(Colossians 3:12 – 13) Since God chose you to be the holy people he loves, you must clothe yourselves with tenderhearted mercy, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. Make allowance for each other’s faults and forgive anyone who offends you. Remember, the Lord forgave you, so you must forgive others. (Colossians 4:16 – 17) After you read this letter, pass it onto the church at Laodicea so they can read it, too. And say to Archippus, “Be sure to carry out the ministry the Lord gave you”.

Being reminded again and again to be tender and forgive. We are reminded who God is, that Christ is in us, and that we have this common language of healing woven throughout our whole history as people on this planet. We all have our unique calling and ministry to carry out. Read the letters, share the messages, set our sights on the realities of heaven where Christ sits at God’s right hand.

As a parent, I can get bombarded with varying and conflicting suggestions on the optimum way to rear children – free range, classical, Charlotte Mason, private, public, co-ops. Each of these styles seem to focus either exclusively on the child or the teacher/author. But ultimately it comes down to each child realizing they are here for a purpose. God has fashioned them with unique gifts and bends. Let us find our reason and purpose in Him and loving others. Let the word of the Lord ring out from us to people everywhere. We are looking forward to the coming of God’s Son from heaven – Jesus, whom God raised from the dead. We can pray for this, press into this, trust God for this for ourselves, our children, and our world.

This desire has urged me onto the step up to the 31-day challenge. I was up at 6:40 which is a bit later than I had planned, which in the past would have derailed me, but I got up and started in on the rhythms of the day. Got dressed. Lit some candles. Prayed and journaled for the first early hour of the day. Tried not to get lost in the vortex of the internet. No perfection needed, just stepping in with tenderness. Focusing on these three areas are hopefully helping me to align my values with my actions:

  1. Becoming emotionally healthy, holding love and tenderness in balance with boundaries. This ties in closely with my second challenge of reading two books. “Boundaries” by Dr. Henry Cloud and “Try Softer” by Aundi Kolber are turning my world upside down. I really had no idea that I was living life so backward for so many years. Being honest with myself and being myself was suppressed because of fear. “But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” (Eph. 5:13 – 14) I can really say that I’ve suppressed living because of fear of failure or rejection that I’ve felt dead. It’s time to wake up and come alive.
  2. Reading two books a month and not grazing over 2 and never finishing a book. I’m still reading through those books but also slid in “Persuasion” as well to add fiction and delight.
  3. Staying on target with spending plans in time and money. Well, so far so good. I cannot believe it is January 23 and I’m still using the budget and still on target. So many years have passed where I just dropped off doing this about week two because I felt that if I didn’t do it exactly right then I’d failed and so I would quit. Holding onto perfection, hiding away when all things seem to fall apart, expecting too much of myself or others – these are habits that need to go. Starting up new healthy habits is startling. Which reminds me, I need to add “drink 75 oz water a day.”

Wow, this was longer than I expected to go today. It’s already 8:00 a.m. so time to get going on the day. How is your 31-day challenge going? It’s never to late to join in.