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Monthly Archives: March 2018

His Love Restores

Do you know how it is that I can find so much joy in caring for a child who doesn’t speak, walk or do anything for himself?

I believe in his ability. Maybe he doesn’t talk today. But maybe he understands what I am saying to him. Maybe tomorrow he will vocalize something. Every syllable he says, even if it’s not a real word, counts. Every sound matters. Maybe tomorrow he’ll put two letter sounds together. Maybe…. I believe in his strengths, I believe in his abilities and I believe that no one stays the same. Everyone, regardless of their ability, can grow. There is hope for everyone, even the child who cannot speak.

I also believe in God’s ability and willingness to restore us. I believe that the God who invented brains knows how to fix brains too. I believe that God knows every millimeter of brain matter in our heads and He knows exactly what to do in order to make a brain function exactly the way it is supposed to function.

Because of these two beliefs, I watch expectantly. I wait patiently. And I rejoice exceedingly at every little thing that happens that indicates growth and restoration. It can happen. Sooner or later, one way or another, whether it’s physical healing on this earth or we go to live with Jesus where all things are made new (and there’s cookies and ice cream and swings and bikes!), we will be restored.

There is hope for everyone. I watch. I wait. I play with him in ways that don’t makes sense to people who don’t believe in his abilities plus God’s ability to restore him. And every so often…. something happens….

And I have a mini heart attack. And then pick myself up off the floor as I wipe away tears….

And I pray that he does it again. And again. And again….

Because His love restores.

 
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Posted by on March 23, 2018 in Current Events

 

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But, Don’t Ask Why

I don’t want to be a whiner.

But….

Why?

Have you ever looked at your life and thought “Why does it have to be this way?”

Of course you have. Everyone has moments of wondering.

Or days.

Or years.

Some of us have had a lifetime of wondering.

Then I saw all that God has done.
No one can comprehend what goes on under the sun.
Despite all their efforts to search it out, no one can discover its meaning.
Even if the wise claim they know, they cannot really comprehend it.
Ecclesiastes 8:17

People have questioned their circumstances for millennia. In the book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon writes that even though we search out the reasons and the meaning behind our circumstances, no one can truly know.

Perhaps there are better questions to be asking than simply asking “Why?”

For those questioning your circumstances, I offer several questions that might help you view your life a little differently than you have until now:

  • How can I live through these circumstances in a way that honors those around me and brings glory to God?
  • What does my life look like from God’s perspective?
  • What does God see when He looks at me in these circumstances? What emotion does He feel when He sees my struggle?
  • How could this situation actually be for my good?
  • Are there any steps I can take to change my circumstances? What are they? Do I need support to carry them out? Who can help me?

As long as we seek to understand the “why” of our circumstances, we will be in constant search for meaning. We can’t fully know why. But we can seek to understand God’s love for us. That changes everything.

Place me like a seal over your heart, like a seal on your arm;
for love is as strong as death, its jealousy unyielding as the grave.
It burns like blazing fire, like a mighty flame.
Many waters cannot quench love.
Song of Solomon 8:6-7(a)

He loves us.
Oh, how He loves us!

Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out!

“For who has known the mind of the Lord?
Or who has become His counselor?”
“Or who has first given to Him
And it shall be repaid to him?”
For of Him and through Him and to Him are all things, to whom be glory forever. Amen. Romans 11:33-36

 
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Posted by on March 9, 2018 in Profundities

 

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What is Your Calling?

Have you ever thought about the concept of your calling in life?

I was asked to ponder that question recently. What exactly does “calling” mean? What is my calling in life? What does it look like?

Calling and vocation are not the same thing. Everyone has a different vocation, but everyone who follows Jesus has the exact same calling.

Our calling, as followers of Christ, is to simply do everything we do with the same kind of love and compassion as Jesus. Our calling is to be the hands and feet of Jesus. Our calling is to meet people where they are and love them in that place in the same way that Jesus loves us.

This means two things. First, we are called to sacrifice of ourselves. Jesus gave up His very life for us. Most of us are not going to be asked to make that kind of a sacrifice, but we are asked to serve others at times when it’s not convenient. (Hint: it’s almost never convenient.) Most of what it means to sacrificially love people involves service. It might involve helping them pay a bill they don’t have money for. It could also involve easier things like taking the time to have coffee with them. Basically, it’s being mentally and emotionally present, even if it’s hard.

Secondly, we are called to extend grace. We are called to embrace people we don’t agree with and people who are difficult to love. Jesus did this so beautifully when He chose to extend grace to each of us.

We are called to be like Jesus.

Several years ago, I read the New Testament with the intention of taking note of the things Jesus did, why He did them and the attitude He did them with. He did things like hanging out with people that no one liked. You know — the tax collectors (thieves), the prostitutes, the disabled, the people with contagious diseases, the people possessed by demons and the people that no one wanted. Jesus chose those people. The ones who needed Him the most. The ones most lost. He picked them and then he provided for their needs. He healed them. He delivered them. He set them free. He talked with them and helped them see a better way. And he did it all with humble love and compassion. That is what we are called to do.

 
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Posted by on March 6, 2018 in Current Events, Profundities

 

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Busy-ness

Even very good things can sometimes become very bad for you.

I’ve been thinking lately about how full my life is. And I’ve noticed a pattern.

I fill my life to the brim in an effort to not have to think about how my life is void of everything I’ve ever desired in life.

When I was growing up, I dared to dream of having a husband and children. I knew it wasn’t likely to happen, but I thought maybe, if I played the cards right, things could work out.

As much as I want the desire to go away, it just won’t.

So I try to drown the sorrow of disappointment in a flood of activity.

Volunteering for every opportunity to serve at church.

Taking on every friend’s sorrows and trials.

Picking up every open shift at work.

Pursuing degrees, certifications and other educational opportunities.

Studying voraciously any number of topics. Health. Natural wellness. Oils, oils, oils. Psychology.

Reading everything I can get my hands on. Books. Magazines. Textbooks. Fiction and non-fiction. Then giving up fiction because the fantasy world in many works of fiction hurts my heart.

This past holiday season, I worked tirelessly because I could. It was holiday pay and overtime and it made everyone else feel good about their situation so there I was. It wasn’t bad. I love my job and if I can’t do holidays with my family, there’s nowhere else I’d rather be than at my job. It doesn’t feel too much like a job so it was ok. (For the record, I asked to work a lot because I couldn’t get enough time off to go anywhere. I figured that if my options were to sit at home alone or to be at work, I’d rather be at work where I’d at least have someone to talk to.)

But they gave me several days before New Year’s off.

I had a mini crisis during my time off because for the first time in months, I had time to think and I felt like I was losing it. I cried for like 4 days straight.

It was then that I realized that for the past (roughly) 15 years, I’d crammed my life so full of good things that it numbed the pain of disappointment. As long as I was doing something or going somewhere, I was ok because I didn’t have to face how empty my life was.

I don’t think busy-ness is bad or wrong. I think sometimes God works through us in our deepest pain. Sometimes we need the activity just to give us a reason to get out of bed and sometimes many beautiful and lovely things can come out of those places of sorrow. Sometimes, for short periods of time, keeping busy is necessary and good. It helps us and it helps our families and friends, our churches and schools. Sometimes, busy-ness is a good thing.

But when it goes on…. for 15…. years….

That is when it becomes unhealthy.

Well, maybe it becomes unhealthy many years sooner than that. My point is, if you have to be that busy for a long time (longer than a few weeks to a few months), something is wrong and you need to address it.

I don’t have all the answers. I don’t know what to tell anyone who might be struggling with this. I don’t even know how to help myself with this.

I’ve been thinking in the weeks since New Year’s about faith and how it pertains to the concept of busy-ness.

For many years, I was at church every time the door was open. I prayed. I read the Bible. I volunteered in ministries. I did everything I could. I did it to numb the pain and forget the sorrow. I found joy and laughter in it (sometimes) but it did nothing to heal the ache that no one saw.

I think it’s easy for us to think that if we’re focusing on God, we are doing good. It’s especially easy to think that by praying, serving and seeking God, we are moving in the direction of healing. Jesus is the healer, right? If we’re seeking Jesus, the Healer, we’re bound to find healing and restoration eventually, right?

Looking back on it, I can tell you that is not always the case. There have been times when I’ve used the words “I’ll pray about that” as a way to avoid making difficult decisions that would propel me into freedom. Sometimes I used church or ministry opportunities as an excuse to not do the things that would bring true restoration to my soul. Sometimes very good things — like prayer, ministry opportunities, church meetings and Bible studies — are the reason we stay stuck.

Don’t let good things come in the way of the best things.

The thief comes to steal, kill and destroy. I have come that you may have life, and have it more abundantly.
John 10:10

I’m not saying that everything a person does to keep busy is bad. I’m not saying that church and Christianity are bad. I’m saying that busy-ness can be the thief that comes to steal, kill and destroy. I’m saying that sometimes the thief (Satan) uses very good things to destroy us or to keep us in places of pain. Our job is to honestly assess the motives behind what we are doing and only do those things that will bring us abundant life.

If the Son sets you free, you are free, indeed!
John 8:36

Jesus has already set us free. We have only to figure out how to live free. We aren’t living free if we’re filling our lives to the brim with things that are designed to numb our pain.

 
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Posted by on March 2, 2018 in Current Events, Profundities

 

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