Category Archives: Virtue

Overlooking Offenses.

Sensible people control their temper; they earn respect by overlooking wrongs. (Proverbs 19:11 NLT)

 

Sometimes, we think that if we overlook a wrong, then we won't be validated or defended. Remember, Jesus was wronged. Yet, He went it the cross like a lamb led to slaughter, and he opened not His mouth. We are never more like Jesus when we overlook an offense. And, we earn respect when we do.

 

I don't always keep my mouth shut about an offense. I don't think, if we are honest, any of us do. However, I have learned one thing about choosing to “vent” an offense. To make sure the offense is redeemed in that vent. In other words, don't share an offense without the intent of it leading to the redemption of it. In doing so, I am careful who I share, or vent, offenses to. I always know that if share an offense with my father, his response will not be, “I can't believe that person” or “I would be done with that person.” He first acknowledges my hurt and says he's sorry. But, then he quickly helps me see the hurt the offender is speaking from and also makes me look within myself at what may be drawing it out of that person. Then, I am able to release forgiveness, and overlook the offense moving forward. And so, it is redeemed.

 

One of the greatest examples of overlooking an offense is when King David traveled to Bahurim, and Shimei, a member of Saul's family came out to curse him. Shimei threw gravel at David and cursed him and accused him of stealing Saul's throne. David's officer, Abishai, couldn't take it and said, “Let me go over and cut off his head!” But, David responded, “Leave him alone and let him curse, for the Lord has told him to do it. And perhaps the Lord will see that I am being wronged and will bless me because of these curses today.”

 

Later in scripture, Shimei begs for mercy. But, to Abishai, this was no small thing. No small offense. To throw gravel at a king and curse the Lord's anointed was a huge deal. Most of us would have agreed with Abishai's response and wanted Shimei punished. But, David shocks his men seeking justice and says “what do I have in common with you?” In other words, how are we even alike? You seek vengeance, and I seek mercy? Ouch. And, then, he says, “Do I not know I am king over Israel?”

 

Ahhhh. The key to David overlooking an offense. He KNEW who he was. His security was built in knowing who he was. Not in other's opinions of him.

 

Remember who you are when you are offended. You are a child of the King. You are OF God. Let this truth go deep within you, so you can overlook wrongs. And, when you must vent, make sure redemption is the end result.

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Filed under Life Experiences, Relationships, Virtue

Playing the God Card.

It’s no longer easy clothes shopping with Anna Takle.   Not that it ever has been.  But, friends, it’s harder.  Much, much harder.  I had to try to resuscitate Kris after Anna asked for a bra.  In every store, little bras hung, and Anna clung to them like that little undergarment would make her world complete.

Then, she insisted on trying on a pair of shorts her father and I were not going to pay for.  They were just too short for our taste.  We let her try them on.  And, subsequently, we still told her no.  The bewildered look on her face to our opposition to the shorts let us know she thought we were being a little over the top.  She looked at me and said, “You just don’t get my style.”

I realize her intent with the short shorts is probably not to be a sexy little seven-year old.  So, what’s the big deal?  It’s probably not.  Not today.  But, it will be one day when her young innocence becomes a little more infiltrated with what society deems as beautiful for girls.  And, I’d just rather loosen the reigns later than have to tighten them.  So, I remain a stick in the mud kind of mom, I suppose.  Who doesn’t get her style.

I didn’t go into the conversation of “Anna, you are not the sum of your parts,” speech.  I just didn’t think it timely for her age.  But, I also didn’t tell her “Those shorts aren’t Godly.”  Because, that would’ve been a legalistic explanation, I’m sure.  I just told her that we didn’t think those shorts were the right choice for her today.

I think too often we play the “God card” with our kids.  It’s something I have recognized in my own parenting.

“How do you think it makes God feel when you are being ugly to your sister?”

“How would Jesus had handled this situation?”

“Do you think it makes God happy when you deceive us?”

The list could go on.

I serve a God who loves me no matter what.  Whose blood covers a multitude of my stupid mess-ups.  Who has an endless supply of grace that He lavishes on me.  So, who was this God I was teaching?  Not the One I cry out to.  Not the One who shows grace to me when I screw up as a parent.

I haven’t played the God card in every parenting situation.  There have been plenty of moments where pure discipleship abounded.  But, those times I’ve played the God card didn’t even rest well in my own spirit.  It just seemed convenient.  And, a quick fix.

So, instead of asking “How would Jesus had handled this situation?”  I might ask, “Why do YOU think it’s better to forgive?”  “How does it make YOU feel when you forgive?”

Because, friends….

Teaching our children to do right for the sake of doing right isn’t going to cut it by itself.   Through every life lesson, we need to do our best to tell them WHY His way is better.  WHY forgiveness is just as much for us as it is for the one who hurt us.

And, I have a life full of examples of why choosing to do things God’s way has made all of the difference in my own life.

So, share your own life examples with your children.  Tell them why it has worked for you.  Don’t make your children live in fear of not only disappointing you, but disappointing their Creator.  Instead, portray their King in such a way….live for Him in such a way….that they will TRUST that His ways really are better.

And, when they mess up, show them the same grace He shows you.  Discipline when needed.  But, let grace be the covering of it all.

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Filed under God Stuff, Motherhood, parenting, Shopping, Virtue

She Is Still Anna Takle.

“I love the way I look,” she declared staring at her new clothes in the mirror before church on Sunday morning.

She insisted the scarf and purse were necessary “accessories” to complete her look.  I had obliged and made the shopping trip about her. 

“I want you to like the way you look.  I want you to feel good about how you look.  But, always be careful not to tell everyone how fabulous you think you look.  It’s not a good character trait,” I told her.

“Oh, right.  It’s kind of like being proud,” she agreed.

“Proud?”

“Yes.  It says in Corinthians that love is not proud.  It is patient, kind, it isn’t jealous, it isn’t proud, and a bunch of other stuff,” she told me.

She gets it!  She is learning to apply scripture to everyday life!  I couldn’t be more thrilled! 

After church was over, her teacher, Mrs. Layna, took a picture of a note Anna wrote to her that day and sent it to me.

So, she may not apply every scripture to her life.  Of course, neither does her momma.

She is still the determined, creative, and fun girl God created her to be.  She is still Anna Takle. 

And, I’m so glad she is.

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Filed under Kid Stuff, Motherhood, parenting, Virtue

Honor.

I would have posted yesterday, but I didn’t.  I figured most of you were too consumed with sledding and hot chocolate to read some post.  As for me, nothing edible was safe in my house.  I did, however, cut my 3 Oreos with my coffee down to 2 today.  Because, I do make good choices some days.  And, being trapped inside a house with little people will really make you tune into the choices your children are making. 

I have a chalkboard hanging in the hallway in our home.  I periodically put scriptures on it, and teach them to my children.  A few days ago, Anna reminded me to change the scripture, since she was very aware that in the city of David, a Savior had already born.  So, I thought this one appropriate:

“Honor your father and mother. Then you will live a long, full life in the land the Lord your God is giving you.”  Exodus 20:12

“What does honor mean?”  Anna asked.

“It’s to treat someone with value,” I explained to her. 

My cousin was gracious to allow both John Henry and Anna spend Sunday afternoon with his little boy.  After hearing him respond to his dad with a little attitude, Anna told him what the Bible says about honoring your mother and father.  Then, she followed it up with, “if you wanna live a long life…”

Had I known Anna would take this to heart as much as she has, I would have posted that scripture a very long time ago. 

Later, Anna asked, “Will you really live a long life if you honor your parents?”

Fair question.  Especially, considering the fact that many young have left us early.  Some biblical scholars feel the promise of long life here is referring to that particular nation inhabiting that land for many days as opposed to life span.  So, I explained to Anna that this means her life would be much happier.  She would be much more content.  And, often times, a happy life affects the length of someone’s life.  It certainly affects a full life.

Yesterday, when Anna asked me what I was waiting for when she requested more Sprite, I quickly reminded her of honor.  Her dad quickly took away her privilege of getting more.  And, she quickly learned that her life, at that moment, was not full.

I think it will be a while before I erase that chalkboard.

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Filed under Kid Stuff, Motherhood, parenting, Virtue

A Cloak of Love.

I love the 1 Corinthians 13 definition of love.  I even hung that jewel of a scripture on my bathroom wall.  I mean, who doesn’t love those verses?  It’s one of the most read aloud chapters outside local church walls. 

I recently studied 1 Corinthians 13:4-8.  I broke it down, brothas and sistas.  But, verse 7, “It always protects…” hit me hardest.  Get this:

The Greek word for protects is “stego.”  It means “to cover over in silence.”  Impressed?  Don’t be.  I looked it up.  Now raise your hand if you think of physical protection when you read “protects?”  As if my one-hundred and ahem pound body could really save you from physical harm – even though I love ya.

But it literally means that we cover an individual with such a cloak of love that no one can see his or her faults.  Isn’t that beautiful?

So, love doesn’t expose the faults of others.  Wanna know the easiest way to not expose faults?  Don’t look for them.  If it’s easy for me to notice a fault, then it’s easy for me to expose that fault.

Don’t.  Shut yo eyes and choose grace instead.

It’s not love.  No matter how you try to shake it.  M’kay?

My apologies if I stepped on any toes.  I pretty much broke all of mine. 

But, it changed the way I view love.  And, more importantly, it changed the way I love.

4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  8 Love never fails.  1 Corinthians 13:4-8

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Filed under Love, Relationships, Virtue

Three Things.

I ran across this scripture yesterday.  It’s a popular one.  You probably know it.

The Lord has told you what is good, and this is what he requires of you: to do what is right, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God.  Micah 6:8

Three things, huh?

Do what’s right.

Love mercy.

Walk humbly with God. 

To always do what’s right?  To love mercy?  Even when we think that person doesn’t deserve it?  Be kind anyway.  To walk humbly with God?  Total submission.  Where He is everything, and we are nothing. 

Where He increases, and we decrease.

What if we were all intentional to do those three things daily? 

Would my day look any different? 

Would yours?

I think we’d find ourselves much better off, and our lives bringing God much more glory.

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Filed under God Stuff, Spiritual Journey, Virtue

These Are Things Money Can’t Buy.

If you’re tired of reading about how sweet my seven year old is, feel free to click the “x” in the top right-hand corner.  But, I just had to record this day with him.

I was completely exhausted yesterday due to one little Jett Takle preparing for the 2028 Winter Olympics inside my belly the night before.  But, I wasn’t going to dare miss out on watching John Henry receive his Servant Leadership Award yesterday afternoon at school.

When I told him he was going to be receiving this award, he responded, “Wow!  That’s the award for putting others first!” 

By the way, Anna’s expression in the background of the pic just makes me laugh.  Sweet Anna Takle, you would definitely get the award for “Most Artistic in Fashion” or “Most Social” or “Most Likely To Make Her Mother Laugh.” 

Proud, but still so stinkin’ tired when we got home, John Henry gave me a letter. 

Dear Mom I hope you are ok.  You are the best mom ever.  I can not beleve your my mom.  I am going to let you chose what you want to eat if we go out to a restront.  If Dad is flying I will pertect (protect) you.  I am glad you are my mom.  You chose the right man.  You chose Chris.  From John Henry

*Disclaimer:  He is referring to Kris….not some other Chris.  Thought I should clarify before this blog lost its family rating.

What is in a seven year old to acknowledge that I chose Kris?  To say, “You chose the right man?” 

At the beginning of the school year, John Henry needed some answers about why he has two dads.  I explained the best I could so he would understand.  In the back of my mind, I’ve always wondered if he would one day struggle with the fact that he has two dads and his siblings have one. 

But, in letters like this, I see a young man who is thankful that Kris is in his life.  I see two dads who love him so sweetly.  And, I see a Heavenly Father who has never let him down.

And, that is redemption.

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Filed under divorce, Kid Stuff, parenting, Virtue

Careful What You Say. What You Write. What You Type.

I’m pretty sure I’ve written on this topic before.  After talking to a friend about a text message her daughter received, I felt compelled to write about it again. 

When I was around 10 or 11 years old, I sat down and wrote a letter to a girl who was a few years older than me.  It was an ugly letter.  I was upset with her for seemingly taking away my best friend.  I said things like, “You think you’re it.  You’re not.” 

The letter never reached her hands.  My parents found it first.  Thankfully.  Let’s say they were less than happy.  A lot less. 

They sat me down and read the letter to me.  I can remember my dad using the word “arrogant” to describe my character in writing that.  They addressed my spiritual life.  They addressed my character.  They addressed it all. 

You see, my parents cared about how I treated other people – regardless, of how they treated me.  And, revenge is another post I plan on sharing soon.

Fast forward to 2010.  My friend shares with me how her daughter received a very demeaning text message.  She was asked to forward that text to others.  She didn’t.  Her mother saw it first.  But so many parents today turn a blind eye to, or even worse, join in with the cruel words their children and teenagers communicate to others. 

They write ugly messages on someone else’s Myspace page or Facebook wall.  They send nasty text messages.  They leave behind them a path of destruction for that victim to walk through. 

And, it’s grossly wrong. 

We as parents must be more concerned with our children’s character and spiritual growth than we are with their talents in school or sports.  We must be aware of the words coming out of their mouths and being typed by their fingers. 

We simply must.

The girl I wrote that letter to would commit suicide a few years later. 

So thankful I didn’t leave her in my path of destruction.  And, thankful I had parents who cared about my character.

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Filed under parenting, Virtue

Commitments.

After not getting his badge at a Camporee (that I didn’t sign us up to attend because of previous obligations), John Henry said, “I quit Cub Scouts.”

A lengthy conversation followed about commitment.  I explained to him the importance of fulfilling commitments.  He had committed his first grade year to Cub Scouts.  He needed to finish it.

I can remember when I was in the fifth grade I wanted to play an instrument in band.  That instrument?  The saxophone.  Yes, little ‘ol me on the sax.  My parents paid a pretty penny for that instrument.  In return, I had to commit to play through ninth grade.  It was a breeze to maintain my commitment until ninth grade.

When it suddenly lost every bit of the cool factor.

But Barbara Goss wasn’t going to cave and bail me out.  My momma wasn’t about to let me back out of my promise. 

(Although, it probably would have made her life much easier as a parent.)

So, with great gnashing of teeth, I finished playing that durn thing through ninth grade. 

And, while I was upset with my mother for making me finish at the time, I’m grateful for the value in her lesson. 

Finish what you start.

As for John Henry, he did earn that badge.  And, he couldn’t be prouder.

Are you instilling this virtue in your children?

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Filed under parenting, Virtue

Heart Surgery.

Pride.

That’s my ugly issue.

Pride can come in different forms.  But, at the end of the day, it’s all self-centeredness. 

My stuff reveals itself when I stress over finding the perfect outfit to wear for an event.  Or, when I stress over the idea that people expect me to perform at a certain level.  Or, when I want to make sure I give the perfect gift.  Or, when I want more stuff than I already have – which is, I’m certain, more than I need.

It’s all pride. 

And, there is nothing holy about it.

I wish my issue was a bit more noble.  Of course, I suppose any unholy stuff we got goin’ on isn’t exactly noble.

But still.

This is my stuff.

And, I’ve let God open up my heart and operate.

Because, more than anything else on this earth, I want to be more like Him. 

I want to live beyond myself.

Beyond my pride.

Beyond me.

Less of me.  More of Him.

Is there anything more important than that?

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Filed under God Stuff, Spiritual Journey, Virtue