Taking the Challenge

Hello, dear friends.  All week-long I have wondered how many of my readers have taken the challenge to “choose love”.   I know that some of you might have thought that I was nuts when you first began reading the words on my post, but as the words really sunk in, I hope that the lightbulb of truth turned on.  That is what happened to me as I read Rachel Macy Stafford’s words.

As a mother and an educator I became an excellent multi-tasker.  In the classroom I would be teaching a lesson, while at the same time I’d be noticing that Johnny’s fingers were stealthily creeping towards the curly tendrils of Sally’s springy hair and Susie was rummaging in her messy desk when she was supposed to be listening.  I would know that in 5 minutes I had to have my lesson finished because I had to begin my social studies lesson and have 5 kids ready for the ESOL teacher to pick up. My kids even thought that I had eyes in the back of my head because I knew when Timmy wasn’t working and called him out on it.  This was not just multi-tasking, but multi-thinking.  It’s the same for a mom at home with her kids as she is helping each of them with their homework as she is putting in a load of laundry, fixing dinner, and changing baby’s diaper, and talking to a repair man on the phone.  Women have been created to have minds that multi-think and multi-task to help them keep up with their different tasks and their children.

I am a person who likes to have things planned and organized.  I work better that way.  So, my mind never stops, literally… even when I go to bed. It keeps clicking on.. and on.. and on…  If I don’t have a written list, I have lists in my mind of what I am going to do tomorrow and the next day and the rest of the week.  Just sitting….. not for me.  I always have had something in my lap to do, whether that is reading, grading papers, working on lesson plans.  I don’t just sit, period.  So, this retired life where I have had to live a sedentary life due to a plethora of hip restrictions from my hip surgery has truly humbled me before God, and forced me to begin living a different kind of life.

I am unable to multi-task as I once was.  I am unable to plan and organize, because I don’t know what the next day will bring.  I am having  to wait on the doctor to convey the next level of freedom that I can have.  I am having to wait on my husband who has to help me get dressed and put on an atrocious brace that I wear 24/7.  I haven’t been able to drive for 6 +weeks.   I am  in a process of waiting…..  Waiting is something that none of us enjoy, but waiting it is.   Interestingly enough I am not sharing  all of this information as a form of complaint.  I am giving you a glimpse into what my life once was and what it presently is, so that you can see the difference.  Even though it is very different from my planned and organized life, I am enjoying the freedom that I am experiencing.  My brain is absolutely getting a rest.  I am able to focus on one thing at a time and I have been blessed by it.  Why, you may ask?  It is all because of a loving God. I was unable to trust in my own capabilities presently,  because to the best of my ability,  my weakened body couldn’t do much of anything nowadays. But, God could.  Isaiah 26:3 states “You will keep in perfect peace all who trust in you, all whose thoughts are fixed on you!”  God has given me peace as I have rested in His care, not my own abilities.

God has given me His things to do while I am in the position that I am.   I have been able to meet with my niece and teach her how to study the Bible.  What a blessing that has been to me.  I have been able to write Sunday School curriculum for my church, making it more “user-friendly” for the teachers.  I have loved every minute of that task.

The Bible says so much about love.

  • Matthew 22:37-39 “Love the Lord your God with all your heart, soul, and mind. This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it. Love your neighbor as yourself.”
  • John 13:35  “By this all men will know you are my disciples if you love one another.”
  • John 15:12 “My command is this, Love each other as I have loved you.”

Choosing love means choosing to spend time with those you care about; quality time, even if that time is for a few moments.   These moments are to be moments where we clear our heads of the multi-tasking mode and focus on the person who we are with.  We truly focus on the present moment and that person.  It really makes a difference when we do.

I tried it out this week with my husband. I tried to focus just on him and clear my brain of any distractions.   It really seemed to make a difference to him.  He had come home very tired from a busy day.  He wanted to eat dinner and not have much conversation because he was exhausted.  So, I didn’t ply him with questions about his day.  We just ate and allowed there to be a time of silence.  That time was comforting to him.  He told me later how appreciative he was of the time and space that I gave him.  I was choosing love.  We didn’t need to have words, we just needed a time of silence for him to rest and relax.

Often our children need times of silence.  They certainly don’t get it in the hubbub busyness of our world.  They need times to sit quietly in their rooms and daydream and plan and use their own creativity.  I have a son who wanted to be an inventor.  He would plan things out in his room; dreaming things up and drawing sketches of what he wanted to invent.  He got some fishing line and rigged up a way to turn the light switch on and off while he was lying in his bed.  One of his inventions that he wanted to create was a phone on a watch, this was back in the 1990’s.  Looks like Apple beat him to it!  Yet, today he puts those skills to work in his own construction company.

Kids don’t always need to be entertained, but they always benefit from time with their parents and long to know that they are valued and loved by them.  They desire for their parents to realize what they like and don’t like.  My grandchildren love it when I play with them.  They love when I color with them and admire their drawings.  They love to help me in the kitchen, by washing dishes, helping with the cooking, setting the table.  It is important to them that I know their favorite colors, favorite teams, and favorite super heroes or princesses.  They are so excited when Nana makes her famous mac and cheese.  They gobble it up!  There is nothing like playing football with Poppy or riding the lawn mower with him.   This makes them feel that they are important to us.

Love knows no limits.  Hugs and kisses.  Smiles and laughs.  Quiet talks and silent times.  Boisterous play and funny games. Helping each other and doing chores. Setting limits and having boundaries. Hopes and dreams. Likes and dislikes. Mistakes and tears. Forgiveness and reconciliation.  Starting over and a fresh new day. Joy and sorrow.  Memories that will last forever.

Have you taken the “Choose love” Challenge?  If you have will you let me know.  I have had 2 people who have told me that they have taken the plunge.  They were excited, yet filled with some anxiety about jumping right in.  Me too, but I am retired, and not in the same life circumstances as those of you who have young families.  I am an exuberant cheerleader for “Choosing Love”.  It is a life changing challenge.  Take the plunge!

By the way, when I finished writing this post, my doctor gave me permission to take off my brace and to drive!  When I was given this glorious news, I wanted to dance a jig, but I couldn’t because I still had my other hip restrictions in place. I had a wonderful sense of freedom and was so thankful to God for this next step of healing in my recovery.

Here are some great resources to help you love more.

Fun Ways to Show Love to a Child

5 Love Languages of Children

Joyful Ways to Connect

May He keep you in the palm of His hand,


Debra Smith


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