September 30, 2011

On friends...

There is one that keeps all my secrets even the ones I am ashamed to speak aloud ever again.
There is one who thinks I am funny even when my remarks are less than witty but she laughs anyway.
There is one who holds me when I cry and knows just what to say.
There is one who will spend a whole day shopping with me and tell me frankly when something does not fit.
There is one whom I can call in a pinch and will babysit my kids, come get me because I locked my keys in my car, bring me soup when I am sick, or just spend some time sitting by my side while I heal.
There is one who is honest with me and speaks truth when I won’t listen to anyone else and doesn’t give up on me even when I don’t heed advice.
There is one who prays for me, with me, over me. 
There is one who opens her home to me when I have nowhere else to go and I just need to get away.
There is one who won’t judge me no matter what I am doing and supports all my decisions, even the bad ones.
There is one who has walked in my shoes before me, and now guides me through the valleys and the peaks.
There is one with whom I have fought, reconciled, forgiven and been forgiven by again and again.
There have been seasons of my life when only one friend filled all those roles and other times when I was blessed enough to have one for each need.
Some friends have come and gone and left me a better person, some are right here right now and enrich my world every day, and some have been, are, and will forever be part of my life.
Lord, I am thankful for each one of these women. Please help me to follow your example and be like a friend who is closer than a brother and who would lay down her life for them.
Joining with Lisa-Jo for her Five Minute Fridays...

September 23, 2011

On Growing a Family

Joining with Lisa-Jo for her Five Minute Friday on this week's topic: GROWING.
How does a family grow? How does it go from one to two to three to four to five?
Ten years ago I was one.
One is a lonely number so along came Matt and then we were two.  
Two can also be a lonely number so we set out to be three.
Three, however, was a difficult number to come by. And it took some heartache but God being who God is, at the right time, we became three.
And three was not so lonely a number anymore and we were happily settled for the time being but then there was a phone call and …surprise!...we were four. 
Four is a great number. It is an even and solid number. It is a number to sit on forever.
One is a lonely number when you are one child among many in an orphanage and there are only so many hands to take care of all the needs.
One is a lonely number when you were meant to live in family and to have a place to call home.
One is a lonely number when, by simple addition, you don’t have to be alone anymore.
Years ago I didn’t know how we would grow from one to four but today I do know how we will grow from four to five.
And as we embark in this adventure of a Haitian adoption here are some other things I know about growing:
My belly may not grow but my heart will.
My bank account may not grow but my family will.
My house may not grow but the love and the joy it contains will.
And even though none of those things may grow…a child will.

September 15, 2011

A Fair Exchange

I had been slighted, forgotten, ignored. Their words had left me feeling unimportant and invisible; their actions had left me feeling rejected and inconsequential. I had been overlooked and it hurt. It broke my heart because I thought I could trust them. I thought they loved me and I knew I loved them. We were friends, after all. Close friends.
I sat in my bathroom, tears pouring down my face, wondering if it was worth bringing it up to them. Did they even notice? Would they think I was being oversensitive and dramatic? Would they apologize in true surprise or would they dismiss me as exaggerating? I was afraid of the confrontation because I was feeling raw and insecure about our friendship as it was.
So I let liquid disappointment pour out from my soul and my first attempt at reaching up to the Lord was a tirade of accusations towards my offenders. I ranted about their insensitivity and their lack of understanding. I raged about the unfairness of the situation and I bemoaned my own thin skin and my sensitive nature. I was angry and I was broken-hearted and I wanted his audience and his sympathy.
I wanted to hear God say that I should approach them to let them know in no uncertain terms how they had made me feel. I wanted to hear that I was right, that I deserved an apology, and that I was justified in demanding one. That He would be my avenger and my shield bearer.
But He didn’t. And I should have known. 
The One who had been slighted, rejected, and broken in worse ways than I could even imagine, who did not defend himself, who was quiet and gentle like a lamb led to the slaughter had these words for me:
Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light (Matthew 11:28-29).

And slowly, very slowly, as my soul began to settle, I began to understand. He wanted me to leave on the altar of that bathroom the heavy burdens under which I was collapsing: my pain and my disappointment, my injured pride and my self-righteousness, my unforgiving spirit and my need for restitution, my insecurity and my need for recognition, my self-pity and my indignation, my frustration and my anger, my requirement for fairness and even my desire for an apology.

He was asking me to let it go for the sake of the relationship.

In exchange for the sacrifice He was offering another yoke. A much lighter yoke. A yoke I would not carry alone and that would not bend my heart over with its weight: forgiveness and compassion, peace and joy, service and a worth found in Christ, understanding and mercy, hope and trust, and love.

I unloaded my heart that day before Jesus and I walked away from the pain. I let it go. And the next time I saw them, I hugged them, and laughed with them, and I joyfully prayed for their needs.

And, as He promised, my soul truly did find rest.

* Joining today with Emily at Imperfect Prose *