Tag : love
Tag : love
Elle’s death hurt me beyond words; fortunately and unfortunately, it changed me. I regret it took me so long to learn her parting wish for me—to love a friend again. I had some healing to get through and some growing up to do. I am glad I was gifted with such a special relationship for a season.
I have learned that the Lord gives us each person in our lives for some special reason. That’s why He keeps saying that every one of us is so unique and valuable, The relationship I had with Elle was forged by Him in a way that reached the deepest part of my heart, in a way I had never expected or experienced before. This was partly because of the book we wrote together, but there was so much more.
For a long time after her death I was angry and then I just felt lost. Subsequently, I have kept a lot of people at arms length in my life and in my heart because I feared they’d die. It seemed as if so many people around me have teetered between life and death, and I didn’t think I had the heart, energy, or faith to deal with any kind of death after Elle.
But what I have realized, in the almost four years since she’s been gone, is that we all are teetering. That is, we are all teetering on the edge between life and death—both physically and spiritually. Our lives are fleeting. Yes, it’s a cliché, but unfortunately, it’s a fact. I’ve seen it with the passing of my beloved Grandma, Uncle, two Aunts, and up-close twice with two of my dearest friends. I’ve witnessed the anguish and prayed for a lot of people who have walked through the process and pain of dying and death. These last few years, I’ve witnessed the pain, struggle, and teetering with my mother as she battled cancer. And finally, I witnessed the journey, struggle, and death of my father-in-law.
There is only One whom each and everyone of us has to hold onto, God. Everyone else will fall away in some form or fashion —relationships end, ties break, and yes, there’s death. However, a dear friend told me, “When it comes to the moment where we teeter closer to death, it is only God that is with us, even though physically others may be around. He truly is all we need.
Yes, life is fragile and temporary but the next one is more real and eternal. And every now and then when death draws near, we get to see and long to be where our Father waits. And Jesus, who is the light and love, waits for us to come home. We may all fear death, sometimes not so much the idea of death itself, but the pain of dying. What I have learned is that while our hearts may yearn for heaven because we know the blessings that await us, we need to keep doing our best to faithfully complete the work the Lord gives us.
For many who have not reached this state of consciousness and growth yet, I ask you to open your hearts again. Stop rejecting those around you, rather do as Jesus asked —no commanded us—to do, LOVE. Bring people in. Bring them into your life, your family, your home, and into your hearts. Stop manipulating religion, politics, race, and anything else as an excuse to reject, but rather use them all as reasons to love. Love our uniqueness, love our differences, love our different paths, and most importantly, love others as you wish to be loved. Unconditionally.
May the Lord forge a friendship for you where you show love and are loved so deeply that it blesses you even when the piercing sting of death hits your heart.
We would love for you to join us for POP Chat this Wednesday, February 24th at 6:30 p.m. when Pearls of Promise Team Marketing Director, Aurora Ortega Geis, will be speaking about “How to Navigate Change.” Aurora is a Business Strategist, Leadership Coach and the Founder of A GO Strategy, a Leadership & Life Coaching, Consulting and Digital Marketing Company.
Our Worship Leader for this POP Chat will be Renee Rollins. Renee is a Singer/Songwriter who has performed at the Olympics. She is currently the Worship Leader for the Pre-Service Prayer at Gateway Church’s Shabbat Service. Her music has been heard locally on Dallas radio stations and in Hawaii, her home state.
Sign up for POP Chat at: https://share.hsforms.com/15bHBupdrTBugXxD9Y8Q_MQ3jo4z
I am a movie buff, and often, after my brain is fried from the day’s work I ask my husband, “What movie can we watch?”
This week, we checked out a 2017 release, starring Tom Hanks and Emma Watson, called The Circle. It’s about a young woman (Mae) who lands her dream job working for a large tech company (The Circle) run by Hanks (Bailey). However, The Circle has invented a small camera, that placed everywhere, gives the company the ability to monitor the goings and comings of all people. Mae agrees to wear this camera during waking hours and her life and her friends and family’s lives turn into a reality show, with not so good results.
It’s a scary concept, but let’s put a positive spin on this idea of being watched 24/7. It’s actually what God does in our lives. There’s no camera attached to our clothing but the eyes of God are on His children around the clock because, like a doting father He cares about us and does not take a night off. Scripture says “Nothing in all creation is hidden in God’s sight” (Hebrews 4:13).
King David understood the omnipresent God when he penned Psalm 139: “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast” (Psalm 139: 7–10 NIV).
So the good news is you might think you’re alone, but you’re never alone. You might believe no one sees your pain, but God wants to hold your hand through the trials. You could think you’re not loved but out of His love for you, God has a watchful eye on your goings and comings. In Matthew 28:18–20 Jesus promised to be with us always. The Greek translation of “always” is “all the days.” Jesus doesn’t take a vacation. He’s with us every day—all day.
But even though our heavenly Father never leaves us we often act like God is absent and do not acknowledge this gift of His continual presence in our lives. This year, I am being intentional about recognizing His nearness. I am thankful for the tracker he’s placed on me, and from the time I get up to the time I go to sleep, while I often fail, the goal is to please the Father with all my actions and words.
After all, He’s watching.
Have there been times when you were afraid/ fearful? This is obviously a rhetorical question, but what I want you to think about is what you did or didn’t do about that fear?
When I think about being fearful, a sweet memory comes to mind. It was my first trip to Oklahoma to visit with my dear friend, Kim. We had become close friends when we lived in Prosper, Texas together. Gathering daily for a walk once we dropped off our children at school, we would talk and talk and talk as we walked.
Now there’s just one thing you need to know about Kim before we go any further. Kim has four children, all adopted from Korea. Kim and her husband, Joe, adopted each one of these children with the understanding that more than one of them had some special needs. While God blessed her with four beautiful children, there were, in fact, two of the children who have life-altering special needs. Over the years, Kim and I had talked about all of our children and their needs, trials, and how we deal with the ups and downs of parenting. I felt familiar with many of her family’s challenges. Still, I had only visited with her children minimally, an hour here or there at birthday parties or little visits at her home, but nothing truly immersed. This particular visit would be a three-day adventure, and I would be staying in her home.
Some of you may not think this is a big deal, but as Kim shared with me, many parents with children who have special needs can sometimes feel apologetic if their child has behavior issues that could be wrongly interpreted as poor parenting, such as unruly or abrasive behavior, destructive tantrums, and so on.
I want to confess that as I had agreed to come and visit, I was, in fact, afraid. Specifically, Kim shared one of her daughters was in the middle of a medicine change and dealing with side effects of moodiness and increased agitation. I wasn’t afraid of her daughter’s behavior, but rather of the uncertainty I may say something or do the wrong thing that would upset her daughter. Afraid that I may witness a meltdown. Afraid that I would witness something I couldn’t help change or fix. Also, I was fearful that our friendship would be tested, and I wouldn’t measure up as a friend who could handle, accept, or understand her special needs children.
Before the visit, Kim called me with that much-needed intel about how the children were doing, what I might expect to see, and some simple do’s and don’ts. She even asked me if I was sure I wanted to come. I was afraid, but instead of backing out of the visit, I went anyway. I wanted to love on my friend who had moved away and whom I had missed. I wanted to show her love by loving on her family the best way I could, and I prayed it would be enough.
It’s when we are most afraid that we have to lean into love. Fear is going to come, and fear will go, but LOVE is constant. So when you’re afraid, when you are most fearful of all the what if’s, make sure you look inside and remember why you’re going to do what it is you’re going to do. LOVE.
I thank God that love does not require perfection. The trip to see Kim and her family was a success. I learned a lot more about living with children who have special needs. After the trip, my friend shared she had also been afraid. She said it’s a lot to ask a friend to come alongside the chaos that can, on occasion, be her life, and that she felt more love for me because I was willing to take on the challenge.
So remember, when you are afraid or filled with fear, GO ANYWAY. Show love the best way you can and gather all the precious moments with your loved ones.
Need a spiritual lift? We’d love for you to join us for our next POP Chat, tomorrow, Wednesday, January 27th from 6:30-7:30 p.m. CST. Our guest speaker is former Principal, Current Life Coach and Ministry Leader, Starlet Bell, and her topic is “Praying and Fasting for a Turnabout Year.” Our guest Worship Leader is Author, Singer-Songwriter and “Bible Chicks” Podcast Host, Carole Brewer. It’s one hour of Worship, Teaching, Discussion and Prayer. The entire Pearls of Promise Team will be there as well! Here’s the link to sign up:
The whole world has been in pain. Unfortunately, that statement isn’t an exaggeration. The losses we have all experienced can’t be understated. Whether the loss has been personal, communal, economic, or physical this season, it feels like there isn’t an end. Yet, all is not lost, because so much can be gleaned from this season of hardship.
What is most important is to keep our foundation vitalized and Dr. Michelle Bengtson reminds us of six ways to do just that.
Each of use are dealing with something but we must remember that “pain is pain, and God promises to be close to the broken-hearted,” says Dr. Bengston.
So what can we do now as the holiday season begins? There is one more thing you can do—GIVE. ‘Tis the season of gratitude and giving. There are so many people who need you. Family members could use a word of encouragement, friends need prayer, and there are communities who can benefit from your generous heart. Call loved ones and ask how you can bless them. Reach out to friends and ask how you can bless them. Find a local food bank, shelter, or church and ask what needs they have so you can determine how to bless them. We are called to love one another and now is the time. Our beloved country, communities, friends, and family need your love.
It’s been one of those stretches. People I was trying to book for our television show didn’t get back to me. Hurtful things were said by a couple others and another person I know complained about one of my personality traits. Combined with the underlying stress of COVID, ministry deadlines and an approaching final at school, the dam broke. After our POP Chat event on Wednesday night, I had one of those ugly cries and I couldn’t stop crying. Swollen eyes. Mascara streaming down the face. I hadn’t cried like that in years and one of our team members, a leadership coach, had to guide me out of the abyss.
But it was like the flood of tears did something miraculous. It washed away the negative thinking and gave me a new perspective on all that happened.
God then put the people who I was “offended” by in front of me again as if to say, “Give them another chance. See them through My eyes.” The people who didn’t respond to my emails about the television show, finally did, and now they are booked for the program. They had a good excuse for their silence. I actually saw one of them randomly at a restaurant. What are the odds? Once again the LORD spoke, You didn’t choose these guests for your show. I did, and now I am confirming it.
Meanwhile I was reminded that oftentimes, when individuals are sharp or less than complimentary, it often comes out of their own woundedness. God says “love is patient” and that means to have a heart of compassion for them, not judgment.
I read a verse this week that really spoke to me, especially since I am in school. It say, “But while knowledge makes us feel important, it is love that strengthens the church” (1 Corinthians 8:1). At that moment, I prayed, Lord, please don’t let me get so caught up in my studies that I don’t have time to love Your people. And it was after this prayer that God gave me the practical experience in unconditional love.
Jesus commands us in John 13:34 to love others as he has loved us. I know that I have probably offended Jesus, irritated him, turned my back on him, haven’t given him the time I should—so many things. But He still loves me and that is how we need to care for our brothers and sisters in Christ.
If there is someone in your world that gets under your skin, ask God to see this person through His eyes and to help you love him or her like He loves them. I promise it will be a valuable lesson you will never forget.