s time to reassure you that your child just has a little bit of dry skin and not a rare disease caused by too many jelly beans and a dusty floor.

Priceless.  (Especially when your daughter sticks her bottom lip out during the entire doctor’s visit — for real — because she thinks she should “look the part.”  I have no clue where she gets her knack for the dramatic.)

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The Name Game

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Yikes! We only have 20 weeks to discover the perfect name for this little baby! (“Jingle Bells” will only seem cute for a limited time!) Help me think through these names. Any impressions? (This is a limited list of possibilities… I have to stop searching babynames.com at the moment. So, look at these for the time being and pass along any treasures you might think of!)

Boys:

Joshua: God is salvation

Silas: Man of the forest

Sebastian: Venerable

Solomon: Peaceful

Karsen: Christian

Matteo: Gift of God

Girls:

Serena: Serene, Calm

Sarena: Princess, One who Laughs

Lia: Bearer of Good News (At least that’s what I thought it meant when I looked it up a couple of months ago… but now I can only find websites that list its meaning as “weary” or “cow,” which is really too bad since we adore this name. Is it legal to change the meaning of a name?)

Lilia: Lily (We’d call her “Lia”)

Amalia: hard-working, industrious (We’d call her… “Lia”)

Malia: Calm and peaceful (We’d still call her “Lia”)

Serenity: Peaceful Disposition

Skylar: Scholar

Lisette: God is my oath

“forbearance”

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Does this word still exist outside of the credit realm?

It must, because it’s the “Word of the Day” in my spirit. I’ve been wrestling with this: that sickening feeling of someone really getting under my skin. I’m talking that total personality clash where it’s hard for me to think straight because I’m so overwhelmed by our differences. Everything this person does and says is exactly opposite of what I would do and say. (Do ya know what I mean?) The result? I end up walking around in a fog of on-edged-defensive-judgmental-hurt-and-ultra-sensitive junk when I’m in that person’s presence. Because I am so wrapped up in not liking who that other person is, I have a very hard time being who I am. And we all know that this stinks. (Important detail: If you are reading this, it’s not you! :))

The crazy thing is that the other person typically never seems to realize that our personalities clash; on the contrary, he or she seems to think we’re bound to be the best of friends. (Unless, of course, that person has already learned forbearance and is graciously loving me despite our differences. Which is very possible.)  But I’m tired of reacting to this same personality clash with defeat and intimidation. I’m tired of feeling like I can’t love that person because it just hurts too much or requires too much from me.

In the past, I’ve gained *impressive* victory over this by distancing myself from *that person* as much as possible. When enough time and distance had passed, I’d be tickled-pink with myself to realize that, if I ran into her, I could hold a pleasant 5-minute conversation with little-to-no irritation and move on with my life. I’m sensing that God wants me to mature a little more deeply than that. If there is always going to be a personality that clashes with mine, and if there will always be people who are different than I am (and there will be), I better listen to what He’s teaching me. Besides, I want to be an inspiration for all the people whom I annoy… perhaps encourage them to have a bit more patience with me (insert: wink)!

That’s where forbearance comes to mind. It’s a beautiful seldom-used word that, in this case, means: “to endure, be patient or self-controlled when subject to annoyance or provocation.” Many internal and public conflicts are caused by amoral differences between people: preferences, traditions, personality differences. When we forbear, we refrain from becoming irritated with these differences, and choose to love instead. May this word never be mistaken for the world’s definition of “tolerance,” but may it always cause Christians to live in unity with one another. Here are the Scriptures that God has been speaking to me…

Ephesians 4:1-3 I therefore, the prisoner of the Lord, beseech you that ye walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called, with all lowliness and meekness, with long-suffering, forbearing one another in love; endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.

Colossians 3:13 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye.

Romans 3:24b – 25 …Christ Jesus: whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God.

Since my Father offered forbearance towards me (and He knows how different we are from each other), I want to offer forbearance towards everyone: including that *one person*… I’m hoping that as these Scriptures come alive in my spirit, they will enable me to walk in the freedom of forbearance.

Thanks, Grandmom Ruthie!

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I wish I had had my camera with me, but I just wanted to let you know, mom, that with her precious quarters, Vivienne purchased a whole handful of chick-lets and an adventurous ride on Clifford.  The small change transformed into a relational blessing when the little boy waiting in line for Clifford asked Vivienne to join him for a second ride (what a thrill!).  Afterwards, Vivienne gave him two pieces of her gum in appreciation for his skootching over just for her.

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A Silver Tongue

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A visit from my sister usually convicts me about how flippant and sarcastic I can still be with someone who *has to* love me despite my ugliness. I don’t know why, but this particular sister always gets the worst of my words (I think Ryan must come in second place for my carelessness). She’ll be telling a story and I’ll interject something terrible that mocks, ridicules, demeans, whatever. She usually looks at me in shock (even though I’ve done it enough times to pacify the shock-effect), and asks, “Why did you just say that?” Her faithful responses and the Holy Spirit always convict me, but I stubbornly indulge in my ugly humor. I hate this pattern. And I’m so ready to live in freedom from this sin (that’s why I’m “going public” with it).

After she left, I sat down to read through the “Communication” chapter in The Excellent Wife and was struck to the core with Scriptures about how wise it is to purify my speech, beginning with a close examination of my heart and ending with a deliberate training of the words I speak (or don’t speak, in most cases!) These Scriptures were most instructive…

And I say to you, that every careless word that men shall speak, they shall render account for it in the day of judgment. Matthew 12: 36-37

The heart of the righteous ponders how to answer, but the mouth of the wicked pours out evil things.  Proverbs 15:28

 

A wholesome tongue is a tree of life: but perverseness therein is a breach in the spirit.  Proverbs 15:4.

I learned that every sarcastic and careless word that I speak reveals a part of my heart that I’ve not yet surrendered to Jesus Christ: a “breach” in my spirit that needs God’s healing. When I examined why I spoke what I thought was funny but knew was hurtful (my friend calls these things “death-humor”), I realized that I’ve never confessed and sought transformation of the “death-humor” that I’ve entertained in movies, TV shows, comedic shows, and conversations. For example, I remember thinking that Adam Sandler’s “Goat-boy” skits (a college-kid favorite) were hilarious, but in listening to them, I wasn’t guarding my heart; instead, I was feeding my love for sarcasm and unknowingly preparing myself for the mean quips that I throw at people who I really do love. So, this is where I began my confession.

I’ve agreed to the process of putting aside anger, wrath, malice, slander, and abusive speech from my mouth (Col. 3:8), through confessing, meditating on relevant Scripture, and actually practicing kind words… And being grateful when people who love me ask, “Why’d you just say that?” One day, may I be one of those women who has so surrendered her words to Jesus Christ that everything she speaks is a precious gift…

She opens her mouth in wisdom, and the teaching of kindness is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26

The tongue of the righteous is as choice silver… Proverbs 10: 20