God’s love


“Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry, for anger gives a foothold to the devil.” Eph 4:26,27

Strong, but true words.

Josiah and I had a bit of a heated run in before bed time tonight.  We also had a beautiful time of reconciliation and these verses were flooding my mind.  I’m always amazed how the words of Scripture I am marinating on find ways of coming to life and incarnating themselves in my story.

Anger gives a foothold to the devil.  Wow, I’m sure tons has been written somewhere on this topic.  Think of what happens when you are angry.  For me, I start to create all sorts of false, over-exaggerated conclusions and judgments.  “He NEVER listens, We suck as parents, she is such a ****, I can’t stand him…” and so on and so on.  These thoughts may not last long, but they come and they whisper into our hearts and our minds.  Tell me those judgements and thoughts don’t give the devil a foothold to rob and divide.

Or what about our action in our anger.  “In your anger, do not sin”. What about the methods of control I try to use when I am angry, the manipulation or the unkind words.  Not only does that injure someone, giving the devil a foothold in their life for him to fester lies from the pain in their hearts,  but it also gives him a foothold in my life as I experience guilt and tell myself lies about my own personhood.

As Josiah and I sinned in our anger tonight we gave the devil an oppotunity to bring damage to our relationship and our souls.  I am thankful however, for the opportunity we had to reconcile, to forgive and to give our anger away before we shut our eyes on the day.  As we lay snuggling we each confessed our angry sins to one another and forgave each other.  I loved praying with my little boy for forgiveness and freedom from our sins.  I loved how sincere he was and how quickly and easily he wanted to re-connect with me.  What a picture of how quickly I should turn to God – desiring our connection to not be lost, and trusting his certain love for me.

I also love in these verses how it gives us something else to do with our mouths instead of sin in our anger.  Just as Tammy mentioned that these verses tell us instead of stealing, we should use our hands to make and give – they give an alternative to angry mouth sin as well.  Don’t use foul or abusive language.  Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them…Get rid of all bitterness, rage, anger, harsh words and slander, as well as all types of evil behaviour.  Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another just as God through Christ has forgiven you.”

I just love how God doesn’t just say “Don’t” but how he also gives a replacement “Do“.

good. helpful. encouragment. kind. tenderhearted. forgiving.

It sucks to have heated moments with the loved ones in our lives, but it feels so good to love and be loved deeply enough to forgive one another, just as in fact we have been forgiven by God.

———————————-

Take these hands
Teach them what to carry
Take these hands
Don’t make a fist
Take this mouth
So quick to criticize
Take this mouth
Give it a kiss



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We gathered to pray for a nation devastated by natural disaster.

We gathered to be reminded that God is a good. We worshipped our loving Lord, despite the ugly images in our mind.

We gathered to offer help, to give funds, to join with the moans and groans for Haiti.

Haiti is devastated. It is a nation that has been under political and perhaps spiritual oppression for years. Now, if you couldn’t tell from it’s physical state before, it lays in ruins.

Hope.

Isaiah 61:2-4 (New International Version)

 2 to proclaim the year of the LORD’s favor
       and the day of vengeance of our God,
       to comfort all who mourn,

 3 and provide for those who grieve in Zion—
       to bestow on them a crown of beauty
       instead of ashes,
       the oil of gladness
       instead of mourning,
       and a garment of praise
       instead of a spirit of despair.
       They will be called oaks of righteousness,
       a planting of the LORD
       for the display of his splendor.

 4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins
       and restore the places long devastated;
       they will renew the ruined cities
       that have been devastated for generations.

 In Haiti there was already mourning, ashes, despair, and now devastation. Lord, renew Haiti. May LOVE shine through on this nation and bring glimpses of the complete restoration we will all one day rejoice in. Today Haiti has no choice but to receive graces from God and fellow humankind. God has brought me to this point many times. The grace becomes so real. God’s grace will abound.

This is a hard post for me to write.  But growing is sometimes hard and I am wanting to share about God working so here goes…

I am a pretty prideful person.  I have always prided myself on being responsible, being self-sufficient, being a high achiever, being a ‘strong’ person.  From stuff like being a good employee, to having a clean house and always shoveling the driveway right after it snows, to being financially responsible, organized and efficient.

So fast forward to now.  I am pregnant and I have been quite sick this time.  (See I am even having a hard time writing this because I do not want to seem like I am fishing for pity and I know so many people have ordeals that they would LOVE to trade for this small bump now that will be so joyful later.)  Not that the first trimester with my other two kids were a walk in the park but this is something altogether different.  For about a month I was basically useless.  I was feeling so miserable and just wanting to be done with this already.  I was talking to a friend who has had it way worse than me as far as pregnancy sickness goes and she mentioned that the last pregnancy she prayed that she be refined by the sickness – that God somehow use it to change her.

At first I thought – This is such crap.  (I know how embarrassingly unhumble.) Why the heck would I have to go through this to grow somehow.  What good change in me could God be wanting to bring about from this??  This is only making me and my family miserable – I couldn’t see any reason for how this could be how God wanted to bring about any refinement in me.  (And again I know it is small potatoes compared to what others go through that must be feeling the same way only magnified.)  I am not taking proper care of my other kids, or being a partner to my husband who was basically having to do everything – work during the day, cook and clean when he got home, put the kids to bed.  Any other commitments I had were just let go.  I was just feeling a big heaping dose of self-pity for what I wasn’t able to be doing (and for not being able to keep holding up my idol of pride in myself).

So anyway my mother in law lovingly cooked a whole bunch meals for us and dropped them off to my husband.  A few friends also made us food.  Friends and family offered to help with the kids and help clean the house.  Friends I volunteer with had to pick up what I wasn’t doing and did so happily.  I had help (that I did not accept easily or gracefully but basically had lovingly forced on me) from so many people.  Yes, I had to (or in reality was so sick I didn’t put up a stink) swallow my pride.  My pride that I wasn’t cooking food for my family.  My pride that my house was messy and I couldn’t clean it.  My pride that my children were watching obscene amounts of television.  So yes, I started seeing refinement.  Started seeing that my pride can get in the way of accepting God’s care and love of me via other people.  I swallowed my pride more (this time with urging from the spirit but still not easily) and asked my small group for prayer – which was really hard when I know that people have so much more important prayer needs than this and because it was letting even more people know that I needed help.  Not all strong after all…

That’s when it became so clear.  This was not just a small deal about me swallowing my pride in myself a tiny bit or making a god of living such a responsible life.  Because being responsible, strong and self-sufficient are to some extent good things.  But not to any extent that they remove me from being totally dependant on God.  God wants me to rely on Him – living as if I only need to rely on myself in any area is SUCH a lie.  This is where my pride was being so harmful – it was separating me from God, His grace, His forgiveness, His comfort and His love.  It was stopping me from even seeing that I needed to repent of this.  Friends I am literally crying typing this.  Has it been hard – yes – and not just the sickness part, more the growing part – hard but so good in the end. As drawing closer to my Saviour always is.  Thank you God.

 

june 2009 049It’s the morning after a busy weekend. Needless to say she’s still a little tired from the nights rest and thus a little emotional. Her pouty face tells all. Her words are short. Her feet are heavy, she’s upset. Those aren’t my favourite moments. It takes patience to work through these moments with a two year old. But I understand because I too have moments like this.

She comes to my side, she asks for a story.  Wrapped in my arms, with a great story enfolding on our laps, my tender voice whispers sweet words of love, adventure, and new possibilities. We both soak in the moment.  We are both calmed as the emotions of the morning slip away. Grace, love, peace, rest remain.

May you find some time this summer to sit at your father’s side, with His story, Your story, on your lap. Take in the whispers of God. Enjoy. And know you are loved.

Those of you who are with us for  Memory Monday we want to let you know that we are taking a break for the rest of July and into August. We’ve worked on some wonderful passages and maybe you’d like to revisit those or find some on your own. May God’s words surround you in love this summer.

You could also check out Holy Experience, on Wednesdays, Ann is featuring a Walk with Him post. I’ve found her writings edifying, maybe you will too.

16_05_75_prev Come let us return to the Lord.

He has torn us to pieces;

now he will heal us.

He has injured us;

now he will bandage our wounds.

In just a short time he will restore us,

so that we may live in his presence.

Oh, that we might know the Lord!

Let us press on to know him.

He will respond to us as surely as the

arrival of dawn

or the coming of rains in early spring.

hosea 6:1-3

15_30_53---Sunrise_web

I am so glad we have a God who is so faithful, he will respond to us as faithfully as the dawn.

On days like this, when I see hurt around me that I don’t understand, this is good news.

Thanks God.



I don’t like paperwork at the best of times, and now there’s this pesky little question about ‘occupation’ that seems to make me pause. For some reason lately I find this awkward, and don’t really know what to put. Before kids I knew my occupation, much of my time, and energy went into that role each and everyday. But as of last year I no longer have that role or title. It’s been an adjustment. I love my role as mom, but don’t consider it an ‘occupation’. What defines us as people? Is it what we do? Is it what we have? Is it who we know? For the past few years, when meeting people, I don’t ask that standard question “what do you do?” Only later or if it comes up do I ask. I just feel it’s not relevant. I want people to know I am interested in them and not what they do. However, sometimes when it gets awkward that little question seems to pop out.

Last weekend I rented a total chick flick as hubby was working a night shift. It was called ‘Confessions of a Shopaholic’. I rented it without really thinking what it was about, it met 2 of my criteria for a sappy movie, must be one of the top 10 rentals, and be a chick flick with the words ‘romantic comedy’ or the like on the box. It wasn’t until I came home and realized I probably rented a movie all about shopping…consumerism..that I had to laugh at myself. It’s hard enough trying not to be a consumer, then I go and rent a movie about chronic shopping! But it actually had a pretty good message.  One touching part in particular really got me thinking. I don’t want to give anything away…but…in this scene the father is offering to give up an expensive item to help  his daughter. She replies back that he couldn’t do that, that the item ‘defined’ him. Which the dad responded that no item defines him, rather his relationship with his daughter and mother defines him.

It’s not my occupation which defines me, which is what the general consensus is in our culture. It’s not what I ‘do’, such as how I parent, how I express my faith, how I respond to people, places or things. It’s my relationships which define me: Child of God, wife, mother, daughter, sister, friend. It’s ‘being’ which defines me. In that I can feel secure. I will always be those things. No one can take those roles away from me.

Now I can be proud to write ‘none’ in occupation, being glad that the fact I can do that allows for more time with what really defines me.may 2009 harley 451

1How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!

1 John 3:1

It’s evening and I pull up to the house and see the lights on upstairs.  I am coming home from yoga, a brief retreat from the wonderful demands of stay at home motherhood.  I am feeling renewed and relaxed, having indulged an hour and a half to my body, mind and spirit.

Surprised, I see the garage door open and my husband standing there with our daughter, now 16 months.  I come up to the stairs and see the remains of tears cried in my absence on her cheeks.  I take her in my arms, kiss her soft cheek with great love.  She cried while you were gone he relays.  I tried everything, even feeding her ice cream but she just wouldn’t cheer up.  You didn’t take your cell phone, so I couldn’t call you.  (Yes that blasted cell phone we got solely for the purpose of me being gone from the kids and I left the house without it, thinking it unnecessary, as she loves being with her daddy so.)  My heart is breaking that she missed me and I wasn’t there, she is relieved to accept the comfort of my presence.  As a parent I try so hard to avoid this type of situation, preferring to let my kids grow into separation as they are ready, yet here I am, holding a baby girl who clearly felt forsaken by her mother.  I am thinking about verses read in this weeks bible study…

Isiah 49:14-15

14 But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me,
       the Lord has forgotten me.” 

 15 “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast
       and have no compassion on the child she has borne?
       Though she may forget,
       I will not forget you!

As a mother, I feel such great love for my children, it is hard to imagine a more protective, nuturing love.  To think about forgetting my nursing baby and having no compassion for the children I have born at first seems incredulous.  Yet, upon reflection, I do so, in small and large ways all the time.  Such are my failings as a human.  The only way I can even begin to muster up enough compassion for my children is by being filled with the spirit.  As a parent, I need all the love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control I can get.  Thankfully, even when we fail those who love us and those we love fail us, we have a God who grants us forgiveness.  We have a God who just IS these things all the time and that despite our failings, we have a heavenly father, who always loves us and promises never to leave us!

“I will never leave you nor forsake you.” – Father God

“I am with you always, to the very end of the age.” – Jesus

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