Category: Heart, Mind and Soul

Comfort

 

1. Q. What is your only comfort in life and death?

A. That I am not my own,
but belong with body and soul,
both in life and in death,
to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ.

He has fully paid for all my sins
with His precious blood,
and has set me free
from all the power of the devil.

He also preserves me in such a way
that without the will of my heavenly Father
not a hair can fall from my head;
indeed, all things must work together
for my salvation.

Therefore, by His Holy Spirit
He also assures me of eternal life
and makes me heartily willing and ready
from now on to live for Him.

 

Heidelberg Catechism, Question 1

 

 

I am finding great comfort in the promises of God, especially as they are expressed in the first question and answer of the Heidelberg Catechism.

Our boys’ best friends’ mom died yesterday.  I know she would  have said will full confidence,

I am not my own,
but belong with body and soul,
both in life and in death,
to my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ.

I don’t doubt that she was ready to see Jesus, even if not ready to leave her family.

But, I’m not ready.  Not ready to help my sons mourn.  Not ready to watch them walk alongside their grieving friends.  Not ready to consider my own mortality and leaving my kids behind.

 

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. 14 And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony.”

Colossians 3:12-14 (ESV)

Jesus, Lover of My Soul

I woke up yesterday morning with this hymn by Charles Wesley on my lips. I really like this modern working of it by Indelible Grace.

Jesus, lover of my soul,
let me to thy bosom fly,
while the nearer waters roll,
while the tempest still is high;
hide me, O my Savior, hide,
till the storm of life is past;
safe into the haven guide,
O receive my soul at last!

Other refuge have I none;
hangs my helpless soul on thee;
leave, ah! leave me not alone,
still support and comfort me.
All my trust on thee is stayed,
all my help from thee I bring;
cover my defenseless head
with the shadow of thy wing.

Plenteous grace with thee is found,
grace to cover all my sin;
let the healing streams abound;
make and keep me pure within.
Thou of life the fountain art;
freely let me take of thee;
spring thou up within my heart,
rise to all eternity.

Psalter Hymnal, 1987

CONNECTION, noun [Latin See Connect.] The act of joining or state of being joined; a state of being knit or fastened together; union by junction, by an intervening substance or medium, by dependence or relation, or by order in a series; a word of very general import. There is a connection of links in a chain; a connection between all parts of the human body; a connection between virtue and happiness, and between this life and the future; a connection between parent and child, master and servant, husband and wife; between motives and actions, and between actions and their consequences. In short, the word is applicable to almost every thing that has a dependence on or relation to another thing.

Webster’s Dictionary, 1828

A Theme for Twenty-Seventeen

What is your word for 2017?

I think it is great to have a theme or organizing principle for different seasons in life. It helps me prioritize my energies and serves as a catalyst for growth.

Yet I admit… I’ve been resistant to choosing a “word of the year” for ages — simply because it’s a popular thing to do. Even when it may be helpful, I bristle at adopting something that might seem trendy. Prideful much?

Over the past few months, however, the same theme keeps coming to the surface. In my journalling, my prayer time, my discussions with my husband. . .

So when I listened to Gretchen Rubin’s What’s Your One Word Theme for the New Year?, the word came to mind again and I really knew I had to dedicate 2017 to this idea.

Connected.

A whole-orbed connectedness.

Connected to God.
Connected to myself, body and soul.
Connected to my husband.
Connected to my teens and young adults.
Connected to all my kids.
Connected to my community.

Connected. I feel the Lord has set in front of me the need to really be connected in this season in life — especially connecting to Him and to my teens.

Connected is my theme for 2017.

 

 

**I balk at trendy things, but love Gretchen Rubin? Yes, I have my inconsistencies.

Aside

 

Oh give thanks to the LORD, for he is good,
for his steadfast love endures forever!
Let the redeemed of the LORD say so,
whom he has redeemed from trouble
and gathered in from the lands,
from the east and from the west,
from the north and from the south.

Some wandered in desert wastes,
finding no way to a city to dwell in;
hungry and thirsty,
their soul fainted within them.
Then they cried to the LORD in their trouble,
and he delivered them from their distress.
He led them by a straight way
till they reached a city to dwell in.
Let them thank the LORD for his steadfast love,
for his wondrous works to the children of man!
For he satisfies the longing soul,
and the hungry soul he fills with good things.

(Psalm 107:1-9 ESV)

Love and Resistance and Carl Rogers

Yesterday I was listening to a sermon from John 15:9-13 titled “What Love Can Do.”  (Pastor Rob Edenfield, Covenant Presbyterian Church Oveido, 13 Nov 2016.)

 

As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.

If you keep my commandments, you will abide in my love, just as I have kept my Father’s commandments and abide in his love.

These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.

“This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you. Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends. You are my friends if you do what I command you.

(John 15:9-14 ESV)

 

Among the many thoughts sparked by the sermon, was was some very discomforting thoughts about loving my family members and laying down my life for them.  It’s not a new thought for me, but laying down my life for my family is wider than dying for another.

Laying down my life is laying down my time, my energy, my physical body, my resistance in the moment. . . to love my family.

I remember in years past being inspired by this idea, embracing it as part of my calling.  “Greater love has no mom than this. . .”

But quite frankly, I don’t like it.  I struggle with it.

My resistance is not because there is something else I would rather be doing.   It is not because I don’t value  pouring myself in to this vocation, where I am, with my family.   In the big picture, I really DO want to nurture and encourage and prioritize them.

But the laying down of my life in the moment-by-moment parts of the day?  It feels like an imposition.  I’m resistant to it.  This attitude comes out in so many situations, and I know my family picks up on it.

When I allow myself to feel those feelings of being imposed upon and the feelings of guilt for those feelings, I stop running away from those feelings.  I can see that part of what feeds into this is my own struggles of feeling like I’m failing.

So where does this lead me?

Going back to the sermon on God’s love. . . He first loved us.  He loves me.  He loves my kids.  He loves my children.

Biblical love is often summarized by referring to I Corinthians 13.  Love is patient, kind, does not envy, does not boast, is not proud. . . and all the things I am not feeling from God towards me nor living out with my family and neighbors.  These words are familiar to me and so unattainable, and so sometimes I tune the familiar out.

When listening to the sermon, and considering God’s love for us, I thought about God’s “unconditional positive regard” towards me.  That is a phrase coined by humanist psychologist Carl Rogers.  While “unconditional positive regard” is not a full-orbed definition of Biblical love, it does capture such a sweet part of God’s love  in that phrase.

In spite of my failures, in spite of my resistance to “lay down my life,” God has shown me His unconditional love, His positive regard.

We love because he first loved us. . . (1 John 4)

Can I rest in that?  Can I let that unconditional positive regard from the Most Holy God be something in which I rest?

He already laid down His life for me.  He’s already shown my boundless love.

Can I let that love flow in to me?  Flow out of me?

I know my kids feel more criticism from me that I even want to admit.  But can I pray that the Holy Spirit fill me with His love, and let unconditional positive regard flow out of me to my children?  Can I lay down my resistance before the Lord and accept His love for my kids is even greater than my love for them?