Posts Tagged ‘love’

It’s Been A While

It’s been a while.
To feel the blood coursing through my veins.
To feel alive. 
It’s been a while.
To think clearly.
To think confidently.
It’s been a while.
To see through the fog.
To see beyond the veil of tears.
It’s been a while for cancer decimates,
Body,
Mind,
Soul. 
But,
It is not greater than the Spirit inside me.
It is not greater than the Grace given to me.
It is not greater than the Love that saves me. 
Yes, it’s been a while. But only a while.
“Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”

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Coming up for air…

           I’ve never been scuba diving.  Snorkeling one time as a child in the Dry Tortugas, which was incredible, but never scuba diving.  I do know that if you dive really deep and then come to the surface too quickly, you can end up with decompression sickness.  I saw on it TV and read about it on the internet, so it must be true.  Seriously, decompression sickness can lead to some serious physical and neurological effects  (you can google it if you want to know more). Thankfully, the sickness can be treated with oxygen and time in a hyperbaric chamber, usually resulting in no long term effects of decompression sickness.  

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        I’ve never been scuba diving, but I’m quite sure that I spent most of last year diving in the abyss of cancer.  The depths of suffering and pain that we have explored are overwhelming at times.  Sometimes the deep was so deep that no light could be seen.  Thankfully, the abyss did not swallow us and we have returned to the surface.  But I realize that my return to the surface has been quick in many ways. It has much to do with my desire to return to ministry in a full-time ministry.  And normal life.  Whatever that means.  

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         So, I’m in a strange place.  Maybe there is some decompression sickness.  It’s really nice to be on the surface.  Life is really good, but there are still many challenges that I face on a day to day basis.  On the positive side:  my strength, energy, and endurance are returning in a great way.  I would say that I am back to working full-time – which means some long days and weeks.  That’s not a complaint – the water’s nice.  I am so glad I can make hospital visits, focus on serving my family and our church family, seek God’s wisdom for the future, and continue to preach and teach week to week.  But I also feel overwhelmed, frustrated, and discouraged.  Out of place or out of step.  Disappointed by my mistakes and my need to make frequent apologies for my foibles.  The waters can still be troubled at times.  So, I have to try to remind myself regularly that I am first and forever a child of God.  That I am forgiven.  That, though I am weak, He is strong.   I need the oxygen of God’s grace.  And the  hyperbaric chamber of His steadfast love.  And day by day I find new mercies – which is more than I deserve.  I’ve come up for air and I am so glad – even of my ascent was too fast in some ways.  I have to trust God with that too.

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Loving Our Enemies

One of our “Prayer Goals” this Ministry Year is to grow in our Love for our Enemies.  I thought this was important for a couple of reasons:  it is something that Jesus teaches but is easily ignored and it is something we may need to apply especially during the political season of a presidential election.

This came into view last night in one particular way as I was watching the debate and following reaction on Twitter & Facebook.  A friend of mine reacted very strongly to something one of the candidates said and posted his thoughts on Facebook. Then came the chorus of amens.

I heard the candidate in a slightly different way and threw my assessment into the ring, to which he graciously responded and provided some more context for his reaction – which was helpful in understanding it.  That said, and I told him this in a slightly different way, is that our reactions must be governed by the command that we have to love.  Even enemies.  I think this can particularly come into view when we enter into political debates.

This is what I’m thinking and it is in process, but I think that love requires that we graciously characterize the comments and words of others, if possible.  I don’t mean we ignore words.  Nor do we just simply grin and bear hurtful statements.  But we don’t twist them or use them to score points.  We don’t take someone’s logical meaning and misrepresent it.  And even when someone misspeaks, as we all do, we aren’t standing nearby ready to pounce.

This is obviously very different than we will ever see during Presidential debates.  But it’s probably not likely any of us is running for President any time soon.    And even if someone uses their words to intentionally hurt us, we are still commanded to love our enemies.  One thing that was helpful in thinking about love for enemies was someting I just read on Monday in the book we are using in Sunday School (Love Walked Among Us, Paul Miller):  an enemy doesn’t have to be a permanent category for people in our lives.  Think about that and the command to love, especially if your are politically inclined and find yourself disagreeing with friends, co-workers, or even the candidates themselves.  May the Lord grow us in the kind of enemy loving that He has shown to us (Romans 5:8).

 

10 Years Ago Today

What we had

  • Six years of history:  dating, fun times, sharing family & stories
  • Degrees from the best University in all the land
  • Love and respect for one another
  • A deep commitment to one another and some damaging concepts excised from our vocabulary
  • A desire to make the Lord the center of our relationship
  • A future together

What we have

  • Two beautiful and crazy children
  • A cat
  • A home – not just a house – full of joy (and frustration from time to time)
  • A calling & place
  • A degree from the best seminary in all the land
  • A couple cars that work most of the time

What remains

  • History together (sixteen years now)
  • Abiding love & respect
  • A future together
  • The Lord at the center of our relationship
  • And so much more than I could have hoped or asked!

Ten years ago today, we got married and haven’t look back (Except at the pictures where people ask how old I was when we go married, but that’s another story).

Happy Anniversary my love!

Running Scared (Part 4): God Speaks on Money & Possessions

Read about what I’m doing here. Part one here.  Part two here.  Part three here and here.

It dawned on me as I read these last three chapters (about mid way through) of this section, “God Speaks on money and possessions”, that we had not talked a whole lot about money and possessions.  At least not specifically.  That does come more fully in chapter fourteen, but I found that this was something that I appreciated because it has meant that Welch has spent more time dealing with the roots of anxiety and worry – rather than simply dealing with symptoms and manifestations.

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