Posted on May 20, 2017
Pastors and Teachers–this one’s for you. Are these commonly part of your teaching?
- “You cannot know how deep love can be until you’ve had your own children”
- “The best training ground for sacrificial love is marriage.”
- “It is only when looking at your own child that you understand the great sacrifice God made in giving Jesus as sacrifice for our sins.”
- (any kind of variation of these)
Here’s the deal. God may have taught YOU deep love through the having of children. He may have taught YOU (and many others) sacrificial love in marriage. But is your God so small that He can only teach those concepts in those two environments?
Talk to me of adoption. Those are not “your own” children–yet God ties bonds so tight that if you ask any adoptive parent, they will know no difference in the kind of love they have for their biological children as compared to their adoptive children. If anything, there is greater love in the ache of the moments missed–the 1st birthday cake smash, the first day of kindergarten picture.
Talk to me of social workers who walk into squalor and evil and chaos, who pick up a child or children, and walk them out of chaos and into hope for different. They visit and revisit heartbreaking circumstances for the sake of children who are not theirs.
Talk to me about my own career–thousands of hours at all hours of the night helping students through situations I did not choose. Tell me I can’t know sacrifice when I walk away from dinner, or leave a restaurant, or duck out of church, because the phone rang, the student needed someone and that someone was me. Tell me of sitting in an office and watching the involuntary reactions of a woman sharing that she was assaulted–a woman, frankly, nobody believed–but those involuntary protective actions, they cannot be denied–and because I saw them, the entire course of her treatment changed. Tell me of standing in the yard of another student, waiting for the coroner to come get his family member…hours and hours and hours later–and these things never happen at noon. Tell me how my hours at hospitals, visiting a student who doesn’t rank as one of my favorite people, but someone needs to be there–and that someone is me because they lived in my “house” alongside 375 or 947 others, depending on what year and what university I was at during the time.
Tell me how I don’t know sacrifice. Tell me a 20-year-old firefighter donning protective gear and walking into a fire that he did not set to protect life and then property of people who won’t know his name–tell me he doesn’t know love or sacrifice.
Pastors and Teachers–stop making your God so small. Because by doing so, you limit the stories of the people you teach. You silence people like me. And you tell me every time that my God can’t possibly teach me these deep life lessons because I don’t fall into those small contexts for how you were taught those things.
Updated on May 13, 2017
Life. The older I get, the more I see cycles and patterns and how bits and pieces fit together to prepare us for each part of our journey. If you are a follower of Jesus, you can trust that each thing in life will be pulled together for eventual good–so even in the mixing stage of life, when pieces are all ingredients and not yet a meal, you can trust that eventually it will come together as a meal you will so greatly enjoy.
Sometimes life moments come as a result of percolating. A little bubble here, a moment there over the course of years comes to a head. A decision must be made: move forward in faith, settle back in complacency.
I cannot say I have always had faith to move forward when the opportunity first was made clear. And yet, in His infinite mercy, Jesus keeps coming, taking a different angle, a different approach. Sometimes my pause has resulted in a lost opportunity. But sometimes, in His love causing His desire to refine me into the best version of me, He keeps coming.
So a decision point comes…again. Something that has percolated for nearly three years is coming to a head–it is time to step out in faith, regardless of knowing where that road will ultimately go.
If Jesus is calling you to step, step. Trust His leading. Trust His hand. And trust His love for you. He would never lead you to a place that would not ultimately be for your good–His ultimate goal is your ultimate sanctification. Your best self will come as you surrender to His leading, submit to His refining of your self, and repentance from the sin that so easily entangles.
Let’s not wait until “again” happens–let’s take the step together. The people of faith are all in this walk together. Let’s wave each other on, hand each other a refreshment, and give some grace as we all step into new territory.
Posted on May 13, 2017
I laughed today as I drove the highway, on the way to a family function. Lots of road equals lots of time to think. As I come up behind an 18-wheel, tractor/trailer, I sigh. I hate following them. You can’t see around them, you can’t see the road in front of them, and if there are over-road signs, you cannot read them until it is too late to make a lane change.
Don’t get me started about road spray in the rain and snow when driving behind one of these behemoths.
But today, I laughed. The life of faith often seems like following such a massive truck. We cannot see the road ahead, whether it turns right or left, and often hindsight is the only way to see the “signs” above the roadway.
But instead of annoying, dirtying road spray from a behemoth truck, we settle in behind our Savior. The Behemoth in this case is the Conqueror. He trampled sin and death. He rose from the grave and sits at the right hand of the One True God. Jesus has earned His behemoth status–and His road spray is a dusting of “follow Me,” a spray of “trust Me,” and when the storm is great, the overwhelming wash of “I am here.”
Jesus isn’t such a bad 18-wheeler to follow.
Updated on April 3, 2017
A decade. A lifetime of journals, but a decade ago, I put the words top ring and started distributing them. Groundswell began as a church women’s newsletter of short articles to encourage, empower, and equip the people of God to pursue and achieve the life God has planned for each of us.
Ten years. There are ups, there are interesting moments when your ideas are taken by another trying to present them as their own. I have struggled with how to write, what to write, where to write, where to publish, what to share here, what to keep for a future book. Who to let in my circle, who to let remain a measure removed.
The insecurities, the cruel words of the enemy roaring, trying to distract–sometimes temporarily succeeding, sometimes the taunts being laughed out of the room.
If you look at the long road of ministry, the road of using your gifting for the purpose God has provided, just start walking. If you stand nervous, walk it out. If you keep looking up, looking down, looking to the side, walk it out. If you trip in a hole, get up, brush off, and walk that out as well. Because, in wisdom from my father to my mother when she wanted grad school, “in ten years, do you want to have that degree or do you want to still be wishing you had it.” Walk it out. Keep swinging. That is what I share with you–just start walking. And in ten years, you’ll look back and be amazed at all that happened in the meantime.
–image credit: unknown