Friends and Allies

Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken

The other day, I introduced my littles to one of my all time favorite movies- “Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken“. It’s based on a true story of a girl who pushes through adversity to tenaciously pursue her dream. Her determination to dive on horses in a thrill show during the Great Depression is inspiring and captivating.

This is my last post in my daily Lent writing and there are a couple of things I remembered and discovered through this time. I remembered how much I love writing and how considering topics I want to write about keeps me inspired and intentional. I remembered that God uses my words to be an encouragement to others. And I remembered that I enjoy being vulnerable in this way and inviting others to share in the daily stuff of life.

I discovered that my heart can’t be broken beyond repair. There’s a line in the song “Move” by MercyMe that says, “I just might bend, but I won’t break.” In retrospect, where I thought I was breaking was actually bending. As I have written these posts, I have felt my heart returning to hope. Writing is helping me to move past hurts, to heal, to be restored and redeemed.

My husband told me that he thinks I need to write for me, not worrying about anyone reading my words, but just writing what the Lord lays on my heart to write. That’s what this series of posts has been and I am grateful for it. I’m thankful for those of you who have joined me along the way and I know there are some of you who have read every word! Thank you.

I will not continue to write every day, but I will be writing more frequently than I had been before Lent started. I hope that when people think of me, they will think of words like “tenacious” and “determined”, not “broken” and “hurting”. I want to be a person who continues to pursue dreams no matter what adversity comes my way.

And I want to set an example for my kids who are watching me every day. Brighter days are ahead.

Wild hearts can’t be broken!

 

Why This Friday is “Good”

I’m struggling to find the words to say for all of the emotions I am feeling on this Good Friday. The sacrifice Jesus made on the cross is hitting me in new ways this year. I read these words in Luke 23 and I want to weep.

Pilate then called together the chief priests and the rulers and the people, and said to them, “You brought me this man as one who was misleading the people. And after examining him before you, behold, I did not find this man guilty of any of your charges against him. Neither did Herod, for he sent him back to us. Look, nothing deserving death has been done by him. I will therefore punish and release him.”

But they all cried out together, “Away with this man, and release to us Barabbas”— a man who had been thrown into prison for an insurrection started in the city and for murder. Pilate addressed them once more, desiring to release Jesus, but they kept shouting, “Crucify, crucify him!” A third time he said to them, “Why? What evil has he done? I have found in him no guilt deserving death. I will therefore punish and release him.” But they were urgent, demanding with loud cries that he should be crucified. And their voices prevailed. So Pilate decided that their demand should be granted. He released the man who had been thrown into prison for insurrection and murder, for whom they asked, but he delivered Jesus over to their will. (13-25 ESV)

Nothing deserving death has been done by him… but they were urgent, demanding.

The greatest injustice ever to occur in the history of mankind.

I have found in him no guilt… but he delivered Jesus over to their will.

Jesus was without sin, yet he took on the sins of the entire world.

One of my favorite prayers in all of scripture is found when Jesus prayed on the night before he was crucified. Recorded in Luke 22:42, Jesus prayed, “Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me. Nevertheless, not my will, but yours, be done.”

Not my will, but yours, be done.

Jesus in his darkest days, set an example for all who would follow him. An example to live with open hands. To live obediently to the will of the Father.

When it doesn’t make sense, we can trust the Father’s wisdom.

When we want to fight back, we can be still knowing the Lord will fight for us.

When injustice occurs, we can know that God will bring vindication.

When all seems lost, we can look for the light, because it will shine in the darkness.

Good Friday records the horrors, the injustices, the scourging, the floggings, the betrayals, the scoffing, the demanding, the lies, the fear of man, and the murder of the Son of God.

But praise God, this is not the end of the story!

I read these verses in Genesis 50 and I want to leap with joy!

As for you, you meant evil against me, but God meant it for good, to bring it about that many people should be kept alive, as they are today.  (20, ESV)

Just as God used Joseph to bring about the salvation of many during a great famine after his brothers had betrayed him and sold him into slavery, the crucifixion of Jesus would be used to offer salvation to all who would believe.

You meant evil against me, but God meant it for good.

It’s Friday, but Sunday’s coming!

Tastes Like My Childhood

A few days ago, a friend of mine shared a recipe for Peanut Butter Eggs and it brought back so many memories for me. These homemade eggs are a Pennsylvania tradition, one that I realized I needed to pass along to my kids.

But there’s a problem. I am terrible at anything related to candy making. Tempering chocolate is not my gift and my creations are sloppy at best. I would try to help my Mom when I was younger, but you could always tell which ones were mine! And so I gave up trying at some point.

Now my Mama is gone and I find myself wanting to honor her memory in whatever way I can. This Easter, it’s with homemade peanut butter eggs.

The kids went shopping with me to gather all of the ingredients and then we all worked together to make a massive amount of peanut butter eggs. It went quickly with very little complaining and a whole lot of mess! I didn’t have a moment to get pictures of the kids, because we were all covered in chocolate and laughing our way through it. Turns out, they’re as terrible as me!

Grandma would have been delighted.

We laughed again as we got the eggs out of the fridge to sample after lunch today. They are misshapen and imperfect and delicious!!

I read a quote from my Gospel Transformation Bible yesterday that is sticking with me. It was in the commentary section of the book of Job. This is what I read:

“God’s purposes are eternal as he weans us from earth and woos us to heaven.”

Our failures and our imperfections are meant to give us a longing for something more. This life is not all that there is! My Mom was able to make some perfect peanut butter eggs, but I guarantee she would tell my kids not to seek perfection in this life, but instead to long for all that awaits us!

I love the way traditions connect us to our past, but also teach us lessons about our future if we’re willing to learn them.

We’ll probably never make the perfect peanut butter egg, but we will continue to honor our family heritage and keep those connections strong.

We love you, Mom/Grandma!

Friends and Allies

Friendship is one of the best gifts we are given in life. It’s also one of the trickiest of relationships to navigate.

When I was a little girl, my family moved to a new place every couple of years. By the time I was eight years old, my family had lived in six different places. As a result, I learned to make friendships easily, but to not expect that they would last forever. However, I didn’t learn until much later in life that you could lose friendships for reasons other than moving to a new place. I thought that once a friendship was forged, you were friends for life.

It has been painful over the past decade to discover that there are many reasons that friendships don’t last. One of my friends described friendship as annuals and perennials. Some you have for a little while, but then they fizzle out. The annuals. Others are life long friends and when you’re together, you just pick up where you left off. The perennials.

I strive to be a perennial friend. I love reconnecting with people I haven’t seen in awhile. And even if someone has hurt me deeply, I will welcome them back if they want a friendship with me. I would describe myself as loyal. Some would say to a fault.

In the process of losing friends, I have learned that I need to have a thicker skin, but the truth is “I have no notion of loving people by halves, it is not my nature.” (from Northanger Abbey, by Jane Austen).

Recently, a pastors’ wife friend shared the concept of “friends and allies”. We can and should be friends with anyone who desires friendship with us. But allies are an entirely different level of friendship. Allies are the ones who know your faults and your weaknesses and they love you anyway. They know how to challenge you, but you never worry that you will be too much for them. You just know that they are there for you no matter what. And you are there for them.

I would call these friends, “friends without pretense”. You never feel like you have to earn their friendship or that if you mess up one more time, that will be the end of that. You don’t have to worry about having differences of opinion. In fact, with allies, you welcome the different perspectives and know that you can share your thoughts without worrying about being written off. Allies understand that we are all on a journey and so the place we are at now is not where we will be in a year or two or ten. And they are in it for the long haul.

As I consider this, it makes so much sense to me. Not all friends will be allies and that’s okay. We can enjoy friendships with a wide group of people, but the allies are a much smaller group.

I have to tell you that as a pastor’s wife, friendships can be a challenge. I feel sometimes like everyone expects me to be an ally to them, but they only have to offer friendship to me. It’s conditional. This can feel scary, especially when you lose a lot of friendships all at once. Who are you supposed to trust?

What the Lord is teaching me is that he is the best ally I could ever have! He will never leave me or forsake me. In fact, he loved me so much that he was willing to die in my place, paying the penalty for my sins and rising again giving me new life in him. We’re celebrating all of that this weekend and I am eternally grateful.

My husband is also an ally and I feel so blessed that after a difficult year, we are able to continue to love and support each other no matter what. I know this is not always the case- sometimes people discover in great adversity that they married a friend, not an ally. This is a painful reality that so many are facing and I do not want to make light of it. But I can’t possibly write a post on this subject without acknowledging my best human ally!

This year has shown me that I have more allies in my life than I even knew. You don’t know how strong a friendship is until it is tested. I am grateful for the friendships that have stood strong against the challenges of this past year. For all of my precious allies- thank you!

It is scary to trust when you feel betrayed. And I have to acknowledge that while I feel betrayed by friends, they probably feel the same way. And so, all I can do is find my security in Christ and keep reaching out in love to the best of my ability. No expectations. No strings attached.

What have you learned from friendships in your life?