Friday, January 2, 2015

Happy New Year!

The other day I saw a comment on someone's Facebook post that read, "The older we get the shorter our Christmas list becomes because what we want, can't be bought."  Friendships are certainly in this category.

As I sorted through our 2014 pictures yesterday, waves of nostalgia washed over me. After close to a half-century of living, I joyfully can say that I am still in close contact with my childhood best friend, I still share the same stomping ground with a number of my college mates, and I have rich relationships with sisters-in-the-Lord who talk shop on everything from raising children to work woes to marital challenges to their ultimate desire - a genuine walk with God.  I am indeed a wealthy woman not for the possessions in my life, but for the relationships in my life.

Today, my husband and I woke up with bull's eye purpose upon our hearts: to convey in a special way to some couples we have long-history with, but don't get to see that often, that regardless of time restraints and distance, we cherish them..... we truly do, along with the memories and the years we have shared.  

So down the highway we flew! What better way to spend New Year's Day?!

A few of the gifts our vehicle carried!

As expected, a few of our intendeds were not home,
so we left our greeting by their door.  
Won't those precious souls be surprised?!
Fun times!

It truly was so much fun to spread a little cheer, love, and laughter New Year's Day to some precious souls who have walked with us twenty plus years and counting!

I recently read some sad statistics.  People really are not holding fast to relationships any more.  They are disposing of them at a record rate, particularly when the relationship no longer meets their needs, or bumps along the road are encountered.

Interestingly though as I sat with the Lord pondering the dismal article, He firmly reminded me there will be those, particularly in His Family....our Family,  who attempt to walk away from sibling relationships in Christ, BUT because His blood is the connector between us, such efforts are futile.  Walls may be built and space put in between, but He'll faithfully bring to us thoughts, references, and reminders of those we either try to leave or those who try to leave us. He's just like that, don't you know!  His being is for unity. He didn't die and spill His blood so we could cop attitudes with one another and diss our fellow siblings-in-Christ. 

Such behavior is without excuse, but certainly in my lifetime, I have been on both the receiving and the giving end of such nonsensical behavior. As I have grown older, God has certainly tweaked ...often painfully at times... my actions to better reflect His character. When people have walked out of my life, while I understand I have no control over their actions, I do have complete control over mine, and as such, I have made it very clear to them that MY door will always remain open to them.  It has. It will remain so.  

Let's face it; people do peculiar things, especially hurting people, but during moments of being inflicted with what I call rash action - I have tangibly felt God's heart towards them. He has shown me the root to their actions and permitted me to feel, in some measure, their pain.  I'm telling you, THAT changes things. And when that transpires, THAT makes laying down my instinctive, slice-you-back, natural-man nature down.

Since this blog's formation, in the right margin of this blog,  I have three quotes listed.  At the top of the list - and for good reason -- is a quote by Corrie Ten Boom:

"Even as the angry vengeful thoughts boiled through me,
I saw the sin of them.
Jesus Christ had died for this man;
was I going to ask for more?

I came upon the quote years ago now, and as I read it then, I heard the Lord say, "So shall your heart become."   And so it has. I do not respond now as I used to respond.  My past is riddled with behavior easily classified as ninja-like speedy reactions of blade and spite.... an "eye for an eye," so to speak.  No, God's grace has slowed me in recent years to pause before Him when an offense is felt and to examine beyond the natural action. 

You see, we all have it in us; the power to self-protect, to strike back, to run away, but there is no redemption in those behaviors to either the giver or the receiver.  No, Jesus set the bar high for us, and it must be our determination to hit that high bar.

In a word, it's agape; that God-love that says, "If you slap this cheek, I'll willingly present the other to you." Why?  Because God's love states emphatically,  "You can't run Me off. There's nothing you can do to Me that will remove My love." 

I believe Jesus died such a gruesome death to demonstrate the length, breath, and width He would and DID go to for you and for me. Two of the most profound words in His Word to me are "God demonstrates." 

Let those two words sink in for more than a skinny second. 

God. Demonstrates.

Those two words take my breath away.

HE found it to be insufficient to "merely" state His love and His dedication to you and to me.  Think about that a moment.  The same spoken Word that brought organized matter out of chaos, that brought the sun, moon, and stars into being.... and yet, HE  -- God of the universe -- CHOSE to demonstrate so great a love as His....unto death. 

Does that not render you undone?

Those who have walked out of my life still hear from me from time to time. I can't help it.  In truth, they never leave my remembrance. I don't do so under any sense of obligation. I do so because I genuinely want them to know they did, they do, and they always will matter to me.  Why?  Because isn't that God's nature?  Are we not always on His mind?  Do His thoughts towards us not out number the grains of sand? And does He not still to this day... to this very hour ....demonstrate His love towards us....actively interceding on our behalf before the Father? Is His nature not to pursue us even as we self-protect, run, hide, and bolt down the hatches? And is not one of our primary objectives to "become more Christ-like"?  What does that look like to you?

See.... we can say we care about people, but until our actions line up with His.... we are simply blowing hot, meaningless air into the universe.

To reach out; is that not the genuine function of the Church? Depicting to a hurting, trust-challenged population that WE CARE.....we genuinely person slap in the a time.

People are treasures simply because they are. 

Loving you and wishing you a very, very  Happy New Year!

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