Living Love

“The whole purpose of places like Starbucks is for people with no decision-making ability whatsoever to make six decisions just to buy one cup of coffee. Short, tall, light, dark, caf, decaf, low-fat, non-fat. So people who don't know what (sic) they're doing or who on earth they are can, for only $2.95, get not just a cup of coffee but an absolutely defining sense of self: Tall. Decaf. Cappuccino. ”

Joe Fox in You’ve Got Mail

If someone asked you to define yourself in just three words, what three would you choose? What springs to your mind first – Physical attributes? Achievements? Your occupation? Two thousand years ago Jesus challenged us to be known by a single attribute – love.

By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.
John 13:35

Love isn’t just something you feel.

It isn’t just something you are.

It goes beyond an attribute to action. Love acts.

Love is expressed in the words we say and the ones we wisely withhold. It is demonstrated in unacknowledged kindness. Love is spoken more through our hands and feet than it ever will be with our mouths. Like faith, love is dead without action.

Like me those you most love live with you. The month of love may soon draw to a close but my love doesn't have to. I've made a plan to continue to put my love into action. I’m going to gather around the table and have every family write down one word that describes every other person at the table. After we describe each other with these uplifting words, I’m going to ask each person to give me one thing I can do to make them feel more loved. Then I’m going to set my love into motion by putting some feet to my words.

Do you want love to be more than words in your life? Why not join me in this challenge and live love this March?

Dead Presidents...or a Living King

Dead Presidents. They were being thanked all over Twitter yesterday. It's amazing how grateful a student can become for a founding father when he grants her a day off of school.

I should be thanking them myself. Days with my kids are precious treasures. After a morning at the dentist, a noon lunch date with Daddy and an afternoon cooking, doing school projects and laughing I realized I "accomplished" very little yesterday. 

Sure I did a couple loads of laundry. I managed to complete a task or two on the to do list. But for the most part I just enjoyed being with my kids.

I awoke to crumby floors, dusty shelves and happy hearts.

It was along about child number three I realized how fast the parenting years vanish. I made a commitment to engage with my kids - to work puzzles, play games, watch television and just be with them. I reasoned twenty years from now my children wouldn't remember the dust bunnies in the corners but they would remember how many times we hid in them while playing hide and go seek.

Sometimes that's how I think God feels. 

He doesn't care what we accomplish or how perfect our lives appear to others. He just wants to be with us. He isn't counting our dust bunnies but He does count every precious minute we spend in His presence.

So I don't know what's on your agenda today. It may a high powered executive lunch or an NCIS marathon but somewhere amongst the noise of your life Jesus is whispering your name. Why not put down the keyboard, your cell phone or the vacuum and answer Him instead?

Yesterday the dead presidents gave me a day off with my kids. Today a living King wants to me a day on with Him.

Finding the One in Lonely

I originally wrote this for a blog for pastor's wives. Over time, though, I've realized loneliness is something we all struggle with...

But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.
Luke 5:16

It's crushing. My soul gasps for relationship but attempts collapse. The pain of loneliness is palatable. As pastor's wives there is usually no need to withdraw. We live, work and worship in lonely places.

We forge a deep, abiding relationship with our husbands but places of our hearts are a mystery to him.

We find satisfaction in the ordinary rhythm of caring for our home and family, but underneath the drum of solitude beats.

We delight in serving our King but find His courts an empty, solitary place.

How can we fill our God-given craving for female companionship?

Seek Relationship Beyond Your Boundaries - Don't expect your new best friend to occupy the rocker next to you during your nursery rotation. But you might find her in a community Bible study, on a non-denominational ministry board or in the school PTA. Jesus withdrew to a safe place. We'd be well-advised to find a safe place outside the brick and mortar above which our church sign hangs.

Consider Going Cross-Country - I'm not advising ultra-marathons or running away from your family to join the circus. With the world wide web, communities like A Pastor's Wife's Garden are just a click away. We can find a place to pour out our hearts and pray without even leaving our favorite chair.

Re-Kindle Old Loves - Sorry girls, your college sweetie is off limits, but your college roommate probably isn't. Consider reconnecting with a sorority sister, a girl from your hometown or pretty much any woman who knew you pre-POW. (POW = the pastor's outstanding wife!) Sometimes the one who's known you the longest can be an oasis in a relationship desert.

This week let's face our loneliness. No we didn't have to withdraw to get there but we can commit to pray for each other in our lonely place. We can take a single step out of the shadow of lonely and into the light of relationship. Most importantly, we can seek the One Who guarantees we're never alone in our lonely.