What Real Love Does

Wishs-Come-True

My friend Jeannette has a beautiful son, like stop-in-the-street-and-stare-at-him cuteness. And this sweet little guy has a terminal illness.  On FaceBook and on her blog she often shares about his hospital visits, infusions, daily pain, and sickness…and about the sadness…and about the joy too.

This week they had the amazing (and humbling) opportunity to be blessed by other people through the Make-A-Wish Foundation. I am writing this post today because Jeanette asked her friends to help honor all those who participated in the building of a Danny-sized train in their Kansas back yard.

Therefore, as we have opportunity,
let us do good to all people,
especially to those who belong to the family of believers
(Galatians 6:10, NIV).

Jeanette and her family have been overwhelmed by what hundreds of people, many of them strangers, volunteered to do to help their sweet little boy.  After a week of contention and disputes on social media, I am glad to see the goodness in this story, aren’t you?

Do you see a family graciously taking both the good and bad, and finding a way to see the beauty in all of it?

Do you see God’s provision for His people? How He shows great care for them amidst difficulties?

Do you see how people are His means of grace?  That thought stops me in my tracks. The important question today is:

How can we be the blessing
someone else needs?

Here is her blog post about Danny’s Wish.  If you can, “like” Jeanette’s post or share it on social media.  Or, if there is some way to thank the companies or volunteers, please do that!  You can watch the news story about this wonderful event here:

Luke 10:29-36

“And who is my neighbor?”  

Jesus replied, “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and he fell among robbers, who stripped him and beat him and departed, leaving him half dead. Now by chance a priest was going down that road, and when he saw him he passed by on the other side. So likewise a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he journeyed, came to where he was, and when he saw him, he had compassion. He went to him and bound up his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he set him on his own animal and brought him to an inn and took care of him. And the next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take care of him, and whatever more you spend, I will repay you when I come back.’

Which of these three, do you think, proved to be a neighbor to the man who fell among the robbers?”

He said, “The one who showed him mercy.”

And Jesus said to him, “You go, and do likewise.”

Let’s all go, and do likewise, today!

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Loving Others: Quietly

relationships, disagreements, quiet, submission

Sometimes I struggle to be quiet when confronted. When someone corners you, what do you do?  Do you cower?  Or do you come out swinging?

I get knots in my stomach.  I can feel the tight, tight tension, just below my ribs, like I have been doing crunches, just without the exercise benefits. As a side note, wouldn’t it be great if confrontation counted against the calorie count?  😉

And, even as I write this, I am convicted. I know the reason I want to come out swinging (verbally)…Pride. Pride elevates us over others. Submission takes us lower.

At one point I would have said that experience is what taught me that some people just won’t respect boundaries, unless you push back when they push. There are people I know who court controversy. What experience tells me is that, if you have to push back, for someone to stop pushing you, you are not drawing a boundary line that will be respected.

If you have to push back in order to get breathing room,
the other person is probably just gearing up for another run.  

People that must be “taught” boundaries don’t “learn” to respect them from you, they just regroup and come at you from another angle. This is a fallen world we are dealing with, and we are all fallen people. The Lord’s way is different.

Relationship battles aren’t won by strategy.  They’re won by surrender.  I must admit this: just because I know it to be true doesn’t mean I know how to live this way…but knowing it to be true is real progress, because recognizing truth is discernment. Discernment is the first stop on the road to holiness.

And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more,
with knowledge and all discernment,
so that you may approve what is excellent,
and so be pure and blameless for the day of Christ
(Phil 1:9-10, ESV).

Relationship battles are won by surrender because our most difficult opponent is self. Self rises up, but we must go lower.  We must surrender our will to the Lord’s. It is only when we humble ourselves, being willing to take the lowest seat at the table, that the Lord will raise us up.

Truth: We cannot raise ourselves up against others who want to put us down…there is no victory to be found in oneupmanship. But, when we are willing to be humble, like He was, we sit with the Lord on High.

So I know that one day, being quiet in the face of criticism and injustice will become more natural. When I can keep an eternal perspective and remember that being right with the Lord is more important than being right in a disagreement, then I will be able to let go of the arguments and the pettiness that exist in marriage, parenting, and friendships.

If you can relate, I would love to hear from you!  Please pray for me to as I continue to desire two opposing ideas: (1) being right (2) being right with God. Sometimes it is hard to let go of the “being right” trophy in order to go lower, be quiet, and humble myself, which is the real prize.  It feels wrong, but it isn’t.  How about you?  How do you respond to confrontation?

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3 Ways Get Your Fill

filled with love, loving God, loving People, loving lifeWe live in a time of plenty, a land of plenty. Most of us have more than we need. We have First World Problems…like trying to figure out how to limit screen time, like having more clothes than coat hangers, or like getting a full fat, instead of a skinny, vanilla latte ~ I mean, how can I really be sure?? It tastes so rich! 

My troubles often don’t come from a lack, but from an abundance.  Too many calories.  Too much time on social media. Too much Amazon Prime. Too much self-indulgence. Left to my own devices, I fill up on the wrong things.  But I want to get filled up with the right things. 

I want to love the right things,
and if I don’t love the right things,
I want to learn to love the right things.

matthew 22:37-40, Greatest Commandment, love God, love people

Everything starts with loving God. If we want to fill up on the right things, we have to start by filling up on God, because He is the best thing of all.  Our Heavenly Father, His self-sacrificing Son, and His indwelling Spirit are Worthy, with or without our love, He is Worthy…but c’mon…what’s NOT to love?

Out of the overflow of God’s love for us, and ours for Him, we are enabled to love people. Some people are easy to love. Most days, my kids are cuddly like little bunnies (easy to love). My mom and dad make me laugh, support me, only give advice when asked, and regularly travel over 1520 miles to see me (easy to love).  My husband makes me cold brew coffee for the fridge, hot lemon water for my mornings, and tells me to be a writer (easy to love). But all of them have let me down before, like people do.  Sometimes, I haven’t felt loved by those I love. But we aren’t told to love people because they love us. We are told to love people because God loves us.

When hearts are in line with God’s Word (by loving Him and loving people), we are able to love the life that Christ died to give us.  Jesus died to bring peace to us, to shower our lives and relationships with grace and forgiveness. But, for many years I wasn’t really living a peace-filled life. I was just surviving, just eking it out. At times, I’ve felt like a hit and run victim, rolled over by life, and people, and time. I realized now that I withdrew emotionally. But I don’t want to do that anymore. I want to embrace this life that God has provided for me.  I want to love life, because it sure is fleeting.

Love God, love People, love Life

Last week, I wrote that someone reviewed my blog and said it needs a change…it needs to reflect my priorities a little more clearly. So I am in the midst of some refining here, in my little online space.  My priorities in life and online are to love God, love people, and love life, in that order. I want to find some creative ways to share about these priorities and I want to find others who are learning to walk in love.  In the next few weeks, I hope that changes here on the blog will begin to take shape in a way that makes sense. :)

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Image credit: 123rf image# 35043701

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Family Fun Friday: Chocolate Makes Everything Better!

Chcolate recipes, desserts, treats, easy recipe, healthy, family food

Bring home the Biscoff with Biscoff Buttercream Iced Chocolate Cupcakes...I have never has Biscoff, but it sounds heavenly!  A Mother’s Shadow doctors up a cake mix and adds richness to the icing.  These would be perfect for Dad on Father’s Day!

My kids have been devouring popsicles this summer—now here’s one for mom!  Thank you Kleinworth & Co. for Coconut Mocha Pops, the freezer treat made with chocolate and iced coffee.  Wow!  Dreamy…

Now if you want a little less guilt with your chocolate, you should try Chocolate Chip Zucchini Bites—it has some other health conscious ingredients like rolled oats and flaxseed.  Skinny Fitalicious substitutes dairy free chocolate chips to make it even healthier!

So the chocolatiest chocolate recipe for this week has got to be Homemade Hot Fudge by Mom’s Morning Coffee. This sauce is great on ice cream, strawberries, marshmallows, cheesecake and maybe even on pancakes or over cupcakes!  Yummy!

Annie’s Noms gives us a great treat to make today, Cherry Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I love her recipe description: “These Cherry Triple Chocolate Chip Cookies are packed with white, milk AND dark chocolate chips and also have gorgeous, juicy Morello cherries in. Chocolate and cherries make a gorgeous combination, but with three types of chocolate, these are off the scale amazing!”

S’mores are everywhere this summer!  But Spoons of Grace is not just jumping on a trend with her S’mores Stuffed Brownies.  She’s always been fan of S’more and even served them at her wedding!  How cute!! These look really yummy and maybe a neater way to eat them??? I totally want to make these :)

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