Let Others SEE Your Love in Us

“By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” John 13:35

“Mom, why is it so much easier to hate and be mean than it is to love and be kind?”

This is one of the many questions that have arisen over the past few days in my house. And it is a good question. It encompasses a universal truth of humankind: to hate is easy, to love is hard.

Hate and unkindness seem to be a type of default human setting, a hard wired effect of sin. This hard wired setting also carries with it the settings of pride, envy, selfishness, and jealously. It requires no effort, no thought and no filter to throw stones and hurl accusations at others. We have no problem acting as judge, jury, and investigating officers over situations that we know nothing about. We can easily find fault in others, especially those who are most visible. At the first sight of wrongdoing, we point fingers, cast blame, and paint a red “A” on the person. Condemnation, judgment, and shunning require no effort. We speak out against others as easily as we speak about the weather. We gossip, speculate, and tear down as if in doing so we will spare ourselves from a similar fate.

Yes, to hate and to spread hate is easy. But whoever said the easy way was the right way?

If hate is a default setting, then love must be an update or an upgrade.

To love is hard, at times showing love is absolutely impossible, but yet God is the God of the impossible. The God who demonstrated love to the very ones who were nailing His hands and feet to the cross, is the same One who can love through us. The Bible says in John 13:35 that we will be known as followers of Jesus by the fact we love others.

After all, Jesus showed and continues to show love to everyone, even though none of us deserve it.

He loves the lovely and the unlovable.

He loves the commendable and the condemned.

He loves the esteemed and the estranged.

He loves the sinner and sin-illuminator.

He loves the physically hungry and the power-hungry.

He loves the accused and the accuser.

He loved those calling out to crucify Him, just as He loved those crying as He was crucified.

He loves those who hate Him and He loves those who love Him.

Jesus Himself is Love and He is the only way we can truly love others.

Jesus never turned away from a person who truly repented and sought forgiveness. Jesus restored, redeemed, reclaimed and remade. He is able to restore sinners and victims. He is able to heal, and make new.

Love heals, while hate further opens wounds.

My heart has been so very heavy this past week. Things in this world feel different; as if sitting in a play where you are so busy watching the actors on stage that you don’t realize the scene behind them as changed.

The scene and climate of our world has changed. A battle is being waged and evil is creeping in while hate takes center stage.

Oh how I long for God’s people to stand up in love and pray for the boldness, strength and courage to not be content with our default human setting, but to pray to the God who is Himself Love and ask for Him to fill us with Himself so we can show Love to this broken world, and to fellow Christians.

Love, forgiveness and compassion are the weapons we must use to fight the hatred growing all around us.

Hate is easy, judgment is easy, condemnation is easy.

But Lord let us not be content with easy. Raise up Your people and strengthen us to do what is hard: to love, to forgive, and to show compassion. Give us Your wisdom and discernment to know how to love victims and perpetrators; and give us the courage and strength to forgive and restore, and to admit that we are all sinners in need of You, the Savior.

We need You Jehovah Rapha to heal our hearts, our people, and our land. We give our hearts to You. Please show Your love in and through us. In Jesus’ Name, amen.


Let us SEE You even through tired eyes

“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith.” 2 Timothy 4:7

“Mom, you know that verse that says, “I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith?” my son asked me as we walked through the grocery store after school one day this week. He went one, “well, if I had to say that about myself right now, I would say ‘I am beat up from the fight, crawling to the finish line because I can’t stand up, and trying really hard to have faith that I’ll make it.’ ”

So, my son is a little prone toward the dramatic. Especially in light of the fact he is talking about coming to the end of his sixth grade year. But I can so identify with how he is feeling. This time of year often leaves me limping along in my personal race too.

Maybe it’s just the fact that we know summer is almost here and the pace of life will slow down some, which makes us realize the intense pace we have been keeping all year long. Maybe it is the push to get as much done as possible before kids are home for the summer? Or maybe it just is what it is. Whatever the reason, I feel worn out and tired. Getting out of bed in the morning seems like an accomplishment in and of itself most mornings.

I have these vague memories from early September of me getting up before the alarm went off in order to pack healthy lunches with little encouraging notes tucked inside. I remember having each person’s laundry done and put away by Sunday night, with clothes for the next day picked out the night before. I seem to remember having these awesome folders where each child’s school forms and information were neatly stored until needed.

Fast forward to present day, where I willingly write lunch card checks so I don’t have to make a lunch (I mean $5 for lunch saves me at least 10 minutes in the morning, that’s totally worth it right????), my son is digging through the dryer the morning of school to find a shirt to wear, which looks as wrinkled as it sounds like it would. And school forms? Can we just go back to the days when those things were safety pinned to our kids shirts and then repined to send back?

I start to feel so guilty about feeling worn out. I mean, there are people in this world with real problems and real reasons to feel exhausted. I don’t really have a good reason, but I still feel spent.

And yet, Paul himself referred to life as a fight, which implies there are times it will be hard and even painful. He also said he finished the race, not that he ran the entire time with his head held high, his steps light and fast, and without getting winded. Maybe it is ok sometimes to limp, crawl or be supported by someone else as we run in our race toward our real Home.

I am human and I get fatigued. I am emotional and often allow my feelings to lead me. God knows this about me and yet, He loves me (and you!). He knows our weakness and He knows sometimes life feels like it is too hard for us. But I think those times can actually become His greatest blessings. After all, when I can’t do it on my own, I have to trust Him to get me through.

It is when I am at my weakest that I am able to SEE Him as my strength.

When I have nothing left to give, but am able to meet the needs of others, I SEE Him providing through me.

When I am so unfocused that I can’t write a curriculum lesson, and I cry out to God to write for me and He does, I SEE His Presence flowing through me.

When I want to pull the covers over my head and hide, and yet I ask Him to help me get up and He does, I SEE Him as the source of my strength.

When I feel overwhelmed, flustered, and grumpy, and ask Him to help me, and when He quiets my heart and brings me rest, I SEE Him as the giver of Peace.

Maybe being worn out and tired isn’t as bad as I thought it was. Maybe this is exactly where God wants me to be so I can SEE Him more clearly. And maybe, this is the day when my Precious Father will carry me for a bit along my race, as He fills me with His strength and lets me rest in Him.

We will finish this race! Let’s support each other, love each other, pray for each other, and encourage one another along the way!

And please don’t judge me if you see my kids in horribly wrinkled clothes today! 😉


Sometimes we all need to let our “Daddy” hold us along the way

May We SEE How You Provide (even when we don’t know what we need)

“He makes me lie down in green pastures. He leads me beside still waters.” Psalm 23:2


Have you ever taken a drink, not realizing how thirsty you were, and then suddenly found the cup empty as you reach for more? We often run so hard, go so fast, and have so much on our overloaded plates, that at times, we fail to see our own basic needs, or the trouble we are headed towards if we do not stop and take a drink.

I was able to SEE God’s provision this weekend in a beautiful way, as He provided a glorious drink of water I didn’t even know I needed.

A few months ago, my incredibly generous parents called to say they wanted to give my husband and me a weekend vacation for our anniversary. They would pay for the hotel, and come take care of our kids! (I mean, seriously! they are amazing!) I mentioned that we would love to visit Charleston, SC and next thing I knew our anniversary trip was booked!

My mom kept mentioning how good it would be for my husband and I to get away to focus on each other and our marriage. I listened politely thinking, “we’re ok, I mean busy yes, but we are doing just fine.” However, I am not one to turn down a free trip, so I started packing.

I am almost embarrassed to admit this, but my husband and I had not spent a fun weekend away from our kids in six years. (Had it really been that long????) See, when you’re in the thick of parenting, career building, home projects, church service, and school volunteering the time just passes as you doggie-paddle to keep your head above water. Since my head was still kind of above the water, I didn’t see I was in trouble. I didn’t realize my muscles were getting tired, or that I was hungry and thirsty. I had gotten used to the status-quo: short interrupted conversations with my husband, life beginning to revolve around outside expectations, falling asleep in the middle of reading my daughter a book, an evening spent staring at the tv thinking that counted as quality time with my husband…..(anyone experience this or just me????)

I had accepted the status quo as enough. I was just fine and my marriage was just fine. I had become complacent with the status quo, and couldn’t see the danger I was headed towards. Now, I’m not saying that my husband and I were headed toward any kind of separation or anything like that, but we were headed further and further apart as we slowly began living separate lives under the same roof.

I am so grateful for not only generous parents, but wise parents as well. Parents who are willing to get involved and point out a potential pitfall you are headed toward. They have been there, and done that after being married almost 50 years! They don’t get involved often, so when they do, I tend to listen 🙂

They recognized the road we were on and lovingly and generously offered a detour. My husband and I left our kids in their capable hands and headed out of town. Within the first hour of getting to our destination, we realized how desperately we needed this. Sitting at dinner with my husband of 17 years, looking into the same blue eyes I have loved for over two decades, I felt my soul drink deeply from a cup that was lovingly handed to me by my precious God.

We spent two glorious days together exploring a city rich in history, reflecting on two decades together, and marveling at God’s sweet blessings on us.

There is a reason Jesus called Himself the Living Water. Not only does He give us eternal life, but He sustains us as He continues to fill us with Himself. I had no idea how thirsty I was, but He did and He provided through my parents generosity.

I am so grateful for this weekend, and our time away. I feel as though my eyes have been opened to see my husband and our family in a new way. I have been reminded how important it is to take time for each other, even if that means it will take some effort to make it happen.

I am grateful to my mom and dad for their wisdom and generosity, I am grateful to my husband for loving me and leading our family so well, and I am eternally grateful to my God who sees our needs and lovingly provides for them in both big and small ways everyday.

“Lord, we are all so thirsty for You, and yet, oftentimes we don’t even realize our thirst. Please open our eyes to SEE our need for You, and bring us to Your Word where we can drink from Your Living Water which is the only way to satisfy our parched souls.”

*the picture at the top is from the Magnolia Plantation in Charleston, S.C. We spent three hours enjoying that beautiful place.