Tuesday, December 17, 2013

The Story of The Shepherd

I pulled my cloak tightly around my shoulders. The unusually cool spring wind tugged at my thin clothes. I looked upwards at the clear night sky. It was a night like the thousands before. Sounds of the breeze rustling through the grass, distant howls of threatening beasts, shimmering stars and the so very present bleat of dumb sheep. 

Had it really been so many years ago that I sat in my family's warm home along with all of my older brothers? Decades ago. I, being the second to youngest of seven boys was too old to sit under the watch of caregivers, but not old enough to be given honors and responsibilities of prestige like my elder brothers. Therefore, I had become the family's shepherd. I had never been given an opportunity to make anything of my life. Months of shepherding as a small boy had turned into years as a young man and eventually decades as an old man.  The words of my brothers from years past flittered through my mind like the burning embers of the flames before me flittered towards the heavens. 

Ah, poor brother, nothing more than a shepherd. Never to make anything of his life. It seems that he may have lost his mind up there in the hills alone all these years with only dumb sheep for company. 

Were they right? Was my life never meant to be anything more than this? No wife, no children, no money... no purpose. An aching swelled in my heart. 

It was no matter now, life was nearly over. I was reminded each time my back ached and joints groaned. I quoted psalms of King David to bring peace to my weary heart. 

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, You are with me. Your rod and staff comfort me. 

The words of another shepherd made me smile. King David was a shepherd, after all. God had made him into a great king. I wondered if God might have any plans for me. Was it too late? 

I stood and smacked a sheep's rump away from a small hole in the ground. He lazily moved away into the darkness. I looked to the dark sky. Could God care about a man as small as I? As old as I? 

Have you any purpose for me, Almighty One? Why do I feel You so close tonight? Why do I so ache for You? Please come to Your people. Come to me. 

As I had many times before, I imagined the Messiah. The Holy One. He would be a king of power and might. He would overthrow Rome and build up this nation. He would be born in a palace far from Bethlehem, dressed in flowing purple and surrounded in gold. 

For to us a child is born... to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Ever.....

I choked on the familiar words of Isaiah. Then I said the words that I had said too many times. They were foolish and ignorant of such an old man. Yet, my heart spoke them anyways. 

If it be Your will, I ask to catch just a glimpse of the Messiah before I die. 

I chastised myself. God should not answer such a selfish prayer. Tears poured down my weathered cheeks. 

Then perhaps my nephews? If it be Your will, may my family see the Chosen One before they die? 

Glory.... glory.... glory. 

What was that noise? Glory? Maybe I was losing my mind. 

I sensed light behind me and I turned quickly to catch a glimpse of the shooting star. 

There was no shooting star, but there was light. I blinked, trying to wake myself. The light hovered the hills beyond. It took the shape of a human. The light was so white and so pure that it burned my eyes with its brilliance. I shook with fear. What was happening? Was God ending my life? Was this death?

"Do not be afraid." 

It spoke! The mouth and eyes of a man appeared in the lightness. What could this be? A messenger from God. He spoke again. 

"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

My mind fought to process what he said. The Messiah. The Messiah! He will be in a manger? 

The light grew and shook the ground as many more men in whiteness joined the voice of the first. Their voices rose in perfect unison as they spoke: 

“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests!”

Peace to those on whom His favor rests.... Did His favor rest on me? These messengers spoke to someone as lowly as me. I left my sheep for the first time in my life. My cranky bones ran like that of a small boy. The shepherds of the neighboring fields must have heard, as they too ran to one another. I could hear their voices. 

"Let's go together and find Him! The Messiah! Can you believe it?"

There were five of us. Three young men, one a few years younger than me and then me... the oldest. We ran towards the caves. There were many nooks and crevices in the rocks behind the inns in Bethlehem. Only in the caves where the animals fed would there be a manger. The thought of the Messiah lying in a manger was startling. 

Was God so quickly answering my prayer to see the Messiah? After hundreds of years of waiting, was this how it would come? Only after seeing would I believe. 

We separated so we could find the cave quicker. I tried to hurry, but I wasn’t as spry as the other young ones. 

Stop. Listen. 

The voice was carried on the wind and it swept my ears with its calmness. I stopped in the darkness. I closed my eyes and strained for the sound of a crying baby. 

There was no crying, but there was singing. A woman's voice sung so softly. 

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the Mighty One has done great things for me—holy is his name."

It was so pure and innocent... the voice of a young, virgin woman. But why would she be singing out here?  

I stepped around the edge of the rock and there in the deep mouth of the cave lay a woman in the hay. Her damp hair fell around her shoulders. A thin blanket lay over her. She leaned against a manger, her eyes staring into the face of the infant that lay there. 

The Messiah. 

"Can I help you?" 

I was started by the man who spoke to me. He came from the shadows behind the woman and baby. 

"I... I am a shepherd in a field nearby... I was keeping watch over my flocks.... Well, I was told that I would find a baby lying in a manger... he is... Is he?" I swallowed. "Is he the Messiah? 

The woman looked up and her eyes danced with joy. "He is. His name is Jesus." 

"May I?" I asked as I stepped forward. The miracle of the moment pulsed through my veins. 

This was the moment I had prayed for. Oh Holy One! As I stepped closer, the baby began to whimper. 

"Shh, wee one," said his mother. "We have a visitor. Your first visitor." 

He quieted as I reached down and caressed his smooth head. It felt like that of any other infant. Yet when I looked into his small face, my whole body shook with awe. 

He is the One. 

I cried softly over him. My tears hit the hay around him. How could it be? 

You have let me not only see the Messiah, but I was the first to see him! I touched him!  

I fell to my knees. The other shepherds filled in around me. Their soft gasps echoing through the cave. 

What a Messiah he must be. How odd that he would come in such a small, quiet way. How strange that I should be the first to see his wonderful face. Perhaps the Messiah was going to be very different than what we ever dreamed. How merciful that the very lowest would be the very first to welcome him. 

For the first time in my life, I felt purpose. The brightest star shined on my path as I walked back to my sheep. 

Monday, November 18, 2013

All That Dough

"So, how much of that money should you give to the Lord?"

I was never exactly happy to hear those words from my father, but he never failed to ask them every time any precious green paper found it's way into my hands.

"Uh... ten dollars?"

"Right. That's a tithe, but would you like to give an offering? An offering is above and beyond what you are required to give."

"Is five dollars okay?"

He never pushed it. "That's just fine."

When the big gold plate passed by me on the next Sunday, I watched my fifteen dollars go with it. At least I got to keep the other eighty-five.

I would watch Dad slip his check into the plate every other week. Daddy made a good bit of money and I always got a lot of presents for Christmas and my birthday, along with a hearty allowance for chores, so I never really paid much attention to what my parents gave to God's house.

Years later, when my Dad left the business world and became an Associate Pastor at Mt. Pleasant, I knew that things had changed. Around that same time, we adopted my sister Clara. We began to clean showrooms to cover the extra costs. I sometimes complained because of the time and work it took, but Mom showed me how to clean toilets, wash windows and dust with perfection. I swept and mopped miles worth of glossy wood floors.

Daddy always put that check in the plate. Always. Sometimes I wondered. Why do other girls get really nice, popular clothes? Why do those kids get razor phones and even Blackberry phones (those were actually popular in the day)? They didn't have to work for them. On the flip side, I knew that some kids worked even harder than me. Some children didn't even have food to eat or new clothes even from the cheapest stores, but I didn't think about them... I thought about the rich children and all that they had.

Time has passed and some of those "rich children" grew up with a very selfish and spoiled mentality. They were always on the cutting edge, but their families happiness was a facade. Suddenly, I realized that I had more than they ever had. Those days that my family cleaned those showrooms were some of the most treasured days of my childhood. I can still smell the aroma of fresh pizza from the Italian restaurant floating through the cold mountain air as we lugged the brooms from the trunk. I can still hear Kandace singing as she went around getting up the trash. I can see Daddy through the front window in his toboggan, his nose red, as he wipes the water off the glass. I remember all of those talks as we rode up the mountains to work... those talks that I wouldn't trade for a million dollars.

Mom and Daddy gave and gave. I once asked them how much money they would have had if they had never given all that they gave. Dad said, "Why ask? The Lord has blessed us because we gave. It was His anyways." But I still managed to figure out that we could have bought a beach house, maybe had a boat, had really nice cars and purchased clothes at very expensive stores. We COULD have.

You know what? Many "Christians" chose the life that my parents avoided. They call themselves "followers of Jesus," but I sure don't see them carrying a cross. I speak to myself as well. It saddens me to watch young girls post and flaunt pictures of expensive brand clothe bags on social media. It saddens me to watch retired people hold up all their money with tight fists and nearly obsessively save for their own pleasures. Why? Where is your cross? Where is my cross?

I don't care if I own a Michael Kors purse, Neiman Marcus boots or Lucky Brand sweaters. I don't care if I live in the nicest neighborhood. I am so uncaring about it all. Why? Because it's ridiculous. The brands aren't bad in themselves, but it seems so wrong to me to spend money so freely on such small things when all of that cash could help grow the Kingdom of God! Why aren't our desires God's desires? Does it makes us feel better to stare at our nice cars and cute clothes? That happiness always wears off.

For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evils. It is through this craving that some have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many pangs. 1 Timothy 6:10 (ESV)

Yes, I want to look nice. I want to be stylish. But I don't believe that I need manicured nails and overpriced glitz. I want peace. I want joy. I want to know that my money goes to something that matters.

This Christmas season, I implore you, give your children and grandchildren something worth so much more than junk. Give them love. The gifts I received all those years ago have long since gone to Goodwill, but the love I received never left my heart.

My parents taught me a great lesson each time that offering plate passed: It's all God's anyways. It's a lie to believe that nothing can ever happen to our solid financial foundations. They surely can and will eventually crumble. Mom and Dad gave when they didn't have it and they were blessed.

I want to be a cheerful giver. I want to receive the blessing of giving. When you and I finally start giving to the One who already owns it all, we will see how futile and foolish it was to cling to the trappings of this world. We will be able to live like God's children were always intended to live... carrying our crosses and yet, walking with ease because "His yoke is easy and His burden is light."

Stop wasting life worrying about all of that dough.

Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it." Malachi 3:10 (NIV)

Friday, November 1, 2013

Two Years Ago

Two years ago today I woke up and burst into a panicked sob. Sleep had temporarily relieved me of my burdens, but with the first ray of daylight meeting my eyes... my sorrow pierced my heart. My mind flickered with thoughts of the previous night.

It had been Josh's last day home. The ten short days of his leave after boot camp were over. The last hours had been spent sitting around our friends, Jason and Katie Church's, bonfire. Our Bible Study had ended and we had finished off the rest of Halloween night, eating smores and laughing by the firelight.

The past ten days had taught me more than I ever imagined that I would learn. Each day with Josh continued to lead my heart in a deeper friendship. Boot camp had changed Josh. He was more solid and godly than I had ever seen him. His enthusiastic zeal for the future made my heart leap. I chastised myself for imagining us anything more than friends. I had had a crush on him five years before. That "crush" had nearly broken my heart with his leaving for seminary and the pain of him forgetting me. It was a mistake I would always regret. Yet, it sometimes felt like it was happening all over again; except now I was older and he was much wiser. One thing stayed true... he was leaving again.

My face flushed with the hot heat of the fire as Josh said nonchalantly, "I probably won't be back for about a year." For a moment, my mind went nuts and with all my heart, I wanted to disappear. I wanted everything to fade away and to never think about Josh again.

Then it was over. Everyone left and Josh needed a ride home. He was living just two minutes down the road with his dad. When I let him out, it was an awkward moment. I felt my insides ripping out. He couldn't leave for a year. Or was this it forever? There was a quick, "stay in touch" and a pat on the shoulder and he was gone.

I don't remember getting home. Mom and Dad asked how things went. I forced a smile and said that it all went well. I went to bed shortly later. As I lied on my bed staring at the ceiling, I prayed.

Why do I feel this way if he is leaving? Why am I so young? Have I let my heart get tangled against all of my intentions? 10 days. That was all it took. Lord, please help him. I love him. It is different now. I love him so much that I would be willing to let him go if it is Your will. Oh, what is Your will?

For the first time in my life, I had to tell Mama and Dad about my feelings toward Josh. Too many teenage girls had held onto their emotions and feelings, letting them eat them raw while their parents were perfectly capable of being a fountain of encouragement and wisdom. I was a blubbering fool as I cried on Daddy's chest.

"Oh Daddy! I am going to miss him so much!"

He looked at Mom with a concerned face as he spoke to me. "Honey, Josh is gone. Pray that God will help you move on."

He encouraged me to focus on what I had decided years before. I would not give my heart away, especially to someone who had no desire for it.

Yet, as I laid awake that November 1st morning, a soft whisper drummed a message into my mind. Josh is only gone for a while. My feelings weren't in vain. Tears rolled down my face as I prayed with all of my soul.

Bring him back to me or take away this longing. 

Looking back, I see that if I hadn't been willing to give Josh up... I would have hurt myself deeply. God gives when He knows that you have nowhere to turn but to Him. November 1st 2011 was a grim day of fear and worries, but a year later I was preparing to get married to the very man God had ordained for me to love. The words "I love him" may have first hit my thoughts that Halloween night, but God had ordained that love before the earth was set on it's axis.

The secret to love: if it's true love, you are willing to give up everything for it, even if it means seeing it leave you. If it's of God, it will come back. True love is putting God above all that you desire and saying, "it's yours." We love because He first loved us.... it's encouraging to remember that He has true love mastered.

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Don't Block Their Sky

I was seven years old. We were riding in the van when Daddy turned the radio station to the classical station. Every once and a while he wanted Kandace and me to listen to classical music. He said that it broadened our minds. The piece playing was a riveting piano solo. I listened in wonder. Daddy turned his head slightly so his voice would easily meet my ears. 
“Isn’t that beautiful? Would you like to play the piano? One day you could play like that.”
I didn’t answer. I doubted that I could ever play anything as awe-inspiring even if I practiced forever. Piano lessons began when I was eight-year-old. My piano teacher, was pleasantly surprised at my ability to play chords and scales with ease. I wasn’t the quickest of learners, but I tried hard. One of my greatest fears was to embarrass myself in front of my teacher. At Christmastime, Mama scheduled me to play at church. I begged her not to make me play. Her big brown eyes turned cool.
“Katy, you will never overcome your fear until you face it.”
I was dressed in a velvet dress and my straight hair was brushed until it shown. I shook with nervousness as I opened my piano book and sat on the squeaky bench. I played “Mary, Did You Know?” I did well. Everyone clapped and I swelled with pride. Maybe Mama was right. Many other little girls and boys took piano lessons, but their mommies never made them play in church. They told Mama that their children were just too afraid. My Daddy and Mama always told me that parents who let their children succumb to fear of performing ultimately teach their children that there is indeed something to fear. At the moment, with my little knees shaking together, I was frustrated with my parents for insisting I play, but when it was all over – even when years had passed – I was grateful that they had pushed me. Whether it is in music, athletics, public speaking or any other number of activities, I learned that practice was important, but performing was just as important. Performing in front of a crowd of loud fans or a silent audience develops a whole new and unchartered territory of the brain. Yet, for me, it brought a grin to me face and inspiration to my heart I would have never known otherwise. 

Children are brimming with abilities and talents that many parents have never even tapped into. Discover your children's gifts and develop them. One of the most crippling things a parent can do is agree with their child that they can't or shouldn't do what they do for other people. That may seem to temporarily appease the child, but years later, they will still live with an irrational fear. I am not saying that a child needs to be drug to church and put on the stage, screaming and crying to play or sing a song they don't even really know. I am saying when a child is ready to perform and there is nothing but shyness and fear holding them back, then they should still play. Don't be fooled. A basketball player should play with a team even if he still misses lots of shots. Don't be fooled, that a violinist shouldn't play until he or she never ever makes a mistake or is in book level 10. Now is the time. Their hearts long to know that their parents believe in them right now even when they have far to go.
Robin Wolaver wrote a book on this very subject (click here to see it). It was truthfully one of the best books I have ever read. She pushed her children until they stood in the Juilliard School of Music and formed the Annie Moses Band and performed on the world's finest stages. 
I don't know much about Juilliard, but I do know that it never killed me to be challenged, not just to practice, but to perform. 
"How can one shoot for the stars if one has never seen the sky?" ~ Robin Wolaver 
Don't block their sky. 

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

The Truth About Marriage

Last year at this time, October 2012, I could see nothing but the bright and brimming future. My bridal pictures were in a week and my bridal shower was in only a few days. I hadn't seen my future husband, Josh, in a few weeks and I wouldn't see him for another month and I missed him. I hadn't seen my new home and I had no idea what it looked like. I had very little of an idea how life would run for me after my 3-day honeymoon. I didn't really care about that. All that mattered to me was the present. I was getting married and I was so looking forward to my gifts and ordering dresses and decorations, mailing hundreds of invitations, getting my hair done and so on and so forth. I was going to be a young bride. I don't begrudge how excited I was. That was perfectly good and normal.

However, looking back I see something all so clearly. I had heard the stories, I had been told the truth; life isn't a basket of roses and it's not a bowlful of cherries. I believed that, knowing that getting married wouldn't suddenly make life perfect, but in my heart I believed that somehow Josh and I were partially immune. We were different from most couples, we had a deeper love, a pure trust in one another. In a way, I was right. Josh and I had done things the right way. We had kept ourselves pure in the relationship and had even agreed to covenant that divorce is not an option. We were honest and loving. All of those things were amazingly helpful in making us resilient to future hurdles.

When we got married, I felt God's presence run down my spine. I was so completely joyful in one of the happiest moments of my life. I know that God smiled down on us. But God had a lot of teaching to do.

It wasn't long after we got married and the happiness of our honeymoon wore off that I was hit with the "life" I had often refused to think about. The wedding was over and all the guests had gone back to their lives. My siblings were back in school... without me. And the honeymoon... was over.

Here I was sitting in a gray military building. I was putting on a good front, but inside I was shaking.

Dear Jesus, what have I done?!

I had been married four days and I sat there terrified like a little girl. The strong, pretty bride I had been hardly a hundred hours before was now a teary-eyed, messy wife.

We moved into our empty house. It was pleasant, though very different from my childhood home. I had never liked to cook, so even though Mama had taught me how, I hadn't practiced a lot. But I had to cook something! We had only a few dishes and so I grabbed some groceries and made lasagna. We had no table, so I placed a blanket over a tupperware container and we ate.

Josh had to go to work. I thought I would die. The house was so quiet, except for the roar of planes overhead, coming from on base. I was lonely. It mattered not when Josh was home; when I saw anything that reminded me of my family, I would crumple into a ball and cry. Josh was understanding until he felt like he was unwanted. He was sometimes resentful of my missing my family, to which our first arguments as man and wife commenced.

The days became the same. I would write all day on my book, organize, clean and walk our flat neighborhood. Josh would work and he would come home. The mind can be your worst enemy. I would often dread deployments and things as simple as cooking my next meal.

Why do I share all of this? Because too many girls and maybe even boys, have a false and warped view of life after marriage. It isn't a Nicolas Sparks novel. It is wonderful, yes. It is fulfilling, yes. But it is not perfect. And even I (note my sarcasm) was not exempt from arguments and hardships. The money was short and the fuses even shorter.

It hit me. I am a mighty selfish person. My whole life, I have looked out for me and my two best friends: me, myself and I. But then I was a wife in a miserable little town and without a piano to top it off.

Young people who are not married, I know that many of you long to be married like I did. It is something to look forward to, but I beg you not to waste your days away longing for it, because once it comes, things will eventually slow down and you will long for the next thing on the list. Wherever you are on your life's journey, look up to the One who knows all of your days and trust Him for His timing. Be content. If you wait to be content after you are wed, then you will never be content at all. I am convinced that in our contentment, God will bless us.

God has taught me so much over the last year. He has brought Josh and me so far. He has begun to break our stubborn wills, but not our spirits. We have a long way to go, but we are on the right track.

Marriage is a lot more than what I ever realized. It is a picture of Jesus and the Church. Unconditional love is a choice. It is not easy, but it is worth the effort. My parents had taught me this truth for years, but maybe it took me living it to see the truth.

Paul Washer put it this way, "You are married to a person who does not meet all of the conditions so that you may learn unconditional love. You are married to a person who needs mercy so that you learn to give it. You are married to a person who does not deserve so that you learn to pour lavishly yourself out on a person who does not respond appropriately and thus you become like the God you worship!" 

I am learning that though this grass is green, the grass on the other side was really green too. I am learning to be a good wife for my wonderful husband. I am learning to be content right here, right now.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

I'm Sorry

Do you remember being told that as a child? I do. When I was a little girl my Mom or Dad would firmly say, "Say 'I'm sorry.'" Often times, I would cross my chubby little arms, pooch my lip and spit the words out.

As I grew up, it was even harder to say "I am sorry." My parents taught me a lesson that I never realized I would need so much. It wasn't very often in my childhood that did things to make others angry with me. I had many struggles, but I hated knowing that someone was upset with me. However, on occasions I did things or said things that offended people. When it came out that someone was upset with me, my parents didn't coddle me and tell me that I didn't do anything wrong. Many parents these days do their children a great disservice by assuming that their children rarely if ever do wrong. They assume that the other person was in the wrong. That isn't always the case. Children do sin. All kids do. Don't assume they are perfect.

Sorry... I'll stop preaching. Wink wink. So, my Daddy would quote Ephesians 4:26 about not letting the sun go down on your anger and Proverbs 15:1 about how a soft answer turns away anger. He told me that someone has to take the high road. Someone has to do the right thing. That someone was supposed to be me.

"Remember who you are, Katy. You are a child of God, held to a higher standard."

With my heart pounding, I would go and say to the one I had offended, "I am sorry." Just those three words... no "buts." No "if you had just not done this or that." Just three words. It burned my throat to say them, but something magical always happened.... something spiritual. The other person was disarmed. Even if I had done nothing wrong, saying sorry gave them no reason to still be angry with me. They would look into my face and their eyes would search the air for something to say.

Saying "I am sorry" is not popular these days. We live in a culture where TV shows encourage us to "be yourself and don't be sorry." We are led like mules to believe that it's okay to be angry and hurt towards one another.

Let me tell you something, brothers and sisters in Christ; that may be good enough for the lost and dying, but it isn't good enough for me and you. How can a Christian -a part of the body of Christ -deliberately hold a grudge? Moreover, how can one who claims to know Jesus refuse to forgive when they have been forgiven the greatest debt of all?

I was put in this situation recently. I was accused of things I hadn't done and torn down personally through a message. I wanted to send a message back and "let 'em have it." It wasn't fair. You have been there too. I could feel the veins in my head bulging as I popped my fingers for the long typing task ahead.

"Remember who you are, Katy. You are a child of God, held to a higher standard."

Oh man! Daddy's words cut to the quick. So, contrary to my sinful soul's nagging voice, I chose to follow Daddy's advice. I messaged the person back and apologized. This lady doesn't seem to have a relationship with Jesus, so I told her that I did not want anything I had done or said, even unknowingly, to hinder showing her the love that Jesus so freely gave me. The lady messaged me back and she was completely different. She apologized for being harsh and from there I was able to use it as an opportunity to share Jesus' mercy and love. She shared that she had been burned by past experiences with Christians and a lot of her problem with me was carried over from being hurt by other Christians in her past.

I was amazed at how my apologizing could have completely saved her view of God and the Church. If I had come back using my "right" to stand up for myself, she would have never seen Jesus in me. I was humbled by how close I came to missing this opportunity.

This world is looking for a reason to be angry. People are sensitive and get hurt. If you are a believer in Jesus Christ, then you should be like your Master. He came before his tormentors silent. When you ask for forgiveness and act on it even when they don't deserve it, they have nothing to do but stumble in the love you show. And when someone is wrong to you and you forgive them even when they never asked, you are giving them another chance like Jesus gave you. "Forgive 70 times 7," Jesus said. I asked Daddy once if I could stop forgiving after doing it 490 times (70x7). Daddy said, "No, because after that many times, it will be a way of life and you will see all of the benefits it brings."

Don't buy this world's lies about not forgiving or asking for forgiveness. Christian, remember who you are. We are the ONLY hope this world has. If they are going to see true love from anyone, it has to be us!

Just say it. Say, "I am sorry" and mean it.

The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him.... Daniel 9:9