Wednesday, March 23, 2011

How Much He Loves Us

Hey Everybody! I apologize for missing this past Saturday--believe me, I've felt so out of the loop because of it! I miss all of you so much! It's my spring break, so I've been in Folsom for the past week almost. But I will see all of you on Saturday! I can't wait!

It's been a draining last week and a half because of finals, but now that I've had a chance to unwind I'd like to share this beautiful conversation I had the other night.

One of my really good friends Riley from high school had me and a few friends over for a Margarita Monday Ladies Night. It was such a fun evening overall catching up and telling stories! Riley lives in her parent's house still, so her mom joined us upstairs when she got home. Her mom Christine has always been such a fun addition to our group anytime we're over at Riley's house. She usually just jumps right into whatever we're doing and quickly becomes the life of the party. This night was no different. At one point though the conversations took on a more serious and sentimental note. Christine told us this story about a conversation she had with her mother on the phone when her children were really young. Christine told her mom that she was feeling so overwhelmed by her children, but not overwhelmed in a stressful way, but because she was overwhelmed by how much she loved them. She told her mom that she was almost out of breath because she couldn't fathom that you could possibly love another human being that much. Christine then asked her mom if she loved her that much. Christine told us that it has never dawned on her that another human being could feel as overwhelmed as she did. Christine's mother told her that yes, she did. Christine then told us that she was floored in this moment. She could not wrap her mind around the idea that her own mother loved her that much. Christine's mom told her that now that she had her own children she could understand how fully she loved her as her mother. Christine, with her head spinning then asked her mom if this is how much God loves us. Her mom told her no, God loves us even more. Even now, almost twenty years later, I could tell that Christine was still reveling in the truth of this moment.

I can barely describe how I felt hearing this story from Christine. She told us that this is her most precious moment of revelation and her fondest memory of her mother. I feel so blessed that she shared that moment with us girls. I feel honored that she gave us that experiential wisdom. And I can now say that is one of my favorite stories as well.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

the sun and the clouds

I thoroughly enjoyed Henri Nouwen's Here and Now.  I think that this text was particularly suited for our first reading.  Setting up the idea that God wants us "here and now" in the present will help place the focus of what our mindsets should be going into this year.  Living in the present is certainly difficult for me.  I think it might be safe to say, judging by people's responses to some of my previous blogs, and my own assessment that I might have some perfectionist tendencies.  I am constantly struggling with my past--specifically my shortcomings and failures.  And I spend almost just as much time worrying about what the future holds and attempting to plan and map it out as best I can.  What I seriously lack in my life is an emphasis on the present. 

Nouwen's words are full of so much wisdom and I love how the chapters are so thorough and address so many of the angles of each topic.  He doesn't just address suffering, he addresses all the kinds of suffering there are and our character through those situations and seasons.  I feel as though this should be a book that should be read again in my life, perhaps in a few years or when I know that significant growth has taken place.  The pages of my book are underlined and highlighted so much!  There is just so much wisdom in there!  

My favorite passage in the book is in the chapter about Joy.

"Yes, I know there is a sun, even though the skies are covered with clouds.  While my friend always spoke about the sun, I kept speaking about the clouds, until one day I realized that it was the sun that allowed me to see the clouds.  Those who keep speaking about the sun while walking under a cloudy sky are messengers of hope, the true saints of our day."

The way this is crafted is so beautiful and I love its message of hope.  It hits you with this overwhelming conviction to glorify God in all things.  Ultimately everything is from God--the good and the bad.  Where is the value of your blessings if you never experience sorrow or pain or loss?  I love the metaphor of the sun and the clouds.  The clouds maybe covering the sun sometimes, but the sun is always there.  And in that same way hope and opportunity for blessings are always there.  In every situation look for God.  I believe that God truly uses some of our greatest struggles to make us stronger and to ultimately bring us closer to Him.  Bring everything to God and find a way to glorify Him.  Always remember the sun is there.  I find that to be a comforting thought.