Valentine’s Day Stretch

14 February, 2020

So, today I had to give my 7year old some elastics to wrap around his chair at school to fiddle with using his feet to keep him from rocking his chair.

Watching him playing with the elastics got me to thinking about love, since it’s Valentine’s day, I got to thinking about how this love stretches you.

You see, my daughter who just turned 11 was invited to a camp where we know none of the adults, we know only the parents of the girl who invited her, and, they won’t be on the camp… haha… classic.

I have been asking the Lord for an opportunity for my daughter to stretch her ‘social wings’ without the family ‘tagging on her tail’. Now, here is the perfect opportunity, Christian youth camp, but… we have not allowed sleep overs yet, these can be complicated, she has been on camp, but you know they all know each other. So she says to me, I just realised I’m going on a camp where I know no one…ugh …

So the helicopter parents who allow our children little to no time apart from us, now have a decision to make, we allow this small break away, trusting the Lord has provided the opportunity I’ve been praying for or… do the classic hoarder mentality, helicopter parent stint and deny her all opportunity for growth outside of the home…

This is what that elastic reminds me of… love is good for me  because it causes me to hold on as tightly as humanly possible to this precious gift from God, who inexplicably changed my world, turning it upside down in the most indescribably wonderful ways. Almost like when you’ve been looking at the wrong side of a tapestry all the time and then someone comes along and tells you to turn it around and the full vista will never be the same again… the best turn around that could ever be expected.

We’ve held on as tightly as humanly possible for 10years, now, suddenly, slowly, serendipitously we are letting go… do we have a choice… yes, let go or loose the growth potential… we opt for growth… that elastic that’s been wound so tightly around our hearts and hers, it’s not used to the stretch…it’s uncomfortable… we all know it’s for the best.

How does God relate to this stretch… as I was reading this morning…

Romans 5:6-11

6 You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. (God knowing only purity and perfection elected to take us from our mire and bring us towards Him, but this sacrifice was greater than we will ever know, giving part of Himself, perfect perfection to come down and become imperfect sin that we may know Him? A stretch we will never be able to relate to from eternity past, present and perfect to earth full of sin and shame.)

 7 Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. 8 But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (stretched to His death…)

(He didn’t leave it there, He didn’t leave us or Himself in earthly death and humiliation) 9 Since we have now been justified by his blood, how much more shall we be saved from God’s wrath through him! 10 For if, while we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to him through the death of his Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through his life! 11 Not only is this so, but we also boast in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.

You see, while we were dead, the Lord saved us, not only to live but to live fully reconciled with Him in order for us to live in right standing with Him through His Holy Spirit.

He stretched Himself to the point where He transcended heaven and earth through His Son, our wonderful Lord Jesus Christ, to bringing Him back to heaven and introducing and remaining here in the form of His Holy Spirit sanctioning us with all authority in heaven and on earth given to us through our Lord Jesus Christ, by the power of the all-encompassing Holy Spirit to carry out His will.

What is His will, that “at the name of Jesus every knee will bow, every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.”

Is this a stretch for us, you betya! As much as the Lord did for us… never…

It’s a valentine’s day stretch… Luke 9:24 ‘If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake, you will save it.’ (NLT)

A Testimony of Redemption

One of my redemption stories, I have so many!

I guess one of my first redemption stories is that in the middle of my mess, the Lord sent this man along my path who pursued me relentlessly, for 2 months, he pursued me until we started dating and, after a while, it became evident we were made to be together! The Lord used this journey to bring us both back to Him in the most spectacular way.

When we first started dating, we fought like cat and dog, we were constantly bickering, and it was actually a problem, and caused a lot of friction between us and we nearly gave up on each other and the beautiful destiny the Lord had for us. We had much to learn about compromise, when to let the other have their way and not to hold grudges or let the sun go down on your anger. These were important keys to us overcoming the constant confrontation.

The biggest revelation came to me one day when the Lord, in His infinite wisdom somehow (I think through a radio program) told me that my hubby was just a man…  go figure… who would have thought it! But, no, really! God showed me that I was always expecting perfection from my hubby. Because my hubby was so amazingly good to me and I had found a massive percentage of my security in my hubby, I had come to expect it. I had placed unrealistic expectations of perfection on my hubby and wanted him to love me perfectly, never make a mistake, never forget anything, always have perfect and beautiful things to say to me and generally love me perfectly, after all he is close to it (nudge, nudge, wink, wink… scoring points with hubby!!!).

Well, the Lord showed me that He is the only perfect one. He is the only one from who I should be seeking perfect love that casts out all fear, because He can give it to me. He is the only One from whom I should be seeking my fulfillment, when I am full of Him, I will need no other, when I am full of Him, I will need no more perfection from any other imperfect person, when I allow Him to saturate me and meet my every need I will take my eyes off my hubby and place them squarely where they need to be. Allowing my hubby the freedom to be the man he was created to be. He’s now living free of me making a perfection trap for him to fall into even before he’s woken up every day. I still struggle, but I’m trying, not to expect too much!

We, as wives, and especially wives who’ve had the privilege of being married longer, need to be spending that ever-important time with Our Heavenly Father, in order to role model how it looks when we accept the most precious person in our lives, whether they hit the nail on the head or missed totally. All wives, moms, daughters, daughters-in-law, we should pray for each other, our husbands, mothers, fathers and all of our family relations. As this picture perfect life of FB, Instagram, Twitter and whatever other (steal your life through time on a screen) media we can come up with next, becomes more and more prevalent and starts to dictate our lives, expectations and aspirations, we need to stay firmly placed in the arms of our Heavenly Father, deeply rooted in all He has for us. Allow Him to set our sights, allow Him to dictate and write your narrative. The world is and always will be broken, take your cue’s from the Master who not only wrote the manual but designed your every fiber, keep close, stay low on your knees and know He has your all in all, He designed you for the very purpose that is the heartbeat of your life.

Why do we need to live with expectation on Him, loving unconditionally and praying for and modelling it for the next generations of moms and daughters. There are probably a million reasons we can think of, but, for now let’s think of these. If not us then who, what if loving your spouse died out with our generation or our parents, the world will have won. The only way to combat the destruction and devastation of the enemy and what he wants the world to be and do, is through the construction and intentional work of the basis God gave us for functioning and thriving in life – the family. God’s perfect design for each individual human being is to know and be known in and through the beauty of community, which, fundamentally starts at home.

In short,

  1. Time with God = freedom to love others freely without expecting them to fulfill your every need.
  2. Keep our eyes on Him alone, no one is perfect – keep that for Social Media (time thief).
  3. Love on and pray for hubbies and wives everywhere!
  4. Model for younger women, especially our daughters (conviction for me!!) how to love the men in your life.
  5. Why love unconditionally, why spend time with and keep our eyes on Him, why love on our hubbies and model for the new generation? We want God’s legacy of strength in family bonds as the picture of heavenly perfection through that, to be carried over from generation to generation, by our intentionality of living life in love with Jesus first, and working out that love in action in our daily lives.

God is good is all I can say! Only by His grace I am still alive, let alone having lived to be married to the most marvelous man who makes me feel safe in life with him, but most importantly, always reminds me of how I’m safe in the Father’s arms. Then to live the experience of my beautiful children. It’s a tremendous privilege.