I Remember You…

Hello, beautiful people! I ran across a jewel yesterday that I wanted to share. I’m not sure how it never stuck out to me before. In Philippians 1:3, Paul wrote to the Christians at Philippi and told them “I thank my God every time I remember you.” As I read it my heart melted! How sweet is that? Certainly, he had a fondness and love for the Philippians to feel such joy and gratitude at their memory.

This led me to think about people who have made lasting impacts on my life that cause me to praise God for the mere thought of them. Then, I wondered if anyone felt the same of me. I charge myself to be more deliberate in my interactions with everyone that I interact with…I want to sow seeds of praise and gratitude simply through being who God has called me to be and living laced with love, service, and compassion for everyone.

What will you do to be sure that thoughts of you will be joyous for the people in your life?

Keep Smiling,

SBF 🙂

Love

Today I rose with love on my mind. Not bad for a first thought. I found myself thinking about the nature of love. I almost resent the popularity of the word. Even those with the best intentions often use the word love without understanding that it is not at all a noun to be felt as in an emotion or a gift to be received…it is an action to be carried out with every breath, every thought, and every decision of your life.

Love doesn’t focus on how others can treat you better. Love doesn’t keep a record of how many times you’ve forgiven someone for hurting you. Love doesn’t make promises to change on this condition or that one. Love just does loving things because it can, it should, and because it. is. LOVE.

If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging symbol. If I have the gift of prophecy, and I know all mysteries and all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.

-1 Corinthians 13:1-3

Note: If you still just don’t get it, but you do believe that God IS Love…replace each occurrence of the word love, with God in the passage above. Maybe then, you’ll understand His call for us to show love.

My Work…My Ministry

I teach. Summer vacation just ended. I’m back at work now teaching Anatomy & Physiology and Environmental Science to 175 diverse, opinionated, intelligent (each in a unique way) teenagers. I need a little coffee and a lot of Jesus every day to help me effectively teach these young minds.

I pray for my students, colleagues, administrators, my classroom, and myself regularly. Still, when my students have a bad day or get frustrated by something…I just want to pray WITH them, remind them about the love of Jesus, and share some scripture with them. However, I can’t.

The law says that Jesus can’t come up in my classroom. He isn’t welcome in the school building. No matter how many hearts He might touch or lives He might save, He must be a non-factor within the public school system.

Ha! Whomever wrote such a silly law never knew the power of my God! I don’t mention Jesus, but my students do. I don’t quote scripture, but when I ask them for their favorite quote or life motto…they quote scripture! I don’t pray aloud, but during that moment of silence after the pledge of allegiance…Jesus moves! I’m so grateful for these things, but there is something else about the challenge of “keeping Christ out of schools” that I have to shout about.

If I can’t speak about Jesus…I am left with no other option but to teach my students about Him through my actions! Through love, understanding, care, concern, service, encouragement, high standards, dedication, sacrifice, and patience…I model the love of Jesus for them. God wants us to keep Him at the center of all things and remember that nothing can separate us from His love. When faced with obstacles, we have to find a way to magnify Him as we work through them.

Anything that brings us closer to God is a good thing. In this case, I am grateful for the opportunity to use my work as my ministry in deeds and not just with words. Please pray with me that students and educators everywhere have a peaceful, loving, productive school year.

Keep Smiling,

SBF 🙂

P.S. Here is a snippet of one section of my bulletin board for this year. Inspired by a board that I saw on Pinterest, I’m hopeful that it will encourage positive choices and character-building among my students this year.

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If Love Could Have Saved You…

Four years ago, my life changed. My surprise of a pregnancy taught me the truest form of hope…and my miscarriage taught me what it felt like to feel hopeless.

There were good days and bad days. I told myself that God knew best and that we would try again when we had gotten used to being married. I said the timing wasn’t ideal. We had a few other places to go and things to see. And when our relationship ended, I even tried to convince myself that I had “dodged a bullet.”

Truth is…I loved my baby. With everything in me. From the moment I knew someone was growing inside of me. I’ve never felt more special, loving, sensitive, protective, hopeful, favored, useful, purposeful, or beautiful than I did while I carried my child.

I miscarried in the first trimester. It wasn’t an easy loss physically, which distracted me from the emotional consequences. I was afraid of staying overnight in the hospital and things happened so fast that I barely remember all of the scans and needle pricks now.

I just remember hearing them say, “There is nothing that we can do to reverse this, but we will make sure that you are as comfortable as possible.” Tuh.

Friends and family tried to comfort me and most of them said all of the WRONG things with the best of intentions. There were the comparisons to people who’d carried pregnancies for longer and the people who seem to believe that one should view a miscarriage as a celebration of the ability to conceive. There were the people who didn’t know what to say so they said nothing at all, which I actually understood. Perhaps, the most hurtful were the people who believed that you had to birth a child to be a mother…they made sure to remind me that I was not a mom and that I would get a shot at it someday.

Miscarriage is such a taboo topic. Many people don’t know how to deal with it although so many women and couples experience it. Each person’s experience with it is different and the process is never ending.

Today, I haven’t shed a tear. I feel stronger than I ever have regarding the loss of my baby. I also feel more love for him or her than I ever have. I used to try to block out the experience, but bottling it up only made me angry. It hurt more. Peace came in the form of acknowledgment and remembrance.

More than anything else, I’m so thankful that God granted me the opportunity to be a vessel of life if only for a little while. I’m thankful for the flood of emotions that I felt. I’m thankful to feel in my heart, the sweet presence of the angel that I once carried in my womb.

If love could have saved my baby, it would have lived forever.

The Fullness of God

And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge,

that ye might be filled with all the fullness of God.

-Ephesians 3:19 (KJV)

 

Created in His image, things of this world are beneath us. He gave us dominion over them and we will never find fullness in them. They will provide us temporary happiness, but they will disappoint us, hurt us, anger us, and leave us. Our fullness…our joy, faith, hope, and love…it is sustainable, but can only be found in Him.

Just my two cents. Have a blessed day, lovelies.

 

Keep smiling,

SBF 🙂

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Touching Strangers

I came across this video on Facebook and absolutely had to share it with you all. Richard Renaldi, the photographer featured, has created a project called Touching Strangers. Through his project, he selects and photographs two or more complete strangers in a seemingly intimate way. The participants begin their brief photo sessions feeling as awkward as expected, but as seen in the video, they walk away feeling connected to someone that they’ve only known for minutes.

Watch the short video here.

What does this mean for humanity? It certainly served as a reminder to me that there is a little bit of us and a little bit of God in everyone we meet.

Nothing Before Us…

“And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.” – Genesis 1:26 KJV

When will we learn? The bible is so full of reminders. Over and over, it speaks of God’s incredible (dare I say, INSANE) love for us. He didn’t need us. He had the company of His Son and of the Holy Spirit (Genesis 1:26). Yet He created us in His own image and supplied our every need. We decided that having our needs met wasn’t enough. We wanted more and as a result, we introduced sin into the world. So, what did God do? He sent His Son to die for our sin while we were still sinners. We had not committed to change. Nevertheless, He showered us with the blood of Jesus and sustained us with grace and mercy. As if that weren’t enough, He wiped our slates clean, granted us favor as if we had obeyed Him all of our lives, and *drumroll please* gave us the gift of salvation. Redemption. Through acceptance of and belief in Jesus Christ.

What did we do to deserve such things? Certainly, He wouldn’t bless us in these ways if we had not earned them, right? Tuh. As if. The magnitude and depth of His love amazes me for this very reason. The bottom line is, God created us in His image and He loves us as such. Sure, we were not the first products of His creation, but when He created us…He gave us dominion. God didn’t put anything before us. Do you understand what that means?

He entrusts us with having a fruitful impact on His kingdom and His children. He gives us each gifts that we are to use to glorify Him and bring others closer to Him. He orders our steps so that we cross paths with others who will help us to complete our tasks. Though we have disobeyed Him and disgraced ourselves time and time again, He has not given up on us and has promised that He never will.

I will never truly understand why as long as I am on this side of heaven. I am okay not understanding. It doesn’t have to make sense. I’m just grateful that it is so. I’m grateful for a God that gives His all. I pray that He will continue to work within me so that I always have a heart that wants to give Him more and more of me each day.

We are sons and daughters of a King. If you were to be judged today, would your thoughts, words, and behavior reflect your place as royalty within His kingdom. Who do you serve? Who do you represent? What do you place before Him? Are you willing to rearrange your life to elevate God to the top of your list of priorities?

All of Him loves all of you (and me)…

Let me go ahead and warn you…this post is all about the love of God, but that video down there is quite secular. It’s an autobiographical love song. Quite possibly one of the most beautiful love songs of our time. An instant classic, for sure. When I first heard this song, I was immediately drawn in by it. What woman doesn’t want to experience the type of love described in this song? It is devout. It is unashamed. It is imperfectly perfect. It is unconditional.

My initial reaction to the song was a jaw drop. I was in awe of how sweet it was. Then, I experienced a longing…then I became hopeful. Finally, I began to feel grateful. I experience the type of love that John Legend sings about every.single.day. The bible tells us in John 3:16 that “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” It is clear to us through this verse that God has a tremendous heart for us. It reminds of us His demonstration of that love through actions as opposed to just words. That alone, is worth having a glad and thankful heart, but God’s love runs so much deeper than that.

Most of us can name someone that we love. I don’t mean someone that we are just fond of…I mean someone that we really, really love. We can probably list many reasons for loving them. Perhaps they are physically attractive, intelligent, funny, and a good listener. Maybe we love the way they find interest in the things that we like to do, we might like the way that they dress, or it could be that we enjoy sampling their amazing culinary skills. It might be that they are ambitious or generous or compassionate or helpful. I’m sure that someone came into your mind as you read through those last few sentences. Now, ask yourself…would you still love the person in your mind if they stopped being every single one of these things?

There are levels to love. Phileo is brotherly love…like the type shared between friends. Eros is sexual love. Agape is unconditional love. It is how God loves. It is the only way that love can last a lifetime. It is illogical and completely selfless. The other types of love are easily influenced and fluctuate based on feelings, which are fickle in nature. Agape love says that MY LOVE FOR YOU IS NOT DETERMINED BY YOU, BUT IT IS RATHER A CHOICE THAT I HAVE MADE.

God does not love us because we are so good. He doesn’t love us because we are worthy. He doesn’t love us because we are obedient. He definitely doesn’t love us because He has to do so. God loves us not because we are lovable, but because He is loving. He has made a choice on His own to cover us with His love no matter what we think…or say…or do. Now think…who do you love in this way?

God has called for us to love each other as He loves us. If we find that we “fall out” of love, what we have truly realized is that we were never loving unconditionally in the first place. When it comes to our relationships with the people that we care about, we have to remember that true agape love cannot be swayed by time, distance, or circumstance. When we allow this to resonate, we will find that we are able to love more completely and more like God, who has provided the model for us.

Receive the love of God. Reciprocate the love of God. Share the love of God. Make up your mind to love people no matter what. Call or text someone and tell them, “I love you…and there is nothing that you can do about it.”

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” -Romans 8:38-39

Be blessed, beautiful. 🙂