The Lavish Lifestyles of God’s Rich and Not So Famous

Do you ever think about the word lavish? It’s ok if you immediately thought to yourself, “No! Who thinks of lavish?” Well, I do, or should I say, it’s a word that has rattled around in my head since I first came across it in the Bible. It seemed an odd word to be used in the Bible.

I used to think of the word “lavish” in relation to extreme wealth. A television show that was on when I was a teenager was “The Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous” and it was known for showing the lavish homes, cars, and vacations the rich and famous could afford. Materialistic wealth is one thing, spiritual wealth is in fact entirely different and that’s what I find so peculiar about this word lavish being used in the Bible of all places.

As I am often compelled to do, I had to look the word up. So bear with me here for a minute, if this bores you, scroll down, I promise I’m going to make a point.

First, the English definition of Lavish according to Merriam-Webster 2012.

lavish – Adjective

1. expending or bestowing profusely

2a: expended or produced in abundance

b: marked by profusion or excess

Origin: Middle English laves, lavage, probably from Middle French lavasse, lavache downpour of rain, from laver to wash.

There are only six places in the NIV (New International Version) Bible where the word lavished is used. Four places in the Old Testament and two places in the New Testament. Interestingly, one English word is translated for SIX different Hebrew and Greek words, but I’m curious about only one for now.

Ephesians 1:7-8 In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.

Lavished here is translated from the Greek word perisseuo – to have abundance, more than enough, overflow

God’s grace is LAVISHED on us. It is (down)poured on us, heaped on us, it is abundant, plentiful, bounteous, liberally given to us. There is no sin too big for God to hold back his love from us. We are His. When He lavishes something on someone He loves he’s not just giving you one thing, forgiveness of sins or the riches of his grace, he lavishes ALL wisdom and understanding along with it.

His Grace is really too big for words to describe, for songs to be sung about, for hearts to reflect on. His love for us is abundant. He is not a penny-pincher when it comes to sharing. He is not frugal nor is he stingy. He is generous, He is liberal in his sharing. He pours on us, like a downpour of rain…

his love

and mercy

and freedom

and grace

and hope

and wisdom

and understanding

and love

and joy

and contentment

and forgiveness

and restoration

He pours it all down on His child. He will never run out of His love for you. He never runs low on His patience for you when you just don’t seem to get it, when you get caught in the same vicious cycle you’ve been trying to free yourself from. He can free you!

You are His child. He is the One who gives all, and gives abundantly. Even in the rough stuff, the dark places, you are being drenched with his blessings. Even when you don’t feel it or see it or have forgotten it (again), He is still pouring it on. That’s what’s getting you through the day. That’s what is putting one foot in front of the other when you don’t think you can go through one more bad thing.

His abundance is being poured on you when you’re tired, when you’re weak, when you’re thirsty, when you don’t know how the bills are going to be paid, or what the medical tests will find, or you wonder, “will my child EVER be normal?!”

Know this:

Lavishly…you are loved.

Lavishly…you are forgiven.

Lavishly….you are free from sin.

Lavishly…You are His.


Sweet and Sour Nuggets: My kids and not the take-out kind

My kids LOVE candy.  And not the good chocolate stuff that their Momma hides in various places throughout the kitchen; but the artificially colored, artificially sweetened, stick in your teeth, and jack you up like meth, kind of candy.  My daughter’s current favorite are “jebby beans” aka jelly beans.  She becomes highly motivated whenever promised the reward of said “jebby bean”.  And considering the fact that she refuses to do even the most basic of functions to keep her alive (drinking water, eating, pooping, etc – no big deal), you better believe I am using those artificially manufactured treats to my advantage. Drink your smoothie – get a “jebby bean”. Go poop – get a “jebby bean”.  Eat your lunch – get a “jebby bean”.  The way I see it, at least she’s going for the metaphorical carrot – ha!  Now my son has graduated to the harder stuff.  You know the kind – it’s the candy that is no longer even attempting to market itself as a “healthier” choice, but rather just owning the fact that it’s straight SUGAR on top of more SUGAR.  One of his all time favorites is Warheads.  If you’re not familiar with Warheads, they’re a type of hard candy that is lip puckering-eye watering-salivary glands igniting, SOUR! Buuuuuuttttttt if you can hang with the sour long enough, eventually it gives way to something sweet.

In a lot of ways I feel the daily grind of parenting can be very similar to the Warhead experience.  Aside from the name itself (which come on- that’s just a gimme) many of the moments which make up a 24 hour day could be perceived as sour. Missed naps resulting in cranky kids – sour.  Making meals that kids will inevitably complain about – sour. Mountains of laundry that never end – sour.  Refereeing yet another dispute over whose toys is whose, who’s looking where, and what’s touching whom – S.O.U.RBuuuuuuttttttt if we canjust hang with the sour long enough, eventually these moments may give way to something sweet.  Now I’m not talking about the moment when all your kids are asleep for the night; although let’s be honest, that is pretty Freaking SWEET – like chocolate and wine for Momma kind of SWEET.  But I’m talking about the little moments hidden throughout the day that are occurring all the time if we would only take the time to notice.

The other night was one of those warhead experiences. It was 7:00pm and I was exhausted.  I had been “on the clock” since 5:00am, and my three little supervisors hadn’t so much as offered me a break (the nerve!).  One of the supervisors was already down for the night and another was on her way.  It was the final push.  Brush teeth, go potty, and oh yeah….EYE DROPS.  Thanks Pink Eye.  Anywho, the only thing I hate more than putting drops in my own eyes is putting drops in my kid’s eyes.  Now miraculously, when my son (aka patient 0)  had pink eye the week prior, the drop regiment wasn’t nearly as horrible as I had anxiously envisioned it.  He was such a champ and didn’t even bat an eye (literally).  But when my daughter’s eyes fell victim to the pink…no bueno.  Imagine if you will, a tiny two year old writhing around, screaming at the top of her lungs, while squeezing her eyes shut with an impressive amount of eyelid strength, all the while frantically trying to hold your hand which is wrestling to open said hulk eyelids.  HOT MESS three times a day. THREE TIMES! So as I said…it was the last round of drops for the day.  Grace and I were fully engaged in our hand to hand combat as I attempted to land at least one drop in her actual eye, as opposed to the countless number of drops that were accumulating on her cheeks.  Porter had long since slinked out of the room.  He absolutely HATES crying (well the crying of others.  He apparently doesn’t seem to mind his own so much – go figure!) I assumed he had quickly assessed the situation and didn’t want to become collateral damage.  Smart move.  Lord knows my tentacles of frustration have been known to lash out at anything moving, speaking, or even breathing in the vicinity – guilty or not.  Well the floor combat raged on when all of a sudden Porter re-appeared…wearing EAR MUFFS!  And without saying a word to me, he knelt down right beside his sister, grabbed her hand, and told her “bro bro” was there and she could be brave.

PAUSE

That was it – birthed from the sour, pink eyed mess, a moment of sweetness to savor.

Now did this moment miraculously fix everything? Did Grace instantly regain her sanity and insist upon opening her eye wide? Um not quite.  Most of the bottle’s contents are still crusted on our carpet.  But what did happen was that her big brother, equipped with ear muffs, willingly chose to step in to the screaming sour of that moment to offer his love and encouragement.  A moment I could have very easily overlooked on account of frustration and WWF induced muscle fatigue.  How grateful I was to have witnessed that simple sweet exchange…but oh what a reality check it was for this Momma’s heart.  How many other sweet moments had I missed that day, that week, because I was consumed with frustration, ungratefulness, annoyance, tiredness, or all of the above?

I needed to start taking NOTICE

I needed to begin to embrace the sweet WITH THE sour. These moments are often  dependent on one another, and I believe are by divine design.  You see it is in those sour moments we realize we don’t have all it all together, we can’t do it on our own strength, and we need some HELP! The moments designed to bring us to our knees and at the feet of the one who promises to renew our strength, to provide rest, peace, wisdom, and FORGIVENESS (Because let’s be honest, I usually need to do some kind of repenting by 9:00am EV-ER-Y-DAYYYYYYY) And it is then, when we are on our knees looking up at HIM, no longer inward at ourselves, that we are able to witness and savor the sweet moments hidden throughout our days.

So take heart my friends…it’s not all sour.  We just gotta hold on for the sweet!


As Simple As That

“No, you can’t always get what you want.  You can’t always get what you want. You can’t always get what you want. But if you try sometime, you find you get what you need”

Well known lyrics from the Rolling Stones.  Now I’m not so sure about the rest of song, but those lines right there…yeah…they seemed to be the anthem of our family’s summer. And aside from the fact that it is a toe-tapping, catchy tune, what if what I apparently needed was definitely not what I had thought I wanted?

From the big events, to the small mundane everyday events, it seemed as though the things I had hoped for and wanted were out of reach.  Triple locked behind very large doors that had been metaphorically slammed in my pouting face

So then what?

How does a grown adult gracefully respond to disappointment?

  1. Do I gracefully accept the reality of a particular situation? Making lemonade from lemons, with a thankful heart. All the while trusting in God’s sovereignty

Or

  1. Do I throw a tantrum of epic proportion which is much less tolerable and far more ridiculous than a three year old’s tantrum? All the while reminding God how I think He should be directing my life?

Spoiler Alert: My default is option number 2.  It’s always number 2

If I’m honest with myself…and I mean REALLY HONEST.  Though my words may say that I trust God; my heart struggles to truly rely on God in the everyday-ness of life.  Without thinking I load the day’s challenges and tasks atop my shoulders and I begin to plod my path.  And only when the day has become a complete mess, do I then consider calling God in for some consultation, as though He were a lawyer on retainer only in existence to get me out of a jam.  These “consults” usually involve a lot of whining (“why is this happening to ME?!?!), and complaining (“Why are you letting this happen to ME?!?!) and trust me… it’s not pretty!

Without praying, I make plans and schemes to “fix” everything and everyone. Moving ahead of God and hoping he will just tag along with his blessing.  And only when it is very apparent that I am not “fixing” anything (usually making it worse), do I then look back from my driving seat, to the backseat where I have placed God,  to complain that He has not  directed me another way.  Ironic much???

So easily my heart can become self serving and entitled, focused solely on what I am convinced I am owed and what I think to be best.  So quickly I forget who is TRULY sovereign, and who is deserving of all glory and honor.

 “Our Father in Heaven, hallowed be YOUR name.  YOUR kingdom come, YOUR will be done on earth as it is in Heaven.” Matthew 6:9-10

So quickly I disregard God’s call to rely on him DAILY.

“ Give us THIS day our DAILY bread” Matthew 6:11

So quickly I dismiss His grace and forgiveness freely given to me

And FORGIVE US our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors” Matthew 6:12-13

Life will continue to have disappointments, relational hurts, heart breaking losses, infuriating setbacks, crappy days, cranky kids, cranky parents, and everything in between.  Without a doubt.  We live in a fallen world.  BUT GOD.  He is ever present in ALL of it; grace-filled and patiently waiting for us to come to Him with ALL things. Every day. And it’s as simple as that.

Less whining and “fixing” from me.  More relying and resting in HIM.