Friday, August 30, 2013

He Thought Of Everything...

How is it possible for me to love you girls this much when I didn’t give birth to you I will never know. It's a wonder. It's nothing short of the glory of Jesus. He's so incredible with the way He tweaks our hearts...anyway. That's not the point... (Oh how I need attention medication.) You just needed to know how incredibly loved and MISSED oh my word MISSED by me you are before I share what’s on my mind. (When are small groups going to start back up? I want our table back!) Moving on...
You still there? I sure hope so...

My beloved car broke down today (Betsy) and I had to walk 2 miles. Y'all know that nearly killed me for two reasons...One, I'm out of shape. And two, I love Betsy and now I need to sell her because I don’t trust her. Again, not why I'm writing you. HOWEVER when I was doing all that walking I was thinking and talking to God...about you guessed it. YOU.

My morning devotional took me to the book of Ephesians. Indulge me please and read it. I picked The Message translation because I find it easiest to understand today. Tomorrow, who knows...maybe I will lean towards King James. (It could happen. Not likely though) 

Stick with it's long. (The bold and underlines are my additions not the Bible.)  Ready? Go.

The God of Glory
3-6 How blessed is God! And what a blessing he is! He’s the Father of our Master, Jesus Christ, and takes us to the high places of blessing in him. Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.

(Did you read that girls? BEFORE He made the earth He had you in mind. BEFORE creation. Before He made one single thing He picked you to be the focus. Then what does it say His love makes us? Look up there at the verse...WHOLE. You are WHOLE. Lacking nothing. I have chills.) 

7-10 Because of the sacrifice of the Messiah, his blood poured out on the altar of the Cross, we’re a free people—free of penalties and punishments chalked up by all our misdeeds. And not just barely free, either. Abundantly free! He thought of everything, provided for everything we could possibly need, letting us in on the plans he took such delight in making. He set it all out before us in Christ, a long-range plan in which everything would be brought together and summed up in him, everything in deepest heaven, everything on planet earth.

(Girls, don't miss that. People spend their entire life wrapped up in guilt from sin. Look... you are going to sin. We all do it. But God has set you FREE. He made a plan. Through the can be abundantly free. Ask for forgiveness and move on! Don't you dare let someone tell you otherwise! You are forgiven and set FREE! No matter the sin!)  

11-12 It’s in Christ that we find out who we are and what we are living for. Long before we first heard of Christ and got our hopes up, he had his eye on us, had designs on us for glorious living, part of the overall purpose he is working out in everything and everyone.

(He has His eye on you. Long before you heard of Him...He was loving you.)  

13-14 It’s in Christ that you, once you heard the truth and believed it (this Message of your salvation), found yourselves home free—signed, sealed, and delivered by the Holy Spirit. This signet from God is the first installment on what’s coming, a reminder that we’ll get everything God has planned for us, a praising and glorious life.

(Stop questioning your salvation. Let's believe God on this! He said if you heard the truth and believed it...which all of you are free. SEALED. You have his signet (mark) and it's a done deal! We don't need to rehash this!)

15-19 That’s why, when I heard of the solid trust you have in the Master Jesus and your outpouring of love to all the followers of Jesus, I couldn’t stop thanking God for you—every time I prayed, I’d think of you and give thanks. But I do more than thank. I ask—ask the God of our Master, Jesus Christ, the God of glory—to make you intelligent and discerning in knowing him personally, your eyes focused and clear, so that you can see exactly what it is he is calling you to do, grasp the immensity of this glorious way of life he has for his followers, oh, the utter extravagance of his work in us who trust him—endless energy, boundless strength!

Baby girls. YOU HAVE EVERYTHING IN JESUS CHRIST.  Everything. Already! You don't need to search for one more second to find that one thing that you think will fulfill you. Can’t you hear the excitement in bursting off the page in that passage? "Utter extravagance" for those who trust Him! YES! I know you want that! 

I don't know about you but this is one heck of a love letter. The living God of the universe picked you. You have been chosen. For a life full of LAVISH love. 

I want so badly for you to know who you are. It changes everything for you. When you look in the mirror, you are looking at the image of God Himself...we have a rich heritage and you belong. 

I love you madly...I'm praying for you by name today. 

Oh GOD will you please make these girls intelligent and discerning in knowing you personally, clear their eyes of all else besides you so they can see without a doubt what You are calling them to do. Help them grasp the immensity of your love. Father let them be the generation of believers who know You better than anyone who has gone before us. Give them self confidence! Go before them and clear the way...I love you so much Jesus and I can’t thank you enough for creating these world changers. 

I love you, I love you, I love you 

(Make good choices this weekend. Be safe!) I couldn't help myself.

Friday, August 9, 2013

24 Hours

My house is a disaster and I have company coming in less than 12 hours. I should say that one more time because it really is just that bad, DISASTER. The kind when your toilet has a ring and the trash cans in every single room are overflowing. 

I should definitely be cleaning right now but my head has stories swirling around making my thoughts jump from one thing to the next and I have to put it on paper to settle down and get focused. It's like an exit from the brain situation. Strange I know. 

I told you company was coming in town and that is most definitely the wrong description of who is driving on I-20. I could be really original here and call her my "sister" or my "BFF" but that wouldn’t touch the surface. This one, she's set apart. 

Here's truly the only way I have found to describe it...

One of my favorite stories in the Bible is when an angel of THE LORD (can you even imagine) came to tell Mary she was going to have a baby. This is a scene that would flip me out on the spot. For a thousand reasons, and Mary handled herself incredibly well, only asking ONE question.

And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be since I am a virgin?" Luke 1:34

In which the angel replied, 

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you and the power of the Most High will over shadow you: therefore the child will born will be Holy-The Son of God." Luke 1:35

OK. This next part is not in the Bible but I feel as a woman who was once a young teenage girl I can pitch an idea to you here that Mary’s reply coming up in a few seconds was perfection, but I'm guessing her heart was racing ONE THOUSAND miles a minute. 

She said, "I am a servant of The Lord; let it be to me according to your word." Luke 1:38 

 Can we all just stop here and applaud that respectful, faithful girl. I would have been SOBBING. And asking a few follow up questions like...

"Can you come to my parent’s house and let them in on this little secret? My dad is going to lose his mind." 

"Will you please explain this to the man I was supposed to be marrying, he's not going to be thrilled, and I'm really not even sure he will believe me. You know, with this whole virgin birth story that has NEVER happened before." 

"Do you think it would be possible to let all the other girls my age know I didn't have sex before marriage? Because that’s sort of a big deal around here and now my name will be mud, and the social pressure is going to be a nightmare."

Mary said nothing at all except "I am a servant of The Lord; let it be to me according to your will."

She knew exactly Whose she was, Whom she served and the power He possessed. What a witness to the rest of us...but I'm off track. What I absolutely ADORE about this story is what Mary did the SECOND the angel left. 

It says "The angel departed from her." in Luke 1:38 and look what happens in Luke 1:39...the very next verse.

"Mary arose and went with haste into the hill country, to a town in Judah, and she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth."

You betcha she "went with haste" to see her best friend. That’s what we do! In *that* moment, I'm going with haste to "her."

And then in verse 56 is says "Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about 3 months."

Best. Friends. 

I love imagining the conversations those two had in that 3 month time frame. After the initial shock had worn off. I'm glad the Bible doesn’t tell us everything they said....God knew what privacy and intimacy between soul sisters was all about.  He didn't dare let it on the page. 

So yeah...that's the type of friendship I'm describing. 

She's the one I don’t clean the house for, impress with fancy food, or feel the need to entertain. I don't feel judged by her, ever. We just don’t do that to each would be like attacking..well, myself. We laugh until my side is in a stitch and I literally cannot breathe. It’s frightening sometimes. I tell her if I die laughing...I mean actually die, it will be her fault and then she has to take my children.    

Our husbands are best friends and fraternity brothers... (I don’t think I need to elaborate on that. Enough said.)

She's the one who made the verse "There is no greater love than to lay one's life down for your friends." John 15:13 make since to me. 

Before her I read that and secretly thought..."Well I'm good! Nobody around here I would ever feel like laying my life down for!" And now I know the kind of friendship bond that makes that verse hit home. I'd give her my last drop of blood. Whatever she needed to live, she could have.

And it's the sweetest gift from the Lord really. One I don’t deserve. I've never had a whole bunch of luck when it came to friends. I know the cut of rejection and the pain of betrayal. I've received the mean girl treatment and I've given it. I know how to play the game...what to say and how to get by without being devoured by the same sex.  I don't blame any one thing or any one fact it was mostly my fault when a friendship fell apart. And they did...fall apart. Quite often.  

I'm not looking for sympathy, I have friends! A handful of women who I "do life with" and I genially love them and adore their families. They have my heart and can read my thoughts by the look on my face. We share secrets and pray for each other. It's one on my favorite things on this planet to hug a friend and start up obsessive chatter. And Oh Lord my hand full of local girlfriends deserve a medal for listening to me...I'm long winded.  Blessed beyond measure to have those women. 

But there is something about the one. The history...years of it. The growing up together. The one who has known you in your darkest moments and personally pulled you out of the pit. The first phone call you made to tell you were engaged, pregnant with your first child, moving to a new city, struggling with depression, received a promotion, joined a new church, made a new friend, lost another friend, fought with your husband, Googled the word "divorce", made up with your husband, got a good diagnosis, got a bad one, struggling with your Faith, soaring with it....

It's as if after I tell's real.

That one. 

She's on her way from Alabama to see me. And I want 3 months... but will have to settle for 24 hours. And I find myself completely wrapped up in thanksgiving for this thing I never really understood, called friendship.

And I’m asking God to provide it for each of my's essential to all things good and girly.