Today I read chapter 4 in Lessons I Learned in the Dark by Jennifer Rothschild. She wrote about rejoicing in your God-given gifts; especially the difficult ones. If most people wrote that, it would not be as powerful as when she, a blind woman, writes it. If she can rejoice in her God-given difficult gift, then I should be able to rejoice in mine, too. Here are some of my favorite parts of this chapter.

The only difference between becoming bitter and becoming better is the letter I. Approaching our difficulties from the standpoint of what I want, what I have lost, or what I think is fair will embitter us. Bitter eyes can perceive only the injustice and the sorrow in our situation. Grateful eyes, however, will always see the grace of God, regardless of how difficult our circumstances might be. Grateful eyes allow us to see “the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living” (Psalm 27:13). (more…)

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My husband and I are friends with another couple. Recently, we noticed that they were dressing much more conservatively than before. The women (wife and 2 girls; one teenager and one pre-teen, I think) are now wearing head coverings and long dresses and the men (husband and teenage boy) are wearing pants, rather than shorts, and beards (if possible) J. My husband and I, being curious like most people and also being pastors, wondered what their thinking was behind the recent change.

Yesterday, we got to talk to the wife of the family. (I’m not naming them for their privacy. I don’t know if they would mind or not, so it’s better to stay safe.) She enlightened us. She told us that she had actually wanted to wear a head covering since they had returned from living overseas. But because of the situation they were in they decided that it would be wiser not to. I won’t go into the reasoning behind that, but in their case I agree with their decision. However, she told us that she had been wearing a large hair clip to signify a head covering and still be discreet. They said that when they came back from overseas, they were shocked at what people were wearing (or not wearing). They wanted to keep themselves holy. They have also stopped eating pork. They said that this was because while they don’t see anything wrong with eating pork, not eating pork was a good reminder to them to stay holy and clean. This is the case with the change in appearance, too. They are more careful of what they do and read and say because more people are watching them. (more…)