I have really had a great time visiting my parents so far. This trip hasn't been so much about getting Raymond to have time with them --- it's really been about serving them and me getting time with them. Raymond has had a great time playing too --- but this trip I came up here to be used. There's a lot of role reversal and changing happening in our family and I am thoroughly enjoying encouraging, guiding and helping my parents.
I know I talk about them and my grandparents a lot - but I am just so extremely blessed with them. As each year passes, they seem to get more and more important to me. It's harder and harder to live farther away from them. I feel so appreciative and un-deserving of them. I want to be with them more! I want Raymond to be with them more!
I had a great childhood full of love, joy, adventures, security and excitement. My first impressions of God were formed through my parents and grandparents. My mom's unconditional love, acceptance and non-stop servititude.... and the security I felt in my daddy's love... His decisions to do what was right - even if *I* didn't feel they were right. He did what was right for me and in the long term I see that. He wasn't always concerned about how I 'felt' or if I agreed with him, or liked the decisions.... he was more concerned about setting the right example, doing what was morally right, and my long term health and success. Combined, my parents were a great foundation for me to start my relationship with God.
I know not everybody has such blessed experiences with their parents ---- and it shouldn't be discouraging if your parents were not that foundation. God stands and knocks at our souls and plants seeds in us through so many differnet people and ways. Whether it's your parents or not --- I hope we all thank God for whoever was willing to be used to plant good seeds in us.
Who are you planting seeds in? or I should say.... for whom are you allowing God to work through you for? Are you helping people get one step closer to realizing just how much they are loved? Only your immediate family? Maybe another way to say it is, who do you show christ-like love to? Your children? Your enemies? Your neighbors? People you have hurt in the past? People who have hurt you? Your church family?
In a generation and world full of absent and worldly parents --- we need more planters. We need to be planters to more than just our immediate family. Who around you needs some seeds of approval? love? encouragement? acceptance? grace? forgiveness? hope? I pray that all of us get to know God more and more intimately every day and just allow Him to fill us up so we can go plant seeds in others. The best thing we can do for this world is to get closer to God. I pray that God helps me understand His love for me more and more. I have found that the more I understand and comprehend and try to fathom His love for me --- my love to others becomes more and more radical. He increases my capacity to love so much!
We must allow Him to do His work through us. He is building up His army and He needs workers. It's not about 'doing' more, finding more hobbies, sending out more gifts, visiting more friends, signing up for more ministries, becoming a missionary..... it's about abiding in Him and allowing Him to fill you up so that you can be a planter. All the things I listed MIGHT be what He calls you to do --- but the abiding comes first.
Loving on others doesn't originate in ourselves and in some sort of habit or action --- true and lasting love that changes people comes from an overflow of our hearts that is a result of spending time with God, listening, being still and letting Him lavish us with a love that is always overly abundant!
That's all my thoughts for tonight. I love you all!!! :)