Thursday, February 16, 2017

The Day Technology Took Over Our Lives

By Danetta Kellar

Oh, the joys of having everything at our fingertips, in one place. 

I found myself driving down the road recently, not feeling well, wondering if my phone could take my temperature. 

I love the convenience of technology. But I am not sure the cost of convenience is worth it.

One day not so long ago I got a new phone, and consequently, we did a switch among us so everyone got an upgrade. Having carefully backed everything up to clouds and hardware the night before, we left the phone store confident.

Five hours later, we were not so jovial. What began with one glitch led to another, and another, and another. By dinnertime I had two children making dinner so I could stay on the line with the tech. I called my husband and told him to hurry up and come home from work; we needed all hands on the techy deck.

Somewhere in the midst of the panic, the thought came to me that loss of data might just be a relief. A new beginning. The ultimate one-fail-swoop clean up. Pressure off.

In the fog of all of this, my daughter came home from school. She floated in and out of the room, bringing me paper hearts she had carefully cut out for me, spreading them across my computer keyboard. She placed a toy menu on my desk and asked if she could “please take my order”. She brought me an entire muffin tin full of colorful plastic cupcakes, made just for me. 

At one point my sweet girl climbed over the three cords attached to phones and laptops, past the phone glued to my ear, and into my lap. “I just want to spend time with you, Mommy. I haven't seen you all day.” 

The children not only cooked dinner, but they ate it. Alone. I never saw their Sloppy Joe creation.

My husband arrived home like a fireman responding to a three alarm fire, and began the work of putting the blazes out. He entered the family office to find us in high crisis mode. We all looked like Churchill’s men in the bunker, strategizing against Enemy Number One.

He was still solving the problem when I gave up at almost midnight and went to get ready for bed.

I whispered an exhausted prayer and fell to sleep.

Just as I dozed off, my phone tweeted. I had forgotten to set the new one to “Do Not Disturb”.

Heart pounding and body worn out, I lay there awake trying to go back to sleep. 

Technology had stolen my entire day.

How do you handle the beloved thief we call technology? I bet I’m not the only one who welcomes your advice today.

TWEETABLES



Thursday, February 9, 2017

Watching Over Me


by Danetta Kellar


The Lord will keep you from all harm—he will watch over your life; the Lord will watch over your coming and going both now and forevermore. Psalm 121:7-8

I was watching him carefully from my place on the treadmill across the gym. 

Slowly he circled the weights, occasionally glancing over at the young guys with big biceps and strong backs lifting barbells. He ran his hand along the weight rack, wishful. 

At one point he looked up at me and saw me watching him. 

“What’s the matter?” he silently mouthed with a look of annoyance. I smiled in return and touched my heart.

Eventually, with a sigh, he grabbed a mat and began furiously doing crunches on the floor.

Thursday, February 2, 2017

Irritants and Troublers

by Danetta Kellar

But if you do not drive out the inhabitants of the land before you, then those whom you allow to remain will be irritants in your eyes and thorns in your side, and will cause you trouble in the land where you will be living.” Numbers 33:55

Foot-weary and bone-tired, the bedraggled band of former slaves could see the Promised Land before them. All that separated them now were the rushing waters of the Jordan, sparkling in the morning sun like laughter and joy. Finally.

God had told them to take possession of the land and settle in it. But there was more. Before God’s people took up residence, there were others there who needed to leave. Not only leave, but be driven out. If they were allowed to remain, God warned that they would become irritants and troublers to the Israelites.

Sounds like work. Not what the worn-out Israelites had in mind.

There are some inhabitants of our hearts we do not want to confront. 

We do not want to send them away, banish them. It takes work to face the ugly about ourselves and rout it out. Besides, we might need it in a moment of weakness to comfort us. Idols appeal to us that way. It is easier to just let them stay put, dusty in the shadowy back corners of our souls. No harm, no foul.

I have had a little shelf of idols like that hidden away. Idols named Performance, Perfection, Control. They seemed so innocuous, so minor. Besides, they actually helped me out sometimes, made me feel better about myself. People even chuckled at the way they shaped my quirky personality. They were kinda like friends.

But over the years as I have tried to settle into God’s plans for my life, I have had this constant irritation. This cycle of victory and defeat. 

A nagging little pattern of overcame-that-oops-here-it-is-again. 

You probably know what I am talking about in your own Promised Land. 

The sin that keeps coming back, even after you thought you had beat it.

The habit that robs you of rest and happiness, even after you resolve over and over to get help and get over it.

The unforgiveness that you thought time would cover and forget, but it comes up at the most inconvenient times, consuming your thoughts and emotions.

When we do not drive out these nasty little inhabitants of our hearts, they grow bigger and bigger. 

Eventually, they make their presence known and wreak havoc on our peace of mind, our relationships, and our lives in the land God has given us.

Are you at the beginning of your journey with God, standing as it were on the banks of the Jordan, looking out over the Promised Land? Or are you already settled, roots deep in the land, only hiding a little secret shelf of idols you never had the courage or energy to confront?

How you live out God’s purpose for you will be affected by those things you refuse to drive from your heart. Take it from me, they will be irritants and thorns in your side, and they will bring trouble to your life.

Take time to do your soul work, to forgive and let go of the things which may one day shackle your feet. Identify the lies that drive you, and replace them with the Truth of God’s Word. Refuse to give glory to anything but Christ. Live free.

In His great mercy and grace, God helps us no matter where we are on our journey to the Promised Land. May He help you exactly where you are today.

TWEETABLES

SaveSave

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Can Siblings Be Friends?

Poor baby brother had no idea what he was in for. #friendsforever

by Danetta Kellar

“She’s all into her brothers and sisters. I just don’t understand it. It’s weird. I mean, she’s nice and all, but people just don’t hang out with their siblings for fun.”

I was standing in line at the airport while this conversation went on behind me between two college students. They were assessing and judging a long list of people they knew, and this particular girl had bewildered them. A relationship with siblings? A good one? An enjoyable one? Evidently, such family relationships are not the norm anymore. They are even considered unnatural.

As a mother of two sons and a daughter, this made me very sad. Our family has made the decision to pursue kindness, forgiveness, and the cultivation of healthy relationships in our home. We openly examine and discuss cultural norms that make it seem okay to put each other down or disrespect one another and we compare them to Christ's teachings of encouragement and respect. And for those who know us, we are Exhibit A for How to Fail but Keep Trying.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

When God’s Portion is Pie

by Danetta Kellar

I had pie for breakfast.

It’s true, I have a weakness for pie. I love the holidays, because if there is pie left over, I know what I am having for breakfast with my cup of strong coffee. Pie!

I have not always been so free. Free to eat pie and even tell you about it. But many years ago, through much pain, I learned the lesson of Portion. God has a portion for us each day if we will look to Him for it. A portion of energy, a portion of purpose. For those of us who struggle with it, His appointed portion of food.

We expect that God’s portions, on the Straight and Narrow Way, must be boring, under-sized and no fun. 

We think His regime must be condemning, always leaving us wishing for more, hungry. We look for God’s gifts to come in a brown paper sack with a twine bow.

That is what I used to think. But as I trusted Him day by day on the Portion journey, His gifts surprised and delighted me with their extravagance and detail. Gifts of more energy as I trusted Him with the little I had. Gifts of multiplied finances as I practiced generosity with the portion He entrusted to me. Absolute gems in the form of quality friendships that shone with authenticity and faithfulness as I took the risk to be transparent with others.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

The Difficulty of Being Still

by Danetta Kellar

The snowstorm could not stop my plans to get away. In fact, the promise of snow made me even more determined to pack my writing, books, and fuzzy pajamas and load up the four-wheel-drive. On the way out the door I grabbed my trusty hot water bottle. I was ready for solitude in a winter wonderland. An introvert’s dream come true.

Every January I take time off from the rest of life to get away with God. I have come to depend on this time of looking back and looking ahead, reflecting and planning. 

Time apart with God anchors my year and gives me clarity for the busy and unpredictable days to come. 

Like forecasted, the snow fell during the first night and I awoke to a world covered in startling whiteness. A fresh, new start. A covering of all that yesterday lay dirty and broken. Noise hushed by quiet drifts of millions of individually crafted crystals made of ice. God on display.

A perfect scenario in which to settle in and seek Him.

Thursday, January 5, 2017

Carried

by Danetta Kellar

…the Lord your God carried you, just as one carries a child, all the way that you traveled until you reached this place. (Deuteronomy 1:31, NRSV)

Venturing out to buy our groceries in the ancient North African city was a daunting task. The Arab souq, or market, was crowded and noisy, no place for a mother and her newborn child. But we had to eat, and I had to cook, and food was necessary for both. So I strapped my little sleeping baby snugly in his carrier, tucked like a cocoon safe against my chest. I made sure to cover his tiny velvety head with a blanket just like the old lady next door told me to, to keep the cold from creeping in. A baby in public with an exposed head was a sure sign of maternal delinquency and neglect in that culture. 

As I entered the jostling crowd of fruit sellers, cart pushers, donkeys, and veiled women pulling sullen children, I encircled my precious child protectively with my arms, my shopping cart bouncing noisily behind me over the cobbled streets.