I could not write an Easter Entry. Using hand energy to tap to Easter service Worship music, holding hands during meal blessing, and squeezing Hope’s hand goodbye as she headed back to med school.
I’ll leave you with the a question I love:
“If you take the living Resurrection Power within you as a viable reality, how would you live your life differently?”
I would: (on a good day, I would write one of these out with my ink and quill set with a few drops of ink for dramatic effect as a lofty goal) Seriously, consider where His Kingdom would be if we opened our prayer lives to Resurrections aspirations???
God did not highlight verses for me. (My relationship with the Lord began as a child with Psalm 123) I began my first Bible study after my mom died at the age of thirty. “Disciple,” a year long commitment in our Methodist Church. After a year of intense study, I left with more questions than answers. All in God’s time. He exposed me to the Truth and blessed me with seasoned authentic Christians :) Yet, through continuous Bible Studies, nothing seemed to stand out personally. There will be verses I will share over the next weeks, that all have significance to me, but I start here, because this is my life verse. I was reading on my back porch, spinning with this ALS diagnosis, and this verse entered my next life-moment and grace grew like seeds in the wind. I’ve since seen power being perfected through weaknesses in my character, my marriage, my parenting, “my ministry,” my friendships and my life workings through the circumstance of this disease. The cost of this disease is incomprehensible. It is not a sweet, soft grace that falls gently like a new-fallen snow. It is a grace that grits its teeth through the fierce hunger that comes in the dark of the night on an empty stomach.
Intimacy of my faith. I was private with how and when I expressed it. I wasn’t hiding it. God was teaching me good stewardship. This experience has exposed those seeds to the winds. My four daughters have learned more about my faith in the last two years than perhaps all the years prior in our “normal mother-daughter moments.” It is the power perfected in the intimacy of grace that grows sufficiency.
Legacy of life. I was full speed ahead with family in tow, creativity and passion for our Lord oozing out of every crack and crevice and en-joying every minute of my “Kingdom Play.” I never would have slowed enough to craft this Blog or play with a book. Both small endeavors, they do vest some thing tangible for my family. It is the power perfected in the silliness of grace in which life launches big.
Love reaches beyond. I have never felt loved with such intentional devotion. God has brought new friends with which I would never have crossed paths. Current friends God placed in new places. Old friends God brought to new heights. It’s the kind of love I anticipated in heaven but never expected to experience here on earth. My understanding, as is my family’s, of the limitless potential with the heart for love, is forever challenged. It is the power perfected in the grace from loss that opens into possibilities.
“Why have I come into this existence to suffer this level of pain?”
“Will we suffer in a way that is purposeful?”
Purposeful suffering. . .wow. . .I am prayerfully pondering the kingdom impact of making this concept.
“Know the man Paul so you can trust him as teacher.”
“Will your suffering find purpose in you?”
“Will your hardship be wasted?”
“We may articulate our theology but we demonstrate our beliefs through our suffering.”
This a powerful statement. It is so real so raw in it’s reach, it almost stings. Do you know what I mean?
I think we have to tread carefully here. Almost like leaving bloody footprints in freshly fallen snow. I’m just not graphic like that but when God gives me a striking picture, I try to obediently use it. Suffering waxes and wanes as does the intensity of our response to it. Our belief system may or may not be portrayed at any given moment as our humanity processes the pain. Given the grace of our Lord, perhaps it might more accurately approach the truth to say:
We may articulate our theology but we demonstrate our beliefs when (not if but when) The Resurrection rises in triumph over the suffering.
These giggles cause us to pause seriously to seek out our wonder at the little things that bring deep joy!
“Truly I say to you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God like a child will not enter it at all.” Mark 10:15
This is the purest form of what I’ve coined the phrase “Kingdom Play.” We are created to enter the kingdom as a child abandoned to wonder of the moment that erupts in joy!!! (If you don’t think that God has a sense of humor just listen to what you don’t see.) That paper torn to shreds with full belly giggles was, here comes the punch line, was a rejection letter!!
Let it tickle you alive to the Holy Spirit’s presence in you. :)
What heartache could we have prevented for ourselves and others if we had yielded to the conscience of God’s Best?
I’ve made more than my share of mistakes, with my mom, in my marriage, my girls, friends, leadership, etc. I even hand delivered a letter that caused all kinds of messy misunderstandings. I guess some lessons we learn the hard way. It’s never too late or too early to learn to yield our thought life, words and actions captive to the obedience of our Christ.
Abba God, teach us, through obedience to your Son, to take captive whatever is not Kingdom building in our ways. Amen