Lice Got Me Like…
November 23, 2015
Jennifer Hagler Photography
By Buffy York
So lately I haven’t been that engaged with the blog or any other social media platform for that matter. I would love to give you a glamorous excuse, but in the beginning of October I engaged in a full on battle with lice (just one more thing Heidi Klum and I have in common). Anyway, the moment happened, the one I thought we had somehow escaped since my youngest is in third grade, and the school nurse told me we had lice. Is your head itching yet? Anyway, I immediately called The Lice Place. The minute they confirmed that critters were living amongst us I told them to spare no expense, we bought the “gold package” which means complete removal and free checks for life, and they started combing through our hair. After ordering 2 Papa John’s pizzas, spending 3 1/2 hours and some major bank…BOOM we were lice free.
On the way home I was feeling very in control and then I started to think about the amount of laundry that was about to go down. It was an overwhelming sense of anxiety. I wanted the Tide Loads of Hope Truck to show up because in my self-centered world it felt like a natural disaster. I spent the next four days in complete overkill mode, washing and rewashing sheets and towels, and not letting my children sit anywhere except the kitchen table.
The time I spent prisoner to my Speed Queen Washing Machine (the one you will want once you finally ditch your smelly front loader) I started to realize how “un-OCD-esque” my home had become. I spent the next few weeks cleaning out closets and drawers and walking around like the dad in My Big Fat Greek Wedding with a bottle of Windex wiping down every surface and window in my path.
Another thing that has kept me from blogging is that my “non television watching self” has become completely addicted to The Voice and another show that Bravo calls the funniest show on television. Seriously, have you seen The People’s Couch? It is irreverent, inappropriate, and sooooo funny. Go look it up on You Tube, you will not be disappointed.
I tell you this not as an excuse, but just to let you know I’ve been busy, the blog has taken a back seat to my real life and I should have posted these pictures from the Linly Heflin Fashion Show weeks ago. Tracy James of Chic Made Simple produced the show and every look above can be found at Gus Mayer in Birmingham. Since fall/winter weather has just kicked in and the holidays are upon us, hopefully the fashions featured in this post will serve as inspiration for the final football games of the season, family get togethers, holiday office parties and dinners, lunch with the girls and cocktail soirees.
In a World Gone Crazy, Now What?
November 17, 2015
By Laura DiFatta
If comfort and personal peace were of utmost importance, Christ would never have stepped from Heaven into this world full of trouble. If those were the worthiest of goals, He would have never entered our reality in flesh. He would never have divested himself of the surroundings of perfection and glory and honor and worship and beauty and harmony and peace to take on the flesh and blood that would bring Him intense suffering and a torturous death.
But God…entered into poverty, rumors, illegitimacy, racism, political discord, murderous treachery, the tyranny of cruel local and national leaders, the pain and betrayal of rejection and physical, mental, emotional and spiritual brutality. Any one of these is hard to live in. He experienced them all. These realities became His the moment He became God With Us. Emmanuel.
From days after His birth, he became a refugee, taken by his family in flight from a murderous king. Hundreds of years before His birth the prophet Isaiah described the coming Savior as a man of sorrows, familiar with suffering and acquainted with grief. That is quite a dark description of the One who was to be the Savior. No wonder people missed Him and still overlook Him today. But what better Savior than One who can empathize with our trouble-strewn realities?
As I look at the events unfolding in our world, the loud voice I hear in my head is my own, choked with fear screaming: “Hide, run, protect yourself and your own, fight for your rights, fight for your family!” And then…I hear a still small voice saying, “This is the way, walk in it.” And I look and I see, really see the Truth.
Because I am not my own, because I was bought at the costliest price of Jesus’ Life, I am new and called to live differently. Every believer is. To live like Him. Like He who did not consider Himself, but humbly gave Himself up for others. And He tells His followers to go and do likewise. It is too high a calling to live out on our own. And we don’t have to. But often the difficult realities we face reveal the Truth we actually believe.
The Hope that springs up from His example and His Spirit and His Word runs like a stream bringing fresh life to my familiar thoughts that tend to spring from fear. That Word tells me: Do not let your heart be troubled. Trust in God, trust also in Me. Love your enemy. Pray for those who persecute you. Pray and do not curse. If your enemy strikes you, turn the other cheek. If your enemy takes your coat, also give him your sweater. Entertain and take in strangers. Care for those in need. Be merciful as your Father is merciful. You were loved first and most and sacrificially. You are redeemed. Love like me.
Jesus, the Savior of the World, did not consider himself or His personal peace or His followers comfort and safety or their livelihoods on earth as the ultimate end-goal. Instead, He laid His rights down. And He gave His all because He loves me. He loves you. He loves our children. He loves our parents. He loves our siblings. He loves our grandchildren. He loves our friends. He loves our neighbors. He loves our fellow-countrymen. He loves our fellow-world-dwellers. He loves refugees. He showed us what loving enemies looks like. And before we even knew Him as Savior, we were His enemies. He forgave each of us before we knew or acknowledged or cared that we needed to be forgiven a debt we could never repay. Just as He asked that His executioners be forgiven even as He died.
And I scream from my heart, “How? How? It’s too hard!” And I begin to flail and sink in dark fears. And He speaks…tenderly and gently to my spirit and through His Word, “I understand. I empathize. And you are not alone. I am God With You. Keep your eyes on me. Trust Me. Do not fear. Love me. Love others as I have loved you. Make the most of every opportunity to make my Hope known. Especially to the lost and dying and the poor and the alien because my heart and my ears are bent to their cries, as they every have been. This life is not the end.”
“I do not have to have it all figured out to trust the One who does.” (paraphrase, Tim Keller)
And so, as I choose to fix my eyes on Jesus, my life-focus shifts. My goals become different. I don’t have to figure it all out, do it all, fix it all, etc. I do pray. I do have to stay abiding/living tethered to Christ. He is the anchor for my soul and He is the only way I can ever live a life worth the sacrifice He gave.
I pray and I pray and I pray to love Him more and for His love to fill me and flow through me. I pray for my faith to embolden me, for my fear to flee at the power of the Name of Jesus, for my compassion to swell, for my heart to break for what breaks Christ’s heart, and for the wisdom to see–really see–with eyes fixed on the eternal. I am different because of Christ. I was helpless and hopeless and condemned. And He rescued me. He came into the dark of my reality and He rescued me. He still Rescues. And He invites us to be a part of His Holy Rescue-work. And He has a body here on earth called His believers. We are accountable to go and do as He did. That will look like He made it to look for your life. He has a plan for you and for me. And He gives His Spirit to those who call on Him in faith.
Our safety and our security are in God’s hands. No enemy can take us from Him. Knowing that my ultimate security is rooted in the eternal and the unshakeable, I can go forward along with my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ, on a holy mission to love like Christ; not loving by my own fallible definition, but by His, which is way different and incomparably better.
I do not know how I will be called to show His sacrificial love today or tomorrow or next year, but I know that He holds me and He guides me and He is loving miraculously to me and through me. This kind of love is not passive. It is hard work. And in my weakness, He is strong. I’m counting on that Truth. And that is really all I need to know to do the next right thing. And the next.