That One Hurt, Lord

That One Hurt, Lord

That one hurt, Lord. It came from nowhere and it felt like how I imagine a punch in my gut would feel.

What in the world was she talking about? Where in the world did she invent that story and the details that kept perpetuating it in her mind? Why in the world would she say that? How in the world had I offended her?… And when in the world are You going to take the pain away?

Questions are swirling, feelings are spiraling, emotions are spinning…and tears? They are streaming.

I want to forget about it, but my insecurity insists on reminding me.

Lord, please refresh my memory with the truths You have impressed upon my heart in the midst of past hurts. Remind me that Your opinion about me is the one that is most important. Remind me that Your Word is the final one, and it declares I am fearfully and wonderfully made. Remind me that You are for me and have wonderful plans for my life. Remind me that You are still working on me, and if I surrender to Your plan for my life, You will weave more and more of Your character into my decisions, my actions, and my words.

Lord, help me to remember that I, too, have said things about others that I am not proud of. Continue reading “That One Hurt, Lord”

Indescribable Love

“God loves you just the way you are, but He refuses to leave you that way. He wants you to be just like Jesus.” Max Lucado

God doesn’t love the best version of you. He doesn’t love the you that you ‘present’ to others or to Him. He loves you just the way you are.

There’s no, “Let me get myself together, out of this mess, over this bump in the road, or through this problem first. Then He’ll love me. Then I’ll be worth loving.” There’s the you that’s in the here and now, warts and all, plagued with problems, swimming in sin, and marked by mistakes. That’s the you He loves. That’s the you He sent His Son to die for.

Allow me to state the obvious. He doesn’t love all the choices you make. He doesn’t love the sin that you decide to partake in, but He certainly loves you. He loves the you that you are and the you that He sees that you can be. He loves you in the midst of poor decisions when we seemingly shake our figurative finger in His face and say, “I know, God. I know You created me, love me, have a plan for my life, and give me ways out of these tempting and sinful situations in order for me to stay in Your will and be blessed, but I have decided to reject the right decision in this situation. I have decided that my way is better. I’ll take it from here. Well, mostly, I’ll take it from here, until I run into trouble. Then I’ll call on You again, and You’ll be there…because that’s who You are. Amazing. Persistent. Loving. Merciful. Forgiving.” It’s a bit pathetic. We say things similar to this and He loves us through it. He’s that Father watching for the prodigal son…the One that watches for him and runs toward him. You and I are that son that has a Heavenly Father that sprints toward us waiting for us to invite Him to walk alongside us every step of the way. That, my friends, is love defined.

We can make a meager attempt to describe the extent to which He loves us, but it won’t suffice. His love is truly indescribable. His faithfulness reaches the skies, His ways are above our ways, and His love surpasses our knowledge. We really need to comprehend that we will never comprehend how much God loves us!

His love for you includes the love He has for the you that He has made it possible for you to be! He doesn’t create you with a plan for your life and then leave you high and dry while you search for His will. He shines the light in front of you in order for you to see the next step; the step that will keep you on or get you back onto His path.

He has a plan for us to use His gifts that He so generously gives to us in order to love others and show others the way to Him. It’s the least we can do for a Father that loves us so.

You are loved just the way that you are by a God that refuses to leave you that way. May this be the year that you feel that love in a tangible way. May this be the year you share that genuine love with all you encounter. And may 2016 be the year that your actions, words, and choices are truly motivated, moved and molded by that indescribable love.

As it turns out, we really don’t have to forgive everyone…

As it turns out, we really don’t have to forgive everyone…

As it turns out, we really don’t have to forgive everyone.

I have knelt at an altar, placing the names of people at His feet before. I have felt anger and betrayal, and if I told you each story, I’m willing to bet you would agree that I’m justified in feeling wronged in at least a few of the situations.

But, I have had to remind myself of something very important: There have been people kneeling at literal and figurative altars placing ME at the feet of Jesus before. I’ve wronged people. Sometimes I had the best of intentions, but unfortunately did something to hurt another person. 

And other times? I just got it wrong. No, let me use the real word – I sinned. And therefore sent someone directly to an altar trying to forgive me, or sadly, directly in the opposite direction – where bitterness increases and peace is elusive. That place where we go to not lay people at the feet of Jesus, asking God to give us the ability to forgive them, but instead where we justify our feelings of betrayal and anger. That place where we dwell in a heap of self-destructive self-righteousness.

And something else I have had to remind myself of is that God forgives us without fail, repeatedly, and with arms wide open. We are ALL sinners saved by amazing grace. Who are we to keep forgiveness from someone else?

We put others on a mental list entitled, “Not worthy of forgiveness,” while we couldn’t imagine our own names being on it. Do we truly think we are any more worthy of forgiveness than others? I mean, think about it…every sin has the same root: we think our way of doing things or our way of thinking is better than God’s way. The sins themselves have different degrees of how they shake out, how many people are affected, and how the world categorizes them. But, the root? All the same. 

So what I am saying is that even the people we would least like to forgive? We have done things equally as ‘unforgivable.’ We cannot say that they don’t deserve our forgiveness if we want to speak the truth. That leaves us with the only option left: we have to forgive them.

Wait! We don’t have to. Continue reading “As it turns out, we really don’t have to forgive everyone…”