Monday, April 11, 2011

The Mushy "LOVE" stuff

This morning I woke up with that heart pitter-patter excitement that it was Saturday for no other reason than it was Saturday. Saturdays are those days when I get to catch my breath and I won’t trade much for them. This morning in particular was one of those sweet moments: staying in my plaid PJ’s til noon, enjoying a breakfast & coffee at my leisure, and taking in the profound words of Voddie Baucham from a recent podcast download. Although my day continued down the R&R pathway, my mind was completely transformed from them words that left Voddie’s mouth.

I started the podcast as I was doing my make-up and hair, however I found myself sitting down on the closed-lid toilet seat to make sure I heard every single one of his words. The topic: Family and Marriage. Now, I understand that I’m a girl that hasn’t found her way into either of those life ventures yet! And, I also must admit that I’m a girl that wants it to work so desperately when I get there. And the other thing I realize is that if I don’t know how to truly love people – all people, my neighbors, co-workers, and strangers on the street, I’m not going to know how to love my spouse or my children. So Voddie and I shared a moment together this morning.

I (just like many other girls) grew up with a yearning for “love” even when I was giving out cootie shots on the play ground. If Cinderella and the Little Mermaid needed a man, you better believe I did too! But I can specifically remember the reason behind wanting to be like the fairytale princesses. I wanted the fireworks to go off, the frogs & lily pads to start singing and dancing, and the world to feel different. My mind goes to the “So This is Love” song in Cinderella as the Prince sees her for the first time, whisks her away, and they begin their dance with “love”. Who in their right mind doesn’t want that?!

So I grew up wanting and searching for that feeling. Something that would whisk me away and give me a new identity just like it did for the forgotten step sister. But as I’ve journeyed through my teens and now up into my mid 20’s, I realize that “feeling” has come…but it has also gone time and time again.

My mind jumped over and looked at other relationships. The friendships that meant the world to me throughout my childhood days, now, many of them have faded over the years. Yet there are still a few that have remained. What’s the difference? They were both those friendships that were filled with excitement, road trips, and high school dances. And both were faced with hard moments too, losing loved ones, enduring high school drama, and surviving dysfunctional families. The difference was a choice. The difference was deciding to be intentional of pursuing the friendship no matter if it was time or distance that separated it.

I think all love-relationships require the same thing: intentionality. Intention to introduce myself to a stranger even when I, too, am new. Intention to leave a love note for my boyfriend from time to time even when I see him each day. Intention to call my parents even when life is in a blur. Intention to encourage a co-worker even when my plate is full.

My favorite definition of “Love” comes from one of my college professors, Dr. Paul Patton. “Love is the sacrificial willingness to serve.” In order to truly love, we must endure sacrifice. Sacrifice is never the natural human response, which means we must constantly make a choice to love. If we are relying solely on the over-taking, pitter-patter feelings to carry us through relationships, no wonder we “fall out of love”. Our relationships become the byproduct of an emotion instead of the pursuit of a person.

For me, I realized just how much I was loved when my life was bombarded with Cancer earlier this year. I can assure you that the emotions were quite far from magical. The fireworks didn’t burst – a part of my hopes did. The lily pads and frogs didn’t dance – the waters remained quite still. The world was left different – but it was an empty different. If it were up to the emotions, love should have been the last thing to expect. But I watched as those around me pursued my heart to ensure I could face the battle. My Dad flew back and forth to Vegas just so I wouldn’t be alone at doctor’s appointments. My family & friends constantly calling and praying with me to make sure my heart was in a good place. My boyfriend began his pursuit after my heart at the time I felt most broken. Co-workers rallied around me with gifts that reminded me of my dreams and how possible they all were

Love is a choice, not only a feeling that overtakes us but a decision to sacrificially and willingly serve day after day; no matter what it takes!

Choosing to Love,


Monday, April 4, 2011

Horrifically Beautiful

Today was one of those horrifically beautiful days. I woke up this morning with a hunger inside of me to hear even just one whisper from my God. Have you have ever had a morning like that? Oh, how I wish I could say that every morning I could sense that ravishing desire to hear from my God – but many days (most days) I allow my breakfast to do it’s best to curve my appetite. But this morning was different. It was deep in my soul that I NEEDED my God today.

I spent some time in prayer and read through a few verses in Romans – Do not conform yourself to the patters of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Hm. After a conversation with my sweet man just the night before, he had spun my head in a new direction I hadn’t given enough thought to. Although I don’t know the exact words he said to me, my heart heard this: Do you want to make good people or do you want to make disciples? Obviously, my soul could not find a resting place as I climbed into my bed last night.

Have I conformed to the patterns of the World with a desire to inspire and empower, yet taken the focus away from giving an invitation for each of us to look ourselves in the mirror and confront our sin? The definition of transformation that stirred inside of me was this one: a seemingly miraculous change in appearance of the actors in view of the audience. Transformation isn’t just seemingly miraculous; it IS miraculous! It’s taking something that wasn’t and making it something that is. Yet it means that when we provide an invitation for transformation within our lives, God is there ready to change us. And, it’s not just a change that comes about from a feeling of inspiration or empowerment; it’s a change that comes from the work of the Holy Spirit saturating our lives. I don’t want to make good people – I want to be a part of the transformation process that produces disciples – world changers – ambassadors of Christ!

All that and I hadn’t even made it to work yet! But the spiritual bread I was given this morning was the imperative fuel I needed for what was ahead. At 9:
25am I received a phone call from a friend saying that her little sister (22 years old) was killed in a car accident. Devastation, despair, and tears were all I could muster up. As fast as I could I jumped in my car, drove across town, and wrapped my arms so tightly around her hoping some of hear heartache would rub off on me. It didn’t, but God gave me such a sweet moment with her. He gave me a moment to sit across the kitchen table from her, hold her hands in mine, and pray for the Comforter, the Prince of Peace to overtake her heart. The reason for prayer was horrific, but the heartbeat was absolutely beautiful.

I’m done making good people. I’m ready to make disciples. It was the tragedy that took a life today that made the sobering reality true – “good people” make this World bearable among the destruction; disciples make this world worth it – worth the heartache and pain, worth the ups and downs, worth running the race knowing that this world not our home.

Jesus – take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord to thee. Take my moments and my days let them flow in endless praise. Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of thy love. Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee. Take my voice and let it sing, always only for my King. Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from Thee. Take my silver and my gold, not a mite would I withhold. Take my intellect and use every power as thou shalt choose. Take my will and make it thine it shall be no longer mine. Take my heart it is thine own it shall be thy Royal Thrown. Take my love my Lord, I pour, at Thy feet my treasure store. Take myself and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.