Archive for May, 2016

You are Forgiven

May 15, 2016
Who is a God like you, who pardons sin and forgives the transgression of the remnant of his inheritance? You do not stay angry forever but delight to show mercy. You will again have compassion on us; you will tread our sins underfoot and hurl all our iniquities into the depths of the sea. Micah 7:18, 19

My husband and I were 30 when we got married so I didn’t want to wait too long to add children to our family. It proved to be more difficult than either of us expected. So off to the doctors we went. They did all the tests but couldn’t find a medical reason. It was during this frustrating time that I really understood the forgiveness of God.


The desire to have a child and feel a life growing under my heart was so incredibly powerful. More than any drink or drug, it ruled my every thought for so many months. And those months turned into years. Part of the crazy was the drugs I took to increase my fertility. But the other big contributor were the voices in my head shaming me.

Through all these months my mind replayed every single thing I’d done or allowed to be done to my body. Had my stupid lifestyle choices caused the infertility? The really bad relationship choices? The total absorption with doing exactly what I wanted when I wanted?

Why wouldn’t God answer my prayers for children? I had done all the “right” things – college degree, good job, wonderful husband, house in a good school district. Didn’t I deserve to have children? Was infertility my punishment for past life choices?

These thoughts consumed my days and nights. Until they drove me to my knees. What I needed was to confess, repent and be forgiven. The memory is still vivid more than 20 years later.

On my knees beside our bed, I cried out to God begging forgiveness of all the sins of my sordid past. What happened next is what stays in my mind. In the pit of my stomach I felt a revolving ball of all those sins. Every one.

And God reached in and delivered me. In those moments all that I confessed and repented of was forgiven. It literally felt as if he physically reached in and took that ball and tossed it into the sea of forgetfulness. He would remember it no more. I was forgiven. It was as simple and as incomprehensible as that.

The key would be for me to keep God’s period in place and not replace it with my enemy’s question mark. Occasionally, a memory of forgiven sin will pop into my mind. As quickly as possible I remind myself that God has forgiven and forgotten and He has made me new.

The story ends happily as my husband and I have two fantastic children. As with all dark times, if we let them, they will lead us straight into the loving arms of our mighty Jesus. Selah… Andrea

 

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Honor by Association

May 3, 2016

Her husband is respected at the city gate, where he takes his seat among the elders of the land. Proverbs 31:23

City gates were part of a city’s protection as well as places of central activity. Important city-gates-01business transactions took place there. When Boaz wanted to become Ruth’s kinsman redeemer, he went to her other male relative at the city gate to have witnesses to his offer. The city gate was where court was convened and announcements were made. I imagine them as being the place to see and be seen.

Can’t you just picture the men congregating to discuss important matters of the day. Peddlers with carts loaded with fruit or birds for sale. People coming and going through the gates as they returned from travel or left on a journey. Folks coming to hear the latest news as they drew water from the well. The city gate was “the place” to hang out. Kids playing in the dust.

A seat “among the elders of the land” was a high honor indeed. The husband of the Proverbs 31 woman is respected and obviously well-known. Who wouldn’t be with such an industrious wife? His position is secured because of how his wife carries herself and stewards all that she has. He receives honor by his association with her.

My husband reminds our children that they represent the entire McCaskey family and their behavior in public should mirror that fact. Growing up, we would hear my grandmother or an aunt tell us not to “act a fool” in public. (For the record, acting a fool in private wasn’t tolerated either!) Pastors say, “Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.”

Our actions – positive and negative –  reflect upon those we are associated with, family, friends, church, work. The same holds true for the bride of Christ – the Church. How we carry ourselves as Christians reflects back on the Kingdom of God, on the Godhead. What we do (or don’t do) in public and in private, allows others to form an opinion about Christ and other Christians.

The question I’ve asked myself recently is what am I reflecting to others? Do my actions and words bring honor to my husband?  Do the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart give glory to God? What about how or where I spend my free time? Even what I wear can impact another’s view of Christ.

Not that I’ll get it right every time, but I want to at least be aware of when my actions might shed a negative light on my husband, my family or my God. In Luke 17:1, Jesus said “Things that cause people to stumble are bound to come, but woe to anyone through whom they come.”

Lord, help me always choose to act in ways that honor you and bring glory to your name. Do not let my actions or words cause another of your children to fall into sin or fall away from you. Amen.

Selah… Andrea