Sunday, July 13, 2014

The View from the Hill

"Get over your hill and see what you find there, with grace in your heart and flowers in your hair." -Mumford & Sons, After the Storm 

I am a few months away from rolling over the hill of 40--and I confess I am loving this stage of life. The view from the hill offers perspective. Small things fade away as the bigger picture emerges. As a lover of lessons and meaning, I'm relishing this season in which God is teaching me a lot about what really matters--and sifting out a lot of junk in my heart that is just sucking up life, space and energy that can be spent on other things. He is teaching me the beauty of letting go.

I am especially learning a great deal about forgiveness and grace. Much like Charles Dickens' ghosts of Christmas past, present and future, I have been dealing afresh with hurts from various seasons of my life. The last couple of months have brought me a precious, heartfelt apology from an old friend regarding a hurt that God had used time and perspective to completely heal. There has also been an overdue conversation about decades old family drama, a recognition that a deep regret of mine cannot be reconciled in this life--only forgiven and redeemed by God and a rebirth of a friendship that had been abandoned due to misunderstanding and shame. And perhaps most difficult, this has all been leading me to a slow change of heart about a more recent offense that has cost us a great deal.

As I have been walking through all of this I came across an amazing article about forgiveness and reconciliation that brought even more healing and perspective. It is a process. I am not there yet...but I am being reminded over and over again that making everything in this life a battle is exhausting, draining and unhealthy. 

Our VBS theme this week came from 1 Corinthians 13. I love the fresh take on familiar words from the Message translation.
"No matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.
Love never gives up.
Love never dies...understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
... We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love." 

We love not because people have earned it. 
Not because we feel like it. 
Not because we want to. 
Not because it's easy.
We love because He first loved us...and because it really is the best, most life giving way to live. 

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