Friday, April 23, 2010

Getting What You Deserve

Today our home makeover family returns. A week ago their charred timbers stood silent as the roaring equipment took swipes to level it to the ground. Now a house three times the size stands in its place - beautiful, clean and safe. People walk through each decorated room with jaws open, oohing and ahhing.

And then the question always comes in some form or another . . . "Do they deserve all this?"

The answer is "no".

This family has done nothing to earn the hundreds of volunteer hours or thousands and thousands of dollars in donations to plan, frame, build, floor and decorate this new home. They have done no acts of heroism, no great achievement, no historical discovery . . . they are just sweet simple people.

And they did nothing to merit their 9 year old daughter Samantha dying of H1N1 last fall. They did nothing to deserve a fire two months late that destroyed their safety, their memories, and their stability. They didn't deserve any of that.

That's where grace steps in. Grace is the healer that wraps it's arms around those in undeserved pain - and even "deserved" pain - and whispers the words "Be whole". Grace is the kindness, the unexpected support, the cheering on your side when all is lost. Grace is the movement to restoration, the smile of understanding, the compassionate listening. Grace is what makes the difference for all things deserved and undeserved.

God at the end of my life may I come to a great mansion with you. A home I do not deserve, but a place of hope and rest forever.

May I have grace to cover me, both my undeserved pain and my deserved - thank you God for being so big, so kind, so loving, that you have grace big enough to cover it all. Even when I do not deserve . . .

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Clash of Pride

We went to see "Clash of the Titans" yesterday. I really wasn't interested in seeing it. Truly, I dragged my feet and almost made us late. The movie just looked like a blast of swords, guts, sweat and demons. Not my favorite flavor of entertainment.

As I slouched in my deep theatre chair, completely devouring the buttery popcorn in my boredom, I was suddenly interested. Hmm. I sat up taller. Greek mythology. I remember . . . hmm. This could be interesting. So I gave it my attention. And then I was sucked in. Totally.

I won't ruin it for you, I'll just say go see it. It moved me to think deeper.

There is a theme throughout that struck me. Zeus continues to try and help his demi-god son Perseus conquer evil. Zeus sends gifts, a special sword, a Pegasus (horse with wings), a gold coin . . . and the young man refuses the gifts. Out of pride he wants to conquer the world himself. He does not want help.

In the end, our young hero surrenders and recognizes his dependence . . . as we all do.

And I realize that God is even more great than Zeus, even more kind and merciful, more pure in devotion for us His children, and more committed to our sucess than any great power in Olympus.

Everything God does is out of love. What gifts has He given you that you are not fully embracing along this road to conquering evil? And in your pride are you ready to accept His gifts so you can be victorious?

Isaiah 41:10 "Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you. I will help you. I will uphold you with my victorious right hand."

So, go see "Clash" and think about God. You are His child. Embrace the love He extends to you and see how victorious you can be.

Friday, April 2, 2010

What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted

I love to watch American Idol and see the contestants grow in their skill and presentation. As a non-singer I truly appreciate their courage and tenacity under the scrutiny of tough critics.

The other night one of the final few sang "What Becomes Of The Broken Hearted" - and the words continue to swirl around in my head, stirring up memories and thoughts like leaves caught up in a wind devil.

"As I walk this land of broken dreams, I have visions of many things. But happiness is just an illusion, filled with sadness and confusion . . . I walk in shadows searching for light, cold and alone no comfort in sight."

Each one of us could sing that ballad. What becomes of the broken hearted? We've all had dreams that have crumbled, fallen apart, unravelled, or been swept away by the tides of change. With the loss of dreams, hopes are dashed and with the barren twigs of winter we can become cynical and angry, doubting that spring will ever come.

What becomes of the broken hearted?

Many of my clients are motivational speakers. They have ALL experiences a tragic loss, major accident, many times paralysis or horrific unthinkable challenges. And coming out the other side, now share their insights with others.

Then there are those I meet however, who, when dreams are lost and hearts are broken, follow the path of least resistance and become hostile, vengeful, angry and bitter. The difference between the two is all in how they answer that American Idol question - "what becomes of the broken hearted?".

My friend, how do you answer that question? Your answer, whether you realize it or not, is written boldly across your life.

The Bible gives us comfort here. God knew our greatest losses would take us to a barren place. God promises to meet us there and save us in our pain. Psalm 34:18 "The Lord is close to the broken hearted; He rescues those who are crushed in spirit."

We can be rescued and upheld when all seems lost. Even in the coldest winters God has spring planned for us.

As I look out the window of my beautiful new home I see evidence on the trees that new growth is budding. Spring is coming. The snow is melting, the sun is bright, and love and hope and joy steadily encourage me to trust again. Thank you God ~

What becomes of the broken hearted?

Your answer is written all over your life. Your answer to that question will drive every action in your life.

I choose to believe in spring. Hum to yourself today that tune. And ask yourself . . . what becomes of the bro - ken hearted? . . . da da da . . .