Before you receive

This is a companion post to last week’s “Before you give,” and makes several assumptions. For instance, that you’re celebrating and will exchange gifts. It also assumes that you have space this holiday to think about this unessential part of living. Because of time, energy, money, or emotion, you may not have been able to prepare for next week like you wanted. There is still one way you can, though. Prepare how you will accept gifts. Years ago, I gave a sweater to a girl at a going away party. I didn’t know her well. She squealed and exclaimed. It was outrageous how pleased she was, and how much she liked it. I’d never experienced a reaction like that, and click to continue reading…

Before you give

I scratched this post last week because I was still working it out in my heart. I want to preface “Before you give” and next week’s “Before you receive” posts with the caveat that I do neither well. So it’s coming from a broken place. They also take a great deal of privilege for granted. Talking about gift giving assumes you are not at war, or barely surviving. It assumes you have someone to give a gift to, or someone to spend a holiday with. It assumes that there is enough space in your life to think about this extraneous part of the holiday. My sister and I have a birthday three days apart. We mostly celebrated together, and I click to continue reading…

On the floor, not at the table

A man once told me he would have become a Christian sooner if it hadn’t for some of the Christians he knew before he was saved. Specifically, one arrogant person turned him off from wanting to know God. I tremble sometimes, to think of the people I may have turned off in my arrogance, in my floundering that looked like arrogance when I put up a good front faking… Or in my sincerity when they weren’t in a place to hear all the words I have to say about God. The religious are usually a joke in the media, but it’s an old (pre-pandemic) complaint to dismiss Jesus because of his (professed) followers. And I hear often enough that you click to continue reading…

Sorry, not really really sorry

I remember in the early years of trying to merge our two fighting styles that my husband and I had an argument. I was quick-tempered but equally fast to see my error and apologize. (I sometimes still struggle with quick anger.) However, in that beginning argument, when I asked for forgiveness, he would not give it. He needed time. A day later, when he was ready to discuss and make up, I wasn’t interested. I wanted a turn with the power imbalance. I wanted him to hurt, or grovel, before I bestowed forgiveness. I realized, though, that withholding meant we might just take turns refusing to forgive. That’s the loading dock to the never speaking again express train. So, I click to continue reading…

His story is a pearl

I think as a child I heard gossip explained to be a situation where you pretended to like someone, but spread lies about them behind their back. It was also called “two-faced” because you don’t really like them but wanted their ruin. But what about gossiping about someone you don’t despise and want to ruin? Or someone you might even love and want to help? I feel like there is another way to share and request information, especially in church culture, that we wouldn’t call gossip, but it works the same because it uncovers things that should remain private. It’s concern for the purpose of prayer. Of course, there is the obvious example of sharing someone else’s prayer request, so click to continue reading…