Tag Archives: relationships

We All Want Connection

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I volunteered to help teach the four and five-year-olds Sunday School the other day.

There were three of us adults in the class, which was just about perfect, considering that each of these kids has a strong personality and tremendous energy.

A little later in the hour, two other kids arrived. The boy joined right in for the lesson. But the little girl—I’ll call her Joni—proceeded straight to a table and climbed underneath.

We teachers welcomed her and invited her to join the group.

But she remained there for the duration of the lesson and song-time and nothing I said could induce her to leave her spot.

Which was a bit of a problem because she distracted the other children and some of them tried to climb underneath the table to join her.

After song-time I said, “Okay, it’s time to wash our hands and get ready for snack time.”

Immediately our little Joni jumped up and rushed to the head of the line for wash-up.

I helped her suds her hands and rinse and dry them.

She ate her graham cracker with gusto and quickly downed her dixie cup of water.

I sat down next to Joni as the craft items were place on the table.

She dove for the crayons and stickers.

Hmm, this little girl sure fooled us. She had seemed shy when she entered the room.

“Can you write your name?”

She looked at me as if I were crazy.  Without a word, she deftly wrote her name at the bottom of her sheet of paper, then glanced up at me  with a cute but pugnacious thrust of her tiny chin.

She placed her stickers amongst the words, “Jesus loves me.”

Then colored with a skillful hand.

Joni insisted that I sit nearby so I could see how well she was coloring.

After she finished the craft, I said, “Can you draw other things?”

“Of course,” she said. “Wait till you see how well I can draw a horse.”

She turned the sheet over and grabbed another crayon. “Now close your eyes and don’t look until I’m finished.”

When she was done she told me I could look. Sure enough, she’d drawn a very recognizable horse and even added a saddle and stirrups.

We spent the rest of craft time talking about My Little Ponies and I told her about my granddaughter’s collection of My Little Ponies.

After the Sunday school ended, one of the teachers remarked, “Well, it looks like all Joni needed was someone to connect with.”

Arriving late, Joni saw that we were already involved in an activity and found the area underneath the table a safer place to be.

I’ve seen this with grown people too.

Not that they hide underneath tables!

I work in women’s ministries and have seen grown women arrive at a women’s social, then turn around and go home if they do not quickly find an available table to sit at with women they already know.

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But once they’re safely situated, they talk and participate like old pros.

Just like Joni.

Folks, let’s turn our eyes outward and notice others.

It’s so easy to only think about our own schedules and our own friends.

Look around. Is some person sitting all by himself at church? Go sit with him.

Who’s that couple in the lobby at church? Go over and introduce yourself.

How about that nice family three doors down from your own house? Invite them over for lunch.

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And if you are lonely, call somebody and invite them to do something together. Don’t wait for somebody to call you. Make the first move. People will love you for it!

Everybody wants to be wanted.

Sometimes the connection is as simple as trading stories about your last trip to the zoo with a grandchild.

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“Therefore be clear minded and self-controlled so that you can pray. Above all, love each other deeply, because love covers over a multitude of sins. Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. Each one should use whatever gift he had received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms.” (1 Peter 4: 7-10 NIV Bible)

 

Skunked!

I talk to lots of people each week. Frequently, the conversation turns to the topic of family or business relationships. We all have challenges with other people, and I hear all sorts of methods of dealing with difficult family members.

The most challenging relationships are with people who continue to say or do the same irritating things, never learning to resolve conflicts in a new or better way.

Have you ever said to yourself, “I blew it again. Why do I always say (do) the same thing? When will I ever learn?”

When we lived in Paradise, California, a skunk used our backyard as his private highway. I believe he lived under a shed in the vacant lot next to our property.

Every night, he began his routine foray by scratching and digging just outside the master bedroom window. I watched him search for bugs and grubs. Continue reading Skunked!

Broken Stuff

“This thing is a piece of junk,” I announced to my husband the other day. I’d spent the last hour trying to get my relatively new, but hardly-used food processor to work. I followed the instructions, but the darn thing wouldn’t turn on.

I took the thing apart, reassembled it and tried again. And again, and again.

But the time my husband got home I was ready to throw the processor in the trash.

Bruce took the processor apart and put it back together….just like I’d done about fifteen times. But this time it worked.

Turns out, I’d done everything right except place the bowl facing in the right direction.

Okay, so I’m not the most mechanical person.

What I considered broken was not broken at all. The fault was in my thinking…and my assembling.

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I think my relationships mirror this problem. Often, when I have a problem with a family member, it’s my own thinking that gets me into trouble.

My human wisdom is so fallible. Too bad we don’t all come with handling and caring instructions.

Good thing I have other people in my life to give me perspective.

Bruce says my experience with machines could be described as a loud, “Arrrrghhhhh!” followed by a soft and meek, “Oh.”

Machines and tech stuff have helped me realize that my loved ones’ words and actions are often not what I initially perceive.

Here are 7 things I’ve learned:

  1. Be slow to react
  2. Hold your tongue
  3. Get clarification
  4. Listen to others
  5. Commit to believing the best
  6. Forgive
  7. Repeat

What may at first appear to be broken may just need a little tweaking!

Invited

My Christmas memories center around parties spent at my grandparents’ house.

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My grandmother put out a spread fit for a king. Before the meal, family members mingled while sampling her wonderful canapés, chips and dip, hot and cold drinks.

Someone always had a piece or two to play on the grand piano.

The white tablecloth and starched white cloth napkins set off the fine china, crystal and silver at her long dining table. Fresh flowers from Grandmommy’s garden ornamented the center of the table.

Grandmommy’s buffet always included a simple salad, followed by the main meal of roast beef, mashed potatoes and gravy, wild rice, green bean casserole, and rolls. Chocolate eclairs with a dollop of whipped cream topped off the feast. After the meal, Grandmommy served the coffee and tea in gleaming silver pots.

My grandmother was a wonderful hostess, and we always felt like royalty.

As a child, I took these wonderful meals for granted.

But now I think, the only reason I was invited to these wonderful Christmas parties was my relationship. I was the youngest granddaughter and therefore, part of the family.

I wasn’t a guest because I had earned my spot at her table. I wasn’t an ambassador, or world-renowned heart surgeon, or a philanthropist.

No, my invitation to Grandmommy’s house was all about being related. Being family.

Have you ever thought about your relationship with the Lord in these terms? Nothing you’ve done makes you worthy to sit at His table, or to be called His royal child.

Your right to enter His kingdom and be called a prince or princess is only granted because He, the Lord has adopted you into the family. By faith in Jesus, you have been guaranteed a place “at the table.”

What a wonderful thought. Very humbling, too.

Thank You, Jesus, for inviting me to the feast!

“Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into His family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of His lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.”( Eph. 1:5 The Message)