“For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:30). Reading this verse recently got me thinking about actual light and not just a weight measurement. Jesus had just spoken words that encouraged His humble, childlike followers, who had opened their hearts to what He was revealing to them. Jesus then gives this beautiful invitation to come to Him with all that weighs down. He said to them and us, that we can join with Him, learn His way of gentle, lowly living and experience deep rest. Have you ever met someone who actually took Jesus up on this offer? There is a peacefulness to them that seems to radiate light from within. Makeup and skin treatments will not bring this kind of glow. When one lives with this light burden, the darkness gets pushed back just a bit everywhere they go. The good news is He is still sending out this invitation and all we have to do is accept. Our world could sure use more light and rest wouldn’t you agree?
The word honor has been running through my mind. A quick definition search brings up, “high respect; great esteem”. Scripture says, “Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (Romans 12:10). How do you think we are doing? I can only answer for myself, but I know I can do better. To honor someone for what they have done is expected, like we celebrate today. What about committing ourselves to loving and respecting others we encounter throughout our days? This is what we are being asked to do by the One who made each one of us. He knows that we will function best if we follow His instruction. The best part is that He does not ask us to do something He has not already done or without help. What kind of loving Father would He be? Can you even imagine the difference this would make in our homes, neighborhoods, cities, states and the world? Want to give it a try?
When the news of death reaches us, even though we might not know them personally, we still hurt. We imagine receiving the news as a parent ourselves and a horrible unsettled feeling sinks in. The question of how we have arrived here as humans forms in my mind? I am well aware of the first murder recorded in scriptures, when one brother killed another. And now, thousands of years later, we continue to kill each other. Some blame gun laws, others point to mental health as the cause, but what is the root of such evil? What makes us think we have the authority to take another’s life? Whether it is one of a child sitting in a classroom or one not yet born, we decide we are in control. Goodness, we need His help so badly, for we have lost our way. Jesus, please help us like only you can. For you are our Savior and we cannot save ourselves.
Twice this morning the story Jesus told about the Good Samaritan was in my readings. In the Message translation, the text that stood out to me said, “When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him.” (Luke 10:33-35). A man had been beaten, robbed and left on the side of the road. Three men passed him by, but only one stopped to help. Why did this man’s heart go out to him and not the others? Why do some today have compassion and some do not? While the origin behind the characters Jesus used is unknown to me, only who they represented, I can relate to the one receiving care. All of us can relate to the one in need, for we all have hurts this side of heaven. The beautiful part is when we allow the Lord to do what only He can do, we are healed and begin to look for others in need of roadside assistance. Who better to come alongside hurting ones than those who know pain and the tender care needed during the healing process? We belong to the “God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3-4). Amazing how He works!
The older I get, the more convinced I am about what is true. Experience is an excellent teacher, for it puts what we have learned to the test. Will what we have read from God’s word, confessed to believe, actually stand true? Jesus said He would be with us, but would that be enough? What would that look like? Comfort and remaining in what we have done for quite sometime is tempting. Actually going into the unknown guarantees change, but is that necessary? Are we enough? Having had experience in stepping into some new things this year, this is what I know to be true. He is better than I thought and He means what He has said in His written word. A new opportunity does not add or take away from who He says we are, but it can sure give Him a chance to show that supernatural change has certainly taken place. Amazing!!
*art by Vivian
Sitting here watching the younger kids play in the pool and thinking about these lives that have been entrusted to me. The preciousness of each one brings tears to my eyes. Each one is unique and comes with their own set of struggles. They can make you cry from laughing so hard or frustration in the same day. Being mindful of what pressures they are facing requires time spent listening. Finding ways to serve them seems to lighten the pressure just a bit. What communicates love to one is not the same to another. Mindful of opportunities and details keeps you sharp. Time passes much to quickly and makes these all the more important. Rules and high expectations without grace crushes a young one. Second chances are needed more on my side than theirs. Saying yes is one of my favorite things to do, but wisdom answers with a no at times. Fear will tangle your responses. At the end of each day, I pray that they know that I love them unconditionally and trust them. And they also know that this mom depends on the Holy Spirit living in me. Without the Helper, I am not who He made me to be and they would suffer the most. Each of them are worth my true self. His word sustains me and gives me something to offer them. It is not called the “bread of life” for nothing. Prayer is what keeps me calm and when I forget and let my thoughts spin, it shows.
Today is a wonderful reminder of what keeps me dependent and for that I am thankful!
Happy Mother’s Day!
After we let the authority of Jesus sink deep, we may wonder now what? The Message translation says it beautifully. “God authorized and commanded me to commission you: Go out and train everyone you meet, far and near, in this way of life, marking them by baptism in the threefold name: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Then instruct them in the practice of all I have commanded you. I’ll be with you as you do this, day after day, right up to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:18-20). We have a purpose and each one of us has been given different gifts to carry it out. It might take some time to brush off the insecurities that can bury these gifts as we get older, but let’s be courageous enough to be authentic. Also, I know it can be frustrating when the process of learning, growing and using our gifts is slow. I can say for me, the Lord knew I had some healing to do. A girl that loves to write, but has unhealed wounds, can serve some ugly words without even knowing it. Please forgive me if you have read any words of mine that hurt.
So, now that we know what we are to do and by whose authority we have been commissioned, what will we do to share Jesus with others? I have found it best to ask Him. And then may we never forget an important piece, He is with us at all times. Amazing!
We have been to the cross of Jesus, waited by the tomb and experienced His resurrection. And now we come to the end of the book of Matthew. As I read this verse, it hit me in a powerful way this time around. “And Jesus came and said to them, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18). Since Jesus is the one with all authority, why would I believe the lies of the enemy who whispers doubts and fears? The enemy has no authority or legal right to me. I do not belong to him and neither do you, if you have confessed the truth. So, today I am reminding myself that when the enemy comes, I will claim again to whom I belong and that he has no authority to speak to this beloved child.