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Archive for August, 2014

He meant well.  They shouldn’t spend much time together.  She has a disorder–bipolar.  I winced when I heard the words because he didn’t know about us.  We understand the stigma…the struggle…the pain swelling on the inside–but still unseen.

Church….Christian…Pastor–there is already shame poured hot like coal on the one who suffers from the burden of festering pain.  And the one in six people in your midst clutches her own secret close to her chest–afraid to let you see her brokenness.  Or, perhaps, she fears revealing the truth about a husband or a child.  If she did would you whisper, “He’s depressed. Maybe your daughter shouldn’t spend time with him.”  Would you judge her?  If she believed more…prayed more…trusted more then God would heal the wound.

So when a friend condemns anti-depressants as a crutch but implores the Hurting to pray for faith, there is a problem in the Body because the Jesus I know came to heal the sick.  The Jesus I know came to remove the burden of a fallen world from the shoulders of those bent beneath its weight.  And the Jesus I know understands that mental illness is like any other–You, dear one, didn’t cause it.

There is no guilt in your struggle, dear one, just as there is no guilt with the one who has cancer.  Church, the one in six ask you to be Jesus today.

Speak truth.  The Church is the place for the suffering.

Love like Christ.  It’s not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. 

Give grace.  The nails in the tree set us free from the wounds of this world.  Our Today’s are for His glory.

And it is by grace we are saved!

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Standing on the outside, looking in…the screen joins bold color with life as sharp as glass.  I can’t bear the pain in the cries of women mourning over bleeding children as smoke from the rockets spreads across cities.  Still,  the truth of those lives…that reality…that brokenness cannot be hidden in the grey and black of destruction.

And then, I turn the channel.  My stomach recoils at the world’s mess and I wonder when He will make it right.

Standing on the outside, looking in…the familiar sound of her voice travels from one tower to another and I smile at her German practicality.  My dear auntie has cancer–again–and I feel heat and tears mingle as I glance into the corners of her life.  I can see them, though she has quietly swept them into a forgotten corner–fear of the unknown…a sense of aloneness…the looming question of  ‘Why’?

In a moment, there is only the hum of the dial tone and my heart aches for the trial she–and so many others–battle until they fade away.

Standing on the inside, looking out…I begin to feel the hard edges of the day tear at the tender places of hope, joy, and peace.  And  I am reminded that this world, this reality, and these trials are temporary.

Dear one, He is doing more than we can know or even imagine.  One glorious day, Christ will return and this world will know the true Peace Maker.

And even now, when we can no longer rely on our bodies for health or our loved ones for understanding, He is with us.  He never leaves us.  He always understands the ‘Why’.  And His strength remains forever..even as we fade.

If the hidden places in your life and mine are full of grief, emotional or physical pain, or misgivings about the shattered world around us then let them shout for His mercy and restoration in a “thirsty and weary land” that we might see His boundless glory displayed in our small lives.

 

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Mother Holding Child's HandI always wanted to change the world.  When I was younger and more of an idealist, I considered the Peace Corp.  Then, I explored social work and psychology.  Maybe I’d make a difference if  I could rescue families from difficult circumstances or offer words of encouragement.

What was my God-assignment?  How could I make a difference in a world like this?

I realize now that my God-assignment can change from that of stay-at-home mom to preschool director to writer–and a I am always responsible for what God has assigned for me to do.  Nothing more; nothing less.

In my own strength, I am too small to take on every assignment.  But through His power and leading, I can impact someone’s life for the better.

What is your God-assignment?  What is He leading you to do today?

You could be the one person to console a hurting friend…offer a word of prayer for a wayward teen…provide a meal for a single parent.

What is your God -assignment?  I don’t know the details, but God does.

When each of us fulfills His work according to His will, then we make a difference–sometimes an eternal one.

 

Scripture for Reflection

“Dear brothers and sisters, what’s the use of saying you have faith if you don’t prove it by your actions?  That kind of faith can’t save anyone.  Suppose you see a brother or sister who needs food or clothing and you say, “Well, goodbye and God bless you; stay warm and eat well”–but then you don’t give that person any food or clothing.  What good does that do?  (James 2:14-16, NLT)

 

For we are God’s handiwork, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.  (Ephesians 2:10, RSVP)

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