Reframing Ministries: Discover Purpose, Passion, and Perspective!

Sometimes, we get stuck in life’s ruts. Ever feel stuck? If so, you don’t have to remain there!

Colleen Swindoll Thompson
Colleen Swindoll Thompson introduces Reframing Ministries.

Insight for Living Ministries can help you climb out . . . with Reframing Ministries.

If the name Reframing Ministries is unfamiliar to you, that’s okay, because it’s the brand new name for the Special Needs Department of Insight for Living Ministries.

Here’s how it will help you even more than it has.

Flying Fish, Party Straws, and 4 Essentials to Focus On

After what I saw, it seemed best to stay quiet. I was two days out of a massive back surgery, and the morphine pump was primed to kill pain that made natural childbirth feel like a minor tummy ache.

Flying Fish, Party Straws, and 4 Essentials to Focus On
Image from Photodune.

My incredibly loving husband had taken two weeks off work to set up camp right by my bed under the third-story window of room 335. Spring storms pounded Dallas. The water drops dancing in the wind refracted the street lights like Fourth of July fireworks.

Then I saw it. Them.

Influence—Its Meaning Will Make You Smile

At a recent conference I attended, one of the speakers touched on the subject of being an influential person. Most of us categorize effective influence by numbers rather than by character. We believe having influence means we need to have a big audience, attend a huge church, know popular people, hold countless degrees, own lots of stuff, or have big bank accounts.

Influence—Its Meaning Will Make You Smile
Image from Photodune.

I have none of those things and have rarely considered myself a person with much influence . . . until I heard this speaker’s talk.

It’s my assumption that many of you reading these words believe you have little influence, but you’d be surprised. One of the speaker’s ten points was so simple, yet it left an incredible impact on my preconceptions about the meaning of influence. Today, I hope you will reconsider your influence. You have influence, your influence is powerful, and your influence can change lives everywhere you go.

Ready?

How to Find Hope That Lasts

I remember a childhood rhyme kids used to say to tease one another. It ended with something like “. . . first comes love, then comes marriage, then comes baby in a baby carriage.” And somewhere between childhood rhymes and the developed rhythms of adult life, these witty sayings became internalized beliefs—as if life should unfold as simply as those sayings roll off our tongues.

But life is not that simple, and sometimes the marriage or the baby carriage leaves us deeply wounded, unfulfilled, and even empty. Where is God when our wants and wishes wash away and we crash against the solid, stern rock of reality? How do we move forward with broken hearts, bewildered to know what the “abundant Christian life” is really about?

In this profoundly touching interview, Marilyn Meberg openly discusses her personal experiences of love and loss—as well as how to live with lasting hope through life’s challenges.

Watch the Interview:

Overcoming Your Life’s Overwhelming Demands

Within 24 hours after the birth of her son, Barbara and her husband were told their baby has severe hemophilia, a life-threatening blood disorder.

In this candid interview, Barbara shares about her marriage, raising a child with a life-threatening disease, her struggles with depression, interacting with others, and how she helps other families through her ministry, Snappin’ Ministries.

Barbara’s humor is contagious, her commitment to Christ is clearly devout, her care for others is full of grace, and her humility is profound.

Watch the Interview:

Ephesians 4:1–3 speaks of the life Barbara lives:

[I] beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. (NLT)

In this interview, Barbara and Colleen talk about the challenges related to raising a child with extensive needs.

How to Live Abundantly One Day at a Time

Life’s challenges can rob us of our joy—especially when circumstances appear hopeless. If words such as fear, pain, illness, sorrow, loss, or doubt describe your life, you need to know you are not alone.

Emily Colson, daughter of the late Chuck Colson, speaks with honest compassion about life as a single parent and the surprising gifts from God she has encountered while raising Max. You will laugh with her, and come to love her, as she shares about how to live abundantly—one day at a time.

Watch the Interview

Emily has been a single mother for most of Max’s life and has learned hard lessons in life, love, and a whole lot of laughter. Emily and Max live on the coast of New England where they can often be found dancing.

Marriage Support for Special Needs Families

Marriages often struggle with the significant challenges that come with raising a special needs child.

Joe and Cindi Ferrini
Joe and Cindi Ferrini

Joe and Cindi Ferrini have been there—and are making it work.

This interview will encourage you in your marriage as Joe and Cindi balance serious topics with much-needed humor. We discuss commitment, good choices, adaptation and acceptance, divorce, dependence on biblical truth, and the importance of a Spirit-filled life.

Act Medium

Act MediumThe children worked long and hard on their little cardboard shack. It was to be a special spot—a clubhouse, where they could meet together, play, and have fun. Because a clubhouse has to have rules, they came up with three:

  1. Nobody act big.
  2. Nobody act small.
  3. Everybody act medium.

Not bad theology!

In different words, God says the very same thing:

Let another praise you, and not your own mouth;
A stranger, and not your own lips. (Proverbs 27:2)

“Whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant, and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave.” (Matthew 20:26-27)

Give preference to one another in honor. (Romans 12:10)

Through love serve one another. (Galatians 5:13)

Regard one another as more important than yourselves. (Philippians 2:3)

Just “act medium.” Believable. Honest, human, thoughtful, and down to earth. Regardless of your elevated position or high pile of honors or row of degrees or endless list of achievements, just stay real. Junk any idea that you deserve some kind of super recognition for a job well done. Who did you do it for anyway? If you did it for God, He has an infinite number of unseen ways to reward you. If you did it for human glory, no wonder you’re seeking the credit! So easy to draw out that praise for yourself, isn’t it? Ye olde ego is a wily one.

Just “act medium.”

Again, what is it Solomon said? “Let another praise you . . . a stranger, and not your own lips.”

Meaning what? Meaning no self-reference to some enviable accomplishment. Meaning refusal to scratch a back when yours itches. Meaning no desire to manipulate and manufacture praise. Meaning authentic surprise when applauded.

Like the inimitable Principal Cairns, headmaster of an English school, who was walking onto the platform along with other dignitaries. As he stepped up, a burst of spontaneous applause arose from the audience. In characteristic modesty, Cairns stepped back to let the man behind pass by . . . as he began to applaud his colleague. He genuinely assumed the applause was for another.

Just “act medium.”

But one final warning: Don’t try to fake it. False humility stinks worse than raw conceit.

The answer is not in trying to appear worthless or “wormy.” The answer lies in consistently taking notice of others’ achievements, recognizing others’ skills and contributions . . . and saying so. That’s called serving others in love. And that’s what Christ did.

Got the rules memorized?

“Nobody act big. Nobody act small. Everybody act medium.”

Such good advice from a clubhouse full of kids who, by the way, are pretty good at practicing what they preach.

Adapted from Charles R. Swindoll, “Act Medium,” in The Finishing Touch: Becoming God’s Masterpiece (Dallas: Word, 1994), 560-61. Copyright © 1994 by Charles R. Swindoll, Inc. All rights reserved. Used by permission.

Soul Truth

 

Beautiful Sky
(Photo Courtesy of Pixabay.com)

You won’t believe what happened in a very formal church, several years ago. My son, Jonathan, not quite one year old, had the fantastic gift of throwing up everything he ate. So much so that I thought I would catch a lung at some point. I had moved to Dallas several years before and life had been tough so I ventured out and visited a church. I needed the reminder that God was still on His throne, sovereign, and always faithful.

Jon had so many struggles that getting out the door for church, with three kids under the age of five, was nearly impossible. Eventually, we made it and just as we walked into the formal, gorgeous, well-known, and respected church, Jon began to empty the contents of his stomach everywhere. I heard a big splat, and then Jon gasped for air, and then another splash, which spread across the beautifully polished, expensive tile. One usher came over with such care and offered to help. In the meantime, I grabbed a stack of church bulletins, hoping they would soak up something. On that day I discovered paper does not soak up vomit effectively! I also learned a few other lessons:

  1. God doesn’t care about how we try to look, but He does care about our hearts. That is freeing.
  2. We can’t possibly live without some messes, either inside or outside our lives. That is relieving.
  3. Pride refuses help, but humility welcomes help as God’s hand reaching to you. That is refreshing.

I also learned some funny lessons:

  1. Because vomit and stink go together, wear your junk clothes.
  2. If throwing up is even a slight possibility, stay home.
  3. Church bulletins don’t soak up a single drop of anything, so carry paper towels.

I found this prayer written by a man who lost his children and needed some help drying his tears. I love his humble, thoroughly honest words.

Lord of reality
make me real
not plastic
synthetic
pretend phony
an actor playing out his part
hypocrite.
I don’t want
to keep a prayer list
but to pray
nor agonize to find Your will
but to obey
what I already know
to argue
theories of inspiration
but submit to Your Word.
I don’t want
to explain the difference
between eros and philos
and agape
but to love.
I don’t want
to sing as if I mean it
I want to mean it.
I don’t want
to tell it like it is
but to be it
like You want it.
I don’t want
to think another needs me
but I need him
else I’m not complete.
I don’t want
to tell others how to do it
but to do it
to have to be always right
but admit it
when I’m wrong.
I don’t want
to be a census taker
but an obstetrician
nor an involved person
a professional
but a friend.
I don’t want
to be insensitive
but to hurt
where other people hurt
nor to say
I know how you feel
but to say God knows
and I’ll try
if you’ll be patient with me
and meanwhile I’ll be quiet.
I don’t want
to scorn the clichés
of others
but to mean everything I say
including this.1Joseph Bayly, “A Song of Single-Mindedness,” in Psalms of My Life (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House, 1978), 40. Used by permission.

 

Notes:   [ + ]

1. Joseph Bayly, “A Song of Single-Mindedness,” in Psalms of My Life (Wheaton, Ill.: Tyndale House, 1978), 40. Used by permission.

Playing Hooky

Laughter is key to a full life.

This week, I tripped, spilled, stumbled, tumbled, and fumbled. I would assume you have your own stories as well. But have you learned to laugh at such mishaps? I hope you will, as I have, because laughter brings freedom and joy to life.

Playing HookyOver time, I found one thing utterly refreshing—when the kids and I played hooky. While Jon was in school, his two siblings and I occasionally took a break from life. We played games and laughed loudly at whatever came along. It lightened the load, rejuvenated our relationships, and lifted our spirits. Even today, the memories of the times we played hooky together bring about belly laughs.

Perhaps your life has become too serious, too dreary. Listen to this wisdom from a Nebraskan monastery friar. Lighten up . . . and every now and then . . . play hooky.

If I had my life to live over again, I’d try to make more mistakes next time.

I would relax, I would limber up, I would be sillier than I have been this trip.

I know of very few things I would take seriously.

I would take more trips. I would be crazier.

I would climb more mountains, swim more rivers, and watch more sunsets.

I would do more walking and looking.

I would eat more ice cream and less beans.

I would have more actual troubles and fewer imaginary ones.

You see, I’m one of those people who lives life prophylactically and sensibly hour after hour, day after day. Oh, I’ve had my moments, and if I had to do it over again I’d have more of them.

In fact, I’d try to have nothing else, just moments, one after another, instead of living so many years ahead of each day. I’ve been one of those people who never goes anywhere without a thermometer, a hot-water bottle, a gargle, a raincoat, aspirin, and a parachute.

If I had to do it over again I would go places, do things, and travel lighter than I have.

If I had my life to live over I would start barefooted earlier in the spring and stay that way later in fall.

I would play hooky more.

I wouldn’t make such good grades, except by accident.

I would ride on more merry-go-rounds.

I’d pick more daisies.1Anonymous, as quoted in Charles R. Swindoll, Laugh Again (Dallas: Word, 1991), 69–70.

Notes:   [ + ]

1. Anonymous, as quoted in Charles R. Swindoll, Laugh Again (Dallas: Word, 1991), 69–70.