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Giving In Secret

I’ve been hanging out with this 72 year-old extremely wealthy, business man-turned artist: He essentially mastered the business world, retired, and now is trying to take over the art world. He may just do it too. 😆He’s talented and full of humor and fun. I’ve grown to enjoy his company, immensely.

The other day, he brought me coffee and we began talking on a deeper level. I don’t remember what we were saying exactly, but he looked at me at one point, got very serious, and said,

“Aimee, I know 9 people in my life who are trustworthy with money. My family, my partners, a couple other people and you. You, I would trust with my money. You are rare.”

I was confused how he could discern this. We’d never discussed money or habits around money. He knows very little about me actually. I thanked him and followed up with a huge, awkward grin. Honestly, he caught me off guard and I didn’t know how to respond. So, in true Aimee-fashion, I made a stupid joke.

“May be you should test this theory.” 😂

I was relieved when he burst out laughing and I joined him in that.

When I was driving home later that day, I replayed his words in my head. They meant a lot more to me than I had let on. I’ve come to respect this man and his family a great deal. I like his zeal and how he doesn’t quit. I like how quirky and humorous he is. I admire his affection for nature and art and how he’s helped me slow down and do the same. But, it wasn’t for this reason his words had impact. His words were the exact words I’d prayed for nearly half my life.

“Lord, make me trustworthy with money.”

Several years ago, God asked if we would be willing to only put cash in the offering plate, and never write a check. He also began to challenge us about tax right-offs in our giving, reminding us that we could trust Him alone for all HIS benefits. (This was His word to us personally, for our growth in that season. It’s where intimacy led us. I’m not implying it’s where He leads everyone or that He was asking that of us forever. That’s the great thing about walking in relationship. It’s so personal and always evolving.)

What was He doing? Why would He ask these things?

I believe this was how God was taking the fear of people off my life in particular, and challenging Eric and I to rely fully on Him, at the same time.

It was easier for Eric to give cash only, in the offering plate, than it was for me. He’s never cared much what people think, or if someone will judge him. That was the hard for me though. After all, what would the pastor think? And, at the end of the year when the church gives us our giving statement—how embarrassing that would be. 😂 On the other hand, I was ok about the “not documenting our giving in our taxes” part. I could trust God there, more easily. This however, was the challenging part for Eric. It seemed irresponsible for him to do that in a time when we needed every dollar. Together, we were equally challenged to be obedient. It was awesome!

Obedience leads you down some interesting roads. We stopped writing checks, cold turkey. Our taxes reflected zero giving. Only Heaven knew the truth. But, after those initial feelings went away, giving in secret became a thrill. It’s ridiculously fun actually, like a covert operation, we got to go on all together. 👏🏻😂 We have some great stories here.

Some day I may talk more about this, and how it brought a measure of freedom to us, but for now I want to say, the Lord heard me. He heard us. He knew our collective heart. He knew the road we needed to take, that would bring us into a new measure of understanding and freedom.

My friend’s kind words the other day, echoed those recently told to me by Jesus. On the day Jesus spoke to me, I didn’t laugh awkwardly or tell Him to test that theory. 😂On that day, I bawled like a baby. His kindness and faithfulness to answer our prayer, a desire He gave us, struck me through and rattled my core loose with joy.

The audible confirmation from my new friend spoke to God’s character growing in me in a way I’ve prayed that it would. It’s been exciting to feel truth making a home in my heart, but when leaves start growing on my tree as a result of this healthier root structure, and can be perceived from the outside, that’s just incredible.

This other side of obedience is birthing a promise so big, no journal or blog could contain it. Wherever He leads, He’s got a track record that compels me to run head first into His love! It’s worth it. We don’t have to understand it all beforehand. It won’t always make good sense. It may even swerve away from what looks responsible or wise. It may bring judgement to our door from those close to us. It may look like temporary sacrifice and loss. But this one thing I know-

He weaves our story with the Master’s hand and it’s so good, so beautiful, so original, nothing can undo the magnitude of this abundance in Him.

“Tell us a story mom, about when you were little.” Both girls sat on the bed, wanting to hear something wild. The problem was, I’d already told them all the wild stories I could remember. I looked around the room and spotted the October calendar. It was featuring a beautiful Alaskan wolf, running through the snow–and there it was….a memory, a story of my childhood, they hadn’t heard yet. Little did I know that this night, this story, would birth something in me that would change the course of my life forever.

And so the story began….

It was freezing that winter in Ontario. There was much snow, much more than a typical winter for Canada. The plows would come through and push it to the side of the road making snow walls. It was piled so high, even higher than my dad, who led the way. We were heading to “The Hill”, dragging our sled behind us. Mom was at home making hot chocolate for our return, after the great adventure of flying. That’s what it felt like anyway. The power of gravity is no match for a human, but going down that hill, you almost forgot you were grounded. In my mind, we were Kings who conquered “The Hill” flying through blizzards and dragons, and we wouldn’t be stopped.

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When we got to the hill, we slowly tread upward. It was my least favorite part, but the reward was coming. Other kids were to our left and right, all climbing for the same purpose…to fly. Without fail, friendships that would bud on the way up, would be sealed by the time we reached the bottom. Something about the journey down the hill together, bonded us. We were “The Kings of the Castle.” And everyone else were “The Dirty Rascals”.

The second and third time down, we all started getting creative. What if we all piled on one sled and rode to victory together? We were onto something you know? What if…what if we could all stay on the sled all the way down. We had to try. After all, we were Kings.

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Jason, my oldest brother would want the front, of course. He was a natural leader. He wanted to feel that death-defying view from upfront. Behind him, Joel (my younger brother) would jump in. Joel was the co-captain, by default. Jason wasn’t going to give up that spot unless Dad made him. 🙂 I might have thought I wanted a turn at the front, if I hadn’t of seen Jason’s face at the bottom of hill. His chapped cheeks, and blistered lips looked unattractive, painful even. No, I liked being somewhere in the middle. It was fun, and if felt safer.

(That says a lot about me eh?  To be honest, I don’t like what it says. At this moment, I will not digress on a tangent though. I’ll save that for another day and continue…)

It didn’t matter how many times Jason and Joel would lead us down the hill on our little sled, piled-high with kids, we could never all make it down together. Inevitably,  when you looked back at hill from the bottom, you’d see bodies strung all over it. It looked like a crime scene with sounds of groaning. If it weren’t for the break-out of laughter and some brave child saying, “Let’s try again,” there may have been a few more tears in my memories. It hurt getting thrown off that sled. Snow isn’t as soft as you might think.

Jason would always get the blame. The leader always does. Isn’t that harsh? Could he have taken a turn more carefully? Should he have slowed down in that one part of the hill, instead of whizzing through it? May be he should have, but he had a vision you know? Vision is a powerful motivator. He wanted to reach the bottom. That was the point right? Did he care that the others couldn’t hold on through the chaos-filled ride? I’m guessing the thrill and power of gravity along with the vision of reaching the destination, was compelling enough to temporarily forget about the others.

…………………………………………………………….

I left the girls room feeling my Father-God continuing to press me with this story. I was sitting alone, thumbing through the memory again, when I heard an audible voice.  It startled me and I immediately looked up thinking I would see someone talking to me. I didn’t see God but I recognized His presence. I grabbed my pen to write down the words I heard, word for word.

“Don’t ever sacrifice my beloved for the sake of a cause.”

There it was… He was teaching me something vital.  He wanted me to grasp this so I would be able to lead many into His presence, without losing even one child. Tears sprung to my eyes. With the words He gave, came so many pictures, I couldn’t possibly recount them all.

The Revelation– If I get to the bottom of the hill, and half my friends are gone, I better never justify that. We can come up with stories that push one-off here, or with blame there, and justify the loss of another back here, but reaching the destination isn’t worth it without stewarding what God brings, as He would steward it. 

The “cause” of cleaning my house or writing this blog isn’t justifiable if I tell my kids harshly to leave me alone, so I can get “more important” work done. Even salvation is so important to God, but not more-so than the hearts of those already saved. Isn’t that crazy?  I’ve seen people justify terrible behavior, abusive behavior toward family, friends and fellow helpers, because of a move of God. Let me say this: the reasons to do so won’t hold up inside His Love, not when I do it and not when you do it. His purity will burn those excuses all up. Thank God for that. He is good and He is also fiercely protective over His beloved.

God was telling me something vital for my life. He was giving me wings to steady me through a “fear-of-man” turbulent time. He was honoring me to hold a sacred piece of His heart, and encouraging me to speak on behalf of that piece. That’s scary. Remember, I liked the middle of the sled, but He was calling me up, into a greater level of stewardship, and thus leadership. Here, I couldn’t be afraid. I might get blistered, bloody and chapped, but it was worth it…for the sake of His heart. I saw the piece and it scars me still with beauty.

He desires me to stay connected with those on my sled, every single one. He desires for me to slow down on turns, and even stop on the hill, defy the power and thrill of gravity itself, if needed.  He desires me to provide the kind of care that supersedes the cause. He is telling me even now, “THIS IS the cause.”

He wants me to see the Kingdom on earth in its fullness, while I’m alive. I want to be able to look back on my life and see we all have arrived together,  safe and sound. We could then celebrate together. I can’t even imagine the beauty and joy, the unity and holiness of such a moment.

Have you ever went on a roller coaster with someone, or traveled the world with a friend? I have had these opportunities. Remember the joy of the shared experience? Remember reliving every twist and turn of the adventure? It grows more fun with every telling.

The greatest sound in my home, is my two girls staying up late laughing and talking in their beds, or the life on the intimacy between my husband and I. The most painful sounds in my home are times of disunity, arguing and connection loss.

I’m pretty sure, the Father feels the same way. May we never justify the loss of His beloved, (loss of connection) for any cause. It just isn’t worth it! In the end, Love is the only thing that remains.

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The Way of a Leader

This is something I wrote back in 2011 in an old blog. It came up in my fb memories and I felt to share it here. 

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I’ve been pondering on the subject of leadership the last several months. I thought it would be interesting to flesh out my thoughts here in a blog. We’ve all been subjected to bad leadership in one shape or form at some point in our lives. It may have been a teacher, a parent, a pastor, a police officer or a boss…etc.. Hopefully we’ve all been honored and mentored with good leadership at some point too. If not, that is my prayer for us all! How can we model that which we haven’t experienced?
When I stack up the attributes of the “bad” leaders in my life with the attributes of the “good” leaders, I start to notice a pattern across the board. The “bad” leaders have one common denominator, and that is the use of control. It would take on many different forms. 

Sometimes, manipulation would be used, sometimes intimidation, and some would use their strong personality to try to conform me to look like them. The sad thing is, that most of the time these tactics worked. I gained approval instantly because of my desire to please the leader. I wanted the leader to be happy with me. 

I began to realize a pattern in my life that puzzled me. I didn’t want to be the leader. 

 Every time I was offered a head management position, I’d decline. I would go as far as assistant manager and then stop, quit, and start a job somewhere else. 

I didn’t like what happened to people when they got to be the “Big Dog”. Over and over again, I saw great people turn over to the ways of control, when they would gain a title. Not just in the business arena, but in church, in worship bands, in cell groups. I really believed that the higher you got, the more terrible you had to become, to get things done right. I believed that all the “yuck” went with the territory. Perhaps the pressure was so great at the top, no one could withstand it?

I realize now, that’s not the truth. I’m learning what real leadership looks like and I’m excited about sharing. 

What if leadership looked like this:
What if leaders parked the furthest away from the building so the people they care for wouldn’t have to get wet when it rained. What if leaders weren’t so highlighted, or always on a stage and instead they highlighted others. What if leaders led by inspiring people to do their best instead of micro-managing them in what they’ve been instructed to do already. What if leaders weren’t driven by fear, but were driven by love. What if they were so impassioned, they were contagious with knowledge. Here is a big one. WHAT IF THEY WERE DEVOID OF EGO and graced with humility. 

At this point, it sounds like I’m describing a soup kitchen volunteer, I know. I think a soup kitchen volunteer worker looks a whole lot more like Jesus then many “leaders” who have a title do. It’s interesting to me that a common leader of our day is so hungry for approval and validation and the furthering of themselves, they forget what a leader is for.

A leader is to lead others into their destiny in some way shape or form. They are to call out excellence and help teach in the stewardship of it. They are to revive with passion, truth, integrity and honesty, when it’s necessary. They are to allow uniqueness in personality and gifting, and nurture an atmosphere that encourages that variety. They are to lead by serving. They are to love those they lead. How else is it possible to lead them well? Sometimes, leading means addressing things too, but how great would it be to be addressed by someone who really loves you and wants the best for you.
If we reduce leaders to just being the people who tell people what to do, when, and how to do it, then we might as well call them the “Bossies”. That is so much less than what a leader was meant for. 

We all need a leader, not a boss.
We all get to be leaders to someone, even if are sphere of influence stops at our children or a sibling, or friend.
People must know their value. A leader is someone who at all costs, drops it all, to go after the one who doesn’t know as much and who doesn’t understand how valuable they are. 

Jesus used the example of leaving the ninety-nine sheep to go get the one that was lost. 

A leader prioritizes the joy of establishing value and purpose in those around them. They reach out to the ones who can’t keep up, or trail behind and help them. They don’t leave people in the dust.

I’ve seen people establish this kind of environment in an office, and excel in business. I’ve been taught by a teacher who treated his classroom with this much honor and because of Mr Syme, I caught the passion to pursue writing. I worked for a woman who stopped everything to secretly put snow tires on my car so I would be safe in the winter, driving around. I have a dad who led his home with so much integrity and hunger for all that is good, he instilled something so true and beautiful in each of his children; something that can never be unwoven. I have a mother who till this day teaches me what it means to give it all away because of love, and her leadership in my life has caused a domino effect in the lives around me. My husband has shown me how beautiful humility looks like on a leader, and how integrity speaks so much louder than noisy talk. None of these people had a stage or a microphone, or a huge paycheck that drew my admiration. That’s all fine too, but these people didn’t have these things and yet their impact on my life carries the most significance. Each of these people inspired me to grow, and control was knocked out of the equation completely. What an honor have been led by these great leaders. 

 Pray for your leaders and pray for this kind of leadership to raise up in every area of life. To start in the family and then flow into the church and businesses, to transform this world. 

I was having some woman issues and after about 5 months of praying and not seeing a change, I reluctantly scheduled an appointment.

It was with a heavy heart I went to a doctor’s office, a while back. I had hoped God would heal my body himself, the way he had in the past. I was resenting the upcoming, invasive procedure too, that was sure to follow.

Sitting in the waiting room, I texted my sister-in-law, Karen. It’s a good friend who reminds you of a past word God gave. She texted, “Remember, you’re there for THEM, not you.”

Awe…perspective! God had told me once that wherever I went, it was never out of need. I was there for love. It didn’t matter if it was the Dr., Dentist, Chiroprator…etc…Love leads me, not need.

I smiled at my sister-in-law’s reminder of that intimate word, right when I needed it.

“Aimee,” the nurse was calling. I looked at the woman calling me. I saw her, you know? I actually saw HER,  instead of having my eyes on myself and my fears, as they had been. She looked tired and stressed. I was able to bring encouragement to her day, because of the truth! We even got chuckling when she told me how perfect my blood pressure was and I assured her, that I would try my best to remain humble about that. (It’s been really hard though. Even now, you see how I worked it into my blog.😂😂)

I saw the Doctor and then he sent me  in for an ultrasound. The technician was probably more chatty than she should have been and told me, during the ultrasound. “Hmm…this here, you see how it’s darker?” She questioned. “I’m not saying it’s cancer, but that’s the texture …uh…or color of it. Only normally, if it is cancer, it would be a smaller spot, not over your whole uterus like this.” She was studying the screen the whole time she spoke, and sounded deeply intrigued with the visuals she was retrieving. “Or,” she continued, ” you could have what they call (insert a long word.) Either way, I’d come back on Monday to hear from the doctor, if I were you,”she concluded.

 I bust out laughing. Honestly, I don’t really know why. I was uncomfortable, but it wasn’t because of that or any fearful thing. I think it was because I was surprised by her lack of tact. I wasn’t upset though. I had compassion for her and saw myself in her. I was actually thinking, “I’m glad she is telling me all this and not someone else, who might freak out for the next few days, or get her in trouble for diagnosing.”

Yes, she was sweet and she was a lot like me;a woman who probably needs to learn to talk less. 😂 I thanked her, and snapped a quick photo (above) of my uterus. I’m not certain why I wanted a picture. Maybe because I’d never seen it without a baby in it, and it made me remember those times, and how wonderful that uterus has been to me.

All the way home, I was drawn into worship, thanking God for my amazing uterus, that has accomplished such beautiful things in life already.

Four days went by fear-free, but on that fourth night, before my early morning appointment with the Dr., I felt fear come knocking.

I got out of bed and read Psalm 139 over and over. An amazing chapter! Fear just left. No fight, no nuthin’. I decided to ask God if there was an issue in my body, cancer or otherwise?  I wanted him to tell me before the doctor said a word, because I understood that the doctor would only confirm what God said, or go against it. If the doctor said something God didn’t say, I would trust my Lord over all well-intended words. That was my heart’s desire in asking him. Also, I knew if he told me anything, it would be accompanied with great hope and promise. That’s how I want to hear it all.

He said clear as day, “There is nothing wrong with you that a little water won’t fix.”

There was my answer. Again, I laughed. This time though, because that’s just hysterical! I still don’t know if he meant water-water, or the word, so I’ve upped both. 😂

The next morning, sitting across from the doctor, he gave me his best reasoning for the odd ultrasound pics. (not cancer or anything serious) All in all, his concerns were small. I asked him, “I think I just need more water eh?” That got a laugh out of him, which made me laugh too hard for the occasion. What happened next is embarrassing since I couldn’t stop giggling and had to avoid eye contact. I giggled like an idiot every time he said uterus. Ok, moving on…

Although the doctor didn’t confirm that I needed water, he did confirm that I’m fine. I was grateful for that, but even more grateful for an opportunity to bring LOVE into that place, and see fear shrinking in my life because of Jesus Christ!

When we surrender our lives, then we are living at His will, Love’s will. When he is my fortress, I’m safe to steward my heart inside the person named Love. It doesn’t get any safer.

This experience watered those sprouting seeds of his affection! With thanksgiving and great joy I sing, “Grow some more! Have your way dear Love, in every cell, nook and cranny!” 😊

I was 19. I was staring at these children playing in the courtyard of a Guatemalan orphanage. A bus had just dropped us off and wouldn’t be back for two hours. 

We were there to love the kids, to play with them, help them with their homework and hug them. That was the mission. Walking up to that courtyard, I felt like Jesus. Compassion was gripping me and drawing me in deep. It was a surreal dream-like day awaiting me. 

As soon as the kids saw me, I was bombarded on every side. They swarmed me like bees to their honey. Here I was to love them, and yet the welcome was so gracious, I was bubbling over. Upon this intense greeting, two questions surfaced. Why were they so happy? And why on earth were they greying at their temples?

My 19-year-old heart fainted in that moment, as my first question vanished, and the second one birthed such horror. They didn’t have grey hair. It was lice! So much lice was crawling around their temples, it made their hair look grey. Suddenly, that feeling of being like Jesus was replaced with a self-centered, vain and privileged teenager. 

Where was that bus? I looked back to see it had already left me. “Two hours here to hug them?” I thought, “I can’t do this.” I had no idea how to pass this time, and was freaking out about catching their lice, every second I stayed.

I forced a smile, finding a small comfort in our height differences. Two children grabbed each of my hands, and took me into their bedroom, while the others followed behind. They were so proud of their room and especially their bunk beds. I looked, as one little girl climbed in to show me how great it was. All the while, all I could see, was the infestation under her sheets. “No, I don’t want to get in,” I told her, accompanied with a little giggle to veil the rejection.

Walking out of that room, hand in hand, but my heart so far away, I felt sad. My first question rushed back: “Why were they so happy?” I saw one of the helpers who spoke English, preparing the lunch. I excused myself from the children to go talk to her.

She was an older lady. Her hair was greying with age (I checked) and her eyes were clothed with a great kindness. I asked her about the source of their happiness. Her response was graced with such wisdom, it changed my perspective from that of a self-centered child, to a child of God.

“They have a Papa who loves them, just like you.” She twinkled with love more brightly than any diamond ever did. “The world calls them orphans, but He calls them by name. He wants each one. He wants to feed them. He wants to love them. He wants to hug them. That is why they are happy.” She paused and concluded, “And, they don’t get much company that look like you.” She laughed and continued, “Today, is a good day. We will have rice and beans AND mango in your honor.”

It was too much kindness. I didn’t deserve it. I was crying. I wanted to fall apart. While she spoke, I watched them light up this little corner of the world with their joy. I came to minister to them and was changed by their affection instead. In the midst of one woman’s beauty and wisdom, I understood what fear was trying to birth in me. 

I walked back over to the kids, this time accompanied with more clarity. I wish I could say I wasn’t afraid at all, but I still was. There was a difference though. I had resolved in my heart not to miss an opportunity to love, by justifying those fears. I would be obedient to love. 

I whispered in an attempt to lead my soul, “God, I will love them like you. I’ll lay my head against theirs and kiss their foreheads, that they will know you more, because I am here.” I added with courage, “If I get lice, I will glory in the fact that it was for love, for you.”

Swarmed again I was, caught up inside their glee. I bent down and placed my head against the most beautiful grey-templed little boy I’d ever seen. I put my hand in his hand, and his heart grew inside mine. It was easy after that. We all played together. I laughed so hard and saw joy escape from me as well, dancing with their joy that sunny afternoon. 

I didn’t want to leave. We spent five afternoons in all with those kids. The next four days I climbed in their beds, knew each one by name, and hugged them so tight, I ached at the thought of letting go. Each day, fear played a smaller part until it couldn’t find an opening at all.  The next four days provided me with memories that changed the course of my life.

Fear will mask itself in a false wisdom. It plays dress-up in perversions of the truth, to steal from us. Its desire is to direct us to another path. Fear is our enemy. Oh but Love…let me finish with this: Love is my friend, my best friend. He is the Truth and the way and the life. His path is everlasting and He is leading anyone who wants to go with Him. I have discovered great joy in the follow!

PS: In elementary school I got lice two times. I had terrible memories and paranoia associated with it. But on this trip, I never got it. I never got lice! May be, just may be, enemy things aren’t contagious where, and when love rules the atmosphere. May be heaven meets earth, and the miraculous marrys the needy to transform it,  when we become love. I believe so. Posess us Love!  Posess me! 

The Day You Grew Up

 

My dear child who recently turned nine, wrote me a story for a belated Valentine’s Day gift. I have her permission to share it with you. I have corrected some grammar for your benefit but will keep the original, and savor all the imperfections forever, of course. She included a section at the end for me, that I have also added to my blog here titled, “About The Author.” 🙂 May this story encourage you and make you smile, the way it did me.schoolpics2016 026

The Day You Grew Up

by Aliyah Perry

     The night was so very sweet, the night that swept my parents to their feet  because their new baby would be here soon. It filled my parents with a beautiful tune. It was a cold night, (yes it was) because it had snowed the other day. The night whistled and howled too.

I was born that night as my parents held me very tight because they saw the light that was in my eyes. It was a wonderful day filled with excitement and love.They thought I looked like the dove that was always beside the lake, but I thought I looked more like Jesus’ child.

When I was two, I told everyone what to do.

When I was eight my parents said that I had grown up that day, because I taught everyone about Jesus. I told them, there is joy everywhere and that you don’t have to fear.  When you do something wrong, you just say sorry to God and do you know what he says? He says that he loves you so very true.  I taught that to everyone I knew.

When I was thirty, I spread love everywhere I would go. I remembered hearing my Grandfather say the words, “Jesus is the King and he is loving.”

Do you know what’s true? Every time you push Jesus away he just comes back to you. Do you know what this means? He loves you dearly. Remember Jesus is loving and dear and I’m telling you that if you believe in him, there is lots of love and joy that is left to come.

The End

About the author

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She lives in North Carolina. She lives in a little house on the street (she proceeds to give our address) and has a mother named Aimee, a Father named Eric and a sister named Sage. She has written the books “Tara and Alyssa” and the series of “Buttercup” and “Jacky” and “The Mischief Maker. She is currently working on, “Emily of the Coyotes” which is yet to be finished. But there is something you must know about Aliyah. She loves wolves and any animal in the dog family.

This book was inspired by the book, “The Night You Were Born.” Thank you for reading this book. Remember the King.

 

 

Corrie Ten Boon has captivated me for nearly three decades now.  I was first introduced to her through the movie, “The Hiding Place”. I then read her biography and every other thing I could find on her. If you have never heard of her, it’s time you look her up. I won’t give her story away, for she is far superior at that, but I’ll say this: Her time in a German prison camp, shared from her heart down through her pen, changed my heart forever.

This week my dad posted a quote from Corrie that I never remembered reading. I want to share it.

Corrie Ten Boom told how she met one of the Nazi S.S. guards who had abused her and her sister during the Holocaust. It was after the war, and the man had become a Christian. He offered her his hand. With all her humanity screaming for revenge, she prayed, “Jesus, I cannot forgive him. Give me Your forgiveness.”

She then took his outstretched hand, and immediately begun to sense a current flowing along her shoulder, down the arm, and through her hand into his. She started to feel an overwhelming love for her former enemy. She discovered — “It is not on our forgiveness any more than on our goodness that the world’s healing hinges, but on His.”

This is powerful to me for many reasons. It’s impossible to forgive something like this, and who would ever expect her too. I certainly have hardened my heart for much-much less. “All her humanity screaming for revenge”, I get that, even in my miniscule circumstances . I can relate to that feeling.

Corrie wasn’t able to forgive that man that day. She couldn’t even fake it, nor would she. She knew it was the right thing to do, but impossible to do. How many times have I had a thought run through my head in the middle of anger- A thought doing it’s best to steer me right. How many times have I knocked that thought as far away as possible?  How do I choose forgiveness in the midst of an opportunity screaming for a distortion of justice? How do I do that?

We desire to see justice immediately! Is it even real justice if I carry it through with my hardened heart though? What is justice anyways? Is it making people pay for what they did? On a smaller scale, is it me giving the silent treatment, or holding back love? All I know is that I have an inability to be “ok” while pursuing justice from a place of hurt. I may say I’m ok, but the black spot on my heart is a dead-giveaway that I’m not.

Justice is what God does. It’s who he is! Justice redeems hearts. Justice only works through love, never apart from it. (1 Cor 13) It sees every individual through the eyes of Christ and handles them with that kind of care. Corrie was able to tap into Jjustice, because He lived in her heart. Where she came up short, Justice was overflowing, as He always is. She could only extend what was inside her to extend. When she looked in her reservoir and saw it empty, she tapped into His! WOW! That’s how she forgave him that day.

Justice for that man, who had been so cruel to Corrie and her sister, looked like forgiveness. It looked like love, Christ’s love. Love had already found him, but I guarantee you that day, Love consumed and redeemed his innermost parts, and he was never the same.

Heavenly justice transforms lives. It’s not to suggest there are no consequences for sin. There certainly are. I’m referring more to the heart’s positioning toward people who have hurt us, rather than the natural progression of sin. For example, I know when I’m still mad at someone. I can talk all day long about how I forgave them, but in my heart, I call myself a liar if that’s not true. I condemn my own heart. The truth would be that I want to forgive, but my reservoir is empty. I haven’t yet tapped into His, and I’m not sure how to. Pray for me to do that.

When we can become that honest with one another, we will experience community and building up like never before. Healing will flood through us like the river it is. I believe sicknesses will dissolve under the weight of that river. We will experience what Corrie described as a truly supernatural ability to forgive and display the justice of God.

If you are in a place where you haven’t been able to tap into God’s reservoir of forgiveness and love for an individual, I want to pray for you. You can spend the rest of your life trying and struggling, or you can experience His love for that person now. It might mean cutting off some deception and pride. It might mean accepting a humility in your heart that feels awkward, but if you’re tired of the torment, it’s worth it right?

For the sake of your calling, your purpose, your destiny, and your freedom, mercy has a plan. That space in your heart used up for this, was meant for something great. But the great can never come if it’s trapped, even though it wants to so badly. Forgiveness, feels like embracing the person and interceding for them, in a way you couldn’t before, with that black spot on your heart. It feels like you would be willing to take a bullet, or in more biblical terms “lay down your life” if it meant helping theirs. All offense has disappeared and you just want to look them in the eye and tell them how valuable they are TO YOU! It’s a miracle inside the heart, so radical, it’s worth the biggest party in heaven. And don’t you think they aren’t preparing for it right this second. It is possible, because of who Christ is. If he’s in you, his reservoir resides there. It’s time to get ready for your party.

You are the guest of honor. Don’t be late.