Memorial Day

American holidays have changed a lot on the past few decades. This day of remembrance, Memorial Day, was a day when families would get together, spend time remembering, and visiting memorials and cemeteries of loved ones. Recently, it has turned into a celebration… a day to cook out on the grill and spend time with friends. Perhaps after food and fun, many will hit the sales and buy a mattress or a new car. It’s a day of festivity!

Memorial Day wasn’t this in the beginning, but it has evolved. From a solemn day of gratitude and remembrance, we know the day mostly as a day off work, a day to eat hotdogs, and a day to shop. I think those things are fine, but those aren’t the reason for Memorial Day.

I sometimes worry church has “evolved” the same way. We go to church to see and be seen, to hang out with our friends, to feel uplifted, and maybe to eat a meal. Maybe we enjoy the songs or learn something. We can’t lose sight of the true meaning of being here. Our purpose is to worship God, to serve, not to be served. To spend time praising our Creator. Yes, we will see our friends, have fun, and learn. But that isn’t WHY we are here.

So often WHY we celebrate is not HOW we celebrate a holiday. Enjoy the Memorial Day holiday with food and fun, but remember the sacrifices we were intended to memorialize. Enjoy the worship service today, take an uplifting thought home with you, be glad you saw your friends. But don’t forget that today is God-focused, not self-focused.

1 Corinthians 11:24 –  “This is My body,

which is for you; do this in remembrance of Me.”

 

The Heart Inside

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I took Windsor to a birthday party at Build-a-Bear. That store is a rite of passage for little girls, I guess. It was a fun process of picking out the bear and getting its stuffing. But the most fun part was making a wish and putting the heart token into the bear. We will forever know there’s something special inside that we can’t see.
Our life experiences are kind of like that heart inside the bear. The decisions we’ve made, the memories, the loves, the hurts… Every person has a multitude of experiences inside them – “something special we can’t see.” We carry that heart of experiences, the good and the bad, around with us everywhere we go. It will always be with us even when sorrows have healed, hurts have been forgiven, and loves have faded away.
We rejoice in those good memories, don’t we? And we are grateful they are part of our heart. Remember to have gratitude too for the hurt and the suffering. Each difficult moment has made each of us special… Made us people who care, who empathize, who act, and who believe in others.

​Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you.
– Ephesians 4:32

The Imperfection of Motherhood

No mother is perfect. I bet that isn’t what you expected to hear today on Mother’s Day, huh? But it’s true. There are wonderful mothers in the world, but they make mistakes. They are human.
Moms, go easy on yourself! Pinterest and Instagram and every mom-blogger may expect perfection from you. You may peek into the highlight reels that social media presents and you may think you can never live up. But it’s just not true. Everyone struggles. Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone gets tired and frustrated and sometimes feeds the kids pop tarts for dinner. It’s ok. You are doing fine.
Moms, you are doing the hardest job in the world. It’s ok to aspire to be better tomorrow than you were yesterday. But this life is not a competition. Look into those little faces and know how much they adore you just as you are. And know that when God wanted to describe His love, He often chose the love of a mother. In Isaiah 66 specifically, God reminds us that no one is perfect and no one can protect us from everything:
Isaiah 66:13 – As a mother comforts her child, so will I comfort you
Mother’s Day is a wonderful day to celebrate the mothers we have and the good things they have brought into our lives. It is also a time to remind our mothers, and ourselves, that we aren’t competing with anyone. We can never win that competition. But we will always be loved and received by God
Psalm 27:10 – Though my father and mother forsake me, the Lord will receive me.