My6inchchallenge's Blog

Tackling difficulties and overcoming the challenges life serves up – by Dona Halliday

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KISS me slowly, sweetheart. In honor of breast cancer awareness month

Breast Cancer Pink Ribbon

Find help to remain strong when dealing with the challenges of Breast Cancer

Kiss me slowly, sweetheart, she whispered. It was another one of their games she had invented after being diagnosed with breast cancer.

Life had been such a whirlwind before. Their schedules hardly allowed them time together. They would dash off to work at mornings and fall into bed exhausted at nights. With schedules and functions and staying focused on that damnable goal they would throw each other a quick kiss accompanied by a sleepy goodnight and drift off to sleep.

Why does it take something devastating to make us reevaluate our lives? How do we lose sight of the really important things so easily?

Sabina and Sebastian had been stunned after they had received the diagnosis – Sabina had Stage III breast cancer. In the midst of the decision-making, surgery and treatments they had needed help to just cope with it.

One morning as Sebastian had brushed her lips with a kiss, she had wrapped her arms around his neck and whispered, “Kiss me slowly, sweetheart.” She hated this terrible disease and what it had done to her body but loved this person she never knew her husband could be.

It was he who had told her to ask for the KISS  principle or any variations of it when she needed it. When things got overwhelming, she would say, “Keep It Simple, Sweetheart.”  Shortly after, that had morphed in any request she could invent that involved the word kiss and they had found pure, simple fun even in their tragedy as they tried to out do each other’s level of creativity.

Sabina had excellent doctors, her faith in God had been challenged and strengthened, her love for Sebastian had deepened, yet she knew tomorrow was not promised. She had to love and live well, today.

So whatever you are going through:
Find the “simple” in the midst of it
• Allow yourself to be loved
Have fun with those in your space
Remember your faith in God CAN bear up beneath tough challenges
• …and if you have someone to share a kiss with – take it slow and savor it – tomorrow is not promised.

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A worthwhile exchange: releasing it all for God

Max Lucado tells a story of this six-year-old girl who had a string of pearls – they were fake, she loved them — she wore them everyday, everywhere with everything.

She was a daddy’s girl – she loved her daddy. He traveled often and was gone for days, but the first day of his return was a day of celebration.

This particular day they had played all afternoon after he returned from a week-long trip to the Orient. That evening as he tucked her in bed he asked, “Do you love me?”
“Yes daddy, I love you more than anything,” she answered.
“Anything?” he asked.
“Anything.”
He thought for a moment, “More than your pearls? Would you give them to me?
“Oh daddy, I couldn’t do that, you know I love my pearls!”
“I understand,” he said and kissed her goodnight.

That evening and the next day she thought about what he had asked. That night, offering her pearls to him, she said, “Take them daddy, I love you more.”
“I’m glad to hear that,” he answered as he reached for his briefcase. “I brought you a gift.”

She opened the small box, gasping with surprise, her dad had bought her genuine pearls…

The challenge is to offer things to God before I wrap my emotional arms around them – relationships, things I would love and stubbornly refuse to release once I become attached. I’ve never seen relationships that seemed perfect gone wrong so quickly once offered to God. Things exposed that I did not want to see, words that revealed hearts I thought I knew, and the whisper of God made crystal clear – would you willing exchange what you think you have/need even though you don’t know what I have in store?

I ask you the question that Max Lucado asked me — What pearls is God hoping you will release?

Song: Burn it all down by Lexi

Did the ship come in? Opportunities for kindness

Laura says I can be her husband’s daughter–that’s not always a compliment. Laura’s husband, Mr Fletcher, was a, “Did the ship come in?” sort of fellow. Simply put, get to the point.

Laura delights in details. For example, when Laura asks, “How was your day?” I have several 3 word-variations – “It went well, it was productive,…”  When I ask Laura the same question she likes to start at the beginning, “Let me see, what time did I get up… who she spoke to, where she went, and even details like, “no, before I did that I stopped in the kitchen to get water….”

“Laura, I’m not seeing the ship…?” That’s me. Like Mr. Fletcher, I’m a “Did the ship come in?” kind-a girl. Why would God bring people with such different personalities together except for opportunities of growth?

Laura comes equipped with something I don’t have. The patience to spend hours on the phone allowing others to unburden their hearts, and the kindness to listen to their whole story.

So, after reading chapter 3, Your Kindness Quotient, in Max Lucados’ book “A Love Worth Giving,” I found myself wondering, was Jesus more like Laura with her propensity to travel the long route through a story and less like me with my need for “context only?

Max Lucado sets up the chapter by interviewing three bible characters, one of whom was the woman with the issue of blood. She spoke of how kind Jesus was, He didn’t have to — heal her body, listen to her story, call her  daughter…

As I pondered the question asked in the book, “How kind are you?” I realize that for those of us who strive to be imitators of our Lord,  if we miss God’s heart we would miss the heart of the matter.

Jesus is kind – in actions, in words. To those who deserve it and to those who don’t. He has no ulterior motives in showing kindness, no selfish agenda… but to the outcast, the ill prepared, the thief, He took the opportunity to show kindness and instructs us to do same, when we feel like it and especially when we don’t.  Kindness –like breath, like water, like a touch, is life-giving and affirming.

What’s in a shout? The trouble with Jericho…

He was big, brash and braggadocios. When he spoke the atmosphere vibrated. As he stomped, the earth trembled. He had one goal in mind — intimidation — shout loud and long until fear paralyzed his enemies.

What’s in a shout? Does it possess some kind of power? For, had it been all about volume, this loud-mouth Goliath with his head now severed from his body would not be sprawled at David’s feet.

But shouting works, sometimes…? Doesn’t it? Remember Jericho? On the seventh day, marching for the seventh time — soldiers, priests, weapons, ram horns, and God Himself (represented by The Ark of the Covenant) — then a long blast, followed by a loud shout — fallen walls, and the city of Jericho was exposed.

I’m fascinated by this, but what grabs me most is the conversation, covenant and  commitment that Joshua had with Jehovah. (Joshua 1:1-5; 3:5-13; 5:15; 6:8-19)

Their Conversations provide great insight into their Relationship.
The Covenant reminds us as it did Joshua that God keeps His word. Joshua’s (& the Israelites’) response was obedience.
His Commitment to God was proven even before he became a leader. With reverential submission to God Joshua led the people.

I believe here lies the trouble with our modern-day Jerichoes. For, shouting has neither toppled them nor shown evidence that we are victors. Like Goliath, shouting and boasting in our own might, we may have misunderstood what powers our shout.

In obedience to God: For seven days the Israelites followed His strategy — they circled Jericho twelve times without uttering a word — the city was under siege. On the thirteen day Joshua commanded, “Shout; for Jehovah has given you the city…”

Don’t miss what comes next, for fallen walls did not make them victors. God had commanded that when He took care of the walls (they fell FLAT,) no matter where the soldiers were they should charge straight into the city and possess it.

It is said that shouting during warfare was meant to confuse the enemy — The thing that won Jericho and that will win our modern-day Jerichoes is an unshakable faith in God, belief in His ability to accomplish His word; and our part — bold acts of obedience.

Time for good men to stand up and step forward

She was short, round and stocky with a voice like a trumpet. “Don’t do anything else to her car, the woman has no money!” She shouted it seemed to the entire world, her neck stretching through the open door.

Yes, “The woman” she was referring to was me. Totally embarrassed I covered my face with my hands but was so tickled by the way she said it that I was laughing. She was right. I had gone home, changed clothing, dropped my journal in a bag and headed to the park. On my way home when I had spotted the car wash I had stopped, forgetting I did not have my purse. Somewhere during the process the thought that had been trying to reach my consciousness finally got there. I jolted from my relaxed seated position to my feet, as the thought ht me, “Dona, you have no money to pay for this service”.

Thankfully, there was a gentleman who responded to the trumpeter by reaching into his wallet and offering to pay for what they had done.

What makes a man a good man?

Earlier that day I had gone to the movies to see Tyler Perry’s “Good Deeds”. In the movie the character Wesley Deeds comes to the aid of this young woman (Lindsey) and her daughter, when life had dealt them some very tough stuff. I love the movie for its story line, its strong parallels and metaphors, but as Lindsey told Wesley that he was a good man, with a good heart I found myself raising the question once again that I had written on a post-it and placed in my bible to mark the eleventh chapter of Acts. “What makes a man a good man, and how can he be recognized?”

His name was Barnabas. No, not the man from the car wash, I don’t know his name. But this Barnabas in Acts 11 was described as a good man. He was known to be an encourager, generous in helping the poor. He was full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. He was a worshipper and a man of prayer.  He stood by and mentored his nephew when others may have given up on him. He loved deeply, was committed to God’s work and was trustworthy. He was a reconciler, whose Godly character was known not just by his words but by what his deeds.

In your opinion what makes a man a good man?

Can you recognize them? Well…, then help them stand in their homes, communities, churches and places of business. Help them stand in familiar and unfamiliar places. Help them stand for those who cannot defend themselves, mentor those who may otherwise be cast aside. And at the smallest glimpse of “goodness,” tell them that they are good men, for with just a little encouragement we may have good men standing up all around us and stepping forward.

Impelled at the point of surrender

Have you ever started a journey to a certain place, yet found yourself in a different location realizing that it was where you needed to be all along?

As I continued my study in Acts I started listing the different seasons of the early church: times of power and growth, peace and favor, obedience and courage, death and persecution…

Stephen had just been stoned to death and Acts 8:1 says, “…a great persecution broke out against the church… and all except the apostles were scattered …” These acts of persecution that were intended to destroy the church were being used by God to fulfill the great commission. Once again I felt unsettled by the reminder that God still allows, and moves through painful and discomforting circumstances.

I was amazed by the actions of the disciples, for though they had been thrust from their places of comfort, security and familiarity it is recorded that they preached the Word in all the “displaces” of their persecution.

Once again I was led to one of Catherine Marshall’s books, “Meeting God At Every Turn.” I didn’t know why I felt the need to track down her book, but at a time when we are being taught to declare and decree what we want, to demand an end to our discomfort  — what about a time of surrender?  Trusting God to work through us to accomplish His purpose no matter in what season we find ourselves.

“In Meeting God at Every Turn”, as Mrs Marshall traversed through some tough decisions and challenges she does this intentional probing of her life, her heart, her motives.  As she examined her life, I started examining mine, and felt deeply shaken by the awareness that there was a part of me that I kept closed, protected, even from God. Protected from that place of complete surrender, lest surrender takes me the way of Calvary — that place of “others-living,” where it’s not about my space and comfort but it’s a willingness to deny me, ALWAYS, for the cause of Christ.

This is the place where I had not intended to journey but was a journey that I needed to make — broken, honest and exposed before God, I surrendered everything…

One thing I know about the Word is that it’s active and alive. It probes our heads and hearts, challenges our places of comfort, exposes our motives and reveals hidden things with the intention of transforming our lives. For if the Word has no power to impact our living, if there is no intimate personal relationship with our Savior, if there is no indwelling of the Spirit to empower, lead and counsel, if there is no Difference Maker, then what would be the point? We could do life anyway we see fit. But at the point of our surrender to God, I’m convinced that’s when we are most powerful, where no matter what impels us, our hearts and lives can affirm, God’s Kingdom come, His will be done….

The time for obedience

It was Saturday and mommy had left my sister and I at home to do chores. My younger brother and stepbrother were outside riding on a cart they had made. The road they were on sloped and at the bottom was a cliff …

Someone suggested that we leave the chores and go have fun with them.

My sister got on the cart with my stepbrother and he guided the cart down the hill. When it was my turn I decided I did not need to have anyone ride with me. I climbed on the cart and it started wobbling. As it gained momentum I realized that I had neither knowledge nor experience on how to steer or stop the contraption.

I panicked, feeling certain if I kept going I would go over the cliff and just as certain that even if it killed me mommy would still give me a beating for having disobeyed.

I jumped off the cart while it still moving and wounded my knee. I was able to hide the incident from my mom only until the next morning, I was in so much pain I could not walk. I still have a scar on my left knee that reminds me of that day.

I had been drawn away from my study of the book of Acts by this memory.

The Wesleyan Bible Commentary on the book of Acts states, “There is no substitute for obedience, and there is no spiritual Pentecost, (and to my understanding, no power,) without obedience.

The book of Acts reminds me of my need for the Helper, I can’t ride this journey of life on my own.  It also reminds me that the body of Christ needs His power in order to obey the charge given to the church. The Wesleyan Bible Commentary further states – “….It was divine energy, (power) that the disciples were to receive through their enduement with the Holy Spirit…. but this power was not a gift to be received apart from the personal Lordship of Christ through the Holy Spirit in their lives.”

If God’s power working through us is in fact intertwined with us obeying His teaching, then is it not time for obedience? D.L.Moody is quoted to have said, “You might as well try to see without eyes, hear without ears or breathe without lungs as to live the Christian life without the Holy Spirit.

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