Turning Mirrors Into Windows

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“As water reflects a face, so a man’s heart reflects the man.” Proverbs 27:19 NIV

“Are you a runner?”

This simple question came to me from an avid runner and former track coach. At the time, I was an absolute newbie–training for my first quarter marathon (6.55 miles)–and hadn’t seriously considered continuing beyond that. However, the instant my friend expressed these four simple words, “Are you a runner?,” I heard myself say, “I AM a runner!”

Five years earlier, I’d lost my mother to cancer, only four years after losing my father to the same disease. When my dad died, it was like the mantle of caring for my mother passed to me. But when my mom passed away, it felt like the earth stopped turning; a part of me died too.

A local cancer treatment center hosts a road race every October to raise money for research. It’s called “The Spirit of Survival.” Friends encouraged me to participate, but I wouldn’t  buy it. I was stuck brooding over thoughts like, “Why did this happen?”, and, “What’s the use?” After all,” I protested, “nothing could have saved my mom and dad; it’s too late for them anyway.” Uplifting, huh?

Fast forward to the summer of 2016, when I finally decided to give the upcoming Spirit of  Survival a try.  “Maybe it will help me deal with losing mom and dad.”, I thought–not quite believing it. I began training in July.  Surprisingly, almost as soon as I took to the roads, I felt a reconnection with my parents! The fog of grief surrounding me began to break, leaving a warmth where there had been only shadows.

Running soon became my all-purpose balm for the soul, and it still is to this day. The quarter marathon became a half marathon (13.1 miles) a year later. And when I turned 50 in 2018, I ran my first marathon (26.2 miles)!

But this perpetual adventure in healing and self discovery could have been cut short, had someone not recognized my potential and cared enough to bring it to my attention. The world needs more reliable narrators, like my friend coach Breeze, who turn mirrors into windows.

I aspire to be such a faithful guide. While you join me?

That’s Not Fair!

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Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging.” says God. “I’ll take care of it.” Romans 12:17-19 The Message

It’s a privilege to spend most of my days teaching four and five-year olds. The miraculous mix of wonder, authenticity, and innocence found in young children is indeed a balm for the soul.

What a pre-kindergartener feels is right on the surface-there is no mask. Such an, “always keeping it REAL” approach to life is inspiring.

Take, for instance, my most recent encounter with a pint-sized Italian girl who speaks almost no English. Twice during class she abruptly stood up, put her little hands on her hips, and bellowed,”Non e giusto!” in her native tongue. A quick check with Google Translate solved the mystery. She was saying, “That’s not fair!”

Of course, it was something relatively insignificant–to an adult. Someone took her place in line; she didn’t get a turn. “Calma per favore,” I said in a pleasant voice–“Calm down, please.”

The next morning, I read the scripture above during my devotional time. Then God whispered, “You know, David, you act like a preschooler sometimes; you let people push your, “That’s not fair!’ button.” I have to admit, He’s right.

I often judge myself by my intentions but judge others by their actions. I take offense and contemplate vengeance without knowing all the facts. I presume to be wiser than God.

#bad recipe

According to Jesus, our response to an offense should be forgiveness (Luke 6:37). We are to desire justice, (Micah 6:8) not revenge.

“Calma per favore,” says the Almighty. “I’ll take care of it.”

The Miracle in the Rain

“I will be glad and rejoice in Your love,
for You saw my affliction
and knew the anguish of my soul.” Psalm 30:7

It was raining steadily as dozens of cars crept through the student drop-off line at my school. Some students prepared for the weather, wearing rubber boots and carrying umbrellas, but others did not. One little girl, in particular, was reluctant to get out of the car in just her tee-shirt and shorts. From the school doorway, I could see her and dad going back and forth.  Finally, I saw him say, “Get OUT of the CAR!”
The dejected youngster exited slowly and began to make her way down the stairs to the building below–head down and arms folded. By the time she reached the door, she was soaked, her clothes polka-dotted with rain. I said, “Good morning, young lady!” But it was too late; she promptly burst into tears.

Several children waiting to go into the building noticed the commotion. Turning to look in unison, they seemed about to take a step back. But then, the most amazing thing happened. One child stepped forward, and then another, and another. The drenched and distraught 2nd grader and I were soon surrounded by smiling students, one of whom exclaimed, “Group Hug!” Quickly, everyone encircled the two of us in a tight ball, frozen in place for a good five seconds.

When everyone let go, a miracle had occurred! The sopping wet youngster was no longer sobbing. She dabbed her eyes with a tissue, offered by another student, and chose to face the day.

As a Christian, it is comforting to believe God knows the troubles of my soul and sees the pouring “rain” on this life’s journey. He is a God of love who helps us love one another. A group of children and a little wet friend just reminded me of this.

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Bottomless Grace

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“My grace is sufficient for you, for My power is made perfect in weakness.”  2 Cor. 12:9

Do you remember that carnival ride, the one with the false floor?  It spins around really fast and then the bottom drops out.

Fortunately, it spun so fast centrifugal force held everyone in place; nobody fell into the abyss.

Isn’t God like that?

Every time the bottom drops out of life, His powerful grace holds us in place.

It’s a done deal.  God’s grace is always enough.  Not will be or may be, but IS!

Trust His bottomless grace.

 

Showing Grace to Others

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“The wise in heart are called discerning, and pleasant words promote instruction.” Prov. 16:21  

Many of us have heard the saying, “A child may forget what you say or do, but they will always remember how you made them feel.”

The scripture above contains a truth of God that is as real as the Law of Gravity:  “pleasant words promote instruction.”

Being gracious to others isn’t always easy or come naturally, but it’s God’s way of doing things.

The challenge today is to extend God’s grace to others–whether they deserve it or not.  After all, He has been gracious to us.

“He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities.” Ps. 103:10