These Hands

These Hands —

These hands belong to an 82 year old woman. Upon looking at the picture she exclaimed, “Oh, my hands are old.”

I want to tell you about these hands though. These hands raised 4 children. They changed many, many diapers. They have prepared countless meals for her husband and children. They have faithfully cleaned, dusted, vacuumed, washed dishes, did laundry, planted flower and vegetable gardens, and weeded those same gardens for her family. They have brushed back the hair on a fevered brow. They have wiped away many tears, both her own and those she cares for. They have cared for her sick children. They have applauded as her children played in concerts. (Takes a lot of love to go to every band concert as children are first learning.) They have held the hands of her children and grandchildren to cross the streets.

These hands have cared for her parents when they could no longer care for themselves. They held her mother’s hand as she prepared to meet the Lord.

These hands cared for her husband as he struggled with Parkinson’s and heart disease. They held her husband’s hand in love even though they had been married 50 years.

These hands have faithfully served the Lord in so many ways, from ministering to children to helping cut, sew, and make things for missionaries. They have held a well-used Bible to study as well as to share God’s word with others in devotionals and lessons. They have housed many missionaries and served them in her home.

There is much more that can be said about these hands but one thing is for certain: when these hands are folded in death and the person who they belong to has gone home to meet the Lord, we will know that these hands spoke love.

How about my hands and yours? What will be said? Are our hands acting in love?

 

Have a blessed Mother’s Day  to all whether you are a mom, a soon-to-be mom, a new mom, or a lady who doesn’t have her own children but has helped raise so many.

Dear Child

Dear Child

I love you!
Don’t ever forget:
I love you.

Nothing you do
(or don’t do)
Can change that.
I love you.

You will make poor choices.
You will mess up.
And, yes, you will sin.
Through it all,
I will love you.

You will (and have) hurt me,
By accident and on purpose.
Still, I love you.

Every decision you make will have consequences.
Good. Bad.
Relationships will be affected.
For good or bad.
I love you.

Sin. Shame. Denial.
Pride. Hardness.
Walls go up.
From the other side,
I will love you.

You may try to hide it,
But I know you.
The bad will boil inside
Until you either
Harden your heart
Or ask forgiveness.
Ask forgiveness.
Regardless of which you choose,
I love you.

I would give my life to save you.
My greatest wish is to see you walk with God.
Forever.
I love you that much.

But…

God loves you more!

I carried you for 9 months.
I love you.
But…
God created you.
God loves you more.

I raised you.
I love you.
But…
God made you who you are.
God loves you more.

You mess up.
Unintentionally.
Intentionally.
And, yes, you sin.
You hurt God.
You break His heart.
Still, God loves you.

You may try to hide your sin.
From me.
From others.
From God.
Even from yourself.
But He sees it.
In spite of what He sees,
God loves you.

Sin. Shame. Denial.
Pride. Hardness.
Walls go up.

From the other side,
God loves you.

I would give my life for you.
He would sacrifice
His only Son for you.
(I wouldn’t. But He did.)
God loves you.

He waits patiently
When you spit in His face,
And God loves you anyway.

I long for you to love God.
Open your eyes.
See God.
God loves you.

Do not harden your heart.
Confess.
Repent.
Accept.
Renew.
Live.

I love you,
But…

GOD LOVES YOU MORE.

Free to Love

When asked what love looks like, most of us would describe acts that portray kindness, gentleness, generosity, service, or sacrifice, and I doubt these answers would cause much debate.  We can easily agree that love spurs on life-giving actions, but it is oh so good to remember that the love we give is more of a reaction to the perfect love poured into us as we abide in God, as God is love. I have always been deeply encouraged by 1 John 4:7-21 and reflect on the truth of verse 19 regularly.  “We love because He first loved us.” This truth rings out loud and clear as I seek opportunities to love those around me. I receive from my Lord and, therefore, can share and spread His love.

As a mother, I long to reflect Christ as I love my children. This Christ-like love can be revealed in many ways as we mommas nurture our children. Maybe it is revealed when we experience personal heartache when our child has been teased or rejected. Maybe when we long to assure our child of our love and faithfulness when he or she feels alone and uncertain. Maybe when we simply hold our child. Maybe when we laugh and sing with our children or recount fun memories together. Maybe when we shed tears with them in hard times. Maybe when we enjoy the beauty of God’s creation as we are out exploring nature together. Maybe our love is Christ-like when we tend to them through those long nights when they are sick or even in the fact that we know our children so well that we are the first to recognize when they are getting sick. Maybe our love reveals Christ when we pray over them and with them, when we humble ourselves and confess our faults, when we stand beside them and help them fight battles of anxiety or pride or insecurity or anger, when we continue to model over and over our dependence on Jesus. Our love for our children displays Christ when we persevere in teaching them about the goodness of God, when we speak words of truth and comfort and grace into their lives, when we value them as gifts from God created with a purpose.

Loving our children as our Heavenly Father has lavishly loved us may be somewhat more natural than loving our sisters in Christ, but our Lord has clearly commanded us, His children, to love one another. I know that throughout my lifetime, I have wasted way too much time and energy getting stuck in destructive thinking as I have related to other women. Whether holding a grudge or withholding forgiveness or letting jealousy rule in my heart or letting bitterness take root. Whether getting trapped in the comparison game or judging when I do not have the right to do so…too often I have taken my focus off of what really matters and just let my flesh rule which never has a happy ending. Even striving too hard to please others or enabling them in an unhealthy manner or putting others on pedestals distracts us from living how God intends us to and disables us from loving well.

God’s Word is overflowing with lasting treasure and counsel to store up in our hearts. Ephesians 4:20-32 proclaims such wisdom regarding how we are to treat one another. This passage tells us we are to put off our old self, which may want to boast in our accomplishments or find a little satisfaction in the failures of others or hang out in the pity party palace or…you fill in the blank. We are called instead to be renewed and to put on our new self, created after the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness. So loving what is holy, we are able to put away falsehood, and we speak truth to one another. We do not give Satan ammunition to use as he finds ways to cause division. Our speech is seasoned with grace and encouragement. We throw away anything contrary to what brings edification to the body and glory to our Lord. By default, we are kind and tenderhearted and quick to forgive because, thanks be to God, we have been forgiven.

Whether we are mothering our children or encouraging our sisters in Christ or building up our husbands or reaching out to our neighbors or serving our co-workers or interacting with complete strangers, let us remember that it is God who sustains us and let us fill ourselves with the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:17-19). Let us rely on Him and live out His love as we relate to one another. How radical would it be if we all treated one another with such honor and uninhibited love that the perfect love of Christ Himself is proclaimed to the love-deprived world around us? Let us build one another up and strengthen each other and spur one another on with God’s truth. Let us weep with one another when the hurt is too much to bear alone and rejoice together over how grand God is. Let us cheer one another on as we walk or run or crawl on this journey of life for we have eternity before us. Let’s think, act, and live in a way that furthers Christ’s redemptive purposes in our lives…for unity and peace and for righteousness.  Let us love one another freely because He has freely loved us first.

How radical would it be if we all treated one another with such honor and uninhibited love that the perfect love of Christ Himself is proclaimed to the love-deprived world around us?

 

Laurel Faith Noble. Grateful Wife of my Favorite Person. Imperfect yet Devoted Mother to my 4 Little Loves. Lifelong Learner and Seeker of Wisdom Daily. Always in Need of My Savior. Finds Joy in the Small Things. Humbled and Happy Child of God.

Love in Adversity

Love. Not your typical romantic St. Valentine’s Day type of love but the love that should be shown to everyone. Proverbs 17:17 states “A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” Both terms of a friend and a brother are referring to a fellow Christian, someone who has already committed themselves to follow Christ’s example. Our command is to love. This verse tells us to love AT ALL TIMES, not just when it feels good. It’s telling us we are born for those tough times.

I was struck by the simplicity and complexity of this verse. Who would ever think that there is a time when a friend would not show love? Well, it’s in those times of adversity when people fall short. It’s very apparent that people all over the world struggle with this type of love. The news is drenched with anger, hatred, and evil. For the average person in every day relationships, I don’t think it’s generally done with an intent to harm. It’s more likely that the person doesn’t know how to show love in that moment. Uncomfortable situations are just that–uncomfortable. Unless you are a nurturing person by trait this does not come easy. You have to think about it. You have to make a conscious effort to show you care about the other person.

I am convicted to be more aware of when I am falling down in this area. I want to be looking for those times when someone is struggling. I want to be the person that steps in and fills the need that they may not even realize they have. Maybe it’s providing a meal for someone who’s been ill or recovering from surgery. Maybe it’s watching the children of a single parent so they can have a much needed break. Or maybe it’s a handwritten note of encouragement.

Will you join me? I pray; Lord, I praise you for giving us the Holy Spirit to show us where we need to be. I pray for each person reading this prayer, that our hearts are softened to hear your still small voice. Please bring people into our paths that you want us to lavish with your love. I pray this in the precious name of Jesus. Amen.

“A friend loves at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.”
Proverbs 17:17

Let us hear from you: Share ideas on how to show love during difficult times.

 

Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New International version®. Copyright© 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica, Inc.™ Used by permission of Zondervan. All rights reserved worldwide. www.zondervan.com The “NIV” and “New International Version” are trademarks registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office by Biblica, Inc.™