Thursday, June 18, 2009

Independence vs. Dependence Day

Our country was founded on the belief that God has endowed us with some unalienable rights. We know these well from our Declaration of Independence. However, the writers of this grand and old document never intended our independence to be declared against God, but rather against an unjust British government.

Our need for God as Christians is as ever-present as our need to breathe oxygen. It reminds me of the old hymn I Need Thee Every Hour because we can never be whole and righteous here on earth. Our soul's cry is ever-constant to have Christ's blood covering of grace and forgiveness to protect us from an unjust enemy.

I recently finished reading Crazy Love by Francis Chan. This book should light a fire under any coach potato Christian who accepts God's tremendous love but rarely returns it. I am particularly convicted of the need to love two sets of callous and unapproachable neighbors. As God would have it, they are unchurched and flabby at best in their spiritual walk with God as far as I can discern.

How can I love thee? Let me count the ways:

  • Pray daily for my attitude and for their full salvation and discipleship in Christ.

  • Promote love with random acts of kindness anonymously.

  • Compliment them with sincerity of heart when possible.

  • Thank them for keeping up their front yards (even if their back yards are a mess).

  • Keep being friendly toward their pets and/or children.

  • Invite them to church after our friendship is established.

  • Give them cards and gifts at Christmas and Easter and expect nothing in return.

  • Find out when they have birthdays and send a Christian greeting card.

  • Above all else, let their meanness toward you not invoke a spirit of revenge or bitterness (that's your human sin nature crying out--so tell it to be quiet in Jesus' name).

Perhaps you have a similar situation in your neighborhood. Just remember, Jesus encountered no true welcome as the Messiah in his own home town, and neither should we expect to be liked by everyone. Be grateful for the neighbors who do believe in Jesus and are kind to you, but don't forget to love those who despise you. They need your love more than anyone.

Have a wonderful Independence Day and say a prayer for all those who have fought to keep our country free. Ask the Father to humble you into loving in new, outstanding, and courageous ways, as Francis Chan would say.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

This Is Not the Life I Planned!

How many times in your life have you breached a veritable Waterloo spiritually and said under your breath, "God, this is not the way my life was supposed to be." If you are a believer in Christ you've heard the platitude, "All things work together for good for those who love God and are called according to His purpose."(Roms. 8:28)

I declare--He has tested that scripture in my life more times than I wish to count. Right now my struggle is with my one remaining nuclear family member, my daughter D. She lives north of Atlanta and is the mother of my only grandson, A., who just turned 4 years old in mid-May. (He gets his blue eyes and blond hair from me, of course.)

Now school is out, and as I wait in the grocery lines, or other stores, I strike up conversations with folks. Invariably someone is bragging about their grand kids being with them for a few weeks this summer. My reply is always, "You're so lucky. I hardly get to see my grandson." One gentlemen said he had been keeping his grand kids since they were age one. He looked about 75 years old and had a big grin on his face. (Envious green crept across mine.)

Quite frankly, I am at the point of tears in being denied access for even a long weekend with my grandson. I pray God will soften my daughter's concrete core. She is 24, and I blurted out just yesterday on the phone, "You know, I'm not going to live forever. I want to see my grandson." D. delivered the usual vague, noncommittal reply, "We'll see." Hmmm.....

Understand, the paternal grandparents see A. every week and sometimes he stays for entire weeks when he is too sick for daycare or D. goes on a trip. To take this kind of unequal treatment any way but personally would be ludicrous. When D. is asked why, she clams up and just says, "You're crazy." What kind of answer is that?

Didn't see him for Easter or get a card. Didn't see him on Mother's Day or get a card. Didn't see him for his birthday or get an invitation down. As a sole parent due to "premature" death of my husband, by all rights I should at least get acknowledged for Father's Day; but "we'll see."

Everyone told me that grand parenting would be the best part of my life. I sure wish it would start. I'm irritated at being excluded from most of the fun and changes the first few years in A's life. In a few more years I am going to be into another decade--one that is definitely not middle-aged. When the grandson gets old enough to drive, I may be in a nursing home for God's sake!

Pray for me,
Lonely in Spartanburg