Suicide and Depression

In the last few weeks, I’ve learned of various people who have committed suicide and it’s heart wrenching.  A few of these individuals have been pastors, which hits even closer to home considering that I’m a pastor’s kid, I’m married to a pastor and I am a pastor.  These events have also made me reflect on various people over the years who have committed suicide.

As much as I want to be articulate in this post, I feel so deeply about this subject that I can’t seem to get my words or thoughts into some semblance of order or cohesive progression.  So maybe I’ll just free flow with this post and pray that it’s helpful to you, somehow.

More than anything, I hope that you will be gentle, tender and kind with others and yourself, regardless of any external veneer.  When we are in a car and see a handicapped license plate, sticker or a “baby on board” sign, we will often give that person a little extra consideration, grace and space because we know there’s a vulnerable / fragile person inside that vehicle.

May we also have the same mindset with the people in our lives, appreciating that each person with whom we interact, has their own internal struggles regardless of what the exterior looks like or how they behave.  Let’s be purposeful to:

  • be comforting rather than critical
  • choose mercy over judgment
  • be hopeful more than hostile
  • express patience more than petulance

Loving Well

I received a text message from a friend this morning with a totally fantastic prayer & this has made me smile almost continuously!  I’m smiling because her prayer was very personal to me & deeply encouraging. As I’ve thought about this, it’s brought to mind that her text prayer to me is an expression of genuine love, which makes me think of lots of different ways we can express genuine love today!!  Here are a few suggestions:

  • Encouraging words – meaningful compliments & heartfelt affirmations are great ways to communicate love! 
  • Post some kind words in a friends FB wall. 
  • Run an errand that could free up some time for a friend / family member.
  • Send a nice card in the mail to someone who wouldn’t expect it.
  • Be friendly & engaging with the check out person at the grocery store.
  • Do something meaningful for your mate or a family member that lets them know you love them, unique to their preferences (not just what you would like). 

Let’s love well today!!

Quick to Love

We are quick to love stuff that’s easy:  people who are nice to us, soft blankets, space heaters in Winter, chocolate, snowboarding, etc.  But when we see people who different, let’s pre-decide to be loving.  For example, you might prefer a more polished or professional appearance and thereby find the people with the same image easier to love.  Or maybe it’s the other way around.  Maybe you’re less polished and only match or when there’s a solar eclipse.  So maybe you find it easier to love people who have a more “eclectic” approach to their image or style.

And I’d say for all of us, it’s much easier to love people who are kind, respectful and gracious.  Those individuals who are sullen, grumpy, surly & even combative can be tricky to navigate.  So let’s not make Valentine’s Day a once a year holiday to celebrate love.  Let’s decide that everyday is our day to love, because we are loving people, regardless of who the recipient may be!

Thawing the Ice in Hot Bangladesh

When I visit foreign countries, I love getting to be with the regular people in their daily living. Because of this, sometimes I find myself in situations where I can get some strange looks.
For example, I just crossed a massive river here in Bangledesh & on the ferry, I was a novelty. I had the distinct impression that they don’t see loads of Western women traveling through more remote Bangledesh. Of course a person can be unsettled by the staring eyes, foreign faces, language barrier, cultural differences & the loads of other contrasts that could create barriers & hindrances for connecting.
But I’ve found that a genuine smile & warm countenance universally melt icy stares & cold shoulders.
Let’s be committed to regulating the temperature in our interactions by remaining congenial & warm!

I have the wonderful honor of getting to be around fabulous people, like Pam who did my makeup & Christie who did my hair today. Both of these wonderful ladies & a boatload of other fantastic peeps (like Demetria, Garrett, Molly, Ivorie & more) are folk behind the scenes in tv / webland for CBN with the 700 Club. These people are magnificent in glorious ways: kind, patient, FUN & super smart!

Everyone has unique strengths & we are at our best when we are ourselves & do what we are good at. Here are some ideas that might help us as we endeavor to be our best:

  • Be sincere – fake & pretentious can be repulsive
  • Be kind – there’s more than enough cranky to go around
  • Be forgiving – taking offense is the low road
  • Be YOU! You are fearfully & wonderfully made!

A Little Sugar


The proverbial sugarbowl

I like savory over sweet but in my family, certain members prefer sweet to savory. For example, if I set out a jar of dill pickles some of us could empty that jar lickety split. On the flip side, I could easily forget about some ice cream in the freezer for months while other members of my family wouldn’t let the ice cream survive until the morning. 
Regardless of your taste preferences, there are occasions when a little sugar is always nice:

  • When someone is having a bad day, being sweet can sometimes make the day better for them
  • When someone is angry, Proverbs says that a soft answer turns away wrath
  • Encouragement is a little bit of sugar & I have yet to meet a person who abhors encouragement
  • Soft, gentle, sweet & sincere words can be helpful in any relationship, but perhaps we can the most benefit from giving sweet words more than receiving them

Let’s add some sugar to our interactions today 🙂

A Little Sugar


The proverbial sugarbowl

I like savory over sweet but in my family, certain members prefer sweet to savory. For example, if I set out a jar of dill pickles some of us could empty that jar lickety split. On the flip side, I could easily forget about some ice cream in the freezer for months while other members of my family wouldn’t let the ice cream survive until the morning. 
Regardless of your taste preferences, there are occasions when a little sugar is always nice:

  • When someone is having a bad day, being sweet can sometimes make the day better for them
  • When someone is angry, Proverbs says that a soft answer turns away wrath
  • Encouragement is a little bit of sugar & I have yet to meet a person who abhors encouragement
  • Soft, gentle, sweet & sincere words can be helpful in any relationship, but perhaps we can the most benefit from giving sweet words more than receiving them

Let’s add some sugar to our interactions today 🙂

Love is kind

I just had a really cool experience – a friend noticed that the tires on my car looked low, like they needed some air. Now the deal is that I can be semi-car savy. However, lately I haven’t had very much time to be mindful of car maintainence. Furthermore, we are leaving Thurs to go to Cambodia & getting to do some AMAZING work with Saving Moses & nightcare. So when my friend said he would help w the air pressure thing, I was blown away – totally. As he was saying that he would help me, I felt the Holy Spirit remind me that love is kind & this is a very tangible expression of genuine love. I became stunned to recognize that God was immediately expressing love to me through the kind & practical help with the air pressure in my tires.
This is all to say that the many big & small expressions of kindness to & through us throughout any given day could be dry meaningful expressions of God’s love to & through us, if we’ll keep our eyes & ears dialed into God’s voice, hand & ways. Be mindful that God genuinely loves you 😀

ever feel impatient?

 Recently, I’ve been somewhat frustrated with one of my friends because they’ve made some very silly decisions that have had some fairly negative consequences.  I find myself being impatient with my friend & wanting them to change.  I’m trying to watch the words that I say to my friend, so that I don’t hurt their feelings due to my impatience.  So far, here’s my impatience insights:

  • if impatience is left unchecked, it can be very destructive
  • impatience isn’t only related to our words, but it also can affect our attitudes & actions, so that even if we don’t say anything, we must still remain vigilant against even its subtle expression
  • sometimes it helps to talk about how we feel, but its important to be responsible for our own feelings & not give someone else control of how we may feel or act
  • sometimes the best antidote to impatience is a slow, intentional & methodical application of patience
  • James 1:4 – let patience have her perfect work so that you may be mature & complete.  Give patience permission to work in your life 🙂

things that help relationships to grow

  Over the last few weeks, I have had some interesting conversations with various friends about different ways to improve relationships  One such way is by doing things together – so today, my husband & I are going to buy a dishwasher.  Of course we have different ways of approaching this project, but the point is that we work together to get something that will be reliable & helpful to our family for a reasonable price.  I’ll keep you posted on how this adventure turns out ,)

Some other ways to help a relationship grow include:

  • trust:  not only do we want to be able to trust the other person, but we, ourselves, must also be trustworthy
  • forgiveness – the deeper the friendship, the greater the quantity & deeper the quality of forgiveness;  shallow friendships can often reflect limited forgiveness
  • time:  listening, doing things together and other things / ways that require time
  • sacrifice:  preferring the other person’s desires & needs over our own is a good way to not only grow a relationship, but to also grow as an individual
  • communication:  honesty & diversity (through lots of different ways – written, non-verbal, dialogues, to name a few ideas)
  • affirmation:  looking for creative ways to say, “you is kind, you is wise & you is important” is always important to grow relationships
  • common purpose:  it’s important to understand that different relationships have different purposes (friendships can be for a reason, a season but only a few are for a lifetime)

Ultimately, I see my relationships as a means to express genuine love – letting God love through me.  This is the goal in which I want to always be improving.

what’s the opposite of love???

 I’ve been thinking about love & its various expressions as they relate to different relationships (kids, parents, mates, friends, etc).  In my thinking, I’ve also been considering not only what love is, but also what love is not & here are some take aways I’ve been considering.  Love is not:

  • selfish – hence my tweet from a few days ago about love making decisions in the best interests of the recipient & not merely the giver of love
  • inconsistent – love is stable & as such, doesn’t merely function in the realm of feelings
  • hateful, malicious, evil, cruel or sadistic
  • apathetic – this word comes from the greek meaning to lack feeling or passion (a-pathy).  Perhaps indifference is more deadly than guns, bombs  & knives
  • egocentric or prideful – maybe these would be synonyms with selfish

These are some interesting observations, but what is more important than observation is application.  I know that I want to love well & authentically, but I get frustrated with myself because I fail.  It is exactly these frustrations, among other things, that cause me to turn to God because God is love.  I turn to God to live in a deeper relationship with Him so that He can love others more authentically through me.

think twice & be nice

Here are some interesting observations:

  • i was flying somewhere & observed some person get really upset w a flight attendant & chew out the attendant.
  • i was at starbux & saw a person blow off the barista making their beverage

In both of these instances, i was perplexed.  Why would you take out the frustrations of your day on the person responsible for your safety & well being while flying on an airplane?  What good would be accomplished by making a flight attendant angry w you?  Furthermore, why would you dismiss or ignore the person making a drink that you will be consuming? 

Why do we let out or frustrations on someone who is serving us?  Even if they get something wrong or make a mistake, why wouldn’t we extend some of the abundant grace that we’ve received?  Aside from what Jesus tells us to be kind & loving, its just good common sense to think twice & be nice, even if you’re feeling a bit stressed out. 🙂