Monday, August 16, 2010

Transparency and Love

Have you ever been entrenched in a life-situation and find yourself saying, "This is so not me! how did I get involved in this?" A relatively new friend and I shared two such situations yesterday.

I shared my story (long periods of unemployment due to lay offs, a condemned apartment and a resulting less-than-desirable living arrangement) as a way to lay it all on the table and say, "for better or for worse, this is where I came from."

He shared his story, more recent, if not current, as a way to let me know what I could be getting into and. . .quite frankly, if it was too much for me, to give me the chance to run. Instead of scaring me, his honesty and caring transparency actually endeared me more to him. He shared out of love with the potential for loss.

Don't get me wrong, I am by no means saying that we should bare our hearts to everyone we meet, but, perhaps we should be working toward that type of honesty in our inner circle. How much we would grow if we could only be in a place in our established relationships where our hearts were receptive to people: where we could share with transparency instead of holding back for fear of judgement or rejection and loss.

I pray that being transparent in a relationship could bring you closer to someone: help you know, understand, appreciate, direct your prayers for, and, ultimately, love them more and better. Without sacrifice do we really have love? Love is patient and kind, not envious or boastful. Love is not proud, rude or self seeking. It's not easily angered or grudgeful. Love rejoices in the truth. It protects, trusts , hopes and perseveres. . .always. (from 1 Corinthians 13) Are we willing to share and hear the truth? And after sharing and hearing, are we willing to protect, trust, hope and persevere. . .willing to love?

Monday, August 9, 2010

What are your intentions?

In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without heart. John Bunyan

This quote appeared in a book I am working through Give Me 40 Days by Freeda Bowers, a forty day journal focusing on praying for others. The focus scripture for today was Hebrews 4:12 The word of God is alive and active, sharper than any double-edged sword. It cuts all the way thourgh, to where soul and spirit meet, to where joints and marrow come together. It judges the desires and thoughts of man's heart. Verse 13 adds, there is nothing that can be hidden from God; everything in all creation is exposed and lies open before his eyes. And it is to him that we must all give an account of ourselves. GNE

I think I had always studied the first part of verse 12, never giving much thought to the last sentence about judging the desires and thoughts of our hearts. Freeda Bowers writes about checking our heart to ensure we are praying out of the right motives. Her example is praying for a son who is on drugs: are you praying simply because he is an embarrassemnt to you? Another example is of a woman praying for the salvation of her mother. "Why?, Freeda asked her. "So she won't go to hell." Bowers felt prompted to tell her that "everything done in the earth is to be done solely for the purpose of bringing glory to God (1 Cor. 10:31.) That even means salvation."

It made me think about some of my prayer requests. As I'm praying for Daniel and Jason to become men of God, am I praying this to avoid the complications and my own heartache should they choose another path? When I am praying for health and healing in my relationships is it just so I can be comfortable in my life?

How are your intentions in relation to prayers?

Friday, August 6, 2010

Deep South Magazine

For more information about tubing in Helen, Georgia and all the rest there is to do there, check out my article that was published yesterday in Deep South Magazine at

Helen is a great multi-season destination four couples and families alike. I had friends who got engaged there twenty years ago (can it really be that long?) and it is even better than I remember it from back then.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Tubing and Trust

I recently returned from a trip to beautiful Helen, Georgia, nestled in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Running through the middle of town is the Chattahoochee River where on a summer Sunday over 10,000 people float lazily down the river to relax and refresh in the cold mountain water. It made me think about tubing. You tube because it is restful-you don't have to do anything but lay there and float. Occasionally your rest may be disturbed by running into something or someone, but basically, it is just laying back and letting the water and the tube connect to get you where you are going.

I think that is the same way God wants his relationship with us to be. He wants us to lay back in his caring, capable arms for rest and refreshment. Sure, we may hit an incidental rock, or run into another person-but He's got things covered. Our job is to trust in him, rest, and end up at the end of our journey refreshed, having spent the journey in His all-knowing arms.

It's nice to know something in life can be simple; simple, I said, too often though, not, easy.