Month: May 2018

Love in the Circumstance….

Those who know me well know that my mind races from one thing to another million others before my next blink of the eye.  How did I ever get to the place where I could allow God to sit my bum down long enough to put this to paper?

It began in 2014, when Warner was so sick and I needed help.  I was memorizing Ephesians and learning, as if for the first time, the significance of the local church.

When I was growing up, my dad always served at churches having problems and needing an interim pastor and/or someone to walk with them through a difficult season.  We never really went that deep in our local church since we weren’t there as often as in other churches.  I grew up seeing the local church pretty much as the “sending agency.”

While I was learning about the local church intellectually, my church, through my community group and other friends, was loving on me like I had never known.  They were teaching me about the local church experientially.   So, at 56 years old, after a lifetime in the church, I finally internalized the meaning and significance of the local church.  I determined to give back to my church home.

Fast forward several years and here you have some of my grateful heart giving back…. I wrote this study for my church body.  As I participated in it through our women’s ministry bible study this year, the study members encouraged me to step out in faith and make it available to all.

That is my heart.  I long for everyone to know and experience God’s love through Jesus in real and tangible ways that result in undeniable transformation.   The Bible tells us to “be imitators of God, as beloved children and walk in love, just as Christ also loved us and gave Himself up for us (Ephesians 5:1-2).”  The issue is that imitating God and walking in love is counter-intuitive, it is something we have to learn…

Coming to know Jesus as a man and experiencing Him responding in love to the relational challenges in His life when He walked the earth as a man teaches us how we can imitate Him by doing the same in our own lives.  That’s the point of this study.  It’s a tool to empower us through the Holy Spirit to mirror Jesus’ love on a more consistent basis in our daily interactions, whatever the circumstance.

I pray that this study serves you well.  I would love to hear from you as you interact with it and grow in love along with me……

You can find the study on Amazon.com and get it by clicking the link below.

 Love in the Circumstance: Mirroring Jesus’ love in difficult situations

Peonies and such …

2018 05 20 peonyPeony. What a strange name for a plant.   it seems somewhat irreverent and just plain wrong to name a such a beautiful flower a word that you can easily string out to say pee-o-knee or worse … um, well, you get the image….

This is my first spring in my new home and lo and behold, this week there were 3 such buds on a small bush in my back yard.  By Friday, they had transformed into gorgeous lush pink blossoms in full bloom.  And the memories came flooding back to this time 3 years ago.

A friend had brought me the most gorgeous bouquet of peonies.  She must have cut every single one that her bush had produced, and she gave them to me to brighten my day, creating beauty in sorrow. Mysteriously, those flowers lasted through Warner’s last days and past his funeral. I must have admired them a hundred times over. Funny the things you remember so vividly.

Three years without Warner.  1,095 days. 26,280 hours, 1,576,800 minutes. I cannot count the seconds.  There are too many. I can’t wrap my head around such a number.

And yet I am still breathing. I get up every morning.  I do the day. Most nights I sleep.  The sun rises and sets.  The months go by. The seasons pass. Not even one of those seconds I dare not count has stood still or raced ahead or been lost in all this time.

Remembering the anniversary of the death of your beloved is so different from remembering that person’s birthday or anniversary.  Those dates come naturally, and with them sweet and dear memories of times shared together, events, joy, celebrations, laughter.  Those were traditions, planned and executed with longing, expectation, delight.  Even though there is a sadness to them now, there is also a tenderness that comes from thinking back to special moments shared together.  Not so with a person’s physical death. It happens once. That day is marked forever as an ending, with each of its moments burned in your brain with irrevocable finality.  Done and done. That date on the calendar reminds you of one thing.

Even so, peonies still bloom.  I googled the word today to learn a bit more about this flower that I had shunned my whole life just because of its name. I learned that the word peony is “a merger of Middle English, Old English, Old North French, Latin and Greek words, related to paiōnios (healing), from paiōn (physician), and so called for the plant’s healing qualities.”

The peony is known as the flower of “riches and honor. With their lush, full, rounded bloom, peonies embody romance and prosperity and are regarded as an omen of good fortune and a happy marriage.  The peony is a strong symbol of beauty, fragility and transitory nature of existence. Furthermore, they depict that getting great rewards is only possible by taking great risks.”

 Also, peonies rarely bloom the first year after planting. It often takes three years before you see an abundant display of flowers. Peony plants require little maintenance as long as they are planted properly and establish themselves; they do not respond well to transplanting. But once the plants do start blooming, you can look forward to a lifetime of beautiful flowers. They can live to be ONE HUNDRED years old!”

So, there you have it.  I think Warner would be pleased with my peony bush.  He had no problem with irreverence if it led you to a righteous goal. We shared years of good fortune and a happy marriage, full of beauty, fragility, the transitory nature of existence and great rewards directly related to the great risks he never feared to lead us through. And that comment about taking three years to abundance…  I sure do feel it coming…