Servant Leadership

Servant Leadership. It’s aServing others prepares you to lead others relatively new buzz word in the church. This week I got a first-hand glimpse of it. My son, Sam, just finished Basic Combat Training with the Army, affectionately known as Boot Camp.

During this 10 week experience, Sam was chosen to be his platoon leader (PL).

Being a PL is a position not given, but earned. Once earned, the demands are constant—requiring a selfless commitment to those he was called to lead. There was no privilege. No perks. Few rewards, except the honor of fulfilling your duty and serving others well.

This leadership position meant Sam worked harder, ate less, had fewer hours of shut eye and needed to remain positive and encouraging during the endless challenges and hardships sent their way.

One thing is for sure. When I grow up, I want to be like that.

What example of servant leadership have you seen recently? 

First time here?

Welcome! We’re a group that gathers around the theme, “There has to be a better way.” We’re finding it in the 4-word mission statement, “Run hard. Rest well.”

  • It’s a journey into the heart of God. It comes our way through an on-going exploration of four biblical rhythms that revive, replenish and restore: Sabbath Keeping, Sleep (andother simple stress-reducers), Stillness—personal retreat, and Solitude—personal retreat.
  • It’s an expedition that challenges us at every turn. It convicts us in deep, tender places. It alters our priorities and plans. It’s not for the faint of heart.
  • It’s adventure at its best – as we learn to run the race in a power not our own.

R.I.P.

Psalm29.11R.I.P – ‘rest in peace’ is a declaration of death, but what if it becomes a statement, a bold stance for life.

With a child in hospice, another facing chronic pain & disability and my dad battling stage 4 metastasized prostrate cancer, we are facing death head-on, day by day, hour by hour. The weight is no small thing. Heaving and straining, knees buckle, my breath is shallow and quick.

This past week, in a moment of inspiration, an unexpected opportunity for retreat emerged. So, today I am on retreat. My heart is pounding. Jesus’ invitation to ‘come away’ (Mark 6:31) is as real now as it was back then. It beckons and directs. It echos with David’s longing to ‘hurry away’ (Psalm 55:6-8).

Let me tell you, there was pedal to the metal my dear friends, as I pulled out of my driveway early this morning.

My ‘place of shelter’ was a grove of towering pines, a lakeside bench and a wicker chair nestled in a window-lined hallway at Pokagon State Park in northeast Indiana. An hour from our home, the car ride allowed me to unwind and disentangle. There, in a span of 5 hours, God took me from the ache of R.I.P. to the quieting, the whisper of “Brenda, rest in peace. It is mine to give. Yours to embrace.”

To rest in peace is the hope of heaven. But it’s not bound. It’s not out of reach. It’s within our grasp, here, now, through storm, flood, fire and furnace, through ache, anguish and unknown.

It is ours when the Spirit invaded the consuming darkness. He comes to us with authority to comfort, to hush our racing thoughts, to breathe new life into embers He will not let die.

For the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel has said, ‘ You will be delivered by returning and resting; your strength will lie in quiet confidence… Isaiah 30:15a (HCSB).

R.I.P. or ‘rest in peace.’ Which will it be?

A few quiet hours off the beaten path allows us to exchange one for the other.

 

First time here?

Welcome! We’re a group that gathers around the theme, “There has to be a better way.” We’re finding it in the 4-word mission statement, “Run hard. Rest well.”

  • It’s a journey into the heart of God. It comes our way through an on-going exploration of four biblical rhythms that revive, replenish and restore: Sabbath Keeping, Sleep (andother simple stress-reducers), Stillness—personal retreat, and Solitude—personal retreat.
  • It’s an expedition that challenges us at every turn. It convicts us in deep, tender places. It alters our priorities and plans. It’s not for the faint of heart.
  • It’s adventure at its best – as we learn to run the race in a power not our own.

 

Tis the Season

Tis the season to get outside.

tis-the-seasonDon’t wait. Dawdle. Postpone. Summer comes but once a year. When it’s not celebrated and embraced, regrets run deep.

On the Sabbath we went outside the city gate to the river, where we expected to find a place of

prayer. Acts 16:13

Then the man and his wife heard the Lord God as He was walking in the garden in the cool of the day … Genesis 3:8

After he (Jesus) dismissed them, he went up to the hills by himself to pray. Matthew 14:23

Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus told them to go. Matthew 28:16

The Father’s been meeting outside with those He loves for eons. Are you among them?

 

Family Update

  • Josh continues to be stable, counting his days, running his race.
  • Joe is home, at this moment. We’ve clocked 50 nights and 3 surgeries at the children’s hospital in Indy. We’ve witnessed more miracles than we can count. One more surgery seems likely. Joe is still not well. We wait. We hope.
  • Sam is doing well! Army Boot Camp is the real-deal. Graduation is July 10. Can’t wait!
  • Tim (my hubby), Anna and Noah are running around Camp with grins on their faces.

 

First time here?

Welcome! We’re a group that gathers around the theme, “There has to be a better way.” We’re finding it in the 4-word mission statement, “Run hard. Rest well.”

  • It’s a journey into the heart of God. It comes our way through an on-going exploration of four biblical rhythms that revive, replenish and restore: Sabbath Keeping, Sleep (and other simple stress-reducers), Stillness—personal retreat, and Solitude—personal retreat.
  • It’s an expedition that challenges us at every turn. It convicts us in deep, tender places. It alters the our priorities and plans. It’s not for the faint of heart.
  • It’s adventure at its best – as we learn to run the race in a power not our own.

Sleep. It Does a Body Good

Sleep is a gift of GodSeven weeks in the hospital with my son, Joe, left me wilted and worn. Once home, my fierce commitment to sleep, met stiff resistance against a growing battle with insomnia. The culprit this-time-around? It was not simply “stress,” as I assumed, it was low ferritin (iron reserves). Ah!

Sleep deprivation is possibly the biggest health crisis hitting our nation, yet few take it seriously. My “solution” while at the hospital was to reach for another cup of coffee to boost my growing fatigue, but in the long run, this quick fix masks problems and accelerates our demise.

Knowledge is power. My new solution targets the problem. I’m eating lots of meat & spinnach and adding slow-release iron and Vitamin C. Ah – I am already sleeping better. Feeling better, too!

Chronic insomnia (lasting more than 4 weeks) always has a cause. For some, it means enacting good sleep hygiene: creating a bedtime, reducing caffeine, releasing worry, getting more exercise. For others, there is a medical condition that needs attention.

Do you wrestle with insomnia? Here’s some common medical conditions that sabotage our sleep.

  1. Hyperthyroid causes insomnia, but hypothyroid does, too. Check it out.
  2. Anemia, low iron, and low ferritan can dramatically effect a good night’s sleep.
  3. Undiagnosed sleep apnea impacts sleep and much more. Snoring needs to be taken seriously, but there are other signs that may need to be heeded…
    1. bed-wetting in older children.
    2. Accelerating ADHD in teens. (see link from #1.)
    3. Unexplained high blood pressure in young(er) adults.  People I love presented with these symptoms. All three had sleep studies. Two had their tonsils out and their “issues” resolved. The other now uses a sleep machine-with much relief.
  4. Many common medications can cause sleep disturbances, like anti-depressants and beta-blockers. Be informed.
  5. Migraines. Stroke risk. Glaucoma. Alzheimer’s. ADHD. While researching high ICP (intracranial pressure) because my son’s shunt was malfunctioning, I came across this article on sleep called Heads Up. It is well worth the read.
  6. Blue Light Waves. Many chronic insomniacs (and those who are digital screen users each evening) are impacted by blue light waves because they impact our body’s ability to produce melatonin, the hormone that prepares our body for sleep each night. Understanding the impact of blue light waves is an investment in your well-being. Wearing anti-blue wave glasses may serve you well. You can buy them here and here.

Want to improve the quality of your life? Sleep.

A robust commitment to sleep (and defeating the insanity of insomnia) is not a luxury or an indulgence, it is a gift of God.

 

First time here? Welcome! We’re a group that gathers around the theme,

“There has to be a better way.” We’re finding it in the 4-word mission statement, “Run hard. Rest well.”

  • It’s a journey into the heart of God. It comes our way through an on-going exploration of four biblical rhythms that revive, replenish and restore: Sabbath Keeping, Sleep (and other simple stress-reducers), Stillness—personal retreat, and Solitude—personal retreat.
  • It’s an expedition that challenges us at every turn. It convicts us in deep, tender places. It alters the our priorities and plans. It’s not for the faint of heart.
  • It’s adventure at its best – as we learn to run the race in a power not our own.

The art and soul of no

For me, this is a season of no. It’s painful.

Because of Joe’s post-op decline and second hospitalization, my life is full of many professional and personal no’s. I haven’t posted a new blog in eons. I am chomping onmaturity is forged in these fires the bit to “do what I love to do” – propel the message of “Run Hard. Rest Well.” forward, gaining entry into new hearts and cheering on those who are choosing a pace that is sacred and sane. But the “no’s” extend further, deeper – Anna’s tennis, Noah’s track, spring-time hikes, time with Tim, feeding my birds and a cart load of other priorities vying for my attention.

There has been a complete re-ordering of my life. It is narrowly defined and out of my control.

But, in many ways, this is easy. When Paul was blinded by his encounter with Jesus, the “no” in his life was all encompassing. The man was shut down (Acts 9:8-9). The choice was not his. God sometimes directly asks us to say no or nudges us to say no in the face of mounting exhaustion or insanity. Paul heard a no from God (Act 16:7-8). Here he had a choice to make. His own desire. God’s direction. How do we comply to a God-directed “no” or a “slow down” or “not now,” especially when it’s not forced, but is a choice we must make and live with? As hearty, determined souls do we buckle before the notion of no, questioning God’s voice or our God-given limits?

There are seasons of no, both forced and faith-driven. They will take us to new depths. Yes. Depths—crushing depths. Guaranteed. When our season of no is forced, we hate the free-fall that ensues and attempts to ensnare. When our “no’s” are faith-driven, they often have significant ramifications. We hate to disappoint. We hate the stress it might inflict on others. In these seasons, the issue of allegiance rises up before us. Will it be to God? Or to others, or ourselves?

Either way, let’s pause and pray. Let’s pray for our own no’s and yeses, whether forced or faith-based, and for the no’s and yeses of those we love.

Maturity is forged in these fires.

To maturity, may we always say yes.

Family Update

  • Josh (20) remains on the front porch of heaven. He is medically stable, but these weeks of separation have taken a toll. He’s not alone. We are all keenly aware of the ache and upheaval. The Body of Christ is surrounding us with compassion and care. How do we ever say thank you…
  • Sam (19) shipped out with the Army to Ft. Jackson, South Carolina on April 28th has not been sufficient time to process the joy and the ache. He has tough, exciting days before him. We covet your prayers for his launch into adulthood.
  • Joe (17) is not well. After a 30 day hospital stay, we were home for awhile, but he’s back in the hospital with shunt issues, new seizure activity and declines. I don’t like the mountain we’re facing. “Too big,” I’m screaming. It is a daily fight to trust well, eyes focused on the unseen (II Cor. 4:16-18).
  • At times, the weight is crushing. Other times, we’re singing out loud. The Presence of God is so very evident. Always, we are passing out red diamonds. Today, through a friend, God directed Joe and I to Deut. 1:28-33. These are words of life.

 

First time here?

Welcome! We’re a group who gathers around the theme, “There has to be a better way.” We’re finding it in the 4-word mission statement, “Run hard. Rest well.”

  • It’s a journey into the heart of God. It comes our way through an on-going exploration of four biblical rhythms that revive, replenish and restore: Sabbath Keeping, Sleep (and other simple stress-reducers), Stillness—personal retreat, and Solitude—personal retreat.
  • It’s an expedition that challenges us at every turn. It convicts us in deep, tender places. It alters the our priorities and plans. It’s not for the faint of heart.
  • It’s adventure at its best – as we learn to run our race in a power not our own.