• self-care like an oxygen mask

    Self-Care: Stewardship, Not Selfishness

    Remember the safety demonstration on airplanes? “In the unlikely event of a sudden loss of cabin pressure, oxygen masks will drop from the overhead area. Place the mask over your own mouth and nose before assisting children.” Every time I fly, I am reminded that taking care of one’s own basic needs is not selfish; it enables us to give selflessly to others. Consider what would happen if a mother first put oxygen masks on her children, but lost consciousness before donning her own because she waited too long. Quite traumatic to her children, right? We can’t give to others what we don’t possess ourselves. That includes mental and emotional…

  • Seeds spilling out of a cup onto a saucer

    Leave it

    As a young Christian in college I was challenged to ask God to provide a specific amount of money so I could pass it on to a ministry or mission and experience the joy of being a conduit for God’s generosity. I stepped out hesitantly and asked God to give me $15 so I could give it toward a friend’s mission support. Then I watched and waited. Only a few weeks letter I received a valentine’s card from my stepmother (who never wrote to me). It contained a check for $15. Later, in our early marriage, my husband and I decided to ask God to overfill our cup by $100…

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    Food: Waste Not, Want Not

    Seven years ago, my family and I went to Africa for the first time, spending most of our hours with the Maasai in Kenya. At the end of a lovely day together, they killed a goat in our honor. One minute a cute little guy was roped to a post, and the next thing we knew, they had slit its neck. For the first time in her life our daughter, then twelve years old, realized that “pork” is meat from a pig, “beef” is meat from a cow, and calling something “chicken” means it is just that—literally, the corpse of a chicken. For the next nine months, she was a…

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    Lead by Loving

    If you asked twenty good men today what they thought the highest of the virtues, nineteen of them would reply, Unselfishness. But if you had asked almost any one of the great Christians of old, he would have replied, Love. . . A negative term has been substituted from a positive . . . The negative idea of Unselfishness carries with it the suggestion not primarily of securing good things for others, but of going without them ourselves as if our abstinence and not their happiness was the important point.  —  C.S. Lewis The poignant words struck my soul. What if we lived and led by Lewis’ observation? What if…

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    A Life Well Lived

    A life well lived. It’s something that we all want, isn’t it? We want the satisfaction and joy of knowing that we loved fiercely and refused to live in fear. That we lived generously, gave of ourselves without reservation, and chose to see the best in others. That we forgave and forgot, and overall, that we let the love of God rule in our hearts and minds. In essence, we want to know that who we are and what we did mattered. That I, Tiffany, stewarded well the life I was given, and that it brought pleasure to God. Two weeks ago I got to witness that very thing—a life…

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    Time to Take Inventory?

      Imagine you’ve invited all your relatives and neighbors to a banquet. Instead of serving turkey or ham with pie for dessert, what would happen if you emptied the garbage onto the table where the platter of meat goes? And after that, what if you told your guests to “dig in”? Think they’d like it? Think they’d say, “What a fine feast—let’s invite the president next year”? What would your actions say about how much you regarded your guests? We wouldn’t think of treating other humans that way, yet these actions come close to those of the children of Israel during the prophet Malachi’s lifetime. They offered their wilted stuff…