Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Love Without End Amen

I named my first baby doll Baby Tony. For those of you who don’t know, Tony is my dad’s name. I recently asked my mom why I named my very pink, soft, and strawberry smelling baby after my daddy. Her answer was simple, “you were crazy about your daddy.” Thirty years later and I am still pretty crazy about him.

One thing I always thought was cool about my dad was he was in a band when I was young, and I thought he was as good as George Strait. George Strait was the first concert I went to at age 6 and the first tapes my daddy let me listen to. The love I had for George I learned and shared with my dad. I remember one time I was at an event he was playing at. I couldn't have been over 8. I remember dancing and loving hearing him sing. He sang a George song called “Love Without End Amen”. (Here is a link if you haven’t heard the song http://youtu.be/k2af10YlLoc )  I remember dancing and singing and when he got to the 2nd verse he changed up the words. He personalized them saying, “when I became a father in the spring of 82” (when I was born) and he changed the word boy to girl. (He may have even said that I was stubborn like my mama—but that is a big joke because we all know which parent I take that after J ) The point is my daddy was singing about me, and from that day on in my mind that was our song. Every time I heard it I thought of him (I still think of him when I hear it). I saw the words of the song coming to life in my head. This is how I pictured the song:
Verse 1:  Papaw telling little Tony about love
Verse 2:  Daddy telling me about love
Verse 3: Papaw in heaven telling Daddy that he got in to heaven so my daddy would get in to, because he learned how to love from Papaw and Papaw got in.

I thought of the song that way for years, but when it came on the radio the other day heard something different. On the 3rd verse I no longer heard an earthly father singing about love but the heavenly father speaking of his perfect love. Our heavenly father does everything for us out of love. The bible even says God is love. Romans 5:8 tells that God proves his love for us because he sent a sinless Jesus to the cross to pay for our sins. 1 Corinthians 13, the love chapter, tells us that love always protects, always trust, always hopes, and always perseveres. I don’t know if George knew what he was doing portraying the love of the Father, but he did it well. God doesn't just love us sometimes. He doesn't just love us when we are being good. He doesn't just love us when it is convenient for him. He loves us always. I think that God made the role of the father be the one that is meant to teach us love. Most of us view God based on the way that we view our dad’s—good and bad. God wants us to believe in him and that he will never leave us nor forsake us. He will be our daddy today, tomorrow, and 10 years from now. I am so thankful that the love that God gives us is a love without end amen! 

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Hair Care

OK ladies let’s talk about hair. As we all know hair is an important part of being a girl. We spend tons of money on cuts, color, and styling. We buy all the latest tools and product and we would rather stay at home in the dark than face the world on a bad hair day. We will do just about anything TO our hair to achieve the perfect do, but have you ever thought about what you could do WITH your hair? The woman in Luke 7 (vs. 36-50) used her hair unconventionally in one of the most important moments in her life. This woman used her hair to clean the feet of a carpenter and in the process changed her life.

In this time people wore open sandals. The road was dirty and dusty so just imagine the feet of the people that walked everywhere they went. In this passage Jesus had entered a home and had not had his feet washed, which was a custom of that time. So we can imagine that his feet were still dirty. The woman wet the feet of Jesus with her tears and then began to clean them with her hair. Let’s stop and break this down. First, hair is very close to the face so if she had her hair on his feet her face was not far behind. Second, she used her hair as a cleaning rag. I don’t know about you, but my cleaning rags are permanently stained, are only used for cleaning purposes, and are stored in a cabinet nowhere near my hair products. If the story stopped here we would walk away wondering why in the world would she do that with her hair, but if we keep going we see what a beautiful gesture it was.

You see this was not just the girl next door. This woman had a reputation. Everyone in the town knew are and identified her as a sinner. So we can read between the lines and know that she was the outcast, looked down on, ashamed, hurt, and damaged. The woman would have never been invited into the house Jesus was at, but she went anyway. She may have heard him speak before or heard rumor of the healing he was doing. Whatever the case she had hope that he would be her salvation. So when she entered into his presence she used everything she had to show how much she needed his grace. She was bold. She took her sinful self into a place she was unwelcomed and cleaned the dirt of a man’s feet with her tears and her hair. That took faith. She knew she needed redemption, and she believed that Jesus could give it to her. So in the grand scheme of things using her hair as a dirty rag was just a very small price to pay for the gift of grace, redemption, and eternal life. 

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Becoming a Mom

In October of last year God began to burden my heart for a foster care ministry. At the time I thought it was crazy. I lived in my nice little one bedroom duplex with just enough room for me. I made just enough money for me, and I was free to do whatever I wanted whenever I wanted. It made no sense for my present, so I filed it away for future reference. True to form, God continued to tug (more like yank) at my heart. After a month of trying to ignore it I finally shared it with a friend. As we were having a nice dinner discussion about nothing related to my burdened I blurted the words out, “I think God is calling me to foster care.” As soon as I said the words my friend dropped her fork. (Literally she dropped her fork) With a look of shock (and maybe a little fear) she said, I feel like He has been calling me to do foster care too.

From that moment life has been on fast track. So many things happened that confirmed the God was indeed calling us to be foster parents. (Those details deserve their own post) I moved in with my friend in December and we have been preparing ever since. It has not been an easy journey. We have cried (ok I cried). We have laughed, and we (mostly me) have wanted to back out. But we have kept going because we have no doubt that God has called us to this. As we were nearing the end of our certification for foster care my doubts increased x10. I could write 2 posts on why I thought it was not what I wanted to do; even then I still knew this was God’s plan.

As the approach of my 32nd birthday drew nearer, my heart began to change. I began to think about the girl that would need a home and a family. I thought about the situation that she might need leave. In those days what God revealed to me is He is not just calling us to let someone live in our home; He is calling us to be someone’s mother. He is calling us to do all the things that mom’s do. We are going to love her, teach her, correct her, comfort her, console her, and enjoy her.

Thursday of last week I got an email that said they thought they might have a girl for us. On Friday we learned her name and some neat things about her. All of a sudden all my fear was gone and love filled my heart. We are going to have a daughter. We are so ready for her NOW. She is already so loved. I’m going to be a mom. Wow! It is a good thing I have been raised by a good mom. My biggest dream in life is to be a mom. God has not only appointed me with an important task, He has answered my prayer.