Monday, December 31, 2018

Great is His faithfulness

By Mary

There are less than two hours left in the year 2018. On the one hand, I have no idea where this year went, and on the other I'm so glad it's finally over. Every year comes with it's mix of ups and downs, and I can't really say this year has been that much more extreme compared to others. But it's been hard. Often lonely. Perhaps one of the darker years of my life, yet still full of light. And one that has yielded growth, I believe. Growth that I hope will continue into the days ahead, in this new year and each one that comes after. Because God is faithful. In every way, in every thing.

I see His faithfulness in so many ways, so many things. Just now, I'm so grateful for the way His faithfulness is pictured in the faithfulness of the friends He's blessed me with. I found a card written by one dear friend years ago that spoke encouragement to me yet again today because of the sweet words written then as well as the continued presence she has in my life even from miles away.

And Alanna. Alanna and I first really spoke to each other at an AWANA pizza party one November fourteen years ago. We've been friends for over half of my life, and while we haven't lived within walking distance of each other for more than 8 years now and far too much time goes by between when we talk, it's like nothing really changes. It's such a precious blessing. This coming year I could resolve a lot of things-a lot of good, helpful things. But what I want most of all is to treasure His goodness and faithfulness in every form in my life and to praise Him with my whole heart.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

the way you love me

by Alanna

It was Thanksgiving week.
I tried so hard all week, fought for joy and won.
Thursday we feasted and laughed
ate cheesecake with our toddlers by candlelight
But things built up in me and around me
and on Friday I fell apart.
I bared my soul and let you into that darkness
but your words hurt that day.
Because you are only a man,
and truth is there's only so much a man can take.
So I fled deep into myself and pushed you away
And when you came after me with love and apologies
I drove you away.
You tried so hard but I was afraid.
Swallowed lies and truth all mixed together
about who I am and who I'm not
and who I wish I could be.
I want to be here for you,
to feel whole and to love you from that wholeness.
But truth is we are all broken
and me most of all.
So I left the house
left you wondering why God had given me to you.
I took the kids and cried it out at a cold park
while they played unawares.
I thought you'd never come
couldn't see redemption in all the mess I had made.
But you came for me there
broke through all my defenses
and I heaved great sobs standing there in your arms.
You whispered you would never give up on me.
And yes, it's true, we all deserve to be given up on.
All of us with our sin and darkness.
But that's why Jesus came, isn't it?
To stand in our stead, to pay the price
to name us beloved.
I can't expect perfection from you
just like you can't from me.
Only my Jesus is always safe
always understanding and compassionate.
He alone will never hurt me with words
when I bare my soul to him.
He is a guarantee.
But this I know with certainty my love.
I feel safe with you.
No, you are not perfect.
And sometimes your words will hurt.
But I am resolved not to hide from you
not to pretend I am someone I am not. 
Because this is true love.
Us, wading through this, broken together.
And I'd rather be broken with you than alone.
Thank you my love, for not giving up on me.
You are imperfect but you have given me
the clearest picture I have ever known
of Jesus
and the way He loves me.