biscuit with butter

Tell the Truth and Let the Lord Love You.

Tell the truth and let the Lord love you.

That should be the title of a book. Or a movie. Or my life. Because if you tell the truth, you’re probably going to irritate someone, so you’ll need the Lord to love you.

I didn’t come up with the saying. I got it secondhand. From a friend’s friend. I texted my friend today to ask her if she was going to church. She texted back that she was going to tell the truth and let the Lord love her, so no, she wasn’t going to church. She was laying on the couch. I was still pretty cozy in my bed (At 10:55 a.m., church starts at 11:15, I made it!), so I had nothing on her. But, that comment soothed my heart. It was butter on a hot biscuit. Freshly baked, just out of the oven, butter dripping down your fingers, warming your belly like you hadn’t eaten in weeks, kind of comment.

Because how hard have you tried to get someone to love you?

Enough to lie? Enough to pretend? Enough to be silent? Enough to do what you thought you’d never do?

I wish the comment was, tell the truth and let your people love you anyway. But, it isn’t. There’s been a few times that my kids needed to tell me a truth. I could see the fear and angst on their faces just before they spoke it. I’m not talking toddler truth here. I am talking man-did-I-mess-up-adult truth. I became mom pretty quick, and let them know that NOTHING, absolutely NOTHING could mess them up with me. Tell me the truth and I will love you to death. I will hot-butter-biscuit-love you to death, because speaking the truth takes a whole lot of courage sometimes.

My mom wasn’t so easy with that. She was quick to give a lecture, or be shocked. It was easy to shock her, which resulted in me lying to her, when really, I just wanted to tell her the truth. She was my mom. I wanted her to love me, and be proud of me, not be shocked by my stupid behavior or outrageous truth. So, yeah. Lying was easier. Tell the truth? Not when your audience is going to have the proverbial hiss-y fit. If the cost of speaking the truth is the cost of love, who does that?

Not me. I won’t give up love for truth. Will you?

I know what you’re thinking. If they can’t handle my truth then I don’t need that kind of love. Okay, Oprah. We agree. But how easy is that? And let’s talk about the people we love who fear losing our love if they’re honest with us. Come on. Super Soul Sunday sounds good, but walk that stuff out, and let’s agree that it is hard to disappoint those we love.

How I wish we’d let others (and ourselves) mess up big time and still love the heck out of each other. How I wish truth produced hugs and loving on one another. How I wish it wasn’t a choice between our truths and the love of loved ones, but sometimes, it is. But wishing is just that, wishing, and while confession is good for the soul, there’s a reason it’s done in a confessional booth with a slotted wall between you and your confessor. We can’t really handle each other’s truths, can we? I mean, really? Can we? It becomes personal. We get all weird, and make up conspiracy theories–assumptions about why they lied to us. Never thinking for a moment it was because they couldn’t stand our shocked faces. It tore them up to imagine it, so they kept quiet for way too long. Hey, I’m guilty of it. Ask my ex.

But, tell the truth and let the Lord love you? That one you can bank on. And, shocker–he already knows your truth. He’s not shocked. And judgment? Well, you got a clean slate the minute Jesus’ hands were pierced, so put that one back on the shelf. Abandon you? Never gonna happen. Your friend? Maybe she left in a huff. But, the Lord? Never.

He’ll love you to death. He’ll clean your wounds, and tell you chin up. He’ll stick by you, while you speak the truth in your heart. Yes, that one. The one that’s been lurking in there for eons. The one behind the door marked private. The one you thought you’d carry to your grave. Hey, listen. It’s on the tip of your tongue, anyway. Has been for awhile.

So, maybe you can’t tell your mom, or your spouse, or your friend. Maybe it isn’t even appropriate, too. But the Lord, yes, tell him, and let the warmth of hot-butter-biscuit love fill you up.

cinthia milner transplanted and still blooming justbow

#JustBow

I’ve been attending a somewhat unusual Bible Study recently (which I’ll describe in next week’s post).  We worked through Jesus’ parables in the fall, and then finished up with the Christmas story this week. Here’s what we learned from our study together (about 15 of us). #JustBow

I didn’t come up with the clever #hashtag idea. A guy in our group did. But it represents the group consensus. Many in our group had never gotten on their knees before. Not for prayer or worship. Though they believed, they weren’t kneel-ers.

I am a kneel-er during my prayer time (though not always). I am one to get on my knees to petition God especially when I am desperate, which is most of the time. Scripture instructs us to petition God, to ask him for what we need, knowing that he hears us, and will respond.

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. Philippians 4:6-7 #JustBow

But, do you see the key word in those verses? Peace. The peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard our hearts and minds. That’s the answer to the prayer, really. We get on our knees, we petition for our troubles, and we rise in peace. God may answer our petitions in all sorts of ways, giving us jobs, loved ones, health, or not–as he deems best–but the first answer to our prayer is peace. Not worldly peace. but God’s peace. Worldly peace is the lack of conflict. God’s peace is peace in the conflict.

But, that is only the beginning of kneeling. Of #JustBow.

The second part, the part I’ve learned through my Tuesday night Bible Study, is bowing in reverence, and in awe with no petition on my lips. No words at all. So no pouring out of my heart, though many tears are shed in that position, but just quiet bowing before God. Scripture says that the day is coming when every knee will bow in praise and honor of Jesus, even those who don’t want too will.

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. Philippians 2:9-11 #JustBow

That verse speaks of a future day, but I wonder if it doesn’t speak of a present day too. At least my fellow Bible Study mates might concur, as each of us slowly moves from a position of pride or control or even rebellion to one of submission and acknowledgment. Are we prophesying this day or are we already there?

I’m at a time in my life when being anxious for nothing is truly impossible. It would be easier to list what I am not anxious about. That list would have about two things on it. The anxious list has so many it’s hard to keep up. And, there are no worldly answers to my situation. My brain cannot figure things out. A therapist isn’t going to get me through this particular valley. Work isn’t the answer. Manipulation is useless. But I can bow. And, when I do, peace is waiting there. Every single time.

I get out of my bed, or out of my chair, and onto my knees or flat on my face, and I stay there. And, when I stand up, I stand taller, more confident, clearer in my thinking, less afraid. That’s a big one, isn’t it? Less afraid? Because there is no way to live in this world and not be afraid. If this world is all we have, then we really have nothing, and fear reigns. But God gives us another verse, one about perfect love.

There is no fear in love, but perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears punishment has not been perfected in love. 1 John 4:18 #JustBow

To bow is to be perfected in love. Not your ability to love, but your ability to be loved by God. You kneel expecting, really, what is deserved, a punishment. You rise, fully loved, fully redeemed, fully at peace. #JustBow

 

The Wisdom to Know

Jumping back into James. We left him at verse 1:8 where he had just instructed us to go to the Lord for wisdom if we needed it, Then he tagged on verse 8, telling us to believe that we had received that wisdom, and not be a double-minded man (or woman), literally, a double-soul, about it. I’m afraid I am right there in that spot. Of two minds concerning a decision I need to make.

Is anyone there with me?

I hate it because I can see the value of both decisions, but I am stuck. I have asked the Lord for wisdom so many times that now, i am just rambling when I pray.

So, here’s what I decided to do. I decided to ask the Lord for wisdom regarding why I am stuck. Yep. A slight paradigm shift there. In other words, I took a few steps back, and asked, not about the decision, but about me.

Have you ever prayed something to death. “Worried your prayers” over something? What is it? Are you still stuck in that same place, years later? 

I’m not talking about a persevering in prayer, which is what we’re called to do, especially for others. I’m talking about finding out why, after all these years, I am on the same topic. The question isn’t is (a or (b better? The question is why am I still asking the same question?

My motivation to do this was verses 1:7-8. I read those verses and was terrified. I really like verse 1:5-6, but 1:7-8 seem to put the pressure back on me. I can ask, but I’ve got to have faith that he answered. The waves of the sea are starting to rock this boat.

5 If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. 6 But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. 7 That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; 8 he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does

So, I asked. Lord, why am I stuck? Why can’t I believe you when you give me wisdom? What am I afraid of?

I don’t think you’ll be surprised by the answer. I’m afraid he doesn’t really love me. I’m afraid he’ll ask me to do something hard, and I just did that. I’m afraid he’ll need me to sacrifice, and honestly, I don’t want too. I’m afraid he’s mad at me, and so, of course, the thing I want is the thing he’ll say no too. That (a may be my heart’s desire, but (b is what he’ll make me do. I’m afraid the consequences of some of my choices are beyond him, or that he wants me to suffer them. I’m afraid I am the ‘least of his, in the worst of ways.’ I am afraid he will abandon me after I believe him..

New Living Translation
Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 1 John 4:18
 

Are you afraid of something in your relationship with the Lord? Have you ever experienced his perfect love? 

Father, gracious and great, giver of all good things, may we experience your perfect love today, this week, this year. May we know the love of the one who saves us, rescues us, forgives us and glorifies us in his son. Father, pour your love out on us, fill us up with it, and let it run out of us to bless others. We need to know we are loved. In Jesus Name, Amen.