I think broken may be my favorite word. I couldn't really tell you why. I think it has to do with the song that talks about being sweetly broken.

I was broken – for a very long time. Used up, confused up – broken. I made the wrong choices at the wrong time and I did things that make no sense to me now. I did them with reckless confidence and arrogant surety. I was so oblivious to my personal state of being. So unaware of my lack.

I began to heal on the day that I noticed I needed to. Whenever I realized that my choices were wrong for me, and my reasoning flawed, I began to do better. That very day.

Since then I still find myself making rash and bold decisions that would have been more thoughtful with a little time, but I've not made the lurching and crashing choices that can bring down the walls of life. I've not found myself surrounded by rubble that I did not know I was making. I've not been unpleasantly surprised by myself.

I was thinking the other day of a person I know who is struggling with their own demons and I thought of this:

There is no better disciple for a broken world, than a broken man or woman who has learned to walk humbly with their God.

It was the men and women who walk in the grace of a loving God that illuminated my world. It was those who had also made haunting decisions and yet lived a life of joy that intrigued me. The broken, yet healed, of the world spread hope like nobodies business. I love them.

 

If you would like to participate in Five Minute Friday – or read other takes on: Broken, please visit www.lisajobaker.com (my links aren't working tonight:)

A quiet house can let you find yourself and realize that somehow the noise of life has conspired to make you blind to who you are.

A quiet house can welcome the Spirit of God into your presence and remind you that you are more than hunger, dirty dishes, and routine.

A quiet house expands to allow for big thoughts, long range dreams, and soft sighs.

In the quiet I can hear the movements of my other half and be thankful for this life.

The other day we were looking back at pictures of our land before we built out house. And it was a small hill. Just one small, nondescript hill. A hill that had sat here for year after year with no story. I was once again struck by how much life now takes place on that one, nondescript hill.

A piece of land is just a piece of land until you make a home on it. And then it becomes the place where you brought your baby daughter and son home. The space where you comfort the aches away and love and live. Suddenly what once was just a plot of dirt becomes the set of your entire life. This is where we dream and work and laugh and cry. This is our home.

And it has never been this quiet.

A quiet house reminds you that your life is not busy, it is full. And those are two radically different things.

A quiet house allows you room to become.

I fall far short of the person I believe I was created to be. I am not yet brave enough with my brokenness to allow you to see how wonderfully God shines through these cracks. I am far to often too selfish and too critical – of myself and of others. I feel a little bit too much for comfort and I'm far to sensitive to survive. But I have been blessed with this family and they buffer me against a world that is too much. They are an anchor to a heart that is overly wild and rambunctious.

I know that I have constrained parts of me that my Creator wants to run free. I know that I've allowed life to pull a veil over my eyes and blind me to the amazing reality that life can actually be. I know that knowing this is the most recent gift in a series of amazing gifts.

We are made to love on another. We are connected by the same desires to be in relationship with one another, to create, and to help. We all have access to this common spirit of goodness and love.

I try not to complain that this world is broken because it is not. This world just needs a group of people to turn the volume down and look up. The world is waiting for more eye contact and less rhetoric. This world is waiting on us to remember that we are not politics and we are not what the media says we are. We are far more. The world is waiting on us to wake up.

My prayer is for more love and less arguments. Amen.

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I continue to research and learn about poverty. Fall will soon return and so shall we to that topic. I've also continued to find ways that I can have an impact personally. That's what it all comes down to really. All of us doing our part, like Jesus said.

I don't know when I will get this kind of quiet again, so I'm going to try and take advantage of it. What a gift. May you have a moment this week when the noise fades away and you can remember what makes your heart beat. Amen/Let it be so.

Last night my mom stayed at our house with the kids, and Greg and I went out to celebrate our seventh anniversary. We don't go out on as many dates as we should. The good thing about that is, when we do, it's a special occasion to be enjoyed.

We had a wonderful time – eating dinner, watching a movie, and listening to some blues – and we learned a few things:

1. Find and support people who are following their passion and you will be rewarded.

We had dinner at the Farmers GastroPub. They serve locally sourced food, prepared masterfully. There passion for what they do was evident in their food, the ambience, the servers, and the guests. We were involved in something that was someone's dream, and we knew it.

After dinner we went to a movie at the Moxie – a theater that operates as a not for profit to bring first run and foreign films that the big theaters would never show. You can read more of their story here. Walking in you feel like you are a part of something special. The theater's are small and intimate and the movies are introduced by one of the staff so you get a different feel than at the big impersonal theaters. Don't get me wrong, I love a big entertaining block buster now and then, but I really love a movie with a story and that's what the Moxie seems to specialize in.

2. Change, in any case, almost always makes one nostalgic.

We decided to watch a film called, “Mud”. As the film was being introduced (by a live human being :)) the gentleman informed us that we were, in all likelihood, about to watch our very last film on 35mm. Only a few independent movie houses in the country still run 35mm and they are converting over to digital, including the Moxie. He explained that it was different than media changes in, for example, music because 35mm would no longer be made, at all. The film's degrade as well, so apart from preservation efforts, soon will come the day when we will no longer watch 35mm except in museums.

So knowing this, when the movie started and there were a few scratches viewable, it was nostalgic. We watched it wobble a bit with text on the screen, and realized that we hadn't seen a 35mm film in a long time having been frequenting the big movie theaters. The end of an era. And it felt sad.

I think change is sad because it is such a stark indicator of the passing of time. A sure sign of progress. And while the world will continue, hopefully for a very long time, we are so very finite. These changes are small signs that the world is not what it once was and we are all marching forward. It's ok to be sad, for a moment, but not for good.

3. Time spent really engaged with someone you love is magical. For example:

My whole evening.

I just love Greg. I love his smile, his humor, the way he loves me. I love his amazing musical talent, the love he has for our children. I love his patience – with the kids and with me…

We spent the evening recalling our favorite moments over the last seven years. We marveled over how quickly we married (11weeks from meeting:) and how much we packed into the past seven years. We remembered family who had passed. We recalled the birth of both kids and talked in depth about their unique personalities and antics. We dreamed a bit about our future and the different opportunities that may await us, and we laughed. We held hands as we walked out of the movie theater, we giggled at the coffee shop, we enjoyed some blues at a local bar. We enjoyed one another's company and there is nothing better than that.

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So, I would encourage you to find some local establishments that people are pouring their heart and soul into and support them – you will have a great evening and feel better for it.

Settle into changes. Change happens and sometimes it can make us sad for days gone by. But we are progressing just as we are meant to progress. We can either hold so tightly to the past that we forfeit the today or we can delight in the changes around us and adapt to the new. Change will continue in either case.

And finally – cherish and love the people that God has blessed you with. Life can be so stressful and we can let the enemy called busy take over to the point that we no longer 'see' one another. Remember to slow down, take a walk, and laugh together.

If you are having, have had, or will have some day, an anniversary – Happy Anniversary! Celebrating the passing of time shared is such a blessing!

 

 

I don't know that I will make it every week – but, gosh, two weeks in a row. Seems like I might! Ha.

 

Belong:

Have you ever been told you don't belong? Or, maybe you have been in a situation where you just knew you didn't belong. It's rough. It hurts to be told you are not wanted. It hurts to be told you should just get out – go somewhere else. It hurts to know you should not be where you are.

God made us to long for belonging. Really, to long for relationship. I think one of the most amazing gifts we have to give to one another is the gift of acceptance and presence. To truly be present with someone is to know that you belong and to make them know that they belong. What a sweet, sweet part of life that is.

I am going to celebrate seven years of marriage on Monday and I know that I belong to this man. He belongs to me. God created us for just this relationship.

And I never fear not belonging, not anymore. That's not to say my palms don't sweat in a crowded room, or at a party of people I don't know well, but I always know, in my heart, that I belong somewhere in this world. Not only that, but through this relationship God has shown me how I belong to him. He has shown me how he forgives me, how he delights in me, how I can be maddening at times – and yet still fully and completely belong. What an amazing gift.

Happy Anniversary, Greg. Thank you for being my best friend. Thank you for giving me our two magnificent children. Thank you for helping God make me really see that I belong.

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If you would like to participate in Five Minute Friday – or read other takes on: Belong, click here.

 

1prej·u·dice

noun \ˈpre-jə-dəs\

Definition of PREJUDICE

1

: injury or damage resulting from some judgment or action of another in disregard of one's rights; especially : detriment to one's legal rights or claims

2

a (1) : preconceived judgment or opinion (2) : an adverse opinion or leaning formed without just grounds or before sufficient knowledge

b : an instance of such judgment or opinion

c : an irrational attitude of hostility directed against an individual, a group, a race, or their supposed characteristics

 

 

 

 

 

 

Prejudice is a tricky discussion topic, isn't it? And sadly – we only start talking about it when something horrific happens. Something divisive. We only start talking when we have no business talking. When we are hurting and angry. We are told how to feel by the talking heads and we are all given a set of facts to support our position. All sides feel passionately correct, but the whole things feels wrong.

But there is one thing that we can all agree on: We have a problem.

I want a world where we can speak our minds without being labeled prejudice. I long for civil discussions that include the ability to talk about cultural differences. I long for a world where everyone is treated equally because they are human – not because they are the same. We are not the same. Thank God.

I do not want to live in a world where everyone is just like me. I don't want to live in a world where everyone believes just like me, talks just like me, or looks just like me. I want the beauty of the tapestry that, I believe, God created specifically for his enjoyment. We are made in his image and I believe we were made to delight in the differences of one another.

And if you are different from me – I want to talk about those differences! I want to understand and know you and I cannot know you if I must act as if we are the same. This is not just for people of different races – but even people who may look like me. We are all so different – can't we take the time and be vulnerable enought to find out how and why?

The alternative path, the one we have taken, is to ignore it on a personal basis and let the government dictate how we should treat one another on a corporate basis. We cannot legislate morality. I will say it a million times – you cannot write a law that will change a heart. Legislation has it's place, but it is not the answer. At best, laws are a band aid while the real work takes place across the kitchen table. It is up to us to engage with one another and challenge one another. But we have to be willing to be vulnerable.

A personal example, I loved the book, “The Help”. I have talked about it with several of my white friends. I think a fascinating conversation though, would be with one of my black friends. I would love to hear their perspective, but I don't ask. I don't know why. I guess in part because I'm embarrassed – but my shame doesn't erase our past. Wait, that isn't entirely true. Let me put myself in that position, why wouldn't I bring it up? Because I believe that to not be racist means that you don't bring up that someone is a different race than you. I believe that it is rude to point out that we are of different races. I believe that it would be hurtful to bring it up. I fear that I would say something that would hurt my friendships.

And that's pretty much my point, we all have to get past the awkward feeling of bringing up a taboo subject. Until we are comfortable talking about it, it will remain taboo. And it shouldn't be. Discussing our differences openly should be an opportunity to grow closer – but instead we avoid the subject and drift further apart.

It feels as if we are trying to be blind to difference, and that is not ever going to happen. There is a study in “NurtureShock: New Thinking About Children” by Po Bronson and Ashley Merryman, where they studied how children form idea's about race. The chapter is titled, “Why White Parents Don't Talk About Race”. It is fascinating stuff.

One of the things that stuck with me was a study they did on pre-schoolers. They randonmy divided the class one morning and gave half of the class blue shirts to wear, and the other half were given red shirts. They wore them for three weeks and during that time the teachers never mentioned the color of the shirts and they were never grouped by shirt color. At the end of the three week study they asked the 'red shirt' kids about the 'blue shirt' kids. There was no hatred – but the red shirts kids thought all of the red shirts were nice, but only some of the blue shirts. They also thougth the red shirt kids were smarter and more blue shirt kids were dumb.

Four and Five year old kids. This tendency has a name – Essentialism – the spontaneous tendency to think your group shares characteristics. The point of the study was that, while parents stated they did not want to point out racial differences even in the context of educating their children on the fact that all are worthy, they needed to because we start out trying to identify with people who are like us. And the only way little kids can distinguish likeness is typically through physical characteristics.

Have you ever been in a situation where you are trying to point someone out and you avoid using skin color to do so? How ridiculous is that? Our sensitivity is causing more problems than it solves. At some point we have to move past the shame, the anger, the accusations, the defensiveness, the awkwardness – and just talk.

Black people have an obligation to make white people feel comfortable having an honest discussion about race. White people have an obligation make black people feel comfortable having an honest discussion about race.

And we have to stop letting the media and the politicians talk for us. If it doesn't happen at your kitchen table then it doesn't really happen.

Our differences were created to be celebrated, appreciated, and honored. Drop statistics and stereotypes and start the conversation. We were not made for CNN or FoxNews – we were created to be in relationship with one another.

Much love and my prayers go out to all who are angered, or hurting, or defensive, or at peace over this weeks latest media circus. We weren't there, we don't know – but in honor of the loss of a life, let's find a way to talk to one another.

 

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