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Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Do The Hard Thing

My husband Joe and I had a disagreement the other day. 

When I say we had a "disagreement" I mean I wanted to gouge his eyes out. 

He offended me and I felt absolutely justified to hold a grudge, give him the cold shoulder, and hate him forever. 

I went for a long walk and I put on Pandora. I asked God to speak to me while I was walking off some steam. 

I was hateful and indignant. With every stomp of my foot, I recounted the ways Joe upset me. 

As I walked in a beautiful neighborhood on a gorgeous day with the sun shining and people out playing in their yards and visiting their neighbors, the music soothed my soul and I was quiet enough to hear God. 

And it's not as if He spoke audibly to me, but I definitely felt a message being pressed against my heart.

Do the Hard Thing

And I resisted it at first. I turned up my music and waited for the song with lyrics that would assure me I was in the right and Joe was in the wrong and I merely had to wait patiently for his apology. 

Instead, song after song played extolling the virtues of grace and forgiveness and mercy and love. 

This one in particular by Sidewalk Prophets hit me right between the eyes:
See now, I am the man who yelled out from the crowd
For Your blood to be spilled on this earth shaking ground
Yes then I turned away with the smile on my face
With this sin in my heart tried to bury Your grace
And then alone in the night I still called out for You
So ashamed of my life, my life, my life

[Chorus:]
But You love me anyway
Oh, God, how you love me
Yes, You love me anyway
It’s like nothing in life that I’ve ever known
Yes, You love me anyway
Oh, Lord, how You love me
Yes, You love me,
Yes, You love me
Yes, You love me,
Yes, You love me
How You love me
How You love me
How You love me

Did I mention this took place on Easter Sunday?

When I had just sat through an amazing church service where I cried the entire time over Christ's forgiveness and grace. His mercy and  unending love was fresh in my mind.

So I couldn't ignore it. I couldn't pretend I hadn't just bawled through an hour of glorious praises to my Savior--the Man who died in such a gruesome and humiliating fashion...for me...knowing all my faults and short-comings.

I had to pause in the middle of my tantrum and realize Jesus did The Hard Thing. Every time.

He lived like a nomad, with nowhere to lay His head (Luke 9:58).

He was pursued by church leaders and broken people day after day, some trying to make Him look like a fool and others begging for healing. He often retreated by Himself to recharge (Luke 5:16).

He chose to be beaten and bruised and nailed to a cross for me (Matthew 27).

He definitely did The Hard Thing.

With each step I took, my resolve to be angry and indignant melted even as my resolve to be the one who does The Hard Thing grew stronger.

I realized this surpasses my marriage. Doing The Hard Thing extends out to my everyday life:

Offer grace to the driver who cuts me off in traffic.

Offer patience when my children test me.

Offer mercy when a loved one hurts me.

Be brave enough to have the hard conversations when sweeping it under the rug seems easier.

Be humble enough to admit when I have fallen short and ask for forgiveness.

Be generous enough to cheer someone else on, even with a bruised ego and even at my own expense.

Be like Christ and put others ahead of my own selfish desires.

Doing The Hard Thing and being more Christ-like when doing The Easy Thing seems better and a whole lot simpler, is when I will be the closest to Christ; that's when I will be strongest and in the center of His will.

And that is easily The Best Thing.



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Thursday, April 17, 2014

Our First Coffee Time! And...I'm a Judas

It's our Inaugural Coffee Time!

Please disregard my technical idiocy. 

There are 2 videos because I don't know how to "Pause" and instead, I hit "Stop". 

Anyway...I will eventually add in the typed version of what's on the video for those of you who can't and don't watch videos. 

Thanks for joining me for our first Coffee Time!

[Here's the blog I used this year for "Resurrection Eggs".]

If you can't see the videos in your email, click HERE.


Whoopsie! Here's the conclusion:


Here is Natalie Grant's amazing video Alive (get some Kleenex!):




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Monday, April 14, 2014

Lay It Down

I know how you feel right now.

You're drained. 

You're exhausted. 

You can't pick up another toy. 

You can't fetch another meal. 

You can't get another drink. 

You cannot possibly answer another question.

You're done. 

Toast.

Your heart is heavy and your shoulders are slumped.

You've replayed all the times you failed that day.

You contemplate tip-toeing back upstairs to wake them up.

To apologize.

To tell them you love them one more time.

To reassure them that they are one of the greatest things God has ever blessed you with, despite how you may act sometimes.

Short answers, snapped responses, harsh words.

Impatience.

Frustrations.

The weight of the world on your shoulders.

Did you hug them enough today?

Did you say I love you enough today?

Did you kill their spirit in the name of discipline?

Did you totally screw them up?

Yes, I know exactly how you're feeling tonight.

I wake up every single day with the best of intentions.

I don't think anyone goes into the day intending to fail miserably.

But life happens, schedules are tight, frustrations rise, stress boils over, demands are many...

And at the end of the day we are left with all of our shortcomings.

But I'm here to tell you that's not the end of it.

By all means, if you feel you need to or if you want to--tip-toe back upstairs and kiss that angel.

Tell them one more time how much you love them.

Pray with them.

Ask for forgiveness.

But don't carry the guilt around.

If you love your babies, and you do your very best to love them, don't carry the guilt around.

We will fail, mamas.

Sometimes by forgetting a lunch.

Sometimes in bigger things.

We will lose our tempers.

We will say words that we wish we could take back.

We will fall short in so many ways…

But we haven't failed.

Our babies know we love them.

And tomorrow is another opportunity to show them.

As we apologize and explain where we fell short, it's an amazing opportunity to be an example of Christ's grace.

Our children learn as much from our mistakes as they do from the times we get it right.

And praise the Lord that they do! I fear my children learn far more often from the former.

But God is good.

You see, He knew that we would fail. He knew that we would lose our temper. He knew that we would say something we wish we wouldn't have.

And He forgave us anyway.

He chose to die for us anyway. 

Long before we even made the mistake.

Is there something you're holding onto tonight?

Is there something you need to lay down at Christ's feet?

Is there something you need to confess and receive forgiveness for in order to move on?

We cannot receive tomorrow's blessings when we are holding the stones of judgment from yesterday.

Let it go.

Lay it down.








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