SUMMER CONNECTIONS 2015

Pink tulip in field of white

Over several summers, I walked in a breast or women’s cancer fundraising walk four times and served on its crew once.  My daughters talked me into dyeing my hair PINK for the occasion.  I had never colored my hair before that, and don’t normally do so, so having pink hair is a really unusual thing for me to do.  It was great fun to “go pink” for the event weekend, when the majority of participants sported lots of pink—wigs, hair color, wacky costumes, athletic gear, etc.—but it was also interesting when the color lasted for a while after the event; one year I attended a family wedding with pink highlights.
The last year’s pink hair was the pinkest, most all-over color ever.  Because it was a “permanent” dye, the color “took” well and it lasted for weeks.  It was really interesting to get comments from all quarters, for weeks afterward.  “I like your hair,” said a young teenage girl in a public beach restroom on our vacation.  “I’ve been dying to ask for days: Why is your hair pink?” from the desk clerk at the hotel where we stayed.  And on and on—comments from perfect strangers, in many different venues, who didn’t even know that dying my hair was very much out of character for me!
All the comments got me to thinking:  Does my Christian faith stand out so that a stranger would notice it, like strangers noticed my pink hair?  Is my character different from those around me?  Is it like God’s character?  Do I have a gracious attitude that extends grace to others, as God has done to me?  Do I speak truth, and do it with love?  Are the Fruits of God’s Spirit (Galatians 5:22,23) obvious enough in my life that anyone would notice? Col. 3:12-15; 2 Peter 1:5-8
 
It leads me to ask myself a few questions:
Love—Do I choose to act in a loving way even when someone is hard to love or I don’t feel like it?  Am I aware that others watch me to see how I show love to other believers or to my family?  John 13:34,35; 1 John 3:18; 1 Corinthians 13:4-7; 1 Peter 4:8; Galatians 5:13b
 
Joy—Am I glad in good times or bad, not about my circumstances, but because I know Jesus is with me and his hand is on my life, lending me strength and walking with me?  Nehemiah 8:10b; Psalm 16:11; Psalm 51:10-12; 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18; Philippians 4:4
Peace—Do I know calm and serenity in my heart and mind that can only come from trusting God, during tough times as well as good times?  Do I avoid strife and seek friendliness or reconciliation in my relationships?  Am I a peacemaker in my dealings with others?  Colossians 3:15; John 14:1,27; John 16:33; Philippians 4:7; Psalm 4:8; Proverbs 14:30

Patience—Am I patient with frustrating or annoying situations or people?  Do I show love by being patient? Ephesians 4:2; 1 Thessalonians 5:14; 1 Corinthians 13:4; Colossians 3:12

 Kindness—Even when I don’t feel loving, am I kind to another because it’s the right thing to do and because God shows grace and kindness to me?  Do I show love by being kind?  Do I forgive someone when they wrong me?  1 Corinthians 13:4; Ephesians 4:32; 1 Thessalonians 5:15; Proverbs 12:25
 
Goodness—Do I practice excellence, kindness, and generosity in what I do and the way I treat others?  Do I act for their benefit and not for selfish reasons?  Ephesians 2:10; 1 Peter 2:12; 2 Corinthians 9:8; Galatians 6:9-10
 
Faithfulness—Am I loyal, trustworthy, and constant in my relationships with God and other people?  Can they—and He—trust and depend on me?  Proverbs 3:3; Deuteronomy 11:13
Gentleness—Am I kind and cooperative, trying to get along?  Do I avoid speaking or acting harshly, especially if I am in a position of authority or “power” (or even bigger in size!) over them?  1 Timothy 6:11; Ephesians 4:2; Philippians 4:5
 
Self-control—Do I control my attitudes, my tongue, my temper, and my conduct, keeping me out of trouble and glorifying God (making him “look good”)?  Titus 2:12; 2 Timothy 1:7; 1 Peter 1:13, 4:7, 5:8; James 1:19,20
 
“You are the light of the world . . . Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”  Matt. 5:14,16
It’s not just pink hair that should draw people’s attention.  It should be my life—every day, shining with God’s light and character—that draws others to investigate what God is all about, to learn about His love, and to understand that He wants a relationship with them.
Prayer:  O to be like Thee! Blessed Redeemer.  This is my constant longing and prayer; gladly I’ll forfeit all of earth’s treasures, Jesus, Thy perfect likeness to wear.  O to be like Thee!  Full of compassion, loving, forgiving, tender and kind; helping the helpless, cheering the fainting, seeking the wandering sinner to find.  O to be like Thee, lowly in spirit, holy and harmless, patient and brave; meekly enduring cruel reproaches, willing to suffer others to save.  O to be like Thee!  While I am pleading, pour out Thy Spirit, fill with Thy love; make me a temple meet for Thy dwelling; fit me for life and heaven above.  O to be like Thee!  O to be like Thee, Blessed Redeemer, pure as Thou art!  Come in Thy sweetness, come in Thy fullness; stamp Thy own image deep on my heart.  Amen. (Thomas Chisholm, 1897)
Sharon A. Pink hair
Contributed by Sharon Anderson
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