Michelle Buck

A little peek at things I love

Daughters and Sons

Sometimes I don’t dwell on the fact that other people who believe in Christ are Sons and Daughters of the Most High. Either they are an inconvenience, or they cause me pain, or maybe they are a means to an end. I was listening to a sermon by Paul David Tripp and he said, “No matter how broken that person is (another believer), they are a Son or Daughter of the Most High God.” Sometimes it is easier to see the brokenness than the holiness.

Today I watched my kids sing for the Christmas program at church. The words of one of the songs has stayed with me today:

Wondrous gift of heaven: the Father sends the Son
Planned from time eternal, moved by holy love
He will carry our curse and death
He’ll reverse So we can be daughters and sons

Who would have dreamed, or ever forseen,
that we can hold God in our hands?
The giver of life, born in the night,
revealing God’s glorious plan…to save the world.

In the play, all the kids had signs on which said “shepherd” or “wiseman” or “narrator”.  Then at the part where it says “so we can be daughters and sons”, the kids all flipped their signs and it said “Son” or “Daughter”. I thought that was so sweet. And it made me remember that God called our kids too…and he broke the curse for them as well.

It just made me more thankful seeing where God has taken me, where he continues to lead me, and where He is leading my family. We get to hold God in our hands and we are His children. What a beautiful thing.

Let’s view our brothers and sisters as a daughter or son, never forgetting that God is working in all our lives to bring forth His plan.
 

 

When Mary Sang

calendar

Is it bad to gloat about a calendar that displays God’s attributes? Eeek! I got this calendar from Answers in Genesis and I’m in love. First of all, I really like the reminders. Secondly, I used it today to show my kids some of them as we walked through a verse together. Thirdly, it’s darn pretty. Unfortunately, they are all out of them! I totally wanted to get these for some friends for Christmas, but they are OUT!

Today, my oldest and I walked through Mary’s Song in Luke 1:46-55. She had to write a paper about what this passage means to her personally. She really didn’t know how to start her paper, so I walked through it with her and found some amazing things said about God, the Father and Jesus, the Son. The calendar was nice because each month displays a new attribute, it’s definition, and an explanation which seemed to help us as we walked through these verses:

And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord
47     and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful
    of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
49     for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
    holy is his name.
50 His mercy extends to those who fear him,
    from generation to generation.
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
    he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts.
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
    but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things
    but has sent the rich away empty.
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
    remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
    just as he promised our ancestors.”

The first part of the passage, Mary sings of God’s Love towards her. “And Mary said: “My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior,
48 for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.Mary could rejoice and glorify the Lord. Why? Because  He was mindful of her. He cared about her. He thought of this servant, Mary, when no one else did and used her to bring the Christ forth into the world and to fulfill His plan. That He used Mary at all is quite remarkable. She was poor and rather unknown. But God used her nonetheless.

The next part shows God’s holiness and kindness: “From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—
 holy is his name.” Mary recognized that God was a holy God, yet He showed her kindness. Her name would be blessed forevermore because of God choosing her. Notice that it wasn’t Mary who claims her own goodness, but God’s. She recognizes that God is Mighty and Powerful and it is He that is holy, not Mary. Mary is only holy because Christ has made her holy. Catholics, take note.

God is merciful and gracious: “His mercy extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.” God extended mercy to the Israelites many generations before. He is showing that same mercy to Mary in the gift of His Son, who would take up her sins on the cross. Not only is God merciful and gracious, but he is immutable. His character never changes. Mary trusts in these attributes for her own life and can sing because of them.

God is just. He is omnipotent. He is wise. He is patient: “He has performed mighty deeds with his arm; he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts“.  God not only knows the thoughts of every person in the world, he knows every thought that has ever been thought throughout history and will be thought in the future. He punishes sin yet at times, he is patient, not giving us what we truly deserve at that moment. In his wisdom, He uses the good and the bad in our lives to bring us to Himself. One day He will undo all the evil that sin has caused, until then, He is using it for our sanctification.

Mary knows that God is faithful in all things when she sings, “He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble. 53 He has filled the hungry with good things but has sent the rich away empty.” This passage also reiterates his love, his wisdom, and his omniscience, his omnipotence, and his mercy. God truly cares about the lowly.

Mary knew that God would keep His promise and send a Savior–that He would display His mercy to His people in the form of a baby who would forgive sins. She proclaims, “He has helped his servant Israel, remembering to be merciful  to Abraham and his descendants forever, just as he promised our ancestors.” God remembered his covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. He did not forget. And everything that took place for Mary to give birth to a son shows God’s Sovereignty and wisdom over her life.

How beautiful it is that this is the same God which we know, love, and serve. We too can sing with Mary about all of His attributes and give thanks for everything He is and does. Like Elizabeth, we can exclaim, “Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!” The God of Mary is our God, and He takes pleasure in giving His children the best gifts. We can trust that God is in our moments, showing us who He is just as He has through all generations.

This is one of my favorite Christmas songs. Listen and enjoy :)

 

Loved

full_good-news-of-great-joy-free-advent-ebook

We’ve been reading Good News of Great Joy by John Piper for Advent season. We aren’t legalistic about it, but I LOVE the devotionals for each day until you reach Christmas, which is what Advent is — the expectation and coming of Christ and what that means to us as Christians. It is a time of remembering, more deeply, the history and the days of old where they waited for a Messiah and now He is here!

Today, we read about and pondered the coming Messiah and all the details that had to take place in order for him to come. It was a devotional on God’s Sovereignty and how he laid the path to Calvary. Christ could have been born a King. He could have been born to rich parents. He could have called himself down from the cross. Piper talks about how it isn’t a matter of “could” but his own will. “For your sake, he became poor“.

Yesterday I ran into my brother’s ex wife and immediately, my heart felt so many things. First of all, I felt compassion for her knowing she isn’t saved. Secondly, I felt a flood of memories come back from my own childhood with her and my heart was sad that we had lost touch with each other. Thirdly, I felt grief over the loss of my very large family who no longer are speaking to me. God, why are doing all of this? I asked him. What is the point? My eyes welled up with tears when speaking to her. We passed on information to each other and then went on our way, but I spent the better part of last night mulling over all these things in my head.

Sometimes I wonder why the things in my life have happened and it is encouraging when you are suffering or going through hard times to remember that God has planned it all. Every. Single. Thing. Nothing is a waste. Nothing is meaningless. Everything was hand picked by God. And that gave me much comfort today. The pain, the loss, the memories of people that I don’t know what to do with–there is meaning in it all. Even if I don’t know what to do with my pain and my memories, God put them there for a reason–for His reasons. Simple things sometimes feel like nothing, but even the number of hairs on my head have a purpose in God’s economy. I love that about God. He cares about those things and when you realize that, you realize how much you are loved by a Creator who has the power to send you to hell, but instead carries you to His heavenly home. This is not our home, but while we are here, we must follow Christ’s lead. I want to be like Christ in all I do and say, but I fall short. So very short. Yet He loves me anyway, despite all of that. His love and the depths of it I shall never understand, but I am so blessed to be loved by a God that loves me the way I need, every single day of my life.

Until I get home, I must remember this: I’m just passing through.

Run Forward

When I was 10 years old, I got a pair of roller skates for Christmas. Getting something like roller skates for Christmas was like landing on the moon. It was something that I never thought would happen. Our family had very little money and at Christmas time, we got some gifts, but mostly things like socks and underwear or little toys that broke in 10 days. So getting roller skates (and all three of us got a pair) was the best gift I ever got.

When summer came, up and down the driveway I would skate. For hours. Up and down. Up and down. Then when we moved to a new house and I got a little older, I saved up and got a new pair for my growing feet.  I skated in our basement to music. I imagined I was an ice skater and would do super cool moves and get points for it. Then one day, the unthinkable happened. While skating, my skate got snagged on some barbed wire in our basement and I fell and dislocated my shoulder. After a trip to the ER and being on pain meds for 2 weeks, I decided me and skating did not mix. And that was the end of my love for those skates.

Once in a while, I get brave and take my kids ice skating and then I remember how much fun I once had using my white roller skates with bright pink wheels. I find myself laughing and having fun and I am back there again, remembering all the great moments I had. I’m older and wiser now. I don’t do those “cool moves” anymore, but I still love the feeling of it all. Mostly, I love that I had something good in my life that no one else could take from me.

I was thinking about this the other day. I look at those around me who once knew Christ and now have turned their backs on him and claim another god. Like my skates, they have hung him up when something bad happened. Once in awhile, they might pull out a thought or bible verse to make a point and they remember some things about their faith (or maybe it was all just religious works) and maybe they even have some happy memories of Him, but they reason they are better than that. They don’t need God. Or they say they know God when it is convenient for them, but their lives do now show that they love him at all.

I’m not suggesting I get back on skates. I’m over that. But, God is not a pair of skates. God is not a gift you just appreciate for awhile. He’s the reason you have anything at all. He’s the reason you breath. He’s the peace in your trials and the joy in your suffering. He opens the eyes of the blind and makes the deaf to hear Him. He is water for the thirsty and cleansing for the dirty. He is the light in our darkness. He illumines our dark hearts and causes real change. He is everything good that we have inside of us. Without him, we would be left to our own depravity.

When something bad happens, I am tempted to look to save myself from my own misery. But it is only God who can deliver me. Maybe I will sit in the trenches for awhile, but He is with me. It is His trench. And I was made by God to be in it at this moment. If I could just remember this, I wouldn’t run the other direction. The thing is, no matter how far I run, I can’t outrun God. He’s always there and I simply speak His name and He is with me. Someday, I hope to see those I love most realize how very close the Father is to them and see their hearts turn back to His perfect peace and rest.

Run Forward by Audrey Assad

Oh, won’t you show what you’re feeling?
Is it too much to ask that your heart be revealing?
Just a little bit, oh, just a little bit, just a little

I don’t think I’ve ever informed you
I love you desperately even though I only know you
Just a little bit, oh, just a little bit, just a little

Oh, how’d we get so disconnected?
My heart is shutting down, I just can’t let it

So I’ll run forward and pray you fall back
Grace will come and clear your path
Yeah, I’ll run forward and you fall back
Come back

Oh, you treat your time like you own it
It’s slipping fast away and you’re not getting younger
Not even a bit, no, not even a bit, no, not at all

This love is a battle we’re fighting
You’ve laid your armor down, oh, and now I can’t find it
Not even a bit, no, not even a bit, no, not at all

Oh, you took your love for granted
But oh, it never left you for a second

So I’ll run forward and pray you fall back
Grace will come and clear your path
Yeah, I’ll run forward and you fall back
Oh, I’ll run forward and you fall back

You make me afraid
Thank you, I’ve got to thank you
‘Cause now I know His strength
Thank you, I’ve gotta thank you
So please don’t run away, oh
Don’t run, don’t run

So I’ll run forward and pray you run back
Grace will come and clear my path
Yeah, I’ll run forward and if you run back
Oh, I’ll run forward and if you run back
Oh, I’ll run forward and you fall back

Come back, I pray you’ll come back, my love
Come back and grace will come to clear your path
Oh, I’ll run forward if you fall back
You come back, my love, come back

 

Thoughts about the Holidays

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This weekend, I was around people for long periods of time and so today, I really welcomed the ice and cold and an excuse not to go outside. I try to be a people person, but it really does exhaust me. And “being real” with people lately just doesn’t seem like an option. It makes me feel more alone when I do open up to people because I just realize how little they understand me, which in turn makes me feel alone in this great, big world. So I said, “I’m doing fine” a lot and left the rest unsaid because honestly, it just feels easier to me to suffer silently.  And I don’t have to have people understand me. But I’m finding it hard lately to just be joyful–because that is what everyone wants and I have to somehow muster up some thankfulness when really I just want to take a nap until next March.

There is just something about this season. I love Christmas and being with my kids and putting up the tree and the excitement of presents and food and laughing. It’s all wonderful–really it is. But it’s also a time where I grieve and I miss my mom and think of how my kids have grown and she’s not here to watch any of this. And its nostalgic and I remember being little with my brother and dad and mom and all the fun times we had–in the middle of the chaos–and those memories somehow still sting when I find myself deeply thinking back to them. And then I reflect on the point of it all and still, it makes such little sense to me even though everyone says “pain has a purpose”. I still wonder sometimes what that is especially when it all seems to just hang on like a disease I can’t rid myself of.

Then there are the nieces, nephews, and in-laws who I feel like I haven’t really set a great example for. I know God is for me, but sometimes my life and pain as witnessed by many just doesn’t really seem as if God is. And in the middle of my pain which seems to rush in suddenly at times and be distant at other times, how do I display in a real way to those around me that I am not defined by all of this and that the small bit of hope I have is a constant clinging to the Lord? These are the things I wrestle with these days. And if I’m being honest, its been all sad to me. And sometimes its hard for me to join in on the cheer of Christmas and Thanksgiving and pretend as if my life is as joyful as everyone around me seems.

So lately I find myself not wanting to participate or get caught up in the rush of it all–the parties, the gatherings, and the excitement of it all. I begrudgingly do what I need to do for the things I’ve committed to doing, but my heart just isn’t in it. But I’m good at faking. I feel a bit like Charlie Brown too when I look around at what is around me. It’s either a pure focus on materialism or a hatred of anything Godly. And the season requires me to invite in all of that to my personal space and for some reason, I’m just feeling discouraged about it all.

Maybe this is why the song says “Let every heart prepare him room”. I’m thinking of doing a Jesus Tree (Here is one version from Desiring God) this year with the kids for this reason. The holidays can certainly take the focus off of Jesus and put it on so many other things and become a real discouragement, at least for me. I also appreciate the Advent readings, although I know they are not required at Christmas (but neither are presents or trees). It’s a constant battle to put my eyes back on Christ but I find Christmas is sometimes easier to force myself to do it than any other time because it’s so obvious I need to and the season almost calls for it.

Let heaven and nature sing….

 

Falling

winter

I forced myself today (actually yesterday, by the time you read this) to think about things other than work, school, or things I needed to get done. I glanced out the window and saw the snow falling, ever so gently–as if it was dancing in mid air before it fell to the ground. I haven’t written much poetry lately, because at times, I start a poem and can’t seem to finish it. Some sort of perfectionist thing. But today, I wrote this in honor of the falling snow…no, in honor of the Creator of the falling snow. For why worship anything beautiful but Him?

 

Falling

Why do they say she is falling

As if she may be injured or hurt

When she floats ever so mildly

And lands softly upon the earth?

 

Why do they say she is falling

When created, this was her design

Released into the atmosphere

When the Maker said “It is time”?

 

Why do they say she is falling

When her purity buries the land

When upon her backdrop, we see

More clearly the Artist’s hand?

 

© Michelle Buck, 2014

The Joy of Reading

The pile of books next to my bed

The pile of books next to my bed

I have always had a love/hate relationship with reading. When I was growing up, my sister would run circles around me reading every Nancy Drew book she could get her hands on, then on to the Hardy Boys. She read every single book at the book mobile (a library in a big van) that related to mysteries. We’d walk from our house to the back of the school, up the hill, and into the parking lot each week just to get our fix of books, but I was never as excited as my sister about books. My books of choice were always informational. I wanted to learn how to be a vet, how to take care of my dog, or how to garden.  Once in awhile, I’d pick up some teenager-ish book about some mystery/love story and I’d read half way through it, bored to tears. I just have never read for enjoyment–at least not fictional stories. She got into the Judy Blume books and I hated them. (My sister especially liked her book, “Dear God, It’s Me Margaret”–because her name is also Margaret and she got a kick out of that). We were just so different, even in what we read.

When I got married, my husband was into the Left Behind series. I thought those books were ridiculous. I just couldn’t understand how someone could write stories about something that hasn’t happened yet. Further, it bothered me how much money they made off it, but that’s another topic for another day. He read Frank Peretti books and some others similar to those, but I read “The Five Love Languages” or “The Power of Praying Wife”.  I never read for fun. I read so I could fix something, better myself, or learn something new.

I’ve tried over the years to pick up some books that were fictional. It’s just painfully slow. I don’t know why, but I can’t embrace fiction. Even biographies tend to bore me–like all the ones about the missionaries. Maybe I’m just so selfish, I can only think of me. I think there is more to it than that.

From time to time, I’ll read a book to the kids and it will spark an interest that I didn’t have before.  “Treasures in the Snow”, “The Tanglewoods Secret” and “Star of Light” by Patricia St. John are a few of my favorites. I like how the author writes, but also captivates my own heart and leads me to want to change. The stories are truly fictional, but the truths underneath the fiction are not to be ignored.  I can read these books to my kids and I feel as if my own heart is exposed–I’ve felt this way before or I know how that feels and so I can understand for a moment how the heart can bend so easily one way or the other.

Nowdays, I have several books piled up next to my bed. At the top of them is “New Morning Mercies” by Paul David Tripp, my Bible, and 2 small books: “The Precious Promises of God” and “The Gospel Primer for Christians”.  I do still have a few books about how to raise teens and how to live like Christ in this culture (thank you Jeanette for the borrow!) Maybe I’m supposed to read more fiction. Maybe I’d be more better rounded if I did. But I am finding the true stories from scripture more than enough to fulfill that need these days. I don’t need a pile of self-help books nor do I need some tacky romance novels or adventure seeking books, I need the simple words of truth. They have changed my life daily. The real excitement for me comes in knowing that my chapter is yet to be written.

True Worship

Jeremiah 10:23-24

I know, O Lord, that the way of man is not in himself, that it is not in man who walks to direct his steps. Correct me, O Lord, but in justice; not in your anger, lest you bring me to nothing.

I’ve been thinking a lot about idols in my life lately.  I think a lot of people assume that when the Old Testament talks about idols, they are referring to a statue. The truth is that anything that replaces the worship of God is an idol. When we care too much what people think, that is an idol. When we love comfort more than obeying God, that is an idol. When we feel like we deserve something and have earned it, that is putting our wants and needs above what God wants.

Paul David Tripp says this:

The question is not whether you will worship, but rather what you will worship–your glorious Creator or something he created. (New Morning Mercies, November 25)

Good things can replace the Giver of those things in my heart. A desire for a good thing becomes a bad thing when that desire become a ruling thing….we are all still tempted to put the gift in the place that the Giver alone should occupy. (New Morning Mercies, November 19)

Spiritual Fakery is one of the chief tools of the enemy….fear of man can masquerade as a sensitive heart towards the needs of others….bondage to the opinions of others can masquerade as a commitment to community. (New Morning Mercies, October 31)

I went to a marriage conference this weekend and I laughed when the speaker, Dr. Stuart Scott was talking about a husband that thought he was God. He said “He is looking for a vacancy in the trinity.”  Isn’t that true of all of us though? I find myself wanting to control the little kingdoms I’ve created. I am noticing more and more that I am selfish and greedy with my time, my energy, and my things. These are idols. And my heart longs for them if I don’t keep them in check. That is why the hymn says “Prone to wander, Lord I feel it; Prone to leave the God I love…”  Because without God’s help, we will wander and leave. It’s only by God’s grace that He calls us His own and brings us into the fold.

Jeremiah 17:9 says this about our hearts:

“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?”

And this passage in James 1 sheds light on our hearts further:

Let no one say when he is tempted, “I am being tempted by God,” for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one. But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire. Then desire when it has conceived gives birth to sin, and sin when it is fully grown brings forth death.

There have been times where I felt like God was hiding something from me. Why is this so hard? Why can’t I “get it”? Yes, I did need Christ to open up my eyes to help me see my sin–all of which were idols and desires that were in my own heart. It was not God’s fault, but my own. Romans 1 explains it further:

The wrath of God is being revealed from heaven against all the godlessness and wickedness of people, who suppress the truth by their wickedness,  since what may be known about God is plain to them, because God has made it plain to them.  For since the creation of the world God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.

Frightening. We have no excuses. Even those who are sinning and blinded by their sin–they have zero excuses on Judgment Day. God has made everything plain to them. The reason why we don’t understand is because of our sin. And for us Christians, we are being renewed day by day. We have to put off our old sinful nature and put on the new nature of Christ and His holiness.

Romans 6 instructs us how to live:

In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus. 12 Therefore do not let sin reign in your mortal body so that you obey its evil desires. 13 Do not offer any part of yourself to sin as an instrument of wickedness, but rather offer yourselves to God as those who have been brought from death to life; and offer every part of yourself to him as an instrument of righteousness. 14 For sin shall no longer be your master, because you are not under the law, but under grace. (vs. 11-14)

But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you have come to obey from your heart the pattern of teaching that has now claimed your allegiance. 18 You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness. (vs. 17-18)

Just as you used to offer yourselves as slaves to impurity and to ever-increasing wickedness, so now offer yourselves as slaves to righteousness leading to holiness. 20 When you were slaves to sin, you were free from the control of righteousness. 21 What benefit did you reap at that time from the things you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death! 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefit you reap leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life. 23 For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (vs. 19-23)

I have idols in my heart and so what do I do with them? How do I rid myself of them? It’s not easy. Romans 6 tells me to not be a slave to those idols. Instead, I need to offer myself to God and become His slave. That sounds like a horrible thing–to be someone’s slave. But when we are slaves of righteousness, we no longer are in bondage to the things that once held us down. I am finding as I let go of these idols, there is real freedom. I am free to love because I don’t have to fear being rejected. I am free to be bold in my faith, because I don’t have to fear or worry about what others will think of me. I can live life knowing that my Creator knows me, loves me, and takes care of everything. When I’m in bondage to my own idols, I am frantic, nervous, and anxious or depressed. My tiny little kingdom of self is suffocating.  God’s kingdom is life-giving.

If you look at the verse I started with (Jeremiah 10), the author’s heart is right where we need to be–asking for God to correct us but knowing He has the power to bring us to nothing, yet He loves us and cares for us enough to want us to be more like Himself.

I’ll conclude with Romans 12:1-2

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship. 2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

Tears and Aspergers

I cried for her today.

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I wish there was no such thing as Aspergers or ADD or learning disabilities. I wish there was no such thing as motor skill problems and vestibular imbalance. I wish her right and left brain worked in unison. I wish she could climb stairs, tie shoe laces, and speak without anxiety. I wish the rules never changed for her. I wish she always knew what to expect.

I wish she could read facial expressions. I wish she wasn’t naïve. I wish she had one friend…just one. I wish math wasn’t hard and riding a bike was easy. I wish she understood language at grade level. I wish she was aware of her body odors, her tangled hair, and her messy face. I wish she wanted to talk to me more.  I wish we could talk like best friends, or even like mother and daughter. I wish she played with my hair and let me play with hers. I wish while driving, we’d talk about boys. I wish she’d tell me what book she was reading, what her life was like, and who her favorite actor was. I wish she’d sing out loud. I wish she’d ask me how I was doing. I wish she hugged me when I cried.

But even though all those things hurt, there is one thing I wish more than a cure for Aspergers and ADD and a learning disability. I wish she lived in a world where Aspergers wasn’t a bad thing and where she was always accepted and loved. Where I didn’t have to explain things. Where she didn’t have to feel like she didn’t fit in. Because a world without Aspergers is a world without the writers, the thinkers, the poets, the artists, and the problem solvers. And what kind of world would that be?

What I really wish for is this: I wish the world wasn’t so cruel.

Fear not, Little flock

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Lately, it is the simple things in scripture that I am finding so comforting. When Jesus speaks in Luke 12:32, I can almost hear his concern and love for his disciples–and for me:

Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom.

It’s as if Jesus wraps his arm around me during one of those moments where I’m just not sure of anything–when my feet feel like they are about to slip from the rocks, when my world seems like it might fall and simply says “Fear not, little flock“.  Yes, I am so small and I lack ability. I don’t know what to do or where to turn and I’m afraid of what might happen next.

He reminds me that I don’t have to know.  I don’t have to try so hard because my Father delights and finds pleasure in giving me the Kingdom–in putting his kingdom before me and taking away my little, tumbling kingdoms. He shows me His Kingdom and it’s beautiful. It’s filled with only good things for me. But in order to take hold of His Kingdom, I have to let go of my own idols and kingdoms that I so easily build up around him.

In practical ways this plays out. I’m tired and want to go to sleep, but my son wants a story and to be tucked into bed and a hug. My kingdom shouts for comfort and rest. God’s kingdom whispers love and selflessness. My husband is irritating me and I just want to be right and show him up. My kingdom blasts pride and arrogance. God’s kingdom gently reminds me to love my husband and win him over without a word. I am fearful of not being “good enough”. My kingdom wants to be noticed, to be loved, and to be approved. God’s kingdom swallows up my selfishness and pride and glorifies Christ–who in turn gives me his righteousness and goodness.

Every moment is a moment where I can choose my kingdom or God’s kingdom. God keeps reminding me that I am precious to him. He reminds me that He finds joy in giving me gifts I could never possibly give myself, nor could I ever earn them. Today I read this from Proverbs 4:18-19 and for the first time, I could feel deep inside me what this truly meant:

The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. But the way of the wicked is like deep darkness; they do not know what makes them stumble.

Let my life shine like the sun–let me continue to be brighter and brighter each new day.

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