Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Texas


       Texas – born and raised.  I’ve lived here in the heart of the hill country my whole life.  Aside from one brief trip to California, I’ve never even been out of the southern United States, and even that trip was spent mostly on a military base (Camp Pendleton).  Suffice it to say, I’m well inundated in southern culture.

       However, I am well educated, and I have friends from all over the world.  And many of my close friends are not locals.  (I know I’m friends with Yankees, y’all, but I promise they are born-again believers, it’s ok ;)

       And frequently, when people come to visit, they often comment on how “weird” things are in Texas.  I get it, it’s hard to move to a new place with new culture.  But I get frustrated when the complaints keep rolling in, but yet, people keep moving here.  The other day I overheard some friends talking about what is there to do in San Antonio – where there’s the Alamo, they said – what kind of state makes such a big deal about a battle they lost.  And you know, that just got under my skin.  

       For those of you who “ain’t from around here” – the Alamo represents the best of Texas heart.   The men were outnumbered almost 200 to 8,000!  And the nearly 200 were mostly just your dad and brother and second-cousin Bill – they were up against Santa Ana’s army!  But they literally drew a line in the sand and said that they would fight for their homeland – and every man gave their life holding off this army for eight days (I believe).  And this incredible act of heroism rallied the rest of the Texans to fight and we won the war.  They may have lost the battle, but their sacrifice turned the tide. 

       In Texas, you won’t find people threatening our right to bear arms, and you are rarely likely to find some psycho threatening our families and children, because every good ol’ boy and girl is packing and we’ve got good aim folks. 

       The Bible says that those who “live by the sword, die by the sword”, and we don’t live by the gun, either, we are just not going to let some gangster, thug, terrorist march in and threaten our families and friends – and we’ll lay down our own lives if it means that those we love, and often those we don’t even know can be safe and free. 

       And “good ol’ boy” – it’s a good thing – not some ignorant, wealthy politician from the south – the good ol’ boys here, are the people that still value working to provide for your family, they are honest and trustworthy, and they’ll give the shirt of their back if you need it. 

       And perhaps our hair is big and we like a lot of rustic stars or turquoise crosses and we say things like fixin’, ain’t, y’all, but when you move down here from wherever you’ve come from and don’t have a friend, we’ll invite you over for dinner and make sure your family is cared for and help you find a job and make you feel a part of a family.

       As I drove down I-35 yesterday and saw every over pass and the southbound sides lined with people waving flags to show their respect for Chief Petty Officer Chris Kyle, I was brought to tears.  The outpouring of love and honor for his family is so due, and I am so proud to live in a state that still recognizes a good man. 


       I am so thankful to live in a state where people stand for something!  Thank You God that I get to live in this wonderful state - please Lord, draw us all nearer to You, let us be a city on a hill, a lamp for the entire world to see Your love and grace and wisdom and power! 

Tuesday, February 5, 2013


Friendships are a tricky thing.  They are both fragile and strong, tender and tough.  They are the place where you can experience to most joy and growth and peace, but also the place that can inflict the most hurt in the most vulnerable of places. 

And if you learned how to do friendships poorly, and have to relearn how to build friendships as an adult it is even trickier. 

I often get frustrated with the process because with all the things that I have to do and someone else’s schedule, building a relationship is challenging.  First there’s even finding time to see each other, then finding time/place to talk over screaming mimis, and all the while trying to I.D. someone’s character to see what level of friendship is possible – all of it sometimes just makes a girl want to throw in the towel. 

Sometimes in the process, all the work that it takes to be real about where I am, and the time that it takes to build real friendships and plan and listen and invest…ugh…it just makes me nuts.  And I cry out to God, “I want intimate friendshipssss!  I want to know and love and be known and loved and accepted.  And just be able to be totally real – good, bad, ugly without any social pretense…” this is sometimes followed by sobs or shouting in anger or just whispered under my breath as I fold more clothes and clean up more spills. 

But you know what – lonely as I sometimes feel – God has always been this for me.  Sometimes people ask me how I can feel so close to God – well, because He’s always been there for me, and I have been lonely – A LOT!  And you know what, He always listens, always accepts me, always gives good advice, always sticks up for me, never lies to me, never talks behind my back, always keeps His Word…the list goes on forever.

So, maybe you feel lonely sometimes too, and you are tempted to go to facebook to feel connected or just build friendships with anyone just so there is someone – DON’T DO IT…go to God.  Let Him be your friend.

“I will never leave you or forsake you.” – God (Duet. 31:6, Heb. 13:5, etc)

 

Monday, February 4, 2013

Crazy Little Thing Called Love


The funny thing about love is – that you can never say for sure it’s love until it’s tested.

 

Love suffers long and is kind; Love does not envy; Love does not parade itself, is not puffed up;

Does not behave rudely, Does not seek its own, Is not provoked, Thinks no evil;

Does not rejoice in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth;

Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Love never fails.

                                         -1 Corinthians 13:4-8

 

How do you know if love suffers long – if it has been through a long time of suffering – it is patient.  How do you know if your love is not envious – when that person gets something that you wanted and/or think you deserve and you are not jealous but can celebrate their victory.

 

I was pretty sure that Scott loved me the day that we got married, but I can tell you for sure that after nearly six years of marriage, that man looooves me.  You know how I know?  Because even though we have been through trials and even though our relationship has been at times difficult to bear, that man has pushed through, believed in me, and chosen to love me anyway. 

 

And the best part, I didn’t deserve it. 

 

Now don’t get me wrong – I’m not a terrible wife – I don’t have low self esteem; I know that I have things I bring to the table, but there have been things that each of us have done to the other that was painful.  Intentionally or not, our actions hurt the other and deserved anger, punishment – any “reasonable” person would say so…but we chose, we choose to love anyway.

 

It’s through his love, that God has helped me to grasp HIS love for me, for you, for every single one of us.  We have messed up.  The Bible isn’t a book of suggestions – it is a book of how we are to live in concert with God’s will – if we fail at even one small part – we have sinned.  1 Cor. 13 goes on to talk about if we have all the gifts of prophecies and tongues but not love we are useless.  Jesus says all the law and prophets hinge on loving God with all of you and loving others as you love yourself.  I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty sure that I have been impatient with others…

 

The great thing is, even though I’ve failed, God still loves me anyway.  And I knooow – because seriously, I have tested it, trust me, He loves you too.  And the fact that He just loves me anyway, even though I definitely do not deserve it, gives me strength to keep getting back up and trying again, and tenderizes my heart to be a little more patient with others.

 

Go ahead, try it out – God loves you, and He’s willing to show you if you’ll let Him.