Life can be so challenging and complicated that sometimes we feel our heads will explode from the pressures and stresses that come against us, but that is not the way God wants it to be. He wants us to live a simplified life and He provides us with the tools to make that happen. Let me tell you a story to show you where I am coming from.
There was a time when I had been feeling blah about my life. Wanting to get back on track but not knowing where the tracks were anymore. Almost as though I had spent too much time hanging around in the waiting room of life. You know the place. Everyone else’s agenda comes first and I allowed that to happen when I became the chauffeur, the cook, the candlestick maker, the person who no longer had a life because they are caretaking everyone else. (Sometimes they are referred to as parents.)
Previously I believed I might title my autobiography “Laundry is My Life”, bet you wish I had, what a great read that would have made. Chapter One, would begin, ‘Separating the whites from the unmentionables.’ Ah self pity stop rearing your ugly head. There are worse titles…
On a more positive note love is sacrifice and I am usually very happy to be of service to others, it’s just that somewhere in there I think I lost my own identity. When I became a mother I grew as a person and that was a wonderful and life changing experience. But children grow and leave and the person I used to be doesn’t exist anymore and so I had to try to find out who I had become and where to go to find my new place in the world. As I am a spiritually focused person, I decided to start my search in church because I believe that spirituality should be the most important facet of my life. This was the conclusion I reached upon reflecting that everything that is physical within us dies. No matter how we rail against it, that is truth.
I attended church to try to find some answers, I sat beside a woman I know only well enough to exchange pleasantries with. I smiled at her and said, “You look well.” She smiled at me and said, “You have put on weight, your face is fat.” Well I was quite deflated, (apparently only on the inside), but still determined to be pleasant and replied. “Do you think so?” To which she enthusiastically retorted. “Don’t you!”
Ahhh! The joy of running into fellow Christians before service begins.
(Note to self: redefine pleasantries.)
Needless to say I was hurt by her unkindness. After church I went to visit my hairdresser and told her what had happened, she was so kind to me. She pampered me and fixed my hair at no charge, applied lip gloss to give me a little sparkle and gave me a lovely big hug as I was leaving. I thought to myself as I was leaving, “Which one of these women were Jesus to me today?” The one in church who speaks without kindness and bears the label ‘Christian’, or the one who acts with kindness but has no label just a beautiful disposition?” If you say my hairdresser you win the prize.
(The prize is realizing how extremely intelligent you are, no actual monetary exchange will be ensuing.) This is why God gives us the grace of forgiveness because not all of us are always as kind and compassionate as we should be to one another.
When we are little children sometimes we are punished and adults will tend to say, “I am only doing this because I love you”. The message that could be taken from that is that love hurts, and actually love does not hurt. Love heals, love blesses, love enriches, love teaches, love encourages, but love does not hurt. Only counterfeit ‘love’ hurts. The kind that says, “I am only hurting you because you are making me do this”. (If anyone ever says this to you, get away, get away from them now.)
God does not hurt us. Ever. God blesses us, encourages us, teaches us, walks with us, suffers for us, fills us with every grace imaginable for our journeys and if we are suffering it is because we are not allowing Him to love us as He desires to. Our foolish minds get in the way of His plans. Our unholy desires for worldly goods or acclamation block His works. Our selfishness and our lack of understanding put His works on hold. People die and people get sick and people abandon us, but that doesn’t mean we can’t trust God, it just shows us that life is not perfect. Death takes people from us when we were not ready to let them go. Sickness enters into our lives and the lives of others. Some people are not healed of the hurts that life and others have inflicted upon them. We don’t need to carry their pain forward into our own lives, we have to simply hand our own pains to our beautiful and wonderful Father and ask Him to make something beautiful, something magnificent, something eternal and spiritual from our sufferings, and He will. He is always ‘faithful and true’, even when we are not-He is. Even when we cannot-He can and if we humble ourselves to ask Him – He does.
God can take what we perceive to be great tragedies and bring enormous growth and blessings from them. I think He does His best work when we are most at a loss and in a state of perplexion. Which I guess describes the way I had been viewing my own circumstances for a long time. Round and round the mountain, like the Israelites with Moses, who spent forty years going nowhere, but getting crankier and madder with God, each other and their own self-induced circumstances. When I came to the awareness that I was no longer growing spiritually, I realized that my relationship with God had been shrinking as my own self-focus had been growing. To return to a balanced state of life I decided to completely surrender everything to Him, which is good because there was really nothing that I was holding on to but the pain anyway. “Goodbye pain” “Hello love, joy, and hopefully also peace and contentment.”
Jesus is continuously calling all His children into right relationship with Him. One where He is leading and we are following. If we take the giant and often scary step of trusting Jesus with our problems and then the even more difficult step of leaving them in His hands then we can know, like the thief on the cross, He will take care of us. All our problems are under His care and protection.
His glory and blessings are shining like the sunlight warming us and healing us and leading us forward into all truth. Truth as revealed by the Spirit of Truth. Love as exampled by the life and teachings of Jesus Christ. Hope to be shared as an encouragement with our fellow suffering humans. Jesus knew and believed, trusted and hoped until His dying breath on the cross. “Today I tell you, you will be with Me in paradise.” Those were His words to the thief on the cross beside Him. The thief who chose to humble himself before his own death. There are people who say the thief on the cross, stole his way into Heaven. Jesus didn’t say that. The ultimate promise of faith is to hold onto our belief in Christ, to hold onto hope when all reason to hope is gone. Faith goes deeper than reason. Hope is greater than death. Forgiveness is always possible for our failings because, as Jesus tells us, “With God all things are possible.” All we have to do is ask. We are loved.
Love is about acceptance and believing that we are loved and also loving without expectations. When two people truly love each other, they speak with kindness, gentleness and truth. They want God’s best for themselves and the other. It is not true love when it is about “What is in it for me? Or “What is in it for you?” It is true love when love asks, “How much of God’s love will be shown through me and you and ultimately us?”
I love Jesus so much and He has been so faithful and true to me for such a long time while I was pushing Him away trying to make the ugly lie true, (which is of course an impossible feat), the lie that I am unlovable. Seeing myself as God sees me has been such a revelation to me, such a freeing experience, and such a blessing. Realizing that no matter what I say or do or have ever said or done, God will not stop loving me. His love for me is eternal and I am His precious child. I am His creation. I am His handiwork. He is the Vinedresser and I am the vine, to bear good fruit all that is unhealthy must be cut away. Jesus can only do as much in our lives as we give Him permission to do, this is because of the amazing gift that God has given us of free will, so for me and for you to really ‘let go and let God’, it is necessary to pray to Jesus and ask Him to remove all that is in us that is blocking His work. For example the painful memories that can cause doubt, the garbage of and from the world, the strongholds from the bloodline, the unfulfilled desires which may not be part of His plan for our destiny, our stubborn desire to understand everything before we come to the point of trust and surrender.
There are so many people who are working and striving with all of their might and trying to please an unappeasable task master and that is not God. God is gentle and kind. If we ask Him to He carries our load for us. He tests us but when we are found worthy we are enabled, we are filled with spiritual blessings abundantly to help on our journeys. Our true and faithful Father is happy with the smallest amount of time and energy we devote to Him and the more time and energy we devote to Him the happier He is.
God loves us, and He created us to love and to be loved. God does not want us to strive and suffer, he wants us to thrive to open our arms to receive an abundance of blessings. He is amazing and He loves all of His children.
God called Himself “I Am”. That informs us that He is fully present to us at all times. I Am is capable. I Am is here now. I Am cares about everything and everyone. I Am is a God of blessing and compassion. I Am is love personified through Jesus. I Am is wonderful, counselor, teacher, friend, healer, protector, provider of all good things. I Am is the God of love. I Am is love. I am loves me. I Am loves you.
Marion Sinclair-Simpson (C)