A Love Story

I snatched the book out of my mail box Saturday morning before heading out for a day of camping. And I’d finished it before I headed back home today. It’s the easiest hard-to-read book I’ve read in some time. And I was so moved by the story that I think everybody really ought to read it.

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The title suggests the pages will speak of peace and grace. It certainly has that, but it’s also full of love and redemption.

Kara’s story starts as a youngster in a home with an angry father whom she struggled to please. After rebelling from the pressure and unattainable expectations, she was introduced to Jesus. His love drew her in and her life took a drastic turn away from the destiny she had been carving for herself. Shortly afterward she met a young man, Jason, who became the love of her life and the story unfolds as the two of them, and eventually their four “littles”, learn to love in a way she had never experienced previous to that. The same vulnerability that was required for her to walk that journey with him is what makes the story so compelling for the reader. She openly shares so much of her raw struggles of humanity that her story becomes all of our stories.

The depth and love of the story is beyond beautiful. The ending – tragic. The particular “hard” for Kara mentioned in the book title was breast cancer. She found a  deeply grace-filled, loving God along that journey.  Her “hard” eventually took her from this here, this now. She passed away about a year ago.

The book presents an amazing quality of relationships that few of us experience. Her marriage to Jason really seems to have been blessed and rare. They were endlessly focused on loving with kindness. But as Kara points out in her book, the best we have here is simply a shadow.  We are living in Shadowland. The real love story that can fill our hearts without compromise or end is available to all of us. It is the love of our Savior, Jesus.

So while I would wish for you a marriage and relationships filled with grace and peace, above all I would wish for you a relationship with Jesus. It is through the author of Love that we can learn to know Love. And when we allow Him to be the hero of our story, grace and peace are promised – even in the midst of hard.

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.

Try Me

“Examine me, O Lord, and test me;  Try my mind and my heart.”  Psalm 26:2

Really, David?  Are you sure?  I’ve heard some stories, King.  Forgetful today?  Maybe I could remind you of a few things?   Remember that whole Bathsheba thing?  Yeah, that one.   I’m thinkin’ you had some thoughts in that mind of yours that weren’t so pure right about then.  And your heart… well, it took you down a bad road, I’d say.  Are you sure you want the Lord Almighty to test and try you?

 “For Your loving kindness is before my eyes,  And I have walked in Your truth.”  Psalm 26:3

Hmmm… a qualifier.  And a good one.  One David was willing to bet his eternal life on.   God’s loving kindness.  The kindness that throws our sins into the depths of the sea.  His kindness that removes our iniquity as far as the east is from the west.  Last I heard, they don’t meet.  And God’s truth.  His truth that says He paid the price.  His truth that says His life covers David’s and mine if we but ask. 

“Dear God Almighty, thank You for Your unfathomable loving kindness.  May it fill my soul.  And may the light of Your truth illuminate my entire being.  May the peace that You bring allow me to both lie down and rest, secure in You alone as sinful but forgiven King David did.”

The Dance

“You formed my inward parts.  You wove me in my mother’s womb.” Psalm 139:13

“We better throw an extra pinch of determination in this one.  I see what she has coming in life.  She’s going to need it.”

“Good idea, Father.  Long-suffering and endurance will be required for her to run this race and win.”

“Yes, Son.  But You know, the enemy may tempt her to take those traits and turn them against her.  She might begin to think she can do it herself.  She might become stubborn and self-reliant.”

“I know, Father.  It’s a risk.  But I love her so much.  I will give her what she needs.  It will be her choice how she uses it.”

“I love her, too, Son.  I crave the thought of spending eternity with her.  The praise she will give is different than anyone else’s We’ve ever heard.  Each one is special and unique to My ears.  I don’t want to miss out on hers.”

Silence fell on the courts of Heaven.  There was a unanimous deep sigh among the Trinity.

“Son, I know You’re thinking what I’m thinking but I’ll ask anyway.  If she becomes stubborn, independent and self-reliant, would You be willing to pay the price for her?  Would You die for her so that she can live if she chooses to accept Your payment?”

“You know I would, Father.  We’ll need the Spirit to remind her of her options.”

“Consider it done,” breathed the wind of the Spirit.

So she was made and God said it was good and time passed.

“Daddy, help me!” cried out the stubborn, independent, self-reliant one as she looked up from the place she had fallen.

The Creator smiled.  “I’ve been here anxiously hoping you would ask. Now let’s get back to long-suffering and endurance.”  And He spun her around as she held His finger… again.

His smile is just as big every time they dance.   Even though it might be the same tune they danced to the day before, He makes no mention of the repetition.   And each time her feet follow His just a little more closely.

Unfortunately, as I go through life I seem to continually find more “tunes” that require a spin.  Fortunately, God the Father, Son and Spirit have the same conversation about each one.  Before the foundation of the earth was laid, The Plan was made.  Rescue is assured for those who ask.  “Dear God, dance with me today!”