Invitation to START OVER

Ever wish you had been born into a family of privilidge?  Wish you had more connections?  Is there a huge mistake you wish you hadn’t made?  The kind no one else can understand.  Do you regret your career choice?  Or the very personality that you live with every single day?

Only here. This is the only place you are offered a second chance. An offer to be born again. To chose a father that is a king, that decorates his streets with gold. He has the connections to chose the weather, to set the stars in motion, and to do….ANYTHING!  He knows everything you wish you knew, gives the best advice to be offered, has all the answers, offers protection and peace beyond comprehension. 

Do you feel too weak for change?  He is all powerful.  Are you much too poor?  Oh, he has that covered. Scared?  Yeah. It is scary. It is a give all, hold nothing back kind of choice. 

But give it. Surrender. Start over. Raise your white flag. Be born again. And receive it all. 

Baby America

  
Happy 239th birthday to the United States of America!  On this day in 1776, America adopted the Declaration of Independence. 

Not so very long ago, husbands and fathers from the poorest, weakest land on earth took up their crude weapons to declare, “Give me liberty or give me death!”  Mothers raised their children in a wild new country and pressed on to survive in a bare and empty place because they believed. They believed in something bigger than themselves. They believed in doing what was right at all costs. They believed that God Almighty had called them to worship, serve, and fight for the right to worship his holy name. They had hope. They had hope that this hard life was not all they were made for.

Today, I look at my nation and I am sad that I see these rights that they fought for slipping away. I look at my country and take a deep breath and sigh. America bites the hand of God Almighty that has fed her. She turns from the God that has protected her and stomps away like a spoiled little brat. She whines and throws a tantrum and pouts, “but I want my own way!”

And I realize, great men and women that built our country were surrounded by the same crowd. They wondered if their new country would ever survive. So, I stand and proclaim, this world is not my home!  I have hope!  I have a meaning and a purpose. When those around me turn from God, I claim his name!  

Use me Lord!  Use me for your purpose, use me for your people!  When comforts deminish, you are my hope. When my earthly rights fail, you are my freedom.  You are my freedom that can never be taken. No government can outlaw that freedom!

I am proud to be an American!  I love my country!  Today, I celebrate that I am living the American Dream. Today, I celebrate that I worship in an amazing church that preaches the Word of God. Today, I celebrate the freedom to raise my daughter with a Biblical worldview. Today, I celebrate a history of men and women that fought to give me that freedom. But beyond all that, today I worship and praise my God that is in control of it all. 

Happy Independence Day!

A Relationship That Will Still Be Here Tomorrow

She threw the magazine across the room and yelled, “It doesn’t work!”  She had tried it. She had tried it all. She had read every parenting magazine and tried every method and she still did not have the intimate relationship with her son that she longed for. What was the problem?  

While she was shopping, she wandered over to the boy’s department and purchased him a new pair of tennis shoes and a new water gun. She got her nails done and then headed to dinner with her girlfriends. She discussed her frustration with them, but they did not seem to understand. 

She drove home, entered her home, and climbed the steps to his bedroom pondering the lack in their relationship. 

He turned his head on his pillow and smiled slightly at her entrance to his bedroom. 

“Hey sweetheart. I bought you a new water gun today.”

“Thanks Mommy. Will you play with it with me tomorrow?”

“Well, I have work tomorrow but I bet Sarah will play with you.”

“Ok. Can we have breakfast together in the morning?”

“You know you will get breakfast at your Day Camp.”

He seemed suddenly excited and she wondered what he had to say, “Oh!  I have an assignment to fill a bag with things from nature. Will you do my homework with me?”

That was not what she was hoping for. She wasn’t really the type to explore nature. “I will make sure your tutor knows you have that assignment…Goodnight. I love you.”

And he rolled over. 

She felt lacking, “Do you love me sweet boy?”

He did not answer. 

She left his room wondering why they did not have a deeper relationship. She paid his Nanny and she went to bed. 

Toy purchases, birthday parties, “I love you Mommy”s, and sweet cuddles are amazing!  HOWEVER the relationship happens in the day to day. Battles getting dressed, potty training, sounding out words, working through tough times at school, waiting together at the doctor’s office are the times that mean we have a relationship. It means we are doing life together. 

It is GREAT to be in love with Jesus, it is great to be overwhelmed with his creation and thankful for his blessings. But unless the mom is pouring cereal and doing homework with her son, the relationship is lacking. If we are not reading our Bibles and serving others in need and living out what we say we believe, our relationship with God is lacking. We can not get frustrated with our lack of intimacy if we are not doing the day to day work that builds our relationship. 

Somewhere else, tapping on the steering wheel, with a stoic glare on his face.  It ended with a firm grip and then slapping the seat beside him in frustration. What could he possibly have done wrong and why were they the way they were. After three years of marriage, they should not have drifted apart. He loved her. He really did. Ofcourse he did. He had married her, hadn’t he?  He had chosen her among all the other women that he had ever known. When asked if he was married, he answered that she was his wife. He worked hard at the office.  What else could he possibly do?  

With frustrated determination, he scrolled through the recents and called her. A date was set and he was excited. He needed some romance and excitement. He needed this flicker to grow into a wildfire. 

Pulling into the driveway, he laid on the horn. What was taking her so long?  They were going to be late for call ahead seating. 

Twenty minutes late, they almost lost their table. He took a deep breath and refocused. He stared across the booth at his wife. She was beautiful. She was stunningly gorgeous. He slid out of the booth and reseated himself beside her, squishing her in tight. 

“What are you doing sweety?”  Her confused question was an insult. 

He tried again, using his fingers to gently push her long hair behind her ear and then he leaned forward and whispered something intimate. 

Her reaction was not exactly what he had been going for, “Hey. Back up. Let’s just talk.”

And then he lost it. “What in the hell is your problem?  Why don’t you act like you did when we first got married?  Why don’t you make me feel like that? Why don’t you excite me anymore?  You are boring!  Do you know other women come on to me at work?  I need you to give me something more. I need you to give me the mountaintop experience!”

In his anger, he was surprised by her calm answer, “Marriage is not always about a feeling. Marriage does not happen here, on dates. These are great but they are few and far between. Marriage is life together. Marriage includes the hard times. I need a relationship in those every day moments. I need more than rare dates. You can not be absent in my daily life and show up every two weeks and expect hot emotion on a date like when we first met.”

WHY oh why do we expect Jesus to date us and keep the tingly feelings flowing when we do not do life with him?  Mountaintop experiences are great. Church is great, new conversions are great, tingles are great, but they are not life. We can not live our lives our own way and then expect a hot date on a random Friday. 

Where Can She Find Love?

It was a cruel addiction, his presence. Ofcourse she was attracted to his eyes, his deep eyes that had no trouble staring straight into her soul. His artsy hair, deep voice, muscular body, model approach to dressing, there was nothing about him that she didn’t like. 

What she didn’t like was herself, how her heart choked her voice when she would try to talk. How she could feel her neck and her cheeks turning red when he even just looked at her. Everything she said seemed so wrong. But everything about him seemed so right. 

She tried her best to be confident. To be forward and flirty, to say the right things, be in the right places, and dress in just the right way. She imagined, yes, she believed, this must be love. 

Dating him was confidence. It was her identity, her strength, her world, her everything. She felt she had found herself. Found herself in him. The actions, words, time together proved she must be in love. 

She always wanted more of him, of the drug he had to offer. She had no limits. Before the first date they were touching. It felt so good, it was the most right thing she had ever experienced. She felt she had been cautious, with their relationship defined, she gave it all. She didn’t feel like she was giving, she was taking what she wanted. She was madly, wildly, passionately in love. This had to be love. 

Moving in together, a proposal, a nursery painted blue and soon a little sister, the house, a yard, a part time career. Her dreams had all come and passed.  This was the life she chose, the life she wanted. She thought. She supposed she must love him. Things just change and that is life. That must be love. 

His hair was speckled gray, his apparel a little apathetic, but his eyes were still deep and piercing. He leaned in to kiss her, only because of appearance to their company, and his presence lacked something she longed for. Was it, had it ever been love?  It was empty. She was empty.  Was it ever love?

Behind his shoulder, she caught a glance.  She blushed and turned away. But her eyes returned and met his. A tailored suit, fresh haircut, and broad shoulders gave her a second glance. It was a torturing addiction to be in his presence. Was it, could it be, maybe she missed it the first time, maybe this was her chance at what she longed for?  Maybe this could be love?  She wanted so much to feel it again, to have it, play with it, and live it. She want so much to be and to give. She wanted love. 

*I HATE to add a side note. I feel it distracts from interpretations and I hate that you are reading this now instead of being left with the “last line.”  HOWEVER, I write so much personally that I wanted to emphasize that THIS WRITING IS NOT ABOUT ME.  It is what I see over and over and over again everywhere I turn in women and men that do not know how to get and how to give love but it is the one thing they want more than anything. Humans were made to love and be loved. Love, what in the world are you?  And where can this world find you?

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. 

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. 


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. 

Being Selfish is King

Daily, hourly, minute by minute, a war rages within me. Heart speeding, mind demanding, body wanting, wanting what is best for me.

A “list person” does not begin to explain how I long for my day to be structured. Quiet coffee and writing, chores accomplished to the point of mopping and clean closets. Each day, my soul longs to close the afternoon relaxing and reading a book beside a burning candle, while a healthy dinner slowly grills and bakes, with the fruit salad already cut in the fridge. 

But two things happen daily that mess up MY plans and they are: 

 1.  HUSBAND & 2.  DAUGHTER

Ya see, they each have their own idea how the day should go and James is not so much worried about the clean house and Madison wants to see as many people as possible. 

And here is where my covenant kicks in. I have made a covenant to my husband and my daughter. Simply put, I vow to always love them.  Sound easy enough?  My heart says that I love them to the point of my heart exploding, however, there is ALWAYS room for love to improve!  

In the words of Bob Goff, “love does.”  Love is patient. Love is kind…IT IS NOT SELF-SEEKING…  It is not enough to say to my husband and my daughter that I love them, I want to BE LOVE to them. 

Now, I love a lot of people. I want to show love to many in my life. HOWEVER, I have a covenat love with two people in my life. What does that mean?

I love my friends, but I have the freedom to move away. I love my daughter’s teacher, but if it is not working out for Madison, we are out of there. The covenant is to my husband and my daughter. I vow to always love them NO MATTER WHAT.

We can see that the covenantal love between a husband and a wife has eroded in our culture. With the divorce rate over half, and who knows how many more living in a miserable marriage, pop culture has responded with:  Be true only to yourself. Be happy at all costs. Love yourself more than anyone. 

This thinking has helped to erode marriage. And I am terrified that this is beginning to extend to our children. There was one bond that culture still encouraged and that was the bond between a parent and child. Your marriage is not working?  Let me encourage you to walk through that door, but you still have a responsibility to your children. 

Please allow me to suggest something:  you can not have it both ways. A person can not love themself above all else and keep a covenant to anyone. Dare I say, especially a child?!  When mommy is sleepy and the baby is crying, when Daddy wants to save for a boat and children cost SO FREAKIN MUCH, when I want to sit in silence and read and my daughter is a chatterbox, THAT DOES NOT MESH WELL WITH THE ME MENTALITY. 

With child trafficking on the rise, with children living among broken families, horrible stories of mothers and fathers murdering their own children, WHO IS GOING TO FIX THIS MESS?!

RETURN TO THE COVENANT!  Caroline has to chose to serve my husband and my daughter BEFORE myself!  Oh!  But who will look out for ME?!  And that is the beauty of a covenant, when I am serving James in love and he returns it to me, a vicious cycle of growing love begins. 

Yes!  I am called to love even when it is not returned. Yes!  I daily have to ask for forgiveness!  And even when I vow and long for this PERFECT covenant, IT IS IMPOSSIBLE!  And maybe this is why the towel has been thrown in for most of pop culture and it trickles down to us, because only one thing makes us chose someone else over ourselves:  GOD IS LOVE

When God is removed from our lives, it is impossible to live in a covenant. 

I, Caroline, vow to love my husband and my daughter always. And in my day to day, when I chose my own happiness before their’s, Lord Jesus, return me to YOU, so that you can love them through me, because ONLY YOU ARE PERFECT LOVE.