Thursday, December 27, 2012

A Crippling Love

Sitting at the beach, there's a wheel chair. Empty. Its occupant lies on the beach, sunning. I drape my towel over my chair and settle in with my book.
One eye on my boogie boarding child, I wonder at the woman’s story. Was it an accident? MS? Was she born that way? And she's here, engaged in life with her family. I admire her. I think that takes courage.
She must want to play in the waves. Wrapping an arm under one leg she bends it, positioning it to stand. She repeats the process with the other. Stretching her arms to her husband, he heaves her up. I turn my head, so as not to stare.

I am in awe, though. Inspired.
Next thing I know, she's standing in the surf. The shifting sand and breaking waves throw her off balance. She clings to her husband, but balance eludes. She lands face first in the sand.
My breath catches. I'm anxious for her! Not her, though. She's laughing, drawing a sharp breath and releasing squeals of delight as the cold water laps against her.

Her husband helps her up again. They embrace, two one as he attempts to steady her. The sand is too unstable, though. She resolves to enter the surf on hands and knees. Husband stands in deeper water. Beyond the breaking waves. Safe. He calls her. Coaches her. Encourages her. Stretches her, I think.
I'm nervous for her. How do you swim without the use of your legs? Will he let her drown? Let her have a close call or look foolish trying? My pride imposed on her moment. But she proceeds, face first into the surf. One wave at a time. One carries her, the next places her further up on the sand. I look away.

Next glance, she made it into deeper water. She's doing it! On her own. Husband near, but not doing it for her. Family around, but not doting. Just letting her be normal, a mom playing in the water like everyone else.
What beautiful love. Much like our Heavenly Father has for us. His Spirit there, coaching and encouraging. Pushing us to go beyond our comfort zone. Stretching us, but always within reach to rescue when necessary. He is our anchor in shifting sands. He holds us steady when the waves threaten to wash us away. He stands in the deeper waters calling us to a deeper place with him. Waiting for us to trust enough to come.

Will we go, face first if we have to? Waves in our face, salt water up our nose, but eyes on Him because He has what we want? Freedom. Healing. Peace. Joy. Satisfaction. Will we trust Him and go to Him, crippled on our hands and knees if we must? Are we willing to look foolish to have Him?
As the Lord loves me this way, I pray I will love like this husband. Thick and thin. Sickness and health. Allowing others to stumble to the Lord and find themselves in Him. Sometimes the one to be the anchor. Other times the one holding on for dear life. Giving and receiving, like the Lord desires of us.

This couple has no idea how the Lord used them to encourage me that first sunny morning, six days into our trip. It brought a quick end to the private pity party I was having with the Lord over persistent rain and an ill-timed hormonal uprising that dampened expectations of a perfect tropical vacation. Watching this woman take on the ocean, husband by her side, kids all around her, put things in perspective.

Thank you, Lord, for perspective, as we become more wholly Yours today.

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

His Priceless Gift

I never thought I'd see the day when I'd be up before my children Christmas morning. Waiting. Mid-morning turns to late, and we wait, the youngest ready to wake the others in a moment's notice, including dad. He still slumbers.
Coffee cake cooling, parade on TV, Jesus' stocking hangs solo on the mantle. It holds our gifts to Him. Each year, following Christmas Eve service, we share communion as a family, remembering what Jesus did for us. The priceless gift of His life in exchange for ours. Then we take down His stocking. Inside are the gifts we've given Him in previous years. A little reality check. How did we do? Blank card ready, we write down our gift for this year.
I had to give Him the same thing this year as I did in 2011. It's the one thing I believe will lead to everything else He desires. It's my love and adoration. If I truly love Him, first and foremost at all times and in all things, everything else will follow. Obedience. Prioritizing my time. Serving and sacrificing for others. Sharing the gospel, no matter the cost.
The quiet is ending. Our agreed-upon deadline of 10:30 a.m. has arrived. The ones awake make the rounds to beds holding slumbering sisters and dad. 
Gifts await.  
So does Jesus. Nothing compares to the priceless gift He offers.
Will you receive all He has for you? Will you offer your best gift to Him today?
I pray this day holds the wonder of Christ's love!
Merry CHRISTmas!
Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Wednesday, December 19, 2012


Aloha! All good intentions for writing a blog for today went out with the surf! Enjoying a much-needed vacation within my family, truly taking time off from everything.

Mele Kalikimaka!

Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Is Christmas Christian?

It’s not available in stores, even though display windows proclaim it. No one can give it to you, even though Christmas greeting cards proclaim it. You can hang it as an ornament on your Christmas tree, but it won’t do anything for you there. Ironically, it can be most elusive this time of year.


Some seven hundred years before the birth of Christ, the prophet Isaiah described the Savior we now celebrate at Christmas: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

A quiet whisper nags my heart as I frantically tackle Christmas preparations: “What are we doing?!?!”

I’m pushing through, hauling a burden rather than resting in His blessing. It’s a spiritual thing, not a physical one. That’s why it’s unbearable. That’s what makes me question: If all this Christmas craziness is a heavy burden, if it is hard not easy, if it creates madness rather than rest, is it of Christ? After all, He says, “My yoke is easy and my burden is light” (Matthew 11:30).

I wonder if we’ve got it all wrong. If anyone deserves all we have to give, it’s the Lord. Yet, the way it is now, He often gets the least.

HE is Prince of Peace, yet we celebrate with chaos. HE is Mighty God, yet the mighty dollar rules and reigns as we buy decorations, teacher gifts, family gifts, groceries and supplies for parties and meals, costumes for pageants, tickets for Christmas performances, gas for road trips, and so on. HE is Wonderful, yet the hustle and bustle, the buying and receiving, the going and doing covertly diverts our attention from marveling Him. HE is Counselor, yet distractions keep us from receiving His counsel. HE is Everlasting Father, yet we long to please those around us, sometimes forgetting He is to be pleased over all.

If we’re honest with ourselves, none of these traditions of men are about Jesus, yet we strive to make Christmas about Christ. We agonize over the tragedy of droves of retailers who welcome the financial windfall of Christmas but forbid use of the word. Why do you think it’s so hard? Perhaps it’s because it was never about Christ in the first place.

Research the true origin of Christmas, and you’ll quickly discover its roots as a celebration of the sun, not the Son. I encourage you to do your own research, if you dare. Proceed with caution, however. What you find might challenge your traditions and participation. Here’s just a scratch of the surface.

The date coincides with a pagan sun festival that precedes Christ’s birth, which according to scriptural evidence could not possibly have been in December and was never celebrated by the early church. Emperor Constantine first established it as an official Roman Catholic holiday in 336 AD because parishioners who converted to Christianity continued to participate in the long-standing pagan feast, giving gifts to children and the poor, decorating with lights and greenery, drinking, eating, and being merry. In order to make it Christian, the emperor established December 25 as the birth date of Christ, and so it continues.

Christmas is clearly a tradition of man, against which Colossians 2:8 warns: “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ.”

Traditions that follow the principles of the world cheat us. They lie to us and leave us spent, like Christmas can. But not Christ. He is all Isaiah said He would be: Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty, God, Everlasting, Father, Peace. All power, dominion, and control are His. When we follow His principles, we have what He is.

So where does that leave us? Could it be so ingrained in our American culture because it is the devil’s attempt to deceive and cheat us according to the principles of the world rather than living according to Christ? If it is, sadly, it’s effective.

I don’t have the answers. My prayer is that each of us would be so surrendered to the Father that we are willing to give up anything that is not of Him. Even Christmas, if that’s what He asks.

In the meantime, if Christmas is about Jesus, then let’s make it about Jesus. Instead of exhausting ourselves hanging lights, decorating trees, throwing and going to parties, shopping, wrapping, and reveling in holiday cheer, let’s be a light, pursue the lost and hurting, give to the poor, and above all, give all we have to Him. Not just for a day or a season, but every day.

I can hear my girls now: “Great, now mom’s going to take away Christmas! We’ve lost Target, Costco, Starbucks, and now Christmas. When will it end?”

That’s a great question, isn’t it? When will it end? When will we truly separate ourselves from the world in such a way that Jesus stands out? Are we really ready to become wholly His? To cross over the line of belonging only to Him, even if it means looking foolish to the world?

"It’s too much, Lord!!!” I cry in my heart.

“Is it really, Shauna?” He asks. “More than what Jesus did for you on the cross?”

May His peace rule and reign in your heart today as you surrender to become more wholly His this Christmas season.
Shauna Wallace
Holy His

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A Compelling Love

My life feels crazy out of control right now. Pulled between parties, birthdays, keeping a list, checking it twice, Christmas shopping, wrapping, and preparing to leave for our family’s annual vacation ten days before Christmas, it is taking an extra concentrated effort to keep my eyes fixed on Jesus. Several mornings my time with Jesus has simply been talking to Him while I try to get ahead of some of the piles in my office and messes around the house. I miss Him, though. When I lose sight of Him as my sustenance, when I forget that stillness in His presence brings the strength and peace I need to deal with all the chaos around me, I suffer. When doing, even if it’s doing “for Him,” takes the place of simply being with Him, it’s easier to swerve off course. Miss the mark.

How do we get to the place where Jesus is worth it? Worth trusting, worth being still, worth sacrifice, worth doing hard things, worth denying ourselves. Fearing God is the beginning, but there’s more. Here’s the second part of the excerpt from my book, Holy His: Hope for a Life and a Nation Wholly His:

In addition to fearing God, another force must be at work in us to live in complete obedience to Him: loving Jesus. Second Corinthians 5:14-15 tells us, “For the love of Christ compels us, because we judge thus: that if One died for all, then all died; and He died for all, that those who live should live no longer for themselves, but for Him who died for them and rose again.” If Jesus is just “fire insurance,” and we pray a simple prayer of salvation for the sole purpose of avoiding hell, then we’re going to love Him about as much as an insurance agent who sells us a life insurance policy off the side of the road. In order to fall in love with Jesus, we must KNOW Him by spending time with Him in prayer, by studying His life, His love for us, His words, and His nature through reading the Bible. We fall in love with Him by worshiping Him and experiencing His faithfulness when we cry out, and He answers. When we do this, we will be overwhelmed with His love and won’t be able to help but love Him back. As a result, our affection for Him will compel us to live for Him, which means doing what He tells us to do.

What will that love look like? Above all, our love for Him must be pure and undivided. Jesus can’t just hold a spot on our list of the top ten people we love. He must be our first love. John, Jesus’ beloved apostle, wrote: “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world – the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life – is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1 John 2:15-17). We clearly must choose one love.

In Mark 4:18-19, Jesus describes what happens when a heart is divided. He is teaching through a parable about a sower whose seed falls on different kinds of ground. The seed represents the truth, or the word of the Lord, and the ground represents us. In explaining what happens to the seed that falls among the thorns, Jesus says, “Now these are the ones sown among thorns; they are the ones who hear the word, and the cares of this world, the deceitfulness of riches, and the desires for other things entering in choke the word and it becomes unfruitful.”

We can’t fool ourselves. We either love God, or we love the world. We can’t love both. James 4:4 makes it very clear: “Do you not know that friendship with the world is enmity with God? Whoever therefore wants to be a friend of the world makes himself an enemy of God.” Yes, we are to be in the world, but we are not of it (John 15:19). Our love – our adoration, our desire, the things we long for, the things we think on, the things we give our time, energy, and effort toward – must be for the Lord and desiring the things He desires. If our love is misdirected to the things of this world, the truth of God – His word – will be choked out, and our lives will yield no crop for the Lord.

The last few days during the quiet morning hours, I’ve sat with the Lord, doing nothing else but talking to Him. Reeling my thoughts back every time they scurry to an item on my to do list or a something I’ve forgotten, I have found an extra measure of peace. Nothing in my circumstances has changed, but He has drawn my eyes back to Him. In His presence I find perspective. In following His leading in every moment, He points me to His purpose. I find that my love for Him swells, and setting aside all the petty things of this world becomes easier.

Especially during this Christmas season – perhaps even in spite of it – may the love of Christ compel us to love and good works, that Christ may be glorified as we become more wholly His.

Shauna Wallace
Holy His