Weigh Me Down

An Anxious Heart-kevinmartineau.ca

Nothing feels better than weight lifted or pounds lost. It’s much easier to accumulate worries and weight than it is to get rid of them, so it is amazing when God lifts a tremendous weight. I’ve always allowed people and circumstances to weigh me down, but I’ve finally learned on Saturday that peace cannot be purchased at any price. It is, however, freely given if I will only let God have His way with my heart.

There have been many changes in my life over the past two years, and I’ve gained twelve pounds in the transition. Food fills and soothes my soul, but it leaves my body miserable. God helped me see that added weight is a side effect of allowing my heart to be weighed down. What’s going on in my heart will express itself in my body. A pound of fat contains seven miles of blood vessels, so each pound puts a terrible burden on my heart. Added fat literally steals my energy. When I have less energy, I eat more; and the endless cycle of weight gain begins.

One minute of frustration has the same effect on my emotional health as an extra pound of fat has on my physical body. Last week, I let others to rob me of my joy and deplete my energy. That got in the way of enjoying my beautiful family and my amazing new home. God made it clear on Saturday night that extra weight of any kind is my choice. He will not lift weight while I hanging on to it. There is a certain safety in weight, but there is no satisfaction.

God never adds weight; He lifts it. Jesus makes that clear in Mathew 11:28-30:

“Come to Me, all who are weary and heavy-laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.” (NASB)

It’s bad enough when I let the world get me down, but it’s inexcusable when I think God is the One putting the added weight on my heart. God sent His only Son to lift the burden of sin from my heart; how could I possibly think He would take that burden and replace it with another.

During our church service yesterday, we were asked to write down the dream we had for our children. That was very easy for me to do. I only want one thing for my son; I want him to know he is loved. God smiled when I wrote down my answer and reminded me that was the only thing He desired for me. I looked over at my son writing down his dream for his two precious girls and smiled too. I don’t know what he wrote, but I’m sure it had to do with love and not stuff.

Love lifts as nothing else can, and that’s why God sent His precious Son’s love. He knew it was what His weighed down children needed. This Mother’s Day was the best ever because my heart was as light as it’s ever been. Tyler’s unconditional love lifts my heart beautifully. Now, I just have to work on my hips!! He used to be a physical trainer, so maybe he will help me with that too 🙂

Tyler and Me 5-10-15

Lust, Love, and m&m’s

God broke the sugar coating right off of my heart this week and used a very sweet image to teach an important lesson in love. I have the tendency to allow my heart, as Langston Hughes would say, to “crust over like a syrupy sweet” in order to protect it from the pain that accompanies love. God’s love cracked that colorful coating into a thousand pieces last week in order to show me the deep rich love I was about to miss. Forest Mars and Bruce Murrie found that a candy coating would keep their sweet chocolate from melting in my hand before it melted in my mouth. I learned the same about my heart long ago.

I wasn’t expecting the image God brought early this morning. In fact, I already had my own image and my own beautiful thoughts. I am learning to let go of mine and go with His. Lust is a colorful candy coating that covers love if I let it. I’m afraid I’ve done just that for a very long time. If I settle for lust’s candy coating, I miss the rich love God has in mind for me. I can’t imagine putting m&m’s in a jar and looking at them or licking off the coating and throwing the chocolate away, but I came very close to doing just that last week.

God knows the way I love, and He always knows exactly what my heart needs. I marvel at how He used a little piece of candy to teach a lesson I will not soon forget. Each time I eat one of those sweet little treats, I plan to smile and thank God for the deep rich love that is more than I could ever imagine on my own and far better than the thin colorful coating that covers it.

Love, Lust, and m&m's

The God of Hope

Love and hope are inseparable. God’s love offers hope that leads to joy and peace beyond description. Romans 15:13 is a sweet blessing that fills my heart each time I read it.

Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” NASB

Only the power of the Holy Spirit can bring the love, hope, joy, and peace of God. There are many substitutes in this world, but none compare to what God has to offer. I forget the Spirit and head out on my own sometimes and find myself lost and alone. When I am not feeling connected, I know the problem is love. I belong to the body of Christ and that means loving God and others. I can try to worship Him on my own, but it just won’t work. I can try to worship with others without loving them, but that will also fail.

Christ says this about love in Matthew 22:36-40.

Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?”And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments depend the whole Law and the Prophets.” NASB

Love isn’t negotiable and neither is being a part of His body. I am, and always will be, whether I like it or not. I can try to separate myself from other believers, but it is as futile an act as an eye deciding to take off on its own. “We are one in the bond of love” as the beautiful hymn says, and I cannot love or fully live without being connected to others.

I love being in a house filled with the sounds of love. The girls bless me each time they come running to my room to say good morning or good night. My heart is right at home here, and the lessons in love just keep getting better. This week’s have gone straight to my core and hurt deeply, but God is faithful to bless, heal, and stretch my heart a little with each lesson:)

Sweet Simplicity:)

As I cleaned, packed, and unpacked yesterday, I thought of how much stuff I have. Ten years ago, I made an important step in the right direction. It was freeing to leave my stuff behind, but I wouldn’t have if given a choice. I have accumulated more stuff in the past decade, but I find it much easier to let go now. I have learned not to attach to stuff, and that’s a beautifully freeing feeling.

Stuff complicates and gets in the way of simplicity.  I plan to make sure that I don’t get buried by the desire to hang on to anything other than God’s love. Now is the perfect time to pass along those things I don’t need and find new uses for what I do have. There’s a sweetness to simplicity that I crave more and more.

At the heart of simplicity is knowing what’s important and letting go of all that isn’t. It has taken a long time for me to come to that place of understanding, but I suppose it’s all part of growing up. Christ knew what was important and lived a simple life, and so did John the Baptist. God’s message was, and always will be, a simple one that appeals to simple folks.

My lifestyle will change dramatically in the coming months, and I’m looking forward to the lessons and the love that God has in store. I pray I will remember that simplicity makes life much sweeter and allows God the space He needs. I’m finding that I literally have to stop what I’m doing and look at the view from time to time. As the sun set yesterday, I realized that I didn’t need to worry about hanging my pictures on the wall. God already painted an amazing landscape that changes by the second. I also don’t think I’ll worry about cable or internet service for a while:)

Psalm 116:6 says, “The LORD preserves the simple; I was brought low, and He saved me.” and Psalm 119:130 says, “The unfolding of Your words gives light; It gives understanding to the simple.” 

As I humbly look to God’s words for light and understanding, I will be brought low. It is a good low that puts me in the perfect position to learn  from and love Him. We are all “the simple;” we just don’t all know it. I’m learning that simple is a good thing, and simplicity is very sweet:)

Preparing for God’s Presence

The path which leads me through this world is a very tiny part of my journey, but it is a very important part that prepares me for God’s presence. This leg of my journey is about learning to love, and the lessons learned allow me to begin walking in His kingdom now.

The lessons in love this week have reminded me of the simple truth that God is love, and he who doesn’t love doesn’t know God. Sobering lessons indeed. Love isn’t complicated and is described beautifully in 1 Corinthians 13:4-8a

“Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never fails” NASB

Love never fails, but people often do because we are imperfect. Attempts at love keep us humble in that regard:) God knows the struggles we face when it comes to love, and He hears my heart as I struggle. I take love and make it what I want it to be, and that is as silly as taking God and making Him what I want Him to be. I’m guilty of that too.

God is patient and rejoices with the truth. He never fails and neither does true love. As God reveals Himself to me, I see love in a new light. Christ’s precious love is the life and the light behind love beautifully expressed. He is the heart of God’s Word and stands as the ultimate example when it comes to love.

When I drift off course, I turn to God’s Word. He shares His journey with me and invites me to come along and abide in Him. When I accept His invitation, He abides in me. That abiding becomes the most beautiful connection possible on this side of heaven, and I can have it with Him and those with whom I share His love.

The world tempts and tries to fill me with a variety of cheap imitations, but once I taste love in God’s light, my heart will not settle for anything less. My journey here presents a perfect path to prepare my heart for love. My path has been a convoluted one which has left me reeling at times, but it has led to a greater understanding of just who God is and who He wants me to be.

As a minister once told me, all we can do is nudge a little closer to God and help others do the same. Wise words that aptly describe this path which prepares us for God’s presence:)

What Did I Come Here For?

I had a list of things to do after Lillyann’s visit today, so I took her home and began my quest. I looked for my list after dropping her off and realized I had left it at home. I decided to relax and enjoy the day. It’s been a week filled with difficult lessons, so I let go and forgot about what I had planned. I headed to the jewelers because it was time to do something I had been trying to do for a decade. I had my engagement and wedding rings with me, and I was ready to let them go.

I went in but wasn’t sure the small town jeweler would be able to help me. When I asked about the transformation, the beautiful young lady helping me smiled and said it would not be a problem at all. The first design she showed me was absolutely perfect! God read my mind and my heart, and the beautiful gold heart design reflected the changes in my own heart and the lessons this week. Perfect, I’ll take it!

I don’t know anything about diamonds or settings, so I wasn’t thinking of size and fit as I fell in love with the sweet design. After explaining the process to me, the stone had to be measured to see if it would work. It was perfect! I couldn’t believe how quickly all was coming together and then I remembered that God was along. He was just showing off today. He often does that after tough lessons and brings sweet comfort just when I need it. He encourages me to keep learning, and the ring was a beautiful and unexpected example of just that.

When I left the jewelers, I decided to head to “Jack’s Mountain Home” and get a new Life is Good tee shirt.  I needed a new tee even though it wasn’t on my list. The ring wasn’t on the list either, and look how that turned out! The first shirt I saw was a pink one with “Hello Love” on the front. Perfect, I’ll take it! The day continued to get better as I went from one store to the next with no agenda and no list.

I looked at my list sitting next to the sofa when I got home. I hadn’t gotten a single item or done a single thing written on the sheet.  I may not have gotten the cute, cozy sleepwear, but I got something that did make my heart feel as warm and cozy as it’s ever felt. Lately, I find myself asking, “What did I come here for? Why did I walk in this room? Where was I heading?” more and more. The joy of growing older is that I am getting to the place where I smile, figure it must not have been important, and consider it another step in becoming vintage:)

Sweet Side Effect:)

Side effect is defined by Bing as “a usually undesirable secondary effect produced by something.” Usually is the key word; the side effect I’m talking about is a very positive one. As I pray, I notice a sweet side effect that helps me understand Christ’s call to prayer. When I pray for someone who has hurt me or treated me unfairly, I notice that my attitude towards them begins to change. It’s a slow process that requires more than one dose of prayer to get the desired result, but the beautiful feeling defies description.

I see why Jesus sits at God’s right hand and prays for me unceasingly. He knows those prayers change me and bring me closer to God. When I understand that, I am also drawn near to those who have been at arm’s length or further away. Barriers are broken, priorities change, and suddenly the distance is absorbed by the love that intercession frees. There is nothing more powerful than intercession or Christ wouldn’t be doing it.

As I told my class this morning at church, if you’re looking for a financial advisor, shopper, lawyer, or sugar daddy, you need to find another Savior. This One is about the business of praying and lifting me up to God. So many look to Christ to get and do and fix. He loves and prays. Others need a superhero who is going to vanquish and kill. He loves and prays. Some might ask if that’s enough. As I’ve come to understand Who Christ is and Who He isn’t, I have come to know it’s more than enough. Prayer is the least and most any of us can do.

It’s only taken me sixty years to come to that understanding, but I’m thankful to finally get it. The fifties allowed me the space to find out who I am and begin to understand Who God is. I’m thinking the sixties is going to be more about what I am here to do. The call to prayer came at 57, but I kept God on hold for three years. I prayed during that time but not as He desired. I came up with my own to-do list and ignored His. I’m humbled that He never hung up on me but rather waited lovingly for me to understand the nature and importance of His call. I often wonder if the human life span is getting longer because it’s taking us longer to figure out what it is He’s trying to teach us while we’re here:) I say that as the slowest and most stubborn learner I know.

I’ve been sixty for almost a month, and I have to say it’s been an eventful twenty-five days. The lessons have been difficult, but the learning has been amazing. Change may be the theme for this decade, and that’s okay with me. Whatever God has in mind, I want to be open and ready to hear and respond with love. The good news is that I’ve lost ten pounds and can wear clothes I haven’t worn in years! I wouldn’t recommend the diet plan to anyone, but I have to say that I learned that I have to make some changes when it comes to what and how much I eat. Another positive side effect!

Change is good, and I know the sixties are going to be wonderful. Lessons in love are pointing me in the right direction, and my heart is changing. Maybe you can teach an old dog new tricks if you grab her attention and use the right motivation:)