So I’ve had my big, fancy camera, as the girls call it, for a few years now. I’m still trying to learn all it can do.
I’m also still taking pictures like a house afire.
But God demonstrates His own love toward Virginia, in that while she was yet a sinner, Christ died for Virginia. Much more than having now been justified by His blood, Virginia shall be save from the wrath of God through Him. (Romans 5:8-9)
Therefore, having been justified by faith, Virginia has peace with God through her Lord Jesus Christ, through Whom also she has obtained her introduction by faith into this grace in which Virginia stands, and she exults in hope of the glory of God and not only this, but Virginia also exults in her tribulations. Knowing that tribulations brings about perseverance and perseverance proven character, and proven character hope. And hope does not disappoint because the love of God has been poured out within Virginia’s heart through the Holy Spirit who was given to her. For while Virginia was still helpless – at the right time Christ died for ungodly Virginia. (Romans 5:1-6)
When I fully realize that all of everything I do is because of His grace toward me – I fully realize I have nothing to prove and therefore I have nothing to defend. (Romans 6:1-3)
Therefore Virginia has been buried with Jesus through baptism into death, in order that as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father so she too might walk in newness of life. (Romans 6:4)
Jesus died in the flesh, so I could live in the Spirit. (Romans 6:8-9)
Lord, here I am – a weak, frail, fleshly girl – I present to You my body as one alive from the dead. I present my members to You as instruments of Your righteousness. I place myself under Your grace – because sin shall not be my master. (Romans 6:12-14)
But THANKS be to God that though Virginia was a slave of sin, she became obedient from the heart to that form of teaching to which she was committed, and having been freed from sin, Virginia became a slave of righteousness. (Romans 6:17-18)
Slave of Sin = Dead to Righteousness.
Slave of Righteousness = Dead to sin.
Alive to sin and the law = Dead to Righteousness and God
Alive to Righteousness and God = Dead to sin and the law.
I was made to die to the law through the body of Christ that I might marry (be joined to) Christ – every time I serve sin I am committing adultery. (Romans 7)
There is therefore now no condemnation for Virginia who is in Christ Jesus. (Romans 8:1)
But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in Virginia, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to her mortal body through His Spirit who indwells her. (Romans 8:11)
For Virginia has not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again…
BUT Virginia has received a spirit of adoption as a daughter by which she can cry out, Abba! Father! (Romans 8:15)
Suffer – then Glory.
Suffering brings glorification. (Romans 8:17)
Glorified. (Romans 8:30)
What then shall I say to these things? If God is for Virginia, who is against her? (Romans 8:31)
When I am in tribulation, distress, being persecuted, in a famine, and naked, peril or seeing a sword (instrument of death), I think I have been separated from the love of Christ but that isn’t the TRUTH! I overwhelmingly conquer through Jesus who loves me through them. (Romans 8:37-39)
(all verse from the New American Standard Bible)
Love. It’s what we all want. What we all need. It is what we crave.
But what does Love mean? What does it mean to live loved? Is that even possible? Is it possible to live loved all the time, even when we feel loved less than?
I’ve mentioned a teary time or two that I’m reading Ann Voskamp‘s book, The Broken Way. I’m currently in a love-hate relationship with it. And with Ann. I mean nothing bad about Ann at all. Don’t misunderstand. But it’s like she lives in my town, or at least in my head and is pointing out all the places I need to change to grow.
It was through her book I started putting a red cross on my wrist. As a reminder to me every day to live cruciform. To live in the shape of a cross every day. To remember the best gift is to love others. To remind myself to Be The Gift…to Give It Fully Today.
When I choose to focus on someone else who is just as needy as I am, to focus on them and meeting their needs, trusting the Meeter of my needs to meet my very great needs. When I do this then the healing of my broken and shattered places begins.
When my healing begins, my cup is no longer empty.
It’s a little oxymoronic I think to have a blog about my FULL cup when it seems my cup lives empty.
But that is how I am to live. I am to live empty, poured out, given out in love to the One who loves me.
“‘Love will always make you suffer. Love only asks, ‘who am I willing to suffer for?'”
Those words leaped of the page of Ann’s book last night. I underline it in green, and read it over a few times. Trying to grasp the meaning. Rejecting the statement as impossibly untrue. Love doesn’t make you suffer. Love erases suffering.
Then I read further.
“Love, before it is anything, to be love at all, it is first patient. …patience is nothing but a willingness to suffer. Patience and the word passion, they both come from the exact same root word, patior, to suffer. …Passion embraces suffering because there’s no other way to embrace love. Love isn’t about feeling good about others; love is ultimately being willing to suffer FOR others.” (from Ann’s book, The Broken Way, page 137. emphasis mine.
And I was stopped dead in my reading tracks.
Love is being willing to suffer for others…because Jesus (LOVE) was willing to suffer for me.
When the words you read make you jot down your thoughts on the other side of the page and then you take a moment to read them. The realization of my own black-hearted self-centeredness washed over me like a waterfall.
I can not say I love anyone if I am not willing to suffer for them. I can not.
I’m rather reserved with my “I love Yous” I am. They don’t come easy for me.
This doesn’t come easy for me either. Every time I have said it thus far in my life has more than likely been a lie. A complete fabrication. A lie I’ve said to make myself feel good and to make you feel good.
The man I promised myself to in marriage. If I am not willing to suffer for him, I am not willing to love him.
Those children that I gave birth to, if I’m not willing to suffer for them. I do not love them.
Those precious souls I’ve been blessed to have befriend this broken pile of flesh, if I’m not willing to suffer for them, I’m not willing to love them.
As painful as all of that was to realize, I knew in the very deepest part of my soul, if I am not willing to suffer for Jesus, I am not willing to love Him.
If I am not willing to take up my cross and follow Him in the path of His suffering, joining in His suffering for me, then I am not willing to love Him.
And if I am not willing to love Him, I am not willing or able to love anyone else.
So my prayer for myself and you this Christmas season is simply to be willing to be willing to love Him as He loves us. To be willing to suffer for Him because that is the path to wholeness, life and love.
I have cancer. I have cells in my body that are growing and multiplying at an alarming rate, eating all the good cells that surround them.
Given enough time, this cancer will kill me. I’m being eaten alive from the inside. Parts of me are eating other parts of me. To my very destruction. At this point I don’t know very much more than this. How long? I have no clue. Stage? No clue. All I know is this:
I have cancer.
Be joyful, when you hear you have cancer? I’m sure it can be done but for now I just have a big gaping hole where my heart used to be.
Psalm 116:7b says “…The Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” This is bountiful? I thought it was supposed to be a good thing, His dealing bountifully with me. I thought the place of His bounty was the place of His blessing. Yet, this feels like a curse. A curse of death.
Which is the very thing He wants. He bids me to come and DIE. While all the time promising me life.
How can I, in the love of all things good,come and die and yet have abundant life?
Blast those cancer cells!
Cancer is defined as: the cells that only benefit themselves. Cancer cells don’t look to benefit any other cell. They look after themselves only. Eating whatever they desire. They take care of themselves and only themselves. Not just taking care of themselves first, as we are told to do now.
They take care of themselves only and only take care of themselves. Wreaking havoc and destruction, bring death everywhere they go.
Now, I’m not talking about physical cancer here, I’m fine. Well I’m not fine, not at all fine. But the cancer is not to my physical body, but is in my soul.
You see, I have a tendency to care for myself. First. And sometimes only. I do what benefits me the most. Above benefiting you.
Is it any wonder I’m broken? I ask you, is it any wonder?
Even as I’m drawing crosses on my wrist to remind me of the greatest Love imaginable. I’m choking on the cancer that is killing me slowly. Even as I’m trying to live cruciform, in the very shape of the cross, arms spread wide open, embracing.
I’m looking out for myself, and I might love you, but only so far as I’m benefited. If I can benefit I’m all about loving you, but if not chances are I’ll skip it.
Cancer. Cancer cells are the only cells that take care of themselves.
I read that line in The Broken Way by Ann Voskamp. And I sobbed as I realized I have cancer of the soul.
It is no coincidence that I read this chapter today. On Monday. The first day of my renewed, “Go MAD Monday”. The day I’m supposed to be looking for others’ needs to meet, I’ve been wrapped up in myself and my own struggles. My sense of not belonging, not being wanted, in the way, abandoned, neglected, abused.
This journey to healing is a difficult one. Most days it’s all I can do to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving. I hope I’m moving forward and not backward, but really I haven’t a clue what I’m doing or if I’m doing it right or if anything is being done. Anything good being done.
Today was a hard day. Full of tears. Tears running silent rivers down my cheeks, and full of fully body-shaking sobs. Sobs that took my breath away and I wondered if I’d ever be able to stop and just breathe again.
And I have cancer of the soul.
In an attempt to salvage part of this hard day, this day of tears and sobs, to combat the cancer of my soul, I took the 14-year old for coffee after her dance class. I bought her coffee. And I bought the coffee for the man in the big white Chevy pick up behind me.
Maybe that was the right thing to do to fight this cancer that is eating my soul. Keeping my focus on myself and my own needs. Maybe, just maybe if I choose to take care of someone else’s needs when mine are so great, maybe, just maybe my healing, my needs will be met.
Maybe that is how I will have peace. And healing. And my focus will be on the right things. And the cancer will be stopped.
This weekend I’ve been a lean, mean, painting machine. Heavy on the painting, lean on the lean and mean. Since I’ve been sniffing paint fumes for a few days (3 rooms and the hallway have all been painted since Wednesday!) I’ll share mostly pictures.
Master bedroom before. (Now don’t get your hopes up, most of the time I completely forgot about taking the “before” pictures. You’re fortunate on this one though because I needed to ask some friends which color.)
And master bedroom after.
It looks blue, but it’s grey with blue undertones. Hallway, you can see in the above picture is now the same color, as is the laundry room.
Years ago I decorated my bathroom with ducks. Maybe I was rebelling because I never got to have geese in my kitchen. Not that I wanted any, I’ve never been a fan of geese. So really why I had ducks in my bathroom, other than my girls were small, and I could find duck things all over the place, I’ll never know. When my bathroom was ducks, the walls were a very pale blue, the carpet a dark blue and my friend made this sign for me,
The picture doesn’t do the sign justice or the walls either. The walls are now the same color as the word “bath”. I’ve painted the bathroom now 3 times and I would like to say,
I hate painting the bathroom.
But it’s done…or mostly done. I have touch-ups to do.
One of them is talking myself out of buying white paint because now all the trim looks really, really sad. It’s sad really, how sad it really looks.
And onto another topic. In other words. I’m finished telling you how sad it really looks, if you haven’t guessed it’s really sad looking by now, you just might be a lost cause.
And why did the book “When you give a mouse a muffin” keep running through my head as I was painting? Anyone know?
I also managed to spend a few minutes not painting this weekend. Instead, I de-cluttered. A little.
The first batch ready to go to the thrift store. I’ve since filled another large box. It’s behind me and yes, I’m ignoring it. For today.
This wasn’t quite one of those cupboards you take your life into your hands when you open it, but it was quite cluttered with, well honestly, junk I didn’t know where else to put.
Ahhhhhhhh. Now I can breathe easy when opening the doors.
"I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing." John 15:5
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