Monday, February 25, 2013

Epiphany at the Swimming Pool

Photo credit: Kenya Allmond / / CC BY-NC-ND 

I smiled when I saw the young man and his tiny daughter walk through the doors of the local swimming pool. She looked to be about three years old and was chatting happily and non-stop as she held her daddy's hand. A horde of kids had arrived just a few minutes earlier so I assumed he was there to watch the little one's older sibling. They headed for the observation area and I went back to checking email on my iphone while I waited for a friend. A little while later they emerged again. The little girl was still chattering as she raced for the door but her dad called her back to put her jacket, hat and mittens on before going outside.

He sat her on the bench opposite me. He put her hat on. She pulled it off. He put a mitten on. She pulled it off. She was chattering like a little squirrel the whole time, and he was hmmm-ing and aha-ing as he patiently put her hat on again. She reached up to tug it off but he caught her hand and managed to get a mitten on it. Then he scooped her into his arms before she could pull anything else off and headed for the doors to the outside world.

It was a delight to watch that dad and his little one. Love personified, I thought. He was patient, he was kind, he was selfless in his actions. Just like our Heavenly Father. And we are so much like that little girl.

We are self-centred and wilful, wanting our own way and often trying to undo what God is trying to accomplish in our lives, even though it is always for our own good and protection. That little one took her dad for granted, as all tiny children do. We too often do the same. We assume God's care and protection are there, while all the while following our own agenda and often rejecting his direction. How often we must try His patience!

But even though that little one was disobeying him, that dad kept smiling and nodding and letting his daughter prattle on. Because he loves her. She's his little girl and nothing will ever change that. This too is a picture of our Heavenly Father and His unconditional love for His children. Though we test and try Him, He never gives up on us, never stops loving us.

The writer of the book of Lamentations wrote: "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness." 
Visit Marcia's website for more information on her writing/speaking ministry

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Love In, Love Out

Valentine's Day - it's one of those occasions when we get a plethora of emails, blog posts and advertisements all about love. Some claim to be experts, laying out a lot of advice on how to maintain your marriage, how to love like you should. Some of the advice is even worth putting into practice.

I have no magic wand, no step by step instructions, no guarantees, but this I know, after 33 years of marriage, you just can't love like you should without the love of Christ in you. And even then, it's hard. But if you keep on trying, keep on leaning on the Lord, one day you wake up and realize that you've made some progress. Maybe just a little, but enough to notice, and then the joy comes, and the gratitude and the grace.

Then you begin to understand that what the Psalmist David says is true - "You have assigned me my portion and my cup; you have made my lot secure. The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places; surely I have a delightful inheritance.... (and) you have made known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence with eternal pleasures at your right hand" (Psalm 16-5-11).

Then you discover that as his love flows into us it flows out, as naturally as a spring of water, leaving us changed, refreshed and ready to receive and give out yet again. "Because of the Lord's great love we are not consumed, for his compassions never fail. They are new every morning; great is your faithfulness" (Lamentations 3:22-23).

Love is given out as it is received. We are able to love because we know in the depth of our souls that we are well and truly loved.

Visit Marcia's website to learn more about her writing/speaking ministry.