The Thing About Simplicity

I love quotes. They simply sum up life in a few sentences.  They also remind us of how cognizant we should be but are not.

Simplicity is a goal that either takes great concentration and effort or becomes a necessity. Mine has become the latter. Right after my last post about my goals for 2018 my husband went in for hernia surgery and due to some complications we spent the entire month of January in the hospital. It was not a great way to begin the year, let alone my goals.

I quickly became aware that I was not going to get my closets cleaned out, the garage put in order or even clean out my desk. I was not going to plan meals, send out birthday cards on time or make my grandchildren anything by hand this year. All I was going to accomplish, at that point, was making sure I had an extra change of underwear with me at the hospital.

But God is good. He understands my desire for simplicity, even if it did become a necessity more than a desire. He helped me to see that when life boils down to just surviving and helping someone recover you find the time to do the things that really matter and you just ignore the rest.  No, I don’t want to say ignore; that’s not really what you do. It’s more like you sigh heavily, feel the pang of guilt, but allow yourself to move on because you have no choice.

I want to write but I feel overwhelmed. Still, I want to share my heart in words. I can’t tell you why. I only know it is an inherent gene that God planted long ago. I simply want to write. So today, I’m going to write…simply.  Jesus taught us that all of the laws and the prophets hang on just two simple commandments; love God and love others. Jesus was the master of simplicity. I can only hope to be as good at that as He is.

Verse: John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life.

Love God: Do you love God as much as he loves you? Could you give up everything important to you, for him?

Love People: If God loves “the world” that much he probably loves the guy in the next room with the obnoxious voice, your ex-spouse, and that annoying girl you still hate from high school. Should you consider how you feel about the people God loves?

Prayer: Father, thank you for your gift of everlasting life despite the way I treat others sometimes. Please help me to see the way you see so that I can love the way you love.

 

 

I’ll Pray For You

 

My mother says this to me often. She and I are not of the same religion. Still I am grateful when I think of my name on their altar, where she and her group of friends, some who don’t even know me, bow their heads and plead for my cause.

My friend’s daughter, a Wiccan, says she hopes the Gods smile down on me and that she will send me good energy. I have only one God but I know He loves her enough to hear her plea for energy in my behalf.

My Catholic friend says she will light a candle for me. My son-in-law says, “Insha’Allah, If God wills it,” and then gets on his knees for me at his mosque. My Pentecostal friend says she will pray over me. My aunt says she will ask the elders of her church to lay their hands on me. I am touched by their concern despite the fact that I don’t practice my faith in the same way. My neighbor, who is agnostic simply says, “I’ll be thinking of you.” I’ll take that too.

Whether these people believe in the same God I do, or not, is beside the point. My God believes in them. It doesn’t matter if He is exactly who they think He is because the God I love cares for the compassionate requests of all of His children. And when they raise their voices to Him, in whatever religious place, ceremony, ritual or language they use, I know that His translation skills are universal. His is the ear of a patient father, who feels the worth of our reaching and hears the language of our hearts.

All prayer, all concentrated love and concern for others, counts in heaven.

“Likewise the Spirit helps us in our weakness. For we do not know what to pray for as we ought, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words.”
‭‭Romans‬ ‭8:26‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/rom.8.26.esv

More from the Bible about Praying for Each Other

“I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;”
‭‭1 Timothy‬ ‭2:8‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/1ti.2.8.esv

“Again I say to you, if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭18:19‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/mat.18.19.esv

“Therefore…pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.”
‭James‬ ‭5:16‬ ‭ESV‬‬
http://bible.com/59/jas.5.16.esv

Father / Heavenly Father

http://crystaladoptions.comA little girl visited my daughter a few nights ago.  They’re best friends. She claims to be an atheist but I’m confused about how anyone younger than sixteen knows if there is a God or not for sure.  I remember when I was that age and thought I knew though.  It must be possible to have that strong of a feeling to the contrary.

We spent the evening together having a rare teen-adult connection during conversation where she blurted out that her parents were not very kind to her.  She recounted some stories that made me hurt for her and, even if only remembered wrongly, I still recognized as life-shaping.  This is a girl, I kept thinking, that will turn into a woman who questions everything about the relationships she is in.  She will wonder if, when he says he loves her, if he really does.  She will second-guess her best friends (as she already does) and she will wonder if there is anyone who finds worth in her, even as she painstakingly dresses for another date or business meeting.

And this is a girl who can’t believe in God.  She could never believe in a Father in Heaven who loves her because she doesn’t even believe that her parents do.

I have thought about this for days.  I mull it over as one of the strangest but truest thoughts I’ve had in a while.  The question seems so obvious to me and yet so vague: Does our relationship and belief in a Heavenly Father have anything to do with our dysfunctional or trusting relationships with our own earthly parents?  And, regardless of whether or not those perceptions of our relationships are actually true or not, did it shape the way we formed our bond with God?

Does the man who spends his childhood with a father who is never home believe there is a God but that He doesn’t really participate in the daily lives of his children?  Does the woman who spent her childhood lost in the sea of children of a large family grow up to think that God loves her but never notices the things she does?  Does the child who is criticized often believe that they will never be good enough to go to heaven?

I’m starting to think a lot about my own parents these days and my perception of them.

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