147,077 Fans   4,312 Followers  

It’s time to remove the obstacles and LOVE back…

lastpost

I had always thought of myself as a good neighbor.

Early in our marriage, when life was fresh, fairly untainted and for the most part distraction-free, and I made pies in my spare time. Lots of pies. Oh, I wasn’t great at it at first, but I can distinctly remember feeling determined to master such a homemaking skill as a new wife, and so I rolled and formed dough over and over until I got it just right.

I’ll never forget the first time I gave one of my pies away. I walked timidly up to the door where a wife had just lost her husband; a room full of children, their father, well before this world says it’s time. Heavy grief consumed their home that day, and I didn’t have the right words to say. So I tapped gently on the door, handed over the pie, and prayed that the contents of that plate would somehow convey the depth of love and sympathy in my heart.

As time went on, my pies made their way into the hands of several others close to me – sometimes in celebration over happy things like birthdays and babies, and other times in an effort to encourage due to sickness or grief. My husband would every so often joke that all of the world’s problems couldn’t be solved with a pie, and I would jest back and say that I thought it was a pretty good place to start.

I had always thought of myself as a good neighbor, until my neighbor thought I wasn’t.

We had moved into our very first home earlier that year. That spare time that was once filled with carefree stuff like pie-making was gradually overtaken by demanding jobs, bills and increasing responsibilities. The years that we had dreamed about were upon us, yet somehow now they didn’t seem quite so dreamy as the weight of the world slowly crept in and began piling on top of us.

Enter one summer weekend, one feverish husband, and a father-in-law who graciously wanted to serve us well by mowing our overgrown lawn. Except for the grass wasn’t blown in the right direction at the property line on this one occasion, and the stakes went up.

Literally.

Green metal fence stakes, hammered angrily into the ground right in the middle of the tiny pathway that connected our neighbor’s lawn to ours. Oh, our neighbor didn’t have to say a word. The stakes communicated the message loud and clear that day all on their own: disapproval, with the intention to divide and keep our mower – and our lives – from crossing paths in the future. Nevermind the high fever or the good intentions or the well-meaning father-in-law. It seemed it was too late to explain all of that. The obstacles had already been placed.

Everything in us wanted to fight back. To explain our case. To point out his ridiculous anger and lack of compassion. To remind him that life is short and this was just grass for crying out loud.

But instead we made a choice to love.

My husband wrote a beautiful letter of apology, recognizing our neighbor’s impeccable lawn and complementing his gardening skills. He admired his work ethic and the pride that he took in his home, evidenced in the excellent care it received. Tyler’s words were filled with humility, gentleness, and a desire to make things right, whatever it took.

And I made a pie. Heh. I realize that pies don’t solve all of the world’s problems, but they’re not a bad place to start…

Our apology was welcomed with tears and embarrassment by the wife next door. Our delivery opened the door for her to share some hurts that she had been experiencing, and it opened the door for us to love like Jesus. And while the husband never did speak of the disagreement directly, soon after, the stakes came down. The obstacles were removed, and the relationship started on the path of restoration.

____________________________

Over two thousand years ago, the obstacle was our sin. Man created a division in the Garden so devastating that it separated us from God. The fruit was eaten. The sin obstacle was placed. And God made it clear: Heaven’s holiness couldn’t be tainted by our broken state. He could have punished us forever. Drawn the line in the sand. Set the stakes in place.

But instead He made a choice to love.

Oh, it meant sacrifice. It meant crossing the line and bridging the gap and taking the blame. But Jesus took on the cross with humility and grace, initiating the first step, because of obedience to the Father and because of His love for you and for me. And when we accept the gift of grace extended to us, the obstacles are removed, and He has the power to reconcile us to a right relationship with God.

Beautiful, matchless grace, all because of God’s pursuing, redeeming, everlasting love.

God’s love changes everything. It changes the critical fate of our eternity, all the way down to how we love our neighbors on the most inconvenient, unfair days. It has the power to change me and to change you, if we’ll let it.

Love is the foundation for redeeming the world back to our precious Father. But God chose normal human beings to be the ones who would make His love known. He loved us, and we are blessed and redeemed by that healing, comforting, always present love. And then, out of gratitude, we choose to be that kind of love to the world in which we are living. ~ Sally Clarkson – You Are Loved, pg. 127

We don’t have to have it all figured out, and all of the world’s problems won’t immediately disappear. But God’s love is the foundation on which we start. Life is short. Will we choose to love God and love people with all that we have, before it’s too late?

{You Are Loved}.

Now it’s time to remove the obstacles and LOVE back.

“And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.

But the greatest of these is love.”

~ 1 Corinthians 13:13

At His feet,

*LET’S TALK: Do you struggle with accepting God’s love for you, with loving God or loving the people God has placed in your life? What obstacles stand in your way? Comment below… we’d be honored to pray for those obstacles today.

_____________________________________________________________________

GMG Mentoring Applications Now Open! If you have been considering leading a group through Good Morning Girls, you may be interested in Leadership Mentoring. If you are a current leader but are needing encouragement and ideas, you may find that Leadership Mentoring helps you re-focus. To find out more information about our Leadership Mentoring Program, click here.

______________________________________________________________________

Sad that our {You Are Loved} study has come to an end? Don’t be! We’ll be taking a couple of weeks away from the blog, but we are excited to announce that we’ll be spending this time praying, studying and preparing incredible resources with you in mind as we plan for our upcoming ESTHER study this Fall!!! Meet us back on the blog in TWO WEEKS, when we’ll share more details with you! For now, we’d be honored if you’d save the dates:

Fall 2014 Session
Rest: July 27th-August 1st
Mentoring: August 4th-15th
Leaders Group Preparations: August 4th-15th
Enrollment: August 18th-29th

Dates: September 1st-October 24th
Study: Esther Study

Esther FB Header

Twitter Facebook Pinterest

Because He extends love and grace…

Processed with VSCOcam with a4 preset

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no records of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, […]

Continue reading...

GMG Mentoring Applications Now Open!

GMG-Mentoring-Study

At Good Morning Girls, we do our best to provide support to our leaders. Leading is often different than anticipated, and the struggles leaders face are unique. Our Leadership Mentoring program grew out of a desire to equip our leaders to handle the unique challenges of leading a Bible Study group through various forms of […]

Continue reading...

{Week 8} Loving As a Way of Life! The fathers love always pursues

Week 8 Blog Header

“So he got up and went to his father. “But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him.” -Jesus (Luke 15:20) I am so happy to be able to share my […]

Continue reading...

Five minutes to make a difference…

house fire4

{Image credit} There was mud stuck to my face. Lots of it. An attractive mixture of sweat and dirt that had somehow – smeared like war paint - found it’s way to my forehead while I was weeding my grossly neglected flower beds in ninety degree heat. Let’s be honest, these are the days that I hope no one stops by unannounced. […]

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...Continue reading...
Hide me
Sign up below to receive free study materials!
Enter your email address:
Show me