Saturday, November 27, 2010

A Wedding

This afternoon, my husband and I had the privilege of witnessing a miracle.  A wedding. 

I personally think all marriages are miraculous but this particular wedding was actually the second time for this couple and so for me, I claim it as a bona fide miracle.  I don't know their story or why their first marriage to each other failed, but today was a true celebration of reconciliation, forgiveness, and hope.

As the pastor closed his prayer of thankfulness for this couple, he finished with the usual "in Jesus' name."  The groom echoed him with emphasis on that phrase, testifying to all of us that he knew by what power this miracle was occurring. 

Life happens.  We are a broken people and we all have broken others' hearts. Today, I loved seeing what can happen if we submit to His plan.  The bride and groom's joy was contagious - their family was whole.

"Remain in my love. I have told you this so that my joy may be in you and that your joy may be complete." John 15:9, 11

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Giving Thanks

We all have various traditions for Thanksgiving.  My family watches the Macy's parade, has a frozen cranberry dessert as an essential component of our Thanksgiving meal, and we sing Christmas carols later in the evening to inagurate the season.

About 25 years ago, my mom did something that didn't really become a tradition, rather it became a daily part of her life as my mother.  She spoke specific blessings into my life.  On Thanksgiving, when I was about 10 or 11, my mom gave me a letter of thanks.  I don't have the letter, or even remember what it said except that it was deeply personal and it made me cry.  I felt loved and understood; seen and known.

Remembering this, and realizing that I have an 11 year old, I decided to write to my children for Thanksgiving.  I sat in quiet, pondered what they meant to me, and the words just flowed.  What treasures I have in them!  I pray that my words of blessing over them will become their reality.  What I am thankful for in them is very likely what God is thankful for in them as well.

C.S. Lewis writes famously in The Weight of Glory that each of us will either be like gods or goddesses, or hideous nightmares somedays.  "You have never talked to a mere mortal."  Our responsibility is to recognize that what we we say can nudge persons towards one path or the other.  Some of us will be breaking bread with people we don't like very much this weekend.  We will express the usual things we are thankful for: possessions, freedom, our families.  But lets also be thankful for the divine spark in our neighbor - the unlovely, the embarrassing, the black sheep of the family were also created in His image.  I believe speaking life and grace into each other expresses our gratitude to God in ways that platitudes never will.  And thank you, Mom, for all the blessings you have spoken into my life.

Monday, November 22, 2010


At bedtime, yesterday, my seven year old daughter curled up in my lap to tell me her many woes.  She had a list of grievances that went back several weeks and she relayed to me all the kids who had been mean to her and hurt her feelings.  Anna cried and could barely get her words out - she was so choked up about the unfairness of it all.  "It ruined my day!" she cried.  I gently reminded her of all the fun she had enjoyed that day: she sang a solo in church and received many compliments, she cooked with me all by herself, she had a friend over, we even took her to a movie, but none of this counted against her broken heart. 

I spoke to my darling girl about forgiveness: what it means, what it costs, and sometimes how it needs to be given even without receiving an apology.  She was shocked by that.  "But Mom, that's like saying 'You're welcome" without someone saying 'thank you' first!  That's....weird!"  I talked to her about how Jesus forgave us even as He was in the act of dying for us, even as mankind was jeering at him.  Anna was quiet.  And then my girl tucked her head close to mine and croaked out in a broken sob, "Mama, sometimes I think I'm not very good."

My daughter is a blessing and joy everyday of her life.  She is sweet-tempered, a truth teller, and never disrespectful.  Everyone would consider her a "good" child.  But even at her tender age, she recognizes that God created her to be good and her heart isn't.  Something is broken. 

I've been thinking about it all day.  She never mentioned again her little wounds.  Anna gave them up the moment she compared herself to how Jesus forgave.  Today, my prayer is that I would do the same.