Can I share what I noticed?
We are all on a very personal journey.
People handle their journeys very differently.
I noticed some people blog more when they go through rough spots and some blog none.
I noticed that I'm a none-blogger.
When I am processing things, I withdraw and I think. I would like to say I pray and sometimes I do, but I find myself thinking more than praying most days...a trend I really wanna change in my life!
I noticed that some of my friends are hurting but some are saying very little, giving only hints of what is going on inside them.
Some are laying it all out there...not giving a care as to what others think about them just expressing their humanness.
And you know what? I like that! I wanna be more like that!
I'm so tired of pretense and image. I'm tired of tip-toeing and trying so hard.
I'll try it now: you know what I actually felt very tired of lately? Caring.
Yep...caring. About anything.
I was thinking about how much I care and how exhausting it is.
I care about what people think, what people do.
Sometimes it's good caring and provokes me to good works. But, sometimes it isn't good caring. Sometimes it is downright judgment and criticism.
I hate that about myself. I tell myself to stop it. I have labored to cut it out of my life, my mind and my heart.
I feel like I fail miserably.
On the other hand, I care a lot about people and want to help them. I love to mother and nurture. I love to see people brought back to health and wholeness. I love restoration in all forms.
I hate strife. I hate contention. I hate fighting and even conflict. I hate anything that feels like fighting and conflict. I hate when people don't get along.
But, I also hate fake peace. I hate pretense and saving face!
I hate that I find myself participating in these things.
I hate that I give and give and give of myself and feel like I am a good friend to others, but when things get rough for me, I look around and see few people that are really HERE.
I hate that life gets so busy and the enemies of our souls try to keep us so chaotic that we become selfish. And, I hate that I go through cycles of being determined to not be selfish and helping others, only then to find myself being selfish again and having an attitude of why bother!
For me to even speak this candidly is a leap. I am in a battle of giving up caring what others think of me and being judged.
I am in the depths of meditating on God's grace and what that really means. His grace toward me...His grace toward others...my grace toward others.
I just came from being a counselor at a youth camp (with my family) where the theme was The Amazing GRace. It was truly amazing to see so many young people get some revelation of who they are to God!
My oldest son was helped tremendously in understanding that as far as the east is from the west, God has removed his sin from him. We have tried to get this across to him for years, but finally, it clicked for him!
My middle son, whose "thing" is humor, pushed another counselor's face in cake at one of the meals. In our family, at our house, this is good, clean fun.
My son likes this man and sees him as playful. Humor is how Alex connects with people. Humor is what he thinks he is good at. He loves to make people laugh.
The man didn't think it was funny. Actually, he was quite upset. He felt very disrespected. I can understand that. But, it wasn't meant to be disrespectful.
The man let my husband know that he didn't think Alex showed remorse and what he would do to him if that was HIS son.
So we talked to Alex. He was so confused as to why this man would be so upset. He had, by that time, already went back and asked for his forgiveness. I saw my son's heart.
I saw the boy I know in my home. I saw his bewilderment, his hurt, his desire for things to be okay, and his condemnation.
I watched him try to enter into praising his Savior, while trying to understand what it was that he did so wrong.
I've been there. I've had a pastor preach an entire message directed at me because of what he thought I had done. I remember sitting there thinking, just walk outside to the road and step in front of a semi. This torment could all be over. No one believes you. No one is on your side...not even your husband.
I know the depths of loneliness and condemnation.
I looked at my boy. I saw the tears coming down his face. I recalled the conversations I had already had with him about him hating himself for his actions...about him wishing he was never born or that he would just die. Him asking, "Why do I do this stuff Mom?"
He is TEN.
My heart was wrenched.
All this because of cake? REALLY?
Because of acceptance.
We all want to be accepted. Loved. Treasured. Cherished.
That's why we care what people think.
In the midst of the message of GRACE that was supposed to be coming forth at this camp, my son was sitting in the heap of condemnation and Evil had used a human being my son loves to bring it on.
And just when I am begging God not to let the enemy steal this message of Love from my boy, this other adorable, little bitty boy (who, from talking to him one could tell probably got in trouble a lot!) falls down at the altar and begins to cry.
And then...I watch my son, in his own brokenness, walk to him, kneel down beside him, lay his hand on his back and begin to pray.
Was it because maybe he thought the little boy could be feeling the same way? Maybe he was feeling lost, confused, sad, and worthless?
Whatever it was that moved my baby to compassion...it bubbled up in him, surpassed his own self, and poured out to another.
And THAT is what I labor as a mother to teach my sons.
I started thinking about how my son's one action caused him to be seen by people as a rebellious, disrespectful delinquent because through their eyes, it was "sin."
My son's other action was probably viewed as "righteousness" because it was seen as compassionate, respectful, and kind.
How many times have I judged others through my cloudy eyes? How many times have I cast my call on their "sin?"
How much do we need to be thankful for God's crystal clear vision? How much gratitude should we have because the full fury of God's wrath was taken out on Jesus FOR us!
Even WHILE WE WERE YET SINNERS, Christ Jesus chose to die for us. And for those of us IN CHRIST there is NOW NO CONDEMNATION!
How I desire to extend that same grace to others.
How I desire for my son to understand that because, AND ONLY BECAUSE, of Jesus, he is forever forgiven, highly favored, greatly blessed, and deeply loved NO MATTER WHAT any other human thinks of him.
Lord, help us to love one another the way You love us.
I hate that some care about who wear skirts and make-up. I hate that some care about who speaks in tongues. I hate that some care about who sing hymns and who dance to instruments. I hate that some care about who has a mo-hawk and tattoos.
I hate that we allow ourselves to get hung up on outward things when God concerns Himself with our hearts.
I hate that we let our offenses separate us.
They will know we are Christians by our LOVE.
1 Corinthians 13 (The Message)
The Way of Love1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don't love, I'm nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God's Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, "Jump," and it jumps, but I don't love, I'm nothing. 3-7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don't love, I've gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I'm bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn't want what it doesn't have.
Love doesn't strut,
Doesn't have a swelled head,
Doesn't force itself on others,
Isn't always "me first,"
Doesn't fly off the handle,
Doesn't keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn't revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end. 8-10Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
11When I was an infant at my mother's breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
12We don't yet see things clearly. We're squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won't be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We'll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.