When Love Supersedes

How many hearts have been broken by love ended? And how many faith journeys have been shaken when God has seemingly not answered the prayers for peace and harmony in a struggling relationship?  God is all-powerful.  His Word says that He places a very high regard on marriage. So why would He allow a marriage to fail when there has been much prayer asking Him to save it? Those are very real questions in this world of brokenness.

What do your prayers look like in those situations? I can tell you the gist of my prayers in the past. “God, it hurts me when he ____. Please make him stop. Make him ____ instead.”

While the desired end result (a more loving, peace-filled relationship) was certainly healthy, the means by which I wanted God to achieve that goal were not healthy. When we take our broken understanding of love and try to apply it to God, we can come up with some very unloving ideas about what He ought to do on our behalf.

But God doesn’t make anyone do anything. His kingdom is about love – and love requires free-will. He is not interested in coerced love. He doesn’t manipulate, condemn, or shame.  He doesn’t do that to you to get His way with you, nor will He do that to your spouse to get His way (or your way) with your spouse. His kingdom is built on earning trust through sacrificial love. Yes, God is all-powerful. But He values non-coercive love more than He values power.

So I invite you to change the tone of your prayers. Shift your perspective. Ask God to empty you of your broken self and fill you with more of Him. Ask Him to teach you how to communicate clearly, love gently, and to know Him better. It is through beholding Him, contemplating His love, and understanding what He’s about that you will naturally change on the inside so you can begin genuinely acting differently on the outside. And the bonus is that as you are changed, those around you will see a reflection of Jesus and will be impacted in a positive way.

Hemerocallis Gentle Shepherd 6805I pray that today you catch a glimpse of the tender love God has for you. If you don’t know Him, I invite you to read this blog and this blog to learn how to know God in the scriptures.

Jesus came to show us the Father. He came to save, not to condemn.

Jesus is the hero. And it’s good news!

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Time Heals

After my failed experiment with tangential volleyball flight, I found my daily activities significantly limited and altered. Every move I made seemed to be directly linked to my injured elbow.  But I expected pain since I had been told I had a severe sprain and probable crack in the head of my humerus, which oddly, didn’t seem very funny.  After two weeks the pain was better only while at rest.  So, I begrudgingly decided I should probably follow-up as I’d been instructed with a doctor who was wiser with elbows than I.  An MRI was ordered.  Since I am who I am, after the test I called and got the results myself and decided for myself that I didn’t need any more treatment.  The torn ligaments and small chip in the articular surface would just have to heal with time.  There wasn’t much else to be done.  After two more weeks of hampered daily activity, I begrudgingly decided I should follow-up with that doctor again.  He agreed with my treatment plan, but if the elbow was catching when I tried to bend it, maybe that little cartilage piece needed to come out. Two weeks later I waved my white flag and surgery was scheduled.

As I walked in the office for my first post op visit, the surgeon smiled big and said, “That was such a rewarding procedure!  I bet you felt better as soon as you woke up.”  Somehow secretly hidden from view of the MRI images were four chips of bone crammed into the small joint space.  It never would have recovered without that surgery no matter how much time it was given.

Hearts seem to be similar. When they are damaged, it takes more than time to heal them.  Ever heard someone repeat their story of hurt as if it happened just yesterday?  When left alone the heart may feel ok.  But as soon as it is opened up and put to use, the injury rises to the surface fresh and new.

They say time heals all wounds.  I say time heals diddly squat.  It’s what you do with time that heals.

I’ve been doing some reading lately about healing those hurts in life.  I’ll share with you in later posts some of what I’ve learned.  It’s good stuff.  And it’s healing.

 

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!

Broken Dream

She was beautiful.  She was dressed in frilly white with turquoise trim.  Her hair was just so.  Her eyes shone and cheeks blushed.  The moment was magical as the gift was unwrapped. The girl was ecstatic.  Her new dolly was all she’d ever dreamed it would be.

The girl loved her dolly.  She cradled it carefully and spoke softly to her dolly.  She kept the dress white and the hair just right.  Then one day the girl shared her dolly with her friend thinking the friend would value her dolly as she had.  The friend did not care for the dolly or guard it and carelessly left the dolly in a dangerous place where the flood waters swept it away.

Now the dolly lay in the street.  Broken.  Covered in the filth of this world.  Lost.  The little girl cried.

Broken Dream

God says, “I love you, My hurting child.  Come to me.  Bring your broken dreams to Me.  Bring them covered in the filth of this world.  Let Me take them from you.  I’m not going to wipe them off and give them back. No, I’m going to give you what you’ve always wanted but didn’t know yet.  What I have planned for you is better than you ever imagined.  Just come to me with your broken dreams and I will give you rest.”

Big girls dream, too. And the invitation still stands.