Friday, March 18, 2022

Important people. Important things.

"And when they drew night unto Jerusalem ... then sent Jesus two disciples" (to get an ass for Him to ride on) (See Matthew 21:1,2,4,5)

I love the principles behind these verses: meekness, humility, and prophecy fulfilled.

But what I REALLY LOVE about these verses is how they showcase this very important truth:

You don't have to be "important" to do important things.

The donkey was a fulfillment of a prophecy that would be read by billions of people. It was important, vital, that it happened. And yet, Jesus asked two nameless disciples to get it. Not Peter or James or John.

But two of His followers that weren't even named.

I think we often feel unimportant. Maybe we aren't popular or have a "notable" calling or job. Maybe we wonder if we have any value or if anyone sees us, even God.

But, these verses tell us we matter.

Regardless of how we are seen or how we feel. God and Jesus know who we are and can use us for Their purposes (which are always important) because of exactly who we are right now.

I Love this! Though we may not feel important, we are all important to Him. Always.


Thursday, March 10, 2022

Peter and Me.

Oh man, it's been a hot minute since I've been here. One of the hazards of writing books is that they can take all the writing out of you. But, I'm in between projects and glad to be back!

I've been thinking a lot about Peter this week. Like many of you, I LOVE the show THE CHOSEN. I adore how it portrays the humanity of Jesus, but also the messiness of His followers. Peter is one of my favorites. He's passionate and impulsive. I can relate. 

I found the relationship, albeit someone embellished on the show, between Mattew and Peter fascinating. So opposite, and yet, so alike. 

I studied a handful of chapters this week in the New Testament, specifically, Matthew 14-18, Mark 6-9, Luke 9, and John 6-10.

I love getting to know the apostles through what they saw and chose to share. It made me smile that Matthew talks specifically about Peter at least six times in his chapters. The others, collectively, only mention Peter a few times. It seems that there was, truly, something about Peter that Matthew took note of. Literally.

Perhaps it was Matthew's love of documenting the fruition of prophecies. Or maybe he just liked to point out how many mistakes Peter made. I mean, Peter doubted (14:28-31), he was reprimanded when he didn't understand a parable (15:20), and he rebuked Jesus and was rebuked in return (16:21-28).

Peter sure was a rough stone.

I love that about him. It wasn't the finished edges that impressed the Lord. In fact, perhaps Peter didn't impress Jesus at all. But, Jesus must have seen something in Peter beneath the jagged edges and cracks. It must have been that passion that caused him so much trouble.

It wasn't just Peter's potential that the Lord loved and saw. It was the fire that was already inside Peter. This is what I believe. 

Peter wanted so badly to do what's right. Tell me to walk on water. I'll go with you to the Garden. I'll never deny who I know you are.

And yet, Peter sank. Peter slept. And Peter denied.

Still, the Lord chose Peter to lead His Church after His ascension. To lead the people then and to lead us today.

For all of His faults and foibles, Peter's heart was open, his mind was willing, and his eyes were searching, always searching. Peter was all in. Perhaps too much in (thought the guard who momentarily ost an ear, perhaps).

Peter gave Jesus his heart. And Jesus took it, and everything else that came with it.

That's kind of the deal. I take all of Jesus, and He takes all of me.

I'm so grateful I believe this. Because I can be a lot. I am overzealous and people-pleasing. I struggle with so many things. But, I know I want to be with Jesus. Peter said, "Lord, it is good for [me] to be here" (17:9). 

I can't agree more.

Peter and Me. We have a lot in common. 

I'm so grateful for Peter. He has taught me so much. I love that Jesus is patient with us, that He teaches us. That He doesn't discard us when we are "all in."

I love that Jesus loves my effort, as overzealous and messy it is at times and can help me shape my enthusiasm into sometimes truly powerful for Him.

I love that He takes me, rough edges and all, and loves me enough to smooth them out.

And I love that I do not have a person watching the entire thing and recording it for millions to read. :)

Sunday, May 30, 2021

Return to Me

Return to me is in my top ten favorite movies of all time.

It's sweet, it's tender, and it's so SO good.

The premise is simple: a man, Bob, who fiercely loves his wife loses her in a fatal car accident.

In the long wake of her death, he has no interest in finding love again, despite the enthusiastic efforts of his misguided friend.

That is, until one night, while on yet another date his friend had set up him with, Bob meets Grace, the sweet yet feisty waitress.

Immediately there's a connection there on both sides that seems unexplainable.

They begin to date and fall for each other in the most darling way possible. All is going well, so well. Until . . .

Grace finds a note in Bob's apartment, a letter he'd received from the anonymous woman who had been the recipient of Bob's deceased wife's heart. It was from Grace.

The two must come to terms with the heart that's in Grace and what it means to both of them, how it pulled them together.

As Bob tries to wrap his brain around the situation, Grace's grandpa (played brilliantly by Caroll O'Connor) says:

"I know that what's happened has been overwhelming. And I know it's going to take a while to sort it all out. But while you're sorting, I want you to remember that all the times I prayed that Gracie would have a second chance at life, I always knew that if God blessed us, the heart she got would have to be from a very special person, if it were going to be at home in Grace. When she met you, her heart beat truly for the first time. Perhaps it was meant to be with you always."

Grab. The. Kleenex.

I love the idea that one heart longs to be with another. 

That one heart calls to another.

That one heart truly beats when it's reunited with another.

In my scripture study this morning, I came across a plea from the Savior:

"Will ye not now return unto me. . . that I may heal you?" (3 Nephi 9:13)

Then, just a few moments later He tells us what He desires: our hearts.  (v 20)

I love the visual that formed in my mind as I read this, one of Jesus calling to me, wanting my heart to be with His.

When I have heed His call and returned to Him, I feel my heart beating harder, with more purpose, stronger, and more joyful.

The words of Grace's grandpa, with some minor adjustments, play in my mind:

"Michelle, I know that what's happened in your life has been overwhelming. And I know it's going to take a while to sort it all out. But, while you're sorting, I want you to remembet that all the times I prayed you'd have a second chance at life, I always know that if God blessed you, your peace would have to be from a very special person, if it were going to be at home in you. When you met the Savior, your heart beat truly for the first time. Perhaps it was meant to be with Him always."

Becasue of Jesus, we have a new chance at life. 

Our hearts truly beat when we allow Him love us, to teach us, to forgive us, to embrace us.

This is how I feel about my Savior.  That is continually beckoning me - us - to return to Him.

It is where our hearts can truly beat for the first time, again and again and again.

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