Deeper Than a Mother’s Love (DG)

He is still months away from being born, and already I love him with a fierce mother-love, which would defy the world to defend my boy.

His merits, thus far, are small: He rendered me quite ill for three or four months running, he already disrupts my sleep, he has destroyed my waistline, and he necessitates a move from our cozy newly-wed nest. In the future, he will no doubt exhaust, try, defy me, and wring my heart with a million hard emotions of which, childless, I was free. And yet I love him.

God made parent-love and designed it on purpose so that when he tells us he has compassion on us the way a father has compassion on his children, when he tells us he gives good gifts to us the way a father gives good gifts to his children, we can have just a glimmering notion of God’s character. Made in God’s image, in some way I love in his image — though my loving is just as inadequate and broken an image of God’s love as I am of his glory. Marveling at the love I already have for my baby boy, I am blown away to think of how God loves me. . . .

Guest blogging again at Desiring God today. Click here to read the whole post.

©2016 by Stacy Crouch

Five Minute Friday: joy (small and glad, day 23)

(You’ll notice that I’ve skipped days 21 and 22 . . . because I missed them. And I might catch up sometime, but today is day 23, so I’m writing it.)

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The RSVPs have been coming in. It’s amazing how small and glad this makes me feel.

Overwhelmed really, that so many people are willing to travel so far just to celebrate my wedding. Overwhelmed, feeling so very loved.

The gifts have been doing that to me, too: generous packages arriving from hither and yon, with sweet notes. . . . and I really just had no idea.

Every year I’m overwhelmed by my birthday on social media. I’ve made it a rule to actually type a “thank you” on each “Happy Birthday,” and it leaves me feeling so very very glad.

But this: a gift, a road-trip, a plane ticket? (And-food-and-clothes-and-flowers-and-decorations-and-plates-and-cups-and-signs-and . . .?) For my day?

I’m not trying to sound like a #basicwhitegirl, but I literally can’t even.

I used to think that getting married was all about the love between two people, and it is — I mean, that’s why it happens — but this wedding is about how a huge number of other people love the two of us.

And, well, I’m grateful.

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Today I join Kate Motaung and her Five Minute Friday writers to write on her prompt, joy. The “joy” button above will take you to her site.

©2015 by Stacy Nott

love: small and glad, day 7

This sixth-floor waiting room has wide windows, overlooking the city, which from up here has more trees than buildings, by far. In the far distance, a buzzard wheels and rides an updraft, and in the foreground, there’s a butterfly riding another updraft, up at what seems to me a dizzy distance for a butterfly, that fragile patron of herbaceous borders and flowering shrubs.

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I walked yesterday morning with my camera — because my camera makes me go more slowly and look at the light on things more than I would walking empty-handed — and going slowly I saw how the world was just drenched in glory, and I was glad.

On the other side of the world, children are growing up in war zones and a hospital was destroyed by what ought to have been friendly fire. Nearer home, people grieve school shootings, and babies are parted out for profit, and sin so blinds that the glory becomes invisible.

And I can see where the questions come from: what kind of a love is it, that paints the leaves on a billion trees, gifts the butterfly and buzzard equal buoyancy, and lets bombs burn sick people in their beds, lets babies be torn limb from limb?

What kind of a love is this?

What kind of a love lets guilty ones walk through glory-drenched October mornings? What kind of a love gives His perfect Son for the profit of ungrateful murderers? What kind of a love offers thieves the inheritance of a King?

This is the Love who wore our sins and drenched the ground with His own innocent blood and exalted Himself to redeem our ruins. This is the Love who will be the death of Death itself, who will banish mourning and crying and pain.

He crowns small ones with steadfast love and mercy and fills us with gladness in His presence.

This is the Love.

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©2015 by Stacy Nott

Five Minute Friday: family (small and glad, day 2)

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“See how great a love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God; and such we are. For this reason the world does not know us, because it did not know Him.” 1 John 3:1

Stop and see. Not just called His children, but in fact His children. Such we are, by the blood of His Son, shed for us, and not by any merits of our own.

Feel small, knowing this, but oh yes, feel glad.

©2015 Stacy Nott

Five Minute Friday: share

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One of my favorite childhood books — The Little Mouse, the Red Ripe Strawberry, and the Big Hungry Bear — comes to an impasse at the end: the big hungry bear is coming for the red ripe strawberry, and none of the little mouse’s strategies to hide, guard, or disguise the strawberry will do any good. No, the author says, “There’s only one way to save a red ripe strawberry from the big hungry bear.” The solution? “Cut it in two, share half with me, and we’ll both eat it all up! Yum!”

Share. There are gifts that are meant to be spent, things which we must give away in order to keep. Cling too tightly to gifts and they may be snatched away. The best gifts are never just for the one recipient.

In a much-quoted passage from his book The Four Loves, C. S. Lewis insists that “To love at all is to be vulnerable.” That the only way to secure against heartbreak is to love nothing. But a heart that does not love becomes no heart at all. Our hearts — like the mouse’s strawberry — are meant to be shared, and if shared, broken.

Do you doubt me? Look at Christ. This best gift of all, given because God so loved the world. It involved a breaking: the Godhead divided from Himself, forsaking and punishing His beloved Son on the cross. His body was broken for us, that we might share in His death, and, through that, share in His resurrection, life everlasting, as well.

God Himself suffered the pain of sharing, and He calls us, for love of Him to love the world as He loves it, to share the hope He offers, even at great cost. Christ did it for the joy set before Him, and He sets that same joy before us: “Enter into the joy of your master.”

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Today I join Kate Motaung and the Five Minute Friday crew to write on her prompt, “share.” To see more posts on this prompt, click the button above.

©2015 by Stacy Nott

Five Minute Friday: Welcome

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The word “welcome” makes me think of George Herbert’s poem “Love”:

Love bade me welcome; yet my soul drew back,
Guilty of dust and sin.
But quick-eyed Love, observing me grow slack
From my first entrance in,
Drew near me, sweetly questioning
If I lack’d anything.

“A guest,” I answered, “worthy to be here:”
Love said, “You shall be he.”
“I, the unkind, ungrateful? Ah, my dear,
I cannot look on Thee.”
Love took my hand and smiling did reply,
“Who made the eyes but I?”

“Truth, Lord; but I have marr’d them: let my shame
Go where it doth deserve.”
“And know you not,” says Love, “who bore the blame?”
“My dear, then I will serve.”
“You must sit down,” says Love, “and taste my meat.”
So I did sit and eat.

I’ve been reading a book about feeding on God’s word, and it points out that believers “have been personally invited to feast with Jesus” — according to this book, we can feast with Jesus in His word. The feast in Hopkins’ poem today parallels that other feast.

I get a little teary reading the poem and realizing the grace of this Love, who feeds us though we are all unworthy. But I seldom rank reading my Bible among the benefits which I do not deserve but which Love graciously gives me.

He bids me welcome to read His God-breathed words. He gives me all things necessary for life and godliness.

I pray that this welcome will touch my heart; that I will approach this word as a feast I could not deserve; that I will look into my Bible and be in awe to see my Savior.

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Today I join Kate Motaung and company for her Five Minute Friday prompt, welcome. The button above will take you to her page.

©2015 by Stacy Nott

upon grace

What do I need to write on a long day of December rain? What do I need to write on a day when I’ve simply felt pale blue? What do I need to write on day when I spend hours trying to say things and feeling discouraged at not finding the connections, the words?

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I need to write truth. I need to breathe truth, inhaling it with every breath, bearing it in my blood to the crown of my head and the chilly extremities of my toes.

What is truth? Truth is that each of these breaths, each of these heartbeats, is grace, happening without any conscious effort on my part. I don’t have to tell myself to keep being alive because these being-alive processes are built into my system and guided by One much wiser than I. I would kill myself trying to keep my heart going at an appropriate rate, unable to think of it consistently enough, unable to keep thinking of it in my sleep. But He guides each beat of each heart on this planet, and He never sleeps.

Truth is that I am every bit as inadequate as I feel. I am never enough of any of the things I should be. No, leave “enough” out of the question completely: truth is that nothing good dwells in me.

Truth is that I do not deserve love, but I am loved. Truth is that I was under a righteous judgement destined for death, but that the righteous Judge made Himself my Savior and gave His life for mine. Truth is that I was dead already in my sins, but God loved me with a great love and made me alive together with Christ. Truth is that I am the recipient of the immeasurable riches of God’s grace in kindness toward me in Christ Jesus.

Truth is that the God of the universe, the God who created time, made Himself small and submitted to the constraints of time and the pains and indignities of a mortal body that we might enter eternity with Him and be clothed in glorious immortality.

Truth is that long days of December rain after nights of too-little sleep need not cause blue moods, because they cannot alter the fact that Christ is my sufficiency. Truth is that if I am never able to write another coherent word, the important Word has already spoken: He became flesh, dwelt among us, let us see His glory.

Even on difficult days, from His fullness I receive grace upon grace.

©2014 by Stacy Nott