Thursday, May 16, 2013

Trying to be Grace...

Which is easier for you to do... Seek forgiveness or To Forgive? Pick one and then ponder why?

 My husband and I are opposites in this area. He struggles to seek forgiveness but yet he is the most forgiving person I know. He never holds a grudge...never. He struggles to seek forgiveness but he does do the work. I am quick to be sincerely sorry but ...I struggle to forgive others. I revisit past wrongs and like a hot iron...I don't touch them. it takes me awhile to forgive and ...forget.

It is amazing to me as a believer to realize that gift of grace is given so freely to me as a child of God. Humbling... I have learned so much watching my husband and then myself struggle differently with this issue. I think as we struggle to show grace to others and to ourselves then that is where God's love manifests itself tangibly in our lives. If you can do the difficult thing with God's help...then you truly understand the gift that has been given to you.

So, today...Who do you need to forgive? or Who do you need to seek forgiveness from? I pray that you find reconciliation and forgiveness no matter which side you are on! I pray that you will be patient with yourself and others as you experience God's grace while understanding that it is a process of might sting a bit...but so worth it! We can all be graceful...some of us trip and fall down more than others...but we can get back up again.

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013


"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."

Juliet from Romeo and Juliet

I have quit swearing as a New Year's Resolution for 32 years in a row. I am not very good at it...I mean not swearing. I am good at swearing. I am not good at not swearing. I blame the British.You see, as a formative teenage girl, I lived in England. And in England...everyone swears all day long. At least that is what I remember and that is when it started for me. I still admire anyone who can  confidently let forth with a good, properly placed expletive...if you must swear...say it with gusto and bravado!

 Have you ever bumped into someone accidentally? You didn't mean just found yourself trying to occupy the same spot as the other person at the same moment. I involuntarily apologize...always! Now, granted I am a "serial apologist" but that is another blog post. Recently...I did bump into a young woman and I immediately said  "I am so sorry" I tend to do that as well! I am never just sorry...I am so sorry! The young woman replied... (this is good) she replied "WTF" ... she said "What the F&$#!"  I smiled because while was funny. I then said "That would be me, I would be the "What the F&$#!" and as I walked away I could hear her saying "Oh God I am so sorry!"

Not five minutes later standing in line...two woman stood talking. One woman was telling the other a story and as she veered towards the climatic conclusion of her tale the other woman responded with " Are you "$hi&&ing me?" and the other gal said "I $hi&" you not!"  For some reason at the time and even now...I think "Wouldn't it be funny to have that in a Shakespearean play?"

When I turned 50, my daughter went with me for me to get a tattoo. She had exactly the one I wanted and where I wanted it. She said that it did not hurt that much...she said something about bee stings. Now, I was having them put an Ichthus, the Christian symbol on my foot. A large man sat behind me getting a very large tattoo on his large bicep. He smiled, further proof this would be easy-peasy! As we started I said such swear words that people thought I had Tourette syndrome. Every time he stopped inking...I would apologize. "I am so sorry!" and when he would begin...I would start swearing, again. I remember my daughter clearly saying "Oh Momma, No!" It was all over in 10 long minutes. The man getting the large tattoo said nothing but his smile said everything. The tattoo artist made some remark about irony and I just got the "HE double hockey sticks" out of there! If it didn't hurt so much...I would get a St Peter's Rooster on my other foot!

Last week my daughter was telling me, over the phone about something that had happened as I rode in the car with my husband. He could only hear my side of the conversation. As I said "Huh!" He started to laugh...and then said "You know when you say Huh...You really mean WTF!" And it was true...I have started using other phrases instead of my go-to swear words. I say "Whhhhyyyy?" instead of "F&$#" and "Pooooooop" instead of "$hi&" and I shake my head and say "Bless your heart!" for "You are an "A$$"  It is my hope that my legacy for my grandchildren will not be..."The grandmother who swore like a drunken sailor on shore leave!" but rather a kinder, gentler version of me! I shall keep trying...

It would seem others have a problem with swearing, too. You hear it all the time! It does bother me that others swear but not as much as it should though...I should be shocked, horrified, and so...disappointed. Since, I am giving up swearing ( I am.) I approach swearing much like a person who has given up smoking does second hand smoke...I inhale deeply. I wish there was a group similar to AA. It could be called SA, Swearing Anonymous. And we could admit that we are helpless over our addiction to a properly placed swear word. We would admit that we have harmed others in our use of those words and we would make amends to those we have harmed...Yes...we could.


2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Stayin' Alive at 55

"The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected."
~Robert Frost

I have a birthday coming up and for the first time "stings a bit"! I usually take  birthdays in stride sometimes with excitement, I mean birthdays are exciting! I am, however finding this one to be difficult to be excited about. I will be 55 years old. Most days I don't feel 55 years least what I thought 55 would feel like. I have been asking myself goofy questions like "Do 55 years old's do that?"  "Would a 55 year old wear that?" "How should I act at 55?" "I suppose, I should grow up now...buckle down and get a real job!" (actually, it is way past time for that one)

It seems natural at this kind of a "milestone age" or is that "millstone age" that an inventory of such happens.I am not normally a person who looks back at life and ruminates mistakes and yet, I have caught myself doing that. What if I had done this instead of that ? Would it have been different? think, and ...yet?

Normally, while I can be an emotional and a passionate person...I can also be a very logical and a list making kind of a girl. "Can I still call myself a "girl" at 55?"..... Yesterday, rather than shoo these feelings aside with a "you-shouldn't-feel-this-way" mantra...I decided to ride this tide of emotions out?  I made  a list of everything I had deemed a "mistake" and I set about thinking about not just what had happened but my actions that had led up to it. Then I listed the other choices I could have made, those paths not taken by me. I had prepared myself for a really awful afternoon, a pity party peppered with an afternoon of cold regret. I was surprised. Yes, I had made some mistakes but not as many as I had first thought. And when I considered the other choices I could have made given the information that I had at the time and with the proverbial...What I know now insight! It wasn't so bad...not nearly as bad or as difficult as I thought it would be. Hindsight is 20/20. I have done far! I am actually very grateful for my life and all the great opportunities I have had.

Turning 55 next week will be fun after husband and my best friend have already done it! And did it well! We will be in Florida with my family having a barbecue pool party and I will be thinking about how blessed I am and ..."What kind of a bathing suit does a 55 Year old wear?"

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.

Monday, May 13, 2013

My Mother, the Warrior

"The Supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting."

"Appear weak when you are strong, and strong when you are weak."
~ Sun Tzu, The Art of War

 My first inkling that my mother wasn't nearly as dumb as I thought she was came later than sooner, which lets you know just how dumb I am. I should have know she wasn't dumb when she out maneuvered me in every covert operation I ever tried to do. I was a good teenager because frankly... I knew I couldn't get away with anything. My mother is the brains behind my parent's partnership and my father does the heavy lifting. My mother parented by gathering Intel and then turning it over to the FBI
 ( Father Believing to be In charge). wasn't until I had my first child that I realized she knew everything and I knew nothing...

It seems silly now that I had thought my mother weak, I thought because she would not engage my father in arguing that she was not strong. I remember thinking, as a teenager while he verbally assailed my mother in an argument that I felt I could have easily won ..."Fight back...Mom!"  This underestimate of my mother's tactics was my undoing. I did not, nor did my father realize that my mother had already won the battle. We did not understand she had out maneuvered him and he was just poorly negotiating his defeat. I am my father's daughter and I am proud of him...and while my father has actually been to war, it is my mother who could have written The Art of War. She gathers her Intel while never divulging her source. Her interrogation methods put our entire Homeland Security to shame and she always, always chose her battles carefully.

All of this...I realized after the birth of my first child. The feeling of holding your child in your arms and knowing that you are inadequate for the a humbling moment. The deceptive weight of a new born in your could something so small...weigh so heavy on your being? The realization in that moment that my mother took care for me, kept me safe, nurtured me, prayed for me and all the while she battled dark forces including those parts of my worst nature. She did all of this faithfully with God's help...She fought the good fight! She gave me the example that I tried to follow but often...I wished I had read her copy of The Art of War.

 Happy Mother's Day, Mom!

2 Timothy 4:7 I have fought a good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful.

Friday, May 10, 2013

I Choose to be Beautiful...Today!

I am more beautiful now at almost, soon-to-be… 55… than I have ever been before. And I have every expectation of being more beautiful as I become older! Am I conceited? No... because I understand what it means to be beautiful.

     When I was younger, when I was told that I was beautiful, I would tuck my chin downwards, lower my gaze, and shake my head from side to side. I did not feel or even understand my beauty. Later, during my thirties, I would qualify the compliment with…Well, I look good, for my age. But, now I know. I know I am beautiful BECAUSE of my age. I say that with my head held high, my eyes looking directly into yours.

Beautiful comes from a life loving others, caring for the well-being and comfort of not just you but also that of others. Beautiful doesn’t have to be the center of attention and yet, others will gravitate towards you. Beautiful isn’t about the exterior although as you feel beautiful inside, it becomes more visible on the outside. Beautiful is an outstretched hand, a warm embrace, a full bodied laugh, a kind smile, and a confident sense of who you are. It has understood disappointment but still has hope. It has felt sadness but does not allow it to linger and become bitterness. Beautiful is not stagnant.

Beautiful, as a child of God means that I seek His will for me life. I want to serve others as part of Jesus’ commandment to love one another. And when I do, a passion reflects God’s love through every feature of my face and when it is seen by others it is recognized as beautiful.

Beautiful isn’t an adjective to be used only for the young or for the past. Nor, is it a past tense adverb that describes a yesteryear life but rather a present tense verb for today. A word that should be exercised daily! It is a choice for today, tomorrow, and the next day, and the next day…I choose to be Beautiful.

Don't be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
1Peter 3: 3-4 

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Lighting by God!

Yesterday I was part of a group who skyped with a  young woman who is interested in having the church I attend host  a ministry she is involved with. My first impression of her...right off was that she had a beautiful smile, attractive face ...and very little make up on. The latter impressed me as I am ready to drop makeup from my bag of tricks although I do think ..I would be showing more bravery at my age than she does at hers! Whatever!

As I was driving home I thought about our talk and that my initial impression of this young woman was wrong. I realized she wasn't just attractive...she was in fact beautiful. She is beautiful. I spent the drive home listening to classical music on public relaxing and conducive to pondering. I pondered why this woman's beauty wasn't my initial impression or rather why as the hour long skyping progressed she did seem to actually grow more beautiful as our conversation went on. And it occurred to me it was her passion. It was because she was speaking passionately from her heart about something she loves and feels called by God to do.

She spoke quietly, carefully but passionately about this ministry and as she did she seemed to become lit from within. She was glowing. Perfect lighting...very little makeup...very inspiring...very beautiful. As I think of her...I am a little envious of her beauty. Not the exterior kind...but that kind of beauty that comes from within. I feel inspired by her passion, her calling ...and her beauty, that real beauty from God! I won't be dropping my blush and lipstick quite yet...not until I feel passionate about my calling.  But, I do want that special "lighting" that only God can give...until that time arrives...maybe it's Maybelline!

Don't be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
1Peter 3: 3-4

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

If You Can't Say Anything Nice...

I can say that I have never had a gentle quiet spirit. I do think as I have aged I have become less argumentative, more reflective, and less confrontational. I am not sure this is the attitude that is pleasing to God but I can assure you it is...more pleasing to me. This attitude, which is to say less than before but still not altogether gone does make life easier for me and I suspect those I encounter. But, I wonder if this is more of a response to aging rather than any real growth on my part as occasionally...I still find myself in the midst of conflict whether it be with another or raging within myself. Am I aging like a "fine wine"? or Am I losing my "Fizz" and going flat like a soda left opened for far too long?

There is a young lady I know who has a passion to change the world and she boldly speaks out at the injustices she sees...and I know all of it springs from a pure place of her faith. She just knows in her heart that IF you only would listen to her that you would realize, as she does that an injustice is being done. She reminds me so much of who I was. She causes me to to recall a time when I believed that I could make a difference... lately...I choose to walk away and not speak my mind. I don't feel this is the gentle quiet spirit that God finds so precious. I suspect it is apathy.

Recently, I was in a grocery store and witnessed an unkind encounter. An older Hispanic couple with a child, a boy of about 9 were paying for groceries with food stamps. They were struggling to navigate a process, which seemed new to them. The clerk, a young man patiently came around the corner and with a deference associated with respect to older people spoke to them in Spanish. I was moved by his patience. I had already liked this young man and this just reaffirmed my "good taste" in people. It was then that I became aware of the huffing and puffing of the woman behind me. It was then that I heard her nasty comments...It was also when I started to pray silently. "Please God...please let me be silent!" As he bagged the couple and child's considerable groceries...her nastiness grew louder and I prayed more fervently while biting my tongue! "Please God, let me be silent. Let me respond as my husband would!" Immediately a voice within me said "Bob would NOT remain silent and I have not sent Bob...I have sent you!" It was all that I needed. I turned and asked this woman "Are you okay?" She seemed stunned as I whispered "Because you are embarrassing all of us including that little boy!" "They are buying groceries as you and I are doing AND that young man is doing a fine job waiting on his customers!" and I smiled my biggest, most sincere smile as I addressed her again..."If you are in a hurry, you may go ahead of me!" And I meant it...and she did go ahead of me.

I try everyday to be better at this human experience...sometimes, I am better than other times. But, in all the experiences I have whether I succeed or is in the discernment process, the time I ask God to help me that I feel closer to him.  I pray that I will find the balance between being apathetic and attaining a gentle quiet spirit...which is pleasing to God and everyone else in grocery line!

Don't be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
1Peter 3: 3-4

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Give Me a "B"...

The bible verse at the bottom of this post is my pondering verse for the week. I chose it awhile ago to write an essay on actually I have been pondering it for awhile. As often happens with me and my pondering something will happen in the news or more closely, an event will occur in my life that I see directly through the filter of the verse....serendipity some will say but I feel God and his gentle pull!

Recently a woman wrote a  blog criticizing a young woman who cheer leads for a sports team...her criticism was based on nothing more than the young woman's physical appearance. I won't point out the young woman or the woman who wrote the blog who sparked the debate because frankly it is stupid but what really troubles me is this girl on girl action. Life is difficult for young women in this shallow, consumer driven commerce...where media tells you that you are only as good as the last new outfit you bought. Where real beauty is often overlooked in favor of the best of photo shopping. Why in God's name would a woman EVER criticize another woman based on such a shallow kaleidoscope of a view? Why?

If this is our gauge for beautiful, if we accept this photo shopped idea of beauty not just for ourselves but for judging becomes something that will never be attainable, it will always and forever be illusive to us. We will have set up our lives and that of our daughters to never be able to behold beauty, not in ourselves or in others.They will live in a world that acknowledges and celebrates only one kind of  beauty, perfection.  Today, many people do not recognize beauty in all of its varied images. We must reject and speak out that beauty is not perfection...that beautiful has a character and uniqueness that belongs to each of us. We must be able to see it first in ourselves and then in others...look closely. I will acknowledge that for some of us you must look very closely to see it...but it is there. It is timeless, it is forever...and it is made by God.

I shall keep working on my gentle quiet spirit...and so should that nameless blogger! The cheerleader...she is perfectly beautiful!

Don't be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
1Peter 3: 3-4

Monday, May 6, 2013

I Like Your Shoes!

 Hubby and I were walking through a department store quickly, in a rush and very task oriented ...when I glanced around and realized we were in the shoe department...and an "Ahhhh" of inner joy escaped my lips. I tried to keep up with his pace but he became aware he was leaving a "man" behind while on mission. I was in full shoe-orgasm. Our goal was no longer our goal but we had competing desires. My desire wasn't even close to his agenda for the day...No time for my retail shoe therapy!

My sweet grand-daughter inherited my love of shoes and at a young age would go into my closet and find my most expensive, most fancy high healed shoes and prance around the house. I understand this...that desire and the satisfaction. I love the design of shoes, the creative process that must go into the actual design of the shoe but more importantly I understand how a beautiful shoe can transform not just the look of your leg but your attitude. She may not understand any of that...she just knows what she likes and she likes shoes! As a toddler she would compliment women on their shoes..."I like your shoes" she would confidently tell them...reminding me how I will stop others including a total stranger and let them know of my approval of their shoe choice.

Why? I don't know. I have always loved shoes...I will suffer pain all day for a beautiful shoe. I consider it a sacrifice for love... love of a of me...hmmmm vanity. More importantly ...When is enough ...enough? My grandmother tells this wonderful story about how she was driving her car in town while in traffic and a beautiful hat in a store window caught her eye. She described the hat in detail, much the way I can describe shoes. As she gazed longingly for this hat, imagining it for her very own... she ran into the back of a car. Her lesson she shared with me was that "her vanity" caused her an expensive lesson in auto repair. I love the story...I love thinking about my grandmother as a young woman who thought her life could be transformed by a hat!

When we moved to Virginia from Florida, we packed all of our things...some for storage and some to move to temporary housing. When you need to pack things and more importantly decide what is worthy of taking with you and what is worthy of actually paying a monthly storage see you may have attached some very strong feelings to inanimate objects. I realized that while I consider these shoes lovely...I had too many. And too many emotions attached to an item that was frankly just a means to not be bare-footed. Gasp! They say clothes don't make the man...well, fancy shoes shouldn't make the gal!

I want my grand daughter to still indulge her love of fancy shoes but I want her to continue to know where her real sense of worth comes from ...not from external sources but from her jaw dropping inner beauty. The child exudes joy and her bubbling laughter tells all the world that her very life is a testimony to God's creation. She doesn't just walk into a room...she strides confidently looking for all the beauty she can see! She does that with bare feet, with flips flops, or any fancy shoe she loves!   

I want to be like that!

Don't be concerned about the outward beauty that depends on fancy hairstyles, expensive jewelry, or beautiful clothes. You should be known for the beauty that comes from within, the unfading beauty of a gentle quiet spirit, which is so precious to God.
1Peter 3: 3-4

Friday, May 3, 2013

Where Does the Love Go?

A short post this morning...because while I have plans this morning I also, have made a commitment to myself to Blog. Once a day. Monday-through Friday with my pondering/ meditation  scripture to inspire and guide me (see below) and hopefully to get "more good" at this writing thing.
I have a few dear friends in mind this morning. They are divorced. I was there in the beautiful beginning and later watched the crash and fall of their love. And while I have seen some couples evolve and keep the love albeit in another form theirs seems to have changed into pure hatred. When I think of them both...I want to remind them of what I saw in the beginning and ask simply..."Where does the love go?"

I also know of a family bitterly divided and not speaking to one another. I was there when that beautiful baby came into the world and KNOW how loved she was and still is..."Where does that love go?"

I imagine a box filled with lost and found love...waiting...just waiting...Some poor girl left her love on a park bench and when she returned to where she left it, it was gone. Some guy dropped his love like keys that fell from his pocket..and now can't retrace his steps. If love could be a tangible piece of property would we give it more respect? If we could transfer it like a piece of property...would we value it and treasure it more. If we could work hard and then be paid in love like currency...Would we see the wealth of the emotion?

I have seen people that have love, and then toss it away. While others never seem to find it and spend all their days searching. Where does all that thrown away, misplaced, and lost and forgotten love go?

Micah 6:8
  He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Love is All You Need!

I have been thinking about love...a lot these days. Many reasons. First, my husband and I have a anniversary coming up in a few months and I have been nostalgic about us. The story of us. I think he really is my soul mate and the love of my life. Big love...romantic love...dramatic love...quiet, strong love...I have been blessed to have found that in my life....and all with him.

 I have also been blessed with friends who I have a  strong bond of respect and love for ...people who I would drop everything and go to if they needed me and I know they would do that for me. Those who have proved that during big or small crisis's they are in my corner no matter what. 

I know the love of having children. I know what it feels like to love someone with such a fierce protective love that you would become savage to protect it. I have felt the unconditional love of my children that even when I failed them...they still hold my hand and call me mommy. That totally undeserving kind of love that is simply given with no expectation.

I have been equally blessed to know the love of grandchildren. I feel love and joy of the purest sense when I am with them. It is a time spent without the burden of responsibility or the guilt of parenting. I simply need to protect and love them and have FUN. The time I spend with my grandchildren is the nearest I can be to heaven on is love personified!

But, the love I am most thinking about today is the love of my grandmother. I knew she loved me but not until I had my own grandchildren did I fully understand her love for me. All the time she spent with me, all the words she said to me, all the prayers that were said for me...all of it showing the depth of her love for me. Of all my blessings...she stands out. I am blessed she still is in my life...she still lives because of the good care and love of her two daughters. Although she struggles to remember details...sometimes her stories come back to her and she shares them out loud with us. As she talks, we all remember...the love...the love...the love!

Micah 6:8
  He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What Does Love Look Like?

I lived in a larger city when I lived in Florida, a city  which was a suburb of a much larger city and now I live in a small town. All cities have homeless. My husband and I have always felt a calling and love towards the homeless population and we have served this population in both communities. My heart is filled with love and compassion when I am in their midst and I can say without judgement in my heart that when I see a homeless person I am seeing a life that is broken and hurting. I believe God made us for community and while we are not always loving and caring towards each other...deep in our core that is our purpose... to love one another.
But, we do not always love one another. We aren't always loving. It is the same in the homeless community. Some are loners, some couple up and others band together to become make-shift families. Some of them take advantage of each other, some are bullies and some become victims. Most of them are just trying to get-by...not much of a goal but they have forgotten how to make goals or have failed so many times they have stopped believing themselves capable of achieving that kind of milestone. It is not a pretty community. Yet, I have a story I carry with me in my heart from last cold, so cold winter that is beautiful. A story from two homeless men that lets me know of God's love.
I was standing greeting the guests as they signed in, near the opened door way. It was cold and I remember feeling a little ashamed that I was wearing such a nice coat while many were not. One man came in and I recognized him, I smiled and he came over and shook my hand. Immediately I knew he was intoxicated. He smelled, he swayed and he slurred through our short conversation. I directed him to the coffee. I poured him coffee and asked him how he took it and after it was made, we walked together to the table and sat down. I mentioned how cold it was. He seemed surprised which is something I am use to...I seem to always feel colder that others do. But, I had misunderstood his surprise...this was different. He at first seemed perplexed. Then he said out loud "It is cold, isn't it?" and I nodded. As he turned his head from side to side looking around the room he  commented "It will be below freezing tonight!" I agreed it would. He finished the coffee quickly, then standing to his feet,  he said someone's name out loud and another person commented that he wasn't there. Both homeless men began looking serious, concerned and sober. Then the man announced he was going outside to get this man.The woman at the desk cautioned him that if he didn't come back in 10 minutes he would be locked out for good. The man said simply "He can't be alone outside tonight in the cold!" I tried to talk to him, to no avail. He left. In what seemed like an eternity but was less than 10 minutes he walked in doing an awkward two-step... staggering  and dragging a nearly unconscious man. I ran over and put the very cold, very drunk man's arm over my shoulder and helped this man get his friend to a warm bed. I listened to him cajole and encourage his friend to bed. Telling him..."You will be fine! Sleep well." 

I listen to some people make disparaging comments about the homeless when they know that I volunteer. Some of the comments while mean, are even true but I have learned more about God's love from the homeless population that those people making those comments could ever teach me. We are made for community and we are to love one another.

Micah 6:8
  He has showed you, O man, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.