God was there in the beginning and God is Love, but I wasn’t there in the beginning…and I don’t feel that love right now. There are days when it’s hard to love others, but God says that those are the most important days to do just that. I stand with this reality in front of me on those days, and it’s difficult to say yes to a love that I do not see in action in others. I do not exist seeing the fullness of time knowing the eternal insignificance of my anger and the importance of love. I don’t want to see the fullness of time because the momentary affliction is too strong for me to wrap around my mind.
It is not easy to be the one sitting on the inside trying to look out at these issues. When the ones that I am called to love are fighting me at every opportunity they get, how can I be expected to love then? Sometimes I sit and wonder if it wouldn’t just be easier to not love at all. I wonder if I could exist in a world of solitude knowing that I don’t have to be hurt when my brother in Christ turns to me and looks me in the eye and lies. I wonder if it’s easier to exist in a world without commitment and accountability when he takes that advice I give him and spits it in my face. I wonder if it’s easier to love without covenant when my loved ones and I fight to the point where it gets too personal and too direct. When the resistance gets so strong I can’t stand, where is God’s teaching of love?
When the resistance gets so strong I can’t stand, where is God’s teaching of love?
What exactly am I expected to do? I turn to the books and I re-read them, but what I’m reading has lost its meaning long ago. I flip through the pages of my bible looking for the answer but the Spirit sends me back only with the commandment to, “love as I loved first.” These words sting in my ears because they are the very reality I am fighting against. Love. What a word to come from someone I have cursed out in my prayers and yet He stays there. Am I expected to understand the depths of love from Someone who knew my every action while sitting on the outside of time and said yes? How can I stand in between the pain of my brother and the ones I love with this knowledge in my brain and say nothing?
I come back to the depths of my mind and ask, “Where am I to go?” God sends me back to the beginning and asks me where I am. I look into the depths of Him and see myself there. In the beginning of time. When God was love, and I was on His mind. He loved me first, and I chose to fight Him every opportunity I got. He loved me first, and I looked Him in His all-seeing eyes and I lied. He loved me first when I cursed His Spirit as He called my life and made it personal and direct. He loved me first when the resistance got so strong and I said no to the forgiveness of His Son, and yet He still called me back with those three words. Love Me first.
I said the words without thinking, but as soon as they were out of my mouth I wanted to take them back. Worse were the seconds after, watching her face fall and the hurt flash in the eyes of my friend from those thoughtless words. I could practically hear the thud as they landed heavy and hard against her heart.
My apology came out quickly and oh how I meant it! But the damage was already written all over my friend. She graciously accepted my apology, but we both knew my words were still stinging.
Saying our goodbyes for the evening I offered another sincere apology, as if by saying the word “sorry” enough times I could erase the words from earlier, but I parted my friend’s company that night with a heaviness in my own heart.
Continue reading “Receiving Forgiveness”
“Before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…” – Jeremiah 1:5
The phone rang and on the other line I heard a familiar voice that brought me back to a place five years ago.
I love when God rekindles a friendship. On this particular Saturday, that is exactly what He decided to do. My friend and I began discussing life over the past 5 years. The hurts, the regrets, the joys, the mountains, the journey. Through it all, the presence of Christ being a common theme. As the conversation turned to a more serious subject, she said with a smile in her voice, “It is amazing to hear the confidence and security you have in your voice. It wasn’t like that the last time we talked to each other.”
I smiled, gave the credit to God and the work He had done, and was reminded of a time when my life wasn’t so confident or secure.
Continue reading “Identity: The Importance of Friends”
My words have become nice.
What’s wrong with nice?
The problem with nice is that it masquerades as love. It’s like a food spread in a Martha Stewart magazine. The fruit has lipstick on it to make it brighter. The grill marks on the steak are really from a paint stripper. The turkey has been blow torched and stuffed with paper towels. It’s not edible and it’s not real.
A few years ago I was in a hard season. I had moved and was outside of fellowship, I was angry at God about the way some things had gone down in my life, and I was looking for quick connection and comfort.
There I was quite deliberately engaged in an unhealthy relationship that I had no business being in.
Continue reading “Sometimes True Love Isn’t Nice”
“Night and day, whether he sleeps or gets up, the seed sprouts and grows, though he does not know how.” Mark 4:27
One of my dearest friends and I have known each other for going on 20 years now. We’ve seen each other through a lot of different stages and seasons of life. Bad boyfriends and breakups, new jobs and HR moments, haircuts we never should have had, even weddings and a divorce. Now for the first time in nearly two decades of friendship, we’ve started talking about Jesus.
For a long time, I was skittish to talk about my faith. She’s the friend who has seen me at my ugliest and my lowest. She knows the path I was on before Jesus came into my life. She has also seen how even now with Jesus as my savior I struggle to be obedient, still fall and skin my knees, and at times behave in ways that defy the faith I profess and the Jesus whom I love. Knowing that I’m a poor follower, I’ve let that fact keep me from talking about Jesus too loudly or too much.
Continue reading “Sprouting Seed”