Chaotic Peace

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Ever have one of those seasons?

Years ago, while I was changing a morning diaper, I noticed a little spot on Beth’s leg.  Until I had cleaned her, changed her, and put her back together, she was covered with what we assumed to be hives.  I was terrified that her throat would eventually close.  We quickly loaded up the family and went to the e.r.  By the time we got there, there was nothing to see and nothing to do.  Thank God…kind of.  I was relieved but perplexed about the mystery.  What caused it?  Would it happen again?  Was it life threatening?

It was these thoughts that swamped my brain while we traveled home.  On a long stretch of highway not far from home is a little restaurant.  At the edge of their parking lot were two vehicles with teenage drivers idling side by side.  One driver, view of the highway blocked by his friend’s vehicle, not knowing why his buddy wasn’t pulling out, shot out of the parking lot and t-boned us.  As soon as we were parked, we jumped out and checked the girls’ status.  With all of the excitement that morning, the wreck barely jarred the sleeping babies.

I, however, was a mess.  I began to cry.  I wish I had refrained, but stress had gotten the better of me.  Now I was concerned for that boy who had to deal with my very well built, very large, very strong husband, whose very lovely babies quietly dozed, while his very petite wife was having a melt down in the restaurant’s parking lot.  Bob handled himself quite well, by the way.  But our day didn’t end there.

When we came home, there was a message on our machine.  Bob’s paternal grandmother, with whom I had shared so many fascinating conversations and laughs, and loved her like my own, was dying.  As you can imagine, many more tears followed.

Life is one big bulldozer bucket-full of awful sometimes.  And that’s how I’ve been feeling off and on for several months due situations that are beyond my control.  Then again, as I’m fond of telling the girls, we don’t have the power to control or change anything but our attitudes.  So, I guess what I really needed was an attitude adjustment…and lots of prayer…and release through lots of tears.

To tell you the truth, not much has changed at all except for my attitude.  What brought the change?  A relinquishing of what ails me to God’s capable hands.  I realized I had to cast away some cares when my youngest said she wanted her mum back.  She said it was like I was in a depression.  I myself felt like I was under a dark cloud.  I could not continue that way when the Hope of Glory lives within.  Some care casting away was in order.

The time following the casting away was most precious.  In the quiet one morning the LORD whispered to me, “I’ve been waiting for a while now for you to calm down.  We need to talk.”

He proceeded to tell me some things that are coming and how I am to handle them.  He gave me a time frame.  He cautioned me.  I can’t ever remember a time in my life when He laid so much out in front of me like that.  Is it fearful?  Yes and no.  No, because I know that He’s in it.  Yes, because there’s always fear in the unknown.  I still don’t know the details.  It’s kind of  like when Jesus hopped in the boat with His disciples and gave them an edict to go to the other side.  They didn’t know what it was all about, they simply obeyed.  Despite Jesus’ presence, the storm still came.  But because of His presence so came the peace that calmed the storm.  That’s Who’s living inside of me.  So even though I don’t know the details, I know He’s in my boat and we’ll safely get to the other side.

There is perfect peace even in the storms of life.  His name is Jesus.

This song from Sanctus Real brought peace to me through a time of transition 10 years ago.  Maybe it’ll do the same again for me and for you.

 

 

Though the mountains be shaken
    and the hills be removed,
yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken
    nor my covenant of peace be removed,”
    says the Lord, who has compassion on you.   Isaiah 54:10  NIV

You will keep him in perfect peace,
Whose mind is stayed on You,
Because he trusts in You.    Isaiah 26:3  NKJV
If you’re going through “one of those seasons”, I want to comfort you and remind you that: This, too, shall pass.   The storm will calm.  You will get to the other side. 
Join me today in committing the known and the unknown into His capable hands.  After all, it’s technically all unknown anyway and He is able.  So very, very able.

Super Capacity Plus

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Several Fridays ago, for no apparent reason, my shoulder began to hurt.  Hurt is an understatement.  If there was a pain chart, the pain would have been off of it.  I cried.  Then, the laundry came.

My children, who rarely ever care to do so, were suddenly inspired to change their sheets.  Not just their sheets, but their comforters, too.  I could barely open my arm enough to apply deodorant and I was suddenly staring down the barrel of 4-5 loads of bedding.  Plus, I had been inclined to do some spring cleaning the week prior and therefore let the laundry fall by the wayside.  Ten loads of laundry all together.  Probably.  And I couldn’t raise my arm to save my life let alone do 10 loads of laundry.  Yes, my children do help with the laundry, but at the time, they were helping spring clean other areas of the house.

After a very hot shower Saturday night and a massage with liniment following, I felt considerable better by Sunday morning…at least compared to Friday.  A friend from church laid a hand on my shoulder and prayed for me during meet and greet.  We both felt the heat of the Holy Spirit while she prayed.  Was I 100%?  No.  But by the time I saw the doctor on Tuesday to see whether I should rest it or exercise it (as I got conflicting reports as to how to speed up the healing process), my shoulder was feeling pretty good.  Sore, weak, but for the most part, pretty good.

Thursday following was to be a gorgeous day, so said the forecasters.  Prime time for clothes hanging.  I had contemplated dragging the bedding to a nearby laundromat then bring it home to dry.  I didn’t know if my washer could handle the comforters and survive.  I scowled as I thought of a trip to town, coins, time away from doing other chores that had fallen by the wayside…and my shoulder which was still slightly sore and weak, but so much better.  Thank You, Jesus!  I stared at the baskets, hampers, and overall mass of dirty clothes and debated.

I found a tag on what I thought was the largest comforter.  I read the instructions and found that it should be washed in a “large capacity washer”.  Something tripped through my memory.  I scoured the writing all over the underside of my washer lid and then pulled it down to read the fine print written around and underneath the knobs.  And there it was:  “Super Capacity Plus”.  Not just “Super Capacity”, no, “Super Capacity Plus“.  The comforters were hung and 4 loads of laundry, easily and quickly followed.

Think about this: God is not a large capacity God.  He isn’t even a super capacity plus God.  He is an endless, bottomless, measureless, God.  Need salvation, deliverance, healing, wholeness, prosperity?  Done!  He’s got it.  And He’s got enough for you, me, the entirety of all mankind, pressed down, shaken together, running over.  I’m telling you, eye has not seen, nor has ear heard, nor has any of our minds been able to imagine what God has prepared for those of us who love Him (2 Cor. 2:9; Is. 64:4).  We can’t conceive it.  We get glimpses.  Sometimes we get a torrential downpour.  But we can’t contain it all.  We can’t contain Him all.  Nor should we want to.

I want a God that’s bigger than me.  I want a God Who thinks outside of the box, performs radical miracles, and does unbelievable stuff.  Is this the kind of God that we serve?  Or have we unknowingly set up perimeters due to unmet expectations and unanswered prayers?  Let’s take time today to ask God if we have unwittingly placed restrictions on Him and ask Him to invade those places.  Life’s too short to serve a god that can be confined.

I hope you enjoy this timeless song by Rich Mullins.

“I will be great.  My Name will be made great.  I will be lifted up.  You have been looking for My hand.  You forget that I Am awesome, mighty, and wonderful.  I have not forgotten you.  My eyes and My hand are still upon you and your land.  I will be exalted.  I will be exalted.  I will be exalted.  Whosoever will let Me work in them and in their land I will do mighty, fierce, and wondrous things.  I will be exalted.  ~God

 

 

A Prayerful Song for a Holy Day

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May you be blessed today as you contemplate all that was purchased for us so that we might be saved, healed, delivered, preserved, protected, prosperous, and made whole.

Hope you enjoy this song by Keith Green.

“Let us fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith, who for the joy set before Him endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:2 Berean Study Bible

Thank You, Jesus!  Holy, holy, holy!

The Dreaded Finger

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An older, fellow coworker approached my brother at the machine shop and began quizzing him about his age.

“Just you wait,” the elder prophesied, “won’t be long until you’ll be gettin’ the finger when you go see the doctor.”

Mark replied, “Oh, I got that when I went to see the dentist last week.”

“Uh-ha, ha, ha, ha!”  The man laughed and fell backward into Mark’s gigantic tool box on wheels.

Mark grabbed him by the shirt front and tugged him forward and upright.  The old man laughed and laughed.  “You need to get another dentist,” he slung over his shoulder as he walked away.

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When I was in my 20s I never gave 40 much thought.  It’s odd now to think that while 40 never seemed “old” to me, it must not have seemed young, either.

Thirty came and went without much fanfare.  Even if there was, I wouldn’t have noticed because I was chasing 1 1/2-year-old twins around the house.

Forty seemed exciting…at first.  Then it hit me like a sledgehammer.  I thought I’d be one of those lucky, brave souls who didn’t waiver with numbers; I’m not.  I had an aunt who said 40 didn’t bother her a bit but 50 nearly knocked her out.  I have another aunt who won’t even celebrate her birthday anymore.  I don’t know if she stopped after 50 or 60.  The point is, she has stopped counting her years and we had better not remind her of them either.  Kind of makes me wonder what 50 and 60 have in store for me.  Hmm…

Some people handle age with flare.  When I think of  people like that I think of Betty Leonard.  She had a style all her own and she didn’t apologize for it.  She had dyed black hair that she kept in a hip hair cut, wore fashionable clothes (some cheetah printed), lots of gold jewelry, and painted her nails and lips vibrant colors.  You’d a never guessed her age.  I liked her.  She was personable and good-humored and seemed to celebrate life and live it to the fullest.

I remember traveling on a four-lane highway years ago.  Bob was watching the mirrors.  A car approached,  burning up the pavement between us.  He was doing the speed limit +5.  It wasn’t long before the sedan was at our side and then passed us by.  We burst out laughing when we realized the car was driven by 83-year-old Betty.  She didn’t let anything slow her down.  What a way to live.

I don’t know if any of us are groomed to survive to old age let alone thrive.  Actually, I’m pretty sure we’re not.  I recently heard a d.j. say that he was 45 and figured he’d be spending lots of time in the hospital so he would like a hospital gown of his choosing.  It is odd, that, how medical technology has grown by leaps and bounds but no desirable dressing gown has been designed.

If we do survive old age we are certainly not supposed to live it the way Betty did.  Don’t believe me?  Haven’t you seen a doctor since turning 40?  That is, if you’re blessed enough to be that age.  If not, heads up.  You will immediately be cursed.  Make a complaint, any complaint, and you’ll get a smug smile that you’ll want to slap off your health care provider’s face and a pat answer of: “That’s what happens when you’re 40.”  Add to that, every genetic disease and disorder that has ever been in your family line is bound to invade your body beginning at 40.  There are plenty of health screens and tests to take to prove that you are sick.  And if you’re not, they may just help you along on your journey toward disease.  Don’t believe me yet?

Haven’t you watched t.v. lately?  Haven’t you noticed that most commercials are for some drug you can take for some ailment that you have?  And you can supplant that drug with this drug.  Don’t fret the drugs.  They may cause dry mouth, cramps, headache, constipation, and the like, but you’ll live.  Then again, maybe not.  Some of them cause blood clots, liver problems, internal bleeding,etc., and death.  But we need drugs to survive to old age…Don’t we?  No fear.  Even if the drug fails and you have suffered because of it, or perhaps have died, a lawyer will help you sue.  Lots of commercials for that, too.

According to statistics I could find, the life expectancy for the average American is on the decline.  One can expect to live to be about 80ish.  However, no one wants to live to be that age if they “aren’t healthy”.  What hope do we have given the fact that we are to begin feeling the effects of old age at 40?  If we look to the bulk of the healthcare industry and our society in general, we are to officially begin our decline halfway to our checkout.  Who wants 40 or more years of increasing vision impairment, hearing loss, weakness, aches, pains, and disease?  Can you tell that I’m fed up with this world’s system and their take on it?

I’ve made a grave decision concerning old age.  I’ve decided not to participate.  At least not the way it’s currently accepted.  I’ve decided to fight the doctors and their grim prognoses concerning 40 and beyond, the drugs and the harm they cause, and my elders who try to curse me with, “You wait!”  That’s what started this mess in the first place: words, words, words–vile, destructive words.  If I’m going to fight then I’m going to have to do so with the Word.  Here we go:  

Dear friend, I hope all is well with you and that you are as healthy in body as you are strong in spirit.  3 JOHN 2 NLT

 

Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.
 Let all that I am praise the Lord;
    may I never forget the good things he does for me.
 He forgives all my sins
    and heals all my diseases.
He redeems me from death
    and crowns me with love and tender mercies.
 He fills my life with good things.
    My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!               Psalm 103:1-5  NLT

 

Even to your old age and gray hairs I am He, I am He who will sustain you.  I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.  Isaiah 46:4

I really like this:

But the godly will flourish like palm trees
and grow strong like the cedars of Lebanon.  For they are transplanted to the Lord’s own house.
They flourish in the courts of our God.
Even in old age they will still produce fruit;
they will remain vital and green.
They will declare, “The Lord is just!
He is my rock!
There is no evil in him!”    Psalm 92:12-15

Even in old age they will still produce fruit; they will remain vital and green.  Does that sound like the old age that our society has embraced?

Let’s try this scripture on for size:

Then the Lord said, “My Spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh. In the future, their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years.”  Genesis 6:3   NLT

The LORD said, “120 years.”  !!!

My husband blew my mind when I asked how old he would live to be if he could.  He said 400 years. !  He said, “Imagine all of the inventions and stuff you’d get to see.”

And wives, said I, ’cause I ain’t plannin’ on bein’ here that long.  Of  course, that’s if health is not an issue for him.  That’s what we all say.  We’d all live to grand old ages if we could but be healthy.  Moses was.

Moses was 120 years old when he died, yet his eyesight was clear, and he was as strong as ever.   Deuteronomy 34:7  NLT

Is that our average senior citizen’s expecatation?

The scriptures don’t present old age like something to dread, but a blessing, something God carries in His hand–if we let Him.  I’m rather partial to the idea of aging according to Moses’ version; I think it’s heavenly, so I’ll do the best I can to follow along those lines.  Is it going to be a battle, living this way?  You betcha!  All uphill with a river flowing down it.  But I think it’s worth it.  Don’t you?  With God, ALL things are possible…even avoiding society’s laundry list of old age woes.  Join me in fighting old age as our society has come to accept it.  I’d love to have the company.  

 

 

 

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Ken Davis’ comedic routine,  The Confused Stage of Life, sounds like someone I know and love.

This one’s for you, Dad.

Happy Birthday!

 

 

 

 

Have fun with this song from Tom Rush.

 

    God knows no age.  He has no expiration.  He has no limits.

 

A Cure for Mondayitis (and other ails)

 

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Does anyone remember Vacation Bible School?  Remember the little songs sung that burn in the brain forever?  “Father Abraham”, I am sure, was one written by already weary adults to try to tire out high-strung kiddos.  Then there’s the “I may never march in the infantry, ride in the cavalry, shoot the artillery.  I may never fly over the enemy, but I’m in the LORD’s army.  Yes, Sir!”  That was another action packed song that probably juiced kids up more than calmed them down.  I’d be remiss if I didn’t include, “I’ve got the joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart” which usually turned into a screaming response because the leaders kept asking, “Where?”

While scouring the internet, I came across a blast from my past, scripture memory songs.  These are so cool!  I can’t tell you how many verses I memorized through song and I’d like to share this one with you.  You may not care for the style, but I hope you’ll give it a try as it just might help you memorize this portion of scripture.

 

The Lord is my strength and shield. I trust him with all my heart. He helps me, and my heart is filled with joy. I burst out in songs of thanksgiving.  Psalm 28:7  NLT

 

And Nehemiah continued, “Go and celebrate with a feast of rich foods and sweet drinks, and share gifts of food with people who have nothing prepared. This is a sacred day before our Lord. Don’t be dejected and sad, for the joy of the LORD is your strength!”  Nehemiah 8:10  NLT

I burst out in songs of thanksgiving!  Can you picture that?  I admit it.  I eavesdropped on Laura while she was showering the other evening.  I stood outside the bathroom door and listened to her sing and I could not help but smile.  Singing is important!  The girls sing often and I love to hear them sing.  It’s joy spilling out of their hearts.  Father God must feel the same way about us when we burst out with songs of thanksgiving.

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Mom says that when I was younger I’d sit at the top of the stone steps in our yard and sing “Jesus Loves Me” at the top of my lungs.  I can only imagine what that must have sounded like to the neighbors as I have a pretty good set of pipes.

But sometimes singing isn’t so easy.

Singing in the rain is fun when it’s July, 80 degrees, and no one can stand the heat anymore.  But when it’s a saturating downpour that lasts for an agonizing amount of time in a season that’s prone to being cold anyway, it’s no longer fun.  It’s exhausting and frustrating beyond belief.  That’s why joy, this supernatural gift of the LORD, is so important.  It keeps the outer elements from penetrating our hearts.  It’s glorious!  But it’s difficult in certain seasons, isn’t it?  So how do we do it?

I listened to a minister this past week who was encouraging the attendees to laugh.  “Ha, ha, ha ha.  Unpaid bills?  Ha, ha, ha, ha.  Sickness in your body?  Ha, ha, ha, ha.”  It seemed absurd but I joined the service via the internet.  The laughter sounded mechanical at best, ridiculous at worst.  I did it anyway.  In a matter of moments it became sincere and I literally felt lighter.  Why?  Because the joy of the LORD is our strength.  Laughter does good like a medicine.  Through Christ we’ve been made more than conquerors.  We win!

Try laughing.  It you can’t do it on your own, try doing it with this video.  Laughter really is contagious–Share some!

For those of you who can, do you remember feeling carefree as a child?  Do you remember how easy the laughter and the wonder came?  Make an effort to remember those things that cause joy to bubble up inside of you.  Do you still allow yourself to indulge in those things?  Wear your p.j.s for an entire day (unless you’re a nudie, for that may prove problematic 🙂 ).  Have a movie marathon.  Color.  Enter the world of play with a child.  Wonder again at the majesty of creation.  Sing songs of thanksgiving for they usher you into glory.  Laugh like a child, laugh for no reason at all.  Let me remind you today that we are not God’s grownups, we are His children.  Let us return to laughter and wonder because Jesus said,

“I tell you the truth, unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.”  Matthew 18:3  NLT

Everyday is not going to be a joy-filled day.  We live in an ever-increasing hostile and violent world.  Bad things do happen that are beyond our control.  Even without the “bad” things, life is sometimes just plain exhausting.  The mundane things of life can make us feel like we’re being sanded down like a board.  So then, it comes to this:  CHOOSE.  Choose to sing anyway for God inhabits the praises of His people.  Saying you can not sing is not an excuse for the Word says to make a joyful noise as unto the LORD (Psalm 100:1).  Choose to laugh anyway because our enemy is an arrogant cuss who won’t stay around and be a laughingstock.  Join me in a conscious effort to try to choose joy on a regular basis and let’s see what a difference joy makes.  

This is a fun video and a great song from King and Country.  “Joy” is one of my dance favorites.

 

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“I love you I like you.”

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A smile creased my face when I came across a card Beth had made.  She went through a phase when she was younger in which she signed nearly everything she made, “I love you I like you.”  It’s cute.  It’s quirky.  It’s Beth.

I used to tell the girls when they were young, “I like you.  I think I’ll keep you.”

I don’t know where that came from.  I wouldn’t doubt that it came from my dad.  He has such a corny sense of humor.  As a kid, when I’d say, “I’m hungry.”  He’d say, “Look in the mirror and get fed up.”

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“Dad, will you make me an egg?”  His reply, “Poof!  You’re an egg!”  I learned real fast to ask him to cook me an egg instead.

“I like you.  I think I’ll keep you.”   I never realized until years later that my youngest perceived that to be, “Sooo, if she doesn’t like me, she won’t keep me?”  Although I found her take on it slightly amusing, I will confess that my heart hurt a little that my kiddo thought there was a possibility that I would get rid of her if I didn’t like her.  Crazy, what kids think sometimes.  Crazy, how we adults make them that way sometimes.

I don’t think we give much thought to our heavenly Father liking us.  Heck, it’s hard enough wrapping our mind around His loving us the way He does let alone liking us.  I wonder if there are some people who have never even considered it.

How does one get to be liked by God?  And if He doesn’t like us will He not keep us?

What about me?  What about you?  Are we friends of God?  Hmm…

I’ve been reading Grace Notes by Philip Yancey for what feels like a hundred years now.  His passages usually leave me with so much to think about that I can’t read it everyday.  I like to mull things over.  What’s been coming back to me is a meeting he had with a woman named Marcia and he asked her about prayer.  Part of her response:

“I’m a painter.  I pray as I paint, and my painting becomes a kind of prayer.  If someone asks me for help in prayer, I tell them to find what they most enjoy and do that, only do it for the glory of God….”

I like that.  Do what you enjoy,  let that be your prayer, only do it for the glory of God.  If I like it, and it pleases God when I do it, Who made me to do that, then we’re hanging out as friends in a way.  Just think about it.  A hunter’s cathedral is the woods.  Creating is what colors an artist’s heart.  An athlete finds challenge and strength in the training.  A musician’s song is on the plains of the angels.  I am a writer.  Some of my greatest revelations have come to me while I am simply writing in my journal.  I am communicating with God in the language He gave to me and in that state, we are in fellowship, we are one as friends.  Why do we make our relationship with our LORD so complicated at times?

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I love to ride a motorcycle.  I slide in behind my man, wrap my arms around his waist, and off we go.  The freedom of no roof or doors to obscure my vision of the sky and the land is intoxicating.  It is beautiful!  A shooting star, a rainbow, lush, green fields–they all speak of a Creator with infinite imagination.  My heart swells with praise and fellowship while on the back of that bike.  God knows He’s always more than welcome to join.  What a joyous adventure!

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And campfires, the glow, the smell, the hot dogs, the s’mores…I can feel the smile of God when I am enjoying this life and the blessings He has bestowed upon me.  My being vibrates with His presence.  Isn’t that how we feel when we’re with someone we love, whose company we really enjoy?  There’s such a…JOY.  Yes, that’s it, joy.  And a feeling of never quite having enough time together.  That feeling is magnified all the more when I am in His presence, when my heart can’t contain His love. His want to spend time with me, for me to get to know Him better can be a wonderful kind of overwhelming.  He’s SO good!

I really don’t think it’s that hard to be liked by God.  We just need to do what makes us good friends to others and do that with Him.  Spend time with Him.  Be available to Him.  Give ourselves to Him.  Sometimes I forget that God’s whole plan for man came because of His want for fellowship, for family.  I get so caught up with the cares of this life that I  forget to take the time to enjoy Him for Who He is and let Him enjoy me in turn.  Yes, I am a friend of God.  Admittedly, I am not always the good friend that I hope to be, but I’m getting better.  I try to keep this consciousness that He is always with me and He is always welcome, even when it’s for rebuke.  Hey, like the good Book says,  “Wounds from a sincere friend are better than many kisses from an enemy.”  (Proverbs 27:6  NLT )  And there is none more sincere than Him.

Maybe we could join Beth today and tell God, “I love You I like You.”  And if we’re quiet enough, I bet we’ll hear the same in return.

You might find yourself singing, or jigging. or doing a little of both to the following song.

Have a wonderful day, my friend.  Be sure to spend some of it with the Friend of all friends, the One who sticks closer than a brother.

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The Joy That Love Brings

 

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Several years ago, our “5 family” took my edited version of a test.  The idea came from Gary Chapman’s book, The Five Love Languages.  It’s a good, easy read and a real eye opener as to how to love the ones closest to you so that they actually feel loved.  We girls scored high, if not #1, for words of affirmation.  I have to remind Bob from time to time that he needs to love the women in his house with words–lots and lots of words.  Tell me how good I look or what a great job I did; spend time with me without the t.v.; brew me a cup of tea or wash the dishes–PLEASE!  Those are a couple of examples of what love looks like to me.  But what does it look like in our relationship with God?

In light of Chapman’s book, it seems a little more challenging to feel the love of God.  I would guess that most believers at one time or another have felt abandoned by God. That is a lie we have to fight through because He says He will never leave us nor forsake us.  This has really been weighing on me because I have heard the cries of some of those closest to me who are, for lack of  better words, going through a crisis of love.  I get it.  We don’t doubt God’s existence, there’s too much evidence to support it.  We don’t doubt Jesus’ work at the cross because we’ve seen how it has changed us and our perspectives.  But what about the rest of it?  By His stripes you were healed?  He will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory?  Who is able to do exceedingly abundantly more than we can ask or think?  Sometimes it just doesn’t look like it adds up.

I thought about what love looks like God’s way.  Sometimes the way seems dark.  The way to the light is through thankfulness.  Satan is a flesh devil.  God is a Spirit, and those who worship Him must do so in spirit and truth.  Instead of answering my questions, God began to remind me of the ways He has shown love to me.

He reminded me of when I was pregnant with our twins.  The doctor said they were in the wrong position for me to have a vaginal delivery and if they didn’t move, I’d have to have a caesarean.  I was anointed and prayed for at church.  I figured having twins was going to be enough to adjust to, I didn’t need the complication of healing from a caesarean added to that.  The next morning I had what looked like huge fingerprints spread out on my abdomen.  Sure enough, the doctor confirmed that the girls were in position.

From there I thought of other things for which I’m thankful.  We have long-lasting appliances.  I honestly don’t know how old our upright freezer is.  It was used when we bought it and it’s still working.  Same with our vehicles.  We’ve never had a brand new vehicle but we have been spared from absolute clunkers.

God has provided outrageous deals on things and we are blessed with ridiculous bargains.

Our food stores are full.  Our closets are overflowing.  We have a home and it is warm.

We have a beautiful camper for recreation.

My life is enriched by wonderful family and friends.

All these are whispers of God’s love.

I think the quickest way to hopelessness is ingratitude.  Seriously.  You know when I begin a downward spiral?  When I cease to give thanks.  When I dwell on unfulfilled hopes instead of the many blessings that are.  I mustn’t dwell on what I don’t have or what didn’t happen the way that I thought it would.

LORD, I don’t understand.  Some day I will.  Then again, maybe I won’t.  So what?  Does that change His love for me?  No, it opens up new compartments of it.  If I let Him.  If I’m thankful.  If I remember that He’s not only able but willing.  If I’ll just wait.

black and pink i heart you text
Photo by Beata Dudová

“I love you.  I love you with an everlasting love.  I knew you when you were a child.  No, I knew you before I hung the stars, before I spoke a word.  There is no mountain I would not climb, no ocean I would not swim (for you).  I love you just the way you are.  But you say you have sinned.  I have made provision for that.  Confess your sin, repent of it, and receive My love.  My love is for this life as well as for all of eternity.  I have plans and a purpose for you.  I love you.  I love you.  I love you.”                                                                                                  ~God     

Maybe you’re a visual-type person, like my husband.  Then you might enjoy this video of love.  The girls had an assignment recently in which they were supposed to write dialogue for a movie segment.  Laura picked this cartoon short.

 

We listened to Laura’s dialogue while it played, and with her voice quaking a little, she ended with, “And I thought of this scripture: ‘Greater love has no man than this, than to lay down one’s life for his friends.'”  (John 15:13)

We watched it again, in a sort of awe-filled silence, without her dialogue.  Tears streamed down Laura’s face.  The video moved all of us.  When we saw what remained of Rock’s head, Laura said, “Look how happy he looks.”

By then we all had tears in our eyes.  We were quiet for a few moments.

“That reminds me of another scripture,” I said, “the one about Jesus enduring the cross because of the joy set before Him.  He loves us.  Really, truly loves us.  That’s what He did for us.  He died so that we could live.”

Agonizing pain, a gruesome death, and beneath it all: JOY for what lay ahead.  And what is ahead?  Eternity with our resurrected Savior–if we so choose.  That was His vision.  It still is.  Praise His holy name.

Pay close attention to the lyrics of this song.  I hope you enjoy it.

 

Take your eyes off the mountains, Friend, and look at your story.  Do you see God’s fingerprints? Do you see Jesus’ smile?  They’re silent reminders of His hand on you.  What would your story be if Jesus had not entered in just when He had?  Is this enough to be thankful for, even though you (and I) sometimes grope in the dark with our many unanswered questions?  I know that if you’ll  join me in worship and look for His fingerprints and His smile, we’ll find them, and joy will follow.  He’s never let us go.  And He never will.

Let the following scripture verse sink in.  Think about it.  Meditate on it.  Let it take root in your heart today.  Isn’t this what we’re wanting?  To be “perfect and complete, needing nothing”?  Here’s how:

Dear brothers and sisters, when troubles of any kind come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.  For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow.  So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.  James 1:2-4 NLT

My hope is that through today’s post, you have heard, seen, and felt the love of God and that you have been encouraged.  If so, pass it on.

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