"Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends." (John 15:13 KJV)
"...when you see your own bright beauty springing up anew at your feet, think now and then that there is a man who would give his life, to keep a life you love beside you!" ---Sydney Carton, A Tale of Two Cities
Love in its truest form allows agony. If you ever truly love anyone or anything in your life, it will grant you both overwhelming joy and overwhelming agony. Love is always coupled with pain. Love is the greatest risk you can ever take, for to truly love another you have to risk everything in complete surrender and abandon. Otherwise it is just superficial love, easily chipped off the block of marble and discarded, never having been part of the true sculpture itself.
If you have been an imperfect parent, you know what it is to truly love. You have known the joy of your child's laughter, you have rubbed their head and held their hand when they were sick, or afraid, or just needed you near. You also know that at some point your imperfections will clash with their seeming perfection and you will know pain that you thought your heart could not bear. They will leave, go silent, speak badly of you to your face or behind your back; and your heart will break; and all the while you love them.
If you have been an imperfect person who has truly loved another imperfect person, you know what it is to love. You have known the joy of laying your head on their chest and feeling like you are 'home,' you have held their hand and let them hold your heart, you have poured yourself out until there is nothing left to pour. If you have lived long enough, you also know what it is to feel the agony of losing the love of your life either to death or to decision, you know the pain of loving someone who no longer loves you, you know the pain of loving another with your whole heart only to discover you only truly had about half of theirs, you know the pain of seeing what you thought your eyes would never see and breaking in ways you thought your heart would never break; and all the while you love them.
If you have ever been loved with the unconditional love of a beloved pet, you have known true love. You have played with them, had them be there when no one else was, had them snuggle up next to you and just love you no matter what. You have also felt the gut-wrenching pain of having to let them go due to age or illness. You have felt the pain of their absence.
The truest love of all also comes with agony. "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16) "You see, at just the right time, when we were still powerless, Christ died for the ungodly. Very rarely will anyone die for a righteous person, though for a good person someone might possibly dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." (Romans 5:6-8) His overwhelming love for us caused Him overwhelming agony; He came and died for us while were were still a mess.
He is a perfect parent who has loved His children perfectly, yet we still leave, go silent, speak badly of Him to His face or behind His back; and all the while He loves us. He is the perfect Husband, Lover, and Friend, yet we still fall out of love with Him, give Him half of our hearts, cause Him to see things He never thought He would see, and we break His heart in ways He never thought it would break; and all the while He loves us...
Love Allows Agony.
Agony is the place where we truly learn to love. It's in the surrender, in the letting go, in the places of our deepest pain that we can say we have truly loved. If you want to see love, really see it...gaze at the Cross; for in His agony we behold our own humanity; in His suffering we behold unconditional sacrifice, unconditional love...
Written by Anne Marie Hawke
To subscribe to my blog or to find out more about my writing, please visit my website at hawkewriter.com
"Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you." (Luke 6:38 NIV)
Have you ever poured your heart out to someone only to be left drowning? Have you poured your life out in service to someone only to be washed away in the river of their selfishness? Have you poured yourself into your work, your children, your relationship, only to find yourself floating on a sea of despair? And after it all are you still able to pour? Or has the fountain of your heart grown dry, until now it is only a rivulet?
We were made to give; to pour freely like a glorious waterfall. But in the pouring there is a price to pay. You see, giving, real giving, always holds within it a level of sacrifice. If I give you my time, my talent, my treasure, I am sacrificing the things that I am giving. I am laying those things down so that others will benefit from them. I pour out so that what and who I am may pour in, pour through, and pour over those around me.
What happens when water is poured onto very dry ground? It is immediately absorbed beneath the surface in anticipation of more water. What happens when water is poured on already well saturated ground? It is not able to be absorbed, and remains on the surface threatening to drown everything in its path. What happens when water is poured onto normal ground? It does exactly what it was designed to do; it nourishes, replenishes, and gives life to all that it touches.
Christ, the living water, came and poured Himself out in sacrifice upon the very dry ground of our very dry hearts...He poured and He poured and He poured until the ground of our hearts was over saturated and we drown in the depths of His love for us; and in the process we then became good ground that He flows freely in and through to nourish, replenish, and give life to not only us, but to everything and everyone we come into contact with. He paid the price of pouring out, ...with His life.
So if you have poured out, if you have sacrificed and given and have received nothing in return...don't stop pouring, don't stop giving, don't close the fountain of your heart...you may not see it, but your pouring is not going unnoticed. He sees you. Let Him be the fountain of your strength, the waterfall of your walk, the river of your restoration.
Give. Pour. Sacrifice. Surrender.
Life is too short to not enjoy every beautiful, awful, scary, amazing, sorrowful, ecstatic, lovely, horrendous, crazy, wonderful second of it all....
It's a breath, this life, inhale all of the tender, loving, beauty this moment has to offer--even if this moment is hard and your breath seems shallow--you are still breathing.
Written by Anne Marie Hawke
To subscribe to my blog, or to find out more about my writing, please visit hawkewriter.com
"I will not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything (every circumstance and situation) by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, I will continue to make my requests known to God. And the peace of God (that peace that reassures my heart), which transcends all understanding, will stand guard over my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 4:6-7, AMP---personalization and paraphrasing added for emphasis).
I say affirmations. Out loud. Every day. My mouth needs to speak what my heart and mind need to hear. " ...faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." (Romans 10:17) Thoughts are not heard by the hearing of our ears. Thoughts are internal; they are in our head. Thoughts that are spoken by our mouth are heard, and what we hear often enough, we believe. And what we believe, we become. So, I say affirmations, like the verse from Philippians above, so that my heart and mind are hearing the truth, in order that I might believe the truth, through repetitive hearing. "Saying" the truth in my head will not bring about the most effective change; it's saying it out loud that causes my head and heart to most effectively believe it. For example, a child is told they are stupid from a very young age, whenever they do anything wrong, whenever they express their heart, whenever they are awkward or confused, they are repeatedly told they are stupid...over time they believe that they are stupid. As an adult they have no confidence, no esteem for themselves, they are shy and withdrawn, and they make no attempt to accomplish anything significant because they believe at the core of who they are that they are stupid. They believed what they heard repeatedly and acted accordingly.
We live in a world where anxiety and worry run rampant. But the verse above says that we are not to be anxious or worried about anything! How is that possible? The answer is in the 'everything.' Everything is all-encompassing. Nothing was left out. That means that no matter what or who is causing your anxiety, God has made provision and peace for it all. We don't have to worry about anything because in everything we are covered. Through prayer, petition, thanksgiving, and requesting we can have peace. Peace that exceeds our understanding. Peace that guards our hearts and our minds from the anxiety and worry that would threaten our faith. Peace that floods our soul and our circumstances with the calm assurance that He is our everything, He knows our every situation and circumstance, and we can rest in Him moment by moment, day by day.
Prayer: Acknowledging God as God and asking in faith.
Petition: Earnestly pleading for something that I can't get or accomplish without God's help and believing that He is the only one who can make it happen.
Thanksgiving: Grateful praise offered as if I already have what I have asked for.
Requests: Specifics--- Asking with Ooomph!
So what are you worried or anxious about today? What has your insides in knots? What is plaguing your mind?
That wayward child?
The unanswered questions?
The overwhelming responsibility?
All of the above, and more?
There is an answer. You were not meant to live in constant anxiety. Say it with me and maybe for the first time, really hear it and believe it: "I will not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything, in every circumstance and situation by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, I will continue to make my requests known to God. And the peace of God, that peace which reassures my heart, which transcends all understanding, will stand guard over my heart and my mind in Christ Jesus."
Written by Anne Marie Hawke
If you would like to know more about my writing, or to subscribe to my blog, please visit my website at hawkewriter.com
"Make your life a masterpiece; imagine no limitations on what you can be, have or do." --Brian Tracy
"...I came that they might have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance(to the full, till it overflows)." (John 10:10b AMP)
Life. Springing through the dirt and darkness. Life. Have you ever noticed that it begins with struggle? Birth. A springtime garden. Growth of any kind. A new start. A new way of thinking. A new business. A new relationship. It's a struggle. Like a new sprout pushing through the dirt, life can be a bit messy, and wonderful all at the same time.
Sometimes life can seem as if we will never break through the dirt. It can seem dark and cold--lifeless. But it is in the places where it seems most dark that we grow the necessary nutrients of faith. It is in the darkness that a seed grows roots; the tendrils of its foundation. It is in the darkness where a seed germinates and springs forth into all it was made to be.
The darkness around you is not a grave; it is the dark soil of growth. You have not been buried, you have been planted.
You have not been buried in your fear; you have been planted in His faithfulness.
You have not been buried in your loss; you have been planted in His love.
You have not been buried in your pain; you have been planted in His peace.
You have not been buried in your depression; you have been planted in His
You have not been buried in your problems; you have been planted in His provision.
You have not been buried in your sickness; you have been planted in His sustenance.
In any of life's soil you may currently find yourself in, the purpose is growth. There is life even when it all feels like death. Do you see that speck of light? Reach for it, poke the tender sprout of your heart out of the dark soil. Seeds don't stay in the ground forever. Let the growth push you forward, out into the light.
Life is the antithesis of death; life is the antidote for death; life is the answer to death.
"I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live." (Deuteronomy 30:19)
Written by Anne Marie Hawke
To subscribe to my blog or for more information about my writing, please go to my website at hawkewriter.com
"...Love covers over all wrongs." ( Proverbs 10:12)
"Follow the way of love..." (1 Corinthians 14:1)
I am amazed by the beauty of those words: "...love covers over all wrongs." ALL. Those are the wrongs done against me as well as the wrongs I have done against others. ALL. This is the whole of why I am a Christ follower---His love covered over all of my wrongs, every one of them. He didn't just cover them up, He covered them over. He gave His life for mine. He put His body in front of mine, and covered me over with His grace and mercy while He was beaten, spit upon, mocked, and nailed to the Cross. Everything I was not, everything that I am not, every wrong I had ever done or would ever do was covered over by Him and made whole by His precious blood. And not only that, but every wrong done against me: every abusive word and action, every pain I have ever felt at the hands or heart of another, every loss, every rejection, every betrayal, every lie, everything. His love covered over it all.
He died my death so that I can now live His life. Romans 6:3-4 says, "Or don't you know that all of us who were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into His death? We were therefore buried with Him through baptism into death in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead through the glory of the Father, we too may live a new life." All of my wrongs were made right in Him. As I learn of Him, remain in Him, and 'Go after a life of love as if my life depended on it,' I am made free. (1 Corinthians 14:1 MSG) Because of this beautiful, awesome truth, those things that used to trip me up, don't trip me up anymore; the mistakes I made are covered over in His grace and mercy; the wrongs I did are paid for.
The same is true for you if you choose to receive Him by faith and trust His love:
---That person you can't forgive: Love covers over all wrongs.
---Those negative words you keep replaying in your mind: Love covers over all wrongs.
---Those scenes of abuse that you can't seem to erase: Love covers over all wrongs.
---That child who is silent because of your past failure: Love covers over all wrongs.
---That man who broke your heart: Love covers over all wrongs.
---That thing you did that you are so ashamed of: Love covers over all wrongs.
---That lie you told that robbed you of your peace: Love covers over all wrongs.
---That guilt you feel about what you did: Love covers over all wrongs.
Let go. His love covers over all wrongs.
Let yourself go.
Let them go.
Walk out of your prison...the door is open.
Let them walk out of the prison you have put them in...the door is open.
Forgiveness flows as you realize how much God forgave you...the love in my heart towards people, even those who committed grievous acts against me, even the most vile of my offenders, is all-encompassing; because I see Him, and I see me 'dying in my own blood,' (Ezekiel 16:6) from the wounds I received from others and from myself. I see Him saying to me, "Live!" (Ezekiel 16:6) I know that I have no right to hold anything against anyone because of the great love He showed toward me. He died so I might live. He lives so I might die; that I might lay down all of me on the altar of His heart, and let Him pierce me through with His overwhelming, never ending, scandalous, marvelous, extravagant love...
Written by Anne Marie Hawke
If you would like to subscribe to my blog or find out more about my writing, please visit my website at hawkewriter.com
"...with eyes that see but don't really look, and ears that hear but don't really listen." (Jeremiah 5:21b MSG)
I could tell by the way she carried herself that she had 'come into' her confidence, perhaps the way a newly crowned Queen 'comes into' her authority and power; over time yet all at once. She spoke calmly and with great compassion toward her young adult son who sat across from her. He had just spoken words which no mother ever wants to hear; "You are a bad mother and a bad person." It affected her, and if I had been able to see her eyes, I am sure I would've found the faint trace of a tear ebbing up from within them, yet she sat and continued to speak with the calm assurance of a woman who knew the truth of who she was, and all that she had been through to just be sitting across from him now.
In that moment I was given eyes to see what her son could not see:
I saw her holding him close wiping his tears as she sang him back to sleep after a rough night of teething pain.
I saw her making up stories at bedtime to stimulate his still forming imagination.
I saw her soothing him with a cool cloth as he lay in bed suffering from a fever that was waiting to break.
I saw her playing games, making him laugh, finding his favorite blanket and snuggling him up in it.
I saw her helping him with school work late into the night.
I saw her working hard so she could take he and his sister on trips every year.
I saw her finding that black shirt, you know the one with the long sleeves, that he always liked to wear, that he had displaced until her Mom radar had located it.
I saw her at their school activities, at their concerts, and sporting events.
I saw her struggling with a body that wouldn't work right, and a heart that had known incredible abuse.
I saw her down on her knees every night praying for him and his sister long after they had fallen asleep.
I saw her make mistakes as a parent; relationships that were bad, decisions that were not good, failures that she learned to turn into fuel.
I saw her grow, overcome deep adversity, conquer her inner demons, transform her life, love with every ounce of her being, even when it was undeserved, and serve others selflessly...
I saw her, really saw her...and she was something to behold.
The conversation came to an end, she told him how sorry she was for the mistakes she had made in the past, she asked him to get to know her now, she asked for his forgiveness, and told him that she loved him and that that would never change. And he left "having eyes that see but don't really look, and ears that hear but don't really listen."
So maybe, just maybe, you haven't really been seeing the people around you? Maybe you haven't really been hearing them? Maybe we all need to have a Godly vision check and a Godly hearing test? Maybe we could "be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." (Ephesians 4:32) Maybe we could extend grace and mercy to those in need of it, rather than condemnation and judgement? Maybe 'toxic people' need a tonic of love and kindness? Maybe love really does conquer all? Maybe love really is the answer?
Ask to see what you haven't been seeing.
Ask to hear what you haven't been hearing.
Open your heart to the knowledge that your perception may have been distorted and just 'see' what God will do...
Written by Anne Marie Hawke
For more information about my blog, or to find out more about my writing, please visit my website at hawkewriter.com
"A good man out of the good treasure of his heart brings forth good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart brings forth evil. For out of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaks." (Luke 6:45)
What is the abundance of your heart at this moment? The answer lies in your mouth. What have you been saying to yourself, about yourself? What have you been saying to others, about others? Is it 'good treasure,' that you have stored up in your heart, and 'guarded diligently for out of it flow the springs of life?' (Proverbs 4:23) Or is it 'evil treasure,' that you have hoarded from your past, from your hurt, from your pain, from your offense, from the 'father of lies?' (John 8:44)
Does what you speak uplift, encourage, bless, honor, and love? Does what you speak flow with kindness, gentleness, faith, hope, compassion, mercy and grace? Or does what you speak discourage, dismantle, tear down, and crush? Are you speaking unkindness, doubt, hate, bitterness, self-loathing, and despair?
What is abundant in your heart will be spoken from your lips.
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it will eat the fruit thereof." (Proverbs 18:21)
What if we spoke out of the abundance of Christ in us? What if we spoke from a heart full of Him? What if we 'let our speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that we may know how we ought to answer each person.' (Colossians 4:6) What if we were 'quick to hear, slow to speak, and slow to anger.' (James 1:19) Out of the abundance of Him in us we would be abundantly kind, thoughtful, loving, tender, peaceful. We would wait before we speak, we would speak with loving caution, we would speak faith, we would speak forgiveness, love and mercy. Our words would accept, cover, protect, and bring healing and life.
Check your words because they reveal your heart. Check your heart because it reveals you as you truly are. Check your treasure; is it given, or stolen?
Yield your heart to Him.
Yield your thoughts to the Him.
Yield your words to Him.
Let your heart be abundant with the abundance of Him...
Written by Anne Marie Hawke
To sign up for my blog or to find out more about my writing go to my website at hawkewriter.com
"He answered and said, Lo, I see four men loose, walking in the midst of the fire, and they have no hurt; and the form of the fourth is like the Son of God." (Daniel 3:25)
The fire that had been heated seven times hotter than normal did not burn them or keep them from moving. And they were walking around in the midst of an incredibly hot furnace! Like them, we must keep moving even in the midst of a fiery trial with flames dancing all around us. We must go through--not around, not over or under, not stopping and focusing on the flames--we must go through--we are called to go through. "Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil: for thou art with me; thy rod and thy staff they comfort me." (Psalm 23:4) "When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overwhelm you; when you walk through fire you shall not be burned, and the flame shall not consume you." (Isaiah 43:2) "I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength." (Philippians 4:13)
We must go through the sorrow that threatens to drown us.
We must go through the sickness that seeks to ravage our life.
We must go through the silence that drapes like a dark shadow.
We must go through the heartache that envelopes us.
We must go through the pain that covers us like a cloak.
We must go through the depression that shrouds our heart.
We must go through the doubts that disturb our faith.
We must go through the loss that we thought would never come.
We must go through anything that seeks to derail us from our true purpose.
The secret is in knowing that you are not going through alone. He is with you. He is in you. "He will never leave you, nor forsake you." (Hebrews 13:5) Keep moving, keep going through! Whatever you are facing He is there, holding your hand saying, "Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you, I will help you; yes, I will uphold you with the right hand of My righteousness." (Isaiah 41:10)
Anne Marie Hawke, May 2019
To find out more about my blog, or my writing, please visit my website at hawkewriter.com
"I consider everything as loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord." (Philipians 3:8)
It's in the pain that mercy speaks loudest
It's in the pain that we truly grow near
It's in the pain that we hear the loudest
The voice of our Redeemer saying, 'Do not fear'
If the pain never comes our faith remains alone
If we do not suffer our faith is merely a word
If we never know loss, betrayal, or battle
If there was no struggle our faith would go unheard
An unlit candle does not shine until it's lit
An unlit fire will never give warmth until it burns
An unlit heart remains dark until if truly loves
And an unlit life will never shine until it yearns
Yearns to hear the Master say, 'Well done'
Yearns to hear His voice amidst the pain and strife
Yearns to touch the thing it cannot yet see
Yearns to know that from great loss comes true life...
Nothing truly matters without the surpassing greatness of truly knowing Christ.
And everything truly matters when you come to know the surpassing greatness of truly knowing Christ.
He is 'above all, and through all, and in you all.' (Ephesians 4:6)
"Light is always costly and comes at the expense of that which produces it. An unlit candle does not shine, for burning must come before the light. And we can be of little use to others without a cost to ourselves." (Streams in the Desert, April 26th)
Written by Anne Marie Hawke
For more information, or to find out more about my blog, please visit my website at hawkewriter.com
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding..." (Proverbs 3:5)
A beautiful, amazing, Godly woman dies at 49 of a brain tumor: mother, sister, friend, prayer warrior, giver, worshiper.
A wonderful, kind, thoughtful, amazing young man dies at 22 of deep pain that he didn't allow anyone to see: creative, intelligent, funny, giving, sensitive, sweet.
A hard-working, gifted, incredible leader, finds herself without a job after 30 years of pouring herself into her career.
A child, not yet two years old, is diagnosed with an incurable disease.
The man you thought was so in love with you, is seen with someone else.
The family you thought would love you unconditionally, just put conditions on their love.
You've suffered years of abuse and the pain is unbearable.
Things happen in life that do not make sense. Things happen that we cannot wrap our heart or our head around. Things happen. Awful, horrendous things that steal our joy, break our heart, and leave us weary, in despair, without hope.
What are we do to with these things? In light of a God who claims He loves us 'with an everlasting love?'(Jeremiah 31:3) A God who says that 'He will never leave us nor forsake us?'(Hebrews 13:5)
We are to trust Him.
We are not to 'lean on our own understanding' (Proverbs 3:5), because there are many things in life that we will simply not understand on this side of heaven.
What I know is this:
We have an enemy who 'walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.' (1 Peter 5:8)
We have an enemy whose purpose is 'to steal, kill, and destroy.' (John 10:10)
We have an enemy who will 'speak words against the Most High, and shall wear out the saints of the Most High...' (Daniel 7:25)
And if he can deceive us, distract us, divide us, cause us to doubt, or leave us in despair, then he has kept us from being who we were meant to be in God. He has kept us from trusting in and leaning on the our awesome loving God. He has achieved his purpose.
We must choose to trust God with the things that we do not understand. We must choose to believe that His plan for our lives will not be stopped, despite what the enemy throws at us. We must choose not to quit, not to give up, and to walk through whatever we have to, knowing that He loves us, that He is with us, that He is in us, and that 'He came that we might have life, and that we might have it more abundantly.'
He is able. He is God Almighty. He is faithful. He is true.
Keep trusting Him even when nothing makes sense and it all hurts...
Written by Anne Marie Hawke, April 2019
For more information on my writing, or to sign up for my blog, please visit my website at hawkewriter.com
qUIET IN CHAOS
Quiet in Chaos is a blog about nothing, everything, and all things inbetween…it’s a space, an ellipsis, a deep pause. Life can be chaotic, and often needs more moments of quiet…So join me as I share and give through the written word, the place I find my Quiet in Chaos…