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Thanking God for those who have Loved you -paula

23 Feb

20110718_23-2

When I begin to consider all the many people that have loved me throughout my life, I am overwhelmed.  I have been loved by countless people since the day I was born, and I owe my very life to their expressions and demonstrations of ther love toward me.

First, I want to thank the Trinity – my heavenly Father/Parent, my Redeemer Jesus Christ, and the ever-present Guide – the Holy Spirit.  When I was certain that I was totally unlovable, they have drawn me out of my self-pity and shown to me how much I have been loved, how much I am loved, and how I will always be loved.  God’s love for me has been expressed in so many ways, by so many people – my family, my friends, prayer partners, people who have prayed for me whose names I do not know.  When I take the time to recall the people who give me love, I cannot help but weep for joy and thanksgiving that I have been so richly blessed.  And I cannot refrain from reaching out with love to any and all.  In the same way that it is impossible to hate someone that you pray for, it is also impossible not to love someone that you pray for.

Being grateful for the love of others requires us to stop feeling sorry for ourselves.  There really is no excuse for anyone who knows and loves God to ever feel sorry for themselves.  All it takes to get out of that line of thinking is to pick yourself up, and go out and serve someone in the Name of Christ.  It does not require that you tell them your faith or proselytize – you need only offer a cup of water in an attitude of love to anyone who thirsts.  Giving love – unconditionally – is the best way to feel it for oneself.  It is the ever-widening circle of love, and God has created it to continue forever and ever.

“There is a destiny that makes us sisters and brothers:
None travels the way alone:
All that we send into the lives of others
Comes back onto our own.”

(From “A Creed,” by Edwin Markham)

***************************************************

He drew a circle that shut me out —
Heretic, rebel, a thing to flout.
But Love and I had the wit to win:
We drew a circle that took him in.

(Outwitted,” by Edwin Markham)

****************************************************

Kenny – you have friends, and beyond that you are loved as though you were the only person in the world – unconditionally and completely.  It is time to be grateful – it is always time for that, and most especially when you “don’t feel like it!”  Feelings are transient, they come and go, but God’s love – ἀγάπη (agape) – is forever and does not come and go. Act with gratitude until you are wholly grateful, and then when you are wholly grateful, you will always show gratitude!

One more thing:  You told me you received nothing from the worship services you attended today.  My question is “What did you give?”  Remember, a worship service is a time of giving our love in service and gratitude to the God who has given us everything we have and are.  It is SERVICE – not SERVE US!  I am not saying I do not understand completely your feelings.  It has happened to me many times, but I realize in retrospect that it is always my problem, and not the problem of any one congregation, Pastor, or ritual.  When I give up asking and start loving and giving, then I receive more than I could have ever hoped for.  Seems like we would learn, doesn’t it?  I guess that makes us human!  Fortunately, it makes us beloved humans.  God loves us – warts and all – and our best response is to love God, love those whom God loves, love ourselves, and be grateful.  Always.

I wish you enough. . .
Paula

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4 Comments

Posted by on February 23, 2012 in Uncategorized

 

4 responses to “Thanking God for those who have Loved you -paula

  1. kolembo

    February 28, 2012 at 04:40

    hi there!

    Yes, these things I know instinctivly….i understand intellectually.

    And I say them. I say them to the people around me, and to God.

    I reach out and love away from myself when I find myself self-centered and un-happy.

    And I doubt.

    What if there is no God?

    What if it really is all about the laws that govern the universe?

    Gravity cannot be escaped…those who understand the rules of economics, make money?

    What if all it is, is what there is here, and now, and what we make of it?

    My life has not been lived that way.

    I have looked to God ever since I can remember.

    Coming to terms with being homosexual was the most difficult time of my life. I almost took my own life.

    One morning, on the banks of the Thames, I swear God came to me as a Golden Sunrise and said – look…I made you. I love you.

    Up to then I had been convinced that I must have been the cause of sexuality.

    That somewhere I had done something so utterly dispicable that God made me gay.

    That was a long time ago.

    I put myself in Gods hands an my life soared.

    But I was young. Being in the world grates. The number of times Christians have cursed me.

    The number of times I have gone to church – all sorts of churches – all sorts of places – and left feeling that God has been stripped off me…that really I am destined to fellowship just me and Jesus until I die – that I must stay in the shadows and watch those true human beings wash themselves in the blood of God, sent down to earth as a man – because he couldn’t possibly love me – love the man not the sin…or whatever….

    If this is my cross, then I bear it.

    And in the world, I bear it well.

    But I’m a Christian.

    And it is difficult to hear God’s love, if all you hear, constantly, is it cannot be.

    Much of my life i’ve taken to seeking him where I can. Furtive snatches wherever I see him.

    I’ve taken to having Just and Only, a personal relationship with him.

    One can get lost existing in a personal relationship with someone who you cannot show, someone whose presence can only be shared with others who know.

    So, yes, these things I know inside. These things I live my life by.
    I doubt and I hurt, yet, I live my life through him.

    Sometimes you shake the tree hoping a coconut will hit you, and leave a clear and visible bruise in the morning.

    Sometimes I hold on, whether or not it makes sense.

    I love the photo of the baby. I often wonder what it must have been like for my mum to hold her first baby. What it’s like now.

    I often wonder if, when I say ‘I love you’, or ‘I’m grateful’, whether these are just words.

    I’m sure Sunday had something to do with me and not the church, or the pastor. But my word, the experience was dense. Like mud.

    And I wanted so much to ‘feel’ something.

    Then again – there must have been something in the way, and I’ll go again next week.

    After all, who said church was there to make me feel good?

    Ahhhh, I tell ya – the hardest thing about this thing I’m doing is that it’s all going to be so self-centered, because I’m looking at me.

    And where in the past I’d have slid past it with applomb, this time, I’m going to go through it.

    And this time I have a friend.

     
  2. Paula Tohline Calhoun

    February 28, 2012 at 06:07

    Well, the same gremlin hit my computer. I just lost a rather extensive reply to your comment, and I am going to have to try and recreate it – at least in part. Today, February 27, is day 4 – Gratitude for Tech. It is interesting how it fits in with so much of what I want to say about your comments on my post for day 3 – gratitude for those who have loved you. You see – Tech has made it possible for us to meet one another! How great is that? I actually am ambivalent about tech – there are such wonderful things that have come about because of it, but it is a burden as well – which falls into the same category as so many things. It is not the “thing” that is the problem – it is what we do with the “thing!” That applies to sexuality as well. You see, I think that everyone is born with a certain orientation, and it is somewhere on the sliding scale between absolute heterosexuality and absolute homosexuality. The only sin that comes in our sexuality is what we do with it! Are we self-serving, uncommitted, promiscuous? Makes no difference where gay or straight – the same rules apply! Just like money. Money is not the root of all evil – the LOVE of money is! What we do with our money, etc. is the main issue. You see, God wants our relationship with everything and everybody to reflect God’s love and our gratitude toward God. hard job sometimes, and we all fall short. That’s what God’s Grace is for – and amazing Grace it is!

    Don’t ever worry about doubt. I have always had some sort of doubt. But so what? Even if there was no God, I would choose to live a life of love and charity, because that is the way that I am the happiest and most fulfilled. To me there is no other way! I don’t really wonder any more whether God exists, because I have had too much evidence to prove to me that God does. But I still sometimes doubt God’s actions in my life – I can get plenty angry at God! But you know what? God has the biggest shoulders, and God can take whatever I dish out, and still love me! You’ve just gotta love the One who loves you no matter what, right?

    You do have a friend Kenny. So do I – and I mean besides our greatest Friend Jesus. I mean you – and you are one among many. But there a few people that I share these things with, so I am grateful for the tech that allows me to do so!

    By the way, my very best friend is gay. In whatever community she has lived she has been a part of the local Metropolitan Community Church. This denomination was formed specifically to welcome all who come through their doors – regardless of race, color, sexual orientation, etc. They lovingly welcome all who would come to learn how to be disciples of Christ, and to be a part of their fellowship. It is a wonderful group, and new congregations are springing up all over the world. Why don’t you see if there is one near you. Read about this wonderful church here, and also do some more Googling to find out more:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Metropolitan_Community_Church

    Ashley and i have the good fortune to be members of a wonderful congregation here i North Carolina. It is a large and varied congregation, and warmly accepts anyone. It is a United Methodist Church, but you will find that among that denomination, and many others that each congregation of any church will be different. You have to find the place where you can be fed and more importantly, do some feeding yourself, and worship God freely.

    I have to go to bed now, but I wanted to get my Day 3 & 4 comments in so you will know that I am still walking with you. I will every day. Read my post that went up on Sunday, “Growing Tall Enough. . .”

    I wish you enough. . .
    Paula

     
  3. Paula Tohline Calhoun

    February 28, 2012 at 06:47

    Yay! I just found the comment I thought I lost! It is not finished, but I completed the thoughts in the other comment!

    You have a friend indeed! I know so well how you are feeling as to doubt. I’m going to ask Ashley comment on that because he had an experience when he was in college in which for a fleeting moment he imagined if there was no God. I’ll let him tell it.

    I am appalled at the behavior of some churches that call themselves Christian and the members of them, There is no excuse for EVER looking at a child of God – which every single person is – and tell them they are worthless, or to rebuke them a sinners. These are people who pick and choose the sins they think are unforgivable, and never look at themselves. My personal feelings about homosexuality are radically different from them. I believe that it is how you are born, and the scale of sexuality is broad. On one side is the absolute heterosexual and on the other is the absolute homosexual. There are varying degrees of one or the other in between, and all humans fit in somewhere along that scale. It is what it is. The “sin” involved in any sexuality is how it is used. If only for self-gratification, then it becomes something less than sacred; if it becomes an endless promiscuous line, then it is less than right. That goes for heterosexuals as well as homosexuals. No difference. Sin always comes in with how we use what we have, and not always in what we have. Like money. It’s not the root of evil – the LOVE of money is!

    I am so glad to hear that you are continuing to try. What I think you might try is to find a Christian fellowship some where that you can truly be a part of. I wish you lived here. We are part of such a wonderful Christian fellowship, and all are welcome. It is Long’s Chapel United Methodist Church. It’s quite large but just a wonderful people to be in service with! When we moved here to North Carolina four years ago, we visited several churches. Ashley and I had both visited this church when we visited in the area, so it was not new to us. I told Ashley, however, that I was not going to join the church until I knew the pastor’s view on homosexuality. If he was one of the bigoted people, I would not join. Not because the pastor is the church, but because I believe that in terms of setting a tone on major issues, the pastor has a lot of influence. I was pretty certain after hearing him preach that he was a truly wonderful Christian gentleman. He is. He shared my own feelings, and not just on that subject. He also has so many new insights on scripture that I had not considered – he is a great preacher. I will get the link to the recordings of his sermons each Sunday and give you a chance to listen to him. You would love it here!

    Also, my very best friend is gay. She is an active part in her community of the local congregation of the “Metropolitan Community Church.” This church (and congregations are forming all over the world) was formed specifically to welcome everyone with open and loving arms into their fellowship, and they are Christians. See if you can find one, or Google them and see what you can find out about this wonderful church.

     
  4. kolembo

    February 28, 2012 at 10:51

    I woke up this morning and found this with a smile!

    You speak so beautifully.

    Yes it IS what you do with it isn’t it?

    One of the things I gave up for lent is ‘pleasing’ myself – if you know what I mean.

    Because really I’ve had to negotiate my sexuality with God personally, Ive found that that in itself is not sin.

    I was alone for the longest time, but was able still, to acknowledge my whole human self in a clean and safe manner.

    I think about priesthood and celibacy alot…about the unique struggle they put themselves in, in order to serve us completley.

    Giving this up has had a strange effect (although it’s early days yet) with my boyfriend.

    I don’t know what to do with him at night, and I don’t know whether I’m being fair.

    This morning, I allowed myself to be with him though…and I was only concerned with him.

    And in giving myself I found that trust has a huge part to play in using sex correctly.

    That perhaps it’s about sharing and being open, and encouraging, and appreciating.

    And I smiled in the morning.

    I don’t know very much, what my personal relationship with Jesus means vis-a-vis what the church says it should be.

    But I trust him.

    Walking this way this year is giving me a chance to sacrifice. I know he doesn’t need my sacrifice, that his sacrifice is what I need, but I will sacrifice anyway.

    And yes, tech is colouring this experience in a way beyond my wildest dreams.

    I’m going to check day fives meditation and I look forward to meeting you later.

     

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