Tuesday, May 22, 2012

As Yourself

“To thine own self be true, and it must follow, as the night the day, thou canst not then be false to any man.”~William Shakespeare in Hamlet

It isn't the length of the skirt you wear. God doesn't care if the skirt goes below your knees, or if you wear pants.
It isn't your hair length, your makeup, or how well you obey rules.  God doesn't care if your hair is long or short.  He doesn't care how much makeup you wear (or don't wear).  Nor does it matter if you can follow a list of man-made rules.
It isn't your music.  You can listen to all the 'right' tunes.  The ones the others declare as acceptable, and yet your heart still can maintain distance.
It isn't the outward forms of being a Christian that make you a Christian.


"Love your neighbor as yourself" has nothing to do with clothing.
"Love your neighbor as yourself" has nothing to do with hair length, makeup, or obeying "the rules" made by man.
"Love your neighbor as yourself" is not related to what you do (or don't) listen to.
"Love your neighbor as yourself" should be something we do to evidence our love for God.  It is the outward demonstration of inward love for God.

Anyone can follow a dress code.
They can cut their hair, do their makeup, and conform to the rules.
They can change the music they listen to, or hide who they really are on the inside from others.
But the truth of the matter will be found in how they love their neighbors.
The husband.  The wife. The family.  The children.  The person next door.
'Neighbors' are closer than we sometimes realize. 
The love we have for God is evidenced in our love for others.

Who is your neighbor?  What have you done to actively show them love today?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Embrace Who You Are


Wilted. The brown stems give way to leaves that are on the way out. Never mind that I haven't had time to water them. “I'm going to throw those out,” he says. And I nod my head. “Thanks.” I tell myself it is okay that I can't keep up with everything. Sometimes it is good to let go of the ideal that we expect ourselves to be, and be real. That may mean letting go of what you think you should be, and embracing what you are.

The garden this year ended up being a few raspberry bushes and four apple trees. He helped me choose this. He reminded me of how busy I'd be.  Now that I struggle to get the sleep I need, feed my little one, and keep house I know. Some things can wait, and others cannot. So I let go of the garden. I have terrible allergies, and I'm not the greatest gardener. It was a task we did together, and that's what made it fun.

I throw together a meal, and we eat off our paper plates. The dishes, they wait for me. He washes silverware, and we throw paper plates in the trash. Baby cries a bit since he waits to be fed. Paper plates. One day we will remember this. We let go of the dishes to choose time spent in other ways. It won't be permanent. This is only a season.

The middle of the night a baby with hiccups beckons. My eyes droop heavily, and my body is tired and aching. What I'd give for a decent night of sleep again! But we made a choice. I let go of sleep to choose this. Motherhood. It won't be for forever, and we let go of sleep to hold unto this precious one. There are always trade-offs in life.

Are there any tasks you need to 'kill' to embrace what and who you are now? In what ways does your 'ideal' self compete with who you are now? Are you able to let go of that, and embrace who you are, not who you think you should be?


Saturday, May 12, 2012

Remember

"Miracles are a retelling in small letters of the very same story which is written across the whole world in letters too large for some of us to see." ~ C.S. Lewis



Just because she doesn't talk about it doesn't mean she doesn't remember.  I remember the first funeral I attended.  It was for my baby brother, and my four-year-old mind doesn't remember a whole lot about that day other than the hearse, the shoebox, and tears.  It wasn't until I was a teenager that I realized that even though she didn't talk about that day, she still remembered it.  We'd drive by the cemetery, and visit his unmarked grave.  If I asked questions, she'd talk.  Sometimes we think people don't remember because they don't say anything.  

For some, this Mother's Day pain runs deep because they didn't have a Mother who loved and cared for them.  
For others, Mother's Day is difficult because of the pain of infertility, and remembrances of miscarriages.
There are those who celebrate the day with unspeakable joy over the miracles that God has done on their behalf.  

While I am supremely happy to be celebrating my first Mother's Day with my little family, I know that we were a family even before our little one came along.  I'm thankful to be alive, and to have a healthy baby.  Just because I don't talk about it with doesn't mean I don't remember.  Some things are stored in the heart, and shared with only a few.

The surgery.  The pain. The prognosis.  The sadness.  The friendship found in the midst of sorrow.

The pregnancy. The fear mixed with hope.  Feeling like a ticking time bomb.  The decisions.  The grace.  The protection.

Motherhood is a gift.  To those wandering without a home, He sets the lonely in families.







Friday, May 11, 2012

Mercy

"I have always found mercy bears richer fruits than strict justice." ~Abraham Lincoln

We saw her on our way into Wal-mart.  She was sitting on a bench eating a carton of watermelon.  A shopping cart held a large grey bag.  She didn't look like someone who you'd see on a Wal-mart bench with her belongings nearby.  Her nails were neatly done, and her blond hair was curled and combed.  She looked as if she were in her early 40's.  An hour later as we left the store, she looked at me and asked, "Hey, are you all going near the Turnpike?"  Joseph didn't hear her, but I did. I nodded my head and said, "No."  

Joseph then asked what I was saying.  "That woman wanted to know if we were going by the Turnpike." "She did?" he asked.   My first thought was that she was a hitchhiker.  Then I said to Joseph, "She's local.  I mean, if I weren't from around here I'd be calling the Turnpike I-35."   "I should have asked her a few more questions," I thought out loud.  It isn't that I don't want to help.  I wish that I were a little less jaded.  There have been times when I've known when to help my neighbor when the Spirit directed me and intuitively, I knew.  Most of the time I've felt this longing ache that I wish I were able to think the best of people and known what to do with their requests for mercy.  Some people will just take advantage of others generosity.  But does that mean we should not do justly, and love mercy?  We aren't responsible for others or their reactions and responses.  We are responsible not to be stupid and at the same time to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with our God.  We are responsible for our own actions.

Do you struggle with giving, doing, or helping because you are afraid you will be taken advantage of? 

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Lullaby


Motherhood

"There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle.
The other is as though everything is a miracle."~Albert Einstein

Somewhere between the feedings, the dirty diapers, naps, and tears there is sheer exhaustion. This is no task for wimps. Mommies, please tell that new mother that she will make it. She will someday get a little more sleep. Her baby won't be little for long. Even in the aches of pains of healing, help her remember that women have done this before. They've survived; they've not only survived they've thrived by living. They've lived by choosing to enjoy the moments even when it would be easier to imagine a day... when the baby no longer needs night feedings...when the baby is out of diapers...when their tired eyes actually have some rest. Because the baby won't be little for long. His tiny hands will become toddler hands. He will mature, but don't wish his littleness away now. Let him be little.

Have you enjoyed the moments you've had today, or have you in your busyness been wishing them away?
 
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