Friday, August 31, 2012

...And It Was Very Good

Ever feel like you're not worth the dust from which you were created?  Then this is for you. 

I recently finished a book that imagined life during the time of Nehemiah.  It  follows the story of a girl who grew up without a mom, taught herself to read and write (something nearly unheard of during those days) and was hired to serve as the chief scribe for the Queen.  She becomes the wife of a prince due to an arranged marriage, and through all that has to work through the feelings of never having measured up to anyone's expectations. After discussing this with the palace gardener, he asked her to think about what she had learned about the creation of man.  God created them, gave them a couple instructions and then pronounced them good - before they had done anything.  That got me thinking, so I did a little research.

Genesis 1 comes to a close with verse 31: "God saw all that he had made - and it was very good. And there was evening and morning the sixth day." (NIV) He had just spoken the world out of nothing, put plants, animals and everything else in it, then stepped back and admired it for a moment.  Days 1-5 end with "And God saw that it was good."  Then after he put his crowning glory, humans, on the planet, he saw that it was very good.  The difference between day 5 and day 6?  Us.

Based on the passage, what had humans done to be deemed "very good"?  Nothing.  We had just been created, hadn't even been alive long enough to do anything.  We have been the apple of his eye from the beginning.  This has not changed some thousands of years later.  God's first act of grace was calling us very good when we hadn't had a moment to prove ourselves to him.

Why then do we insist on trying to earn his grace?  Because we're fallen humans. Thanks to a serpent, we have a hard time remembering that we're the apple of God's eye regardless of what we do.  Our "doing" should come out of a desire to serve as a display of our love for God and not because we feel we have to earn God's favor.  Our worth comes from God's love for us, and we can do NOTHING to change it. As I am learning this point, I am amazed at the amount of freedom that I am experiencing on a daily basis.

Will you join me in that freedom?

Friday, August 24, 2012

Frankenstein Scars

I want to be more like my little girl. She played outdoors most of the day today. Her hair was messy. She wore a bright pink t-shirt with glittery ballet slippers on the front, green capri-length scrub pants that belong to a nurse's costume she got when she was 4, and black riding boots that come to her knees. She didn't have a care in the world, and she certainly was unconcerned with her personal appearance. She went on a bike ride around the neighborhood in that outfit. I'm sure, if I had asked, she would have gone anywhere with me today without giving her outfit a second thought.

And then there's me. The girl who had surgery on her head yesterday leaving two Frankenstein scars that look...well...gross. Icky. Disgusting. Ugly.

I have learned something about myself this week, and I don't like it. You see, I have real problems in my life, the kind of problems that you can't share with just anyone, the kind of problems that cause the people who know you best to shake their heads in wonder as they know the only way you are getting by each day is by the grace of God. Real problems.

So, with all these real problems in my life, what was causing me to be upset this week? What was making me anxious and actually moving me to tears? Was it my mother's illness or the upcoming school year or strained relationships or unmentionable problems that would cause even the strongest believer's knees to buckle a little?

Nope. Unfortunately not.

Losing a little hair and Frankenstein scars brought me to tears this week. Vanity.

I am vain.

Sure, go ahead and tell me that it's what's on the inside that counts, and that a little ugly (especially temporary ugliness) isn't important.

The thing is that, obviously, if I'm so concerned about the outside that I was moved to tears more than once in the past two days, then there must be a little more ugly on the inside than I'd like to admit, because I am, indeed, concerned with the outside.

Today is a day that I have realized that, in the midst of all my real problems and the growth the Lord has produced in me in the past year through my real problems, I still have other stuff going on that needs to be addressed, stuff that I can't keep ignoring. I still have work to do. It isn't that I thought I had arrived. I certainly have never even considered that possibility. It's just that, I have real problems, and overlooking my vanity has been easy to do. In the big scheme of things, Frankenstein scars on your head don't matter. Frankenstein scars on your soul? Now those are important. Let's deal with the things that can cause real pain, emotional pain, raw pain, and forget about the things that don't matter, or, at least, stop obsessing about them.

Yesterday, when I walked into my parents' home to pick up my children, my sweet little girl was clearly interested in how the procedure had gone, but she was kind and didn't ask to see it. I showed her anyway, and then she told me that it didn't look bad. It was fine! She was being kind, of course. I am a realist. In that moment, I literally cried on my 8 year old daughter's shoulder while she gave me a hug. Bad parenting? Maybe, but I am grateful for that moment when I was reminded of what really mattered in life.

Some day, I will be thankful for these scars, or so I am told by my dad who has had the same procedure done. Admittedly, I am not there yet, but I will get there. My scars will be covered over by hair in a few months, and no one will even know that I had anything done. Isn't that how it works with our souls too? When God heals our hearts, no one knows what once was there unless we choose to tell them. He makes us new. He grows us. He heals us. For that, I am thankful today, and for my daughter, who is amazing and sweet and kind and loving.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Blessed are the Persecuted

This past Sunday, my pastor preached on "Blessed are the Persecuted" from Matthew 5.  It really moved me and got me thinking about where we are as American Christians.  This post is based upon his sermon.  Kudos to my pastor for boldly speaking the truth in love to God's people.  My hope is that Christians reading this will be strengthened and encouraged (as I was) to fight the good fight.
"Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when people insult you and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you."
Matthew 5:10-12

Who of us would have written it like that?

Jesus had just preached the Beatitude sermon on the mount in Matthew 5.  Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, those who are gentle, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, who are merciful, who are pure in heart, and who are peacemakers.  Now, if we were putting the ending on this progression many of us would cap it with something like,

"Blessed are you that you have gone through all this stuff and obeyed.  Now that you're emptied of self, are filled with Me, and are now seeking to make peace with mankind, you are blessed and things will go well for you in this life.  Relax and enjoy."

But, we didn't write God's Word.  He did.  And He capped His sermon with persecution, suffering, and difficulties.  It was a warning, actually, because He KNEW that if someone truly gave their lives to Him, accepted His gift of forgiveness of sin that He gave on the Cross, and actually began growing in Him, He KNEW that this person would offend the world and that the world would hate him/her.

It's not really that the world hates the Christian person.  It's more that they hate Christ that is within them.  The world is darkness and the Christian is light.  The light exposes their evil deeds, thoughts, motives, intentions, etc and they HATE that.  They don't want to be exposed.  They don't want to be told that what they are doing is wrong.  They don't want to hear that they are being held accountable for their actions and that one day they'll have to answer to a righteous Judge that has the authority to send them to hell.  So they try to deny God and pull Him from every institution possible: schools, government, court houses, etc.  They also try to deny His existence by coming up with a "theory" of evolution that strips God of His Creative power.

"For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness, because that which is known about God is evident within them.  For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly seen, being understood through what has been made, so that they are without excuse."
-Romans 1:18-20

Because of how long it is, I cannot write out the entire section of Scripture from Romans 1:18-32, but I truly encourage you to read it.  It discusses "Unbelief and It's Consequences".

Take a nature walk and REALLY look at the clouds and grass and leaves and animals, etc.  It is far too perfect to have come into existence by evolution.  Plus, something can't come from nothing.  The world SCREAMS of a Creator God.  And we all know it.  But those who do not want to live for God deny it.  They don't want to believe in God.  Because if there's a God, then He created me.  If He created me, then I'm not just some random "ball of cells" that formed into a human by chance.  I'm not just a descendent of a monkey/animal.  I have purpose.  I was created by Someone for something.  That must mean I am accountable to this Being...

"And this is the judgement, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil.  For everyone who does evil hates the light, and does not come to the light, lest his deeds should be exposed.  But he who practices the truth comes to the light, that his deeds may be manifested as having been wrought in God."
John 3:19-20

This was brought onto center stage over this whole Chick-fil-a hulabaloo.

Chick-fil-a is a Christian company.  There is no refuting that.  And they do not deny or try to hide that fact.  It's their business, so honestly it shouldn't matter what the president believes.  But a benign comment was made by the president of Chick-fil-a, Dan Cathy, that he believes in traditional marriage.  Wasn't bashing anyone.  Wasn't hating anyone.  Wasn't flaming anyone.  Wasn't finger pointing or judging or whatever.  Never uttered a negative word against homosexuals.  Just stated what he believed, which comes from Scripture.

And the world HATED him.
The world HATED Chick-fil-a.

Just look at how the world responded!!!

What it really boils down to is this: the world hates Christ.  Dan Cathy took a stand on Christ and on the truths of Scripture.  So the world persecuted him.  His light exposed their darkness and they reviled.

The whole Chick-fil-a situation opened the eyes of a lot of sleepy Christians.  And good, because Christians NEED to wake up!  We've been living in a fantasy land type Christianity for far too long here in the United States.  We're no longer bold, we're flabby.  Oh, there's a few warriors out there fighting off the darkness.  But as a whole, the Christian church is carnal and timid and lazy.

Christ says clearly that if you have completely given your lives to Him and are truly growing in Him, persecution WILL come.

As my pastor has shared many a time, one of our "gods" as American Christians is "being comfortable".  We want the nice house and money and ease and comfort.  And we certainly don't want to be "making waves".  But if we are truly living for Christ, we can't help but make waves.  The world hates God and as soon as you take a stand on issues and start sharing truth, the "waves" WILL come.

Are we making waves?

Now, I'm not saying we need to rush out into the world and unnecessarily create waves just to prove we're a Christian.  But opportunities arise ALL the time to share Christ and Scripture and truth. Do we stay quiet and keep our lips sealed for fear of upsetting or offending someone?  I understand we are to be "peacemakers" (Matt. 5:9) but God doesn't want us staying quiet.  He wants us to,

"... Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations... teaching them to observe all that I commanded you..."  (Matt. 28:16-20)

In fact, He says immediately following His Beatitude Sermon/persecution message,

"You are the salt of the earth; but if the salt has become tasteless, how will it be made salty again?  It is good for nothing anymore, except to be thrown out and trampled under foot by men.  You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden.  Nor do men light a lamp, and put it under the peck measure, but on the lamp stand; and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven."
-Matthew 5:12-16

We are to go out into every nook and cranny of this dark world and bring Christ, so that all may hear about salvation and may have the opportunity to repent and live for God.  People need to hear God's truth.  They need to come to repentance.  They need to give their lives to Christ.  They need us to boldly go out into the world and share the truths from Scripture.

Well, when we do that, it'll make waves...

"... but if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name."
-1 Peter 4:16

"For to you it has been granted for Christ's sake, not only to believe in Him, but also to suffer for His sake."
-Philippians 1:29

"If the world hates you, you know that is has hated Me before it hated you.  If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, because of this the world hates you.  Remember the word that I said to you, 'A slave is not greater than his master.'  If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you, if they kept My word, they will keep yours also."
-John 15:18-20

I am SO not looking forward to persecution.  I don't enjoy it at all.  (Who seriously does?!)  When I accepted Christ years ago, it was really just a personal realization that I was a sinner and I needed to repent of my sins and live for God.  I didn't realize at the time that the world would hate me and probably verbally insult me/defame my character.  And it certainly didn't occur to me that I may even have to endure physical abuse some day.

But it's undeniably all over Scripture: God's people suffer simply because they are His and are living for Him.  Many many many people were even martyred in the Bible for their faith in Him.  And many many more were martyred after the Scriptures were written, even on into today in some parts of the world.

There is no other religion on this planet that causes such hatred within man's heart than what people feel toward Christians.

A Christian takes a stand and simply calls out something as a "sin" (because the Bible does)- no physical or verbal abuse, no "intolerance", no lambasting, no "hate" (which Biblically speaking is "murder" so Believers will not typically be inclined to participate in "hating" people, see 1 John 3:15) and look what happens.  What the world doesn't understand is that us sharing the truth about their sin is actually love- we're showing them that they have "sinned and fallen short of the glory of God" (Romans 3:23) so that they can repent and make peace with God.  The Lord does not "wish for any to perish but for all to come to repentance" (2 Peter 3:9).  Our job is to share His truth and light so man can be saved.

But the world reviles.
They don't want to see or hear it.
And because we share the truth, they'll hate us.

"Do not be surprised, brethren, if the world hates you."
-1 John 3:13

"... and you will be hated by all on account of My name."
-Luke 21:17

In the footnotes of my study Bible, it says this:
-People who are morally upright expose and shame those who aren't.  If we live for God, the world will often hate us, because we make them painfully aware of their immoral way of living.

The whole world clearly saw it with the Chick-fil-a ordeal.

As my pastor stated, Christian, it's time to stop being a peace-FAKER (let's be silent so as to not make waves) and start being a Matthew 5:9 peace-MAKER (sharing God's truth so that people can repent and make peace with God).  Biblical "peace" is having a right relationship with God, a heart that has been forgiven of sin.  There will be no "peace on earth" so long as man does things mans way, lives in sin, and rejects God.

"For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places."
-Ephesians 6:12

It's not people we are struggling against, but the spiritual forces of darkness.  We are truly engaged in a classic battle between good and evil.

Be strengthened in the Lord, Christian, as you share the truth in this dark world knowing that,
1) you are doing the work of the Lord and
2) some WILL come into repentance because we share the truth.

"Fight the good fight of faith" (1 Timothy 6:12) and continue sharing the light of Christ with all boldness and perseverance and gentleness and love. And be praying for your brothers and sisters in Christ around the world as they, too, are engaged in this battle.  Pray that they will be strengthened and empowered as well.
And be encouraged.  If you look back at Matthew 5:10-12 you'll see that you will be doubly blessed if you are persecuted for the sake of righteousness.  Your reward in heaven will be great.

Friday, August 17, 2012


   It's easy to go through life day by day with very little plans for the future.  Where do you see yourself in five years? Automatically, we would think about our job, our home, our children and their position/age. But that's not what I'm talking about.  Where do you see yourself, the reflection of your inmost being, your foibles and fortes all rolled up into one?  I could sit here right now and easily come up with at least five things that I don't like about my personality, my inner dialogue, and my faults.  However, identifying these things is only the first step.  I will never be improved, never be in a different place down the road, if I don't take specific action toward improving myself right now.

   Romans 12:1-2 says ,"Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God -- this is your spiritual act of worship.  Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind.  Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -- his good, pleasing, and perfect will." About a year and a half ago, this verse spoke to me in a way that it never has before.  I needed to WAKE UP and take action to improve myself, discipline myself, and grow my love for God so that I could transform my mind (and my life) to discern God's will.  Some of my changes have been big, some have been small, some areas I haven't made much headway in yet; but I have seen the goodness of the Lord pour into my life in ways that are both shocking and much-awaited.  I am on a journey of self-improvement and self-discovery, which is opening up a greater understanding of God like I couldn't have imagined before.

   So I thought today I would offer up a few suggestions.  My challenge to you today is to adopt one of these actions if you don't presently have it in your life. Be disciplined with it, and you will find blessings.

1.  Exercise at least four times a week -- You pick the exercise, make a schedule, and stick to it! Your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit and a vessel made in God's image.  Take care of it!  Make the whole family or a close friend part of your routine as well.  A healthy body creates a clear mind.

2.  Seek God's wisdom above all else -- 1 Timothy 4:7-8 says, "Spend your time and energy in training yourself for spiritual fitness.  Physical exercise has some value, but spiritual exercise is much more important, for it promises a reward in both this life and the next."  When I first started being disciplined about workouts, I ended up trading first-thing devotions for first-thing exercise, thinking that I would get to my quiet time later in the day.  Sometimes I did; often I didn't.  Now I get up earlier so that I can do both before my kids wake up for school.  Am I tired when I roll out of bed? More often than not.  But boy is it worth it! I am a much better witness when I start my day out in the Word.

3.  Read self-improvement books -- I was challenged a couple of months ago by a mentor in my business to read one self-improvement book a week.  I had never read them much, so I wasn't looking forward to it; I committed to it for my business, but my heart wasn't really in it.  Man! Was I in for a surprise.  I have been richly rewarded by the books I've managed to finish in the weeks since July.  Whether you're self-employed, in direct sales, or part of the corporate atmosphere, you CAN benefit from this challenge. If you're unemployed or retired, you can benefit from these books too.  They're for everyone! I would highly recommend that anyone and everyone read The Traveler's Gift by Andy Andrews.  It reads like fiction and presents seven decisions that can benefit CEOs and stay-at-home moms alike.  I would also recommend Rhinoceros Success and Advanced Rhinocerology by Scott Alexander as well as the devotional Discerning the Voice of God by Priscilla Shirer.

4.  Learn something new -- Never consider yourself as having arrived at the post-learning era.  Nothing leads to stagnancy of mind like an unteachable spirit.  Learn a new language, take interest in a hobby, have your kids show you how to use some "new" technology, attend art shows, or watch an old movie.  Broaden your horizons. Take in the beauty of your Creator through diversity of experience and scope of existence. Proverbs 9:9 says, "Instruct a wise man and he will be wiser still; teach a righteous man and he will add to his learning."

5.  Laugh every day -- Don't take yourself or the world too seriously; God has the final word.  Cultivate joy and spread it around.  Celebrate your faith, don't mourn it.  Thank your Maker. Count your blessings twice. This life is a gift, and it won't be handed out again.

   I will leave you with a question from a song by Switchfoot that really resonated with me at about the time that I started seeking to become more:

          "This is your life....are you who you want to be?"

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

The Torture of Waiting

I am one of the worst people at waiting.  I count the days until an event that I am looking forward to (and keep this tab in my head of how many days are left…6 days until school…just so you know).  I get aggravated easily when I am waiting on my kids, my husband, or for someone to make a plan for work that needs to be done.  I find that most of the time I just take over and do whatever needs to be done myself.

But I am WORST about waiting on God.  Not being able to count the days or look forward to exactly when something is going to happen is TORTURE.  I read this quote today and it really seemed to resonate with me…“We must be willing to get rid of the life we've planned, so as to have the life that is waiting for us.”  Joseph Campbell.

Right now I feel like I am in transition in my life…and it is driving me CRAZY.  See, God has called us to move to Youngstown, OH.  I have quit my job here, we are planning on putting our house on the market (after we do some work on it), I have applied and completed 2 interviews at a position in Youngstown…everything was working so fast and exactly perfect…and then it felt like everything screeched to a halt.

It has been over two weeks since the second interview and still no word.  We have looked at houses and found one that we want to put an offer on, but without a job we can’t really put an offer on the house.  Our house here is not coming together as fast as we had hoped and it seems like it will NEVER be ready to go to market.

And here I am…..WAITING!!!

Waiting for things to start moving again, waiting for the doors to open that are supposed to be, waiting for the house to sell, the offer to be accepted, the job to be offered…all so we can get to where God has called us to be.

I try and push things…I called the job and all I ever get is voicemail.  Nothing seems to work.

So, I try to find peace with waiting.  And I try and follow this quote I found…

“Waiting on God requires the willingness to bear uncertainty, to carry within oneself the unanswered question, lifting the heart to God about it whenever it intrudes upon one's thoughts.” Elisabeth Elliot

Monday, August 13, 2012

Memories That Matter

Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path. Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

I learned Psalm 23 at church when I was very young. I still remember verses set to made-up tunes from summers in youth group. I attended a Bible camp in rural Wisconsin in elementary school because I had memorized 150 verses to receive a free week (twice!). I also placed third one year at the Bible Memory contest there. Unfortunately I did not keep up memorizing on a consistent basis and I regret that lapse.

As I teach our four children I have been reminded of the importance of being disciplined in Scripture memory. We have taught our children Psalm 23, Psalm 1, The Lord’s Prayer and some other verses. I now include Scripture Memory in our school plan. It is easier for children to memorize large amounts of information. But, it’s not just something for kids to do.

Scripture memory does not have to be complicated.

First, decide what you want to memorize.  
  • This link offers verses for different categories as well as a year by year guide that gives you approximately 50 verses per year.
  • Pick a chapter or verse that is important to you and you want to be able to remember anywhere, at any time.
  • Join me in memorizing a verse each week at BibleLearning on Memory Mondays.

Second, find ways to keep the verse close.
  • If you have a smartphone there are several free apps that allow you to post handy notes that you can click on and look at throughout the day.
  • Write the verse(s) on an index card and keep it handy.  Place it on your refrigerator, bathroom mirror or steering wheel.  Carry it in your purse or pocket.

Third, use different tricks to make memorizing fun and effective
  • Make up a tune or use a familiar melody to sing the words of the verse.
  • Make up actions for each part or phrase.  If memorizing with your family, this can be a fun thing to make up together.  It is also helpful for really little kids.  Our four year old twins still use some of the actions when they say Psalm 23 and they learned it over a year ago.
  • Write the verse down.  Say the verse aloud.  Read the verse.  The more ways you practice the verse, the faster it will be committed to memory.

Fourth, practice and review daily.
  • You should practice the verse you are learning every day until you have memorized it and move on to the next one.  If you have chosen to memorize one verse each week then you will have 52 verses memorized by the end of a year. 
  • What we often fail to do is review the verses we have memorized.  There is an excellent method described on the Simply Charlotte Mason site, but you can also set up a way to review that best fits your individual schedule.

Fifth, find a partner to memorize with you.
  • As with anything, it takes time to make Scripture memory into a habit.  That’s why it is a good idea to do it along with someone else.  Then you can challenge and encourage each other to keep memorizing.
  • Memorizing verses with your spouse and/or children is a great addition to any family Bible time.
  • I welcome anyone who would like to join our family on our memory plan.

As I desire to live intentionally and not waste the days that God has given me, I want to hide God’s Word in my heart and have it available to me at all times.  Psalm 119:11 says, “I have hidden your word in my heart, that I might not sin against you.”  It points out how reading God’s Word, knowing it and having it close will help us to not sin.  Jesus was a perfect example of this when Satan tempted him in the desert before Jesus began His earthly ministry and He used Scripture each time to silence Satan’s arguments.  We have that same power available to us. So let’s make sure we are using the Bible and let it be “ a light on my path.”

Friday, August 3, 2012

Life is Short and Then...There's More

Nature's First green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf's a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

Robert Frost

Like as the waves make towards the pebbled shore,
So do our minutes hasten to their end;
Each changing place with that which goes before,
In sequent toil all forwards do contend.
Nativity, once in the main light,
Crawls to maturity, wherewith being crown'd,
Crooked eclipses 'gainst his glory fight,
And Time that gave doth now his gift confound.
Time doth transfix the flourish set on youth
And delves the parallels in beauty's brow,
Feeds on the rarities of nature's truth,
And nothing stands but for his scythe to mow:
And yet to times in hope, my verse shall stand
Praising thy worth, despite his cruel hand.

William Shakespeare
Sonnet 60

Life is fleeting. Beauty fades. Youth is spent. This summer I blew out 35 candles on my birthday cake. No amount of sugary goodness could erase the nagging reminder that I was getting older. I'm sure some of you have already stifled a laugh at the notion that 35 is any way “old,” while those of you still reveling in your 20's or younger, need too little convincing that this is the truth. I guess it's not so much feeling “old,” as finally realizing that youth is not an infinite quantity; that time is a factor. George Bernard Shaw said of my former blissful obliviousness: “Youth is wasted on the young.”

“Man is like a breath; his days are like a fleeting shadow.” Psalm 144:4 NIV. Our lives and this world are ephemeral. Am I being a tad melodramatic for my 35th birthday? Maybe. Is life short? Yes. So how are we supposed to function day-to-day as time slips by? Turn a blind eye and ignore our mortality? Certainly on most days this isn't too difficult with life's hectic demands, 100 plus channels of cable and hours of useless things to do on Facebook. We could become depressed or tormented about dying. For those of you who have a macabre fixation, there's actually an app that let's you know each day supposedly how many days you have left to live: I think at one point all of us has asked ourselves: “What's after his life, what happens when I die.” Or have thought: “There has to be more.”

But we don't have to count on happiness solely from this short, transient life. Jesus promised us eternal life through Him: “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16 NIV. Even though, from time to time, I might find myself anxious about the shortness of this life, I have the hope of spending eternity with my Savior. And considering all the blessings He has already given me in 35 years, I can also count on His peace and love making this short time on earth joyful. That's where I'll focus my vision: one foot in each kingdom.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

It Is Worth It All

Today was one of those days…it was like my children chose this day to find out how close they could push mommy to the edge.

Not listening, fighting, screaming, making messes, fighting some more, crying…it was all enough to make me contemplate putting them to bed about 4:30.

I resisted until 8, but when I finally put them to bed…with my sons fighting in their bedroom, again…my daughter cuddled into me while I was rocking her, and let out the sweetest, most contented sigh.  And suddenly the entire day was worth it.

My mom asked me one time if I remembered what it felt like to sit on someone’s lap.  Unfortunately, I don’t.  I hope that someday, in Heaven, I will get to experience that sensation again.  I imagine sitting on God’s lap…cuddling in and sighing…exactly how my daughter did tonight.

Letting out a sigh like nothing else in the world matters, but sitting in my Father’s lap…no worries, no more pain…just love.

At that moment, all of these days….will be worth it.