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Posts Tagged ‘Commitment’

shiloh on dandelionsRecently as I was spending quality time with my beast out on our trail, I realized that there is so much I can learn from her.

She loves to walk! Even though she is my fair weather walking friend, rain will rarely keep her from exercise in the fresh air. I could really learn from her in this. She could be a mail carrier, because neither rain, nor snow, nor sleet, nor hail shall keep the postmen my beasty from their appointed rounds an exercise walk. If I was not such a conditional walker, and was more like the beast, I would be more fit, and probably more relaxed.

Then I started to think about other beastly activities and how they reveal her approach to life.

My beasty has herder blood coursing through her veins, and we, her family, are her herd. She follows us from room to room, resting in the doorways of the rooms where we rest, cook, eat and spend time together. She barks when anyone (flies included) steps one foot onto our property. She always lays between us and guests, until she has reached the point that she accepts their presence with us as safe. She struggles to relax when one of us does not return home for the night, pacing from door to door, sniffing the air, and listening with the greatest effort to discover why her person has not come home. I admit that I too easily forget how important time with my herd is, how my presence with them does not have to be about what we are doing together so much as just being together.

From those who adore the beasty to that certain one or two who wish she would go for a long walk, and not be able to find her way home, whenever any family member returns home she greets us joyfully. It does not matter if we pat her head, speak to her, or walk right past her with no acknowledgment at all, she follows us, wearing the look we call the ‘happy dog look.’ If we have been gone for a number of days, she greets us with excitement, pawing and noises that sound like cries of joy. Her love for us is not dependent on anything … not how we smell (and some of us smell), not how well we respond to her needs, not how often we take her for walks. Her love for us is only dependent on one thing …

we are hers, and she is ours.
(sounds like
“I am my beloved’s and my beloved is mine”
Song of Solomon 6:3)

That is the meat and potatoes of why she loves us … she is committed to us … it is her job, and she would fight to the death to protect any and all of us.

Imagine how our world would be different if we humans took on that perspective with those who are ours, and whose we are? I think we could all learn from such commitment.

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When I got married to my hubby, there were two people who wondered aloud about the life (as a pastor’s wife) that I was entering. But I was young, in love, and there was nothing that we could not survive, as long as we were together!

It did not take long to realize that this life had it challenges, but it also had amazing blessings. Our life is designed around the challenge of making the life of Christ one that others want to follow, in a deeper, more sincere way. Along with that, much of our mutual desire is to help those who have been hurt, deceived, or ignored by other Christ followers see that we are not all like that, and that the One we follow is not in the business of hurting, deceiving or ignoring.

Through the years we have added three kids to our family, and as our kids they were born into the title of Pastors Kids PKs). There were negatives like having a busy dad (who has made a commitment to not miss the important events of their lives) and a life where everyone in the church knows you (but often that has meant the blessing of many dear people who pray for them), but I really did not see PK as a negative stereotype for our kids.

Our kids, like their peers (and their parents), have moments when they blow it royally, but they do so not because they are PKs, but because they are fully human.

The reality of our life in the church means that they know things others in the church do not. Things that we sometimes do not want anyone exposed to, especially them. Things like times when their dad has been spoken of derogatorily, or when their mother has been hurt. They have experienced the social ‘shunning’ by peers whose parents do not support the work of their dad. Then there are the times when they have been the center of the negative conversation, and a ‘friend’ has relayed the conversation to them (without any mention of defending them at the time). They know the discouragement and disappointment that ‘serving’ God in ministry can mean.

God has given us such a beautiful life, and we have laid down our lives for the sake of this ministry. But God has given us the beautiful responsibility of introducing His love to two daughters and one son, and that is a responsibility I will never sacrifice.

So, I do what other mothers may shudder to consider. When our children reach high school, I sit them down and explain that I want them to know the freedom of Christ without the confines of the title they were born with. I tell them that we, their parents, have no expectation that they will choose our church as their church. And then, I encourage them to …

GO!
-to a church where they choose
-to a church where they are ‘just’ another believer
-to a church where they can serve simply because they feel compelled
-to a church where the style of worship encourages them to worship
-to a church where the delivery of the message feeds them

“go into the world, and tell everyone the Good News” (Mark 16:15).

That is the most important message I can give them … that, and wings so that they can choose to fly.

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After twenty-two years of marriage, let me tell you what I think love is …

Love is honoring … that means that you do what is best for the other person.  It means that you make the other person look and sound good to others. Putting your significant other down puts your relationship down further … don’t do it!

Love is work. When you met you may have ‘fallen’ effortlessly in love with your sweetie … how … precious. Do not expect that staying in love will be so effortlessly. Staying ‘in love’ will take daily effort, and some days might take hourly effort. Remember old Mr. Miyagi in the Karate Kid movie would say wax on wax off … that is the kind of work it takes to keep the love machine rolling.

Love is sacrificial … if you thought work was gonna be tough, try sacrifice. This means that you give, before, not in response to, receiving. Hum, that means you do what is best for the other person, even if it means you have to stretch, or bend. or even watch the football movie, Rudy, for the millionth time, just because it is his favorite movie, and you would rather watch P. S. I Love You (that does go both ways though, just remember, sacrifice is not sacrifice if we do it SO THAT our significant other will do back for us).

Love is respect … mutual respect. It is looking at your other half as a whole. It is seeing their value through the eyes of one who created them. It is seeing them as valuable because their Creator is made them with purpose, as He did you.

Love is trust. A relationship is not a loving one if there is not trust of the other person. When one lays their life in the hands of another, intimacy is only present if trust is as well.

Love is forgiveness, because if you are in love with a human, you will need to learn to forgiven. There will be times when Mr. or Mrs. (or Ms.) right does something wrong … there will be times when you (and I) are the ones who are doing the wrong … if love is to survive, forgiveness must thrive.

Love is commitment … that means you stay together, for the long haul. There are no escape clauses, there are no backup plans. If it is love, it is committed, or it is not love.

“Where you go I will go, and where you stay I will stay.
Your people will be my people and your God my God.
Where you die I will die, and there I will be buried.
Ruth 1:16-17

And that is what I think love is.

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I saw the quote to the left the other day, and pondered it’s words and message.

I have read all of the “Twilight” series (minus the last … one day I will get it read too) and really enjoyed the story it told. I also think that Stephanie Mayer is a brilliant and captivating story writer. But, would I call the Twilight books a love story? No.

And then I re-watched a video clip from the Disney-Pixar hit, “Up” …

It was in the short second half of the eight minute clip that starts the movie, that a love story is told in a most sensitive, genuine and real way. It is in the story telling of the life story of Carl and Ellie that a love story is constructed.

It is the story of a couple who were not perfect, who were not popular, who were not wealthy, who were not successful in all that they pursued, who did not achieve all that they had set out and dreamed of doing.

But, it was also the story of a couple who worked together, who dreamed together, who experienced joys and sorrows together, who were committed to each other … together. And it is that, their mutual commitment and doing together that enabled them to live the love story.

That is my idea of a love story. And I don’t believe that you need to be animated to live it!

Check it out …

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