Tag Archives: God

The Shack

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There were times I thought my heart might burst or I might sob out loud, you know…one of those loud hiccuping things for the entire theater to hear. It’s rare for a movie to leave me breathless…an hour later, I’m still sighing.

My hubby and I just saw The Shack...and it was moving and heartbreaking and poignant and all the things you’ve heard it would be. It was all those things and more.

Let’s start here – it will make you cry. Period. Unless you’re semi-robotic. But as Papa says in the film, your tears can be mighty healing. This film reminds us all that pain is universal. Pain and unspeakable evil. But along with that pain is love…love we cannot fathom, love that can be damaged by old hatred and anger, but love that can survive when little else can.

The author of this book took emotions that so many of us are afraid to voice or are unsure how to release and put them to paper. An incredible feat…and if you ask me, inspirational for so many people. We all need to be reminded that we are loved, that it’s not our place to judge others, and that with help, we can move forward from despair.

That’s what this movie is about. And it was beautiful.

This year for Lent, I took on the Herculean task of (trying) to give up fear and worry. For years, I’ve prayed about it, read about it. I try hard to focus on the positive but it is still something that hovers in the back of my mind, waiting to jump out at me like a creep in the night. My own take on this unwanted experience is that since I’ve seen up front and personal how gut-wrenching life can be, I now am afraid that something just as bad will happen again. Not good, I know.

In this movie, one focus was on letting go and trusting God. That’s what I’ve been trying to do lately…as in completely…for good or bad.  I trust that I will be taken care of no matter what happens on this Earth. I trust that with help I can survive anything that comes my way. I’ve spent a lot of time chanting I trust You.

Maybe that’s why this movie was so powerful…maybe it’s easy to find yourself in the middle of not trusting, or maybe we recognized pain that strips you bare. And even though everyone hasn’t felt the same kind of pain or experienced the same tragedies, this movie speaks to everyone’s hidden pain about something. Because we all have something.

Go see this movie. Open your heart to the tears that may accompany the visit. Imagine what your life’s garden may look like as God continues to see way beyond our scope. Take my word, it’ll be worth it.

Walk and Talks

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Can you see the webs glistening in the grass?

Several mornings a week, I get up early and walk.  The world is different early in the day.  Cool air whispers against your skin, faint mists float through the trees, the dew still sits heavily on the earth.  The dew was thick this morning, outlining web after web.  It was almost magical seeing hundreds of webs throughout the field and yard.

This is what I’ll miss most about school starting back tomorrow – my walk and talks.  During these early morning walks, with the beauty of the earth surrounding me, I feel closer to God than any other time during the day.  His magestic beauty does something to my soul.  For that thirty minutes, I pour out my gratitude, my sorrows, my worries, and for that thirty minutes, I feel Him right there with me saying I’ve got you.

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Too Much to Bear

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There has been a lot of talk lately about being given more than you can handle…or precisely not being given more than you can handle in a bad situation.  The old saying goes something like God won’t give you more than you can handle.  Those words have been pounding through my brain the past few days trying to find the truth.

Is it true that we will never be given more than we can handle?  Or did some (albeit kind but demented) person create the tag line?  I recently read that it never says those exact words in the Bible.

So…who came up with it?

Our small town has been slammed with death and heartache lately.  Just this past weekend, a five-year old girl was killed in a tragic car accident.  She leaves behind heartbroken, devastated parents.  Are we to believe that these people can handle this situation?  Are they stronger than the rest of us?

In my worst moments, the moments I just couldn’t see passed the next minute or the next hour, I remember thinking those words. I remember thinking, “Okay, God, I love you and all, but I’m not this strong.  I promise.  I just can’t do this.”  And in those moments, I begged for His help, His strength because I knew it was beyond my realm to survive it alone.

But I did survive.  Somehow, I continued moving and eating and breathing even though it was terribly ugly to watch.  So how did I do it?  How did I survive?

I survived because of God.  I survived because I could not do it alone and for that reason, I depended on Him more than I had ever before.  During the worst, maybe that’s the point.  Maybe we should rely on God.  He’s infinitely stronger and wiser and more capable than we’ll ever be, and I’m thankful He’s willing to tote me around when I’m at my worst.

And honestly, needing Him that much has made my relationship with Him stronger than ever before.

My heart aches for the family of this little girl.  She attended the school where I work, and her teacher was left with the gut-wrenching job of dealing with her classmates.  Another colleague told her class about the accident and simply told them that sometimes in life bad things happen.  The little ones nodded their heads, taking her words to heart.  They can and will accept that their friend is now in Heaven much easier than many adults will.

For those struggling with too much to bear, there are no words, not really.  Only know many are thinking of you and praying for you, and you are never alone.

Unconditional Love

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What is unconditional love?  Have you ever experienced it?

I once thought I knew what unconditional love was.  Life seemed full of it, abounding in each direction I turned.  Children were everywhere and I loved them all.  Friends encircled me…work friends, church friends, social friends…friends I’d had all of my adult life.  Family grew thick and strong, shoots of it stabilizing  my life.  I was like a farmer smiling at his crop just before the harvest…so very sure that nothing could ever destroy what I’d worked so hard for.

Then life came knocking.  The brutal, ugly side of life that no one likes to acknowledge.  The side that will kick you in the teeth and leave you on the ground.  And unconditional love ceased to exist.  Like a wave receding from the shore, most of what I had considered stable and sure was swept out to sea.  In an instant, it was simply gone.

What was left was a very ragged, harried version of myself.  A depressed and lonely creature that fought every day not to become bitter.  Even sad, I knew I didn’t want to be that person.  Even sad, it took every ounce of strength I had left in me to rise above what life pummeled me with.

The result was a lesson…a huge lesson in what unconditional love truly is.  And now I know the true meaning of it.

Unconditional love simply means loving with your whole being, no strings attached.  Not many can do this…it requires way too much work and giving of your own self.  Not many can let go of what society says and love anyway.  Loving that way demands that you love even when things are wrong and hard.  It demands that you give even when you may despise the quality of another person’s life.  Love dictates that you keep on opening yourself to another even when you want to give up.

But you never give up.  That’s the unconditional part.  You keep praying and you keep loving the unlovable and you keep believing that someday things will be better.

I am so blessed to have survived and made it to the other side of the teeth-kicking.  My teeth have even healed enough for me to smile and mean it.  The numbers may be few but I have been blessed with unconditional loves.  People who love no matter what.  Nothing is a greater gift…not anything.

Those people…mostly family because isn’t that where unconditional love grows the strongest?…stick.  We stick together and we push forward.  Little blessings come along.  Little blessings like our dog who appeared at my very lowest time.  I’ll never doubt that God plopped her into my lap when He knew I needed her most.  And blessings like sisters, the blood and non-blood kind, that listen to you cry and keep coming back for more.  Mostly, blessings like a husband and children that love you even after living with you…that’s the truest form.

The biggest lesson in unconditional love has been my relationship with God.  At my lowest, I was never alone.  The years have taught me to rely less on the love and approval of others and more on the relationship between us.  As that grows stronger, so does my love for my family.  God is teaching me day by day to never give up…that there is always light after the dark.  Never give up on dreams, on children, on marriage.  Never quit loving and giving.  Never stop believing in yourself.  Never think that life can’t get better because it can.  And it has.

That is unconditional love.