Saturday, July 25, 2009

Unconditional Love

A couple of months ago a stray cat showed up at our house. She was quite a site. She was undernourished, unloved and missing part of her ears (probably from being frostbit). My 2 year old son, Andrew, didn’t care. He loved her instantly. He carried her around like a baby and would say, “Aw, baby!”

One day he claimed her as his own, “That’s my kitty, Mommy.” I said, “What’s your kitty’s name?” Out of no where he said, “Cookie.” Hmm…don’t know where he came up with that one, but okay, that’s a great name, Cookie. She’s been Cookie ever since. Andrew started telling everyone about his adopted kitty, Cookie.

Two year old boys can be rather rough, you know? The way Andrew lavishes love upon Cookie isn’t always gentle, but she doesn’t seem to mind. She doesn’t hiss or scratch. She’s pretty easy going. I sense that she’s just glad that someone finally loves her, pets her, pays attention to her…and feeds her too. Andrew and Cookie have become great companions.

Here they are...
and no he's not choking her, even though it may look that way! :)
Just happily taking her along with him.

Since Cookie has been with us I’ve heard quite a few negative remarks about her looks, but none of them from Andrew. As I said before, she’s not the prettiest thing. However, as I also stated, Andrew doesn’t care. He loves her without condition. Never once has he mentioned her looks…her skinny body, crooked leg or deformed ears. Never once has he questioned her intelligence. Never once has he compared her to other cats. Never once has he asked where she came from. Nope, all he cares is that she’s here now. He loves her and so those things don’t matter.

Does that sound like someone else you know?

Like Andrew, Jesus doesn’t care about our looks, are short-comings or our intellect (besides he made us just the way we are!!!). He doesn’t compare us to others. He doesn’t care where we’ve been, what we’ve done or how ratty we look when we come to Him.

Sometimes we think we’ve gone too far, have done too much or are too bad to come to Him. The truth is, it doesn’t matter where we’ve been or what we’ve done because there is nothing too hard for Him! Besides, He already knows these things. He knows our hearts. Yet, He promises to love and forgive us! He wants to adopt us as part of His family…co-heirs with Him. Yes, He loves us unconditionally!

Unlike Andrew with Cookie, Jesus IS gentle with us. We can go to Him with any problem, an foible, any failure. Just as Andrew always has time for Cookie, He always has time for us…because He loves us. He wants to bless us, but we have to humble ourselves before Him.

“When you bow down before the Lord and admit your dependence on him, he will lift you up and give you honor.”
James 4:10

How awesome is that?!

Do you believe that:
He loves YOU? He wants to make YOU clean? He is loving and gentle…and eager to forgive? Look at these verses:

“And I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from his love. Death can’t, and life can’t. The angels can’t, and the demons can’t. Our fears for today, our worries about tomorrow, and even the powers of hell can’t keep God’s love away.”
Romans 8:38

“No matter how deep the stain of your sins, I can remove it. I can make you as clean as freshly fallen snow. Even if you are stained as red as crimson. I can make you as white as wool. If you will only obey me and let me help you…”
Isaiah 1:18-19a

“Return to the LORD your God, for he is gracious and merciful. He is not easily angered. He is filled with kindness and is eager not to punish you.”
Joel 2:12 & 13

I pray that each of you reading have already found the companionship of Jesus Christ AND are enjoying it much like Andrew and Cookie enjoy one another. Even if you’ve been “born again” it is all too easy to lose sight of who you are in Christ. I pray that you are experiencing the peace and satisfaction that a life spent with Him provides. I pray that your life has been filled with His love…and life-giving Spirit.

Perhaps you are feeling alone and searching for love much like I imagine Cookie was before she came to us. What’s stopping you from humbly running into the arms of a forgiving Savior? He’s gentle, kind and full of unconditional love. He wants to adopt YOU, become YOUR companion and make YOU great!

Now you can read Unconditional Love Part 2

Need someone to listen, have questions? E-mail me:

Monday, July 20, 2009

That's Not Fair

I was shocked a couple of weeks ago when my 2 ½ year old son, Andrew, said for the first time, “That’s not fair.” Not only did he say it, he used it in context…and has said it a few times since then also. A few days later he said, “It’s not my fault.” Then proceeded to tell me that it was MY fault (with a smile on his face). He seems so young to be starting this (he actually won‘t even turn 2 ½ until the end of the month).

Where does he come up with this stuff?! I’m not sure, but one thing I know for sure…he keeps me on my toes! I love being his mommy…even if I’m not fair and it’s MY fault. =) I’m thankful God gave me a healthy, growing and constantly learning little boy.

Throughout the week Andrew’s words kept ringing in my head. I started wondering how many times I have said to God when dealing with others, “But God, that’s not fair” and “Besides, it’s not my fault.” It’s such human nature to say or think these things…even if we’re only mumbling them within ourselves.

Even as these thoughts filled my mind, words from my pastor’s sermon from the previous week also came back to me. He said, “Your response is YOUR responsibility.” You can’t control the circumstances of your life or what others do, but you CAN control your response.

We often think we have every right to be mad. We didn’t deserve to be hurt, mistreated, disrespected, overlooked, abandoned, abused, stabbed in the back. When dealing with others we say, “But God, look at them…look at what they said, what they did to me. Look at what I've been through. Why wouldn’t I be angry? I am right. They are wrong.” All the while forgetting it’s not their behavior that we should be concerned with, but our own.

In times of conflict it’s easy to rationalize our bad attitudes. Sometimes I have to admit that I say things that are disrespectful to my husband. Then, I rationalize it by saying, “Well, just look at him, he wasn’t being very loving.” As if his unlovingness would make my disrespectul behavior okay. Sometimes I don’t want to pray for and love the people who offend me. I want them to feel bad because I feel bad. I want to hold on to my anger. I don’t want to let go…and let God. I have rights…and they have no right to hurt me. I tell myself, “Anyone in my position would do the same.”

The question I should ask myself is this: do I want to be just like everyone else or do I want to raise the standard?

No matter what life throws at us, no matter how unfair it may seem, our response truly is our responsibility. What sets us apart from the rest of the world? Where do we find our strength, our hope, our peace…even in the midst of hardship? What good is our faith if we are constantly holding onto our “rights” rather than forgiving, loving and rising above the attacks of the enemy. The enemy would love for us to live our lives in defeat, but at the point of our believe the Lord gave us all that we need to overcome!

God never promised us that this life would be easy. However, he did promise us that He would give us strength, hope and peace in the midst of the battles of life.

Susie Larson wrote in her book “The Uncommon Woman: Making An Ordinary Life Extraordinary”:

“In a day and age when our unalienable rights have become somehow sacred, we must remember what Jesus did. He loved, He forgave, and He put evil under His feet.

What kind of change could be affected in our world if we, as Christ’s followers, had lines we wouldn’t cross no matter what anyone else was doing or saying? If we could remain kind while others are cruel, if we could keep from hating while others do dreadful things - are there any bounds to what the Lord could do through us?”

I Peter 2:23 says of Jesus, “He did not retaliate when he was insulted. When he suffered, he did not threaten to get even. He left his case in the hand of God, who always judges fairly.”

But, God, that’s not fair…and it really isn’t my fault! I can hear God whispering to my heart the same message I hope to relay to Andrew as he continues to grow and learn: sometimes life doesn’t seem fair and no matter whether it’s your fault or not, your response is still your responsibility.

“Don’t try to avoid responsibility by saying you didn’t know about it. For God knows all hearts, and he sees you. He keeps watch over your soul, and he knows that you knew! And he will judge all people according to what they have done.”
Proverbs 24:12

Saturday, July 11, 2009


This week we started a study on the book “The Uncommon Woman: Making an Ordinary Life Extraordinary” by Susie Larson. I have read the book before. In fact, I thought it was phenomenal . Now, because we wanted to share it with others, my good friend, Jill, and I are co-facilitating a study at our church.

As I started reading the book again this week I realized that I really, really needed to read it again myself! The first chapter entitled, “Humbly Accepting Acceptance“ really “hit home” all too well. Susie explored the all-too-common battle most of us women face with INSECURITY.

Susie wrote about holy confidence and humble acceptance. She wrote, “Accepting acceptance means having the courage to face your foibles without it diminishing your value. Accepting acceptance means refusing to let other define you, because God already has. Accepting acceptance means cherishing the fact that you’ve been bought with a price, and thus embracing the call to become more and more like Christ every day.”

You know, it seems I go along rather well for a while. I feel rather confidant in who I am in Christ. I feel strong. I feel loved and valued. Then, something happens. Something rises up within me as I deal with the everyday ins and outs of my life…and I start to forget who and whose I am. The reality of my faults and shortcomings takes over. I feel weak. I start focusing on them (on myself) instead of on the One who loves me. Then, as I "pick myself apart", I start worrying about what others think of me as well. I can be my own worst enemy sometimes.

Susie Larson wrote, “The uncommon woman understands her capacity for pettiness, selfishness, and a sinful bent that lead her away from the Almighty. But her thoughts don’t dwell there. No, despite what she knows about herself, she entrusts herself to the One who will shape her into a thing of magnificence.”

So, I asked myself, how can I stand in “holy confidence” and not fall into the sinking sand of insecurity once again? I believe the answer is staying saturated in God’s Word and prayer…reminding myself of who I am in Christ. I can stop and pray right where I am to take those thoughts captive and focus in on the Truth of God‘s Word. I am someone Jesus loves! Although I am nothing without Him, I am everything with Him!

If I’m honest, I can look into the past (even the most recent past) and see that when I am not in God’s Word and prayer like I should be that I find myself most insecure. When I let that time alone with my Lord slide I start to slide to…into the sinking sand of insecurity (not to mention other things). It’s so much harder to get back on track once I’ve let it go than it would have been to just continue what I knew was right all along.

At the end of the chapter Susie Larson poses the question, “Have you ever considered that insecurity is just another form of selfishness? When we doubt our identity, we make choices with ‘me’ in mind. Most of what we do then becomes an effort to rescue our sense of self-worth.”
YIKES! Insecurity is another form of selfishness! When I’m feeling insecure I am focusing on myself rather than on loving God and others. How can I help anyone else or please the Lord if I am dwelling on me, me, me?!

As I read this and contemplated what it meant I couldn’t help, but think of the words of John the Baptist who said of Jesus, “He must become greater and greater, and I must become less and less.” (John 3:30)

Oh, Lord, I want more of You and less of me! Help me to believe in who I am in You!

Monday, July 6, 2009

I'm Still Alive

Yes, I'm still here. I've just been really busy.

We made a trip down to Indiana to visit my family for five days. It was a fun time. Then, we brought my 17 year old niece home with us for a week. Had a blast entertaining her, but it was a busy time. Did lots of fun stuff. Now I'm soooooo tired. My body's telling me that I'm getting to old too keep up with a 17 year old! =) Don't know when that happened. I use to go non-stop and stay up all hours of the night. Can't do it anymore. Nope, guess that's what happens when you become a mom. All kidding aside, my niece is such a great young lady. We really enjoyed having her here!

Now, it's time to get back to reality....and to blogging. I have lost of things going through my mind. Just haven't had the time to key them out in a blog post. Soon! Please stand by. :)