Sunday, August 26, 2012

What Brings God Joy

My husband is a water skiing stud. Seriously, I know there are people out there who are better than he is, but I’ve never actually seen anyone in person who skis as well. It makes it fun for me to go boating because I can say “Hey, that really cool guy is my husband!”  Anyway, we have a boat and he loves to water ski. Today was a busy Sunday because school started this week and I didn’t really want to try and make time for a quick trip to the river. But I know how much joy he gets out of skiing--it is something he absolutely loves to do.  And it makes me happy seeing him so happy. It makes me glad when I get to see him enjoying something he loves and does really well.  So I went and drove the boat for him and had a great time with our friends Jordan and Rebecca.

On the way home I was thinking about how much it blesses me to see him blessed. And then I started thinking about God. We were created in his image. The parts of us that express love are mere reflections of his greater love. It is an act of love for me to be blessed when my husband is blessed. That means that this love I feel for Nick pales in comparison to God’s infinitely greater love.

And this is what that means to me. It means that God loves to see my heart happy and full of joy. I think we’ve all heard so often that “God’s more interested in your holiness than your happiness” that I forget God is blessed by my joy.  It makes me want to walk in joy more often knowing that it pleases Him.

God loves to see my heart singing. My smile brings him joy. When my heart is happy it makes Him happy.

God loves to see me walking in my strengths, like I enjoy seeing Nick walk in his. When I’m fully being the person God created me to be my Lord is glad. When I find delight in who God made me, God is blessed. He looks at me like I look at Nick, enjoying watching him have fun and fully be himself. Only it’s a much deeper love, because that’s just who God is.

This was worth thinking about this today. J

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Wrestling With Forgiveness Reprised---God Has a Sense of Humor

I’m convinced God has a marvelous sense of humor, and like any good believer, I have scripture to back me! Here’s one example. Amidst all the high minded verses in Proverbs about faith and wisdom, there’s this little gem in Proverbs 27. It makes me laugh every time I read it.

Proverbs 27:14 “He who blesses his friend with a loud voice, rising early in the morning,
It will be counted a curse to him.”

So it appears God may have an important opinion regarding morning vs. non-morning people. It kinda looks like he’s siding with the non-morning folks! So morning people, time to be on your toes. J Maybe I’m just a Bible nerd (a nerd being someone who obsesses over the thing in which he or she is extremely interested) But I kind of chuckle that it’s in there.

I felt like God got a good chuckle out of me this weekend. I’m convinced He was looking down on me, laughing, and saying “I told you so! Now do you believe me? You owe me big!” He was having some fun with me….and I deserved it!

So what did I do to deserve this teasing?  Well, it had to do with my last post. I admitted that my husband had hurt my feelings and I felt like God wanted me to just drop it and forgive him rather than “make him pay” by hashing it out. I wasn’t sure I could really do it, but said I’d try.  Well, that was Friday morning. If I had not chosen to forgive him, things would have gotten ugly when he got home from work until we talked it out. Some of the gist of what I would have told him is that his words made me feel unlovable (with a definite you weren’t caring for me sort of tone).  Thank the Good Lord in Heaven I didn’t do that! You see, I didn’t know it, but I had contracted the flu, good old-fashioned influenza. Only there’s nothing good about it. By late Friday night I was feeling awful.  It’s now Wednesday, and this is the first day I’ve been up and dressed since Friday. I don’t feel great, but I’m not comatose anymore.  My husband waited on me hand and foot for 5 days. He took two days off of work and stayed up with me in the middle of the night. I was pretty much incapacitated.

If I had launched into him with my wounds and hurts after work on Friday, it would have made the next five days soooo humiliating! Besides, regardless of his hurtful words, he basically proved to me with his actions that he did care for me very much.  And in this case, the actions spoke much, much louder and more honestly than his careless words. It could have robbed my husband of the joy of his service if he was licking his wounds from a big confrontation. I don’t want that for him.  Also, he may have not wanted to help me after we had a big blow up, and I really needed his help. I was in a needy state.

This was just one more opportunity for me to realize that I need to continue to trust the Lord to guide my steps. He will lead me in right paths.  I need to keep listening to him.  He sees what I cannot. 

And, even though I know that God’s not much into pride…in this case he saved me from great humiliation…..and I do owe Him BIG!! J

Friday, August 10, 2012

Wrestling With Forgiveness Reprised

Today is the one year anniversary of the beginning of my blog! I had NO IDEA the road I would travel upon when  I finally decided to be obedient to the Lord and just start this darn blog.  I also didn’t realize that I would actually enjoy the experience of putting my heart out there on the Internet….but I have! It’s been a growth process for me. Thank you to everyone who has shared in my life and my walk with Christ. Your comments and encouragement have been so meaningful, and have definitely helped in the difficult moments.

It’s interesting that today’s blog post is on forgiveness.  When I started writing this entry, I didn’t realize that I was so close to my one year mark. One of my very first posts was on forgiveness, and now one year later I find myself coming face to face with the issue again. I want to get this thing, forgiveness, since it is so central to Christ and everything He is.

My husband hurt my feelings yesterday…..pretty significantly. That’s unusual for us; we aren’t usually offended by each other. What’s even more unusual is that I didn’t really want to talk about it at the time; normally we talk everything out and are quick to do so. I actually think he was relieved when I didn’t, like maybe he dodged a bullet!  He doesn’t realize that I’m still mad and hurt about it. When I was talking to the Lord about the whole thing this morning I felt like He was asking me just to forget about it, to just let it go.  And I wasn’t sure I could. I realized that part of my desire to “talk it out” was to make him pay. I want him to hear how hurt I am, how much his words damaged me. I want him to feel badly and regret it and maybe even grovel a little.  Some of my desire to “get things right” is really about getting back. Could I let this go? Could I forgive the way God does--freely, putting my sins as far as the east is from the west? Could I take the pain myself and let Nick go free?

That was the issue….could I let him go free? I believe that talking things over and being honest is essential to a good relationship with my spouse, so I don’t think this is what I should do all the time. But it might be what God wants this time. I also realize that if I can’t let him go free, I will have to talk to him, because I don’t want anything between us. I'm not sure I can really let this go, but I'm going to try. 

This incident helped me realize how different my forgiveness is than the Lord’s--and how incredibly amazing God’s forgiveness truly is. Freely given, with the pain and the payment totally taken by Him. Freely erasing all our sin. Setting us free.  Just trying to be this person makes me understand God’s heart a little better. Dear Lord, please help me learn not to make people pay… me learn to set people free.

Ephesians 1:7 (NIV)
In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace.


Friday, August 3, 2012

Never Take the Little Things for Granted

I just want to take a minute and thank the Lord Almighty for being able to walk! I hope I never take walking for granted again. My leg muscles quit working two years ago this July. I had NO IDEA at the time that I was on the verge of a life altering chain of events. I thought I’d pulled a muscle and that it would recover with a couple of weeks’ rest. WRONG.

This month I’ve actually been doing things I haven’t done in two years. Last year at this time I was just barely able to walk. I can now walk for 15 minutes and even bike for 30 minutes! I’ve actually done some yard work, too! I remember one day last summer our family was working on a project in the yard. I walked out there to check on the family about five times and I was done for the day. No work at all. No helping. Just walking outside five times and I was finished. This July I actually shoveled and raked bark with the rest of them. I kind of got teary. It was the beginning of being a part of the solution rather than the continual problem. I felt normal. Like a real person. Getting to work in the yard was very meaningful for me and I don’t even like yard work. Who knew?

I just started being able to walk across a parking lot rather than use my handicap permit. My daughter laughed at me today when I looked at her with an eager grin and said, “I’m going to park far away…..because I can!” Not exactly how I used to think about parking lots. It’s amazing how a person’s perspective changes.  

God knew the road I was about to walk the day my muscles stopped working. He was not surprised or confused. I mentioned this in my blog once before, but I had a person come up to me after church about a month after my muscles first hurt.  She said, “God wants you to know how much He loves you and how proud He is of you. He wants you to know that He is a strong pillar for you. You can wrap your arms around Him and He will be strong for you. He wants you to know that He isn’t a hard pillar. He’s warm and soft and you can hold tight to Him.”   In retrospect, that word amazes me. I should have realized I was in for a ride if God made such an effort to give me a word to hold onto. But I had no idea what I was really facing, that it would be two years before I could walk into a grocery store from a regular parking spot like a normal person. He knew.  He is so good and so faithful. Thank you, Lord, for your faithfulness to me! (I think I’ll go drive to some parking lot and walk into the store...just because I can! J)