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The Hurricane

By | Agape Love | No Comments

Earlier this month, I experienced my first hurricane. Pat and I were on vacation in Cabo and Hurricane Newton hit our resort as a category 2 with destructive winds and sheets of rain. Y’all, it was amazing! As a woman who has lived her life land-locked, I was thrilled to be caught in the middle of it.

I’ve been told by my children that I can make a spiritual lesson out of just about anything, and although I’m pretty sure they don’t mean that as a compliment, there is an important lesson in the hurricane that I have thought about everyday since it passed on through. Please indulge me a minute while I share this treasure I learned.

When the sun rose and the winds and rain subsided, Pat and I walked out of our vacation home to survey the destruction. There was structural damage and some broken windows, but it was the palm trees that took the greatest hit. Most of the trees stayed erect, a few were completely toppled, and there were a few more that had been pushed to a leaning position by the wind. These trees had ½ their roots exposed, but they hadn’t completely fallen.

Hours later, the property staff had encircled the leaning trees with rope and tied them tightly to the trees that hadn’t been budged by the wind. With the support of the stronger tree, the leaning tree was straightened, supported and rooted back in the soil. I don’t know how long the ropes will be left tying the trees together, but I am confident, the ropes won’t be removed until the leaning tree is completely restored.

Like all of you, I have experienced some storms. In the past, I have been of the mindset to just grit it out. When I’m broken, I don’t want anyone to see my exposed roots and so I try to upright myself by spending time in prayer and scripture. Now… of course, our God is a healer and comforter who never leaves our side and can handle all our burdens, but this same God is a God of relationships who designed us for community. Relationships are of paramount importance to Jesus. He surrounded himself with good friends and best friends while he lived his purposeful life of sharing God’s Good News. He shared his pain and joy with these friends. When he was dying on the cross, he instructed his best friend and mother to be in relationship with each other (John 19:26-27) and when he ascended into heaven, he told everyone to engage with people everywhere and tell them about their love for him. (Acts 1:8)

If you are going through a storm and the winds and rain have left you battered with exposed roots, please offer your ropes of love and friendship to another friend who has survived their storm. We need Jesus, but we really also need people and people want to help. If you stay isolated, you are much more likely to topple over.

I was convicted a few years ago that I had not invested in deep friendships and so I purposefully pursued deepening my relationships with a few women that I had comfortable bonds with. God has blessed these relationships so beautifully and my heart overflows with thankfulness. We have been roped together and consistently help each other deepen our roots. As the storms come and go, I am so thankful to be tied to them. I know many of you are just as thankful for these friendships in your life. Celebrate them! Praise the Lord for them. If you are lacking these, get out your rope and go lasso a couple. It’s hard to be vulnerable, but the reward is so worth it.

 “A person standing alone can be attacked and defeated, but two can stand back-to-back and conquer. Three are even better, for a triple-braided cord is not easily broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:12 (NLT)

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Not a Virtuous Woman

By | Agape Love | 2 Comments

“What do you do for a living?” It’s a conversation starter and one I responded to recently by answering, “I don’t.” I was feeling kind of quippy and less than excellent after learning what SHE did with her days. I also was dragging the bottom as a mom. For almost 22 years I have dedicated most of my time to raising my 4 kids. I only have 2 left at home now. The 2 that have flown the coop live 1500 miles apart and over the summer, I’ve been privy to about 1500 hours of radio silence from them. Because the other 2 are busy teenage girls, our time together of late has not been quality or drama free.

The idyllic picture of bedtime snuggles and eloquent prayers, secret confessions of crushes and dreams, pretty tears, healthy meals, evening walks, uproarious laughter, starched uniforms, straight A’s, and happy hearts while doing chores is not the reality in our home. I always thought it would be. I planned it that way.

Like many young women growing up in Christian communities, we were told to model our lives after the virtuous woman in Proverbs 31. After all, if we can be like her, we are much more valuable than rubies.

She’s never spiteful and treats her husband generously. She makes her kids clothes and wakes up before dawn to make everybody exotic breakfasts. She plants gardens that thrive and then cooks dinner from the bounty. She loves work and working out. She faces every challenge with a smile and always has something worthwhile to say. She outclasses every other woman and her children rise up and let everyone in earshot know that she is the best mom in the world!

You may know one of these virtuous women… Heck; you might even be one, but hear this all you VW’s, as worthy as the proverbial author says you are, your worth does not lie in your proverbs 31 virtuosity. I so often find myself feeling secure or valuable because of the things I have done or in relationships. When those relationships evolve and leave me lonely, I feel unimportant. When I get frazzled over laundry and carpool traffic and find it sucks all my time and then compare that to the wonder woman who runs a business, makes her clothes and cooks exotic meals, I feel stupid and inconsequential.

Feeling worthless and inconsequential, and feeling valuable because you are a rockin VW are both wrong thinking. Here is the truth: We can only know how valuable we are when we realize the depth of our sin. We can only understand how awesome our God is when we see how boring, ugly and poor we are.

“That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 2:10 (NIV)

 

We are children of the day and it is time to get up and work and rejoice today. You and I are loved, more than we can ever imagine and it is not because our kids think we are awesome or because we have strong arms, clean houses and impressive resumes. The only thing you and I can ever give Jesus is our sin. When we offer Him that, there is nothing that can ever separate us from His love…. Not even the craftiest scheme of man or power of hell. You are valuable because the King of Kings and creator of the universe says so. God’s very own son died for you because you are valuable to Him and it is certainly not because you are a virtuous woman. Rejoice my sisters; The King says He delights in you!

“I have loved you with an everlasting love;

I have drawn you with unfailing kindness.” Jeremiah 31:3 (NIV)

“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!” Isaiah 49:15 (NIV)

 

“For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” Romans 8:38-39 (NIV)

 

 

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Unabated Laughter

By | Agape Love | 2 Comments

My husband shared the greatest video clip with me yesterday. In the video, the father, who is a pilot, is taking his four-year-old daughter on a joy ride in his airplane. He does all kinds of tricks and spins… turning the plane upside down over and over again. Unaware and unfazed by this unnatural state, the daughter squeals with laughter. She has no concern for her safety or the danger that could befall. She has placed all her trust in someone who has never let her down. Her dad is adept, capable and loves her intensely. He would never put her in harm’s way. He has strapped her into this adventure so she can experience joy. He is completely in control and worthy of her complete trust.

Summer is winding down and I am reminded today that as much as I say that I trust my Heavenly father and trust his plan, my days have not been filled with laughter. This summer, He has strapped me in for the adventure of sending a second child off to college, along with a few more upside down and discombobulating twists and turns. In truth, there have been more tears than belly laughs. I have wanted to hold on so tightly to the easy things. I love being in control. I love managing and a world set at 70 degrees with healthy food, mindless entertainment and comfortable kids surrounded by pretty things. I don’t love leaving the oasis of impassivity, but I don’t think any of us are called to camp out there.

I believe we are called to prize the light of our savior’s smile… to implore the joy of our salvation…. to seek first the kingdom things, and find heaven in the trustworthy triune God. Loving Him, following His example, and being tuned into the voice of His spirit is an adventure. It is upside down from what the world tells us to pursue. It can be discombobulating if we focus on the ever-changing landscape, but it is a guarantee that our Heavenly Father will NOT let us down. He has fashioned this adventure and fashioned us for it. He loves us so very much with a perfect and trustworthy love. There is no reason to fear this season. He will fill us with joy and celebrate with us as the unabated belly laughs flow unstoppable from his cherished children.

“Trust and Obey…for there’s no other way… to be happy in Jesus… than to trust and obey” (old camp song)

“You will keep in perfect peace

all who trust in you,

all whose thoughts are fixed on you!” Isaiah 26:3 (NLT)

“No, O people, the Lord has told you what is good,

and this is what he requires of you:

to do what is right, to love mercy,

and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8 (NLT)

 “Rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, be constant in prayer.” Romans 12:12 (ESV)

 

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Comfort Confessions

By | Agape Love | No Comments

A normal day for me is full of checklists and agendas centered on making life comfortable. I put together care packages, do laundry, iron, grocery shop, cook, make home improvements, get in a little exercise, and run errands all over town in my pretty little Mercedes convertible… Oh and of course, I start each day having my quiet time in my well-air-conditioned comfortable home. If anyone ever decides to read my prayer journal some day, she would find an often-repeated prayer: “Jesus, help me love you better.”

Yesterday, I discovered the outrageous offensiveness to my oft-repeated prayer. Yesterday, in-between errands, I spent a couple hours with the friends I have made in Orange Mound. We got together to pray and offer scriptural wisdom in the hope of healing the brokenness and frightening consequences that have been inflicted this week on a world that judges by color. In this unadorned room, in the heart of one of the poorest, crime-prevalent neighborhoods in America, 5 pristine, Jesus-loving white women and 25 unaffected, righteous black women went before the Lord in prayer. As I sat on my pretty little perch wearing my classy diamond earrings, starched shorts and Tory Burch Shoes, I was sure the prayer time would be of the “Lord Jesus, Heal us” theme. After one of the other W2’s (white women) opened the prayer time, the African American woman sitting closest to me started shouting with inspired and room shaking eloquence a litany of praise. Within seconds there was stomping and crying and shouting and speaking in tongues and clapping to the degree and volume that the room vibrated. It was frightening and wonderful and convicting and awesome. For 30 minutes the room was filled with nothing but declarations of God’s goodness and His trustworthiness. These women were all full of hope and joy and a richness in their adoration for Jesus. I wish you had been there. I wish I had the adjectives and adverbs and gift of narrative so you could feel it.

Because I can’t adequately describe the wonder I experienced yesterday, I will do what I can and share with you the room-shaking truth I discovered. My comfortable little quiet times are so full of ME. I get so entrenched on the “forgive me fors” and requests and I don’t get wrapped up in the glory of God and privilege of praising Him. My time with the Lord is generally one of those things that I check of the list. I pray that He will help me love Him as I hope that He will divinely sweep in all on His own while I passively sit back and wait for His bright magical touch. By comparison, the women in the room yesterday don’t live in comfort and their prayer time should be thick with requests, but in a dark and frightening season in this country, they could not stop praising and thanking the Lord. Why? Because they know Him and they are loving Him better than I am.

You see, a relationship with Jesus needs to be centered on Jesus and not on us. I have been content to be comfortable and starched. Comfort can be such a deceiving distractor. When we see Jesus, and witness His glory, we want more. Not only does my prayer life need to change, so does my day. It is time to do and time to love and time to get a little uncomfortable. Truthfully, there is nothing comfortable about being vulnerable or spending time out of my established, safe routine. Do I really want to love Jesus better? Do you? Am I content with comfortable? Are you? If I want more… more joy… more hope…. more confidence in Jesus, I need to get over myself and love my neighbor. I pray we will all want more.

 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, How often I have wanted to gather your children together as a hen protects her chicks beneath her wings, but you wouldn’t let me. Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord!’ Luke 13:34-35abbr. (NLT)

“Teacher, which is the most important commandment in the law of Moses?” Jesus replied, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ Matthew 22:26-39 (NLT)

“ The thief’s purpose is to steal and kill and destroy. My purpose is to give them a rich and satisfying life.” John 10:10 (NLT)

“To love another person is to see the face of God.” Jean Valjean

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Christmas in July

By | Dear Sons & Daughters | No Comments

Today has been hard. I have an aversion to drama and so I am surprised at the tears I have shed. I posted a picture earlier today of the last hug I had with my son before he got on a plane that would take him to college. Many of you reached out privately and many more supported publicly. Every thought and word helped buffer me…. So thank you. Saying goodbye is tough. I am aware that many of you lost a beautiful friend to cancer this morning and many more have suffered your own personal losses this summer. I am aching and crying with you. I am praying for you too.

I have loved being David’s mom and I am going to miss being a part of his day to day. I feel emptiness as I think about how this part of my life is over. My soul feels wounded.

Over the weekend, Pat and David and I were watching patriotic videos. After watching the Gaithers sing the National Anthem (which was AMAZING BTW), we followed a link to David Phelps singing “O Holy Night”. This is my favorite Christmas Hymn and as I grieved today, I kept meditating on it.

Today, my grief has been pretty selfish. I have held fast to a chord of worthlessness. I have not rejoiced in this though there are many reasons to. I still don’t want to rejoice, but I do want to gaze back on my Savior.

“Long lay the world in sin and e’er pining

‘Til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.”

When Precious Jesus is out of sight and off our mind, we can do some major pining. When our eyes are on Him, we have the power to rejoice in all circumstances. Oh dear friends, I pray today that you would know the worthiness of your soul. I hope you will deeply feel its worth.

I love you. c

 

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Letting Go

By | Dear Sons & Daughters | No Comments

When they couldn’t find him, they went back to Jerusalem to search for him there. Three days later they finally discovered him in the Temple… His parents didn’t know what to think. “Son,” his mother said to him, “why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.” Luke 2:45-48 abbr. (NLT)

 

A couple years ago, our son put us through the ringer. He was making typical boneheaded teenage boy mistakes. His father and I responded by tightening the reigns, seeking counsel from seasoned parents and wiser adults, and prayer. We prayed a lot and I cried a lot too. This week I found some of my journals from that season of life and remembered all the fear. I was afraid of losing him. I was afraid that I had blown it as a mom and that I had lost the opportunity to have a relationship with him. I was afraid that I hadn’t been careful enough with this beautiful boy that God had given me to take care of. I was afraid that he would never graduate high school or go to college. I was afraid to let go.

It wasn’t time to let go and that is where the fear was rooted, but now it is time. Our son lived and learned and then he began to soar. He graduated yesterday and his future is bright. Our relationship is strong and I’m so amazed by and proud of him. A level of difficulty and pain usually accompany letting go, but you can become frantic when the time isn’t right. When the time is right, we are given the grace to step back and release…notwithstanding the pain.

Mary knew that she would suffer incredible heartache as she loved and mothered the Son of God.

“a sword will pierce your very soul” Luke 2:35 (NLT)

Mary’s goodbye to her son and the anguish she suffered is so far beyond any pain you and I will ever endure, but on the day she watched him die on the cross, there is no mention of her being frantic. The pain was pervasive, but the time was right.

Letting go is painful, but there is a time to let go. When the time is right, anxiety shouldn’t be invited to the farewell party. I’d be an idiot to compare myself to Mary, but I am so comforted by her today.

If you are twisted up about letting something or someone go, maybe it isn’t the right time. Our awesome God is the Alpha and Omega. He is the author of time and timing. For many of us this summer, it IS time to let go, and to all you moms of graduates, I’m standing there with you. I’m sharing the tears and prayers but not the anxiety. It’s time. Be frantic-free. Your little birds are ready to take flight. I’m praying they will each soar to the heights that God has intended for them.

“Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you.” 1 Peter 5:7 (NLT)

A Time for Everything

For everything there is a season,

A time for every activity under heaven.

A time to be born and a time to die.

A time to plant and a time to harvest.

A time to kill and a time to heal.

A time to tear down and a time to build up.

A time to cry and a time to laugh.

A time to grieve and a time to dance.

A time to scatter stones and a time to gather stones.

A time to embrace and a time to turn away.

A time to search and a time to quit searching.

A time to keep and a time to throw away.

A time to tear and a time to mend.

A time to be quiet and a time to speak.

A time to love and a time to hate.

A time for war and a time for peace. Ecc 3:1-8 (NLT)

 

 

 

 

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What the Fox say

By | Agape Love | No Comments

There is a fox in our neighborhood. For the last few weeks our neighbors have been trying to figure out what the horrible sounds are that shriek through the air in the middle of the night. At first it sounds like a child crying, but as you listen more carefully, it sounds more like an animal in distress. It’s really horrific. After plenty of discussion and the help of Google, the sound has been clearly identified as the fox’s mating call. I heard it again last night around 2a.m. Now that I know what it is, the sound isn’t scary at all. It’s fascinating.

Scary fox sounds are likely at the bottom of your worry list, but there is a blatant and beautiful lesson to be learned from “What the Fox say”. It is the fear of the unknown and lack of ability to identify the source insinuating imminent anguish that makes our knees weak.

Have you ever felt like you are never going to get through this?… or thought, “I’m worthless? I’m a joke? I failed as a mother? God doesn’t really care about me….God could never forgive me for that sin…. I have. Do you know how to get out of that funk and get back to rejoicing? I’ll tell you: You have to identify the source of the sound.

You and I have an enemy and he is excellent at his job. He is the evil one and the father of lies. He is a slanderer, tempter, accuser and he is great at making you feel worthless. He’s so believable and he thrives in the dark. When you find yourself afraid and confused about your life or future or children, you must identify where those thoughts are coming from. Your Heavenly Father delights in you and He is not ever the source of confusion, dread or anxiety. Identifying the sound of Satan’s lies isn’t just fascinating, it’s empowering. Satan is the enemy of your soul.

“Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour.” 1 Peter 5:8 (NLT)

Be empowered. The Lord of Heaven’s armies is fighting for you. You are the apple of his eye. He has equipped you with a shield to deflect the fiery darts of your enemy. Identify your enemy and be done with fear. Stand firm in the shadow of the Almighty God.

 “But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.” 1 John 4:4 (NLT)

 

“For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.  Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm.  In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil”

Ephesians 6:12,13,16 (NLT)

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Remember Lot’s Wife

By | Agape Love | No Comments

Last weekend was one of my favorite weekends ever. It was chock full of celebration. Both of my parents have 70th birthdays this year and they were ready to throw a seriously legit party. Friends and family traveled from all over to join us and along with many close friends, we danced the night away. It was reminiscent of a wedding reception… so much so that hours before the party my mom told me that she was having trouble deciding if she felt more like a septuagenarian or a bride. I have never seen my parents more joyful or full of life. My beautiful dancing stilettos were blessed right off of my feet.

As great as the party was, the biggest blessing came in the bigger picture. My parents have been through the ringer. They have both survived cancer in the last few years. They have had to endure the parenting heartache that comes from loving imperfect kids like me. They have been broken over things that are pretty public and other wounds that that they hold close to the vest. There have been appropriate seasons for grief and for mourning, and seasons where their prayers were heavy with pleading and petition. Not all prayers have been answered in the ways they would hope, but for right now, this is a season of thanksgiving and unabated celebration. Their joy steers me and I hope it can instruct you too.

We should not wait to rejoice until all our ducks are in a row. We live in a sad, sick and imperfect world and until we are with Jesus in heaven, we won’t have a clue as to what a real celebration is. Do you remember Lot’s wife? She and her family were living in a wicked city that God was set to destroy. Her husband, Lot and his uncle Abraham did some serious pleading and petitioning with God to spare their city and their home (Genesis 18 and 19).God did not spare their city, but He was merciful to Lot and his family; even to the point of having Angels grab them each by the hand and expediently escort them out of their burning hometown. Instead of being grateful and looking forward, Lot’s wife was entrenched in the past. She looked back and it destroyed her.

Do you remember Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego? They were thrown into a screaming hot furnace because they held fast to their faith and were obedient to the Lord. They were praying men and must have pleaded and petitioned with God to change the script and keep them far away from the flames. God did spare their lives and even joined them during their suffering, but He did NOT spare them from the literal trial by fire. Their reaction to the deliverance is far different from the reaction of Lot’s wife:

“So Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego stepped out of the fire. Then the high officers, officials, governors, and advisers crowded around them and saw that the fire had not touched them. Not a hair on their heads was singed, and their clothing was not scorched. They didn’t even smell of smoke!” Daniel 3:27 (NLT)

They didn’t even smell like smoke! They had been through the ringer, but they looked forward and refused to wallow in the stink and sadness of prayers unanswered and wretchedness of pain and heartache.

To be clear, there is a time to mourn. I just finished studying the book of Esther this morning and this book concludes with instructions for appropriate times to mourn and to celebrate:

“ These letters established the Festival of Purim—an annual celebration of these days at the appointed time, decreed by both Mordecai the Jew and Queen Esther. (The people decided to observe this festival, just as they had decided for themselves and their descendants to establish the times of fasting and mourning.)” Esther 9:31 (NLT)

God is in control. When He appoints times of suffering, we are called to fast, and mourn, but when He delivers, we are called to celebrate. We must not be blind to the delivery. If we are always looking back at the duck still out of the row, we won’t recognize our hand held escort ushering us out of the fire.

Happy Happy 70th Mom and Dad. Thank you for the beautiful example you have set for rejoicing always and how to embrace the time to dance in an imperfect world.

“For everything there is a season,

A time for every activity under heaven.

A time to cry and a time to laugh.

A time to grieve and a time to dance.” Ecc 3:1 and 4 (NLT)

 “Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!

Let everyone see that you are considerate in all you do. Remember, the Lord is coming soon.

Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.  Then you will experience God’s peace, which exceeds anything we can understand. His peace will guard your hearts and minds as you live in Christ Jesus.

And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:4-8 (NLT)

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Fake Smile Every Mile

By | Dear Sons & Daughters | One Comment

Running wears me out. Our oldest daughter is training for her first ½ marathon. She was home over the Easter holiday and while she was here she needed to get in a long run. When she finished, she laid on the floor while she tried to steady her breath. She took Advil before she soaked in her bath and still, she suffered. I remember the pain. In my 30’s, I ran a bunch of marathons. Every marathon, I lost most of my toenails and my calves ached for days. I also broke a few bones in my hip, ruptured some ligaments and became convinced that no one really loves running. I said I loved it and I have heard lots of people talk about how much they love it, but no matter what affection you have convinced yourself of when it comes to running, the cold hard truth is that running is hard and running is exhausting.

I have read this Bible verse 100’s of times, but today, it really spoke to my heart:

“He gives power to the weak,

And to those who have no might He increases strength.

Even the youths shall faint and be weary,

And the young men shall utterly fall,

But those who wait on the Lord

Shall renew their strength;

They shall mount up with wings like eagles,

They shall run and not be weary,

They shall walk and not faint.” Isaiah 40:29-31 (NKJV)

Our loving and tender creator wants us to wait on HIM. The word “wait” is translated “to bind together like a cord”.

The binding together of a cord is like the intertwining of ropes to make a stronger rope….so, when we wait on the Lord, we are binding together with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. We cannot march through life and find joy through trials if we are not bound tightly together with a triune God. It is as impossible as running a marathon without weariness. You can try and wear a fake smile every mile, or you can rest in the one who gives power to the weak and live with a peace that passes understanding. Dear friends, I pray that each of us would daily wait upon the Lord and run our races without weariness and keep our eyes fixed on the finish line.

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Black Sharpie

By | Agape Love, Dear Sons & Daughters | One Comment

I was so anxious and distracted during my quiet time this morning. Yesterday I picked up some forms that the doctor had filled out on one of my kids. It was a really standard yearly physical form and for some reason, and for the first time ever, the medical professional filling it out filled in an extra note in the column of “ any other medical concerns”. The diagnosis, although accurate, is one I never include or talk about. This kid isn’t perfect, but there are ZERO medical concerns and this label should not have been included. I really fretted and stewed over it. I considered buying some liquid paper and erasing and reprinting it. I considered calling the doctor for a “do-over”. I felt a responsibility to my kid to help control the environment that the kid would be entering into. No one needed to believe or make judgments about my child because of this salacious medical label.

I tried to meditate on God’s word, but I couldn’t quit thinking about that embarrassing label on the medical form. It completely overshadowed everything else that is excellent about my child and I needed it to be fixed. I gave up on my quiet time and called the place that had required the medical form.

After introducing myself, I explained that I needed to talk to someone about the medical forms. I told her that I didn’t know how to disclose my question without being completely vulnerable, and with tears, I laid out the whole ugly truth. The precious woman on the phone listened and then filled my ears with the sweetest answer. She told me to scratch it out.

With a quickened step, I raced to the kitchen and dug the black sharpie out of the junk drawer and thoroughly and completely scratched it out. No one will ever be able to see that label or designate that diagnosis to my kid. It is as if it never existed.

With a calmed spirit, I returned to my quiet time and the beauty and magnitude of what happened flattened me. You and I have pages of columns filled in with the worst diagnoses. Each horrible diagnosis is accurate. The most embarrassing, evil, dangerous truths of who we are mar our perfect forms. When we try to present a perfect and healthy self before a Holy God, we are in serious trouble. You and I are sick and sinful and we cannot clean it up with liquid paper, but the glorious truth is this: Jesus takes it all on for us. The Son of God came to earth to suffer and take on all your embarrassing labels and horrible sins. Beautiful Jesus became sin for you and me. He took all your sins to the cross and left them in the pit of hell. Your ugly has been completely scratched out with a divine black sharpie. Even better…. Your form is perfect. Jesus imputed his glorious righteousness to you and to me. Your heavenly Father sees his perfect son when He looks at you. Jesus paid it all. All to Him I owe. Sin had left a crimson stain. He washed it white as snow.

Happy Easter, Friends! He is Risen, Indeed!

“God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God.” 2 Corinthians 5:21 (NIV)

“When you were dead in your sins and in the uncircumcision of your flesh, God made you alive with Christ. He forgave us all our sins, having canceled the charge of our legal indebtedness, which stood against us and condemned us; he has taken it away, nailing it to the cross.” Colossians 2:13-14 (NIV)