What It's About

TRIBEWORK is about consuming the process of life, the journey, together.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

A Royal Wedding on a Wedding Anniversary

In a comical turn of events, we find we now share our Wedding Anniversary with a Royal couple. Beyond the fact that we watched the event unfold, including that astonishing message from Presiding Bishop Michael B. Curry, this day taught us both something significant.
Eleven years is an important milestone for us in that we find ourselves simply enjoying each other. There is much humour about the way we do life, and a great deal of companionship.
The words my wife wrote in the card she gave me simply indicated that her life hadn’t been the same since I came into it, and her life wouldn’t be the same if we were apart. The card was marked with gratitude, and it evoked a visceral response. In the simplest terms, there’s no need to gush about how much we love each other. Our love is solid enough that we’re just grateful that we have each other.
Being eleven years in front of some Royal couple is no real achievement other than we’re enjoying the fruit of our labour (it took a few years before we could even work together in marriage).
And even if we’ve worked well together for most of our marriage, the stresses of years six through nine are now well behind us. We’re both happy as individuals, and the marriage has matured in that we don’t expect too much of each other.
As we watched the Royal Wedding it was interesting to see how my heart has changed. There was once a time when I would have mocked such an occasion. But my wife (like many women and men) enjoys these sorts of telecasts, and doesn’t she deserve more than my derision?
We’d planned to do something special for our Anniversary, but several factors coming together in the days leading up convinced us that this was not the year for a big celebration. The big day out became unattractive when we were invited to three separate other events that were about loving others. That’s more important to us these days.
Days beforehand it was clear our five-year-old son wanted to be with us when we were quite happy to have him babysat. The babysitting proved impractical, however, so we accepted that God had different plans for our celebration — at home with a Chinese takeaway meal watching the Royal Wedding instead of dinner out, movie, and night to ourselves.
But it was the best of days really. I worked from 5.30am in my part-time maintenance work and then arrived in time to assist my son’s school who were having a busy bee. I moved about 50 wheelbarrow loads of sand, dirt and mulch. I was sore! But content. My wife helped for a while with my son, and then they went to one of our son’s peer’s birthday party. Both my wife and I were busy today building relationships in the area God has called us to live and serve. It’s all we want to do. We then went and took our Anniversary portrait, even having to modify our plan for it, given that special equipment was missing.
We figure that married life must be intended to be a contented experience of enjoying each day enough to be grateful, being thankful to God for every minute of time spent together, being with and helping the other.

Friday, May 18, 2018

10 reasons why I’m a Student of Grief

Photo by 胡 卓亨 on Unsplash

From almost my earliest days in grieving I’ve had a curious relationship with it. I think this is because 1) I have faith in God, which has led me to wonder who God is within the grief process, why I was experiencing it, how I was to resolve it, and 2) I’m amazed at what the Lord shows me that I didn’t already know.
I’m a student of grief because:
1.      I find it helps give me agency to endure the season if I’m curious. In a tangible way, curiosity is its own healthy distraction to the polarising negativity of grief.
2.      I discover others on similar journeys along the road when I’m out there. There is a community of those who are grieving and those who’ve grieved. There’s incredible connection in such community. God inhabits such community. Some of our deepest and closest relationships are forged through the time of trial.
3.      I know God’s agenda is to mature us. Brokenness, as Gene Edwards puts it, is a university few enrol in, let alone graduate from. It is a crucible that burns off the impurities of our faith. It burns off fear, a lack of authenticity, doubting, denial, bargaining, anger, naivety, superficiality, etc. Grief teaches us to feel our emotions in their brutal rawness, which develops in us courage, faith, tenacity, resilience, and even how to ultimately tap into the fruit of the Spirit from there.
4.      I feel close to God when I’m pressing into my own grief or that of another’s. In fact, as I counsel people who are grieving, God continues to connect me to old and new lessons in the pain of it all. God never ceases to speak, as if via a megaphone, through that pain.
5.      I understand that God intends grief as a learning season. God brings good things of depth and transformation out of trials. Indeed, trials seem to be the Lord’s invitation to depend further on God’s strength to get us through our weakness. And, because we never learn this lesson easily, a long period of grief teaches us, that in pain defeating our hope, not to be flippant about hope in pain. God allows such pain not for our harm but to mature us regarding the role of pain in life.
6.      It gives me the capacity to help. Through grief there is a ministry for those who would receive it. There are things about ministry and service that can only be learned through suffering. Compassion is a gift that only those who have suffered can understand and apply. There are few exceptions to this.
7.      It tells me that is it meant to floor me. Grief is not meant to be handled well. God can even take us out of commission, which means the Lord can and will show us that we’re not indispensable but, in that, that we’re no less valuable.
8.      The rewards of heaven are in acceptance. We truly know God when we marvel at what the Lord can do through pain. There is always the sense in grief that we’re headed toward accepting this thing we cannot change. And when we can, there before us is God’s Kingdom in all its power and glory.
9.      I have learned there’s always something beyond the pain of grief. This is something that can only be realised by faith enough to be still in the eye of the storm around us. Indeed, simply believing there is something beyond the pain of grief gives us the capacity to endure it. Quickly we learn to accept this can only be done one day at a time.
10. I have accepted that if grief cannot conquer me, nothing can. This is the overcoming power of God: to know that in the world we’ll have trouble, but we can take heart, even in this and because of it, because Jesus has overcome the world (John 16:33) and all the powers that come against us. The paradox is, I can quickly be overcome by being overwhelmed, but because I don’t stay there I learn that Jesus has overcome for me. Our destiny is to develop through pain to ultimately overcome it, even if that can only be done one day at a time, which is the ultimate in overcoming, that we continue to bear up under our burden.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Three in Oneness in Marriage

Photo by Everton Vila on Unsplash
Bellowing and bawling, slammed doors, revving engines, speeding down the road. It’s not the first time we’ve seen this. Like many couples, we’ve lived it too. Conflict in marriage bears a common denominator: two disconnected entities, both insisting on their individual rightness. Where the glue of marriage has come unstuck.
It is not God’s vision of what He authored
in the institution of marriage.
There is a fundamental three in oneness
in marriage necessary to make it work.
This is not about the Trinity, but it is about the trinitarian nature of marriage, for a cord of three strands is not easily broken (Ecclesiastes 4:12). Those three strands are the (two) dimensions of each partner (one and two) and the oneness (third dimension) that binds their union.
Where the three strands come together is in a oneness that combines them — this is the constituency of two individuals and the dimension that combines them. That dimension that combines them can be thought of as a God dimension of the Holy Spirit, because it is what makes each partner bend toward the other in service — a revenant mutual submission.
We’ve seen it before in our own marriage; two dimensions without the third is ruinous. Two dimensions that pulled us apart without the third dimension that drew us together.
A marriage bears little hope for either partner until
they’ve both learned to love the other sacrificially well.
A marriage encapsulates hope to the measure of love
both individual partners can sacrifice for the other.
And it’s just so common in any couple counselling I’ve done. Partners bring themselves to the table of the marriage without thinking of the sacrifice that so centrally speaks of love, for love is little else than sacrifice in marriage. And sacrifice is raw act of will. Love is a decision, moment by moment, moment after moment, again and again, for the life of the marriage.
When there is no oneness in the marriage, not only is there a lack of thinking for the other partner, there is a comprehensive lack of behavioural regard for them, especially when it comes to pressure times of conflict.
Every couple needs to learn just how to bend toward the other in order to invoke the powerful third dimension that completes the oneness they need to feel their marriage is everything God ordained for them.
The more we lose our lives so our partner might prosper,
the more we will find our lives in a prospering marriage.

Monday, May 14, 2018

What I’d say to my recently married self

My journal entry on the day of our first wedding anniversary.

The Royal Wedding occurs on our eleventh wedding anniversary — thanks Harry and Meghan! — and guess what we’re planning to do? We’re going to be watching it. Okay, it is more my wife’s preference, but it highlights what she says is the biggest improvement in me as a husband looking back from Year 11 to Year 1.
Being one to ask incisive questions (too much at times), I said to her, ‘What single facet of me as a husband has most improved over the past ten years?’
Her answer was simple and profound… ‘It’s your willingness to serve me.’
Given all the things we’ve focused on over the years and what I’ve developed in most is something so simple. Yet, as my wife alluded, it’s not simply about doing more or being there more, but a willingness to serve her comes about as a heart change.
Heart changes can take years to nurture. And we would argue that all the hard work of marriage, or the true giving of ourselves to anything really, is about the heart — actually wanting to do what we need to do.
the work of the heart is doing what we need to do
in such a way that we want to do it.
Think of the amount of times we’re bound by some sort of contract to do what we find difficult to do. The heart isn’t in it when we know it needs to be. I’ve lost friends, jobs and careers because my heart wasn’t in it. And marriages need plenty of heart if they’re to prosper.
Husbands and wives who are still striding down struggle street may sense it’s the heart that needs to change — in them both. If one won’t change, why would the other? Never is it right that one change. Both partners need to be prepared to give their whole hearts sacrificially toward the marriage and the other, and ironically, not be contingent on the other doing same.
Both hearts must change,
but both must own their own heart.
As I step back to our first wedding anniversary (as you can read from my journal) I felt like I’d learned so much already. The truth is though, I still had so much to learn, and indeed, the next nearly two years would be harder that I could have imagined as we committed to the deeper work of the marriage counselling we needed.
What I’d like to say to my recently married self, from the safer vantage point of a decade’s experience, is do the heart work. Work out what you want from what is needed, be honest about the gap, and do what is needed for the right reasons.
Marriage works out best when we want to be married,
when we want our partner, and
when we’re prepared to do anything
for the marriage to succeed.
The marriage must come first.    It must be ministry-numero-uno.
If we wish to be successful in any endeavour in life, and we’re married, every endeavour in life will be enhanced when there is mutual happiness in the marriage.
True and mutual happiness in marriage is dependent on mutuality of heart, one for the other.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Ode to a Mother’s Love, Wisdom and Care

Photo by Sue Zeng on Unsplash
My wife and I argued recently. To be honest, I upset her with something I said, and, though I knew it in the moment, I allowed conflict to ensue, not that she fought. She simply protected herself, which she had every right to do, giving me time to reflect. I soon apologised, and we moved on.
But as I reflected, I discovered something about my wife that is generally true of all women, and I feel led to share that, particularly in the light of Mother’s Day.
Now what I’m about to share is a generalisation, meaning it doesn’t apply in every circumstance, but it certainly applies with the women and mothers I’ve been close to. Sure, some women have the greater capacity to hurt, but my experience is that most women are the polar opposite — they’re more prone to being hurt.
As I think about it, the women I’ve been close to have been unifiers, not that the men have not been.
There is something that sets our women apart as the nurturers of our humanity, as peacemakers within the turbulence of family, as gentle voices of reason when anger spills over into violence. God must say, ‘Just please listen to this sensible voice.’
Mothers are a blessing:
their love they share,
their needs they spare,
our burdens they bear,
they mediate to be fair,
justice they dare,
pain they wear,
their souls they bare,
they’re beyond compare,
because they care.
As I ponder mothers, I know their love is an authentically faithful truth they exemplify from their heart, and they hold nothing back in the extension of it.
Mothers go without and are prepared to do so for their family. They give fathers both the courage and license to endure the tough thing.
They bear our burdens no matter the price tag that comes with it, and that often leads them to a place of the exhaustion.
They see through the veil and mediate a kind of fairness that many men cannot readily see.
They’re willing to forego their own comfort to do justice, for they see no sense in vanity for pleasure when the powerless are torched.
For this, it’s pain they wear, reminiscent of the pain of birth pangs of labour they suffer, for which they endured for the promise of embryonic completion and familial progress.
They trust their vulnerability to us in the unifying goal adding strength to our weakness.
For these reasons they truly are beyond compare.
Because they care.
And yet,
because they care so much,
they bear the brunt of many unfair things,
their needs, many times, go unmet,
their pain receives no recompense,
and our burdens that we add
continue to be carried.
May all women and mothers today and all days be blessed
may peace and unity follow them and be their blessed rest
may they enjoy the fruit of their love,
and may favour be theirs from God above.

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Having been heard, she needs to be taken seriously

Photo by Ben Rosett on Unsplash

This is a necessary Part II for the earlier article, She Just Wants to be Heard. On such matters, like all matters really, I can trust my wife… being heard is a crucially foundational step that gets us to marital first base.
But more is needed once understanding is established, for once we know what is wrong, then we have the opportunity and choice to act. But first, let’s tackle the heart of the matter:
To not act when we know there’s room to grow is tantamount to condescension. There is a dangerous precedent set if we successfully hear her heart yet fail to do anything about it.
Imagine knowing you have a customer or an employee who is disgruntled. It doesn’t matter whether you believe they’re justified or not in being disgruntled. All that matters is that you take their perception seriously. That you attempt to do something about it.
Far from being a mere customer or employee, how much more should we take our wives perceptions seriously to the point of pondering and planning for the action she desires?
Now here’s when it gets tricky. On the one hand, in some situations, asking several questions for clarity will help you, and it will show her how interested you are to truly understand what is needed. But, on the other hand, sometimes she will want you to know or to work it out for yourself. This is where your respectability is called into question. If your heart is in it, she will see and accept the result, usually even if it still misses the mark. For her, you’ve had a go at it. If at first you don’t succeed, however, is the opportunity to prove you’re serious about getting it right. And still, actual results come a distant second to the intent of a heart bent on doing better. Wives love a husband with potential.
Us guys ought never to assume she wants action any particular way. We ought never get upset when our efforts aren’t appreciated, though we will be tempted to, and if we do it’s a sure sign to her that our motives weren’t correct from the beginning. We shoot ourselves in the foot.
Now, this is great if you’re an all-about-the-chase sort of guy, and apparently, we all are (which I’m not so sure about). We like winning our woman, but we prefer less to win her all over again, every day for the rest of our lives, whereas, her being pursued shows her that the initial chase wasn’t just about lust.
The ‘thrill of the chase’ continues when, as husbands,
we seek first to understand our wives. Once we understand,
the chase continues in pursuing action.
Notwithstanding all this about action, it cannot be laboured enough that action shouldn’t be entertained, let alone attempted, until our wives have really been heard. For most couples this is no fait accompli. This is more than assuming we understand. When we assume we understand, we don’t.
Ladies and gentlemen, I consulted with my wife in the writing of this article, the publishing of which would be ill-advised without her endorsement.

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

She just wants to be heard

Photo by nick beswick on Unsplash

It happens so frequently when I do couples counselling. It’s what I do often say, whether directly or indirectly. It’s directed to him. It’s the temptation to say, ‘She just wants to be heard.’
And every now and then I hear myself want to say it to her, too, ‘He just wants to be heard.’
The truth is we all want to be heard, and if we can’t do the hearing we have no right to be heard.
It’s so ironic that I find myself in the role at all of couples’ counsellor — me, who once refused, year in, year out, to do marriage counselling. I didn’t believe I needed it, I didn’t believe we needed it. I didn’t believe in it. How fundamentally wrong I was. We all need it. At some stage or other.
And it’s especially so when we’re not heard — when our voice is trapped in some weird wilderness of bewilderment. When the self is buried dead in the partnership that exists like two ships passing in the night.
She just wants to be heard. It ought to be the easiest thing of all things to do for the husband — to put off himself and clothe himself in the wife’s needs; to be validated for what she so authentically experiences. Really, it’s true. Why is she constantly undermined for feeling what she does (or he, for that matter)?
It costs him nothing but the energy of curiosity, which is to be interested enough to seek to understand the cries his own wife shrieks in her spirit, writhing silently from within her soul.
If he can hear her, which is to void himself of himself only enough to be in his wife, he stands to experience her like he’s never experienced her. Alive in compassion, alert to kindness, elevated in gentleness, and cosy of soul, he does what must seem effortless to an onlooker. It doesn’t take much more than a decisive sacrifice. To think relatively nothing of it.
If only he can hear her. Harder things have been done. Easier things than this have hardly been known.
Yet still he struggles to put himself off to be curious enough to be interested sufficiently to know her.
She just wants to be heard. She needs his heart to change, yet there’s no sense in forcing something that will only be forced shut.
His heart must change. He mustn’t harden his heart. Still, a hardening takes place when she insists. She must stop insisting and instead insist upon entreating the Lord in prayer. It’s her only hope.
A miracle is needed. That’s what a changed heart is — nobody but God could have procured it. So pray to God, and live each minute praying in hope, living in expectation, without getting disappointed, that it may well happen. There’s nothing to lose and all to gain. Besides, with pressure gone, the impossible is possible again.
Oh, I know these men. I am one. And my heart was hard until it was broken, shattered upon the streets paved in the name of reconstruction. But not every heart softens in brokenness every time, though it ought to.
She just wants to be heard. She needs it. She won’t be reached otherwise. All else is a sheer waste of time until she is heard. Her heart remains impenetrably closed until it is massaged open with the salve of consideration.
If a man is to transcend himself and become what only God knows he can become, he will attempt what can only be done in and through God. And then he will understand why she wants to be heard, and when he understands this, he will be compelled to ensure she is heard.
He must understand why she wants to be heard. He need only check his own heart’s honest wants to know her need is valid.

Saturday, May 5, 2018

What I was like, what happened, what life’s like now

Image: two younger daughters, circa 2003.

I’ll never forget the moment of hypocritical fear driving to work hungover to breathalyse fuel tanker drivers. Or, the time I was once again racked with guilt for smacking a daughter so hard it left the welts of my fingers on the back of her leg. Or, for that matter, the time I left my then wife all alone at a work dinner function, so I could investigate a theft at a service station in another state.
Those heady days in 2003 were a far cry from the heady days in 2004. March 23rd and 24th of both years provide the stark contrast. 2003 I am drunk and stoned at home with my family celebrating Australia’s victory over India in the cricket World Cup Final, and hungover the next day, I fly to Melbourne for a Shell Oil Company national conference. 2004 I’m in a completely different job, the Gold frequent flyer card gone, attending Bible study, and I go home alone, my family in another man’s hands.
Such contrasts. So materially blessed one year, career going well, family seemingly happy, by all appearances living the ‘good’ life. So materially vanquished the next, left with nothing of the former life, lonely oh so lonely, but with a passion for parenting and a heart on fire for God.
One year I was a hypocrite high on the preciously regular margins, the next I was a man with integrity and nothing to show for it.
I deserved for that old life to end. It was the best thing that could’ve happened. I couldn’t see it at the time, of course. I was too broken, too upended, too blindsided to know God was doing me a favour.
And such favour was not for my favour, but for the Kingdom’s favour. A poorly run life is not rewarded by favour unless there is repentance. I’d been far from a satisfactory husband (as I look back from this man’s viewpoint). I’d been a father too frequently in those two preceding years who was present (when he was not travelling) only in body, not in mind or heart or soul.
What happened? I was given an abrupt awakening. Life changed overnight on September 22nd. On the 22nd I was married with a beautiful family home and three daughters, and on the 23rd I was a single man living the mission of his life in trying to win back his wife with limited access to his children. The first step was an AA meeting. This followed an AA meeting the following night, a Wednesday night, and then another meeting on the Thursday. I didn’t know what had hit me.
All up in the eleven months until August 2004 I attended 160 AA meetings and shared at most of them. That’s about 20 hours of saying, ‘Hello everyone, my name’s Steve and I’m an alcoholic…’ I’ve been sober ever since — nearly fifteen years of sobriety.
Sure, I hadn’t been jailed because of my drunken sprees, but I had found a way to drink to excess three to four nights per week just to manage stress and feel good for ten years. I just loved the life of pleasure after work. I loved jet setting the state and country at the company’s expense. And I was also a comparative workaholic. I had learned to give the company everything and my family relatively nothing.
A year on, and I was on a fast-track to ministry — to the giving of my life to the Lord for His use — even if I still pined so much for my former world to re-envelope me. It wasn’t to be. The door had swung shut to a life I so desperately wanted. The door had opened to something I was reluctant to walk through.
I was once a back-slidden Christian who hadn’t really found God, I found God through utter rejection and sheer brokenness, and I was given a pastor’s heart for faith, repentance and reconciliation.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Feeling the loss of a loved one before they go

Having arrived home from a wedding to relieve my parents who were caring for our son, a tragedy almost unfolded as they were leaving.
Escorting them to the car, my father was there one moment, gone the next. On the side of the car where my mother was, I heard her cry out to him as he lay there in the rose garden having fallen backwards where he struck his head and back against the fence and letterbox, landing on a spiky rose plant. I dashed over to him and asked him if he was okay, somehow not wanting to move him in case there was spinal damage. Establishing he wasn’t having a heart attack, and that there were no broken bones, I lifted him awkwardly from the wedge of space he was in and got him back onto his feet. He jumped straight into the car, and Mum and I urged him to come back inside so we could make a proper assessment of his injuries — not least also so he could help him regain his composure. My wife and I got him seated inside, patched him up (abrasions, cuts and scratches), and soon, with sore back, they were on their way.
Moments like this, when something unforeseen happens, where what we always take for granted seems imminently threatened, there isn’t the time for panic to set in, it’s just pure shock.
Then I had another one of these moments as they drove down the road. As I walked inside I felt moved in my spirit. The plans I had to write were subsumed by the urge to do something else. I wanted to spend time with my father. I worried about them getting home safely — an hour away late at night. I decided to watch a home DVD of family twenty-five years ago that my father has filmed and lovingly curated — one scene, Dad interacting with my eldest daughter who wasn’t even a year old.
As I watched the video, I scarcely recalled those times, though there they were — memories in celluloid. Times when I was a much younger man, only just a father, my father only just becoming a grandfather. Even though there must have been difficulties back then, it seems like such an innocent and hopeful time. We were all so much younger. I look at my father move about as a man younger than I am presently. Part of me is sad. But part of me is also enriched and enveloped in the memories. Another part of me recognises how different my life is nowadays, and I’m unsure how to feel about that. And part of me wanted to share by sending clips of this video to family members; so I did.
What made me do this? The horrible thought that I might have been losing my father; the realisation that he won’t be around forever; the desire I have to be honest about my emotions; the want deep within me for connection with my parents while they’re alive.
When we almost lose a family member we’re given reason for instant gratitude that, in the reprieve, they live on. But there is a sadness borrowed from the future — the inevitable will no doubt all-too-soon arrive. This helps us and motivates us to make the most of our time, now.
Thoughts of loss put us into the realm of reality,
for loss is the inevitable result of loving the living.
The title of the article also suggests this might be about ambiguous loss — the kind that family members suffer when their kin are struck with dementia, for just one instance. My heart goes out to anyone who must suffer the loss of their mother or father or someone else dear much earlier than their physical death. And, of course, there are many other varieties of ambiguous grief that I haven’t written about here. To all affected, I am sad for your pain.

Friday, April 27, 2018

Spiritual health within mental illness

Photo by Haythem Gataa on Unsplash
More and more in my spiritual walk I’ve come across spiritual leviathans who battle daily a mental nemesis. These people, in many cases, have come to accept, as Paul did, they have a thorn in the side. That is a spiritual miracle, right there.
We don’t know what Paul’s ‘thorn in the flesh’ was. But to know that he suffered, and that God would not relieve him of it, is such a comfort to us who have our own thorns. Indeed, it ought to encourage any honest human being, for we’re all broken — if we’re honest.
It has captivated me what I have learned and witnessed and experienced from the spiritually mature whose thorn is mental illness. They may even read these words and think, ‘No, surely not I.’
But I like to think in terms
of what God must be thinking.
Imagine how spiritually tough one needs to be to get out of bed in the morning when all one wants to do is die asleep.
Comprehend the difficulty for the person who is forever simply trying to survive in the normal (whatever that is).
Grasp the history of a person who has endured a cacophony of abuse from the very dawn of their vulnerable life to this day, and yet they called out to Jesus and He became their Lord!
Envisage the constant drone of exhaustion sapping a person who is also driven, somehow, by the complement of searching out joy.
It is not for us to gush about Billy Graham nor Pope Francis nor Gandhi or Martin Luther King, Jr. We ought to be dizzy with inspiration for the account of the average Joe or Joanne who endures their 24/7 existence when plagued by mental enslavement. God is indeed close to these. This surely helps explain their piqued spiritual acuity — although, again, these very people would deny the rigor in their deportment.
We need to reframe what spiritual health even means. It is probably not what you or I automatically think it is. It’s more basic than that. Its centre has to be about the gospel.
The saved are the broken who see the truth and accept
that living broken is an acceptable exchange
to receive the peace with God.
What is it then? It’s certainly not knowledge, well not knowledge alone. It has to be about wisdom, even if mental health prevents consistent sound behaviour. It’s certainly about understanding. Knowledge and understanding, together, and no wonder these kinds of people with these kinds of struggles have the potential to make excellent shepherd ministers (Jeremiah 3:15). I trust a teacher who has strode the road, for a teacher who knows yet hasn’t lived the journey is poorer for it.
God knows what each person is up against.
And for anyone to be sanctified through what makes others crazy is a miracle of grace for the humility of such a person to lose their life to save it — to let go of the wrestle, and to accept God at His Word of eternal forgiveness.
Whoever is forgiven much, who agrees to receive that forgiveness, loves much (Luke 7:47).

Whoever suffers much, who agrees to receive help, is also blessed with God’s sanctification much.