“Father, make of me a crisis man. Bring those I contact to decision. Let me not be a milepost on a single road;
make me a fork
, that men must turn one way or another on facing Christ in me.” - Jim Elliot

Friday, March 29, 2013

My Favorite Good Friday

April 2nd, 1999
My Favorite Good Friday

I was three weeks away from giving birth.  After months of pre-postpartum counseling, I was still afraid of the change that was about to occur.  I was about to become a mother.  I was terrified.  FEARFUL.

On that day I attended Good Friday Service at our church. It was a small gathering in the old chapel (which is the current Hospitality Center at our church).  I remember sitting in the back.  And then Communion was served.

As I take communion, I realize that the baby is taking communion, too.  We are taking communion together.   And I think... we will never have this experience... this intimacy, again.

After months of feeling distant from the baby... I suddenly feel as if we have bonded.   We have shared something.   Something intimate and private.

And I thank God for that moment.  That realization.   Something now that is embedded in my heart and soul.

And although... no one else remembers that day or that Good Friday Service or that particular communion, I will... the rest of my life.   It became a remembrance of God's love for me and my baby as we took communion in remembrance of Him.

...and when he had given thanks,
he broke it and said,
"This is my body,
which is for you;
do this in remembrance of me."
In the same way,
after supper he took the cup,
saying, "This cup is
the new covenant in my blood;
do this, whenever you drink it,
in remembrance of me."
1 Corinthians 11:24-25 NIV

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Withdrawal Is Not An Option

 Greet one another with a holy kiss. 2 Corinthians 13:12
Ethiopia, photography by Anthony

I was hurt, but I didn't want to gossip, so I let my feelings swirl around in my head.  I convinced myself that she was no longer a safe person for me.  And this was it... I was going to protect myself by withdrawing from the relationship.

But the Lord said no.  I was prompted to write an e-mail.  Lay it on the line.  Not to be harsh, but to be honest.  Withdrawal was not an option.

And so I waited.  Waited for her to respond.  And I thought... she wasn't even responding fast enough for me.

I finally decided to share what had been going on with Anthony.  Surely, he would hear my pain and agree with me, console me.  But he didn't.  He saw right through me.  And questioned why I was assuming the worst.  

Later that day she called... and having heeded Anthony's words, I listened with an open heart.  She explained and I listened.  She apologized and I apologized.  It was a misunderstanding.  A miscommunication that I had let fester in my brain.

But then I heard her hurt... as she wondered why I was uncertain of the fact that she loved me... would never hurt me intentionally... that all of her thoughts and actions towards me were good...  And I was speechless. What had happened? 

As we spoke more we realized that we hadn't been investing as much time in our relationship.  We had neglected it.  Through busyness we justified our distance.  And now we were paying the price.

And it made me think of my relationship with the Lord... and the times when I wonder... Where is He?  Why is He allowing this to happen?  Doesn't He care about me?

I find that when I am pressing deep into Him... I don't question His love for me.  I know it.  It is fresh off the pages of the Bible.  He is for me.

When I start to wonder about God's goodness and intentions, it doesn't take long for me to realize that I have neglected my time with Him.  When I am keeping my thoughts to myself and not bringing them to the light... I sink even deeper.

Gracious.  Thankfully, she was gracious with me.  That day I learned how to handle a situation like this graciously.  Thanks to her.  Thanks to the Lord for prompting me... to not give up on the relationship.

What, then, shall we say in response to this? 
If God is for us, who can be against us? 
He who did not spare his own Son, 
but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, 
along with him, graciously give us all things? 

Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword? 
For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:31-32; 35; 38-39

And so I will remind myself... when I would want to withdraw... or give up on my relationship with Him... that He is for me... that even when I feel like He is not safe... I will bypass my feelings... and stick my head into His Word... and know that nothing can separate me from His love.

Withdrawal is not an option.