Dear Dianas

Once in a while, there is a movie that stirs you. For me, Wonder Woman did just that. As the credits rolled and the crowds poured out of the theater, my eyes adjusted to the sunlight and my mind turned over the lessons of the life of a female superhero. I’ve continued to think on the story of the compassionate heroine and all the words I would want to speak to my future daughter and every young girl I come across.

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Little Dianas,

We will want to tell you are safe, that there is nothing with which you should concern yourself. We will want to tell you this because we will desperately want it to be true. And in a sense it is true. You need not fear. And yet, we must clarify. You are both safe and unsafe. And, while we wish it were not so, there is much with which you should concern yourself.

Safe and unsafe. Let me explain. As long as you keep to the path that is yours to walk, you need not fear. There will be trouble, but if you keep to your path, the trouble has already been overcome (John 16:33). As you face it, you will find this to be true. You will encounter pain. People you love will wound you. People you do not know will wound you. They won’t understand your heart and that will feel like the deepest cut. Remember, victory has already been promised (1 Corithians 15:57).

There is another lie wrapped up in this statement of safety. It is the lie that threatens to keep you controlled. The world often doesn’t know what to do with a woman who knows herself. They don’t know what to do with a woman who is willing to take on the injustices she sees. They will want you to be small, unthreathening, agreeable. Even those who love you will be afraid of your strength at times. When we try to keep you small, we are wrong. You may need to remind us. You may need to silence us. You may have to forge ahead without our approval if we are not able to overcome our own fear. Like Deborah, Ruth, Rahab, Mary, and others, you are a woman of valor. Do not let the fears of others diminish your courage.

People will not always deserve your help. You help anyways, because it isn’t about deserving. It is about loving as your Father loves. Here, on our little island, we may mistakenly teach you that love is about ideolgy. If you speak love, then you have loved. That is not true. Love is more than words. It is more than agreeing with what should be. Love requires action. It requires sacrifice. You have the tools to love well. It is up to you to use them (1 John 3:16-18).

There will be days you feel overwhelmed by all the pain, all the needs. You will walk through the battlegrounds of this world on your way to what you were certain was the mission, and you will see wounded on every side. You will see the fearful, the hungry, the broken. You will want to help them all and this may cause you to feel paralyzed and helpless. You will have to decide: do you turn your eyes back to the mission you set out on or do you stop to help? And if you stop to help, who do you help when everyone is hurting? Which wounds can you help heal? To which soul can you bring hope? You will not be able to stop all the pain, but you can choose to try (2 Corinthians 1:3-5).

And no matter what, remember, you do not do it alone. Look for the people of love. There are others who will stand with you. Their strengths will be different than your own, not less than or more than, but different. And you need them. You will learn from them, and they from you. You cannot do it alone (1 Corinthians 12:12-27).

There is much with which you should be concerned. As long as there is injustice, there is work to be done. You have been equipped for the work. You are called to be a hope-bearer, carrying truth and love to a hurting world. We will want to protect you from the pain, but if we succeed in protecting you, we will also have kept you from life, from learning to truly love, from growing into the woman you are meant to be. So, I’m writing this down now, because when the day comes for you to step into your calling, I will likely not want you to go. I will worry. And yet, I will be overcome with pride, watching you link arms with others, for the cause of others, in the name of love. You are no ordinary woman. You are a wonder.

 

May The Force Be With You And Other May Blessings (Parenting in Summer Edition)

I have a treat for you today. Welcome my friend Michelle Discavage to Bedrocks and Borderlands. She is here to share more May blessings as we wrap up this crazy month. Michelle is the author of “Unnamed Women of the Bible: Lessons of IMG_1893Value, Belonging, and Worth,” a speaker, and certified life purpose coach. She can often be found laughing, and is known to be somewhat of a pot stirrer. Michelle is on a mission to gather #brokedownhomegirls across the country to rise up and take their rightful place as God’s daughters. You can read more from her at www.SparkedLiving.net.


The questions. There are so many questions. They are hurled like heavy artillery in the heat of battle. Surely, a breath will need to be taken. Maybe exhaustion will take over. Dry mouth? Maybe the need for water will cease the never ending barrage of questions.

Summer is coming. No school, just three months of days waiting to filled with activities. The blank calendar stares at me sinisterly. It mocks me to fill in its small, white spaces. I like the routine of school life, but I also like the freedom of summer. Do I fill in the calendar, for her sanity as much as my own? Or do I allow each day to be its own adventure.
Why is summer so long anyway?
We melt on the pavement in summer’s heat. Why do we live in Texas? I question our decision every summer as the sun beats down causing us to slowly roast under its rays. There does not seem to be enough sunscreen to protect our pale skin. Even the water in the pool will fail to be refreshing. It is too hot. Too hot to move, too hot to swim, just too hot.
And the artillery of questions will not cease.
Can so and so come over? Can we go to (insert fun, overly priced adventure here)? Can I get some ice cream? What are we doing today? Do I have to practice piano? Why do I have to make my bed, it’s summer? Are we going to the pool today? Will any of my friends be there? What’s for lunch? What’s for dinner? What can I do, I’m bored?
Working at home sounded so glamorous once. My need to work will evoke an outpouring of needs and questions. At no other time of the day has she needed anything, but the moment I begin speaking with a client, or sitting down to write, everything becomes urgent. With furrowed brows and snapping fingers, I’ll point towards the door, and she’ll walk out angrily. When work is done, I will remind her of what I told her before the call began: do not come in when I am on the phone unless you are bleeding, or near death. The rules are pretty simple.
Can I blame her though? Can I blame her for wanting constant interaction? She is an only child, and the most social creature in the house. I do my best to bring friends over, to occupy her time with the things she enjoys.
I will try not to lose my temper as I have become a walking sweat stain attacked by her many questions. The wretched heat will not create a foul mood in me, not this time. I will enjoy these moments, as simple as they may be. We will splash in the pool, wipe ice cream off of our chins, and be thankful for our working air conditioner and fans. I will listen to giggles coming from her room when a friend is over, and try not to laugh when the cupcakes they tried to sell around the neighborhood melt in the heat.
This summer, I will survive! I will rejoice in these moments! My patience will be long and my joy unending! Yes, I will enjoy the blank calendar, well, right after I’ve furrowed my brow, snapped my fingers, and motioned her to exit.

4 Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! 5 Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. 6 Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. 8 Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things. (Phillipians 4:4-8, NIV)

May your sweat stains be light, and your water be refreshing. May you dip your toes in the pool with delight, and may the questions be few.

May the Force be with You And Other May Blessings (Teacher Edition)

It is the end of the school year and I find myself in the strange and wonderful world of trying to lead 7th and 8th graders to the discovery of truth. Earlier this spring, I was asked to be the long-term substitute for a Bible class and I jumped at the opportunity. I cannot express what a delight this season has been. It’s temporary and that kills me. I’m not ready to give up these students that I just met.

But also…

Goodness gracious, teachers have it rough at the end of the year. I mean, these kids are done. D-O-N-E. Summeritis has set in and students have forgotten how to student. I gave my study hall class new assigned seats today. There are three weeks left of class, and I gave them new seats. I even pulled in extra desks because my current set up didn’t put enough space between the chatty Cathy’s.

I was floating along, thinking “No, summer, stay away! Don’t take my angels!” And then we had a day. You know, a “day“. And suddenly I was ready. And my feelings about summer will rise and fall with the amount of sanity my students bring with them each day; but whether through prayers of survival or tears of premature parting, we must first survive May.

So with that, I give you May the Force Be with You, and other May blessings:

Teachers, as your students lose all sense of humanity, may the force be with you.

May your supply closet be endowed with the magic of Mary Poppins’ carpet bag. 

May your hours of sleep be equal to or greater than the number of eye-rolls you receive each day. 

May all meetings be treated as feasts, complete with chocolate or Mexican food in which you might bury your feelings. 

May your Teacher Appreciation Week by marked by the lavish gifts of students who pick up after themselves and tell you how much you’ve blessed their lives. (or at least that first part)

And may the workroom coffee flow, strong and abundant, that you might find life in its warmth. 

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In all seriousness, teaching Middle School Bible has been an incredible blessing. What an honor to teach. Whether you are a newbie or a veteran, hang in there. You are doing important work. Your students may not see it and you may not feel it, but trust me, these last few weeks are a treasure.