It was one of the most difficult things I have ever had to do.Continue Reading...
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There is a good spiritual recipe I learned as a young girl. I can basically sum it up in a song I learned but it comes directly from the Bible in the book of Micah 6:8. It is simply, “He has showed me, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of me? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with my God.” In that simple phrase has been my recipe for living in this world and finding any kind of success and happiness.
Now I have to note here that I in no way can boast any success that the world measures. There is no high education degree that I have earned. I haven’t won any major awards or can even boast about a high paying job. My success simply comes from the knowledge (the recipe) that God has given me to live a happy fulfilled life. I might still feel pain and sorrow but there is no missing link in my life.
Now here is the back story to this recipe. I learned this song with those simple biblical phrases in an atmosphere that you wouldn’t quite imagine for a young girl. I use to sing that song surrounded by men and women who knew too well the loving mercy of God. I grew up in a ministry that reached out to those with life controlling addictions and many who came through the doors of the ministry as a last resort before imprisonment. These lives were miraculously changed by simply finding the love of Christ. So that song that we all would sing together in church was truly a witness to God’s plan for all those who made a commitment to living a life in Christ. A testament to what is truly good.
The secret ingredient for me that I realized at a young age was that I was no different than those that walked through the doors of that ministry. When I hear people in the faith world discuss the law of God and the grace of God and argue the two away, I feel compelled to share my little recipe. The two go hand in hand. It is about God’s law and it is about God’s grace but it is also about walking humbly. It is my job to juggle all three on a regular basis. It is the only way I have found to please God and to find peace and happiness in my life.
Here’s the thing about this recipe. Some people find it like me at a young age and some have to struggle in life before they reach the knowledge of what God does require of them. However, the most important part is that God is the great redeemer. He takes the young girl who walks the faith road all her life and the ex. drug-addict or criminal and puts them on the same redemptive path. All He asks is that we follow His laws, we show mercy to others and we walk humbly hand in hand together. It’s that humble part that is sometimes the most difficult (at least for me) but the most important part of this recipe. He has showed us what is good but we have to be humble enough to admit it is indeed that simple.
I have been extremely blessed in my life with three beautiful children. They are all very different and each one has their own God given gifts and talents. I am learning, as their mother, how to encourage them in their gifts while trying to distinguish the difference between my will for their life and God’s will. I don’t know their future but God does. I have only one real desire for their lives and that is that they live under the shadow of the Almighty.
The imagery of living under a shadow can conjure up a lot of emotions depending on who you talk to. I think about our fame obsessed world. The children of famous actors have to live under the shadow of fame. The child of the important CEO of a multi-million company lives under the shadow of business, education and wealth. Then there’s the evangelist or even local church pastor whose children live under the shadow of faith and spirituality. Dark shadows such as abuse and control can also be cast upon a person. So many shadows on so many children that sometimes it’s a wonder how they ever grow up and out of them.
The thing about a shadow is it covers and sometimes protects. However, the other part of it is that it follows you wherever you go. I am always impressed by the children who grow up under these many different shadows and manage to come out confident and intact. I have seen the devastating side of living under a shadow as well. There’s usually a fight to be independent and free from the shadow. Many times it comes with hardships like rebellion, depression, and even addiction.
My children do not have to live under their parent’s shadow. We don’t have roles in life that put us up in front of crowd watchers and followers. I am blessed with the fact that my children are actually ahead of us in line and we are gently behind, encouraging them with open arms, helping them find their way in life. It is not as easy for those cast under the shadow. Sometimes, for many different reasons, the shadow acts as a wall and few know how to climb over it.
The positive side of living under a shadow is when a person lets go of the burden the shadow casts there tends to be freedom. Finding that freedom comes with the knowledge that you can be the person you were made to be in Christ. To use your own talents and God given gifts in the way God meant you to live all along. It is there you feel the hand of God behind you and encouraging you with open arms and feeling the mighty protection of living under the shadow of the Almighty. The place I pray my children will live now and in their future no matter where their paths may take them.