Grace, Ah, So That is What It Is.

Colossians 1:21 – “Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds which was shown by your evil actions…”

It’s interesting how we believe that God is mad at us when we do wrong things.  We suddenly “see things where there are none” and we alienate ourselves from Him.  But God never moves away from us…we move away from Him.

1:22 – “But now he has reconciled you by His physical body through death, to present you before God as a people who are holy, faultless, and without blame”.

Huh, so that even if I have separated myself from Him I am not being accused?

It is amazing to me – this gift I didn’t really understand that existed all along.

How could I – who have attended church all my life, I who have prayed regularly, read my bible, taught bible classes, and converted others – how could I have actually missed the real message behind all of that?

When I am telling others of God’s complete forgiveness is it really possible I could have missed the point?  That they could have walked away with that assurance while I remained in bondage?

And the promise was right there all along – in the bible I’ve read a hundred times!

All We Have to Do

Its about Time Series III’m always busy, always overwhelmed with what I have to do.  I can’t seem to sit still. I spent much of my life being busy, looking busy, feeling busy inside.  I remember quite clearly that this stems from a father that you didn’t want to catch you not busy, in case he found something for you to do.  Dad would come home in the evening and we would all scatter like leaves, spending much of our time outside or in our rooms.

Later when I got married at 17, at the insistence of my parents, to a man eight years older than I was the feeling didn’t go away.  Three months after the wedding day I conceived and within the year I had my first child, within four I had my third.  The struggle to please and look busy was replaced by necessity.  Active in church to the point of feeling like a full-time job I added God to my list of men I had to be busy to please.  Now, over 30 years and 6 children later, I find that it has become a horrible habit I can’t shake, sometimes to the point of exhaustion.

Sitting in church Sunday I hear this phrase and it rocks my world; We are saved, not by any works of our own, but by grace.  So I’ve been spinning my wheels all this time, never feeling good enough, never “doing enough” and all this time the ride was paid for?

I sit there stunned. I know I knew this but I guess I never internalized it.  Somehow I’d missed the implications of the gift. I had spent some of that busy time feeling obligation, guilt, frustration and loss, and believing that by my good works God would find me good enough to love, to bless, to invite into heaven.  It frustrates me and I am a bit angry for having gave up my time and my life in that way.

Then I suddenly feel a kind of satisfaction as I contemplate the implications…there were also times that I spent my life being busy for the right reasons; the love of my family, the concern for a friend, the comfort of a pet.  I know these were my gift to God and colleagues in this life because it was never expected.  All I had to do was have faith.

I realize that all I have to do is not on my to-do list.  It’s the decision I make, when I wake up in the morning each day, to believe.

Mary’s Mother’s Day

(c)2012 Waltzingon Photography

From my journal 1993:    In a few days I will be bringing forth yet another child into this already crowded world.  Does anyone really care?  Does it matter that it’s me or that it will be a boy or whether or not he will ever make a difference in this world?  Probably not very many people.  Other than those who love us and care about our day to day lives, we are just another pair.  In another room someone else will be having a child also, a boy.  Will he be a great and important man someday?  Who’s to say?  But I’ll bet everyone who knows and loves him thinks so too.

 And so my mind drifts to the mother of yet another baby boy; only born so long ago, when the world was not quite so crowded, but busy none-the-less.  At the moment that Mary first laid eyes on that beautiful baby boy of hers I’ll bet that there were many too busy that night to ever wonder if he would ever be something great either.  But he was.  And Mary knew it.

Mary, in all her innocence, was just a young woman.  Not older and wiser like those who are having their fifth child, like me.  Just a sweet first time Mom who would eventually unwrap her baby’s blankets and count his fingers and his toes like we all did with our first baby.

Even knowing who he was I know she felt the same protective feelings we all have toward our babies.  She must have thought, “He’s so young, so vulnerable, how could he be so important?”

My heart bleeds for her as she realizes what he must endure for his mission in life.  Oh how hard it must have been not to want to cry out in anguish to save the life of her child!  To spare him from the pain that must surely come.

I cry too; to save the lives of each of my beautiful children.  To spare them from the agony of the lessons they must eventually learn in time.  I, too, know the ache of wishing that I could protect them from everything harmful and painful in life.

Mary, Jesus’ mother, she was the woman who taught him to walk, and to speak.  Could it have been her who first taught Jesus the art of loving others without judgment?  Could it have been his own mother who instilled in him the desire to serve God so willingly and completely?  Mary taught him to share and play.  Mary hugged and kissed away his bruises and tears.  Mary helped him learn obedience and taught him about rules and laws.  Who else but his own mother?  Aren’t these the things that every mother should teach their own children?  Could Mary have been a part of God’s wonderful plan to make Jesus into what he was and who he would become?

 And so as I gather my children around me this day and looking from face to face, I think of Mary.  And I pray that I can be such a wonderful mother to my children.  I pray that I can teach them everything that God wants them to know; everything that I can give them to fulfill the purposes that they have been placed here for.  I may have a rocket scientist, a veterinarian, a famous singer or just a great real estate agent in my family.  I may even have a President of the United States in my home.  Or maybe I’ll just have a great mother or father who will pass on family values and love to their own children.  Every child represents the potential for the beginning link in a chain of greatness.  All I do know is that how they are prepared today, and how much I can let them know they are loved, will greatly influence who they will become.

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            It’s true that many people in this huge world were too busy to care what each of my children would become when they were born, or to wonder if they would be anyone significant, but they are.  I know it.

            So from across the span of time and motherhood I wish you all a very Happy Mother’s Day; and a wish that you find as much delight in your own children, as much potential, as much awe for their future and your part in it as Mary did holding her own bundle of joy so many years ago and as I find in my own today.

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