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Posts Tagged ‘Love’

I just realized that I hadn’t posted yesterday!
I have been hard at work (avoiding) preparing a message for this weekend (on aging!!).
So, in lieu of a belated new post, here is my contribution, from over five years ago.
Now to get a handle on this message …

Although I am only thirty-nine (with four years experience) I am becoming more acquainted with aging, and it’s changes each and every day.

There are some changes that come with ‘time passing on’ (this is hubby’s way of referring to aging) that I quite like.

I love the lines that are forming just outside of the corners of my mouth, and my eyes, because they are evidence to smiles and laughs. I may not remember every individual event that caused my face to smile, but the lines will never hide that joy has filled my days.

I love that I have been plucking my eyebrows for so many years that the hairs almost never re-grow anymore.

I love that I do not have to concern myself with pimples, other than the odd one or two.

I love that, because my hair is … silvering … I have a natural excuse to become an even more blond, and I now have a number(s) to identify and define my hair color 😉

There are also some changes that have occurred that I do not favor so much.

I do not like that my knees have decided I need to pay more attention to them, and they attain my attention in the most uncomfortable of ways.

I do not like that some foods that I ingest want to burn themselves into my memory (or at least into my esophagus).

I definitely do not like the anticipation of body parts migrating in a southerly direction.

But, I especially do not like that the appearance of my hands is changing.

The famous, all-knowing ‘they’ say that the way to most accurately guess the age of woman, you need to only to glance at her neck or her hands.

As each year passes, I have noticed subtle changes happening in my hands, that I am not so happy about. The lines in them are deepening. They need constant re-hydration from rich lotions. I seem to have lost the ability to grown my fingernails to even the slightest length, without their splintering. There seems to be more skin, as it is losing it’s youthful elasticity. They sometimes even ache … but it is their appearance that is more disheartening to me.

It is a frequent occurrence that I glance at my hands, and have no idea whose hands they are. They surely cannot be mine, because mine do not look so … so … aged. Then I realize they move when and where I will them, and so they truly are my own.

Maybe the changes in them bother me, because my hands were the body part(s) that I actually liked about myself. Maybe I thought I would be immune to the normal, natural results of ‘time moving on.’

All that said, maybe the wrinkles, the lines, the shorter nails and the loosening skin are all characteristics of hands that have been held by generations before me, that have held on to the children I gave birth to, that have made meals for those I love, that have held the hands of people readying for eternity, that have written or typed words of encouragement, that have touched the shoulder of one carrying the weight of the world, that have folded in an act of pray, that have been kissed by the man of my life, that will one day be taken by my Redeemer as He welcomes me into eternity.

Maybe they are like the laugh lines I so adore on my face. Maybe they are the lines of hands that have loved, and been loved in return.

So, I’ll keep slathering rich lotions onto them, so that, although they will be marked by the lines of time, they will still be welcoming to the touch of those who need a hand.

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Some days are rays of sunshine, success and sweetness.

Then there are the days of darkness, discouragement and drudgery.

Recently I walked through a day of the later with a friend. From the moment I saw her coming my way, I could see defeat in her walk, her pasted smile, and the invisible, yet so visible weight that she carried across her shoulders.

I could not rectify, solve or improve the situations in her life that day. And I felt helpless.

We all have those days, weeks or even years, when we have lost our confidence, our hope. Sometimes these days are born out of events or emotions that are beyond our control.

Since we all have and do experience life this way at times, what if we applied empathy to the situation? What if, rather than try to fix the difficulty in another’s life, we simply sat in with them, then started to fill them with what is true?

What if we simply told them how much we appreciate them? express the strengths we see in them? tell them that they are loved?

In essence, what if we filled their empty cup with understanding, truth and love?

Isn’t that what we would hope when we are in the depths of despair?

“So whatever you wish that others would do to you,
do also to them”
Matthew 7:12

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Life carries on …

This was the prevailing thought as I left work today, heavy with the weight of grief in a world that does not cease to spin for anything or anyone.

A colleague for much of the past thirteen years died, after a brief battle with cancer. Though she has been missing from our hallowed halls since before the Christmas break, the finality of death leaves a unexpected shock in its wake. 

We went to sleep last night knowing that our friend and co-worker was experiencing an other-worldly peace that passes understanding, and we awoke today to the everyday battles of work in a high school. 

It wasn’t until the end of the day, when her family were prayed for at a staff meeting, that many of us realized that we had not yet begun to mourn.

And we mourn.

And we know that we will be comforted (Matthew 5:4).

Late last August our staff reunited and dreamed of a new school year, none of us aware that one would cease to breathe life’s sweet breath before June’s final bell rang.

And so we grieve the death of our friend and colleague, we grieve for her family, but we also mourn for ourselves, as our knowledge in the fragility of life has been flashed before our eyes. We are not guaranteed four score and ten. We are only given right now. 

On her “about” page on her blog (nodroppedstitches)she shared who she knew she was:

“I am the creation spoken about in Psalm 139:13 – 16 “For you created my inmost being; you knit me together in my mother’s womb. I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be.” (NIV)

Our friend was not expected to live, from the moment she was born. Her health was fragile throughout her life, yet she lived to experience so much of what one might dream for … friendships, marriage, children, grandchildren, further education even up to a year ago and gardening through it all. Doctors through the years had hypothesized her end numerous times … but her days were written before her first breath, by the One who breathed life into her.

As is the same for each one of us.

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Speaking_winter_new

I have the best job in the world, I get to help students learn. At least, that is what I am paid to do.

Most days, if I keep my mind open, I am the one who does the learning, and it is the students who do the teaching.

A couple of weeks ago, while going over the characters in a novel, I looked across the table at the young man I was working with. A young man I have known since he was very young. A young man who lives with the struggles of having a diagnosis that is written clearly all over his face. As I looked at him, I felt the strength of his character, his faith, his compassion.

I smiled.

He smiled back.

I said, “I like you.”

He smiled bigger, and said, “I love you.”

My heart broke …

for he reminded, no, he taught me something,

let your words be true.

You see, what I meant in my heart, when I looked at him, was I love you. Not in some creepy way, but in a true, pure heart, I would do anything for him way (at least, I hope that is what I would do).

But I was inhibited, in ‘paid to work’ mode, where saying ‘I love you’ is awkward and inappropriate.

He, though, always says what is true. Oh, he can be a cheeky monkey, teasing and fooling around with the best of them, but he does not understand the world in terms of what is appropriate or compartmentalization, he lets his words be true … all the time.

“Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ.”
Ephesians 4:15

 

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The sign, above, will be the only good thing about driving North, this morning.

As hubby and I pack up our bags, and begin the treck out of the tsunami zone my heart will ache.

For about eight years we have been coming to Cannon Beach, Oregon. Most of those trips have been made with at least the younger two of our three kids. We stay at a conference center (www.cbcc.net) where you get fed in every way … as you walk the beach, as they provide two amazing meals each day, as you breathe the salty ocean air, as you have time to reconnect with your loved ones, as you listen to amazing speakers, as you share worship with other Christ-followers, as they provide entertainment and socializing opportunities.

The only negative of the experience is that, while being fed so well, and in so many ways, is that the time here is spent in a Tsunami zone.

According to Geo-scientists, the west coast, roughly from California to Alaska, is overdue for a Megathrust earthquake, which will trigger a Tsunami unlike any other this Earth has yet experienced. This scientific teaching comes to my memory as soon as I see the first sign that declares:

“you are entering a tsunami zone”

As I viewed one of those signs, as we were entering what I like to refer to as eutopia, I found myself thinking,

“why would any person, who knows about the possibility of impending doom, enter into a tsunami zone?”

Then I thought of other risks of impending doom that we drive into, throughout our life:

  • Marriage
  • Raising children
  • Moving to a new town
  • Changing careers
  • Starting a new business

Each one of the choices above can be doors that lead us to tragic ends, yet we humans keep driving into various tsunami zones in our life. Areas that could be the end of us, destroy us.

But, like the possible threat of a Megathrust earthquake and resulting tsunami, the risks associated with major life choices are not guaranteed, but possible. Like the benefit of being fed, and nurtured, and made better by being in a beautiful coastal town, the most major, of major life choices, can also satiate, nurture and make us better.

If we never enter into the tsunami zone, we will never Know the joys of the risk.

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Good Mother

Mother’s Day is so … daunting, if you are a child.

Mother’s Day is so … stressful, if you are a husband of a mother (so my hubby says).

Mother’s Day is so … lonely, if you are a mom, whose child is not longer on this earth.

Mother’s Day is so … full of hurt, if motherhood has not happened for you.

Mother’s Day is so … beautiful, if you are blessed to be a mom (so, I say … no gifts required, but time together is always appreciated).

But for this blog, I write, not as a mom (as if that is possible), but as a daughter. And, this is a daunting thing to do.

When I think of my mom, I think of the words of a Jane Arden song, “Good Mother”:

“I’ve got money in my pocket,

I like the color of my hair 😉 ,

I’ve got a friend who loves me,

I’ve got a house, got a car,

I’ve got a good mother,

and her voice is what keeps me here”

But, what does ‘good mother’ mean to me, as I think about my mom?

She didn’t do it all right. She didn’t wear pearls, like June Cleaver. She didn’t have warm baked cookies for us when we came home from school. She didn’t read to us at bedtime every night. She didn’t keep her cool at all times. She didn’t drop what she was doing, every time I wanted her attention. She doesn’t always have wisdom to share (advice, though, … always). She didn’t work into the night sewing, and cleaning and whatever else that Proverbs 31 chick was supposed to do.

She is not perfect! Which is okay to me, because I am a mother, and I am so aware that ‘perfect’ and ‘mother’ do not go together (and surely, I was not perfect, as a daughter either).

But here is what she did right, in my mind:

She, despite being single and poor, chose to give birth to me.

She chose to marry, not just a man who would love her, but one who would be the best father to me, and to my brothers, that they would have in the years that followed.

She chose to do what she could, by caring for others children, to contribute financially to our family during the years when interest rates soared to near 20%.

She encouraged relationships with the parents of herself and our dad.

She celebrated … everything! If there was reason, there was cake!

She made birthdays special for my brothers and I.

She worked hard, with our dad, to maintain a marriage that has survived just over 40 years.

She loves us, all.

It would be so easy, too easy, to pick apart the problems, the mistakes, the weaknesses … the sins of our mother. But that does nothing to benefit anyone … that does nothing for her, that does nothing for us, for me.

She taught me to be honest, trustworthy, kind, sensitive and good to others, to be myself, and that it is a good thing to love God. I am, flaws and all, who I am because of my upbringing, because of my good mother. I believe my own children will only love me, in proportion to how I have modeled my love for my own mother. The jury is still out on how that is going to go.

But I know that I love her. I know that I respect her. I know that I could never know what it was to walk in her shoes, because I have been blessed to have grown up in a different time, with different parents, and different circumstances.

I know, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that she did the best she could, with the resources that were available to her. And I know that, one thing is for sure, she has loved me from my earliest beginnings and will until we part on this earth.

“I’ve got a good mother, and her voice is what keeps me here,

Feet on ground, heart in hand, facing forward,

Be yourself”

* this is a re-post from four years ago … but still so true.

 

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As I heard through the window the rain pelt hard on the roof of the deck, while an unfamiliar song played from atop my kitchen counter, I was transported back, about twenty-six years.

I was sitting on one side of an antique sofa, close, very close, with the one who made my heart’s beat become rapid beside me. In separate chairs sat another couple, a seasoned, imperfect, married couple. I remember that with every marital challenge they mentioned in the pre-marital counselling, I thought, “that is surely no problem for us, we are perfect for each other.”

“I wore the veil, I walked the aisle, I took your hand and we dove into a mystery …”

After twenty-five years marriage all I feel I know now is that we are not perfect, for each other, or for anyone else. Some days are “delight” … most are somewhere between tough work and a blood bath.

“no we’re not the fairy tale we’d dreamed we’d be …”

The way marriage is depicted, within the church, is like a fragile piece of crystal … always on display, with all difficulties, scars and imperfections out of sight. Ugly reality, we Christians seem to think, is not what the world should see, not what God wants us to show.

Mark Hall, from the music group, Casting Crowns, says, “marriage is tough. We bring a lot of fairy tales to the picture when it comes to marriage … then the problems hit and (we) don’t know where to file those into your picture …”

I would add, we don’t know where to go with our problems, our scars, our secrets, because we are scared that admitting a lack of perfection would scar the reputation of our Savior … (we really have quite the pompous view of ourselves).

“maybe you and I were never meant to be complete …”

Could we be wrong? Could it be that in marrying one who makes our heart skip a beat, we are never intended to actually achieve completeness? oneness? Or maybe, though given to each other in the garden of Eden, for mutual comfort, and oneness, the consequences of sin are such that perfection, and completeness cannot be achieved this side of heaven?

“we were buildings kingdoms and chasing dreams and left love behind …”

Probably the most commonly used passage in the Bible, at wedding ceremonies, is 1 Corinthians 13 … the ‘love’ chapter. It contains definition after definition of what love is, and what it is not. But little emphasis is give to two very important verses:

“For we know in part
and we prophesy/dream in part,
but when completeness comes,
what is in part disappears”
1 Corinthians 13:9-10

Of these verses, the Matthew Henry Commentary shares this thought:

“But there (heaven), love will be made perfect. There we shall perfectly love God. And there we shall perfectly love one another. Blessed state! How much surpassing the best below (here)!”

Perfect love, perfect completeness is the goal, but the prize, the fulfillment of this is only in that lofty place of eternity.

“If you can bring your shattered dreams, and I’ll bring mine …
the only way to last forever, is broken together.”

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