I recently made a discovery.  I’m addicted to comfort.

I can’t stand clothes that are tight.  I like to sleep without being disturbed.  I’d rather watch TV than work out.  I prefer being in an air conditioned space than the heat of summer.  I’d choose vacation over work.  And frankly, I’d rather just be having fun.

Maybe it’s because I feel responsible for so many things that I seek comfort to compensate.   Or maybe I was spoiled as the baby of the family.  Or perhaps I’m too idealistic.  Or maybe I’m simply wired this way.  Oh wait… maybe it’s because I’m human!  Certainly we all have our moments of being comfort creatures, but sometimes I think I was served an extra dose. 

My desire for comfort influences all types of decisions I make – the amount of exercise I get, the amount of housework I accomplish, the types of food I eat, even the depth of my relationships.  It’s the root cause of my procrastination.  The irony is that as much as I desire comfort, seeking it actually creates discomfort – usually at a later date.  It leads to weight gain, stress, neglected relationships, longer to-do lists, less sleep, etc.   

Perhaps it shouldn’t have taken me so long to see it… or put words to it.  But I’m owning it, for better or worse.  Now, let me get busy trying to overcome all of my recent comfort seeking as I work overtime to catch up on all that needs to be done.  Maybe then I’ll find the comfort I’m truly looking for.

Work with enthusiasm, as though you were working for the Lord rather than for people.  Ephesians 6:7

True Love

The love I have for Ashlynn overwhelms me.  It’s the purest form of love I can imagine and the closest understanding my mind can grasp regarding God’s love for us.  Words aren’t adequate to explain it, but here’s my best attempt. 

I love my living children deeply and would do anything for them.  I love them in spite of their flaws and regardless of what they might or might not do for me.  But as every parent knows (why does there always have to be a “but” clause?), there are times when cross words are exchanged.  Kids mess up.  Parents mess up.  Each says and does things that are less than perfect.  Of course, those things don’t change my love for my kids.  I’ll always love them.  Yet, with Ashlynn there was a purity that doesn’t exist with my other children.  Not once did I have an irritable thought or frustration with Ashlynn. Not one negative thought!  And, when I looked at her, I didn’t see her imperfections.  I saw her beauty.  My love for her was pure, untainted.  Again, I love my other children dearly and equally, but our humanity gets the best of us and we’ve therefore had our moments of frustration and disappointments. 

Ashlynn holds a special place in my heart because of this purity I experienced with her.  Surely this is how God intended love to be. So pure and encompassing that it can’t be contained.  It can’t even be fully explained.  What a huge blessing that I was able to experience it and capture those moments in time with her, albeit brief. 

After much thought and reflection, I’ve come to think that Ashlynn’s life reveals a glimpse of how God sees us.  He looks at us through the lens of Christ.  Our sins covered with His perfect sacrifice. He knows we’re imperfect, yet loves us infinitely.  He doesn’t view us with our list of sins and shortcomings pinned to our shirts.  Those are nailed to the cross.  I didn’t look at Ashlynn as a list of defects.  I saw her as a beautiful creation – warm brown hair, perfectly painted pink lips, satin skin – I saw her as my child, deeply loved and cherished.  God sees us the same.  Unfortunately, I forget that at times.  As tears trickle down my cheeks, I’m again grateful that God gave me a living, breathing picture of His love for me.  I struggle to comprehend it… but then I remember Ashlynn and it becomes real.  Sweet salve for my soul, and oh what a blessing!

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! 1 John 3:1

Life is fragile: Cherish it

Recently, I’ve had more thoughts of my daughter.  I’m not sure if it’s because of Mother’s Day, a fantastic family vacation, or several tragic deaths that have occurred in recent weeks.  Whatever the case, she’s been on my mind lately.

Ashlynn was an amazing little girl.  She had a condition that was “incompatible with life”, yet she exuded life.  Perhaps that’s the irony – she couldn’t be contained by life.  I struggle to wrap my mind around it and I struggle to express what she means to me.   She taught me a lifetime of lessons and I am forever grateful that God chose me to be her mother.

Ashlynn reminds me that life is fragile.  We should cherish life; yet, how often do we wander aimlessly without giving life another thought?  How often do we take for granted the people in our lives?  We get busy and become a little irritable.  Or, we’re impatient when our children act like children.  We shun the unpopular guy because he just doesn’t fit in.  Or, we’re careless with our words and judgments. 

God values life.  Every life!  He’s the creator of life, author of life, giver of life… He breathes life into every being.  I was holding Ashlynn when she took her last breath and passed from this life on to heaven.  I’ve experience the transformation that happens when the final breath is gone, when the spirit departs and the body becomes a lifeless object.  It’s forever etched into my mind and serves as a reminder that this life is temporary.

Only God knows the length of our days.  Let’s not take one more day for granted.  I challenge you to stop and think about the people around you. Tell somebody (or everybody) you love them.  Better yet, show them!  Make the most of every moment as you cherish those God has placed in your life.

Be devoted to one another in love. Romans 12:10