Monthly Archives: April 2011

If I Knew I Could, I Would. . .


I’m joining Lisa-Jo at Gypsy Mama again for 5 Minute Friday.  Join us! Just write for 5 minutes–no edits, no extra time–just write and post.  The theme today is “If I knew I could, I would. . .

GO
If I knew I could find the words that would convince you that God loves you, I would drop everything and spill those words out for you to hear and watch your eyes and heart light up.

If I knew the acts in my life that would show you how much God loves you, and what peace you would find if you knew Him, I would stop everything else and just do those things that would show you.

If I knew I could find another person in this world who could help you to see God and have faith the way I do, I would push aside my introverted nature and introduce you to that person and serve you tea and cupcakes while you talked.

If I knew that I could point you to a passage in scripture that would speak to your heart and show you His, I would sit with you in silence as you read and pray for God’s presence at that moment.

If I knew that I could pray for God to pursue you and prepare your heart and that nothing I could do would help, I would pray anyway because I love you that much, and because I know God loves you that much, and because I know hope and faith and love prevail. . . .

STOP

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Sometimes I Just Don’t Want to Write.


Sometimes I just don’t want to write.

My mind just wants to be numb. 

My heart just doesn’t want to feel.

I don’t want to pour out the heartaches and wounds of this tired soul.

I’d rather sit alone in silence. 

Hold it in. 

Pretend that life is perfect—or at least just fine–in these four walls.

Just not feel or even blink at the chaos that unravels around me and then lands in my lap a tattered mess.

 But who would I be kidding?

 I need to write.

It frees me from the loneliness of this life. 

This broken, shattered life.

It gives me hope. 

A voice.

And in the distance, I hear an echo.

“That is my life too.”

I find community. 

I find others with wounds like mine. 

Others who know that life is not perfect within the four walls of our homes.

That we are not perfect wives or mothers or daughters or sisters or friends.

Others who know the heartache of loss and love and loneliness.

 And in that community, I find hope.

I find renewal.

I find peace in the unraveling chaos.

 Because, in the midst of community, I find Christ.

He draws close and He is in the midst of it all.

The healer of wounds. 

The one who knits us together when the unraveling begins.

The one who holds fast to us when the world has emptied us of all hope.

The one who gives hope to the hopeless.

Hard Love


I’m joining Lisa-Jo over at The Gypsy Mama for Five Minute Friday.  Here’s how it works:

Want to take five minutes with me and see which ones bubble to the surface?

Let’s just write and not worry if it’s just right or not. Here’s how we do it:

1. Write for 5 minutes flat with no editing or tweaking.

2. Link back to Lisa-Jo’s site and invite others to join in {you can grab the button code in Lisa-Jo’s right side bar}

3. Go and tell the person who linked up before you what their words meant to you. Every writer longs to feel heard. {And if you love us, consider turning off word verification for the day to make it easier for folks to leave you some encouragement}

It’s a great way to exhale at the end of a beautiful week.

The prompt this week is Hard Love . . .

GO

I wonder in awe at God’s love for me.  How could He love me that much?  How could he give His son’s life for me?  Really.  For this broken, tired soul.  He must find loving me hard.

Then I breathe, But His love is unconditional.

Unconditional.

I grasp for meaning in that phrase unconditional love.  The closest understanding I have is my love for my children.

When they are broken and in the darkest and most difficult of places in their growing up, I love them and grieve for them.

When our son began to doubt, when he said he was just unsure about God and everything,  all I could do was trust God.  The God who promises to love no matter what.

In those moments, as a mother, I taste–I glimpse–unconditional love.

It is hard love.

Yet, it is all I know or could possibly have in those moments.

I am ever so grateful for the God of love. 

The One who gave His only son for me.

I am ever so grateful for His unconditional love that washes over me and holds on tightly to my son.

It is . . .   STOP  (I guess you’ll have to finish this for me…)

Our Facebook Identity verses Our Identity In Christ


I log on to Facebook. Something I thought would only be for my son and daughter.  But I find friends there from grade school, high school, and college.  We reconnect electronically.  As we “friend” each other, we scroll through photos, posts, and the info page—education and work, philosophy (religious and political views), arts and entertainment, activities and interests, and so on. We look to see who we might connect with, and we find those things that make up our friends’ identities—or at least that part of their identity that Facebook has space to include.

I scroll past “religious views.” I see Jesus, unconditional love, believer, Christian-open and inclusive, following Jesus, Child of God.

Christian, without any qualifiers is missing from all but a few.  Some Christian friends—and I—leave off our religious views entirely.

I wonder what it is about our identity in Christ that makes us choose how we express that identity in this particular electronic media, but I also think about how we respond to others who ask us about our religion. How do we express our religious viewpoint–our faith–to those who only see our “online” presence? Or, for that matter, to those who we first meet?

Kathleen Norris, in her book Amazing Grace: A Vocabulary of Faith touches on our identity as Christians.  She notes that she is reluctant to speak of herself as a “Christian” because she knows how deficient she is in practice. But, she is reluctant also because “so many of the people who make the most of their ‘Christianity’ in public represent a distorted version of the faith.”  She adds that so many in America regard “Christian” as synonymous with “fundamentalist,” and that the media seems “bent on perpetuating” that error.

I agree with her and grapple with this issue.  It is not that I don’t find my identity in Christ.  I do.  But, the negative views of “Christianity” that ooze from history, and through the media and some “Christian” public figures—well, let’s face it, the negative views are, sadly, well deserved.  They even stir up anger and heartache in me—like the burning of the Koran recently that resulted in violence and death in the Middle East.

And so, when I first meet someone or publicize on a medium where people might “meet” me only electronically and not ever get to know me, I want to distance myself from the public view of “Christianity.”  Rather than “Christianity” allowing me to connect with others, I fear it will create an unwarranted divide.

It isn’t just the media image of Christianity either.  As Norris states, “I know how deficient I am in practice.” I, too, am a blemished and broken human.  I am deficient without God’s grace and mercy. I am deficient without the loving God who sent his son to the cross to bear my sins.   

So, in the context of twenty-first century America, and knowing that I am broken and blemished, publicizing—headlining—that I am a Christian—seems counter-productive.  It is a roadblock for the unbeliever—or people of other faiths—to relationship with Christ-followers.

 I don’t know how to redeem “Christianity” for Christ except through relationship with others.  If “Christianity” is suspect and associated by some with hate, divisiveness, violence, or arrogance, I can’t redeem Christianity if using that word to identify who I am creates a barrier before I even have the chance to establish rapport.

And so, as I walk through holy week—knowing that God loved the world so much that he gave his only son to die on the cross—I look to the cross for answers.  The only answer that seems clear is finding my identity in Christ and inviting Christ to transform me so that I may love others fully.  I know that love is the heart of Christian faith.  And, that Christ suffered the cross because of God’s love for all of humanity.

In twenty-first century America, keeping a distance from the “C” word seems almost necessary. Instead of posting my identity on Facebook, I need to turn toward Christ and pursue my relationship with Him so that I may meet others with His love, as an image-bearer of God. To let God transform me so that He might use me to transform the hearts of others.

 “Let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth” 1 John 3:18.

 “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 12:5-8

Moving Silently Through Holy Week


I skipped out to the mail box as a young girl with blond pig-tails swinging wildly,  excited to retrieve the mail for mom.  But then I heard it. The sound of a plane over head.  Suddenly my joy turned to fear.  I reached the mail box, covered my ears, crouched down, and tried to hide.  The fear overwhelmed me.  I don’t recall the exact sensation, but I recall how terrified I was of planes.  I don’t know if it was the noise or the fear of a crash.  I know mom would ask me as I shuttered in fear, what was it I was afraid of? I couldn’t tell her.  I just was.  I had no words to speak about how I felt.

As I move through Holy Week, I have no words to speak of Christ’s death on the cross and the resurrection. Instead, I wonder whether, if I had lived during that time, whether I would have been struck with fear and an absence of words.  I wonder whether I would have been one who refused to speak up for Christ or one who refused to listen to Christ.

I am certain I would not have spoken up. And I imagine, like I did as a kid, I would have been wrought with fear, a fear I perhaps could not articulate.

That is difficult to admit, but I admit it with certainty. Today, I don’t find it easy to talk about the resurrection because I find it intellectually incomprehensible.

Understanding it and believing it required a transformation from head to heart–an inner knowing. Faith.  Belief in things unseen.

So, as I move silently through Holy Week, I reflect on my own failings, but I look to the cross. I read the words of another who reminds me that I am precious and dear to God, despite my failings.  He covers me with His grace. I find peace at the foot of the cross.  On my knees. In silence, but not afraid.

“All that makes Him precious and dear to the Father has been transferred to me. His excellency and glory are seen as if they were mine; and I receive the love, and the fellowship, and the glory, as if I had earned them all.”

Horatius Bonar, The Everlasting Righteousness

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