Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Living in a Broken World and Needing to Feel Loved and Accepted

Lately I´ve been thinking a lot about the results of the sin of Adam and Eve aka ´The Fall´.  It was no small thing that.  Because they thought that their way would be better than the way God had laid out for them, because they thought they should be the ones in control of their lives, because they wanted to be the ones to call the shots we now live in a broken world.  We each are born into broken relationship with God who created us and loves us more than we could ever comprehend.  Sin entering our world affected us more than I think we realize.  It affected our thinking.  It affected our being.  It affected everything we know and even things that we don´t know or realize.

I recently read a book that talks about our ´life-boat´ mentality.  The phrase comes from a discussion that many kids have in schools these days.  Maybe in school you had some of these discussions about people´s worth.  It goes something like this:  Suppose there is a lifeboat that only had room for 5 people and there were six people in it...a little 6 year old boy, a stay at home mom, a female doctor, a male lawyer, a male teacher, a 25 year old woman with Downs Syndrome or some such group as that.  If one was not thrown overboard then all would die.  Who would you choose to be thrown overboard?  The idea that all people are equal because they are made in God´s image rarely if ever comes up.  Usually the class has no problem picking people that have value and those who do not.   Even if they struggle a bit with it they end up picking someone to throw overboard.  That is because this is how we live our everyday lives.  We live as though some people are more valuable than others and of course we want to be the ones with more value.  Therefore we need to prove we are worth something.  We want to show that we deserve to be in the lifeboat.  We go about comparing ourselves to one another.  If someone says or thinks they are better than me it can make me frustrated or angry or even sad because in my ´lifeboat mentality´ they might take my place.  I have to prove I deserve to stay in the lifeboat.

But, what if we are valuable just because God made us and because He loves us?  What kind of world would it be if we all got our sense of worth from God?  What if we didn´t need to compare to one another?  What if I didn´t need to show myself to be better than you?  I could just love you for who you are without judgment.  I could do my best to meet your needs and help you because you aren´t a threat to me.  My desire would be to do whatever I could to build you up.  Sounds like paradise to me.  Sounds like the kingdom of heaven that Jesus talked about. 

Before the fall Adam and Eve lived in total harmony with God.  The Bible tells us they were naked and unashamed, but this was lost after the fall.  After they ate from the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil they became ashamed of who they were.  They no longer were in a perfect relationship with God receiving all they needed from Him.  They were separated from God.  Their relationship was broken.  Because of this they now felt the need to blame others in order to appear better than someone else (Eve in Adam´s case) or something else (the serpent in Eve´s case) and the comparisons and ´life boat´ mentality began.

What if part of our being ´fallen´ means that we are going around trying to be loved and respected by other people instead of getting our love and acceptance from being in a perfect relationship with God?  The fall really messed us up.  We are missing the part (the perfect relationship with God) that made us know in the core of our being that we are valuable, so now we spend most of our time trying to prove to ourselves and to the world that we are good enough, smart enough, talented enough, worthy enough to be loved. 

I am so glad that Jesus came to restore us back to that perfect relationship with God.  He came so that we could once again know what it feels like to be loved unconditionally.  Real love.  Love not based on anything that I do.  How different is that kind of love that the kind that is offered to us in this world?  The Bible tells us that nothing can separate us from the love of God that is found in Christ Jesus.  NOTHING I can do can make Him stop loving me.  He loves us not because of anything we do, but just because He wants to.

So how come I still go around trying to prove myself worthy of that love?  How come so many people feel like they have to show God by their good works that He got a good deal when He chose them?  How come we set up laws and rules that look like those of every other religion?  Ways to be acceptable in God´s sight.  How come we think some people are holier than others?  Closer to God?  More important in the kingdom?  How come we base so much on people´s actions and judge them by what they do and what they don´t do?  Isn´t this what the Pharisees did?  We are not called to actions or works, we are called to a restored relationship with God.  

These days I find myself longing more and more for the old Garden of Eden or better yet for the New Kingdom.  Longing for a time with no lifeboats.  Where there is room for all.  Acceptance for all.  Isn´t that what Jesus taught?  For now while I still live in this fallen world I must focus on finding my acceptance in my Beloved so that I will be able to forget as best as I can about me.  Only then will I be able to really love and unconditionally accept those whom God has called me to serve. 

I realize this is a bit of a ramble and I hope that you are able to make some sense of it.  Just sharing a few things on my heart.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Saturday, September 5, 2009

More Quotes

This time from Hope (age 7 for a few more days)....

to her dad:  "I am so proud of myself."

Joe:  "Why is that?"

Hope:  "Because I haven´t been outside all day.  All I´ve been doing is watching movies.  Usually all we do is play outside and use our imaginations and I haven´t done that all day."

Disclaimer:  The reason they were watching so many movies is that we have several kiddos recovering from giardia. 

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Our Second Day of Homeschooling This Year

Looks like I either wore someone out or bored them to sleep....or just ignored her until she took care of herself and took her nap right beside my desk. Whatever works I say.

Poor little 11th born

More Quotes

Last night Patience came in from playing outside and asked....

"Daddy, does gasoline stain?"

And then this morning I overheard this exclamation.....

"Oh no! Now the other one escaped!!"

A Life Changed

As I said in my last post we had to make an unexpected trip back to the States for Joe´s dad´s memorial service. The memorial service was beautiful and went on for around 2 hours of people sharing stories from Jack´s life. The best part was the clear picture of the difference of his life before Christ, and his life after he accepted Jesus as His Savior eight years ago. His was a life transformed by the Spirit living in him. A true testimony of the power of God. The pastors did a good job of showing the difference that a relationship with God can have. It was so great to be able to look at Jack´s life and see that there really was a difference in his life before he became a Christian and afterwards. Joe was able to share the story of when his dad and mom came up for a visit and his dad asked Joe to be the one to baptize him. What a sweet memory that is.

As we sat with the family and the pastors on the night before the service we heard two distinct kinds of stories ....ones from the years before he knew Christ when he was a hard working guy with a keen sense of humor, but was a bit rough and hard and never said the words ¨I love you¨, but then we heard stories from his later years after he knew Jesus personally. These were of a man changed. A man who had his hard heart replaced by a tender one. A man who forwarded every sappy email known to mankind. A man who continually told his family he loved them. A man who was know to all the kids at his church as ´the candy man´. A man whose greatest desire was to have his family experience the same relationship with God that he now enjoyed. Yes, Jack Holman was a life changed. Changed by his relationship with God. I am so blessed to have been able to see that transformation. What a testimony of God´s saving grace and His power to transform a life.

I know that one day I will be able to get another one of his big bear hugs and again be able to tell him in person how much I love him, but until then I will miss him. I love you, Jack.