Wednesday, March 27, 2013

The Love of Easter

As a family we have been watching the Bible Series every Sunday evening and it has brought up many questions for my two youngest children.  If you really think about it they are taught from a young age in Sunday school Bible stories.  The difference is in Sunday school many times it is watered down or made to be softer than it really is.  Don’t get me wrong I am thankful for all the Sunday school teachers and the many lessons they have taught my children growing up.  I am guilty of the same thing.  However, watching the Bible series as a family has opened many conversations about God and Bible times.  Especially this last episode where it was about the birth of Jesus and this coming Sunday will be about the crucifixion and resurrection of our Lord and Savior.  All of my children believe in the death and resurrection and each have a personal relationship with Him, but I have to ask do they really understand the gravity of what really happened to Him?  Putting the kids aside do we truly understand and know how much He suffered for each of us.  Do we really understand why?

A number of years ago a friend and I were watching “The Passion of the Christ” and it came to the part where they were whipping Jesus and pieces of His flesh were being ripped off him with each blow.  In the middle of the theater I stood up and yelled as loud as I could “Leave Him alone!!!”  I have heard the story of the crucifixion and the moments leading up to it many times, but when I saw it on the big screen it gave it a whole new meaning.  The one thought that kept going through my mind was at any moment He could have stopped it but He let them spit on Him, call Him names, torture Him, and kill Him. The question is why?  Well the question is answered with one word and it is “love.”  Love kept Him on that cross.  He loved us so much that He gave His life freely so that we could be forgiven and would be able to live with Him for all eternity.  He could have made all of us believe but He gives us the choice.

I remember one Sunday I was teaching about Easter and the moments leading up to Christ’s resurrection and one of the girls asked “why would He go through so much pain and die for what, our sins; being that He is God couldn’t he make everyone love Him?”  I said yes, He could have, but it is like this, I am a mom and I could tell my kids to say that they love me and demand that they love me, but I would rather them be willing and because they truly love me to tell me that they love me.  I don’t want my kids to love me because they have to, but because the want to.  God is God and He can make us do anything if he truly wanted to, but because He loves us so much He gave us the freedom of choice, so we can choose to love Him and believe in Him because we want to and we really do not because we are made to.  As a parent there is no greater feeling than when my kids of their free will come up to me and say I love you.

As much as I love my children my love for them is nothing compared to how much God love His children; us those who believe in Him.  He will do anything and has in order for us to return to Him someday when we leave this life.  He also wants to be a part of our lives while we are still here on this earth.  Trust me I have had life with Him and without Him part of it.  Life may not be easier because He is in my life but I promise you it has been easier to bear.

The Easter holiday is filled with fun traditions, with Easter eggs, candy, the Easter bunny, and so on, but if you think about it what is the true meaning of why we celebrate Easter to begin with?  Don’t get me wrong I love dying eggs with my kids and watching their faces lite up as they see their Easter baskets, but I wish that they could have the same reaction when they hear the story of how Christ died and rose again.

Over the years I have lost loved ones and I know many others who have lost loved ones as well.  Feeling the loss of someone so close to you is one of the hardest things I have ever gone through.  The only peace I have is the hope that Christ has given me when He died on the cross for the forgiveness of all mankind.  John 3:16 says it all. For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only son that whoever believes Him shall not parish but with have eternal life.  So the comfort I find is that the parting I have with those loved and lost are only but a moment in time.  Because of Christ giving His life so we can live gives me comfort that I will see them again.  What a blessing to have that assurance.

This Easter take the time to reflect on what Christ truly did for us and share it with those you love. The fact of the matter is that Christ did suffer and die on the cross for the forgiveness of our sins so that we will never have to be apart from Him. The fact of the matter is He was buried and rose again which is why we can have the hope and assurance in a future with God as our personal Savior.

I know that there are those who will chose not to believe and that is their right, but my prayer is that you will know in your heart that there is a God that loves you enough to die for you.  I pray that you will come to know God as your personal Savior and have a relationship with Him.  The reason we celebrate Easter is because of His resurrection. There is nothing in this world that is more powerful than the Risen King and the power of His Grace.




Tuesday, March 19, 2013

A Time for Everything

This morning I am in tears.  My heart is full of so many emotions.  My mother has been in the hospital for several days due to back surgery, my second oldest daughter Shannon is getting ready to go clear across the country on a mission trip to Romania, and my third daughter  Samantha is getting ready to graduate here in a couple of months.  So many things on the verge of great change and I have so many mixed emotions to go along with them.  My heart is sorrowful to see my mom in pain and nerves for the future, my heart is proud for my daughter Shannon as she embarks on a great adventure serving those children in the orphanage in Romania, but I already miss her and I am trying not to focus on the what if’s.  What about my daughter Samantha getting ready to graduate high school and start living her life as an adult, I am happy and proud for her but yet again letting go is so hard.  All my children are growing up.  I can’t believe that my oldest daughter Stephanie is already married.  She has lived away from home for 4yrs now, but my heart still misses her.  This is strange time in my life.  Half the time I feel like I am on an emotional roller coaster as I try to let go.

I have spent the majority of my children’s lives as a stay home mom and have invested so much time and my heart into each of my 6 kids.  It seems like time has just flown by.  A part of me wants to reverse time and start all over again with each and every one of them.  As a parent we can only do the best we can with what we have.  As I look back over the years I see so many mistakes I have made as a mom and see how I could have been there for the more and spent more time with them instead of all the time I wasted on so many things that really wasn’t as important as my children.  However, we as parents are growing up right along with our kids.  I know I can’t be too hard on myself, because I am not perfect, but I am thankful that I have a prefect God that has been there with me as I was trying to raise my children in the right way.

As my parents are getting older and as I watch their health quickly deteriorate, I find myself reflecting on my childhood.  I find myself becoming more of a caregiver for them.  I wish I could say that I am facing this idea gracefully but I can’t.  The thought of this scares me something terrible.  I am finding myself in a whirlwind of emotion.  I hate to see them get older and to see them hurt.  I am so unsure on how to approach these remaining years of my parents’ lives. 

I am waiting for my real estate’s license to get processed and to get to work.  This too is an exciting but scary time for me.  I have focused so many years on my family and now that the kids are getting older I can start focusing on myself.  It has been an amazingly crazy life so far.  Though this time in my life seems to be a time of much change I know that God is in control.  I wish there was a pause button so I could just sit back and take a breath though. 

 Ecclesiastes 3 says it so well, there is a time for everything;

 There is a time for everything,

    and a season for every activity under the heavens:

a time to be born and a time to die,

    a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to kill and a time to heal,

    a time to tear down and a time to build,

 a time to weep and a time to laugh,

    a time to mourn and a time to dance,

 a time to scatter stones and a time to gather them,

    a time to embrace and a time to refrain from embracing,

 a time to search and a time to give up,

    a time to keep and a time to throw away,

 a time to tear and a time to mend,

    a time to be silent and a time to speak,

 a time to love and a time to hate,

    a time for war and a time for peace.

So whatever season I find myself in, I have peace knowing that God is there with me and will continue to do so.  Whatever season you may find yourself in know that God still loves you and will be there to comfort you, to guide you, and to give you strength. 

I am so thankful to know that I will never be truly alone and that no matter what season I find myself in God can and will give me peace.

“Dear Father in Heaven, thank you for everything and for being with me in every season of my life.  Please God give me strength as I face so many unknowns ahead of me.  Please lead me and guide me along the way.  Help me not to focus so much on the what if’s and the what could have been.   Please let me be able to learn from the past and not dwell it. Help me to be able to not worry about tomorrow but to lean on you to guide me through. Dear God, please comfort my spirit and give peace to my heart as life continues to march on.  Give me strength to face whatever comes my way.   Most of all help me keep my eyes on you, to always be thankful and find the good in every situation.  Amen”

Saturday, March 2, 2013

The Little Old Lady and the Hummer

The other day I saw this really small framed little old lady driving through the store parking lot in a Hummer.  When I first saw the hummer I had to take a second glance because it looked like there wasn’t anyone behind the wheel. This little old lady was so small, her hands where stretched above her head and all you could see was a wrinkled hunched over old lady peeking through the wheel.  She parked it and I so wanted to see how she was going to get down.  I wish I would have stopped and watched to see how she did, but I was in a hurry.  However the picture of that little old lady driving that hummer wouldn’t leave my mind.  At the beginning of the New Year I chose a word to represent my New Year resolution and I chose Fearless.  That doesn’t mean live my life carelessly and so crazy doing dangerous things it simply means to Trust God and live for God in whom He called me to be, to live fearless and step out in faith.  I hate to say it but I have not lived very fearlessly but in some ways I have lived cowardly as I try to stay in my comfort zone and keep trying to control the outcome of my life.  I found great comfort thinking about that little old lady in the hummer.  She definitely was living fearlessly.  She didn’t make excuses, she simple believed she could.  Sometimes in life our problems seem too big and we see no way we could possibly to face them.  I don’t know about you but I tend to size up the problem and then look at my limitations and say I don’t think I can.  Well, to be truthful I can’t, that is I can’t by myself.  Instead of sizing up the problem and looking at my limitations maybe I should put my focus on a BIG GOD.  That little old lady could barely see over the wheel but let me ask you a question who was controlling the steering wheel? Was it her feeling her way as she drove or could it be her letting God take the wheel and having faith in a Big God knowing He will lead her safely to where she needed to go.  I know this is a stretch comparing an little old lady driving a hummer to life, but as I look at it I could be like that little old lady and overcome my short comings (sorry was not meant to be a pun), live life trusting in a Big God and letting Him take the wheel or choosing to sit at home afraid to live my life letting it pass by.  I want to live boldly and live fearlessly for God.  The choice is up to you as well, what do you chose?  I am thankful for seeing that little old lady in the hummer and I pray that when I start to fear or have doubt that I will be reminded of how despite her obvious limitations she still chose to live and to be fearless.  I will pray the same for you.  So live today boldly and fearlessly for God and take the step of faith God has been calling you to take.