A Legacy

“God blessed them, and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.”-Gen 1:28 (NRSV).

Disclaimer:  This is not to condemn those who choose not to have children or cannot have children.  Parenthood is not for the faint of heart and those who undertake it are often bereft of sleep, logical thought, and the ability to carry an uninterrupted conversation.  If a couple opts to refrain from the responsibility of child rearing, they should be applauded for weighing options and understanding this monumental task would not be best suited to them.  Sometimes couples don’t want children and find themselves expecting; that is an entirely different conversation.

Anyways, why am I writing this?

I’ve had co-workers, family, and friends produce faces agape when I respond that we would, in theory, like 4 or 5 children.  I have been told that I won’t be able to provide enough attention to my children, that my financial resources wouldn’t stretch enough, that I need to think of their education and how can I do that with 5 kids, it isn’t fair, that my kids wouldn’t be able to get nice things, that I don’t have a big enough house to accommodate that many kids, etc.

Yes, I need to do a better job of tuning this out and not listening to “nay-sayers”.  They aren’t the ones that have the responsibility of raising 5 kids.  It would be mine and my husband’s task, no one else’s.  Why is this life choice any less legitimate than having 1-2 or no kids?

Our culture is obsessed with independence, monetary success, and education.  We might be able to rear intelligent individuals, but are we raising up the next kind and generous generation?  Yes, my kids might not get the latest toy, meals might be simpler and at home more, they might have to work instead of having everything bought for them, but they will be encouraged, loved, and prayed over.

One income families are rare these days.  Yes, the cost of living has increased significantly and wages don’t seem to have risen at the same degree, but needs and wants are two very different things.  I would love to give my kids the opportunity for a great education.  Does that mean college is a necessity?  No, what if I educated them to be self-sufficient, teaching them necessary life items like mechanics, carpentry, sewing, and cooking.  There are fewer people entering the trades.  Skilled artisans are required to help society keep going.  If everyone is at a desk, who will actually hammer a nail, patch a worn garment, or fix a leaky gas line?

I have been told to honestly think about this choice, an unstated assumption that I haven’t weighed my options and carefully considered what rearing five children entails.

In regards to attention, I think this society is starved for quality time.  We are addicted to our technological gadgets.  There are families that will sit at a table all playing individual games, ex: Candy Crush, while not uttering a word to each other.  I don’t think the number of children matters in the attention arena.  A parent can either give attention to their kids or not.  There have been parents that work so hard they don’t make room for their kids, parents that hover too much, and everything in between.  Attention giving is a delicate balance and just because you have more children doesn’t mean you won’t be able to love your children equally, granting similar attention to all.  While I digress with the subsequent statement, I think it holds more weight in regards to lack of attention than family size does; technology, while useful, has given rise to isolation, an increase in depression, and increased feelings of rejection, especially when discussing social media use.

Sons are indeed a heritage from the Lord,
    the fruit of the womb a reward.”-Ps. 127:3

Let us stop thinking of children as commodities, burdens, or chores.  May we realize that you can live a rich and fulfilling life with a small nuclear family or a large brood.  Joy is not dependent on financial gain, educational pursuits, or undivided attention.  Rather, children are the next generation and it is up to us to equip them with the ability to be good stewards of God’s kingdom on earth.  It takes children from all walks of life, from large families to small, to correctly glorify God this side of heaven.

May we realize what a reward children are and that whatever works for a particular couple—be it a dynamic, bustling unit of multiple kids running around or a subdued atmosphere of just three, that it is all for God, his plans and his purposes.

Let us not see differences like this as wrong, but just what it is, a difference in preference and God looks favorably on both.  [There isn’t Scripture that explicitly states what size family you need to have.]

*Also, I need to stop caring what other people think and start tuning them out.  Am I now seeking human approval, or God’s approval? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still pleasing people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Gal. 1:10 NRSV Oh Lord, I want to be found a servant of you and not of this world.  Let it be so.

 

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Habit of Happiness: A Philippians Study

The back story:

In an instant someone could release their grip.  Life ebbs and flesh is still, cold.  One year ago, today, a child I had done ministry with died at the age of 17.  He was a devoted follower of Christ.  My world was rocked.  I’ve always known death to be a natural occurrence, always existing in the peripheral.  It can happen at any time, but it felt distant.  It was the first time that someone younger than me (and not a stillborn) entered through the gates to bow before the throne eternally.

Digressing from the above, but it ties in so stay attuned:  I’ve been increasingly angry, disgruntled, and all around miserable to be around.  I can blame it on pregnancy hormones and my lack of sleep, but it is not who Christ calls me to be.  There are no excuses for indulging in the flesh.  It is sin and I am to be repentant.  On that front, I need to look at what the root cause is.

My faith has felt dead lately, route.  This dissonance in faith is not God’s fault.  He says, “…I will never leave you or forsake you.”-Heb. 13:5  We need not fear the uncertainty of life or trust in idols because God is omnipresent.  Any distance I feel is something I am doing.  I know that.  Anyways, I feel that part of the problem has been my inclination to complain.  I need to exercise gratitude.

My YouVersion app has Bible plans.  In searching for an exegetical study on Philippians, I came across a plan “Habit of Happiness”.  Mind you, this is not the type of study I was looking for.  However, it is still applicable to changes I need to see in my life.  As such, I decided to start this plan.

It begins by saying our relationships often dissolve and disintegrate because we lack thankfulness for that person’s presence in our life.  Before I know it, I could lose people that I feel disdain to, but that are very important and whom I really do love.  For example, relationships with my sister and my mother have leaned towards estranged more times than not.  However, I need to think about how I am not being grateful for them and alter my attitude.

I might have to say goodbye before I’m ready and if I don’t start recognizing their positive contribution to my life, I might stew in regret until I breathe my last. (See the tie-in to why Dominick’s death plays a part?)

As such, it is time for a change.  Here is my attempt at fostering a habit of Happiness, starting by being grateful for family or friends that I tend to have strained interactions with.

My mother-strong-willed, not a push-over.  She teaches me to have high aspirations and believe I can reach the stars.  She is inspirational in that she sets her mind to something and pursues that goal.  She is not easily discouraged from pursuing her interests.  She is also generous to others who are hard-working.

My sister-once my sister comes to faith in Christ, the world will be forever changed.  She is going to have one incredible ministry!!!  She is a passionate person and if she loves you, she will fight heavily for you.  She is also determined.  She is sensitive too.

My friend Richie-he is not easily persuaded and has strong convictions.  He is also a determined person.  When he decides to do something, he goes for it.

My friend Karen-she is deeply passionate about pursuing Christ and encourages others to do the same.  She lives out devoted loyalty to her husband even when others question why.  Her fight for her marriage encourages others not to give up on their marriage even when it is tough.

My friend Michelle-she is a no-nonsense person who speaks her mind.  She is honest and I am grateful for that.

These individuals might make you meet fury if you cross them, but they will fight for you when they feel that you are being belittled.  They are deeply passionate folks and good to have in your arsenal against Satan.  They will challenge you to stretch yourself in the work that you do and in your own pursuit of faith.  My devotion to Christ is always strengthened to some degree through their encouragement or our conflict.  I should ALWAYS treasure that.

“I thank my God every time I remember you.”-Phil. 1:3

Thank God for every person in your life, especially those with whom you find it difficult to converse with at times.

The New Year Question

What theme is my blog to have this year?

The question above is the constant plague of every writer.  We wonder what our voice needs to say this year.  As a Christ follower, I am called to only say that which is helpful to others, according to their needs so that it may benefit those who are listening.  How do I write such that my internet voice is not just another resounding gong?

So here I am in the turmoil and torment of what to transcribe this year.  I know that I want it to always bring glory back to God.  Afterall, the theme of my spot is the search for holy ground.

If you have anything specific you’d like to hear about this year, especially in a way that sacredness can be gleaned from it, let me know.

This pregnant mama, who has two kids already, is really tired and honestly is fresh out of ideas for right now.

Hanukkah’s Cresendo: Christ’s Humility towards Humanity

Yesterday this year’s season of Hanukkah ebbed to its conclusion as the candles wicks extinguished.

 

Eight flames flicker,

recounting radical providence.

When thieves had stripped the temple

leaving only enough supply for one day’s worship,

God anointed his people with the ability to seek him still.

He gave means for his people to

search his magnitude and praise him for eight days

rather than a measly one.

When the world was dark,

God birthed in illuminating light,

seeing fit to provide his people with endurance

that we might praise Him more abundantly,

in ways we didn’t fathom possible.

It is in coming back to him that miracles do happen;

a passion to proclaim his Passion

grants us providence to worship and to serve

in the temple’s restoration.

 

*Trying to think of a more apt title.

The Scandal

Rampant rumors run roads,

Carving the path they’ll take to Bethlehem.

A petrified patriarch cradles his wife’s hips,

easing her aches as she wobbles on a donkey’s back.

Her gut juts rotund

and the streets burst with lies.

Whispers of adultery, a slut.

Opening herself to the Holy Spirit’s will,

she filleted herself to gossip and assumption.

Depraved humanity mocks the invitation,

scorning a woman willing to bend her will

and a God who would enter the world in a manger.

Will we, like pious Israelites occupy that “moral” ground

or will we bend down to worship a Savior King, who came as an innocent babe?

 

*This of course could use editing.  I’m not quite sure how, but I’m not entirely pleased with the product of this poetry.  Perhaps it is my mind run amuck and the piles of papers accumulating at work.

Week 2 and 3: Peace and Joy

I’m a bit behind, but there has been a lot going on lately.  We’ve had complications with one of Frank’s clients.  Sadly, we focused more on the circumstances and less on Christ.  In doing so, we neglected exemplifying compassion when it was needed most.  We got caught up in pessimism and judgement rather than peace and joy.

We lit these Advent candles, but not our hearts, and thus the true light of Christ’s peace and joy did not glow in our interactions.  Thankfully, God is just and he can make all things new.  He is the God of restoration and light in times of darkness.  When we repent, he is faithful to deliver us.

A note to these clients:  We would have appreciated advance notice before you came to our home.  We apologize for raising our voices and letting emotions control us though.  You were created in God’s image too and deserve dignity.  Yes, you shouldn’t have come unannounced in front of a contractor’s children, but we should have remain composed.  May you be blessed with peace and joy even in your frustration with us.  May Christ be magnified and our human limitations and frustrations set aside.  We pray you would have good health and take delight in God’s blessings, present every day.

Needless to say, I have been unsettled.  I keep forgetting God’s power to give us peace even when we are inclined to anxiety.  When we focus more on our circumstances and less on Christ, we lose sight of the peace which surpasses all understanding and the ability to be joyful in any and all trials.

God is a God of miracles.  He is light to a dark world.  God restored the temple and Christ, when we repent and surrender, restores our souls, the temple of the Holy Spirit.  He will anoint our heads so we can proclaim the true good news with grace and compassion.  He nourishes our panting souls while fried goods wax our pallets this Hanukkah season.

Years ago, God gave victory to an army of few.  He provided for his people when they had little to nothing to sustain them.  When they wanted to worship properly, he gave the means to do so.  In the same regard, God himself entered our world through a helpless babe. He provides remittance for our sinful ways when we confess that he is Emmanuel, our Savior King.

Go forth in peace as you take joy in that blessed assurance.  (I say this to myself just as much as to you, my blogging audience.)

Week 1 Advent: Hope and Promise

Confession:  It has been difficult to foster feelings of wonder, surprise, and excitement for me this Christmas season.  I feel as if I’m wandering in a daze– a swollen gut due to a gestating babe, unbalanced hips, fatigue, and frequent headaches.  Illness and constantly needy children have left me wondering how I can inspire awe, in myself and in those around me.  How can we regain the focus of the Christmas season?  What behaviors or mindsets do we need to adopt so our hearts are charitable, our thoughts pure, and our worship true?

The other day I was reading a story from one of our Advent books.  Willow was partially listening, babbling as she frequently does when excited, tired, or unfocused.  She seems enriched by Santa folklore, the desire for presents, and just being busy.  I wanted to practice stillness and focus.  FYI: These are not Willow’s strong suits.  Regrettably, I yelled.  Screaming, I exuberantly declared: “Can’t we just focus?  Why must we be so entertained with Santa but unable to focus on this Advent story?  We can read these other Christmas books, but they aren’t what I want to read!  I want Jesus!  Don’t you want that too?  He is better and this story is good, just listen!”

She continued bouncing around before retiring to her bedroom with a bottle of milk, curled up on Frank’s lap.  In the quiet of the evening, I prayed.  I was convicted.  A still small voice, be it the Holy Spirit or just self-talk because of knowing Scriptures, I was asked, “Do you want traditions of Advent or to encounter Christ?”

It disturbed me.

I had yelled at my child because of her wonder over everything around her.  Is this not the attitude Christ tells us to have?  “He called a child, whom he put among them,  and said, “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever becomes humble like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.” -Matt. 18:2-4  We are to be humble [read: curious, respectful, not haughty, sacrificial].  I certainly did not model this behavior for my eldest daughter. My sin and ugliness disgusted me.  

(Aside: If you witness your child having a tantrum over pointless issues or his/her conduct is undesirable, ask yourself what behaviors you have been modeling lately.  Children are parrots and will generally copy what attitudes, mannerisms, and behaviors they witness.  Sometimes they are just acting that way because they are at a particular age and adults need to instruct, guide, and occasionally tame a behavior, but more often than not, kids act a certain way because that is what they see.)

Perhaps I am feeling hopeless and down because I keep giving into my impulses.  Rather than praying heavily for protection against the temptation to react from a basal perspective, I simply act on gratifying and fueling my anger.  I am satisfying my flesh instead of seeking Christ and his difficult modes of conduct.  With all the death I’m witnessing lately, I keep forgetting that we are not to mourn as the world does.  We have the hope of eternal life through the promise of Emmanuel, our God with us.

God dwelt with humanity and died on the cross.  Three days later, he arose giving victory over death and reconciliation with God to anyone who would trust in his sovereignty, love, and judgment.

But we do not want you to be uninformed, brothers and sisters, about those who have died, so that you may not grieve as others do who have no hope. For since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him those who have died.  For this we declare to you by the word of the Lord, that we who are alive, who are left until the coming of the Lord, will by no means precede those who have died.For the Lord himself, with a cry of command, with the archangel’s call and with the sound of God’s trumpet, will descend from heaven, and the dead in Christ will rise first. Then we who are alive, who are left, will be caught up in the clouds together with them to meet the Lord in the air; and so we will be with the Lord forever. Therefore encourage one another with these words.”- 1Thess. 4:13-18

Christ promises to dwell with us always when we encourage one another with the truth and glory of the gospel.  It is this promise that grants us hope.  Through that hope, and clinging to it, we can weather the tides of sorrow.  We don’t need to wallow in self-pity, grief, and pain.  Christian, press on.  Continue stepping forward in faith, in truth, and especially this week, in the hope of the promise we have in Christ.  (I say this as much to myself as I do my audience of fellow Christian pilgrims.)

On a St. Nicholas Christmas

http://www.stnicholascenter.org/pages/who-is-st-nicholas/

“Santa” was a real historical figure who bestowed gifts to the poor in the name of Christ.  Sadly, American consumerism and human secularism have snuffed out most recollection of history.  Parents now want to give children gifts from a mythical figure who sneaks into the home and leaves lavish gifts.  I know of individuals who take on second jobs just to leave their kids gifts from Santa!

While I don’t bemoan parents who choose to adopt a mythical approach of Santa into their Christmas traditions, Frank and I have chosen not to raise our daughters with this myth.  Instead, we share the history with our girls, emphasizing that generosity should be done with humility, self-sacrifice, and preferably, in the name of Christ.  We have received judgement from friends and family who think we are stealing the magic of Christmas and imagination from our kids.

Imagination isn’t something we should only foster at Christmas and it certainly shouldn’t be based on greed!  (“What do you want for Christmas? Have you been a good child?”  As if desire and deeds only warrant gifts.  These are not the moral values Frank and I want to pass onto our children.) I hear too many Christian children talking about what they are getting for Christmas rather than Christ’s birth or what they are going to GIVE this season.

Speaking of magic, what is more awe-inspiring than a God who became man, Emmanuel?  This same God-man reconciled humanity to himself by dying on a cross.  Then victory over death was gained when this divine human rose from the dead three days later!  This was miraculous!  Perhaps if we found awe and admiration in truth rather than a temporary figure who grants wishes based on performance, we’d experience more joy this season (and frankly, in every season)!

[On a slightly controversial subject, especially with Christian circles, I will likely also teach my girls about magic through stories like Lord of the Rings, Narnia, and the most “heretical” Harry Potter!  I am a huge Harry Potter fan.  I don’t recite the incantations and I understand this is complete fiction.  Yes, there are real principalities and evil spirits associated with paganism and devil worship.  I do not believe this piece of fictional literature, if taken properly, is true evil.]

Anyways, I digressed a bit with the controversy.

Some other things I find curious about this time of year:

-Most of the time, people have a problem with their children sitting on a stranger’s lap…especially their little girl sitting on the lap of an elderly male.  At Christmas time though, we seem to promote this behavior!  (I am always hesitant letting my children do this.  I don’t know who this man is, what his background is (do Santa impersonators have to have background checks), or what fantasies he may have (even if he hasn’t publicly been persecuted for acting on fantasies).  Santa was at an event I recently attended with my children.  Willow was excited to go sit on Santa’s lap, get a gift, and show him her decorated cookie (not a euphemism, but an actual cookie).  As such, I let her go up with her sister.  It provided a picture perfect moment between my daughters.

Christmas santa 2017 girls hugging  Like I said, Picture Perfect Moment!!!

-We tell our children not too be greedy and keep asking us for toys.  At Christmas though, we ask them to make a list of their top ticket items.  Rather than giving these away to children who don’t have anything and might enjoy it, we promote and perpetuate our children’s greed.  Then we chastise their constant desire later.  Also, we experience buyer’s remorse because children generally play with the toy for a couple of days before it collects dust sitting unwanted in a dark recess of the house.

-We try to get our kids to eat fruit and veggies throughout the year while minimizing sugar consumption.  At Christmas time though, we indulge.  Not only do we pack on the holiday pounds, we are willing to decorate cookies every night of December with our kids.  (Yes, I am guilty of wanting to do this too, so please understand this entire post is really just my musings, contemplation, and curiosity, not judgement.)

-We try to budget carefully, but at Christmas we overspend and experience a drought in January.

-We are completely against breaking and entering.  Some friends even lock their doors when they are home!  However, Santa is granted permission to break into our homes if he is going to leave us gifts?  Is this not greed or at least hypocritical?  I am so confused by this principle.

I say this because I understand why our kids are conflicted and confused.  Are we not sending mixed messages?  How do we foster the behaviors we want to see when we are willing to forsake our own convictions, ideals, and/or safety measures for an entire season?

I want to be less hypocritical during this time of year, especially now that I have little parrots who are watching my every move.  (Practicing Santa as a true myth doesn’t have to be hypocritical, but it can be.  I know that temptation would be too strong for me.  Also, for some other reasons mentioned above, as a Christian I do not want to practice the myth side.  I am willing to pretend with my kids if they understand it is fiction, but I don’t want them to think a real person sneaks into our house, eats our homemade cookies, and leaves lavish gifts only to later tell them it was really me or a close family friend.)

I want to be more generous, more merciful, more patient, and especially more still (that I might hear God’s whispers about where and to whom he is calling me and my family to minister).

How do you want to be changed this Christmas season?  What are your personal thoughts on how we practice Christmas in this culture?  What do you think about Santa?

(Do we Christians know the roots of tree decorating and the like stem from pagan rituals?  Are we okay with that?  If a tradition has morphed and isn’t remembered as being pagan, is it acceptable to engage in it?  FYI, we do buy a tree and decorate it (we try to stick with ornaments with history or about Christ).  Is it beneficial though, especially if I know the roots of such a practice?  I wrestle with this.  I’m still working it out.)

A note to my husband:  No, lights are not part of the pagan ritual that I am aware of.  Jesus is the light of the world.  Lights on a home are not only peaceful, they can be used to instill relaxation and wonder.  Plus, our daughters will enjoy the bright illumination at night.  Watching our daughters amazement can help ignite my faith and restore my luster for this time of year.  Sadly, with sickness and fatigue I haven’t felt the “Christmas spirit”.  Perhaps stringing lights and watching our children’s delight will help rectify this problem.  *In other words, this is not an excuse I will accept to refuse helping put up lights on the house.  *wink, wink* I love you, even your anti-festive tendencies.  I will win you over one day.  *smirk*  (Hey, at least I refrained from emoticons.  I am trying to demonstrate true love to you.)

Will You Lay With Me?

Big pools of brown blink,

Pouting lips,

and clasped hands.

Untangling your fingers you pat the pillow.

“I’ll lay here and you there, okay?”

Hearing the distant chatter, I glance towards the door.

“I can’t darling, I really can’t.  There are guests to entertain.”

So I retreat and you recoil,

bereft and broken.

As my steps fade I hear the peels of your screams,

you’re calling me back, pleading for me to stay a little while longer.

I chose ease, I chose comfort.

Rather than be inconvenienced,

I took leave and left you there in the dark.

Your fists pounded the floor in response.

You questioned.

Honestly my dear, I did too.

They exited and I took reprieve in my sheets.

As I rest my head, turn to the one who willingly offers his presence, I shed sobs.

When you asked, I denied.

Know this, I chose wrong.  I should have chosen you.

 

Other than God and your father, you and my other kin are always the choice I want to and should invest in.

Choosing Silence

An extroverted people appeaser will, without fail, become discouraged.  The person will often feel unwanted, undervalued, and purposeless.  You see, as an extrovert, people fuel your excitement.  However, attempts to please folks is feeble.  You will wind up making someone angry, frustrated, or annoyed.  Trying to please everyone is wrought with failure.

I know this because I am an extrovert who struggles with people pleasing addiction.  I also struggle with depression.  I think them more intertwined than I care to admit.

When you express feelings of feeling devalued, unwanted, or ignored, you are often told that you are exaggerating, to deal with it, or to just ignore it.  This simply perpetuates the problem.  At the same time, you begin to wonder if you are just exasperating a non-issue.  Shouldn’t I be the quiet, demure woman so praised in Scripture?  Am I really just inflating the problem in my mind?  I do tend to read into things more than I should.

I’ve been told I’m nosy simply for taking interest in people and their life.  I’ve been told I’m controlling, judgmental, and dramatic.  I will confess that at times I struggle with these attributes, but are they my character?  Oh God, I hope not. Can I be known beyond my sin or am I so steeped in it that is all I am really identified as by outsiders?

“Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer everyone.”-Col. 4:6

Lately I am beginning to wonder if I should even speak at all.  Sometimes silence is more pleasant, more accepting, more kind, no?  If we are silent though, will we be found in agreement with what we are against?  Is it important for everyone to know our opinions and views?  How do I make it so my actions are louder than my words; or that there be no need for words at all?

We live in a society addicted to social media.  I guess we are consumed with self, with independence.  Any inkling to community and sharing vulnerability is frowned upon.  I guess this is why I get hurt so often.  I’m an extrovert who strives to please people.  Am I throwing myself a pity party?  I guess in a way I am.  Forgive me.  *The people pleasing prowler is on the hunt again.  I’ll be damned.  God, please release me!*

The fact is, you can’t please everyone.  I’m trying to break this cycle.  I know it will only be broken by the Spirit’s power.  How do I manage though?  How can I surrender this desire and will to God?  This is not a question of ability but more the tangible application of such surrender.  I know I need to do it and I want to; just exactly does someone go about doing this?  What would this look like?

Do I speak? Do I remain silent?  It took years to admit that I’m an extrovert.  I fought so long and hard to resist the desire to want to be around people rather than holed up by myself and entertaining my own interests.  Since accepting I’m an extrovert, I try so hard to be silent because I am constantly “eating my feet”.  Would God want me to be consistently quiet in a group?

I often wonder if he made me this way or if it was years of criticism, belittlement, etc. that made me full of self-doubt, a desire to appease people, and the need to feel “validated” by a group.

It is ever more pressing we find our identity in Christ, not in the flexible opinions of individuals or society.  (I say this more to myself than you, my reader, of course.)

“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!”-2Cor. 5:17

“For we are what he has made us, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand to be our way of life.”-Eph. 2:10 (Is it a good work for me to be silent?  Would I be serving myself or Christ? I want to choose silence because I have been feeling “Even a fool who keeps silent is considered wise; when he closes his lips, he is deemed intelligent.” (Prov. 17:28)  Am I really just a fool?  Or am I only wanting to operate in silence to preserve my self-image and reputation?  Is that glorifying to God?)

Dear God, how? I need discernment.  Some days I feel like I’m choking on the very air (the extroverted composition) that gives me life, the breath that fills my lungs and passions.  Lord, I need you, every hour I need you.  My heart knows the truth for you said, “ I am the vine, you are the branches. Those who abide in me and I in them bear much fruit, because apart from me you can do nothing.”-John 15:5  Help me to see the fruit of my life devoted to you, be it in silence or audible speech.