They were able to love when it wasn’t easy, when it looked crazy, when it seemed hopeless, and even when it was very uncomfortable to do so. Their love was a glorious, God-sized love, and I wondered if I could love the same way.
Growing up, I loved everything French. I took two years of French in high school, loved French food, and, aside from Italy, France was THE place any artist should visit. However, I had never actually been to France. So when the opportunity came to visit Paris last fall, I knew I couldn’t pass it up.
Many of us are very familiar with the Proverbs 31 epilogue, the description of a noble wife. However, I’m going to wait before I add all these noble traits to my New Year’s resolution list. There is more to this woman than doing all the right things, making all the right choices, and living a perfect life...she can laugh.
Tragedy. An event causing great suffering, destruction, and distress.
This summer, I received the shocking news that my good friend’s husband had passed away from a sudden heart attack. Physically fit and healthy-looking on the outside did not reveal any health concerns nor any imaginable heart problems. A young wife suddenly a widow and two beautiful girls fatherless. What do you do?
...curled up on the uncomfortable couch in our room, I prayed something like, “God help me; I’m such an idiot!” Seriously. Not only did I have an excruciating sunburn, but I also realized that I didn’t build sandcastles with my girls for one second because I was focused on getting a week’s worth of tan in that one glorious day.
The Creator kneels in the fertile soil of the new land, the dense loam clinging to His bare knees. He lifts a heaping handful of the rich earth to His face and inhales its moist, dark fragrance. He places it on the ground, making a small, seemingly insignificant mound in that broad, bare plain. He grabs another handful and adds it to the first, then another and another. Eventually, He begins to pack and smooth the rough pile.
David and Goliath.
Moses and the Red Sea.
Joshua and Jericho.
The Bible contains some of the greatest stories ever told. Even non-Christians know these stories and have been impressed by the drama and characters. It’s easy to think of the people in the stories as heroic, larger than life -- even super-human. Their stories can become fairytales without recognizing how human each person in the Bible actually was.
We are told that the great prophet Elijah was a man just like us (James 5:17), but do we really believe that? Wasn’t there just something special about him that allowed him to do all the great and astonishing things he did? Something that we don’t have?
It was springtime and the women from our church in Connecticut were heading out to our annual retreat by the sea. The speaker, a dear friend of mine, wanted to teach the women how to listen to God’s voice by waiting before Him in silence. This would be new territory for many of the women, including me. Oh sure, I had heard the voice of God before, but it usually came as an interjection in the midst of my incessant self-talk. External silence was easy enough. Internal silence? Nearly impossible.
When my children were young, and I was more than a little bit overwhelmed with being their mom, people used to say to me, “Enjoy it! It will be over before you know it.” On my worst days, the thought in the back of my head was, “Yeah? It can’t be over soon enough!” Of course I didn’t mean that, but in those early stages of motherhood I was often so exhausted and full of self-doubt that I had trouble accessing “enjoyment” in the moment. I got better at it and eventually found being a mom one of the most rewarding and enjoyable experiences of my life.
Now the “home phase” of parenting is over...
God’s plan seemed clear and simple: if Abraham left everyone and everything he knew and went where God directed, then He would bless him with a “nation” of descendants (Gen. 12:1-2 NIV). Without much delay, Abraham quickly went “as the Lord told him” (v. 4). Perhaps too quickly. For with just as little consideration,“…Lot went with him” (v. 4).