Just Wandering

 

When I first was dating young men, I dated some very nice guys.  I can even think of one in particular who was just the nicest guy ever!  Everyone thought it’d be a perfect match and he truly couldn’t have been kinder and more considerate, and he was hard working as well.  But I knew I needed a man who would be stronger than myself.  I was fully of aware of my take-charge personality and I knew it would take a stronger personality than me to keep me in check.  I also grew up in a family where the woman was mostly in charge.  And I just didn’t like it much.  It didn’t suit my personality and I could see where a man had less emotions and more “get-er-done”  than the women in my family.  So I really set out to have a man who could be in charge of me, in a loving sort of way.  Well, needless to say, I found him.  Or he found me.  And there is nothing short of “take-charge” in my Marine!  He’s always seemed like such a softy to most, and he usually is where he needs to be.  But, he is all man, all the time!  The first year of being married, I realized just what I thought I wanted was very hard to live with.  Two “in-control” people struggling for position, and even though I wanted to submit in a Godly-woman sort of way, I often found myself trying to rise to the management side of our marriage.  I had a lot to learn about being the kind of woman it would take to have the kind of marriage I wanted. Even though my heart told me submissive is what I wanted to be, my actions worked to the contrary.  And my man can stand his ground like nobody I’ve ever met before.  It also means sometimes his chain can be yanked by seemingly simple situations because he has a sense of right and wrong that is so strong, that he believes everyone should abide by it all the time and if you don’t, indignation rises and you may experience his frustration.   The other day provided just that moment.  He woke up with severe and unexplained sudden vertigo.  With the dizzy factor, he couldn’t drive and so I drove him to an appointment.  On the drive there, a large box truck jumped out of his lane in front of me and cut me off in a very dangerous way, both to him and myself, and then ultimately those cars around us in the heavy traffic.  We were all doing freeway speeds and I’m not sure I’ve ever had such a close call at such high speeds.  Now I spoke the usual, “Are you kidding me dude?!” to the guy in the box truck who could obviously not see or hear me.  After he cut me off, he swerved back in the other lane where I easily passed him.  My husband looked up at the driver as we passed on his left and let him know just exactly what a dumb move he had made.  The righteous man in him, protective man at that, came out in all it’s unrighteous glory.  It’s hard to be good sometimes, even when you are very right!

You only have to have a few teenager’s at a time to know that it’s hard to be good all the time.  Well honestly, I guess that starts when they are toddlers.  There are so many opportunities to just not do what is right.  But this week, I became aware of just how serious the attempt to derail Godly behavior can be.  The women I meet with and I are doing a study in Job right now, on Wednesday nights, that is different than any time I’ve studied Job before.  And as we have gone through it, something has stuck out to me over and over.  It’s not a point that the author of the study brought up or dwelt on, so I feel comfortable sharing one of the points that I feel God has really made me more aware of for a reason.

Now if you know the story of Job, you know this was a good upright man.  And at some time God offers him up as a righteous guy, and Satan has this opportunity to just mess with him to try to prove that people love God when things are good, but that they’ll turn and curse God when things get rough.  But right in the beginning of Job, the thing that strikes me most, is in verse 5 and 6.  The angels come to God and along with them follows Satan.  And God asks Satan essentially, “where’ve you been?  Whatcha’ doin’?”   Satan answered the Lord, “From roaming throughout the earth, going back and forth on it.”

I immediately thought of my children.  When I know they are in trouble, I often don’t just blurt out that I know what they’ve done.  I say, “so….what’ve you been doing?”  From the God who knows everything, can you imagine someone saying to you, “so….what’ve you been doing?”  God didn’t ask him that because He didn’t know the answer.  God asked him that because He DID know the answer!   Just like I do to my kids!  I also immediately thought of another place in scripture I recalled that phrase. In I Peter 5:8,  we are reminded that the devil is prowling around seeing to devour us.  Then again in Job 2, when Job has managed to still be faithful to God under horrific circumstances, Satan again comes before God and God again asked “Where ya’ been?  Whatcha’ doin’?”  Satan again gives the same response, “wandering the earth, to a fro”.

I was so reminded that the devil really does want to yank your chain.  He really is out there trying to find the things that’ll make you respond in an ungodly way.  He really is trying to get you to ditch God as your go-to when you are challenged with tough circumstances.  He really wants you to denounce your situation as unfair and call God un-just.  He wants you to compromise your example, your testimony to others, he’s anxious for you to be consumed by your own human response.   He really has nothing else to do except wander the earth, to and fro, looking for whom he may devour.  People often say, “the devil made me do it” and in part, there’s some truth to it.  He provides the opportunities.  He can’t make you falter. You choose it.   But if we are super aware that from the beginning of time to thousands of years later, he is still roaming the earth, just looking to meddle in our lives and pull the glory away from the God we choose to adore, then perhaps we can be a little more like Job and stand firm in our knowledge and our hearts that God is God, He is on the throne, and we will not give in to human responses in times of trouble.  Be aware!  Then ask yourself, “what’s your response when the guy cuts you off in traffic?  What’s your response when another curve ball gets thrown into your schedule?  What’s your response when one more thing on your already full plate makes it almost impossible to breathe?  Are you still bringing glory to God with your responses?”  Because if you’re not, you fell for it, the devil’s plot to devour you is still very real.  Don’t pay him honor, but pay attention.  You are a target.  Be like Job.  Stay strong, give God the glory, don’t waiver or be persuaded to curse the one who wronged you or the one who loves you more than any one possibly can.  The devil will outlive you here on earth, don’t let him yank your chain while you’re here.

Psalm 30:7
Lord, when you favored me, you made my royal mountain stand firm; but when you hid your face, I was dismayed

DONT BE DISMAYED

Proverbs 10:25
When the storm has swept by, the wicked are gone, but the righteous stand firm forever

STAND FIRM

1 Corinthians 16:13
Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong.

BE ON GUARD!

 

The Anniversary

I’ve just gotten home after a busy day. It started early in the morning and hasn’t ended until my drive home late this evening after our women’s Bible study tonight. I drove up the driveway and remembered I had my son’s garbage in the back of my car and needed to leave it at the end of the drive. Sitting for just a moment thinking over the whirlwind of the last ten days, it’s not even odd we have someone’s garbage in my car, strange as that sounds. My son and his wife birthed our first little grandson this week and they missed their own garbage day while they were at the hospital. Just seven days before, our other son got married. In the last month, we’ve had a baby shower, a bridal shower, a church event, a wedding, a baby, and scores of other activities. I’ve spent days in the hospital with my mom, and a quick stint to the ER for a kidney stone of my own. My husband has volunteered boarding up homes in Detroit the last few days and quite honestly, it’s been so busy, we’ve hardly had a moment for a text or a call to each other.

As I sat in my car, I quickly scrolled through my notifications and saw a sweet “Happy Anniversary” from one of my friends to her husband. I took note that my other friend’s anniversary is the same day. And then the realization hit! It’s MY anniversary! I drove back up into the parking spot at the top of the drive and gathered my things to go in the house. The kids were ready for bed and with lots of hugs all the way around, I walked into the bedroom to find my exhausted husband asleep in bed in the dark snoring the day’s hard work away.

The last few weeks have included days upon days of reminiscing. From our own wedding memories as our son kissed his new bride, to the births of each of our babies just before the birth of this new grand baby. Moments have been chugging by in the replays of my mind. We laid in bed one night this week and recapped every birth. I realized that in the chaos of our busy, busy big family, we did babies pretty good. If there was one thing we knew something about, it was birthing and feeding little babies and growing them up. It was confirmed when our second oldest said this week, “Mom, I just want to say thank you. You and dad really did train us how to handle life and life details.” I replied to him, “all we ever want is for you to love Jesus and be productive people.” He said, “I know.” It matters that they know. They ALL know exactly what matters.

But I’ll tell you what doesn’t matter. A lot of things don’t matter. It doesn’t matter what state the house is in, good or bad, clean or not. It didn’t matter what the décor was, new or old! It didn’t matter what kind of cars we drove….we only needed to be able to get off our icy hill. And so the old Suburban with 250,000 miles on it still creaks and groans when we need her, and the driveway looks like a parking lot with so many drivers. It doesn’t matter if our backyard is nicely manicured or not…the kids get to run and play. They’ve climbed a lot of trees and drove a lot of bikes and dirt bikes, chased snakes and toads, raised animals and learned to hunt. It didn’t matter whether some were ahead in school, and some behind…so far every one who graduated has gone on to college or is about to. Actually, it didn’t matter to me if they went to college….I just want them to be responsible in daily life and know how to function in this crazy world we live in!

And on this day, it didn’t matter that we didn’t go out to dinner. It didn’t matter that we never said Happy Anniversary. It didn’t matter that we hardly talked about our day, let alone our marriage! It didn’t matter that the dishes weren’t done when I walked in the door that late. Or that I had to fold and clear laundry he had moved over before I could climb on my side of the bed.

The 31st year of marriage will likely end just the way the 32nd will start. A tired content husband and wife, surviving in this world, growing up some kids and grand kids, exhausted at the end of the day, just the way we were meant to be. I’ll gladly go to bed having never celebrated, but loving Jesus, being productive, and settling for a moment together amid the chaos now and again. It’ll end with the sound of my husband snoring away, as I curl up next to him and lay my head on his chest, and a blessed reassurance that he is right here beside me even though neither of us heard the other say “Happy Anniversary.” Life is truly good, any day….all day. Happy Anniversary to us

Reunion

My husband and I never get away together.  I know people say “you have to make the time”.  But not everyone has ten kids and all the activities that involves, or has aging parents at the exact same time.  For the past two years we’ve been caring for Dale’s mom with Alzheimer’s and it has taken our time and our energy.  So when we got a call that Dale’s Marine buddies were having a reunion, it became our goal to get to this important event.  And we are so glad we did!

Unless you’ve watched a reunion of Marines, you have no idea how gigantic a hug can be.  The sound of these grown men wrapping their arms around each other with the massive thud of their hands and arms is enough to wring out a heart full of tears.  But to watch them reminisce and share their thoughts with one another is beyond beautiful.  They knew each other so well back then.  They became men together, the hard way.  And they were each other’s family for years.  When they get out, some of them are so glad to get back home that they hardly look back.  But most have a deep far-away love for the brothers they left behind in life.

One man, senior to my husband, caught my attention this weekend.  And I hope to goodness he’s reading this.  He asked me what made me smile, and I shared with him my hope and joy, “it’s Jesus.”   He genuinely spoke of the guys as “his boys” and I knew why.  He loved them.  It was in his heart.  This man will stay in my heart for a very long time.  He was heartfelt and real.  Life wasn’t easy and yet he still cared from the inside out!  Having never really had a father of my own in life, he was one of the men I could walk away from and say, “I’d take one like that!”

After we came home, I was working in my five-day-over-grown garden, of which I’m sure none of the children picked, watered or weeded while we were gone.  The weeds had infiltrated my beautiful rows and were almost as tall as everything in the garden.  I watered it generously and then started pulling weeds while the ground was soft and moist.  It made it easier to pull the weeds with their usually shallow roots.  As the garden started to shape up, this man again came to mind.

He told me that at some time in his life the motto of the Marines, “God, Country Corps”, had gotten out of whack.  It hadn’t been in the right order and God had not come first.  As I watered and then weeded my garden today, I thought about the order.   The order of the garden mixed in my mind with the order of the universe.  If we aren’t soft, if the garden we call life isn’t watered, we can not notice let alone pull the weeds out of our own lives.  If we aren’t diligent, daily, weeds get out of control.  If God isn’t first, other things come up, crowding out what is important.  It’s overwhelming.  The order has to be right.

I’ll never forget these Marines.  The big guys that we spent our only alone time in 30 years with. Time well spent.  In two years they will reunite again.  I’ll so cherish the moments with the Marine who said, “why do you smile?”, the man who made me smile!  A man who loved his “boys” and a man who gave me a glimpse of what a good father can be like.  For only knowing him just a little while, I was reminded to share my joy regularly with those who ask.  I was reminded to keep smiling, so that someone will ask!  I was reminded of order, and I was reminded how important relationship is, both with God and people!    My heart is full.

It’s a hot summer weekend, bordering the Fourth of July.  It’s the kind of weekend that is normally full of invites and picnics, beaches and fun.  But it’s also one of the few weekends that I didn’t have anything on the schedule.  The rest of the family was booked solid though!  The minute this weekend is over, our calendar is on hyper-speed.  We have one thing after another and I won’t be able to see straight until early October.  Yes, it’s that kind of summer.  The kind that you feel racing ahead at a time of year that you really want to slow down and enjoy, especially in Michigan where the great weather is short-lived.

The big kids were off to various places, a car had to get in to the dealer, drop-offs had to be made for teens and I needed to drop in for a visit with my parents.  By 2:30 pm the littlest two and I were finally home with no where to go.  They jumped in the pool and I started a project I’ve been hoping to tackle for a couple years.

Both of our walkways, front and backyard, are made of interlocking pavers.  In between all those pavers are copious quantities of small weeds and grass.  For the past two years, a few times a year, I’ve picked all the weeds out and hated every minute of it.  I have wanted to do a clean sweep, but just never got around to it.  Time would be short and I’d pick the weeds, knowing that if I did the whole job I wouldn’t have to weed as much.  So yesterday, when the world was busy around me, I determined it would be the day.  It meant I had to take the new power washer and put gas in it, and attach the hoses, something I normally rely on my husband for.  But he ran up north to cut the grass at his parents cabin.  I got the job done and started power washing out all the weeds and dirt and gravel between the joints.  In no time, I was covered head to toe in mud and fine gravel.  It was in my ears and hair, my bathing suit, my legs and my face.  The crunch between my teeth was a tell-tale sign I must have had my mouth open during the project.

As I waved the wand with water that flowed out at such a rate it cut like a knife, I noticed something between the flying mud and water.  Some weeds were immediately blown out of the cracks.  Others, like mossy areas, were a little harder to come up.  However, when you caught the edge of them, they came out in large chunks.  Deep dandelions, well no getting around it, they would be loosed, but I would need to pull them in the end.   But there was something that caught my eye in the process.  Some of the finest weeds didn’t budge.  I could go back and forth, over and over, and they did not come out.  They would bend and change direction, I could blat them sideways, frontwards and back, and dead on, and still they would not come out.  The same was true for areas that had filled in with grass.  Thin, tiny blades of grass were some of the hardest to remove.  Even in the tiniest of places to grow, their roots secured them.  Even under the greatest force, they remained.  The powerful force of the water that can even slice through my skin, could not automatically uproot grass or tiny weeds.

It was a quick reminder to me of just how rooted I need to be.  I may not be able to cover alot of ground, but my ground needs to be able to withstand frustrations, troubles, rejections and attacks by forces greater than myself.  Someone once asked me, “have you ever questioned your faith?”  I can tell you, the answer is no.  I’ve never questioned it.  There have been alot of rough spots in my life that I have been absolutely at the mercy of.  But it never made me doubt my faith.  And my faith has kept truth in sight at all times.

My daughter and I were driving to the chiropractor and we commented just this week how amazing it is to know so many who were raised with the truth and knowledge of God and His word, but who have justified new philophies and compromises.  People who we thought were rooted but who have become separated from the ground beneath their feet and embraced what the world has proclaimed to be true.

“Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude. See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deception, according to the tradition of men, according to the elementary principles of the world, rather than according to Christ…” Colossians 2:6-8

Rooted…not just full of faith.  Deeply rooted, instructed, established, and overflowing with gratitude.  Nobody, or no theory or feeling, should be able to move us from the grounding of our faith.  It has to go deep, and to go deep, it needs to actually be deep. Immovable!  Unshakeable!  I may be tiny, but my faith is strong, and my determination is to go deeper as the power that tries to shake me loose looms.  Go deep!  Work at it, be  instructed, be established, be filled with gratitude!  And hang on!  Life is pretty rough.  But God already knew that….. 🙂

Time Out!

Time out!  Yep, I’d like the world to take a short commercial break for me.  Not that I watch commercials, or TV for that matter, but I really would like everyone to just stop what they’re doing for a while so I can have a time out.  Send me to my room, tell me I’m grounded, tell me everything’s cancelled, I think I need a time out.  Do you ever feel that way?

It’s about the time of year when I get that feeling.  If you’ve ever lived in Michigan in the winter, and the long grey days, you’ll understand.  Everyday I find myself saying “I just need some sun!”   I  begin to scour flights and places to go to get me a little sunshine to get me going again.  I look ahead at my spring and summer calendar and realized it is already getting booked up making the hope of coming warmth and God-given Vitamin D to feel as if it’s already being used up before it actually returns to our cold state.  It’s this time of year when the fog sets in and I’m not sure how to accomplish it all on so little fuel.  I begin to wonder what am I doing, where am I going, can I just take a nap?

As I was reading in my study this morning I marvel at how purposeful life is without distractions.  I see how in spite of our feeling, we have a calling.  And how clinging to the balance of sheer life and death can bring clarity and purpose to anyone!  I’ve studied Moses, a lot.  I’ve always loved the example of God’s call and Moses’s answer to the difficult tasks he faced and the purpose God set him to accomplish.  But I don’t think I ever noticed how difficult it must have been just to survive every day until he even could recognize that call on his life.  When he was a baby, daily survival was a great big deal.  Because Pharoah had set to kill the baby boys of that day, we see the story in Exodus of how his mother made a basket to float him in the river just to hide him.  The questions in my mind swirled.  Did she float him between feedings and risk being seen with him every time he needed to be fed?  Did floating him sooth him so he didn’t cry and risk being heard?  For how long did this process go on?  How tough it must’ve been to get through the long days of praying this little boy kept living.  I’m sure Moses’ mom would’ve wanted to call a time out at this point.  “You all take your baby-killing decrees and go sit in your palaces while my baby and I have a timeout right now.”  She would’ve wanted to snuggle him and feed him in peace, and without the day to day struggle, never knowing if the hope for the months ahead was worth it.

God had a different kind of time out in mind though.  Moses was scooped up by Pharoah’s daughter, his life spared, his momma became his nursemaid, and he was raised in Pharaoh’s home.  God set in motion the plan for his life to free an entire nation from bondage.  He was set up for his calling in the dreary, fretful, dark days of ancient Israel with what looked like no hope in sight.  I was so deeply reminded that in the mundane, in the dreary dark days of the winters of our lives, (both literal and figurative), that if we yield to God’s will, we are being set up for His calling on our lives.   Fulfilling His calling IS the light that moves us forward into the next season of our purpose.

I’m still looking for flights!  But with the full knowledge that the next season is more about fulfilling God’s plan for me than it is about me escaping the mundane.  Are you in need of a time out too?  Let it be a place of being set up for fulfilling God’s purpose.  Dig deep and be prepared, be in communication with God, be ready!  God’s call is real and we don’t want to be caught taking a nap when it’s time to move!

Here’s a few practical tips to make it from the dreary winter days of your life to the light and warmth of your purpose being fulfilled:

 1.  When you can’t see very far ahead, keep your eyes on God and be reminded of what He has already done in your life. 

“Look to the Lord and His strength; seek His presence continually and always.  Remember the wondrous works that He has done, His miracles…”  1 Chronicles 16:11-12

2.  Be assured, God knows when you’re struggling to make it to the next season in your purpose.  You are not wallowing alone, grounded or set in a time out without Him knowing it.  

For the eyes of the Lord range throughout the earth to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to Him. 2 Chronicles 16:9

3.  Make sure your perspective is eternal not stuck in the moment that you are in.  If you only look at how you feel today from your own human perspective, you will never know where you need to be tomorrow and you certainly won’t be prepared for the day God moves you to the next place in your calling. 

“The Lord does not look at things man looks at.  Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”  1 Samuel 16:7

4.  Be ready!  Be watchful!  God’s purpose for you may be building up inside you while you are waiting. And when it is time, you don’t want to be caught sleeping.  Get in shape!  You may have a big task in front of you.  You have to do your part! 

“You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light.  With Your help I can advance against a troop; with my God I can scale a wall.”  Psalm 18:28-29

5.  When it’s time, move.  God will steady you, He will be your strength and He will be your guide, but only if you move!

“I waited patiently for God to help me; then He listened and heard my cry.  He lifted me out of the pit of despair, out from the bog and the mire, and set my feet on a hard, firm path and steadied me as I walked along.” Psalm 40:1-2

I hope you’re hoping, I hope you’re waiting, I hope you’re digging deep.  I hope you’re ready!  God never calls us to nothing and so the next season is coming!  The next season in your calling…your life…your purpose.

Un-destinguishable

After yet another long argument with a teen in my house, who I’m pretty confident argues to get out of work, not necessarily for her deep convictions, I suddenly am having one of those mom days that are probably a little closer to wallowing than they are to grumbling.  I sent her off to go do a study on “having joy” because I’m so tired of arguing with her about things “not being fair”, that she needs to understand that joy isn’t a circumstance, it an attitude!  I told her to come back with 20 Bible verses about  joy written down and five of them memorized.  I sick and tired of no one having joy!

As I type those words , I realize in the mommy process,  I think I’m losing my own!  It might just be because I haven’t had an hour of quiet in the last 29 years.  Or maybe because the only decent meal I have time for is usually when I finally get out and I’m really too tired to enjoy it.  Or maybe because the dog threw up, and the cat litter stinks, and the ink pen broke on my leather couch.  Or because yet again, the dishes are piled so high that I can hardly fill a cup of water from the sink.  Maybe it’s because the sock bin runneth over, or because the yard is full of dog poop and I have to spend time calling yet another insurance company or medical provider, which should never take as long as it does.    It’s so easy to lose our joy and so hard to find it again.  And it’s not like kids are working hard to help you find your joy!  They’re a little engrossed in their own self-satisfaction at this age.

While I explained it to my daughter, I realized that I am speaking to myself.  You see, everything I just listed, is a circumstance.  It’s not me, and shouldn’t be my heart.  If I can blame the loss of joy on everything and anyone else in my life, then my joy is dependent apparently on others, and that my friends, is not joy.  That is an unyielding immovable attitude.  I think of the Israelites when they were rebuilding the temple after gathering back in Jerusalem.  They were so happy to be building the temple once again, and Ezra 3 says they shouted joyous praise to God.  But, there were older Jews there who recalled what the temple used to be like, and it says they wept, and because the weeping was as loud as the praise,  no one could distinguish between the noise!

We have to be able to distinguish between the noise!  What is it, weeping or joy?  I can tell you that when we are grumbling and complaining, it doesn’t sound a lot like joy.   I’ve walked around for a couple of days with a pretty straight face counting all the pitfalls of the self-sacrifice in motherhood and being a wife as if I were filling out a score-card.  And although I’ve managed to say nothing aloud the last two days, my face and my actions have probably said a lot!  And it probably didn’t sound like joy, or if what came out of my mouth was still a form of Godly, it likely wasn’t distinguishable from my grumbling.

I’m pretty sure I need to go memorize five of my own verses on joy! Here’s a few if you’d like to join me!

  • “When anxiety was great within me, your consolation brought me joy”  Psalm 94:19
  • The prospect of the righteous is joy, but the hopes of the wicked come to nothing.”  Proverbs 10:28
  • [Paul] know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty.  I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, … .  I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Philippians 4:12-13
  • “As servants of God we command ourselves in every way to great endurance in troubles, hardships and distresses; …in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left;…through bad report and good report, …sorrowful yet always rejoicing; …having nothing and yet possessing everything.” 2 Corinthians 6:3-9
  • “…God is my strong refuge. …He made my feet like the feet of a deer and set me secure on the heights. …You have given me the shield of Your salvation …For you equipped me with strength for the battle.” 2 Samuel 22:33-34 & 36 & 40
  • “The Lord is close to those whose hearts are breaking; He rescues those who are humbly sorry for their sins. The good man does not escape all troubles – he has them too – But the Lord helps him in each and every one.”  Psalms 3:18-19

As I finish this, I realize the house is suddenly quiet.  I look outside, and in the finally blue sky and the muddy backyard, my children are running and playing, having escaped their frustrated mother’s homework and her grumpy smile while I stole the necessary minute away.  And I think, for the moment, in the pursuit of joy for all of us, I’ll just let them keep on playing  🙂

Love at First Look

I stopped at a bakery yesterday to pick up an order for my mom. The lady at the counter tapped the ring on my finger and said, “your husband must love you alot!” I smiled and said, “yep! He loves me that much!” But inside, I had quite the chuckle. My own cherished wedding ring has a broken prong so I don’t wear it very often as I don’t want the diamond to fall out. But a while ago at a rummage sale, I bought an imitation that is probably worth a couple dollars which I often wear in its place until I have a chance to get my own fixed. As I drove away contemplating letting my husband know just how much he doesn’t love me according the value of my ring, LOL, I was reminded just how unreal impressions can be. It was a huge reminder to me that when we meet someone and assume something about them, it may in fact not be the case. Someone who seems mean, or hurtful, may in fact be hurting. Someone may seem happy on the outside and be extremely sad on the inside. What a great lesson for me on the grace and love we need to offer to everyone we come in contact with, because what we see may not be who they are on the inside, and certainly not who they appear to be.  

How appropriate that nearing this day of love being professed the world over, we are reminded of God’s love for every one of us and that He truly does know who we are.  He doesn’t have a first impression of someone, He has the blueprint of their actual heart and soul!  He knows what each of us is really like, what each of us really struggles with, and His love for all of us is deep and steadfast and not measured by what He gives us or how we look on the outside!

God loves each of us the same, yet He knows us intimately! No other love story deserves such recognition as this one!  But it’s not uncommon for us to think differently of people based on what we se.  It’s happened for centuries.  In fact, in New Testament times, when Paul and Barnabas were busy sharing the love of Christ with both Jews and Gentiles, the council in Jerusalem, the Pharisees, were pretty preturbed.  They looked down on the Gentiles and felt if they were going to get the same grace and mercy that Christ gave on the cross, that the Gentiles should also have to look just like them.  And Peter, in all his wisdom, explained the love of God to them this way:

  • 6The apostles and elders met to consider this question. 7After much discussion, Peter got up and addressed them: “Brothers, you know that some time ago God made a choice among you that the Gentiles might hear from my lips the message of the gospel and believe. 8God, who knows the heart, showed that he accepted them by giving the Holy Spirit to them, just as he did to us. 9He did not discriminate between us and them, for he purified their hearts by faith. 10Now then, why do you try to test God by putting on the necks of Gentiles a yoke that neither we nor our ancestors have been able to bear? 11No! We believe it is through the grace of our Lord Jesus that we are saved, just as they are.” (Acts 15:6-11 – NIV)

Yes, God knows the heart!  And He has loved us all, equally and mercifully, just the same!  There’s no measure by the way we look, or what we wear, or how we seem to be that can affect His love for us! No man can judge what is happening on the inside or what our lives are really like.  God knows the heart!  And He loves us all just the same!

Now, I might be a little more conscious about the ring I wear.  I might one day work a little harder to get mine fixed, or even talk my husband into a new one!  It will never be the measure of how much my husband actually loves me.  But it will always be a reminder to me to love beyond what I see!  Because the perfect example of love, in all it’s purity and grace and mercy and redemption was poured out in spite of the condition of my heart!  And my Father in heaven, sees my heart, and yours, exactly as it is!