Monthly Archives: November 2015

I Have Been Thinking About Divorce

 

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I have been thinking a lot lately about divorce.

Not because my marriage is falling apart and I am contemplating divorce. On the contrary, I feel blessed to be married to my best friend. Divorce is not on my mind because I want one.

So, if I am not wanting a divorce, then why am I thinking about divorce?

I am thinking about divorce because I am a child of divorce and I am at an age where I am starting to hear of more friends and acquaintances who are getting divorced.

I think I have reached that stage of life. The stage where people have been married long enough that they are realizing that things are not going as they had originally hoped when they said, “I do.”

I experienced divorce as an eight-year old child when my mom and dad divorced, and then again as an adult when my dad and stepmom divorced. Now, I am seeing divorce in a new way. I am watching friends, and their families, go through the pain of divorce. And painful it is. Very.

I mean, who wants to go through a divorce? Nobody walks down the aisle thinking, “I hope this ends with me signing some papers. I can’t wait for that day to come!” No way. Some people may have doubts when they walk down the aisle, but they still walk down with hope. Hope that things will get better. Nobody hopes to have their marriage end in divorce. But it happens. All of the time. It happens.

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And even though I have personally never gone through a divorce, here are some things that I think when it does happen……

1. All parties involved need time to grieve.

I feel like sometimes there is the “I can’t really grieve because I chose this” mentality or the “they were so horrible to their spouse, what did they expect would happen?” mentality. I think regardless of the circumstances leading up to the divorce, and regardless if you were the person who asked for the divorce, or it was a mutual decision, it is still a devastating loss and everyone involved needs timed to grieve.

I believe marriage to be the number one relationship outside of a person’s relationship with God. It is a big deal when this relationship ends.

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And, when I say all parties, I mean all parties. If there are children involved, the children need time and space to grieve as well.

I can remember vividly when each of my parents were remarried. On both of their wedding days I was very upset. I remember crying on the day of their weddings, and even refusing to smile in some of the pictures.

I also remember being scolded for my selfishness. Why couldn’t I just be happy for them? This was a very important day in their lives (no question about that) and all of my sulking was ruining their special moment (I am sure it wasn’t helping anything.)

But you see, although I really liked my future stepmom and future stepdad, I was still hurting deeply from the fact that my parents were no longer together. At that age, I wasn’t able to move past my own pain to rejoice with them in their happiness. I did not have the emotional maturity to behave as they wanted me to behave. It had been a couple of years since my parents divorced and it still hurt.

For some reason when my parents remarried it was like adding salt to the wound. I had so many fears like: Now that they are remarried, what does this mean? One thing I did know was that now there was no chance that my parents would get back together. It was crazy to think that they ever would have, but when you are a kid you think some crazy things. I also thought things like: How do I fit into this new marriage? Would they have more children? Would they still love me as much? If I was going from house to house and they were building new families, was I just drifting between families and not really belonging anywhere?

I knew I was supposed to be happy for my parents on their wedding days, but all of those questions (and the sadness that came with them) is what I felt more than anything. Even though I knew how I was supposed to be behaving, I just couldn’t do it.

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And, there should not be a time limit on grief. I don’t think that somebody should wallow in their grief. I do believe that there are healthy and unhealthy ways to grieve. I also think that grief comes and goes in waves and can hit us at the most unlikely times.

I do not think that someone should be told, “It has been long enough. It is time to move on.” Maybe they have just uncovered a new pain that they need to work through. Maybe a memory has been triggered that needs to be processed, and maybe with that memory comes a little sadness. So, let them grieve. Don’t tell them how long they are allowed to grieve, and definitely don’t expect children to have the emotional maturity of an adult.

2. Being a stepparent must, at times, be very difficult.

Like on your wedding day when the soon-to-be stepchild is having a breakdown. Seriously. Like I said, for me it was a very hard day. But for them, it is supposed to be one of the happiest days of their lives. You find the person you want to spend the rest of your life with, and this person does not come unattached. On the contrary, they are a parent. Again, probably not what was dreamed of when lying in bed as a child thinking of the big “I do” moment. ” I —– now take you —–, and all of your children, to have and to hold…” It cannot be easy.

Being a parent is one of the most wonderful things that I have ever had the privilege of doing in my life. It is also, at times, one of the most challenging. I cannot imagine stepping into this role when someone is in their preteen years. This is what both of my stepparents had to do with me. They put up with some serious attitude from me. While they were supposed to be in their honeymoon phase, I was in my starting-to-deal-with-all-of-these-new-hormones phase. I could not imagine returning from my honeymoon to a hormonal preteen girl who is mad that her parent just got remarried. Yikes!

Plus, as a stepparent, you have to figure out what the biological parents are wanting and try to operate within their parenting boundaries. You are a parenting figure in the child’s life, but not the actual parent. Seems complicated.

Not to mention the fact that you are now doing all of these things for a child who may, or may not be, constantly reminding you that you are indeed not their real parent.

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When you are a parent, you are always doing things for your child. You make lunches, drive them to and from practices, do their laundry, help with homework…just to name a few. As a stepparent, you may suddenly find yourself doing all of these things for your stepchild. If the stepchild is anything like I was as a child, then they just expect you to do those things. I was grateful to my parents for the things that they did. Don’t get me wrong. But, if we are being honest, how many kids are thanking their parents profusely for doing laundry or taking them to practice? As a child, you just know that your parents are supposed to take care of you. That’s what they do. That’s how it works.

But, what if you are the stepparent? What if you went from having no kids to suddenly driving these kids all over town? I can remember having a conversation once with my stepmom and she was telling me about how she would have to drive across town to pick me up or drop me off because my dad was working. I can see now as an adult what a sacrafice this was and I am very grateful that she went out of her way to do this for my sister and I, but at the time when she told me I remember thinking, “Ok? What’s the big deal?” In my mind, that’s just what parents do. It was part of the deal. My parents were divorced. She married a man with kids. I couldn’t drive. Someone had to drive me across town. She married my dad, so she had to do the parent thing. I didn’t get what the big deal was. Again, a child thinks much differently then an adult does.

But, God can take this complicated family and turn it into something beautiful. I have wonderful relationships with my stepparents and God has used them to teach me many things. I am grateful that they pursued a relationship with me when I was not all that lovable. They showed me grace at a time in my life when I really needed it. They could have easily thrown their hands in the air and said, “She isn’t my child. I’m not dealing with this!”, but they didn’t do that. Instead, they pursued me time and time again when I really did not always deserve it and now I call them “mom” and “dad” just like I do my parents and I cannot imagine my life without them.

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3. There is no need to wear the Scarlet ‘D.’

I have always been very fond of the book, The Scarlet Letter, by Nathaniel Hawthorne. In this book, Hester Prynne, is forced to wear a scarlet letter ‘A’ on her chest as a punishment for her sin of adultery. She wears this letter on her chest her entire life. I wonder how often we are like Hester? How often do we feel burdened by the sins of our past? How often do we hold on to guilt and shame and let that define us? And how often are we like the townspeople in that book, not allowing people to move past the sins of their past?

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God offers grace and mercy and does not want us to be bogged down with guilt and shame. There is freedom in Christ. As it says in Galatians 5:1, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.”

Grace. Grace. Grace. That is what we all long for in life. Divorce does not define a person. it is a part of their life, but not the definition of their life. There is no need to walk around feeling shame because a marriage did not work out. Sadness, yes. Shame, no. Relationships are complicated and marriage can be very hard. Marriage is two imperfect people living out all of the good and bad that comes with life together and that is not always easy. Sometimes it doesn’t work out. I am not in my friend’s marriages. I have no idea what is going on behind closed doors, and I have no right to judge. It is hard enough picking up the pieces after a divorce. The last thing that people need is to feel shame for what has happened in their marriage. Our job is to share God’s love, not to reign down judgment.

4. Remember, if you have kids, they never asked for this.

One of the hardest parts about being a child of divorce is that it never really goes away. It follows you around for the rest of your life. It may remain quiet for awhile and then BAM! It rears its ugly head.

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Hear are my words of wisdom (that I realize nobody has asked for, but I am sharing anyways)…..

If your child has moved out of the home and comes back to visit, he or she will more than likely stay at one, or maybe both, of their parents’ houses. If that child is at one house more it does not mean that they love that parent more. They are not trying to hurt you. Maybe they have friends on that side of town that they want to see. Or, maybe they are grown now and have kids of their own and one house offers more space for all of their children.  Whatever the reason may be, it is not a personal attack of any kind. Don’t try to make them feel bad for spending time with their parent. I know you may miss them and the feelings you have are because you want to spend more time with them, but they are doing the best that they can with a complicated situation.

If you have children, then you will have to see your ex again, a lot, and for a long time. At special events like graduations, bridal showers, weddings, baby showers. You get the drift. It is important to remember what you are there for and to try to make it as pleasant of an experience as you can for that child. Remember, they never asked for this and there is no need to add drama to this special occasion that is being celebrated. Save the drama for girls-night out or the next poker game with your buddies.

Your kids do not want to hear you trash your ex. They are your ex and they may have done some really horrible things, but they are still your child’s parent. Kids love their parents. Unconditionally. If they still want to hang out with that person that caused you so much pain, it is not because they don’t care about you. It is because that person that caused you pain is their parent, and the relationship that they have with them is very different than the marriage relationship that you had. The fact that they love this person that caused you pain doesn’t mean that they don’t care. They just love their parent. As they should. And, the more that a person talks negatively about their ex, the more that may cause their children to withdraw from them. It actually has a reverse effect. Instead of pushing them away from the parent that they are bad-mouthing, it pushes the child away from them.

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Here is another one. Just because you are ready to date, doesn’t mean that your kids are ready to meet the new man or woman in your life. I believe this to be especially true if the divorce has just happened. As I said earlier, people need space to grieve and this is true for children as well.

You may have checked out of your marriage a long time ago, but your children did not check out of a house with both mom and dad residing there a long time ago.

Maybe you have moved on, but they probably have not. They are trying to deal with this new reality and that can bring up a lot of raw, new, and somewhat scary emotions. If you bring someone into the relationship when they are still dealing with this, just be prepared to deal with their emotions and try to help them through these feelings as they are going through them. Don’t expect them to be happy for you, just because you are happy.

And, if they seem overly excited about this new person my guess is they probably are not. Not to say it isn’t possible for a child to share in your happiness, but if it is a fresh divorce then I think that it is probably rare for them to be super excited to meet your new “friend.” I think that kids that act super excited about all of the change are probably in denial, and maybe a little scared. Their entire world has just been ripped apart. Things seem very fragile to a child after a divorce. I think when kids are super excited it really means, “I’m scared. If I don’t act like I am happy about everything, then what will happen next? Is this new person going to take my place?” I believe that there is a lot of insecurity after a divorce and if a child hasn’t had time to deal with these emotions before meeting their parent’s new possible love interest then there is a good chance that those insecurities, jealousies and difficult emotions will rear their ugly heads.

Even as an adult, after my dad and stepmom divorced, my dad quickly started dating someone and I had to say time and time again that I just wasn’t ready for this. It wasn’t that I didn’t like her. I was just dealing with the emotions from my dad and stepmom’s marriage ending. I wasn’t ready to start embracing his new relationship. I was in my 30s and still needed space and time. At that specific period of time, fresh off their divorce, I just wasn’t ready to embrace a new person. I needed time to heal. Little kids often don’t know how to express these emotions, so they come out in different ways.

With all of that said, if you have met someone and you love them then I think that is wonderful and I think that it is possible to work through all of these emotions. An overly emotional child isn’t doomsday for a relationship. I think that couples that have to work through hard times have the potential to come out stronger than ever in the end. I am just saying, be prepared that it may be a little rocky at times and that is to be expected. Just help the child work through it and try to see it from their eyes. They aren’t out to destroy your future happiness. They are just hurting.

And, lastly, if your child is expecting you to pick them up for a night, or the weekend, then by golly pick them up. I personally did not experience this. My parents were very good about getting me when they said that they would. I do have some friends who have gone through this though and it majorly stinks for the child. It can lead to all kinds of feelings of abandonment and rejection that can be carried all of the way until adulthood. Don’t leave your child with their bags packed anxiously waiting for you to show up, only to be left with extreme disappointment. Divorce is hard enough without that being added to the mix.

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5. There is life after divorce.

And life abundantly. God can turn ashes to beauty. He restores what is broken and makes it new. I can see now all of the blessings that have come from the brokenness. I cannot imagine my life any other way now.

Psalm 147:3 says, “He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”

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As I said, I have not been thinking about divorce because I want one, but I pray for those who do. I pray for those who have gone through divorce, or who are in the process of divorce. I pray for their children. I pray that they will feel God’s love cover them and that they will be showered with love and grace as they are going through a difficult time.

Thank you God for your promises. Thank you for taking what is broken and making it new. Thank you that there is life after divorce.

 

 

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“I Cannot Possibly Do This Again,” Said the Mother of the Wild Things

I feel like the suburban mom version of Eminem in the movie 8 Mile.

“His palms are sweaty, knees weak, arms are heavy

There’s vomit on his sweater already, mom’s spaghetti

He’s nervous, but on the surface he looks calm and ready to drop bombs,

But he keeps on forgetting what he wrote down….”

They call our names.  The moment I had been dreading all morning was upon us. There was no turning back now. Palms sweaty, knees weak, arms heavy….thankfully no vomit on my sweater.

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The four of us follow the women back into the room. Women.  They brought two this time. Maybe there was a note letting them know how poorly it went the last time we were here.

I could see the note now. “Things got a bit wild. Please send in reinforcements.”

One of the women closes the door. They both look at me and smile.  It was time.  They had no idea what they were in for.

I had brought three children with me to a Doctor appointment. Game on.

I have four children.  I needed to keep that in mind.  This could always be worse.

I don’t know why, but the minute the door closes at a Doctor appointment it is like my children have hopped straight out of the pages of Maurice Sendak’s Where the Wild Things Are.

Maybe it is because we are trapped in a tiny toyless room surrounded by a plethora of foreign objects that scream, “pretty, shiny, pointy, grab me!” all while I am screaming, “look, but don’t touch!”

I try to help the situation.  I bring toys.  I bring coloring books, and crayons, and other gadgets, and gizmos. That doesn’t matter. The only thing that usually happens is a crayon explosion of immense proportions on the floor.  It is way more fun to dump the crayons than to actually color. And the one time that they did all sit and color, one of them went off of the page and ended up coloring all over the floor.  Oh no.

Or maybe the problem is the chairs.

In most Doctor’s offices there are two chairs available for the patient, but two other options that seem way better.  This office was no exception.

The first option that is way more appealing than the stiff, uncomfortable chair is the chair that is reserved for the Doctor.  This chair usually spins, or reclines, or rolls, or maybe if we are really lucky, does all three. A child’s dream come true.

The other item of intrigue is the examination table.  The one that is too high for them to jump on easily.  Or, in other words, the table that has just become an obstacle to overcome.

Or maybe it isn’t the chairs at all.

It could possibly be because they know that I am distracted and can’t give them my full attention.  My kids have an incredible ability to do the craziest things when they don’t have my full attention.  They could be playing happily all day and the minute I try to get on the phone, things fall apart.  Maybe it’s the same thing at the Doctor’s office.

I’m not really sure what it is, but what I do know is that the next thirty minutes or so went as I had envisioned when I was palms sweaty, knees weak, arms heavy in the waiting room.

At one point two of my children decide to play rock, paper, scissors.

“Oh good,” I think.  This can’t be bad.  They are entertaining themselves with “rock, paper, scissors, poop.” What? Yep.  Oh no.  And then, Patrick says, “rock, paper, scissors, gun.” What? Where in the world did that come from?  Is it just in his little boy DNA to talk about a gun?  We don’t even have a toy gun in the house.  Not that I am against them.  Honestly, I don’t even know how I feel about them.  We hadn’t reached that point.  He just turned three and hasn’t shown any interest.  Until now.  At the Doctor’s office.  “Rock, paper, scissors, gun.” Oh my.

And all the while, I am trying to have a conversation with the Doctor, and his nurse, who are now both in the room at their computers asking questions and taking notes.  Notes like, “they are still crazy.  Continue to send in reinforcements.”

I want so badly to concentrate on the Doctor’s words, but “rock, paper, scissors, poop” is pretty distracting. Is it more rude to let them play this game, or to interrupt the Doctor to parent them? I am trapped.   It is the “what’s more rude?” predicament that I find myself in often.

At another point, it is time for one of the kids to hop up on the table. Green light!  He said hop up on the table!  Whoop!  Whoop!  

All three kids come charging like a herd of wild animals during a stampede.  Probably not really, but that is what it feels like in the moment.  The lucky child who has been called first climbs up onto the table.  Then the other tries to climb up too. This is a mess of limbs.  Arms and legs flying around everywhere, so I just help her up.  And then the third sees that it is a free for all.  Looks to him like it doesn’t matter who has been called.  He’s no dummy.  The problem is, he is too little to make that climb, so instead he just stands by my side repeating over and over, “Mom, I want up too.  Mom, I want up too.” 

I can’t concentrate with this mess, so I ask the Doctor if it is Ok if they all just get up on the table.  I don’t want to fight this battle.  Not now.

“Of course,” he says, “but keep your eye on the little one.”

The uncomfortable part of this, is that I am now forced into the Doctor’s personal space.

You know how we all have little invisible boxes that we travel with.  Personal space boxes.  These little invisible boxes are to be respected. That is why there is an entire character in Seinfeld devoted to a person who ignores this invisible box.  The close talker.  Nobody wants to be the close talker.

But I have no choice.  I have to be the close talker.

The Doctor, is standing by his computer that sits on a podium. The podium is right next to the examination table that all three of my children are now occupying.  It is a very, very small room.  In order for me to be by my children, I have to be sandwiched in the small space between the Doctor, standing by his podium, and the table.  What ends up happening is he is asking me a series of questions and I am breathing the answers down his neck.  Don’t make eye contact. So.  Uncomfortable.

This isn’t all that happened during this trip. There is more.  Much more. From multiple children laying across each other on the two stiff, uncomfortable, chairs, to me saying sternly, “that just isn’t appropriate”, and of course the standard sibling arguments that ensue when I am distracted and can’t give them my full attention.

These are just some of the highlights of this visit.

I did eventually get out of the Doctor’s personal space. Thank goodness.  The kids did stop playing “rock, paper, scissors, poop”, or gun, or whatever other thing they said that they shouldn’t be saying. I did get my questions answered.  The ones that I remembered to ask anyways.  Just like Eminem, I go in with a plan and “keep on forgetting what I wrote down.”

How can a person remember anything with “rock, paper, scissors, poop” happening in the background?

But we made it through.  And as the Doctor was leaving, I think he could see the look of defeat in my eyes.

I said to him, “I am sorry for all of the distractions.”

He just looked at me and smiled and said, “I wouldn’t be a good pediatrician if I let kids distract me. Would I?”

Point made, kind sir.  Point made.  And that is why you are an excellent pediatric pulmonologist.

His encouragement didn’t stop me from sending a text to my husband that said, “I cannot possibly do this again.”

But I will.  And, it will be fine.  Because they are kids acting like kids.  The nurses and Doctors smile at me, and offer me words of encouragement, because this is what they see all day long.  Kids acting like kids trapped in a tiny room with shiny objects for a long period of time being transformed into wild things who “roared their terrible roars and gnashed their terrible teeth and rolled their terrible eyes and showed their terrible claws.”

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Or maybe my parenting style is everything that they say is wrong with our generation of parents.  Maybe I’m blaming chairs, and tight spaces, and tiny objects when I really need to be looking more closely at how I am disciplining my children.  Maybe my kids should be expected to sit perfectly in the hard chairs not speaking until being spoken to.  Waiting patiently for the Doctor to call on them.  That sure does sound nice.

I don’t know.  All I know is that I am trying.  So what am I going to do?  I am going to do what Eminem suggests, “I’m going to lose myself…in the moment. You own it, you better never let it go. You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow. This opportunity comes once in a lifetime.”

I’m going to keep trying to be the best parent I know how to be.  I only get one shot.  This opportunity comes once in a lifetime.  It is my time with these little ones.

And some times are a bit more wild than others.

 

 

 

 

 

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I Love Jesus, and Homosexuals, and Women at Abortion Clinics, and I Will Drink Starbucks Out of a Red Cup

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Have you ever been in a place of darkness in your life?  Where it feels like you have fallen to the bottom of a well?  You look up and see the sliver of light, but it seems so far away.  It seems impossible to reach as the walls are pressing in and the the darkness surrounds you.  You want desperately to climb out of it, but don’t know how.

I have been there.  I have been in that well.

One choice lead to another. That lead to another. And another.  And before I knew it, I was in the darkest hour of my life.

It was in this hour of darkness that God reached down to me.

This is the God I worship and love.  A God that reaches into the pit and with all of His love, and all of His mercy, shows a way out.

God is love.

When I first came out of this period of darkness, I would be comforted when I read about how He ministered to the people that the religious people of the time deemed unworthy of love.  He came to the earth in the form of man and showed love to the most broken people.

When I think of those “What Would Jesus Do” bracelets, that is what I think of. That is what Jesus did.  He loved the broken people.

And if He loved them, then He had to love me.  Right?

But some people did not like the way that Jesus loved others.  The people that He chose to interact with offended some.  The Pharisees and the Saducees, the religious leaders of the time, could not see who Jesus was because they were blinded by their laws and their rules.

The notion of who they believed Jesus would be, blinded them to who He really was.

God is love.

They believed He was supposed to be a great King who would ride in all of His glory striking down those who went against Him.

But instead, He was born in a manger.  He was not of wealth, or great social status.  He was the son of a carpenter.

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He was the son of a carpenter who befriended the lowest of the low.  He hung out with women, and not just any women.  Adulteresses and prostitutes.

He spoke to the Samaritan woman at the well.  A woman that nobody would be seen with.

He called twelve men to follow Him intimately, as His disciples.  Fisherman.  Tax collectors.  Someone who He knew would betray Him with a betrayal that would lead to His death.  These are the men He broke bread with. These are the men whose feet He washed.  These people were not important people in their community. They were not the religious leaders in the church.

He healed people with leprosy, bleeding disorders and other ailments.

He loved all people.  Not just in word, but in action.

God is love.

John 8:3-11 states:

The scribes and the Pharisees brought a woman who had been caught in adultery, and placing her in the midst they said to him, “Teacher, this woman has been caught in the act of adultery.  Now in the Law Moses commanded us to stone such women. So what do you say?”  This they said to test him, that they might have some charge to bring against him. Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the ground.  And as they continued to ask him, he stood up and said to them, “Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” And once more he bent down and wrote on the ground. But when they heard it, they went away one by one, beginning with the older ones, and Jesus was left alone with the woman standing before him.  Jesus stood up and said to her, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?”  She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.”

This is Jesus.  This is God who came to earth. Fully man. Fully God.  This is the God who pulled me out of the well.

God is love.

As Christians, we are called to show the love of Christ to those around us.  As I mentioned before, remember those “What Would Jesus Do” bracelets that were popular in the 90s?  I realize I am completely dating myself, but let’s think about that.

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What would Jesus do?

Looks to me like He would love the people that the religious leaders of the time deem unworthy.  Looks to me like He would minister to the hurting.  Looks to me like He would enter into deep relationships with people and point them to the one who loves them most of all.

I wonder what people see when they see Christians today?  Do they see Jesus in us? Do we minister to people in their pain and suffering and point them to a God who loves them?

We are to love. God makes that perfectly clear.  That is the greatest commandment He gives us. Above all else.  Love.

When I was in my darkest hour, it was not shame and condemnation that brought me to my knees.  It was love.  God’s love.

God is love.

When I picture Jesus here today,  I picture him with homosexuals and the women at abortion clinics.  I don’t picture Him with picket signs.  I picture Him with His arms around these people loving them.

I picture Him saying, “He who is without sin, cast the first stone.”

I wonder what twelve people Jesus would call by His side today?  I bet it would not be who we expect.

I want to love like Jesus loved.  As a Christian, I want people to see Christ in me.  I want to stand up for what matters.  Justice.  Mercy.  Love.

I don’t want to live a life of judgment.  And that includes me not judging other Christians as well. We all have our junk that we need to work through.  Every single one of us.  I mess up daily. There is a lot in my life that needs worked out in my faith, with fear and trembling.

But as I work these things out, I know God is with me.  I know He loves me.  I know He is patient with me.

God is love.

What would Jesus do?  I don’t think He would get hung up on the color of coffee cups.  I don’t think He would speak hateful words against groups of people.

I think, like the Saducees and Pharisees, it is so easy to be blinded by our rules and laws.  But we need to be careful that we don’t become too much like the Saducees and Pharisees. They were so blinded by their laws that they could not see God in the flesh before them.  They hung Him on a tree to die.

Don’t get me wrong.  God does have commandments.  God does call us to obedience.  There are consequences for stepping out of His will.  This is all true.  God is just.

But, I don’t see the Bible as just a book of rules to follow.  It is so much more than that. I see the Bible as a love story.  He is calling His people back to Him.  He came here and He died, a horrific death, on a cross, for us.  He showed us how He calls us to love.  As Christ loved.

God is love.

He saved my life.  He pulled me out of the well.  And now, He has called me to love others as He has loved me.  And that is why I love Jesus, and homosexuals, and women at abortion clinics, and that is why I am not going to waste my time worrying about the color of a coffee cup.  There is so much more in this broken world for me to be concerned with than that.

 

Scripture to meditate on: 

And so we know and rely on the love God has for us. God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in them. 1 John 4:16

Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love. 1 John 4:8

1 Corinthians 13:

If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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