Sunday, September 18, 2011

So Many Little Things

"I aw-most see it!"  The words were lisped by a little boy I watched yesterday.  He and his older brother (two and three and a half years) spent the day with us.  The two munchkins, along with Johnny, were outside playing with dump-trucks, mini hockey sticks and empty water guns while I read them a story.  About halfway through reading one of them jumped up and yelled excitedly, "It's a snake!"  And so, the chase began.  We followed after it as it slithered in and out of the same tree trunk about five times and then, finally, found its way under our garden shed.

The sweet two year old bent himself in half trying to see that poor snake.  "I aw-most see it!"  My heart nearly melted.  Had I been on my own I would have quickly found a new place to read, but to these boys that snake was an adventure.

"What kind is it?"
"He's a Garter snake."
"Is he a bad one?"

In almost no time at all their short attention spans found a new adventure, the garden.  "Can we go look at those blackberries?"  We did more than look, we ate quite a few.  And then it was the kittens, the bunnies, a "walk" in the wagon, a little scooter, the dump-trucks again, Thomas the tank engine, a Veggie Tale, the kittens again, along with another visit to the bunnies, and another ride in the wagon.  Everything that we came across was a new adventure.

I was reminded of the beauty in life.  In everything that is to be had there is something beautiful.  A Garter snake, a rusty old wagon, a stick.  They saw the adventure in everything. 

Over and Out,


P.S. Like the new design?  I know, I change it too much... I also added something to the sidebar.  I haven't been acting very thankful lately, so I decided to add that and try to change it each time I post.  I also added a few blogs to the "You Ought to Visit..." (Which I just re-named) and changed the "About Me," (which is also re-named)...lots of changes. Enjoy!              

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Lessons From an Almost Two Year Old

One of the things that blows my mind most about babies is their readiness to forgive.  It never ceases to amaze me when I discipline Johnny (my almost two year old brother) for being naughty and the first thing that he does is turn around and give me a big hug.

I have so much to learn from Johnny!  I am an expert grudge keeper.  Really, if it were an Olympic event I would have a gold medal or two (or three or four...).  and yet, Johnny, my baby brother, forgives before he has even stopped crying from being told "No, no, Johnny!"

I won't go into elaborate detail, because I think that we all know that we ought to forgive.  Jesus was quite clear on this point.

"Then Peter came up and said to Him, "Lord, how often will my brother sin against me, and I forgive him? As many as seven times?" Jesus said to him, "I do not say to you seven times, but seventy times seven."  ~Matthew 18:21-22

Forgiveness takes a great perspective shift.  Rather than focusing on the great and terrible things that people have done to us, we need to be looking at what we did to Christ.

I heard a speech a few years ago about what crucifixion actually was, down to the most gruesome details, and it changed my life.  Sunday school had watered it down for me.  I knew that Jesus had gone through discomfort for us,  We did that to Christ, and He readily opens His arms to us for a big hug, for an eternity in heaven with us, just like Johnny after discipline, wanting a hug.  Now, Johnny did something wrong, and needed correction, and, of course, Jesus did nothing to deserve the punishment that He received, but do you get what I'm saying?  Jesus forgave us so completely that He wants to live with us forever!

That is forgiveness.

"Our Father in heaven,
hallowed be your name. 
Your kingdom come,
your will be done,on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our debts,
as we also have forgiven our debtors.

And lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.

For if you forgive others their trespasses,
your heavenly Father will also forgive you, 
but if you do not forgive others their trespasses,
neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
~Matthew 6:9-15

Over and out,


Thursday, September 8, 2011

Not About Feeling

I’m going through quite an interesting chapter in life right now. I feel strangely…numb.

I just had the most amazing school year and speech season ever followed by my best summer yet. At each speech tournament I could feel God’s presence right there every second and it was almost like a weight. It felt so good to be nearly crushed by God’s presence, by His glory! I could never adequately explain it to you. I felt the same indescribable feeling of God’s presence at debate camp. I have grown closer to God in the past 7 ½ months that in the previous 16 years altogether.

Now I am going through quite a different thing. I’m not feeling God right there with me every second. I’m not hearing His voice speaking to me as I read His word. This really got me thinking, though. Love isn’t about feeling “in love,” it’s an action. You love someone by putting them before yourself, by working to please them, by paying attention to them and spending time with them whether you want to or not.

Love is not about feeling head-over-heels, madly, passionately crazy about someone. That’s what Hollywood thinks, but feelings don’t last and that’s a huge part of why marriage is nearly obsolete right now. Feeling is what love has become about.

I recently watched the movie, “The Last Song,” and quite enjoyed it. Boys, it’s quite a chick flick, so you wouldn’t like it, but I thought it was sweet. Anyway, at one point the “guy” says to the “girl,” “No one makes me feel like you do.” and us girls’ hearts melt into puddles of sentimental goo. But really? How selfish is that? He “loves” her because of how she makes him feel?

And then it struck me. That’s how I’ve been treating my relationship with God. He made me feel amazing for 7 glorious months and now I don’t’ feel amazing anymore. I was loving God because of how He made me feel. I am SO selfish!! That is not what biblical love or biblical faith is based on.

1 Corinthians 13 describes true love beautifully, as only God can describe it.

“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.”

I just read Hebrews 11:1-3 which says, “Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. For by it the people of old received their commendation. By faith we understand that the universe was created by the word of God, so that what is seen was not made out of things that are visible.”
The chapter goes on to say, in verse 6, “And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him.”

Have you ever seen two people who are in love? I mean truly, unselfishly in love? If you’ve ever seen that you know that they are constantly trying to please each other and make the other person loved and important. “ And without faith it is impossible to please him.” 1 Corinthians 13 tells us not only how we ought to love other people but also how God loves us, and how we should be loving God. Now Hebrews 11 tells us how to please our Hero, by having faith.

Love is not about feeling, it’s an action. Even during this dry, desert-like season of my life I can be loving God, I can be pleasing Him, I can have faith in Him.

Over and out,