Love Is Not A Fight

“Love is patient, love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails.  But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.  For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when perfection comes, the imperfect disappears.  When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child.  When I became a man, I put childish ways behind me.  Now we see but a poor reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face.  Now I know in part; then I shall know in full, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.”

1 Corinthians 13: 4-13

Matthew 6:33

Here’s the question that plagues me tonight:
Why is it so incredibly difficult to trust God with the desires of my heart? To truly lay them down at His feet and know that He will give them back more blessed than before? Why do I find it easier to believe He will provide for me financially than to believe that He really cares about the desires of my heart?

Most people I know have this same problem.  Most of whom I know fall into two categories.  I am sure I have been in both categories at one point in my life or another, because it’s really easy to switch sides depending on your season of life.

The first category are those that “have what you desire”, i.e. a husband, baby, loving family, house, dream job, etc etc.  How easy is it to be the voice of hope to someone when you have received one of the desires of your heart? I have to say, it isn’t very easy in a state of hurt to hear “God has a plan and His timing is perfect” as that person smiles with one arm around their adoring husband and one arm holding the newborn baby.  Yeah.  I know.  But 5 years ago, I bet you felt the same way  I do….so instead of being encouraged to lay down my desires and yes, WAIT, I am instead frustrated with waiting longer and find myself coveting – a whole new ballgame! How did that happen?  It’s not their fault I see their bubbly happiness as more a stab in my heart than the encouragement it was meant to be.  This category of people have nothing but good motives and speak the truth.  Yes, God’s timing is perfect and He does have a plan. But how easy it is to forget what it’s like to wait.  Or perhaps some in this category did not have to wait for the very thing I long for….perhaps the desires they long for are different, and so God did not have to make them wait for the other.  But a little ways down the road, the people in this category may switch sides again when another desire arises that isn’t receiving an answer from the Lord – and they might find themselves once again waiting and watching others smile and be happy…vicious cycle.

The second category that we all seem to gravitate to at some point, is the naysayers.  The ones who haven’t seen a desire of their heart realized.  The ones who’ve had one stripped away.  The ones who’ve become bitter.  The ones who laugh at your small shard of hope, the small part of your heart that is trying desperately to trust God’s plan, looking fervently for the bigger picture, hoping against what seems all hope that He hears your cries and will satisfy you with good things….how hard it is to talk to someone who is bitter.  Or perhaps not even bitter…perhaps just consumed with their frustration in waiting for something, in their disappointment in a human that has failed them….so they claim your situation will be no different.  That your hope is immaturity.  That maybe God has a plan, but it can’t be the one you hope and desire for – that’s too good to be true.  Oh how fast the walls build up around a bitter heart…it only takes one conversation with a naysayer to start construction.

So where is the middle ground category?  Where are the people who don’t “have it all together” but aren’t “naysayers of hope”? Can I be one of those people?  Can I dare to hope and trust that God really does hear the desires of my heart, and that while I know He may provide for them differently than I could imagine – He will still provide for them? That He did create desires in my heart and He will not leave them desolate and empty?  Can I keep my heart tender, gentle, and free from bitterness?  Can I take my eyes off of myself long enough to see the testimonies from others of how God can and will bless us with our heart’s desires?  Can I resist the jab of jealousy when I see others who received so “easily” the blessing I have been waiting on with all the patience I can muster? Can I continue to wait well and not take matters into my own hands? Can I speak genuinely to friends – not dashing their hopes because of my own situation, but not ignoring the fact that it’s painful to wait years for what you feel has been promised you? Can I encourage the hopes and dreams in others even if I haven’t received the very things I ache for?  Can I believe what God has spoken to me or others, until He speaks differently? Can I not discount another’s dreams, simply because they seem unattainable?  Isn’t it true that nothing is impossible with God?  Can I dare to believe that for myself and for others, no matter the circumstances?

How I long to be Category #3.  Feel free to join me.

“I am weary in believing, Lord please help my unbelief…I will proclaim it to the world…I will declare it to my heart.  I will sing it when the sun is shining, I will scream it in the dark…You are faithful!  When You give, when You take away – even then, great is Your faithfulness.”


“Because of the Lord’s great love we are not consumed, for His compassions never fail.  They are new every morning; great is Your faithfulness.  I say to myself, ‘The Lord is my portion; therefore I will wait for Him” Lamentations 3:22-24

If I can’t hop….

I have been watching the “Life” series that BBC has put out (and Oprah has voiced over for Discovery Channel), and I have to admit that I cry every time I watch it.  Tonight as I watched, a thought occurred to me.  Usually I think, “Wow, God made some amazing creatures”…tonight I went one thought further.  We think we are the only created beings on Earth that have problems that seem to have no answer – financial struggles, marital issues, broken cars, disease, heartache, job losses – the list goes on and on.  We find ourselves in situations and think “Why, God, why?! Where is the way out? I can’t do this.”  Not to trivialize pain and hardship – but something struck me.

The truth of life is that we live in a fallen world.  As my dad would say, “Crap happens”.  And not just to us humans, but to all of creation.  Many of these creatures find themselves in situations that, on animal-world scale, are just as problematic, just as scary, many times life-and-death situations.  Amazingly enough, God created many “ways out” of situations that would never seem possible or logical.  He didn’t make it easy for them, although He could.  Take the Pebble Toad for example.  The little guy does not have the ability to hop like his other toad and frog relatives.  Now, one would think, how will he ever survive? Ever get out of danger? Out of sticky situations? God creates a way.  Even though it would seem this toad has no hope because God “did not give him the ability to hop”, God provides another way.  He didn’t give the toad what was expected, but He doesn’t leave him high and dry either.  In fact, what God does give the toad, is pretty awesome.  I don’t think the Pebble Toad misses the ability to hop.  He’s happy with the plan God provided for his life – it’s different, perfect and brings such glory to our Maker.  So next time you feel there is no way out, remember the Pebble Toad, and look for the way God is providing – it’s guaranteed to be amazing.

“In this world you will have trouble.  But take heart! I have overcome the world.”  John 16:33

Tales of June Bugs and SuperCuts

Today was an adventure in some of the smallest portions, but an adventure none-the-less.  It began with a visit from the lovely local plumber, who has the no small task of creating awkward situations while tracking mud into your home.  After an hour of me trying to make small talk about plumbing and hose clamps, I moved on to my next adventure…

June Bugs are my nemesis.  My arch-enemy.  There is only one bug I despise more,  but I won’t mention it’s name because it makes me shudder 🙂  I have no idea what purpose June Bugs serve on this earth, but I would like to ask Jesus one day exactly why He created them.  Never the less, June Bugs are actually April Bugs in Houston, and they are everywhere.  Dead or alive, they freak me out.  During the evenings, they collect around my front door as they frantically attempt to fly into the porch light over and over again.  So one of my tasks this morning was to sweep them (dead or alive) away from the door.  Otherwise, I jump 3 feet over them each time I go out the front door – a task that is not easy when carrying groceries or cats.  I was brave.  I was quick.  I defeated the June Bugs.  At least for this morning….

After filing my tax return and paying said taxes (enough said on that subject…), I headed to my favorite hair salon for a long over due hair cut.  Hair cuts relax me.  I am notorious for yawning during hair cuts…the hairdresser is used to it and takes my yawns as compliments.  It’s the next best thing to getting a massage.  All this anticipation built up after bugs, plumbers, and taxes….only to discover the hair salon is now closed on Mondays.  Well by now, my hair feels 14 inches long, heavy, and looks worse than it did when I left – I HAVE to find a hair cut.  After driving and searching, I finally settle on SuperCuts.  Several significant steps down the hair salon ladder, but hey, I paid taxes today – I can use something cheap right?  I walk in to a completely empty salon, save for a little Chinese man.  Who proceeds to yell at someone in the back…who turns out to be a Hispanic woman that only speaks Spanish.   How these two business partners EVER communicate is beyond me.  They both look at me and the lady says, “Hair cut, yes?”.  Good.  At least we’re on the same page?  I am quick to discover there is not going to be my beloved hair washing ritual that I so treasure at hair salons.  Oh no, out comes the spray water bottle…my hair is semi damp when the lady begins to cut.  A very sweet lady, but I really have to paint the picture for you.  Chinese Guy is watching the all-time India channel on tv behind my chair.  Hispanic Lady is speaking rapid Spanish to him, to which he is not responding.  She has a raspy “I’ve smoked a lot of cigarettes” voice.  And did I mention the teeny tiny black mini skirt? And the protruding tummy roll? I keep my eyes closed, partly so I don’t stare at her (as you know, hairdressers have to stand uncomfortably close to their clients) and partly so I can’t see what’s happening to my hair.  Literally 10 minutes later, she hands me a mirror and says “Good, yes?”.  Uh huh.  I look like a wet dog…and there’s no offer to blow dry hair in this hair salon.  I pay my $14.95, get a very awkward hug from my apparently new friend The Hairdresser, a wave and something I can’t understand from Chinese Man, and I step out to my car.  I’m not sure what just happened, and even though my hair looks horrible, I somehow feel like I experienced something really really special….but what was it?

Ah well.  Enough adventure for today.  Who knows what tomorrow will bring? 🙂

Hope.

Can’t get this song out of my head, maybe for a reason? Check it out at:   http://www.nataliegrant.com

“You would think only so much can go wrong
Calamity only strikes once
And you assume that this one has suffered her share
Life will be kinder from here

Sometimes the sun stays hidden for years
Sometimes the sky rains night after night
When will it clear
But our hope endures the worst of conditions
It’s more than our optimism
Let the earth quake
Our hope is unchanged

How do we comprehend peace within pain
Our joy at a good man’s wake
Walk a mile with a woman whose body is torn
With illness but she marches on

Sometimes the sun stays hidden for years
Sometimes the sky rains night after night
When will it clear
But our hope endures the worst of conditions
It’s more than our optimism
Let the earth quake
Our hope is unchanged

Emanuel, God is with us
El Shaddai, all sufficient
Emanuel, God is with us
El Shaddai, all sufficient
Emanuel, God is with us
El Shaddai, all sufficient

We never walk alone
This is our hope
Our hope endures, the worst of conditions
It’s more than our optimism
let the earth quake
let the earth quake
let the earth quake
Our hope is unchanged”