Weekly Reflection | 40 Days of Faith April 9, 2017 | I can’t believe that this is already my 6th reflection post and we are coming into Holy Week. What a beautiful journey this has been and I have to say that the words from this week were some of my favorite. Thank you for your continued support and encouragement! If you’re catching up, start here: Initial Post, Week 1 Reflection, Week 2 Reflection, Week 3 Reflection, Week 4 Reflection, Week 5 Reflection. 4/3 Pray Luke 6: 27-36 “But to you who are listening I say: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn to them the other also. If someone takes your coat, do not withhold your shirt from them. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you. “If you love those who love you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners love those who love them. And if you do good to those who are good to you, what credit is that to you? Even sinners do that. And if you lend to those from whom you expect repayment, what credit is that to you? Even sinners lend to sinners, expecting to be repaid in full. But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be children of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked. Be merciful, just as your Father is merciful.” When I began my search for a verse that spoke to me in regards to “pray” I will say that this one wasn’t what I was expecting to be called so close to. I was expecting a verse in which God might have called me to pray more, speak to him more, etc…but not this. This verse calls us to pray specifically for our enemies. To pray for those who mistreat us, take advantage of us and to those who even curse us. This is not easy for me. I am much quicker to fire back at someone than I am to turn my other cheek and I’m definitely not going to rank people who mistreat me super high on my prayer list. But God is telling us that loving people who love us is EASY…the hard part comes when he calls us to love those who hate us, give to those who take advantage of us and to pray for our enemies…by doing this in his name he promises us a great reward. 4/4 Reflection 1 Corinthians 13 If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing. Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. For we know in part and we prophesy in part, but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known. And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love. Not sure that I really expected to be brought to this verse when looking up the word “reflection” either, but it couldn’t have been more perfect. This was one of the readings at our wedding (as I’m sure it was for quite a few of you as well) and it really reminds me of marriage and everything that loving another fully requires and entails. Someone asked in a Facebook group the other day “at what point of your marriage do you feel it was the hardest?” and the majority of the women responded with “NOW!”…and I have to agree. Little kids, big dreams, working hard, high stress, and lots of juggling don’t really tee things up for an easy relationship at this phase of life. Through it all, it’s not always easy to love as God calls us to love. It’s easier to want to think of ourselves first and keep a record of all wrongs, but that’s not how we are called to love. We are called to love the hard way, the way in which we don’t fully understand…the selfless, forgiving, unfailing kind of love. The chapter ends by telling us that God knows that these things He’s calling us to do are not easy to understand while we are here on earth, but one day in His kingdom we will understand fully… 4/5 Messy Printable The word “messy” doesn’t appear in the Bible, but I felt like it was okay for me to personally reflect on the word because it’s been on my heart a lot lately. Y’all life is messy. It’s not a highlight reel like Instagram would have you think that it is. But my question is…when did messy become so taboo? You know who made 99% of the messes around my house? Two little hands that are my biggest blessing made those messes and they were made in fun and imagination and some even came with learning lessons. Why are we so focused on living a highlight reel type life and not celebrating the messy parts…that’s where the good stuff is, friends. 4/6 Little Matthew 19: 13-15 “Then people brought little children to Jesus for him to place his hands on them and pray for them. But the disciples rebuked them. Jesus said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not hinder them, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to such as these.” When he had placed his hands on them, he went on from there. Every Sunday Landry literally runs down the Church aisles to the alter to gather for children’s ministry. They meet at the front of the Church and then all walk together towards the back for class. To see the excitement in her as she joyfully runs to learn more about God reminded me of this verse. God delights in children and as a parent I must always foster that excitement and relationship for her. I certainly don’t have all of the perfect answers to all of her questions about faith, but I try my best. I’m also trying to see the Lord through her eyes and implement some of her innocent joy into my daily walk in faith. 4/7 Clean Proverbs 20: 9 Who can say, “I have kept my heart pure; I am clean and without sin”? A great reminder that none of us are perfect. We have all sinned. 4/8 Grace 2 Corinthians: 12: 9-10 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” Oh man I needed this one. Not only am I feeling psychically weak lately, noticing my body really slow down, but mentally I’m also allowing myself to feel weak…worrying about every.dang.thing. under the sun. I needed some reassurance that this is all part of the process and this verse was that and more. If I feel strong within myself mentally and psychically, it’s a lot less likely that I am still turning to God for grace. BUT when I am feeling weak and allowing myself to break down to prove that I can’t “do it all”…I’m led right back to Him seeking his Grace and Faithfulness…and that’s exactly where I need to be. God knows exactly what we need and will always provide, I just need to constantly seek his grace through my human weaknesses… Reminded me of one of my absolute favorite songs… 4/9 Beautiful Ecclesiastes 3: 11 “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” This whole chapter is so beautiful and a great reminder of God’s timing. It’s SO hard for my to be obedient of God’s timing. I know that He knows all and plans perfectly, but it’s not always in our human nature to patiently wait for those plans to unfold. The beginning of the chapter says “There is a time for everything and a season for every activity under the sun…” I am trying so very hard to see the beauty in His timing. To enjoy the moments that play out during the “wait,” to learn from the time spent waiting and to savor the sweet moments when His timing comes to fruition. I hope that you guys have a Holy Week to remember. Thanks again for following along on this journey!