When Did Love Stop Hoping All Things?

When Did Love Stop Hoping All Things?

We’ve all been there: The Fam­ily tak­ing a peace­ful drive some­where. All is going smoothly. Dad is at the wheel, with Mom sit­ting by his side in the front seat. Con­ver­sa­tions flow­ing, per­haps some music playing.

Then it hap­pens. “MOM!!! He’s touch­ing me!”

The crime of the century.

And you know what we do, right? We do the prover­bial eye roll and say, “Stop touch­ing her and get on your own side of the car.” Just like our moms always said to us.

We typ­i­cally don’t actu­ally deal with the issue at hand because 1. it’s eas­ier to just tell them to stop touch­ing each other, and 2. it’s how we were trained to han­dle this par­tic­u­lar conflict.

And so it goes into other areas of life. In the end, we just want Johnny to stop touch­ing us and get on his own side of the car. It’s less messy that way.

Or is it?

We see this in the church, too, I think. We are so eas­ily offended by each other for any and every infrac­tion. Even the imag­ined ones. “They” are obvi­ously out to touch us, so we are on the look­out for any hint of a hand near­ing our side of the car.  They sneak up when we aren’t pay­ing as close atten­tion. And we often ASSUME mal-intent, rather than love. This is espe­cially true if we have been hurt before.

The truth is, they usu­ally aren’t think­ing a thing about us, but in the flurry of liv­ing life, their hand swings glee­fully in our direc­tion. Not in mis­chie­vous­ness, but in the joy of life. And yet, we cry out to Mom again in anguish at our obvi­ous abuse.

Some­times we deal with the con­flict because it’s what we are sup­posed to be doing, but so often we con­fess, for­give, and then get back on our own sides of the car. Back to look­ing for him to touch us again so we can cry foul.

What hap­pened to hop­ing all things? What hap­pened to for­give­ness that actu­ally has teeth? You know. I for­give you and now let’s go play. Not, I for­give you, but that is just what I have to say because it is the right thing to say, but I don’t mean any­thing by it. I’m the big­ger per­son, and now go get back on your side of the car and don’t touch me again. I don’t really like you, or trust you, or want to be your friend (or brother or sis­ter). And I don’t love you.

Even though in Christ we are com­manded to love.

And love is not rude. And it hopes all things.

I’m exhausted from the grudges. I’m tired of feel­ing like we will never have peace. I’m tired of being sus­pi­cious, and hurt, and in the mid­dle. Why can’t we all just stop sin­ning so much? And when we do sin, embrace the cross and be washed by the beau­ti­ful and per­fect blood of the Lamb? Why must we keep score? And expect hurt and sor­row? And begrudge it?

Who says we have any right to hold onto hurt? Where in the Bible do you find that we don’t have to restore rela­tion­ships, that it is okay to hate each other?

We see inter­net fights amongst Chris­tians of dif­fer­ent fla­vors and the­o­log­i­cal bents. We see blog­gers going at each other “to warn the flock.” What on earth must the unsaved souls think of our Lord’s bride? Why aren’t we ashamed of ourselves?

Let’s sit closely together. And let’s hold hands. Roll down the win­dows, and sing at the top of our lungs. Let’s learn to love again. God has given us to each other for edi­fi­ca­tion, to exhort one another, for encour­age­ment. We are God’s gift to one another. Don’t despise your broth­ers and sisters.

Come on over and sit on my side of the car. And please for­give me if I acci­den­tally (or pur­pose­fully) touch you. It’s going to hap­pen. Some­times my hands just wave about aim­lessly in the liv­ing. We won’t always agree. We won’t always see eye to eye. Some­times I will be wrong on this doc­trine or that. And some­times you will be.

But Scrip­ture is clear: They will know we are Chris­tians by our love. (John 13:35)

Photo credit

I’ve linked up here: A Wise Woman Builds Her HomeDeep Roots at Home,  Sim­ply Help­ing Him& Titus 2 Tues­days. Go check them out for more links to other blogs you might enjoy.


My Stint with Comfort Services

My Stint with Comfort Services

My hus­band and I help a tiny bit with our state’s home­school­ing con­fer­ence. We used to be on the con­fer­ence com­mit­tee, but when Mike took over as the Exec­u­tive Direc­tor, we stepped down from our Vol­un­teer Chair­per­sons posi­tion. It just seemed like the right thing to do.

This year, the Black For­est Fire hap­pened the same week as the con­fer­ence. The sweet woman who runs the Com­fort Ser­vices posi­tion had to evac­u­ate her home because of the fire. So, since I had noth­ing offi­cial to do, I offered to step in and help out.

I ought to men­tion that a dar­ling 14 year old home­school­ing girl was already on the mis­sion, and was shin­ing ever so brightly in the role. But, it was decided that per­haps I might be of some help.

What impressed me about this par­tic­u­lar posi­tion on our con­fer­ence com­mit­tee is that it is all bonus stuff. It is the fluff, the extra spe­cial things that are intended to make peo­ple feel wel­come and spe­cial. It’s all about hospitality.

Com­fort Ser­vices is respon­si­ble for the Speak­ers’ Lounge, the Ven­dors’ Lounge, the Infant Care room, and the Com­mit­tee Lounge. Each of these rooms has a focus of pro­vid­ing a sort of haven away from the crowds, the noise, the hus­tle and bus­tle of the conference.

So much thought and con­sid­er­a­tion goes into the decor of each room. We have lamps so that our guests {speak­ers, ven­dors, and nurs­ing mamas} don’t have to rest under the harsh flu­o­res­cent light­ing that is every­where else in the con­fer­ence hall. We have real fur­ni­ture, to include soft chairs, rock­ing chairs, and tables that have style.

And we even include cots with blan­kets in the speaker and ven­dor lounges, in small dimly lit rooms off of the main lounges. Con­fer­ences can really take a toll on a per­son, so we like to pro­vide a place where they can rest comfortably.

So, why am I telling you all of this? I’m sure other con­fer­ences do the exact same thing. Surely the ideas didn’t orig­i­nate in Colorado.

I’m men­tion­ing it because it really struck me that these lit­tle things really mat­ter when you are try­ing to con­vey love and care to peo­ple. The money that we spend on these lit­tle niceties could be saved in our pock­ets for some other lofty use. But, then we’d all be labor­ing under flu­o­res­cent light­ing with­out a place to be revived and encour­aged. When peo­ple come to work with our orga­ni­za­tion, we want them to know we appre­ci­ate them, care for them, and will go that extra mile to com­mu­ni­cate this to them.

The same thing goes on in our homes, I would guess. We may not set up cots in a lit­tle dark room {that sounds a bit creepy in this con­text}, but we try to make them com­fort­able, cared for, with their needs met.

I don’t know about you, but when some­one goes out of their way to show that I am appre­ci­ated and loved, even in a very small way, I get all mushy inside and just glow with appre­ci­a­tion. Don’t you?

The folks who run Com­fort Ser­vices sel­dom get a chance to rest. Seems like the cof­fee runs out, the sugar and creamer run out, the cups run out…all day long but never at the same time. The lit­tle snacks must be refreshed and swapped out con­tin­u­ally through­out the day to keep them fresh. It’s a busy job, but one that makes a great impact. My hope, and I am sure the hope of that vision­ary so many years ago, is that those who are blessed by the tiny ges­ture of hos­pi­tal­ity that we showed them will see it as Christ’s grace being extended to them in just a tiny way. I hope that they were refreshed and encour­aged. Not for any glory for our con­fer­ence com­mit­tee, but com­pletely for the glory of God.

As I checked on the var­i­ous rooms that were our respon­si­bil­ity last week­end, I loved walk­ing into the lit­tle infant care rooms. The room always had a cou­ple of moth­ers with their babies, car­ry­ing on con­ver­sa­tions as they met the needs of their babies. Oh, how pre­cious that sight was to me every time I went in. As we were min­is­ter­ing to them, they were min­is­ter­ing to their pre­cious chil­dren. Makes me smile to think about it.

I’m so glad dar­ling 14 year old home­school­ing girls have a lot of energy. And lots of friends. They made such a beau­ti­ful impact on so many lives that weekend.

She teaches me so much

She teaches me so much

On Fri­day, I took the chil­dren to the CHEC (Chris­t­ian Home Edu­ca­tors of Col­orado) office to fin­ish up a lit­tle bit of work in prepa­ra­tion for our state con­fer­ence. The kids love going there since Dad works there. And they have candy and soda.

And Dad always says yes…

Or so they tell me. As they are walk­ing past me on the way to ask Dad some­thing. With a skip in their step.


So, while I was work­ing and they were keep­ing busy with var­i­ous tasks like fold­ing fly­ers and such, Faith got her hands on a lit­tle home­school comic book. She spent some time read­ing the comics.

Fast for­ward to Sat­ur­day morning.

I was on the ellip­ti­cal try­ing to get my blood pump­ing a bit before I started the marathon of a day. {Not a lit­eral marathon in case you mis­read that sen­tence. That would be seri­ously funny for those who know me in per­son. I am NOT a runner.}

Faith approached me and started talk­ing. She obvi­ously had been mulling over something.

Mom? I was read­ing a Chris­t­ian comic book yesterday.”

Me, pant­ing, won­der­ing why this con­ver­sa­tion has to take place at this par­tic­u­lar moment, but real­iz­ing that it is weigh­ing heavy on her heart.

Yes, Faith?”

Well, Mom, it seems like all they do is mock non-Christians.”

I asked her for a clar­i­fi­ca­tion, and she gave me some exam­ples. Things that prob­a­bly would have flown right under my radar of mock­ing, but she was dead on. I asked her if some­one had talked to her about this, and she said that nobody had.  So, she fig­ured this out all on her own.

And she was right. I stopped my exer­cis­ing for the moment. Seri­ously stunned by her per­cep­tion. She’s a brand new 7. I’m slightly older than that. And she gets what I so often over­look. In our humor, do we mock what oth­ers just don’t have eyes to see? Are we insen­si­tive to the fact that God maybe hasn’t opened their eyes to see Truth? Do we take it for granted as though we some­how fig­ured it out all on our own?

I told Faith that she is right, that we shouldn’t mock oth­ers, even those who don’t know Christ. We need to love them and show them Christ, that we need to be care­ful with our speech. I’m sure all of the comics weren’t of a mock­ing nature. I’m pretty sure some of them were funny in their own right, not at the expense of a non-Christian. But I got the point.

And then I went upstairs to share this with my hus­band who was equally stunned by her per­cep­tion. God has been so mer­ci­ful to us. Let us show that mercy to oth­ers. And stop the mock­ing. Even if we think we’re just being funny. It’s really no joke.



The Lord has blessed me with some pretty won­der­ful friends. I have learned so much from them. I just need to prac­tice more of what I have learned, and then per­haps oth­ers will be blessed as well. That’s how it works, right?

One friend declares she’s my BFF when we chat. She’s funny and kind and thought­ful. She shares so much with me. I mean so. much. I have promised to keep things pri­vate. Trust me. It’s bet­ter that way. Oh, how I love to laugh with her. She says that her fam­ily can tell when we are chat­ting online. They just know because she’s laugh­ing. It’s not all silli­ness though. We are able to talk through some pretty seri­ous top­ics as well. I love those talks.

Another dear friend is now my daugh­ter in law. We have been friends for years. She’s one of the most loyal and com­pas­sion­ate peo­ple I know. And she loves me back. How pre­cious is that? We tell our son that we loved her first. And now she’s my daugh­ter. She’s a con­fi­dant. A friend in every sense of the word. How did I find myself so incred­i­bly blessed? I can­not com­pre­hend the depth of God’s love for me, but this is a sam­pling of it to be sure! I always hoped that I would find it easy to love my daugh­ters in law. We are off to a great start! May the Lord be blessed through our future gen­er­a­tions as we build on this love as a family!

But, the par­tic­u­lar friend I’d like to share with you today is a woman I met in Eng­land. She’s actu­ally Irish, just so you don’t con­fuse her with being Eng­lish. Appar­ently, that’s a big no-no. I didn’t know that when we first met her fam­ily.  But I’m a quick study. We have been friends now for about 11 years. She is a witty woman, but it took me time to fig­ure that out. {So much for being a quick study?} She hid it from me for years. I was just so busy soak­ing up godly coun­sel, learn­ing so much from her. Our friend­ship is deep, abid­ing. She is who I think of when I read

A man who has friends must him­self be friendly, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother. Proverbs 18:24


A friend loves at all times…Proverbs 17:17

My dear friend, Angela, sends me let­ters and emails as time per­mits. My heart glows with joy when I receive them, even before I open the let­ter and read a sin­gle word. She always sends me words of encour­ag­ment, exhor­ta­tion, love. She doesn’t sugar-coat things, but she gives me such godly coun­sel. She reminds me of what I think the Puri­tans must have been like. Drink­ing so deeply from the foun­tain of God’s Word, able to express it in all she says and does. And liv­ing life with joy. She min­is­ters con­tin­u­ously to those around her: her fam­ily, her church, her friends. And she doesn’t expect acco­lades or praise. She does it all as unto the Lord. She is such a godly woman of virtue. I thank God for her daily.

I desire to be a friend like these friends, and count­less oth­ers that the Lord has blessed me with by putting them in my life. I want to radi­ate Christ to oth­ers as these women do. I could list sev­eral more friends who have touched my life in sig­nif­i­cant ways. As I write this, names rush through my mind along with their strengths and virtues. Women from church who encour­age oth­ers qui­etly, with­out fan­fare. Women who tend to their many chil­dren as unto the Lord. I was going to say they tend tire­lessly, but I know that isn’t true. They are tired, to be sure. But they con­tinue on day after day. The young women who min­is­ter to many fam­i­lies and their own also. And so many others.

Oh, to have a life marked by the title of friend. “She was a friend to the friend­less.” or “She was a faith­ful friend.” To have friends, you must be friendly. I find myself often too wor­ried about my own shy­ness to step out of my com­fort zone to be friendly to the stranger. Am I the only one? Or, I have a list of peo­ple I need to touch base with on a Sun­day after church which ham­pers me from reach­ing out to the stranger amongst us. I fret that time is too short and we only see each other once a week. I am con­victed that this is demon­strat­ing the wrong pri­or­i­ties. Yes, we need to keep up friend­ships, and that takes time and effort. But we also need to min­is­ter to the lonely, the stranger, and the weak among us. We need to be like Jesus would be. Com­pas­sion­ate and other-centered. Not self-centered, which comes so nat­u­rally to me. And prob­a­bly just about every­one else.

I am so thank­ful that we have exam­ples of friends here in flesh and blood. God has given me such rich, deep friend­ships. As they mir­ror Christ’s love, the friend­ships grow deeper, and I learn more and more how to be a friend. I pray that I bless them at least a tiny bit of a reflec­tion of how they bless me. And I pray that the Lord strength­ens them to con­tinue in their well-doing. All for His glory.

Do you have an exam­ple of a good friend? A loyal friend? One who sticks closer than a brother?

I just thought of a few more friends. I could write a novel, I think, with sto­ries of their loy­alty and faith­ful­ness. I am so unde­serv­ing. But may God be praised.


Did you hear about…

Did you hear about…

In the mul­ti­tude of words, sin is not lack­ing, But he who restrains his lips is wise.

I’ve noticed that some­times I have such a burn­ing desire to share what’s on my mind about some­thing or some­one who has offended me. I think that if I could just tell some­one about it, that I will feel so much bet­ter and be able to move on. In my heart, I know that this isn’t right, but I *have* to tell some­one or I will just keep stew­ing. Ugh. It never works out that way. I end up feel­ing much worse about the sit­u­a­tion and the rep­u­ta­tion of the per­son I spoke about. I worry that my words will be repeated, and the bur­den I have laid upon the poor soul who I dumped on. Inter­est­ingly, the sit­u­a­tion that I thought would just ease up has mul­ti­plied in my head instead of dis­si­pated, like I had deceived myself into believ­ing it would do. Why is it that we can know what Scrip­ture says about some­thing, but we set out to do it our way instead? Why can’t I remem­ber that the Lord is the One who set­tles mat­ters, and I don’t have to take things into my own hands? Why do I worry about these things and waste time and energy in this unlaw­ful pur­suit, when I could be build­ing the king­dom by min­is­ter­ing to some­one, bless­ing my chil­dren, liv­ing in joy rather than think­ing so much about the per­son who has stepped on my toes? Just who do I think I am anyway?

We see it every­where: on blogs, on TV shows, in movies, in our churches, at social gath­er­ings, on face­book. Peo­ple have this inate desire to talk about peo­ple, about what they have done wrong. But we’ve all done wrong. We’ve all stepped on toes. We’ve all pur­pose­fully and acci­den­tally offended oth­ers. Do we want them to be char­i­ta­ble to us, over­look­ing our gross sins, for­giv­ing us with­out spread­ing gos­sip about us? Of course we do! Well, I know I do. Please, don’t let peo­ple know how wretched I really am. But, we some­how feel that we can step out and shout from the rooftops, or whis­per over a cup of tea, about the injus­tice, rude­ness, and insen­si­tiv­ity of Jane. Or Joe.

I don’t want to be that person.

Keep your tongue from evil and your lips from speak­ing deceit.

I was recently con­sid­er­ing the verses in Scrip­ture men­tion­ing that Mary “pon­dered these things in her heart” when refer­ing to all that was hap­pen­ing to her, and what the shep­herds told her con­cern­ing her Son. Would that have been my reac­tion? Pon­der­ing? Per­haps some. But I imag­ine that I would also be want­ing to talk about it, look at it from all angles, dis­cuss it over cof­fee. I mean, this was a majorly big deal. The biggest deal ever in the his­tory of man! And she had the matu­rity, grace, wis­dom to pon­der these things in her heart. Wow. And then I real­ize how utterly depen­dent upon the grace of God I am. For each breath and each word not spoken.

Typ­i­cally, I live my life over­flow­ing with the joy of the Lord. Truly. But when I dwell on the thought about some­one treat­ing me or a loved one in an unlov­ing man­ner, it steals my joy. And when I repeat the offense to some­one else, I find I have dif­fi­culty falling asleep at night. I’m thank­ful for that prick­ing of my con­science. It is a won­der­ful reminder to repent and forgive.

Let your speech always be with grace, sea­soned with salt, so you know how to answer each one.

My prayer is that I would be more godly in my thoughts and words; that I would love more. I don’t think we can love too much. And that peace will rule in my heart. I pray that I will be enabled to over­look offenses, to remem­ber the bless­ings of the same per­son who offended. I pray that my life will mir­ror our Lord’s life more. And that I will stop being so self­ish. Am I alone in this struggle?

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