Fierce Love

fierce-love-prophetic-art-by-marilyn-simandleI’m reading this book called “Choose Joy,” it’s excellent and uplifting and holds me accountable for my own joy. Regardless of the circumstances of my life.

Which is a good thing. But today I don’t feel like choosing joy.

My husband is gone, bug had a horrible night, Nici is…well Nici, always intense (one way or another), and I’m supposed to be compassionate. I’m tired.

 

I’m supposed to choose joy and radiate Christ. I do feel like flipping some tables, Christ did that…so does that count?

 

As Christians we are held to high standards, which is a good thing, a biblical thing. However we are often judged, for having those standards, “you call yourself a Christian, yet judge others.”

 

Yes, I judge how people show love. I’m working on it, my empathy, compassion, grace (whatever you want to call it) is growing. But my standards for how we should love one another is high. And that is Biblical.

 

That doesn’t mean loving everyone is easy. It does mean we are called to try. It also means holding myself and those I love to high standards. I’m passionate and overly emotional…so is my God.

 

You don’t let your son die for others, for sinners, for those completely unworthy, unless you’re overcome with fierce irrational love.

 

You don’t hang suffering and tortured unless overcome with fierce irrational love.

 

So I’m reading this “Choose Joy” book, not feeling joyful, not feeling overcome with love. But feeling fierce.

 

And maybe that isn’t something to push aside as I search for sunshine. Maybe God purposefully placed this fierce beast within me so I could accomplish great irrational things.

 

Regardless of who is uncomfortable with it (myself included).

 

And yes, fierceness requires high expectations and unbounding love.

  • J

The Holy Option

Exodus 22:51 “you are to be my holy people…”

What does it even mean to live a holy life?

Yes, I’ve got Jesus.

Yes, I pray. Yes, I know I am forgiven without mosaic rituals. But what in MY personal journey needs some redirecting…could use some holy water.

Needs refocusing to “seek him first”

Striving for holiness is like striving for perfection, except failure is an option and expectation thanks to grace and mercy.

So, as a Christchild, a daughter of royalty, holiness IS my high throne, my birthright and gift.

IF I choose it. IF I am willing to seek him first and again and again.

But the question remains, what in my life must I purposefully redirect on Christ.

And the answer comes fairly simple to me, yet hits hard. Love.

I like to think I live love out. I love hard and obvious and my love standards are high.

I also snap, hard and obvious and it hurts those I love most.

Tensions can be high. Love is strong.

the-holy-optionI get to choose which one will be louder. And I pray for grace and mercy and strength to choose the holy option.


Keep awake! Watch at all times. The devil is working against you. He is walking around like a hungry lion with his mouth open. He is looking for someone to eat. – 
1 Peter 1:5-8

And so I know I must purposefully choose love. It may not come naturally, but it is my holy calling.

– J

Let’s Celebrate!!

6ffc87d6fc501dbbb19237aacc5656d7Celebrate good times, come on!

…and bad, and easy,and hard – because God is to be glorified  in everything.

This is what God has been commanding my heart so far in 2017.  Celebrate!  And there is so much to celebrate.

God is good always.  Our salvation is secure.  My hope and joy should rest in Him.  Life ebbs and flows, but He is constant!  He never changes,never leaves.  So, there is always reason to celebrate.

Jesus came not only to give believers life that lasts forever, He intends for us to experience this eternal quality of life right now.” (my BFS notes from this week)

That is not to say He promises an easy life full of only rainbows and sunshine, but that there is always reason to celebrate Him.  Joy always comes in the morning.

That is what celebrate has come to mean to me so far this year – worshiping God in joy over specific things, events, or people.  I often started a day thanking God for blessings, which resulted in a grateful and humble heart.  As I’ve been celebrating things with God in the morning over the last two weeks, I am still grateful, but I am overwhelmed with joy.

Some early celebrations this year:

  • I celebrate the sunshine.
  • I celebrate softly falling fat snowflakes.
  • I celebrate Scooby Doo with littles that can only be watched in TiTi’s bedroom.
  • I celebrate a family who cries with and delights in one another.
  • I celebrate a body designed be broken and cut open, and, heal again.
  • I celebrate recognized competency leading to responsibility (okay I had to talk myself into celebrating that one).
  • I celebrate that the depths of despair grow empathy and stronger searches for light.
  • I celebrate a God that knows me, loves me, and wants me.
  • I celebrate new beginnings.
  • I celebrate that my identity is rooted in God.
  • I celebrate that this is not my home.
  • I celebrate His air that fills my lungs.

And so, with each breath in, I will marvel at His majesty.

And with each exhale, I will celebrate his bountiful blessings.

  • S

Christmas is Over

15419767_10109356708892194_5520719584611047593_oChristmas was hard for me this year. We decorated and trimmed, not one, but three trees. We drank plenty of hot chocolate and ate candy and sang the songs more than ever before.

 

And it all felt like it sounds: secular and beautiful and surface. And I often felt like a character going through motions.

 

I didn’t have the warm and cozies despite the oodles of family and good things. I felt so off I even started an advent devotional- which sounds lovely but was truly an act of desperation, to find and cling to the Christmas of old.

 

We had a Jesus Birthday cake, but my December felt desperate for Christ.

 

My home needs to be saturated, not in Christmas decorations, but Christ.

 

15589580_10109446017117794_5125888555205362410_nChristmas is over but it didn’t end, it was just the beginning. January 1st was the new year, but Christmas is the new life.

 

And the only way to feel Christmas when 12 months roll along is to live in the depths of Christ the next 11.

 

So here’s to a new year, a new beginning Christened in a secular glow with a holy reality

 

Christ was born, Christ has risen, and Christ lives in me. In this very drafty old home, Christ abides.

 

So it’s about time I start seeing Him everywhere.

– J

Christmas Started Early

Christmas starts early in this house. (Each year it seems a little sooner than the last.) And I wake up early, sitting here, looking at our three Christmas trees. The earlier Christmas starts, the more money people make, the more commercial it can become.

But the earlier we start, the holier the outcome.

Between candy cane clusters placed excitedly with two year old hands and fisher price Jesus in the plastic cart…under the blinking tree…you can feel the secular merge with the holy and it’s magical and meaningful.

christmas-starts-earlyFaith was designed, intended for the masses. It’s natural for the worlds to collide; this odd pairing of elf and manger.

All glitter, all one star.

But it’s fitting, because my life is all mess, lovely, and smelly, and faulty. And too often I say no to God. I place him in the manger, holy baby perfect, and deserving, right into the middle of the smelly mess.

I turn him away every time I’m too busy.

And yet his perfect grace lights me up, washes the grime off, and decorates me from the inside out.

 

I shine glitter, sacred glitter, holy elves.

 

Santa giving, Nici giving, God’s grace given.

 

It’s for the masses and it’s full of meaning, and I’m fairly certain the angels rejoice when each tree is lit – a  holy secular merger of peace, love, family, and faith.

 

Lit up bright with elves and candy cane magic, reminding us of the not so plastic Jesus in a manger.

  • J

In the Boring Stuff

“Motherhood is the hardest assignment I’ve ever been given and the most extraordinary life that exists.” Brooke McGothlin

 

extraordinary: very unusable or remarkable

 

exceptional, amazing, astonishing, astounding, stunning, incredible, unbelievable…

 

This journey I am on.

 

I find it highly interesting that the word best used to describe my life (motherhood) is extraordinary.

 

Extra + ordinary.

 

And so many of my days are so incredibly extra (super) ordinary, and mundane and repetitive.

 

So ordinary that if you blink you miss the magic, and another same day with the same shows has repeated itself.

 

It’s a work, a discipline in training the mind to see the magic. To see Christ in the dishes. To see the holy work in the laundry, and the kisses, and the spilled messes.

 

If you blink too long, you miss the EXTRAordinary parts –

 

The extra cuddles after long naps or crankies,

 

The extra help cleaning up,

 

The extra minutes of water play,

 

The extra I love yous, followed with extra puppy kisses.,

 

The extra warmth in your bed, only noticed by its absence,

 

The extra nudge to slow down and look down and notice the ordinary in a new lens,

 

The extra nudge to notice the flutterby (butterfly) on the flowers,

 

And the extra cake and snacks,

boring-stuff

And syrup forever being associated with chubby baby Nici hands.

 

These are the moments of an extraordinary life. They aren’t flashy and well groomed and held in high esteem by society. They are what make a life worth living though.

 

And they are what make memories, the big things come and go; we are left with the day to day. The days make a life.

  • J

 

Magical Women

The world is crazy and full of evil. Evil that in many ways we can let control our day to day, especially as moms protecting little ones.

As a mom, our day to day is riddled with too high expectations placed on us by ourselves, but also by others. I am no exception, maybe one of the worst culprits of high standards.

But being a mom has taught me magic.

You get hurt, magic kisses heal.

You have a bad dream, mommas arms chase it away.

You’re hungry, she provides.

You’re sad, she wipes your eyes.

The dinosaurs are scary; she makes them do a dance.

The dragons breathe fire; she teaches you to ride them.

You can’t sleep (ever) and she is right beside you.

The world’s injustices can be undone by a mother’s love. A mother’s magic.

Too many kids face evil everyday. Life has attacked the parents and the kids taste the backfire.

magic womenAs a mom, as a woman, I can undo that evil, not just for my own kids. My arms contain magic far outside these walls we call home.

It’s a scary world and as women we hold a lot power. A lot of magic.

How wide and how deep we choose to spread it is up to us.

It doesn’t take a delivery room to become a mom, it doesn’t take foster papers, or adoption papers, it takes love.

It’s giving a child extra time, extra attention, extra arms, a space they can vent and be themselves.

Mothers Day has come and gone, but the need for moms has not. The need for strong, powerful, compassionate, magical women is more pressing than ever. Be that woman.

  • J