Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Lessons in Pink

Last night, I painted Lydia's little toes, put the cap back on the bottle, and forgot about it. A few minutes later, Joseph and I looked over to see her holding the empty bottle in her hand...up-side down. Bright pink oozed down her legs and onto the couch. 

I had a choice that moment, to clean her off and when she was older, teach her how to use it properly. Or to get angry, spank her, and tell her she was a bad girl. I was frustrated at having to clean up another mess, but the Holy Spirit reminded me that Lydia was still learning. She had no idea opening the bottle would cause a problem. She was acting out of childlike curiosity, not out of sinful rebellion.

This morning the Lord brought to mind this passage in Psalm 103:

Just as a father has compassion on his children,
Adonai has compassion on those who fear him.
For he understands how we are made,
he remembers that we are dust.

We make messes all the time. Some of them are created by sin, but I believe most of our mistakes are just that...mistakes. Things done out of ignorance and not willful sin. As the above passage explains, the Lord knows how we are made--with finite wisdom, vision, and strength. He knows we are going to mess up. But he knows that we are also made with a capacity to learn and grow. And so I believe he's okay with our messes. He gently carries us, cleans us off, and teaches us a better way.

Women of God, we are far harder on ourselves than our Father is. I will be the first to admit this. But we have a very good Father who is infinitely patient with us:

The Lord is merciful and compassionate, 
slow to anger and abounding in love.


For as high as the heavens are above the earth
so great is his love for those who fear him;
as far as the east is from the west,
so far has he removed our transgression from us.

We don't have a Father who is waiting to say "I told you so!" We have a Father who celebrates our moments of childlike discovery and a Father who helps us sort out life's difficult and messy moments. 

So then,

Let us approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace in our time of need.

(Scripture from the Complete Jewish Version and the New International Version)

Monday, November 3, 2014

How I Met Your Father

I was standing awkwardly in the the foyer before service, taking my time putting sugar in my coffee to make it seem less obvious that I didn't know anyone. I was a few years out of school, working my first real office job, having plenty of money to buy a nice, new wardrobe, but feeling completely empty inside. I was desperately lonely. Bible college and all its activities had been a life-changing and beautiful time. But the real world was sucking me dry and I was beginning to feel it. And to make life worse, the relationship I was currently in was beginning to turn out to be something far different than I expected.

My thoughts were interrupted by a man who walked up to me and introduced himself as the youth pastor. As we chatted, he learned that I had studied Youth Ministry in college and immediately invited me to be a part of his team of youth leaders. Before I could tell him I'd think about it, he had pulled a young man out of the crowd and introduced him to me. "This is Joseph. He's one of our youth leaders" as he threw his arm over the kid's shoulders. The young man seemed just as dazed as me. He automatically shook my hand as I was introduced as "Sarah, a new youth leader." I felt completely out of place, in my professional clothing and heels, and this young man was still breathing heavy, skateboard under one arm, sweat matting the hair around his eyes, kids pulling on him to come back to the parking lot. Yeah, you don't want me as a youth leader, I thought. I'm obviously no where near as fun as this guy.

But I agreed to start coming to youth group meetings and getting to know the kids. I was put in charge of the middle school ladies and fell in love with each of them. I found I didn't have to be hip or crazy for them to open up to me. They just wanted a chance to talk about what was on their hearts. These girls gave me a reason to look forward to the end of each work week.  For the first time in several years, my heart and life were full again.

And God wouldn't stop there. For in that whirlwind of a meeting in the foyer, something even more beautiful was about to bloom. And I couldn't have planned it better myself!

The skateboarding youth leader and I, headed to camp with a van full of kids :)

Friday, October 31, 2014

Letter From a Husband

Two weeks ago, we had another wedding in the family. It was absolutely beautiful! The bride arrived in a horse-drawn carriage. Her white dress billowing gently in the breeze. They said their vows under a canopy of vines. The blue sky above, the green grass below, and the scent of a hundred varieties of roses all around. Joseph and I kept looking at each other with giddy smiles, remembering our own special day almost 6 years ago.

For so many the romance ends on their wedding day. But it doesn't have to. The beauty of marriage is getting to fall in love with your spouse every day. 

So when I saw this beautiful letter written by one of our dear friends to his lovely wife, I had to share it with all of you. With his permission, here it is...

So I read an article that embodies the way I feel about you today. After reading the article I was struck with appreciation for how special you are to me, and here is why...

1. You are smarter than me without a doubt, from intuition to spelling, you teach me things about life everyday.

2. Your Beautiful. Like sooo beautiful and I am so thankful that you put in the effort to look beautiful for me.

3. You are kind and nurturing. I have never seen this more clearly than the past few weeks with our new son. You are so good to me and I love how great you are with him.

4.Your Vivacious. You are energetic and always up for an adventure.

5. You love me with all your heart,and you show me this fact every day.

6. You are willing to compromise. I love the fact that you are so willing to talk through the issues and that you try and see things from my point of view as well as yours.

7. You feel like home. They say that home is where the heart is and that could not be more true than when I'm with you.

8.You are more than happy to tell me I'm wrong. I love this about you, and I love that you are able to do it in such a gentle way.

Beautiful family! 
9. You are strong, but feminine. I never thought that these two characteristics could be balanced so well by someone, yet you do it effortlessly.

10. You are Passionate. I finally found my match when it comes to this.

11. You are Driven. You inspire me with your drive, and dang Is it attractive.

12. Last but not least you mean the world to me. Thank you my love for being such an incredible partner in life, thank you for embodying these and so many more enviable traits. Thank you for loving me. I hope this note puts a smile on your face and pep in your step today, you are truly one of a kind and I will love you forever.