Monday, June 22, 2015

Father's Day

I'm a little late to the game. I usually am. Nevertheless, I wanted to document a thought, just one, I ruminated on regarding my hubby yesterday, Father's Day. 

There was a plethora of  touching tributes to fathers and pictures of dads with their children as I scrolled through my facebook and instagram feeds yesterday. But, I remained silent.  I am not sure entirely why I do this. Mother's Day, Father's Day, people's birthdays. I freeze up. There's always been something about these days having hints of obligation behind one's card, gift or words of well wishes that just keep me at a distance.
I know. I have issues. Let's just move on.

The one thing, the most pronounced and really important thing that makes my husband an amazing father is simply this: he loves us when we are unlovable. He has demonstrated this to me more times than I could enumerate over the thirteen years that we have been married. He is now demonstrating this to our children with a steadfastness that seems impenetrable at times. He is not perfect in this, of course, but he perseveres with some unlovely creatures here in our home at times. 

He is patient and soft-toned many times. He comes alongside us in our emotional pits and encourages us, cheers us on, and reminds us Whose we are, that God loves us, and that we also love God and want to live for Him. And, he makes us laugh when the air becomes just a little too thick for comfort with intense emotion. He lightens the mood and enlivens our hearts to love one another again.

He is a picture of Jesus to us in this characteristic of his fatherhood and as a spouse. Romans 5:8 says, "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Thank you, Lawrence, for demonstrating some serious love to me, your wife, and to our children, at our most unlovely moments. 

Sunday, April 19, 2015

A Sunday Prayer

After a week where it seemed that so many who are dear to me were suffering or in turmoil of various kinds, I arrived to church this morning feeling so very desperate, broken, and in great need. 

As we sang "Our God Reigns,"  I prayed and pleaded with God. 

Perhaps you are in a similar place and need words to replace the groans which is all that seems to come these days.  Here are a few of mine I share with you. Let's pray and trust the Lord hears the cries of the righteous and delivers them from all their trouble. 

Break cycles of bondage.
Be bigger, Jesus. 
Pour out resurrection power to overcome all that seeks to steal, kill and destroy. 
Do not hold darkness at bay; push it back.
Show Your might and mercy, your kindness, compassion and power. 

Shake us. Uproot all that needs uprooting. 
Make us fertile soil. 
Bring a harvest through the pain of this. 

Be our rock of refuge that stands firm.
Be not moved in our shaking.

May we not return evil for evil,
injustice for injustice, 
disrespect and hatred for disrespect and hatred. 

Help us to do good and not withhold, 

to love You and out of that love to go the extra mile, 
to be inconvenienced, 
to lay up for ourselves treasures in Heaven rather than on this earth, 
to be led by Your Spirit and bear the fruits of Your Spirit. 

Fill us as you empty us.
Fill us with Your love that is selfless,

with your grace that does unto others what we would have done unto ourselves. 

Give us empathy, a pause to think and feel for another. 

Fill us with gentleness 
and joy
and peace 
and faithfulness. 

Thank You that You do good unto all who love you, who call upon your name.
Thank You that You will not put your people to shame. 

Monday, April 06, 2015

The Monday After

There was a sense of let down when I woke up this morning. 
What now?
What for today?
Easter celebrations are over. 

I am having to remind myself that Easter celebrations for me, a Christian, are never over. 
Today, I celebrate afresh, again and for always--
     Christ is risen from the dead, 

     Trampling over death by death

I walk out onto my stone porch, leaving my over-sized sliding glass door open behind me so I can hear the words to Matt Maher's "Christ is Risen" blaring from our speaker and with my arms stretched out wide, eyes scanning the trees to search for buds of life amidst the dead limbs, I defiantly declare, 
     O death, where is your sting?
     O hell, where is your victory?
     O Church, come stand in the light.
     The glory of God has defeated the night. 

So today, when I am tempted to give in to discouragement, loneliness and let down, I resolve to remember, "God has defeated the night." Any night of the soul over me has no welcome and no claim on me; it has been defeated. 
I will persist to proclaim it. 
I will believe it. 

And when I walk the yard and fear the life of plants and bushes was stolen from this past winter, one of the coldest Maryland has seen in decades, I will purpose to pay mind to the life that remains and praise the One who gives life, sustains life and calls awake what lies dormant and dead. 

Friday, April 03, 2015

What's so good about Good Friday?

At just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly.
Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might dare to die. 
But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.  Since we have now been justified by His blood, how much more shall we be saved from God's wrath through Him!       Romans 5

What other god has done this or would do this? 

The God, who justly could pour out His wrath on us, full fury, because of our selfishness, our shortcomings, our laziness and our living for ourselves.
This is the same God who saves us, rescues us, justifies us, makes us right by Himself? 
His own Son's blood. 
His Son, 
whom He loved and shared perfect communion with, 
who never did any wrong, 
who only ever chose to do the right thing. Every time. 
who obeyed even to the point of death. On a cross.

This selfless Son He gives up for us. 

What other god does this?
Demands a sacrifice and then provides the most spotless, perfect sacrifice History has ever known--on this day we remember as Good Friday. 

Good indeed for all those who flee to the merciful covering, the justly justifying, the never failing love of Jesus's blood.

Monday, March 02, 2015

Spring Will Come

“Anna just puked again” read the text from my friend, Jo, who was up the entire night before with Anna who, in total, threw up 20 times and only stopped retching due to the modern, medical help of anti-nausea medicine.  This is the second time this winter the stomach virus has fallen upon my friend's home.
And, I know Jo’s experience is not an isolated one.

I have a Southern friend, Amy, who has fought to find activities to keep her two boys busy while they have waited out TEN days of cancelled school, called off due to snow and ice covered roads that Nashville is simply not equipped to handle.

As I write this post, my daughter lays on the kitchen banquette beside me, sniffing and just plain worn out from fighting some kind of sinus cold despite how diligent I have been to avoid sugar, get enough rest and  pump our bodies with all varieties of immune boosting supplements.

It is finally March, the month that spring officially arrives, but we have been ready for the end of winter for at least a month now. Yes?

I adopted a mantra to help keep me from complaining. That mantra is, "Spring will come."  I figured it has come every year; it will come again. Renewal, rejuvenation, rebirth. It will all come.

Yet, we endure winter in the midst of our longing for spring.

I think many of us are longing not just for a literal spring but also for a spiritual spring--a renewal, rejuvenation and rebirth of the soul.

The winter of this fallen earth is evident: 

Positive thinking only gets us so far, and it just does not erase these realities.  

I have thought, "OH, Jesus, how I LONG for spring....not just the spring that brings daffodils and daisies but the spring that brings YOU again, the spring that ushers in the new earth and new heaven, new bodies for those who are in Christ, the new Kingdom of His righteous reign."

Spring will come. It will.

There is something, rather someONE who will take us farther than self affirmations.  
There is someONE who will take all the wrongs of this world and one day make it right,
who will call all evil to account,
who will fully and finally shackle all that shackles us,
who will burst on the scene with more brilliance than any row of azaleas ever could display.

His name is Jesus.

And, he came to earth once. We celebrate His first coming at Christmas.
We are now looking forward to Easter when we remember Christ’s dying and rejoice at His resurrection because it assures us that death has been conquered, eternal life in Heaven with Him is possible,
spring will come again.

What is in my heart and what I have tried to communicate in this post is perhaps more succinctly and poetically expressed in the lines taken from one of our family's favorite series, "The Chronicles of Narnia", 
Wrong will be right, when Aslan comes in sight,
At the sound of his roar, sorrows will be no more,
When he bares his teeth, winter meets its death,
And when he shakes his mane, we shall have spring again.

C.S. LewisThe Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe

We WILL have spring again. 

Thursday, February 26, 2015

A Meditation on Psalm 57

Be merciful to me, O God, be merciful to me, for in You my soul takes refuge; in the shadow of Your wings I will take refuge, till the storms of destruction pass by.                   Psalm 57:1

The storms will pass
Though they rage now.
You have a refuge
If to Him you'll bow.

It is God, the Creator
Who gives you shelter.
Under His wings
Hide from the helter skelter

Tell your soul
It is secure and safe,
Sheltered in God's mercy
That He will not abate.

Sunday, February 15, 2015

What God Asks and Never Asks of His Own

God asks His children to endure hard, hard things,
Painful things,
To endure long periods of unknowns
Without answers or relief.

God asks us to have courage and be strong,
To trust Him
and lean not on our own understanding.

God asks us to take on things that are out of our comfort zone--
That hurt and stretch us.

God asks us to give things up,
To surrender,
To lean on Him.

God asks us hard, hard things.

But He NEVER has
And never will ask us
To be without Him through any of it.

We always, always have His presence.

We always, always have His power to overcome.

We always have His name to call on,
His promises to lean on.

We always have His wisdom guiding,
His Spirit abiding.

We always, always have the Father's perfect love
To cast out every fear.

We always have His favor,
His acceptance,
His attention.

WE always, always have Him.