Saturday, January 12, 2013

WARNING!!! This post contains graphic images!

6:05 A.M.  - I awake from a restless and painful night's sleep (due to a pinched nerve in my neck) to the sound of a toddle howling in his nighttime prison.  I can't move my neck.

6:10 A.M.  - I ascend the "stairs of doom".  With each step, I become more and more aware of what awaits.

6:10 A.M.  - Seconds later, I remove the crabby toddler from his bed and head to the kitchen.  He's following me.

6:11 A.M.  - My fears are confirmed.  The dog has had a severe case of diarrhea, spreading from one end of the kitchen to the other, and into the adjoining bathroom. (Fortunately, he was gated into the kitchen the night before, so that's as far as it went.)

6:15 A.M.  - I am armed with rubber gloves, bleach, and an industrial size roll of paper towel.  The kind you see in gas station bathrooms.  The coffee maker is now brewing.

7:40 A.M.  - The kitchen and bathroom floors are now sanitized, the pain meds have kicked in, and I'm finally pouring a cup of coffee.

No doubt, it was a rough way to start the day.  There was a time in my life when that would have caused me to burst into tears.  But I've learned something since then (unfortunately, I do sometimes forget what I've learned - but today I remembered it).  Praise, in the midst of trial, combined with a call for the Holy Spirit to take control is what gets me through moments like this.  When I'm on my hands and knees cleaning dog yuck and a whiny toddle is trying to climb on my back, I'm praising the Lord.  I'm thanking Him.  Not necessarily for the mess around me, but for the love, patience, and strength He gives me.  It allows me to handle the whole situation with grace and endurance.

By the way, the only "graphic" picture I decide to post was the one of the crabby toddle throwing a fit on the (sanitized) kitchen floor.  The other one was just too...GROSS!

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Love Never Fails...

Those are three powerful words that seem to be etched in my brain right now.  Does love ever fail you?  Do you ever fail at love?  Well, when the question is put before me like that, I can answer "yes" on both accounts.  However, there's a key element that needs to be added.  The love of Christ never fails.  Christ-like love can only come from...Christ.  Through the power of His Holy Spirit, we can love like He does; unconditionally.

I can't love like that on my own.  I fail.  I get rude.  I get impatient. I am unkind.  This all happens when I try to love with my human heart; my imperfect, selfish, deceitful heart.

To some, that might sound like self-abuse.  "Don't be so hard on yourself!  You're a good person!"  Am I?  Don't I roll my eyes at my husband?  Don't I snap at my children?  Don't I get annoyed at the person in front of me at the grocery store checkout?  Where's the love!

Sure we all have bad days, but we can overcome the excuses for our behavior when we just realize that we can't love unconditionally...not on our own.  We need Jesus!  I need Jesus!

I leave you with this:

The Greatest Gift

1Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. 2And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 3And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.
4Love suffers long and is kind; love does not envy; love does not parade itself, is not puffed up; 5does not behave rudely, does not seek its own, is not provoked, thinks no evil; 6does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth; 7bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8Love never fails. But whether there are prophecies, they will fail; whether there are tongues, they will cease; whether there is knowledge, it will vanish away. 9For we know in part and we prophesy in part. 10But when that which is perfect has come, then that which is in part will be done away.
11When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things. 12For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.
13And now abide faith, hope, love, these three; but the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:1-13