The Father and His Son

Long ago and far away there lived a Father and his Son who had a relationship that is rare on the face of this earth. We’ll call them Father and Son. We don’t know a lot about the details of their relationship, but there are some things we know for certain. Although both grown men, the two could often be found enjoying each other’s company.  Son had an artistic mind and found pleasure in creating things – a real master craftsman. And Father took equal pleasure in seeing what Son made.

father. son

One day tragedy struck and darling Son suffered a severe injury while rescuing Father’s dog that had been caught in a well. Death appeared imminent for Son. Father felt as if a knife had cut through his own soul watching Son suffer so.  He drew closer to Son’s bedside and tenderly took his hand, giving the comfort only a loving father can.  The power of their love enabled Son to pull through the darkness and, in the end, fully recover. They could again be found side-by-side, loving on the pup that had nearly been the end of it all.

There was no room for one-upmanship, manipulation or control in their relationship and no sense of fear or dread, no concern of inadequacy.  The relationship was built on trust, mutual respect and personal freedom. The result was sheer enjoyment and delightful companionship for both.  It was the envy of all who saw it.

Amazingly, this is real. This is the quality of relationship described in the Bible between God the Father and Son before time began. Close, warm, tender, playful, creative, pleasurable. There was a third party to this relationship. His name is the Holy Spirit. We don’t know as much about Him, but He was a part of the giving and receiving of benevolent love.

More amazingly, you and I are invited to walk into the relationship with God. Listen to the prayer of Jesus in John 17:

The goal is for all of them to become one heart and mind—
Just as you, Father, are in me and I in you,
So they might be one heart and mind with us.
Then the world might believe that you, in fact, sent me.
The same glory you gave me, I gave them,
So they’ll be as unified and together as we are—
I in them and you in me.
Then they’ll be mature in this oneness,
And give the godless world evidence
That you’ve sent me and loved them
In the same way you’ve loved me.

It was Jesus’ desire that we experience the same quality of love relationship with each other and with His Father as they have been experiencing for eons past. God is not content to simply spare us. He wants to save us out of everything painful and into a beautiful friendship.

You are not alone. You don’t need to perform to be acceptable or accepted. You are loved deeply and tenderly. You don’t have to wait until heaven to experience this. He wants to start growing into this relationship with you right now. Do you trust Him? Will you believe He’s inviting you, just as you are, into the inner circle?

Jesus opened the door of trust in our hearts. Now walk through it.

He’s the hero. And it’s great news!

See Isa 42:1, 6; Pro 8:30, 31; Zech 13:7; John 1:18; Mat 3:17; John 8:29; John 17:24; and John 10:30. 

 

 

 

25 Things

25

  1. I’m finding joy, freedom and peace in discovering who I am in Christ and allowing God to grow me rather than trying hard to be the person I think I should be or must be.
  2. The hands-down, single most redefining process in my life has been that of getting a tiny grasp on righteousness by faith. The situations God has been able to use to take me down this path defy my logic.
  3. As I increasingly embrace righteousness by faith, I am more able to allow me to be me, God to be God, and you to be you. It’s called boundaries.
  4. Simple pleasures for me would be a drive in the country, a book and a hammock, an iced coffee drink, a campfire, wandering through an art gallery, or a walk in the woods.
  5. I have a hard time turning my brain off at the end of the day if there is an unsolved puzzle buzzing around in it.
  6. Life is a bunch of unsolved puzzles.
  7. Since becoming single, I’m more relaxed around married men than single men.  Married men create no puzzle.
  8. My ideal set of vehicles would be a big ol’ pickup and a sleek, classy convertible.
  9. I’ve lived in 5 states and don’t know where to call home. I’m most emotionally attached to WY but there is no logical reason for me to call it home.
  10. I’m not very motivated by the quest for money or impressed with social position. Ironic for a doctor, but true.
  11. I more often tackle my fears and hurts than I flee from them ~ after I get done denying they exist.
  12. I believe most everyone is doing the best they can in life. But sometimes their best is detrimental to my well-being and their having good intentions doesn’t necessarily make a thing good for me. I believe God can read hearts and will honor their good intentions. He offers me the same grace.
  13. I still experience growing pains. Boy howdy!
  14. I’m finding the hardest part of parenting is the stopping part.
  15. Life is full of ironies. The hardest things are generally the most rewarding. Recognizing my weaknesses is a strength. Letting go allows me to fully attain.  My spiritual growth has resulted in my life looking less traditionally spiritual. Ironic.
  16. I like playing with boy toys (you know… guns, ATV’s, 4WD’s, tools… ~ sheesh ~ ).
  17. It never ceases to amaze me how my kids can be so much like me sometimes and the spitting image of their dad at other times.
  18. I’ve always wanted to explore Alaska. Wild places call me.
  19. My ideal house would be a cabin in the mountains or woods with a lake nearby.
  20. I enjoy the arts.
  21. My best memories from childhood include fishing and camping with my family.
  22. A writing project will distract me from my work most any day ~ like today.
  23. I’m grateful for my past ~ as tough and messed up as it’s been at times ~ because it’s brought me to where I am.  It’s been worth it.
  24.  I’ve always been sincere. But many times I’ve been sincerely wrong.
  25. I used to think I could and should do great things for God. Now I understand that it’s God who does great things for me – most of which are not seen and can’t be touched with your hand. The best I can do for Him is simply share what He’s doing in my life so others might choose to get to know Him for themselves.

The “White Man’s” Doctor

I heard an interesting story from a black man yesterday. I call him a black man, because that’s what he calls himself. He’s 85 years old. He grew up in an orphanage. When he was 11 years old a boiler exploded, splashing his legs and face with scalding water. Doctors’ offices were segregated at the time. He was seen by the “black people’s” doctor and was told he would probably go blind. That evening the “black” doctor was talking with some of his friends about the sad case of the 11 year old boy he’d seen that day. One of the friends who heard the story was a “white man’s” doctor. He was sure he could help the boy and requested that his friend send the young boy to his clinic. After a year of frequent treatments, the boy’s sight was restored. He sees well to this day, and remains forever grateful for the assistance he received from someone who was willing to step outside of society’s rules to help someone in need.  May our compassion for humanity never be hampered by our culture.

Not “But” but “And”

When I am putting a puzzle together, the first thing I do after dumping the pieces out of the box is to turn them all right side up. The next step is to divide the pieces into edge pieces and center pieces. If it’s a very complicated or large puzzle, I might then sort the pieces by dominant color.  Things are easier and make more sense when they are sorted.  I think that’s pretty normal and a common process people go through when putting together puzzles.

Most of us like to live our lives that way as well. We like to have things sorted: like/ dislike, enjoy/ avoid, good/ bad, black/ white. We want to package things up so they are more manageable and easier to know where they fit in our set of life rules, values and priorities.

Try something with me and consider the feeling of these sentences:

I went to the parade, but it rained.
I trusted my friend, but he didn’t keep my secret.
I took a chemistry class, but I didn’t do well.

These comments seem to have an implied “period” at the end.

 
but puzzle piece

Now see how that feeling changes when one little word is changed.

I went to the parade, and it rained.
I trusted my friend, and he told my secret.
I took a chemistry class, and I didn’t do well.

These statements feel like the listener could respond, “Okay. So then what happened?”

And” feels more accepting to me. It feels more grace-full. It feels more hope filled. It feels like there is joy mixed in with disappointment. “There was good, and there was also bad.” In a way the “and” statements feel like the negative is less powerful which make the statements as a whole more empowering for the person speaking. “Yes, something bad happened, and life went on.” It also feels messier, less sorted, less clear and less manageable.

And that, my friend, is real. It is life.

Three Little Words

There are many three word combinations that are meaningful in our lives.  “I love you.” That’s probably the classic phrase people immediately think of. “Jesus loves me.” There’s another power-packed combination that can change your life.

Here are a few more three word combinations that can be life-changing: “I forgive you.” “I am forgiven.” “I am sorry.”  “I was wrong.” Or Christ’s final words on the cross, “It is finished!”  All are three word combinations that can have a huge impact in our lives.

I started reading a book last night written by Scott Peck, whom I believe will likely be my next favorite author.  The first paragraph of chapter one was so thought-provoking that I would like to share it with you in its entirety.   I’ve memorized it.  Here it is:

“Life is difficult.”

Image

I read that and stopped. Really? This best-selling book started with an entire paragraph that consisted of just three words? I allowed myself to pause with the author and let the profoundness of those three simple words sink in.  I had to agree. Yes, life is difficult.

As I continued reading, I realized this could be an important concept to accept in my life. “Life is difficult.” I know that, so why am I surprised when it is? Do I just know it or have I accepted it?  Do I fight against it?  Or have I embraced it as the way this world is? Do I try to make this life something it wasn’t meant to be?

The possibilities of how I will respond to situations are entirely different when I’ve accepted that one premise. It moves me quickly through any reaction to life and on to action.  “Yes, this or that happened. Life is difficult. Now what do I need to do? What can I learn from it? Where do I go from here?” It makes life more intentional and less emotion driven. It opens up potential for setting aside hurt. It allows more room for self-forgiveness. It quiets the call to “fix it” and encourages me to control only what I can – myself.  It removes the shock and drama.  It decreases any urge to gossip. What big news is there to tell?  If I expect life to be difficult and it turns out that it is, where’s the juicy morsel to spread? It doesn’t exist anymore. Life is difficult – that’s all.

Life is difficult.  I look forward to reading the rest of “The Road Less Traveled” by Scott Peck.  In the mean time, here are some words from my all-time favorite Author: “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.”

Crazy Love

I contacted a friend the other night, needing someone to commiserate with concerning the trials and tribulations of the dating world.  Turns out we are both in a similar boat and the opportunity to share was much appreciated.  As often happens in the world of relationship conversations, things quickly turned to the deeper questions in life, like – what is God trying to teach me?  What is the meaning of happiness?  How much work in a relationship is too much?  How much waiting is too long?  What motivates our deep desire to give and receive love?  Can someone be loved enough to heal a past injury? Are we setting the other person up for disappointment if we think we can love away the hurt- knowing we are only human and prone to fail in our attempts at some point and to some degree? Can we stay close enough to God to provide unconditional love without becoming impatient, selfish or anxious when it doesn’t look like it’s going how we’d like?  Can love endlessly flow from us while being filled only from God?  Does God put love in our hearts for others so He can love them through us even when they don’t appear to accept it?  Is this all crazy?

Then I look at God.  I did nothing to reciprocate before He told me He loved me.  I, in fact, didn’t even like Him before He loved me.  I was dressed in stinky, smelly rags but yet He unashamedly told the whole world of His love for me.  I was not worthy but He didn’t care.  He didn’t give me a time-line I had to comply with or risk the removal of His love.  He had no guarantee as to whether or not I would accept His love.  He took all the vulnerability on Himself. While He tells me what I can do to please Him and show my love for Him, He doesn’t require me to do any of it for Him to love me.  His love makes no sense at all.  It is the most selfless, patient, generous thing I’ve ever encountered.  For God so loved me, that before I even looked His way He gave me the very best He had to offer, waiting with anxious anticipation to see if I would love Him back. He is absolutely, over-the-top, CRAZY!

My Grief Plan- Take Two

Author’s Disclaimer: I am a woman.  All emotions and feelings expressed within this blog are subject to change without written notice or prior authorization.  The salt shaker is on the table.  Take as many grains as are required for taste.

I was sitting in a semi-private waiting room today, stripped of my purse and a few other things I highly value – such as my clothing.  I could either try to make small talk with the other women in the same situation or look at a magazine.  I tried the small-talk thing, but most of them weren’t too interested in chit-chat while sitting in their gowns.  So, I grabbed a magazine.  While leafing through the pages, my attention was captured by this quote from a gal who was in a bike race.  “I got a little lost en route, but the journey was the destination.”  I’ve often heard a similar quote but with a different twist: “Marriage is a journey, not a destination.”  I like the new saying better.  I know, it’s really just semantics, but it gives a slightly different meaning.  It implies that there is, indeed, a destination – not just some aimless wandering that is simply a journey.  The journey IS the destination.  That’s different.  It gives a touch of reason.

It’s been a year.  I’ve been on a journey and at times a little lost.  I think I’m starting to “get it”.  I think I started “getting it” more than a week ago when I found enough humor in my situation to write “Slay the Dragon”.  I’ve been running and fighting, kicking and screaming, scheming and dreaming.  Life took me down a path not of my own choosing.  And I’ve been bound and determined I wouldn’t stay here long.  So I made my plan – quite unconsciously.  Get me out of here NOW! was the title of the plan.  But “here” I am.  And “here” I will stay for a while.  And that’s OK.  A year from now I’ll probably look back and say, “Boy, I didn’t “get it” at all when I wrote that.  Now I get it!”  Probably.  And that will be OK too.  Because part of “getting it” is realizing that you don’t.

Psalm 68:5 “A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows, Is God in His holy habitation.”

Who could ask for better?

A Daddy’s Love

I laid on the couch after a long day of travel.  My dad in his home office clicking away on the computer.  My mom at her desk clicking away on her computer.  And I settled into the silence of it all, letting it soothe my soul.  There was much I wanted to talk about, but the words could come later, after the calming quiet. 

Home.  A place where I don’t have to prove anything to anybody.  Home.  A place where I can just exist.  Home.  A place where I am loved because of and in spite of who I am.

We’ve never been a family who has spoken our affection in words much.  Instead, I see it when my dad gets up in the middle of the night to keep the fire going so nobody gets cold.  Or when he orders a large hot fudge sundae when I asked for a small just because he thinks I might enjoy more- knowing some of it might go in the trash.  Or when he drove 20 hours one way to be with me while I picked out a funeral home.  Or when he used some of his prime fishing season to help me clean my garage because I was ready but unable to do it alone.

My dad- my most faithful cheering section, my most thought-provoking challenger of my ideas, faithful, enduring, stead-fast, patient, wise, self-sacrificing, tolerant, dedicated, even-tempered, optimistic, and cause for a lot of laughs with his sense of humor.  I think he knows without my saying that he is all those things to me.  And he’ll be reminded of it when he hears me whisper, “Love you, too, Dad” when I leave.

So I was laying on the couch soaking it all in and thinking, “My dad.  He knows more about me than anybody else on this planet.  And he loves me still.”  And another thought washed over me, “God knows you better.  And He loves you more.  Find your peace in Him.” 

“God has bound our hearts to Him by unnumbered tokens in heaven and in earth.  Through the things in nature, and the deepest and tenderest earthly ties that human hearts can know, He has sought to reveal Himself to us.  Yet these but imperfectly represent His love.” SC p. 7

“As the inspired apostle John beheld the height, the depth, the breadth of the Father’s love toward the perishing race, he was filled with adoration and reverence; and, failing to find suitable language in which to express the greatness and tenderness of this love, he called upon the world to behold it.  “Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God!” 1 John 3:1″ SC p. 11

“Dear Father, thank You for letting me behold Your love in so many ways.  Thank You for adopting me as Your child.  Let the significance of that wash over me today and soak into the fiber of my soul.  May I be so saturated with You that You flow out onto those around me today.”

My Love Affair

“It’s me again, God.”

He smiled.  “Hi!  Glad you came.” 

“I’ve been bugging You all day, You know?”

“I know.  I’ve heard you and read all your emails and texts.  I like it when you bug Me.”

“Really?”

“Absolutely.”

“I guess I’m pretty needy, God.”

“I know.  That’s what I love most about you.”

“Really?”

“Yep!”

“You are SO COOL!!!”

I smiled and curled up safely in His hands with my head on my pillow.

“Nothing is apparently more helpless, yet really more invincible, than the soul that feels its nothingness and relies wholly on the merits of the Saviour.  By prayer, by the study of His word, by faith in His abiding presence, the weakest of human beings may live in contact with the living Christ, and He will hold them by a hand that will never let go.”  MH 182