We’re talking about friendships with my buddy Keri Lee from Free to Fly Ministries again this week. Check out last week’s post where she laments her “black thumbs” when it comes to caring for houseplants but offers Biblical wisdom on caring for our friendships. Such good reminders for me!
This week, though, I asked her, “What about when the relationship ends despite best efforts?” Here are her thoughts and encouragement to get out there and try again.
Excited for you to meet my friend Keri Lee Robbins this week as she shares a two-part series on tending our “friendship plants” with wisdom from God’s word. Keri Lee and I met a few years ago through Twitter as we were traveling to attend the same conference. My Las Vegas buddy is a gentle yet passionate advocate for foster care and adoption as well as for those with disabilities. So glad to call her my friend. Enjoy!
I do not have a green thumb at all. It’s quite black. Like midnight black. Generally speaking, giving me a plant is sentencing it to death. It’s a sad reality that I have come to accept. The people I love know that I do enjoy flowers though, so recently I was given 2 flowering plants.
On Mother’s Day, my Mom gave me an orchid. An orchid. One of the hardest plants to keep alive in the history of plants. It had five very pretty little flowers on it. I was immediately enamored and terrified. Then, my sweet friend Cindy brought me a flowering succulent with lovely coral flowers.
Both plants came with little cards detailing how to care for them, and I studied them cautiously. They only needed water once a week with good drainage, medium sunlight, and needed to be transplanted when they got larger. There was, however, nothing on the cards to prepare me for what would occur within a few days.
Between Monday’s eclipse and getting kids back to school, it’s already been a strange week. Now, with Hurricane Harvey bearing down on us here in Texas, we’re all throwing our schedules out the window and getting prepared.
Storm prep is a bit sobering—last year’s devastating floods are still fresh on people’s minds. However, one good thing that always happens in Houston is that people begin to focus on taking care of their families and neighbors. Grace starts to manifest itself in beautiful ways.
In my own life this week, I’ve needed a refresher on that amazing grace. What I wrote last week on forbearance and what I’ve wanted to write about forgiveness this week have been put to the test. There haven’t been any big upsets, but I’ve been an anxious, irritable mess and haven’t had a whole lot of grace for my family or myself. On top of that, every bit of sharp-tongued criticism I’ve directed at my family, every hurt feeling I’ve struggled to release—all of it has been on a replay loop in my brain. Forbearance? Forgiveness? Who can write about those when you can’t seem to extend either?
Now, a few of you other veteran parents just nodded knowingly because you are acutely aware that things get a little tense as the kids head back to school. In fact, my problem-solving husband was Googling articles on the August Blues, trying to help me gain perspective. (He was also trying to soothe me with science since I’m a sucker for good research—if nerd-speak isn’t an official love language, it should be.)
So yes, I’m aware that what I’ve been experiencing—the short temper, the frustration, and the angsty regrets over those feelings—isn’t that different from other moms in back-to-school mode, especially those who tend toward some anxiety and depression like me.
So do I dare write about things like forbearance and forgiveness? You bet I do.
This week I posted on Facebook with regards to events in Charlottesville, VA, “I pledge not to look away, not to offer the cop-out of “It’s complicated” as an excuse for doing nothing. This white supremacist garbage is straight out of hell, and we’ve got our work cut out for us as the body of Christ to unseat an ancient evil. But our Jesus will have the victory in the end.”
I truly believe we, the church, have an opportunity to respond to God’s call for unity within His body and then work shoulder-to-shoulder to fight what is ultimately a spiritual battle against racism, sexism, class-ism and any other “-ism” that’s not’s reflective of Who we serve. (If you need a starting place to understand that vision, check out Derwin Gray’s latest book The High Definition Leader: Building Multiethnic Churches in a Multiethnic World. Both he and Trillia Newbill are leaders who are speaking and writing eloquently on the topic.) With that vision in mind, I want to remind us of two tools in our tool belts, forbearance and forgiveness, that will go a long way in helping as we dismantle old mindsets and walk in Christ’s will for His earth. I’ve written a few chapters about those two things in New Woman, New Clothes, so I’ll share some excerpts this week and next.
And sisters and brothers, hold tight to Galatians 6:9 and let’s not grow weary of doing the good things Christ is calling us to do, for in due time we will reap a harvest!
Our numbers grew, time lengthened, but we were not unhappy. True, we were all a bit anxious, a bit tired, but you would have seen various ones of us continue to pop up onto our toes and crane our necks to see down the corridor, hopeful looks on our faces.
At one point I caught a blur in my peripheral vision. A boy of perhaps 10 or 12, dressed up in black slacks and a pink-hued button-down ran from the crowd and around the metal barrier to launch himself into the arms of a woman clothed in a long black dress and headscarf. The little guy was equal parts smiles and tears! I’m not ashamed to say I, too, shed a few happy tears as I watched them enveloped by a larger family near us, the boy never leaving the woman’s side.
We watched some version of that scene play out over and over in the course of an hour at the airport’s International Arrival lobby:
A gentleman with flowers awaiting his love.
A scruffy-faced backpacker arriving to scan the crowd for his parents.
A group of families cheering as our rumpled teens finally came through the corridor.
I decided this ranked second only to the maternity waiting room at the hospital for the mixture of anticipation and sudden outbursts of joy.
Last week, we looked at adventures in middle school rejection and the “longing to belong” that can drive our decisions and relationships years later. This week, I’ve asked a friend to share her life-in-the-trenches parenting story of just how subtly the feelings of rejection and unworthiness can creep in. She and her husband have spent months encouraging and helping their lovely, talented daughter who found herself nearly wrecked by a constant barrage of social media content that left her feeling unworthy and unlovable. I think you’ll find what they’ve learned insightful and practical. Continue reading “when the battle for “likes” wrecks your child”→
This summer I’ve gotten the chance to know Victoria Adams, a senior religion major at Baylor University who is interning with the youth ministry at our church. She recently shared a message with our middle school group about how God can meet us in our place of weakness and remind us that we are His beloved children. That resonated with me, too, so I’ve asked her to guest blog this week with her story.
I was born deaf.
Not the “she hears me sometimes then ignores me others” type deaf but fully and completely without hearing. My parents found this out by cupping their hands and yelling at me while I was sleeping as a baby.