Margin for Compassion

“You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who can do nothing for him.” Johann Wolfgang Van Goethe

I just watched a video that I will post below that is driving the idea behind this blog. It was a social experiment that was deliberately planned and I witnessed an unplanned one that involved my daughter last week. The start of it was a jolting, weeping call that Tessa had just been in an accident. She was driving to school and had even left early that morning  and then before I knew it, I was racing to the scene of an accident.  A young driver had lost control of her vehicle on the freeway and instead of hitting the overpass she swung right in front of Tessa’s car, leaving Tessa no choice but to crash into the passenger side of the girl’s car. Praying frantically for them and for Tessa’s unborn baby, I arrived to find them still in the middle of the freeway. Tessa had never been in an accident before and unfortunately the other girl had experience in this and so I quickly told them to see if the cars would start and pull them over to the side of the road. As things started to sort out and information was exchanged I listened to how it had happened, I witnessed several people either honk or yell, shaking their fists as they went screaming by in their vehicles. Now initially I was giving them the benefit of the doubt since the damage from the accident was not visible, but as this happened more than once, I was shocked and heartbroken. I thought do they seriously think that 3 women with 3 vehicles would just stop on a busy freeway and have a hen party? One woman had slowed previous to me arriving and yelled, did you call the police? but not one person stopped to see if they were ok. Ok granted, they were able to get out of their vehicles and walk and I know I have a vested interest in this, but still do you hear me? My husband suggested later as we relayed this story that people just don’t have margin in their lives. There is no room to slow down or stop rushing here and there because we are late,  we are late for a very important date.  I think he has a good point and it is frightening isn’t it?

Perhaps people were quick to judge what they saw because it seemed inconvenient to them, this lack of margin also can create selfishness. Margin is defined as an amount allowed or available beyond what is actually necessary, as in margin for error or in this case, time and/or compassion. I don’t stand in judgment of these people, it was merely an observation of behaviour. I don’t know their stories and they really could have had their own emergencies but the ones that made me ponder the most were the classmates Tessa had who had witnessed her dilemma and continued to drive to school letting the teacher know she would likely be late. Now have I been guilty of this same type of behaviour, Absolutely and I am not proud to admit it but this situation and the video caused me to pause a minute. Why are we rushing to and fro, possibly missing opportunities to extend God’s love to others? My friend and I have kind of adopted and are trying to live by the words that life is not an emergency. Things do not need to happen or be resolved immediately. God’s best is often shunted for a quick fix or impatience. Jesus did not rush about willy nilly trying to accomplish God’s will or put band aids on situations that had deeper roots. When the crowds pressed in, Jesus often retreated to pray and get direction from the Father. “But Jesus often withdrew to lonely places and prayed.” Luke 5:16 

I think it is best said by the following quote. Please take a few minutes and watch the video and dig deep into your heart, then take time to listen, perhaps repent and ask God what does He want  to say in your next hours, days, life…He loves you So much and is waiting…

We would be better Christians if we spent more time alone, and we would actually accomplish more if we attempted less and spent more time in isolation and quiet waiting upon God. The world has become too much a part of us, and we are afflicted with the idea that we are not accomplishing anything unless we are always busily running back and forth. We no longer believe in the importance of a calm retreat where we sit silently in the shade. As the people of God, we have become entirely too practical. We believe in having “all our irons in the fire” and that all the time we spend away from the anvil or fire is wasted time. Yet our time is never more profitably spent than when we set aside time for quiet meditation, talking with God, and looking up to heaven. We can never have too many of these open spaces in life-hours set aside when our soul is completely open and accessible to any heavenly thought or influence that God may be pleased to send our way. (Mrs. Charles Cowman)

PS. The girls and the baby are fine, waiting on the car.

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Finish

“Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.” James 1:4

The boys and I (my husband ,Wade and our son ,Owen) started a process called One Word a couple of years ago that was directed by our pastor, Craig Groeschel. At the beginning of the year we are encouraged to choose one word with God’s direction that will guide our coming year. The process is to simplify in this hectic, fast-paced world and also to be deliberate in watching how God moves through the word He gives. Last year I cheated a bit and had two, Be Present but it was incredible how God moved me from being very distracted to being present in the things He called me to do and the people He placed in my path.

One word is intended to create, clarity, power, passion and life-change according to authors of the book One Word That Will Change Your Life. They say that the simple power of one word will affect all six dimensions of your life, mental, physical, emotional, relational, spiritual and financial. Even though the year has barely begun I can see the power in this word and its ability to replace making a bunch of resolutions. I read recently that 90% of people who make New Year’s resolutions will quit them within 3 months. A one word focus though for the entire year can be lasting and impactful.

I had an experience at the grocery store that reminded me that no matter what word we choose, we are always in process. There was an older couple behind Owen and I in the line, he in a wheelchair and she with her arms laden with items, I encouraged them to go ahead of us. Turns out the cashier was new, an older gentleman and the couple had many hiding spots for their groceries on his wheelchair. I laugh now as I think of them pulling things out of places that were very ingenious. A lot of them were vegetables and of course you had to know the code which most of the time the cashier didn’t, but man was he triumphant when he did. It became a game of me cheering him on and reminding him of the numbers that the cashier across from us yelled out to him. The couple was overly blessed with my small gesture and we were quite entertained by it all, enjoying the experience. The next week, I purposely went through this man’s till again and watched as he whipped things through the scanner. I said, ” I saw you last week and you were just learning but it looks like you have picked things up quickly. How are you doing?” He wisely replied, “It is better, but learning is a never-ending process!”

Ain’t that the truth! It reminded me of my word, although I will be with Jesus when I am actually finished, I hope to allow perseverance to have its way with me to become mature and complete, not lacking anything. This is not just for my benefit but for those things that God has purposed for my life to reach other people and further His Kingdom by spreading His love and message through me.

I can easily see this word Finish impacting all six areas of my life. I am an amazing starter…it is a spiritual gift of mine haha, finishing is an entirely different story. I used to celebrate when I finished one of the five books I was reading at a time. Writing my book was the first finish item that came to mind as God gave me my word. It has become an urgency in not only my heart but God awakened my husband with the same message. I am cornered now, the contractions are coming more frequently and consistently, it is time to do the hard work of pushing through the labour pains and giving birth to this baby. Lord bring the revelation and help me to hear the message you want me to write.

Check out the links below if you want to join us in this life-changing one word process.

http://getoneword.com/about-the-book/

YouVersion bible app – https://www.bible.com – Once you have downloaded Youversion, search for One Word

Lifechurch.tv

 

Messy obedience

2015 has arrived and with it brings a sense of newness, an opportunity to ‘start over’ if 2014 was perhaps a difficult or challenging year. A new year brings anticipation of new things to our life, it signifies a marker to do better, accomplish what we missed last year and to try, try again. As a Jesus follower, it intensifies our search for His heart and the direction that He wants for us this year. We don’t want to ‘waste’ any opportunities to reach people with the good news and to share His love.

Pastor Craig of Lifechurch.tv has challenged our church with questions like, would Jesus be amazed at my amazing faith or would be amazed at the lack of it? What would be different in the world if God answered every one of our prayers last week? He then said, you can have faith or you can have control, you can’t have both. Quite a challenge to start our hearts off with this year. What did you answer when you read those probing questions?

I can’t help but continue to be moved by Mary’s story. God allowed her to experience shame, humility and pain while she carried the solution to all of these issues. She was later esteemed and still is but it shows me that no matter what our call or our journey is in life, we still have a process to go through to fulfill our destiny here on earth regardless if we are the Saviour’s chosen Mother or not. Talk about a story of amazing faith!

Even though our process or lessons or life may be messy, may our hearts be submissive in obedience when God calls. Luke 1:38 “I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered, ” May it be to me as you have said.” Then the angel left her.

Messy obedience to God trumps willful disobedience to Him and all the destruction that may reap into our lives. As my friend Lee said this morning, “Radical obedience to Christ gets us a life filled with miracle stories.” So as we begin another year, ask the question would God be amazed at your faith? Is your testimony drawing people to our Saviour and changing lives in the process? What parts of your heart have you not surrendered to the process yet. Pray and ask that you will be as willing as Mary was to her process. 

Mary completed her journey. She finished the race as difficult and painful as it was. Her obedience was messy, but we are still talking about it. We are still drawn to the Saviour. Although we relate to her and her pain it was not about her, nor is it about us. Sometimes we are called to things that are hard to execute but we are not doing it alone. Our purpose is for our life to be a marker to the God who saves, forgives, loves and redeems. How will your radical obedience weave stories of life change and miracles for 2015?