Released from Performance

ImageMy grace is sufficient for you. My strength is made perfect in weakness. Therefore most gladly I will rather boast in my  infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest upon me.”   2 Cor. 12:9

Lately I’ve been struggling with my weaknesses, I have many.  It seems like every time I open my mouth I’m offending someone to some degree and I’m easily hurt by the words and actions of others.

I get focused on all the ways I fail.  I speak harshly to and accuse my husband. I scream in impatience and frustration at my kids. I criticize a friend.  I blow up at a stranger.  The list goes on and on.  What is the matter with me!?  I feel like Paul when he said “I don’t know what I’m doing, because I don’t do what I want to do. Instead, I do the thing that I hate.” Rom. 7:15  

Today when I opened up my devotional and read that first line; “My grace is sufficient for you.” I breathed a huge sigh of relief!  I closed my eyes and thanked God for his grace when I miss it, more than miss it, murder it.  I opened the book back up and the next line grabbed my heart; “My strength is make perfect in weakness.”  When I am weak, He is strong!

ImageI’ve heard all of this before, but the Bible is the living word and it was fresh and new to me today, because it was exactly what I needed to hear!  I get so caught up in my “protective behaviors” and my performance to please others that when I fail I fall really hard.  I feel intense shame over all the ways I disappoint and am disappointed.  It’s such a heavy weight to acknowledge my weaknesses.  I realize today that I shouldn’t be so worried about getting people to like and accept me,  but instead my focus should be on pointing people to the one who loves and accepts them.

I feel free today from performance and judgment of myself. Not that I now have a license to act any way that I want to.  “What shall we say then? Shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? Certainly not! ” Rom. 6:2,3 I want to live a new life and I’m on a journey to heal the wounds that cause me to react in angry/tough ways.  But until he completes the good work in me. Phil 1:6 I’m going to try to extend myself the grace that He affords me.  I’ll apologize and try to change my ways, but I will rest in the fact that even though I may be weak, He is strong for me and those who I offend.  He is strong!

Med Mix Up

ImageAn email to Bennett’s teachers this morning.

“Apparently Bennett didn’t take his medicine last night that I put on the counter for him with his bedtime snack, which helps him get to sleep. When I went to give him his morning meds he informed me he already took them…what he took was his sleep med. from the night before. But, of course, he also got up and went down to the kitchen this morning and helped himself to marshmallows for breakfast.  So, I’m writing to say that this will be an interesting experiment  to find out what will win out, the sugar, the sleep meds or the morning meds.  Maybe the concoction will all work together to cancel each other out? Please call me at home if you have any problems today.”

This is not the first med mix up we’ve had.  Tired and not thinking straight, I’ve given him his morning meds in the evening, and then have scrambled to the phone to call the pharmacist to make sure I haven’t overdosed him!  He’s missed meds completely, but it doesn’t take long for us to get a call from school on those mornings.

When I was a substitute teacher with no kids of my own I would notice kids that were on medications and my heart would sink.  Sometimes I would see their tired eyes and dazed looks and would wonder what kind of parent would medicate their children!

When I had a son of my own who, in kindergarten was diagnosed with ADHD I was VERY resistant to the idea of medicating him.  The first medication prescribed resulted in Bennett putting together and taking apart the same block building over and over with this crazy drive, like OCD, which scared me.  We pulled him off of it immediately.  I would say that it took us 4 years to finally come up with a combination of meds that helped Bennett but that wasn’t too much so that he was incoherent.

Even now that we understand that the medications help Bennett I still have anxiety about long-term ramifications of years of taking medicines.  We pray for Bennett’s healing and it’s frustrating when nothing seems to change. This is not the road I would prefer.

I must admit that we’ve sought out the advice of an alternative “doctor” who suggested we do everything from clean the air & water he drinks to change the direction of his bed so that it’s in alignment with the gravitational pull of the moon.  We’ve heard tell about people changing food, removing things like gluten, sugar and dies.  And for me, it’s been all too overwhelming to take that on.  With four kids and our family living on one income provided by my husband that is a small business owner, the price of “health food” is an impossibility.  Plus I’ve always struggled in the area of food so though my food choices have improved over the years, we garden, we try to eat health(ier) foods…we still fall way short and that equals mommy guilt for me.

I’m thankful that we have medications to help us with Bennett.  I pray for his healing. I continue to try to stretch my way of thinking about diet and health.  Have you been faced with this dilemma of having to medicate a child?  Please share your experiences of trial and error and what solutions you’ve come to or changes that you’ve made.

        

Tears for a Friend.

ImageTears today as I grieve the loss of a very special friend Vickie Poucher.   I worked with Vickie about 14 years ago for about 2 years.  We held the same position at the Girl Scouts but in different counties, so you could say we were team mates.

Vickie really lived life. She was bright in attitude, her clothes, and surroundings. She loved art and creative things.  She LOVED her family.  I heard often about her kids Monica, Leslie and “Benny-boy.”

Vickie was in my first weight watchers group at the council, which for me marked the beginning of major change in my health, she was a supporter.  I was blessed to get to spend time on the road with her to conferences and training’s.  I remember when we were on the road one time I was sharing something with her and she said “Nichole, you are such a wise person.”  She said it sincerely and it meant a lot to me. I appreciated that she saw in a young me, wisdom.  Still to this day when someone pays me that particular compliment I treasure it and I think of Vickie.

After we no longer worked at the council we kept in touch through lunches, baby showers, phone calls and emails.  I started an organizing business and Vickie hired me to do a little organizing in her home.  In the process she gave me some music CD’s. They all had “POUCHER” written on them in marker.  My husband, Tom, saw a Kenny G CD that said “Kenny” as the CD title and “POUCHER” written on the bottom and said “Kenny Poucher?”.  Til this day we still refer to Kenny G as Kenny Poucher 😉 As I kept having babies and life kept getting busier we didn’t talk as often.

Over the weekend I was paging through a magazine and saw an add for the Ostoff resort in WI and I remembered a trip there with our GS team.  I sent a picture of that add to Vickie and another friend Carolyn, who was also on that trip.  Today I got an email response from Caroyln asking if I knew that Vickie died in October from pancreatic cancer.  What a weight came down on me.  I didn’t know Vickie was sick.  I feel sad that I didn’t get to support her through her struggle or get to say goodbye to her.  But the more I remember her, I’m settling in my mind that it probably wasn’t necessary. Just the thought of her made me smile, will always make me smile.  I didn’t need to be in daily contact with her for her to impact my life.

It’s hard to believe that she’s not here to make the world a brighter place.  She worked with children, she made the world funnier, dancier, brighter….a better place to be.  I’ll miss you my friend, but your spirit will live forever.

Words of Wisdom from the Hearts at Home National Conference, 2013

ImageJust recently I attended the national Hearts at Home conference in Bloomington, IL.  Last night a friend asked “So, what were your take-aways from the conference.” My brain turned to mush and I couldn’t really remember what they were.  Sometimes it’s an information overload.

Today I went on a Hearts at Home blog to check out what other women took away from the conference as well as checked my notes to review what I had written down.  The following are words of wisdom from conference speaker and a couple of attendees.  Hope you find a nugget of wisdom or encouragement here.

For Women/Moms:

–Jill Savage

  • “Let your mess be your message!
  • “Motherhood is the ministry of interruptions.  Expect interruptions!

–Karen Ehman

  • “Mom’s bleeding tongue (bleeding from biting your tongue when you’re going to say  hurtful words to your kids) is better than a child’s badgered heart.”
  • “What’s inside of you is what is going to spill out when you get “bumped” (hit a problem).”
  • “Imperfect moments can make perfect memories.”
  • “When I’m controlling others I need to ask myself if it’s because I’m being controlled by the opinions or expectations of others.

–Sue Heimer

  • “We have AM (Against Me) and FM (For Me) thoughts, which are you thinking?”
  • “Yelling is a learned way of communication, we grow comfortable with it.  But it’s a lie to think that we can’t change, we can.”
  • “Be velvet over steel.”  “She means what she says and she says what she means. She expects them to do it the first time.”  “Have appropriate consequences for their actions and enforce them.”

–Pam Ferrell

  • “God’s mercy and grace is a shelter over me and my family.”

 Kids:

– Dr. Rob Currie

  • “Preschoolers don’t think logically; they think magically.

–Conference Speaker

  • “Quit raising the child YOU want, and start raising the child God gave you.”

-–Emily Paulus, Conference Attendee

  • “I will show my children what good things they do well & not focus on the naughty things they do well.”

 Husbands/Marriage:

–Dana Bloomberg

  • “Make home a retreat for your husband.”
  • “Die to your right to be easily angered.
  • “Zip it and pray!”
  • “My husband is my number one ministry.”

–Pam Ferrell

  • “God’s view: sex is for what I can give. Satan’s view: sex is for what I can get.”

–Emily Paulus, Conference Attendee

  • “I will remember my husband has an inborn desire to be my hero…& let him be.”

Quick House Keeping: Sections not Perfection!

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The quick-clean method. Dividing your home into sections and using your timer!

Today got away from me, I woke up late, got 2 kids dressed, fed and packed lunch bags & back packs in 50 minutes. Once the kids were loaded onto the bus I sat down to take a breath at the computer and got an email reminding me that it was my day to read to and bring snack to my preschoolers room. Ugh! That meant making cookies and trashing the kitchen even more.

After being at a conference all weekend I’ve got piles of laundry that need to be folded and dishes to do.  My kitchen cupboards were bare, so after putting my preschooler on the bus I hit the grocery store.  I stopped home to unload the groceries (more mess) and headed out to school to read to the preschoolers.   By 3:00 in the afternoon our home looked like it had been burglarized!  Wednesdays are my night off so I didn’t want to welcome Tom home with a “hi/bye honey, welcome to the dump!”  and run out the door.

There I was with 40 minutes and 5 rooms to straighten up before getting the kids off the bus.  So I divided my time by the number of rooms and set out to do 8 minutes of cleaning in each of the rooms.  You’d be surprised by all I got accomplished in that amount of time, I know I was!  When you’re in a hurry to clean your home, whether it’s for company, you’re getting ready to go on vacation, doing your night time routine, or you’ve found yourself way behind and just need to inspire yourself to start cleaning,  you can bless your home in a very short amount of time.

The idea of breaking up the house into zones and using a timer isn’t a new one.  I’ve been following the “Fly Lady” for years.  You can visit flylady.com for lots of great ideas to get your home to work better for you and your family.

If you’re going to give this a go I suggest you:

  • Get out a cleaning caddy full of your favorite cleaners and have your vacuum out and ready to go and possibly a steam cleaner if you have one.  That way everything’s ready to grab.
  • Play some of your favorite music or some sort of inspirational or teaching CD so that you can be inspired while you do your job.
  • Next, put a water bottle by your timer so you can grab a drink each time you reset your timer.  You’ll be moving at a quick pace, might as well refresh yourself and get your daily recommended water intake at the same time!
  • Finally, figure out how much time you have to work with and how many spaces you need to clean then divide the amount of time by the number of rooms and off you go!

When you’re cleaning:

  • You are NOT going for perfection.  Just do what you see needs to be done and do it quickly. This is not a time to “spring clean” and get to the nitty gritty.  This is time to make a visual impact that will inspire you!
  • When your timer goes off finish the last thing you’re working on then quit!
  • Don’t get side tracked and end up in another room.  Stay in the same room until your timer goes off.
  • Don’t work in one room for more than 15 minutes. If you work for 15 minutes in each room and you still have time and energy then repeat the cycle again. You don’t want to spend so much time in one room that you tire out and don’t get to the other rooms.

Here’s what I was able to accomplish in each room with 8 minutes on the timer:

Dining Room:

  • Table cleared and wiped down.
  • Floor swept
  • Floor steam cleaned.

Kitchen:

  • Dishes loaded into the dishwasher and washer started.

Family Room:

  • Toys and clutter cleared
  • Mantle, side table & coffee table dusted
  • Floor Vacuumed

Living Room:

  • Load of laundry folded 
  • Floor vacuumed

Multi-purpose:

  • Clutter cleared
  • Floor vacuumed

40 minutes made a huge difference for me today!  I got all that done on my own, imagine what a family working together one day a week could accomplish in an hour! Because I was in this quick pace mode and inspired by what I had accomplished I was energized to help my kids with their home work and get the back packs and snacks ready for tomorrow so tomorrow morning won’t be a repeat of this morning!

How about you? How do you get your house cleaned when you’re in a hurry?

I’m such a Loser!

ImageIn general I’m an organized person.  I  have a place for everything and like to have everything in its place.  Why then, do I lose things all the time!?  Keys, purses, jewelry, money, electronics, you name it, I lose it.  Recently, I took my very expensive camera to a conference. I took it out to take a picture and apparently set it on the floor or seat next to me and when the workshop was over I got up and left it behind.

I didn’t realize that my camera was missing until later that night.  A hot panic crept over me.  I knew the drill: get dressed, grab the keys, retrace my steps.  So I drove 15 minutes back to the campus in hopes there would still be someone at the student center.  I breathed a breath of relief when I saw an open door. I went in and someone was able to let me into the auditorium to check for it.  Alas, it wasn’t there.

As I was on the way off campus I remembered that the last picture I had taken was in another auditorium. So I turned the car around and went back hoping that auditorium would be open but it was locked.  I comforted myself with the thought that maybe in my rush to get my pajamas on and unload my stuff from the day, I had set the camera somewhere in the room and didn’t realize it. At the hotel I looked around but it wasn’t there either.

I felt my first pang of hopelessness and when the lights went out, a few tears were shed as the thought that I may not get it back crept in.  Thoughts of shame and “how could you be in this situation again?” started to come into my mind.  I spent some time emailing and face-booking some people at the conference who might be able to help me.

The next morning my devoted friend and I went back up to the campus to see if we could get into the auditorium. Thankfully, the campus police had a key and let us in.  Hopeful, I searched for the seat I had been sitting in.  The only thing I found there was my empty candy wrapper from that day…also left by mistake!

Downhearted we got into the car and headed for home.  I checked my emails and to my great joy someone from the conference responded; “I think we have your camera! Someone turned a camera in to the information desk and it’s on its way back to the office.  RELIEF!!!

This got me thinking of Jesus, The Good Shepherd seeking the lost.  I recently was blessed to go to a  Ray Vanderlan leadership conference.  He spoke about the parable of The Good Shepherd.  God loves us so much that He will seek us out and send shepherds to find us and bring us back to the family.  No matter what you lose, no matter how much you care about what you’ve lost, God cares about you even more than that and if you go missing, He wants you back!  Ray explained it this way:

In Matthew 18:12  God is saying that you’re as precious as 1 out of 100 lost things, in this case sheep.  He’ll leave the 99 to find you.  “What do you think? If a man has a hundred sheep, and one of them goes astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine and go to the mountains to seek the one that is straying?

In Luke 15:8  [The Parable of the Lost Coin ]  He is saying that you’re as precious as 1 in 10.  (Which is a greater loss than 1 in 100).  “Or what woman, having ten silver coins, if she loses one coin, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it?

And in Luke 15:31 He says that you are as important as one in two sons. Imagine losing one of your children! He values each of His children.   [The Parable of the Prodigal Son]31 “And he said to him, ‘Son, you are always with me, and all that I have is yours. 32 It was right that we should make merry and be glad, for your brother was dead and is alive again, and was lost and is found.'”

He loves His children so much that He even sent His one and only Son for each one of us so that we could live with Him forever.  Jesus came saying in Luke 19:10 “for the Son of Man has come to seek and save that which was lost.”

He’ll never give up looking for His lost sheep.  Ezekiel 34:16 “I will seek what was lost and bring back what was driven away, bind up the broken and strengthen what was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong, and feed them in judgment.” So whether you’ve never been a part of the flock or whether you’re in a period where you’ve wandered away, your Good Shepherd is searching for you and the body is missing what you have to offer.

I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m a “loser.”  I praise God that because I have a Good Shepherd I will NEVER be lost! 😉

It’s Good to Get Away!

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Today                                  Tomorrow                         Sunday

Every year at this time I head out for a weekend away to the Hearts at Home conference in Bloomington, IL.  There’s always at least one other friend and sometimes we get a whole group to go.  We travel the five hours to IL chit-chatting away the whole time.

This year Anita Renfroe is going to make us laugh til we hurt Friday night. Candace Cameron Bure (Kirk’s little sis) will be sharing on Saturday and there will be all kinds of workshops too.  There will be so much information I know I won’t be able to take it all in. But I always come away with a couple new tools for my mom and wife toolbox.

It’s so fun and powerful to be in a room with a couple thousand other moms and to have a weekend designed to meet us where we are and to encourage us to get in there and give it our best for another year.  I love seeing all the sassy (my highest compliment for a stylish mom) moms and that inspires me to go out and treat myself at least once a year to a new hairdo and evaluate my style (or lack of).

I encourage all moms and dads to get away if you can for a replenishing time at least once a year. It gives you a chance to rest, reevaluate and appreciate.  It gives your spouse and kids a chance to hang loose and fly solo on a different routine.  Less than 24 hours and I hit the road! Have a great weekend folks, I know I will!

What do you do to get away from it all?

What does it mean to “speak the truth in love?”

ImageI’ve heard the scripture “speak the truth in love” often.  Mostly when something hurtful, yet true needs to be spoken to another person.  I’ve understood this to mean; say what you have to say, in a nice way, couch it and/or be gentle.  But tonight I was listening to a Focus on the Family broadcast, the speaker was Dr. Muller who explained it this way: that speaking the truth, if it is truth is love, that got my attention.

The verse is not addressing the way we say something per se (though walking in love towards one another would also mean being kind and polite to others) but that loving someone is speaking the truth that they need to hear.

When I looked this verse up to put it in context I also discovered deeper meaning.  In Ephesians chapter 4 Paul is speaking to believers about encouraging and teaching other believers.  He states;  “11And He Himself (Jesus) gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, 12 for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ, 13 till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; 14 that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— 16 from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by what every joint supplies, according to the effective working by which every part does its share, causes growth of the body for the edifying of itself in love.”

Let me quote again, “that we should no longer be children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the trickery of men, in the cunning craftiness of deceitful plotting, 15 but, speaking the truth in love, may grow up in all things into Him who is the head—Christ— ”    The reason Jesus gave each of us various gifts is to help each other continue to grow and to protect one another from being deceived by and entangled in this world and from our enemy until Jesus comes back for us.  The way that we care for one another and help each other grow is to speak the truth to  one another as God reveals it to us.

We have to be careful that we’re not going around “preaching” our beliefs to nonbelievers and calling it “speaking the truth in love.”  This scripture is talking to believers speaking to other believers.  John 8:32 tells us that “the truth shall make you free.” I believe the Word works whether you’re a christian or not. Matthew 5:45 says “ that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.  Therefore, truth spoken to a believer as well as an unbeliever will do good.  But going around telling everyone “like it is” because “this is the way we believe” will produce nothing but resentment and lots of people bitter at “Christians.”

Finally,  truth can be very hard to tell, but if love is your motive, you’ll do the hard thing and speak the truth out of a heart of love for the other person.  Because ultimately caring enough to speak truth to another person no matter what the outcome is a powerful show of love.   If someone is sharing truth with you, you should also feel very loved, even when it’s painful.  At least be willing to listen and to think the thing over when someone is confronting you with truth. If it’s done in the right spirit it’s being done out of love and concern for you.  Sure, not everyone will be right 100% of the time so it’s important to examine the words spoken to you and not just accept everything people are confronting you with.  But give it time, think it over, consult another person and see if there’s anything that needs to be changed or dealt with.  We all miss it that’s where grace comes in.

Speak the truth in love or If you love someone speak the the truth.

BFFs (Book Friends Forever)

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Proverbs 17:17

“A friend loves at all times and a brother is born for adversity.”

Are you blessed to be surrounded by a group of friends that celebrate the milestones in your life?  Who have something or lots of things in common with you? Who let you be yourself? I joined my book club about seven years ago when a neighbor/friend invited me.  I wasn’t a huge reader, but was excited about the chance for connection.  Little did I know what we would share over the years to follow.

We meet the 2nd Saturday of the month at a restaurant or in someone’s home.  This month we read “Julie & Julia” by Julie Powell and then each made a recipe from the “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” cook book.  The food is always great, the conversation takes twists and turns that you wouldn’t expect, but that we’ve very much come to expect.  Some of us keep in touch throughout the month and sometimes “book club” is the only time we get to see each other.  But when we’re together we just take up where we left of the last time.  Always food, most the time chocolate, many times a book was read and even discussed.

Over the ten years that the club, founded by Diane (the group elder ha-ha, with her spectacles and her “sun dial clock spinner” as a calendar) have been in existence we have: had 15 members, 7 babies, 1 divorce, 1 marriage, 2 kids added through marriage, 5 husbands had vasectomies, 1 member had a (failed) transcervical sterilization equaling one surprise baby,  6 kids turned into teenagers, 3 kids got drivers licences, 1 grandchild was born, 6 of us turned 40, a few internet dating experiences, 1 member went to Europe, 1 member went to Puerto Rico, 1 member took 5 trips to India, 1 (plus husband) received US citizenship, 8 job changes,  we’ve had 27 pets and “so many hamsters”, 8 minivans and a party van (who-hoo!) We’ve read countless books, eaten at innumerable restaurants, shed tears, laughed a ton, have committed zero homicides, zero affairs and had zero arrests (so far!).

We’ve also enjoyed book-themed meals, holiday gift exchanges, an outdoor movie, craft nights, hot-sizzlin’ summer romances, movies, and much girl-talk. Some have left the group, some have taken breaks, some come to group even when they haven’t read the book and sometimes there’s no book at all.  But for anyone who loves to read, eat, talk and come as you are, you’re most welcome to join the fun!

Ten years of friendship takes you through a lot of changes in your life. For me, personally, book club is one place I can be myself or one part of myself where I can’t be in other places.  Sometimes we agree and sometimes we agree to disagree.  But if we do disagree chocolate or a cocktail (did I forget to add cocktails to the list!?) covers a “multitude of sins.”

I truly believe that women especially, need connection and community.  Life demands a lot of women; kids, jobs, friends, home-life, volunteer work, you name it, women seem to do it.  We need a place to unwind on a REGULAR BASIS.  It’s a kindness to yourself to find a group of women (small or large) that you can trust and that will build you up and help you to see that life is good albeit overwhelming at times.

If you’re a woman and have never experienced this type of friendship with other women, you’re looking in the wrong places my friend.  There was a wise mentor-man in college that pointed me to the direction of relationships with other women. I didn’t know what all the fuss was about, I didn’t appreciate groups of just women and opted for the coed groups.   But then I met community in a small group of gals my age.  I’ve been involved in various women’s groups through church, work and community ever since. Yes, women can be manipulative, catty, and untrustworthy, but I don’t believe that it’s “most women” I just believe that a few end up spoiling the reputation of many.

Enjoy your good friends, they are gifts.  Risk relationship with groups of women (or men if I have a male reader) and see how rewarding it can be to do life together with “friends that love at ALL times and sisters that are born for adversity.”

Do you have a group of friends you’d like to brag about? Please share!

Disregarding the Gift

My (then) 4-year-old daughter Lauren’s eyes lit up when I told her that she could wear my wedding pearls on her date to the Daddy-Daughter dance .  I wanted her to feel like a princess on her special night with her daddy.

My husband gave me the pearl necklace as a Christmas gift just months before we were married and I wore them on our wedding day.  When Lauren returned from the dance I placed the pearl necklace back in the drawer where it waits to be hers one day. It waits, because she’s not yet mature enough to understand its value.

God gave His heart’s treasure to us when he gave us his son and he was given at the ultimate price, his life on the cross. Even though God knew I wouldn’t understand its great value he still chose to give it to me and loves me dearly even when I don’t treat the gift like the precious treasure that it is.

1 John 4:9, 10 says that; “9 In this, the love of God was made manifest (displayed) where we are concerned: in that God sent His Son, the only begotten or unique [Son], into the world so that we might live through Him. 10 In this is love: not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation (the atoning sacrifice) for our sins.”

I’ve known about the gift of Jesus for as long as I can remember. One of the first Bible verses I memorized was John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in Him shall not parish but have everlasting life.”  But today I had a revelation of this truth.  God gave what was most dear to Him for me and I often don’t treat that gift as a treasure at all. I’ve pushed it away at times, I’ve doubted God’s love for me, and cried “where are you God?” even though He’s already done everything He can do to prove His love and commitment to me.

I can imagine how hurt I would be if after waiting years to give my necklace to my daughter I saw it sitting on a garage sale table for a dollar or tossed in a junk drawer because she didn’t see its value.  It would hurt even more if she didn’t realize that the reason I chose to give it to her was because it expressed how dear she is to me.

If we truly appreciate the gift that our Father gave us, how then can we have any doubt about God’s love for us? He spared NOTHING to show us how deep, high and wide His love is for us.  We have to choose to believe that He sent Jesus to die on the cross so that we could live.  As we let this truth sink in to the deepest places in our hearts we can truly embrace His love for us and see who we are in Him. We can stop doubting our worth, stop trying to please others, stop trying to do and just be!

“Thank you God for entrusting me with your most precious treasure! Help me to honor your sacrifice of your Son and Christ’s sacrifice of his life on the cross…for me. Help me to receive your gifts. Help this truth to transform my life!” Amen.