Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Sometimes a thing gets so big that apologizing for it seems impossible!

Sometimes it takes a while to sort out what the thing even was in the first place–why you let it get so big…  
All you know is that you hurt someone badly–but you can’t even figure out quite how, or what sent you to that place.

When you know how badly you’ve hurt someone, but things have returned to some kind of equilibrium–some kind of happy medium where you’re both amicable and friendly, etc…  it can be pretty darn scary to bring up that hurt…  The idea of apologizing can be even more daunting…  because you never know!  the person you hurt may still be–under all that calm and happy equilibrium–very hurt and angry.  Bringing up the offense may incite their anger and awaken the pain and rage that you may well ‘deserve’.

In this case, our detente is rightfully attributed to a genuine forgiveness and compassion that God brought alive in my heart for you.

But you couldn’t possibly have known that–and that’s why I am so incredibly blessed and awed by the courage it took for you to bring it up so that you could apologize.  that kind of humility is truly Godly, and that kind of courage is so Christlike!

Jesus was extraordinarily courageous!  He defied cultural, spiritual, gender, sociological boundaries and talked to, and loved and forgave and healed people from all walks of life!  He faced down the evils of this earth knowing full well that it WOULD incite anger and rage to the point of bringing Him to a brutal crucifixion…. but it was right and it was loving and it was what needed to be done, so He did it.

And you followed him in that demeanor in choosing to apologize that day.  Thank you!

May you find yourself ever surrounded by His spirit as you walk in courage and humility.  May your courage and humility be blessed and returned to you with safety and love, and may you find His redemptive and restorative love at work in your life daily!

Thank you for showing me that picture of Christlike humility and courage!  Image

God calls us to love each other.  He never promises that living that out is going to be easy.  

In fact, he talks a lot about this thing called sacrificial love!  a love that is hard.  a love that is lived out at great cost to yourself.

I think loving us probably always comes at great cost for God.  
First of all, there’s the obvious cost of Jesus absolutely terrible death all for love of us.  Then there’s the less obvious cost of Jesus coming to this earth in the first place–giving up the peace, glory, rapture, riches, and intimacy of heaven to walk our broken earth in broken flesh-becoming one of us…. reaching down to our level to love people who keep on forgetting about anything outside of themselves… to selflessly pour himself out for people who perpetually live selfishness as their primary disposition and orientation towards the co-operative creation that He made for them in the first place.  People who vandalize the created order repeatedly during the day, sometimes consciously, but in nearly infinite ways that we don’t even have a clue that we’re doing!

And then there’s the choice to love and be in relationship with us at all…  a choice that guarantees being betrayed, mistreated, even despised—choosing to have your heart broken on a daily basis and to forgive over and over and over.

So, my young friend–I want you to know how incredibly cool it was for me to see you loving my daughter in that sacrificial way.  Being that invested and spending that kind of time with a 3 year old can be hard for a lot of people, and playing on her level for so long… helping her with her socks, and all the little things which she couldn’t do for herself…  Those are all even harder for someone your age–generally speaking.  I was so impressed with you today!  

I’m not sure if you have a clue about the way you were following Christ today–following His example of humbling yourself to be on her level, while still retaining who you are (which includes being more capable and more emotionally together, etc) so that you play like a three-year old and assist her like a 20 year old.  

but that is who you are, my young friend.  You are a young man with a beautiful compassionate streak, a protective loyalty for your friends, and a helpful spirit.

I pray today that as you grow, entering double digits, exploring how to be who you are with integrity, that you will know in a deeply experiential way that same tenderness and reaching down to your level–while still being entirely available for you to lean on Him from your beloved Jesus!  May you always know He is faithful, delight in Him, revel in Him, and lean on Him.

May the grace and compassion, helpfulness and indiscriminate love that you showed today be the norm for what you experience in your relationships.

Thank you, for showing me this picture of sacrificial love today.  I know there are tonnes of things that may have been more fun for you to do today.  I know how much easier it would have been for you to do less with my daughter, or leave her and run off to do your own thing, or ignore her need for socks, etc etc.  But you gave of yourself to be what she needed… over and over.  so Thank you.  you are such a wonderful kid!Image

I’m not talking about the sickeningly sweet couple who giggles at eachother and licks whipped cream off of eachother’s noses, or the couple who can’t keep their hands out of eachother’s back pockets nor tongues out of eachother’s throats.

Although I could–because they have a lot to show us about love too…. so maybe I’ll take a mental not of that.

but I’m talking about the kind of love that is legitimately kind.  that isn’t proud, rude, self-seeking, doesn’t keep records of wrongs, protects, HOPES, and trusts, doesn’t judge and isn’t easily angered.

The kind that I saw demonstrated the other day.

The kind that sees someone begging for money, and gives what money he has on him.  In the meantime, drivers in neighbouring cars literally turned up their noses in disgust that he had given money to this vagrant who, “probably only wanted the money for drugs or booze anyways”

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Indeed–your choice to love this homeless person in a simple way offended those around you.  But you didn’t just give him the change you had on you–you asked how he was doing today, and if there was anything more he wanted that you could help him with.

And now that I’m telling the world about what you did, there will be myriads more who are offended by your choice to love.  There will be those who believe he was underserving of your life, because “he must have brought it on himself”  (see my recent post on mercy)
There will be those who have a passion for social justice who see your actions as well-intentioned, but misguided and thus enabling him and worsening the societal problems at large.  
There will be those who are not at all passionate about social justice, but have simply rationalized their choice to look the other way by telling themselves that anything they give any homeless person will just be used for drugs and booze.

But the reality is– you gave because you see a human being who has been hurt and broken enough by life to stand in the cold and in the rain and beg for the mercy of humanity to sustain you.

and yeah… maybe he was on drugs.  maybe he was ‘jonesing’  maybe he was collecting money for another hit, or another bottle.  and maybe the money you gave him will be what it takes for him to get another drink that will numb the pain enough for him to be able to bear the demons that first drove him to drink in the first place.  

and maybe the money will buy a loaf of bread and he’ll bring it home to his children.

Or maybe it will help him to buy bus fare to get to his brother’s house a few cities away…

but at the end of the day….
We don’t know, and it’s not ours to judge.  In that moment, when you don’t have the time to do much more, you had a choice.  You could either ignore him entirely, or demonstrate Christ’s love for him– a love that meets each of us where we are at–and doesn’t demand change first, but loves *first*.

I’m not going to pretend that enabling isn’t a real thing–of course, it is…  But I’m saying that the choice to love with no strings attached is very Christlike… and very countercultural– it takes humility, and courage, and compassion.  And I loved seeing you make that choice.  I love your kindness.

Is this the final solution to homelessness and poverty in our society?  of course not!  There is a great deal more needed!  and I know you probably know that.  
But this post isn’t about homelessness, or social justice programs, or the alternatives to “handouts”.  Those are all important things too.

But you saw a person whose dignity has been all but entirely lost–however that may have come to be, and you have given them what you had–kindness-the dignity of looking into their eyes–talking to them, and the dignity of trusting them to spend the money you hand out to them how they see fit.

Your love and compassion is beautiful.

And what you may not have had the opportunity to see is that a driver behind you rolled her eyes at you.  Then her son in the backseat pointed at you and presumably asked what was going on… and then she drummed her fingers on her steering wheel for a moment–and then reached out and offered the individual something as well.

Your love and compassion was infectious.  Your love and compassion inspired a disposition of kindness and grace in another.

May you find yourself loved and extended kindness to you when you most need it, and may love and compassion overflow into your life!

honesty

Posted: February 23, 2013 in Uncategorized
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You weren’t the only person, today, through whom this concept came to settle into my heart–to draw me into rumination.  But it was the most poignant…

I saw it in a movie… heard it echoed in your words, and the words of others, chewed on it in reflection of my week…
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We–as humans… are drawn so irresistibly to raw, honest, vulnerable truth.  We don’t even have to know someone or care about them in the least to be eager to hear their innermost secrets.  whether this is about a need to feel important–that we are the privileged elite who know the secrets of an individual…  or an insatiable curiosity, or the longing to understand ourselves by examining our own reflected image in the humanity around us, as we seek to come to grips with why we are who we are but looking at why you are who you are…

and yet that kind of raw, vulnerable honesty is so rare.  because–it’s vulnerable.

Because as we seek to understand ourselves, we analyze before we hear.  If we’re scared of your honesty, we will find a way to distance ourselves from what you’ve said, and judge and dismiss you.   If we like what you’ve said, we’ll seek to identify with it so much that your story may be taken away from you as we try it on for size and stretch it and bend it to fit our own experience.

but sometimes we listen.  and sometimes we can really truly share–and it makes it all worth it!

But why does it seem that it so consistently takes a place of extreme brokenness to draw us to the place of honesty–almost as a last act of desperation?  It seems the healthiest people I know have honesty among close friends, accountability, encouragement, support, healing, love, grace…  honesty it seems is the mortar in the construction of community.  But honesty needs to dance intimately with safety.  

We know that in Christ, we have nothing to hide.  His light exposes all things… the beautiful, the painful, the ugly, and the delightful…  your honesty is a beautiful reflection of the Kingdom that is coming–and is in fact here… growing already.  Your honesty is a piece of the building of that Kingdom on earth!  The Kingdom where “true worshipers who are simply and honestly themselves before Him in worship” will dance, sing, and glory in truth, in light—worship honestly.  (John 4)

Thank you for leading out in honesty and vulnerability.  I want so badly for you to know that you’re not alone.  you are not left behind. 

It is my prayer for you tonight that you find the truth of the safety that your heart can find in the shadow of the wing of our God!  (how’s that for mixing metaphors…  the shadow of a wing that actually casts light… )
But really…
Safe–drawn into the one who already sees and knows all–who delights in you exploring truth… holds your heart and your hands, tenderly equips you to face all truth, and guides you beyond the fragments of truth you grasp into the deep epiphanies of His Truth!

May those epiphanies and revelations astound your spirit and awaken your soul to the glory-life, the resurrection-life… the life lived with Him, delighting in you, and as you walk in integrity and in truth, may you be blessed with people along the way who return that integrity, who offer a safe place, and who do not deceive you!

Night

Posted: February 22, 2013 in Uncategorized

Tonight, my darling child cried out my name in her sleep.  Her cry was followed my silence, so I crept to her side, where I found her trembling in a bad dream of some sort.

I gently pulled the covers up and rubbed her arm, stroked her hair, and rubber her back as I prayed for peace on her.  As soon as my hands touched her, the trembling stopped, and she snuggled in, and a smile crossed her lips.

And I was instantly struck with the thought…

How often have I cried out in the night for God?  not necessarily the night as it refers to the turning of the earth, but seasons of darkness, longing, loneliness, depression, angst, anguish, guilt, oppression, fear, sickness, pain, loss, grief… whatever it may be… and He has come, completely unbeknownst to me, and comforted me?  

My child slept on, unaware that I had ever been at her side, but not unaffected by my presence.

how often don’t I ‘sleep on’ entirely unaware of the miraculous healing, grace, and kindness God is pouring into my soul, surrounding me with His Spirit.

So..
God…
for all the times that you’ve been there and I haven’t noticed… like… every breath that i take..

Thank you.Image

Invested Lover

Posted: February 21, 2013 in Uncategorized
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the other night I was compelled to worship, and every song in my heart was intimately connected to the name; “Jesus”.

This stirred me into an incredible conversation with my beloved, where I mused…
How is it that the name Jesus—no matter where I am in my life, is so deeply intimate, and powerful!?  That even if I haven’t been that invested in the relationship, He is so invested in me, that the mere mention of His name still stirs a deep place within me and enraptures me in the deep joy of intimacy!?

Wow!  even when I am not invested in the relationship anywhere near as much as I could be… He is so invested in me, that the mere mention of His name brings such a stirring–and such an intimacy.

That.  is love written indelibly!

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So my Sabbath turned into 3 days…  and I’m making no promises to catch up. :S

But here we go!
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I’ll admit it.  At first I was a little wary when you addressed my daughter.  I was ready to jump in with my big Mama-bear suit on and tell you to step off.  (as politely as possible of course)  But it didn’t take me too long to realize that you were offering me an ally.

As you asked my daughter, “Why are you YELLING?” in an exaggerated aghast tone, the words, “it takes a village” raced through my mind.  I paused to watch how my daughter would respond to you.  She ceased her assertion that she “needed” the bundle of lollipops that she had found by the til and came to my leg very calmly, while looking at you. Relieved that her encounter with you was ‘over’, and I wouldn’t have to intervene, I thanked her for coming to me. Which was all the invitation she needed to take up her chant about lollipops again, this time with hitting.

Internally, I rolled my eyes and thought, “hooboy… now’s where the grocery store expects me to ‘put my kid in line’ and maybe smack her back, and where everyone is going to judge me for my gentle response.

Nevertheless, I knelt down and caught her hands and reminded her that God gave us our hands to bless and not to hurt, and that I was sorry, but lollipops were not an option.
Then I proceeded to pay for the treat we HAD stopped at the grocery store to buy, and as I did,  and my daughter’s complaining continued, you engaged again.  As I heard your voice, I thought surely you were judging my inefficient parenting and were about to ‘right my wrong’, but in fact, you were tag-teaming with what I’d done, asking my daughter if she was going to put away her childsized buggy we’d been using.

As I finished up the transaction, I remarked with a sigh, (more to myself than anyone) and this is why I hate grocery stores!”

the cashier responded with empathy, and then you said this beautiful piece of encouragement, about what a good job you felt I was doing, and how hard it is to say ‘no’ to our little ones, and how strong I must be.

So thank you…
Thank you for not judging… or anyways, not condemning my parenting style
You can’t possibly know how badly I needed that encouragement.   On a day where I felt like a failure not only as a parent, but as a human being, to have ANY kind of encouragement, but specific, glowing and lenghty encouragement, from a source where I was expecting the opposite was a monstrous blessing!

I know how hard it can be to step into someone else parent-child interaction in the first place… after all, Mama-bears often WILL feel like your first engagement was a statement about their failure as parents and make it clear, sometimes with disdain, sometimes more tactfully, that “they’ve got this”.

so it takes guts to engage in the first place.
Seems to me most people only find those guts when their righteous indignation that they can parent better than the actual parent takes over.

Yours came from the place of seeing a worn out Mama who needed backup.  

And I never really thanked you.  I never responded one way or the other to your comments to my daughter… so you probably really DIDN’T know how I was feeling about it all.

So to continue on with the courage to bless me with your encouragement…
Thank you.

May you also be blessed with encouragement from an unlikely source when you most need it, and may you know, somewhere in your spirit, that this is a tender touch from a God who loves you and wants you to know that He cares!