Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Ultimate Reunion

Take a moment and think about one of your most memorable reunions. Before you read any further, grab that memory and let your mind go back in time. Do you feel your heart swell and perhaps your eyes water a little remembering it?

I have one that stands out in my mind. I had been very close friends with a woman for about 7 years when we had a big disagreement. The disagreement itself is irrelevant for the sake of this blog, but I can tell you that I was the one who actually made the decision to sever our relationship. It broke my heart and we didn’t speak and had very little contact for almost five years. Then one day, moved by something I read, and, I believe, the Holy Spirit, there was realization that by withdrawing my friendship, I had sinned against my friend and lost what was a very deep and meaningful relationship. I called her up to apologize and she graciously extended forgiveness to me right there in that moment. The subsequent conversations we had the following days and weeks lead us to meet in Nashville – a mid-point between the cities where we each lived. I got there at the meeting spot before my friend and nervously waited for her. She arrived. I remember hugging, crying and laughing all at once in the middle of the parking lot. It was an amazing reunion! My eyes are filling with tears right now just recalling that day.

Have you thought about heaven lately? Consider the amazing reunion that is waiting for you there! I think of actually being in the presence of God…it’s hard to fathom that but I try to have some sort of mental picture in my head. I imagine standing in the presence of my Father, whom I’ve loved since I was a teenager, who has literally been through it ALL with me. I have talked with Him, laughed with Him, cried many tears with Him, sung to Him … and at our meeting we will be face to face. I visualize a tender yet wholly embracing hug that seems to erase all the years of hurt and pain of living in this fallen world. I envision looking into his eyes and as a tear rolls down my cheek, his hand wiping it away. Of course this is just my fantasy of what that reunion will be like, but I’m sure it will be beyond anything I can conceive. Knowing I am working toward that moment motivates me to be pure hearted and righteous in every way that I can be.

2 Peter 3:13-14 says, 13But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness.
14So then, dear friends, since you are looking forward to this, make every effort to be found spotless, blameless and at peace with him.

I am tempted to get caught up in the everyday struggles that seem so prevalent in my life; the overwhelming responsibility of raising my girls, being a good friend, excelling at my job…and the list goes on. I have to bring my eyes back to Jesus and to the reunion that awaits me. If I do that, I know the other things will fall into place.

I’m going to sit here for a while this morning, eyes closed, thinking of the gathering that is ahead of me. Then I’m going to get up, with a full heart, and live today as if that reunion were taking place at the end of it.

Friday, January 8, 2010

As God Sees Me

Anorexia is a terrible disease that is characterized by a distorted view of oneself. An anorexic looks in the mirror and sees someone overweight or unacceptable and the rest of us looking at that same person see an individual who is starving themselves to death, completely stunned at their inability to see what they really look like. The real cure for this disease isn’t physical, it’s psychological – a complete change in the way your view yourself. I’m certainly no expert on anorexia, but it seems that the real battle would be figuring out what causes you to have such a distorted view.

I don’t know if you ever struggle with your self esteem at all; I’d like to say that I don’t, but it would be a lie. Insecurity is something that I battle constantly – I think it’s safe to call it a daily struggle. When I look in a mirror or even introspectively, I do not see what everyone else sees, but a faint vision of what is true. There is a parallel here with being anorexic and how I have learned to erroneously view myself. I’ve been searching within to figure out where my distorted self view comes from and I am definitely making progress. This verse is one of many helping me to reform my thinking:

Psalm 139: 13-16

13 For you created my inmost being;
you knit me together in my mother's womb.
14 I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made;
your works are wonderful,
I know that full well.
15 My frame was not hidden from you
when I was made in the secret place.
When I was woven together in the depths of the earth,
16 your eyes saw my unformed body.
All the days ordained for me
were written in your book
before one of them came to be.

Here is the amazing news: God created me exactly how I am. He gave my personality its tendencies, he knew I’d be this height and weight and the color of my eyes. He knit me together it says…there was thought given to my life in every way. Not only did he know my date of birth but he knows the exact day and hour of my final breath.

I recently took a personality profile. It was enlightening and actually pretty entertaining to read the answers it provided. It pegged me pretty well. As I studied the results I considered the fact that God himself chose my attributes. I don’t know why he gave me certain characteristics. Who knows why an artist chooses the coloring and emotion that go into each piece of art he creates – only the artist himself knows what he is creating. I can spend time lamenting over my lack of perceived beauty, intelligence or talent, but God my Father has fashioned me uniquely for the purpose of bringing him glory with these specific characteristics. My “job”, so to speak, is to do the best I can with the talents and attributes that he chose to give me. Perhaps when I am in heaven I will finally understand why he created me with my physical and emotional make up the way it is. While I’m here though, I long to see myself as God sees me and set about using who I am for His glory.

Friday, January 1, 2010

A Year To Listen

I’ve had the most amazing morning. I’ve been sitting here in my office, reading, praying and listening. I love days that are slow and allow me to be still and not run around with a long list of objectives. Today’s undisturbed and peaceful time has been refreshing. Of course it’s the beginning of a new year and that does lend itself toward re-evaluating and making lists of goals. I have to be honest; I’m not big on New Year’s resolutions. For years I would make a list and try to be spiritual by working my list and attempt to become a better person. And now? Well, I have goals, certainly, but I’m trying harder to listen to what God has planned for me and less “working” my own list. He sees the big picture of my life while I tend to have tunnel vision, not seeing beyond the week or month ahead of me.

I read and pondered on the two following verses this morning.

1 Corinthians 2:9
9However, as it is written:
"No eye has seen,
no ear has heard,
no mind has conceived
what God has prepared for those who love him"

Ephesians 3:20
20Now to him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us…

In my limited thinking, I would probably reduce God’s plan for my life. His plans exceed my imagination. This loving Father, that I have a relationship with, has deposited in my heart via his Holy Spirit, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead. (Ephesians 1:18-20)

So with all that in mind, I’ve been quietly contemplating my year. It may be full of challenges, or it may be a relatively peaceful one. I have no way of knowing what my future holds. What I do know is this…if I walk with the Lord and really pour my heart into his – desiring to know his will and be like him, I can’t conceive the good things that are in store for me.

I have a few things that I hope will change in my character. I would like to be more secure and positive, I’d love to have the compassion in my heart to comfort hurting people that Jesus had, and I’d like to become more comfortable with my own emotions and demonstrating them to others. I think those are good characteristics to desire, but first and foremost, I want to walk with God this year and listen to what he has planned for me.