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Friday, January 31, 2014

"Regret"...Who owns it? You get to choose.

   The thoughts come after. After the action...or the words...or the lie. My inside-the-head justification conversations.
     "Yeah, well...the truth would have hurt them much worse. Should I have told them that I was out of grace and the idea of a whole evening with someone as challenging as they are is...well...just not how I choose to spend my time tonight. I've had a long hard day and I don't want to be with you."
     "I know I am not honoring him but I really don't care. After yesterday, if he wants that done he can do it himself.  It's a ridiculous chore anyway and I have important things to do."
     "Sometimes people just need to hear the truth and need to hear it with a loud voice.  I'm so over their hypocrisy. It makes me sick. It was time. It was soo time. Someone needed to call them out and today, I decided the time had come and it would be me."
     The next voice I hear cradles and cuts simultaneously. 
    "So you lied and let them down?  So what?  You're right, the truth would have been much worse. Remember what happened last week? Why put yourself through that again? You've done more than your share of that relationship." I feel a pat on the back. "I think you should do whatever you want tonight. Pamper yourself. You do so much for other people. You deserve it."
     "Good choice about not doin' that chore, sister!" I get a high five. "I can't wait to see his face when he gets home and sees you didn't do what he asked you. That'll show him." A nudge to my shoulder. "You go girl. Maybe now he'll see. Maybe now he'll get it. He should appreciate how great you are. How good he has it. You're a saint." 
     "You were so right-on tonight when you called them out! They deserved everything you said to them. Bravo! Someone had to set them straight. How dare they pretend to be one thing in church and something very different in real life?" I hear a chuckle. "The truth will set them free, right?" another nudge.
     The last voice breaths a salve of "Truth" and it stings. 
     "The evening you said 'No' to tonight, I ordained. You have missed my good purpose and plan. You say you are out of grace. I say, even as you deserve nothing, I sent my son to die for you out of the greatest love and His grace never ends. And do I need to remind you how I grieve over your lie? Imagine instead, setting down your pride long enough to be blessed in a valuable friendship that I orchestrated for just those hours. Do you remember how challenging you can be?"
     "You know what I am going to say about this. I know you do. Obey him. I have set order in marriage for a reason. Do what he asks out of obedience. Honor him and watch him rise up in the desire to lead you well. You are not a saint. I called you to be his Helpmate."
     "Know that you're righteousness is ugly in my sight. You are not the judge. Have you ever been a hypocrite? Do you think being right gives you the right to something? Are you God? No. You are a sinner. Stand on the line. Will you throw the first stone? Will you?"  
     There is a knock at the door. I open it, ready for anything besides conviction. 
     I find "Shame" on the threshold and he enters my house. He comes in power of the second voice and fills up the room. I cower under his heavy oppression and close my eyes. 

     When I open them, God's light floods and Shame flees.
     The only voice left is Truth. Life. It is the Breath of Creation and the greatest of Love. "You are my Beloved and I am your Redeemer. I transform hearts and breath new life. Get up and walk. Go...hold your head high. The joy of the Lord is your strength. You are chosen, called, adopted,  and perfectly made.   Go...and sin no more."   

Friday, January 24, 2014

For Samuel...who just turned three...and lives in heaven.

     I'm reading your story little darling and even though we never met, I love you. I sit here and weep remembering your nineteen days on earth. Sad tears come from my love for your parents and the knowledge that every day of their lives they will miss the things they did not get with you. 
      I cry happy tears because I know you are in paradise with Jesus and carry a joy that none of us on earth will ever know. 
     Your Daddy's words about you go deep and forever inside me and I love that they are now being planted into new hearts from the pages of your book. 
Has Jesus told you just how much your little life mattered? 
Can you see your family from heaven? Do you laugh along with Noah and Mia? Can you feel Christians excitement as he accomplishes each new thing?
     Your Mommy is so beautiful, isn't she?  Stunning really. Inside and out. And your Daddy? Well...he's one for the record books. A special one indeed. I know you must be so so proud. 
I really love three-year-old boys and selfishly wish you could come to my house and play with Reed. He's three too, you know. The two of you would probably jump and chase and make me laugh and crazy all at the same time.   
Your Mommy and Daddy suffered greatly over you, but they suffered beautifully too.  Did you get a glimpse of the glory God received on earth from your too-short life little man? Ask Jesus about it on your next walk with him. I bet he smiles when you do. And pay attention, because there's more on the way. 
Your life was a gift to the world for God's glory, Samuel Parkins, and He is not done with it yet. 
I'll meet you one day...and when I do...I'll hug you tight. And it will be deep and long and full of great love.  

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

A day like no other...

     The enemy had my shoulders squared and a pin to the mat was coming. Weak and beaten I had no fight left. I was almost ready to surrender. 
     And yet, in my spirit where the truth lived, I called. 
     I called. 
     God heard, he answered, and the enemy fled. 
     In the moments that followed I knew that nothing in my circumstances had changed and yet everything...had changed.
     Everything had changed.

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Tests of faith? No thank you! But wait...

     I cry out, "No! Enough already. They can not handle any more.
     My hands turns into fighting fists and I can not stop crying.
     Not their baby, Lord! Please, I beg you!
And I feel the darkness smile. It hovers close. I can almost touch it and I know it's coming to steal any breath of hope that might still linger inside this nightmare of heartbreak.
     Not another brother, Lord! NO! He's lost too many already. He wont survive this! I wont! We cant do it...and I fall to the floor in a heap.
     Then God comes. He brings light and the darkness flees.
     Fists unfurl and truth dries tears as God bends down and holds together the broken heart with his own hands and stays like that for as long as it takes.
     And he picks up the pieces of shattered life and fulfills promises over it with his breath. 
     It is by His power we survive the things that without Him would kill us. By His power. Thank you Lord.  You make us  new with your love.