Thursday, April 18, 2019

Just another Thursday night

On the night he was betrayed...The night. Friday had already been planned. He knew Sunday was going to come. But it all had to start on the night he was betrayed. The thoughts of betrayal had already been started. The plotting, the planning, the deceiving. All actions preparing for the one action that would set Friday's stage and open the curtains once again on Sunday for the most majestic encore ever witnessed, started on the night Jesus was betrayed.
If Judas had changed his mind. If Caiaphas had changed his mind. If one disciple had had the courage to speak up. If Joseph had. If Nicodemus had. If Pilate had used his power for good and not evil.
If only the night he was betrayed hadn't been the night.... Where would you and I be? 
He dreaded the night like any of us would. He pleaded for there to be any. other. way. 
One night changed the entire world's life. And He let the night come. 
He let the betrayer betray.
He let the soldiers arrest him.
He let the trial mock him.
He let Pilate wash his hands.
He let the crown of thorns be put on his head and the robe placed around his shoulders.
He knew it was coming and he didn't stop any of it.
It was the only way.
.....for a world that wouldn't love him back and hearts throughout history that would continue to betray him.
On the night he was betrayed he shared a sacred meal with the very one who would betray him. 
The dread and anguish on Thursday perhaps was greater than Friday's pain. Anticipation is sometimes as great or greater than the actual course of events suffering leads us through.
He who fears he will suffer suffers already because of fear. On the night he was betrayed he suffered fear and anguish to the point of shedding blood. Friday was facing him but Sunday was shining bright as the glory He left behind.
On the night we betrayed him....he let us betray him. 
Oh, the love.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Room at God's Table

King David, in his infamous sin of adultery with Bathsheba, said a profound thing after the child conceived from that sin-cloaked night died:
"While the child was still alive, I fasted and wept.  I thought, 'Who knows?  The Lord may be gracious to me and let the child live.'  But now that he is dead, why should I fast?  Can I bring him back again?  I will go to him, but he will not return to me." (2 Samuel 12:22-23).

Then he said in a Psalm, "My frame was not hidden from you when I was made in the secret place.  When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, your eyes saw my unformed body.  All the days ordained for me were written in your book before one of them came to be." (Psalm 139: 15-16)

Beautiful words, aren't they?  Comforting words.  Healing words.

Until they're not.

What brings comfort to one brings grief induced anger and denial to another.

And yet....there is God, drawing us to His word, enticing us with his comforting spirit even though the pain is raw as the words penetrate our hurting souls.  How can we have such a paradox of emotion towards ourselves and those who have suffered the same loss?

Take now two women.  One has had a miscarriage.  The other has had an abortion.  Both have lost a child, either by nature or human hand. can be comforted without shame.  The other is forced into secrecy and shame as those feelings of remorse will forever take precedence over the unspoken grief she feels for the child who is gone.

A woman of miscarriage has the hope of trying again.  A woman of abortion may believe she doesn't deserve to have a child.

A woman of miscarriage sees the day of the hoped for birthday and marks it with how old the child would have been and talks about what they may have grown up to be or do.  A woman of abortion suffers silently, trying to squash the reality of a child who would now be 5 or 10 or 46.

Where are those children?  Where are their souls?  If you believe David, you believe you will see that child again, as they were created to be and you can look forward with joy to meeting the children who left the womb too early.  Our tables and our schools and our churches and our homes are missing millions and millions of children, lost from miscarriage, yes, but from also from abortion.  Those children are at the table of God, if we believe what David says is true.  "I will go to him, but he will not return to me."

Oh, how Jesus wants to heal the broken hearts of both women.  Oh, how Jesus feels the pain and suffering and grief both women feel.  Oh...oh...oh how he loves us!

There is room at His table and our children are waiting.  There are empty chairs sitting next to them waiting for their mothers and their fathers and their siblings and other family members.  There is room at God's table for hearts broken on earth.  There is room at God's table for lives broken by choice.

There is room, Friend!  There is room!  No reservation is required, no ticket will be expected.  Your invitation has been sent, just RSVP and say, "I will be there!  Save me a seat, lost child of mine!  There is room for me there and I will be joining you soon!"

We mothers of lost children are longing to meet you, longing to see what Jesus has planned by the sorrow He sowed.  Oh will you save us a seat at your table, King of our Hearts?


Psalm 139; Psalm 30; Psalm 32; Psalm 51; Isaiah 25:6-9

Thursday, February 7, 2019

A Letter

To the Woman who has had an abortion:
Just reading those words has automatically pushed the button on the wall going up around your heart. You've lived your life forgetting and then you see that word or you hear that word or you see an argument about it on social media or you see a pregnant mom or you hear a baby's cry or you see an ultrasound image or you see a child about the age yours would have been......and the wall goes up.
You don't mean to let it get to you and you work so hard not to let it sneak its way in. You live the life the abortion enabled you to live, yet there is something that blocks the joy or the ease or the freedom you thought you would have when you made a choice - my life or what was growing inside you.
Even now as you read this, you are angered, ashamed, angered, heartbroken (if your heart even lets you go there for a second), hollow, angered, defensive...heartbroken.
You will deny this, yes, I know. Denial is your first reaction to being able to get up every morning and tell yourself you did the right thing, the only thing, the only choice you had. It takes a lot of energy to tell yourself what you need to hear in order to put one foot in front of the other so you can put on a front that does not tell your secret.
It takes a lot of energy to reason away and promote the very thing that keeps you from experiencing true joy. There is a cause that needs your support, there is a lie that needs to be you continue on. Promoting what your soul will not give you the complete freedom to defend.
You were young. You were in a hard place. You were at the moment of your career where all could be lost. You were in a bad relationship. You were recovering from an assault. You were scared to raise a disabled child. You were afraid to face your parents. You believed the doctor. You were at the end of your rope. You were unable to provide a home for the tissue inside you. You were all those things your cause makes sure are easily promoted so that you can be the one who is picked to live.
And you do live. You got your dream. You pulled yourself out of the bad relationship. You climbed up to the middle of the rope or higher. You have provided a home for yourself. You tell yourself over and over you did the best thing for everyone. And yet, the hole still is there.
You think it may be caused by any number of other things going on - the world economy, the political climate, the medication you're taking, the diet you're on, the exercise you don't do.  So you jump on the bandwagon of any and all these things telling yourself those "things" are the problem. When those "things" get fixed you will be ok.
But when you try to block it out, you still hear the sounds, you smell the room, you feel the feels. They're still there, taunting you and haunting you and making you work so hard to forget.
Dear, Dear Woman....the truth will set you free. Truth is never easy to face - just look in the mirror and see the gray hair, the wrinkles, the drooping skin. That truth stares at you every day in the cruelness of aging. But...the hope in knowing maturity has been good to you in so many ways besides the outward physical appearance gives you courage.
You are not what your choice was then and you are not what your choice is today because tomorrow will have new choices. You are free to live free from the past. You are free to settle this once and for all. You are free to be who you were created to be all along, not some clone of who you thought you needed to be to be accepted. 
You are not your abortion. You no longer need to defend your reason for having one (them). But you would do well to accept the fact if you could do it over again, you might take a little more time, pray a little more, seek counsel from someone who wasn't afraid to offend you or hurt you or squash your dreams. You might even take the risk on those you were sure then would shun you. For you have seen through the years since your abortion, we all have moments where we can step up to the plate and be and do the right thing, no matter the embarrassment or shame. You may be willing, if you could go back, to give those you were most afraid of disappointing a chance to to step in and support you and the person growing inside you.
You can't change what you did then. But you can change how you react to it now. 
The shouting and the marching and the hat wearing will never free your soul like facing the truth: 
I chose my life over my child's life. 
Take the step, be set free from your pain and constant turmoil and rage. Tell yourself the truth. No one but you and God need to know.
Aren't you tired? Aren't you so very tired? Let go.
Let God be who you needed Him to be before you made the choice. The denials and lie are what is keeping you in turmoil and upset at the causes and things and people around you that could care less about you. The you inside your flesh. The soul of you. 
Your choice is over. God is for you. Where He was then is just as important as where He is now. Waiting for you with open arms. Arms that will hold your pain, your grief, your sorrow, your emptiness. He does not want you to carry this anymore. The denial is heavy and burdensome and reaches beyond the shores of your own soul. It is not how He wants you, His precious child, to live.
Let it go. 
A woman who knows what it's like


1 John 1:9; John 3:17; Hebrews 4:15-16

Thursday, November 8, 2018

Before the internet became Dr. Spock

My daughter shared a sweet piece on Facebook the other day written by a mom encouraging other young moms to hang in there.  So many of the younger generation have so many good words, funny words, touching words they use to encourage each other.

Thirty plus years ago, gulp, I'm starting to sound like an "old" person, aren't I?  Thirty plus years ago BEFORE the internet took over our world, before we had blogs and text messaging and countless websites feeding our souls with garbage as we looked for the jewels, for the words that you and I need to read, that speak to our souls, that fit the search criteria and meet the keyword we have punched into our search bars - BEFORE that - all we had were a few things.

In no particular order:

1.  Family close by, or if you were a military wife like I was your military community was your family.  We talked on the phone, for hours sometimes, while the kids continually interrupted and ran just far enough where the phone cord couldn't reach them when the millionth "I'm on the phone" didn't work anymore and we'd threaten with the spoon.  We had babysitting co-ops and we didn't overthink a million little things because we didn't know the million little things we were supposed to over think.  The internet didn't exist to tell us those things.  We just did the best we could and sometimes just a mindless discussion on the phone took care of the "I think I'm going to kill my children because they won't stop crying or fighting or whining or acting like hooligans."  We didn't have Facebook parenting groups with strangers across the country or the other side of the world.  We had face to face, or at least voice to voice interaction.

2.  Only a few channels on the TV.  Another monster for this younger generation to sort through.  No one can be Martha or Joanna or Rachel or any of those unique individuals who we admire but who, through no fault of their own, make the rest of us everyday chums feel inadequate and less than....what?  Who knows.  We didn't have the internet to tell us.

3.  Common sense.  We didn't have to worry about our every move being recorded on someone's cell phone and splashed all over social media if our child acted out in a store or they did something cute never to be witnessed again.  We had more freedom to be what our kids needed in the moment, and yes, sometimes that was much more authoritative than edited video would glorify or crucify depending on the circumstance. We let children throw a tantrum, we didn't know to say "use your words."  We just swatted or threatened with taking away promised treats or whatever if they are "good."  Yeah, we weren't perfect and many of us wish we had the "use your words" tool in our tool belts back then but we didn't.  And you grew up anyway.  Yes, now you have some true feelings about that but keep reading.

4.  We didn't constantly think and talk about our feelings or compare our feelings with others.  Feelings?  We didn't know they could be talked about because we thought they had to be pushed aside to get the task at hand done.  Our teachers didn't care about our feelings, and most of our parents didn't seem to think they were worth stewing over.  The generation before them DID NOT have the time to think about their feelings either, they were busy....working, growing their own food, sewing their own clothes, chopping their own wood for winter heat.  Now, are things better because it's discouraged to shove everything down to our toes?  Maybe.  But then again, not every feeling is a feeling that needs attention.  Sometimes life just stinks and we have to get over it and move on.

We had our faults no doubt and we can't undo what we have at our fingertips.  You're reading these words right now and if it weren't for the internet you wouldn't have any idea what this middle aged woman thought nor would you care.  We can't throw out the baby with the bathwater, but we can look back at what did work better and readjust.  You are the first generation raising children with tools no parents since Adam and Eve have ever had.

Your children will be the ones to look back at your techniques and judge which ones were good and which ones were not useful.  What do you want them to see?  What tools do you want them to have in their tool belt that will ALWAYS be there no matter what technology dictates or takes away?

Raising children is the quickest way to enter into a relationship with the Father in heaven.  I learned through crying, whining, fighting, and utterly beautiful joyful moments with mine what a great Heavenly Dad we have.  He knows EXACTLY what it's like to raise crying, whining, fighting humans.  And he knows the utterly beautiful joy in moments no technology can replicate.  When you don't have the answer and His Spirit is telling you NOT to go on the internet,  go to Him.  That's really all we and the thousands of generations before us had.  He was and is all we need.

He has not changed.  His words are timeless and His power is mighty.  Go to him before you go anywhere else.  Stay off the internet as much as you can.  Stop reading every article related to whatever subject you think matters.  Use the brain He's given you and ask yourself, "How would my grandma or her grandma handle this problem?"  Their childrearing wasn't all bad because it did lead to you so they must have done a few things right, even without all the noise of technology interrupting their chicken plucking and tomato canning.

God loves you, Momma.  He loves your kids more than you ever can.  Remember, they were His before they were yours.  Hand them over to Him.


Monday, September 10, 2018

When you need a sign

I have come to appreciate the names of people in the Bible.  Especially the lesser known, see them once and move on names.  I often wonder why they are listed and I hope I meet them in heaven so I can ask them why they got picked to be included.

I came across one such name today.  A name Paul called out in a very nonchalant kind of way.  Just fourteen words were written to this person but as I read them, I couldn't help but sense the Holy Spirit was telling them to me.  And maybe, when you read them or this you might get a similar message.  I don't know, but here I go.

If you read Paul's letters, taking particular note of who the letters are written to and who is included in the farewell, you will find interesting details about the early believers.  Paul mentioned Erastus, the city of Rome's director of public works.  He also greeted the first believer in Asia, Epenetus.  (Romans 16).  He sent greetings to "All the saints" in Philippians.  Several others were mentioned in his letters but none got the specific encouragement as Archippus did.  Included in the letter to the Colossians he gets the only personal shout out:

"See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord."

I have these questions:

Why did Paul address Archippus specifically?

What was the work he received in the Lord?

Why wasn't Archippus finishing the work he received in the Lord?

If you look in the rest of Paul's letters, only Archippus is given personal encouragement.  "Tell Archippus..."  You know how when someone you are with is on the phone and there is a three way conversation between the two people holding the phone and you, standing by trying to listen in or be a part of the conversation?  Before we had speaker phones it went something like this:

Person holding phone #1:  Ok, well it was great talking to you.

Person holding phone #2:  It sure was.  You take care.  Wait....wait a minute....what?

Person standing next to person holding phone #2:  Tell Person holding phone #1 I say "hi".

Person holding phone #2:  She says Hi.

PHP#1:  Hi!

PHP#2:  She says Hi back!

PSNTPHP#2:  Come down and see us!

PHP#2:  She says, "Come down and see us!"

PHP#1:  I......

Well, you get the picture.

Letter writing took longer than speaking.  If you were dictating a letter, as someone most likely was in the letter to Colossians, it took even longer.  Paul was in prison so there was probably not much to write on, so every word mattered.

Archiippus' work was worthy of taking up space on precious writing paper.  Archippus.  Whatever the Lord knew he needed most to hear from Paul was said in fourteen words:  See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord..

Had word gotten back to Paul that Archippus was feeling defeated?  Fearful?  Were their reports he was getting lazy?  That he didn't believe what he was doing mattered?  Was Archippus questioning whether or not he really had an assignment "in the Lord" and maybe was struggling to going back to his old work, out of the Lord's will?  Or maybe it was just the Holy Spirit putting in this sentence and Paul knew nothing about what the Lord was trying to tell Archippus.  Maybe Paul wondered as he heard himself dictate the words, "What in the world is that about, Lord?"  Maybe the Lord said, "Mind your own business."

I don't know.  But I'm so curious, aren't you?

Complete the work.

See to it that you complete the work.

See something physical with spiritual results so that it can be fulfilled, completed.

The work came from the Lord.  Now finish it.  See the task with spiritual eyes so you can do the physical work.

991 blépō – properly, to see, be observant (watchful).  991(blépō) suggests "to see something physical, with spiritual results (perception)." That is, it carries what is seen into the non-physical (immaterial) realm so a person can take the needed action (respond, beware, be alert). bible

The Lord wasn't done with Archippus.  The task he had been given wasn't complete.  Paul wrote that. When the letter was read and Archippus' name was spoken and his ears perked up hearing his name, can you imagine the emotions he was feeling?  I wonder, had he been struggling, praying, struggling, looking for a sign to confirm he wasn't crazy and then, BAM!, here comes Paul's words:

Tell Archippus:  See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord.

Maybe you need that very sign today.  Maybe instead of putting Archippus' name in that verse the Lord is putting your name.

__________:  See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord.

What has the Lord tasked you with that you have put aside?  What work did he start in you that at the time you were sure was Him telling you to do it but as time has gone on you have let doubt creep in.  Insecurity has taken a seat in your heart where once you were fearless and bold and.....sure.

See to it that you complete the work you have received in the Lord.

There's your sign.....if you needed one.