Tag Archives: A Better Way

STRETCH – Five-Minute Fridays

Stretch – Five-Minute Fridays

One way of stretching myself

Linking to Five-Minute Fridays and the word today is STRETCH. I have five minutes to write. GO

I learned to stretch my body when I knew that my back and my knees didn’t work very well. A physiotherapist told me to stretch. And I did – I stretched and I stretched and eventually along with other helps my body returned to “normal”.

During this time I also stretched my soul. I came to know Christ and His saving love. I yearned for that. My spirit stretched and I found out more about me – who I am and who God wants me to be.

Also my personality took a big stretch – from being a Martha to learning to be a Mary (at least some of the time). Jesus said “let Mary do this, it is the better way” – so I listened and learned to stop, breathe, feel the quiet and the stillness.

The next stretch along my path will be to market my new little children’s book, Tadeo Turtle. Lots of stretching here. During the past ten years I have learned to write, to paint; I attended writers’ conferences; I listened and stretched. With God leading me the next stage will be fun and full of new experiences.

What are you stretching? Your body, your mind or your spirit? Or all three. I would love to know – please comment and let’s get a discussion going.

My time is UP. Your turn.

Blessings,

Jan

 

ARE YOU A MARY-KILLING MARTHA?

Are You a Mary-Killing Martha?

by Jennifer Slattery (reprinted with permission, June 21, 2012)

Mary or Martha?

Are you a Mary or Martha?

Most of us are familiar with the story of Mary and Martha. If asked, I suspect many would readily admit we have much more Martha in us than we’d like.

For those of you unfamiliar with the story, Martha and Mary were sisters in ancient Palestine. They were close friends with Jesus. More than friends–they adored Him. One day, Jesus came for a visit, and Martha went frantic. (Luke 10:38-42 NIV.) As would I.

Can you imagine the Creator of the universe stepping inside your kitchen? Drinking from your water-stained glasses? Or am I the only one with dusty furniture, buggy light fixtures, and cobwebs hanging in corners?

Like Martha, when I get on a cleaning-doing-rampage, I expect everyone to join me. For truly, how could anyone possibly sit while so much needs to be done? But in my dolling out tasks and responsibilities, I need to be careful I don’t rob my loved ones of God’s “better.”

It takes a lot of strength … patience … surrender, to sit at Jesus’ feet. We’ve all got to do lists, ambitions, and obligations that threaten to sap our time. Add in a frenzied Martha condemning our efforts, and how many of us can continue to abide?

It’s so hard to be a Mary in a Martha world! For us and our loved ones, which is why we need to be careful not to kill their Mary through over-scheduling.

Each day, I must ask myself–what am I training in my daughter? Am I cultivating an atmosphere that encourages divine-connections, where it’s okay to be a Mary? Do I actively adjust our schedule in order to leave time for God’s best? And what do I praise most, her commitment to Christ or her earthly achievements?

This is a hard one–especially when raising a teen. We want to teach responsibility, service, hard-work ethics. We want to expose our kids to the world. And there’s always so much that needs to be done! That can be done.

To find the balance, I believe we need to continually pare things back to the basics–training our child/encouraging our loved ones to know Christ and make Him known. If their lives, our families, center around that, everything else will fall into place.

This summer has been fairly easy for us. Our schedule leaves plenty of time for family discussions and Bible reading. My challenge will come this fall when sports, classes, and activities threaten to crowd out those family-bonding, spiritually-nurturing times. I pray, when our schedule balloons, God will provide a dose of Mary to balance my Martha, giving me the wisdom to differentiate the must-dos from the can-dos.

Moms and Grandmas, which woman do you relate to today? Are you a Martha, running around ragged, wishing others would help you? Or maybe you’re surrounded by a thousand want-tos–those blessings like amusement parks, sports teams, and gatherings with friends. Be careful your to-do and want-to-do lists don’t rob your children and grandchildren of their time with God.

Maybe you’re a Mary desperately needing time with Jesus, but the obligations of others weigh you down. Today I encourage you to close your ears to the voice of man and tune them instead to Jesus, “you are worried and upset about many things, 42 but few things are needed—or indeed only one” (Luke 10:41b-42a NIV).

And invite your kids to do the same. Each day show them what it means to abide.

Some things to try:

1. Read a Bible passage after dinner and, instead of teaching, invite each family member to share how God spoke to them through the passage.

2. Create a family quiet time with no tv, soft praise music playing, attractive journals for family members to write in.

3. Take your family on a prayer walk/hike.

Do you have any ideas to share? How have you encouraged your children to draw near to Christ? How have you modeled a vibrant, abiding faith? What are some ways you’ve tackled the schedule monster, and what were the results? What’s *one thing* you can and will do this week to foster an atmosphere of abiding?

Before you begin your busy day, pause to soak in, to rest in, Jesus words, spoken in John 15:4

“Remain in me, and I will remain in you. For a branch cannot produce fruit if it is severed from the vine, and you cannot be fruitful unless you remain in me.” (NLT)

Life’s tough. You can’t do it alone. Neither can our kids. Let’s teach them how to tap into and remain connected to their power source.

Join us at Living by Grace as we talk about ways to train up Marys in a Martha world.

Living By Grace

Living By Grace

SIMPLY SATURDAY – Write!Canada

Simply Saturday

On Saturdays I write for only 5 minutes – the topic today is Write!Canada.

Write!Canada

At the time of your reading this post I will be on the last day of my writers’ conference, Write!Canada held in Guelph, Ontario.

I have attended this conference for the past seven years and each year get more excited than the last.

If you live in Canada and are interested in writing – this is the conference for you.

This year, with some trepidation, I am taking the final version of my book, A Better Way, to show to agents, friends, and publishers. We will see what God is going to do with this. I have left it in His Hands.

I am a perfectionist and have held off doing anything with my draft for three years. This is the year. I am stepping out in faith and putting my work before humanity.

Writing a book is a little like blogging but in blogging we are freer to express ourselves. Although we try not to make mistakes, if they occur we can quickly fix them. In a book – that is not possible (until a second printing).

When I did my trial print run (3 books), I thought I had all the “bugs” out. I didn’t. It was humbling to have silly mistakes found. But it was also a blessing.

Well that’s all for my five minutes today. Can’t link to Gypsy Mama as I have to write this before I head to Guelph.

Jesus is the way – So Pray

Jesus is the Way – So Pray

“Jesus does not give recipes that show the way to God as other teachers of religion do. He Himself is the Way.”

Karl Barth, Swiss Protestant theologian of the 20th C.

In my last post I talked about being overwhelmed. Certainly it is easy to get so involved doing good and serving that you can feel that way. I have done this to myself countless times. I take on one more thing. It seems right when I am asked. But maybe I am doing it because I feel good that someone has asked me. Someone says to me that I would be good for that job – and my ego says, “thank you very much” – I will do it. Soon I realize that I should have taken the request to God first. Seeking God’s answer is always better – He may say yes, or He may caution me that this is not good for me or for Him at this time, or He may say – what were you thinking? No.

Jesus took time to seek God.

“But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed” (Luke 5:16 NIV).

I am learning to do this; to look carefully at what I am asked to do. Is my heart in it? Will I feel resentful if I say yes? Is it pride that makes me want to say yes? These are questions to put to God and remember to listen for an answer.

Some things I tackle I know God is behind them as I am enthused, energized and joyful. Other things I know too that I shouldn’t have said yes. I struggle to finish those tasks, procrastinate and have no joy.

As Karl Barth says Jesus is the Way. So following the way I have found is the better way. How about you?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Good Morning

Good Morning

Yes, it is morning for me – here in Arizona. Yesterday at church the pastor asked in the sermon, “How do you wake up in the morning?”

I have found that a great way to wake up is to say, “Good morning, God.” With a big deep breath I breathe in and out. I lie still in my bed.

Today the words of the song from Godspell came to my mind:

Day by day, O dear Lord, three things I pray
to see thee more clearly,
love thee more dearly,
follow thee more nearly,
day by day, by day, by day.

What a delightful way to wake up.

I recall all the wonderful things that can happen today; breathing; eating; talking; listening. As I keep in step with God, He keeps me close to Him.

What things are possible for you today? Nature? Smiles? Where can you see God?

It all comes down to how we start our day. Do we start it with God? Do we wake up thankful to be alive? If not, can we start a new way – a better way?

There were many versions of Day by Day on YouTube but here is one from the Fifth Dimension

Overwhelmed?

I have been overwhelmed with the things I want to do. There are so many possibilities and I know I can’t do them all.

One of the ways I have been working through this, is to pray for God to give me wisdom and clarity to know what to put in my “inbox”.

I recently had the privilege to read a new book prior to its release called A Life Plan by Michael Hyatt.

When I worked through the exercises it helped me to focus on this huge “inbox” of my daily life.

Being retired one would think that I would have an abundance of time to spend on lots of activities. Yes that is true but the problem is – there are so many tempting notions that we sometimes end up doing nothing worthy of God.

More accurately retirement could be called realignment. After finishing a career of 40-50 hours or more a week, one would assume that would give me that much time to do all those things I feel called upon to do.  It doesn’t seem to work out that way. Why?

Do we need a plan? I do. I hope to find a better way, to use this time as God wants me to. Come along with me while we work this out together.

A New Start

Do you ever wonder where you are going and what you are doing? I do.

I have so many wonderful ideas, thoughts and longings. Someone told me once that she could see that I was someone who was always looking at coloured balloons and wanting to catch as many as I could. I didn’t understand her analogy at that time but I do now.

I am definitely a ‘Martha’ in temperament and character. I love to do things. I am a woman of action. But I learned that I need to also know the ‘Mary’ side of me.

When I made my decision to follow Christ in 2001 He revealed to me that I needed to take that time – the Mary part of me – and rest in Him. He led me to read a wonderful book called Having a Mary Heart in a Martha World by Joanna Weaver. That book really hit home. I knew when I finished reading that I needed help for God to change me in the way He wanted.

Two years ago I started to write a story about Mary and Martha. Last week I published my first “dummy” copy. It is a book for children but speaks to all of us. I used my talent as a watercolour artist to illustrate the book.

I hope to speak to you in this blog about the ways we can learn together to be both Mary and Martha.

One way I learned to listen to my ‘Mary’ side was learning to pray. Last June I started a blog called Under the Cover of Prayer. I hope you join me there too. Together we can learn to sit at His feet, learn about Him and learn to rest in Him.