Tuesday, December 22, 2015

The Missed Opportunity

Its been almost two years since the loss of my friend.
I am not sure I can fully explain what her death has done to me.
It has brought me low
and caused me to reconsider my posture
when it comes to evangelism.
This woman was a great and loyal friend.
We spent time together sharing life.
She had a low view of God and Christ's redeeming power.
And although I knew this,
there were very few times that I made attempts
to share who Christ was to me
and what He could be for her.
I am ashamed that I did not try harder,
or value her enough
to think it should have been more important
than sharing recipes
and how to care for our kids and parents.

I thought that there would be plenty of time for that.
I did not feel the need to rush in.
And then my opportunity was gone.
Sure she knew I attended church
and that Bible study was important to me.
She even accepted my invitation to attend Easter service one year.
She saw many ways that I was working out my faith in my life
But....we never specifically spoke of it

I found out after her death 
of the deep dark hurting heart that she had been carrying around.
She never told me
All those days we spent hours together
I never knew of the self abuse that was going on
Why was I so blind to it?
In some ways I think I chose to be blind to it
This is what hurts my heart now
If I could get even one hour back
to hold her hands and look into her eyes
to share the hope of Jesus
to really listen
But I can't

I believe that there is still purpose in this loss of my friend
What can I take away from this?
Don't wait....
we live among those that need hope
Don't wait...
be brave and speak the love of Jesus
Don't wait...
we all have a broken heart over something.

If I love and care for someone
not only should I share my brokenness
I should do my best to understand theirs.
There is nothing more important for me to do this coming year
than to be an instrument of hope
Everything else is so small

As far as it depends on me...
I must speak
even when I am nervous that it could close the door on a relationship
I must practice
peacemaking, Jesus style. 
with purpose, 
open hearted, 
willing to be misunderstood and belittled.

There is no time to waste
Take it from me...

Matthew 5:13-16 (AMP)
 “You are the salt of the earth; 
but if the salt has lost its taste (purpose), how can it be made salty? 
It is no longer good for anything, 
but to be thrown out 
and walked on by people [when the walkways are wet and slippery].
“You are the light of [Christ to] the world. 
A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; 
nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, 
but on a lamp-stand, and it gives light to all who are in the house. 
Let your light shine before men 
in such a way that they may see 
your good deeds and moral excellence, 
and [recognize and honor and] glorify your Father who is in heaven.

1 John 4:7-19(AMP)

Beloved, let us [unselfishly] 
love and seek the best for one another, 
for love is from God; 
and everyone who loves [others] is born of God 
and knows God [through personal experience]. 
The one who does not love 
has not become acquainted with God 
[does not and never did know Him], 
for God is love. 
[He is the originator of love, 
and it is an enduring attribute of His nature.]
By this the love of God was displayed in us, 
in that God has sent His [One and] only begotten Son 
[the One who is truly unique, the only One of His kind] 
into the world so that we might live through Him. 
In this is love, not that we loved God, 
but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation 
[that is, the atoning sacrifice, and the satisfying offering] 
for our sins 
[fulfilling God’s requirement 
for justice against sin and placating His wrath]. 
Beloved, if God so loved us [in this incredible way], 
we also ought to love one another. 
No one has seen God at any time. 
But if we love one another [with unselfish concern], 
God abides in us, 
and His love [the love that is His essence abides in us and] 
is completed and perfected in us. 
By this we know [with confident assurance] 
that we abide in Him and He in us, 
because He has given to us His [Holy] Spirit. 
We [who were with Him in person] 
have seen and testify [as eye-witnesses] 
that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
Whoever confesses and acknowledges that Jesus is the Son of God, 
God abides in him, and he in God. 
We have come to know [by personal observation and experience], 
and have believed [with deep, consistent faith] 
the love which God has for us. 
God is love, 
and the one who abides in love abides in God, 
and God abides continually in him. 
In this [union and fellowship with Him], 
love is completed and perfected with us, 
so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment 
[with assurance and boldness to face Him]; 
because as He is, 
so are we in this world. 
There is no fear in love [dread does not exist]. 
But perfect (complete, full-grown) love drives out fear, 
because fear involves [the expectation of divine] punishment, 
so the one who is afraid [of God’s judgment] 
is not perfected in love 
[has not grown into a sufficient understanding of God’s love]. 
We love, because He first loved us. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Being Constant

I have had these dishes since the day I was married
They have seen and heard it all
If there was a way to transfer all the meals,
and memories from these dishes
I would do it.

laughing, crying, celebration, grieving

And now...
these dishes are in the midst of another change
and yet the owner is the same as the beginning

In the past month
Like moving positions on a game board.
We have been unpacking,
adjusting to the idea that as a family we are changing again.

The Pa. nest is essentially how it needs to be
so that Wes and I have a lovely place to live when we are there.

Now to move on to all the transition in Arizona.
This is a big job.
A big major move for the family.
Everyone is on the move.

We have held on to our home in Az.
these last 3 years we have been in Pa.
where we raised two children to adulthood
where extended family came to stay
where holidays and birthdays were celebrated
where laughter echos from every room
homework, meals, slug days, movie nights
sibling rivalries, arguments about curfews
discussions about life struggles
talking, talking, so much talking
a home that love built

And now it is finally time to let go of what was
and face what is

This past weekend
these dishes served a meal to movers.
Friends that were helping my daughter
move her things to her new place in the world.
All her worldly possessions
in the hands of others
as I washed these dishes
alone in the house

With both my little chicks out of this nest
it feels a bit weird
for a season it was overflowing with stuff and people.
I was constantly in the kitchen
whipping up something for someone to eat.
Dishes at the ready....

My take away from all of this so far...
some things never change
but most things do

Change is unavoidable
Which makes it even more clear to me the importance of clinging
to the things that never change
the constants in my life

First and foremost
I have a Heavenly Father who loves me
A Savior who came to earth to live and die for me
A Holy Spirit who is my constant companion....

This is not true of everyone that I love and hold most dear
I pray that they all would come to know the joy and comfort
this brings

and just like my dishes
I am waiting and ready to be used
to be present in the moment
to be consistent
to be an instrument in My Fathers Hands
to be up for the job
through all this change
I hope and pray to be constant and steady

John 14:1-21 (NCV)

Jesus said, “Don’t let your hearts be troubled.
Trust in God, and trust in me.
There are many rooms in my Father’s house;
I would not tell you this if it were not true.
I am going there to prepare a place for you.
After I go and prepare a place for you,
I will come back and take you to be with me 
so that you may be where I am.
You know the way to the place where I am going.”
Thomas said to Jesus, “Lord, we don’t know where you are going.
So how can we know the way?”
Jesus answered, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life.
The only way to the Father is through me.
If you really knew me, you would know my Father, too.
But now you do know him, and you have seen him.”
Philip said to him, “Lord, show us the Father. That is all we need.”
Jesus answered, “I have been with you a long time now.
Do you still not know me, Philip?
Whoever has seen me has seen the Father.
So why do you say, ‘Show us the Father’?
Don’t you believe that I am in the Father and the Father is in me?
The words I say to you don’t come from me,
but the Father lives in me and does his own work.
Believe me when I say that I am in the Father and the Father is in me.
Or believe because of the miracles I have done.
I tell you the truth, 
whoever believes in me will do the same things that I do.
Those who believe will do even greater things than these,
because I am going to the Father.
And if you ask for anything in my name,
I will do it for you so that the Father’s glory will be shown 
through the Son.
If you ask me for anything in my name, I will do it.
“If you love me, you will obey my commands.
I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper
to be with you forever—
the Spirit of truth.
The world cannot accept him, 
because it does not see him or know him.
But you know him, because he lives with you and he will be in you.
“I will not leave you all alone like orphans; I will come back to you.
In a little while the world will not see me anymore, but you will see me.
Because I live, you will live, too.
On that day you will know that I am in my Father,
and that you are in me and I am in you.
Those who know my commands and obey them 
are the ones who love me,
 and my Father will love those who love me.
I will love them and will show myself to them.”