The Color of Love

love color

There are many blog posts circulating about Valentine’s Day and the release of a new movie which has captivated millions.  I won’t even try to argue on here whether or not a Christian should support it- because many godly, eloquent-writing and speaking people have done that already.  I am simply going to write about what love is.  We need to know what God intended for love or else we will always be confused and searching.  Just as you can’t tell counterfeit bills until you have studied the original, so you can’t tell the differences in love until you have seen true love.

The issue isn’t just about a book series or a movie release, it’s about the pornography, homosexuality, domestic abuse, sex trafficking, pre-marital sex,  and other “love” issues that are bombarding our society.  I’m not even going to write my own personal thoughts because I’m not a wife, a therapist, or a counselor who is certified or experienced in these subjects.  This blog post is simply sharing parts of the Letter which God has written to us.  There are a lot more verses than what I shared that talk about God’s love, God’s design for love between man and woman, and the answers about love for which we have been searching, so I encourage you to do your own reading of God’s love letter.  You will be excited with what you find because God intended true love to be beautiful and lovely.  May we each discover and live in the brilliant hues of love that God designed, instead of searching for fulfillment and romance in the shadows.

And the Lord God said, It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him an help meet for him.  And out of the ground the Lord God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof.   And Adam gave names to all cattle, and to the fowl of the air, and to every beast of the field; but for Adam there was not found an help meet for him.  And the Lord God caused a deep sleep to fall upon Adam, and he slept: and he took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof; And the rib, which the Lord God had taken from man, made he a woman, and brought her unto the man.  And Adam said, This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh: she shall be called Woman, because she was taken out of Man.  Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.”- Genesis 2:18-24 (KJV).

“So Jacob worked seven years to pay for Rachel. But his love for her was so strong that it seemed to him but a few days.”- Genesis 29:20 (NLT)

“I have made a covenant with my eyes; how then could I gaze at a virgin?”- Job 31:1 (ESV)

“He who commits adultery lacks sense; he who does it destroys himself. He will get wounds and dishonor, and his disgrace will not be wiped away.”- Proverbs 6:32-33 (ESV)

“Many waters cannot quench love; rivers cannot wash it away. If one were to give all the wealth of his house for love, it would be utterly scorned.”- Song of Solomon 8:7 (NIV)

“For the man who does not love his wife but divorces her, says the Lord, the God of Israel, covers his garment with violence, says the Lord of hosts. So guard yourselves in your spirit, and do not be faithless.”- Malachi 2:16 (ESV)

“But I say to you that everyone who looks at a woman with lustful intent has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”- Matthew 5:28 (ESV)

“Because of this, God gave them over to shameful lusts. Even their women exchanged natural relations for unnatural ones. In the same way the men also abandoned natural relations with women and were inflamed with lust for one another. Men committed indecent acts with other men, and received in themselves the due penalty for their perversion.” – Romans 1:26-27 (NIV)

“Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other.”- Romans 12:10

“Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy.”- Romans 13:13 (ESV)

“Do you not know that the wicked will not inherit the kingdom of God? Do not be deceived: Neither the sexually immoral nor idolaters nor adulterers nor male prostitutes nor homosexual offenders nor thieves nor the greedy nor drunkards nor slanderers nor swindlers will inherit the kingdom of God.”- 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 (NIV).

“Food is meant for the stomach and the stomach for food”—and God will destroy both one and the other. The body is not meant for sexual immorality, but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.”- 1 Corinthians 6:13 (ESV)

“Flee from sexual immorality. Every other sin a person commits is outside the body, but the sexually immoral person sins against his own body. Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body.”- 1 Corinthians 6:18-20 (ESV)

Now concerning the things whereof ye wrote unto me: It is good for a man not to touch a woman.   Nevertheless, to avoid fornication, let every man have his own wife, and let every woman have her own husband.   Let the husband render unto the wife due benevolence: and likewise also the wife unto the husband.   The wife hath not power of her own body, but the husband: and likewise also the husband hath not power of his own body, but the wife.   Defraud ye not one the other, except it be with consent for a time, that ye may give yourselves to fasting and prayer; and come together again, that Satan tempt you not for your incontinency.  But I speak this by permission, and not of commandment.  For I would that all men were even as I myself. But every man hath his proper gift of God, one after this manner, and another after that.  I say therefore to the unmarried and widows, it is good for them if they abide even as I.  But if they cannot contain, let them marry: for it is better to marry than to burn.   And unto the married I command, yet not I, but the Lord, Let not the wife depart from her husband:  But and if she depart, let her remain unmarried or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife.   But to the rest speak I, not the Lord: If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away.   And the woman which hath an husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him.   For the unbelieving husband is sanctified by the wife, and the unbelieving wife is sanctified by the husband: else were your children unclean; but now are they holy.   But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or a sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace.   For what knowest thou, O wife, whether thou shalt save thy husband? or how knowest thou, O man, whether thou shalt save thy wife?“- 1 Corinthians 7:1-16 (KJV)

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.  It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV)

Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?”- 2 Corinthians 6:14 (KJV)

“For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh, for the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh, but divinely powerful for the destruction of fortresses. We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ,”- 2 Corinthians 10:3-5

“Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice. Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.”- Ephesians 4:31-32

“Be ye therefore followers of God, as dear children; And walk in love, as Christ also hath loved us, and hath given himself for us an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweetsmelling savour.  But fornication, and all uncleanness, or covetousness, let it not be once named among you, as becometh saints; Neither filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, which are not convenient: but rather giving of thanks.  For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the kingdom of Christ and of God.  Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.  Be not ye therefore partakers with them.  For ye were sometimes darkness, but now are ye light in the Lord: walk as children of light: (For the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness and righteousness and truth;) Proving what is acceptable unto the Lord.  And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.  For it is a shame even to speak of those things which are done of them in secret.  But all things that are reproved are made manifest by the light: for whatsoever doth make manifest is light.  Wherefore he saith, Awake thou that sleepest, and arise from the dead, and Christ shall give thee light.  See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, Redeeming the time, because the days are evil.  Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.  And be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; Giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.  Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.  For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.  Therefore as the church is subject unto Christ, so let the wives be to their own husbands in every thing.  Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it; That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.  So ought men to love their wives as their own bodies. He that loveth his wife loveth himself.  For no man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church:  For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.  For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh.  This is a great mystery: but I speak concerning Christ and the church.  Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.“- Ephesians 5:1-33 (KJV)

So if there is any encouragement in Christ, any comfort from love, any participation in the Spirit, any affection and sympathy, complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.  Do nothing from rivalry or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.  Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  Have this mind among yourselves, which is yours in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.  And being found in human form, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.  Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”- Philippians 2:1-11 (ESV) 

“Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry.”- Colossians 3:5 (ESV)

Wives, submit yourselves to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.   Husbands, love your wives and do not be harsh with them.”- Colossians 3:18-19 (NIV)

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification: that you abstain from sexual immorality; that each one of you know how to control his own body in holiness and honor, not in the passion of lust like the Gentiles who do not know God; that no one transgress and wrong his brother in this matter, because the Lord is an avenger in all these things, as we told you beforehand and solemnly warned you.”- 1 Thessalonians 4:3-6 (ESV)

Marriage should be honored by all, and the marriage bed kept pure, for God will judge the adulterer and all the sexually immoral.”- Hebrews 13:4 (NIV)

“Likewise, husbands, live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may not be hindered.”- 1 Peter 3:7 (ESV)

“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment.”- 1 John 4:18a (NIV)

May you have a beautiful Valentine’s weekend living in the color of love as God intended!

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Holding Their Hands

dirty

For the past week and a half, I was in South Dakota helping with Vacation Bible School on one of the reservations.  I am always captivated by the wide open sky out there that showcases hosts of stars at night and a moon that seems large enough to touch.  Each time I am there, I leave pieces of my heart behind as I fall madly in love with the kids.

But after short-term mission work or week-long bible schools I feel ashamed of us, Christians.  More personally, I feel ashamed of myself.

I’m ashamed of the way I hold my head away from the child in my lap so that I will not get lice.  I’m ashamed of the thoughts (or should I say worries about diseases) that cross my mind as I wipe bloody noses.  I’m ashamed of how quickly I wash after I’m done holding the kids’ sticky hands.  I’m ashamed of the way I revolt at the dirty clothing worn day after day or the smell of wet diapers that were never changed before a four-year old arrived for bible school.  But mostly I’m ashamed that I don’t step out of my clean comfortable world often enough to be okay with touching, hugging, and holding the dirty, hurting, and forgotten.

If I could step into these kids’ shoes and see their actual lives, I would hold unto them and weep, never once thinking about how my name-brand clothing is being soiled or how their lollipop is stuck in my hair.

If I saw the way River’s mom was too drunk to even know where her daughter was, I wouldn’t care about the spaghetti sauce caked around River’s mouth; I would kiss her cheek and let her know that she is loved.  If I saw the way Jordan’s dad beat him, I wouldn’t care how much his clothing stank; I would wrap my arms around him and wipe away his tears.  If I saw the house that Summer lives in, I would not care about the lice crawling through her hair; I would bring my head against hers and tell her how special she really is.

That’s what children like this need to see- not a bunch of “clean” Christians who swoop through a place for a few days with Bible stories (so they can say they did something for God or have pictures to show people at home how lucky they are to have been raised in a good home)—– but a Christian who isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and live out the love of Jesus day after day because his heart is overflowing with compassion and mercy. .

I don’t have anything against short-term mission work and summer bible schools; in fact, I plan to still help with such things because a lot of amazing things can be done for God through these.  But I want to challenge myself to make it a daily habit to step out of my comfort zone and “get dirty”.  The best example we could ever have is Jesus.  Jesus actually touched the lepers, even though they were contagious, stinky outcasts whose skin was deteriorating and rotting.  Jesus laid His hands upon the sick and hurting because He wanted to show that His love was greater than their sickness, destitution, or social status.

I want to break the shell that separates me from the world.  I want to let go of the values I place on the physical and switch it to the emotional and spiritual levels.  I want to serve until I no longer see people in terms of appearance but I see them in the way that God sees them.  I want my arms to be open, even to the unloveliest child.  I want my heart to break for the most forgotten elderly person.  I want my tears to be shed for the hurting teenager.

This is a fairly familiar song, but I love the lyrics every time I hear it.

“Looked down from a broken sky
Traced out by the city lights
My world from a mile high
Best seat in the house tonight
Touched down on the cold black top
Hold on for the sudden stop
Breathe in the familiar shock
Of confusion
And chaos

All those people goin’ somewhere
Why have I never cared?

Give me Your eyes for just one second
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me Your love for humanity
Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me Your eyes so I can see

Step out on a busy street
See a girl and our eyes meet
Does her best to smile at me
To hide what’s underneath
There’s a man just to her right
Black suit and a bright red tie
Too ashamed to tell his wife
He’s out of work, he’s buyin’ time

All those people goin’ somewhere
Why have I never cared?

Give me Your eyes for just one second
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me Your love for humanity
Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me Your eyes so I can see

I’ve been there a million times
A couple of million eyes
Just move and pass me by
I swear I never thought that I was wrong
Well I want a second glance
So give me a second chance
To see the way You’ve seen the people all along

Give me Your eyes for just one second
Give me Your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me Your love for humanity
Give me Your arms for the broken-hearted
The ones that are far beyond my reach
Give me Your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me Your eyes so I can see” -Brandon Heath

Cobweb: The Unloved Kitten…. Part 1 and 2

Cobweb: The Unloved Kitten

cat 2

It all started when the family decided that we would rather have cats roaming our property than mice.The traps and mouse bait just didn’t seem to be doing the trick of eliminating those scurrying creatures; so my brother and I embarked on a kitten finding expedition.It didn’t take us long to drive to a home that had  big sign out front reading “Free Kittens”.  We parked the truck and got out to see what little fuzzy-wuzzy kittens we would be taking home with us.

We soon found out that these kittens were wild because of limited human contact.

Oh well, we figured.  We were there now; so we might as well find the best ones and see what we could do with them.

The lady that owned the kittens proceeded to try to catch the three that we picked out.  That was a crazy adventure in itself.  The kittens would run and hiss and scratch- it wasn’t a pretty picture.

When it was finally all done and said and the renegades had been captured, we had a black and white kitten, a long-haired grey kitten, and a grey-striped kitten all riding home with us in a box.

On the way back to our place, we came across another “Free Kittens” sign; and decided to check out these kittens.  At this farm, there were some young children outside playing; and they easily picked up two of the cutest little kittens that they had named Butterscotch and Princess.

Well, we just couldn’t resist a lil’ blondie and a multi-colored rascal; so we added another two kittens to our collection.

We finally arrived home without anymore stops and proceeded to make a home for the kittens in the back, unused room of our office.  We figured that we would keep them there until they got older and more used to us.  We opened the box, and the strangest collection of kittens came hurrying out.  Immediately the wild ones all fled to corners to take refuge from these strange humans.

We easily assigned names to our new pets.  Panther was the black and white kitten, Napoleon was the grey-striped, Butterscotch was the Blondie, and Princess was the multi-colored.  Lastly, we decided to call the very wildest kitten, Cobweb, since she was busy sleeking through the corners and catching hidden spiderwebs in her long hair.

Butterscotch and Princess had no trouble at all adjusting to human contact.  They were busy winding around our legs wanting attention.  After a little, Napoleon started to cautiously approach us.  Eventually we could pet him; and after that he became a little bit of a pest!  It seems he must have wanted to make up for his childhood of no affection; because he insisted on being pampered.  If you stopped petting him, he started to meow a pitiful cry until someone took pity on him and gave him more love.

So we had three for us and two against us.  Panther and Cobweb still clung to the shadows of solitude.  We kept showing attention to the others, supplying them with fresh food and milk, and showing up day after day to spend time with the group.

I started to notice that Panther would get closer and closer each time.  She would just sit and watch while the other three would be getting petted.  Their contented purring seemed to strike up a longing inside of her.

Finally, the day arrived when she made the step forward.  She cautiously approached my hand.  I slowly moved my hand towards her, afraid that any sudden movement would send her scampering away.  A smile spread across my face when I finally got to pet her.  She moved closer yet and actually started to purr!  A thrill of success and achievement crowned my heart with victory.

Cobweb still was untrusting.  She could see that all the rest were safe and happy, but she just couldn’t give in to trust.  Eventually she started to sit closer and closer to me; she even sniffed my brother’s hand one time when it was his turn to care for them.

But she still hadn’t totally lost all her fear and mistrust.  Only time will tell if love and patience will triumph.  I am hoping that it will.  One day, I trust that Cobweb will be just like the other kittens.

Cobweb’s reactions really started me thinking the last couple of days.  She reminds me like the thousands and millions of children that have been abused, neglected, or forced to survive in the foster care system.  She has seen so much that is the opposite of love, that she can’t actually recognize love.

She hangs in the shadows hoping that no one will pay attention to her; while at the same time, wishing someone would.  She hisses and scratches the ones who approach her; because she doesn’t want to be hurt again.  Her trust has been broken so many times, and is not easily repaired.  She envies the ones that are receiving kindness, but yet she can’t seem to break down the wall that separates her from them.

Children’s faces line my mind’s eye when I think of Cobweb.  The tears well up in my eyes when I think about all the little souls that are living in the shadows of solitude like Cobweb does.

Those children are condemned or ridiculed when they lash out; people give up on them; they are the ones called by the world as hopeless and not standing a chance.

Perhaps all they need is someone who is willing to take the time—-lots and lots of time—- to just be there for them, to just be a caring presence in their life.  Not someone who forces acceptance or love; but someone who is willing to wait and wait and wait until the child slowly approaches and breaks down their wall of fear and mistrust.

It’s hard to be that person; because it hurts when the child hisses or scratches you- even though you are devoting all your time and love and attention to help them.  It frustrates you to see the child sitting in the corner and shutting the world out.

However, God is there.  If He sees the little sparrow fall, He cares so much more for those little hurting lives that fill the world today.  He wraps His arms around every child that is living in the shadows, that is trying to run from the pain.  He can see and feel their pain, and will bless the ones that are trying to help the hurting lives around them.  He will give grace to the giver, and love to the server, and fortitude to the ones that persevere.  Parents, teachers, caregivers, sunday school teachers- – – He will give you the patience and endurance to be there for “Cobweb: The Unloved Kitten” until she starts to trust and love again!

——May 8, 2014

“Cobweb: The Unloved Kitten”    Part 2

cat

The kittens grew up to be cats, and we moved them out to the shop so that they could start getting acquainted with their surroundings and browse the outdoors.  Some decided to embark upon their own adventures and travel the world, some decided to stay home and raise a family, and Cobweb decided to stay on sleeking about the place.

Then the breakthrough happened; Cobweb crept near enough to be touched.  The last stone of the wall in Cobweb’s heart had crumbled, and she was free to feel the emotion that she had held herself away from for so long.  She had finally allowed human touch and affection into her life.  It was not an immediate transaction- she still pulled back if we moved too quickly or caught her off guard, but there was ground being won in the fight for her trust.

Cobweb was laid to rest about a year and a half ago.  The best that I could figure was that she had gotten in a fight with an animal bigger and stronger than her.  But when she left us, she was no longer that mistrusting, wild, hateful kitten; instead she had become a beautiful, affectionate, tame cat that had finally experienced what it felt like to be loved and had learned how to love as well.  In the last few weeks of her life, she would follow us up to the house and sit outside the window watching and waiting until we came back outside and she could let us know how much she appreciated us.

Love is the strongest weapon that man has ever known.  To love takes effort and time and energy, to love is opening yourself for disappointment and hurt, to love the unlovable may bring ridicule and shame…but love is always worth it.  

 

Maybe you are in a situation right now with someone that is like Cobweb and seems impenetrable and unreachable.  No matter how discouraged and hopeless you feel the situation is, don’t give up!  I hate to tell you that you may never be able to see the results of your patience and tears, here on earth; but the good news is that God is still using your love in ways that you can’t begin to imagine, whether you see it or not.

Someday that wall of hate, bitterness, and fear of love may crumble in that child or adult’s life; but it will only happen because your love helped them chip away at it a little at a time.  If you give up now, the wall will only become stronger as weeds and vines entrench around it; and the person inside will hide further and further back in the shadows. 

 

Love doesn’t ram the wall, but love isn’t afraid of it either.  Love is standing at the wall and sending cookies over; love is praying to God for sunshine to illuminate the dark forest on the other side; love is spending tears as you hurt and are hurt by the hidden person; love is not paying attention to the remarks that passerbys sneer; love is simply standing there with your hand outstretched and letting the person on the other side know that you are there and will wait for them as long as you have to; love is not afraid to touch the unwashed, grimy hand when the other person finally reaches out; and love does not give up when the hand pulls back and disappears again- because love knows that there is no stronger force on earth.

1 Corinthians 13:4-8

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.

Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away.

 

Wish Upon A Star

ImageDaily Prompt: I Did it My WayDescribe the one decision in your life where you wish you could get a “do-over.” Tell us about the decision, and why you’d choose to take a different path this time around.

Do you ever look back on life and wish you could redo a past action or decision?  I often think back to certain times that I would rewrite if I had the chance – things that I wonder what I possibly was thinking and why I didn’t follow my conscience.  No, I never did drugs, get involved in an inappropriate relationship, rob a bank, or do anything “major”, but I did do something quite often that makes my heart still cry when I think of it.

I feel deep shame at the way I treated others when I was younger.  Although many think this is not a huge issue; it is, because I wonder what differences could have been made in certain lives if I would have chosen to act differently?  I wonder how much hurt was felt, how many tears were cried, and how much despair was felt- because of me- when instead there could have been joy, laughter, and acceptance.  It’s amazing the way that humans can be so cruel to another human, without even having to say a word.

My parents raised me to treat everyone equally and respectfully, to find the outcast and make them my friend.  I had this as head knowledge but not necessarily as heart.

There was one girl that I knew who came from a horrible family and was hurting deeply.  She definitely did not dress very nicely or even act very nicely.  Simply put, she was obnoxious.  She was the last person with whom I wanted to be seen.  Seriously, such a girl could jeopardize my own reputation and relationships; so I ignored her, cut conversations short, and let others know that I was not with her.

I should have known the feeling to not be in the “cool” group.  I should have known how it feels to have people exclude you from certain parties and social events, but perhaps that made me want to join their group all the more so that I could finally “achieve” and be a somebody.  Funny thing is, when I eventually was accepted, it did not feel as sweet as I thought it would feel, because I knew that it was at the sacrifice of others.

I do not know what ever happened to that girl.  I pray that someone finally treated her better than I had and was a friend when she had none.  I pray that she lives a wonderful life now and has become freed from the hurt of others, because something like that can be bondage to a person forever if there is never any healing.  Watch To Save A Life if you don’t believe me.

If God would give me a special star tonight to wish upon, I would wish that I could go back and redo all the times I purposely overlooked the outcasts so that I could “fit in”.  I can’t go back and redo my past actions and decisions, but I can determine to not repeat those in the future.  I can determine to love everyone (not just the ones that are smartest, richest, nicest, or most beautiful), even if it means I have to give up certain friendships, opportunities, and advantages.  What would Jesus do?  Well, Jesus went to the “untouchables”, the prostitutes, the criminals, the lowest-ranked on the status scale; and He turned their lives into the most lovely ones recorded in Scripture.  We have a huge power in the way we treat the ones around us.  All it takes is a smile, a word, a hug, and a little time to tell someone that they are special!

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/02/11/daily-prompt-my-way/

Cobweb:The Unloved Kitten

Cobweb: The Unloved Kitten

 
It all started when the family decided that we would rather have cats roaming our property than mice. 

The traps and mouse bait just didn’t seem to be doing the trick of eliminating those scurrying creatures; so my brother and I embarked on a kitten finding expedition. 

It didn’t take us long to drive to a home that had  big sign out front reading “Free Kittens”.  We parked the truck and got out to see what little fuzzy-wuzzy kittens we would be taking home with us. 

We soon found out that these kittens were wild with limited human contact. 

Oh well, we figured.  We were there now; so we might as well find the best ones and see what we could do with them. 

The lady that owned the kittens proceeded to try to catch the three that we picked out.  That was a crazy adventure in itself.  The kittens would run and hiss and scratch- it wasn’t a pretty picture. 

When it was finally all done and said and the renegades had been captured, we had a black and white kitten, a long-haired grey kitten, and a grey-striped kitten all riding home with us in a box. 

On the way back to our place, we came across another “Free Kittens” sign; and decided to check out these kittens.  At this farm, there were some young children outside playing; and they easily picked up two of the cutest little kittens that they had named Butterscotch and Princess. 

Well, we just couldn’t resist a lil’ blondie and a multi-colored rascal; so we added another two kittens to our collection. 

We finally arrived home without anymore stops and proceeded to make a home for the kittens in the back, unused room of our office.  We figured that we would keep them there until they got older and more used to us.  We opened the box, and the strangest collection of kittens came hurrying out.  Immediately the wild ones all fled to corners to take refuge from these strange humans.

We easily assigned names to our new pets.  Panther was the black and white kitten, Napoleon was the grey-striped, Butterscotch was the Blondie, and Princess was the multi-colored.  Lastly, we decided to call the very wildest kitten Cobweb, since he was busy sleeking through the corners and catching uncleaned spiderwebs in his long hair. 

Butterscotch and Princess had no trouble at all adjusting to human contact.  They were busy winding around our legs wanting attention.  After a little, Napoleon started to cautiously approach us.  Eventually we could pet him; and after that he became a little bit of a pest!  It seems he must want to make up for his childhood of no affection; because he insists on being pampered.  If you stop petting him, he starts to meow a pitiful cry until someone takes pity on him and gives him more love.

So we had three for us and two against us.  Panther and Cobweb still clung to the shadows of solitude.  We kept showing attention to the others, supplying them with fresh food and milk, and showing up day after day to spend time with the group. 

I started to notice that Panther would get closer and closer each time.  She would just sit and watch while the other three would be getting petted.  Their contented purring seemed to strike up a longing inside of her.

Finally, the day arrived when she made the step forward.  She cautiously approached my hand.  I slowly moved my hand towards her, afraid that any sudden movement would send her scampering away.  A smile spread across my face when I finally got to pet her.  She moved closer and actually started to purr!  A thrill of success and achievement crowned my heart with victory. 

Cobweb still was untrusting.  She could see that all the rest were safe and happy, but she just couldn’t give in to trust.  Eventually she started to sit closer and closer to me; she even sniffed my brother’s hand one time when it was his turn to care for them.

But she still hasn’t totally lost all her fear and mistrust.  Only time will tell if love and patience will triumph.  I am hoping that it will.  One day, I trust that Cobweb will be just like the other kittens.      

Cobweb’s reactions really started me thinking the last couple of days.  She reminds me like the thousands and millions of children that have been abused or neglected or forced to survive in the foster care system.  She has seen so much that is the opposite of love, that she can’t actually recognize love. 

She hangs in the shadows hoping that no one will pay attention to her; while at the same time, wishing someone would.  She hisses and scratches the ones who approach her; because she doesn’t want to be hurt again.  Her trust has been broken so many times, and is not easily repaired.  She envies the ones that are receiving kindness, but yet she can’t seem to break down the wall that separates her from them. 

Children’s faces line my mind’s eye when I think of Cobweb.  The tears well up in my eyes when I think about all the little souls that are living in the shadows of solitude like Cobweb does. 

Those children are condemned or ridiculed when they lash out; people give up on them; they are the ones called by the world as hopeless and not standing a chance. 

Perhaps all they need is someone who is willing to take the time—-lots and lots of time—- to just be there for them, to just be a caring presence in their life.  Not someone who forces acceptance or love; but someone who is willing to wait and wait and wait until the child slowly approaches and breaks down their wall of fear and mistrust. 

It’s hard to be that person; because it hurts when the child hisses or scratches you- even though you are devoting all your time and love and attention to help them.  It frustrates you to see the child sitting in the corner and shutting the world out.

However, God is there.  If He sees the little sparrow fall, He cares so much more for those little hurting lives that fill the world today.  He wraps His arms around every child that is living in the shadows, that is trying to run from the pain.  He can see and feel their pain, and will bless the ones that are trying to help the hurting lives around them.  He will give grace to the giver, and love to the server, and fortitude to the ones that persevere.  Parents, teachers, caregivers, sunday school teachers- – – He will give you the patience and endurance to be there for “Cobweb: The Unloved Kitten” until she starts to trust and love again!