R-E-S-P-E-C-T

law books

The turmoil around our world has always been troubling to me. The desire for everyone to love each other and live in peace is what my heart longs for. Recently the turmoil happening just a few miles away from where we live has really troubled me down to the very core. You see there is a mentality in this world that thinks “I am above the law and I can do whatever I want.” This is a mentality that I have witnessed in all walks of life and it has no partiality to color of skin. What this mentality completely lacks is respect. Respect for one’s self, respect for others, respect for others to live work and breathe peacefully, respect for authority, respect for laws, and respect for the ultimate authority God.
At a very early age my parents somehow had lovingly instilled in me the respect for authority and standards we call rules. Very early on I was quite aware that stealing would result in very undesirable consequences and possibly jail. Very early on I knew that police officers were around for my protection, but I should never talk back, hit, or try to take a police officer’s weapon. If I decided that it would be a good idea for my forty-one year old, five foot five, Caucasian, and female little self to get into a conflict with a police officer the results would be catastrophic. Say I screamed at the officer, punched the officer, forcefully grabbed the officer’s gun, disobeyed orders to freeze, and continued to pursue an attack on the officer guess what the results would be? It would not matter the color of my skin, gender, or socio-economic status. It would not matter that I am a mother and a nurse. I would be committing a terrible crime and endangering the life of an officer and others around me. Yes I would be shot and most likely killed.

My heart aches for the youth of our nation and our world who do not have respect instilled into their lives. My heart aches for all the youth killing each other, testing the boundaries of authority, and committing suicides day in and day out. There is a much deeper problem than biases of skin color in our nation. It is an attitude of “I will do whatever I want and there is nothing anyone can do about it.” There is an attitude of “Everyone owes me something and I don’t have to do anything to earn my rights.” It comes down to respect and the lack of it.
When God created the world He set up many laws that we continue to discover. There are laws of physics, mathematics, and laws necessary to sustain life. One law I will use as an example is the law of gravity. Gravity is for our good. It is for our protection. Gravity is key to having an atmosphere with just the right blend of gases to sustain our very breath. Gravity is key to keeping our bodies attached to this beautiful earth. If there were no gravity our bodies would drift to outer space and as the pressure changes within our bodies we would explode. It is a law that warrants respect. I am very aware that if I jumped off a tall building or mountain I have no power over gravity. It is the authority and I cannot defy it. Depending on how far I fall would determine seriousness of injury or death. The pilot of an airplane must follow the rules and regulations required of that skill. If the pilot decides to do things how he wants…well then hello!!!! If you are having surgery you want the doctors and nurses to follow the rules and regulations for your safety!! I am sure you get the picture!!

God set up authority for our protection. He set up authority for us to grow and prosper. There is no authority or person of authority that God has not placed within that position. There are often times I may not agree fully with the authorities, but God has placed them and that is reason enough to respect. The bible is very clear on how we should view authority. Romans 13:1-7 “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes, if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

There is a part of me that if the finances and resources were available I would love to invite all the children without loving parents into our home to be raised to love and respect themselves and authority. To show love one sweet child at a time no matter whether it is a beautiful brown, yellow, black, white, or red faced child. We all need the love support and structure needed to succeed in life. Most importantly to teach them of the love and hope God gave us in Jesus His One and only Son.

Life’s Great Coach

soccer player
As another school year and spring soccer season wind down it seems I can’t help but reflect. My mind keeps thinking of the growth of my own children and others that are growing alongside them in their schools, church, and activities. There has been a lot of parental growth for my husband and I as well. Both of our girls love the sport of soccer the youngest child has been the most consistent in her love and heart for the sport so I am going to use her as the example although we have learned so much through both of them. The oldest daughter has probably taught us patience most of all as we have given her opportunities and have waited to see what she becomes passionate about.
Our eleven year old daughter has consistently played soccer and her like for the sport has turned into a love. A few years ago it was as if a light switch had turned on illuminating a heart and drive to do her best while playing soccer. The tears that were shed with any bump or fall turned into a determination to not be pushed around any longer. The biggest clue that she was maturing in toughness was during an indoor soccer game where her hand became the sandwich meat between the turf and an opposing team player’s cleat. She got up with the look of searing pain on her face. As her mother I was braced for the tears that I thought for sure were to come. They never did. She shook her hand and held it a bit, but when the referee asked if she needed out she shook her head “no”. A look of determination erased the look of pain and she continued to play a well fought game. After the game she ran up to where I was standing and with a light hearted laugh raised three very bruised fingers for me to see. From that point she definitely earned my respect by displaying a matured toughness and resilience.
A lesson for my husband and I has been that we really need to keep our mouths shut. That we should sit back and encourage, but remember the sport is for fun, exercise, and learning to be a team player. It is so very hard when it seems at times the referee is wearing a blindfold or the parents from the opposing team’s voices grate on nerves like fingernails on a chalkboard. Sometimes she will have an off day and we have to remember that we have off days too with work and most definitely as parents. Just recently my husband and daughter had a conversation in which she basically told him that he was wasting his air coaching her from the side lines. She said “I am listening to my coach and teammates I cannot listen to you too.” She has told us that the “way to go’s” are encouraging and ok. This made me think and pray that in life she will listen to life’s true coach, God. If at times we as parents are conflicting with God’s plan or drowning out His voice I pray that they will both have the same determination to focus on Him and not us. I pray that we will be the encouragement on the sidelines in life and provide every opportunity for our children to follow God’s plan. Sometimes I wonder if soccer will be part of the plan or if they will walk away from it. Will He send one or both of our children to a faraway country to teach others about Jesus with soccer as the platform? It may be a direction that we have not even a hint of now. Only time will tell as we see His plan unfold.
Another lesson is that our children’s successes are not about us. It is about them and God’s life for them. We should always have the open mind and ability to allow them to walk away from opportunities even when we see potential. God will lead them and put a passion in their heart for the direction He wants them to take. The sport has taught a lot about trying to keep a balance between God, family, and activities. We continually have to do a value check making sure soccer is not becoming an idol and keep the proper perspective. Soccer is fun to watch, but watching them grow in their relationships with and love for Jesus has been the greatest blessing. I pray they will always listen to Life’s greatest coach!
Proverbs 22:6 “Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it.”