A reminder

I stood alone in church today. It was a strange feeling. I usually have my husband at my side, my 7 year old singing loudly next to me, my 4 year old wiggling on a chair or on the floor. I am usually interrupted with requests for bathroom breaks. My attention gets sidetracked with the sound of rustling paper and my need to quiet a child. But this morning it was just me. My husband home with a feverish child, my youngest sitting quiet during singing and then skipping off to children’s church.

The youth group was leading worship so we rocked out to some new songs. There I stood – free to lift my hands, bow my head, sway my body. No little arms or legs entangling mine. Our pastor preached a sermon that stirred my soul, and I actually listened the whole way through. After church I reflexively looked around to gather all the paraphernalia that comes with making it through a church service with two young children only to realize it was just my purse and my Bible.  I felt strangely light.

I think God knew I needed the solitude during worship this morning. I love my family and worshiping together on Sunday morning is a highlight of the week for me. But to just sit and soak in God’s presence was a gift. Aaron leaves tomorrow morning to chaperon a youth group camp. Jeremiah was supposed to start sports day camp tomorrow but he has a fever and will stay home for another day of rest. I am not letting myself think of a week with Aaron gone and both boys home all day. But that may be how the week turns out.

I think God knew the needs of my introverted heart and gave me the gift of an hour and a half spent in His presence with no distractions. He knew I needed to be filled up again. I needed to hear His voice through song and spoken word. I needed the encouragement that He is here and He will give me what I need. I needed the reminder that there is eternal perspective in the midst of the daily challenges.

Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me, for you are the God of my salvation; for you I wait all the day long. -Psalm 25:4-5  (From our call to worship on Sunday morning.) 

There is the reminder again, that in waiting and rest comes the knowledge of God. I won’t hear His voice or know His path unless I can still myself, stop the striving and doing and pulling myself up by my own boot-straps. So now on this Monday morning I take a deep breath and wait…knowing He has promised to come…

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To have love…

If I speak in the tongues for men and of angels, but have not love, I am a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. And if I have prophetic powers, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. If I give away all I have, and if I deliver up my body to be burned, but have not love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on it’s own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 

Love never ends. As for prophecies, they will pass away; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when the perfect comes the partial will pass away. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I gave up childish ways. For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known.

So now faith, hope and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. – 1 Corinthians 13

Our family is memorizing these verses. We recite them together around the dinner table and my heart swells to hear small voices lisp the words so confidently.  

I used to see these verses as a checklist for my behavior. You know, go down the list of what love is supposed to be and will myself to be those things. Or go down the list and see all the ways I completely failed to love. Either way, my performance was key. Lately my perspective has changed. Many circumstances have converged and the Spirit is showing me that I am this deeply and radically loved, regardless of my performance! I read through the “love checklist” and marvel at the depth and breadth and beauty of a perfect love that saved me! I am in awe of a love that loves me even when I screw up royally (which I do every day). 

This is new ground for me, to live out of the knowledge of the love I have received rather than to live out of my performance. There are so many ways this has changed my thinking (and hopefully my actions) not only in my spiritual life but practically as well in my life as a wife, mother, friend. 

This is that journey to love simply because He has first loved me.