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The Flightless Cormorant

“Mom, why do some birds have wings but can’t fly?” wondering one asks.

Normally I have to send wondering ones to their father for such questions but this time I have an answer and can’t wait to share it.

I turn from wiping down the counters and face Wonder, trying not to scare him with my eager anticipation. “Son, sometimes they forget how to use them.”

The story unfolds on the Galapagos Islands, the story of the flightless cormorant. All cormorants can fly, except the ones on these islands. Why? The scientists wondered. Why do these cormorants have wings but cannot fly?

Some unbelieving scientists jump at the opportunity to make a chaotic, convoluted case for evolution. One more link in the chain.

Christian scientists- Creationists- have no case to prove, just a simple, profound foundation from which they work: that God Created and that He blesses and that He gives the gift of adaptation.

With a basic understanding of our Creator as revealed in Scripture, the story of the flightless cormorant is easy to imagine… and the parallels to us easy to see. Cormorants arrived at Galapagos and thrived on the bounty of island life. In this beautiful, protected environment, the cormorants find an absence of land predators, meaning that they don’t need to fly for survival.

And for food?  Without the need to fly, they simply devote their entire life developing their God-given secondary skill for diving. All cormorants are natural fisher-birds, with their long beaks and webbed feet. The Galapagos Island cormorants have perfected the art.

Over time, these birds have adapted to a flightless lifestyle. Their bodies reflect these adaptations with shortened wings and a smaller keel, the place on the breastbone that supports the large flight muscles. Instead, the legs are heavier and more powerful.

Smaller wings means the cormorant is a better swimmer…but it has lost the ability to soar.

Relying too heavily on secondary giftings is the pathway to loosing what one was intended for.

I know this in my soul, as Creator tells me the story of the flightless cormorant and then explains why it is vital that I know: “The North American church is like the flightless cormorant.”

Hasn’t God blessed us with material abundance and resources beyond measure? Is this not the blessing of God?

Yet have we turned to these and relied on them so heavily that we have outgrown our need for His Spirit to lift us and enable us to do the impossible?

One might simply ponder the question, “What if all our resources were suddenly gone? What if we had no ability to pay pastors and staff, buy workbooks and curriculum…what if we lost our buildings and all the resources that generate programs, activities, good feelings that we are safe, well-padded, alright?

“If we suddenly lost all that… would we have the wings to soar?”

Would we know how to stretch wide and kick hard and believe deep and let God? Are we learning these things in our resource-driven Western Christianity? Or have we lost our wings?

Have we under-developed keels?

Is not the fact that 80% of our children grow up and leave the church proof that we are failing to pass on the ability to soar?

Do we only have silver and gold ministries to offer the lame beggar on the temple steps? Or can we, like Peter, say, “Silver and gold have I none, but what I do have, I give to you: In the name of Jesus, WALK!” (Acts 3:6)

All year these things have niggled me. All year I have seen how we, as a culture and for the most part, live the Christian life in the flesh. All year I have been sickened by how much of my life, my 12 years in the ministry as a church planter and missionary, have been lived relying on secondary skills.

The secondary skills aren’t the problem.

The forgetting what we are made for is.

We were made for Spirit wings to indwell us, fill us, empower us, carry us to places secondary blessings never can. We were made for “abundantly above all we ask or imagine,” from Him and to Him and by Him and for Him.

We were made for the kind of indwelling power that raised Christ from the dead. And we are content with diving?

All year I have approached His elbow. “So Father,” I ask and He slows to listen to me. “How is it that we can learn to fly again? How is it that we can be filled to the fullness of God by Your Spirit? How is it that we can get our wings back, stop over-relying on secondary giftings and do what we are made to do?”

He turns to me in eager anticipation, answer ready, thrilled to be asked by a wondering child. “I thought you’d never ask,” He whispers. “Come closer.”

And I embrace His answer…

{to be continued as I live it out}

Fully Assured

4:54am and His voice comes softly, awakening me. “Understand what the will of the Lord is.”

I lay under warm mountain for awhile, pondering these words, especially in light of yesterday’s word, “Keep yourself in the love of God.”

I think of how my traditional upbringing taught me to understand the will of God in terms of “Glorifying God” and “Obeying His commandments.”

Surely these are a part of His will.

But His words invite me to find articulation for what He has been revealing to me over a period of time. His will is not primarily the things I do.

For the next 3 days I pour over scriptures, getting Husband’s help using the Logos Bible study software pastors and missionaries use. Slowly, articulation comes.

“Will” is “thelema” in the Greek. It means desire, pleasure, intent. It is what One wishes or has determined shall be done. It is Christ slain before the foundation of the world. In short, it is the purpose of God to bless mankind through Christ.

How skewed we are when we think of God’s will simply in terms of what He desires from us! I must discipline self to think first in terms of His intent towards me.

Ephesians 1 is a gold mine for discovering God’s desire, pleasure, and intentions towards me. His will is “kind intentions” and “lavish grace.”

It is His will to bless me with every spiritual blessing,

to choose me,

to consider me holy and blameless,

to adopt me,

to redeem me,

to forgive me all my transgressions,

to make me the recipient of His lavish grace,

to give me all wisdom and insight into His heart for me,

to give me an inheritance,

to grant me the fullness of His Spririt,

to rescue me from the domain of darkness and transfer me to the kingdom of His beloved Son (Col 1),

to reconcile me to Himself,

to make me at peace with Him,

These things I “know,” but thinking of them in terms of His will for me adds dimension to the knowledge and empowers me in new ways.

After three days of searching, pondering, asking, it comes down to this phrase from Colossians 4:12, “Stand perfect and fully assured in all the will of God.”

This can be breath, blood, and life. As kids wake up and need me and Husband does too and I feel too broken and weak to give them what they deserve, I stand perfect on these words, “Fully assured in all the will of God. ” HE IS FOR ME.

As I dress tired, whiny child, I can do this. I can love and bless and give and pour out, because I am fully assured in all the will of God for me.

As older child grumbles about changing shirt, I can do this. I can take aside and breathe life words into him, exhort him to live up to his identity in Christ as beloved child.

As time presses and stress rises and lunches need packing and dress pants need ironing and children scatter toys, I can do this. I can focus on what really matters and stand perfect, fully assured in all the will of God for me.

Today is going to be a great day.

The High Place of Fear

The first indication that something was wrong was the day I saw her referral photo.

I had waited nearly three years for this day, and I reckon you couldn’t measure the amount of anticipation I had stored up, the longing, the love, the prayers.

I knew that I would love her like the others. I knew that once I saw her, I would know, like only a momma does. I had no doubts that she was mine and we were going to be just fine.

Except that when the phone rang at 2am in our temporary Hong Kong flat, and I knew it was finally the day, and when I stealthily turned on computer to open email without waking children and finally…finally….clicked “open” to the photo and saw her…

nothing.

Sad, somber eyes looked back at me. I felt no connection, no bonding, no knowing.

That is when it started. The fear. The destroyer of hope and life and love.

What if I couldn’t love her? Fear.

What if I never bonded with her? Fear.

She came home and her neediness began to show itself. Obnoxious, unbecoming behaviors, impossible demands, self-victimization and rejection, isolation and withdrawal, hyper-vigilance, strong willed defiance.

Fear uncurled in me and wisps of it came in daily doses. “How do I parent her?” “What if I’m not smart enough, wise enough for this?”

“Mommy, why doesn’t she play with me?”

Tears from little ones who didn’t understand background, only felt rejection. That’s when fear drove me to what fear always drives to…control. Or maybe I should say our best hard fought attempts at it.

__I Kings 12:26-27 “Jeroboam said in his heart, Now the kingdom will return to the house of David…and they will kill me.”

Un-beknownst to me at that point, fear…wretched, unwelcome thing that it was… had become an idol.

__I Kings 12:28 “So Jeroboam the King consulted, and made two golden calves…Now this thing became a sin, for the people went to worship before it.

By allowing fear place and voice, by believing its big show at power, I had erected a high place and daily I carried out fear’s bidding through control.

__I Kings 12:31 “And he made houses on high places.”

The effects on my children were devastating. High places get passed down from generation to generation, don’t we all know that?

__I Kings 15:14 “But the high places were not taken away.”

I have proof of these things.

If I fear rejection, I communicate value for such, giving it “high place” status and my children will be crippled under it and will learn same and will never place themselves in situations to experience it.

If I fear being overwhelmed, asked too much of emotionally, my children will find no grounding, no security, no confidence in God as Rock, come what may. I visualize the high places I erect with my hands, my responses, my retreat. Hands over face.

Altar after altar erected to fear. Is this what I want to leave to my children?

There has to be a better way. But what? How?

“Perfect love drives out fear…” I John 4:17-18

Love drives out fear and love is perfected by abiding in Him and loving one another. Didn’t Jeroboam fail to abide in Love when he didn’t root himself in Love promises concerning him?

__I Kings 11:37-38  { God to Jeroboam }  “I will take you and you will reign over whatever you desire, and you will be King over Israel. I will be with you and will build you an enduring house as I built for David, and I will give Israel to you.”

Didn’t Jeroboam reject Precious Promises and turn to fear instead?

Why do we do this? Why can’t I get it through thick skull that cowering and retreating in fear is rebellion?

Num 14:9 “Only do not rebel against the Lord, and do not fear the people of the land, for they will be our prey. Their protection has been removed from them, and the Lord is with us; do not fear them.”

Fear speaks lies and when I allow it, my being recoils against the Life-Commands of God. 

Adoption upturned all my parenting abilities and left my training toolbox up-ended, broken, shattered, worthless.

Left me wondering if and what I had left. No point in putting the shattered pieces together. Learn new ones. The rope of love.

~~The Love Rope is anchored in a Person, so it will always get you back home to safety.

~~The Love Rope is always as long as needed. There is no distance too far from its reach.

~~ The Love Rope is reliable. Thick. Strong. It won’t snap or break. It never fails.

~~ The Love Rope endures forever.  No deadlines or time constraints. As long as there is breath, there is Love-Hope.

There is only one prerequisite: Love-Rope has to be grasped, like a hand grabs a rope. Love has to be apprehended. It is there. It is ever present. It is foul proof.

I can only grasp it for myself. I must grasp the Love Rope!

And pray my example serves as invitation for children.

This morning I tell self,  Don’t be like Jeroboam, who failed to grasp Love and listened to fear. Even if she rejects your love, Love has not rejected you. Follow it home.

Love, be the breath in my lungs, the blood in my veins, the strength in my bones.

Adoption’s Love Promises:

“God is Able.”  {Romans 11:23 }

“This is good.” {Jeremiah 29:11}

“I am not appointed for stumbling.”  {I Peter 2:8-9}

“The desert will become the garden of God.”  (Isaiah 35}

“Love will not fail.”  {I Corinthians 13:8}

“I can do this.”  {Isaiah 41:10}

Finding the Truth about Yourself

Monster machine roars to life, sending little ones screeching and scrambling with their imaginations.

Just as well. Time is getting shorter and to-do list still stretches.

In my rush, I push monster too close to toy-with-long-cord and machine belt snatches up cord and motor slows and I smell rubber burning.

Off goes machine, unplugged for safety, and sure enough, toy-with-long-cord is doomed and so is my time. I pull, first on one end of Cord, then on the other.

Cord doesn’t budge.

Before I can go further, Husband is there, stopping what he is working on for me. To free the cord and save both the toy and me.

I let him do his magic while I rush away to finish putting away the towels.

It is only when Monster roars to life again that I think of it. “Thank you,” I tell him.

“You are my #1 priority,” he says, and I know it without the words.

For 17 years it has been this way… most of them with me not relishing, not appreciating, not embracing and receiving nourishment. This love that has poured out and into me, that has lavished me wildly.

Later, when Husband and son run to grocery for one more can of pure pumpkin and a pack of Pull-Ups, they bring back a gift for me: a perfect poinsettia.

I cannot get over its crinkled, silky leaves and exquisite buds. I marvel and remember what He told me time before last when I received roses.

He thought of me as He made this plant. He rained on it, shone on it, caused it to grow, all with me in His mind. I think about this and I know that I am loved.

Yes, I have experienced rejection. Abuse. Neglect. I have believed I could never be loved.

Finally, I have been given eyes to see Husband who loves lavish and passionate…of son who delights in choosing perfect poinsettia for momma…of Maker who wastes nothing on me.

Me.

I ponder these things and I know.

I am loved.

This Thanksgiving, I give thanks for perfect poinsettias.

Loving Husbands

Doting sons

Strong arms that never let go

Feasting before the Lord

Pumpkin Spice Latte

Friends to feast with

Chances to help and bless others (We chose a  new child today!)

Grace that lets down easy

Goodness that says “no” so there can be a greater “yes”

Thank You, my God and Creator

How to Love Your Un-lovely

I remember it clearly. I was a strange combination of weepy and wacky teenager. Unsure of myself and never really fitting in anywhere, cracking jokes one hour and bawling eyes out the next.

This particular day, something had upset my security and thrown me into weepy mode. An argument at home ensued, me saying that I wanted to go live with someone else, go to another school, have a different life.

Mom scorned me, which only made me cry harder, feel more rejected.

Then, words that cut and still bear scars: “You’re such a crybaby. Go to your room.”

I was drowning and cried SOS words, “I don’t belong anywhere!”

Mom sneered at me, turned her back and walked off.

I retreated to my room, feeling rejection like a knife in the heart, a stone on my shoulders.

Does love send an un-lovely away? Or draw her in?

Does love try to teach a lesson through harshness, through punishment, through rejection?

When I became a parent, I never understood how one could have such a distorted view of love. But then again, I was never faced with parenting an un-lovely until adoption.  Suddenly, I was overwhelmed with the needs and the ugly side of sin-wounds and my love limits were tested.

I understood how a parent could use tools of scorn, rejection, withdrawal, and anger to communicate. To protect their own heart, for survival.

The price we all paid for my enlightenment is one I don’t care to relive… it turned us all inside out, me most of all.

My understanding of Love was insufficient for my love-calling and if we were going to avoid going down in a heap of flaming, burning mess, I had to open up to Love like never before, and quick!

Not so easy a task though, when all you’ve known is rejection and condemnation and dis-connect and you don’t know how to make vulnerable, how to embrace pain and still pour out. The journey to this decision is a death in and of itself.

How to do this? Is there a “How to Love An Un-Lovely for Dummies?”

Love Himself draws me close and invites me to see myself in her. “Look,” He whispers kindly to my heart, “and I’ll show you what is inside you that I want to love away.”

I ventured a look. At first look it is horrific ugly. I want to deny it and run and pretend that it will all be okay, like I’ve been so good at doing in my life.

But He presses me again and again and as I get closer to the ugly, I see past the ugly to the SOS questions:

~~ “Am I safe with you?”

~~ “Will you leave me? Reject me?”

~~ “Are you willing to prove that you’ll go the distance with me? Bear long and late and lovingly?”

~~ “I’m scared to death. Do you have an anchor for me?”

And little by little, I hear the questions I asked but long forgot because I was sent away and like love, if I couldn’t have acceptance or security, then I wouldn’t need it.

I am opened up to my own needs all over again. It is scary.

But like the Dr. Seuss book says, “On you will go, though the Hakken Kraks howl, on you will go…”

And so we go on, Love and I, one painful step at a time.

“How do I love,” I ask Him. “You know I don’t know what I’m doing here. You know all my wiring is not equipped for this voltage and I’m on my knees for the sake of the six of us who live under this roof and the hundreds of people our lives will affect for generations to come…I’m pleading with You…show me how to do this!”

Slowly, because I am a slow learner, I start to see what He is wanting to teach me….

When sinking, He reaches down to rescue, doesn’t send us away. So I start looking for His rescue attempts for me and I start throwing them out to her.

When determined to strike out on own, He allows painful consequences to bring us to our senses…and is always ready, watching, waiting for restoration. (John 15) So I return to the Father in new ways instead of being fearful to return… and I start looking for natural consequences for poor choices she makes to help her come to her own senses.

When actions are unbecoming, He sees beyond outward behaviors to the unspoken and unknown reasons. FEAR is a driving force behind ugly and unlovely behaviors and God’s remedy for that is to reassure us that there is nothing to fear, helping us identify it in ourselves and walking us through it with words like, “I am with you!” “I will help you!” “I will never let go of you!” “I will always be here for you, no matter what.”

So I work at identifying my own fears and listening for His walk-through words and when her uglies come out, I get eye level with her and help her identify her fear and walk her through it. (I.E. “Are you afraid you are going to miss dinner if you pick up your toys?”

“Yes.”

“Does mommy love you?”

“Yes.”

“Mommy is not going to let you go hungry, alright?”

“Alright.”

“Do you want me to help you finish, then we can all go to the table to eat…”)

For the first time, I know Love is active in me, trying to be Perfected and it is a wonder that I can’t understand, that Love is Perfected in us when we love another.

Part II soon- “Elements of Love: How God Loves”

Finding Your Love Legs

What he did hurt and what they did hurt worse and I believed I couldn’t be loved. So I decided I wouldn’t be silly or sappy…if I couldn’t be loved then I decided I wouldn’t need love.

Silent, dark day.

For years I walked this path, burrowed in deep and forged ahead. I laughed at those who were vulnerable to love. I didn’t need it.

I was successful in my chosen path and I took that as proof that I’d made a good choice, an indicator that everything was going to be okay.

Then, like He did to Jonah, God sent a fierce storm into my life and “every man called on his god” and I found that the god I was serving wasn’t the God I thought I was serving and my need for Love-God was unveiled and my path wasn’t the one that led to Him.

I was exposed, tossed overboard.

Horrid, blessed exposure.

But Love cords drew me, knew me, and invited me. God is a God of infinite chances. And when Love beckons, you lift face up and feet follow and you find your legs.

I began learning new habits. Like an injured body relearning to walk, to eat, to live, I began re-learning how to live again… how to live when Love is yours.

~~Letting go in order to stand in Grace

~~Giving thanks to develop eyes for Love

~~Anchoring in Truth to find freedom

I can only share my story. I can only point to Truth who is Love. I can only say, “Don’t give up seeking Him who is Life and Love and does not withhold any good thing from those who love Him.”

Press in, my friend. Press into Jesus.

Them

The switch stung my bare legs, leaving streaks of ugly raised red.

I was marked.

Slash. Slash. Slash.

My cries brought smug satisfaction to the onlookers…these with arms folded, looking for blood.

Her name was Michelle and we were church friends, the kind you only see on Sunday, the kind whose parents compete for spiritual standing.

While the big-people-competitors stood around puffing up after church, we played hide and seek. She pushed me into the pampas grass, cutting scratchy stuff, and I got stuck in an ant bed and it burned like fire and I flamed too and I found her laughing, mocking… and I bit.

There were no questions asked. The teeth marks and pointed finger and cries for justice were all the big people needed to fold their arms and make their judgment.

I had streaked the spiritual standing of my big people. I stood condemned.

I wonder if that lone tree in the church yard was there for that sole purpose.

Training communicates right and wrong. It says, “I love you enough to go the distance, to teach you, to labor long with you, to help you and ground you.”

But a public lashing communicates, “You’ve humiliated me. This is what you are worth. This is your value. My reputation is of more worth than your entire being.”

The folded arms said, “You are a sinner deserving of death and don’t you EVER forget it.”

The message was heard loud and clear, streaking my heart with ugly raised red. I caved under its force.

Two sisters followed me but for some reason they seemed never to get the breaking I got. Maybe they were good. Yes, that was it…they were good and I was bad. Worthless.

When my little brother came along I was nine. I could hardly bear standing by while he was broken. At two, he was still demonstrating his freedom, loved to climb out of bed each night. Somehow he had been cursed like me.

As a parent of four now, I see how frustrating, exhausting, annoying it is, especially with many little ones. But did it warrant a breaking?

Does anything?

One night, to teach him a lesson, Dad took his belt and started in. I don’t know what made me do it, but I counted.

Slash. One…

Slash. Two…

Slash. Three…

I pulled covers up and closed eyes and resolutely kept count.

Slash. Sixteen…

Slash. Twenty…

My heart pounded as I cowered and wondered and felt every one of those lashes across my soul.

Slash. Twenty five…

“He won’t get 40,” I thought. “Even Jesus only got 39, remember? The forty minus the one.”

It was a wild hope, a life-line for my drowning soul.

Slash. He surpassed Jesus. Again. And again. And again.

56 when the belt finally stopped.

The cries weren’t stopped so quickly and something happened inside of me. Something un-conscious and un-willed. Something out of necessitiy, to keep me alive.

From then on, when the belt came out, I would cry and run to Dad and plead, “Spank me instead! Please! He is too little. Please give it to me instead, Please Daddy!”

Years later dad told me I saved little brother countless beatings.

But in my mind it was never enough.

Never enough.

The tears leak out and I wonder how I went from being soft, being willing, being broken, to being blind to my big-person callousness?

How did I lose such truth, the eyesight to see 56 as 56? Cutting words as Deadly Instrument they are? Anger as Weapon? Pressure as Damager?

I should know better. I did then. What happened?

I know what happened. Somewhere along the way, the heritage was passed on to me…the folded arms, the rejection, the rigidity, the condemnation, the un-forgiveness.

Somewhere along the way I followed footprints. Somewhere I knew that If I couldn’t have love, then I simply wouldn’t need it…

{Part II soon…}

“Knowing that you were redeemed from your futile way of life inherited from your forefathers, not with perishable things like silver or gold, but with precious blood, as of a lamb unblemished and spotless, the blood of Christ.” I Peter 1:18-19

When God Stoops Down

I saw God today.

I was writing the letter to Pops. He has been sick and still clings to the notion that he is not good enough for God.

We’re afraid his time is running out.

We urge him in spirit to embrace the Grace of Jesus.

Then it hits me, this God-knowledge…that the gift of the van to us was not just for us, not even primarily for our needs, but for his.

His need to hear affirmation. His need to receive honor. His need to know God doesn’t hate him.

For wasn’t it the kindness of God that led the men of Jabesh-Gilead to do what they did?

A fallen King, one who had chosen foolishly and reaped the consequences of those fool choices and paid dearly. One who had lost all honor and dignity. One who had lost courage, a tragedy indeed.

“Now when the inhabitants of Jabesh-Gilead heard what the Philistines had done to Saul, all the valiant men rose and walked all night, and took the body of Saul and his sons from the wall of Bethshan, and they came to Jabesh and burned them there. They took their bones and buried them under the tamarisk tree at Jabesh and fasted seven days.” I Samuel 31:11-13

Risked their lives for a loser, and a dead one at that.

It’s called honor. It’s an act of kindness.

“May you be blessed of the Lord,” David told them, “because you have shown this kindness to Saul your lord, and have buried him.”

God’s lovingkindness bestows honor…and it does not rest on the character, conduct, or response of the recipient. (See Matt 5:43-48)

Pops needs to see God’s lovingkindness. The van for us was the abundance…the words of esteem from a stranger is the kindness of God to a man who doesn’t know Him.

Like I said, I saw God.

I’m amazed.

Dear Pops,

I am writing to say thank you for the son you raised and entrusted to me nearly 17 years ago. After giving us the van this weekend, Mr. Garrison told John multiple times that he wanted to write you a letter and tell you what a fine son you have.

Even asked for your address.

John and I talked about that, how that is probably the greatest a compliment a father- a man- can receive, someone asking, “Who’s your Daddy?” after meeting them.

So I give words of honor to the man who taught my husband how to be a man…how to fish and how to clean a gun and how to back a trailer. You taught him how to be a father, how to be fearless, how to stand up for someone weaker. You taught him how to work hard, how to value his word, and how to help with the dishes.

I have watched your son walk in integrity when it cost him, when no one else was looking.

I have watched your son cry man tears for the sake of another when no one else cared.

I have watched your son stand fearlessly and confidently. I have seen him tested and come through true. I have been passionately and undeservedly loved by your son and I’m a different person for it.

Your son has marked the lives of people all over this world…and one man voiced it for us all, “Son, who’s your daddy?”

That would be you, Pops. Thank you for a fine son, Pops, a loving husband, a devoted father, a world changer.

Our hats are off.

~~DD

Willing

Her shoulders shook as we talked and her face quivered.

This jewel, this precious woman who has had to bear the weight of husband, vile and un-repentant.

She wonders if her children are safe, if maybe he has already done to them the unspeakable things he has watched online.

hideous. vile. dark.

Neither girl nor boy is safe from him. This shatters the heart and breaks the legs.

No wonder she quivers.

“I don’t pretend to know,” I whisper to her. “But I’m willing to believe.”

“He is un-loveable,” She tells me. “You may not see it at the surface, but he is.”

This I do know. I live with an un-lovely too.

The little girl who rejects, withdraws, refuses. The girl who will not get out of bed and embrace a family who loves her. A girl who would rather scrounge under the table for crumbs, hidden out of sight of family than accept a full plate from loving parents at the table with siblings.

I do know what it is like to love an un-lovely.

I say it again… “I’m willing to believe.”

“I’m willing to believe that Love covers a multitude of sins.”

As I speak, the Life in me blazes. In my case, I’ll believe that Love covers past sins of abandonment, rejection, neglect, and abuse in little girl’s life, sins that wounded deep and carry scars.

“I’ll believe Love has the power to redeem, restore, rescue, and re-build.”

“I’ll believe Love will take the darkest corner, the most hideous of hearts, the ugliest scars and bend them to its Beauty, stamp them with Love’s blood, and cleanse them from all unrighteousness.”

“I’m willing,” I whisper, “if you are.”

She shakes and I ask, “Perhaps we were given to each other for this purpose?”

“Not many have Love’s demands placed on them in such measure,” I tell her. She nods and KNOWS and bubbles over.

“I don’t know what it is like for you,” I say. “But I do know what love’s demand is like. It hurts. It’s hard. Its path is un-clear. It must hope all things and believe all things.”

“I don’t know what it looks like!” She is desperate, needing direction.

“Right now, that isn’t important,” I tell her. “Right here, right now, ‘Are you willing?’ Are you willing to believe that Love Himself has beckoned you to be His hands to minister blessing; His feet to run to the aid of another; His mouth to speak life to a hopeless soul?”

“Are you willing to believe that Love has chosen you to manifest Himself to… and through… and in?”

The words hit me hard. Even as they breathe out, they breathe in. The Breath of Life.

“Are you willing?”

For Love seeks hands and feet, flesh and blood, a body to express His love through. And He has chosen me.

It’s a holy and sacred invitation.

“No one has seen God at any time, but if we love, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.” I John 4:12

It carries a cost….being emptied of all else. Of all rights and reasonings. Of all fear and self and human understanding and weakness and excuses.

We need not know how. We needn’t have all the answers and the action plan.

It simply starts by being willing.

My friend said yes.

I say yes.

How about you? Are you in for love being perfected?

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