Thursday, March 28, 2013

Loving Like Jesus

My stomach is upset today, like it has been for the past few days. I don't think it's a bug. I think it's one of those things, one of those instances when you keep seeing something over and over and it leaves you unsettled. I think it's my spirit, flipping and churning inside of me at the injustice that seems to swirl all around us like a creeping fog. That spirit crying out inside of me saying "This isn't the way it's supposed to be."

A simple walk through the grocery aisles or quick scroll down the glaring screen of social media leaves one echoing with the question "Where is the LOVE?" We are a people crying out with need, with hurt, with disappointment, with longing to know that we are not alone. Yet we are a people so wrapped up in our own need, hurt and disappointment that day after day we push through the masses as one, yet separate- alone in a crowd. What a dirty trick. That crafty conniver who fell because perfect wasn't enough has pulled the wool over our eyes.

Consider the greatest commandment we were given by the Creator of all things.

~ ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matt. 22:36-39 ~


They are two, yet they are one. If we love God, we will love his people. LOVE his people. There are certainly many ways that could look, yet I submit to you this- if we truly love someone, they will feel protected, trusted, HOPEFUL. ( 1 Cor. 13:7 ) We do many things "in the name of love" that certainly don't have those results and the church is one of the biggest offenders here. 

Enter the trickster. He's angry, he's jealous, he's cast out from the Father's love, so he most certainly doesn't want us to reside there either. This love our God fills us with burns him to the core, it conquers all of his vile plans- he must make it stop. What's the easiest way to get someone to stop loving something? Make them scared of it. And boy do we get scared. Hatred spews out of us in torrents because he is literally scaring us to death.

We've become quite adept at masking our fears, we don't just hide them, no we put them right out for people to see, but with pretty labels on them, trying desperately to convince ourselves and others that the actions we are spurred to out of our fear are not just OK, but good. How many have been spurned by the church because we are so focused on being holy that we've forgotten to love like Jesus? We get so caught up in being right and good, and making sure it shows, that we get scared off from approaching those who aren't (or don't appear to be) doing the same. And we're called to do much more than approach them friends, we're called to LOVE them, we're called to DISCIPLE them. We are called to walk along side them and show them how Jesus loves them. We are called to drop our stones and reach out a hand and let Jesus love them through us. 

In convincing us to judge others, (and convincing us that others are judging us) Satan has effectively reduced our ability to love them. Judgement divides, tears down, destroys. Love lifts, encourages, builds up, heals. LOVE CONQUERS ALL. Will we all face judgement? YES. But the One doing the judging will not be doing so out of fear, selfish motivation, conceit, misunderstanding, bias or any of the other myriad of things that get in the way of us being effective judges of each other. He will be doing so out of perfection, out of LOVE.   Because the God of the universe loves us, ALL of us, and as desperately as we are each longing to not be alone, He is longing to have us back in the garden with Him. But to get there we must do something- we must love Him with all of our hearts, and we must love all of His children too.

**After writing this and discussing it with my husband, I felt there was more to be said and had planned on possibly writing a follow up post to clarify some things; then I stumbled on this post over on the Living Proof Ministries blog and it says exactly what I wanted to say. It's a little long but it gets better and better as you go and is filled with so much truth, much better than I could say it myself- please check it out!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Fear vs. Calling

For I can do everything through Christ, who gives me strength. Phil. 4:13

In my first post I mentioned having had some false starts, and a good one that knocked me on my rear. Below you will find those efforts. One, because I still believe they are words that need to be "out there." Two, because the third one is what I wrote just before things went BAD. Not everything, just things the post referred to, as in my washer and dryer- the same ones I celebrated in my post- they DIED. As in we couldn't even plug them in to try, they just completely ceased to work, and I spent the next six months being tested on how much I really cherish that chore by being required to lug EVERY. SINGLE. LOAD. next door and upstairs to the washer and dryer in our old apartment over the church. Thank GOD they were still there! That being said, I confess that this was sufficient to completely freak me out over celebrating anything else in a post, less it be attacked too. Nearly two and a half years later and I give. I GIVE. Forgive me for letting my fear over come my calling. GOD told me to write, who am I to shy away from that? So here they are, my first attempts. And if for some reason, after these post, you don't hear from me for awhile- say a little prayer for me, then grab me by the scruff of my neck and remind me- WRITE!

 1. Write

Write. Simple instructions with such a wave of, something, behind them. Write what? I could come up with pretty words if I tried hard enough, but is that really what needs to be shared? The implication in this feeling I have is that there is something deep inside of me that needs to be shared because only I can share it.
Which means it won’t be easy.
Which means I will have to dig deep and bare a part of myself that perhaps I don’t even realize is hidden.
So what is that? What is in me that I’ve been so afraid to let out that I don’t even acknowledge that it’s there? First word that pops into my head?
 FEAR Fear of what? First reaction again?
 FAILURE  That cloud of WHAT IF that hangs over so many,  perhaps all of us, if we are being honest. What if I can’t? What if I do it wrong? What if it doesn’t matter? What if it doesn’t work? What if I look silly? What if no one cares? The list could go on forever, but here’s a new one to consider- What if I don’t? What if I ignore the burning in my heart and just go on with things like normal, pretend I never heard a thing? Maybe the world would never notice. Maybe it really wouldn’t matter. But here’s what I know to be true- in MY world, it matters. I would know if I didn’t, I would notice. And sometimes, isn’t that enough?
So I sit here and write. I let the words pour out of me of their own accord. I do not worry about grammar or punctuation (sorry). I do not worry about what others will think. I simply write, and discover along with you what is hidden deep inside of me that needs to be shared. Because WHAT IF it does matter?

 2. Good Morning

Watching my family come alive in the morning is nothing short of amazing. Who are these tiny people who have brought such immense joy into our lives? It’s hard to wrap my head around the idea that without us, they would not be. Right before us we have tangible, beautiful results of our love. Our love~ MY love! I’m still reveling in THAT answered prayer!  He is so beautiful in the morning, sleepy eyes, rumpled hair, skin still warm from being wrapped tight in our covers. That first hug, our silent “Good Morning,” oh it’s the best. Realizing anew each day that I get to share my life with him- who am I to be so blessed? Has it really been an entire decade since our story began? It must be true since it is becoming more and more impossible to remember life without him. What a joy it has been to spend these years making one life out of our two. It hasn’t always been easy, I haven’t always walked in the joy that is so preciously laid out before me. I have gotten busy, distracted by the day to day process of living and become blind to the beautiful reasons that have given me cause to be so busy in the first place. Self has crept in at times and convinced me that life should be about what I want, that I MUST look after my own needs first, so I am able to care for those of others. The Truth speaks differently. The Truth whispers of Christ, who laid himself down that we might all be lifted up. The Truth reminds me softly of how empty life would be without those who have endless needs to be met. The Truth wraps its gentle arms about me and says “I thought of you first so you don’t have to. I gave you this job to bless you. Take joy in caring for those you’ve been given and remember that there are those who would give anything to be in your place. Let Me care for you as you care for them and you’ll find that all your needs are met abundantly. Serve Me in serving them and there you will find your peace.” Ah peace- yes, there it is, in the still sleepy eyes of my family, my most brilliant gifts from the Father in heaven who loves me, his Son who walked this path himself to show me the way, and his Spirit who walks with me and guides me daily. Good Morning :)


I love fresh laundry. There's something about pulling warm, clean clothes from the dryer, all fresh and new again. It's a chore I never minded too much- though I admit I should have done it more often when I was younger! It's extra special now though because it's not just my own I'm doing. It's my husbands, still carrying a hint of his smell and reminding me of how nice his shirt felt when stretched over his strong, warm back. It's my older sons- can these pants that look so big really belong to him- the tiny little man who stretched my belly so and was the first person to ever call me "Mama?" It's my daughters, all frilly and pink, hopefully no longer bearing traces of the dirt she manages to find in the cleanest of places- my tiny little tom-girl/princess. It's my baby boys, so much of it from our small-but getting bigger every moment little man. I still remember doing his first load- feeling almost silly for it because his arrival was still long months away. And then I was so glad I had done it when I spent weeks on the couch, trying to keep him safe and cocooned in my womb just a bit longer. That was a tough time. I had so many wonderful offers of help- and many were accepted, but I just couldn't bear to turn my laundry over to another. It's an act of love to my family. I think of them as I smooth the warm crinkles away and wonder what they'll being doing the next time they wear each item. I remember, moments seemingly woven into the faded fabrics.  His band t-shirt from the cafe' where we first met- how thrilled I was the first time it was my responsibility to get it clean! The shirt I wore in Mexico on our baby-moon/anniversary trip when our tiny little girl was already a gentle swell of my abdomen. My favorite little sleeper, worn by my son, then my daughter, now by my second son- so quickly becoming too small. It will be bitter sweet to pack it away- who will wear it next? This chore, so all consuming, never ending- bearing witness to the places we've gone and the things we've done each day. Neat, clean piles, waiting for another adventure, or maybe just another day of beautiful ordinary.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it. Ps 118:24

As I watched the snow falling swiftly out the window over the kitchen sink my heart sank, tomorrow is supposed to be the first day of spring. I'm tired of snow, tired of cold, tired of... before I even completed my silent rant I laughed inwardly and shook my head. Were it October, or November, the very same sight would delight me and set my mind off to thoughts of cozy sweaters, cute new boots and sled hills, warm drinks and snuggling under my favorite blanket. But a few months later and I've grown weary of the sweaters, longing for sandals and bare toes, going outside without spending precious time bundling up against the cold, the ever present, bone chilling cold. I'm tired, so very tired, of being cold. Just as, not so very long ago, I was tired, so very tired, of being hot. With that inner laugh that interrupted my rant came the thought- where is the "content in all things," where is your peace? (Phil. 4:11)
How sad that the very things I had longed for had become things I was beginning to hate, simply because I was wanting something else. How very, very sad that this same thinking occurs over many more precious things than the weather. That first, small thought became a flood of realization; how often in life have I lost the joy over something I longed for simply because something else had caught my eye? Images began swirling through my mind- the house I complain of being too messy, too small, how thrilled I was to move in here from our apartment! What excitement we shared while spreading out into all its rooms and making them our own. What relief there was in finally being able to send the kids out into the yard to play! The kids, the children that run me ragged and make SO. MUCH. NOISE. I dreamed of and longed for them for as long as I can remember, all I ever wanted to be was their Mom. Yet I see now that I've allowed a longing for peace and quiet and more than five minutes of clean to begin stealing my joy over them.
So now I step back. I apologize to God for taking these things for granted and thank Him for these precious, precious gifts. New thoughts begin to fill my mind. Thoughts of Someday. Someday we will move into a bigger house, a house of our very own. And while we thrill over all the joys and excitement that will bring, I know I will shed some tears over leaving this dear place that we have treasured as our home, and I resolve to be thankful to be here Today. Someday, my children will be grown and at least slightly quieter than they are now. Someday I'll have to find something else to do besides trail through the house gathering tiny socks and trails of Hot Wheels and Barbie shoes. Someday I'll long for their tiny little hands in mine and their downy heads beneath my cheek and their laughter and shrieks echoing off the walls, and I resolve to cherish the mess and the noise while it lasts. Someday, someday very soon, spring will come. I will revel in the riot of color that springs from the ground and the soft warm breeze upon my skin. I will dance in the sunshine and wriggle bare, happy toes in the tender green grass. But today, today I will rejoice in the crisp white flakes dancing from the sky and find peace in the snow globe scene out my window, for all too soon, or not soon enough, or in just the right time, it too shall pass.
Today, TODAY I will rejoice.


How lovely is your dwelling place, O Lord of Hosts! My soul longs, yes, faints for the courts of the Lord; my heart and flesh sing for joy to the living God. Even the sparrow finds a home, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, at your alters, O Lord of hosts, my King and my God. Blessed are those who dwell in your house, ever singing your praise! Ps. 84:1-4

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Write! There it is, the first word of my song. Anyone who has written anything knows what a step that is. Even now, my hands tremble a bit as I FINALLY begin what I feel I was told to do a long. long. long. time ago. I could fill an entire post with why I waited until now but instead, I will rejoice that the first hurdle has been crossed and I have begun! Yes, there have been false starts, and good starts that hit bumps and failed to continue on, but this time I have faith that the One who called me will continue to carry me on this journey I've begun. If I could tell you where it will go I would, but alas, as with many of our journeys, all that is in view is the next step. So we hold our breath, maybe squeeze our eyes closed, and put one step forward. All I know right now is that God put words in me and told me to WRITE. I've started before and was promptly knocked on my rear, effectively ending that journey before it even left the driveway. (more on that later) This time will be different. This time I will write, even when it hurts, even when my mind is screaming that the words are not important- because this time, I will listen to my spirit when it calls to me to write- because someone needs to hear. This time I will sing in the midst of the storm; for myself- to keep my mind on things above, for you- in case you are struggling through that same storm, for God- that He may be glorified in all I do. He spreads His wings so that even the little sparrow may come to Him to find shelter and a place of peace. I will choose to rest there as I quietly begin to trill the beginning of my song. What about you- is there also a song longing to burst from you? Will you join me?

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