Friday, June 19, 2015

Rejected..... Never


...for the Lord your God goes with you; he will never leave you

or forsake you. Deuteronomy 31:6b

I am the Vine and you are the branches, if a man remain in me and I in him he will bear much fruit. Apart from me you can do nothing. John 15:5

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us that we should be called the children of God. 1 John 3:1

My life has been an interesting set of ups and downs. I intend to share a bit here, not for sympathy or accolades but to demonstrate the amazing, powerful all-consuming love of God. I am the fifth child of a woman who was not shy or reluctant to say that she only ever wanted two children. I've lost relationships with parents, siblings and some extended family. I've been the mother of four only to be told by more than one child that he would prefer I not call myself his mother. I've had friends walk away and I've done more walking away than I should. On the opposite side of that coin, I have an amazingly loyal and wonderful husband, some very close children and grandchildren, dear friends, one in particular who though gone physically for a season never left my heart nor I hers, a new set of parents and a sister, though not related by blood dearer to me than if they were and, God has been compassionate to me in allowing me to be humble enough to at least attempt to repair what has been broken in my life.

Here's the important detail.... In all of those circumstances, good, bad, beautiful, ugly, precious, painful and the odd mix of several of those conditions, God has wasted nothing. Not one thing has been purposeless. I cannot list for you every detail of where God's hand has moved, in part because I can't see some of it yet. I can tell with absolute certainty that He is in control and even my very deepest hurts have brought or will bring something good.

We live in a difficult and fallen world with difficult fallen people. My guess is if you are breathing you are both fallen and difficult as well as beautiful, wonderful and fearfully made. (Psalm 139:14) God wastes nothing. He is the Vine and He calls us to remain in Him so that we can bear fruit, live well and bring honor and glory to His name.

He will never forsake us and when He says never He means it. When we are behaving in ways that we think are lovely, He is there. When we're acting like spoiled brats and hope He won't notice, we're out of luck because, He. Is. There. In His hand is a ladle filled with love, lavish love, love He longs to pour over our heads. Stand still! Let that lavish love run over your head, down your face, let it drench you. Husbands, wives, children, parents, friends, co-workers, all will disappoint, leave and maybe never come back but God will never, ever leave. Accept that love.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

He Knows My Name


    I don't need my name in lights
    I'm famous in my Father's eyes
    Make no mistake
    He knows my name
Francesca Battistelli

Can a mother forget the baby at her breast

and have no compassion on the child she

has borne?

Though she may forget,

I will not forget you!

See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands

Isaiah 49:15-16a

Courage is an odd thing. I live in a Navy town, so we often think of courage in military terms. Over the last couple of years I've come to see it more and more often in children, precious, tiny children fighting huge, disgusting demons, otherwise known as various forms of cancer.

Because we see these awful, debilitating, life altering circumstances as an horrific affront most of feel pulled to do whatever we can to ease the suffering or make the good days brighter. There are many organizations that reach out to children with life threatening conditions and God bless every one of them! One such organization reached out to a friend of my daughter, Laura. Her friend has a little girl, Amy who has a kind of cancer that has already cost her a limb. She is only seven years old and has faced more battles than most adults that I know. To say that Amy and her wonderful parents have faced these battles with grace is a vast understatement.

Recently a charitable organization set up a special day for Amy. The culmination of which was that Amy would see her name in lights on a giant marquee. Of all the events of the day that one seemed to escape her notice. When the day was over Amy's mom asked her how it felt to be a celebrity for the day, mentioning specifically that now everyone knew her name. Amy's response was of the “ho hum, big deal” variety. When mom pushed the question a little Amy's response was to begin to sing the song I quoted above, “He Knows My Name” by Francesca Battistelli.

I know Amy's name, our Bible study group knows Amy's name and now our city at large is at least aware of Amy's name. Amy couldn't care less. Why? The God of the Universe already knew her name. He holds her in the palm of His hand and she is well aware of that.

Amy does not have a pulpit. She does not preach. What she does is walk the walk. While her physical walk has suffered a huge blow, her spiritual walk is strong and thriving. Amy walks by faith.

Jesus called us to have faith like a child (Matthew 18:3) because that is the purest form of faith. I am not a huge organization, capable of making Amy, or Drew or Brayden or any other little one on my prayer list, queen or king for the day. What I am is humbled by the trust and faith and courage that each one of them demonstrates. They are all in my prayers and I hope after reading this, they are in yours.

(I changed the name of the little girl as I did not acquire permission to share her story. God knows her real name, just as He knows that Drew and Brayden are real little boys in horribly real battles. Please pray for these precious angels.)