Divine Grace Experienced…

It was requested that parishioners write up their own experience of the Grace of God for a book for Lent. I agreed to do so and wanted to share my own experience here as well. Of course first I defined God’s Grace (like a good student)… I used the Wiki definition found HERE. The portion I used:

Grace in Christianity is the free and unmerited favour of God as manifested in the salvation of sinners and the bestowing of blessings. Common Christian teaching is that grace is unmerited mercy (favor) that God gave to humanity by sending his son to die on a cross, thus delivering eternal salvation.

Now, I can’t say for certain it is the Grace of God that led me to the conclusions and actions below… but it is an experience I still hold as something akin to a release in order to receive.

The grace of God is defined as the free and unmerited favour of God. I have never felt that grace as much and as clearly as I did when we finally decided to move to Minnesota from Alberta, Canada. God’s grace is not what we deserve, but a reflection of what we need, what will help us to become a more whole person. It is this gift that myself and my husband fought so hard against.

For months we fought tooth and nail to stay in Canada with the friends, family and familiarity of life in my birth country. It was not until we released our wants and listened to the direction of God that we began our big move. When we let go, the grace of God allowed us to transition. With this grace the process which usually takes many months was completed in 2 weeks. Passports, packing, goodbyes and the journey were all seamlessly and successfully accomplished.

Without this laying of our worries and path at God’s feet we would not have been where we needed to to help my husband survive his worst bout of depression to date; not been nearby when others needed our help. Rather by the grace of God we were where we needed to be when we needed to be. This gift has enabled us to have a fuller life and is a blessing.

This is what I have given to my church to share, and now given to you to also have a read. I think that no matter what we like to put some sort of reason or structure to chaos. Reason to the unknown, reality to the unreal. All I can say is, right now, I am here where I seem to need to be. Who knows what the future brings. DSCN1565[1]

Potential… Lost… Found and Tapped

***Woo busy few weeks… Grandma Visit, Easter… I promise to get back into the swing***

Potential. What does it mean to “have potential”? To “tap into potential”? To “waste potential”?

Through out my life I have often wondered what my own potential truly was. Have I actually found a path that uses my potential the best way? Is the potential gone after I chose my path?

Potential as a word has a few definitions:

  1. having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future.
  2. latent qualities or abilities that may be developed and lead to future success or usefulness.
  3. the quantity determining the energy of mass in a gravitational field or of charge in an electric field.

Well… we can ignore the last one (I am not a whiz with physics). For my use here I am focusing on the first two. In high school there is a lot of discussion about your potential – your capacity to become something in the future. What direction is your life going to take as you reach adulthood? Now, I was told I could become pretty much anything I wanted… which was sweet. Though, thankfully, my Dad did suggest not a doctor (I am queasy about blood), maybe not something that requires strong knowledge in the sciences (yah… not something I excelled at) and possibly NOT maths (yah I have a hate hate relationship with higher level math… if it doesn’t hurt me, I won’t curse it out… much).

So… I went from high school to college and a direction in the fine arts. I found I had a lot of “potential” with courses that required a bending of thought and discussion… philosophy and religion. I found a direction – I PLANNED to become a minister in the Lutheran church (specifically the ELCIC – Evangelical Lutheran Church in Canada). Potential tapped… right?

Ok, some come along with me here – I think EVERYONE reading this blog has realized something – Lisa is NOT a minister… or a philosopher… or a religious scholar… or (and this is grasping) a university professor in any of these disciplines. Nope, 100% wife and mother. So answer me this…

Did I waste my potential?

Who I was in high school with her interests and dreams and graduating marks, who I was in college with my wide eyed enthusiasm and excelling marks… did these “Lisas” get wasted? Or has it gone into hibernation waiting to be tapped?

Where 20 yr old Lisa was sure she would be a minister… 37 yr old Lisa is sure she is a good mother, a strong teacher, a rather fantastic crocheter (if I do say so myself). She has tapped into a NEW potential, something that was not held up as a solid opportunity way back in high school (because really, motherhood at 17/18 years old… nope not for me). I don’t believe I wasted it, I tapped into my potential for those 3+ years. I learned, I grew, I argued, I laughed and cried. BUT, in the end, I found NEW potential.

I found those latent (existing but not yet developed or manifest; hidden; concealed) qualities that were not tapped by my college education with our decision to start a family. Do I regret it? Nope! Amazingly enough, I filled my yearning for working in the church with committee work and promptly learned – I suck at politics. And, as much as I love the church, in any organization there are politics.

On top of that… and this should be no surprise for people who know me, I am shy!

No, I don’t think I wasted my potential. Would someone from the outside looking in come to a different conclusion… possibly. But here is a new question for you – does that matter? Often you will hear people talking about someone’s wasted potential. How they SHOULD have done this or that instead of the career they chose based on their own knowledge of that person at particular times of the person’s life.

She should have gone with that career in writing, after all in college she wrote such amazing papers. He should have gone into medicine, look at his amazing marks in science. They would have made an amazing singing group – after all they did all that singing in small bars during college.

The saying, “The grass is always greener on the other side”, comes to mind. Looking at his or her life as a youth, as a college student it may look as if they SHOULD have gone this way or that, but can we ever truly be in another person’s head? This is something that Ken has to deal with often. Depression, plus high intelligence and add in a strong personality and you have someone with lots of potential.

That potential is there with options. Some are absolutely obvious, some deep inside and kept secret. Using Ken as an example (cuz… Depression = Ken = my examples) he was an athlete up through to college and rather successful (this was known), he was and is very good with computers, but deep inside that muddled head of his is an artist, a bit of a scientist, maybe even a comedian.

So… let’s review what he did with his potential. Sports ended before we got married (choice and illness). Computers continued through to today. Art is something that he toys with and need to come back to again (again choice) and scientist has gone by the way-side.

So has he lost potential? Wasted it? Well, we came to realize now that sports/athletics were actually negatively impacting Ken’s mental health. Competition on that level and the stress to his body was not helping his inner dialogue. Of course, on the outside he broke records, played hard and won. BUT while everyone watched that potential being tapped a whole new potential was brewing underneath – the potential to lead to self harm, depression and possibly death.

Direction changed to computers, which has morphed now into the much healthier (due to having to be accountable daily to many and face to face communication) project manager. Project manager may not seem like the height of tapping potential but I am sitting here watching him grow and excel.

So, while some may say he had so much potential, I see it as he has so much adapting potential. KEN has adapted to a whole new lifestyle post depression, he has adapted to our family as it has grown, found a career that makes him the best he can be and stretches his limits. No, he is not an athlete, or a scientist or currently an artist BUT he is Ken. Amazing, ambitious, unique Ken.

So we have each tapped some potential and are always looking to find more. That is the other thing. So I am a mother, but I found a new potential in crochet, and I am not half bad at the recorder, maybe the piano will be some untapped potential I never even knew I had! That cannot be wasted if I never knew it existed, right?

Together Ken and I have the potential to be amazing, I kinda think we already are… just a bit! After all, humans are creatures of change even as we fight to stay the same. So, doesn’t it mean that our potential is ever changing, ever growing and morphing into something new? Now, I doubt I will ever have the potential to be a fighter pilot (ACK heights) or a sumo wrestler, but who knows, maybe… years down the line… you will come to read about Lisa the biblical scholar and Ken the divine artist?

After all, depression or no, personal limitations or not, our potential is there! And we ALL have the potential for greatness on some scale or another. So be that great person – after all… I already know you ARE!!!!IMG_20160624_221658

 

 

Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks

Moving from Slavery (HERE) which was an eye opener for the kids on how cruel the history we come from really is, to Declaration of Independence and the idea of ALL men created equal not actually making it to ALL and completely ignoring women, and then to Abraham Lincoln and his push to begin the abolishing of slavery (HERE), the children actually made a good choice in their next two topics…

Martin Luther King Jr. and his movement to end segregation was the twins’ pick. We had briefly read about him on Martin Luther King Jr. Day. Which spurred the wish to know more. Meanwhile Trinity and Emanuel had come across a book that on the back also advertised Rosa Parks in the same series. Her courageous move to NOT move out of her place on the bus and her continuing of standing up for equality and an end to segregation at the same time was just amazing.  Two very timely and appropriate topics we began in February.

Our lapbook of choice for MLK was a free one (I like to avoid the pay for ones, even though they are so complete, just to save on money.) from Homeschool Helper Online HERE. I find that the lapbook booklets make the topics easier to face, and more enjoyable then a plain written report. For worksheets you can check out my collection on Education.com HERE, EnchantedLearning.com has some good resources (pay site) HERE and Activity Village has their page for Martin Luther King Day HERE.20170327_153058

Books:

  • Martin Luther King, Jr. by Amy Pastan HERE
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. by Marion Dane Bauer HERE (My First Biography)
  • I am Martin Luther King, Jr. by Brad Meltzer HERE
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. by Wil Mara HERE
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. by Josh Gregory HERE (A True Book)
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. A Family Tribute HERE
  • Love Will See You Through by Angela Farris Watkins, PhD HERE
  • Martin Luther King, Jr by Lucia Raatma HERE
  • Martin Luther King, Jr. Day by Meredith Dash HERE

DVD:

  • Martin’s Big Words (Scholastic) HERE

I spent a grand total of a dollar on Rosa Parks. We used the Knowledge Box Central Interactive Foldable Booklet. Now I do want to warn that when we purchased it there was a minor spelling error (Education was spelled wrong on one of the pages). I was able to correct it with whiteout and pen, but be warned. You can purchase that HERE.

Rosa Parks is a huge inspiration for Trinity and Echo. They think her choice to sit on the bus was amazingly courageous. They could not get enough of hearing how she was able to not only start a bus boycott, but continued on to work as a Civil Rights Leader and make changes not only in the US, but in other countries around the world. Some called her the Mother of the Civil Rights Movement.

One of the questions we asked ourselves was – What would you say to Rosa Parks? Then Emanuel and Trinity wrote her a letter. 20170327_151414

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For our craft activity we filled our buses with all sorts of people. You can find our print out HERE thanks to Danielle’s Place. My Education.com collection is HERE. EnchantedLearning had some good pages HERE as well.

We definitely got ourselves a lovely stack of books to read together and use for research.

  • Rosa Parks by Wil Mara HERE
  • Who Was Rosa Parks? by Yona Zeldis McDonough HERE
  • Rosa Parks by Kitson Jazynka HERE
  • I am Rosa Parks by Brad Meltzer HERE
  • I am Rosa Parks by Rosa Parks and Jim Haskins HERE
  • Rosa Parks by Barbara M. Linde HERE
  • Rosa Parks by Cynthia Klingel and Robert B. Noyed HERE
  • Rosa Parks by Rosa Park and Jim Haskins HERE

Martin Luther King Jr. and Rosa Parks are true inspirations. I think we all agreed that doing what is right isn’t easy but it is rewarding!