7
March

“152 Insights into My SOUL!”

One of my favorite movies is You’ve Got Mail. I love the movie for many reasons. One of them being Meg Ryan was still cute and her hair was adorable. Not to mention that I still want her clothes from that movie and it’s nearly 20 years old. I can quote nearly the whole thing and every Thanksgiving on Facebook, I post, “Happy Thanksgibing back” because of the cashier at Zarbars and Kathleen Kelly couldn’t use her credit card and Joe Fox smoothed the path for her in order to use it.

I still laugh at Joe Fox (Tom Hanks) when he presses the backspace button to delete a corny message to Kathleen after she thought she got stood up at the cafe only to meet her nemesis. And when she gave her crying customer the box of Kleenex when she had to close her sweet little store.

There is a scene where Joe and Kathleen finally become friends and they are trying to figure out the meaning to NY 152’s handle. They go through all kinds of funny comments, “152 reasons why he looks like Clark Gable.” “152 stitches he has from his nose for surgery” “152 moles removed from his back” etc. My favorite though is when Kathleen says, “152 INSIGHTS INTO MY SOUL!” This movie line runs through my head far too often and it probably has far more spiritual significance to me than what it should.

A friend and I were talking on the phone a few weeks ago about the gospel. We were talking about the sweetness of Ephesians 1 and being lavished with grace. We were talking about the balm power of the Psalms in our suffering, Psalm 23, Psalm 16, Psalm 107 and Psalm 6, just to name a few. We were talking about how we don’t have answers to the pain in this world, but the gospel is a balm to our aching hearts. As we were talking, I said, “You know You’ve Got Mail? All of these verses are, “152 insights into my soul!”

I think the gospel is like that. When Jesus has us in his grip, he is going to give us the chapters and verses and stories that we need in order to calm our anxious hearts. He is going to give us those verses that we need to remind us of truth when we need to be reminded of it. Because sometimes we forget. I know I do.

152 insights to our soul can be overwhelming in a day, sometimes I can only deal with one. When I am convicted of sin or just having a hard day, I need constant truth poured into my heart. I need to reminded of what Jesus did for me on the cross.

Just yesterday, I was talking to our son about sin. I told him (and myself), “Jesus died for this. He died for this sin. When he hung on the cross, he thought, ‘I am dying for Michelle’s self-righteousness.” (I filled in my sin rather than my son’s. That’s his to talk about.) Isn’t that amazing. He thought of US when he died and when he took each lash across his back. He thought of you and your sin and how he’d give you life everlasting before you were even born. He. Thought. Of. You. That, in and of itself, is enough for me for a day.

I cannot get enough of the gospel and grace. I cannot get enough of what Jesus did, because in that there is life and hope and lavishness of grace.

The other day, a new friend asked me what the gospel was, and I gave a Sunday School answer. I was so ashamed, so the next day I texted her and said, “The gospel is life giving for the undeserved. It is grace where judgment should be placed. It is a balm to the soul when a heart is beyond repair. It is mercy where shame should reign. It is a lavishing a grace where the law once was. It is freedom from the law, but also understanding that the law had a place of conviction to bring us to repentance so that we can receive the grace of the gospel, which is an unmerited gift and is the only place where true joy and hope reign supreme.” I don’t think that that is 152 words, but it is insights into my soul and what Jesus has taught me.

He is enough. He is gracious. I am in desperate need of it. I love him, and my heart truly longs for Home.

 

 

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1
March

‘Cause We Can’t Forget to Laugh

I had a friend who texted me after The Accident and she said, “When my son passed away, I forgot how to laugh, so I am going to send you things that are funny so you won’t forget to laugh.” She started sending me gems like this.

I would lay in bed and chuckle at this lady with winged hair that I envied in the 80’s. I don’t know how much Aqua net I’d try to use to get wings like that. I was never successful.

Then, of course, Jimmy Fallon. I read an article a couple of years ago about Jimmy Fallon and the Joy of the Lord and it was one of my favorite articles.  I needed to be reminded that we need to laugh. This is one of my favorites.

And then of course there are funny Jesus memes that are so corny that I can’t get enough of them.

storytime jesus - So I Was Like, "I'm the Son of god" and they were like, "No way" And I was like,  "YahWeh"

Happy laughing!

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25
February

Weak Faith

Jesus said that all we need is faith as big as a mustard seed. I’m grateful for that.  Mustard seeds are small and so is my faith. It may appear bigger than a mustard seed, but I assure you that it isn’t.  It is simply an itty bitty tiny bit of faith.  I believe the Gospel in this moment.

He said to them, “Because of your little faith. For truly, I say to you, if you have faith like a grain of mustard seed, you will say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move, and nothing will be impossible for you.” Matthew 17:20

Then the Apostle Paul, later in 2 Timothy said that Jesus is faithful even when we are faithless. I’m grateful for that because in ten minutes I may have faith smaller than a mustard seed.

…if we are faithless, he remains faithful— for he cannot deny himself. 2 Timothy 2:13

The reality is that I am weak.  He is strong.  My faith is on shaky ground.  He is a solid rock. I am quick to judge. He is quick to cover me in righteousness.  I am unloving. He is Love. My heart is broken. He knows, understands and is the only balm for this weary soul.

Several months ago, Mike and I were in bed and I was crying. Broken. Sad.  I told Mike, “This is too hard. This life we’ve been given is too hard. I can’t believe this anymore. I am weak.” He said, “You know you believe.” I said, “I do believe. But it’s hard. I can’t not believe, even if I wanted to stop believing.” (A double negative equals a positive, right?)

I cannot claim to have a lot of faith, because I do not. I am grateful that I am only required to have a little. There have been more times than not where I have argued with God because of life. I never got anywhere, but He has listened and He has comforted me with His Word and He has remained faithful when I have wallowed in my own self pity.

Psalm 6

O Lord, rebuke me not in your anger,
    nor discipline me in your wrath.
Be gracious to me, O Lord, for I am languishing;
    heal me, O Lord, for my bones are troubled.
My soul also is greatly troubled.
    But you, O Lord—how long?

Turn, O Lord, deliver my life;
    save me for the sake of your steadfast love. (hesed)
For in death there is no remembrance of you;
    in Sheol who will give you praise?

I am weary with my moaning;
    every night I flood my bed with tears;
    I drench my couch with my weeping.
My eye wastes away because of grief;
    it grows weak because of all my foes.

Depart from me, all you workers of evil,
    for the Lord has heard the sound of my weeping.
The Lord has heard my plea;
    the Lord accepts my prayer.
10 All my enemies shall be ashamed and greatly troubled;
    they shall turn back and be put to shame in a moment.

(emphasis mine)

Where my faith falls short, Grace abounds all the more.  He promised that He would be enough.  When I am hanging on by the dragging thread of His garment, He is pulling me and saying, “Don’t worry, I got this. I’ll take care of you. You can cry. You can yell. You’ll get bruised up, but you are Mine. I will not let you let go.”

I/we must rest in that Gospel Truth. That Jesus has come and lived a perfect life to be the sacrifice for this messed up world, to conquer death and to give us Life and Hope eternal. Even though the road is arduous, broken and difficult, Jesus is sure, steadfast, and an eternal friend and guide.

#Jesusisenough #TillweareHome

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23
February

A Boy and His Wild Turtle

Image may contain: indoorThis past week, a very dear friend sent me a lamp of an orange turtle.  We love it.  Once we opened it up and got a light in it, we talked about the video of Boston playing with the turtle that we had caught one day in our yard at our old house. We’ve watched the video several times since Boston went Home last year. We have laughed each time and we have played it over and over while we sit.  Then around the second or third time, we start to tear up while we smile.  We miss him a lot and this is really hard.

I love 4 year old boys and I bet that I would have loved this 6 year old boy just as much.  I bet that he would’ve loved him losing his teeth, his reaction and collecting them.  He would have played with Tullie’s Shopkins and my living room carpet would have turned into his monster truck ramp more than a 10 dozen times in the last year. He would probably be more creative with Legos with his brother, and he probably wouldn’t let his other sister dress him up anymore as an Egyptian prince.  He would be reading books and adding numbers and and helping Dad move trees at the Sarah property.

I was talking with my Grandpa the other day when I was driving him home, and we started talking about when my Grandma went Home.  He said, “That first year was so sad and lonely.” It’s been seventeen years since Grandma went Home.  I told him that I have a hard time imagining that we have 40 or 50 years left without the people we love. I can’t think about numbers that big.  I need to think about making it through the next hour when I put my head down on the pillow and go to sleep. That’s about the amount that I can bare. Thankfully, I don’t need to bare the hard days. Jesus has done that for me.

Our hearts hurt.  We are still incredibly broken.  Jesus is sovereign and good and I can say that with confidence.  I trust Him. I trust Him in this hard.

Thank you, Jesus, for 4 amazing years.  Thank you for an amazing boy who left us with wonderful memories and joyful smiles and funny quips. Our hearts are full-and empty.  We miss him something fierce, but we know that Jesus will give us the grace we need to make it through Saturday and the next 40 or 50 years.

So, now you may chuckle along with us for a few days and while you chuckle, pray for our family.

 

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22
February

I Can’t Do It

Image result for picture of a woman crying

Last week our youngest daughter had a 24 hour stomach bug.  While her belly hurt and she was running for the bathroom, several times she looked at me and yelled, “Mom, I can’t do this! The pain is too much! I am sure I am going to die!” She is the most dramatic of our children. She didn’t have a fever, I knew that she wasn’t going to die from a stomach bug but I had to chuckle at her.  I have felt the same way, but in much different situations, and if I was completely honest, I wake up and tell God the same thing everyday in my heart.

Many times when we see people doing things that are difficult, we say, “I couldn’t do that.”  It’s an attempt to tell the person that they are strong and doing something remarkable, but it is a bit of a dig as well.  LIFE is difficult. Not just a difficult circumstance. We can’t do THIS on our own.  We can try, but it never works out very well.

After our daughter Tullie was born, I was at a party and a friend and I were talking, and she asked about how Tullie was doing.  After I gave an update my friend said, “I couldn’t do this.  I couldn’t have a child with special needs, it would be more than I could handle.” I sat their quietly, and just shook my head.  I thought, “Well, I can’t do it. I didn’t sign up for this.”

Many people like to comfort people in difficult times with the Apostle Paul’s words in 1 Corinthians 10:13

No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it.

I’m not sure how this verse got to be the popular one to comfort people in their times of suffering, but it isn’t the right verse to use. We have taken it out of context in a serious way. What Paul is discussing with the Corinthians is  habitual sin, it’s not about suffering in this life.

The truth is, instead, that God will always give us more than we can handle. That’s why God sent us His Son.  If we didn’t have His Son we would be left to handle this life on our own. Jesus was sent to live a perfect life, to hold our sins in the wounds on His back, to bare the burdens of the world and to give us the hope of eternal life that is only found in Him.

I cannot survive this week, without the hope of the Gospel.  It is the only thing that gets me out of bed in the morning and keeps me going till I lay my head back down at night.

The Gospel frees us from having to bare life, because Jesus bares our sorrow, pain, grief and despair.  It does not make life easier, but it does offer a comfort that can compare to no other.

So we do not lose heart. Though our outer self is wasting away our inner self is being renewed day by day. For this light momentary affliction is preparing for us an eternal weight of glory beyond all comparison, as we look not to the things that are seen but to the things that are unseen. For the things that are seen are transient, but the things that are unseen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:16-18 (emphasis mine)

I may use this verse too much, but there is so much in it that I continue to go back to it. When we are God’s child, and we are in deep pain and suffering, and it is difficult to keep our eyes on Him, or cling to Him, or lean into Him, He will drag us and pull us and continually remind us of what is in store of us.  He is preparing in our hearts an eternal weight of glory that is much heavier and more wonderful than we can imagine.  While we are here, He will give us glimpses of that glory and we will feel the weight of it like a blanket in the midst of our strife.  He will remind us that He has conquered sin and death and that we have been lavished with an incredible amount of unmerited grace, so that we may persevere.

In Him we have redemption through His blood and forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His GRACE  which He LAVISHED upon us. Ephesians 1:7-8a (emphasis mine)

My hope is that we will continually remember that we cannot do this life without our Savior.  We cannot walk these long arduous roads without Him to drag us in our moments of unbelief and carry us in our weakness.

#Jesusisenough #TillweareHome

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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