Confession is good for the soul

I was sitting in class a couple of weeks ago, and my professor asked us to imagine ourselves 1600 years from now (that would be about the year 3612 AD, by the way—GASP!). As we are looking for a new “book” (it’s doubtful it would be an actual hold-in-your-hands-made-out-of paper book in 3612AD) in the biographies section of whatever happens to be the cultural equivalent of Amazon.com in 3612AD, and if we were to narrow our search for “biographies” more by typing in the first letter of our last name—for me, “M” –  “within the M’s in biographies,” she asked me, “how many of those ‘books’ would be biographies about you?”  The whole class laughed, and she was the ever-encouraging professor, by saying, “I have no doubt that some of you may have biographies written about you for your work in the theological world, but 1600 years from now, will your biographies still show up in the top 5 biographies under the first letter of your last name?”  Most certainly not! was the response from the entirety of the students. Our professor then pointed out that in the year 2012, 16 centuries after Confessions was written, Augustine’s confession of his failures, heartbreak, outright sinfulness, struggles, frustrations, questioning, conversion, submission to God, and his process of falling ever more deeply in love with his Creator and Savior are still filling the first 5 “best seller” slots in biographies under “A” in Amazon.

There is something incredibly powerful and hope-giving when we are honest with others about our failures and our fears, as well as our struggles and our successes. God built confession into the salvation process, by making confession with our mouths and believing in our hearts that Jesus Christ is Lord our responsibility. He also desires us to confess to others what the Lord has done in our lives. When we share our confessions with our brothers and sisters in Christ, we are working with God in a supernatural way—planting the seeds of salvation, change and growth that the Holy Spirit cultivates and nourishes.

 

Mother’s Day musings

I called my Mom to wish her a happy Mother’s Day. My brother and sister-in-law were there with my sweet nieces, Mara and Decklyn. The phone was passed all around so I got to talk to everyone for a few minutes. I love every one of my family members – my Poppa, Mom, Marion, Shelly, and the girls, but there is just something about those little girls that makes my heart well up with some other kind of love. It’s a love that takes joy in the little tinkling sound of Decklyn’s sweet little child voice, in the maturity and humor in Mara’s too-old-for-her-britches little girl voice. When I hear them say, “Hi Aunt Daylene!” and “I love you, Aunt Daylene,” I just go all squishy inside and want to hug them right through the phone.

I love the development of Skype -it really has changed how my family talks to each other. We all live in different cities – my parents in Topeka, Marion, Shelly and the girls in Columbia, Mo., and of course Andrew and me in Boston. I have lived away from home for about 22 years now and in all those years, I don’t recall Poppa calling me once. However, now that he can Skype me, I hear from him at least a couple of times each month. It’s fantastic! Also, when I talk to the girls, I get to see their faces, and they love to show me their new dance moves and gymnastic ability in the form of cartwheels and such. It has helped me a lot since they are growing up out of my sight so much of the time.

If I were to ever return to the mid-west, it would be in order to be around my nieces. I love them simply, and fully – it’s a weird sensation. I’m not a fan of kids, generally, but these kids are something altogether different. I adore them. My heart feels full and satisfied after I’ve talked to them or spent time with them. It must be just a glimmer of the love that moms have for their children. I see how Shelly loves her girls and I think, that is so far beyond what I have experienced, and yet, I feel like my love for my nieces sometimes could overtake my whole being. I feel ferociously protective of them, and unwaveringly dedicated to seeing them become all they want to be.

A mother’s love – I get what people mean when they say there is nothing like it. If an aunt’s love is only a taste of it, a mother’s love is all-consuming and incredibly powerful. I love the image the Bible gives us of a mother’s love. When a mother is a good mother, she cares for her child adoringly, and yet disciplines him so that he grows to respect her and honors her. God uses the image of a mother’s love to demonstrate how great His concern and love for His people is in Isaiah:

Isa 49:13-16 Shout for joy, O heavens; rejoice, O earth; burst into song, O mountains! For the LORD comforts his people and will have compassion on his afflicted ones. But Zion said, “The LORD has forsaken me, the Lord has forgotten me.” “Can a mother forget the baby at her breast and have no compassion on the child she has borne? Though she may forget, I will not forget you! See, I have engraved you on the palms of my hands; your walls are ever before me.

God loves us so much that even if a mother, the ultimate picture of a nurturing parent, could forget the infant she is nursing, God could never forget us. He is so committed to us that He has engraved us on His palms – a permanent reminder of the children he created and adores. If my love for Mara and Decklyn is just a taste of the love Shelly has for them, then Shelly’s love for her daughters is only a taste of the love God has for them.

Happy Mother’s Day to you. I hope it can serve as a reminder of God’s perfect love for you.