What about YOU?

“Your love NEVER fails, it NEVER gives up, it NEVER runs out on me…”-Kristian Stanfill, This One Thing
“Praise the Lord! He is good. His love never fails…”-Psalm 136:1

         These are just two of the MANY examples, through scripture, song, and voice, that remind us of God’s unconditional, complete, unfailing love. As much as I stray DAILY- His love NEVER fails, NEVER gives up, NEVER runs out on me. So what about ME?
          So often, I look at others’ attitude, inconsistencies, and motives toward me in the midst of promises such as these. (No matter what so and so said or did to me, God’s love will never fail me like that. No matter how other people misunderstood me or gave me “the short end of the stick”, He will never do that to me.) What about ME? How often do I fail, give up on others, or run out in the tough times? The cross overcame those. The birth of Jesus WAS the cross of Jesus. God’s acceptance of a season in an earthly body was His way of shouting to a dead world, “This is what I have chosen for you. I choose you. In all your sin, in all your humanity. In your frailty, in your ever-changing emotions, I choose you.” The birth of Jesus wasn’t just a sweet little manger scene with a newborn and his parents… it was God’s “Yes” to choosing us in all our mess and filth. We should not only reflect on Jesus’ birth during Christmas, we should meditate on what that entails- on the big, beautiful, glorious picture. Jesus’ birth signifies (eternal) LIFE for those who accept His gift. It represents forever victory of God. It reflects God’s purposed, confident plan from the beginning of time. It wasn’t Plan B. It was THE Plan made known from before our existence. (John 1:1-5). So in the next few days, take some time to see yourself in the midst of the birth story. Not just the person who steals your parking spot in the mall. Not only that relative you just can’t stand to be around. Not just the mass murderers of the world (although all these should be reflected in the light of Christ as well). See yourself in all YOUR “stuff”. In your past, present, and future misakes and humanity. And in the midst of that, see a Christ that cries out from before His very first breath on earth, “I choose you. I choose THIS for YOU.” What an incredibly mysterious and miraculous God we serve. And with that, Merry Christmas.


The Book with All the Answers.

I love books. I always have. When I was a child, I would bring a flashlight to movie theaters so that I could finish a few chapters during the movie (not sure that it was always money well-spent!). I do believe the Lord inspires and gifts others to share their experiences and wisdom through writing, and that books are a wonderful source of encouragement and inspiration for others (otherwise I do not think I would have a blog!) However, I do believe that sometimes there is a temptation for me, and others, to look to others’ words before we look to THE Book, with words from the One who IS Wisdom. This morning, as I sat and thought about what devotional I wanted to pick up, I had a realization: I didn’t need another good quote, another’s words to speak the Lord’s truths to me. I simply needed Christ Himself. So, I picked up my Bible and nothing else, and began to flip through His Scriptures, all bathed in His glorious promises…and I was refreshed. I know this is an elementary truth for a believer, but I do think it’s something we often don’t live by. As Americans, the culture around us has infiltrated us with SO many options that can distract us. We go into the grocery to buy milk, and suddenly we have spent ten minutes figuring out whether to buy whole, D, Skim, 2%, 1%, organic, DHA-infused, and all the options in between. Every decision we make, whether materialistic or personal, has so many routes to take; so many detailed differences… even in the church we choose to attend!
Since being pregnant, I have had numerous well-meaning friends, family, acquaintances, and strangers tell me various books I should read. Each of these has different opinions on the best way to parent. Some of them are even Christian-based with lots of great biblically-inspired thoughts to give. Like I said, I thinks books can be great. But as I sat on my couch, being rejuvenated and gaining wisdom through God’s words and His Word alone, I realized something: He is all I need to raise these babies. No book, no method, no advice, will ever come close to touching His answers and assurance found through communication, communion, and time with Him and the only Book that we can truly trust for all seasons of life.
I have no idea what it is like to be a mother. I don’t know what it feels like to stay up all night with (two) screaming children, to live days exhausted and spent, to entertain (two) children all day long. But I do know what God says about their lives. Psalm 139 says that He has knit them in my womb, and that they are fearfully and wonderfully made. Psalm 78:5 states that my purpose is to teach them God’s truths, of His love for them, so that they can pass it on for generation to generation. Jeremiah 29:11 promises that He has a plan for them, and that the plan includes giving them HOPE and a FUTURE. Deuteronomy 6:6-9 commands me to impress the love for and of God on their hearts. 1 John 3:1 says that above all else, we are children of God and our identity is found in that alone. When I become overwhelmed with knowing which book to read or which way to raise these precious children, I can rest assured that all I need to know is found in His word that He has imprinted and entrusted to me for all eternity. He is Sovereign, and He desires for us to rest in simply and wholly knowing and trusting Him to handle ALL the details, seasons, and issues of our lives.
No matter what is going on in your life- whether you are single, married, childless, or have more children than you can sometimes count- all you need to know to live in peace in this moment is found in Him. Look to His Book and His presence in any and all circumstances, and He will make your paths straight.