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There is something unique and beautiful about a person who is both strong and vulnerable. There have been times, when I have entered a group of women that I didn’t know, and some came across as very strong. They were like a momma bear, who was leading with an “I got this!” attitude. (And I have acted like this myself.) But, I am usually not drawn to women who act like that, because their strength makes me feel like I am lesser. And when I act like that, women are not attracted to me.

The people I am most often drawn to have a combination of vulnerability and strength. The vulnerability might show up as sharing a trial that they are going through, or a tough time that are seeking God’s help for. It might just be a sense of comfort with their flaws and the flaws of others. When they graciously share their healed-or-healing-wounds I often sense God is at work and using those experiences for His purposes.

Green houseplant in steel copy

But there is another extreme, which is a wounded person, who likely could be further along the healing process, who chooses to remain consumed by the hurts that she can’t focus on anything else. This dynamic seems to turn people away as well.

Ideally by God’s grace we can find the sweet spot and have balance.

John 12:1-7 gives an example of this dynamic with four different people. 

Six days before the Passover celebration began, Jesus arrived in Bethany, the home of Lazarus—the man he had raised from the dead. A dinner was prepared in Jesus’ honor. Martha served, and Lazarus was among those who ate with him. Then Mary took a twelve-ounce jar of expensive perfume made from essence of nard, and she anointed Jesus’ feet with it, wiping his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance.

But Judas Iscariot, the disciple who would soon betray him, said, “That perfume was worth a year’s wages. It should have been sold and the money given to the poor.” Not that he cared for the poor—he was a thief, and since he was in charge of the disciples’ money, he often stole some for himself.

Jesus replied “Leave her alone. She did this in preparation for my burial. (NLT)

This story happens at the beginning of the week in which Jesus will be crucified. He goes from Jerusalem to the town of Bethany be with dear friends. Jesus and many of His followers are at the home of Lazarus, who had been so sick that he died (vulnerable). But he was raised back to life by the power of Jesus (strength). Lazarus was sitting at the dinner table talking and enjoying Jesus (strength).

Martha, Laz’ sister is there too. She is still the hostess with the most-est and she is serving, but now with grace and without anxiety (strength). She has grown a lot from the time when Jesus came to dinner at her house and he told her that her sister chosen the better part (healed-wound.) That story is told in Luke 8:38-42.

Mary, Laz’ other sister loves Jesus dearly. She is likely worried that He will be killed, because she knows of the treats against her brother. She showers Jesus with a lavishly expensive gift (strength) delivered in a most subservient way (vulnerability).

Judas, an unfaithful follower of Jesus, chastises Mary’s act in a deceptively pious statement (false strength). He then thinks so highly of himself that he plans to betray Jesus (self-destructive strength) which ultimately leads to him taking his own life as covered in Matthew 27:1.

Jesus goes to Bethany to be with His friends for support and comfort (vulnerability). Even as our Savior and Lord, He allows them to minister to Him in friendship (vulnerability & strength). He defends Mary’s act of service, maybe even tipping off Judas that Jesus is aware of His impending death (strength).

Prayer:

“Father help us as your daughters (and sons), become who You are calling us to be. Help us accept healing for the wounds that are tender. Give us the right balance of strength and vulnerability so that we are like our Lord. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.”

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I had the honor to speak at chapel for my daughter’s school on 11/16/16. I love speaking to the 4th 5th and 6th graders at Cincinnati Hills Christian Academy and their teachers and administrators.

This time I was assigned “thanksgiving” as the topic, which was way better than “forgiveness” which I had last time. Or so I thought…

The presentation started really well as I shared the meaning of the word “thanksgiving” as found in Psalm 95:2 and Psalm 100:4. These were the anchor verses I’d been given. But, because my daughter Koah warned me to “not be boring,” we added a short skit with 13 students from her religious studies class. Two teachers had even given all of the “actors” a tunic from another event. We were doing a skit from a day in the life of Jesus, as He healed the Ten Lepers.

ten-lepers

Ten Lepers By Larry Patton (www.larrypatton.com)

As background leprosy was/is a devastating disease of the central nervous system. It made the body numb and caused lepers to injury their limbs, eyes, faces. Often they had sores and deformities. To make it worse the disease was highly contagious. If a person contracted it, he or she was banished from society. The afflicted loss their family, friends, job, synagogue, wealth… lives. Lepers often lived together, but isolated away from everyone else.

This story also confronts what sounds like 21st century bigotry. One of the lepers in the story is noted as a Samaritan. To our modern ears we hear this in context that is much different than the original audience. Samaria was at one time the capital of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. But it fell quickly into sin and was judged by God. It was captured and its enemies moved in and took over. In time the Jewish people intermarried with the Gentile captors. The rest of Israel referred to Samaria’s citizen base as despised half-breeds. The Jewish people in the southern Kingdom hated the Samaritans so much that they would walk miles and miles out of the way to avoid going through Samaria, even through it was the direct route through the territory.

With this said, the actual story is short so I’ll share it directly from Luke 17:11-19 (Amplified Bible)

While Jesus was on the way to Jerusalem, He was passing [along the border] between Samaria and Galilee. As He entered a village, He was met by ten lepers who stood at a distance; and they raised their voices and called out, “Jesus, Master, have mercy on us!” When He saw them, He said to them, “Go and show yourselves to the priests.” And as they went, they were [miraculously] healed and made clean. One of them, when he saw that he was healed, turned back, glorifying and praising and honoring God with a loud voice; and he lay face downward at Jesus’ feet, thanking Him [over and over]. He was a Samaritan. Then Jesus asked, “Were not ten [of you] cleansed? Where are the [other] nine? Was there no one found to return and to give thanks and praise to God, except this foreigner?” Jesus said to him, “Get up and go [on your way]. Your faith [your personal trust in Me and your confidence in God’s power] has restored you to health.”

Lessons:

  • Jesus is available to those who seek Him

When the lepers cried out, He was listening and responded

  • Everyone Needs Jesus

Whether we know it or not, we all need His offer of salvation

  • Jesus is willing and able to help/heal

What ever your situation Christ has the ability to make a difference

  • It is wise to ask for His help
  • We have a role – to obey

The lepers were healed as they walked. Obedience to His instruction is crucial.

  • Thankfulness is a choice

Only one person who was healed choose to thank Jesus

  • Those who are thankful get closer to Him

The Samaritan, was in a sense the furthest from Christ as an “outsider” but he was the only one who was healed of leprosy, but had the privilege of having a true and conversation with Jesus. He was brought closer, by expressing thanksgiving.

  • When we give thanks we lift Jesus up and encourage others to receive Him

By sharing our thankfulness with others, we have the opportunity to tell them about Christ and how good He is

As I was sharing the above lessons from the story I was hit with a big aha… I asked the student why did the others not come back. And God said to me… maybe they think they DESERVED to be healed. Kelly, maybe this why YOU are not always thankful. You believe that you deserve my grace.

Yikes!!!!!  As I heard God’s words to me, I’m sure that my expression was that of horror, sadness, and conviction. I was so taken aback that I just shared the revelation with the audience right then. And they looked the same way. Am I really one of the nine?

I am. But prayerfully, not going forward. From now on I am the tenth. I am going to thank God privately and publicly for what He does and I am going to praise Him for who He is. (Because He does what He does, because He is, who He is.)

Here is my challenge to you and me. It’s called 1-4-2.

Praise God at least 1 time, before you start your day. Ideally when you open your eyes and realize that you are awake and lived through the night. Some days I do this. But candidly some days I am downstairs in the kitchen having a cup of coffee and it is not until 15-20 minutes that I say, Good Morning Father. Thank You for giving me life. Some days, it’s much later.

4 is thanking God, four times throughout the day while you are at school, work, running errands, raising your kids. I asked the kids and parents that day for ideals on what we could thank God for: passing a test, pizza for lunch, no homework, enough money to get a full tank of gas, for health, a new pair of show, that we can read, we have enough food, our family, our jobs, etc., etc., etc.

2 encourages us to thank God, at least two more times when you get home or in the evening. Ideally one of these times is when you climb back into bed, as you are grateful to have survived another day.

On this Thanksgiving-Eve in the United State I challenge you to give thanks using 1-4-2 daily between now and CHRISTmas.

If you don’t do it, no condemnation, just try again when you remember. And if you do, no haughtiness, because it is only by God’s grace that we do anything well.

I’d love to hear what you think and how it goes… Thank You Lord, for allowing me to share what You told me to share. May if bring people closer to You, myself included.

Happy Thanksgiving, on Thursday 11-24-16 and everyday!!!

Kelly

Names have great power; even for inanimate objects.

When we moved into the house where we live now, for the first time ever God gave me a name for our new home. The name is Grace Haven.

That was eight years ago and this name has defined and influenced so many things.

When contractors were doing work in our hot attic in the first month of being here, God said to me, at Grace Haven there is water and a snack for the people who are doing work. It prompted me to take beverages and fruit to the crew.

When I was ready to explode at my teenage son who was defiant. God said, at Grace Haven – there is grace… Don’t yell. Talk.

When I get frustrated with my own mistakes and failures, He says, there is grace for Kelly at Grace Haven.

In time, I started incorporating the words around the house. When people walk through our front door, they walk under the word grace. It prompts me to pray for guests who come to visit, that they would feel the love and faithfulness of God while they are here. Haven is over the back door that my immediate family and I enter and exit daily. I pray that our home is a haven for each of us.

Grace 2

The name Grace Haven has instructed me on what to do and what not do. It has given me something to aspire to. It has encouraged me to see our dwelling as a type of embassy for Christ. Just like embassies in different countries are the “property of” the nation it represents. I hope that our home is God’s territory within our neighborhood.

Haven door

I am so grateful for the power of this simple name and I pray that God will tell you the name He has for the place where you live… and that you will live accordingly in it.

towels

Bath Towels

Kelly

 

I am often amazed at how my 9-year old daughter, Koah, can turn anything into a moment for fun and creativity.

I had ordered some ceramic plates online that came packed in mailing peanuts. When I went to wash and put the dishes away, she grabbed the box and made a drawing out of peanuts on our family room carpet. (Thankfully she is old enough to not be in danger of swallowing the Styrofoam pellets. These would be a hazard for young children.)

Creavity

I love the creativity she expressed in this moment. …And I wonder how can I be more like her? I could…

Take a breath and enjoy the moment

Stop being in a hurry so much of the time

Think of how to use everyday items in ways I haven’t done so before

Make it a priority to have fun

Wear my pajamas later into the day on Saturday’s

Ask God for answers rather than trying to come up with everything myself

Hi All….

Thank you for reading this blog over the last few days. It is now linked to our new website.

The site is found at http://www.betterdaybetterlife.com

I hope you will keep reading there.

Kelly

Many years ago, Spike Lee the movie director turned LA Laker spokes model, directed a film called Mo Better Blues. I admit that I don’t recall many of the details of the plot, but I do like the phrase, mo better. So I’m borrowing it to describe the purpose of this blog; it’s to encourage readers to pursue a Mo Better Life.

The blog is an extension of the book titled “A Better Day – A Better Life, How to Thrive, One Day at a Time.” The goal is to share ideas and stories that will encourage and inspire you to thrive on a daily basis.

Our focus is broad. We’ll talk about establishing nurturing supportive relationships. We talk about being more productive at work and at home. I include physical fitness as a part of being productive in my opinion. Lastly we’ll include tips to increase our enjoyment of each day.

The foundation for everything I say can be found in the Bible. Hopefully you will be challenged to think deeply and also have moments of laughing out loud. Thanks for reading I hope you will subscribe and comment often.

Kelly-Kel,

Aka Kelly L. Wilson,

Follower, Wife, Mom, Daughter, Sister, Teacher & Coach