I hand sew. I have tried to use a machine but to me, it lacks flavor, meaning, passion. I want to place each stich carefully where I want it to go. I want it customized and full of love and meaning. Every inch of fabric and thread, I want to touch and be a part of positioning and stitching exactly where it should be. And that meaningful intention produces a quilt with a purpose, a journey to its home, a story, a love thing. I make quilts and any of my art with the exact same passion and drive I live my life. I want it to be purposeful, time consuming on purpose, tell a story, be a visual representation of what God made. I want to exude love, scream out that this was on purpose. I took my time and valued it. That, my friend, is exquisitely beautiful.
When we are intentional and thoughtful and purposeful, it is much less likely we will screw up. Of course that is not always true as we are still humans and can be intentionally wrong. However, if we consult with God via prayer and Bible reading, before making major purposeful decisions, we are much more likely to do the right thing or at least not have a lot of cleanup and apologies after. There is a disparity between the concept of intentionality and immediate gratification, the far more popular and obviously more utilized choice, but I think that disparity is a good thing. I believe if people were purposeful and intentional and moral or Godly, the world and our own families and communities would be far more superior, positive and lovely places. This starts as simply as thinking first before speaking or doing. Sure it takes longer but I think that is also a good thing. It is a good goal to become more intentional and moral. And indeed may help with the whole unity and love thing everywhere.
I realized something today, something very personal. I have had a screwed up focus sometimes toward the man I love most in the world, my husband. I do not know where I started down the wrong path or maybe it was a slow gradual incline in effort. But I am thinking it was simply not putting enough effort into being purposeful in my encouragement quotient. See, we all decide what to focus on in life. That focus dictates everything we do, like a mission statement. I had loving but critical parents, so when I am not working hard at it, I tend to lazy down into critical mode. My poor husband. I must have been very difficult to live with. So, I have rewritten my personal mission statement, which I highly recommend everyone on the planet do. I intend to be purposefully encouraging and helpful to my husband and build him up. I intend to celebrate my life with him and focus on the positive. I intend to treasure my moments with him. There is purpose behind God putting people together in marriage and I honor and worship God by honoring and respecting my husband. A life of honor and worship is a life worth living.
In an obviously toxic world, we who follow the way of Love must take time out to detox our minds. The best detox of course is not letting stuff in there in the first place. But as our Godless culture and leaders make that very difficult if next to impossible (unless you move to Alaskan bush country), we have a few tools at our disposal. The first tool is the most important. It is prayer. Putting ourselves purposefully before the Creator of the universe has a way of purifying our minds. It is excellent therapy and relationship with that which our soul longs for most. Second tool is silence. While this one is more challenging, especially with young ones bouncing off walls and screaming like red shouldered hawks and a myriad of chores and duties and work, etc. The thing is, silence is attainable if you want it bad enough. We absolutely need silence to process and determine what to keep and what to dispose of in our thoughts. How can we sort through and test these thoughts that pop into our brains if we can’t hear ourselves think. Even if we take a fifteen minute break in our rooms with locked door and sit in a chair or lay on our beds and just sort out and process what came into our view or thoughts today. This is I valuable because it introduces us to our God given right and power and duty to think and take control of our own minds so we can speak honestly with God and give Him the garbage to dispose of and share the treasures and thank Him for the blessings. Time alone in silence is an immeasurably valuable resource. Third tool we have going for us is exercise. Whether it is circuit training or cardio or playing tennis, whatever, when we work on exercising the body, it also gives the mind clarity. What we do with our bodies affects our minds. And exercise gives energy which reduces fatigue which can distort the mind. So it is a cycle. The fourth and last tool I mention right now is seeing things through your child’s eyes. Listening to their innocent vantage point and pure view of life brings clarity and laughter, which purifies, and gives you a much better example of how to view the world.
This funny thing happened a couple days ago. Some kids got together and decided to use a baseball bat to destroy our plants out front. They were whimpy kids, so they didn’t cause any real damage, but I notified the sheriff and he gave them a stern talking to. My point was that a little fear of God needs to be inserted into their lives before they grow up thinking they can do anything that pops into their heads. If my kid were doing such a thing, I would want him disciplined. Instead of the two sets of parents involved using the opportunity to teach their kids respect for people’s property or anything like that, they dismissed it and called all 4 witnesses liars. Lesson not supported and not learned and one of us will see those kids later in life doing something worse if it continues unchecked. The moral of this story is this: the purpose of parenting is to bring up God’s designed children that He has entrusted to your care to walk with Him all their lives. These little blessings are not yours really, they are God’s masterpieces, entrusted to us to nurture and teach and bring up in the Lord Jesus Christ’s teachings. Hopefully the teaching sticks and they become healthy, joyful adults some day with maybe a spouse and children of their own that they raise the same way. That is the idea. Is this an unsentimental approach to rearing up your children? By no means. It is very Biblical. Parents often wish to control their children, and our focus should be to train them to control themselves. Kids learn best by example. They will listen to what you say but do what you do. So, this approach to child rearing is actually very hands on and very sentimental because it is a blessing to be a part of another human being’s life and help influence their decisions and thought processes and point them to their Creator. It requires a great deal of energy and thought but the payoff is great when one day we stand before the Lord and He says we did good. Look to that goal for renewed strength and motivation.