Music often speaks messages of the heart. A song can succinctly pinpoint what volumes of books may endeavor to describe. I haven’t yet met a person that hasn’t been moved by music at least once in their lifetime.

Where words fail, music speaks.

Hans Christian Anderson

This post is inspired by such a song (link at the end). 

The digital age (or whatever else you’d like to call it) has brought about a fascinating, but dangerous phenomenon, which may have existed before, but certainly wasn’t so obviously displayed as it is now. I don’t know if any scientific studies have been done on the reasoning behind this, but it’d be interesting to investigate.

What is she talking about? you probably are wondering.

It’s this idea that people tend to “say” things digitally that they would rarely, if ever say in person.

I don’t personally have any social media accounts (Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, etc.), but I have previously. Of course, I have a cellphone, and I use it to text frequently. I know from experience how easy it is to type something that I wouldn’t have the courage (or audacity?) to say face-to-face or even over the phone.

Why is this? Why is it so easy to defame someone, to shame one’s thoughts, to openly criticize someone’s intentions, without even personally knowing what’s going on behind the scenes?

I’ve scrolled through the comments section of news articles, blog posts, and social media updates, only to turn off the device in disgust and horror. What is it about the digital world that makes us forgot that the people on the other side of the worldwide web are humans just like we are?

This is certainly not the way God intended for us to treat one another, His precious creation.

But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you.

Luke 6:27-31 (NIV)

What ever happened to “The Golden Rule”? Yes, it originates from the Word of God, but in times past, it has been a leading principle even in the secular world. 

Now, however, many men and women are too intent on “climbing the ladder”, becoming successful, getting themselves noticed, gathering followers — you name it. It’s all about me, me, me. No longer does it matter if someone else is ruined because of our striving to reach the top. 

“That’s just how it goes sometimes,” one might say.

Who’s really winning? Who’s really succeeding, if everyone is constantly clamoring to succeed, with no thought of who stands in their way?

And often, it all starts with getting comfortable digitally destroying others. 

For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other.

Galatians 5:14-15 (NIV)

Let us not forget that the words on the screen came from a real person, just like you. No, they may not look the same, talk the same, believe the same… Maybe all you can see are the differences.

But, maybe, we’re all more connected than we realize.

Maybe that person is looking for acceptance just like you are.

Maybe, just maybe, that person has hurts just like you do.

Maybe that person is struggling with addiction, with loss, with grief, with heartache… just like you are.

Maybe, just maybe… that person has a heart just like you do.

So next time your fingers jump to respond in anger, remember how much we’re all connected. 

Inspired by “The Comments Section” by Sidewalk Prophets

“Rejoice always, pray continually, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.” -‭‭1 Thessalonians‬ ‭5:16-18‬ ‭(NIV‬‬)

I find it interesting that Merriam Webster’s first definition of thankful is “conscious of benefit received.”

It’s easy to associate thankfulness with good things.

“Thank you for the compliment.”
“Thank you for serving my food.”
“Thank you for the gift.”
“Thank you for holding the door open.”

But, what about the not-so-good?

“Thank you for holding up traffic.”
“Thank you for this extra workload.”
“Thank you for leaving your dirty clothes everywhere.”
“Thank you for this storm.”

That sounds crazy, right? Unless someone is being passive aggressive and spewing sarcasm (which, I’ve learned, typically does more harm than good), it’s unlikely that those sentiments would come from a person’s mouth.

However, as it always does, God’s Word challenges us to go beyond the instinctive.

“…give thanks in all circumstances…”

Some people jump to the defense and say things like, “I can’t be thankful for sickness! I can’t be thankful for this pain and grief!”

I’d have to agree.

That’s why it’s important to note the small preposition used in this admonition from 1 Thessalonians. We aren’t to be thankful for all circumstances, but rather we are to thankful in all circumstances.

It really boils down to perspective. 

Will I dwell on the pain of my situation, or will I focus on the personal growth that could happen as a result?

Will I drown in grief, or will I embrace fond memories?

So while I may not always be thankful for my circumstances, I choose to be grateful in the midst of my circumstances.

  • Jesus loves me, and He has never failed me.
  • I have breath in my body.
  • There is hope beyond this life.
  • I have a loving family.
  • Beauty can be found in the smallest things, like the autumn air and the faithful sunrise.
  • I have a home, plenty of clothes, and a variety of food.
  • …and on, and on, and on.

Yes, there is so much to be thankful for, despite circumstances.

Talk about defying expectations. 🙂 Ah, a good topic for another day…

May you be filled with gratitude, no matter how different this holiday season may be.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”

Maya Angelou

“…people will never forget how you made them feel.”

What a true statement. I think back over my short 24 years of life, and I realize that, though I may not remember the exact words or actions associated with an experience, I remember the feelings. I remember feelings of fear, insecurity, helplessness, betrayal, anger, and deep sorrow. I remember feelings of excitement, joy, peace, love, security, contentment, and hope. Because I am human, circumstances in life brought about a multiple of emotional responses – it’s simply how I am programmed. The intentional responses are what I can control.

More than to think of my feelings, this statement prompts me to consider others.

Reminiscing on How I Make Others Feel

How have I made my family members feel over my lifetime? How have I made my friends feel? How have I made my teachers and mentors feel? How have I made supervisors and subordinates feel? How have I made my husband feel? How have I made my pastor feel?

How have I made Jesus feel?

Beyond any doubt, I know that my Lord and Savior experiences emotional responses just as I do. After all, His Word tells me that He has been touched with my every emotion, which is what gives me the liberty to approach Him (Hebrews 4:15-16). I am created in His likeness and image (Genesis 1:26). His Word tells stories of His times of anger, hurt, and grief, as well as times of joy, laughter, and triumph. All of those emotions were in response to His creation’s condition or actions. So again, I must ask…

How have I made Jesus feel?

Even as small child, I remember doing things I knew I was not supposed to do. Sure, they were “small” and “insignificant” things, like maybe throwing away my breakfast when Grandma wasn’t looking, or staying up too late on a school night. But little things led to bigger things, like watching inappropriate content on TV and online, or outright lying in order to get out of trouble.

I can imagine Jesus, as He watched me grow up in a broken home, looking down with sorrow and longing for the heart of a little girl who was headed down the wrong road. It was obvious that His heart longed for mine, because He sent many teachers and preachers who reached directly for me. He was in a relentless pursuit of my soul.

Then came the day that I repented of my sins and gave my life to Him. Certainly, on that day, He experienced joy. His Word tells me that there is “joy in heaven” when repentance takes place (Luke 15:7). Likewise, the gift of the Holy Ghost is proof that He found joy in my repentance. Each time I have been renewed and restored by precious repentance and glorious Holy Ghost-infilling, I am reassured again of His joy.

As I prepare to enter a brand-new phase of life called Motherhood, I want to remember that my actions, my words, my attitudes have power. I can make others feel loved and appreciated, or I can make others feel despised and uncomfortable. I can show compassion and patience, or I can show frustration and anger. I want my husband, my family, my friends, and my soon-to-come daughter to feel cherished, regardless of the circumstances.

And above all – I want to cherish my time with Jesus. No matter how crazy life becomes, I want Him to know beyond any doubt that I love and appreciate Him.