Just the other day I was sitting on the couch staring at nothing. Upon awakening from my usual dreamy abstraction, I turned to my husband and said: "you never say "I love you" anymore."
Bad timing for that comment. :)
Looking very engaged in his food prep, he checks the crockpot one more time and says: "see this chili here? It's being made with love" -as with all of his cooking - "it's also made with no tomatoes, the right amount of coriender seeds, which I ground myself, all your favorite vegetables, and the toughest part: you wanted it to be meatless. I had to get pretty creative... What did you ask me again?"
He's a bit sarcastic - They say Bostonians are like that. :) But, he had a point.
Have you noticed how easily we toss the words "I love you" out there? Still, I am not convinced that we can "love" so much, and yet find ourselves living in a world so full of hate - a huge cue that actions speak louder than words.
"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things" Corinthians 13:4-7
The following words were written by my cousin, one of the most inspiring people you will ever meet. He is like that one great book of which you highlight every word...
"Simple as this...
It's easy to say "I love you". Many of us say it quite often, however, "living the I love you's" goes above and beyond a sweet 4 letter word.
I LOVE YOU is overcoming together the many hurdles of life; it's dealing with daily mishaps, which, believe me, are more common than not.
I LOVE YOU is knowing how to hush when we feel like arguing, screaming, and yelling.
I LOVE YOU is recognizing that there is no growth when only one is growing, in which case, we stretch out a loving hand and catch them up. After all, it's no longer "ME", it's "US".
I LOVE YOU is rejoicing with each other at individual achievements, even if small.
I LOVE YOU is listening, listening again and still be willing to hear the same stories over and over.
I LOVE YOU is knowing that your best friend, sometimes only friend, is the one you wake up with everyday.
I LOVE YOU is forgiving and asking for forgiveness.
I LOVE YOU is being thankful for constructive criticism.
I LOVE YOU is a continuing process of learning to respect and live with mutual understanding.
I LOVE YOU is so much more than just words.
May we forever live this kind of love, and may God be first in our lives ... the only way we CAN love or live forever."
By Frank Matos.
Undoubtedly, their grass is only greener because it is irrigated daily with the living water that flows from above. #truelove
Joseph had a dream, and when he told it to his brothers, they hated him all the more. He said to them, “Listen to this dream I had: We were binding sheaves of grain out in the field when suddenly my sheaf rose and stood upright, while your sheaves gathered around mine and bowed down to it.” His brothers said to him, “Do you intend to reign over us? Will you actually rule us?” And they hated him all the more because of his dream and what he had said.
Then he had another dream, and he told it to his brothers. “Listen,” he said, “I had another dream, and this time the sun and moon and eleven stars were bowing down to me.” When he told his father as well as his brothers, his father rebuked him and said, “What is this dream you had? Will your mother and I and your brothers actually come and bow down to the ground before you?” His brothers were jealous of him, but his father kept the matter in mind (Gen. 37:5-11).
-The time would come when these things took place. Joseph would rise up in a position of authority in Egypt and his brothers and father would bow to him there.-
"When the future is looming and I have so many dreams inside of me, the craving to fulfill the vision gains strength. There’s an urgency to materialize the “great plan” God has for me. With each step forward, however, the hills get steeper and the visions fade..."
I was only 13 the first time I really prayed.
Back when I was a kid the days seemed so long, I never knew, nor cared to know, what time or day it was. All I wanted to do was play. We got lost in time playing hide n’ seek or ringing our neighbor’s doorbells. We played outside all day -generation X, best ever! I remember my barbie dolls, mud puddles, street soccer (being from Brasil and all), and homemade popsicles, not a worry in the world.
As street lights began to flicker, mom's voice carried down the street. Dinner was ready.
Reality hits... homework, shower, brussel sprouts and bed. Least favorite being sleep time. Nothing said “party is over” louder than going to bed. - definitely not how I feel now after having 2 kids!- but back then it was no fun. Lights out, it didn't take long until I drifted off to sleep, tired anyone? Alarm was always set for 6.
One particular night was short. Waking to unfamiliar commotion in the house, I heard dad rushing out the door while mom laid in bed awake. I tried to gather enough strength to ask what was happening, and when I finally got up she said to me: “I just don’t think grandma is going to make it”.
Although I grew up catholic, well, I went to church on Sundays, we didn’t talk much about God and we never really prayed together, but yet none of us ever doubted His existence and power. I don’t really know how I learned about God besides attending CCD classes and having long conversations with my aunt, a devout Catholic, but I believed.
That night my faith was shaken. I didn’t want grandma to die. Laying back in bed, I started to pray. My faith was put to the test as I was faced with the biggest prayer request of my younger years. I prayed morning would unfold with good news and dad would be home from the hospital saying she was still alive and well. I didn’t think this was possible, but God said no.
I wished I knew the Lord better to understand all His ways, but at that moment, my faith was enough. I asked no questions. Although God didn’t grant me my request, I found no room in my heart to doubt, hate, or complain. I simply knew it was His will. Is it always that easy to accept it when things go wrong? Absolutely not! There are times in my adult life I have asked and He said no, but for some reason, it is a lot harder to accept it now than it was at 13.
I truly believe God does not want us to doubt, He wants us to have faith like a child, He wants us to put our trust in Him EVEN when we think things go wrong and we don’t get our way. The Bible says His ways are not our ways, His thoughts are not our thoughts. He is so much bigger, so much higher than we are. We only see a little bit of the whole picture, if any at all. He is the one with the planner in His hands, mapping out our future and guiding our steps, we must only believe.
In Corinthians 12:7-10 God very clearly said no to Paul. “My grace is sufficient for you”, God said. This does not mean God stopped loving him or taking care of him. The Bible says Christ's power is perfected in weakness. It’s amazing the strength I feel when faced with a trial. When I am in need and I simply cry out to Him, I feel like I soar right through the difficulties with ease. Sounds crazy, I know. But if you haven’t felt what it feels like to be carried by Him, I encourage you to reach out to Him in your own trial and see for yourself what God can do. He loves to give and do great things for us, that is fact. I don’t understand everything God does, why He does it and when, but I have learned this - No matter what happens, He will be there with me and that’s all I need to know. Either way I can’t lose, because with God, it’s always a win win situation. He is there when I call, He picks me up when I fall, He comforts me when I’m sad, He rejoices when I sing. He never leaves. He never sleeps.
"Why, my soul, are you downcast? Why so disturbed within me? Put your hope in God, for I will yet praise Him, my Savior and my God” Psalm 42:5
May your faith be strengthened and your prayers answered, but if He says no... simply trust. (I really think He says yes a lot more than no though. smile)
Lord, I pray for those that are reading this right now and are faced with a trial, maybe you’ve had to say no to them. You always know best. Please teach us to trust like a child, and know that either way, with you all things are possible. Help us to never doubt that you, the God who opened the red sea, are still the same God who not only is able, but is also willing to do amazing things in our lives.
Confusion, panic, pain, suffering, and anguish
(many times self inflicted. ugh!). I was face to face with a giant at the dead end, it seemed. "Who will free me from this body of sin and death?" Where's my help, where’s my answer? I thought - How soon have I forgotten all He has already done?- The restless, ever searching soul in me kept on questioning. Could I have lost what I believed to be unwavering faith?
Many times I asked God to intervene in my situation wanting to be certain that there was hope in front of me, as there always was. Desperate, I searched for answers everywhere, failing to trust the God who thought of me as an only child, as the apple of His eye, who would never leave me to fight my own battles -"The Lord will fight FOR YOU; you need only be still" Exodus 14:14- I needed the blind faith that assured me He would be there to rescue me when I fell and enough trust to be still.
No word from the Lord, He was silent. "Lord, could you be working, or have you forgotten me? Maybe I have sinned against you, maybe you are testing me?". Questions filled my head. Why couldn't I simply trust? I cried out to Him for days, but inside I knew He was listening.
-“I love the Lord because He hears my voice, He hears my cry for mercy, and because HE BENDS DOWN TO LISTEN, I will pray for as long as I have breath” Psalm 116:1-2- He kept silent. I kept praying. The little knowledge I had of His word, and the many personal testimonies of His deliverance kept me strong even when I didn't feel Him. He has never once abandoned me or left me without answers. -"I was young and now am old, yet I have never seen the righteous forsaken" Psalm 37:25- The Lord knows I’ve cried and He ALWAYS comes through. I knew He had a reason for His silence. I understood He wanted to teach me to trust Him only, to depend on Him like a newborn needs his mom. Lessons are taught through suffering. It grabs our attention and draws us close to Him. The Lord only disciplines those He loves.
Trying to absorb every minute alone with Him, I started to understand and accept every lesson as they came. I can control my thoughts, I have the mind of Christ, I have the spirit of power, love, and of a sound mind. These thoughts kept flowing, replacing the old, and soon became my new way of thinking. Although days had passed before the terrifying feelings of anxiety started to subside; I was convinced God was preparing me for a future call and equipping me for it.
Many times God watches us quietly, BUT, many times, He shows up.
Sunday morning I prayed I would hear His voice. From the pew I watched happy members of the worship team make their way to the altar. Holding hands, they prayed. I joined silently from my seat and asked God to speak to me. As the keyboards made the first sound, a man walked up to the altar and boldly said: "I have a word from the Lord:
"These tough days will end, I hear all your cries, and I will make you victorious”".
GOD SHOWED UP.
When I came home, I put on quiet worship songs as I knelled to pray and thank Him for what He had just done. - I knew for a fact He was speaking to me - Wiping out my tears, I draw my attention to the words of a song I had never heard before. Speechless and amazed at the lyrics, as if strategically written for that very moment, I sat in awe of Him. Every word speaking directly at me. Eyes closed, tears running, arms wrapped around my knees, I bow my head in shame.
"Sigh"... Could I have been more ashamed at my lack of trust? He was talking to me - Again. His presence so strong I could feel His arms around me. Once more, humbled I say:
"Here I am, Lord, I doubted you again, and yet, you don't give up on me. You love me just as I am, You sweep me up before I fall, when I hang over the edge you turn me around. You restore and renew me over and over again, patiently and lovingly."
Heart quiet, mind still.
The Lord has not forgotten you. He sees ALL your troubles, He hears ALL your prayers and wipes ALL your tears. He hurts when you hurt. He WANTS to deliver you. He wants to show up in YOUR life. Take no advice from the one who keeps falling, but the one who keeps rescuing. He sees you and me like an only child, His deepest desire is to have a relationship with us. Serve Him and Him only and the troubles of life will pass, the storm will calm. It will pass. Learn all you can while you are in this boat fighting the waters of the raging sea. Talk to Him while it’s just the two of you. He wants to listen. He wants to show His power in your situation. He walked on water, He opened the red Sea, He multiplied. He will do the same for you. Lift up your head, cry out to our God, the one and only God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. The beginning and the end, the Alpha & Omega. He will give you the desires of your heart, He will make you whole again; and while you wait, you will soar with wings like eagles, you will run and not be tired. He will strengthen you every morning. While you wait, and pass through the storm, be sure of this: He is in the boat. Still.
May the peace of my Lord Jesus rest upon you. Much love and blessings to you.
Hi, I'm Debora. A lover of Jesus, a wife, and a mother of 2.
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