Monday, April 23, 2012

ahhhhh spring!

The calendar 'told' us a month ago that spring had arrived but at the end of last week I KNEW it had truly come to be.  The robins have been hanging around for a number of days but when the meadowlark took up his position on a fence post and announced his arrival, when the JD Salesman walked the prairie finding a bouquet of the finest for me, I took a deep breath and knew spring is here!      

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

If you love me.....

"If you love me you will obey what I command." John 14:15

These words have haunted me and left me with a feeling of guilt for so many years.  Have you ever thought of your parents, your friends, your spouse in terms of "If you really loved me you would ______"?  That is how I read this verse and saw it as judgement, a condemnation.  My mind said "You don't love God very much.  You don't obey the commandments, the sermon on the mount, all the 'rules' that seem to apply to Christians."

I have come to see in recent years how frightfully wrong I have been, how I was reading this verse and others like it with a legalistic idea and mindset.

Firstly, I took the word "if" as conditional.  But  love for God is not a measuring stick, a scale to determine how righteous I am.  My love for God is rather puny in comparison with His love.  But I believe that my love, my faith, even if it is the size of a tiny seed comes from God in the first place.  I don't seem to be able to 'muster up' love or faith in my own strength.  Instead of the word "if" maybe "because" explains the verse more clearly.   I am coming to understand the desire, the ability to obey comes because I love God not proof that I love God.

Secondly, I read a translation of the latter part of the verse as:  "follow my teachings."  This was a contrast to what I had believed about the list of do's and don't's with which I had grown up.  I  had actually come to a place twelve or so years ago deciding  there was no way  I could live this 'Christian' life, that I could ever 'be' what I thought people expected from a 'Christian'.  But I was looking at man-made expectations and equating them to God's commandments.

It is so very much a work in process but I am learning (let me emphasis LEARNING) to listen to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of God, and to obey what I believe God commands, to follow the teachings of Jesus.  When I first thought of 'what I command' as following Jesus' teachings, I also thought, "I can handle that".  Then it hit!  Wait a minute!  I can no more follow Jesus' teachings than I can successfully obey all the 'rules' I once thought I had to keep.  That is why I need a Saviour, why I need the Spirit of God in me to give me the capability to obey.

There is a freedom that comes with looking to God rather than myself or to other people.  Some days seem easier than others: some days, some hours, some minutes.  I guess it is a constant learning process that will only end in heaven some day.

Monday, April 2, 2012

aging process

"Leave behind the chilling thought of wrinkles and the anxiety of an aging-epidermis and instead opt to add an easy-to-apply product..... "  "Discover how a dab of this signature cream makes approaching your exterior wrinkle concerns a simple process..."

This greeted me as I checked my Inbox the other morning.  I had not even looked in the mirror.  I prefer to use the bathroom in the dark first thing in the morning, avoiding  the reflection as I 'take a seat'.  But I am fully aware of the wrinkles and the aging-epidemis.  So I leaned into this advertisement, checking the price of this miracle cream and pondering the wonderful benefits.

Then, wait a minute! What is happening!  What sort of lies am I buying into!  Why should I be chilled at the thought of wrinkles!  What is there about aging epidermis that should give me anxiety!  Give your head a huge shake GRANDMA Karin!  You are in your 6th decade.  There is nothing wrong with aging, with becoming old.  It is natural, a fact of life, reality.

But I realize there is the subtle and sometimes no-so-subtle implication or belief  it is wrong to become old, to accept the changes that come to my body and my mind. I have bought into the belief of beauty belonging only to the young and I should do everything possible to hold on to a 'look', and 'image' that someone, somewhere has decided is perfect.

Today is another day.  I have not totally forgotten the wrinkles and whatever my skin happens to be.  I fret over the middle roll but I am also reminded that it is the inside, the inner me that truly wants change.  My greatest longing is to be at peace within my heart, to rest, genuinely rest in the love of God for me, to trust ALL things working for my good, for the good of family and friends.

Isn't this the heart of Easter?