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Letting Go

Acts 20:32 Now I’m turning you over to God, our marvelous God whose gracious Word can make you into what He wants you to be and give you everything you could possibly need in this community of holy friends.

A few months ago, our family had what can only be described as The Week. It was the kind of week that makes you dread answering the phone because you’re pretty sure it’s gonna be bad news. Throughout the course of The Week, most of the bad news had to to with my kids. One was in a battle for her calling and identity, two were being deeply hurt by friends, another was fighting health and fear issues. It felt to me like the storm just kept swirling and spinning while I just kept praying and answering my phone.

If you’ve watched any amount of Leave it To Beaver or The Cosby Show, you understand what good moms do. Good moms fix things. They make it better. They use words and food and other clever ideas to make problems go away and to keep their kids from making bad decisions. Sometimes I want to live in Nick at Nite because down here in the unscripted real world I often find myself without real remedies for the people I love the most.

So, in the midst of The Week, a cool thing happened. I was praying (the only thing I’ve found that really works well in parenting) and I saw this picture that was so clear it was like I was right there in the middle of it. I was standing in a field of those dandelion things – the ones that you blow and all the seeds scatter – and I was trying to protect and guard each seed as it released from the stem. At first, they detached one at a time and they were easy to chase. A fuzzy little seed would waft gently through the air, and I would race it to it’s landing spot and tuck it safely in the soil so it would not be uprooted or trampled. It was a difficult-but-doable job. But then the wind picked up and they started to blow faster and soon I was running frantically to keep up. Finally, I found myself in the middle of a fuzzy, white flurry of flying seeds and all I could do was stand there – exhausted and frustrated – but also somehow relieved that the job had finally become too big for me.

The seeds in my dream – as you have undoubtedly already figured out – are the issues my kids face: money, jobs, friends, affections, health. When they were little, I got to hold onto the flower and love it and keep it from getting caught in a wind it wasn’t prepared for. But now, it’s time to trust God, take a big step back, let some of those seeds fly free and enjoy the show. It’s time to move – mostly – from valiant protector to prayerful observer.

Conclusion? it’s a wretched, wonderful, terrible, beautiful thing to let go.

Not June Cleaver After All,

Bo

How Much Does it Matter?

On May 3, a cyclone swept through the country of Burma, leaving 28,000 dead and another 33,000 missing. While that is a horrific tragedy, it has now been eclipsed by a bigger issue: people who are trying to survive in a country with no food and lethally contaminated water. Humanitarian organizations estimate that the death toll may multiply FIFTEEN times because of water-related disease and lack of basic necessities.

Compounding the whole situation – in fact, RESPONSIBLE for MUCH of the situation – is the country’s government which is refusing to allow foreigners in to distribute aid. Of the hundreds of visas that have been applied for by relief workers, less than 10 have been approved by Burma’s junta. It’s outrageous.

I’ve been following the story closely and was thrilled to see that they had approved the entry of a Red Cross boat filled with enough supplies for 1,000 people. Today, that boat sank.

I don’t know…it’s another Big Death Toll disaster in a country far away. A country smaller than our Texas. It’s hard to know how much to care…to know how much it matters. But, today – maybe because it’s Mother’s Day – I’ve been realizing again that numbers are lives and Jesus is in the life business. The mom in the picture has a name and a story, the baby has a future and a hope. Each one occupies a specific and wonderful place in the heart of God and we cannot afford to grow complacent or calloused.

I’m not a relief worker or a soldier or a government official. I don’t have a bunch of extra food or water to take and I couldn’t get in even if I did. However, I have been given a kingdom (Luke 22:29) and have decided to invest some kingdom resources in a country that is sinking slowly into the plans of the Thief.

I love my life in America, but any amount of time in the gospels will assure us that Burma matters to Jesus. And it should matter to us.

Believing for Miracles,

Bo

May 16, 2008 - 1:07 am

helenw13 - It matters a lot…

There are days where if I were to only read the “liner notes” on computer webpages, it would be really easy to give a momentary gasp and then go about the day…I really don’t want to live in that reality because I live so very far away from where the devastation is a very real thing…

Thanks Bo for the reminder!

How did the conference go…I assume it was incredible!

Have a blessed weekend…and are you surviving all this graduation busyness…but you have done a wedding so this should be a breeze for you…I on the other hand seem to be spinning in various directions and I wish that I was a lily of the field but I am not…trying to be…desperately…

May 18, 2008 - 7:50 am

bolovesjoe - Hi Helen,

The conference was really great – but I was glad when it was done. So much to focus on right now! I went to Napa Valley for some time with my college roommate and now I’m home and it’s on to graduation. We WILL survive…we’re strong! And then we’ll probably cry some, huh? This letting go is strange stuff. ๐Ÿ™‚ Praying for you!

May 24, 2008 - 12:02 am

Lindsay Joy - Did you hear they’re letting ALL aid workers in now to help with the relief effort?!?!

May 24, 2008 - 12:35 am

bolovesjoe - Yes – amazing news. And I’m trying to be hopeful that the conditions they have set “as long as they’re genuine humanitarian workers” will not be a roadblock to slow the process down. I thought the comments from the head of the UN were a little hesitant, but it does seem like a great development.

Top Twenty: #4-1

Wow. Have you ever had a weekend just seize the reins of your life and run willy-nilly all through the town? That was my weekend. I think I’m still twitching a little bit from the whole ordeal.

Okay…so here they are. The last few crumbs of the Top Twenty Things Every Woman Should Know.

#4 How to ask for help: You know, women tend to be reluctant to ask for help when they need it and often will just project frustration instead. This leads me to number 3…

#3 Who to call for help: “Help with what?” you may wonder. Well, with anything. I have go-to people for the Big Issues of Life. They’re like my Big Issue Gurus. For me, these fall into the categories: Spiritual stuff, car stuff, finances, cooking and just good wisdom stuff like “My daughter wants to go cliff jumping with her friends and hasn’t quite mastered staying afloat in the water yet…what should I do?” Those things. Seriously, get to know people who are both smart and wise. People you trust. People who have not made silly mistakes in their lives or – better yet – HAVE made silly mistakes, but have learned from them.

#2 How to balance your checkbook: Really big thing that surprisingly few women know how to do. Slacker alternative: get good at using online banking.

#1 How to pray: See number 3.

And that’s it. The full run down. Did I miss things? Certainly. Are some of them out of order? Absolutely. That’s what makes life fun. It’s always turning and changing and wonderfully textured. This week is looking to be more out-of-control than last week, so I don’t know that I’ll frequent these parts much…but if you think of it please pray for the Revolutionary Parenting Conference this Saturday. It’s gonna be grand!

Loving my Lilac Trees,

Bo

May 7, 2008 - 3:40 am

helenw13 - Great 20 Bo!

Praying for you and the conference…

May 7, 2008 - 7:32 am

bolovesjoe - Thanks, Helen! I’m excited – my dad’s speaking and he’s my favorite speaker EVER. ๐Ÿ™‚

May 8, 2008 - 9:36 am

Corina Burgess - BO! I loved the top twenty! My favorite of course is #1!!! From experience, I seem to use that one in #’s 2-20!!! LOL! I thought of you the other day, and how we were able to solve all the world’s problems with in one phone call… oh the good ol’ days! I’ll be praying for your conference!

May 8, 2008 - 10:29 am

bolovesjoe - Corina – yes, but the phone calls lasted until the batteries ran out on my phone, so does that really count as ONE? ๐Ÿ™‚

May 11, 2008 - 1:39 pm

cass-a-rooh - happy mothers day!

May 11, 2008 - 10:59 pm

bolovesjoe - Thank you, Miss Cass! I loved your post card and I’m so glad you survived your year in Bend! ๐Ÿ™‚

Top Twenty: #8-5

Today’s Twenty’s are from the “hopelessly random” bucket in my brain where things like my old pin number and 7th grade locker combination live. So, here they are: totally miscellaneous things I think every woman should know:

#8 Your credit score. And also, you should know a couple of steps you could be taking to improve it. It’s way easier than you think and every couple of points matters. Single women tend to disregard this one and I’m begging you – don’t!

#7 The fundamentals of three sports. For me, this was baseball, football and basketball. You don’t have to know everything, but at least find out how they score, what the championships are called, etc. I’m really thankful for a dad who sat me in front of the tv and answered my stupid questions…it made my husband think I was super cool when he met me and I was able to maintain that illusion until the first time he watched a hockey game, but we were married by then and he was stuck with me.

#6 History. Specifically, your family’s emotional and spiritual history – at least three generations of strengths and weaknesses. It will help you understand yourself better and will give you a map of sorts as you raise your children.

#5 An older, wiser woman. I know from the number of questions I get about finding a mentor, that there’s certainly a supply-and-demand problem – but I also know that wise, wonderful women ARE out there. Find one who can invest into your life. If your mom happens to be one, you are blessed indeed – send her flowers or a donut or something!

Til tomorrow,

Bo

May 5, 2008 - 11:06 am

Jessica Carpenter - I can’t believe you’re leaving us hanging with 4 to go!

Top Twenty: #9-12

In case you haven’t been paying attention, we’re continuing the list of the Top Twenty Things Every Woman Should Know which is purely subjective and could easily be debated by those who know way more than I do about such matters (and also by the generally cantankerous, I suppose). Today we’re looking at things that are good to know in…pause, please, and prepare your heart…awkward social situations.

#12 A working knowledge of current events. Read the first article on the front page of each section of any newspaper and you’re ready for anything!

#11 Three awesome conversation starters. “Have you lived here long?” “What keeps you busy right now?” “Do you think all your kids will have your receding hairline or just the one?” A few ideas to get you rolling.

#10 One impressive party trick. I can make a really cool noise with a straw. Katie makes music out of glass. What can you do?

And this may be the most important thing to know in social situations…

#9 When to stop talking. Again I draw from the deep well of my own monster mistakes. But that’s another post altogether.

Speaking of #9,

Bo