All We Need Is Love

Today is Good Friday and a somber reminder of what the real meaning of “love” is all about. The word love is hard to wrap my brain around sometimes because it means so many different things to all of us. But today love is about Jesus and what it actually means when He gave up His life for me and for you, to walk the road of the cross–for restoration. After all these years I still can’t fathom all that His sacrifice means other than His death on the cross making a way for me to experience the fullness of God and His love for me. The message is simple and is contained in a four letter word LOVE that was put to the test over 2000 years ago.

I guess this hit home for me when I was out on the street of Whalley at NightShift a few weeks ago. I was leading worship with two friends. It was a cold, dark and blustery rainy night. There was nothing sacred about us singing worship songs while a hundred or more people lined up to get a meal, it was just plain miserable outside. I watched people huddle together in the cold grateful for a warm bowl of soup to take the chill off. I heard and saw the pain and brokenness through their haunted eyes, some high on drugs, others a sadness beyond words as they slumped over discouraged and defeated.  And then while we were singing a song about how much God loves us, repeating the chorus over and over, it hit me–this is love. This is why Jesus did what he did for me and for them.

I might not be on the street poor or homeless, but without love I am poor. Now, I know that it isn’t profound, but it was for me in that moment. Sometimes I make love too complicated and it is really quite simple as I looked out over the crowd. My heart grieved and was so sad because I wanted my street friends to know God’s love the same way and how it penetrates my soul giving me life in the midst of a storm or my own brokenness. I did speak those words out after we sang, and told the story of how Jesus was with the disciples in the storm. They weren’t a captive audience, but my hope was that in that night, the hot meal, the songs about love and Jesus, kind words and smiles would be a seed planted that love does and can change everything. All we need is love? Is it really that simple? I think so, because love is God and God is love and Jesus proved it….”This is how much God loved the world: He gave his Son, his one and only Son. And this is why: so that no one need be destroyed; by believing in him, anyone can have a whole and lasting life. God didn’t go to all the trouble of sending his Son merely to point an accusing finger, telling the world how bad it was. He came to help, to put the world right again.” John 3:16,17 (Message Bible)This is LOVE!

Weddings and Answered Prayers

This past weekend I was a part of a grand celebration. A wedding. A wedding that was an answer to prayer witnessing God’s blessing on a family that I’ve known for most of my life. My best friend let go of her last son in marriage to a beautiful girl who was truly a match made in heaven. He was the last of our six boys combined to take the plunge and walk down the aisle. It was joyous and bittersweet. As my oldest son (the first of the six who was married) remarked to me sitting at the reception, “Mom, it is the end of an era.” I had to tell him to stop because I was about to cry. I was remembering Cheryl and I and all the prayers we have prayed for our six boys and their future brides for the past 30 years. We were at the end, we have seen the fulfillment of prayers answered above and beyond what either of us could ever imagine (or picked ourselves!). Between the two of us, God gave us six amazing girls to complete our families.

At the rehearsal dinner I sat around the table with his college friends and work partners. I was blessed. His friends are lovers of Jesus and world changers. As I listened that evening to person after person share about the character of these two people about to enter the sacred union of marriage, I was moved. I was reminded that character is the most important. Character is what drives us and creates our pathway for greatness. Not greatness in the sense of worldly success or fame, but the kind of greatness that leads to making our mark in history. Greatness in the sense of the ability to love deeply and be gracious, kind and generous to others. What I witnessed this past weekend was greatness the way Paul describes in his charge to us, “Love one another with brotherly affection as members of one family, giving precedence and showing honor to one another.” Romans 12:10 (Amplified Bible). I saw that firsthand as the event unfolded from the unspoken words and actions of family and friends, to the toasts blessing the bride and groom.

My friend Cheryl and her husband Dan have done a stellar job of building this kind of greatness of character into their three boys and it shows. Their family is a testament of God’s love, kindness and grace and it was an honor to share in the journey and witness greatness in its fullest splendor. Onnie Piyali Wedding

DIY?? What?

I couldn’t take it any longer. I had to let down my pride. I had to come out of denial and realize that I am not as relevant at my 20 something friend said I was the other day. I finally broke down and stopped pretending that every time I saw the letters DIY that I knew what it meant or at least pretended to. Okay, I didn’t have the foggiest notion, after Pinterest, Facebook, Twitter and now visiting a friends website, I had no clue what it meant!! I googled it and found out it just means DO IT YOURSELF!! Okay, now I get it! I understand what all the boards in my Pinterest searches mean when they say DIY.

I have to admit, I am kind of disappointed. I thought it was more inspiring than that. I realized that it is the return to in a sense, making do with what we have on hand to be creative and live within our means. There is a surge of DIY happening because I think this present day world is requiring us to think differently about all the STUFF we think we have to accumulate and I have been oh so guilty of the temptation to be a collector of that stuff. DIY ideas make a way to discover how to be creative and revamping my own ‘stuff’ reminds me of when we were first married and we had no money, nearly everything I did and had was DIY! It was rewarding and gave me a sense of delight that I had created something or fixed it myself.

I am grateful to be reminded by www.picketandoak.com (friend’s website you should check out) because I’ve been thinking about this alot lately. I have come to the conclusion that I don’t really need anything. I have so much and am so blessed on every level and I am not just talking about stuff that I’m tempted to drag home from my favorite places like TJ Maxx or Marshalls. I have a beautiful family, sweet grand babies to hug, friends that challenge me and help me be more like Jesus, a lovely home in an amazing setting, cupboards full of food, closet full of clothes and shoes and a cozy bed to sleep in at night. I have more than I could ever ask for, and yet I still needed to be reminded that the concept of DIY really is just a simple term for learning to be grateful and to seek to work harder at being a good steward of what has been entrusted to me.

BTW, the picture in this blog is from a great DIY site. It is www.curbly.com. Check it out!!