Christ=Love

Philippians 1:9-10 NIV

And this is my prayer: that your love may abound more and more in knowledge and depth of insight, 10 so that you may be able to discern what is best and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ,


So our love may abound.

That’s not a selfish love for ourselves. That is love for our neighbor. Fellow man, global partner, friend, boss, co-worker, passerby, merchant, customer, homeless man on the street.

Do u think if you knew why a person was a jerk that you could love them more? If you knew why a man was homeless could you hold his hand? Offer him food? Wash his feet? If you heard his story, could you see his heart?

Our depth of insight is shallow. We don’t care why someone takes advantage of us, we just know that we have to fight for our rights! That is the American way. We were founded on this principle.

The knowledge Christ gives us of human relationship is deep and unending. And Christ asks us to overlook our rights to reach the heart of man. He forfeited his rights on the cross to reach us. Right?


I saw a man on the street holding a sign this week as I made my way to the hospital to drop off my collected labs.

AMERICA NEEDS JESUS CHRIST

We surely do. We need Christ. Christ=Love. Love=Unconditional care. Amen, Brother.

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Loving-Kindness

According to Wikipedia‘s article regarding loving-kindness in Judaism:

Loving-kindness is used as an English translation for the Hebrew word חסד (chesed). This term is used often in the book of Psalms, and refers to acts of kindness, motivated by love. It is used primarily in reference to God, rather than people. One example is found in Psalm 107, where verse 43 reads:

“Whoso is wise, and will observe these things, even they shall understand the loving-kindness of the LORD.” [11]

The term is also used in Pirkei Avot, with the quote “The world stands on three things: Torah, the service of God, and deeds of loving-kindness.”


I’m not a very kind person sometimes. I am downright irascible (easily angered).

I love the word irascible. It reminds me of a word that Mark Twain would utter about Pap.

I love words. No matter their meaning, good or bad. Especially when they perfectly define an attitude, feeling or experience.

I mumbled yesterday morning about applying my makeup for an interview. “Best apply a modicum of makeup, so as not to look a fright.”

Who talks like that? I do. Mostly. Enough to confuse and irritate the natives. Much to the cringe and chagrin of my associates.

“Who are you?” question my befuddled, and mildly-impressed, acquaintances.

A writer.

But I found another person who loves words and their sounds as much as I do and I married him. And together we sound like a ridiculous Noel Coward play. But some people like that.

As much as I love words, I don’t love people. I am not full of loving-kindness. I cling to loving-kindness with desperate fingers, but cannot claim it. I want to love others but I so often fail. Strange. Because I think, at the core, writers do love people. Maybe from afar? I have to love people to love words because the words are describing the lovely people. What the people are doing, where they are going, how they are loving or not loving.

Maybe I should write about animals. LOL

Loving-kindness, as a theory, is often a writer’s goal. How often they achieve loving-kindness IRL is a Hemingwayan mystery. We write about the ideal, but do we live it? I don’t usually. But, in my writing and in life, I strive for it. Is that enough though?

I do tend to write about my successes of loving-kindness and not my failures. I try to be fair in that, but writing can often be the Facebook of experience. We only see the shining examples of behavior and not the gritty underbelly of daily meanderings.

Well, in the interest of writing fair, I fail at loving others, especially my husband, on almost a daily basis. That’s the truth. I snap and snip at the slightest pressure, but mainly because…no. I won’t make excuses.

I can be a ripe jerk.

I’m an alligator. Waiting. And if you trip? I attack.

If you trigger my snap warning, I’ll eat you alive. Once an alligator bites, he can’t let go. Even if he wanted to. And why would he want to? Those jaws are locked. And loaded. Clamps down on your neck, thrashes around, and down you go. Drowned. Ground into a fine hamburger. If you whimper, complain, or try to negotiate? It’ll just take longer.

I don’t want to be an alligator. But when you grow up in a swamp, do you have a choice?

I’m evolving. At least I feel guilty about it now.

I have brilliant moments of loving-kindness shine through and save me. For others and from others. But maybe that’s most people’s experience. Those are the moments we live for. And when there’s not enough of those moments, sometimes, what we die for.

In a world of growing hate and difference of opinion, we most certainly need loving-kindness. Certainly. But if I can’t succeed in my own daily life, what hope does the world have?

We’re evolving. Let’s drain the swamp and love others. Simply and completely.

I can’t eat another alligator. Someone I recognize as being my kind. So we just have to look for the human. How can you hate someone who looks and acts and thinks like you? We all have eyeballs. We all have fur. We all have 2 arms, 2 legs, a brain and a heart. Usually. 🙂

With all my anger, flaws and ugliness, I still want to be loved. So I need to love. Even unlovables in their anger, flaws and ugliness. And do so out of kindness. It requires vulnerability and humility. Being open and humble.

Who are you?

Grad-geeated

I don’t always spell things korrectly. Or punctuate! “in the right place”. or capitalize. But dammit, I’m a college graduate!!

I have 2 two-year degrees now from Metropolitan Community College. A very liberal arts degree from the 90s. LOL And I’m very proud of this most recent degree–graphic design, an applied science! (sounds so awesome, Imma scientist! lol)

It was hard to go back to school at 36. To be surrounded by people half my age. To relearn art. To move from Photoshop User to Artist. To embrace my creativity and hone my skills.

Everyone gambled on me. And I wanted to succeed.

I finally did.

I got sick just after finishing my classes. I never applied for graduation. I tried to follow up with the school about completion and transferring some classes from UMKC, but trying to find an actual job and getting very sick just left graduation simmering on the stove. For 6 years! UGH!

Embarrassing. But I knew I had my skills. I didn’t need a piece of paper.

Well. Yes. I did. LOL But when you’re sick? Just getting out of bed is an accomplishment.

Thank you to my prof who helped me grad-geeate. I was sick for so long and to have this is healing. It’s my cap and gown, it’s my walk down the aisle, it’s my handshake. Thank you.

Take Heart

Psalm 61:2 (NIV)
From the ends of the earth I call to you, I call as my heart grows faint; lead me to the rock that is higher than I.

OR this version which is much cooler and grammatically correct (LOL):

GOD’S WORD Translation
From the ends of the earth, I call to you when I begin to lose heart. Lead me to the rock that is high above me.


So, like, bring me to a higher place, a higher ground. Right? High above me. Like, way up there! Pull me up!

But about losing heart. Losing nerve. Losing courage.

It’s hard to be brave when you’re playing chicken with job satisfaction and basic human needs. Right?

Justification upon justification says, “Pay the rent. Enjoy air-conditioning. Eat food.”

And Jesus said to the rich man, “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.Mark 10:21

Gulp. He didn’t say anything about A/C and paying the rent.

But this was the rich man’s stumbling block. The thing that kept him from God. The one thing he wasn’t willing to do. Walk away from his most precious accomplishment. His most closely-held ideal.

Jesus knew that. He knew the man’s heart, the core of what drove this man every day–get money, things, wealth and power. And Jesus challenged that. Like he does!

The man was rich. You don’t wake up rich, I’ve tried. You have to really bust your hump to get it. You may even have to screw someone else to get ahead. In fact, most definitely.

The passage ends with sadness. The man is deeply sad because his eager heart is confronted by his unmotivated flesh. The account reads, “…the man’s face fell.”

So, his face was all “Yes! I love you Jesus! *SMILES* I’ll do anything for you, just tell me, ’cause I don’t know what to do with all this intention and I’m so excited by you!”

Jesus: Give it all up! Walk away from everything you hold dear. Be like me. Live on faith.

And then, his face was all “That’s the worst news I’ve ever gotten.”

I’ve been there.

This is hearing from Jesus:
To a porn addict: Just come on over to church when you get that whole porn-sex thing figured out.
To an overeater: Stop eating so much and I’ll see you over here!
To a gun collector: Yeah, sell all those things that make you feel safe and powerful and then follow me into a really bad neighborhood.

Uh. What?

Yeah.

I don’t think Jesus was telling the man do this or you can’t hang out. He was saying, “Oh, you want the answer? You won’t like it. It’s not easy!”

He was explaining. “The road I choose for you and the path you’re on don’t merge. Getting to my road isn’t going to be easy. It’s complicated. And you’re going to have to let go of everything that is materialistic. Can you do that? Are you still happy and eager?”

It’s like hearing about this job that you can have where all the best versions of life come true and you have everything you’ve ever wanted emotionally, financially and physically. But you have an hour commute. Or the job is on the other side of the world. The neighborhood is rough. Or there’s no neighborhood…on the other side of the world!

Have everything you ever wanted, but here’s the price: giving up everything that ever made you feel comfortable.

It’s like losing your heart. Losing the very thing that you thought made you tick, motivated you, drove you, inspired you. And you find out, all along, you were ticking to another machine. A greedy, oily machine that disgusts you. But you can’t live without it.


It’s much harder when you’re making decisions for 3 people and not just yourself. I’m married with one child. That’s a decision I made a long time ago and didn’t even have to think about. Yes! A thousand times, yes. Give me those choices, over and over, and I’d give the same answer–yes! Yes, to my husband. Yes, to my baby. Yes, to a lifetime of laughter, love and fulfillment.

But I have wandered this lonely planet for years in search of the right “job” for me. Because wife and mother doesn’t pay very well. 😉 I would love to be a writer who gets paid to spit wisdom on paper. I would love to work from home doing graphic design, photography, acting, writing, creative stuff. But nobody pays you for that. Or if they do, it’s not enough to pay the bills.

I would actually love to serve a mission before I die and help others. Live in a hut. Roll around in the mud. Haul water. Build things. Take showers outdoors. Not take showers at all. Meet people. Love on people. Stinky people.

I know that comes with many challenges. Sickness, loss, difficult physical conditions. No luxury! And how can I choose that for 2 other people?

But if I know anything, those moments are the ones we live and die for, the ones where we feel most connected to other humans. We don’t clean and count our possessions. We see and touch and talk to other humans. What are we living for if not God’s people, each other, our neighbor?

Things are nice. Things are really nice. Comfortable. Secure. Reassuring. Downright luxurious. But I don’t think God created us to be comfortable. Right? Idk. Most of the time, following Christ has moved me out of my comfort zone. Which I hate. But what does a person accomplish in their comfort zone? Even internally?

I’ve never truly loved another person inside of my comfort zone. My husband regularly pushes me into Uncomfort Zone. Being a mom isn’t always comfortable. High rewards in both relationships, but I am often challenged to love without limits. But I don’t want to!

Loving cute little babies and sexy husbands is easy. It’s when they aren’t so attractive that makes it a challenge. “Hey, Babe, do this thing I know you hate just because I like it.” or “Hey, Mom, drop what you’re doing and come help me.” Sigh.

OR

My husband said to me the other day, “Triggered!” Which is our shorthand for, “Leave me alone, I can’t deal with your issue, get off my back! Back up off me, Bro!!” And I hollered back, “Me triggered!” And he just softened so much. His eyes changed to deep compassion and empathy for me. At the drop of two words. He was way outside his comfort zone and loved on me. That’s marriage. That’s being outside of your comfort zone and loving.

Dropping your life, your issue, your house, your car, your bills, your ego at the door and following Jesus. Loving without limits. Driving to the bad neighborhood and helping. ‘Cause where else do they need help except the bad neighborhood? Doing the crummiest jobs because who else is doing them?


I have a chance for a job and it’s everything I always wanted. High emotional satisfaction, working for a nonprofit that espouses Christian beliefs, helping poor people find housing, using my graphic design skills, photography and other creative talents. 100% health and dental benefits. But it’s in a different part of town. It’s a drive for sure. But exactly what I want. Probably very rewarding. But I haven’t been offered the job. I’m in the initial stages of interviewing.

BUT! I have a job offer on the table. Office work. Part-time. Nothing glamorous. Not really in my field. A little, but it’s mainly answering the phone, scheduling rides and data entry. Some social media perhaps.

What do I do? Hold out for the perfect job? Or take the first thing I can get? I feel confident that I will have a job before the end of this month or next. (Unless I become famous for blogging, retire early and eat coconuts. LOL) Do I wait? Do I take the okay job and then quit when offered the full-time dream career? The okay job made it clear, “People come in and then leave me in a lurch, and I just need someone who’s gonna stay.” In light of that very explicit detail, I don’t want to start and then bail when I get something better.

I have been out of the traditional job market for so long, I don’t know what to do. Ethically and idealistically, my gut says don’t take okay and wait. There doesn’t seem to be a clear answer. But we need the dough. The perfect job isn’t so perfect either. There are drawbacks. But it’s my field of graphic design. I’ve waited so long to do what I went back to school for. Ugh.

What do I really want? What do I need to do for my family?


I’ll figure it out. But this is hard. Deep breath. Don’t spiral.

Take heart, be brave, find courage. Follow Jesus. Get dirty. Love without limits today. It’s just that easy!

LOL No. It’s hard.

But try it! It’s like climbing a rock. 🙂

You can be lead to that rock.
But you have to decide to climb it.
But you don’t have to climb it alone.

Lead me to the rock that is higher than me!

 

Sore

This morning I was really struggling with paralyzing doubt. But I blogged it off. 🙂 I wrote a poem. The emotional equivalent, for me, of pulling one’s self up by the proverbial boot straps.

Dealing with doubt. Doubt that I can be on top of my potential. Doubt that I will get a job in the profession that I chose 12 years ago. The profession that I entered at 32, went back to school for at 36, and at 44, the profession in which I’ve never had much success.

Doubt that I will ever be known. Doubt that I will ever be the person God wants me to be. Doubt that I can write with any caliber. Doubt that I have any value whatsoever.

Doubt that I can offer the world anything at all. Or worse yet, doubt that the world, when met with my offerings, will ever accept or understand me.

Fear, doubt, self-hatred. Shame, guilt, remorse. It’s been coming to a slow boil for days. Plus, I have a horrible headache from bumping my head yesterday. Very painful, sore arms and just a lethargy that I cannot shake. Whenever I feel physical pain in the company of depression or anxiety, I become very vulnerable and weak.

Physical pain aside (because what can you do except take a Tylenol and ice it down?), the author of the negativity is not God. The authorship deserves co-credit. Me. The world. Satan.

You can’t believe lies if you write them down. The power of the past disintegrates as pen touches paper. Or fingers touch keys. Lies evaporate when met with the truth of God’s words.

Don’t doubt. God, self or what’s been promised.

Jer 29:11 NIV
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

Don’t listen to lies. Wasted energy that could be used for pursuing your dreams. Or healing your bumps. 🙂

I have better things to do. And writing turned my whole day around. Super productive and feeling cheerful now. Still sore, but happy. Who woulda thunk?

Raise Your Sails

Republishing because I needed something positive this morning. Hope you need it, too. Don’t lose hope. You’ll survive. Even thrive. Just. Move. Forward.


Fix your eye
On the endless sky.
See the light behind the storm.

Raise your sails
For the new-found sea.
Un-anchor from the shore.

Find your wind.
Begin again.
Don’t linger in the shoals.

You’re the one
Who will feel the sun.
Ride the wave wherever it rolls.

Summit

Did you know climbing some of the biggest mountains can leave climbers with symptoms that are very similar to heart failure? Death zones are places at the top of a mountain where low oxygen and poor weather conditions make even breathing a pain-filled struggle.

A documentary on K2 detailed the descent of a group of climbers and the, not only external, but internal physical hazards they faced, succumbing easily to harsh elements on the dangerous peak. Many of the symptoms sounded very familiar. I could imagine exactly what they were feeling, up in the ice and snow.

Moving just a few feet can be almost impossible. Feeling dizzy, out of breath, throbbing heart, difficulty thinking, seeing. Every muscle struggling for oxygen. Barely able to move. Swelling in the body. Deep vein thrombosis.

Losing weight and dealing with heart failure are two big mountains that I face every day. Plus, no thyroid due to cancer, no gallbladder due to failure, no ability to deal with triggers due to PTSD. No self-esteem due to lifelong emotional abuse from family, friends and strangers. Sigh. What else ya got for me, Lord? LOL

We’ve been watching documentaries about climbing. I don’t know why because I am NEVER climbing a mountain. NOPE! I admire the determination though. A mountaineer from the past said, as he looked at the mountain he was about to climb from a distance, he was already full of dread and foreboding. He was referring to K2. One of the biggest (undoubtedly toughest) Himalayan peaks. It’s near Everest. Mt. Everest is even taller, but less difficult. The weather conditions alone on K2 prevent many climbers from ever reaching the top. Sometimes, they never leave the mountain. One climber described the ascent as a mountain on top of a mountain.


Have you ever faced an obstacle and overcome it?
Only to find there was another mountain to climb?


You are already exhausted, elated and thankful to be done climbing, but you realize quickly, after reaching the top, you’re not done. The place that you were aiming at is stretched out of reach and you don’t have a choice other than to finish. You have to go further to reach the ultimate goal. Many climbers face a false summit.

A false summit, or false peak, is an illusion. You can’t see the very top of the mountain because the incline is so steep. The summit you are seeing is merely the top of the path you’re on. What you can’t see, the very, very top lies behind your immediate goal. At these times, I want to give up. When I reach the intended top and realize I have further to go? F’n forget it.

I start to question all of my efforts and I’m ready to give up. Like losing 100 pounds and hitting a plateau. I think,

“I’m good. I can stop. I can take a break.”

OR

“I may just be overweight for the rest of my life and what have I lost? I have a husband who loves me. I have a child. I have all the things I ever wanted and I’m happy with myself. I don’t have to climb this mountain. I can get off this mountain now!”

That could be true. I could just turn around and climb down. And everyone I know will just have to accept that I’m good and I’m done. And they probably would.

But if I really think about it, if I give it a hot minute, I don’t want to give up. Plus, climbing down ain’t gonna be easy either! I understand the climber’s motivated drive.

I must conquer this. I’ve come this far.

Many climbers have instincts. And the wise ones follow them. The ones that go home in one piece follow their gut. My gut tells me, no pun intended, that I need to keep going. The rocks below are much more dangerous than the clouds I’m trying to reach. I can’t stop, but the path isn’t clear.

But I think that this happens for a reason. If you could see how far you have to go, would you even start? Would you reach for the top?

Sometimes we have to do the toughest bits of life one step at a time. We can’t handle any more than that. God knows that. We just keep forgetting. We can climb any mountain with the right equipment, helpful guides and one. step. at a time. You gotta focus on what’s right in front of you. Not worry about the end. You just have to breathe and move forward. Even an inch.

I just keep praying that God helps me put one foot over the other and take one more breath until I can see the way up.

Thank you, God, for my legs, body, strength, determination, brain and your will.

Would you invite the devil over for tea?

I wouldn’t sit down
And have a simple snack
With Devil or demon.
You’d have to watch your back.

Would you talk to Satan?
Would you want to hear his side?
Would you trust his story?
For centuries, he’s lied.

I wouldn’t sit with Satan.
I wouldn’t believe a word.
He wants me to fall with him.
Bring down this broken bird.

Most people wouldn’t eat or drink
With a red-faced, horn-graced beast.
But do you invite this angel
Frequently to your feast?

If you:
Complain
Grumble
Covet
Lust
Envy
Gossip
Lie
Hurt
Hate?

You’re dining with the devil.

If you long for what your neighbor has
And don’t appreciate your mess?
Then Satan has had his way
And he has been your guest.

If you lie about who you are
To have another follow?
Then Satan has gladly baked the cake
That you so greedily swallow.

If you hurt or hate,
Live to watch another trip?
Then ol’ Guess Who is pouring
From the cup you eagerly sip.

You deny your frequent visitor.
You deny he even exists.
But he continues to come to tea
Because your negativity persists.

stop

Rich with Lovers

Katharine Clifton (played by Kristin Scott Thomas, from The English Patient):
My darling. I’m waiting for you. How long is the day in the dark? Or a week? The fire is gone, and I’m horribly cold. I really should drag myself outside but then there’d be the sun. I’m afraid I waste the light on the paintings, not writing these words. We die. We die rich with lovers and tribes, tastes we have swallowed, bodies we’ve entered and swum up like rivers. Fears we’ve hidden in-like this wretched cave. I want all this marked on my body. Where the real countries are. Not boundaries drawn on maps with the names of powerful men. I know you’ll come carry me out to the Palace of Winds. That’s what I’ve wanted: to walk in such a place with you. With friends, on an earth without maps. The lamp has gone out and I’m writing in the darkness.


Rich with lovers. I love that line. It is so full in one’s mouth and mind. It plays on the tongue and exercises all manner of lip movement and physical speech. I hope you have tried to say it. Out loud. You pretend kiss when forming the word rich. And the word with. It is a line for all time.

Rich with lovers. I think we all die rich with lovers. You may have only known your husband or wife, intimately. But we have all fashion of lovers. My family loves me. My friends love me. Strangers love me. And we love many. Sexually or not.

I have never been closer to another human being as I have been to my husband. I am so thankful for that. He knows everything about me and still loves me unconditionally. Even when he’s mad at me. He may not admit it. Or realize it. But if pressed, he loves me still. That–is nothing short of a miracle and nothing to take for granted.

My husband with all his faults and flaws is the most generous, kind and passionate lover I have ever known. And I have had my share. But I would trade my share for this one love. I count myself lucky to have found the one person who could fulfill my every desire and do it so well. He is smart, funny and oh-so lavish in his physical love for me. Some might look at my husband and wonder what I see in him, but he is a world-class lover. He’s Italian. Whatta ya gonna do? You can’t fight city hall.

I say all this, not to boast, but to demonstrate. Even with a rich, lavish love life? A love life beyond earthly compare? It cannot come close to my growing addiction to Christ.

If my love life with my husband was compared to the Earth-to-Moon distance (I love you to the moon and back), then my relationship with Christ would be the distance from the Earth to the Sun (Son). I love my husband with everything I have. And I truly believe after 17 years of marriage, he loves me the same way. But it doesn’t even touch how Christ and God feel for me. Not even my relationship with my daughter can come close to how God feels for me.

The Bible compares our relationship to Christ as a marriage and sometimes our relationship to God as parent and child. And those are wonderful examples of how He loves. But I don’t think we can perceive with our small minds how big God’s love is.

I hear people often scoff. (Scofften? LOL) Why would God create the universe, as vast as it is, for just our world? Why would a great God in heaven care about me? Why would God create man and play this simulation of Love?

Quite simply, God is love.

Not that He simply loves, but that He is the Love-being. We are built in His image. He is relationship. We are love as well. Love is not just a word or an act. It is a continuous chosen action, verb, noun, state of mind. Sacrifice.

He built us for love. To have relationship and fellowship with Him. We do life with the intention of being loved. We are born with a burning desire to be seen, to be loved, to be lavished. I see it in my daughter. I see her burning desire to be noticed and praised. But she has never known a day without love. We have heaped praise and love on her head and she still yearns to be known so intimately. She raises her voice, speaking her opinions into existence and wants so much to be heard. I pray that she learns at some point, God is listening. And if we listen back? He will reveal such profound love and understanding. If we can just quiet our minds enough to know, we are being loved so completely. So lavishly. So richly. So permanently.

The question in my mind is this: if God did create the universe and we do not acknowledge him in this, how can he feel loved? Even God wants praise for all that He has given, created, sacrificed. And he deserves it. What has Man ever done to compare with what God has done? Aren’t we born wanting praise?

I have chased all forms of pleasure my entire life. Food, love, sex, comfort, pain-relief. And it does not satisfy. It does not sustain. It does not last. In a moment, the satisfying fullness of achievement is lost in the pulses of light from the universe. No fullness lasts when relying on worldly things. But when I achieve some level of understanding or testament of love, or ability to withstand temptation, or fulfillment of biblical beatitude, it lasts. It is a taste rich with loving. A meal that brings wholeness, fullness.

All of my life’s true happiness and peace has come from obedience. Understanding and accepting those gifts that are set aside just for me. We must embrace what we are given, not envy what we can never have.

Bear Fruit

No. Not bear (growling animal) fruit. That would look like this.

bear fruit
Lillian Maggio, age 13-My daughter drew this. LOL

No. As fun as that is, today, I get to bear fruit.

Patience fruit.

I am a budding tree and this is the spring of my seasons. The time for flowers and growth and fruit.

There are several fruits of the Spirit. Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, loyalty, gentleness and self-control. Galations 5:22 These fruits are from Jesus’ spirit that he left on Earth to help us. As a kid, I never understood that the Spirit was Jesus’ spirit. I didn’t make the connection. Now I get it. I mean, I understood the trinity, but I just thought that God and Jesus were related and then they have a good friend, Holy Spirit. I mean, I knew that they were all one, but…yeah. Now, I got it.

So, after Jesus ascended, when He went to heaven for the final time (I know it sounds weird, Non-christians!), after a few days, He sent the Spirit. To help us. He promised His followers that He would send the Spirit because Jesus knew we would need help. ‘Cause we are so screwed up. He paid the price for our sins and now lives at the right hand of God. That’s His reward. We are separate now, as He has fulfilled His purpose. When we fulfill our purpose, we can be together. Yes?

I have this strange imagination and when I think of Jesus at the right hand of God, I picture God turning to Jesus and talking about me. They probably do this telepathically. Just FYI. I mean, it’s 2/3 of the trinity. Well. They probably conference-in the Holy Spirit, or something.

“So, tell me more about Martha.”

And what Jesus says is so sweet and kind and generous. Undeserved grace. He tells God,

“Well, Dad, she’s really smart, loving, loyal and caring. But. She’s been hurt. Like, you know, everyone on the planet. She gets angry, impatient, rude, ungrateful and downright hateful.”

God, “Yeah. Got it.”

“But! She really wants to be different. When she prays, she usually means it. And she does love Us.”

God, “Cool.”

God is a lot like former President Barack Obama in my God/Jesus fantasy. lol Idk why.

So, the point of that is, I get that Jesus died for me. He would have died for me even if I was the only person on the planet. That’s pretty specific. I don’t deserve it, I don’t have to earn it, I just inherit the kingdom of God. Boom. Done. Crown. Thanks. Forever.

And I bring this up because the rest of the verse concerning the fruits of the Spirit is this:
Galations 5
22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 24 Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

The last line gets me.
No. 1–I belong to Jesus. (D’aw!!)
No. 2–I have crucified my flesh by belonging to Jesus!

I have hung my sin and flesh on the cross and it has died! I have nailed my desire and passion to the blood-soaked wood and it has passed. Through Jesus, through His spirit.

I get that when God looks at me, because Jesus died in my place, that all God sees is Perfect Martha. Martha scattered/smothered/covered in Jesus. He sees a perfect child. The best Martha I can be. That makes me happy. And much more able to be patient. I mean, Jesus died so that I could be impatient about how long the stoplight takes? No.

Anyway, how long did Christ wait on me? Still waits on me?

I’ve been waiting today. Waiting on everything. Waiting on my husband for 2 hours while he’s getting an eye exam. Waiting on sales clerks, recycling attendants, stoplights, scanners, waitresses, phone chargers, emails, post office employees (grr! <<–there’s that bear fruit again) and endless lists of things and people.

I tried to be patient. But I usually failed.

I mean, I didn’t go crazy on anyone. And I didn’t rag on my husband all day. And I didn’t complain to a manager, call an 800 number or even give someone an obscene look, word or gesture. I certainly didn’t ram my car into the plate-glass window of Discover Vision Center.

I just had impatience circling above my head. Dark and brooding. Hovering and swooping. Preying on my thoughts. Scavenging my kindness. Vulturous and hungry. Sitting on my heart like a black crow. Waiting for me to drop my joy. Picking at my left-over love. Choking down my generosity, leaving bitter bones of resentment. Impatience stole my fruit.

I should be grateful for people, phones and cars. I should be thankful for husband, money and luxury. I should chug down a large glass of gratitude and get on with my day.

I’m trying to remember that I’m not patient. The Holy Spirit is patient. And if I ever successfully exercise the ability to be patient, it is not through my own power.

2 Corinthians 12:9 New Living Translation
Each time he said, “My grace is all you need. My power works best in weakness.” So now I am glad to boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ can work through me.

It is because I allow the Holy Spirit to live inside of me. For Christ to live inside of me. That’s how Christ lives. Through us.

I know some Non-christians don’t understand the living Christ. (I get it, this is another weird one.) But He lives in us. His Spirit continues through us. When we love each other and help each other and do unto each other, we make Jesus live again. That’s the living Christ.

But how many Xians do you know that channel Jesus?

Although. His spirit has lingered for over 2,000 years. Swell and ebb, live and die. The church (# of true Christ followers) and the Spirit, in this world, are like the tides in the sea. High and low, at any given moment. But the ocean remains. His teachings and mark and LOVE remain.

Paul said:
Galatians 5:14 NIV
For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

And Jesus said:
John 13:35 NIV
By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.

I don’t see much love every day, neighbor to neighbor. Can I just say that I love seeing my nasty neighbor picking up her dog’s crap when I arrive home? See. That’s not nice.

I do see love at home though. I see it online. I see it in some of our leaders. I see it around the world. I find it in unexpected places. Sometimes, I don’t find it where I think I should or will. I see people trying though.

Love is still there. The ocean remains.

I will be patient.

No. The Spirit will be patient. I will submit to the Spirit. And I will bear fruit.