Tell The Truth

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There’s something I need to say.

Sometimes Christians are the world’s biggest liars.  We say that we are “too blessed to be stressed” or that “God doesn’t give us more than we can handle” or that we are confident that “this too shall pass” or that “God will work everything out to our good.”  It’s like we think that if we say things are horrible or sad or too hard that this somehow diminishes who our Great God is.

So…we all have this internal struggle.  We all do.  Whether it’s with doubt or addiction or circumstances or broken hearts or hard times or injustice or whatever.  Sometimes we absolutely and most decidedly are NOT too blessed to be stressed.

Sometimes I’m really freaking stressed.

Sometimes I’m really hurting.

Sometimes I’m really sure that I Can Not Do This.  (Whatever it may be.)

I read an article on HuffPost this week called “The One Things Christians Should Stop Saying” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-dannemiller/christians-should-stop-saying_b_4868963.html and it stirred something in me.  When did we stop speaking the truth?

I want to tell the truth because I need you to pray for me, give me a hug, share YOUR story with me.  I need to make room for God to deal with my heart.  A heart that is all tangled up in lies is not a heart that is open for healing.

I think I know why we do this…
1. We want to be strong. This is a tough one for me because my life heroes are strong Christian women with unshakable faith and determination and wherewithal. And I want to be like that. But I’m learning (oh, so slowly) that being honest and being real is a sort of strength. Being brave enough to face what’s happening with honesty and authenticity, being willing to be uncomfortable but true…it’s the Sacred Scared. Sacred Scared  Somehow, we’ve convinced ourselves that strength, even false is more valuable than vulnerability.
2. We don’t want to make a mess. Facing our fears and our emotions and our hurts and our struggles is super messy. Feelings might fall out all over the place, tears might flow, we might do the ugly cry. We might make others uncomfortable. We will have to clean up the mess.
3. We don’t have time. We are so busy, running so fast and so hard that we don’t have time to stop and ugly cry and lay in the floor and process. We have to get this kid to ballet and this kid to soccer and hubby has a meeting and we have choir practice or PTA and we have to finish the project and we have to bake 87 muffins and we are busy, busy, busy. Too busy, busy, busy.
4. We are afraid that if we tell the truth, that it’s a bad ad for our Faith. We are afraid that if people know that being a Christian does not guarantee ease and deliverance and sunshine and rainbows, no one will want to sign up. We are afraid that if we tell the truth, that it’ll seem like we don’t have faith, that we don’t trust Him. We are afraid that if we tell the truth, He won’t seem good. Or maybe even that He won’t BE good.

But the thing is…He is always good.  He can never be better, He can never be worse.  He will never love us any less and He will never love us any more, because His love is perfect.  What we do…what we do can NOT change who HE is.

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God can handle our weakness.  He can handle our brokenness.  He wants to tend to our wounds.  His Spirit is like oil poured out on our broken places.  We have to tell the truth and be vulnerable and be authentic.  This is how it gets better.  Because He is with us.  He is always with us.

And I know how much I love it when people tell me the truth.  “How are you?”  I’ll say to another mommy and if she says, “Just great!” that’s just fine and we hang out and have a pleasant time.  But if I say to another mommy, “How are you?”  and she says, “Yesterday, I cried the whole time I made the peanut butter sandwiches.”  that’s a whole other kind of visit.  I can commiserate with her.  I can give her a hug.  I can pray with her.  Give advice.  Just stand with her.  There’s solidarity in that kind of honesty.  Love flows easily when it has an open and honest riverbed to flow through.

Sometimes things are Just Fine.  And when they are, that’s when we need to reach out to friends that we suspect are NOT just fine.

We can do this.  We can tell the truth.  Don’t worry, it won’t make God any less God.  It won’t make us any less Us.

Say Something

Raw Truth-My Messy Beautiful

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messy-beautiful-700bThis essay and I are part of the Messy, Beautiful Warrior Project — To learn more and join us, Click here! And to learn about the New York Times Bestselling Memoir Carry On Warrior: The Power of Embracing Your Messy, Beautiful Life, just released in paperback,Click here!

This weekend, I went to a retreat with about 25 wonderful warrior women.  The weekend was bursting with love, laughter, stories and so many desserts.  The house we stayed in was massive and could not contain the joy that Jesus put in us all.  These were women who were not interested in competition or in one upmanship or in out spiritualizing one another.  These were women who were willing to be super honest and share their hearts and stories.  I saw strengths and weaknesses and the strengths encouraged and the weaknesses encouraged and it was just plain Messy Beautiful.

I came home wanting more of the Word and the Way and more love and more joy.  Today, with the chilly rain pouring and kids home for spring break and fibro jumping up and down in my legs, I curl up in the Chair of Healing and set to reading the Bible.

Nora snatches the Bible out of my hands and rips a page out.  The first page of Genesis 27.  I fuss at her, she laughs, unfazed and tries to snatch more pages out.  I hold it just out of her reach while she squeals in indignation.  Kind of hard to read this way.

A fight breaks out over a spot on the couch and it is a fight that must be navigated.  Two little girls whose tiny butts certainly do NOT take up the whole couch all of a sudden must BOTH sit in this one good spot.  (Sort of like Sheldon on the Big Bang Theory.)  They are both banished from the spot altogether.

While I deal with that, Nora grabs  coffee and dumps it into my purse and all down the Chair of Healing.  (For those of you who are new to my blog, the Chair of Healing is my beloved recliner that my friends bought me to recover in after Nora’s Birth.)  Coffee covers my journal, the insides of my purse, pill bottles and appointment cards, lipstick and my iPhone.  Thanks Nora.

I clean all of that up, take a deep breath and with far less resolve, I get back to it.

“Blessed are the Poor in Spririt”, I read but  I realize I still need to drink coffee.  The Bible is set aside and I am off to make another cup.

My biggest girl’s car keys are missing and all activities stop while we all help her look.  Nora dumps out my second cup.

“Blessed are the poor in Spirit.”  All I’ve read so far.

More coffee to clean up, distractions all over the place and I just feel like a big fat failure.

I feel like the days are so full of diapers and cleaning up messes and tantrums and fights and admonitions and tasks and appointments and driving to preschool that I just can’t see above the water.  It feels hopeless because I just can’t get anywhere.  Swimming in place.

And I am haunted anew by these feelings of inadequacy.  In this raw truth:

I feel like I don’t measure up.  I’m just not good enough.

And I feel like too that I have to keep this secret of not being good enough because what if….what if…what if:

Everyone finds out and I am left alone?

Raw truth.  I told you it was raw.

I remember when I was a pregnant teenager and I felt like I’d just gotten in the good graces of Jesus by the skin of my teeth.

I remember when I got divorced and I felt like an anomaly among the “good” Christian women.

I remember when I lost custody of my son and the sting of that failure almost took me down.

I remember walking the floor with my screaming fifth baby wondering why in the world I couldn’t figure her out.

I remember about a bajillion times that I’ve compared my precious six with other people’s. Wondering if I’ve ruined them for ever and ever and ever with my inadequate mothering.  Oh, comparison, that sneaky thief that makes us all feel like we are no good. Comparing my spiritual life, comparing my writing, comparing my singing, comparing my marriage or my friendships.

And I am swirling.  Swirling down, falling to pieces over my failures because I have yet to have a good “quiet time” today.  Because I can’t get my baby to stop dumping out my coffee, because my kids are fighting, because there are toys everywhere, because I don’t even know what to read in the Bible.

“Blessed are the poor in Spirit.”  Those words sing out in my heart.  He quiets me with His singing.  “Blessed are the poor in Spirit.”

I am stopped still.  I love those words, treasure them and ponder them in my heart and they are the only words I’ve read all morning. And maybe, just maybe…there is a purpose in it.

My Spirit is weak within me and in the midst of my mess, my Spirit is beautiful.  Because I am made in the image of God.  Because God has given me gifts to share.  Because I am loved and redeemed.  Because my six have their issues too but they are messy beautiful and so is my marriage and really my whole crazy life, the glorious chaos that we are is all so beautiful.

Nora smiles her silly smile at me and Lila and Claire are snuggled in the big chair, the couch abandoned…Julia’s keys are still lost but the house seems to hold a precious sort of joy just now.  A moment of peace and sweetness and light and I am suddenly so grateful.  Julia asks me if I’ll use my mom super powers to help her find those keys, “Please just help me look again?”

Blessed are the poor in Spirit, for ours is the kingdom of heaven.  Ours is the kingdom of heaven.

I set the Bible aside and begin the search.

Oh, March

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Oh, March

It’s been a wild month.

We moved.  Four years, 2000 square feet, eight people, one dog and two cats’ worth of stuff to box up and transport from point A to a smaller point B.  All my insecurities exposed to those helping with the move, helping with unpacking, helping with getting that old house back to how it was when we got it.  Insecurities about not being the best (or even the mediocre-ist) at housekeeping, organization, stewardship.  I hold this deep seated fear of not being good enough and losing out on relationships and good gifts and acceptance.  Lots of Jesus, lots of therapy, lots of books…but it still rises up.

I can often just laugh at my weaknesses and feel great about my strengths but…

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Multiplied by:

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Equals:

forget-calm-i-m-freaking-out

 

And sorry, but moving is stressful.

But for all of the stress and freaking out…it went really well.  We had many helpful and cheerful hands that day.  Lots of old friends, new friends and family to help us.  There was laughter and hard work and pizza and it was a good day.

Now, we must just find time to unpack everything and figure out where it’s all going to go.  We love our new home and it feels good to start fresh in a new place.  To mark the end of a season and welcome the beginning of a new one.

Over the past two months, the kids have been sick over and over.  Lots of tummy bugs and snotty noses.  Lots of sleepless nights.  (Lots of sleepless nights.)  They’ve shared some of their sicknesses with the whole family.  Lots of laundry, lots of feverish kids in laps, tired eyes, short tempers, but good times too.  Little girls singing “Let It Go” at the tops of their lungs, dance parties, playing outside in good weather.

And, in the midst of the joy and the insecurities and the stressors…I am having so much unexplained and acute pain.

It started in my joints back when Lila was a newborn.  I followed up then with my doctor, got a diagnosis of perhaps rheumatoid arthritis and that is where it ended.  I couldn’t take the  meds while nursing, so I kind of just ignored it….thinking I’d deal with it once Lila was weaned.

Then I got divorced and had no health insurance so there was nothing medically I could afford to do.

The pain waxed and waned.  The more stressed I was, the more I hurt.  For a time, I followed a vegan diet and found real relief.

I got married again, I had health insurance again and I went back to the doctor.

This time, adding Vitamin D to my body all but erased my symptoms.

And all was well for quite a well.

But then I had Nora.  You can read all about that in November and December and January.  I have not been well since November 18, 2012.

But I have recovered from surgery.  I’ve been dealing with joint and muscle pain, extreme fatigue and sensitivity to cold for the past few months.  It’s been significant.  Some days, I hurt at a level 8 or 9 out of 10 all day.  Some days, I have great mornings and even afternoons but really rough evenings.  Some days, I wake up and feel like I haven’t slept at all.  I’m grateful that it’s not been worse but it has not been fun.

I finally have a diagnosis.  And no, it’s not a “catch-all diagnosis” and it’s not “what they say when they can’t figure out what’s wrong” or “all in my head” or “just depression”.  And yes, it is a “real condition”.  Chances are good that it won’t get any better, though I will have good days.  Chances are that I can alleviate symptoms with some life style changes that I predict I will not enjoy.  What we know for sure is this:  This is a real thing.

From the Mayo Clinic:  Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain accompanied by fatigue, sleep, memory and mood issues. Researchers believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way your brain processes pain signals.

Symptoms sometimes begin after a physical trauma, surgery, infection or significant psychological stress. In other cases, symptoms gradually accumulate over time with no single triggering event.

So, it makes sense that it presented after Lila’s difficult birth.  It makes sense that it worsened during the stress of my divorce.  It makes sense that it came on with a vengeance after Nora was born and after all the drama that came with it.

I’m processing it all.  John bought me a book on the subject.

fibro book

We are reading and learning about things that help.  Laughing that of course I got a disease that is characterized by nerves over reacting!  Conventional and unconventional ways to alleviate the symptoms.  We are thinking about boundaries and guidelines- go to bed in time to get at least 8 hours, do less during the week, schedule rest times, nap times, taking it easy in the chair of healing with my heating pad times.  I’ll be saying yes to less and resting up before and after.  I’ll be taking walks and doing yoga and considering how my diet of candy, pasta, coffee and Diet Dr. Pepper might possibly be improved.  I’ll be asking for prayer.

Through it all…through the discouragement and the weariness and the pain and the stress…I am feeling a sense of Emmanuel.  God with me.  A legit feeling of Emmanuel.  Not just the declaration that “I know God is with me.” and wondering when I’m going to feel it.  His real and true presence.  I have felt freedom to cry and freedom to say, “I just can’t do anything else today.”  I have felt freedom to say, “Really God?  A chronic pain condition on top of everything else?”  I have felt hopeful about this new season, in spite of it all.  I’m learning to let Him love me and to just be where I am…for the good or the ill.

This is where I am today.  Being still in Him.  Being present with Him.  Laying the pain in my knees and in my heart at the foot of the cross.

Beloved, be loved.  It’s what we were made for.

 

I AM Weak, I really Am…but Thou Art Strong

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Some of my favorite lady bloggers are my favorites because they don’t mind sharing their weaknesses.  Glennon over at Momastery is doing a series right now called “Sacred/Scared” where women are being gut level honest about their fears.  Letting us in to see their truth.  To show that we are not the only ones who are afraid.

Ann Voskamp at A Holy Experience shared a post in early February called “Why Weak is the New Strong” and she told the truth about her weakness.  We women nodded in agreement and we said, “Yes, I have been there.”

My friends Jen and Ann are both walking through a very rocky valley and they don’t mind saying, “This is hard.  It sucks.  I’m having a really hard time.”  They speak the truth and that is where their strength comes from.

And now I am walking into an epiphany.

Somewhere along the way, my heart twisted positive thinking and pulling myself up by the boot straps as the only real strength.  But now I am learning…authentic emotion, being willing to wade through where I really am, being weak is the only real strength.

How many times have we heard it said, “My power is made perfect in your weakness.”  But do we let Him in to make His power perfect?  Do we break down who we are and where we are and what we’re going through and do we cry out, “God, I can’t do this.” so that He can bring real, true strength?

I am slowly learning.  Slooooowly learning.

There is no virtue in my stuffing feelings down and being “strong”.  It just creates a prison.

Yesterday, I saw this on Glennon’s facebook page and I could not stop thinking about it all day long.

bekind

 

How true is this?  We are all going through something!  Whether it be a dying relative or kids puking at 2am, we are all going through hard things.

I humbly offer that sometimes we think our hard things aren’t “enough” to warrant feeling our way through them.  That maybe we think we just shouldn’t sweat it because someone always has it worse.  Or maybe we think that if we throw enough Scripture and platitude at the problem, it will lose its power.

Sometimes I make people uncomfortable when I talk about how much I wish Nora’s twin was with us.  I have a deep ache for that baby, a grief that is renewed with every new thing Nora does.  She has learned to walk and I can’t help but envision another baby taking first steps too.  Yesterday, she gathered up all of the remotes and gave them to Aubrey, who did not need them and I wondered what kind of quirky stuff Asher would’ve done.  I think about that baby a lot.  And I am learning to let myself grieve him…as it comes, in waves.

But well-meaning and beloved ones want to make it okay for me.  They want to come up with reasons why it’s a blessing  and God knows best  and He works all things together for my good.  They don’t want me to feel sad and the heart behind it is so pure and there is comfort in loved ones wanting to ease my pain.  I don’t mean to discredit these well meaning words.

But, when someone will just stand in my pain with me, hold my arms up, say, “Yes.  It is so sad that Asher isn’t growing up with Nora.”  or even just, “I’m sorry.”  Without a but or a qualifier or an admonition to trust God and it’ll be okay…There are not enough words to describe how that heals.

Because the truth of it all is…being honest about how we feel does not disqualify those other truths.  I can be so sad about Asher, but God can still be good.  God does know best.  And He does work all things together for my good.  But He can also handle my grief and tears.  He can swoop in and in that place where I am being real, authentic and truly vulnerable, he can heal my heart.  Grieving a loss does not negate the good God has given me.

He can work with me when I’m not busy maintaining a shell of “strength”.

He can heal my heart when I’m not busy building a shell of positivity over it.

He can work with me, in that place of authentic vulnerability and it is so uncomfortable but so worth it.

Blessed are the poor in spirit, blessed are they that mourn…

Loving Much

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I’m not even supposed to be posting until March.  John and my friend Kerry and I are working on a new look and a new format for this old blog and my plan was not to blog again until we launched it.

And for that matter, I’m not even supposed to be sitting in this chair on my laptop.  My house is a MESS.  And not a cute little mess, either, where there’s just a few toys on the floor and maybe a couple of pairs of kids’ shoes in the hall.  I’m talking college frat boy level mess.  Dirty dishes, dirty laundry, book bag contents, spilled and then dried coffee, toys, toys, toys, shoes, muddy tracks in the hall from the feet of kids, grown ups and a great big dog.  Monday and Tuesday are busy daycare days and Wednesday was wall to wall appointments and it doesn’t take long for a house filled with kids and animals and a bunch of inherently messy adults to wreck the place.  We’ve done a bang up job.

But everyone knows I hate cleaning and besides I think I’ve arrived at an epiphanal (It’s possible that “epiphanal” is not a real word but I’m gong with it) truth and I’ve got to share it with you.  Even if you  might not like it.  Or maybe you will.  I don’t know but it doesn’t much matter.

I’m always talking love, gratitude and restoration.   And lately at Grace Church, we’ve been talking about discipleship.  And lately, in counseling, I talk with my therapist about Receiving Love.  Being Loved.

And I’ve figured out that learning to Be Loved is the key to the whole thing.  Learning to Be Loved and then sharing that Love.

So, I was thinking about all this today as I was driving back to preschool with Claire’s lunch box that I did not place in her bookbag this morning…

I was thinking about the lady I met in the waiting room at Claire’s opthamologist’s appointment.  She had four boys and upon hearing that I had five daughters and only one son, she said this:  “I’m so glad I didn’t have girls.”  And actually did a little fake shudder, horror at the thought of having a daughter.

And immediately, offense rose up in me.  This is a hot button issue for me because I just don’t think boys or girls are better than the other.  One is not harder than the other, one is not easier…frankly, parenting is hard.  One kids, two kids, thirteen kids, all boys, all girls, some of each, it’s hard.  And anyway, you can’t paint one whole gender with such a broad brush.  You can’t.  My five girls are all different from one another, some hard at times, others not as much…they all have their own quirks, they all have their own strangths and you know what?  It really pisses me off when people act like one gender is preferable  to the other.

See?  This stuff makes me stabby.

And all of that was running through my head so loud that I almost didn’t hear the still, small voice gently pulling me out of offense and selfishness and into compassion.

“Hear her in this.”

Because here is what she said next.  “I just know any girl I would’ve had would’ve turned out like me.”  And she said it and laughed but because God opened my eyes…I saw the hurt in her words.

How do I know her story?  Where that misogyny was born?  Who spoke ugliness about daughters over her?  How do I know that she isn’t bitterly disappointed about not having a daughter and covering it over with jokes and bravado?  How dare I take offense?  I don’t know her story.

And she went on to talk about her divorce and raising four boys by herself and I listened and we chatted and then it was time for Claire to go see the eye doctor.

She has stayed on my mind and I am praying for her and our paths may never cross again and that’s fine.  But I almost missed an opportunity to  love because I was so quick to take offense.

And that got me thinking about the modern church and how we are so quick to boycott, so quick to take offense, so quick to picket and protest and pray for people to stop sinning and get their life together.  Our ministry is not to meet needs and share this Great Love that we’ve been given, this Great Grace and Redemption and Deliverance…but no, our ministry has turned into “helping people change” or “calling people out of sin” or “standing against (insert sin du jour here)”.  Is this really His plan for us?  His desire for us?

How can it be?

Is it love that goes first and foremost out of us?  Is it grace?  Is it peace?  Who have you ever heard of who came to a closer relationship or a relationship at all with Jesus because of a boycott or a protest or from being “held accountable” by someone who was not invited to their life to hold them accountable?  But how many have felt the love of Jesus from a kind word, a listening ear, a hot meal, a paid bill, some babysitting, a visit?

We need to be reminded:

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We need to be reminded:

Matthew 22-37,40

We need to be reminded:

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And you know what else?  Let’s stop acting like our sin isn’t equal to the sin we’re always making such a fuss about.  We are ALL sinners and we have ALL fallen short of the glory of God.  And every single sin, the ones that Christians find “acceptable” and the ones we don’t are all the same and are all the nails in His hands and the thorns in His forehead, the sword in His side.  Every drop of His blood that was spilled was for EVERY sin and that is what makes them equal in His eyes.

How His heart must break when we are so busy calling out sin and not pouring out love.

I want my heart to break over that too.

Matthew 25:31-46

34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’

41 “Then he will say to those on his left, ‘Depart from me, you who are cursed, into the eternal fire prepared for the devil and his angels. 42 For I was hungry and you gave me nothing to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me nothing to drink, 43 I was a stranger and you did not invite me in, I needed clothes and you did not clothe me, I was sick and in prison and you did not look after me.’

44 “They also will answer, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry or thirsty or a stranger or needing clothes or sick or in prison, and did not help you?’

45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’

This is His heart.  That we stop making it our ministry to change people and start making it our ministry to love people into the kingdom.  He wants to lavish His love on His people, all of us, no matter what our favorite sins are.  His love and forgiveness and His sacrifice was for us all.  For the annoying, for the addicted, for those who can not or will not help themselves, for those who’ve got it all together and for those who are just a big mess, for the weirdo and the non-weirdo alike, for the awkward and the confident.  We all hold the same value.

Jesus died for every sin and every wound and every single soul that His father made.

I want to lead with love.  I want the love of Jesus to fill me up so much that it sloshes out on everyone I meet.  I want to be known by love and not judgement, to be known by grace and not condemnation, to be known by mercy and not self righteousness, to be known by acceptance and not by pride.  I want to see my fellow man, woman and child through the eyes of Christ and offer the love He’s given me to them.

Because…

Luke 7:38-50

38 As she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.

39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is—that she is a sinner.”

40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.”

“Tell me, teacher,” he said.

41 “Two people owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,[a]and the other fifty. 42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he forgave the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”

43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt forgiven.”

“You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.

44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet, but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You did not give me a kiss, but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet. 46 You did not put oil on my head, but she has poured perfume on my feet. 47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven—as her great love has shown. But whoever has been forgiven little loves little.”

48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”

49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”

50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.”

 This woman was a sinner, just like we all are, but she was an unacceptable kind of sinner.  She was weird and she was awkward and she just pushed her way into a respected male home and she pushed way under the table and poured out tears and perfume all over his feet.  Picture that.

Just picture it.

It’s dinner time and Jesus is at someone’s house, eating.  And this woman, (a known prostitute or adulteress?  I’m not sure, ask John Carter, he’s the theologian around here), she is weeping in the presence of this Jesus who has covered her with grace.  Her love is so great, it is falling from her eyes and she must pour it out at his feet.  

And this woman is me.  This woman is you.  This woman is all of us who profess to love Him.  We have all been forgiven much, we have been bought at such a high cost.  How are we not pouring out our love on everyone we see?  Loving much, because we’ve been forgiven much.

But the thing I really want us to SEE here is how Jesus received her.  He did not call out her sin, it was there between them and He knew about it and she knew about it.  But what He saw was her love and what He gave was His love.

This is our Jesus.  Leading with love.  Waving a banner of love.  Grace.  Redemption.  Peace.  Joy.

So, that’s where I’m at today.  That letting Him love me and in turn sharing that love is the key to it all.  To making disciples, to evangelism, to being a good friend, to honoring others, to being a good mom…it’s the key to it all.

My prayer for you and my prayer for me….”Beloved, be loved.”

New Things

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Tomorrow will be one year since Nora came home.  Yesterday she took her first steps.

 

Things have changed a lot since then and things have changed a lot in me.

So it makes sense, that the blog would change?

John and my friend Kerri and I are working on some big stuff.  

I’m excited to show you!  Hang in there, dear readers and watch for new stuff coming in Spring!

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I’m sewing a stocking when Lazarus leaps into my lap and pushes his sweet orange face into my hands.  He is already purring and if cats could smile, he’d be beaming when I scratch behind his ears.  He is all love and joy and gratitude.  I set my work aside.

On November 18, Nora’s birthday, Lazarus just showed up.  We’d gone out for dinner to celebrate Nora’s first year and when we came home, John heard a scuffle in the garage.  He beckoned me quietly and said, “I think there’s an animal in the garage.”  Upon further investigation, we found a scrawny, half shaved shadow of a cat who meowed and cried.

We fed him some of Milla’s cat food and he was immediately grateful.

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He’d shown up on our miracle day and so we knew that if he didn’t have a home waiting for him, a home that was looking for him, that we would keep him.

And ever since then, he has gained weight, begged for food, swirled around ankles, snuggled in laps and has basically just been loving life.

Lazarus is a grateful, grateful cat.

He knows what he’s been given and he knows that he has been rescued.

And this morning when he climbed into my lap…it just got me thinking.  It got me thinking of she who had been forgiven much and how she loves much.  How gratitude is at the heart of that love.

I’m grateful for this refugee cat.  I’m grateful for the reminders.

I know what I’ve been given.  I know that I’ve been rescued.

It’s all part of it…learning to be loved by God.  Learning to drink in that love, to climb into His lap, unable to contain my thanks and my affection, to have it pour out.

To hear Him say…and say…and say….

Beloved, be loved.

Lazarus