Monday, December 16, 2013

367 days later the truth is still the same

I wrote this a day after the school shooting in Newton last year. What is apparent as I reflect on that tragedy is how little progress we have made since that day. We are deeply divided. During this season of peace and grace, let each of us reflect on how we wish to spend the next 365 days. Instead of "having it your way" can you see the other side? Instead of wanting more, can we be satisfied with what we have? Instead of rushing from  here to there, can we take time to be in the moment? Instead of hate, gossip or idleness, can there be love, compassion and hard work? Below are my personal feelings on those events and how we, each of us, can learn, live & love better. I do not have an expectation that each of you will agree with these thoughts 100%, but please be open minded and respectful of these words. In the end isn't that what we each want? To be respected, valued and loved. I offer you the reason for Christmas, Christ - God's son.

~written December 15, 2012~

I have felt led to describe my feelings over the recent shootings. I am sure that there will be people (my friends among them) that disagree with me or find fault with what I am about to say. I can only say this; these are my feelings about my faith, Jesus has given his life so that I may one day live in Heaven. I am asked to share that faith by the same God who blesses me so richly here. I feel that by NOT doing so I am disobeying and doing each and every one of you a disservice. In the same vein I can appreciate the richness & diversity of other faiths and beliefs. By sharing mine with you now does not mean that I do not respect your opinions, beliefs or differing faiths. I am not telling you that you MUST believe the same as I do. I am simply sharing my faith, my love of God so that you may choose your own path. I do not appreciate confrontation; however as a believer I must put aside my own fears and rest in the promise that God will never leave me or forsake me. It is on that promise I stand as I share these thoughts with you now, even as it scares me to even publish this.

God loves us very much. The Lord never promised His followers an easy road. Simply because I believe that there is a living God and He loved me enough that long ago He allowed his Son to be crucified to pay for my sins does not make the world a safe and wonderful place.  The evil that we see is not because God allows it to happen; but because he allows humans to choose their own paths. Those paths sometime are not to the benefit of others. This is why we are taught to love our neighbors as ourselves. My faith is a faith which demands when I choose to love & follow Christ I must put aside my own desires and work toward His desires. It does not excuse the actions of others, for we will each have to answer to Him. However, we should remember that He promises us that he will use everything to His glory. We can rest assured that even in a horrific & tragic situation that God will be using that to bring his kingdom here to Earth. I can only speak for myself as it is not my place to know the hearts and minds of others. I am heartbroken over the deaths of so many children. God knows how it feels to lose a child. He sent His Son here to die for us. Each of us. Our Lord desperately wants us to seek him, to love Him & once we pass from this world to the next if we accept Christ as our Savior we will rejoice with Him in Heaven.
Whatever your beliefs we all want our children to feel secure, grow up loved & succeed. We all have hardships to face. Without the bad or tough times – would we appreciate the good times as much? Maybe. Maybe not. Some burdens are harder to bear than others.  By no means am I diminishing any one struggle, any one burden. What is easy for me may be hard for you. This is the beauty of community, of friendship, of family. Our family sacrifices so that other families may live securely. That is our burden for the moment. It is not easy & I do my share of complaining. It is easy to forget how richly I am blessed. My children are growing, beautiful girls who have a love of each other. My husband is willing to put his life on the line so that we can live freely. My brother & his wife do the same. My parents are amazingly charitable people. They have been blessed so they may bless others in return. My mother in law is amazingly compassionate  & would give you her last dime or scrap of food. From each one of these people I have learned. I have learned to love Christ by following my mother’s example at a young age. I have learned respect, I have learned teamwork, I have been humbled by my children. Every person I have met in my life has had a lesson for me. Some lessons aren’t as fun as others.
I know that this wound is fresh, and for the families that are affected directly by the actions of one man the road is painful. I cannot say that what we are all feeling is fair. It’s not fair that innocent children died. I will say that I am certain they sit, comforted by God, in heaven. He will not allow their deaths to be for naught. I am assured that He will use this for His purposes, which are always good. It’s easy to ask why He would allow this; please know this. I am positive He grieves as much as any parent of those little children. 
In this very difficult time there is a desire to place blame on people, objects or laws. I can assure you that it is not Gods fault. This situation is the result of a single man’s actions. It has been brought up that he may have suffered from a mental disorder of some kind. We need to show God’s love to everyone, even those who we deem unworthy of that love.  In fact it is those people who need the love of God the most. If we don’t share it with them – who will? We share with them in the hopes that they may feel that love & feel less alone, less sad or less angry. The absolute beauty of the love of God is that there is no limit to whom it may be given. God places no restrictions on us, just that we love Him. It is in that love which everything else falls into place. If we love each other, we will only want the best for each other. There would be no jealousy, no hate, no differences, no competition. The love of God is an umbrella that can cover us all. I know that we live in an imperfect world – but I look forward to the day that I can live with God in heaven and see the amazing promise of His love.

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