Wednesday, February 22, 2012

sin.

Sin opens the door for Satan. Sin creates a warm, welcoming environment for his dirty work to be done.

I hate sin and I hate Satan.

For whatever reason, this month has within it brought SO many requests from friends for prayer in great times of need. I have received more than one handful of phone calls with terrible news on the other end. One situation that is breaking my heart deals with the devastating effects of sin that have taken their toll on a sweet friend of mine. She is now in the ICU dealing with it and recovering, but to what state she will recover, I do not know. I got word of it yesterday afternoon and have since been to sit at her side and lay hands on her to pray that the Lord would deliver her from all of it: from the state she is in now and the state she has been in that brought her here. I firmly believe that this is the closest I have been to spiritual warfare in my life. It is real and it is scary.

A good friend and mentor of mine just left me a voicemail to tell me that, very appropriately, today is Ash Wednesday. She was reminded of the fact that THIS (all of these horrible situations happening within the lives of people who are dear to us) is why Christ came. THIS is why we need a Savior. Our world is broken, beaten, and sad and we need to be rescued.

Gosh, I cannot wait for Jesus to return. I hate the hurt and the sadness that our world brings. I love that the Lord did not leave us here alone with all of it in the meantime.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

grace for today.

Happy Valentine's Day!

There's a giddy little girl inside of me that just loves Valentine's Day. I can't help it. I guess I never really jumped on the whole "I hate Valentine's" train when it comes to this Halmark holiday because why should we not make a day that is devoted to loving others and showing it? Yes, I agree that we should already be showing our love to others on a daily basis. I am also well aware that the whole day gets messed up - expectations are not met, feelings are hurt, and jealousy rears its ugly head - but these things happen every other day! If these things happen to you today, it is probably already happening in "real life"... your expectations just might be higher today, therefore they are much more apt to not be met.

I think having a reminder like Valentine's Day is such a sweet way of offering us the opportunity to learn to give and receive grace in our love:

  • Grace for the boyfriend who doesn't realize how important this day is.
  • Grace for your beautiful friend who received the perfect gift from her perfect husband at their perfect home in perfect-land.
  • Grace for the mother who forgets that she was supposed to attend the Valentine's day play in her son's class today.

The Lord offers grace to our selfish selves on a minute-by-minute basis:
  • Grace for when we don't realize how important He is.
  • Grace for when we don't receive the gift He has given us of His Son.
  • Grace for when we forget that we are loved and adored simply because we belong to Him.
I think that this day can be wonderful. We just need to remember grace in this day like any other!

God IS love... I love love!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

last time.

I had the wonderful opportunity last weekend to participate in the Alumni dance for my "home" dance company. Every year before the annual concert, the company offers an opportunity for the alumni of the company to return to learn a piece for the show. This year I was able to return to participate!

I must preface this whole thing by saying that I have not danced in over two years. I had a lot of fears going into the first rehearsal...

It was like riding a bike - you never really "forget" how to dance.
Only this time I got on "the bike" my body had not been well stretched in a while and I was h-u-r-t-i-n-g thr next day. I felt as though the soreness was like"battle wounds" that I absolutely loved having as evidence of my hard work.

The weekend after our rehearsal we performed the dance in two night shows. The first night was such a rush because my husband got to see me do the thing that makes me come alive. He got to see me doing the thing that I love so much! I enjoyed sharing that with him. I must say, however, that the combination of nerves of being on stage for the first time in forever as well as the fact that I was not sure I'd completely remember the dance made for (in my mind) an average performance.

I went home, went to work the next morning - back to my "adult life". Then I got the opportunity to return for the second show. As I was applying the usual stage makeup (so dancers, you know this was over a period of about 30 minutes), I had time to think about the fact that this was probably the last opportunity I'd have to dance. My body is getting older. I don't practice dance often.. well, ever. It is just not a part of my life anymore. I started to get a fire inside of me.

I thought of how before competitions and shows we used to always say to each other, "Dance like this is the last time you'll ever be able to dance in your life!" - This was now a reality. It may sound cliche and silly, but I felt like that reality was now my mission at this last performance. It was my last time.

I laid it all out on the stage. Even though I normally got tired throughout the course of the piece, this time I didn't feel it. I pushed harder, lept higher, moved bigger, and enjoyed every minute of it. Why does it take us getting to our last opportunity to realize what we have the opportunity to do? Because it's hard! Keeping up the stamina to dance as though you'll never do it again is hard.

You're going to get what you give in this case. Now, we all know it doesn't always work out perfectly because we live in a fallen world, but if you put a little extra time into talking with a friend, you're going to get the joy of having invested in a person who is now invested in you. If you put extra time into working on something difficult, you'll feel the accomplishment of completing a challenge. I can't think of all of the examples of what this could look like if applied to all areas of life, but I did find the Truth about the whole situation this morning:

"Remeber this: Whoever sows sparingly will also reap sparingly, and whoever sows generously will also reap generously. Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver. And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work." - 2 Corinthians 9:6-8

I certainly made the decision to give what I had cheerfully, even if that was in the form of sharing my talent (for what it's worth) in a performance. I gave it all. The verse stands true in my case because God blessed me abundantly.