Friday, August 17, 2012

Unfulfilled Love Songs

How many over-the-top love songs have you heard and thought, "Wow, there is no way that actually happens in real life!"  Not just songs, but expand that to books, movies, etc.  Sure, some of us hope more than others that a "perfect" romantic relationship is out there somewhere; but if we are being honest, we would admit that we have come to expect little from love...yet we still yearn and long for a deepness of feeling and expression that continues to evade us.  Just look at the litany of media available along these lines - these stories are produced by human hearts and minds for a very consuming public; in a lot of them, you can hear the heart cry of the human race, ultimately looking for perfect love.  All of this makes me think of the following C.S. Lewis quote:  

"If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world." 

The eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing God of the universe created us to be the very objects of His affection and love.  Just try for a few seconds to wrap your mind around that...  Wouldn't it make sense that no relationship here on this earth could begin to satisfy the deep capacity of the reservoir for love He designed in each of us?

Ecclesiastes 3:11 - He has made everything beautiful in its time.  He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.

As I have grown in my relationship with God over the last few years, I have begun to listen to these same songs, read these same books, and watch these same movies with a new set of eyes and ears.  Instead of immediately calling them out as sappy and unrealistic (yes, I admit that I am a recovering cynic), I choose to allow my heart and mind to entertain the idea that all of them just might be possible - except not with another human being but with the ONE who has always known and loved me from the beginning of time.

I dare you to try this same exercise; you'll never be the same.  Here's a music video of one of the songs in particular that God has been revealing Himself to me through - thank you George!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Who Directs Your Steps?

So on Tuesday I posted about traces of grace and finished it off by quoting Psalm 37:23 - The Lord directs the steps of the godly; He delights in every detail of their lives. That blog was primarily focused on Him delighting in our details; this one will focus on Him directing our steps, based on an event that happened yesterday.

My friend, Kate, and I had made lunch plans and agreed to meet at a restaurant near my work place (incidentally in a very nice part of town). What was meant to be a brief lunch so we could both get back to work, turned into an hour and twenty minutes. As we departed, we gave each other a hug and both held on longer than usual. I remember thinking that was odd, but those seconds may have been vital, as you will read in a moment. Kate headed out the door as I went and refilled my drink and visited the restroom. I left the restaurant and drove to the left back to my workplace; as I did, I saw ambulances and fire trucks whizzing by me. I didn't know what had happened until Kate sent me a text about an hour later.

She told how she turned right out of the restaurant and went through the other side of the parking lot on her way back to work. As she drove, she saw a commotion around a small red car and a man stumble out covered in blood. Being trained in CPR, she stopped to help. Upon reaching him, she realized he had been shot and stabbed multiple times. She assisted until the ambulance arrived to take him to the hospital.

After the adrenaline went down and the processing began, Kate told how during lunch she kept looking at the clock behind me thinking she needed to leave and go back to work...but yet she stayed. And then there was the lingering hug that felt odd. She strongly believes that God was protecting her from being right in the middle of that violent situation (ended up being reported as a robbery of a jeweler by two masked men) which had transpired only moments before she drove by.

We both knew with our head knowledge of the Bible that God directs our steps, but now we know experientially that He does. To add one other element, I firmly believe that not only was God protecting us, but He was also arranging for His agent to be involved in this situation. Here is yet another reason to allow God to direct our steps - to be fully available to His service in bringing light and love to this dark world. I told Kate to take it as quite a compliment that He entrusted that to her yesterday. While I am also trained in CPR, I don't know that I would have been able to handle it with such grace as she did.

To wrap it up: Do we live in a treacherous world? You betcha. Is it bound to get more treacherous? You betcha. Do I know who directs our steps and keeps us from harm? You betcha. So TRUST that wherever you go today, He directed your steps there and that there is grace to cover whatever you may encounter!

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

Traces of Grace

How many times in the busy pace of your life do you stop and notice small hints of His grace sprinkled throughout your day?  If you're moving too fast, it's hard to notice.  But if you determine to be aware and watching for these small love notes from Him, the Holy Spirit will highlight them to you...guaranteed...and you will watch in amazement as to how often and when they appear!

Brief grocery store story from yours truly: I had taken the boys with me to the grocery store on a busy Monday after we had been at home with air conditioning repair, working on refinancing our mortgage, rescheduling some dental work for me, and arranging my husband's surgery details (torn achilles repair, altogether another story!).  Needless to say, mommy was already fried when we got there and just needed to get a little food for our very bare refrigerator.  To make matters worse, it was one of those days at the grocery store when there are so many people in the aisles, you have to steer around them and take turns to move! 

As I am cruising and referring back to my list (not to mention letting my children eat their way through the store - you know a donut here, a cheese stick there, etc.), I realize a few items that I have forgotten.  Almost on cue, I look up to find the exact item I would have purchased stranded in another section altogether (for example, pistachios in a facing of tortillas).  The first time it happened, I thought, "Oh, okay that's good - I don't have to circle back through the crowded store." But the second time?  I knew it was traces of His grace.  And while a small thing in our busy life - still very indicative of our compassionate God, who cares about even the little details of our lives. 

For one last flourish in the icing on the cake/lesson - as I was outside loading the groceries in the car and kids in the car seats, I notice we have lost one pair of Spider-Man sunglasses.  Why the big deal?  Only because we have two pairs, and if you know anything about close siblings...only having one would cause big issues in the future.  Which means, in short, for me, I would be throwing out the other pair if we couldn't find the ones we had lost.  Now it's 200 degrees (okay 100), and I have $200 worth of groceries already in the car...unloading children and heading back inside seemed like the least appealing thing in the world.  So I look over and see some teenage employees pushing carts and asked them nicely if they wouldn't mind looking at the check-stand we had been at a few minutes earlier - a long shot but worth it in this mom's opinion.  They agreed and began walking back; they returned just a few minutes later, having found them on the ground on their way back into the store!

Once again, if you're not looking, these things may seem like coincidences or "thank goodness" moments; but if you're tuned in - they can come to mean so much more than that and keep you moving (with a smile on your face) on this sometimes tiring road we call life!  HE IS GOOD :).

Psalm 37:23 - The Lord directs the steps of the godly.  He delights in every detail of their lives.

II Corinthians 12:9 - But He said to me, My grace (My favor and loving-kindness and mercy) is enough for you [sufficient against any danger and enables you to bear the trouble manfully]; for My strength and power are made perfect (fulfilled and completed) and show themselves most effective in [your] weakness.