Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Walk the walk

I've been thinking a lot about what it means to be a person with integrity.  The short and sweet version is to simply walk the walk.  

According to the dictionary integrity can be defined as:
the quality of being honest and having strong moral principles; moral uprightness; 
2  the state of being whole and undivided.

Honest.  Undivided.  A state of being whole.  This simply means I should be the same person while chatting to the moms dropping kids off at school than the person I am around my kids when no one from church is around.  I think of this every Sunday morning when we scurry around to get ready for church; so often tempers flare, tears roll in the mission to make it to the church on time.  We finally arrive at church sweaty and in less than worshipping attitudes, but politely say our "fine-thank-you-how-are-yous" as expected of any decent Christian family. Integrity?

I have come to realize that integrity or lack thereof will probably be one of the most important influences that shape my children's perceptions of my walk with God.  It scares me.  So often I preach at them, while so little of God's joy or the fruit of the Spirit is seen in my life.  I want to be the real deal.  Don't get me wrong, I did not say, the perfect deal, just real.  Part of being real is to own up to my mistakes, using it as an example to teach them how we can go to God with our shortcomings or things we struggle to overcome, how we can seek forgiveness and start again.  I just have to challenge myself this morning by asking how often I do that, instead of copping out by playing the all powerful adult. 

Honest. Undivided. Whole.  

Only by His grace.

I want that.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Answered prayer?

God answered an important prayer of mine today.

Relief washed over me when I realized that what I feared was not about to happen.  I have been challenged by various circumstances this week, and with each one I just told God I will trust Him, no matter what.  No easy matter, I can assure you.  This post is not about my incredible faith, because I confess that I so often lack even the tiny mustard seed of faith Jesus talked about.  I mentioned to a friend that God's answer to my prayer made me realize that He really does hear me and that I so desperately needed to know that He does.  Then I realized that I assumed He heard only because things worked out as I had pleaded with Him.  Does this imply that He never heard me the countless other times things did not go my way, or when the unthinkable did happen?

Maybe you are familiar with the song we sing so often during our church services, it is a song based on Job's words after everything but his life was taken from him, "The Lord gives and the Lord takes, blessed be the Name of the Lord."
The song has a catchy tune, so it is easy to sing passionately along, but I find myself very aware of what those words imply, because sometimes God does allow the very thing we fear the most, sometimes He answers "No", sometimes He is seemingly silent.  I change the words when we sing this song, because I have come to realize how difficult it is to say "He gives and takes away, He gives and takes away, but still my heart will say, Lord blessed be Your Name"; when all we see is life through a mirror.  Instead I sing, "He gives and takes away, He gives and takes away, Lord help me to say, blessed be Your Name."

God has brought me back to earth when I thought I could make claims about my reaction to life once before, since then I have come to know that there is no way I will be able to face life's challenges on my own, or with my own take on things.  How I desire to love and trust Him like that, though, to love Him with reckless abandonment, to follow Him no matter what the earthly outcome may be, just resting in the assurance of His faithfulness.

Until then my prayer remains, Lord help me to say, blessed be Your Name no matter what Your answer to my prayers may be.

Have you discovered such a love for Him?