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He is Love. So it is impossible for Him to stop loving you.
His love is constant. It never moves or changes or fades.
“Yes, Lord, let Your constant love surround us, for our hopes are in You alone.” Psalm 33:22
Love isn’t a just a mere feeling. Love is a person. Some call Him Yahweh, Jehovah, God, Father, or even Abba.
For we who are made in His image, love is choosing to be like Him. Choosing to be kind. Choosing to be patient. Choosing to be happy for others when they are thriving. Choosing not to rub their faces in it when things are rough.
Point to ponder while you wander…How will you reflect the image of Love today?
“My frame was not hidden from You when I was made in the secret place. When I was woven together in the depths of the earth, Your eyes saw my unformed body. All the days ordained for me were written in Your book before one of them came to be.” Psalm 139:15-16 NIV
Your parents may have titled you; planned, a surprise, the oops, an unwanted mistake, bonus child, or a even miracle. But God knew you intimately before you were created, and watched you as you formed. He saw you and loved you even before anyone else knew you existed. He sees you and loves you still.
Point to ponder while you wander…ordained means written or recorded. This means that before you were created you were assigned a purpose. It also means God knew, then, the choices you would make. Wise and unwise. Yet He loves and continually pursues you.
My point in writing these is to inspire you to think differently about love. To think of it less as an emotion and more about how to observe those in your circle and love them in a way that they can receive it.
I firmly believe Love is a person and to be like Him, we must stop thinking of love as an emotion and start thinking about it as a verb!
What comes to mind when you think about people with Gifts as a love language?
Trying to buy people?
I think that people who are greedy or are materialistc as fear based people. They’re afraid of poverty, not having enough. They are afraid of being judged for what they don’t have.
Fear, not hate, is the opposite of love.
The gift language people I know are generous and thoughtful givers. They seek out for ways to bless people with gifts and even financially. They are the ones supporting other people’s dreams. That is how they love, by giving.
Givers are great listeners. How else will they find out what to give you? How else can they show you they love you?
In my experience givers are also grateful and gracious receivers.
I have a friend, Julie, who is the most fabulous gift giver I know. She has the knack for finding presents that make me feel known and loved by her. There’s usually a story (or an inside joke) on why this particular gift was purchased for me. She and her husband are two of the most generous people I have ever met.
Givers like Julie inspire me to be generous. Isn’t that what govers should be, inspitational? Helping us to be more giving than we are? #belikeJulie
Usually gifts people are more excited about the thought you put into the gift than the value or type of gift you actually give them.
Gifts are even more special to them on non-gift giving holidays. The “I saw this and thought of you” kind of gifts. That’s the best way to fill the love tank for a gift person.
God is also a pretty sweet giver…
“He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” John 3:16-17 NKJV
He also gave natural talents and Spiritual gifts. Exodus 36 talks about gifted artisans, Luke 11:9-13 talks about God giving good gifts, I Corinthians 12-14 is about spiritual gifts.
One of my fave scriptures about gifts is Romans 11:29, “For the gifts and the calling of God are irrevocable.”
Remember these things when you need/want to get a gift for someone. Consider who they are, and seek to find a gift that shows them you know them, and that you listen to what they say.
Point to ponder while you wander…Jesus learned from the Father how to give sweet gifts-
“Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.” John 14:27 NKJV
Between all the “have tos” in life is this precious substance called time.
Time is finite. Only 24 hours per day. 7 days per week. 52 weeks per year.
Time is not guaranteed. You do not know how many of these 24 hour days you’ll have.
So each of those days has so much value.
Yet we groan every Monday and beg for Friday to roll around. I’m just as guilty, believe me. I love the freedom of my weekends. Sleeping in. Alone time. Bliss.
Being introverted…I NEED alone time. And trust me when I say all y’all around me should cheer that I take alone time. I’m nicer as a result. 😉
But quality time with my people is priceless and delicious, and I need that too. I feel loved and show love by giving people my time. I do my very best to have one on one time with each of my nieces and nephews. To pour into them. To listen to them. To find out who they are and see where I can support, encourage, or dream with them. I find out how to pray for them. And let’s face it…they are a blast those kids. Seriously fun. I love them. More than they can possibly imagine.
Quality time doesn’t have to be long periods of time. But you do need to be engaged with the other person. Focused on them. Not the tv. Not your phone. Not social media. But actively listening and talking with the other person.
Quality time can be as simple as taking a walk with a friend. I miss the Walkie Talkies I used to have with my friend Kate (I moved so we are several states away now), and the deep meandering discussions I had with my friend Rachel on our walks together. Quality time can be going to breakfast the same time every week for decades, like my Papa did with his big brother, Bob. Quality time can also be a weekend away or a road trip.
But here’s the tough part about quality time, we simply do not have enough time in the day to give quality time to every single person we know. It is physically impossible. So with limited resource of time and the 2 commandments of Jesus (loving God with all our heart, soul, mind and strength and loving our neighbor as ourselves), how can we best invest our quality time?
Well…the best example of time management was a man who only lived for 33 years on this earth. His name is Jesus. Jesus loved with all that He had. He knew how to be a servant. He spoke words of life. He gave the ultimate gift. His touch healed every single person that He touched. Literally every single one. And He understood how to balance His time.
He rested, and invested in Himself with alone time. He spent time with the Father. These two things are essential if you want to have anything to give to anyone else. Quality time with yourself + Quality time with Father God = A Filled Up You. Therefore, a better you at work, school, or where you “have to” go every day. If Jesus couldn’t love the World without alone time and God time, neither can you.
A filled up Jesus was then capable of pouring the love He received from the Father out into the world. Jesus loved everyone He encountered. But it was the love He first received from the Father.
But despite this, Jesus did not invest quality time in every single person He encountered. And neither can you. No matter how much time you spend receiving from God.
Jesus invested His time into 12. Out of the whole world, 12.
But the majority of his quality time was reserved for 3 people. 3.
Remember that when you’re scheduling out your time. Who are the people in your circle who are the top priority? A friend in crisis? Your kids? Your spouse? Your inner circle of friends? A person who you’re mentoring? Who ever those chosen few may be, don’t forget to carve out some of your precious time for them. Quality time=love.
Point to ponder while you wander…Papa God is all about quality time with us. He asks us to seek Him, then promises that He’ll show up every time. And He’ll fill you with His love. He’ll reveal who He is, and give us help with our day. What He did for Jesus, He’ll do for you.
I could go on about how touch people love massages, getting their hair washed/brushed, sitting next to you, manicures, hugs, hand holding…and the like. BUT that is not what is on my heart today.
Today there’s a woman on my heart, for whom one touch changed EVERYTHING.
This woman had a bleeding disorder.
And in the culture in which she lived…this disorder prevented her from leaving her home. EVER.
This disorder also prevented anyone from touching her because she was considered unclean.
Zero touch at all…for 12 years!
12 years equals 3 presidential terms!
12 years equals elementary, jr high, and high school!
To me a quality time and touch person. That would be torture or the very least 12 years of love starvation!
During this 12 long years, she spent everything she had on doctors. They took her money, and left her in worse health than when she started.
So she suffered…in complete isolation for 12 years, and was now without any options.
Just so we are clear here…this poor woman was “unclean” so no one could visit unless they were family who lived with her. But no family is mentioned.
No phone or internet to chat with folks online. No tv. She may have had some books…but considering her poverty…probably not. So she’s most likely bored on top of sick, poor, and lonely.
Then one day….through her window… she began to hear stories of a man from Galilee. A man that was going around laying hands on the sick, and they were being healed.
Lame people were walking.
Blind people were receiving sight, and the deaf were hearing.
And hope crept in…
“…maybe…” She thought.
“I mean…I can’t ask Him to touch me..because I am unclean. But if I can just touch the hem of His garment…”
Faith rose in her.
Despite her weakness, she got up. She got dressed. She left her house. She pressed into the crowd until she could get no closer to Him.
Determined…she dropped to her knees…and crawled through the crowd.
I should also mention that touching a man that is not your husband, father, or son could lead to you getting stoned. And I don’t mean high, buzzed, or whatever kids call it these days…I mean rocks thrown at you until you die.
And still…she pushed on through the crowd until she touched the hem of His garment.
Suddenly…after 12 years…she was healed. No more bleeding. Amazing right?!
Well yes, but she was still considered unclean for 7 more days. And she touched a man who was clearly not a relative.
So she needed to sneak out of there SUPER FAST! But to her dismay she hears, “Who touched Me?”
Well…she’s in Roman occupied Israel so she probably said something in Aramaic, Hebrew, or Latin…but come on! If this were you, and after what you have suffered in the past 12 years and you were almost out of there…you’d at least think…
“Damn. So close.”
But back to the brave woman…
She musters her courage and approaches Him…trembling. Then falls on her knees…
“It was me.”
Now I picture a whole crowd of townsfolk, who know who she is, falling over themselves to get away from her. I hear women gossiping, and men yelling their disappoval.
But not my Jesus. He is moved with compassion as she tells Him her story.
He responds by calling her “Daughter.”
It is the only place in the entirety of Scripture Jesus calls anyone daughter.
Personally I picture Jesus taking her by the hands, helping her to stand. Lifting her chin to look in her eyes, before saying…
“Daughter, be of good cheer; your faith has made you well. Go in peace.” Luke 8:48 NKJV
Point to ponder while you wander… Touch is a powerful thing. Like words, touch, can lift spirits, encourage, comfort, and even heal. We can all use more of this kind of touch in our lives.
But remember…Love respects people’s personal space and doesn’t touch people without their consent.
When in doubt…give a high five. 🖐❤
There’s a line in “Pieces” by Amanda Cook that gets me every time. Every time I hear…
“It isn’t shy, it’s unashamed. Your love is proud to be seen with me.”
My mind is filled with an image of me at my worst. Then Jesus in white extends His hand to me to help me up. I’m muddy, scraped up, and bloody…but Jesus holds His arm to me, and escorts me through the crowd. He puffs His chest out like I’m the most gorgeous gal in town, and escorts me like a gentleman. Proud.
Not pride in a bad way. But in a way that says, “I know this woman. I love this woman. And I don’t give a damn what you think of her, because to me she’s worth everything. Even my life.”
Then my heart melts into a gooey blob…and I get teary. Leaving me all a fluttery and reminded that I am loved.
So thank you Amanda Cook for this amazing reminder of His love for me.
The link to lyric video is above…or you can read the powerful words here…
Point to ponder while you wander…You are loved. Right now. Right where you are. Period.
This is the 2nd installment of the Love Languages Series, the first was Acts of Service. You can read about it here.
Words. Ahh. You know I love words. Words have power to create, to give life, and inspire. Funnily enough, when I took the quiz (Love Language Quiz) words of affirmation showed up a distant third to quality time and physical touch. Interesting. Well, maybe not to you. But it is to me.
I believe that love is an verb. It is something that is shown, not just felt.
We choose to love. It’s more than just saying those 3 little words. But those three little words are important, as are all the words that come from your mouth.
Your tongue has the power of life and death in it. Your words matter. And to those who’s love language is words of affirmation, your words are essential to their security in your love. We all want to hear that we’re loved and appreciated.
But to those with this love language, they NEED to hear that they are loved an appreciated. They need to not only notice that they look good today, but that you genuinely compliment them. It’s not vanity or pride, it’s just they way that they receive love.
Dr. Chapman defines Words of affirmation as using words to affirm other people. Not a super explanatory definition. Sooo being a word nerd, I looked up affirm.
Here are the definitions: 1. To offer emotional support and encouragement to someone. 2. To state as fact. 3. To assert strongly and publicly, to attest. 4. To declare one’s support for, uphold and defend.
Those definitions transfer into 4 ways of buoying up those in your sphere with your words.
4 ways to speak love into the ears of those you love.
1. Offering emotional support and encouragement. We all can use a cheerleader who believes in us, when we struggle to believe in ourselves. Everyone needs to be encouraged, but for the word of affirmation folks it is essential to hear that you have their back!
When they are down, a note in the mail, a text, a call, a chat over coffee changes EVERYthing for them.
2. Stating facts. To me this is about reminding people who they are. To cast down the lies that the world hurls at them. You are beautiful. You are valuable. You are intelligent. You have worth. You are kind. You are intelligent. Reminding people the truth, when they cannot see through the temporary drama they’re in.
3. To assert strongly, to attest.
This about standing up to them when they are having a pity party. Boldly and confidently calling BS when your people get all woe is me. I have people like this in my life and I couldn’t live my best life without them.
4. To declare one’s support for uphold and defend.
Having someone stand up for you and defend you is a wonderful way to show you love someone. I remember being in a long-term relationship where I always felt like I was defending myself. I felt unprotected, abandoned, and unloved as a result. This feeling caused countless fights. He didn’t understand that I needed to hear him defend me, as much as I needed to hear “I love you.”
He didn’t have to agree with my opinion, or take my side. He just needed to offer me some cover from one of his friends who enjoyed verbally attacking me. I didn’t need physical protection. I needed to hear the words, “Hey man, back off. Don’t talk to my girl like that.” But I never did. It hurts even now to think about it.
Take some time and ponder how you can use your words to encourage those around you. For some people in your circle it may be THE BEST way to show them they are indeed loved by you!
Point to ponder while you wander… “Let use foul or abusive language. Let everything you say be good and helpful, so that your words will be an encouragement to those who hear them.” Ephesians 4:29 NLT
Last week I told you a long and rambling story of how love languages came to the forefront of my ever cluttered mind. In that vein, I’m doing a blog series on the 5 love languages as described by Dr. Gary Chapman.
I remember reading his book and thinking that it wasn’t a 100% accurate theory, but I was inspired by thought behind it and the good doctor’s intent. It encouraged me to pay even closer attention to those I love and try to love them in a way that made them feel loved. Many times we love people how we want to be loved. We do things for other people that we want done for ourselves. Thinking they want and need what we want and need. Unfortunately, it’s not always the case.
I always appreciate it when people offer to help me or are willing to do things for me. I have been on my own for a long time, and am used to doing things for myself consistently. Therefore, I’m not always great at accepting help. I have to put serious effort into allowing others to help me. It is important because this may be their way of showing me they care, and if I continually reject their offers of assistance, they may feel rejected or unloved.
I believe love is a verb. An action. Not an emotion. I believe love is a choice. A decision to be kind and patient, even when we are angry. To deliberately, and purposefully put your selfishness on a shelf and focus on someone else’s need.
There are many kinds of love. A parent’s love for a child. A sibling’s love for another sibling. A friend’s love for a friend. A general concern for other humans in the world. Passionate love of those in a coupledom. The English word for love just isn’t sufficient to describe all the ways we can feel and show love.
Keeping the many kinds of love in your mind, think about acts of service as a language in each of those kinds of love. How we can choose to love each of those in our spheres by choosing to serve them?
Dr. Chapman defines those who give and receive love as an act of service as: “For these people, actions speak louder than words.”
So if a person in your sphere is speaks in the “acts of service” language, how can you show them love?
For general human kind…holding a door, paying for coffee or a meal for the person in line behind you, allowing a mother with a stroller to enter the elevator before you, cleaning the snow off the car for your roommate or neighbor, offering to babysit for a sibling or a neighbor so they can run errands or have a break…and the like. Showing up on time when you say you will, as actions speak louder than words.
For spouses…taking the trash out without being asked, cooking dinner or cleaning up after dinner, and sharing in other household tasks. Being willing to do the things they would normally do, but are too busy to do that day.
For parents towards teens…modeling serving behavior by teaching them how to give of themselves inside and outside of the family, driving to their games, meets, concerts, and other activities without compliant, and attending the events they participate in even if you have zero interest in said event. Many of the things you do for your teens are acts of service.
For kids towards your parents…offering to do household chores without being asked, and actually doing them, or doing any other similar type task without attitude. Being willing to obey rules, I would think, also falls under acts of service too.
For parents towards small kiddos… This is rather evident because you need to serve the small ones otherwise they would not live to be a year old. Diaper changes and feedings, and pretty much every single thing you need to do for them. But as they grow they will want to “help” you. Part of it may be quality time, wanting to be with you, but it also may be them wanting to do things for you to show you that they love you. Allow them to show you they love you with an act of service, and always remember to thank them.
Funny story…When I was small, maybe 5 years old, I wanted to help NaNa in her garden. So she put me in a section that needed to be weeded and told me what to do. So I “helped” her by pulling up every single plant in the vicinity. I was very thorough and pulled up the vegetable plants too. NaNa realized what I was doing, and said “Ah! No. Stop!” I was really upset because I wanted to help her. She smiled at me and said, “I have a new job for you Jill-o Maguillo.” And she put me in the potato plants and showed me how to kill potato bugs by cutting them in half with my fingernails. Then she went back and replanted all the veggie plants I had dug up.
This pic was taken around the time the story took place, spring 1980. This is NaNa, me, and my little sister, Bettie-Jo.
I remember this experience and how NaNa handled it vividly. After we were done and washing up, she thanked me for helping her and for all my hard work. Despite the time she lost weeding her 1 full acre garden, because she had to replant a section due to my thoroughness in plant pulling. So even though I made a mistake, I didn’t feel like I failed. I felt like I helped NaNa, and she appreciated my help.
I know a few people who have serious servant hearts, and are always looking for ways to help other people. Sometimes they get burned out or feel like people take advantage of their generosity. So please say thank you, and acknowledge their actions.
There obviously needs to be some boundaries in all relationships, so if this is your language, don’t allow people to run over you and take advantage. Healthy relationships have give and take.
Be on the look out to do something nice for those in your sphere. Not for a reward, but just to show them they matter to you. Pay attention to people who do things for you, and remember to say thank you and that you appreciate it. Try to reciprocate by helping them in an area that they may need assistance. If someone finds joy in serving you, dollars to donuts, they’d feel loved if you did something for them as well.
Point to ponder while you wander… Jesus said that He came to serve, not to be served. We should all be willing to serve others. He also said, “There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’ friends.” John 15:13 NLT
I often carry bags full of books and notebooks. I tend to sit with one foot tucked under the other leg or sit completely slouched over while reading. My posture is not ideal. My hips like to come out of alignment. Soooo….getting massaged or chiropractically adjusted regularly keeps me out of pain.
I say this because I had my first massage with a new masseur yesterday. Whenever I am forced to find a new person for hair or massages or eyebrow waxing…I tend to pray the whole voyage there because a bad massage, haircut, or brow wax makes me a very sad Jill. I am happy to report WOW! This guy! Dear God in Heaven…AH-MAY-ZING!
All that to say that while I was getting all my kinks and sore spots rubbed out I started thinking about the power of touch. Depending upon the type and intention of the touch it can inspire/encourage or destroy someone.
Random thoughts through my massage…
Yes. This is my happy place.
Why do people hit each other? Deal with your inner crap. Don’t inflict it on others.
I still remember being stunned when an ex-boyfriend backhanded me for calling him out on his bad behavior.
I remember being stunned again when another ex who saw what happened jumped in to protect me.
Everyone’s lives would be better if they had regular massages.
Kids need a certain number of hugs per day for survival and 12 hugs a day to grow. I told my nephew this. His response involved an eye roll and a compromise….”Can’t you just hug me once and count to 12?”
Ow. Wow. Didn’t realize there was a muscle there that required stretching. Dang!
I wish I were taller so I could still give my niece, Hally Jo, spinny hugs. The last time I tried, her feet touched the ground and we biffed it spectacularly in front of people. Not awesome. We were both in dresses. She told me a few weeks ago she missed my spinny hugs. My heart melted. Love that girl.
I know my hair will be greasy and all over the place…but yes…please use pressure points on my head and neck. Ahhh. Bliss
I miss being able to hug my nieces and nephews. I miss my people. I miss sitting next to my sister on her couch. We both are touch and quality time people so we can just sit next to each other and talk or watch Hallmark movies for days and be at the utmost of contentment.
If I were independently wealthy I’d hire this guy to be my own personal masseur. #dailymassages #goals
Ahhh…my fave part of a massage is when they massage between my elbows and wrists and hands.
Hands. When is the last time someone held my hand? Ack. Too long.
Touch and quality time. Love languagues. I think those were my top two.
Stop random thoughts here. Carry on blog post in 5, 4, 3, 2, 1…
Have you read about the 5 love languages? It’s written by a Ph D wielding therapist named Gary Chapman. The premise is that people give and receive love differently depending upon what they value most. I bought the book ages ago and read it. It wasn’t a perfect theory, but it did give me a heart check on how I love other people.
Since it had been a while, I retook the test. Quality time is my biggest one. Followed by touch. Exactly what I remembered, just in backwards order. You can take it here.
I love alone time. I need more of it than most people I know. When I am with people I prefer to be one on one or in small groups so that we can really talk or bond or what have you. I alternate between being alone and being with my people one at at time. When I can do this, it fills me up quick. It’s how I best show that I love someone, by giving them my time and undivided attention. But with my recent move, I cannot always do that.
My second love language is touch. I sat and thought a lot about this one during my massage and into today. If I don’t know you, or don’t trust you and you touch me…it makes every part of my insides scream and crawl. I do not like to be touched by people I don’t trust. Not even a little bit. On the reverse side, sitting with a kiddo in my lap reading a story, holding someone’s hand, sitting next to someone I love, hugs, and the like also fills my love tank. Insert “My name is Olaf and I like warm hugs.” quote here.
I believe love is a verb not an emotion.
For the record I can also speak the other 3 languages…words of affirmation, acts of service, and receiving gifts. I love to encourage, helping others, and give gifts I think people will really like. I’m not always awesome at receiving encouragement, people doing things for me, and receiving gifts.
Words… I love written words. So I appreciate when people say thank you or that they appreciate me, or send a card telling me that. And who doesn’t enjoy being told they are loved?
Gifts… I appreciate when someone buys me a random gift that shows they know me well and were thinking about me. I’m not super big on forced gift giving on anniversaries, holidays, or even my birthday. I’d much rather just be with the people doing something together. That’s the best kind of gift to me.
Acts of service…when I lived with other people I appreciated them picking up after themselves or helping me with yard work and cleaning. Now I appreciate people who call me when they’re going to the store to see if I’d like to go. I wait for those moments to buy heavy things. Carrying multiple 12 packs of LaCroix home a half mile from the nearest store is serious exercise. 😉
Not sure if you’re interested in learning about love languages, but it helped me to pay attention and try to love people the way that they need to be loved. I’m a big believer in love being a verb not an emotion. So in that vein. The next few Terrific Tuesdays will be about love languages.
Would love to hear any input about what makes you feel loved or ways that you show other people you love them. Comment away friends. Comment away.
Point to ponder while you wander… Spinny hugs. A spinny hug is akin to a secret handshake that started between Hally Jo and I when she was anti-hugs…somewhere around age 5. I bend down and we give each other something akin to a bear hug. Then I stand tall at 5’2″ and pick her up. Now the fun part…we spin as fast as I am able to rotate. Giggles generally ensue here. Hally Jo insisted that her cousin, Abbe, also about 5, be included in the spinny hug club.
I’ve been thinking about the generations behind me lately. A lot actually. And whether or not I am doing my part in teaching them and guiding them. We all have a part to play in the lives of those around us.
Today I was thinking about the generation of Israelites leaving Egypt. About how many amazing miracles this generation experienced leaving Egypt. And yet they grumbled and complained and failed to believe God.
Hebrews 11:6 tells us to please God you must do 2 things: Believe God Exists and Believe that God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.
This generation believed in God, but they didnt believe God. My theory is because they had never actually believed they were free. They still had a slave mentality.
Meaning they never dealt with the trauma and issues that resulted from being slaves, therefore, didn’t have the capacity to believe. In other words, they had broken places and wounds that they didn’t bring to God. Joshua and Caleb were the only two that could see from God’s perspective, despite having been enslaved. So healing and true freedom were available to all, but only two received it.
As a result of not dealing with their issues the entire generation, save Josh and Caleb, died with unfulfilled lives.
The next generation were either small children in Egypt or were born in the desert. They believed in God and believed God (the majority at least) and were able to take possession of the Promised Land.
But this generation also failed.
They did not properly teach their children the ways of the Lord. And as the years passed, and additional generations were born, they wrote off what they did hear as “old stories.” They didn’t know that God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. They didn’t understand their covenant rights and responsibilities.
That generation didn’t live according to the guidelines God gave them that would make them stand out and be successful over the people around them. Instead they wanted to be like the people around them. This desire got them into trouble. See the book of Judges to see the cycle repeating itself.
All of this because a generation failed to teach their children and their children’s children that God is the Great I Am and He will do what He said He would do.
I have realized that I am guilty of the same things as both generations. I know God is good. I’ve seen it and experienced it first hand! And yet, I too struggle to believe in the goodness of God.
It is a battle every day for me to keep believing and walking towards what God has for me. It was easier for me to believe my future would be great when I was younger…since there was sooo much future ahead of me.
But at 42, the enemy keeps whispering in my ear that I missed my chances. That I am too old now. Saying, “who are you to believe such audacious beliefs about my own future. You aren’t any different from the rest of the ordinary people. A cog in the machine.”
I know those are lies. But on the harder days they seem easier to believe then to agree with this: “Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us, ” Ephesians 3:20 NIV
But I cannot give up. If I give up that teaches those behind me to give up and stop trusting God. So even when for myself I don’t want to keep fighting and moving forward, I do it for the kids in my life.
I am not a parent. But I am an Aunt. I am a big sister. I am a spiritual mother. And in that vein, I will not quit. I know God is faithful. I know God is good. So I will continue even when the enemy’s lies seem more believable than God’s promises.
The promises God has given me are very close to my heart, very personal. So I tend not to talk about my relationship with the Father, Jesus, and Holy Spirit internal because it’s not a light and breezy conversation for me. It’s real. And it’s deep. And that makes it difficult to bring up when you’re playing mini golf or grabbing lunch.
I want to see the people in my life to start where I end and go further than me. To believe even bigger for themselves. Partnering with Jesus on things even bigger than my audacious imagination can conceive.
But I feel like I am failing the next generation by not teaching them about Jesus and telling them about what God had done. I love these kids more than my own life, but when it comes to really telling them what matters, I stumble and falter.
I don’t know how to teach them. I don’t know how to explain all that I know about the goodness of God or the incredible miracles He’s done in my life.
But I am a writer. So I write here on this blog. I sent texts of encouragement. And I do my best to live according to Kingdom Principles. I do this not out of guilt or fear but because I owe Jesus my life. And so I will share real stuff here.
At 17, I threw away my virtue and what I knew to be true because I wanted so much to be loved and have a partner for life. It took me several years of counseling with ministers and spending much time in the Presence of God so He could heal the damage I did to myself. That’s not easy to bring up in random conversation is it?
It isn’t easy to tell people that it took Jesus years to get me to understand that if I didn’t forgive myself, He couldn’t heal me. Forgiving myself for being self-destructive was easier than forgiving myself for hurting other people.
Guilt, like fear is a bully! Guilt is an eater of your soul. If not dealt with it will eventually devour your soul and begin chowing down on your body.
Guilt often leads to self-hatred. And self-hatred, my friends, leads you to believing that God’s promises aren’t for you. To believing that you don’t deserve anything good. It causes you to settle. And if not dealt with can eventually cause auto-immune diseases.
The disease my self-hatred caused was ulcerative colitis. Auto-immune diseases according to the doctors tend to run in families but otherwise do not have a cause.
Sorry Doc! But they do have a cause! And it’s not stress. It is Guilt. Unforgiveness. Bitterness. Self-hatred. You want to read about this from an actual doctor, check out Be in Health.
Auto-immune is your body attacking itself. Ulcerative colitis is painful. I was on IV nutrition. I had 2 surgeries, 20+ days in the hospital, and eventually my colon removed.
But what happened while I was going through the painful hell of UC, was that I sat still. I was in the hospital by myself, quiet. And Jesus used this time to reach out to me again. He didn’t make me ill, but He used me being ill to reach out to me.
He had never stopped pursuing me or loving me despite me flipping Him off in college and telling Him I didn’t need or want His bullshit rules. Yes…I literally flipped Him off.
I’m telling you people the love of God is a mysterious and powerful force to love me and pursue me through rebellion and into a hospital bed.
I went to church for the first time in years during this time, and a part of myself woke up during worship. I missed worship and church.
When I came back to God, I expected punishment and wrath for disobedience.
But that’s not how God’s love works.
This is how God’s love works; “So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world. Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. We love each other because he loved us first.” 1 John 4:17-19 NLT
What I received was forgiveness, like the prodigal son. The Father was overjoyed to see me. And as I sought Him, He made it clear to me that performance and stellar behavior is not what pleased Him (see Hebrews 11:6). Seeing me get free of self-hatred and self-destructive habits. He wanted to heal me.
When I was praying, desperate for an answer, He spoke to me audibly. God, Himself, spoke to me.
Now I know that we can all hear the voice of the Shepherd. He speaks through the Word and through angels and etc.
But for me right then…God loved me enough to speak to me directly and answer my prayer audibly during worship. It changed everything for me.
I started taking classes about healing. Then I went to counseling. I was so desperate and hungry for change and healing that I was in the church every single time the doors were open. Worship services. Sermons. Classes. Intercessory prayer. Group counseling. Counseling. I did this for about five years.
Today I am a very different person. I still am working on things with Jesus. But from a place of wholeness not brokenness.
But how do I take all that I’ve learned and experienced and boil it down to bite sized child appropriate pieces to share with my kiddos? This I don’t know. Maybe that is why the 2nd generation failed in teaching their kids, they didn’t know how.
I continually pray and ask God to help me plant seeds. And to send people who know Him into their lives. And I seek to live a life that inspires them to seek God and to really live! Because teaching the next generation about who God is and who they are in God prepares them to change this world for the better. And is so vital. And we all have a part to play.
Where are you in the journey to the promised land? Are you the 1st generation? The one who needs healing?
Receive God’s love. Receive God’s healing. You cannot give what you do not have. You cannot help your kids or anyone else if you don’t first take care of you!
Are you the 2nd Generation? Are you struggling like me to to teach the next generation?
Ask God to show you how to reach tjem each kiddo is unique. God made them. He knows them even better than we do. Then pray for them. Declare God’s promises and blessings over them. Live your life as an example. Plant seeds. Water seeds. Listen to them and watch for opportunities to teach Kingdom Principles and share God’s love.
Point to ponder while you wander…”After all, who is Apollos? Who is Paul? We are only God’s servants through whom you believed the Good News. Each of us did the work the Lord gave us.I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow.It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.The one who plants and the one who waters work together with the same purpose. And both will be rewarded for their own hard work.” 1 Corinthians 3:5-8