Monday, November 05, 2007

Making Fudge

Sometimes God has us do the strangest things. I was making fudge tonight, and recalled one of the stranger lessons I've had to learn.

When my stepdaughter came to live with us at age 15, I was in full "Mom" mode. I was ready to pour love into her and just knew we were going to stay up late talking and being close friends. Of course, that wasn't how it happened. Her perspective was quite different than mine, as you can imagine.

After many nights of crying myself to sleep, God began to teach me that this time was about unconditional love. He wanted me to love her like He loves us, without any expectation of return. My longing for her love gave me new insight into God's longing to have us return His perfect love.

But in the midst of that, He gave me a strange assignment: whenever I was struggling with love - when it was a choice rather than a feeling - I was to make fudge for her to take to school. I laugh as I recall that for her 3 years of high school I made an awful lot of fudge! But along the way the oddest thing happened ... as I stirred the butter and sugar and waited for it to boil, I prayed for her and felt that love choice become easier to make. By the next morning as I cut it into squares, I was able to truly be joyful - regardless of her reaction.

What I learned was that love is a decision, but it's a decision that is much easier to make when we put actions behind it. Even now, when I face someone at work that is tough to love, I ask God to help me know how to demonstrate love. Those individuals who I disagree with most are the ones I go the most out of my way to serve and show His love to. And somehow, in the process, my heart is softened and the love decision flows.

God didn't just love us from a distance - He demonstrated His love by sending Christ to die for us while we were still enemies. And as His child, seeking to love as He loves, I don't get to love from a distance either. He wants me to demonstrate that love even when there seems no hope of it being reciprocated.

Who are you struggling to love in your ministry context today? Ask God for creative ideas to demonstrate that love.

You never know the power of a simple act ... even one as simple as making fudge.

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