Aug 262015

By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another.  John 13:35

It was a typical summer morning.  Dishes in the sink.  Doing some breakfast improvising due to no milk and no oatmeal.  Asking then re asking the kiddo’s to get dressed and clean up last nights fort.  And trying to do and say it all without feeling or sounding like the Wicked Witch from the West.  (“Love is not easily angered….love is not easily angered….love is not easily angered….”) Being on time without being unkind to your family sometimes seems like the impossible feat in our household.

We made it.  To the car.  Late, but moving in a forward motion.  At this point many would skip the Dutch Bros coffee run, but this was the part of the morning which was not a negotiation.  It was a necessity if you will, anyone with me?  We pulled into the drive through and the cheery barista took our order.  The girls yelled from the backseat, “Can we please get a steamer Mom?”  Feeling giving I gave in to their request.  As I continued with our order my youngest daughter rolled down her window to get a closer look at things.  The cheery barista didn’t miss a beat, said “Hi girls!  What are you going to do today?”  My youngest daughter (the spokesperson/designated representative for the sister’s) gave not only our plans for the park play date, but also both girls’ soccer practice times, soccer team names, and soccer team shirt colors.  The cheery barista listened intently, smiled and responded with an excited, “Wow!  So great!  So fun!”

As we pulled away from the drive through with drinks in hand my oldest daughter asked, “Why are these people so nice, Mom?”  I thought about her question for a moment, and said, “Well, they must like making people feel special.”  I followed it up by asking her if she liked it when they were so friendly (this is my introverted child in which I was unsure as to if the friendliness would be unappealing).  She replied, “Yes, I like it a lot when they smile and talk to me.”

I so agreed with my oldest daughter.  Dutch Bros had some serious “pros”.  There has not been one time (and we go atleast once a week) in which I didn’t drive away from Dutch Bros feeling loved, cared for, and with a smile on my face (and this is not just because I love their Creme de Mint Decaf Mochas).  Every employee smiles.  Every employee is somehow a master of conversation.  Every employee makes you somehow feel like you are “the best thing sense sliced bread” for that 3 minute interaction at their window.

As I pondered the “Dutch Bros Pros”, I couldn’t help but evaluate how I measured up in the “niceness towards others” category.  My “Wicked Witch of the West” attitude/verbal commands earlier this morning were definitely not a shining moment of kindness.  The scripture above, By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another, was my next brain thought.  Shouldn’t people be leaving our church on Sunday mornings with the very same question my daughter asked as we drove away from Dutch Bros, “Why are these people so nice?”  Shouldn’t my kids, husband, co-worker’s, friend’s and stranger’s walk away from interactions with me thinking, “Why is she so nice?”

Because the love of Jesus in me and in you should make a difference.  Other’s should questions why we care about them so much.  Why we listen without judgement.  Why we give of ourselves and our resources with no strings attached.  Why we have genuine interest in our questions to them.  Why our words speak life, encouragement, and kindness always.  Why we rely on the Holy Spirit to turn the “Wicked Witch of the West” morning attitudes into “Glinda, the Good Witch of the South” marked by patience and love.  Other’s should be able to tell we are believer’s by the care, concern and love we give.  It’s time for the church and for ourselves to take on the “Dutch Bros Pros” relationship strategy and be.  known.  by.  love.

How can you change your morning routine to better reflect the love of Jesus to your family?

What times of the day or specific activities make you more prone to quick, harsh words?

In what way can you facilitate a “Dutch Bros Pros” welcoming, caring, nice environment for people who walk into your church?

Think and act on the saying, “if you don’t have something nice to say don’t say it at all”.






© 2012 Standing on Peace

Aug 172015

Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance;  perseverance, character; and character, hope.  And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.  Romans 5:3-5

Of course the 1 Corinthians 13 scripture, “love is not easily angered” was all I could think about.  That is, as I was currently in the midst of fighting off being easily angered.  This seems to be how the conviction of the Holy Spirit plays out in my life on a regular basis.  And I wish I could tell you my anger was the “righteous anger” type, over something of spiritual significance or logical sense.  But I cannot.

The struggle of my anger was birthed in trying to make a square peg fit into a round hole.  Not literally.  But figuratively, as it relates to an activity we all know and love-a birthday party.  Let me explain.

It was my daughter’s 5th birthday and I couldn’t seem to make her “dream theme” work out.  She wanted a “Queen squirrel” party.  My husband commented in response to her theme request, “You sure can tell our kids have grown up in the “Netflix/DVR/no commercials” society because you don’t see any stores marketing “Queen Squirrels”-no barbie party for her- this is her very own creation.”  Hense my frustration.

How was I to win any Mother of the Year awards when I couldn’t come through for my daughter on her birthday?  (I do not actually seek this award, but I recognize I place unrealistic/unnecessary pressures on myself to “be all and do all” for my children.  So Lord, forgive me of this pride which all around never bodes well.)  My internal temperature was rising as I was shot down by all my “go to’s” of Amazon, Target, Fred Meyer, Kohls and Pintrest for ANY sort of “queen squirrel” party decor.

After hours of mental anger (okay, and some outward snips at my husband and children who were not wise to be asking anything of me in this state), I came to a place where I could breathe more easily.  I resolved to the obvious conclusion. Queen squirrels do not co-exist/make sense for the majority of Americans.  So I stopped trying to look for them out in the world and decided to bring pieces of each of these things together to create my daughter’s imaginary world.   I was at ease in letting go of trying to make “queen squirrels” become a “thing”/suddenly appear in our nearby Target store.  And became excited about the creating and entering into the joy of my daughter’s world.  This looked something like a hodge podge array of decor-queen plates, mixed with a squirrel holding acorn cupcakes;  A song sung and book read about squirrels with a princess/queen movie immediately following.  Two seemingly unrelated/unable to be combined entites from the world’s standard-queens and squirrels-were joined together.  And a different world, my daughter’s world, was brought to life at her party.

I am thankful we as believer’s in Jesus live in belong to a different world as well.  A Kingdom world.  A world which is not so unlike my daughter’s party in which “queen’s and squirrel’s” coexist.  Where suffering and glory don’t co-exist.  And even go hand in hand.  Crazily, we can “glory in our sufferings”, as it says in the Romans passage above.  Knowing whatever struggle it is we are currently facing, if we hold onto Jesus, will result in perseverance, then character, and finally, hope.

So we stand on solid hope today.  In the midst of the shaky hard we are facing.  Even when the earthly people around us tell us “queens and squirrels” or our suffering and hope cannot co exist.  Even when other’s do not understand our unlikely, unrelated attitude of strength, peace, and joy in our trialing circumstance.  Because we will overcome in Jesus.  Knowing this world is not our true home.   And we will never feel truly at home until we get to heaven.  In which “Queen Squirrel parties” will be oh so commonplace.




© 2012 Standing on Peace