Two Prodigals

March 24th, 2017 Posted by No comments

I give thanks to my older daughter for her post for Blossom Ministry and allowing me to post it here:

prodigalson

 

TWO PRODIGALS

 

Confession time. I can be a very judgmental person. I’m not proud of this. It’s something I’ve been aware of and working with God on for years and just when I think I’ve rooted out a major source I find another pocket full.

Take the story of the prodigal son for example. I suppose many people identify with this wayward young man and to be sure, when I need to repent, I’m grateful that my father is waiting at the end of the road for me with arms wide open. But when I read this story I often find myself judging the prodigal. What a selfish man, I think. How could he act like that? What a screw-up! Asking for his inheritance before his father was dead was literally wishing his father WAS dead. Demanding his portion before its time was irresponsible.

It’s only been recently that I’ve wondered…aren’t there really two prodigals? Wasn’t the older son just as unappreciative of what he had as his younger brother who took off? We focus on the obvious narrative of the “prodigal son” but there is much to be gleaned by reading between the lines of the story of his older brother.

Who was the older brother? I assume he was like myself, also an eldest child: confident, responsible, organized, dependable, and…self-righteous. The older brother followed the rules. Did what was expected of him. Colored inside the lines. And he picked up the slack left abandoned by his younger brother. It isn’t hard to imagine the judgemental thoughts he had. Toward his younger brother. Toward the situation left to him or manage. Toward his father. Fill in the blanks.

And imagine his head literally popping off when his younger brother comes slinking back and their father THROWS A PARTY FOR HIM? Are you kidding me? It looks like his indescretions were unwarranted of any punishment! How DARE he get the fattened calf? How dare he be…gulp…forgiven! When he SHOULD HAVE KNOWN BETTER.

This is the rub for me. As I put myself in the older brother’s shoes I realize how often I consider this a devout family. A religious family. A Christian family. And therefore the younger brother is someone who should have known better than to act the way he did. I look at people who are supposedly believers making decisions that cause the Father pain. All the while I feel justified in judging them, pointing fingers, shaking my head. I am the older son. Supposedly toeing the line and surrounded by other Christians who slack off. Wow. Just. Wow.

Am I the only one airing my dirty laundry here? Tell me you think of other Christians the same way. Don’t leave me hanging out here! Seriously…if the “younger brother” is an unbeliever it’s more understandable when he does something inappropriate. A “sinner” who sins. What a shocker. But when the “younger brother” is a fellow believer? My expectations shoot WAY up. The bar is set higher.

Thankfully the Father forgave the older son for judging the younger. For propping himself up as the obedient one all while harboring resentment in his heart. For lashing out in anger at the party. For pouting in the corner for all the unfairness. For being stubborn. The older son needed to “come home to the Father’s grace” too. This is me. Learning to focus on my own walk with God instead of meddling and judging where anyone else is…believer or not.

The story of the prodigal son is a misnomer. There are 2 sons. 2 Prodigals. Both in need of forgiveness. Both in need of kindness. Both in need of humility. And both accepted home and rejoiced over by their loving Father.

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The Fullfilment of Hope

July 14th, 2016 Posted by 1 comment

hope

Another inspirational story to keep you going when you feel that God isn’t doing anything. It’s my older daughter’s story of her four year journey:

Redemption

On January 11, 2015 I wrote to God in my journal asking Him to reveal a banner word for me for the year. A week later on a Sunday morning I felt God answering my request through the worship list which was filled with songs about redemption. So I wrote on the 18th that I believed God whispered to my spirit that my banner word for 2015 was the word Redeem.

Redeem.

  • To recover ownership of by paying a specified sum
  • to pay off, to turn in, to convert
  • to fulfill
  • to set free, to save, to restore, to exchange
  • to atone for
  • to serve as compensation for
  • to reinstate, vindicate, absolve
  • to reclaim, ransom, set free, emancipate
  • to meet, keep, carry out, satisfy, make good

When I received this banner world it had been three years since I found out I was pregnant with our son Jaxson who we would eventually lose prematurely in May 2012. It had been a year since I miscarried my second baby. My heart was tired of grieving… tired of waiting… tired of being heartsick. I craved renewal. I longed for an end to my mourning. I remember asking God to just take away my desire for children if that longing was never to be fulfilled. I wanted to move on. I looked over the landscape of my last three years and craved for God to restore my joy. Whatever His plans, I was more than ready for something to break and set a new course.

The summer of 2015 was particularly trying. Completing my fifth and sixth rounds of fertility treatments had taken a toll on my emotions, compiled with the stress of a grueling work environment had me at my wits end. By the end of August we knew the treatments had not worked and it was the end of the road for pursuing this help in conceiving a baby. I decided to take a big break…from pretty much every area of my life and I went home to Boise for three weeks.

The past January and the prayers I had written in my journal about God’s banner word for me felt very far away. I hadn’t thought about that word for months and if you had asked me about it, I would have likely laughed bitterly at the thought that 2015 was supposed to be a year of redemption. Oh ye of little faith. My redemption was just around the corner.

  • September 2015 I discovered I was pregnant.
  • November 2015 brought answers for why I’d lost Jaxson so early and therefore plans were set to make sure it wouldn’t happen with this baby.
  • December 2015 we were delighted to find out we were expecting a little girl.

We now have a nine-week-old baby girl named Olivia Hope. We call her Liv. She is the embodiment of “Living with Hope” through the darkest seasons of our lives. She is my redemption story of petitioning God for a family and the six rears it took to fulfill. As I hold her in my arms for late night feedings and pace the hallways of my home soothing her cries, I have time to meditate on my banner word which carried over from 2015 to 2016.

God is so good and also sovereign. Sarah did not understand why God waited until she was 90 before giving her Issac but he plays a pivotal role in foreshadowing God’s redemption plan through his almost-sacrifice by his father, Abraham. Hannah grieved her barrenness so openly that her priest thought she was drunk! But just as she promised, when God finally answered her prayer for a son, she gave him to the temple to be raised by the priests when he was just a young child. He would grow up to teach God’s redemption in the story of King David and Bathsheeba and their second son, King Solomon.

I will never understand why Mother’s Day weekend of 2012 was a weekend of loss for both myself and my friend Michelle as we both gave up babies from our arms that year…but this Mother’s Day I held Liv in my arms and Michelle walked hand in hand into her church with a nine-year-old miracle whose adoption story was also years in the making. Just as with Issac and Samuel, Liv, Macy, Gavin, and countless other children so long desired have a lifetime to showcase God’s ultimate redemption plans. Our Creator weaves his goodness and glory into our lives in mysterious and spectacular ways.

There is a Redeemer, Jesus, God’s own Son. Precious Lamb of God, Messiah, Holy One.

~Melody Green CCLI#11483

Therefore the Redeemed of Lord shall return and come with singing unto Zion and everlasting joy shall be upon their head.

~Isaiah 51:11, Ruth Lake CCLI#26313

 

All hail Redeemer, hail! For He has died for me. His praise and glory shall not fail throughout eternity.

~Chris Tomlin CCLI#6463818

 

My rock, my shelter. My very own. Blessed Redeemer who reigns upon the throne.

~Dennis Jernigan CCLI#208492

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Take a risk of faith

March 22nd, 2016 Posted by No comments

faithscrabbleIn Mark 5:34 is says: Jesus said to her, “Daughter, you took a risk of faith, and now you’re healed and whole. Live well, live blessed! Be healed…”

This is the story of the woman with the issue of blood and in her pursuit of healing she knew that if she touched Jesus He would heal her.

And so she persevered, did not give up, until she was able to touched Him. And He healed her.

Believing something — a substance of something hoped for, the evidence of something not seen (Hebrews 11:1) means taking a risk. But it is worth
plunging forward towards the goal.

Whatever you’re believing God for today, take a risk and believe it will be.

Go with God.

 

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