Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Faking It

The other night, my older son, Grant had his spring concert. He joined the band this year and played the saxophone. He is NOT musically gifted, but he joined to try to make friends since this was his first year in a new school with no friends and not much hope either. Joining the band has really helped him feel like he belongs to something. He was in such need for friendship that the fact that he didn’t know the first thing about how to play any instruments or read music or even spell the word “saxophone” didn’t stop him. I’m so proud of him, even though I wish he’d practice more, and communicated better…I’m still proud! (He didn’t tell us about the spring concert until the night before, which sent me on a panic spin for I knew the shoes I had bought for him back in December for the Christmas concert did not fit anymore!)

At any rate, we went to the concert and we watched him look splendid. At the end, I asked him, “how much did you fake it? 50%?” Back in December, for his first concert, the Band director told him, “if you can’t make it, fake it,” since he knew Grant was just not ready to be a performer yet. To my delight, Grant said, “this time, I played 60 to 65% without faking it.” LOL!

That’s my boy.

After I was done laughing and teasing, I began to think: “how much do I fake it in my own life too?”

I wish I could say I never fake it…the truth is, however, I’m probably right there, next to my son, when it comes to faking it/not faking it ratios.

I want to run a good race. I want to press on and give it my all. I want to always do my best. But over and over and over again, I fall short. Just like the disciples at Gethsemane, when they were supposed to stay awake, make company and give moral support to our Lord, and they fell asleep, I often fall asleep on the road to meeting Him too. 

What is there to do?

Jesus tells us:

"Watch and pray so that you will not fall into temptation. The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." Matthew 26: 41

I know it sounds common sense, and to some perhaps even simplistic, but it is what we ought to do, and so many times we don’t. We need to keep vigilant and pray without ceasing. To be a Christian is to know Christ, and to accomplish that with our limited minds, we have to stay connected to Him. Prayer is the answer. Prayer is the outlet, the cable and the plug. Requesting the guidance of the Holy Spirit on a daily basis is the way to go. And we need His guidance for all the steps we take…not just the big and transcendental ones, but also even the small.

I don’t want to fake my Christian walk. I don’t want to fall asleep on the road either. But my flesh is weak, so sometimes I, inevitably, will again, stumble and fall. But I just want to remember that prayer will get me going 100% of the time.

Grant signed up for band for the coming year. And I am delighted! I’m sure, however, that there will be times, less and less I hope, when he will still have to fake it again. I pray, for the both of us that we won’t have to anymore. As I try to teach my son about the power of prayer, I want us both to remember than rather than faking it, we should always just pray through it.

Linking with:  Whole Hearted Home and Little R and R

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

In Hindsight

I’ve always been intrigued and a bit intimidated by the phrase “in hindsight.” I hesitate every time I want to use it because I’m never sure I even know how to spell it correctly. So I looked it up. According to the Free Online Dictionary by Farlex, it means, “Reconsidering the past with the knowledge one now has.” I think this is a great definition! It makes perfect sense since this is an expression that people often use when they want to refer to things they would had done differently had they known better.

I think it’s also usually a rather melancholic word. It always seems to be accompanied by a deep sense of introspection, a tilt of the head and an almost imperceptible sigh. It’s like a wish we just realized never came true.

O how we wish we had hindsight in foresight!!

The mistakes we would avoid…the phone calls, the visits, the turns, the stops, the decisions we would make that could change the sad and painful outcomes we now face... 


It doesn’t work that way, though. Whereas it’s true we sometimes have the capability to make an educated guess at what's to come...our vision does not reach the future with clarity. Therefore, the decisions we make, the steps we take, and the paths we follow are oftentimes blurred by the rather thick fog of the unknown. That is why, when we solely rely on our own eyes, understanding and knowledge, we hit many roadblocks on the road of life.

If we only had hindsight in foresight…

Although, it is true we don’t…it is also true we know who does.

Remember the former things, those of long ago;
I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is none like me.
I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I say, ‘My purpose will stand,
and I will do all that I please.’ Isaiah 46: 9-10

We don’t know the future, but The Most High God, the Maker of All, the God Who Sees, He knows it! He determines it. He holds it. He has all the hindsight anyone may ever need so ahead of time that He doesn’t even need it because He created it. Mind boggling, huh? That is Our God, undecipherable by our limited human minds. What is not a riddle, however, is the fact that we can put our trust in Him. He is Trustworthy like no other. He knows what’s ahead on our road.  He knows how everything is going to turn out.  And the miracle of it all is that He doesn't send us alone.  He walks with us, and when we stumble and eventually fall, He is the One who picks us up, mends our cuts and tends to our bruised soul.

I don’t know what the future holds…I don’t have hindsight in foresight…but I know who holds the future, and I know who holds my hand. (Ira Stanphill)

Monday, May 19, 2014

Broken Headlights and God Moments

I’ve been thinking a lot about God Moments lately as I try to become more intentional in my faith-walk. I want to have eyes to see His hand in everything that happens to me personally, but I also want to recognize Him in the lives of those around me. 

Thinking about it makes me realize that God Moments come in every shape and form. There are no rules. Just as He is indescribably undecipherable, so are His moments of revelation. Therefore, they are very hard to define. O, but we do know them when we experience them, no doubt. 

Some, are very subtle, and designed just for the individual with the purpose of creating greater intimacy with Him. Like waking up to the beautiful melodies of birds chirping by your window if you are a bird lover; or savoring an unexpected treat when you are feeling lousy; or getting a call or a text from your favorite person when you’re feeling lonely…if you are paying attention, all those rather “insignificant” niceties are God’s gifts to our soul as a personal memento to treasure in our hearts. He is radiantly generous with these types of moments; however, for us to appreciate them, we need to be tuned into His frequency for otherwise we may easily miss them.

Some God-Moments, on the other hand, are monumentally impossible to miss. Surviving a plane wreck, the unexplained cure of a terminal disease, recovering abilities long-thought impossible to be regained, visions and audible revelations…these and other palpably miraculous events fall under this category. In order to deny them, one must be engulfed into the deepest of abysses and under the crushing boot of the enemy. 

Other God Moments are right in the middle. Though they may be subtle and wrongly mislabeled as coincidences (which is the usual mistake made by the fool), at the same time they are pretty hard to dismiss and often leave you in quiet awe. They are, therefore, easily appreciated not just by the person who experienced it directly, but by those around him/her as well…leaving them all with a deep sense of gratitude and comfort, just like the way one feels after a warm embrace. 

Such was the God Moment my dearest friend Judy experience very recently. 

Judy has had a rough time lately, so a few days ago, she had a wonderful respite which she wisely used to get away to a place where she could find some comfort in the company of an old friend, surrounded by the beauty and calm of a wonderful place. She drove 5 hours to get there, and planned to stay a few nights at a cozy Bed and Breakfast. The last night, after saying goodbye to her dear friend, she discovered one of her headlights was out. Upon arriving back at the Bed and Breakfast, she decided not to worry about it since her plan was to leave early in the morning which meant that she wouldn’t need the lights on the drive back home. Morning came, and as soon as she woke up she knew she was in trouble. It was a dark, rainy, gloomy and windy morning and things were forecast to continue like that all throughout the day. 

Judy talked to the people at the Bed and Breakfast who directed her to a nice mechanic around the corner who would take care of her headlights and convinced her to stay another night to avert the weather. She decided to book another night and headed out to the mechanic. As she was waiting for her car to be ready, she heard sirens and saw several emergency vehicles rushing by on their way to the close-by highway. One after another, police patrols and fire trucks broke through the rain to the impending accident. The guys at the garage found out a semi was overturned on the highway…the same highway Judy would have been on, had she not had a broken headlight. 

Right away, she knew, God had spared her. “I would have been there, in that crash…” she told the mechanics in disbelieve. “God gave me a broken headlight to spare my life.”

What can you say when you hear a story like this, other than, Praise the Lord! A God Moment right there, for us to enjoy…Praise be to God!

As it happens, Judy had a splendid day after the nice mechanic fixed her light. She went back to the Bed and Breakfast and spent the day enjoying the peace and quiet that she most desperately needed. God used something broken to give her an extended holiday to re-charge her batteries before going back home to face reality again.

Let’s keep our eyes open and our hearts tuned in so we can recognize and appreciate every God Moment that the Most High sends our way. And don’t forget to share them, for they are as uplifting to us as they are to you. Blessed be His Name!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Walking to the Finish Line

Do you not know that in a race all the runners run, but only one receives the prize? So run that you may obtain it. 1 Corinthians 9: 24

I have never been a runner…well…except for when I was a little girl in elementary school. Back then, I loved running! There was something about the wind on my face that I couldn’t get enough of. I always tried as hard as I could to win races. However, I was never fast enough to break that ribbon at the finish line.

As an adult, I tried jogging, but I failed. My knees are way too weak for that and I am so out of shape, that after half a lap, I feel as if I’m about to have a heart attack. My thyroid issues have complicated things too, so I have resigned myself to never being able to actually run.

Hence my anxiety every time I read this passage.

I know, I know it doesn’t mean literally “running,” that it is a metaphor (a literary device that implies a direct comparison…I teach literature…I understand) BUT, it stresses me out, nonetheless.

I want to receive the prize!

How can I get it if I don’t run?

I guess I could walk, right? I do enjoy walking a lot! It has become my favorite activity. I had to walk to my son Grant’s school the other day in the middle of a heat wave to pick him up because my car was in the garage and I had forgotten he had to stay for after-school tutoring. The funny thing was that I had to take my 8-year-old, Dylan with me on the “walk.” He did not appreciate it, at all!

The walk was exhausting for me physically, but on top of that, it was mentally exhausting also because I had to cheer up Dylan all the way. He is not much for pushing himself. His reaction when I told him we had to walk to Grant’s school was bursting out in sobs. So as soon as we got on the road, I had to make it seem doable every step of the way. I kept saying things like: “look, once we get to that tree it’ll mean we are half way there.” “Hey, by the time we hit the stop sing, it’ll be only one straight road.” “See that fountain, once we walk by it, we’ll be almost there.” 

I have to say that Dylan was a trooper. He only fell once, he didn’t cry for long and he only told me he didn’t love me anymore a couple of times. We were late to pick Grant up, so I had to use the last breath left in my lungs to apologize to the teacher who was waiting with him. Then, we had to turn around and walk back home. But we made it. And I tell you what; there was nothing sweeter to Dylan and I than the sight of our house at the end of the road. 

By the time we opened the door back home, Dylan and I had walked for one whole hour. I couldn’t believe it. It only takes like 4 minutes to get there driving! (Dylan pointed that out the next day when we drove by…he said, “WOW, Grant’s school is so close when we are in the car and it took us so long walking!)

At any rate, my body was so tired that day, but the strangest thing was that my spirit felt great! Finishing that walk was a great accomplishment, especially because of the added bonus of having to encourage Dylan along. But I focused on the task ahead, and pressed on toward the goal. (Philippians 3: 13-14) And at the end, I felt like a winner! 

I guess I don’t have to be a runner, after all. As long as I keep my eyes on Him who gives me strength, I can do all things, even speed-walking in the heat, dragging…I mean, in the great company of my younger son. That’s one for the books, I tell you. And for that, I am curiously thankful.

Here's Dylan, my walking buddy.
Linking with:  Essential Thing Devotions

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Perfume Bottle

But thanks be to God, who in Christ always leads us in triumphal procession, and through us spreads the fragrance of the knowledge of him everywhere. 2 Corinthians 2: 14 (ESV)

When I read this verse I can’t help but to feel humbled by the privilege that it is to be a child of God. In His Mercy and Grace, Our Heavenly Father has devised the most perfect way to lead us in victory…Christ. Regardless of our current state and debilitating circumstance, He is the One whose triumph makes us victorious! Yes, even you and I are, at this very moment, in the midst of our fear, anxiety, temptation, darkness, sadness, loneliness, abandonment, despair, hopelessness, fill-in-the-blank-situation, being led in triumphal procession to meet our destiny.

The most interesting thing is that also, while we are in our victory parade, we are being used by God as a perfume bottle.

The thought is most curious. Think about it. Imagine it or go grab your perfume bottle if you have one. Take a good look at it and answer this question: how do you get the perfume out of it?


Mine has a spray mechanism. I have to press it down so the fragrant liquid is pushed upwards through a tiny tube. There are others, however, that in order to get the perfume out, once you remove the lid you have to turn it up-side-down as you press your finger on the bottle’s mouth. There may be others that you have to squeeze somewhere or another…But look at all the words used here: press down, turn up-side-down, squeeze…how would you like to have that done to you?

The fact is that in order to get the perfume out, there is always a rather violent technique involved. Otherwise, all we may end up with is a nice/chic looking bottle collecting dust on our dresser. The aroma would never be released. And, what’s the point of that?


Is there an analogy here anywhere? I think there might be.

Yes, you got it! The only way to release the fragrant aroma of the knowledge of Christ in our lives is by going through some or other rather uncomfortable and pressing experience which causes us to express His presence in us to all around. Any difficult moment we go through, be it whatever it may, will squeeze the knowledge of Him like the most expensive perfume if we consciously go through that event with our eyes fixed on His face.

As we are pressed down, the fragrance is sprayed and He is glorified! The most exciting thing is that He, indeed, claims us as His incense, holy and pleasing to Him. What a privileged it is then, to be turned up-side-down for His glory!

I will accept you as fragrant incense when I bring you out from the nations and gather you from the countries where you have been scattered, and I will be proved holy through you in the sight of the nations. Ezekiel 20: 41

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

First Step: An Honest Look At Self

Well, by definition, the word “anxious” has a poor connotation. For example, the one you can find in the free online dictionary says: worried and tense because of possible misfortune, danger, etc.; uneasy. It is not a good thing for a person to be anxious. It is not a good thing for a Christian to be anxious. Christ Himself tells us not to be. Worry is the main element of anxiety and He tells us not to worry about anything (Matthew 6: 25-34). We are not to worry about our lives, what we are going to eat, drink, wear, nothing! He takes care of it all, look at the lilies and the birds; He says…we are worth more than them, so we will be OK…

But…I can’t help it…I still worry…I still get anxious.

I am an anxious woman by nature. Sometimes I wonder if anxiety and womanhood are genetically linked??? In my case, I know anxiety runs in my family history. “God made me this way,” is my cop-out phrase of choice. The question is, does He want me to remain this way? Or does He have a transformational plan in place for me and for His glory? I have to believe that He is arduously working on my make over program. I have to believe that I am in the middle of it, rather! He promised! He promised His peace, even when we couldn’t understand how or where it would come from, He said that His peace would be with us, and I choose to believe His Word.

I the midst of my anxious temperament, I hang on to Him and I trust that His Word is legit. I can’t beat myself up because of the way I feel, for I just can’t stop it. It is out of my power to change this aspect of my personality. But one thing that it is within my power is the choice to trust Him. He reaches out to me with His word and I must hold on to His Holy Arm with all I’ve got. He sustains me. His Grace is really sufficient. I seek Him, and He finds me, for He began seeking me first. That is the only reason I know to search for Him…that is the only reason I know to love Him…for He did it first.

I am an anxious and frazzled woman on a quest. I am on a journey. I am on the great adventure that is to seek His face and find His peace. All other things will be taken care of in His time and on the road to meeting Him. 

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. 7 And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4: 6-7

This is a true command for us… even if sometimes we just can’t help it.

Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord's glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 3: 17-18

Whom Do I Blog For?

Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters… Colossians 3: 23

What do I want as a Christian blogger?

I absolutely love blogging, but I’m always short on time and money to invest in it, so I have to prioritize. This is why, early on, I made the conscious decision to sacrifice aesthetics to concentrate on content. 

I put my energy in writing the best content possible because I know that content is king. If I want readers to come back to my blog and better yet, to follow me, I need to offer the most gripping, exciting, insightful, original, witty, and inspiring meditations I could possible come up with. I want them to tell their friends about my blog. I want my posts to go “viral.” I can’t deny that eventually, I would love to write a few books and have them published by a traditional publisher so I can collect hefty royalties. 

If you ask me…that’s what I would tell you if I am honest. However, if I am honest again, I would look back at my statement and see that there is something terribly wrong with it. Not that success should be frowned upon, not at all. It is just that there is something out of order with my ambitious dreams. I am misplacing something…or someone; rather…It seems as if I’ve shifted priorities at a deeper level as well. 

I am mistakenly putting myself at the center of what I do, when instead, I must put Him first! If I am honest, my motivation to write has always been fueled by my selfish and hidden fantasy to become a famous writer. I’ve dreamed about it since as long as I can remember. Now, with the advent of the Internet and blogging, my dream seams finally attainable, so I jumped on the blogging train with both feet as soon as I found out about it. I saw it as God’s gift to people like me whose desire is to be a writer but don’t know the ropes or have the connections. I praised Him for the opportunity, and I’ve been flying with it for a few years now. Sometimes, however, I wonder if I forgot to bring Him along with me on this ride.

I am probably being too hard on myself. I tend to do that. But I can’t help but feeling convicted when at times, I’m day-dreaming about the possibilities and all I see in the picture is me on the spotlight. 

I want to truly do this for Him! For He is my Redeemer, and He lives! Without Him I am nothing, and I want to honor Him with all I do. I want to be inspired to do it all as if for Him…all of it…for He is worthy…He is the Only One worth it. 

I need to remember that my identity is in Him. I am His Christian Blogger, and as such, I seek Him first in my writing. This blog belongs to Christ and I resolve to be content with whatever path He leads me through…even if it never leads me to the fulfillment of my vanities and fantasies. I resolve to be humbly honored to do what I’ve been called to do…I blog for Him!

…knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.  Colossians 3: 24

Linking with:  Whole Hearted Home and Little R and R

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

The Weapons of the Enemy

No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the LORD, and this is their vindication from me," declares the LORD. Isaiah 54: 17

I cling to this promise of the Lord of the Covenant. I hang on to it with all I’ve got for the weapons against me are many, indeed. The enemy has certainly forged an arsenal. And each one of them is linked to a button that he pushes at will in order to hit me at the precise moment. When I am most vulnerable, in comes the dagger that seeks to finish me.

Out of all the enemy’s weapons against me, fear is the most deadly. Fear in all its varieties…fear in all its faces…fear in all its stages. 

What to do about fear? How to combat it? How to eliminate it? We fight it! We remember that not only we have a shield to protect us, but we also have a sword to strike back! We draw our sword and we go to war against fear. We wave our sharp blade up in the air, the double edge sword that is The Word and we slash its head off. (Ephesians 6: 10-18)

*when fear of the unknown attacks, we counter it by remembering the many times Jesus’ disciples and most people in the Bible were also afraid, and how He was always there:

When the disciples saw Him walking on the sea, they were terrified, and said, "It is a ghost!" And they cried out in fear. But immediately Jesus spoke to them, saying, "Take courage, it is I; do not be afraid." Matthew 14:26-27

*When the fear of losing control grips us with anxiety and what we planned or hoped for dissipates in front of our eyes, we remember that

…all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to [his] purpose. Romans 8: 28

*When fear of failure paralyses us, we lift up our heads and remember that everything is possible with Him: 

 "I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world." John 16: 33

*When fear of being alone keeps us in the dark, we remember the Covenant and the promise of His presence: 

 Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you." Deuteronomy 31:6

All in all, when fear gets a foothold on us, let us repeat over and over again, aloud if possible, that:

The LORD is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear? The LORD is the stronghold of my life; of whom shall I be afraid? Psalm 27:1

I trust that no weapon forged by the enemy with the single purpose of defeating me will have the power to destroy me, for I belong to Christ, and in Him, I am already victorious.

What weapons from the enemy to you struggle against?

Sunday, May 11, 2014

To The Boys Who Call Me Mom

Today, I want to celebrate the two young boys who make me a Mom. Grant and Dylan came to us under very special circumstances, both as individual, precious gifts from God. After 8 long years, Our Heavenly Father granted us Grant through the miracle of science and later, Dylan, through the miracle of adoption. 

They are both amazing in their own way. They drive me crazy, they frustrate me, they test the limits of my patience, they push me, they worry me, they hurt me and they surprise me every day. They are also two of the most finely tuned instruments that God uses to teach me the best and most profound lessons as I walk through this valley of tears called life.

Like the time, after they had lost both of their Grandfathers the same year and under rather tragic and dramatic circumstances, I got the kid version of the book Heaven is for Real for them. The night before my husband and I left for Panama to attend my Father’s funeral, after Grant finished reading the book, he came into my room and gently presented it back to me saying: “I think you should read it. It will make you feel better.”

I was so moved by that gesture. I thought I had been successful in hiding the deep, deep sadness I was carrying around after the passing of my beloved Father…but Grant’s keen sensibility had perceived it. That’s who he is…

And the other day, just last week, really, as I was yelling at Dylan for not having brought his homework home and having forgotten important papers at school, he said: “but I got an A+ in Music!” He was so proud! Then I replied, “Music doesn’t matter! You need to learn how to read and write and do math well before anything else!” I was so frustrated!!! Then, he quietly said, “but, ‘without music life would be a mistake’” 

I mean…really…

What do you even say after that??? I didn’t say anything, I just laughed, picked him up, gave him a huge squeeze and many kisses. 

(Just to clarify, Dylan is not studying Nietzsche at 8 years old. He has just watched the movie “Here Comes the Boom” many times and that’s one of the underlying themes of the film.)

At any rate, that’s who Dylan is…

And for all that and much more, I will always Praise the Lord Most High. His gifts and blessings overwhelm me for I am so undeserving. All the more, I remain most incandescently thankful to Our Lord. That's why I celebrate my boys, headaches and is the hardest job on Earth, but it is the most worthwhile. 

Happy Mother's Day!

Thursday, May 8, 2014

As For Me and My Household, We Follow The Light!

When you have young sons in this day in age, you learn things that you never knew you needed to know. For example, did you know that there is a super hero (or villain, I can’t get them straight) called Ant Man whose super power is to become really tiny? Or, how about the one called Squirrel Girl who shoots out little rodents…don’t ask me…I don’t get it either…

Another thing you might become very familiar with when you have kids at home is the film industry. Whether you like it or not, it is rather hard to escape turning into quite the connoisseur of the kid-movie genre. Such is the case in my household. And even though there aren’t many which are worth talking about, sometimes we discover a rare jewel among the rubble. One that has won the heart of all in my family is called The Croods.

Briefly, The Croods is about the last surviving cave-men family. In the story, the Dad kept all the members of the family alive by forcing them to stay in a cave most of the time. It is truly funny, but there is also a deep message which captivated me from the first time I saw it (that’s right, I’ve seen that movie like 15+ times). The underlying theme is summarized when the Dad, after a series of ironically, funny tragedies, says to his rebellious teenage daughter: “what’s the point of all these, you asked? To follow the light!” He says this as his parting words when he sacrifices himself to, once again, save his family.

I love that scene.

That’s the scene where the father-daughter conflicting-clash of characters gets resolved. Dad finally gets his daughter, Eep’s nagging question: What’s the point of surviving or ‘not dying’ as she puts it, when we have to live in a dark cave?

As a Christian, of course I understand and side with Eep, the rebellious, sun-loving teen who is sick and tired of living in a cave…the problem is…that often times I recognize the fearful, untrusting Dad in me as well. I want to stay in the safety of my cave, even if it’s dark. I like feeling protected even if it means sacrificing freedom. I like the sense of control, even if it means rejecting the light.

That attitude leads me to living a life filled with fear and anxiety. At the least bit windy day, I shake and want to hide. At the sign of problems, I break. At the smallest hint of an issue, I shake and shudder. I want to protect my loved ones even to the point where they don’t get to experience anything, because I am too afraid of letting them do anything, may they get hurt.

I don’t want to be like that. I want to be a follower of the Light. No matter what the circumstance, I want to trust Him and His plans. I want the light of the Son to shine on my face so bright that I have to wear shades! I don’t want to be enslaved to fear anymore. He has overcome the world, and if I belong to Him, I can, too overcome it all. I want to be free, for it is for freedom that Christ has made me free! (Galatians 5: 1)

In the end, Grug, the Dad, got it, “No more caves, we follow the light!” he said…I want to get it too. And I want to be so in tuned to His voice that I can hear it all around me. I want to hear His message for me, even if it comes in shrink-wrap and it smells of microwave pop-corn.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

The Day Love Was Born

Yesterday was my older son Grant’s birthday. And for a selfish person such as myself, that marks the day when God truly began to teach me about love.

For a person like me, thoroughly consumed by self, holding that tiny baby in my arms twelve years ago meant the realization that I really do not matter. Looking into his deep eyes I knew that someone had finally arrived into my life that made me think of myself less. 

Somewhere between gently rubbing his cute and chubby, baby cheeks and changing his first diaper I found out what they mean when they say love is sacrifice. Watching him roll over for the first time, begin to play, take his first steps, get his first knee scrape, learn how to ride a bike (Gosh, was that frustrating), show his first signs of stubbornness and his knack for arguing I am learning what commitment is all about. Listening to his first words, seeing him coming to me for a hug, hearing him call me Mom, I have experienced the warm and fuzzy side of love.

The Holy Spirit is showing me every day through my sons what He means when he inspired Paul to says:

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. 1 Corinthians 13: 4-7

The day love was born in my heart, the Lord began to show me how to disappear so He can truly and fully reign in my life.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

How Easy Is It to Forgive?

How easy is it to forgive abusive parents? How easy is it to forgive the mother that never showed you love? The father who abandoned you? The brother who turned his back on you? 

How easy is it to forgive the relatives who chose to forsake you? The friends who betrayed you? The one who broke your heart?

Forgiveness is a choice. It is, however, one nearly impossible to make on your own.

There are wounds too deep to heal. There are hurts too strong to overcome. There is pain too awful to endure. There are blows too evil to forgive.

From our human perspective and by our mortal strength, that is.

The supernatural power of the Most High, on the other hand, can, not only patch up the broken heart, but restore it. He can seal the cut and make us new. He is able to make the pain go away and transform us. He is the One who can help us forget. He is the One who can teach us how to forgive.

Even if the relationship is never restored. Even if the aggressor is never repentant. Even if the oppressor never knows it. Even if there is no evidence of punishment.  Forgiveness is the one step we must take in order to find peace. 

Forgiveness is ultimately an act of love, not the kind of love that fizzles, not the kind of love that evaporates in the heat of life’s struggles. Forgiveness is a reflection of the Love that we carry inside, the Love Divine, the Love that sacrifices, the Love that is willing to hang on a cross for us…undeserving us…

How do we do the impossible, then? We don’t do it alone. We do it by the power of the Holy Spirit who transfers His strength to us as we invoke Him and as we move toward obedience. We do it repeatedly, over and over again, until the sincerity of our hearts inspires Godly sorrow for the one who hurt us…not seven times, but seventy-seven times, forever, until the pain is washed away.

How easy is it to forgive? Not easy, but not impossible either, thanks to Him, through whom all things are possible.

Jesus looked at them and said, "With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible."  Matthew 19: 26

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.   Colossians 3:12-14