The exciting adventures of the Hillson family.

The exciting adventures of the Hillson family.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Loving God on a Tuesday ((Psalm 52))

 ----A dad and his sons were wrestling, and as they finished the sons were trying to convince their dad that he was loved more by them, rather than him loving them more. 

It went on to say God, our Father, is the same way. He loves us more than we could ever imagine. We always praise and say, "I love you." God is constantly whispering, "I love you more."----

This really touched me today. I think about my love for my kids and our relationship, and God loves ME more than I love my kids. It made me smile just thinking about the unfailing love that he has for us. I have issues with feeling unloved a lot, so this was an amazing reminder of His never ending love!!!

~ ~ ~

I love that story.  It's so hard to imagine how much God loves us... and to then accept that He loves us that much.  It's also hard for me to feel worthy of such love, but God is constantly reminding me that when I say I'm unworthy or worthless, I'm telling Him that He's wrong and His creation is unworthy.  We've been created to be His glory, and he's made us beautiful--for the purpose of glorifying Him.  He has really been showing me in the last year that He has created me for His delight, and He wants me to be filled with joy.  He made His sacrifice because of this deep >>UNFAILING<< love He has for us.  Where our love is imperfect, and we have trouble showing it all the time, His love is SO perfect, and He loves us when we feel unlovable.  He even loves us when we're doing wrong.  And He is so patient... waiting for us to come to our senses and back into our relationship with Him.

It has been so awesome--yesterday and today--feeling like I'm back with my God.  I've been totally ignoring Him (well, mostly ignoring Him) for awhile, and I forget how unbelievable it feels to be walking with Him and trusting Him for the little things in our lives.  Ah...  blessed contentment.  He is so amazing!

~ ~ ~ 

Psalm  52

 1 Why do you boast of evil, you mighty hero?
   Why do you boast all day long,
   you who are a disgrace in the eyes of God?
  • David is talking to a specific person here.  I researched it, and it's when David is running from Saul (the king who wants to kill him).  David wrote this psalm towards someone who told Saul David's whereabouts... someone who was betraying David, basically. 
  • I'm thinking about the term "boasting evil," and wondering how I can be like the bad guy here.  I think, for me, it's really easy to boast--outwardly, and/or to have a sense of pride in myself--about things in my life that aren't necessarily Godly.  The world puts a lot of value on things that aren't important in the grand scheme of things.  While I can see that my situation is different than the one David is talking about, I can still see myself as someone who "boasts of evil" because there are times when I put a lot of value on possessions and relationships instead of focusing on God and what's important to Him.
2 You who practice deceit,
   your tongue plots destruction;
   it is like a sharpened razor.
  • The image of a tongue being like a sharpened razor is really interesting.  I'm imagining how a razor cuts--then how skin would heal afterwards.  Our words affect people in such a way that after we say something cutting, the person never really is the same again.  The wound has to heal, but even then there's a scar.  And, scars do fade over time, but they never really disappear.  There are other places in the Bible that also talk about our words and how important it is to use them carefully.  This is a great visual example of how words can be used violently---that we need to treat our tongue like a weapon--something that can cause "destruction."
3 You love evil rather than good,
   falsehood rather than speaking the truth.[c]
4 You love every harmful word,
   you deceitful tongue!

  • I think this description of the "bad guy" is interesting because there are two ways I'm looking at it.  1) I see the myself in the bad guy.  I see the ways in which I enjoy speaking falsehood (gossiping, in particular) and get pleasure out of hurting others (sometimes it makes me feel good to talk about how other people fail because then I feel better about myself...  in some ways, I am just as bad as the betrayer because I've betrayed God's commandment to love others, and I end up loving myself and caring more about my feelings than anyone else's feelings).  2)  I can also see this as a warning against the attackers of the world.  The devil and his workers have deceitful tongues; they want us to believe lies (like me believing I'm too guilty... that I should be ashamed of myself).  They love seeing us hurt one another, and they love to encourage falsehoods (lies), whether it's the lies we tell ourselves or the lies we tell others.
5 Surely God will bring you down to everlasting ruin:
   He will snatch you up and pluck you from your tent;
   he will uproot you from the land of the living.
6 The righteous will see and fear;
   they will laugh at you, saying,
7 “Here now is the man
   who did not make God his stronghold
but trusted in his great wealth
   and grew strong by destroying others!”
  • I see this part as a warning and a reminder that the evil will parish...  it's a reminder to cling to God, to find our strength in Him rather than in our wealth (earthly possessions).
 8 But I am like an olive tree
   flourishing in the house of God;
I trust in God’s unfailing love
   for ever and ever.
9 For what you have done I will always praise you
   in the presence of your faithful people.
And I will hope in your name,
   for your name is good.
  • I love this ending part.  I don't really know why he says "olive tree," but I know that God has created us to bear fruit (fruit of the spirit), and the word flourishing (growing more and more.. producing more... blooming... LIVING!) makes me so happy.  I want to be the type of person that flourishes in the way God wants me to (I looked up "flourish" and put the definition below).  I feel like the only way we can thrive like this is to feed on God's word... to get the nutrients from Him that we need.  Otherwise, we will die and shrivel up... gross.  :) 
  • (((Flourish:  to grow luxuriantly, or to thrive.  To be in a state of activity or production.))) 
  • It's interesting.  The verses I read yesterday also talked about God's "UNFAILING" love.  It's such an awesome reminder that while I'm only human and I screw up all the time... God does not.  His love is unfailing.  I pray that I will be the type of person who "always praises Him" and that I can always "hope in His name." 

~ Kasey & Megan

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Leaving a Legacy

Chester watching Jorma & I get Married.
Tuesday night, we got the news that Jorma and Johnni's grandfather, Chester, had passed away from a massive heart attack.  Unexpected.

While family relationships have been sometimes strained, and I didn't have a close relationship with Chester, a death in the family always causes repercussions; the news, the emotions, and difficult interactions ripple out to the outer reaches of the family, spilling over into their personal and professional lives.  We don't even realize how far the effects of our family's tragedies can reach.  I'm not talking about the--pardon my lacking vocabulary--"simple" effect a death has on the individuals of a family.  Obviously there will be sadness.  Obviously there will be regrets and wishes for second chances.  But the greater repercussions we don't realize are the ways in which we affect the world around us and the way our legacy will continue to evoke change in ways we never could have imagined.

When my dad's father died in 2003, I was a freshman in high school, and Dad was my basketball coach.  Grandpa Leonard was an avid athlete and educator.  He lettered in basketball, football and track when he played for Oregon State University in 1945, and he was a constant supporter of my academic, cultural, social, and athletic pursuits.  The last time I saw him, he was cheering me on at a basketball tournament.  He died mid-season, the season my team went on to win the state title. 

During that season, my entire team felt the effect of my grandfather's death.  Both through my dad's coaching and my game, my grandfather's legacy was carried out.  I remember a specific game when we were playing our rivals, and we were up by a comfortable margin at half-time; we tromped to the locker room for a pep-talk, talking loosely, laughing, feeling confident in our ability to win.  Once we'd sat down, I could feel the quiet fury of my father building as he stepped up to address the team.  He started telling us a story about a time in high school when he was throwing the discus in a competition.  He had already beat all of his opponents by far--in two of his three throws--and he was content to not take his final attempt because he'd already won.  When my grandfather realized the choice my dad was about to make, he pushed him to the ground and reminded him forcefully that it didn't matter if he'd already won--he needed to do the best he could.  He instilled the idea in my father that it's not our opponents that matter, but that we also need to compete against ourselves to be the best we can be.  My dad got up, took his final throw, and PR'd (threw a new personal record).  At that moment, in the locker room at Dufur High School, the warmth of contentment slowly seeped away from our team, and a new fire was ignited.  From then on, our season and our team was focused on being the best team we could be. 

My grandfather's legacy went so much further than he could have imagined.  When he was playing, teaching, and parenting, how could he have ever known that the lessons he taught his son would trickle down to a 1A girls basketball team in eastern Oregon?  The 12 South Wasco County players who were in the locker room that day have a memory of Leonard, and their drive to win, their journey to a state title and to other successes in life, has been partially shaped by an ideal Leonard taught his son decades ago at a high school track meet.  Now those 12 women are out in the world parenting, working, competing, and living a life that was touched--even if for a moment--by my grandfather.  We just never know how our legacy will affect the world. 

As I'm writing this post, a song I know very well is going through my head.  I didn't plan on writing about the lyrics of this song, but as I'm singing it to myself, I feel like it's a great addition.  In the song "Legacy," Nichole Nordeman sings:

I won't lie, it feels alright to see your name in lights
We all need an "atta boy" or "atta girl"
But in the end I'd like to hang my hat on more besides
The temporary trappings of this world 

The song reminds me of the distraction of being recognized for my accomplishments and my own contentment and satisfaction with the approval of the people around me.  It can be so satisfying to know or hear that others think you're great, or that you're good at something, or even that they envy you, your possessions or your accomplishments.  But those aren't really the types of things that actually matter when it's all said and done; those aren't the things we can "hang our hats on."  The chorus of the song continues:

I want to leave a legacy
How will they remember me?
Did I choose to love?
Did I point to You enough
To make a mark on things
I want to leave an offering
A child of mercy and grace
Who blessed Your name unapologetically
And leave that kind of legacy

The "You" in this song refers to God, and by my personal faith, I believe that relying on God is what gets me away from dwelling on the material, superficial, unimportant things in my life and helps me focus on serving other people .  Whether or not you believe in God, I think there is an important lesson for everyone in what I'm talking about and even in the lyrics of the song.  If we can ask ourselves the question, "How will they remember me," ("they" being the people in our lives), we can reflect on how we are devoting our lives to the important things.  Are we focusing on money, or are we focused on serving others?  Are we focused on accumulating treasures, or are we focused on nurturing relationships?  In asking myself these questions, I hope I can say that people will remember me for the service I've given God and the service I've given others.  I hope to be remembered as someone who loved everyone and took time to care, foster relationships, and help provide for the needs of others.  How will you be remembered?

(This is a link to another posting I wrote in reflection of my Grandpa Leonard's life:  "Leonard's Overalls").