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Monday, February 28, 2005

The Opposite of Love

The opposite of love is hate, right? I'm starting to wonder. My best friend got me thinking today with one of her favorite quotes from Martin Luther: "Love God? Sometimes I hate Him."

Me too.

I hate God when He brings things into my life that bring me to my knees in pain. My health, my marriage, the mirror of His Word that exposes my excuses and shines its light on my sin. I yell, I cry, I stomp my feet like a two year old, and I hate.

But after I've exhausted my emotional energy, and all I can do is sit, I hear His quiet voice say, "Come." And I do. I run right back into the arms of the one I said I hated. Why? Because "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him."

So maybe hate isn't the opposite of love. Maybe it's an emotion that reveals hurt, fear, anger, disappointment and at the same time love. I only get vulnerable and express intense emotions to a person I'm close to and trust. And only someone I love can hurt me to the point I that I release control of my emotions in an effort to stop the hurt.

Then I ponder what the Word says about love and obedience. "If you love me, you will obey what I command." (John 14:15) When I sin I chose myself before God. Is that hate?

Or is it indifference?

Isn't sin a total disregard of God, a choice to turn my back and walk my way instead of His way?

If so, then the opposite of love isn't hate. It's indifference.

I pray I never grow so cold that I cease to care. It would be easier though, hurt less. I'd like to live without the intense emotion of hate. But not if it means I feel nothing.

So I continue to long for a God that I both love with all I am and hate for all the pain He allows. But either way I still come.

Maybe one day I'll grow to the place where I don't shake my fist at heaven and I learn to accept His work in my life without such struggle. But until then, I chose not to hide my emotions and all their intensity.

God knows them anyway.

And He still extends His hand and says, "Come."

Thursday, February 24, 2005

It is finished...

Aren't those awesome words? Truth be told, I'm pretty excited about those words because I just typed THE END on my fifth manuscript. It's a great feeling!

Except that I know I'm not totally finished. There are revisions to be done before my baby gets shipped off to the interested editor. And after my story is contracted there'll be even more work to do.

But for right now I'm going to enjoy a small taste of what completion feels like. And ponder the meaning of the word "finished."

Have you ever wondered if Jesus' words from the cross, His declaration of triumph, "It is finished" really meant finished as in totally, absolutely done?

Do you believe those words?

Yes and no.

Yes in the sense that I believe as fact Jesus accomplished for me on the cross what I could never accomplish for myself. He purchased my sin and paid the debt in full, giving me His righteousness in its place.

But if I'm honest, my answer has to be no sometimes too. No in that I hide from this truth in how I act. I try to add to what Jesus did by performing good works in order to gain His favor. Or I try to do those good things to gain the favor of others.

Good works are good if it's God working in you to will and act according to His good purpose. But they don't change how God thinks or feels about you. They don't change your standing before a holy God.

That was finished on the cross. Finished. Complete. Done. Never to be changed.

God will forever see me as His forgiven child, complete in Him, lacking nothing.

I don't have to work for His favor or His love.

I can rest.

So can you.

Because Jesus' "finished" means just that.

It is finished.

Monday, February 21, 2005

What happens when you pray...

Things change, right? Mountains move, healing happens, relationships are restored. Except sometimes it doesn't seem like it.

Sometimes those amazing answers to prayer feel a long way off. Or like they'll never arrive. Then the temptation is to quit praying. Or maybe keep praying, but hide.

How do you hide in prayer?

Lately I've hidden by asking God for a list of things I hope He'll do, instead of believing that God will do His best according to His will in His time. I've also just not asked. I've talked to God about a thousand things, good things even, but not the one thing I most desire.

See, I can ask people to pray for my girls to get better when they're sick or for God to provide my husband with a job. All good things, all things worth asking God to provide. But I can pray and ask others to pray for those things and still hide because I'm not being vulnerable.

It's different when I say I've been praying for over a year and a half for my husband to have a job and for healing for my daughter's reflux and the lack of an answer is stretching my faith and my marriage to the breaking point.

That's coming out of hiding and getting honest with God and others.

That's when change happens.

That's when mountains move.

And that's where I want to be.

How about you?

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Princesses and their Daddy

More often than not, my three girls spend a portion of their day in our playroom dressing the part of fairytale princesses. They transform into pint-sized royals with jewels and dresses and an affected British accent. It's adorable. They prance in front of the mirror and when anyone comes near they ask, "Aren't I beautiful?" My answer is a smiling “yes” and my reward a graceful curtsey.

But when it's their daddy bestowing the compliment, the light in their eyes glows ever brighter and his reward is a dance with exuberant giggles and hugs galore. They delight in their daddy's love.

How about you?

If your heart has ever longed to hear that you are beautiful, if you've ever dreamed of being treated like a princess, learn from my little ones, like I do, and just ask. Ask your Heavenly Daddy.

Can you guess His answer?

It's a resounding YES! You are beautiful. You are loved.

"I have loved you with an everlasting love" He says in Jeremiah 31. God says through Isaiah 43 " are precious to me. You are honored and I love you." And through Zephaniah 3:17 your Heavenly Father says "I take great delight in you... I rejoice over you with singing."

So come join the dance.

Your God is waiting with open arms.


Wednesday, February 16, 2005

Health and healthlessness

Today has been another one of those unfairytale like days. Not because of my kiddos, they were gems today. But because of my health. Being an eighteen-year veteran of diabetes, I'm well accustomed to the daily difficulties of this illness. God has shown me so much about living dependent on Him through this chronic condition that I wouldn't trade what I've learned. I would however, trade this illness in less than a heartbeat.

I believe with all I am that God can heal me, and He will. Maybe not this side of heaven, but it's coming. Right this moment the longing for that day mixes with fear of what will happen before healing arrives. The battle to believe God does what's best is tough. Tougher still when it hurts both physically and emotionally.

My blood sugars continue to hang around 300 (normal is 70-120) and I feel like curling in a ball and going to sleep forever. Everything hurts and my emotions run wild about the possible complications ahead if I can't get things under control. I try to ignore the thoughts, try to pray, but emotions don't obey like a well-trained pet.

Before anyone panics, this isn't the first time I've had a day like today, nor will it be the last. I've done the protocol required and if it continues to stay high I'll be talking to my doctor. It could be as simple as a cold my body is fighting, or hormones arguing about the self-imposed chocolate detox I'm doing today.

Whatever it is, I know God's in control.

And that's where I'm going to hang out in my mind. God is sovereign. God is good. I'll fight the fight of faith.

Will you join me?

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Princesses and Fairytales

Once upon a time... God blessed me with three little princesses and I penned a fairytale for them. It earned me the "best writer (and mommy) in the world" title, which still makes me smile. Unfortunately, today wasn't one of those happily ever after days I spoke of in our story.

I'm sure it didn't help that I stayed up way too late and got up way too early. Such is life in Mommydom I suppose. ;-)

And while days like today don't get stored in the "warm fuzzies" file, I did learn something. I learned that fairytales have a lot to teach.

Take for instance my favorite "fairy story" as my girls call them. Beauty and the Beast. I was contemplating this story because I resembled the beast more than Belle today. As I pondered why, the whole idea of hiding came to the forefront. Beast hid out of fear that no one would love him. He presented a fierce front, as if he didn't need that love, to protect himself from expected rejection.

Me too.

I'd rather pretend I'm not hurt by my daughter's or other's rejections and so I put on a gruff front. Thing is, I want to be listened to out of love and not fear. But rather than be honest, I hide.

It's easier.

It hurts less. (or so I think)

While that makes for good conflict in a story, it makes for a rotten day.

The solution?

Rather than spend days stewing over a hurt, I need to get honest. With myself. And, in today's case, with my eldest princess. What happens when I do that is better than a fairytale ending. I come clean before God and experience amazing grace. I come clean before my daughter and find that not only did I feel hurt by our confrontation, but so did she. We apologize, sometimes cry, and then reaffirm our love for each other. This process can take a few days or a few minutes. I much prefer the lesser of the two!

And while I still long for the ultimate happily ever after, these little glimpses of joy are worth the work.

Because when I do, I look more like Belle to my princesses than Beast.

I'll take that any day.

Monday, February 14, 2005

Happy Valentine's Day

On a day where we typically celebrate the happy, doe-eyed version of love, consider instead a few things besides the chocolate and roses...

1) The cross - a picture of perfect love

2) The heart - your heart, the one God longs to heal

3) The eyes of God- always seeing everything and remaining filled with love

Come and contemplate with me the amazing love of a God who calls us by name and rejoices over us... (John 10:3 and Zephaniah 3:17)

Don't forget to enjoy the chocolate too...

I am! :-)

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Step into the Light

Welcome to my blog!

Like the title suggests this will be a place to come out of hiding and into the healing light of God's amazing love and grace.

Speaking of light... Sometimes it hurts. Like when one of your beloved children runs into the bedroom five minutes before the way too early alarm goes off and flips on the light shouting, "Mommy, you've got to see this!" I've considered throwing my pillow and growling, but then I'd be without a shield for my eyes or my upper torso-which is a favorite pouncing place for my gaggle of geese. I've also contemplated a professor-like lecture on the value of letting mommy sleep, to which my kids just laugh and invite me to "Please, come see!"

So I open my eyes, blink a few times, rub the sleep away, and then behold a sight worth stepping into the once-blinding light. My little princesses have a surprise they can't wait to give. Spread before me are an assortment of "You're the best mommy in the world" cards, a collection of soft peach and yellow roses, and mouth-watering chocolate chip waffles made by my tiny chefs.

Has this ever really happened to me? Yes, with various minor changes to the above scenario. (my favorite being the addition of even more chocolate) And it is always worth that blinding, eye-stinging, watery pain that comes with the first glimpse of bright light.

Did you know God has something even better planned for you as you step into the light of His presence?

The specific stab of pain as He reveals where you've veered from His way is intended to draw you to the place where His complete forgiveness and incredible love can be clearly seen- without the dull shades of gray our sin keeps us living in.

So come, take a walk on the beach with me and look out over the splashing waves. Do you see it? Past the first bright beams of sunlight and blue sky... look closely. If you look with your heart, you'll see where I'm learning to focus my thoughts as I step into the light.

Open your eyes wide. The infinitely beautiful and absolutely loving Jesus is smiling.

At you.

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