I am just going to be honest, I am still in a little bit of disbelief at what all is going on in the world. Optimism is not the theme right now.  Watching the news is overwhelming, to say the least.  At this point, I don’t think anything will surprise me.  It’s tempting to hide under a rock until the “storm” passes but I don’t think that is what God intends for us.  In all the hurt, in all the turmoil, I believe good can come out of it all.  I believe that if we fall on our knees and repent of the complacency that has dominated our lives, repent of our disobedience and arrogance of turning a blind eye to Luke 6:31, “Do unto others as you would have them do to you.”  If we truly repent of these things and open our eyes to the pain of others around us, we will start a fire in the world that no one can put out.  If every one of us can truly open our eyes and “see” the people in front of us.  If we do everything in our power to serve and love them, I believe it will start a fire that will spread far and wide.  We don’t need a large gathering of people to do this.  It can start with the ones that live with us inside the four walls of our house.  Pray for ways to truly “see” your people.  Take the time to look them in the eye when they talk to you, respond with words of affirmation.  Purposefully set aside the phones and other devices that distract us.  If we just start there, right where we are, I believe the love will not be able to be contained.  It will begin to flow from our houses and into our communities.  A fire, a love, that will burn bright with optimism.  A love that knows no barriers, no limits.  A love that heals.  A love that helps mend and heal the hurts of the past.
I believe with all my heart that our homes are where we first learn how to treat others.  It’s where we learn respect and ways to give grace and understanding toward others.  Thinking positive of others is often a choice.  Optimism is not a natural part of my inner being, but God is working on a change in me and I am praying that I will lead with my own actions first in the quietness of our own home.  Romans 12:9-21 is a wonderful guideline for this.  Verse 18 tell us, “If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men.”  Learning how to do this takes practice and turning a blind eye and letting our children “duke it out” is not the answer.  Our job is to guide and coach them through the challenges they have with each other.  This in turn, will help equip them when they interact with others outside our homes. 
If nothing else, the current state of our world has reiterated the fact that we as Christians must wake up!  We must show love and kindness toward others.  Give grace when grace is needed and be vigilant with making sure we remember what is true and what is right.  If I had to choose two character traits as a goal for my girls to learn while they are in my care it is that they would learn to be Strong and Kind.  Strong enough to stand up for what they know is right and kind enough to give grace to others when needed.  We have the best example of this in the Bible.  Jesus led consistently with optimism and kindness.  He kept God’s end goal for Him on this earth in mind, and sacrificed everything for us.  If Jesus can do that for us then I think He will help us to find ways to truly “see” others as we should.  Ways to turn the negatives around us into flames of optimism.
By Mary Miller

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