Be Still and Know

Courtesy of Pixabay

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.” Psalm 46:10

I’m tired.

No, that’s not right. I’m exhausted, used up, a limp version of my former self.

Why? Raising children is hard. Raising grandchildren increases the hardship many times over. Yes, I understand that parents get tired and exhausted. I was a parent once, too. This is different. I promise you. Whether we like it or not, our bodies age and keeping up  with the pace of children is much, much harder as a grandparent.

This past weekend, I took some time out to go to a Beth Moore event with one of my friends. Bruce willingly agreed to handle the kids for the weekend. It was great to get away and focus on spiritual matters, but it wore me out! I usually try to grab an extra hour or two of sleep on Saturday morning. That, of course, couldn’t happen.

Between school schedules, work, and trying to meet deadlines, I’ve been averaging about five or six hours a night. I need eight to nine hours to fully recover from most days. Some of you don’t need that, but I do. Add to this the change to Daylight Savings Time, and well…a recipe for extreme fatigue.

This week, we had the District Science Fair judging for Victoria on Monday evening (results in a few weeks), gymnastics on Tuesday evening, and by Wednesday afternoon, I couldn’t keep my eyes open. I sat at my computer fighting the pull of sleep. In fact, I was so tired I forgot to take the kids to an appointment. I don’t forget things. That’s not like me. But this life is making it harder and harder to stay on top of everything.

What can I do?

Keep the calendar updated. Remember to check it daily (my mistake yesterday). Take a nap when I can. Go to bed early if at all possible (it usually isn’t). Keep extracurricular activities to a minimum. Yes, I said it. One extra activity per week is enough for the kids. They need time to be children without structure, without a planned schedule of activity. I don’t know how parents do it today. Many of them have their kids in some after-school activity. Every. Single. Day.

We need to slow down. Let the kids slow down. Let them run around without a plan, play in the yard, use their imagination, sleep in on Saturday. There’s a reason God directed the Israelites to take a day of rest.

“Remember the Sabbath day by keeping it holy.  Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, neither you, nor your son or daughter, nor your male or female servant, nor your animals, nor any foreigner residing in your towns.  For in six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, the sea, and all that is in them, but he rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy. Exodus 20:8-11

Even Jesus recognized the need to take a break. One well-known story tells about a day full of crowds seeking his wisdom and healing. Afterward, he and his disciples boarded a boat to get away from what must have been an exhausting day. A storm blows up and Jesus sleeps through it until his frightened disciples awaken him.

 Leaving the crowd behind, they took him along, just as he was, in the boat. There were also other boats with him.  A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped.  Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?” He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm. Mark 4:36-41

We tend to focus on the rest of what Jesus says to the disciples but notice his words to the storm. Jesus is tired. He’s worn out. He needs rest. The storm created a problem for him because the disciples fearing for their lives, woke him. What does he say? Quiet! Be Still!

We need our rest, whether we’re parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters. Everyone needs time to be still and know.

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How the Media Spun the Aftermath of Harvey

© Barbara V. Evers

The news media leaped at the chance to spin the aftermath of Hurricane Harvey to further their agenda on hatred.

Yes, their agenda.

I was shocked to hear what one commentator said as they showed picture after picture of rescue efforts. Every single picture showed people of different races coming together to help each other out. The media’s take on this? Texans have overcome hatred in the wake of Harvey.

Seriously? They’ve overcome hatred. We know this for a fact? How many of the people depicted in these pictures professed hatred towards another race or doctrine prior to the hurricane? Did the media ask them, “Hi, I notice you are white and he is black. Did you hate each other before?”

Of course not.

I’m very troubled by the idea that if different races help each other it must mean they have overcome the hatred rampant in our country. But what else could the media say? After all, they have been telling us for months that racism is alive and on the rise in the USA.

Before you jump all over that statement, I acknowledge that racism does exist, but I don’t believe it is as prevalent as the media wants us to believe.

The media shines the spotlight on those who hate. People see it on TV. The next thing you know, a story flies all over Facebook. This does not mean that racism is on the rise. It means the media is locating it and shining a spotlight on it. They have the power to come into our homes and tell us what’s going on.  They have chosen to seek out and find hatred.

But is it a problem of the magnitude they’ve claimed?

I can imagine the discussion around the newsroom as they collected news stories about the hurricane’s aftermath.

“Look at these people helping each other. It looks like they get along.”

“That can’t be right. That’s a black man helping an old white woman.”

“We can’t have that. We need to fix this.”

“What can we do? I don’t think these people are racists.”

“But we can imply they were and have now turned over a new leaf thanks to Hurricane Harvey.”

Whether this exact discussion occurred or not, the media couldn’t state that racism isn’t prevalent in Texas. They’ve spent months telling us we hate each other. And Texas is part of the South where we know children are weaned on racism and hatred. Except they’re not.

This is stereotyping:

If I’m white (which I am) then I must hate anyone not like me (which I don’t).

This kind of thinking shows a lack of critical thinking. Most news outlets are counting on you to not apply your own intelligence, to not use your critical thinking skills, and to believe every little thing they tell you.

In today’s world, we see a lot of this. Democrats  are lumped in one big box because everyone knows they are all alike in their beliefs aren’t they? We do the same with Republicans. With Christians. With Muslims. With Men. With Women. With Different Races.

This IS stereotyping, except the news media calls it racial profiling and only uses it in relation to race and religion, and even then only with specific races or beliefs.

If you don’t believe the media wants to stir up trouble, just look at the events following the killing of nine black members of a church in Charleston, SC, all shot by a white man who professed a hatred for black people. The media reported that rioting occurred in Charleston over this.

But it didn’t.

They had to retract their statements.

Why did they report rioting where no rioting occurred?

Hello? It’s Charleston, SC, the cradle of the old South. Surely, here more than anywhere else, the tensions between black and white would be evident. Yet it wasn’t. People came together and showed the world that Charleston, SC is not a city of hatred.

I believe the areas hit by Hurricane Harvey are demonstrating the same thing: they are not a community of hatred. I wonder how many of the people pictured on the news realize what the media is implying about them. How many realize they are being depicted as someone who hated and overcame hatred?

For some reason, the media wants us to believe this. There’s nothing like job security and pushing your own agenda on the American people to keep us all stirred up.

The question is are we going to let them do this to us?

I hope not. I’m raising two biracial grandchildren. When they were born, I was glad they lived in a time when we saw people as people. No one has ever made a negative comment about my grandchildren’s heritage within my hearing. I’ve never suffered a negative look from people over their race. I live in the South, yet no one thinks twice about the color of my grandchildren’s skin.

But, now I’m worried.

The news can stir up an issue that doesn’t exist and turn it into one…if we let them. It’s been done before. Adolf Hitler anyone?

It’s all based on what they choose to report.

Please, let’s not allow this.

God Is In Control

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Photo courtesy of Pixabay

Today is an important day in US history. Today Donald Trump becomes President.

Some people are happy. Others are not.

Accusations and rumors abound.

Fake news runs rampant through social media and often appears on major new outlets.

How can we know the truth?

We can’t. Only God knows all of the truths, and that should give us hope as Christians.

So, what are we to do?

Remember the following from Romans 8:31-39:

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?  He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?  Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? It is God who justifies. Who then is the one who condemns? No one. Christ Jesus who died—more than that, who was raised to life—is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us. Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? As it is written:

“For your sake we face death all day long;
    we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered.”

No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,  neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

If you skimmed over those verses, then please go back and read the last few, the ones I underlined. We may disagree on what is right and good for this country. We may not know which sources to believe. We definitely do not know the future. BUT, we do know that God is in control.

And remember as you go throughout your days that we live in a very different world than the one when these words of encouragement were first written. Persecution was an every day fact, but even then, Paul reminded them of the power of God.

May you find peace from these words and may it follow you through this day and the year to come. And remember, we are commanded to pray for our leaders. Prayer  can move mountains!