November 29, 2009

Carried to the Table

This morning we sang a song in our worship service called Carried to the Table. It's originally by a band called Leeland.

I love this band and I especially love this song. But this morning as we sang it, I couldn't help but feel like we were just playing lip service. Actually, I should only speak for myself because I have no idea what was going on in the hearts of the people around me.

The song speaks of our brokenness and lostness. Essentially, through Christ we're carried in our spiritual handicap and seated at a table of royalty and wholeness, a place we would never naturally belong.

But the lyrics that particularly struck me today were these:

Carried to the table
Seated where I don't belong

I was pierced today because it hit me that my problem, and, at times, the church's problem, is that we think we do belong. We think we're seated exactly where we deserve to be, at this table of royalty.

We compare ourselves to others who are more broken, more despicable, more unkempt, more "sinful", more selfish, more ungrateful, less rich, more unworthy, and we think, "Yep, I'm just about right where I should be."

I understand this seems kind of harsh. But it's something I was already thinking about this week. My pastor called last week and asked what I thought of the idea of some of the women in our church making gift baskets of beauty products and a Christian book and delivering them to the lockers of the strippers here in Missoula, to show them that they're loved and not forgotten.

After I got over my initial shock of actually going to a strip club (during it's closed hours), I loved the idea. I announced the idea to our women's Bible study and received a very favorable response. Almost immediately, however, I began to hear feedback of others (not in our women's group) that they did not like the idea and did not think it was the "right" thing to do.

What?? Do we read the same Bible??

Please truly hear these verses.

"Then one of the Pharisees invited Him (Jesus) to eat with him. He entered the Pharisee's house and reclined at the table. And a woman in the town who was a sinner found out that Jesus was reclining at the table in the Pharisee's house. She brought an alabaster flask of fragrant oil and stood behind Him, weeping, and began to wash His feet with her tears...
When the Pharisee who had invited Him saw this, he said to himself, 'This man, if He were a prophet, would know who and what kind of woman this is who is touching Him - she's a sinner!'
Jesus replied to him, 'Simon, I have something to say to you...'
'A creditor had two debtors. One owed 500 denarii, and the other 50. Since they could not pay it back, he graciously forgave them both. So, which one of them will love him more?'
Simon answered, 'I suppose the one he forgave more.'
'You have judged correctly,' He told him...
Therefore I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven; that's why she loved much. But the one who is forgiven little, loves little.'"

(Full story found in Luke 7; emphasis mine)

We are actually quite deceived if we believe that we have been forgiven little. But the point is this: those whom are quite aware of the depths of sin and brokenness that the Lord has redeemed them from are those whom are often the most loving, the most thankful. Because they understand this simple concept, "But for God's grace...that's where I'd be. Or worse."

May we invite the Lord to open our eyes to our own true depravity, apart from His unspeakable grace, and may we love much.

Love much.

May that resonate within us as we encounter the "least of these" (Matt. 25:40).

November 14, 2009

Words Fail

Today is my baby shower at my mom's house. I am so stinking excited! I am also so overwhelmed. 

Not in a bad way. In a good way. 

I am overwhelmed by how much people have loved me and been so giving in this whole pregnancy process. 

And it's so much more humbling because I've seen that they've delighted to give; it's brought them so much pleasure to help clean my house, set up the nursery, buy baby boy oodles of clothes and furniture and accessories and necessities, and just plain be excited with me. 

One person in particular that I know I could never repay is my mom. She gives so much of herself for me. Icky me. I told her yesterday that I don't know how to adequately tell her thank you. I asked if she needed a kidney. I'd gladly give her one. Bone marrow transplant. Anything. I'll do it. 

Just this morning in my quiet time, I was studying about God's unfailing love, and I just had to stop and mull it over. Truly try to grasp the concept. One of the questions that was asked was, "Why is it so hard for you to accept God's unfailing love for others, but not for yourself?" 

My immediate response - Because I know my own sin and wretchedness. I know my own selfishness. I often feel like I do more wrong than right, that I haven't done enough good yet to be worthy of it. 

And I never will. The study then went on to say that we do God such an injustice when we try to humanize Him and make Him the best version of ourselves. It doesn't work that way. He is not the best version of humans that we can envision. He is God and He is perfect and His love is complete and perfect and unfailing and lavish and expressive and He delights to give good gifts to His children. 

It's just so hard for us to freely accept that. We'd like to know that we at least gave a kidney to earn it a little bit

So all I can say is thank you, Lord. Thank you for loving me in that way and being so good to me. 

Thank you for my mom and her incredible kindness and giving spirit and the million different ways she's blessed me and served as an excellent example for me. 

Thank you for my dad and that I know he would gladly, willingly, in-a-seconds-time give his life to save mine. He would sign over his entire life savings and every material possession if he knew it would help me in even the tiniest bit.

Thank you for my husband, who is just beyond description. It never ceases to thrill me to hear his voice on the phone, to have him walk in the door from work, to just live life with him. I love him more than I ever thought possible.

Thank you for my second family, and my sweet, sweet second mother, and how blessed I was to inherit such a wonderful family through marriage. We have been so overwhelmed time and again by her giving-ness and love and care for us. 

Thank you for true friends, like Chris and Gloria, and their love and support of us, and that they've been so excited to walk through life with us, and welcome Baby Micah into the world with us. 

I could go on and on, and still words seem so inadequate. 

Lord, as deeply as you know I can express it - Thank You, and may you be loved and find delight in our love for one another. 

November 08, 2009

Personality Survey

Holy macaroni, it's been awhile since my last post! I'm gonna need to work on that.

This is one of those personality posts. I enjoy reading others', but I won't be offended if you check out.

Have at it.

1. What time did you get up this morning?

2. What was the last book you read?
A book by Randy Singer that I can't remember the name of (a result of skyrocketing/plunging pregnancy hormones).

3. What was the last film you saw at the cinema?
I think it was Bride Wars.

4. What is your favorite TV show?
Probably Dancing with the Stars, or anything on HGTV and TLC.

5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?
Somewhere in Latin America. Maybe Argentina?

6. What did you have for breakfast?
Cinnamon Life cereal.

7. What is your favorite cuisine?
Mexican, Italian, Chinese.

8. What foods do you dislike?
I'm not a very picky eater. Even if I don't like something, I'll usually eat it anyways.

9. Favorite Place to Eat?
Olive Garden. Oh how I love thee and miss thee.

10. Favorite dressing?
The traditional - ranch.

11.What kind of vehicle do you drive?
Thanks to my awesome mom-in-law, a Honda civic.

12. What are your favorite clothes?
Jeans, sweatshirt, and fuzzy socks.

13. Where would you visit if you had the chance?
TURKEY. For the love, I've been saying it for years, when's it actually gonna happen??

14. Cup 1/2 empty or 1/2 full?
Definitely 1/2 full.

15. Where would you want to retire?
The thought of retirement makes me want to cry and be depressed.

16. Favorite time of day?
Definitely the morning.

17. Where were you born?
Phoenix, AZ

18. What is your favorite sport to watch?

19. What's your idea of a perfect day?
Leisurely quiet time in the morning, breakfast with my husband, meeting up with friends, playing a board game in which I win, lighting a fire, and having multiple delicious, home-cooked meals interspersed throughout.

20. What's your favorite quality about your husband?
I have a ton, but the one that I admire all the time is his genuine kindness and care for people.

21. What's the most unattractive character trait(s) that you can think of?
Arrogance, cynicism, hard-heartedness, tactlessness.

22. Bird watcher?
Wow, shoot me now.

23. Are you a morning person or a night person?
Definitely a morning person. I'm exhausted by 9pm.

24. Do you have pets?
A very beloved cat named Cyrus that we've just discovered is of the breed, Ragdoll.

25. Any news you'd like to share?
My maternity leave got approved for December 20th, which means I don't have to work the holiday season at the airport, thank You, Jesus!

26. What did you want to be when you were little?
A zoologist.

27. What is your best childhood memory?
Probably playing outside until it got dark, always exploring something.

28. Are you a cat or dog person?
More of a cat person, dogs are too high maintenance.

29. Are you married?
Oh yes, to the most wonderful man on earth.

30. Always wear your seat belt?
ALWAYS. It's stupid not to.

31. Been in a car accident?
Yes, nothing serious.

32. Any pet peeves?
Arrogant people.

33. Favorite Pizza Toppings?
Ham, green chile, mushrooms, and black olives.

34. Favorite Flower?
Probably roses. I'm not a huge flower person. It's more the thought that counts.

35. Favorite ice cream?
Oreo or mint chocolate chip.

36. Favorite fast food restaurant?
Taco del Sol.

37. How many times did you fail your driver's test?

38. From whom did you get your last email?
Helen Ward, an update on her daughter's broken leg.

39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card?
Probably IKEA.

40. Do anything spontaneous lately?
Had a bowl of cereal.

41. Like your job?
Nope, not really right now.

42. Broccoli?
Oh yes, broccoli and I love each other very much.

43. What was your favorite vacation?
Wow, I've had a lot of favorite vacations. Honeymoon in Cancun, Peru, Costa Rica, New England in the fall.

44. Last person you went out to dinner with?
My hubby.

45. What are you listening to right now?

46. What is your favorite color?
I don't have one favorite color.

47. How many tattoos do you have?

Ok, that was a lot of questions, and 5,000 brownie points if you finished it!