Especially hurting

Suffering had a beginning and will have an end.

Church is a safe place but it isn’t. Elementary schools are a safe place, but they aren’t. We can’t even feel secure in our families – they are broken as well. There’s no place that isn’t broken, no place that is safe. No haven on this earth can protect us. That cloud above us of despair is overwhelming, and I have no idea how a person can get through a day of this without the hope of Jesus Christ.

but we rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that suffering produces endurance, and endurance produces character, and character produces hope, and hope does not put us to shame,

Suffering produces endurance, gives us perspective on our momentary troubles and afflictions. That endurance in turn refines our character. As we endure suffering and gain perspective, we are drawn to Christ-likeness. We don’t look for the healing of our hurt, we look to the healer Himself. That is how we hope. Hope that the suffering is temporary – that we grieve here on earth because we know and long for the redeemed world we’ve been promised.

“We can ignore even pleasure. But pain insists upon being attended to. God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.”

― C.S. Lewis, The Problem of Pain

As we try to numb the pain and suffering, we miss the truth of God spoken to us. Shouted at us. We don’t always like what we hear. We certainly don’t like the way the message is delivered. When we close our hearts to the message, we miss the blessing. If the suffering is to have a purpose, we must allow God to speak to us through it. We must endure. We must continually seek sanctification. And we must cling to hope.

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A different approach

This is me, talking about love and prayer at church this morning.

I admit sharing a video of myself sharing at church is a little intimidating (although we live stream our services at http://www.dallasbaptistchurch.org) but I thought it might make this blog a little more relatable.

Hope it encourages you today!

Heaven in Brunswick

How to make welcome new friends:

Greet them as they walk in your back door. (let them use your back door)

Include them in what you are doing, whatever it is.

Be yourself. Really.

Then those new friends will feel at home and included and at ease in falling right in love with you.

I found a little piece of heaven in Brunswick, MD this weekend at the First Baptist Church.

They greeted us as we came in the back door. (it was what their website said to do)

They brought us right into their morning. They made a spot on the couch for us. Literally.

And then they showed us their heart for Jesus.

I fell right in love.

Pastor Phil shared a message I suspect the Holy Spirit had been saving just for me. I’m probably not the only person that feels that way though. The message brought to mind this quote I can’t help sharing.

“We draw people to Christ not by loudly discrediting what they believe, by telling them how wrong they are and how right we are, but by showing them a light that is so lovely that they want with all their hearts to know the source of it.”

First Baptist Church – your light is so lovely I have no doubt people will want to the know the source of it with all their hearts. Keep shining, my brilliant (new) friends.

 

Grace

I saw this great instagram post yesterday:

“when to give grace? i’d rather stand before God knowing i loved others too much than regretting that i judged too harshly.” – Lysa Terkeurst @lysaterkeurst

I see a lot of time and effort spent on correctly defining grace – what it means to love, when it is required to speak truth. Lots of great points are made. I’ve come to the conclusion that Jesus wants us to speak truth – and he wants us to love each other. In fact, I believe that He shows us that love requires truth. I believe He also shows that truth requires love.

I know that it is very difficult to find someone to speak truth to you. First, you have to be looking. How many of us are really looking for honesty all the time? Then you have to find someone who is a little fearless (or crazy) and is willing to give it to you straight. They have to believe that love will keep hard truth from pushing us apart. You have to be willing to let love embrace the hurt that the truth may cause.

Most important to this discussion is the source of truth. It is not necessary for you to share the “truth” of your opinion. It is not necessary to share the “truth” of the internet variety either. Truth must come from a trusted source.

This seems to be the heart of most of the discussion on this point: we cannot ignore the truth of God’s Word.

Jesus knew all truth. He knew the darkest, ugliest truths of every moment, every person. He knows the horrors that are coming. He has seen all of our history and future and he knows how truly awful we can be.

But God – He loved us. Even knowing what He knows.

He expects us to acknowledge His truth. We are sinners. We are lost.

But God – He loves us. He knows His love can heal the hurt of that truth.

That’s what Easter is about. That’s Grace.

12 His eyes are like blazing fire, and on his head are many crowns. He has a name written on him that no one knows but he himself. 13 He is dressed in a robe dipped in blood, and his name is the Word of God.

Revelation 19:12-13 NIV

Revelation is always a little baffling to my human mind. I might be off the rails here, but I am reminded that the Word of God IS God. The truth. The life. The way. And Love.

Thank God for grace.

 

 

There is beauty in the bacon

In my walk as a follower of Jesus Christ, I am inhabited, overcome by, the Holy Spirit.

I’ve come to understand this to be a larger vision of “God with us” than a God who is always watchful. Instead, He is a God who is always present. This means to me that every conversation that I have, every thought that fleetingly exists in my manic mind, is shared with Him. It means that although I believe it is important to make time for God where we are altogether dedicated to Him, that every moment of my day (and night) already belongs to Him and is already sacred to His purpose.

He doesn’t mind that I spend time in the mundane. He knows those chores are dedicated to His Glory as I serve faithfully in my role as wife and mother. He knows that I see Him in the beauty around me. I hear a bit of music, read a sentence in a book, look at a sunset, watch a television show, and I see the work of His hands through the millions of people on the Earth who show God to me.

And in the hard times, I know that the yoke He asks me to carry feels heavy, but He is carrying the bulk, and is training me to endure, to persevere. He is developing a character in me that is worth ten times the yoke I have borne. He asks me to carry nothing He does not carry Himself. His burden truly is light.

My great pleasure is found when the Holy Spirit in me is most awakened. The bridge in “Just Be Held” by Casting Crowns, reading the introduction to “Mere Christianity”, the returned smile of a tired stranger. These have all awakened that Spirit in me this week.

My great passion is in finding ways to awaken that Spirit in others. For me it might be cooking bacon for my husband’s breakfast, or writing a blog, or teaching my Bible study. Whatever it is, I know God is there with me, in the middle of it all.

 

My very first freebie!

I am constantly creating. Most of the time what I create is for meeting a specific purpose and this printable is no exception. My ladies group has been requesting an updated prayer calendar and after some time pondering how best to go about making one, I came up with this “perpetual prayer calendar“. I took it a little farther for my girls, but I think this lavender delight will be a great way to plan out your prayer time with God.

There is a block for all 31 days – you simply start over at day 1 every month. Our ladies have it set so that every one is praying for someone different each day – and everyone is being prayed for each day. It’s a huge encouragement and it keeps us close throughout the week.

I’d love if you “like” my facebook page or “follow” my blog – but I hope no matter what that this content encourages you in the faith.

Here’s the link: Perpetual Prayer Calendar download

Thanks for reading!