Sunday, December 02, 2012

I Finally Have the Words...

Wow, where did 2012 go?
It is now December 2nd and I am writing one of my few posts for 2012.
I could just "let this go" and let this blog remain in limbo, but that's not my style.

You might assume from my lack of posts that nothing much was going on this year.
Quite the contrary.
So much was going on that I was rendered speechless.
That's right. Me. Speechless.

Life rocked my world.
Blessings flowed.
Challenges almost did me in.
I held on to Jesus like never before.

My prayers were simple, and like the title of Ann Lamot's new book
Help! Thanks! Wow!

It makes no sense to dig up some of the "Are you kidding me?" moments
Some unspeakable pain
Some "if I don't turn this over to God ALMIGHTY, I just might lose my mind" moments.

I have to trust, no I choose to trust, that God is still in control.
And as my dear friend Sharon says, "you need to keep your eyes on your own paper."
I have had PLENTY to work on with my own heart and soul.

All I can say is I am grateful beyond belief that God has not reached down, slapped me silly,
and decided that I am a pain and may never get His message.

And what is that message?
Is it complicated? Do I have to read every word in the Bible to get it?
Nope. It's simple.

LOVE one another as I have loved you.

That's it. Christianity in a nutshell.
Love EVERYBODY, no matter what. No matter what they do or don't do. No matter how many mistakes they make. No matter how much they piss me off. Just love them.

They are ALL His children.

You would think after all of the years I have been on the planet that I would do a better job at this.

At Cannon Beach this summer, I got my heart handed to me on a platter. My arrogance and critical attitude, layed out before me by two amazing pastors. They could see how much pain I was in and that my heart was breaking. They could see and even feel my hardened heart.

Instead of indifference they said,
"Linda, make a list of ALL the people you need to make apologies to. Then change your heart and go apologize to them. Sincerely. Completely. All.the.people."

And the kicker was this. They told me to start with the hardest people first. The ones I had put a knot around my heart about.

This giving your life to Jesus thing sometimes makes life so much more difficult. After all, if He could die for and forgive ALL of my sins (which go from here to China 8 billion times), how in God's name (literally) could I not forgive others.

And so, in small baby steps, I started the journey of humbling myself. Of going to people and saying I was/am sorry, truly sorry for my part of everything. Sorry for the distance. Sorry for withholding love.

The journey of setting aside criticism and replacing it with humility. That's right. HUMILITY.
Not a word most people would use to describe me.

And it doesn't matter what their response has been. Some shocked, some still mad at me. Some sorry too. This being humble and forgiving is about doing the work God is asking of me, nudging me, commanding ME to do. He is asking me to treat others they way He wants them treated.

And in the midst of  a crazy sumer, buying a new home, selling our old home and my beloved Bert being in the hospital, I decided to take God up on His challenge to me. I decided to listen to the deep small voice in my heart. Who have I offended, hurt, shown indifference to? Who have I written off as not good enough or made too many mistakes to be redeemable?

You see, what I know for sure is that God Almighty, the saver of my soul, has NOT written off those people. No sir, He has not. NOT ONE OF THEM.

So who, in the Sam heck, am I to think that is I

Yes, there have been great joys in 2012, and I will always remember them.
More importantly, I hope I never forget the life lessons of this impactful year.

Love everyone. Just as they are. Forgive everyone. No exceptions.
Keep my eyes on my own paper. Work on being a better me instead of focusing on what's wrong with others.

I guess, in retrospect, I wasn't rendered speechless.
Perhaps, for once, instead of talking I was listening to God.

It's about time!

Monday, January 16, 2012

Thank you, Dr. King!

While today is a "vacation" from school, it is an important day to stop and reflect about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. There are lots of video clips about Dr. King and children are learning about him in school. He is certainly an important historical figure for our country.

Yet this morning I was reflecting about the day he was assassinated. I was 20 years old at the time. I will never forget the horror of that day. It was unthinkable.

Dr. King managed, through non-violent measures, to move this country to start to make our constitution a living, breathing, reality-based document by insisting that all people are created equal and are endowed by their creator with important civil rights. 

He left a personal legacy for me as a member of a primarily African-American church. I have new empathy for the stories of discrimination that surround me each Sunday. He has also left me with "food for thought" as one of his saying stays with me every day. 

I love this quotation by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.:    

"Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter."

What a great reminder!
God bless!
Love Linda


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