Heaven Working Backwards, and Childlike Faith

She squeezes a delicate flower between chubby fingers, and with a beaming smile and a twinkle in her eye, she declares:

“Look, Mama! I got a flower for you!”

Nevermind that the flower has come from a plant we painstakingly placed in our flower bed on hands and knees over the weekend. Nevermind us watering, and tending to it with care.

She has found a gift, and she is proud to give it.

I tend to think my life, my work, and how I fill my days, are of the utmost importance. I can have a self-inflated view of the value of my work.

Everything inside of me doesn’t want to admit this, and wants to scream: No, you’re fine! You don’t have an overinflated view at all!

But when I consider the way I can get so terribly flustered with a long to-do list and a short amount of time, the way I can get frustrated with my own children because this homeschool lesson just has to be done or these chores just have to get finished… I see in myself the belief that these things really are – um, rather a big deal. To me.

When my daughter brought me a flower, and felt so proud of her efforts, bringing me something I planted and watered, I felt like I was seeing a glimpse of my life and efforts in light of the vast and incredible, eternal love of God. 

What can I offer the God who created everything? 

Only the joyful return of what He has given me.

But maybe I need reminding that this is all I can do – and maybe it’s a gift to recognize it in this way. 

If we become like children, then we see that whether we are the CEOs of Amazon or the street sweepers of small town America, humility will help us to see: it is all temporary. 

In The Great Divorce, C.S. Lewis describes a dream which was a glimpse of Hell and of Heaven. And in the dream, to help him understand what he was seeing he met a favorite author of his, George Macdonald, who was already in heaven.

Lewis was struck by his struggle to understand how the life we now lead on Earth fits into the eternal. Macdonald explains to Lewis:

“Ye cannot in your present state understand eternity… But ye can get some likeness of it if ye say that both good and evil, when they are full grown, become retrospective. Not only this valley but all their earthly past will have been Heaven to those who are saved. Not only twilight in that town, but all their life on Earth too, will then be seen by the damed to have been Hell. This is what mortals misunderstand. They say of some temporal suffering, ‘No future bliss can make up for it,’ not knowing Heaven, once attained will work backwards and turn even that agony into a glory. And of some sinful pleasure they say, ‘Let me have but this and I’ll take the consequences’: little dreaming how damnation will spread back and back into their past and contaminate the pleasure of the sin.”

Yes – that was a lot to unpack and I hope you’ll come back and read it again. 

But consider the possibility! Once we have the perspective of eternity, when we are as we were created to be, in union with the Father and in heaven, we will know what we now only glimpse in a mirror dimly: 

This world was just a tiny glimpse, a flash in the pan, a speck in the curtain on the edge of the stage of eternity. 

The souls we touch with the time we have matter immensely. But we are children – and we ought not to think more highly of our efforts than we ought. 

We can only look for ways to bring beauty to our Father. We can only pluck flowers from His garden and joyfully deliver them to Him.

Perhaps becoming like a child will mean I take myself considerably less seriously… and take the words and the will of my Father considerably more.

As you face this day, this month, this hard place, this struggle, this hardship – hold onto the Truth that Heaven can work backward, and that someday even these dark-colored strands will be part of the beautiful tapestry the Father is weaving with your life.

Knowing this, you can give it all, friend. The hurt and the hope. The gifts and talents. The smiles and the grief. Everyone and everything. Give it all to God.

And when it’s all said and done, like a child, you’ll be able to say:

“Look, Father! I found this for You! I did this for You! I gave that cup of cold water, that gift, big or small, those years of service, that friendly smile, this flower I found in Your garden! It is all to You and for You!”

A New eBook For You! 

I JUST created a new resource to serve folks facing hard seasons of life, called It Won’t Feel Like This Forever: Brave Your Crisis With Wisdom and Faith. I’ve already had such lovely responses to it!

I’m praying these words will be a gift to many in dark places. If you’re walking a hard road right now, or you know someone who is, I’d love for you to grab this free ebook. It is mercifully short, but holds some hard-fought-for wisdom and practical advice in the form of 5 Simple Tips to help you find the Light in Dark Places. Click the link below and I’ll shoot it to your inbox lickety-split!

 

Some posts on my site contain affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, I receive compensation at no extra cost to you. I love it when you do that! Thank you for your love and support!

I See You. I See You. I See You.

I sat in the dealership with my hands crossed over the purse in my lap, willing myself not to burst into tears.

It was time to sell the boat.

When my Dad passed away, my first inheritance was a messy and complicated estate – mountains of work to do with no definitive records. It was nothing short of arduous.

He bought a boat when we moved back to North Carolina – so excited to take his first grandchild out on the river, so looking forward to taking the water-route down to the ocean for the weekend.

It wasn’t a particularly special vessel – but it represented all these hopes and moments cut short, and all the things that weren’t going to be, because he was gone.

I crossed my legs the other way, and a song came on the radio, and I knew I had to get out of there as quickly as I could.

Did you know Bono wrote a song about his Dad after he died

Being a U2 fan, I knew it well. Bono crooned over the radio:

“Listen to me now… I need to let you know…
You don’t have to go it alone….

And it’s you when I look in the mirror, 
And it’s you when I don’t pick up the phone…

Sometimes you can’t make it, on your own.”

Those lyrics wouldn’t have meant anything to the sales guy standing at the door, or the guy behind the desk – but they spoke to my soul.

That song on the radio, at that moment was a whisper from my Father in heaven: I see you.

Sometimes I think life gets so challenging, so frustrating, so hard we just need to be reminded God sees us. 

He really sees. And He really cares.

When Hagar ran away from Sarah, so rejected and filled with despair, her situation seemed completely hopeless. But God cared so much He sent an Angel to give her the courage to carry on.  

He let her know she was seen, and He let her know He had a plan.

If we can quiet our hearts a little, in our hardest places we can hear God’s whisper: You are seen, and I have a plan.

He may not tell us all that He has in mind. He may not tell us how He is going to bring about His promises. But He invites us to trust Him, to know that He is sovereign and good.

In the years that followed, I continued the journey of settling my Dad’s estate, and learned more about my inheritance in the kingdom of God, and the love of my Heavenly Father, than I ever could’ve imagined He would teach me in those hard days. 

What once felt like such a heavy, heavy burden, I look back on as a treasure, a gift.

Let’s keep carrying our burdens to Jesus, friends. Let’s accept that invitation we talked about to walk freely and lightly, knowing we are seen, and He has a plan.

At the moment it may seem so hard, and so heavy. But darling friend, you are seen. God is always in the business of taking suffering and sorrow, and transforming them into deep peace and great joy.

Keep walking with Him.

A New eBook For You! 

I JUST created a new resource to serve folks facing hard seasons of life, called It Won’t Feel Like This Forever: Brave Your Crisis With Wisdom and Faith. I’m praying these words will be a gift to many in dark places. If you’re walking through a hard road right now, or you know someone who is, I’d love for you to grab this free ebook. It is mercifully short, but holds some hard-fought-for wisdom and practical advice in the form of 5 Simple Tips to help you find the Light in Dark Places. Click the link below and I’ll shoot it to your inbox lickety-split!

 

Some posts on my site contain affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, I receive compensation at no extra cost to you. I love it when you do that! Thank you for your love and support!

If (Like Me) You Want to Learn to Take It As It Comes

I never knew two thick and lovely slices of black cardstock paper could solve problems that seemed insurmountable. I also never realized what a hard time I have with making decisions until someone else articulated those words for me.

When our eight-year-old came home from his forty-eight days in the hospital, he was his old self in many ways, but also different in several. Unlike before, he seems to mention the grandfathers that have already passed away much more often than he ever did before, with a simple sigh and the comment that he misses them. He seems to laugh with his whole soul these days, and relishes in every slice of humor that crosses his path.

He also struggles with Math in a way he never did before. A worksheet that might have taken ten or fifteen minutes three months ago can now take a solid forty-five, with a lot of coaching and assistance. He can still read the problems, and he still seems to understand most of the concepts, but his short term memory deficits make it difficult for him to hold a number in his head while considering how subtracting a second number from it will change it. 

After a couple of visits to neuro-opthalmologist specialists, we came home armed with some ideas to try, some worksheets to copy and repeat, and, much to my surprise, a couple of sheets of black cardstock paper.

At the therapist’s recommendation, I used the cardstock to block out everything on Blake’s Math worksheet, except the one problem that he needed to focus on. It wasn’t a completely miraculous difference — he wasn’t back to finishing fifteen problems in five minutes, but there was a very discernible difference in how he faced the challenge of Math. And his speed and accuracy absolutely improved. 

Therefore do not worry about tomorrow,
for tomorrow will worry about itself.
Each day has enough trouble of its own. {Matt. 6:34}

Today, as I adjusted the margins and helped him, I realized how much sense it all made:

He just needed to focus on one problem at a time.

In life, I tend to get ridiculously overwhelmed by decisions. I don’t want to make wrong decisions. I want to do the things that are at the forefront of my own heart, but I also fear how my choices will impact the people around me for better or worse. 

In the book, Let Me Be a Woman, Elisabeth Elliot wrote to her daughter about the challenges of the days when she had an infant on her hip, she was newly widowed and she had a jungle mission station to run. She spoke of feeling overwhelmed and said:

“Well, I’ve felt that way a good many times in my life, and I go back over and over again to an old Saxon legend, which I’m told is carved in an old English parson somewhere by the sea. I don’t know where this is. But this is a poem which was written about that legend. […]

“Do it immediately, do it with prayer,
do it reliantly, casting all care.
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand
who placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on omnipotence, safe ‘neath His wing,
leave all resultings, do the next thing.”  

I held onto those verses for quite some time. What a gift it is to be reminded that we don’t have to have all the answers! We don’t have to have an answer for every question on our Math worksheet. We don’t have to have an answer for every question regarding our future. What choice will we make when it comes time to decide about this thing or that? Perhaps the best thing we can do is live right here, right now, and do the thing right in front of us that it the next right thing to do.

I came across that poem again, just last week, reading a wonderful book called The Next Right Thing by Emily P. Freeman. She shared it in its entirety, and I was so blessed to read the whole poem — I didn’t know there was more! So struck by it, I felt I should probably be framing it and placing it on a wall in my home. Now you know what to get me for Christmas. Here’s the beautiful full version: {Often listed online as “Author Unknown,” Emily attributes it to Mrs. George A. Paull.}

From an old English parsonage down by the sea
There came in the twilight a message to me;
Its quaint Saxon legend, deeply engraven,
Hath, it seems to me, teaching from heaven;
And through the hours the quiet words ring
Like a low inspiration: “Do the next thing.”

Many a questioning, many a fear,
Many a doubt, hath its quieting here.
Moment by moment, let down from heaven,
Time, opportunity, and guidance are given.
Fear not tomorrows, child of the King;
Trust them with Jesus: Do the next thing.

Oh! He would have thee daily more free,
Knowing the might of thy royal degree,
Ever in waiting, glad for His call,
Tranquil in chastening, trusting through all.
Comings and goings no turmoil need bring;
His, all the future: do the next thing.

Do it immediately, do it with prayer;
Do it reliantly, casting all care;
Do it with reverence, tracing His hand
Who hath placed it before thee with earnest command.
Stayed on Omnipotence, safe ’neath His wing,
Leave all results, do the next thing.

Looking to Jesus, ever serener,
Working or suffering, be thy demeanor!
In the shade of His presence, the rest of His calm,
The light of His countenance live out thy psalm;
Strong in His faithfulness, praise Him and sing.
Then, as He beckons thee, do the next thing.

–By Mrs. George A. Paull 

I hope you’ll read those words through a few times today, friend. Maybe come back to them when life starts to loom large in front of you and you feel daunted. Be encouraged that you do not need to know it all or have it all figured out to move forward. You and I can learn something from Blake, taking the Math work one problem at a time. 

Strong in His faithfulness, praise Him and sing.
Then, as He beckons thee, do the next thing.

xCC

*** 

I hope you’re encouraged today, friend. If so, I’d love to welcome you to 
subscribe here for a weekly dose of encouragement.

 And! If you’re like me and struggle with decision fatigue and choice-making, Emily P. Freeman’s book, The Next Right Thing, really is worth your time.

Still reading? Did you catch this post with some of our family’s favorite books this year? {We also love KiwiCo’s Tinker Crate!}

Oh! I know what you’re waiting for…

An Update on Blake

Blake continues to improve and to thrive at home and at therapy! His left side keeps gaining strength: he snapped the fingers on his left hand yesterday and was very proud. (I can’t even do that!) His physical therapist also observed, crazy enough, his left foot had a better range of motion than his right last week. Perhaps all the prayers are making his left side his strong side! He has the balance to ride a scooter (while his Mama watches nervously) and the strength to come home from a few hours of therapy and still walk the neighborhood.

He is also doing better with regard to his memory — recent events and answers to questions are coming to him more quickly and easily. This is helping him ‘slot in’ in playing with his sisters and brother more and more. At first, it seemed like he felt a bit lost and struggled to join in their play, but now he is running around the house or crowding around the coffee table with the rest of the musketeers. What a precious sight for Mark and me!

Blake’s eyesight is something we continue to ask for prayer for. With helpful cues, he is finding his way to the left side of a page or the left side of a room, but he will tend to eat the food on the right side of his plate first, color the right side of a picture first (and maybe stop before the left is fully done) and so on. There is a definite difference there. 

Thank you again so much for your care and concern and for lifting Blake up in prayer. He is absolutely doing miraculously well and we pray the improvements will continue. Please join us in praying his AVM will disappear, his eyesight and memory will be fully restored, and he will grow up to be the man of character and integrity he was created to be! Thank you for joining us in giving thanks for all the Lord has done! Hallelujah!!

Psst. Some posts on my site contain affiliate links. When you click on those links to make purchases, I receive compensation at no extra cost to you. I love it when you do that! Thank you for supporting With Love!

Four Things to Consider If You’re Still Thinking About an Instant Pot

I know. If you haven’t decided to ride the Instant Pot wave you’re probably tired of hearing about it and ready to move on with your life.

I would probably feel exactly the same way if I was in your shoes. I like not being a joiner sometimes.

But two and a half years ago, the hubs read a blog post by a prolific tech blogger friend of ours raving about the Instant Pot. And the hubs, being the Hero Hubs that he is, thought “If this guy, who sees all the new tech that’s out there, is raving about this thing, I believe him.” So he bought me one.

I, on the other hand, was terrified — daunted by the idea of pressure cooking, daunted by the idea of learning a whole new appliance in my kitchen and maybe? Just downright scared I was going to blow something up or I’d forever have a red stain on our ceiling and scars to boot.

I finally got brave enough to get it out of the box and read the manual. Then read some step-by-step recipes online until I felt like I understood how the thing worked. And when I finally got to that step, and gave it a shot, I discovered that truly, it is an incredibly easy way to go from ingredients to dinner’s ready quickly. Win.

A friend texted me this week to let me know she was still on the fence about the Instant Pot and I thought I’d share here some of the thoughts I shared with her (and some extras) for why it has been a game changer for our family.

  1. The Triple/Double Effect
    This has probably been the biggest game changer for me of all. I have carefully worked my way through dozens and dozens of IP recipes online, and have consistently discovered that I can double or triple SO MANY of them with amazing results.

    And I treat those leftovers like gold, y’all. I’m a homeschooling Mama of four and we have 24 Tuesdays of Community Day in our school year. I’m FOUR meals away from having the base for 24 meals in my freezer. That means the main thing, the hard work, is stored in my freezer (in a labeled yogurt tub, mind you) and all I’ll need to do is heat those leftovers I thawed the night before, throw the rice in the rice cooker (I love this one) and throw together a salad, or bake the tacos or cook the broccoli — you get the idea — and dinner will be ready. Even on Tuesday. {mic drop, gasp, huzzah!}
  2. The One and Done Effect
    I can be a pretty fancy lady in the kitchen. Shrimp and Grits with sautéed peppers and bacon fancy. Chicken Piccata with Angel Hair Pasta and a delicate salad with homemade dressing fancy. I can tell you which of my kids like capers. But I don’t like the thirty pans and bowls I mess up to make that glorious Chicken Piccata. It can stay in the rotation, sure, but I also need some meals where I get to just throw everything into the IP and walk away. Like Erin’s Instant Pot Mexican Casserole, where everything is right there. Meat. Rice. Veggies. Yes!

    I hear you asking: CC, Isn’t that the same as a slow cooker? Well, yes and no: the slow cooker requires my attention at 8:00 am for things to work out between us. But so do my kids and our homeschool routine. The Instant Pot, sweet gal that she is, will wait for me and when I dump everything in at 4:30, walk away and can still shout, “Come get your dinner, kids!” at 5:30, life is just that lil’ bit sweeter. Or spicier.

    (And by the way, the Instant Pot is a slow cooker, too… so for recipes where you need to sear a big pork loin before it slow cooks, or cook the bacon and sausage for Zuppa Toscana, you can do that on the sauté function, take the meat out and switch gears for slow cooking, and put it right back in the same pot to slow cook the rest of the day. Can you tell I don’t like dirty dishes?)
  3. My Fast Food Goal is HAPPENING
    My goal with fast food? Is to pretty much never eat it. My little town doesn’t have a lot of healthy fast food options. I don’t like how much trash a family of six creates when consuming fast food either. So I make a plan (more on that below) and already have the week’s meals on the calendar. Tripling or doubling means I can grab those leftovers in emergencies. Real emergencies! But if I just forget to thaw the chicken the night before, I know I always have a handful of ingredients on hand, and there are recipes where I can start from frozen, throw in those totally frozen chicken breasts, and an hour later have chicken that is falling apart with deliciousness.
  4. Brave is Good. And Can Be Tasty.
    I think it’s really easy to get comfortable — stuck with what makes sense, what’s easy, what doesn’t require extra effort. At the outset, I didn’t like the idea of trying this new thing. But as I’ve consistently worked towards healthier lifestyle choices, especially in my kitchen, I’ve realized that the Instant Pot could be a really great companion for the journey. There are so many fantastic websites full of great, healthy recipes just waiting to be discovered. Hiding veggies, and making them palatable in plain sight, has been taken to another level. And I never would have found my new favorite recipe (Moroccan Chicken Bowls) or my sweet Blake’s new favorite (White Chicken Chili) if I hadn’t set out on a path to discover some new and fun ideas for us to enjoy as we gather around the table.

So friends, especially that one friend who asked and is still on the fence, if you’re considering the Instant Pot, I think it’s worth your dollars and your time. Save up for it and save a ton of money by eating out less. Look forward to discovering you can make amazing Greek yogurt at home or take a spaghetti squash from raw to perfectly stringy in less than twenty minutes. And then google a recipe to find out why you would want to do that. (One answer is this Paleo Spaghetti Pizza Pie.)

Convinced yet? You can click here and grab an Instant Pot on Amazon right now.

You can also enter your email here and I’ll send you my free Five Step Meal Plan System and a Month of Weekday Recipes including of course… lots of Instant Pot Favorites. (And a weekly dose of food for the soul for good measure.) THIS is the aforementioned meal planning that has made the IP work for me hard, and often. Having a plan is KEY, y’all!

Regardless of what’s for dinner, I hope you’ll remember to keep the main thing the main thing: enjoy gathering around a table with the people you care about. Share food. Talk about life. Encourage each other. Hopefully this one tool will make it a little easier for you to make the time, and make those relational investments that happen in the presence of food like nowhere else. That’s the real sweet stuff anyway.

xCC

Psst! Don’t forget to grab the Five Step Meal Plan System freebie and stock up on unlimited free weekly encouragement… right here!

In case you’re wondering, Instant Pot did not sponsor this post. I would totally welcome their sponsorship but ya know, I just haven’t heard from them yet. My posts do sometimes contain Amazon Affiliate Links. When you click those links to make a purchase, I receive a teensy bit of compensation, which is a blessing to keep With Love, From Here posts coming! Thank you!

The Good Words: How Good Friday Bought Paul’s Contentment {And Ours!}

On the Christian calendar, yesterday we celebrated the day we call good. Good Friday, the day we remember that an innocent God was pronounced guilty, taken to a cross at the hands of men, and was crucified. It is counter-intuitive to think of such evil and call it good — but when we remember what was accomplished on that day, the punishment that purchased our peace, the death that gave us true life, we know that God pre-ordained it for our good, and good, so good it is.

This month, if you’ve been following along, we’ve pondered the Apostle Paul’s outrageous claim, “…I have learned in whatever state I am, to be content. I know how to be abased, and I know how to abound. Everywhere and in all things I have learned both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” {Phil. 4: 11-13}

Paul basically says “No matter what… I’m okay.” Wow.

One chapter earlier, it seems Paul gives us a clear picture — not a subtle hint or a mysterious clue — but a very clearly spoken explanation for why this kind of contentment is possible. In chapter three of his letter to the Philippians, Paul writes about all the reasons he has to boast if the competition for holiness has anything to do with what he has done in service to God. After a long string of accolades which would have been very impressive to the Jews of his day, Paul writes with a surprising commentary:

“All the things that seemed super-awesome before, all my achievements…” {a modern equivalent might be “my multiple PhDs from Harvard, Stanford and Oxford, my decades on the mission field serving the poorest of the poor in India, my world-renown last name that is proof of status and wealth”} … “all of it is trash. Refuse. Worthless.”

The NKJV translates Paul’s word choice “rubbish” — scholars seem to think a worse word might be appropriate — but why is everything he could boast in rubbish?

This is the explanation:

“Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith…”

And this is the clue that unlocks the mystery. The plain truth made manifest on a Good Friday two thousand years ago:

Christ is where we can find our contentment. Our hope. Our joy. Our peace. Our everything. And if we truly understand what He accomplished — how His perfection paid for our foolish, selfish sin — then we know that we truly do know a God who has already supplied all that we need for life and godliness. Paid for by His death on the cross.

This is the hope that we have, the hope that is found when we recognize the glorious goodness of Jesus dying for us–the gift that is the one thing we need most and have no chance of finding any other way.

This was my thought at the start of all this pondering:

Paul looks to Christ to find contentment — so that whatever life brings his way, he is able to trust, to survive, and even thrive because Christ is his sustainer, and makes contentment possible in any circumstance.

And it seems that Good Friday cross is the place where the Truth became a crucified reality. His death purchased our life. And this is what it means for us:

Once we realize we have everything we truly need in Him, we can find contentment anywhere, anytime, in every circumstance. Abasing or in abundance… when Christ is our all, when we embrace the idea that He is able to work all things together for our good and His glory, our trust leads to greater contentment. 

Our Good Friday was marked by a guest missing from the table, a broken window at the back door and a trip to Urgent Care for stitches. Every day is an opportunity to suffer under the struggle of wishing things had happened differently. And every day is an opportunity to choose to say “Yes” to God instead, as Mother Teresa said, to “give whatever He takes and take whatever He gives with a smile.”

Next month (tomorrow!) we’ll dive into thinking about that “with a smile” idea, but in the meantime I hope you’ll take a deep breath, open your eyes to the circumstances around you and know that no matter what they are, contentment is yours for the choosing.

Because of Good Friday… and because of the Good Sunday around the bend.

xCC

P.S. If you want a sneak peek of April’s Good Words, you can click here to view and print a small version, or click here to view and print a large version!

The Good Words :: Kindness Has a Thousand Flavors

“Years ago I began to pray over all those God brought into our home a prayer I had often
whispered to Him in regard to my daughters: ‘Father, give me Your eyes for them.
Give me your eyes for this man, this woman, this child. Show me how You see each one.‘”
***

Katie Davis Majors — the Katie of Kisses from Katie who moved to Uganda at 18, adopted thirteen daughters and founded a ministry in an extremely impoverished community — wrote those words in her new book, Daring to Hope. Her bravery inspires me, her heart inspires me, and she is certainly a living, breathing example of kindness.

The beauty of Katie’s story, as she continually shares it, is that she walks with Jesus, listens to His voice, and does her best to do what He says. And maybe that is kindness broken down into its simplest form?

Asking God to help us how He sees each person. To give us His eyes for them.

If I remember those thoughts — oh heavens how might it change my communication with my children?

How might it change my attitude toward strangers and friends and neighbors alike?

If under my breath, I whispered, “Father, give me your eyes for them.”

While I might initially look at incorporating a word like kindness into my life more fully and think it means big things — the truth it is really about doing the next small thing, like Mother Teresa said — doing the small thing with the great love. And the smaller the thing, the greater the love.

Our country is grieving this week, frustrated and sad and hurting — because one kid who maybe didn’t find the world a particularly kind place decided to drive to his old school and open fire with a semi-automatic weapon.

Do you ever wonder what it was? Was there one big thing — or were there a hundred small things — that made the difference between “I’m okay” and “I’ll show them?” Could kindness have been the thing that made the difference? And why did he tell one kid to get out of there before things got messy? Where did that kindness come from?

We will probably never know what made the difference, what set him over the edge, what set his course in the direction he chose to take it.

But could we change this — could we prevent this from happening again — if we chose kindness as a rule? If we asked for God’s eyes for one another and treated each other accordingly?

How do we become a kinder, gentler society?

I can only think of one way to start — as Michael Jackson so eloquently put it, “I’m starting with the man in the mirror… I’m asking him to change his ways.”

We cannot overestimate the importance that our small acts of kindness can have for those around us.

There’s an old proverb that says:

“For want of a nail the shoe was lost; for want of a shoe the horse was lost; for want of a horse the rider was lost; for want of a rider the message was lost; for want of the message the battle was lost; for want of the battle the war was lost; for want of the war the kingdom was lost; and all for the want of a horseshoe nail.” 

We will never fully know what our small acts of kindness could mean to the world around us, the world of difference they could make for the person who receives them. But we have every reason to assume that even the smallest acts have the possibility of meaning the biggest things.

There are more ways to be kind than we can count… a thousand tiny opportunities to be generous with our souls every day. Ask for the eyes to see. Kindness has a thousand flavors and our world needs every one of them.

Keep smiling and keep loving and keep giving and keep letting me know how it’s going – I have loved hearing from some of you about your acts of kindness. This! The world needs this right now!

And be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God in Christ forgave you. {Ephesians 4:32}

xCC

P.S. I highly recommend putting BOTH of those books from Katie on your reading list! 😉 View them on Amazon:

Kisses from Katie    :::        Daring to Hope

In case you missed it: I shared a bit about my experience with the Instant Pot and my ten favorite things to do with it on the blog this week!