Tag Archives: serving

When and How to Help a Woman

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“It shouldn’t be about societal rules, but about love,” my daughter remarked during a recent discussion. She had just spent a week overseas and was talking about how the young men treated her as compared to how some American guys have treated her and other girls especially within church and homeschool circles. In social groups that put a lot of emphasis on living according to rules, many boys and men seem to insist on taking on a task or helping a girl because it’s what they were taught about being a man or a gentleman. It’s not so much about loving or caring about the person as it is about “doing what’s right” and feeling like a man.

There’s a quote or meme going around that says, “A real woman can do it all by herself, but a real man won’t let her.”

What?! Seriously?

I was recently talking with a couple of friends who are having trouble in their marriages. Although younger than I, one man had an older generation mentality of men being in control and making all the decisions. He had been taught that having wide shoulders and handling everything was the way to love his wife. I admire him for wanting to take care of her, but I tried to help him realize that although we women do want someone who will take care of us, we also want a life partner and to be valued as a partner. There was more, but that’s for a different blog post.

After yesterday’s practical fire class on ventilation and skills training, I thought more about what my daughter had said. Because I am small at only 5’1” tall, I have quite a few limitations when it comes to being a firefighter, but there are things I must try to do as part of the class, and some of those things I have to do by myself. During those times, I am grateful for my classmates’ and instructors’ encouragement and cheering me on. I am also grateful for their help when we work together as a crew, as well as when they ask if I’ve “got it” before they rush in to help.

A real woman can do it by herself, and a real man will let her if she wants to.

So when do you help a woman?

When she asks.

When she’s in danger.

When she’s tired or not feeling well.

When she doesn’t ask, but you know her well enough to know she needs and wants help.

How should you help a woman?

That depends. That, too, is for another blog post, but the bottom line is to do it out of a heart that loves and cares, and know her well enough to know how she wants to be helped.

(Shout out to my friend and firefighter brother, Nick, who helped me with setting up and shooting the photo. I was going to try to do it alone, but I’m so glad I asked for help, because trying to execute a self-portrait using the camera’s timer was really unrealistic, and although I probably could’ve gotten the 24’ ladder off of Engine 2, it would have been really difficult and potentially dangerous. Thank you, Nick!)

 

If you liked this, you might also like… Wisdom Wednesday: When It’s Never Enough

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“Lo, hearkening than sacrifice is better; to give attention than fat of rams.” —1 Samuel 15:22b YLT

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Wisdom Wednesday: Service With a Smile

“The kindness is doubled if what must be given is given willingly.”  —Latin proverb

“The kindness is doubled if what must be given is given willingly.” —Latin proverb

Have you ever asked someone to do something for you only to have that someone respond with a heavy sigh, whining, or complaining? If you’re a parent or a teacher, that’s a pretty silly question, isn’t it? What’s even sillier, although less amusing, is when we adults do it to one another. I know we all have bad days and should try to respond with grace when met with a bad attitude, but isn’t it so much sweeter when someone gives and serves cheerfully? And don’t you feel more loved and respected when someone responds happily to a request?

“Cheerfulness gives sweetness to life.” —Filipino proverb

“Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, so let him give; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver.”
—2 Corinthians 9:7

“The kindness is doubled if what must be given is given willingly.” —Latin proverb

“The visible sign of utter love is an undying smile.” —Sri Sri Ravi Skankar

“He gives well and bountifully who accompanies the gift with a pleasing look.” —Latin proverb

“A gift with a kind face is a double grace.” —German proverb

Years ago while dining at a restaurant in Canada, I remember the response given by our waitress when I said, “Thank you.” With a pretty smile and a French accent she replied, “It is my pleasure.” I loved that response, so I adopted it.

“Forget the favors you have given; remember those received.” —Chinese proverb

Sometimes people give or serve in order to receive or to be served. Although we shouldn’t give or serve with selfish motives and a score card, isn’t it funny how people sometimes act as if you owe them for what they have done instead of giving and serving out of love and gratitude for the things you have done for them? Or maybe it’s the other way around.

“Every gift which is given, even though it be small, is in reality great, if it is given with affection.” ―Pindar, Greek poet

“It is well to give when asked, but it is better to give unasked, through understanding.” —Kahlil Gibran

If you liked this, you might also like:  Wisdom Wednesday: When It’s Never Enough


Wisdom Wednesday: When It’s Never Enough

"Lo, hearkening than sacrifice is better; to give attention than fat of rams."  —1 Samuel 15:22b YLT

“Lo, hearkening than sacrifice is better; to give attention than fat of rams.” —1 Samuel 15:22b YLT

Have you ever felt like you could never do enough to please someone? Have you ever heard someone say, “I don’t know what to do to make you happy”? Although some people can be unreasonably demanding and nothing anyone does will ever make them happy, sometimes it’s a matter of us doing what we like to do, think is better, or what’s convenient for us rather than what is asked or needed. Then we wonder why the things we do never seem to be enough.

“The sacrifice of an ox will not bring us all we want.” —Latin proverb

“Personal affections must be sacrificed for the greater cause.” —Chinese proverb

“Whether you understand the motivations of your heart or not, really what’s driving your actions, and what’s driving your life and how you fill your day, actually comes back to what you believe is actually gonna bring about the most fullness of life possible for you.” —Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church in Fig Leaves, Lies and the Grace of God

Decades ago I wrote a short skit for our youth group to teach the principle of obedience over sacrifice. It was inspired by the account of when King Saul was given specific instructions but only partially carried them out. Then Samuel, God’s spokesperson arrived on the scene:

And Samuel said, Hath the LORD as great delight in burnt offerings and sacrifices, as in obeying the voice of the LORD? Behold, to obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams. —1 Samuel 15:22

In order to make the account applicable and more personal, the skit portrayed a mother instructing her teenage daughter to do her homework. The daughter went to her room, and after some time, she presented her mother with a painting as a gift.

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The mother was blessed, until she realized her daughter had not done any of her homework, where upon she became sad and disappointed.  She expressed appreciation for the gift, reassured her daughter of her love, and explained why obeying is a greater expression of love and respect.

Have you ever wondered why you seem to be losing respect and closeness in relationships?  In King Saul’s case, his disobedience by doing things his own way and his rebellious heart caused him to lose God’s blessing and eventually his kingdom and even his life.  Although in our relationships, it may not be a matter of obedience or disobedience, it could be that we are not hearkening, that we are not truly listening and doing what others ask, need or desire.

“Being heard is so close to being loved that, for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.”  —David Augsburger

“My wife says I never listen to her.  At least I think that’s what she said.”  —Unknown


Wisdom Wednesday: Teamwork

Have you ever been a part of a winning team or even a championship team? Or have you ever been on a losing team or one that constantly struggled to succeed?  What makes the difference?  Sheer talent or great leadership?  My oldest son sent me the link to the video below. Even though its target audience is League of Legends online gamers, it contains some excellent principles, including financial, for any kind of team or family. It reminded me of when Jesus said, “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation; and every city or house divided against itself shall not stand.” (Matthew 12:25)

“TEAM = Together Everyone Achieves More” —Unknown

“Many ants together can carry a beetle.” —Spanish proverb

“The whole is greater than the sum of its parts.” —Aristotle

Teams and families are made up of people with varying talents and strengths. Successful teams recognize and utilize those strengths and talents. Unsuccessful or struggling teams have members with poor attitudes who want to be the center of attention or are looking out for ‘number one’. 1 Corinthians 12 contains the principle of teamwork, using the analogy of our body, and how we all work together with each having a different part. Verse 21 says, “And the eye cannot say unto the hand, I have no need of thee: nor again the head to the feet, I have no need of you.” Even members who seem less significant play an integral role.  Communication, having a plan, and working together as a whole are key to a team’s success.

“Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships.” —Michael Jordan, pro basketball player

Part of being a member of a team is actually participating and not spending most of the time warming the bench, or pew, or couch. We can either help our team move forward, cause our team to move backward, or remain stagnant by our passivity.

“Wearing the same shirts doesn’t make you a team.” —Buchholz and Roth, guitarists

If a team is to reach its potential, each player must be willing to subordinate his personal goals to the good of the team.” — Bud Wilkinson, football coach

Coaches, bosses, church leaders, and heads of households are just as much a part of the team and generally hold the greater responsibility for its success. Although this post is not about leadership, every group of people when brought together for a common purpose looks to someone to lead, so it’s important to choose a good leader, if possible, who is also willing to subordinate his/her personal goals for the good of the team or family and doesn’t forget that it’s not all about him/her.  It’s about each other, the common goal, and the bigger picture.

“Effective leaders are engaged in the lives of the people they are leading and are constantly seeking to understand how they can create an environment in which people succeed.” –Nathan Mellor, president of Strata Leadership, LLC

“Help others get ahead. You will always stand taller with someone else on your shoulders.” –Bob Moawad

“It is amazing how much you can accomplish when it doesn’t matter who gets the credit.” —Harry S. Truman, 33rd U.S. president

“The whole is the sum of the parts, so be a good part.” –Nate McConnell

If you liked this, you might also like:  I Got Your Back!


No Offense Taken; Raising Awareness

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Have you seen this picture?  You may have if you have a Facebook account or browse memes.  A few friends have alerted me over the past year or so about a meme, because it contains this picture along with two others, and because this one is of me taken almost six years ago.  I am grateful for friends who love me and were offended for my sake and even defended me publicly.  Why were my friends concerned and feel the need to defend me?  Because the meme mocks Christianity by making us look superficial, and because they know me.  Thank you, Tim, Greg and others.

The meme bears three images with the heading “THANK YOU JESUS”.  The caption under my photo says, “For helping me find my car keys”.  Then there are two other photos, one of the professing Christian football player, Tim Tebow with the caption, “For letting me throw that touchdown,” and a third photo of an emaciated little boy bearing no caption.

While I was saddened to see the meme, I was not offended.  In fact, I was even grateful.  I’m saddened because the meme portrays Christians as being superficial and as Jesus not caring about the emaciated child, who it would seem has nothing for which to be thankful.  I am grateful, because the meme is a good reminder that people are suffering tremendously, and if the meme has moved even one person to act out of compassion, why should I be offended?

What can you do?  Give to an organization that helps people in need.  Give to and/or volunteer in a local soup kitchen or homeless shelter.  Does your church have a food pantry or benevolence fund?  Keep your eyes and ears open for people in need or suffering from a crisis.

Food for the Hungry (FH) is a Christian organization serving the poor globally since 1971 by reflecting the love of Christ in short-term emergency relief and long-term work.

Project Rescue provides physical, emotional and spiritual rescue and holistic restoration to women and children in sexual slavery.

Compassion International is a Christian organization that exists as a Christian child advocacy ministry that releases children from spiritual, economic, social and physical poverty and enables them to become responsible, fulfilled Christian adults.


Wisdom Wednesday: Freedom

Photo credit:  Luca Zaninoni - www.sxc.hu/photo/1330210

Photo credit: Luca Zaninoni – http://www.sxc.hu/photo/1330210

Have you ever gained freedom from one thing only to rush into something else and found yourself bound again or wishing you could go back? A couple of days ago as I had just finished grocery shopping and was going to pick up my daughter from an appointment, I watched a little dog with a red collar running and bounding through the strip mall parking lot. It appeared to have escaped from a parked car and was simply ecstatic to be free. As I prepared to park my car and try to rescue the dog, I watched it jump into some tall grass that swallowed it up. Not far from the edge of the tall grass was a river, and I was afraid the dog might unsuspectingly jump into it. The dog seemed to have no sense of potential danger, only that it was free. What if it had fallen into the river or gotten lost or hit by a car? Would it have regretted its momentary lapse of restraint for a brief run in the sun? Was it truly free?

2 Peter 2:19b says, “…by what a man is overcome, by this he is enslaved,” which according to the context is his own desires. The dog was enslaved by its intense desire to run free. Its desire seemed to be more in control than the dog itself.

“No one is free who is a slave to the body.” —Latin proverb

“…use not liberty for an occasion to the flesh, but by love serve one another.” —Galatians 5:13b

I am so glad for the boundaries my loving, heavenly Father has set for me, and that He didn’t set me free to pursue things I’d begged for only to realize later how enslaving or harmful they would have been. It reminds me of the time my daughter’s dog escaped the house to run after a UPS truck and into a main road. What did she think she was gonna do with it once she caught it? I’m so glad she wasn’t hit by a car, but I couldn’t help but think of my beloved German shepherd I’d had that was free to be outside with us without a leash as well as by herself, because she knew to stay within the boundaries where it was safe and she was loved.

“To be free to sail the seven seas, you must make yourself a slave to the compass. Every freedom has a corresponding slavery. We can be free from the toothbrush and a slave to cavities or a slave to the toothbrush and free from cavities. For everything we want, we must give up something else.” – from Quiet Walk Daily e-Devotional

“We must accept responsibility in order to have true liberty.” –Ken Davis, Christian comedian


Happy Memorial Day!

“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.”  —John 15:13

Thank you for laying down your lives for me, my family, my friends, and our country.

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Reflections and Musings

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Purpose.

Being transformed by the renewing of the mind.

Breathing.

As so many often do at this time of year, I have been reflecting on this past year, the events and people who have impacted me, and the things I have learned.  Purpose, being transformed by the renewing of the mind, and breathing have been more recent topics that have been at the forefront.  While I cannot list everything that has impacted me this past year, I thought I would list the top ones.

Motivation.  What really motivates me?  What motivates you?  Not what you or I think motivates us, but what really does?  How can we tell?  The top quote for me this year was by Matt Chandler, pastor of The Village Church.  In his sermon Fig Leaves, Lies and the Grace of God he said, “Whether you understand the motivations of your heart or not, really what’s driving your actions, and what’s driving your life and how you fill your day, actually comes back to what you believe is actually going to bring about the most fullness of life possible for you.”  So… how do you fill your days?

Attitude.  Attitude reflects leadership.  In a team, company, organization, or family, the attitudes of those being led will generally reflect the attitudes of those leading.  If there is mistrust at the top, there will tend to be mistrust all around.  If there is enthusiasm and a team spirit, it will be reflected with lots of positive attitudes, energy, and respect.  I want to reflect a good attitude for those who look to me for any type of leadership, and I never want to automatically blame others if their attitude is less than what I am hoping for.

Purpose.  Another blogger wrote she didn’t think we necessarily need to have a purpose, that maybe our purpose is just being here and enjoying what we have, and that life doesn’t need a goal; it is a goal itself.  I disagree.  The Bible says without vision (or guidance), the people perish (Proverbs 29:18).  Without vision or purpose, life is either chaotic or stationary.  My daughter once related an article she had read, which listed reasons Okinawans tend to be, not only the longest lived, but also with a better quality of life.  One of those reasons is they have a deep sense of purpose and responsibility, and it makes them feel like an important part of the larger community.  Having purpose is life-giving.

Being transformed by the renewing of the mind.  The outside won’t truly change until the inside is first renewed.  If you find yourself unable to change, you probably need to change what you believe is true.  Change what and how you think, and the rest will take care of itself.

Breathe.  Don’t forget to breathe.  It feels good, and it is good for you.

Balance.  Balance is something we all try to maintain.  This year I’ve been trying to balance between taking care of myself and not becoming selfish.  When I was a young woman, I remember seeing older women deserting their families.  They said, “I’ve taken care of everyone else for so many years, and now it’s time for me to take care of me!”  I don’t want to be that woman.  I know it’s important that we take care of ourselves and not neglect our own needs, but I never want to go so far that I would abandon my family just to please myself.

Blessing.  I can’t remember who said it, but the basic idea was when you bless someone, you add or reveal the value of another person.  When we bless someone by giving them a gift, spending time with them, or serving them in some way, or even if we look them in the eye and smile, it says, “You are valuable.  You are worth it.”

Stand fast.  Don’t let anyone talk you out of what you know is true or into what you know is false.  Don’t even waver.  Just stand your ground, or you will eventually find yourself on the ground and in the mud.

Become better, not bitter.  We can allow situations to make us become either better or bitter.  The Bible says that a root of bitterness can cause many to become defiled (Hebrews 12:15).  Misery loves company, and complaining can become contagious and promote negativity.  Not only that, but if our bitterness becomes too obnoxious, it can cause others to become bitter toward us.  Becoming better is so much more advantageous and attractive.

Perspective.  “We don’t see things the way they are.  We see things the way we are.”  —The Talmud.

Don’t give up!  I was able to volunteer this past summer at Union Rescue Mission, one of the largest homeless missions in the country, located on Skid Row.  When I talked to Jenny Kershner, who is in charge of their Learning Center, about people relapsing, a statement she made surprised me.  She said, “Sometimes relapsing is a good thing to help a person solidify the decision to change and fully rely on God.”  Steve Cobb, pastor of Temple Baptist Church in New Bern, NC told a crack addicted friend, “Never, ever give up!”  And he didn’t.

I am grateful for Evan Sanders, author of The Better Man Project, for his inspirational and motivational posts.  If it were not for his post entitled What I’ve Learned, I would be composing this tomorrow, or not at all, because I might have waited too long without writing anything down, allowing the inspirational juices to drain.  Thank you, Evan!


Just An Observation

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My daughter and I often have wonderful discussions while traveling in the car.  During a pause in one such conversation, a thought came to mind; the word servant is within the word observant.  The prefix -ob means “toward or turning to”, and servant means “someone who is watchful and attends to something or someone”, so the word observant basically means “toward or turning to being someone who is watchful and attends”.  In other words “to turn one’s eyes off self in order to see and do what needs to be done or simply to notice what’s going on around you”.   A good servant must be observant, right?  But then I considered how a good leader must also be observant as well.

A friend sent me a link to an article about how some people approach an attempt to prove the Bible is or is not reliable based on Old Testament chronology.  The difference is in their approach.  What does that have to do with being observant?  Well, the article mentioned two methods of approaching the subject:  the inductive method and the deductive method.  It said, “Broadly speaking, deduction starts with principles, whereas induction starts with observation, that is, with evidence.”  See?  Did you notice?  It mentions observation and caused me to consider how a good servant and a good leader must both be careful not to assume things about those they are serving and leading.  They must not start with their own preconceived ideas or prejudices, but they must be watchful and attentive to what they actually observe.  Just as in science, a good scientist doesn’t start with his or her own preconceived ideas or prejudices either, but must be observant to draw factual conclusions based on empirical evidence.  So, too, must a good servant and a good leader base his or her conclusions by observing and examining all the evidence and thus, judging righteously.

Ok, so what does that look like in practical terms?  Well, parents are both servants and leaders to their children, right?  Have you ever, as a child, been wounded by a parent when he or she jumped to a false conclusion?  Or has a boss or spouse jumped to conclusions and passed judgment before even talking to you about it?  How did it make you feel?  And did it help the situation or make things worse?  No one likes to be misjudged.  On the flip side, have you ever been tremendously blessed when someone met a need, gave you the perfect gift, or saw something in you that no one else had seen?

A good servant observes the needs and desires of those being served.  A good leader observes the talents, strengths, weaknesses, and needs of those being led.  True leaders are observant servants.  Aren’t Christians taught that if we desire to be leaders, we must first learn to be servants?  And wasn’t Jesus the greatest example of all?


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