Friday, August 14, 2015

Proof of God's Love



I asked my husband to do a guest post this week and I was so moved by what he wrote. I think there is a tenderness in his tone, that reflects the tender heart of God. Hope you enjoy it as much as I do.
Blessings to all,
Lilly.

As many of you no doubt already know, my wife and I had a new baby boy, Joshua Robert, on September 4, 2014. He was 7 pounds and 2 ounces at birth. We are excited and overjoyed at this new addition to our family. And we are excited to introduce him to our community as well. Needless to say, lots of things are happening in our world these days.

One day, I was carrying Josh. I use the term “day” loosely here. Sometimes, the days and nights seem to blur together. I was soothing him, trying to help him sleep. When I do this, it is also a moment for me to pray or to worship, singing hymns. I can remember that in this moment, I was contemplating on God’s love. He has blessed my family yet again. Josh is proof of God’s love, as is Lydia and Lilly. But even deeper than that, I was contemplating God’s own son, Jesus Christ. I love my children very much, but even that love pales in comparison to the love that exists between the Trinity. The love that God the Father has for the Son and the Holy Spirit, and the mutual return of that love between them, is quite simply boundless. It is infinite. It is therefore so much bigger than my own limited love for my family. Limited only because I am human and flawed. 

As I continued to ponder this, I distinctly recall thinking that God sent his son to be here among us. His love knows no bounds. And we are included in that love. So he came down from heaven to be among us. He came to unite himself to us. He came to redeem us. He came here to die for us. That fact astounded me. God sent his son here to pour out his life for us. I could not imagine losing my son, but God’s plan involved sending him here purposefully in order that he might die on our behalf. Such is the depth of God’s love for us. I can remember in that moment being awed by this fact, made all the more real as I held my son. 

All of this reminded me of the song “How Deep the Father’s Love for Us.” The words come back so much stronger now. “How deep the Father’s Love for us, How vast beyond all measure, That he should give us only Son, to make a wretch his treasure.” The Father’s love,  the Trinity, is turned outward and directed at us. And it is the sacrificial kind of love. In the Greek language, there is a different word for the different kinds of love. Agape is what is talked about here. Love so great that it makes sacrifices for the beloved. It is the holiest kind of love. It is divine love. God is all powerful. There is no being above him. No one is higher or more powerful than God. And yet, he demonstrates great humility and love. He came to save his beloved by dying for us. In Philippians 2:1-8, Paul exhorts the church in Philippi to be humble as Christ is humble. Christ is God, and yet he did not lord that over anyone, but became a servant to all, even to the point of dying on the Cross. 

Not only do we have this amazing fact, that God himself poured out his life on our behalf, but we also have it as an example of to how live. Sacrificial is what we do for each other. This is what we do for our spouses, our children, our families, our friends, our brothers and sisters in Christ. We pour out our lives for the sake of others. We do this because God did it for us first, and by doing this, we serve God.

This thought process all stemmed from holding my son that one day. God can come to visit with us and speak with us at any time. It was a real moment of communion with God, one that I share with you in the hope that it will give you strength, peace, and joy.
                                                                                                                                                                In Christ,
                                                                                                                                                                Fr. Bo+

Friday, August 7, 2015

Frenzied Break-Downs and Surrendering All



I traveled to Iowa by airplane with my two year old and nine month old babies by myself. It was two different airplane rides. Lydia was in this phase, where she liked to run away from me, and Joshua hated to sit still. I knew all this going into it, but I was like, “yeah, I can do this.” Plus, I really wanted to see my sister.

When I finally arrived, I was covered in sweat, fig newtons, spit-up, and other unmentionables. There had been wailing and lots of running away, with me frantic in tears and chasing. 

I know there are some moms out there that have lots of children. I am in awe of you, but it was such an overwhelming day for yours truly. By the time we finally arrived at my sister’s home, my children and I got very sick. We all broke out in feverish chills. I spent three hours trying to console them and put them to sleep. It was late in the evening, bordering on eighteen hours of travel time. Finally, I borrowed my sister’s keys and put them in the car for a drive. 

Driving and scatter-brained through the small town Iowa streets, I heard the sirens behind me and at once realized I had on my brights and I had been driving around the same neighborhood six times in a row. My hair was ratted, my pj's be-speckled with baby goo, and I had tears running down my checks. I knew I looked and was driving like a crazy lady. 

The officer came to the window. I explained my seeming insanity and he walked off to check me out. At this moment, I felt really low. It wasn’t just the day. Things were catching up with me. The demands of motherhood, ministry, and marriage felt huge. All the goals and projects I have set –up for myself felt crushing and I knew I was failing and that life was slipping me by. Lots of striving was coming to a head.

I let my head flop onto the steering wheel and told God how mad I was at him. There was more weeping and wailing. Thankfully, my children were by this time asleep.
“God, I’m so angry at you right now. You never cut me a break and my life is so freaking hard and I never get any of the things I want.” It’s hard to read and write these words, because he has given me things that I never dreamed I would have – mostly himself. But these were my honest thoughts and unfortunately, these were my spoken words. I was very mad and so tired. Striving is a temptation I struggle with. I am always striving to make things better, be better, do more, and friends it really is hell on earth.

“I just can’t take it anymore. I am giving you everything. I surrender all to you right now. I surrender all” I shouted. Then, I felt a welcomed peace. I knew at once, that I didn’t need or have to do the vast majority of the things I slave away at and that only one thing was required of me, handing life over to Jesus. Surrendering all to God is a wonderful thing and we can do it hourly if we need to. He’s always there to meet us.
 
I didn’t get the ticket either.
 
 What in your life are you constantly striving for? What burdens are you continually carrying? Some of us are struggling with things that loom larger than life - cancer, greed, violence, broken relationship, and all kinds of hurt, temptation, and sin. God knows are struggles. Let’s hand all that striving to fix things over to Jesus and let him bless us with his peace and presence.