Saturday, April 14, 2012

31 day Marriage Challenge

Day 1 -

Today's Challenge:

Read 1 Corinthians 13 (the love chapter) and jot down some of the thoughts that come to mind such as:
  • What is God's definition of love? Pretty amazing and perfect! 
  • What are the characteristics of love? 
  • Patient, Kind, Does not envy, Does not boast, is not proud, does not delight in evil, rejoices in truth, always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres, never fails!
  • In what areas of "loving" do I stumble the most? Trusting
  • What are a few of the steps I can take toward change? Let go of my pride and trust! Be vulnerable

  • I will be patient.
  • I will be kind.
  • I will not envy.
  • I will not boast nor be prideful.
  • I will not delight in evil but will rejoice in the truth.
  • I will always protect.
  • I will always trust.
  • I will always hope.
  • I will always persevere in my marriage.
  • My love will never fail.

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Analogy of a parking space

The other day I parked in the parking lot at Target and sat in my car for a few minutes answering some text messages. I glanced over at the car in the space next to me and thought, "oh no! I must be parked crooked!" since I was clearly not lined up with that vehicle.
I proceeded to get out of my car and looked at the white lines. I was parked perfectly straight within them! It was the car next to me that was very crooked.
In that moment I had a bit of a reflection on how we live our lives comparing with other people's. As a follower of Jesus Christ I thought, how many times do I compare my life to other people's rather than to Jesus' life?
Jesus' life is like the "white lines" of a parking space. It is permanent and correct (assuming the city worker's have painted them straight, but that's besides the point in this analogy ;) and we are instructed in the Bible to model our lives after Jesus, who came to earth and showed us how we ought to live. If we are aligning our lives within the "white lines", so to speak, we can rest in peace.
Too often however (I'd say most of the time for many of us) we look to the lives of other people - especially other "Christians" and try to model our lives after theirs. We are often disappointed and sometimes confused and frustrated when our lives don't match up to theirs. OR we exert so much energy trying to make our lives look like theirs only to be dissatisfied and empty when we reach that goal.
I know that I have lately been focused so much on the lives of certain believers that I admire and look up to and have felt that my life is below par because I'm not in a third world country or out on the mission field somewhere living only off the support of others or serving in full-time ministry at a church, etc. etc.
But when I look at the life of Jesus - those white lines - I see that there are other things in my life that I need to be focusing on and working toward. Serving everyone like He did. Loving everyone like He did. Right where He was at.
Of course it can go both ways. Sometimes we also focus too much on the lives of those lives appear crooked and we think, "well my life looks pretty good! at least I'm not committing that sin!" when in reality we, again, need to fix our eyes on the things above, on the life of Jesus, on aligning our lives with those white lines, and we'll be on the right track and stop judging others and allowing ourselves to be full of meaningless pride.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Loss of life

I was 6. My first experience in loss of life. My mom was pregnant with baby "b" and I was excited. Then I remember my parents sadness coming over our home.
One day my Gamma came over to watch me and my brother and sister while my parents went out. They came home and baby brian was gone. The grief overtook my mom. My dad was so sad as well.

I was 10. My Papa Howard had been in and out of the hospital, a few times if I remember right. We went over to see him and he looked different. Tired.
One night after struggling through my math homework with dad, he shared with me that Papa Howard had died that day. It was the first time I remember seeing my dad cry.
I hugged him tight and insisted on going to the viewing, although my parents didn't think I was old enough to go. I loved my Papa Howard.
At the viewing I didn't end up going into the viewing room after my dad told me to remember him in my memories.
At the funeral I remember being very upset that my 6 year old sister fell asleep. How could she be so insensitive? but she didn't know.

In high school one of my best friend's father passed away. My friends and I sang at his memorial service. I felt so sad for my friend and couldn't imagine what it must feel like to lose a parent.
During those 4 years many high school classmates would lose a parent.

I am now in my 29th year of life. My Gampy passed away a few weeks before Christmas. He had suffered from Alzheimer's disease for many, many years. His health had declined significantly and he required full-time care. We had a chance to say our good-byes and had prepared for his death.
He had accepted Jesus into his heart and I felt peace at last when he passed. He no longer had to struggle against an unwilling body and confused mind here on earth.
He is free and has clarity with Jesus.
My Papa Robbins passed away this morning. He was diagnosed with lymphoma in January 2011 and was given 2 months to live. My husband and I moved away that month. We said our good-byes to him at his home before we moved.
In June we visited for our baby shower and saw him once again. Said our good-byes.
In November I took my newborn daughter to visit him. He met his first and only great-grandchild and was teary-eyed holding her.
At Christmas we saw him and he held her once more. His speech was filled with stutters and it was difficult for him to walk. This time, he said his good-byes. He stuttered to find the words to say that he loved me. that he would miss me.
This last week I spoke with him a few times on the phone. We caught up on life between stutters with a few sentences. said we loved one another. said our final good-byes.
and now he is gone.

Loss of life comes with a flood of memories. In the quiet stillness, if you allow them, they will come.
Memories of Big Red gum which I never really liked but still he offered it freely. along with a quarter.
memories of him popping out his dentures and trying to put them in our mouths as we ran away squealing.
easter egg hunts in the backyard.
memories of walking with him to McDonald's and his patience as I sought to discover what made the hands of the giant moon-head move to play the piano.
thankful for his gracious acceptance of my husband into the family when so many others were skeptical.
and some negative....some hurts...
the rejection.
the abuse.
the disapproval.
the manipulation.
the guilt.

how do you cope with the loss of life in a flood of memories?
some would say to hold on to the positive memories and let the rest fall away. but then you have eliminated reality.

thank you for the cross Lord. thank you for your grace that covers all sin and hurt and shame. thank you for being a God of restoration and healing. thank you for being a God of comfort, who wipes away tears.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Breaking Free

I'm beginning a journey through the Breaking Free series by Beth Moore. I'm going to use my blog as a place to journal thoughts, write quotations and see where God works.
So first things first! A definition of captivity:
A Christian is held captive by anything that hinders the abundant and effective Spirit-filled life God planned for her.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Alternative living...

For two weeks now I have been in the Word daily...sadly, yes, it's been awhile since I've been consistent and yet God is never-changing and so very faithful! I am so excited to share how God has been speaking to me these last two that I'm actually listening. How much have I been missing out by not spending time with Him?
Our local church body is doing a series on Alternative Lifestyle and indeed has God been challenging me to such! For one, He is calling me to unity. It is through unity that the world will see and believe that Jesus is God and that He loves them, so says the Word.
Unfortunately I have not been promoting unity for quite a few years now. :( Ever since my dad got married 7 years ago I have not been accepting of his wife's children. Rather I have been seeking justification in my choice to view them as invaders, unwanted in my life and family and my choice to treat them with disdain and little regard. :( So sad...
Well God has basically been saying 'enough of this' for awhile, but I haven't been listening. He's pretty much done with it and I am tired of fighting. Plus I want God's fullness! He promises His fullness for those who are willing to mature and stop acting like infants!
Whew! Having an infant, I can relate! She is ALL about instant gratification, no patience and no regard for the interests of others. And no one expects her to - she's an infant!
Well, at 28 years old it's high time I stop acting like an infant and mature!
SO - alternative lifestyle is that which involves me accepting and even loving my step-family. The world doesn't expect this of me. For the man that my mom is marrying later this year, I must be accepting and loving. For the man that my mother-in-law married suddenly last year, I must be accepting and loving. For my father-in-law's live-in girlfriend, I must be accepting and loving. And most of all, for my step-brother and step-sister, I must be accepting and loving.
God, give me Your eyes to see them? Accept them into my family. Love them and seek the interests of others above my own.
Unity. The world doesn't expect unity out of a broken family such as mine. Such as my husband's.
The world doesn't expect me to allow these people to be aunties, uncles, and grandparents to my daughter.
The world would completely understand if I shunned them from my life - put up walls around my little family and limited my love to only those I deem "worthy".
But Jesus asks more. Those to whom much has been given, much will be expected.
I'm amazed at God's love for me - even though I directly hurt Him and turned my back on Him and sought other lovers.
Have these people done things to hurt me? Some, yes. But not to the extent that I have hurt God. And yet He forgives me, extends His grace to me and draws me near as His beloved.
Oh Lord, please give me that same love for others.