longlasting Longing

longlasting Longing

Full of that heart pulling, gut dropping ache. Hear again, there again ache. Longing for more then a day, lasting what feels like eternity. Simultaneously, my mind turns inside out, up, over and down, as my longings and passions seem to drown and be pushed down by circumstances that surround, but the business and yawning can’t drown out the pounding in my chest for clarity; but not the kind that I know every step and outcome that surrounds each moment of my life or some magical treasure map of what step is the right one and what one leads to sorrow. I want the clarity of mind to know my longings are not in vain. I want to be so close to my maker that my confidence is in his words, and can proudly bare a seal with his name.

The late king of Israel wrote famously that the Lord would give me the desires of my hear, but less famous are the preceding words. Trust in the Lord and delight yourself in the LORD, but I often find my trust in my limitations and my delight in places of danger. My longings are pulled and my trust is invested, so my longings are tested. Is the heart with brown eyes to be a part of my heart in time, or is my romantic mind leading me toward wasted time and a fools surprise. Are the pursuit of hobbies and passions leading me towards success, aka happiness and fulfillment through those I bless, or am I spreading myself thin, to where my joy will be lost in the business and different directions, taking a right hook from hope in the chin.

Each outcome is followed by something new, and my longings have been long on brew. These longtime longings will take time to go through, but what is there to do but through all my pride in the air, take on a life of service, always in repair, and learn from each desire that wells up and never giving them up without understanding what’s up. I will wrestle with my heart, hand it over and over to, not just my Lord, but also my savior and listen closer. Am I longing for more then ideas that looks good on paper? Time will testify the faith big and small and the true integrity in my heart.

 

More Than Just a Kids’ Song: Jesus Loves You

More Than Just a Kids’ Song: Jesus Loves You

If you grew up in the US and ever went to a VBS or Sunday school class, you definitely know at least the beginning of the song “Jesus Loves Me”. If you now doubt the claims made in this song or possibly never really believed them, I can totally relate. At one point, I thought, “who cares if the Bible tells me. I want to know for more reason then a book telling me.”

Over the years, I thought about the lyrics to this song a criticized it:

Jesus loves me this I know
For the Bible tells me so
Little ones to him belong
They are weak but he is strong
Yes Jesus loves me
Oh, yes Jesus loves me
Yes Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so
As I think into my life though, I begin to see beyond just love because my Bible “telling me so.” I know that to some, the Bible doesn’t hold much weight, but you can relate to wanting to know something that’s real.
Why does Jesus love you and me?
Where this question can start being looked at is you. You know yourself probably much better then I know you, but I do know, that throughout your life, there have been times where, if you’ve given credit where it’s due or not, Jesus has given you second chances, displayed his beauty to you through his creation, and has given you oppertunities to recognize him and even has given you the invitation to have him as your good father, your sacrifice and savior, your pilot and even your best friend! Now, like I said, you know you, and I know me, and if I look into my life, I do not see a deserving candidate for such an offer. I actually see the opposite: I see a selfish, impulsive human that tries his best to follow in the footsteps of Jesus, but fails every day at it.
When we take a look into our own lives and focus ourselves on the goodness of God, and even look into other’s lives that have lived faithfully to his words and commandments, we see him keep his word and our focus begins to shift. Focusing on the question “why do bad things happen to good people?” and blaming God for actions humanity consciously makes is counter productive to our own growth, because He’s letting us make our own decisions, something I see as incredibly gracious instead of making us into robots or striking us down when we make mistakes. He even allows bad things to happen to us to draw us closer to his side and even provides peace in the process. Every time, it is worth it when it’s done by the side of Jesus. There are countless testimonies that attest to this truth. Contact me if you would like to hear firsthand from cancer survivors, X-drug addicts, dealers and smugglers, X porn addicts, people who have conquered depression or even people that are going through those struggles as we speak.
Moses told the Israelites this as they were going into the land God had promised to them:

“Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you.” Deuteronomy 31:6 ESV

We read on and hear of God’s faithfulness and the ways He was with them, and still protects them to this day. And for us today, Jesus promised this to those who love him:
15“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. 16 And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, 17 even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. John 14:15-17 ESV
Jesus has given his spirit to anyone willing to receive him and love him. So as I look at Jesus’ faithfulness and accept his love for me, may I no longer wonder if he loves me and why there’s tension or un-fulfillment when I’m trying so hard, but may I ponder the following questions:
Do I love Jesus?
Am I willing to let his love into my life and give him an opportunity to change my life?
If we only know because the Bible tells us so, and if it is true, isn’t it worth giving him a chance at our heart? I have and I would encourage your “YES” more than anything in this world!

Adoption: Unfiltered Love

Maybe it’s just me, but I’m sure we all see someone act a certain way, or do a specific thing that just irks us.
One time, back in high school (I say that because it makes me sound grown up, or maybe convince someone I’m old enough to take advice from) in my public speaking class, our teacher assigned us a project to voice our pet peeve. It quickly turned into a tiring of rants, ranging from “chewing gum like a cow” to “mouth breathing” and always ending in a long line of driving annoyances. My point being, it’s usually not that hard for us to think of these things, because they are those few things that trigger us without too much warning, yet much consequence, either with an outward explosion that effects everyone, or an inward explosion that only effects the eyebrows and possibly the trajectory of the edges of a once present smile. 

But to bring it back in, I heard a a poem and it spoke about the struggles of anxiety. Now, I wouldn’t consider this to be a pet peeve by any means, but it does fit in the category for me of something I don’t handle well. I know it’s very well an issue that plages plenty of lives around the earth, but from the outside looking in, it’s really hard for me to understand or sympathize because my understanding doesn’t compute with the needs/patience it requires to be the best person for someone who suffers with anxiety. 

I said all that to set a backdrop for this thought that went through my head:

“I could never see myself being able to marry someone who as severe anxiety,” to be followed by another thought, “I hope I don’t have any kids who suffer from anxiety” to be lead by another line of thought, “well, if it’s addressed while they’re young, hopefully it won’t be as bad when they get older” to “but what if I adopt like I’ve said I want to do?”

This question struck me, and I didn’t have any answer, as if the other answers to the previous questions were really very good, but I thought about this concept, while I was warming the water to get in the shower. Adoption is really an amazingly hard, and amazingly amazing thing! Taking a child in that has had possibly no prior personal experience or maybe even recollection of seeing a good family, much less feeling loved by someone who is choosing you. Not just someone who wanted a kid, but someone who wanted YOU. 

Having recently gone through some personal self-condemning and feeling absent and unworthy of God, I couldn’t help think about the statement that he has adopted us into his family. Knowing all of our junk, all of our dirt, and and all of our downfalls, He doesn’t look at our weakness, but speaks life into our strengths. He sees our potential. Honestly, the other day when I first had this thought didn’t change me that much, but as it marinates in my mind, it gets juicier and more flavorful, because no matter how much I get myself down, Jesus is always there, encouraging and lifting me up out of a feeling of darkness. 

This motivates me even deeper to love children and even adults who haven’t ever experienced love in action toward them. 

Because I am loved, I love.