Sunday, July 31, 2011

The Honest-To-God Truth

None of us like to look like liars.

But we are. In big and small ways. None of us want to be seen as self-deceived sinners. But we're that too.

It's an interesting dynamic to be human. We're smart enough to hide our sins, cover our tracks and plead innocence, and we're just narcissistic enough to imagine it doesn't matter to God. It does. And, ultimately, it really does to us too.

So friend, and I'm calling myself on it just as pointedly, when was the last time you told the honest-to-God truth about your life? When was the last time you sat down with your Heavenly Father and laid out the good, the bad and the ugly?

I'm not a hell-fire-and-damnation Christian at all. I believe God to be a sweet, tender, loving Father with a plan of Atonement through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. There is a way to be forgiven for our failures, our indiscretions and even thoughts that often derail us. The first step is to have a "come to Jesus" moment.

In my Chaplaincy program I see this "come to Jesus" moment up close and personal at the hospital when people are facing death; either their own death or the loss of someone they love. In that moment even those who've questioned the existence of God, weigh in on the choices of their lives with fear,trepidation, regret and sorrow.

We need not wait til the end of life to balance the internal budgets.

The Bible tells us in Psalms 32:1-5
"Oh the joy for those whose rebellion is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight! Yes, what joy for those whose record the Lord has cleared of sin, whose lives are lived in complete honesty!

When I refused to confess my sin, I was weak and miserable, and I groaned all day long. Day and night your hand of discipline was heavy on me. My strength evaporated like water in the summer heat.

Finally, I confessed all my sins to you and stopped trying to hide them. I said to myself, "I will confess my rebellion to the Lord."

And You forgave me! All my guilt is gone."

There may not be room to tell every single person in your life the truth about your journey, your sins, your weaknesses, your inner change of heart or your pain. Really, they may not care. They may not even be aware of your turmoil or self-deception. However, God cares. And in all honesty, you care.

If you were sitting alone in an emergency room, saying goodbye to your parent, your child, your spouse . . . or if your life were to flash before your eyes in a car accident today . . . what flashes would you see? What negatives would you want to NOT see?

Every minute we are alive we are given the grace to approach the throne of God in prayer and tell the honest truth. God promises us that nothing can keep us from His love and forgiveness.

So today . . . let it be that day . . . the day to tell the honest-to-God truth.

Go ahead. He's listening.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Power of a Mother's Spit

I'm one of those moms that out of instinct I lick my palm and swiftly pat down the unruly stalks of blonde hair on my son's head. Of course, he immediately backs up and with disgust rebukes me, "Aww mom! Geez Louise! When are you gonna quit doing that??? I'm eighteen now!"

Ya. I'm that kind of mom.

And I still threaten to take my kids over my knee if they don't behave. Even my son who towers at 6'1 KNOWS I'm dang serious. Well, at least in principle. : )

He knows I mean business. When I say no tattoos if you're living in our home, I mean it. If I say not a drop of alcohol in our house, I mean it. If I say get your butt in gear in your Math class, I mean it.

It's not that my kids are perfect. And I'm not a perfect mom. But I come from a long line of mommas that mean business. I've seen the power of a mom that spits on her hand and doesn't let her kid go out in public without taking responsibility for themselves.

Years after my own mom wouldn't hesitate for a second to wash my mouth out with soap for a bad word, pull inappropriate posters off the wall with a vengeance, or hunt us teenagers down at a party if we'd snuck out the window . . . yeh. My mom did all those things. And thank God.

We always knew my mom was serious when she said something. Just a look had us scrambling.

As I watch the news and hear about road rage, theft, violent teens killing or hurting their parents or young people vandalizing religious buildings, I'm grateful for my mom's pure grit.

I'm thankful for the spankings with the pancake turner and the times we had to hug our siblings and make-up. I'm a better person directly because of it.

The next time you hesitate to discipline your child, the next time its easier to just pick up their socks or bring them the lunch that they forget AGAIN for the third time this week . . .

. . . just remember there is power in a mother's spit.

It may just be several years until you see it's fruition.

Spit on your palm and flatten the unruliness anyway.