Thursday, July 19, 2007

A Profound Taste of True Salvation and Love

Today at work a co-worker who "happens" to be a Christian said a simple but yet profound statement to me. She said "If we were perfect, we wouldn't need Jesus." I literally stopped what I was doing and just looked at her. "You're right I said, and I'd better remember that". How easily I beat myself up over repeating the same mistakes over and over again, when instead, I should repent and thank God for Jesus and salvation and the chance to again realize how much I need Him. Yes I'm supposed to become more Christ-like everyday, but Christ Himself said we need Him and need to remember our salvation always. So I've decided I don't want to be perfect, I just want to need Jesus more everyday. My incompetence is a cry to Him to be everything for and to me. I think that's something getting married has taught me. Never before have I seen all my imperfections in light of Christ's love. When my husband sees my outright sin and selfishness and loves and forgives me, I'm given a small taste of what it's like to be Christ's child.
Mr. Hudson told us in pre-marital counseling that we need to be a picture of God the Father and God the Son to the world. A picture of leadership and submission. Also a picture of Christ and believers in our forgiveness and love. I thought it was something we had to try so hard to do, and at times we do, but a lot of the time it's simply loving and forgiving each other as Christ has done. If my human sinful husband can forgive me, how could I ever doubt that Christ could? Nothing is new to Jesus, nothing is news to Him. He knows my prayers and my tears before a word leaves my lips or a thought enters my head, and yet, He tells me to bring them to Him. Nothing in this world can replace that. No matter how intimate and close I am to my husband, he doesn't know my thoughts and deepest aches. Only Christ can fulfill that need to be known so deeply. Andy does a good job, but only when I turn to Christ can I find complete understanding for everything.
Lately I find myself thinking about those times in Scripture when Jesus was tired. I sometimes get so tired all I want is to cry and sleep. Maybe Jesus felt that way, maybe He just wanted some peace. I think about how it must have felt to feel so alone on that Cross. Because Jesus was rejected by God and suffered and died, I can always find acceptance and love in the Father. His rejection lead to my salvation and acceptance. How Great A Salvation we really can have! I have a Father in Heaven who rejoices over me personally and knows what my heart cry is. Nothing On this Earth Can Compare. And may I never try to replace it with something else.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Confessions of a Time Addict

I’ve always been a dates and numbers person. Dates meaning dates on a calendar, not boys. Virtually any birthday I knew before I turned 16 is still cemented into my head. Along with my husband’s but that’s easy enough because he shares his birthday with one of my cousins. At sixteen I think my perpetual calendar turned off because I still don’t know 2 of my close friend’s birthdays but I can tell you people’s birthdays who I don’t even know anymore. Times, Days, and events seem to cement themselves into my head and then pop up at various times for no important reason.
For instance, I can tell you that in 2000 I was in upstate New York working at a camp from June 17-August 19. August 19 also being important because I was engaged on that day in 2005. The tenth of any month is now important because we were married on June 10, 2006. It was supposed to be June 17 originally which would have been very ironic with my cemented camp dates. There’s a date in September that I always think is my friend’s anniversary but they moved it to October.
Times are so annoying because every college class I ever took the time and day of it is pretty much there for good. Composition I was Monday, Wednesday, & Friday at 8am. History of Civilization the same days only 10:30am-11:30am and 3 years later. I took Algebra at 1pm everyday for a semester...that’s not easy to forget. Phone numbers also seem to embed themselves into my head, even ones that are no longer useful.
I remember laying in bed one night as a teenager wondering what I would be doing 6 months from that date, which happened to be February 13, six months would be August 13 and ever since then I pay close attention to that date. I don’t always remember what I’ve done year to year but I stop and think about it every year. I can tell you that my birthday is 13 days away (It’s July 23rd in case you wish to send flowers). This too is significant because I was first kissed by my now husband on my birthday in 2005, that was also the first time he told me he loved me (before he kissed me). Also next year is my golden birthday, which doesn’t seem like a big deal until it’s so close. I can tell you my boss’s birthday because it’s exactly 6 months different than mine. I was corrected last week about my nephew’s birthday because I thought it was Feb. 2 but it’s actually Jan. 31 which is now stuck in my head because my brother was born on the last day of a month (May) and so was my dad (June).
Don’t be offended if I haven’t mentioned you or your birthday, because trust me, even if I don’t know the exact day, the month or season is in there somewhere. It disturbs me now when I can’t remember people’s birthdays but I console myself with the "logic" that I must have only a certain capacity to remember birthdays and I still have too many useless ones floating around my head to make room for new ones.
It took me a long time in college to get some actual use out of a day planner/date book. I tended to just memorize when assignments were due. Why I couldn’t memorize information for tests no one knows, but I could tell you when the test was 2 months in advance. The farther I got into college the more I relied on my schedule book though, maybe I had again used up my capacity.
In a related issue, I tend to be a bit of a control freak. Okay, not a bit, I tend to go overboard in the control area. I like being in control of my life, knowing what’s going to happen when and where I have to be at what time, etc... Which would explain the obsessive tendencies with dates and such. I like to be able to control what’s going on, so I just memorize where I’m supposed to be and when. Obviously this attitude isn’t in the greatest conjunction with God’s will and letting Him have complete control of my life. When I was 19-20 I guess He decided to get this thought through to me in a big way. It all started with that cute guy I now call my husband. (He actually is my husband, I don’t just call him that.) When he first showed interest in me, I flipped out, quite literally. I was flattered but after 2 weeks was sure he couldn’t be the one and he wasn’t at all like the guy I planned on marrying, etc, etc, etc... So I ended the possibility. Well within 2 months (June 11th to be exact) I realized I was not acting intelligently and He and God graciously gave me a second chance. We were married a year to that Saturday (June 10) that we tried again. I graduated college early and we got married. Talk about changing well laid plans. But I think that’s when it hit me, that my ideas and plans really aren’t always what God has for me. Since then, because of that whole experience and many reminders in most areas along the way, I’m learning to "lighten up". Stuff doesn’t have to be planned down to the minute and the world is not going to end just because plans change. It still irks me to no end when stuff changes last minute and when I can’t control an experience, such as how long the line is for the bathroom when fireworks are about to stop, I still "freak out" over stupid stuff, but now, I hear that quiet still voice (The Holy Spirit) telling me to "chill-out". And if I ignore that one there’s always my friendly Holy Spirit/conscience reminder of a husband who will speak what that voice just told me.
There are some slight disadvantages to being so schedule oriented, I tend to relapse into the total opposite direction and really enjoy my down time with feeling the need to get a thing done, which isn’t good either. I can be a huge procrastinator even though I’m constantly aware of when stuff should get done. It’s kind of a lose-lose situation. I keep putting stuff off when my mind is constantly reminding me how little time I have to do something. I put a lot of pressure for specific days and events on my husband instead of just enjoying the time we have together right now. But the biggest disadvantage is my relationship with my Heavenly Father. I get so concerned about my schedule and life events that I forgot that every blessing and morsel of food and knowledge come from Him alone. Then there’s the fact that it’s not supposed to be "my schedule" or "my life" to begin with. I’m supposed to be a vessel moldable in God’s hands. It’s hard to be useful to God when interruptions happen and things don’t go according to schedule. So my exhortation to myself and to you is to be that clay in the potter’s hands. And don’t try to make yourself into a clock either.
And with that I’m off to buy a date book for my once again harried life. Don’t worry, the first thing I’ll plan on is time with my Heavenly Father asking Him to be in control of it. And maybe I’ll start writing in pencil instead of pen.