Monthly Archives: February 2012

Jesus Loves Me

“I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, may have power, together with all saints, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and to know this love that surpasses knowledge – ” Ephesian 3:18-19

At two-and-a-half my grandson Isaac was rather precocious. He talked early in complete sentences with a large vocabulary for such a little boy. One evening when his father was changing his diaper, Isaac said, “Daddy, Jesus loves me. I love Jesus. Do you love Jesus?” Later, when we adults discussed this diaper dialog that brought a few tears to Grandma and Grandpa’s eyes, Isaac’s mother told us, with wonder and awe in her voice, that she had been consistently and fervently praying that her son would know how wide and long and high and deep the love of Christ is for him. What a glorious prayer, right out of Scripture, that was. What early and remarkable dividends it was reaping in Isaac’s young life.

How thankful I am to have a daughter-in-law who prays such powerful prayers for my grandchildren.

Lord, I lift my prayers up with Heather, my daughter-in-law, for her children and all my grandchildren. May they and all your children, including myself, grasp how wide and long, high and deep Your love for us is.

 

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A Love Like Miah’s

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all our soul and with all your strength.”        Deuteronomy 6:5

My granddaughter Miah loved soft, furry, cuddly Elmo. She wanted to watch her Elmo DVDs everyday, multiple times a day. She wanted to sing and dance with him. She wanted more books and more movies about him. She was so obsessed with him that Grandpa teasingly declared she needed to attend Elmo Anonymous. Eventually she outgrew Elmo and became fascinated with that darling fairy, Tinker Bell. The year she fell in love with the little blond pixie, she wanted her birthday party theme to be Tinker Bell. She wanted gifts that featured the fairy. She took naps with a Tinker Bell blanket and slept with a Tinker Bell doll held close to her heart. She was passionate about her passion.

Lord, You have called me to love You with all my heart, soul and strength. Help me to love You as passionately as Miah has loved Elmo and Tinker Bell.

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When Guidance leads to Suffering

“… though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that your faith – of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire – may be proved genuine and may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.” I Peter 1: 6-7

Believing God had guided me wasn’t difficult when the outcomes were welcome, such as seeing Tundra Swans and retiring early. Painful outcomes of decisions created a crisis of faith because I had sought God’s will. The logical question to those outcomes was: why did God lead me into pain?  I have pretended that He didn’t hear me when I sought His guidance because it was the easiest way to resolve the conflict. In those cases, I proudly took full responsibility for my decisions and chose to learn from the experiences or chose to berate myself for my foolishness. At one point in my life, where the rubber met the road, I chose to believe the truth. I had prayed for God to lead the way, and He had. I was then required to either have a doctrine of suffering or rage against God for forsaking me. I chose anger with my Heavenly Father. Eventually, as I continued to read scripture and my anger burned out, I laid hold of the validity of suffering, of its purpose in the lives of Christ followers, not because I wanted to, but because it was my lifeline. I even learned to cherish the words from Saint Peter who suffered more than I have ever suffered.

This morning I read a chapter called, “In the Dark”, from the book, The Geography of God’s Mercy, by Patrick Hannon.   As a priest, his vow of obedience took him to a new ministry in a different part of the country. He soon found himself in the black abyss of major depression, a kind of suffering that only fellow sufferers can fully understand. He shared his story with humor and with authenticity. I laughed with him, and I cried with him.  He said, “I remember that Thomas Merton often talked about the idea of redemptive suffering. For Christians, suffering of any sort becomes redemptive, he said, when we willingly hand it over to God, trusting in the healing power of the redeeming cross of His Son, Jesus Christ.”

Father, I haven’t liked it when Your paths for me have led to trials and troubles. Not liking it is immaterial. You call me to willingly hand my suffering over to You and trust Your redemptive purposes.  Thank You for the pain in my life that You have used to prove my faith genuine. You are a good Daddy.

 

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Steps

I have often pondered why God chooses to break into my thoughts when they are rather blank.  It has seemed odd to me.  Perhaps those blank moments only seem odd because hearing the voice of the Lord when not seeking Him actively is unexpected.   Perhaps those moments when I am least distracted are the best to hear His Spirit.

One day late in December of 2000, three years after the lesson of the Tundra Swans, I was riding in the car, going nowhere important and not thinking about anything significant.  My husband was driving, and we were enjoying the comfortable silence of a long married couple.  My blank mind was suddenly occupied with Proverbs 16:9 which states, “Man plans his course, but God directs his steps.”   I wondered whether I really believed that truth about the Almighty as it pertained to me.  I searched my heart and soul carefully, since I had a history of second guessing every decision I had ever made.  I discovered that I really did believe that God directs my steps.  In that moment I was acutely aware of the change that God had been quietly producing in me.  With the awareness came joy, the kind that set my spirit free to do cart wheels and somersaults before the throne of my Lord.  He was smiling.  I felt His pleasure.

In December of 2001, I decided to return to hospital nursing, thinking it wise to add to pension monies that I had earned earlier in my career.  Nine years later when I turned sixty-two, I was amazed to realize that the credit for the number of hours I had worked in contract hospitals added to my age equaled 83.   Meeting the rule of 83 meant I could retire early and draw my pension.   In 2001,  I had had no idea that the math would come out perfectly on my sixty-second birthday.  God had known, and He had directed my steps.

Father,  our adventures together make my life so interesting and so worthwhile.   Thinking about Your love and Your participation in my life takes my breath away.  How can I ever thank You for directing my steps?

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