Grace and Grits

           I didn’t know what to expect when I walked into the doors of “Grace and Grits”. I certainly had never been closer to a homeless person than handing them a dollar or bottle of water out of my car window. I was nervous, and maybe a tad bit scared. Serving the homeless was well out of my zone of comfort, but serving isn’t about being comfortable.

       I admit it. I was a bit judgmental before last night.   In my selfish little middle class mind a homeless person really didn’t have an identity beyond that of “homeless”. I mean surely they were drug addicted alcoholic dead beats whose bad choices led to them being homeless. Oh how the mighty fell last night.

Pastor Jan reminded us before serving that these people were people just like ourselves. They have a name too, and an identity beyond that of “homeless”.   These were people whom deserved my respect as much as any stranger I come across in a day. They deserved my smiles, and my kindness. More than that, they deserved the love of Christ.   And last night the love of Christ was the hands and feet of those serving.   Christ love was literally in my hands and the steps of my feet.   I was humbled.

       I saw a lot that made my heart break. I saw mommies walking in with their hungry babies and kids. I saw young women, old women, younger men, and old men.   Homelessness and hunger affects young and old. Here is the odd thing. These people who had nothing smiled back at me. Me, who has a home, a car, food (probably too much) in my belly, and clothes (nice ones) on my back; I have everything. Again I was humbled. Being the hands and feet of Christ, and really realizing just how blessed I am, wasn’t what affected me most. No. It was the difference between their brokenness and mine.

         In MY eyes there is but one difference between their brokenness and mine. Theirs is evident, mine is not. I see their dirty clothes, their signs as they stand on the corners of my streets. I don’t know how they got to such a broken place. Maybe they made poor decisions that led to their homelessness. I may not be homeless, but I have made poor decisions with dire consequences. I have strongholds in my life, things that have kept me from living a life of joy. You can’t see it, but the fact remains. I am just as broken as they are.   And I am humbled again.

         Christ loves those homeless people just as much as he loves me. In HIS eyes, our brokenness is the same.   We have the same identity in him. We were all “Knit together in our mother’s womb. Fearfully and wonderfully made, a wonderful work, whose days were all ordained for us before one of them came to be. His thoughts about each one of us so vast, they outnumber the grains of sand.” (Psalms 139) In the eyes of Christ we are all the same. Precious and loved.  

       I went to serve but came away with a changed heart. I will now look upon the homeless person on the street corner as a person, with a name and an identity. A person loved just as much as I am, with great worth, despite our brokenness.

   “ Oh how he loves us”( David Crowder)….

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April 24, 2014. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. 4 comments.

Easter Sunday

     I admit it. I went to church this morning jaded but desperate. I have long been used to “Easter Sermons”. You know the ones; “Jesus died on the cross for your sins, rose again, accept Jesus as you Savior.” Now, there is NOTHING wrong with those kinds of sermons, those are needed and necessary. I was just desperate to hear something new. I went to church this morning and felt the shackles fall off. It was an amazing feeling.

   I have long believed a lie. The lie that I somehow had to “maintain” my salvation. That my relationship with Jesus was based on how much I read my bible, prayed, how many hours of worship music I listened to every week, and whether or not I felt “close” to Jesus.   That lie was shattered this morning when I heard my pastor say “Jesus maintains the relationship. He did the work on the cross. It isn’t about your perception or how you feel. It is about reading your bible, praying, because you LOVE him.” Mind blown. WHAT!? I thought I HAD to do all this “stuff”, and when I didn’t Jesus and I weren’t close. LIE.

               Salvation is utterly dependent on what Jesus did on the cross. It was grace given I didn’t earn, and mercy extended that I didn’t deserve.   The work of salvation was completed when Jesus died and rose again; anything I do or don’t do doesn’t add or take away from that. He doesn’t change. My feelings ebb and flow. I am human I fail miserably and often. It doesn’t matter because he is unchanging, constant in his steadfast love and righteousness (see Jeremiah 9:24).

                 Realizing this today was FREEDOM!! Now, I have a choice. I do things for my husband out of love for him not because I feel some sense of obligation as a wife. I talk to him because I want to know him better. It is after all thru communication that our hearts become intertwined into one.  So it is with my relationship with Jesus. I can talk to him, read his words to me, no longer because I feel a sense of obligation, or because I feel like it is necessary to maintain my salvation. No. I can do those things simply because I love him, and I want my heart to be intertwined with his heart. And on those days when I don’t “feel” close to him? I understand now that is ok. It doesn’t change my salvation or take away from it. There are days I don’t “feel” as close to my husband either, but the fact we are still married and very much in love remains. So it is with my salvation. It remains.

   I left church no longer jaded and with a much lighter heart. That is what Easter Sunday is all about, freedom, and a new life. I hope you find it.

   “ Oh precious is the blood…..”        

******  For the podcast of Easter Sunday’s sermon please visit  lifepointchurch.com , it usually posted by mid week!

April 20, 2014. Tags: , , , , , . Uncategorized. Leave a comment.

The Black Widow…

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     Growing up my favorite female super hero was Wonder Woman. Maybe because that was all I was exposed to, maybe it was her cool invisible jet. I’m not really sure.   Fast forward a few years, and I am introduced to a different female super hero.    And Wonder Woman was instantly replaced, by none other than The Black Widow.

   I was introduced to her in “The Avengers”, and during the movie I said to my husband, “She is a bad ass.” I really didn’t know much else about her after that movie.   Recently, I saw “Captain America: Winter Solider” in which the Black Widow appears. I discovered more about her character, and my love for her grew. I present to you why I love the Black Widow.

She’s unapologetic about who she is.   She is a bad ass and she knows it. She has a history with the KGB, and is a trained assassin. She can lure men into her trap with her sexy looks, bedroom eyes, and then turn the tables on them. She kills and moves on. She apologizes for none of it.   I love this about her, not because she is a trained killer, but because she accepts who she is.   That is the place I strive to be in my own life. So comfortable in my own skin, I longer apologize if someone doesn’t like it.

   She cares about her friends.   This was blindingly evident in “Captain America: Winter Solider”. In the midst of the fighting, she is questioning the Cap about women he may like to date. Women only do that to friends they care about.   The Black Widow is also always there to back her friends up in a fight. She doesn’t leave all the fighting to them, but is quite content to do her fair share and make sure her friends get out alive.

   She’s strong. I love that the Black Widow is not just strong physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. She has to be in order to do what she does.  Again, she doesn’t apologize for this strength. She wears it and wears it well.

              I have enjoyed the Black Widow in both “The Avengers” and “Captain America: Winter Solider”. I would very much like to see Marvel give her a feature film of her own.  She’s a bad ass super hero and she deserves it.   

April 16, 2014. Tags: , , , . Uncategorized. 1 comment.