Miss Lily Goes to Idaho or glimpsing a God much bigger than I could ever imagine on my own.

Miss Lily Goes to Idaho

I’m no famous photographer. But, hey, I know a great photo op when I see one. I entitled this conglomeration of crazed and clever relatives  “Miss Lily Goes to Idaho”.

I went, too.

I guess the land of shot gun shells, gravel roads and wood stoves called  our names. Grandma’s name, too.

All three of us answered.

Why not?

  1. My daughter needed to try on her dress for one of my Idaho  niece’s wedding.
  2. My husband was off to Grenada and I needed a new audience for my clever jokes and sage advice.
  3. Grandma was just about to pitch a fit if she didn’t get to see her brand new great grand baby girl.

I figured a quick nip down to the back woods of Idaho would ease all our minds. Besides, isn’t Idaho spelled backwards F.U.N. ? If not, who cares? Nobody in Idaho can spell anyway.

Well, we did have fun, just as I figured. What I didn’t figure on was encountering the profound.

It started with a dream I had  a few nights after I arrived. In the dream, I tried to talk to different people but they either turned away from me in the middle of conversation or just plain got mad. It was weird.

Certainly not fun.

When I woke up I felt emotionally drained. As I hauled myself out of bed, I wondered if  something I ate, read or saw on TV messed with my mind.

Then, I remembered what I’d been praying about the last few days. I wanted God to change me, to help me love other people.

Not an easy task for the Almighty, I fear. I  harbor resentment and judgment as deeply as any withered old soul.

This dream – it was like the finger of God was pressing on what was holding me back – the fear of rejection.

I know I let opportunities slip away, chances to embrace the broken with compassion, to bring healing to the hurting just to protect myself.

I could not forget the dream.

So, amid the fun, I did a lot of thinking and listening and wondering about what God was trying to say to me.

Sunday, my brother preached on Romans 5:1 and 2. He talked about justification. Peace. Access into grace by faith and boasting in the glory of God.

Pretty hefty stuff for two little verses. But, what does that have to do me and my fear of rejection?

Not much.

It’s all about God, not me. It’s about His truth –

  • deep and mysterious,
  • rich and endless,
  • expansive and eternal

That is what we fall into when the people we love push us away. The truth about who God is. The truth about His love.

Summary of it all?

Taking Lily and Grandma to Idaho was fun. I got to

  • the feel the feather weight of my new baby niece in my arms,
  • the heat of a wood stove on my skin,
  • the taste of crock pot chicken, fresh grill burgers, potato chips dipped in pork and beans on my tongue.

Best of all, I got a glimpse of God -through His word.

He is a much, much bigger God than I could ever imagine on my own.

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Trying to impress God is just silly. Daring to love Him is the most profound thing you will ever do.

 

lov etruthpressure.com

Sometimes, I get stressed about impressing God.

Maybe this comes from

  • churches I grew up in,
  • my own personality,
  • or just a case of I’m-gonna-show-everybody-I-can-do-it pride.

I know, it sounds a bit silly.

I mean, how do you impress the one who created the sun, moon and stars? How would any one even dare to attempt to trump His great plan of redemption?

Don’t even go there.

But what about the achievements within our grasp? Can we dazzle someone somewhere if we work hard enough?

Possibly someone, somewhere. Maybe even thousands or millions everywhere. 

But, not God.

He knows everything that’s been said, written, danced, conquered, accumulated and  overcome in some way shape or form in any corner of anywhere. 

So, what’s the big challenge? What can we do?

Know God. 

  • Read His word,
  • Talk to Him every day.

It’s the most profound thing you will ever do.

Love Him with all your heart, all your soul and every bit of your mind. Let your love of God push every slimy bit of idolatry right out of your life. Nothing will change you more powerfully. 

Love people. Reach out to other human beings with integrity and humility. Forget bungee jumping. Loving people is the most courageous thing you will ever do. 

I know, I know. I was the one running around in a panic trying to do something extra-ordinary to impress God. I was the one caught up in what didn’t really matter at all.

Be patient with me. I’m a bit slow but I’m learning to  

  • Love God.
  • Love people.

Every. Single. Day.

Bawl babies, superheroes and emotional blobs who huddle beneath the shield of Almighty God.

 

TEAR_PRINCE VIJ

Sunday was a very emotional day. It didn’t help that I’m a bawl baby at  heart.

Don’t get me wrong. It’s not like I cry non-stop. It only happens when I’m incredibly overwhelmed with

  • stress
  • joy
  • sadness
  • self-pity
  • fatigue
  • and the ending of most super sad movies and even some super sad commercials.

For those who have already vowed to run the other way the next time they see me in public, I want you to know that I don’t slobber and wail all the time. I am a normal human who functions without risk to others in everyday society.

It’s just that I leak a lot. (No smart remarks here. You know what I mean.)

Honestly, when it come to crying I wish had super powers.  I’d leap over heart wrenching moments with a single bound. People would call me Captain Super-happy.

But, I’m just emotionally messy me. It’s really embarrassing sometimes.

Just this last Sunday I was crying during the worship time at church. In a matter of seconds my not so flawlessly applied make-up washed away. To stop the flow, I squeezed my eyes shut.

Didn’t work.

As I berated myself for not being a stronger person, the lyrics of the worship song caught my attention.

“You alone are my strength, my shield…”

I suddenly caught a glimpse of my my not-so-super-self  huddled in a muddy field of emotions. I felt weak and exposed. But when I peeked through swollen eyes, I saw the the shield of God’s strength and love overshadowing me.

I still “leaked” a bit. It’s what I do. But, I kept thinking about God and how His perfect character makes a difference in the imperfect me.

God alone is my strength, my shield. That’s why bawl babies like me can’t wait to worship Him.

Rick Warren, Mental Illness and the Broken Heart–Why no family should ever have to go it alone.

spring time

It’s spring. Finally.

Believe it or not, the sun has started shining in rainy B.C.  I’m walking my dog in the fields behind the bible college most every day.  Kids ride their bikes around the neighborhood in the early evening light.

Good times.

But, not for everyone.

Last Saturday, Rick Warren lost his son. After years of struggling with mental illness, a much loved young man took his own life.

“This is going to change the way people see his ministry,” someone said to me.

“That’s what happens when prominent christian leaders get too involved in so many things,” someone else commented on a social media site.

I’d like to say that it’s human nature to try to figure out what goes wrong in certain situations. I’d like to say say that people are just searching for the reason someone else suffered so that they can avoid making the same mistake themselves.

But, I’d be incorrect.

It’s not human nature. It’s a lack of faith and compassion that keeps us from doing what we should do from the get go- plunge into the darkness and become one with the wounded heart.

Instead, we spiritualize our frantic scramble to

  • label
  • and judge
  • and point fingers at circumstances

that shatter someone else’s world.

You would think that Christians would know better. We are, after all, followers of a suffering Christ.

Fact is, most of us are terrified to enter into the world of someone else’s pain.

The author of the book of Galatians wrote “Carry each other’s heavy loads. If you do, you will give the law of Christ its full meaning”.

I like that.

Reaching out, not to judge or criticize, but to lift the burden of the person struggling beside you.

Back to the Warren family.

I don’t know them but I can pray for them. In an act of spiritual solidarity,  I can show compassion to other families whose loved ones struggle with clinical depression. I can insist that we as a church make room for those who struggle in mind as well as those who struggle in other areas of their lives.

Bottom line – The world will know we are Christians when we refuse to let our brothers and sisters walk alone in the dark.