Sister to Sister: Pop-off People

Do you know anyone who’s just liable to pop off in a rage at any given moment?…Someone you just dread being around because she just might snap at you for the least of offenses, or for nothing at all? Sometimes such a person will be fairly polite for an extended period of time, causing you to loosen your guard and open up to her–share some of your opinions–only to have her lash out once more, causing you to retreat again and making you want as little conversation with her as possible. 

I’m not an expert in dealing with such a person. But I’m getting more experience and I can think of a few lessons learned in what is, perhaps, not the prettiest way. 

First, I hope you don’t allow yourself to become embittered toward such a person. If you do, you lose the best chance to do something that builds patience (James 1: 2ff ) Instead of shouting or “smarting” back, try gently explaining that, while you do not deserve this kind of mistreatment, you refuse to lash out in anger against anyone and that you will do your best to continue to be nothing but kind regardless of how you are treated. Each time you respond in kindness, you’re building spiritual muscle that makes you stronger for the next encounter.

Second, resolve to pity that person. Just be glad you are not her. Be glad you are the recipient of ill treatment rather than the dispenser. Such a person is not very happy. Troublemakers are troubled people. Besides, you have the favor of the Lord if you do not seek to retaliate in such a scenario. Stay on His side. 

Thirdly, Read the last few verses of Romans 12 and think of some practical ways in your specific situation in which to heap coals of fire. In my instance, this person told me exactly what inexpensive item she’s looking for right now on eBay. She told me this just before exploding at me. Well, I can shop on eBay, too, and I may search for some coals. I just may find some (at a bargain price) to heap on her head. Perhaps it would help move her toward heaven. 

Fourthly, if you believe there might be a disorder or a chemical imbalance occurring that’s causing outbursts of anger, pray and consider toward finding someone who might be able to convince the angry sister (or brother) to seek medical or professional help for the problem. Often this is very difficult to accomplish (because everyone’s afraid to get close enough to the ticking time bomb to suggest it), but I have seen angry people modify or eliminate the problem with proper help. They’ve gone on to live happy and productive lives. Homes have been stabilized and marriages strengthened by medical intervention. It’s just a fact.

Fifthly, don’t put too much stock in a criticism if it is from lips that alternately yell and scowl and bear gnashing teeth. Go to an older, wiser, unbiased person and ask for an assessment before you enter the world of guilt. Most importantly, go to the Word.

Lastly, remember the lamb that was led to the slaughter, opening not his mouth (Is. 53:7 ). Remember he spoke from the cross saying “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do” and made that forgiveness possible beginning at the following Pentecost (Acts 2:37,38). Remember your own state without that lamb’s sacrifice. (Your sin might not be unrighteous anger, but it is something!) Be sure that you are on-the-ready to forgive if penitence is achieved in the life of the angry sister. In fact, you should be in prayer for that penitence. 

Remember, the golden rule was meant for golden opportunities. When someone pops off at you, it’s a large and spontaneous and, yes, a golden opportunity to exhibit your faith in the command of Matthew 7:12.                                                                             

Sister to Sister: Guest Writer, Hannah Colley Giselbach

DSC_0662Earlier this week a mom of a college student stood relating to me a bit of the “drama” that seems to be inescapable in her daughter’s world. It just seems like it’s hard to be in a dorm, an apartment, or even on a team with other girls when you’re between the ages of 16 and 25 without having some “yah-yah”-ing going on…sometimes a little gossip, a bit of pride and some histrionics that can turn minor incidents into full-blown relationship busters. Even more complicated is when the trouble involves someone of the opposite sex–someone who may be looking for male logic and sense in the hysteria that may at any time be compounded by caffeine, hormones, or sleep deprivation. As I was thinking about this I was reminded of my own college days and those of my daughter that were not completely free of the turmoil of girl theatrics, by any stretch. I reached back into the archives today to pull out something Hannah wrote while in the midst of the dorm drama. It might be useful if you find yourself embroiled. Keep calm and keep Christ in the mix. In fact, keep Him at the center. In times of crisis, get somewhere quiet and spend some time in the Word. Here’s Hannah on drama. As you read, try to call to mind scriptures that support her five recommendations. I think you will find they are very Biblical.

Be the Bigger Person
“I’m sorry! It’s really hard to keep up with who we’re not talking to anymore!”

This quote, taken from the teenage chick flick of the century, Princess Diaries, is funny, yes, but far too close to home. Said in a group of melodramatic teenage girls, this should have been an exaggerated example of how immature girls can be, but I daresay it wasn’t an exaggeration at all.

We’re all aware of how mean girls can be, and, while we girls at FHU have great role models and a spiritual environment to help us avoid the drama, sometimes we, too, can make regular productions of petty incidents. An argument over something as silly as laundry detergent can result in a menacing grudge that can start during the first semester and last until graduation 4 years later—complete with gossip in an attempt to make the ostracized one look as bad as possible, dirty looks, and envy when the other girls gets ahead in the game. It’s exhausting.

Guys, on the other hand, get over things rather quickly. I don’t know if it’s because they’re more mature or because they’re just too absentminded and careless to prey on bitter thoughts long enough to hold a grudge, but in any case, their world is much simpler than that of us girls. I’d like to think it’s because they’re reasonable enough to see that having to remind yourself how mad you are at someone every morning is no way to live.

For the record, I’m not discrediting the perks of being a girl. Young womanhood doesn’t always have to equal childish drama. In relationships with guys, it is our keen instincts, female intuition (proven time and again), and tender hearts that balance out the coarseness and unfeeling logic that is often characteristic of our male counterparts. At the same time, girls ought to have figured out by now that not all guys pick up on body language that screams, “I’m mad at you—ask me what’s wrong,” and if even if the guy is sensitive enough to pick up on it, he may actually believe you when you quickly retort “I’m fine,” (oh the horror!).

My advice for girls? Be honest, be real, be Christ-like. This is so much easier said than done, but there are some simple ways to work toward this ideal. Here are a few (you know I’m all about lists):

5. If you have an issue with another girl, don’t assume that she knows what the problem is, or that giving her the cold shoulder will fix it.

4. Talk to the girl who has upset you, and not everyone else instead of her. Talking to someone unrelated to the situation can be beneficial if the purpose is a sincere desire to gain insight on how to help someone or how to help a situation in a Christian manner, but all too often, this excuse is used as a crutch to make you look good while you’re backbiting. Go to the girl herself with an attitude of humility and selflessness. If you cannot find resolution then, you can pillow your head at night knowing you did your best, and the rest is out of your hands.

3. Be calm and clear when you communicate with guys. Say what you mean and mean what you say. Don’t expect them to always pick up on clues or hints.

2. Remember that when you give in to drama, you’re hurting yourself more than anyone else. To illustrate this, let me remind you of something Augustine of Hippo once said: “Resentment is like taking the poison and hoping the other person dies.”

1. Rise above it. Be the bigger person. Period.

In short, let’s start communicating. Really communicating.

Inasmuch as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men.

Sister to Sister: Do You Phub?

images-17A neologism, by definition, is a newly invented word and one of the newest terms emerging this week in English is “phubbing”. To phub (from two words: “phone and snub”) is to give attention to your phone when you should be paying attention to a significant other…say, maybe your husband. To “phub up” a relationship is to damage or destroy it due to ignoring important aspects like conversation while you scroll or communicate with others via that hand-held device.

We do this, don’t we? I know I am guilty of phubbing at times. A study at Baylor University recently revealed that phubbing is a significant cause of unhappiness in marriages and sometimes leads to bigger breaches of intimacy and to significant problems in relationships (http://www.foxnews.com/health/2015/10/02/phubbing-ruining-relationships-study-says/.

As I was talking this weekend to women about treasuring the sisterhood, I first thought about this neologism in regard to our sisters. Do we sometimes get so “into” the superficial relationships with people we almost never see and hardly know that we neglect to capitalize on the times we could be spending with our local sisters? I don’t know, but it would be a shameif we let that happen. While it’s wonderful that technology has broadened our fellowship in some ways that make it possible to encourage sisters in other countries, it would be sad to be encouraging to sisters in distant places while hardly knowing those with whom we regularly worship. I want to be careful to treasure relationships with sisters with whom I share local activities and local evangelistic efforts.

But as I think further, the ultimate tragedy would be if a person phubbed God. Is that possible? Can a person spend inordinate amounts of time phone trolling, Facebook scrolling, skyping and chatting with “friends” while failing to communicate and develop a relationship with God?  I think so and I think many people do.  Are there practical steps I can take to be sure I don’t let devices subtly take the time and interest that I should be giving to God?  Can I even disrespect God by slighting my husband while communicating with others via phone? I’ve been thinking about this and here are a few things I want to incorporate into my personal habits to make sure that I never inadvertently give God (or His delegated authority in my life) the leftovers of my communication time.

  1. When God is talking to me (i.e I am reading my Bible or listening to teaching), I will attempt to have my phone silenced or at least ignore any calls that are not emergencies, no matter where I may be.
  2. When I am talking to God, I will not allow my phone to interrupt that prayer time.
  3. I will reserve time for study and prayer every day as a priority over time spent on devices.
  4. I will not look at my phone during mealtimes with my husband, who is the one I am to reverence (Eph. 5:33).
  5. I will not text others while Glenn is speaking to me.
  6. I will not be on Facebook when my husband prefers that I be doing something else with him.  This  would be next to impossible for some women I know who are very much addicted to Facebook  or Twitter or Instagram. It may prove to be harder for me than I think. It’s my challenge for the coming days. I don’t want to be a phubber! (It’s funny….The term is so new that “phubber” autocorrects to “chubbier”. I don’t really want to be that either!)

Sister to Sister: Dear Rebekah

Dear Rebekah,

Caleb and BekahI hope you don’t mind that lots of people are reading your mail. It’s just that lots of moms need to know that it’s possible in the 21st century to raise girls with pure hearts and lofty eternal goals. And lots of sons and daughters in our world need to know that finding someone who has this heart and these goals is worth the wait.

I want you to know that Glenn and I have prayed many times for Jim and Debbie Meinsen. Oh, we did not say their names, but we were praying for them. We prayed before Caleb was even born that there were some parents somewhere raising up a little girl with heaven in her heart. We prayed that they were having family Bible times and that they were diligently putting Him in all of their decisions. We prayed and prayed. Little did we know that, when we started praying, Jim and Debbie Meinsen were probably not even married yet. But all of those details—the timing, the circumstances, the places and the decisions being made way back in the 1980’s and before, were the wonderful Romans 8:28 answers to our prayers.

Then later we started praying more specifically for you. Glenn Colley began several years ago praying for Caleb to find a wife…”soon”. I prayed for him to find a wife when the time was right. But we were  praying for not just any wife. We were praying for someone who would be willing to submit to a godly man…someone who would love the Lord more than she loved that man…someone who could appreciate righteousness more than riches…someone whose hope was stayed in the Lord. We were praying for you.

Little did we know that there was a period of years in which he, a college graduate was occasionally, visiting in your home. You were a middle schooler on those occasions when he traveled to Springfield as an Apologetics Press representative to set up an AP table at the homeschooling conferences your father organized. There you were, right before his eyes—his wife. That’s right. Who knew that one day, when you were all grown up, you would be THE one who would have all of the characteristics of a wife for which he was searching, even then? Certainly not the guy behind the AP table at the homeschooling conference!

So he just went right on though grad school…in fact, a couple of grad schools…and the next time he saw you, you were “all grown up.” And the rest is history and…chemistry. =)

Glenn and I are still praying; now in praise and thanksgiving for His great grace given our family through you. My favorite question on Saturday was not the big one…just because I was pretty sure I already knew the answer to the big one. My favorite question came later while we were celebrating your birthday and playing that game where you have to answer Bible questions to open gifts and the people who are not going to get any gifts (like my husband) get ridiculously hard questions like “Quote Revelation 14:6,” and the people who are going to get presents get questions like “Without _______it is impossible to please him…” (And, by the way, you are  tough competition in any Bible game.)

So your question, at one point, when we veered a bit from the Bible theme was “What are your three favorite things about your new fiancé? I will treasure your answer in my heart forever. You said it without hesitating:

“What I like most about Caleb is how much He loves and obeys God. Next, I love the way that he treats everybody…EVERYbody. And then, I love the way he laughs.”

Can I just tell you once more that I prayed for many years, diligently and frequently for somebody who knew how to answer that question; somebody who could appreciate the best things about Caleb? I know you love these characteristics because you have Bible studies with non-Christians every time you can get the chance. You have Bible studies in your dorm room with other Christian women. You, as one of the elder’s wives at Macland Road told me, “are comfortable in conversation with everyone around you all the time. It doesn’t matter how old or young, rich or poor.” I’ve entered the dining room and found you all alone  at our breakfast table on Sunday mornings (the day of the week when breakfast is definitely piecemeal and “come-grab-a-bite-when-you-can”) with your head bowed in morning prayer. I’ve watched you study the Bible, poring over a Greek word or writing a paper about a complicated passage. You are beautiful on the outside. But these spiritual traits are the prettiest thing about you. They’re the beauty that time enhances rather than fades.  “Favor is deceitful and beauty is vain; but a woman who fear the Lord shall be praised.”

See,  I believe you could, without even thinking about it, list the three things you love most about Caleb because you’ve worked so hard to be sure they are in you.

I’ve heard about some mothers who resent the women who come along and take their place in the hearts of their sons. I want you to know that we tried very hard, as Caleb grew up, to keep that heart clean and pure, heaven focused and holy, for you. We’re glad you’ve moved into it and we know you will help Him keep it fit for heaven.

We’re glad you like to hear him laugh, because he laughs a lot. We pray there will always be lots of laughter and few tears. We pray there will be children and songs and homeschooling and lots of visits to grandparents. We pray there will be heaven at the end for all of us. We love you.

Sister to Sister: I’m Old…So Here! (Part 3)

11057335_10152618923116384_8647455845390333819_nSuggestion three is not easy to say. In fact, its implementation is a struggle for this older woman. But I believe it might be the most practical of any suggestion in 2015 for millennials who want to be keepers–guardians  and protectors of–the home. I’m not a millennial. (Does that mean I am a pre-millennial? Not in the theological sense, but, yes–in the “older woman” sense.) But I know lots of them and I love the way that so many of them are coming back home–to its values, its oh-so-important roles, its traditions. So today, let’s think about something small, relatively new and pretty powerful in terms of relationships in the home.

It fits in the pocket of your purse or sometimes even in a very large pocketed keychain. It’s only a few centimeters in both length and width. In fact, its smallness is one of its biggest selling points. But in that tiny pocket package there is power to destroy relationships. The devil can fit in a package even that tiny, if you let him. You know what the package is. It’s your cell phone—your mobile device.

I heard about a pre-schooler the other day who was asked the question, “What’s the most important thing in the world to your mommy?” Without batting an eye, the sweet little girl responded “Her phone.” Sometimes the answer must be just that obvious to our kids. We keep it with us at all times. We protect it from the elements. (I actually know a man who, while cleaning the swimming pool, was accidentally falling into the water. This man had the prudence and presence of mind to reach into the pocket of his shorts and toss his cell phone onto the concrete, mid-fall! The phone was salvaged.)  We make monthly payments for its use and we check on it multiple times throughout our days.

But I know many homes in which the devil, through that little flat rectangular disc, is doing great damage. Here are a few ways he works through your device:

  1. He makes you fail to “redeem the time”. Sometimes our houses are dirty and/or cluttered, we are behind on the laundry, the cat litter box is a mess, the beds are unmade and we are running late to worship. We fail to study our Bibles daily, but we have scrolled through our news feeds, taken time to post a picture or status and, oh, if only our houses looked like our pins! (Don’t think for a moment that this is personally directed at anyone, because I write, first, to improve my own time redemptive habits.)
  2. The devil makes you overspend. It’s so much easier to buy things when there’s no getting out of your pajamas, no “store hours” to fit into your schedule, no face-to-face exchange of money, no paper trail and SO MUCH (literally, the whole world of retail) from which to choose.
  3. He makes you fail to see needs around you. You are focused on the needs that are far away…a child on CNN who is lost in the Rockies, a ten car pile-up on I-65, a federal financial crisis, or a politician who has misspoken. All the while, you are failing to see the things you can personally fix, or at the very least, affect…the child who is losing his way spiritually—YOUR child…the “pile-up” that’s in your closet, your playroom or your laundry room or, even worse, the emotional pile-up that has accumulated between you and your sister in Christ…the financial crisis that has occurred in your own checking account or with the plastic in your wallet…the words misspoken around your own breakfast table, or the words of encouragement that went unspoken as you scrolled through distant statuses and pithy postings of strangers. Sometimes, we just become very far-sighted in the presence of our devices and the things we could positively affect remain unaffected. And when we fail to do good, it is sin (James 4:17).
  4. The devil tempts us through the lust of the eyes and flesh (I John 2:16). With the multi-billion dollar pornography industry, most of which is readily available on your device, not to mention the appeal of the world through Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, he is having a heyday in the lives of the people who are supposed to be sanctified. If you cannot see this as a personal affront of the devil—an affront of which you need to constantly beware—then you are not astute enough to be mentally responsible before God.
  5. The devil is working to addict (enslave) the people of God. Anything that I can’t lay aside for  His purposes, whatever His purpose may be at any given time, is an addiction. Many people I know are addicted to cell phone use. They cannot lay the devices aside for more important things, even temporarily.
  6. The most tragic thing the devil might be doing through your mobile device is destroying your relationship with your spouse. The command for wives in Titus 2 is to love (phileo) our husbands. “Phileo” is friendship love. We are commanded to be best friends with our husbands. Our husbands are commanded to dwell with us according to knowledge, giving us honor. We are missing out on some pretty basic and important relationship builders when we are phone or i-pad addicted. We miss smiles and winks. We miss opportunities to pick up a dropped fork or a broken spirit. We miss conversations that result in sexual intimacy or answers to life’s dilemmas. We miss the “look” of utter dependence that might have made us more clearly see the importance of what we are doing in the home or, in the case of husbands, on the job. We, thus, miss confidence milestones and esteem builders. We miss opportunities to show gratitude. We are absent in the “moments” of life and love. We become deficient in our communication skills because it’s easier to “stalk” than talk; easier to feed curiosity than character; easier to maintain internet navigation than interpersonal communication. So we slowly erode relationships. We do what is easy and neglect what is rewarding. It is a self-centered way to watch our marriages die. And, when the devil succeeds, through the tiny box, in this erosion, he can get his tentacles on so much more—your purpose, your skills of submission or your husband’s leadership abilities, and even the generations that will eventually come from your home.

Are you wondering if the devil may be “stalking” you through your device. Ask yourself some simple questions:

  1. Are there days when the “basics” of home are missing some components—like hot meals, clean clothes in the closet, or clean forks in the drawer…but the facebook posts have been read and you’ve caught up on Instagram notifications? (Maybe I should get up this very moment and do something else and not even post this!)
  2. If you check back on your eBay or Amazon (or other retail) history, do you find that you are spending more than you thought on impulse on-line purchases? Do your kids or grandkids already have more than they need to wear (or play with) and more keeps popping up in your mailbox? Do you have so many clothes (or shoes or purses or baby carriers) that you never wear any of them out and you keep searching the web for more? (I talk to myself. Do you?)
  3. I know you use your Facebook to encourage others, but, if you read Matthew 25, do you find  yourself failing to do most of the “judgement-day-requisites” listed in verses 33-46 in real relationships with those in your congregation, while you find time somehow to shop, pin, post and “catch up” with people you seldom see?
  4. Do you find yourself taking your device to the bathroom with you or locking the door of your office while perusing the web or quickly shutting down pages when someone walks into the room?
  5. If you challenged yourself to do without your mobile devices for one full day except to answer incoming voice calls, would you have a difficult time doing that? Is it hard for you to commit to that test?
  6. Do you have your phone with you at the dinner table?
  7. Do you text others as you ride along with your spouse in the car?
  8. Do you text while driving?
  9. Has your spouse ever mentioned  to you that he wishes you would not be on your phone while with him?
  10. Do you communicate with someone  of the opposite sex online about matters that are sensitive, personal or even sexual in nature?
  11. Do you “talk” with someone of the opposite sex online…a friendly communicative relationship of which your spouse is unaware?
  12. Do you keep surfing or communicating online at night after your spouse goes to sleep?
  13. Do you find yourself very often finishing a line of text or reading a post before going to see about a crying baby or answering child who is calling you? Or do you always look at your phone while rocking your baby or watching a movie or ballgame with your children or family?
  14. Have you ever parted from your spouse and failed to kiss him goodbye because you were involved on your device?
  15. Are you withholding any passwords or devices from full spousal awareness and accountability?

imagesIf one or more of the answers to the above questions is “yes” for me, then I need to examine that area of my life and consider changes. I might be using my phone to communicate while failing in the most important communication of all. If several of the answers is “yes”, then I should beware. The devil may be trying to connect with me online. If I accept him as a friend, I will complicate my life and endanger my eternity. He is constantly posting, sharing, tweeting and texting. He is very tech savvy and extremely “social”.  I must be sure that I own my i-phone rather than allowing it to own me. Because the devil knows my number.

Got Boys? Make a New Year’s Resolution.

images-10Satan is trying so hard to turn your teen boy’s head and heart from the purposes you’ve diligently cultivated in him. He’s a teenager now. You don’t cuddle with him in your lap, read him stories or play Candy Land with him anymore. In fact, it seems there’s more “device-time” now than there is real parental communication going on in his world. So, what’s a mom to do? Do we really raise them for the first twelve years just to watch our relationships and influence slowly erode, making us virtual strangers in the same houses?

No!! You and your husband can foster a close bond with your teenage son. I see it happening all around me. It’s challenging because of what the devil is doing in your son’s world of school, peers, and media. But it is possible and it is eternally rewarding! I hope to include snippets throughout the coming year in this blog about ways we, as moms, can enable our sons on the path to holy living and godly leadership. For today, let me tell you about an upcoming day in Tennessee that’s worth your drive for a great and intentional beginning of a better 2015 for your son (or in the case of my correspondence this morning, your whole boys youth group!)…

Just this morning I got a text from a friend who works with youth in a small congregation…a group of kids who want to be active, have good hearts, but just cannot afford the large hotel-housed youth events that are doing much good these days.  I am going to suggest an event for your boys that will cost you nothing but gas to get there and may possibly even exceed (in individual hearts) the great good done at a mega-youth event. I say this because of the subject material and because I’m a little biased regarding the speaker.

If you have boys in your home or youth group, please consider the following. I can personally attest to the fact that, if your boys take to heart the material presented  from the Word on January 17th at Fairview and if they make the practical applications in their lives (applications that will be clearly taught in this short seminar), they will live the rest of their teen years in purity and become leaders in godly homes.

I’d pay a lot of money and drive a long way for that kind of training. But you don’t have to pay a lot! Free admission, free housing for out-of-town guests in Christian homes, free breakfast and lunch, and a free t-shirt?!  It’s like getting all the best things about an EU or a EYC or a CYC (or some other letters) without the cost that might be prohibitive. It’s also a great event for dads and sons to attend together. (Makes for some great family Bible time discussions later on.)

Your guys will hear about dating behavior, leadership skills, how to combat the temptations pornography presents in our world, and how to make spiritually healthy media choices. They will hear about the way real men choose women of faith and then how they treat those godly women.

So here’s the lowdown. Be sure and make your reservation within the next few days. The t shirt will be the least valuable thing your guys come away with, but still, they will want one!

Boys to Men:  Doing it God’s Way 2015

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m.

Time:  9 am to 2pm

Speaker: Glenn Colley

@ Fairview church of Christ, Pulaski, TN

1765 Industrial Loop Road, Pulaski, 38478

**Breakfast and Lunch provided

**Out of town housing available on a first come first serve basis.  We will do our very best to make sure everyone has a place to stay.

Also find us on FB.

Free T-shirts available if you pre-register by January 7, 2015

Link to register: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1TbcIZOd_1T1jmYLnqGlf8z0IXsNe31iTsgh040v5JA0/viewform

 

Boys to Men: Doing it God’s Way 2015 – Registration Form

docs.google.com