Because of Love

When I am going, when my days are gone, let me be in his arms. He will rub my head and call me baby.  We will sit and just be, just be in our old age and he will tell me one more story of our days together. I will close my eyes and smile and the happily ever after will have been lived between us two. 

I’ll say walk me down the isle, a tear will roll down his cheek with the thought of giving me away. But because of love, he will rejoice for me. And he will give me away. I will pass from his loving arms into an eternal marriage. A love that will bring me away. Bring me away to a mansion. Bring me away to perfection. Bring me away to the arms of my Jesus. 

Completely Unrelated, God Gave Me

Fifteen year old Caroline’s main concern was spending as much time in the water as possible, the summer of 1996. God made the water for me. 

My throat had a little tickle that was beginning to get annoying. I was a little surprised that my mom made a doctor appointment because of a slight discomfort, but we had plans of travel and she wanted to make sure I wasn’t leaving with the beginnings of strep. 

Being me. I was then the child. I would have preferred to get up and leave. I would take the sore throat over the discomfort of the exam. The nurse stuck that popsicle stick half way down my throat and then scolded me for gagging. The doctor came in to say hello.  Being one of eight children, my family was a good set of clients to have. He chatted and quickly examined my neck. 

Unrelated, he felt a little lump. “Probably nothing. Go to the beach. Have fun. Come see me again when you get back.”

It was cancer.  

Waiting for Reality

Throwing back the covers and laying in my sweat, wondering if I should run to the bathroom to vomit or if I lay very very still, I may be able to prevent that action. I lay waiting, waiting for my reality to change. 

One day we will dig that pool in our backyard and one day he’ll have that motorcycle. We are quite sure we are raising a little Renaissance girl of a genius and she makes us both smile. I look into his eyes and I can’t take mine away and I wait. I wait for my reality to change. 

The good moments and the bad, only one thing is certain:  change. If I don’t like it now, just wait a bit. I’m learning (LEARNING) to be patient and I wait. I wait. I wait and I know. I know this is not my reality. 

My reality is never hurting again. My reality is no more pain and no more tears. My reality is forever joy and eternal health and wealth and wildest dreams coming true every day. My reality is Jesus. Seeing his face and praising his name and never ever having the possibility of change. 

Now I wait. I wait for my reality that will be real because it will be real forever. I wait to see, I wait to praise, I wait to be with my real Jesus. 

Love is Blood

I love you, Lord, my strength. The Lord is my rock. I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise.  My cry came before him, into his ears. He reached down from on high and took hold of me.  He rescued me because he delighted in me. Who is the Rock except our God?  The Lord lives!  Praise be to my Rock!  He shows unfailing love to his anointed.  The song of David. 

This God is mine!  He is personal, so personal that blood is involved.  With torturing whips and cries and sharp nails piercing his skin, he knew my name. He loved me. He loved me with his blood. 

Speak of foolishness. Tell me the insanity. I ALREADY KNOW IT IS TRUE!  It makes no sense that perfection would pay the price for sinful me!  Love does not make sense!  But it can not be argued against. It is known in my heart and there is no convincing me otherwise. 

Love is blood. Love is heart beating. Love is forever. Not just in the good and the easy, quite the contrary, love is in the pain and the suffering. Love is just being together. And I never have to be separated from my Jesus. He is my love. And I am his. And his love is red. Written in the red words, written in his blood, written in eternity. Love is red. 

Just Like That, a Miracle

The wheelchair carried me to the front of the hospital, down the elevator, and out to the parking lot for my husband to pick US up. I was not injured.  I did not have surgery or any other procedure.  I was the happiest I had ever been in my life. I was holding my little miracle in my arms and about to take her home for the first time.  I snuggled her warm soft body closer to mine and I kissed the softest cheeks ever born.  Just like that, life was living and breathing and growing up in my little Florida home. 

The miracle of life. Scientifically explain it to me, and it makes me praise God. He knows and designed life from conception to the imbillical cord, the labor process, and into the arms of Mommy and Daddy. Science is the study of God’s Creation. 

We had been on summer break for two weeks. It was the first day of break that all the plans happened at home. Laundry was piled up, a lunch picnic would not go beyond our backyard, summer reading, mopping, a day to catch up and prepare. AND JUST LIKE THAT, A MIRACLE. I got a message. 

I got a message from my brother, followed by tons of pictures and family comments. Adeline was born and I love her. I can smell her newborn baby perfection and I adore her little fingers that she has not yet learned to control. And today is the day that we make the trip, that is much too far, but today I will see and I will praise God for a miracle that he has planned for since the beginning of time.

When I Give it Away

FREEEEDOM!  Imagine the Bravehart theme music and the blue paint and everything. Yelling at the top of the lungs while running along the dirt, that was me. Only I was not running into battle with an ax, it was across the manicured lawn of my college campus. I was FREE!

It was great and awesome and fun, but let me tell you something I HAD NO CLUE WHO I WAS!  Some people find themselves so much earlier in life…great. Honestly, I truly believe my eight year old daughter knows herself better than 18 year old Caroline did. I was searching and living and loving…but it was all for ME!  

And then something happened. I fell in love. I loved him. I really did. How could I not?  He was so freakin handsome and he wanted me. Ok, reinstate the Bravehart theme song and yelling:  HE WANTED ME!  But let’s face it, when he got down on one knee and took my hand, neither of us had any clue what in the hell we were getting ourselves into!  And let me be honest, sometimes it was just that:  hell. Not just for me, for him also!  Maybe more for him. It was not the perfect life we had envisioned when he was getting his dress pants sandy while holding up a diamond in the kneeling position on the beach. Living for someone else?  I had never done that before. But then, neither had he. And I saw James coming home to me every night. I saw him still wanting me when I had been a real bitch. I saw him forgive me. I saw the most real love I had ever seen in my life. And I lost myself. I gave it to him. And the most amazing thing happened, I found myself. Who am I? I am James’s. 

We started to get it all figured out. We were an old married couple of five years and we thought we had it all under control. We were happy, thriving DINKS. Double Income No Kids. We did what we wanted, when we wanted. I think we saw every movie realeased that we had any desire to see and tried out every restaurant in town. In my mid twenties, I had life figured out and I knew who I was. Well, I knew who I was more than I had. But now, I giggle to think of how…well, let’s just say it…how stupid I was. 

I had wanted a baby since I was a baby myself. Her little body growing in mine was a dream come true. Except for the whole morning sickness thing, which didn’t just last for the morning, that was kinda getting in the way of my perfection. I lost twenty pounds in my first trimester. And nine months is a really long time for an impatient person to wait. And then she finally (FINALLY!) was born and she was in my arms and she was everything!  Immediately, my life changed FOREVER!  There was nothing I wouldn’t do for that Little Miss!  And suddenly, I said something that I have heard echoed from parent after parent, “It is not about ME anymore!”  I lost myself. I found myself. Who am I?  I am Madison’s mom.

Being married and being a mother has stripped me of myself and replaced me with who I was born to be. When it wasn’t about me anymore, I was more alive than ever. And it has made me realize just a tiny glimpse of how much my Heavenly Father and my bridegroom really loves me!  HE LOVES ME!  He Bravehart loves me!  He did go into battle!  He felt the crushing intense pain of humanity and a torturing death.  He was separated from God that he had been with for eternity past. He stood before Satan himself and claimed, “This one is mine!”  

I find my life when I lose it!  I am crucified with Christ and I live more than I have ever lived!  My life is not my own!  I have freedom in Christ!  When I give my life, I find it.  I was lost but now I am found, I was blind but now I see…I am just beginning to get it!  And I am just beginning to see who this person is, this person that is ME. 

My Heart Beating

I recently read an article about teaching your children how to grow up to be rich. Cringe, huh?  Not really a PC title for anyone. But it was an AMAZING article and it started by saying that we all want to be rich (yes) but few actually know how to do that. And it goes on with a researched account of habits of the wealthy and the importance of passing these habits on to our children. Here are some things a high percentage of rich people do:  listen to audio books in the car, floss, exercise, watch less than an hour of TV per day (and no reality TV),  read, make “to do” lists, and lots of other stuff. Extremely interesting to me.  I could care less if my daughter grows up to have lots of money, but I do want her to be rich!  Rich in love, rich in success, rich in kindness, rich in joy…and rich with money is great also!

I believe, I believe, I believe in making wise choices. It is why we are here, right?  There is a purpose for us on this earth. I want to know everything about everything. I want to know exactly how to treat my body, how to communicate well with others, how to learn, I want to see and do, and live and learn. Praise God I am not the same person that I was twenty years ago or one year ago or even one week ago. I want each day to count!  

But don’t get me wrong, I’m not claiming this!  No, no, this world is not my home!  The best is yet to come!  My heart beating, my lungs breathing, my brain thinking, someone else holds that. I can follow his command to make wise choices and I can do my part to improve my life. But listen, I control so little!  

Bombs fall on the wise and the foolish. Heart attacks strike the rich and the poor. Cancer does not descriminate against the young and the old. The healthy and the unhealthy, the ugly and the beautiful, we will cease to be. 

And what then?  Think about it. 

It All Changes Not At All

I’m not THAT old. This summer, I will celebrate my 34th birthday. 

My daughter popped up from her summer reading book and questioned, “What is a long distance phone call?”  It just wasn’t that long ago that all phones were attached to houses and there wasn’t the problem of my cell phone battery is about to die.  

I watched a documentary about the Hoover Dam. The men drove trucks into the cave (leaving them on) and then several men died of carbon monoxide poisoning. Just like I am shouting, “I’m not that old.”  I am shouting, “It was not THAT long ago!  How did they not know?!”  Such a simple way, with the knowledge of that poisonous gas, our world has changed. 

Fashion changes so swiftly that now I ask advice from my eight year old, because sometimes I just don’t know “what the kids are doing these days.”

The world is spinning, spinning, changing in so many ways. 

But then I read about the struggles of parenting in the seventies, and love affairs in the twenties, and people greedy for money during Biblical times, and I realize that people have really not changed at all. 

We love our families, struggle with other people, desire riches and comfort, ask questions, eat food, learn just a little bit, and come to terms with God in one way or another. 

For years and centuries and millenniums, human nature remains the same. We laugh about the details around us that change, but they are just that:  details. And it all comes and goes so quickly. So, while I do love me some details, Lord, please help me focus on the big picture. I want kindness more that I want the popular opinion, I want to give more than I want to have, inner peace more than temporary happiness, wisdom more than entertainment, education more than possessions, love more than greed, and Jesus more than this quickly fading world. 

And I Lived Happily Ever After

The Lord gives and the Lord takes away. Blessed be the name of the Lord. Spoken from a man that knew suffering. Job was a man that was so righteous that God pointed out his goodness to Satan. When Satan strips him of his riches and kills all ten of his children in one day, when he is judged by his closest friends as being in the wrong, and when his wife tells him to curse God and die, Job responds that if he praised God in the good, he will also praise him in the bad. The reason for Job’s suffering was not that he had done something wrong. In contrast, the reason was that he had done so much right. The reason was to see if he would praise God when he suffered so immensely.

For good reason, humans do not like to suffer. But in the wrong, we conclude that suffering is proof that there is no God or if there is a god, that he can not be loving. 

What kind of god do we want God to be?  “If you do not do what I want, I dismiss you God?  If I do not understand, I dismiss you God?”

God is a God of order. He created this world that makes sense. We study science and it is the textbook of this earth. And life is the poetry. It is the love story. There is a problem of sin and suffering is the result.

“Suffering is a reminder that this world is not the way it is supposed to be.”  Tim Keller

But Jesus is the remedy!  We are living the story. We are in the thick of it. Sometimes it hurts and sometimes it does not make sense. So, why is the Bible the Good News?  Because we already know the ending. Not only will Chrisians live happily ever after, all the past wrongs will be undone!  

Put yourself into the story!  You are the protagonist. The King of Kings has come to seek and to save YOU!  How will the story end?  Is it a tragedy or will you live happily forever after?

The Bright Victory

“Here is joy that cannot be shaken.  Our light can swallow up your darkness:  but your darkness cannot now infect our light.”  C.S. Lewis 

It does not matter how small I am, I am a light. And a small flame can set a forest ablaze. There is nothing that darkness can do to hide light. Light always wins!  Go to the deepest, darkest cavern, consumed by the darkest of darkness and it can not close out light. 

Christianity is under attack. Claim the name of Jesus and you will be mocked, you will be persecuted, be it verbal or physical. But what do we expect?  We are in a battle!  The louder we shout, the harder we fight, Satan sends his strongest to silence us. 

But we know the secret. THE BATTLE HAS ALREADY BEEN WON!  Christ the King will sit on the throne, he will claim the victory, and he will emaciate death and pain and suffering and Satan and all his greatest tools. And Satan knows it! He is the King of Lies!  

But we wave the torch, we march, we shout, we will fight and we will win. This light will shine brighter and brighter. The power of God Almighty is on our side and nothing can separate us from him, this light can not be extinguished.