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I should be typing up notes for work.  I should be reading a book or accomplishing the many assignments due next week for grad school.  Yet I find myself here.   In this place.  A place of sadness, unrest and worry.

As I walked from the car and rode up six flights in an elevator, music was blaring in my ear yet my thoughts overrode the hypnotizing beat.  I walked into your hospital room, hoping for the best but expecting the worse.  We’ve been here before: you and I.  You not knowing who I am and I struggling to keep my emotions inward as to not upset you.  But you are asleep now…. So I can let the tears flow and allow these words to mend my heart and pray that you “return to me.”

I keep telling myself that any moment you will bounce back and I will get more time with you.  You’ve been through so much and I know you are tired.  I know you miss dad.  I know you miss your old life.  But your grandson needs you.  Honestly, I still need you.  Return to me.

This is something I never learned in a textbook.  There was not a lesson taught in school.  My parent’s did not warn me about this when we were growing up.   How do you prepare yourself for  a task as great as this?  She is now my child and I am her mom.  When she is in trouble, she cries out for me.  When I am in trouble, I cry out for ….God.  I’m okay with this.  I’m okay with what God has entrusted to me.  I can do this….but only if you return to me.

I know one day it won’t be so.  I know that one day you will leave me and not return.  I’m slowly but surely preparing myself but that day is not today.  It’s not the day you say goodbye.  You will live and declare the works of the Lord.

The Lord….  The heavenly Being who knows all and sees all.  I wonder how many times He whispered in my ear “Return to Me.”   When I was wild and did not care about anyone except myself.  I wonder if He felt the way I do about her.  That aching in the core of my heart that cannot be quenched except for when her voice calls my name.

During this episode, like many before, you’ve cussed me out and kissed my forehead.  You’ve been ugly and sweet.  You’ve cried and you have laughed.  But all is forgotten when you finally returns to me.  I forget the ugly names.  I forget the tears.  I even forget the laughter.  In that moment, nothing else matters but hearing you call my name.  Shannon.  Daughter.  Shannie.  Green bean.  Mom (when my son is around).  Hey you.  It matters not what you say, I will answer to them all with overabounding joy and relief.

I think about God’s love for us.  It is boundless and unconditional.  How many times have I cussed Him because of my own issues?  How many times have I  been ugly to Him but every time He has graciously taken me back.  With every foul word, he whispers “Return to Me.”  Can I be that persistent?  Can I be that loving?  Can I care that much?

The fact is, yes I can….

 “Love is patient.  Love is kind.  It does not envy, it does not boast,
it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking.
It is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.
…… Love never fails.”
1 Cor 13:4-8

This is my example of Love… how much more does the Father love us?   He chooses to look past our mess and see who He created us to be.  He chooses to cry out to us when we have run from Him.  He chooses to be the constant in our ever changing world.   The fact is, His love is simply amazing.

As I sit beside this hospital bed praying and hoping that she will return to me, I am reminded of a higher Force pleading the same phrase… Return to me…as a nation….as a family…as an individual.  The fact of the matter is, I do not care what the lab report says (although it’s important). I don’t care what the the doctor says (although his opinion is important).  All I care about is seeing the light back in her eyes.  God reminded me that He has no interest in what the leaders of the world have to say.  All He cares about is your response to his question:  “Will you return to Me?”

return-to-me-Joel-2

Grace-filled eyes

Posted: August 21, 2015 in Uncategorized
Tags: , , ,

Grace

Grace is not a created substance….At least that’s what Wikipedia says… (yeah, I know, cause THAT’s the authority on life)

But isn’t that how we treat grace? Day in and day out, we strive to please God when the simple truth is, we cannot even get close.

We open car doors, help little old ladies across the street and give our $1.00 to the peddler on the side of the road.  We offer a smile to the lonely, care for the sick and pick up the pieces of a broken heart…all in His name.  The fact is, we cannot please God with our works because grace isn’t a substance that can be created…it just simply IS.

I’ve struggled with this concept – very recently.  I’ve somehow attached my “godliness” to my works, meaning if I’m not walking “godly”, I must not be… but grace isn’t something that is created.  Somehow this unmerited favor has made it’s way into my mind’s eye which says “My works must earn His good graces.”

It’s hard to wrap my head around the fact that no matter what I do or don’t do, He can never love me more than He does right now.  Whether I am a sinner knocking on gates of hell or a saint walking towards light, He loves me the same.  In my humanness, I don’t understand this concept.  We love conditionally – whether we admit it or not.  Some people we like and others we tolerate.  We profess “love” when in fact, it’s very different from the love of the Father.

Don’t believe me?  Let’s try something…  I will give you two names.  Think on these names and figure out what emotions they invoke in you…

Mother Teresa…….  Charles Manson

Two people, complete opposite sides of the spectrum.  Now I can profess that I love each of them, because they are God’s children but my view is distorted through my human eyes.  In all honesty, I would love Mother Teresa more than Charles Manson, for obvious reasons…. But the Agape kind of love that God pours out on us shows unconditional love to both- the same love to both. 

So we have established that our human love is conditional….so is our grace.  We give grace to people every day- unmerited favor in our day to day lives. That man you allowed to go in front of you at the grocery store- you showed grace. Or that smile you gave to a lonely heart- grace was attached. Have you noticed the people we don’t give our grace to? The less attractive or downtrodden…. Someone who doesn’t look like us or act like us. 

Earlier I told you that I was struggling with the concept of grace in my life- not only the Father’s grace to me but my showing grace to others. I recently found out one of the precious ladies that we go in to minister to committed a horrendous crime to bring her to her current state- something that absolutely makes me sick to my stomach to even think about.  I’ve loved on her. Prayed for her. Cried with her….but now due to my recent knowledge, my grace isn’t sufficient for her- it seems my humanness says “off with her head” while God is saying “but My grace is sufficient…. Why isn’t yours?”

My humanness and His spirit are conflicted…..  I see Charles Manson but God sees neither Charles nor Teresa- just a soul in need of a Savior.  Offering grace seems difficult on my part but I am reminded: grace isn’t something that is created, it just is.  When I go back in the jail, I don’t want to see her in human eyes, but through grace-filled eyes.

In my struggle, I want to remind you: grace is something that is not created. We cannot earn or lose the grace that God has bestowed on us- we cannot gain or lose something that exists no matter what situation surrounds it.  Today as you go about your busy life, remember grace. When you encounter someone who isn’t like you, show grace. When you find a difficult situation, show grace.  (I wonder how different the world would be if we gave unconditional grace?)

Most importantly, remember that He loves you- not because of what you have or haven’t done, but simply because you are His.  

  

~sharingHispeace~

It’s been a while since I last blogged.  I really need to get back to blogging on a more consistent basis but nevertheless; I have a message from the Lord to share….

dream

Last night, I had a dream.  It was not anything special – in fact, it was not until hours later after I woke up that God began to reveal the importance which I must share with you.

It was a rather short dream.  In fact, I think I had it between hitting the snooze button this morning.  It started off with me at a church service which is nothing unusual for me.  One of my closest and oldest friends was preaching a message which again, is nothing out of the ordinary.  She is an awesome woman of God who hears from the Lord and truly has an anointing to preach the Word from whatever platform she is given.

I was sitting in the very middle of the congregation.  People all around me were raising their hands, standing up, shouting, etc…  Let’s just say that the “Spirit” was moving.

At first, I was distracted by all the commotion in the congregation but it was if God fine-tuned my ear to hear a short clip of what the woman of God was saying….

“SANSBANE….  Hear me when I tell you… SANSBANE.   God says ‘SANSBANE!’…..”   With muffled shouts of “glory” and “hallelujah” in the background, she continued on with this “SANSBANE” message getting the full support and encouragement of the congregation.

On a side note, I’ve been churching for a while now – while I am always learning new things, usually some of the message I have already heard but as I woke up from my dream “SANSBANE” stuck in my mind.

I immediately went to the information highway (that is the Internet to you younger folks) and began to Google “SANSBANE.”  I thought maybe it was an old herb or a word of dead language – surely this SANSBANE has some sort of meaning – after all, dreams are to enlighten us.   To my surprise, the word does not exist-  No such word in ANY language….

So writing it off, I crawled out of my bed and began to get ready for the day.

SANSBANE…

SANSBANE…
SANSBANE…

Why can I not get this word out of my head?  On my way to work, I decided that I should probably ask the One who gave me the dream what SANSBANE is and here is what He said,

“Absolutely nothing.”

I know right?  At this point I am totally confused and begin my mile-a-minute question session to which He promptly said, “SHUT UP and listen.”  (Yes, He talks to me like that because sometimes that is the ONLY way He can get through to me.)

Hosea 4-6

He said, “My people perish from a lack of knowledge…. Actually YOU perish from a lack of knowledge.”   Then He began to replay my dream – this time showing me with more clarity the things I had already seen…

This woman of God in particular is of no importance to the dream in and of itself.  It was the position she held both in my heart and to the church that was the important aspect.  At first I was like, “God?!  I know she is from You” but He began to show me that the devil often uses familiarity as a foundation for ignorance.

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He then began to show me the congregation in detail.  The man on the front row stood up and shouted “glory.”  The woman behind him raised her hand in agreement to which the lady beside her gave her a loud “preach that sister” while nodding her head.  I immediately was taken back to the SANSBANE message:  “SANSBANE is the power in which…..  it was used…..  God has given you SANSBANE…”

The message still made NO sense.  God began to show me that the congregation was ignorant – That we, as DOERS of the Word of God are ignorant.  We hear a hyped up message about nothing and scream and shout like it is something of great importance.  We are IGNORANT!

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Study to show yourself approved (2 Tim 2:15)!  Research the Scriptures for yourself and do not take anyone’s (no matter how Godly they are) word for it.  Do not be ignorant of the devil’s devises (2 Cor 2:11) – He is smart and cunning!  He knows how to lace a lie with just enough truth to make it believable.

There are cracks of ignorance in the church’s foundation – cracks of laziness and cracks of complacency.  God said, “My people perish from a lack of knowledge” or in other words, “YOU perish from a lack of knowledge.”

SANSBANE…. This is the word of the Lord to the church.

SANSBANE…. Familiarity breeds ignorance.
SANSBANE…  Ignorance breeds death.

The devil has us right where he wants us.  He has us in SANSBANE and we are utterly unaware but completely satisfied.   As a people of God, we should be well informed not misinformed.  God will speak to you directly.  Yes, He DOES use others to tell you something but you should always seek out the Source before you take it to the bank as truth.  It is time for us to crawl out of SANBANE and become the educated, informed people He created us to be!

#sharingHispeace