I remember wishing that I wouldn’t be picked to lead a team, group project, or committee simply because I didn’t want to pay the price for leadership and influence. As this poem implies, sometimes we want to refuse the honor of influence and let someone else lead. Unfortunately, we have done that too many times, and now there is a vacuum of influence that is being filled by people and forces that I don’t want influencing those I love. This poem doesn’t delve into the cost of choosing NOT to influence. It’s a high price. So, when offered the chance to influence, my friends, may we take up the honor, face the hardship and criticism, and lead our followers toward righteousness and integrity, toward truth and faithfulness, toward love and unity, and toward growth and maturity. Will we face aggression, injury, and wrong? Yes, the criticism will come. Leaders suffer. May we never leave a vacuum of influence for the world to fill because we decided influence was too difficult and too costly for us to possess. Vacuums get filled. We can’t afford to falter in our calling or give away what was ours to do.
I wish every person (instrument) in a boy’s life would be positive tools for molding him into a man. Notice that the list doesn’t include a rough and tough, muscle-building, self-made instrument. The best men are those who humbly know life is not about them. Eventually, boys become men who, in turn, become instruments to the next generation.
None of us like trials—the rain and cold of life. None of us want to lose the things we hold dear. Sometimes a trial leaves us with nothing. We lose it all, or we walk away from it all. In those moments of loss, we are drenched in grief and smothered in the dirt of discouragement. But then God comes, and He renews us through His power. He comforts our souls. He begins to take the emptiness and fill it with His decorations. He turns darkness to brightness. He takes our pieces and makes them perfect. He sets our table and prepares us with His goodness. He clothes us with truth. Only God can transform the trajectory of tragedy into our gain for His glory.
To be heard, to be seen, and to be considered are beautiful gifts we give to each other. This redacted poem speaks of this gift that brings hope to a hurting human. Sometimes being heard is all anyone needs to have the courage to keep standing. Together we can find splendid gold in living!
I am naturally drawn to the walls of isolation. In my mind I think I prefer it. In my mind I think I enjoy it. In my mind I justify pursuing it. Unfortunately, isolation is everything this blackout poem says it is. Fractured. Dark. Destructive. Furthermore, prolonged isolation blocks growth and wholeness. God created us to be in community. Satan uses isolation to fracture humanity, and he packages it up nicely so we don’t recognize it until the fractures have begun splitting us into an island. Social media, individualism, self help — these are activities of island dwellers, those who live on lava with invisible walls. The solution? Find well-timbered mountaintops. These people aren’t perfect; they are very much broken, but they live in community growing together with a wide open view of the horizon. Mountaintops with broken people or islands with invisible walls? It’s a choice.
I am a forgetful person, and I need reminders. If only I could remember that being busy does not make me a VIP or MVP. I forget that little things become big things and attitude matters. I forget that my pride is my own worst enemy, and Jesus tells me if I want to lead I start and end that leading by serving. Busy doesn’t get me to the top. Accomplishing big things won’t get me to the top. Humbly but merrily and deliberately doing the little things one step at a time will be and is rewarding. Remember! Don’t forget.
Teaching is an art not for the faint of heart.
The classroom is a battleground for the minds of our next generation.
The good teacher fights the conflict. A great teacher motivates the student to fight the conflict.
If you are called to teach, you are a warrior fighting for the next generation.
The hardest part of the battle is choosing to love a child’s future enough to pick up the sword today.
Every delivery room has an orchestra of noises: groans, cries, screams, yells, songs, whispers, and cheers.
The cry of a heart, no matter the occasion, is universal. Recognized. Known. Understood. It runs deep and lands raw.
Joy or sorrow. Love or hate.
Mercy or bitterness. Fight or fright.
The mother in the backdrop story lost her child, and her heart cried. The mother in the blackout poem gained a child, and her heart cried. It’s the music of living.
The concerts of life flow from the rhythm of our hearts. It is a beautiful and gut-wrenching sound that brings depth and meaning to our life. Live and love hard. Moments make music.
The circles of life come with inescapable pain and hurt. Safety comes when we box ourselves in with truth. Remember truth. Move to truth. Rest in truth. Gaze upon truth. Relax in the truth. Be controlled by truth. Yes, it’s a box, but it’s a safe box. Safety isn’t absent of pain and hurt. Safety is being present in His presence no matter the pain.