Stacy Voss

See life differently. Live courageously.

Author: Stacy (page 1 of 95)

The Five Love Languages of the Cross

I’m assuming that most of you have heard of Gary Chapman’s book The Five Love Languages. In it, he describes the five fundamental ways in which people primarily give or receive love. They are: gifts, physical touch, acts of service, quality time, and words of affirmation. The gist of the book is that each of us have one or two of these areas in which we really feel loved when someone expresses it through that forum.

And conversely, we really feel hurt when love is withheld from us in that category, or worse yet, when someone we care about does something that we perceive as negative in our primary love language. For example, I’m all about words. Splatter a few tidbits of encouragement my way and I’m good to go for the week. But cut me down. Degrade me or place a label on me and I’ll fall under its weight.

As I was once again trying to prepare my heart for Easter, to try to grasp something that is so enormous that I honestly admit I’ll never fully get it, I noticed one startling thing:

Jesus experienced rejection in each of those five areas in the days or moments leading up to the crucifixion.

In other words, it doesn’t matter if Jesus had a primary love language (after all, God is love. Period). It isn’t about guessing if there is a way in which we can or can’t show our love in a way that resonates to the Most High. It’s that Jesus experienced the negative effects in each of these categories.

Physical Touch

The cat of nine tails clawing at his back, intentionally being thrashed into his flesh over and over.

Thorns pressed deep into soft flesh.

Nails. Driven down, down, down.

Oh, and the lack of air. Yes, the gasping over and again, desperate for just one. more. breath.

Words of Affirmation

“Crucify. Crucify!”

Mocking, ridiculing, taunting.

The men who were guarding Jesus began mocking and beating him. They blindfolded him and demanded, ‘Prophesy! Who hit you?” (Luke 22:63-64)

Quality Time

The very men Jesus poured everything into had a choice as he faced his darkest hour. Endure the trail with him or skidaddle.

Most fled.

One denied. Over and over and over. “I don’t know the man.”

Can you imagine that? Right as things get hard, you overhear your best friend say, “nope. I don’t know her. Never met her.” That’s pretty much what the Rock said. Let’s add that line to the lack of words of affirmation category, too.

Acts of Service

Purple designated royalty, and for once a robe of that color graced Jesus’ shoulders, but only in mockery. The closest the masses came that day to paying him respect was riddled with sarcasm and disdain. Nothing kind was done to Jesus that day. But everything unkind was.

Gifts

That sharp crown pressed much too deep.

The purple robe, a vivid display of mockery.

And a beam weighing 30-40 pounds, laid upon his back to carry to the place where he would die. Or at least carry it as far as his tortured body would allow.

But What About Love?

Like I said, when someone we love does the opposite of our primary love language, it pierces deep.

But these people obviously didn’t love Jesus, right?

Probably not, or at least they didn’t display it in those moments.

Be he loved them so very, very much.

Us, too.

A love I won’t begin to understand.

A love that became the reason to endure pain reaching levels our minds can’t fathom. Willingly, so.

 

What is your love language? How do you respond or feel when someone you care about hurts you in that vernacular? How does that enhance your view of Easter and Jesus’ five love languages of the cross?

 

 

The Wisdom of the Seasons: Finding Grace in the Unexpected

Solomon in all of his wisdom reminds in Ecclesiastes that there is a “time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven: a time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,

a time to ….

and a time to …”

Many consider the book to be depressing, especially as it repeats a heavy phrase:

“This too is meaningless, a chasing after the wind.” (Ecclesiastes 4:4)

For me, however, Solomon’s words don’t render me defeated. Instead, they give me hope in 2 ways:

  1. There is a time for everything. Just not all at once.

One of my dear friends has reminded me of this multiple times (thanks, Judy!). I wish I could say she repeated it because she forgot that she’d told me before and not because I’m a stubborn soul who thought, “most people can’t make time for everything in one season but watch me. I have this uncanny knack for juggling all kinds of things.” It takes a while to get stuff through this head of mine, especially the things that cause me to slow down or (gulp!) hit the pause button on some of the things I never thought I could go a day or a week without.

Oh, I see my words and they reek of addiction and idolatry even though they were the very things that I felt God called me to. They were the things He called me to during that season.

2. Seasons change.

I never imagined being back in the States at this point in my life or the storms I’d weather. Nor could I have guessed that I’d find myself with such overflowing joy.

In the middle of our Colorado winters, I don’t wish the flowers would burst forth again. I know it’d simply kill them early and prevent the beautiful display they’d bring in the spring and summer. Dare I steal a phrase and say that’d be meaningless? A chasing after the wind? The winter simply is winter, that make-some-more-hot-cocoa time that comes before the trees show off their gorgeous blooms.

I’m slowly unraveling this wisdom in my life. At first I missed some of the “flowers” of my earlier seasons, yet with time, I stopped missing them altogether.

And then freaked out, scared that not noticing their absence meant they were gone forever.

Yet as certain seasons appear to be back in bloom in my life, I’m reminded of the very truth I learned way back in kindergarten. There are four seasons. Some things happen in one, while other things appear to be dead.

So to the person who is weary from trying to do it all and finds herself getting further and further behind, take it from this girl who is 1/8 of a second ahead of you.

Stop.

Some of the things might need to wait. Yes, really. It’s okay. It doesn’t mean we’re bad people or even that we’re shirking the things God placed deep within us (unless its feeding your kids. That one isn’t seasonal and is more like a minute-to-minute thing, at least in my house!).

And if there is anyone other than myself who had to surrender to the seasons, begrudgingly setting aside the thing that we didn’t think possible to set down because there were just too many other things that had be attended to, let’s take a few laps in the deeps of grace-grace for ourselves, that is. I don’t know about you, but I’ve been quite hard on myself as I’ve expected things of me that I’d never dream of thinking others should accomplish.

I thought the daffodils of my life should have been in full bloom during the winter blizzards.

Foolishness. Chasing after the wind.

As I celebrate the green stalks that push their way through the tough soil in my backyard and prepare to unfurl petals of golds, pinks and purples, I remind myself:

“There is a season for everything.”

And then, only by the sweet grace of God, I’ll revel in the season He has placed me in right now.

Come join me.

Stacy Voss

When Suffering Leads to Identity

“I hate cancer and I hate what it’s doing, but I wouldn’t trade this experience for anything.”

Those were the words (or close to it) that my former boss said in a sermon he co-preached on suffering last night. He spoke the words while putting some pressure on the trach that was inserted into his throat, a result of the stage four thyroid cancer that wreaked havoc on his vocal cords.

 

I’ve never battled cancer (thankfully), but there are some incredible heroes in my life that have, all of whom share one great commonality: fluff became a thing of the past. Spiritual cliches were retired once and for all, replaced by a deep-rooted faith, a confident knowing of the One who clutched their hand through the hardest of times.

My friend and author, Michele Cushatt, is another example of these real-life heroes whose faith might have wavered at times during her horrific bouts with cancer, but ultimately strengthened into a living, breathing belief that oozes out with every lisped word (the lisp as a result of the last round of cancer when the doctors removed a large portion of her tongue). She had been climbing the Christian speaking circuit when she first learned of the cancer in her mouth–one typically found amongst those who chew tobacco, although she’s never touched the stuff. I can’t begin to fathom all that she went through emotionally, physically and spiritually, yet my mind keeps recalling one scene I lived many, many years ago after learning of my husband’s infidelity.

We had been missionaries and his actions cost him (us) our job. Returning to the states, I began taking 13 keys off my keychain. I no longer needed the key to the house we rented in Mexico, or the gates securing that property, or to our car that was about to be given away, or anything else. Within minutes, I went from toting a heavy, rattling set of keys to an empty “0.” That’s how I felt–empty, hollow and purposeless.

Who am I?

Sure, I knew I was more than a car-key wielding person, but each little piece of metal seemed to hold a portion of my identity that got tossed in the trash.

I’d imagine that’s how Michele felt, too, as the thought of speaking again seemed to disappear.

Or as her hair disappeared.

Or as her ability to do many of the normal, everyday things plummeted.

And she, too, had to ask, “Who am I?”

Her answer will astound you. No, scratch that. It isn’t truly her answer. Yes, she wrote the book “I Am: A 60-Day Journey to Knowing Who You Are Because of Who He Is,” but the words were scribed many, many years ago. Michele just brings them to life for those of us who have gotten tangled in the infinite things that try convincing us that our value is less than it really is. Here are but a few little peeks at what you get to uncover during the 60-day journey with Michele:

-I am heard

-I am sinful

-I am lost

-I am renewed

-I am fought for (oh, mercy, yes!)

– I am empowered

-I am enough

Amazing, right? It is!

This incredible book releases January 24th. BUT, if you pre-order (as in today!), then you get a bunch of freebies, too! You can go to iambook.net for more info or to grab a copy. Or, your fav bookstore should have it in stock in the next few days (but of course, if you wait, you won’t get all of the great extras!).

If you ever ask “who am I”, this book is for you! If you’ve never asked that question, well, I’m just stumped because I’ve honestly never met anyone who hasn’t, myself included!

Happy reading!

Stacy Voss

 

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