Friday, March 29, 2013

Pain Divided = Love Multiplied

As I take in this blessed Easter weekend reflecting on the gift of my salvation and the season of death I am coming out of and emerging into a new beginning, I recalled this post from several years ago. It was written for very different circumstances and yet it is so fitting for right now - these circumstances. While my heart is deeply bruised with overwhelming loss, I was preciously reminded this morning that "a bruised reed He will not break."
I hope perhaps it will be a reminder and comfort to someone else at this time too.
I cannot attest to the increasing heaviness of carrying life within me, or to the weight of eager anticipation. Neither can I remotely imagine coming home empty-handed and deflated in every way imaginable. But I have born the pain of loss. We all do in some way, shape or form. Our hearts grieve what was looked upon with hope yet was left buried in a grave not of our choosing. We are humans after all. Intricately designed to feel, even beyond the extremes we think we are capable of at times.  Sometimes grief throws itself on us like a dark heavy blanket we can't seem to get out from underneath. It feels suffocating and the struggle saps our energy to nothingness. It is a heavy load to carry, this loss. I know it well - back bent, arms sore and legs weak from the long journey. But it was a load I was never meant to carry alone. It isn't a load any of us are meant to carry on our own.
Pain is an interesting thing. When divided it becomes exponentially lighter. Pain divided is love multiplied. This is what Jesus did in his ministry... He came along side those unable to stand up and lifted their head. Why wouldn't we want to love the same way? Your burden gets lighter and somehow mine doesn't get any heavier. It's lightened, too. We stand a little taller. We look up and feel the sun on our faces again instead of only staring at the shadows it casts.

Galatians 6:2  Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ. (NIV)

Without us, God will still be faithful. But the blessings of being joint carriers are immeasurable. Costly.... Yet eternally priceless.
We feeble humans all have times in our lives when we face the mirror, seeing what mettle we are really made of. It could be anything. It may even come unexpectedly.  The measuring tape comes out and we are so minutely aware that we do not measure up to our own ideals and even less so to God's. We must stare into the glass and face these losses and missed opportunities. For a time we may be weighed by the burden of it all and acutely feel the sting of barrenness that is left in its wake. 
We must not lose hope. God will fill the barren space with the life He chooses for us to birth. In patience and eager anticipation we must wait. In the meantime journey on side by side.

Sunday, March 24, 2013

Sorry, Not an ATM

I've come to the conculsion that most people have lost the ability to have relationship, to even know what that is supposed to look like. Instead, we've become a culture with "interactions." We find it so much easier. Why shouldn't people be just like the machines we've come to rely on?

Our lives are so busy and we forget that we actually chose the things that fill up our time. Most of which aren't as important as we think they are at the time.

Genuine relationships... who has time for those??


When we hit a bump in the road, we expect our so-called friends to be there. Yet, we treat them like an ATM machine... drive up, make a withdrawl and drive away. We don't even have to have an active account at the bank and we just expect the ATM to provide and not expect anything in return.

The next generation is sufferring from getting just the drive-thru version of their parents. The sad thing is, they don't even know anymore that it could be different. That it should be different!  The parents themselves don't even have relationship with each other, because they never took the time to really build one... they just "fell in love."

My heart aches for us all. I believe God's heart aches even more. This isn't the example Jesus left us.

I know my words here aren't going to change anything or anyone (cause we're really good at denial and justifying our actions). I still feel it's good for me to tell you -

I am not an ATM.
I am a person with worth who desires to love and be loved.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Unbridled Passion

Oh, Peter... passionate Peter. A rush of emotion and he's off. He sooo wants to get it right and be approved.

Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, “It is the Lord!” As soon as Simon Peter heard him say, “It is the Lord,” he wrapped his outer garment around him (for he had taken it off) and jumped into the water.  John 21:7

 Something interesting struck me about this verse as I was reading it. This happens just days after Peter had denied Christ and knew he had failed. His unbridled passion took a vacation, just when he needed it most. AND YET... when John pointed Jesus out to him on the beach, Peter didn't waste another moment. He jumped out of the boat and made a bee line to Jesus.

Contrast that with the first man Adam. He was walking with God in a state of perfection. Until... When God reappeared, he didn't go running and throw himself into God's arms. Nope. He and his wife decided to hide from God instead. They knew they failed and they didn't want to admit it.

Then the eyes of both of them were opened, and they realized they were naked; so they sewed fig leaves together and made coverings for themselves. Then the man and his wife heard the sound of the Lord God as he was walking in the garden in the cool of the day, and they hid from the Lord God among the trees of the garden. But the Lord God called to the man, “Where are you?”  Gen 3:7-9

Peter had his eye opening moment too.

One of the high priest’s servants, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, challenged him, “Didn’t I see you with him in the garden?” Again Peter denied it, and at that moment a rooster began to crow.  John 18:26-27
After Jesus warned him it would happen. After those three seemingly innocent denials. The rooster crows and Peter knows he let God down.

We are no different today. When we fall and fail we have the same choices. We can hide from God, refusing to admit we haven't gotten it right yet or we can passionately run to Him like Peter, trusting in His love for us. I think Peter ran to Jesus because he was filled with so much love for Jesus.

I can see some of myself in Peter. I am very passionate about some things. Sometimes our beliefs can get in the way of loving people the way God wants. Recently, I experienced my eye opening moment, when the rooster crowed and I saw how I had failed, in the very ways I was adamant about protecting. It hurt. I had a choice. I gathered up the pieces and wrapped them around me and ran straight to Jesus. He opened his arms of love, just like I knew He would.

I believe that running to Jesus breaks the cycle of the curse, while hiding simply lets it continue. The cycle can go on for generations. Peter broke the cycle and let Jesus use Him for greater things. He was still a man of unbridled passion, but now it was wrapped in humility and the personal experience of restoration.

And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. Matt 16:18

Adam chose to hide. God didn't love him any less, but I believe Adam lived his days ashamed and never really accepted the restoration of God. And so the curse cycle continued for generations.

The Lord saw how great the wickedness of the human race had become on the earth, and that every inclination of the thoughts of the human heart was only evil all the time. The Lord regretted that he had made human beings on the earth, and his heart was deeply troubled. So the Lord said, “I will wipe from the face of the earth the human race I have created  Gen 6:5-7

My fall brought me to a place of humility before the Lord, but also before my fellow humanity. I believe God has a greater purpose for me because I've experienced the restoring power of God.

Pursuing Christ with unbridled passion wrapped in restoration.