Midday Connection

A safe place to process your story.

Archive for the month “August, 2013”

Guest blog: Finding Her Here

As you read this poem, what comes to mind? What parts do you relate to?

Finding Her Here
by Jayne Relaford Brown

I am becoming the woman I’ve wanted,
grey at the temples,
soft body, delighted,
cracked up by life
with a laugh that’s known bitter
but, past it, got better,
knows she’s a survivor –
that whatever comes,
she can outlast it.
I am becoming a deep
weathered basket.

I am becoming the woman I’ve longed for,
the motherly lover
with arms strong and tender,
the growing up daughter
who blushes surprises.
I am becoming full moons
and sunrises.
I find her becoming,
this woman I’ve wanted,
who knows she’ll encompass,
who knows she’s sufficient,
who knows where she’s going
and travels with passion.
Who remembers she’s precious,
but knows she’s not scarce –
who knows she is plenty,
plenty to share.

Midday blog: Back to School & Empty Nest

schoolcollege

It’s the beginning of the school year and I keep seeing Facebook posts from moms.  Check these out and see if any of these reflect your spoken or unspoken thoughts:

“What a perfect last-day-of-summer this is! But tomorrow–with its 7+ child-free hours-is gonna feel pretty perfect too.”

“School. Starts. Wednesday. (Cue delicious sigh here.)”

“Wow, the house is quiet!”

“another school year…another senior…another high schooler…another driver…another year of college…..wow…I’m so glad that my God is unchanging!”

“Tomorrow, after I drop the boys off at school, I’m going to have a complete thought. Maybe two.”

Another friend private messaged me on FB after dropping her daughter at college and asked, “Have you done a show on parental adjustment after kids go to college? :p I could sure use it.”

I told her I was going to blog about it, but it wouldn’t be anything new.

My son drove from Chicago to Gettysburg for the start of his Junior year of college.  He drove 700 miles by himself with all his earthly belonging.  Had this been his freshman year I’d have been right there with him.  But his level of independence has changed……dramatically.  I’ve found with each year of college I’ve gotten a little sadder, shed a few more tears. I was a “7+ child-free hours is gonna feel pretty perfect” kind of mom.  I couldn’t wait for John to go to school all day.  And now I get weepy thinking about his life, his future and his college graduation.  In a good way. Mostly.

One word to the wise. Develop yourself now.  It is not selfish for mom to have her own interests, her own hobbies, and her own group of friends that she goes out with.  When the focus is solely on the kids and the day arrives when Sally or Billy head off to college it can be extremely difficult. Knowing how God wired our children and helping them find their way is really important. Knowing yourself and how God wired you…..equally important.

What’s one way you are developing life outside your children?

OK, I’ll start…..I’m doing some painting and craft work……..

Ok, it’s your turn…

 

Anita Lustrea
Anita Lustrea is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and has worked for Moody Radio since 1984. She is a sought-after conference and retreat speaker and loves to connect with Midday Connection listeners face-to-face. Anita lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Mike, and her son, John. To learn more about Anita, her speaking schedule and her blog, please visit her website.

Midday blog: Art Reflection

Thayer_The_Virgin

As you look at this painting by Thayer called “The Virgin”, think through these questions using your sacred imagination:

1) How do you feel as you look at their faces?
2) Where are they going?
3) What is the boy holding?  Why?
4) What is the woman thinking?  What is she feeling?
5) What is on the little girl’s mind?  How does she feel?
6) Which person do you identify with the most?
7) Do you sense God speaking to you about what you’re feeling or seeing in this painting?
8) Why do you think this painting is called “The Virgin”?

Midday blog: That’s The Way God Made Me

I recently read a blog post on myths about introverts.  Myth #3 read: “Introverts are rude.”  That one stopped me.  In my opinion, at those times when an introvert stares back and doesn’t connect, seemingly shutting down, there might be the appearance of rudeness.  But how about extraverts – at times loud, controlling, interruptive, and smugly self-assured – they aren’t rude as well?melindablog

It got me wondering if we both – introverts/extraverts – don’t share inclinations, while exhibiting them differently.  Hey, both types are high maintenance! Extraverts may wait and wait, sometimes mentally starting their Christmas list or patiently waiting a day or two while the introvert processes an idea. Introverts may sputter as the crashing, loud, boisterous wave of an extravert’s latest idea, observation or commentary washes over them, leaving them to regain the stability of that internal space in which they thrive.

Enough of “you vs. me” snobbery. In our young family we had a phrase that each of us employed when necessary: “Well, that’s how God made me!”  Hey, who could argue with that! Let’s all take a sip of our sweet tea and breathe in and out a few times. Do we really want to go on seeing each other as a threat and feeling misunderstood?  I love this little saying: “We are here to love each other, serve each other, and uplift each other.”  Amen.  Whatever it takes.  Maybe that’s debunking myths, maybe it’s internalizing the fruit of God’s Spirit in Galatians 5:22, 23, maybe it’s taking a breath and affirming, “That’s how God made me, and that’s how He made you!”

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.”
Jesus, in the Gospel of John, chapter 13, verse 35

(You can listen to Bring to Mind’s podcast on this topic, on their website.)

Melinda SchmidtMelinda Schmidt is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and holds a Broadcasting/Bible degree from Calvary Bible College. She has served with Moody Radio since 1980 in various hosting capacities. Married with two young adult children, Melinda lives outside Chicago, loves reading, developing her creative interests and hopes to be a life-long learner. Twitter: @melindaschmidt

Guest blog: Anyway

anywayA few years ago, Ray Kane (Christian counselor and author of From Fear to Love)  read this on Midday Connection.  What are those things that keep you from forgiving, being kind, loving, succeeding, being honest, being happy?

People are often unreasonable, illogical, and self-centered;

Forgive them anyway.

If you are kind, people may accuse you of selfish, ulterior motives;

Be kind anyway.

If you are successful, you will win some false friends

And some true enemies;

Succeed anyway.

If you are honest and frank, people may cheat you;

Be honest and frank anyway.

What you spend years building, someone could destroy overnight;

Build anyway.

If you find serenity and happiness, they might be jealous;

Be happy anyway.

The good you do today, people will often forget tomorrow;

Do good anyway.

Give the world the best you have, and it may never be enough;

Give the world the best you’ve got anyway.

You see, in the final analysis, it is between you and God;

It was never between you and them anyway.

Kent M. Keith (this has also been attributed to Mother Theresa)

Midday blog: As Paul Harvey Would Say…

I thought I knew the story of The Odyssey. In junior high I had a period where I was obsessed with learning as much as I could about Greek and Roman mythology, the stories and heroics captured my imagination. Of course one of the great stories is that of Odysseus making his way home after the fall of Troy. I read (and listened) to several different retellings of the story. And so, I thought I knew the story of The Odyssey.

My book club decided that we would read The Odyssey for our next selection. As I’ve started to read I’ve realized, I do not know this story at all. As a reader I haven’t even gotten to the title character, all of the narrative so far has been concerned with the son of Odysseus, Telemachus. There’s always more to a story than we realize isn’t there? I remember first coming across this idea when I went to see the musical Wicked.* Maybe The Wizard of Oz didn’t tell us the whole story (then again, maybe it did). I also was reminded of this idea when I read the book The Drama of Scripture. I thought I knew the basic storyline of scripture but it’s actually greater than I had imagined, and I learned more about my own story that way.

Yet I think one of the greatest takeaways for me is that: everyone has a story. I might assume I already know someone’s story, but I don’t really know their story (and them) until I take the time to get to know that person well. I can assume I know someone’s motives, but in reality there is a complex history and scars and life circumstances leading to the decisions that someone else might make.

So before I jump to conclusions, I need to take a lesson from Paul Harvey, and wait to hear “The rest of the story…”

*While I love and heartily recommend the musical Wicked I cannot recommend the book Wicked by Gregory Maguire. I read it found it to quite possibly be the worst book (in terms of story, as well as the amount and explicitness of sexual content) I’ve ever read.

Josh Klos is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute with a degree in Radio Communications, he has served as the engineer for Midday Connection since 2010. He is also a part of the volunteer College & 20’s group staff at his church and enjoys spending time outside, as well as at libraries, bookstores and various coffee shops. He’s busy these days with graduate school, where he studying communication and culture.

To learn more about Josh and read his blog, please visit his website.

Guest blog: Healthy Relationship Indicators

On the July 4, 2012 Midday Connection rebroadcast a program with Jennifer Degler as a part of the No More Christian Nice Girl Series. We talked about the differences between healthy and abusive relationships.

As you look through these lists, think about how you relate to others and how others interact with you.  Are you a safe person for others?  Are there unsafe people in your life?  How can you create healthy boundaries with them?


Healthy Relationship

– Needs are met and respected

– Speaking truth is encouraged

– Okay to exert your will

– Bringing up problems leads to resolution

– Share thoughts because they are listened to

– Okay to maintain healthy boundaries

– Experessed feelings are validated

– Your pain is comforted

 

Abusive Relationship

– Needs are unmet and shamed

– Speaking truth is punished

– Can be deadly to exert your will

– Bringing up problems leads to bigger problems

– Hide thoughts because they are ridiculed

– Give in quickly because boundaries are violated

– Numb your feelings because they will be disregarded

– Deny your pain because it will be ignored or belittled

 

(used by permission. Written by Jennifer Degler and Paul Coughlin, from No More Christian Nice Girl http://www.jenniferdegler.com)

Midday blog: Driven by Fear

Why are we so afraid to talk about the racial issues that are presented to us?  In the wake of the Trayvon Martin case we have multiple opportunities to dialog on the topic of racism, but I find many Christ followers have remained relatively silent.

It appears to me to be a problem linked to our ability to listen.  Are we hearing the painful cries beneath the surface uttered by our brothers and sisters of color?  We get distracted by tangential things that don’t move the process forward.  Things like “what about black on black crime, or color on color.”  Certainly that is a concern, but it is also a distraction from hearing the real pain.  I’ve heard criticisms like, “the voices we always hear aren’t worthy of listening to. There are welfare cheats, and people trying to get into the media spotlight, there are those who’ve abandoned their families and others who’ve squandered opportunities” …and the list goes on.

I suggest that we set all of those people aside, take them out of the mix completely and I propose that we will still hear the voices of millions who are crying out for justice and mercy to a God that they are trying to walk humbly with. And we have to listen! We need to listen, to hear the cries beneath the surface.

When I went on the Justice Journey I learned how my privilege affects the way I think and act.  I think many in the dominant culture, of which I’m a part, only feel comfortable when everyone looks like them, even if that’s an ungodly attitude.

I recently read a helpful blogpost by Noel Castellanos, the CEO of CCDA (Christian Community Development Association).  He said, “The actuality today is that, as we approach the 50th anniversary of the ‘I Have a Dream’ speech given by Dr. Martin Luther King in Washington DC, most African-Americans are still waiting for the day when they will be judged and treated more by the content of their character, than by the color of their skin.  While we acknowledge that much progress has been made related to race, we must conclude that our nation still struggles with issues of racism that must not be ignored if we are going to continue to make progress.”

I agree with Castellanos about the struggle that is still happening in our nation, but what about in our churches?

He goes on to say, “The truth is, the church is not fully engaged in confronting systemic injustice to address oppression that destroys lives and entire communities.  Instead, we too often sit on the sidelines without getting personally involved.  Worse, there is minimal organizational investment by our churches, which instead opt to spend millions on buildings and programs for our own comfort and edification, while throwing crumbs to the poor.  Instead of working seriously to transform our most vulnerable communities by creating jobs and investing in rebuilding neighborhoods from within these communities, we argue about whether this kind of activity detracts us from the real Gospel-centered work of telling people about Jesus.”

What do you think about his thoughts and about how we can move forward in dialogue?

Anita LustreaAnita Lustrea is a graduate of Moody Bible Institute and has worked for Moody Radio since 1984. She is a sought-after conference and retreat speaker and loves to connect with Midday Connection listeners face-to-face. Anita lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Mike, and her son, John. To learn more about Anita, her speaking schedule and her blog, please visit her website.

Midday blog: Present Tense

Present Tense
by Jason Lehman

It was spring, but it was summer I wanted,

The warm days, and the great outdoors.

It was summer, but it was fall I wanted,

The colorful leaves, and the cool, dry air.

It was fall, but it was winter I wanted,

The beautiful snow, and the joy of the holiday season.

It was winter, but it was spring I wanted,

The warmth and the blossoming of nature.

I was a child, but it was adulthood I wanted,

The freedom and respect.

I was 20, but it was 30 I wanted,

To be mature, and sophisticated.

I was middle-aged, but it was 20 I wanted,

The youth and the free spirit.

I was retired, but it was middle-age I wanted,

The presence of mind without limitations.

My life was over, and I never got what I wanted.

As you reflect on this poem, what are you feelings and thoughts?  Do you sense God speaking to you about anything in particular?

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