Know Yourself – The Three R’s You Need to Know

Know Yourself – The Three R’s You Need to Know

Know Yourself The Three R's

Can I tell you a little secret? I know it might not be that little and it might not be that much of a secret. Are you ready? Here it is — Life changes. Did you get it, just two words? Life changes.

What does that have to do with setting goals? What does that have to do with knowing yourself? Well, as life changes it can bring about new or different roles, responsibilities, and relationships.

We need to know our roles, responsibilities, and relationships before we write goals for a new year. Knowing this will help us to plan and dream how we will grow.

This is Part Three in Know Yourself which is designed to help you write goals that are achievable. Part One is the foundation for your goals. Part Two is about knowing yourself.  It is important that you do these in order. So go and begin with Part One, the Part Two and came back to Part Three.

The Three R’s that you need to know before writing goals are Roles, Responsibilities, and Relationships.

Know Yourself – Roles

Know that God has placed you in the roles that you are in. It might be a season that you are in this role or it might be a lifetime. God has placed you in these roles so that you will know him and glorify him.

Take a few minutes and write down your roles. Don’t confuse roles with responsibilities. Roles would be things like Christian, wife, mother, grandmother, aunt, small group leader, neighbor. It could be a long list.

Are there new roles that you have added this year? Are there roles that you have dropped?

Work within the roles that God has placed you in. Learn to grow in your roles.

Know Yourself – Responsibilities

Responsibilities are the things that we need to be doing or supervising because of our role. Not every responsibility means that you have to do it. It might be something that you need to make sure your children do. Just as each of our roles is unique to each of us so are the responsibilities.

On the page that you have written your roles in the next column right some of your responsibilities for that role. The responsibilities might be long but write the first things that you think of.

Knowing your responsibilities that you currently have will help you plan what changes you can make. Your goals should line up with areas that you are responsible for.

Know Yourself – Relationships

Because of your role you have relationships. Your relationships relate to the responsibilities that you have. In this case, we are thinking of the specific people that you relate to because of your roles and responsibilities.

This is still just a Know Yourself phase. We have not gotten into writing goals but this will help us know what goals to write.

For example:

If one of our roles is “student”, then some of the responsibilities might include attending class, do the assignments, study, participate in class. So then the relationships would include the teacher and other students.

As we begin writing goals, we will reference our Three R’s. Have fun doing this. Begin to think of how you would prioritize these. I will tell you another little secret, you can’t do everything.

This process of knowing yourself should help you to write goals that you will be able to achieve.

I have a basic worksheet that I will be sending out to newsletter subscribers in the next few days. If you would like a copy, be sure to sign up for the newsletter. You also need to confirm the email that you receive.

The Three R's Roles Responsibilities, and relationships

You need to Know Yourself to Write Achievable Goals

You need to Know Yourself to Write Achievable Goals

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Know Yourself - Things to know to write achievable goals

Do I really know yourself? I think I do. After all, I have lived with me and known me for a long time. But.

I know that if I can’t find something, it usually means that a cleaning spree is about to begin until the item is found. So I know that about myself. Why do I do that? Why is it so important to know where everything is?

I spent some time thinking about why I have to find things when it is lost. A couple of things that I learned about myself. When something is lost, it shakes up the image that I am organized and know where things are. I really didn’t like learning that about myself but it is helpful to know this.

This is Part 2 of a series, Know Yourself. This is designed to assist you to write achievable goals for the new year. You need to start with  Part 1 which is Know what God is calling you to do in the New Year.

Know Yourself – Made by God

God made each of us. Think about that for a minute. We are individually made by God. Jeremiah 1:5 says, “Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, and before you were born I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.” (ESV) As you begin, Know Yourself, remember that you are made by God.

Not only did God make each of us but he knows us. He knows the number of hairs on our head. God knows our strengths and our weaknesses. He knows our needs and our desires. Take comfort in that and in all of that he loves us.

The foundational truth of knowing yourself is knowing that you are made by God and that God knows you. Do you believe that to be true?

Do you struggle with an area of your life, wondering why God made you that way? Take some time to just pray or journal about it. Thank God for making you that way.

Know Yourself – Looking at the Heart

To truly know yourself means you need to look at your heart. Be honest with yourself. That can be a challenge. I like to think of myself as a highly disciplined person but the reality is, I am not especially if there are chocolate chip cookies around. Take the challenge and look within.

Look within and search your heart. In Psalm 139 David begins by telling all that God knows about us. He ends with “search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” Psalm 139: 23-24 (ESV)

  • What are the longings of your heart?
  • Are there sins that you struggle with?
  • What are the fears and worries you hold onto?
  • What keeps you awake at night?

Know Yourself – Looking at the heart will take time. Plan time to sit and reflect. Ask God to guide you, search you and show you your heart. Do not rush this.

Know Yourself – Spiritually

God has created us to know him. He desires a relationship with us. How are you doing spiritually? Are you growing in your relationship with God? Do you enjoy spending time with God? I have found this book to be a challenge as I think about the topic of enjoying God. Get a copy and read just a chapter a week.

  • Are there areas that you are struggling to surrender to God?
  • Are there things that God is asking you to do but you are holding back?
  • Do you spend time in the Word regularly? Is that time that you enjoy?
  • Do you have a time of prayer, just communicating with God?

Know Yourself- Spiritually and you will know how to set goals that are where God wants you. You will set goals that please the Lord.

Know Yourself – Physically

God has given each of us a physical body. We are all different some have high energy levels and others need rest and extra sleep. Some had physical challenges — chronic pain, allergies, or numerous other things. Maybe you have ADHD. Do you have a special diet that you need to follow which impacts you? Understand some of the unique ways that God created you.

Those might be your “thorn in the flesh.” Remember that God has promised, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9 (ESV) May you know God’s strength in your areas of weakness.

God knows our physical strengths and weaknesses. Thank him for how he has created you. Be content. If there are things that you can do to improve yourself, do those things.

  • What is your energy level?
  • Do you need extra sleep?
  • Do you have physical challenges?

Know yourself – physically so that you can write goals that are things that you will be able to achieve. Understanding who you are and what you need physically will help you to know how to write goals that are achievable.

Know Yourself – Emotionally

God created us with emotions. We love;  we are sad at times. Our emotions and feelings impact us in so many ways. Emotions are how we react to things within us and things around us.

  • Do you control your emotions or do your emotions control you?
  • Do your emotions paralyze you?
  • How do you handle stress?

Know Yourself – Emotionally and that will help you to write goals that you will be able to achieve.

Know Yourself – Resources

The resources that we have include our time, finances, house, tools, helpers, and other things. How much time do you have in the week? Do you have limited time, then plans goals that can be done with your limited time? Your finances might be limited. That is fine, you need to know that and plan goals accordingly.

  • How much extra time do you have in a week?
  • Do you have extra money to put towards projects?
  • What keeps you going?
  • What encourages you?

So much could be written on this topic with various areas to consider. Begin the process to know yourself using these different areas. Don’t use who you are as an excuse for not doing what God is calling you to do. Know yourself and grow in Christ.

As you begin to write goals, take the time to know yourself. Work through Part 1 as that gives the foundation for your goals. Take the time now to work through this. This will help you write goals that are achievable. Do not rush this process. This might be difficult but it will help you know yourself and grow in what God is calling you to be and do.

This is a time to just Know Yourself. The next part in the series will deal with Know Yourself Roles, Relationships, and Responsibilities.

What is one thing that you have learned about yourself recently? How will that help you in setting goals? Share that in the comments.

Be sure to sign up for my newsletter. I send out bits of encouragement and helpful worksheets.

You need to know yourself to write achievable goals.

Know What God is Calling you to do in the New Year

Know What God is Calling you to do in the New Year

When you make an ice cream sundae, what would happen if you start by putting the cherry on the bottom and then putting everything on top of the cherry? You would not have much of an ice cream sundae.

That is the wrong base for an ice cream sundae. You need ice cream at the bottom and then you put all the other things on top.

The same thing is true with your goals. You need to have the right foundation for your goals. You need to know what God is calling you to do in the New Year.

What is God calling you to do? Foundational truths for setting goals for the new year.

What is the foundation for your goals?

You need to know what God is calling you to do. If we do not have that as our starting point, we will struggle to achieve our goals. Our goals need to be aligned with God’s calling.

The foundation for our goals needs to be what God is calling you us to do. Here are seven things that God is calling each of us to do in the coming year. While we look at these commands generally, we also need to look specifically in our own lives.

Called to Love God and our Neighbors

Love God. It sounds so simple. We get pulled into the world’s idea of love. The world says, “love yourself” or “do what you love.” The world’s love is about pleasing yourself but the love that God has shown is about the other person. God loved us and there is so much action in his love. Our loving should not be what we get but what we give.

Jesus summed up all the law with one command, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your mind”. (Matthew 22:37) What does it mean to love God? We love people that we know. The people that we love we want to spend time with. God is calling us to love God and others. Read this about why we are commanded to love.

Specifically – How can you grow in loving God and loving your neighbor? Is there someone that you need to love more?

Called to Deny yourself

That is not something that is on the top of the list for goals but it is one of the things that God calls us to do. The world says that we are entitled to a list of things but Jesus calls us to deny ourselves. Are we willing to give things up so we can follow Christ? (Luke 9:23-27)

Specifically – How would our goals and life look if denying ourselves would be included in that list? What areas might God be calling you to deny yourself?

Called to Be Content

The world around us tells us to go for it, get more of whatever, don’t settle. The Bible teaches us to be content. Paul writes,” I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” (Philippians 4:11) As we are content, we are trusting God and our hearts are at peace.  Take what God has given you, be thankful to him and then make it beautiful. God is calling us to be content. Contentment is a Discipline of Success.

Specifically – What situations or circumstances has God placed in your life? List some of your unique ones then consider how content you are in those circumstances.

Called to Grow in Grace and Knowledge

A tree doesn’t decide one year that it just isn’t going to grow this year. The tree does not say, “I think I will take a year off growing.” A healthy tree grows because that is what it does. So to should we as Christians be growing every year. Strive to grow in understanding God’s grace. As we are growing in grace we should be growing in our knowledge of God. (2 Peter 3:18) Growing is a sign of health. Make this a year of growth.

Specifically – What are some ways that you can grow in grace and knowledge this year? Is there a specific area of your life that you need to grow in knowing God?

Called to Walk with the Spirit

Walking is slower and gives us time to talk. As we walk are able to look at this around us. We are to be walking in the Spirit. So we are talking with the Spirit as we go through our day. Listening to the Spirit. Looking at the world around and asking how can I help, what is God asking me to do. Learn to walk with the Spirit. (Galatians 5:16-25)

How can you strive this year to walk in the Spirit?

Called to Trust God

What does it mean to trust God? Trusting God means that you realize who God and who you are. Trusting God means we understand that all we have comes from him. The provision, the strength, the wisdom comes from God. Learn to trust God in deeper ways this coming year. (Proverbs 3:5)

Specifically – Are there areas in your life that you are struggling to trust God?

Called to Glorify God

We often do things to make ourselves look good or hoping that we will hear the praise of others. Learning to glorify God requires that we humble ourselves and understand that it is not about us but about God We recognize that it is God working and we give him the praise. In everything we do, we are to glorify God. We are called to live differently and that means to glorify God in all we do. (1 Corinthians 10:31)

Specifically – How would your goals be different if you set them to glorify God with each goal?

How would your goals look if these were the foundation?

These seven things are what God has called us to do each day and each year. A challenge in these is we grow in these areas but it is not something that we have complete while here on earth. As we grow, we learn again how much we need to grow and so we continue.

My challenge to you and myself is that as we create goals that we will write them remembering what God has called us to do each year. With these areas as a foundation for our goals, we will be on the way to set goals that will be achievable.

This is part 1 of a series, Know Yourself, designed to assist you to write achievable goals for the new year. A critical component of goal setting it to know yourself so that the goals you set are ones that you will be able to achieve.

Sign up for my newsletter and I will be sending a worksheet to help you write goals that align with these foundational truths.

7 Things God is calling you to do in the new year. Learn these foundational truths for a successful year.

The Fruit of the Spirit is Self-Control

The Fruit of the Spirit is Self-Control

I stood in the kitchen with a spoon in one hand and a container of pasta salad in the other. I was shoveling it in, not because I was hungry but because it was there. No, that was not weeks ago long before thinking deep about self-control. That was just the other day when I was in the middle of writing this. I had no self-control.

Grow in Self control

The Fruit of the Spirit

Paul is writing Galatians to believers who were adding bits of the law to the gospel. In Chapter 5 Paul reminds them that Christ has set them free. Our freedom is not a freedom to do what we please. We need to be walking by the Spirit. We are not to be walking as the flesh. Our lives should reflect the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Now, we get to the end of the list, self-control.

What is Self-control?

The Greek word that is used in this list is egkrateia which means mastery, self-control. When we master our math facts we know them in order and out of order. The same way we need to be masters of our selves. The word also has the meaning of inner strength. The inner strength to master ourselves.

Self-control does not come from me trying harder to do what is right and not do what is wrong. Remember this is a fruit of the Spirit so the strength to have the self-control comes from walking and living by the Spirit.

God Displays Self-Control

Just as all of the fruit, God is not asking us to do something that he is not demonstrating. God’s self-control is seen in the fact we are still here. Because of His love and mercy, we see his self-control.

Why is Self-control important?

Not far from where we live is an old Roman city with city walls. When we visit there we enjoy walking the city walls. The walls were built to protect the residents of the city from those out of the city. The walls keep residents in and enemies out.

That is what Solomon is referring to in Proverbs 25:28. “A man without self-control is like a city broken into and left without walls.” (ESV)

A city with broken walls is weak and it has no protection from those outside. The strength of the city is gone. The city is in ruin. Think about that for a minute. That really demonstrates the importance of self-control in our lives.

Self-control gives strength. Self-control can protect us.

Paul writes about athletes and the self-control that they have in 1 Corinthians 9:25. Athletes are able to do this because they have a goal – the prize. Athletes learn to say, “no” to some things that will weaken them – junk food, smoking, and other things. They learn to say, “yes” to things that will strengthen themselves and improve their performance – practice, healthy foods, and sleep.

Self-control gives us the strength to be and do all that God wants.

How do we grow in self-control?

Self-control comes as we walk with the Spirit. We need to be talking and listening to the Spirit. If I had been listening to the Spirit, I would have been told that shoveling pasta salad was not a self-controlled action.

What areas of your life do you need to grow in self-control? Finances, physical, spiritual, communication, use of time, relationships?

What is God asking you to do in that specific area?

As you look in God’s Word, what do you learn about the specific area?

What would a self-controlled action or response look like?

How can begin to display the fruit of the Spirit, Self-control?

Think about your goals for the year, how does self-control help you in reaching these goals? Do you need to grow in self-control to be and do all that God wants?

Don’t confuse the Fruit of the Spirit, self-control with what the world tries to sell. The world says that you just need to find the strength within to control yourself. But the Bible says that The Holy Spirit gives us the strength.

How are you growing in self-control? What is an area that you want to focus on?

Grow in the Fruit of the Spirit

 

Can you raise a child with special needs overseas?

Can you raise a child with special needs overseas?

Can you raise a special needs child overseas? What if the child has Down Syndrome? That was the exact question that we had to answer when our daughter was born? This was not the question, can we move overseas but rather can we remain living overseas.

Now 14 years later our daughter has lived overseas longer than she has lived in her passport country. I can’t even say birth country because she was born overseas. When she was born and we learned she had Down Syndrome, we did wonder if that was the end of living overseas. Would we need to move to our home country?  Did God forget that we were missionaries and serving him overseas?

I am writing this from the perspective of raising our daughter, Miss K, overseas. She is high functioning and has minimum medical needs at this time. We are limited in where we will live overseas but we are still overseas.

As we faced that question, it was encouraging to talk with other parents raising children with special needs overseas. We visited another family who had a son with Down Syndrome which was encouraging to see how they were raising him.

I realize that there can be children with more special needs that will require them to be in their home country. If that is your case or someone you know, I trust that you can rest knowing that God knows and has a plan for your life and your child in your home country.

Challenges Raising a Child with Special Needs Overseas

Some of the challenges that we faced are similar to those faced by parents of special needs children in their home country. This is something that parents will need to evaluate based on their child and the country where they will be living.

There might be medical and therapy challenges. Thankfully the hospital where Miss K was born was able to do both of the operations that she needed at birth. We did have some communication challenges as the one surgeon did not speak English. God also provided assistance with therapy in those early years.

There can be educational challenges. Homeschooling helped with this challenge. Some of the international schools are not able to handle a child with this level of needs. Now Miss K is attending the local secondary school.

At this time she does not have many social challenges. We do not have to learn a foreign language for where we are living. If that were the case, that could be a challenge for Miss K. She does have a bit of Chinese. If we were still in that environment, I am not sure how much she would learn. Sometimes her speech struggles combined with the American accent make it difficult for people to understand but usually, as people spend time with her they are able to understand her. Our daughter is able to be involved in various activities for children her age.

There can be challenges as the child get older. We are just beginning to ponder what this will look like for Miss K.

Yes, there were and are challenges raising a special needs child overseas. Some of those are the same challenges you might have in your home country. There are unique challenges that expats face.

But the blessings not just to us but to those around us can be so much greater. We have seen God provide in so many ways from medical to therapy to friends. That is a testimony of God’s faithfulness.

Raising special needs children overseas is a testimony to others. I still remember the words of the Christian nurse in the hospital after she was born saying, “so many of them do not make it” referring to the fact that so many children with Down Syndrome are aborted. Raising Miss K overseas has shown people that God values people. We have had numerous conversations with strangers and opportunities to share the value of each person to God. Many years were spent in Asia and her life was a testimony to God there as often those with disabilities are left at home.

It might be challenging at times but in all of that God is faithful.

Are you a parent of a special needs children and considering living overseas? Maybe you have a friend with a child with special needs living overseas. This can help you to pray for them in new ways.

Beth

 

Who Wears the Jeans?

Who Wears the Jeans?

Years ago I worked in international manufacturing. Once we had some suppliers from Asia visiting our office in the USA. My friend took some of them out shopping one evening. Edwin bought jeans for his wife. My friend asked him how he knew what size to buy. He said, “We wear the same size.”

We got a good laugh out of that. Wondering who wears the jeans? Meaning who is in control.

Who is in control of your life?

Life is out of control.

We fight for control.

Everything is under control.

We try to control the radio control car and it works until the battery dies or we get out of range. Then we lose control.

We try to control things but fail. To be in control is to feel that you have power but reality is we don’t have power.

So who is in control of your life?

If you could give control of your life to someone, who could you give it to? Someone who knows you, who is good, who is powerful.

Give control to the one who created you. God as your creator knows you. He made you. He knows your struggles. God knit you together. Give the control to one who knows you.

Give control to the someone who is powerful and mighty. God is all powerful. He is able to control nature, he sets kings on the throne. He is God and is in control of all things.

Give control to someone who is loving. God uses his power but in all this he is loving. God is good.

So why do we keep trying to control things when there is one that is qualified and ultimately is in control. Can you submit that God is control? Do you find that comforting? When you know God and who he is, you can submit and allow him the control that he already has. Don’t fight him.

Can you trust that God is in control when it feels like life is out of control? Remember who it is that is in control, the creator, all powerful, and loving God. Trust him that even when it doesn’t feel like he is control he is still there.

We want love being able to control our environment. We like the temperature to be at the comfortable degree where we are not too hot or too cold. God controls things but is it not always for our ease and comfort but for our good and for his glory. So just because it might not be comfortable doesn’t mean that he is not in control.

Are you trying to control things that you cannot control? Other people, circumstances. When we try to do this, we end up frustrated, exhausted, and angry. Submit to God’s control. Learn to trust him in all of life.

There are some things that we need to control. That is a topic that we will discuss in another post. That leads us to the topic of self-control which is next fruit of the Spirit.

So who wears the jeans? Is God in control or are you fighting him for control? Give him control and rest knowing that the creator who is all powerful and loving is in control.

Beth

Who is struggling between words and culture. I really wanted to say, “Who wears the pants?” as that is how it would be said in the USA but 4.5 years of living in the UK has taught me to say trousers as pants refer to a different garment, underwear. It didn’t seem right to say, “Who wears the trousers?” So I changed it to jeans and it was jeans that were purchased that time.

Give control to the one who knows you.

 

September – Back to Routine

September – Back to Routine

September is back to school and back to routine. September is a month of anniversaries — our wedding anniversary and the anniversary of meeting our son. The days are beginning to get shorter, the air is crisp, and it is time to get out quilts to wrap up in the evenings.

Miss K began a new school. She was excited. It was the school she wanted to go to. We were thankful that God worked out all the details. It was a bit last minute, the last week of school in July we learned she had a place at a local secondary school. The school put a great schedule together for her. Now four weeks in she has had a few wobbles as it is a big school, long days, and lots of new things. Tuesdays she goes to a city farm and works there. We hear about Sid the goat and Broccoli the pig as well as other animals and jobs she has done. God provided a place for her.

What else happened in September?

I finished 2 Corinthians Journal and Doodle Bible study. I did that in preparation for studying 2 Corinthians in small group this autumn. As I reflect a bit on that study, one of the truths that came from the study was understanding the two meanings of comfort. One is parakaleo meaning to call by the side and the other is parokiesis meaning strengthening and establishing faith. Both of these provide what today we term comfort.

My reading stack this month was a bit varied. Honestly, if you want the truth, that is most months. One theme this month was reading some books on disability and the Bible. If I were to recommend one of the books I read, it would be Disability and the Gospel. I found this book easy to read as it was not too academic but it was helpful in thinking through this topic.

I read some Christian fiction. That is light and easy to read while I am waiting for school pick-up.

I have been thinking and pondering a bit how to reach our neighbours after reading The Gospel Comes with a House Key. I was challenged to have margin in my day to be able to meet needs. I want to take steps to getting to know my neighbours more. I am looking for practical ways and also praying for my neighbours.

Have you ever heard of a Commonplace Book? I learned about that for the first time this month. I had been thinking about starting something like that but didn’t know it had a name. I wanted a place to just reflect and record quotes, information, things I learn. I wanted one place to keep it. I used a notebook that I have and just started writing some notes from a book I read, added some notes from a blog. I began my Commonplace Book.

On the Blog in September

I wrote a bit about Special Needs, Seeing Special Needs Around Us and Special Needs Parents.

I have begun work on another A-Z prayer guide. I wrote A-Z praying for missionaries the other year. Now I am thinking about A-Z prayer for teens.

Looking Forward

I will read some more books on my reading stack. I need to find some time to finish some unfinished projects. I want to take the principles from Journal and Doodle and read through Luke. Enjoy autumn which means candles, coffee, and a warm quilt.

What are you looking forward to in October? Tell me what you are working on in the comments.

Beth

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And the Fruit of the Spirit is . . . gentleness

And the Fruit of the Spirit is . . . gentleness

What is the image that comes to your mind when you hear the word, gentleness? Is it the picture of a mother and a newborn child tenderly cuddled in her arms? Maybe it is the gentle soap that has no fragrance and harsh chemicals. Is it a setting on the washer? Does that help to define and explain gentleness as included in the Fruit of the Spirit?

The Fruit of the Spirit is Gentleness. Learn more about gentleness and how this can help you grow and get things done.

The dictionary defines gentleness as kindly; amiable, a gentle manner, no severe, rough, or violet; mind, moderate.

The Bible dictionary has this definition – Sensitivity of disposition and kindness of behavior, founded on strength and prompted by love.

Founded on strength

When I think of gentleness I don’t necessarily think of strength. When I pause and ponder gentleness has strength. Gentleness is knowing how to use the strength. Knowing God’s strength and seeing the gentleness we so much more that God is gentle with us.

Prompted by love

It is because of love that we are gentle. We love the person and understand that because of that we need to be gentle.

If there is no strength, then it is not gentleness but rather weakness. Love guides our actions and so we then understand that gentleness is needed.

God’s Gentleness

I think we understand God’s gentleness when we understand that he is a consuming fire, a jealous God. (Deuteronomy 4:24) When we understand that characteristic of God, then we can begin to understand his gentleness. If we go back to the definition of gentleness and look at God’s gentleness. We know that God is powerful. God has the strength so his gentleness is founded on strength. God’s gentleness is prompted by his love.

So why is God gentle with us? He loves us. God wants a relationship with us and knows that gentleness is needed.

So if that is true with God would it not be true for us that we need to be gentle with those around us. Ephesians 4:1-3 says that we are to walk with all humility and gentleness. Interesting that humility is listed with gentleness. Humility is how we consider ourselves and how we consider others. If we are humble, it will result in gentleness. Walk in gentleness.

As God’s chosen ones, we are to put on gentleness or meekness. (Colossians 3:12) Clothing is either one of two things. It is either the foundational garments. You know the garments that help to hold us all together. The other kind of clothing is the garments that we wear that people see. Gentleness is both of these — the foundational garment and the outer garment. When we have gentleness as a foundational it impacts how we wear our other clothing.

Reflections on Gentleness

Gentleness is an attitude. The attitude of gentleness impacts how we relate. When we have the attitude it will be easier for the actions to follow.

Gentleness is an action. Our words and our actions should be gentle. Proverbs 15:1 says, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” That gives us an example of how gentle action can change a situation.

Let’s grow in gentleness. Learn about God’s gentleness and reflect that in your own life.

This has been a characteristic that I have struggled with writing. Hence the reason that we are halfway through the month and I am just now posting. I do feel it is important. I was tempted to just skip it but knew I really couldn’t. Here are my beginning thoughts. Give me your thoughts about gentleness.

Seeing Special Needs Around Us

Seeing Special Needs Around Us

It wasn’t long after my daughter was born that I began noticing people around with special needs, particularly Down Syndrome. Prior to her birth I don’t think I recognised those with special needs around me. Suddenly I was aware of so many people with Down Syndrome — my sister-in-law’s nephew, a friend we worked with her nephew, a couple at church with a grandson with Down Syndrome, a former pastor at a supporting church with a brother with Down Syndrome. I joined a club that I didn’t even know existed, parent of a child with special needs. Special Needs were all around me and now I saw them.

Do you see those around you with Special Needs? Do you recognise those with Special Needs as you pass them walking down the road or in the supermarket?

How do you respond to those around you with special needs? Do you take the time to engage with them? Are you looking to go in the opposite direction when you see someone with special needs coming?  Do you struggle to know what to do or say? What example are you giving your children about how to love those with special needs?

Special Needs Around Us

All around us there are individuals with special needs. It could be the child in a wheelchair or the adult with autism. How do you relate to those around you with special needs?

Attitude

Your attitude is one of the biggest factors in how you relate to those with special needs. You might not always understand what they are saying but you attitude will set the tone.

Do you view them as a disruption? Your plans have to change because of someone with special needs. You can’t walk as fast because you need to push a wheelchair. Your plans, your agenda might need to change because of someone with special needs. Don’t view them as a disruption, view it as a time to an opportunity for you to serve.

Do you just ignore them? I have watched people just ignore my daughter when she wanted to join in or be a part of what is happening. These are the kinds of people that Jesus interacted. Think about it, when you ignore them you are acting with pride with the attitude that you are better than they are. Don’t ignore them, engage with them.

Do you have a list of excuses as to why you do not get involved? Depending on the special needs the individual might be difficult to understand. Sometimes they are focused on a topic that might not interest you. We have some fun laughs of some of the things that my daughter says. If you put aside your excuses, and get to know her or someone else with special needs, you will meet a person.

Have the attitude of Christ as you relate to those with special needs. As you read through the gospels and see the interactions that Jesus had with the disabled, look at the reactions of the crowds. Numerous times it is records that the crowds were amazed and praised God. So have the attitude of amazement and praise.

Actions

Action follows the attitude. If your attitude is loving and wanting to engage, you actions will follow.

Talk with the individual. My daughter was talking quite a bit the other night with friends about her dreams and plans for the future. Understand and learn about them as a person. Take time to talk with them.

Plan activities that include individuals with special needs. It might mean that you need to adjust how you do things. If you try one time and it doesn’t succeed, try something different, don’t give up.

Your attitude will be reflected in your actions. Have actions that value the individual. Reflect Jesus in your actions. Actions do speak louder than words.

Who are the people around you? How are you interacting and relating to them? Are you reflecting Christ? Take the time to get to know them. Listen, ask questions. See God in a new way and be amazed and praise God.

Read the other  posts on this topic see Biblical Basis for Special Needs,  Be like Jesus, and Special Needs Parents. 

Special Needs Around Us

Special Needs Parents

Special Needs Parents

Who are Special Needs parents?  These are parents that have know medical terms even through they have never gone to medical school. These are parents who know how to use just about anything for therapy. Special Needs parents do things longer than other parents. (We had one child in diapers/nappies until that child was about 6.)

Special Needs Parents

Special Needs Parents

  • Push to get the children to do things, try things, achieve,
  • Don’t want their child discriminated
  • Want opportunities for their child
  • Speak for our children
  • Advocate for their needs
  • Love
  • Keep track of appointments, medication, therapies, and numerous other things
  • Celebrate the little things

Numerous things have been written about special needs parents. I want to begin by looking at some of the parents that we see in Jesus interactions with the disabled or those with special needs. Not all of the interactions with the disabled include the parents.

Learn about special needs parents from Jesus’ interactions

Special Needs parents need to know who God is and what He does. Jairus comes to Jesus asking Jesus to heal his daughter. He knew that it was Jesus who can heal. (Luke 8:41) Jairus knows that it is God that can heal. As special needs parents, we need to go to God.

Know that God works in spite of our unbelief. At times we just give up. Jairus and is his wife stood at their daughter’s bedside weeping and mourning because at this time their daughter was dead. Jesus responds that she is not dead but sleeping. Their response was laughter, laughing at Jesus, what does he know, she is dead. It is too late. Jesus works even though they don’t believe. Jesus simply says, “Child, arise.” It was just two words. God works in spite of our lack of faith. (Luke 8:49-56)

Sometimes special needs parents just need to have faith but also be specific. The official whose son was ill came to Jesus and asked him to come and heal is son. Jesus said to him, ” Unless you see signs and wonders you will not believe.” The official replies directly and to the point, “Sir, come down before my child dies.” Jesus responds, “Go; your son will live.” The man knew and believed. He returned home and his son recovered. It was not just the father that was impacted but the household. Our faith can impact others. (John 4:46-54)

Sometimes as special needs parents we need to allow our children to do the talking. Our children have experiences and understanding. We need to listen to them. That was a bit of what the parents of the blind man did in John 9:1-41. Some of it was out of fear for the Jews. They did say, he is old enough, ask him. The former blind man doesn’t have much patience with them. He tells them he was blind but now he can see. Our children can understand God working in there lives in ways we can’t. Give them an opportunity to share that.

Go to Jesus. Sometimes that is all we have left to do and really that is all we need to do. Go to Jesus, talk with him about the challenges. He is ready to hear us.

Reflections

I found this an interesting study. In the past I have looked at Jesus interactions with people, how people response but to look at the parents was new. I found it helpful in my own life as a special needs parent. As I reflect on these interactions, I am reminded that I need to know God, belief in who God is and does.

Are you a special needs parent? What have you learned about God through parenting?

Special Needs Parents