I have often wondered how it must feel for a couple who wasn’t even “planning it” to find out they’re pregnant. I imagine the emotions are intense in all directions.
“SURPRISE! WE’RE PREGNANT!!”
“Oh NO! I have two years of school left!”
“Oh YAY! I always wanted to be a mom!”
“Oh crud! How are we going to afford this?”
“Oh sweet! I’ve always wondered what it feels like to be pregnant!”
The one thing I imagine they all have in common—assuming they firmly believe that abortion is not an option—is that they didn’t spend a whole lot of time making the choice, “Hmmm, should we have this kid or not?” No, the kid is on it’s way.
This Mother’s Day was a special one for me. In Mother’s Days past, not being a mom (but really wishing I was) has made for some tough times for me.
There was the getting out the boxing gloves to fight off the envy while scrolling through loads of mom-with-kids photos on Facebook.
Then there was the “Suck it up and be grateful!” drill sergeant voice I would hear in my head, crashing my pity party and reminding me that at least I have the gift of having a wonderful mom – something many others have never had, or had and wish she was still with them.
But this year was different. There was peace.
This past Saturday, my mom’s side of the family celebrated the life of the woman I’ve always known as “Grandma Toe”, who passed away at the age of 98 the week before.
There are a handful of thoughts and questions that always come to mind when I’m at a funeral that always make me think, “Wow, I should really think of this every day, and not just at funerals.”
In honor of Grandma, who is probably holding a dog in one hand and a cat in the other while gazing at the beauty of our Savior right at this moment, I’d like to share these six thoughts.
What do you love the most about God?
What do you love the most about the people in your life?
What do you love the most about your daily circumstances?
Currently, I have the joy of taking a theology class every Wednesday night for 7 weeks at my church. This past Wednesday, after teaching about the attributes and character of God, our pastor asked us to discuss in our groups which attribute we loved the most about God.
Little did he know how much that question would stick with me.
Little did I know how much it would beg to be asked about everyone and everything.
What would happen if we all began to ask the “what do I love most” question about God, the people in our life, and our daily circumstances?
“THROW AWAY YOUR LIFE.” …Shari Tvrdik
This past weekend was quite inspirational to say the least.
On Saturday night, I attended a missions banquet put on by Cup of Cold Water Ministries. There were highlights of missionaries serving around the world, and my dear friend (whose family just returned from eight years of service in Mongolia) spoke about throwing your life away for the sake of the Gospel. She communicated with such assurance that denying ourselves to follow God’s lead is the only way to truly live.
Even if God’s lead takes you and your four kids from rural Happytown U.S.A. to the slums of Mongolia with no indoor plumbing and negative fifty-degree weather.
And I believe her. I listened to her and remembered the “welt belt” of flea bites I wore around my waist for weeks at a time in the winter when I lived in Chile. The only way to ease the pain and swelling was to put ice cubes directly on the bites to numb them, while the air inside our house averaged 40-45 degrees at night. And I still look back on those years in Chile as the best years of my life.
Last week, I shared some practical ideas to improve our “loving like Jesus” skills. One practical idea was to look over the list of the 15 descriptions of love found in 1 Corinthians 13:4-7…
(patient, kind, not jealous, not boastful, not proud, not rude, doesn’t demand it’s own way, not irritable, keeps no record of wrongs, doesn’t rejoice with injustice, rejoices when truth wins out, never gives up, never loses faith, always hopeful, perseveres)
…and then decide which one of the 15 you need the most work on, and ask God to help you grow to love like He does in that area.
Today, I wanted to dial it in on one – the one appropriately placed at the very end of the list – love endures all things.
“Now I am giving you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” (John 13:34 NLT)
I confess that I don’t love others like Jesus does.
I really want to, but I don’t.
I really want others to experience the love of Jesus and be drawn to Him by my words and actions, but I fall short.
Here are five ways I would tell someone else to get started in loving like Jesus. I’m going to intentionally live out these five this week:
Unless you live alone on a deserted island, you have many relationships in your life. Whether the relationship is a superficial one-time acquaintance like the one you have with the cashier at Walmart on Saturday, a business-only relationship with a co-worker or boss, or a more intimate BFF or family relationship, there have probably been times in all of our lives in which we have wanted to, and fervently tried to change the people around us.
Some of us have dedicated years to trying to change our co-worker, boss, friend or spouse. Some of us have convinced ourselves that our mission to change them is only for their good.
Yeah, so, changing your friends and loved ones. How’s that workin’ for ya? 😉
This week in my church’s kids ministry, we covered the story from Exodus chapter 14, where the Israelites were finally let go by Pharaoh after the crushing blow of the 10th plague. Our story picked up where the Israelites had left Egypt, were miraculously guided in their journey by a pillar of cloud by day and a pillar of fire by night, and now were walking near the banks of the Red Sea. The plot thickens as evil Pharaoh, who had let them go days before, had changed his mind, and set out after them. In verse 10, the Israelites looked up only to see the Egyptian army – that included well over 600 chariots – closing in on them.
They found themselves between a rock and a hard place, or more literally between a flock (of soldiers) and a wet place, and in their terrified state, they quickly located their “Blame Games” that they had conveniently left at the tops of their suitcases when packing to leave Egypt.
Been on the Unanswered PRAYERy-Go-Round lately?
If you’ve been a Christian for some time, you’ve probably had a turn or two on this ride. It’s a ride we don’t voluntarily stand in line for, but we find ourselves on nonetheless.
I remember riding a not-so-merry-go-round as a little girl. I got on, and my older brother and cousins thought it would be funny to spin it faster and faster to see just how “faster” they could fling me off of it.
My Unanswered PRAYERy-go-round has given me the same experience at times. It’s a ride I initially thought might be fun, but a few whirls into it left me feeling thrown off, and wondering if the One spinning it was playing the same joke my brother and cousins did years ago.