words to live by…

my dear friend, danielle, captured this moment at a friend’s house, and i find myself looking at it often, being inspired by it and the love emanating from the heart of my child.  children have such tender, loving, peaceful souls.  they love without reservation and with total abandon.  Jesus says in Matthew 18:3, that unless we love like them, we have no hope of entering Heaven’s doors.  
Lord, touch my heart.  help me to love like a child again.  no judgements.  no apprehension.  no fear.  just love, acceptance, and the belief that all people deserve this kind of grace. 

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“i love you”

earlier this morning while i was unloading the dishwasher, my little one, isla rae brought me her bowl of half-eaten dry cereal (they love the target version of cinnamon toast crunch – just like their daddy), and asked for more. i stopped unloading, refilled her bowl, and as i handed it back to her, i said, “i love you, isla.” she, in her little way that does sooo well, (if you knew her, you’d know exactly what i’m talking about), nodded her little head, mumbling in her high-pitched little voice, “um hmm,” and walked away.

i went back to my chores thinking about how i want my kids to grow up knowing that everything i do for them is out of love. nothing, and i mean nothing, is done out of obligation. when you truly love someone, you do everything out of your love for them. even the hard things. when i feed them, it’s not b/c i know it’s my duty as a parent to keep them healthy, b/c authorities would come knocking on my door if i didn’t, it’s b/c i desire nothing but total health and satisfaction for them. i change their diapers and wipe their bums out of my love for them and desire to take care of their every need. i know you’re probably thinking, “duh” to those statements, but it’s been my habit for as long as i can remember to tell them i love them at the most random moments. not just when they’re showing me affection, or when we are parting at nana’s, or as i tuck them in at night. i tell them i love them when they’re making a mess, when they’re asking for more food, when they’re sitting on the potty, while they’re watching a tv show, when i’m giving them a bath…anytime.

i recall ava dancing around just yesterday in the kitchen in her pink princess dress, and three times in a row, as she paused, i said, “ava, look at mommy’s eyes.” she would, and i said each time, “i love you, ava.” by the third time, she thought it was so funny and she gave me a look that a 16 year old would give their mom, even though she’s only three, and it was great. i love that interaction with my girls, and i love knowing that they are growing up with the understanding that i love them at all times. my love will never be conditional. never based on circumstances, moods, behaviors, surroundings… my love is always, at all times, forever.

you know who loves us like that? i bet you do, but if you don’t – God. God loves me like that. He loves you like that. as an adult, i have had a really hard time grasping that. taking something so true and amazing and getting it from your head to your heart when you have been thinking for so long that love is mostly conditional, earned, easily taken away…it can be hard embracing the truth about God’s love. being a wife has done a great deal in regards to teaching me about grace, forgiveness, selflessness, making healthy choices that will encourage and not tear down, etc., but being a mother has done wonders in the area of teaching me about love.

have you ever found yourself holding your infant in your arms and suddenly overwhelmed with the emotion of love? and it hits you like a ton of bricks, “oh my goodness, God loves me this way.” how about when your child throws a terrible fit and you are so frustrated, but your love never diminishes one bit – you could still bend down and smooch their little faces like crazy, and you think, “wow, God loves me when i’m acting ugly too.” i have, and wow, it’s good stuff. the moments can be fleeting, but i will often remind myself of those times when i’m feeling less-than-lovable.

anyway, so i was thinking about all of that this morning, and then came across this picture shared by proverbs 31 ministries, originally posted by being mommy, and i couldn’t help but smile, knowing that other moms are thinking the same things today and loving on their babies without reservation. hope it blesses you too.

immature tolerance

i have recently come to HIGHLY DISAGREE with the above statement.

let me explain why…

when i first saw this quote posted on pinterest by an ex-friend of mine, i have to admit, i took it pretty personally.

i knew they were directing it my way, b/c i had already seen this attitude being lived out by this person on a regular basis.

you see, not too long ago, this person admitted that they didn’t care for me, and hadn’t for years, but couldn’t verbalize as to why. “i don’t know.” comforting, huh?

this, of course was a pretty huge shock & deep blow to my heart, b/c i had considered this person a very close friend. (and that person did a pretty stellar job btw of acting the part for a very long time.)

so anyway, when i read this, my initial thought was, “yep, right back at-cha, babe.” tolerance. tolerance. wait a minute…tolerance?

no, that’s not right…

nope, that’s not the attitude of heart God expects of me.

some may feel that’s ok & acceptable, but i know He expects more from His kids.

it also has nothing to do with maturity.

little children can behave in a classroom & act politely in front of their teachers & parents, smile & use their manners around those other kids they don’t particularly like…

to feel one way about your brother in your heart & display a different attitude outwardly is not mature tolerance – it is fake. it’s not genuine. bottom line.

the Word states in 1 John 4:20:

If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen.

like i have said before – i do not want to be a liar.

i can’t worry about others’ opinions & their choice to display “tolerance” – but i can ask God to help the attitude of my heart to change.

a christian friend that i look up to (he & his wife consistently strengthen my faith just by being who they are) recently quoted randall worley & added the following statement:

People don’t treat you the way that they do because [of] who you are…but because of who they are.- Randall Worley…

my take away…treat people based on who i am not who they are.

i think this the challenge for a lot of christians…

i really feel as though i am being guided to studying Jesus’ attitude towards judas.

i know – sounds strange, but as i already said – my heart is wounded & my trust has never been more betrayed. i have been constantly reminded of the question found in Luke 22…

While he was still speaking a crowd came up, and the man who was called Judas, one of the Twelve, was leading them. He approached Jesus to kiss him, but Jesus asked him, “Judas, are you betraying the Son of Man with a kiss?”

there is something very significant about this scenario. i am eager for God to bring me to a complete revelation of all that it can speak to me…

* Jesus – the Lord, himself, chose only 12 men to be nearest to His agenda & His heart…
* He predicted His betrayal before it even happened…He expected the let-down, but did not waver in His purpose, His attitude, or who He was…
* one of His closest companions & confidant by choice betrayed His trust & publicly disowned Him in the very act of what is supposed to represent friendship, respect, trust, & love – the kiss.
he could have just pointed his finger at Jesus, but instead He chose the ultimate insult.

i would love to know what Jesus was thinking…what His heart was feeling…

i’m guessing it wasn’t hatred.

i’m assuming it wasn’t vengeance.

i’m certain it wasn’t “mature tolerance.”

nope – Jesus was probably still feeling love, b/c that’s Who He Is.

“Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23

i’m not there yet, but the first step was realizing that’s where i need to be heading…