Monday, May 20, 2013

Remembering a very important man

So I have this box. It was a gift from a few friends (I think...maybe just one) for my 18th birthday. The only reason I remember it was for my 18th was because it has "18 reasons why we love Abby Mac" on the inside of the lid. It has all sorts of bible verses written on it and I have deemed it my letter box. It has letters from anyone and everyone that I have felt the need to keep from different parts of my life to now, along with old journals, pictures, and other knick knacks that are special to me.

Every once in a while I pull out this box. It's a fun way to remember different parts of my life from high school, Young Life, going off to college, my first year at Arkansas, all the way up to my most recent birthday. Let me tell you though, every time I cry. It doesn't matter which letters I read, I always end up in tears.

This time it was a letter from my dad written on April 4, 1996. A long time ago, right? Let me explain. While my sisters and I grew up, my parents went to a retreat to focus the importance of faith and wrote us letters while there for us to read at a different points in our life. In 1996 my dad wasn't writing for four year-old Abby to read, but young adult Abby. This letter was about my grandfather-Gramps as everyone called him, who passed away when I was two.

I was already thinking of Gramps tonight because there was a big thunderstorm here in Fayetteville and I remember my dad saying Gramps loved to sit and watch and listen to storms. I'm happy to have inherited that trait.

What brought me to tears was reading how much my dad loved Gramps and how great of a man he was. I wish I knew that man more. I wish I knew the man that made my dad the wonderful dad he is. I love hearing stories and memories about Gramps from my family, and I love knowing Gramps isn't too far away from me, watching me grow up. I find strength in knowing that he is close.  My dad wrote, "You may not have realized it then, but you were held, touched, and loved by God thru Gramps. He had a wonderful touch and gift." I may not remember Gramps holding me, but I have a feeling it was similar to the feeling I get knowing he is watching over me from heaven.

It's times like these when I am reminded of how great of a man that my grandfather was that makes me grateful to have such a wonderful family. I thank God for these reminders.

I am somehow surprised to be brought to tears every time I open this box. They are always happy tears, and always remind me of the love I have found here on God's creation and the love that I have waiting for me above.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Accepting Undeserving Love.

Every once in a while I find a video that inspires me. A video that reminds me why I am constantly trying to live a life Christ would approve of and be proud of. I've shared one of those videos before, in this post. These videos really gets to my core and make me grateful for God's undeserving love.

I say undeserving because it's true. I don't, we don't, deserve the kind of love Christ has for us. The kind of love in which Christ DIED for us. There are a few people in the world that I would die for, and that is because they have gained my trust and love. Christ not only died for every person you will meet, He did it without waiting to see if we would give Him love. He did it without a second thought. Dying for us was His purpose.

Back to the videos. My incredibly inspirational friend who might as well be my sister, Mikkia, shared this video with me and our other good friends. If you have 9 minutes, go ahead and watch it. It involves the story of Barabbas during Jesus' crucifixion.   Pilate gave the people the option of setting free Jesus or Barabbas...I think you know who they chose. The speaker in the video makes an interesting comparison. He explains that we are Barabbas, we are the criminals, the sinners. We are the ones that deserve a crucifixion for going against Jesus and against God, but have been given this incredible gift of life by Jesus.

There are too many good quotes from this video for me to share, but one that I felt important to point out was when the speaker said "your greatest challenge is believing in the gospel. Could it be, that there is a God with a love so scandalous, so wide, so deep, so vast, so high, so expansive, so welcoming, so inclusive..."

I'll admit, sometimes I wonder why God would still accept me after everything I've done. Why would He accept me, if I've questioned Him? This is what the speaker was getting at. It is the hardest thing in the world accepting love we don't deserve. It's the hardest thing in the world, knowing and accepting that there is not a SINGLE thing we could do to make God turn His back on us. Why is it so hard? Because we are incapable of loving someone like that. Sure there are people I would die for, but I wouldn't die for just anybody.

 It is a constant struggle for me to accept the love I feel from God. The speaker is right when he says God tells us to "go (daughter), live your life. I'll pay the price." Gosh, even sitting here writing this I wonder how God could love me as much as He does. What Christ did for me can never be paid back. I can't even get close to repaying Him for all He did. What I can do? Work on accepting this love and sharing it with others. That's why I'm writing this post today. To show that it is hard to accept Christ's love when you don't feel like you deserve it. That's just it though, none of us do. But we have had it given to us.

I work everyday to try and pay Him back. I know I'll never get there, but it's the least I can do. I am going to show God and His creation the love I CAN give, and accept the love I will never be able to understand.