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Father’s Day: The Beauty, Strength and Power of A Father

Genesis Chapter 2 recounts the power and influence of a father as we see how a single rib from Adam, the first earthly father, significantly impacted Adam and Eve’s lives as well as the lives of men and woman for generations to come.

The movement of a single rib from Adam to Eve had such a strong and magnetic impact that it fused their souls together like a super-glue bond, creating a bond more powerful than their combined differences.

The transfer of Adam’s rib and DNA to Eve’s body is in large part what causes a man to leave his father and mother and cleave to his wife (Gen. 2:24). However, I also believe this same cleaving process occurs between a father and his children and family.

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Son-in-law and eldest grandson

Hence, the spiritual and natural bond that’s created by a good father, similar to our spiritual connection to our Heavenly Father, will never lose its power to influence, correct and make whole. One word from a father, and a child will stand straight and walk right – not only in his father’s presence but also the mention of the father’s name can influence a child to course-correct quick, fast and in a hurry.

A father can have a strong influence on the course of his children and family, and leave an indelible imprint upon their souls.

Fatherhood is a big and rewarding responsibility entrusted to a man by God. And it’s a beautiful thing to see a father in action, following God’s lead and doing what he does for God, himself and his family.  Fatherhood is a divine and holy calling.

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My father in his 30s

I have been so blessed to have several good fathers and father figures in my family, and many other fathers whom I know, and many more whom I’ve never met who are filling big shoes in their role as fathers/father figures. And I’m thankful for my own father, who has been deceased for many years now, but who’s memory remains just as alive today as it ever did.

I encourage all fathers and father figures to stay the course, stick with God, follow his lead and keep doing what you’re doing to fulfill this most holy calling of fatherhood. God bless you all, and thank you for answering God’s call to fatherhood. Your leadership and example truly make a difference in the lives of your children and family, and our world.

Happy Father’s Day!

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Competitiveness In The Inner Courts Of Our Lives And Relationships

As I faced challenges this week in my caregiver journey with my siblings, I realized that life to some people is a contest, a constant competition and comparison of their performance against another’s performance.  And, a competitive spirit in a situation that definitely IS NOT a competition makes a tough situation tougher.

Life isn’t about who’s the best or who completes a task first.  It’s largely about finishing what we set out and purposed to do to the best of our ability.  An old spiritual song that was often sung in our hometown church summed it up this way: “the race is not given to the swift, neither is it given to the strong but to he that endureth to the end.  He that endureth shall be saved.”

Therefore, what’s important is that we fulfill our purpose and call, not necessarily that we finish #1 or even finish quickly, because matters involving people often take delicate handling in order to reap the best and most lasting outcome.  A competitive spirit and being #1 won’t help us to make and retain lasting and loving friendships.  It won’t make people love and stick by us or have faith in us.  It won’t make us love ourselves any more than we did before we placed another “win” under our proverbial belts.

A competitive spirit is out of place in matters of the heart.  Competition pits one against another and has its place, particularly, in the world of sports where we are free to get our game on.  However, competition wasn’t intended for the inner courts of our lives and relationships and causes a variety of unnecessary disturbances in our lives.

Life, and the things we do in honor of our Creator, ourselves and others, is about sharing and showing love, honor and respect for the people and principles that are important to us.  Hand’s down, no competition necessary.

The Evolution of Mom: Lessons for Life Learned as a Caregiver, Part II

When we have difficulty understanding or getting through to others, it may be that we’ve forgotten the nature of the person we are talking to and/or how they process information.  I knew my mom and her condition well enough to know that my approach wasn’t working (and wouldn’t work) with her, but I was stuck in the habit of interacting with her in a certain way.  Yet, I couldn’t understand why things were so difficult. Go figure!

Most of the troubles I’m describing were the result of mindlessness, acting without thinking – based on habit.  I continued to engage my mom in the same old ineffective ways day after day, and day after day, my approach wasn’t working, which only led to frustration.  At last I became more mindful and changed my strategy to include my mom’s thought process instead just my own.

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Principle 2:  Remember your audience

When we are dealing with others “we” are not our own audience.  The person we are engaging in conversation or are otherwise dealing with is our audience.  So if the other person is our audience, it’s futile to use methods that would work for us and not the other person when we need the other person to understand our message.  We are not trying to sell or influence ourselves; we’re trying to reach the other person.

If we keep trying to sell ourselves what we already have, know and understand, we will purchase our own for-sale house, when we needed an outside buyer!

In order to get others to understand our message, we must reach out to them in ways that they understand. When we’re trying to convey a message to someone else, we have to learn to think like them so we can provide what they need in the way that they need it for them to hear and receive whatever we are saying or doing. Otherwise, we are wasting our time and frustrating ourselves.

We can get so stuck in our habits and ways of being that it becomes challenging to consider that the other person may not think or feel the same way as we do.  So mindlessly trying to reach out to someone else using methods that work only for us is like assuming that everyone in this vast world thinks the same as we do.  And that assumption would be grossly inaccurate.

Hence, our interactions with others need to be in ways and methods that resonate with them, our target audience.  And if we tailor our outreach/communication methods to fit our audience, we’ll have more successful interactions. And if nothing more, those we interact with at least will be clear on our meaning whether they agree with us or not.

However, we have to be flexible enough to change our approach when what we’re doing isn’t working.  Knowing our audience and adjusting  our communication to fit who they are and how they take in information, can save or improve our relationships, as well as help us retain our peace of mind and well-being.  Try adjusting your message to fit the way your audience thinks the next time you need to communicate a difficult message to your spouse, significant other, child or coworker.

Your Relationships And You

I was thinking today about how much relationships impact all of our lives, and particularly the lives of women. Whether it’s a relationship with a family member, friend, spouse or significant other, what happens in our relationships can have a longterm impact on how we think and feel, and the choices that we make.

Many people commit suicide, go into severe depression, give up on their dreams or turn to violence and addictions over relationship breakups and dysfunction.

And relationships with spouses and significant others, often can make or break a woman (or a man) if she’s not careful. There’s something about romantic relationships that seem to plow through a woman’s heart almost like nothing else when the relationships begins to deteriorate.

Our relationships touch us so deeply that when something goes terribly and consistently wrong, it affects almost every area of our lives. Because when someone you love breaks your heart or otherwise betrays your trust, it can be devastatingly painful. And, as with severe physical pain, prolonged emotional pain can wear the body down, making us mentally and physically unstable. For this reason, doctor’s often warn people who are depressed and upset not to make any important decisions until they feel better and/or have had time to work through their pain.

However, many women continue making important life decisions, often without realizing that they have not resolved the source of their pain. So, again, without recognizing what’s going on, we may become vulnerable to making poor choices and decisions that are, in part, motivated by the lingering pain of past hurts, such as remaining in a relationship that makes us unhappy and insecure.

The Bible reminds us in Proverbs 4:23 to “above all things, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it” (NIV).

Therefore, in much the same way that our physical heart organ pumps blood throughout the body to keep us alive and is protected beneath the ribcage, our emotional heart center feeds information to our mind, body and spirit that plays a key role in our thoughts, feelings, desires, and even in our will to live and thrive. Since our emotional heart center has such a strong influence on our entire being, we must make it our business to safeguard our hearts.

However, we won’t be able to guard our hearts until we acknowledge our own value and worth, until we love ourselves enough to say “no” to people and things that cause us unnecessary pain and heartbreak. “No” to people and things that don’t celebrate and support who we are. “No” to people and things – and our own choices – that are not working for our good, aren’t taking us in the direction that we want to go, and do not help to fill us with love, joy and peace.

Listen, do not wait for a man or woman to tell you that you are worthy of better. Tell yourself! Know it for yourself, and more importantly, never be afraid to let it speak through your daily choices and decisions that affirm what is true and best for you in your journey. Doing so simplifies the decision-making process because your criteria for your life, decisions and choices will be based largely on how the choice/decision impacts your emotional heart health and your level of love, joy and peace within yourself and about the situation. As women, we must get to this place where we are ‘pro-self’ in a healthy and balanced way and proud to be!