Monday, May 21, 2012

It's a Virginia wedding

Last weekend my oldest nephew Anthony got married.
I was 15 when he was born. And he was our sweet little joy. As soon as he was old enough to wiggle we would place him in the middle of the room and circle around him waiting for him to move. And as he was growing up he would keep us entertained with his large words. Always waiting for a new story from my brother and his wife.

And then somewhere along the way....
He became a man.
And what a good man he is.
We celebrated his wedding with this delightful lady he chose to be his wife.
Lauren and Anthony.

I Love weddings like this that are full of hope, promise, and meaning. I believe when these 2 said "I do", they meant it for life.

What a charming wedding they had.

Here is Megan with her new sister. 

What stunning brothers.
Anthony and his beautiful sister Megan.

                                                                             My oldest brother Jim and his wife Shirley.

 Here's my whole family. Except for Jasmine. We were sad she couldn't be along.

And then I snagged a couple of my kids for some shots. Micah I think you are just about as sweet as you could be!  It's our secret... cause I know you don't especially want to be known as "sweet" now that you're 12 and a half.                                                    

 Malaina and Jason. I just love this picture of my precious daughter and her daddy!

Me and the little one... who has recently announced is not a fan of my reference to her as the little one.  Sophie... Don't you know you'll always be my little one? In my heart even if not on my lips!

Dale was the greeter. He was very proud of his title and name tag. 

And here is my soon to be Junior.....Oh My! The new driver in the family. I think you're doing just fine my little bird!

The next day we made the long trip home....Here we are celebrating mother's day at a stop we made at Cracker Barrel. I sure do love being mom to this crew. What a tremendous gift!

And since I couldn't catch him for a head shot the day before... Here I am with Jalen my 14 year old. He is A tender hearted young man...Who I might add is going into High School! Life is changing at stupendous speeds!
And the girls got to give Micah some smooches. It was a wonderful weekend with beautiful weather and gorgeous views. 

Nothing like a family wedding to make you get all weepy and sentimental. It's good though. I just don't want to think about how soon it may be happening to me. So I won't. Not today. Maybe I'll think about it tomorrow. Or Maybe not.

Monday, May 7, 2012

What does love require of me?

The question Andy threw out in his sermon on Sunday is one that is haunting the halls of my heart. Reverberating off the walls and echoing in my mind.

"What does love require of me"?

Not a question that's easy. And yet it is one of the essentials if I am claiming to be his follower.
His point was this... The early church had no New Testament. They may have had part of Mark and some of Matthew. Some of the churches in Corinth may have had a couple of the letters Paul sent. But mostly they just knew that Jesus had called them to love.
And so they did. 
They were generous, and forgiving. They prayed for their persecutors. They loved each other. And because of this the church grew sometimes by the thousands every day.

How has church changed since then?
We could give our own story about church. Some negative. Some positive.
But I wonder... What does the world say of the church?
Are you part of the church?
Are we KNOWN by our love?
Or are we known by our beliefs?
Which may or may not be followed by action.
Which is harder?
Believing we should or doing it?
Love requires a lot more than belief does.

When I am supposed to believe something it often requires faith.
But really it's not hard for me to believe the commands.
I see why he gave us the "thou shalt not's".
When I break any one of these commands it hurts me and others.
But Jesus said... "This New command I give you... Love as I have loved you." John 13:34
Love is action.
It is a verb. Love requires Action and Deeds.

You see, when we filter our relationships through the eyes of hurt and offense it makes us respond differently.
When hurt if we start by asking the question... "What does love require of me here?" The response will look completely different.
When angry if my first response is..."What does love require of me?" I will most likely respond to that annoying person with a different spirit.
When betrayed, I must first ask... "What does love require of me?" If I return love for mistreatment I will indeed be on my way to following the one  I claim to follow.

I have far too often been guilty of fear.
I may fear another's sin. Like if I get too close they may rub off or if I don't somehow point out the sin they will think I condone the behavior. Maybe I'm afraid of being seen with someone because of reputation. Or I may fear another's wrath..Like if they yell at me I may get wounded so I back away and then... push it under the rug. Maybe I fear someones tongue so I keep them at arms length. Perhaps I fear the truth and I know they bring out the ugly in me.
And sometimes when the Spirit prompts me to confront in love I fear rejection so I avoid.
Fear. Self preservation. Discomfort.Guilt.Reputation. Ick!
Not love.
I John 4:18
 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. (NIV)

When we love the way we have been called to love the fear subsides.
It doesn't matter what another does to us when we love the way Jesus intended his followers to love. It's a drawing love that leads people to a Savior.
This is what we need to transform the church, the nation, the world.

Who is it today for you?
Someone he has called you to love.
With a pure love. Not a superficial, I'll love you to your face, but behind your back I'll cut you to bits.
A love that only he can give.

I wrote this down on a sticky note so I can see it every day.
Today I ask...
"What does love require of me"?