All posts by Janeen

Mid-life dream chaser, missionary in training, practicing author, tiny house groupie, and opinion smorgasbord.

Five Minute Friday – “Try”

A few weeks ago, I decided to join Five Minute Friday. It’s a group of bloggers who free-write for exactly five minutes on a one-word prompt. The word that week was “Try,” and I like the idea I came up with, but Friday came and went without me getting it typed and submitted. I still like the idea, so here goes:

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TRY – Test Reality Yourself. Don’t automatically believe that you cannot do something simply on the word of someone who isn’t you or doesn’t know your skills, determination, etc. Mind, don’t test Newton’s theory of gravity from a six-story building without a parachute. That’s something you can figure out without putting yourself in danger. But, given the chance to bike across the US or run a 5K or write a novel….go for it – Test Reality Yourself – you may discover that you can do more than you (or others) give you credit for.

Test what you’re told in the media – if you can visit a certain site or interview eyewitnesses, do it. You may find that the scope of information available is broader than what media editors choose to fit in the time slot or column size available. One meme puts it this way: turn off your TV and visit your neighbors – you’ll likely find that we’re more friendly than you’ve been told.

Test what you believe in matters of faith. Go ahead, the truth can handle the hardest questions and will reveal itself to those who diligently seek to know. False belief systems will fall under the weight of scrutiny, if you

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pile enough research and logic on them. Be careful, those who really sought the truth found it, and their lives were forever changed.

Test foods, whether they include unusual ingredients or come from other cultures. You may find that you enjoy flavors that at first glance look or sound awful. (Admittedly, I still haven’t tried banana peanut butter sandwiches, but apparently Elvis really enjoyed them.) My food repertoire (and waistline) are evidence that I give (almost) everything at least one try.

In our society, we’ve gone from being too quick to believe the authorities without challenge to being too quick to believe the opinion polls without research. Either one is a ditch, with reality and stability somewhere between. Test Reality Yourself, and you can find the solid ground.

T.R.Y. — I dare you!

Five Minute Friday – “Speak”

Speak.

Express your thoughts, if you can…

Are you permitted to express yourself in your current environment? Will anyone perceive your expression? Will they act positively on it?

Are you capable of expressing yourself? Must it be vocalized, or can you use signs, gestures, or writing? Again, will anyone perceive your expression, and will they act positively on it?

Are you right in expressing yourself? Could you cause undue harm? Is it your thought, or is it a thought you’ve explored, is it factual?

In America, thanks to the first amendment to the constitution, you have the right to express yourself. But please, America, let’s express ourselves responsibly, or that right may disappear under the guise of enforcing safe expressions.

Ask those who may not express themselves without fear of reprisal.

Speak up, responsibly.


This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up!

Two Roads…Which is the Path of Wisdom?

The road divides. One path is paved with brick, the other with stone. There are lamps on each, about 50 yards ahead. Beyond that, darkness. Trees on either side and between indicate that you must choose now, for there is no indication that these roads rejoin one another. You have no map, and none of those around you have travelled either of these roads before. This is your journey, your choice – but where is the Wisdom you seek to guide you?

Exodus 28, 31, 35, and 36 speak of the wisdom granted to craftsmen that they might do quality work in the service of their God. The skills, talents, and experiences you possess have been granted by the One who knows the path He designed you for. You will draw upon what you know, but do not lean too hard on your understanding, as He has been known to flip human understanding on its head. Seek His companionship and counsel with all that you are, and He will add light to your way. (Proverbs 3:5-6, Deut 4:29, Psalms 119:105)

In Deut 4:1-6, Moses reminds the people that they have been given God’s commands, and their wisdom and understanding will come from following them. So, in light of Exodus 20, examine the two choices:
• Which will lead you to recognize God alone, and which will distract you from Him?
• Which will cause you to depend on, or spend time and energy serving, something other than God?
• Which will bring you opportunity to hallow His name among your peers and neighbors? Which will cause them to believe He is not enough for your needs, or theirs? Which will diminish the worth of His name in your eyes, or theirs?
• Which will honor your desire to give God His weekly Sabbath, and which will insist that you invest God’s Sabbath hours in another agenda?
• Which will lead you to honor your heritage, especially living parents? Which environment will lead your children to honor you as God commands? Which environment will lead to exasperating your children, causing their honor of you to be diminished?
• Which risks the death of another – whether their body, their spirit, their reputation, their relationship with God?
• Which risks the relationship with your spouse or chosen mate? Which will open you, or that person, to temptation? Which will best honor them and the role and responsibility granted by God to them in your life?
• Which risks your integrity? Which may lead you to take pay or pencils that are not your established right to have? Which may lead you to take time, resources, experiences, or honor from your loved ones?
• Which risks your honesty? Which may lead you to wear masks in different environments, either by command of your superiors or by your own need to hide or present an artificial self?
• Which risks your contentment? Which may lead you to become jealous of your peers and neighbors, or the stranger in the marketplace? Which may lead you to an unholy dissatisfaction with your environment, possessions, or relationships?

In summary, which choice will keep you on your face before God, honoring who He is without shame as He examines your every action, word, and motive? Which will keep you, His child, anxious to meet with Him daily, that you might hear His praise, “Well done, good and faithful servant.”?

He has never left your side, and never will. He has led others safely through the unfamiliar. He knows how you think, and how to tell you in the unique language of your heart, “this is the way, walk here.” (Isaiah 30:21, paraphrased) He also knows how to redirect your course if you choose the unfavorable path. The focus of your trust must be in Him, in the provision and protection He has already shown you.

If you remain uncertain, step slowly onto one path or the other, and trust Him to rearrange the pavement as He sees fit. He’s been known to do that, just ask Saul of Tarsus, aka Paul.

Dear Someone, Thank You!

Lifelong Christians aren’t supposed to get frustrated, or discouraged, or wonder if they’ve made enough errors to be abandoned. Seeing miracles from time to time is supposed to shelter the faithful ones from all forms of doubt. Or, that’s what we tell ourselves…or perhaps tell each other.

Well, this lifelong Christian, called missionary, and observer of miracles has been having a rough go of it. Few know how discouraged I’ve been getting, how many times I’ve wondered if I’d have served better by staying in my former life. A six-figure life, complete with modest mortgage, two cats, and a fair bit of affirmation from coworkers, church leadership, and my beloved youth group. But I was under a call to another realm – the place of seeking deaf people and introducing them to Jesus. So I packed up my gear and headed north to focus on relearning American Sign Language (ASL).

The plan to become an interpreter for income fell through, leaving a lot of dust, doubt, and debt in its wake. I was at a point of nearly despairing, considering the need to return home and admit defeat. Then came a period of two weeks where I was placed in a home and assigned to a ministry. Not only was I not forgotten, not abandoned, but I was on track once again in a place of service to reach the most invisible and spiritually isolated people all over the world – deaf children. I’ve since moved steadily south to get closer to ministry headquarters, living in four different guest rooms so far.

I confidently agreed to accept whatever funding I could raise, counting on being a scheduled speaker at monthly missionary services. I looked forward to telling about my target group and receiving support to devote myself to the mission. A few of us discussed how a team of people would surround me to encourage, pray, and help me with building a network and a speaking schedule. That whole plan didn’t fall through — it crumbled, slowly and agonizingly… Memories of school fundraiser failures and dishonest televangelists mingled with impossible numeric goals and the already busy life rhythms of those I thought to lean on. It looks like I need to take on all aspects of fundraising, and I just don’t have it in me to treat people like walking wallets.

This is the burden that’s grown to unbearable proportions over the past several weeks. Reminding myself that God is faithful and His resources are unlimited doesn’t effectively counter the idea that I’ve failed too much to imagine continuing forward. It seems time to take on a second job for income, knowing that it will reduce the hours and energy I can give to this ministry. If I’m not in ministry, I’ve wasted the last eight years and the sacrifices of several loved ones. My standing prayer request at the moment is for clarity and against discouragement.

That brings us to the title statement: “Dear Someone, thank you.”

Two weeks ago I visited my friends up north. Not only was it a refreshing encouragement to be with my deaf friends, but they were willing to provide taxi service, lunch, and a love gift of $100 from “Someone.” I decided to put that toward a women’s retreat happening soon in the same area.

Yesterday, I noticed that a local pastor (and friend) intended to speak on John 14, and I could use a little “I’ve gone to prepare a place for you…” right about now. Still exploring church options near my new home, I chose to go there. The radio message was Dr. Paul Nyquist’s “Heirs with Christ,” on being adopted by God. I was warmly greeted by several people at the church and had some discussion with the Lord about perhaps serving with this body, then the pastor gave his message on the Fatherhood of God. His focus was verses 13-14, “ask in My name, and it will be done.” Then, being prompted, he asked the congregation if someone would give $20 to the visiting missionary. I was overwhelmed with more greetings, encouragement, a couple of contacts, a prayer, and a total of $386.

Afterward, I had a text from my friends up north. The cost of the women’s retreat is covered. Another unexpected blessing.

To all the Someones who have given of themselves to pray, encourage, affirm, and provide — especially recently — THANK YOU! I am overwhelmed.

Blogging at Silent Blessings

Hey friends –

Every time I open this website, I see how woefully behind I am in writing blog articles. That’s not recommended if you want to get your brand or message out to new people, or keep the interest of those who have followed you before.

But there’s good news – I HAVE been writing!

There’s a growing collection of articles on the Silent Blessings website, and yours truly is the body behind the keyboard. Check these out, and I’ll get some new stuff on this site as soon as I can.

Here’s a rundown of the most recent articles…

1/6/17 – I wish my Deaf Adult children were in church…   a perspective on why deaf millennials may resist going to church, and resources they can use for personal and group growth

12/22/16 – Visually Announcing Emmanuel…. a look at the visual aspects of the nativity story

12/9/16 – Dear Santa, my child is deaf…  a list of resources available for teaching key stories to deaf children and adults

11/28/16 – ’tis the Season… a perspective on how to include deaf family members in traditional holiday celebrations, without making it awkward

11/4/16 – Deaf Ministry Done Well (2)…  (yes, I slipped a week or two) …. first of two overviews of the Deaf Christian Leaders’ Conference 2016 hosted by Deaf Missions.

10/14/16 – Deaf Ministry Done Well (1)… an overview (or travel-log) of three deaf churches, their history and current status

9/30/16 – Why is Deaf Ministry so Hard? (4)… a look at how our referential libraries differ from group to group, an appeal to include visual references in presentations to a mixed congregation

9/16/16 – Why is Deaf Ministry so Hard? (3)… a look at the differences between hearing and deaf culture, specifically in communication style

9/2/16 – What Heavenly Language(s)!… a perspective on communication in Heaven, and how to begin practicing now

8/19/16 – Doing What it Takes… an overview of what goes into producing resources for deaf kids that are also accessible to their hearing family members and friends