Someone is Going to Be Disappointed

As I write this blog on the day before Election Day, I have no idea what the outcome will be. The one thing I do know is that roughly half the country will be very disappointed. So how do we handle discouraging circumstances in a Christ-like way? How do we bounce back after a major disappointment? Let’s look at three ways we can experience resilience when we don’t win.

Realize that God Has a Bigger Plan and Purpose. When we face a discouragement in life, it’s easy to think that all is lost and our lives will never be the same. To be honest, sometimes things do change and they change for the worse, but that doesn’t mean that  God is incapable of using even the worst of circumstances for a greater good. The Bible is clear that God is sovereign and His ways are unfathomable. He is able to take even the most dreaded of situations (the cross) and bring redemption and restoration through them.

Respond Without Regrets. No matter what happens, we have a responsibility at followers of Christ to reflect His heart. We must respond as people who have faith in an all-knowing God, and not as those filled with fear and anger. We are people of hope, and we must show hope to the world around us. Our hope is that God will do more than we ask or imagine beyond what we see in front of us. So what does a healthy response look like? Kindness, love and respect for our neighbors.  Humility and prayer for our country. Trust in a God who is bigger than our disappointment.

Recognize There Are Still Reasons to be Thankful. In this month of Thanksgiving we need to reflect and focus on those things for which we can give thanks. And there are plenty! Sometimes we need to look a little deeper and be more thoughtful, but we can always find a reason to be grateful. Start a thankfulness journal this month  – even if you are not a journaler.  I’ve never been a journaler myself, but I do write down a list of at least five things I’m thankful for each morning. It changes our perspective and outlook and helps us see that God is at work. It reminds us that He is using even the difficulties in life to bring truth and light into a dark world.

No matter what the outcome, each of us can experience victory and strength as we deepen our faith and trust in our all-knowing God. Instead of being fearful and angry, turn your heart and mind upwards and remember that God is on His throne. Perhaps one of the greatest benefits of disappointment is that it can bring us to a stronger reliance on Him and a deeper life of prayer.

Go Vote (if you haven’t already), and draw close to the Lord in prayer.

Calming Ideas for Frazzled Moms

Will school start in person or online? Will you be homeschooling or going back to work or juggling the two? As a mom, you may feel at wit’s end right now with so many unanswered questions. Today’s blog offers you a few points of encouragement as you juggle your continually shifting responsibilities.

When you feel overwhelmed, remember the Stop Method

Step away from the source of frustration

Take several deep, relaxing breaths

Objectively think about how to wisely handle the situation (reengage your brain)

Pray for God’s help, strength & direction

Creating a Peace-filled Environment

  • Develop simple daily routines (Example: breakfast, reading time, play time, lunch, naptime, craft time, tv time, dinner, Bible stories, bath bed)
  • Start each day with Gratitude (thank the Lord for 3 things)
  • Play with your kids instead of working against them  – laugh, enjoy, create, sing, color, build a fort, have fun!
  • Watch shows and movies together
  • Play peaceful music – having the tv on all the time creates stress
  • Limit screen time for you and your kids –studies show  frustration/anger is elevated when parents are focused on their phone more than their kids.
  • Get outdoors into God’s wonderful creation, go for family walks
  • Have naptime every day for you and your kids – we all need a break
  • Read books, pray and sing silly songs together

Take care of yourself personally – Set aside a little time now and then to stay connected with positive friends through calls or texts. Again, guard against constantly being on your phones as it will only add more stress to your life. If you need a break, see if a family member can help watch the kids while you take a break. 

My Hope

It’s easy to talk about the problems in our society, but it’s not as easy to discover positive solutions. When I think about journeying down the road to recovery, here are a few things for which I pray:

  • Love, instead of hatred
  • Conversations, instead of angry discourse
  • Listening, instead of demanding
  • Prayer, instead of ignoring God
  • Humility, instead of pride
  • Hope, instead of fear
  • Nuclear families strengthened, instead of dismantled
  • Wisdom, instead of foolishness
  • Biblical values, instead of cultural ideologies
  • Loving God, instead loving the world
  • Compassion, instead of self-centeredness

What would you add to the list? It may seem like pie-in-the-sky thinking, but I believe we can each take steps toward healing and hope. Will you join with me in praying for our nation? And as we pray, let’s seek God’s heart on what we can do to make a positive difference in our own communities.

If you are looking for a way to be proactive, I invite you to join the volunteer team with Engage Positive Parenting Initiative. Our desire is to strengthen and restore families through parenting discussion groups. The Engage program not only encourages fruitful conversation and stimulating ideas, but it also builds relationships across the racial divide.

Currently we are holding classes online. Our next Volunteer Training will be Wednesday, August 12,  10:00 – 1:00 CT via zoom. You can find out more information about Engage and sign up for training at www.EngageParenting.com

Positive Engagement

My heart is grieving over the events of this past week. My desire is to be more aware of the deep pain so many people feel in this country. If you are like me, you want to be part of the solution toward racial reconciliation, but it is hard to know what to do. I believe big change begins with small steps. How do we begin to turn toward unity and away from misunderstanding?

Here are a few things we ought to humbly admit:

We don’t know it all. We tend to form our opinions based on our own experiences and perspective which limits our understanding of others. It is wise for each of us to humbly admit that we don’t know exactly what another person’s life is like. We don’t have a clue about the pain they have felt or the biases they have experienced over the years. Let’s simply realize we have much to learn about each other.

We all need fixing. Instead of pointing the finger at someone else’s issues, we need to consider that we all have issues. No one is without sin. We all need growth, improvement, wisdom and understanding. Instead of focusing on the faults of others, let’s ask God to shine the light on our own hearts and help us see where we need to grow in our love and understanding.

We must reach out and engage. Let’s consider how many people in our little circle of friends are of different races or nationalities. Let’s be deliberate about reaching across the racial divide by engaging in conversations and developing relationships with people who don’t look like we do. Let’s be intentional about building new friendships and getting to know what someone else’s life is like.

We should pray. Are we actively seeking God’s help in the racial reconciliation of our land? Are we praying daily for the needs of those who are different than ourselves? Are we praying for healing? Let’s start today! Let’s start now! As we pray, God begins to open our hearts and minds to the opportunities to love, serve and build bridges.* God can do a healing work beyond  what we can ask or imagine.

These thoughts are just a start. One step at a time, one relationship at a time, we can build bridges and make a positive difference in this world. It begins by embracing those who do not look just like us, listening to their story and understanding their pain. May the anger subside, as love, growth and forgiveness take hold.  

Positive Mom notes: Moms, I encourage you to have conversations with your kids about how important it is to love all people, no matter what their skin color. Allow your kids to join you as you volunteer and serve with people of different races and nationalities.

*If you are looking for a place to serve and build relationships, consider volunteering with Engage Positive Parenting Initiative.

You Can Do Something Positive

Young african woman smiling at sunset

Perhaps you are feeling a little antsy right now. Perhaps that’s an understatement. You’ve watched all your favorite movies, cleaned out every junk drawer and taken your dog on three walks a day. Maybe you are wishing that you could do something – anything – meaningful. The good news is, each of us can find one positive thing to do to help others.

Selfless acts lift our spirits and help us fell as sense of purposefulness. We may not be able to solve all the world’s problems, but we can do small acts of kindness in our own sphere of influence. Here are some creative ideas gleaned from people around me that may spur you on to love and good deeds:

  • Several friends are using their sewing abilities to make face masks for health care workers and individuals.
  • Others are gathering groceries and leaving them on the doorstep of those who need help or have lost their jobs.
  • Some are making a deliberate effort to write at least one note a day to uplift the heart of another.
  • In my world, I help direct an organization calledEngage Positive Parenting Initiative. Since we serve parents in under-resourced areas, my team has joined together to assemble family fun packs filled with snacks and activities to encourage and help homebound parents.
  • One thing that all of us can and should do each day is fall to our knees and pray. There is a true sense of peace we experience when we sincerely go to the Lord on behalf of others. Ask God to comfort the hurting and bring hope to those in despair. Pray for our leaders and the healthcare workers and first responders. Pray for an effective vaccine to be developed quickly. Pray for those who are sick and dying here and around the world. Ask God to show you what you can do and who you should reach out to using the gifts He has given you.

Yes, everyone can do something positive! When we do these simple acts of love, we bring joy into our own environment as well as the world around us. Stay Calm. Stay Kind. Stay Strong.