Monday, March 17, 2014

He did it for love

Give thanks to God, His love endures forever.

When my children were little, I use to say, "all I am doing is putting our fires".  I had not time nor did I know how to engage in their little hearts.  I didn't know how to understand their feelings and fears, who they really where and who they were to become. I didn't know how to work with Jesus in molding their little hearts toward Him.  All I knew what to tell them about Him.  You can know all about someone and not have a relationship with them... All I knew how to do and did do, was meet their physical needs.  Physical needs are important.  We are physical bodies.  But this is only impart of who we truly are.

Right now I have a choice to make.  I can sit down and write to you what I think the Lord is wanting me to say to you or I can go upstairs and go through my summer clothes.  Many times when I don't write the thoughts are lost.  I know the clothes will be there in an hour.  It is important to go through my clothes but it is also important that I write.  How do I decide what to do.  How do I make my decision.

What kind of life are we leading?  What are we investing in?  Are we just doing the physical things or are we investing in peoples lives.  Are we finding time to be quiet before the Lord.  Or is the urgent blocking out the important.

Do you ever compare your life to someone else?  Do you ever think, I wish I had their life.  They seem to have it all.  They are married to a good looking person, they have obedience kids, a good marriage and a good job.  And then become dissatisfied with what you have and think I deserve more.  I want to suggest to you if someone comes across, that they have everything they are either living in a fairy tale or see their lives through rose colored glasses, maybe in denial.  If people are vulnerable and honest, they will have to tell you they have struggles.  We are promised struggles, pain and suffering in this life and none of us are immune to them.  Either we have had them or we will have them.  Suffering is no respecter of persons.  This is a fallen world and God is about working in our hearts to free us from ourselves and make us more like Jesus and it is painful.  To love is painful at times.  There is much joy to be found in love but there is also suffering, a dying to self.  A giving up what I think I need and want, what I think is best and trusting God in the midst of what is really going on.

There is a third option to life.  It is one of thanksgiving, being thankful.  When I was sick I sat on my daughters back porch all upset over something.  I cannot even remember what now.  I said Lord I am going to sit here, in your presence and I am going to be thankful.  I really couldn't think of anything at the time so I started small.  Thank you for the air I breathe.  The birds and trees, the sun and the clouds.  My thanksgiving grew and so did my heart of thankfulness and gratitude.  Giving thanks changes our heart.  It changes the heart of others.  It gives us a desire to be more than we can be.

I write a note to my husband thanking him for providing for me and our family.  He could have left me many times and didn't.  You maybe a working woman and that is fine, but I could not have, did not.  I give a card seeing in others what they might not can see in themselves.  Making their life easier in some small way.  Keeping a prayer journal, where I can give thanks for those in my life and of God faithfulness.  I wake in the morning saying, "Lord give me some small way to let others know I care and your care". The list and the ideas go on for how to bless someone.  How to make their day... in other ways, might be a struggle.  This kind of love is not for approval but for blessing.  It is others centered because you are giving them the very love of Jesus.  It is for His glory.  It is only by Him that we can love in a selfless love, one for others and not ourselves.

When my kids were small I use to try to find things they were doing right instead of pointing out things they were doing wrong.  How do you see your life and those around you?  As a project.  My friend once said a woman looks at her new husband and says, I can work with this.  Are we loving each other right where they are.  The way Jesus loves us.  There is nothing we can do to make Him love us more and nothing we can do to make Him love us less.  Do those around you feel loved and like that love is not going to go away no matter what they do?  Til death do us part?  Do they feel valued and know your love for them is unconditional?  Are you thankful?  A thankful heart breaks away the chains of grumbling and complaining.  The self pity.  The blaming shifting and pointing fingers, the keeping the list of wrongs and throwing them back at someone and caring more for yourself than others.  It crumbles self centeredness.  Do you have to always win the fight and be right.  Or are you willing to listen and learn and repent and confess and forgive?  Or do you defend and excuse you way out of arguments?  Do you get in the middle as I have done so many times or do you allow others to work through their own relationships?

Learning to love is a life long project.  It is only through understanding the love the Lord has for us and receiving that love can we begin to give it away in radical, creative and daring ways.  Ready to risk it all for love.  He did.  Jesus did and the Father did in His plan to send His Son to die for us that nearly broke the Fathers heart.  He did it for you.  He did it for me.  He did it for love.

It is through giving up myself to love...that I have learned and found out who I really am.