Steve (not his real name) was a young man with a wife who loved him and two sons who he spent all his spare time with. He had it all...
family, a job he loved, a beautiful home, and friends and family he spent the weekends with...
Then God found Steve, drew Steve to Himself and set Steve apart to be his disciple. Steve wanted to love God with all his heart. He was so excited about his newfound faith and love for his Savior and wanted to share it with his wife...
Nothing doing was her reply, sending him on his way to be a 'Jesus freak'. After much pleading with his wife praying she would change her mind, Steve consented to the divorce she wanted.
When I met Steve his son had just been diagnosed with cancer, who only had days to live, he went to be with Jesus as a boy. Steve stayed with Jesus.
Steve went on to marry a wonderful Christian woman who loved Jesus as much as he did.
Shortly after he was married, he had problems with his sight, going blind in one eye.
I wonder if he ever asked,
how much more Lord?
If he ever wanted to say
Jesus, this is too much?
Divorce, death of his son and eye problems visited him over the course of a year.
It has been a long time since I talked to Steve. As far as I know he never said 'why me'? But stayed with Jesus knowing that God knew what he was doing even in the tragedies of life.
He trusted God's heart when he couldn't trace his hand, knowing that God does work in mysterious ways.
I was asked this question last week, a few days before my birthday.
Are you old enough for the senior's discount?
This was the second time in two weeks this question has come up. Must be the gray, boring sweater I've been wearing!! Or the wispy white hairs starting to appear...okay, they've been there a while!! I've been surprised by the questions but not disheartened because I finally decided what I want to be when I grow up...
I want to be an "old" person.
I often find myself in the company of senior citizens. And some day soon I will be wearing that label.
I have fond memories of drinking buttermilk and eating sliced apples with Grandpa & Grandma Lynk, although it was Grandpa Lynk who gave me and my sisters the buttermilk. Now that I think about it, Grandma was no where to be found when the carton of buttermilk was pulled out of the frig. Probably watching the gameshow Concentration or playing the piano. With salt sprinkled on the frothy top of the thick, sour ice-cold milk , it went down smooth. I"m sure the only reason I endured this white sludge was I wanted to be with Grandpa...the only time I use it today is for baking. Blecch!!!
Many Sunday nights we visited Grandpa and Grandma Nicholson, eating ice cream with saltines crunched on top. Grandma was brave to let little girls eat ice cream in china bowls, which I inherited.
Throughout highschool and college I would rather eat Zeno's pizza with my parents and their friends. Could be there weren't many my age who knew how to have fun. Hanging out with the "old" people was where the action was. Rob and I got married with our first pastorate full of wonderful people old enough to be our parents and grandparents. Yes,we were quite young when we married. We gained much encouragement from retired pastors and their wives in three churches we pastored.
Today I look up to those who have chosen to not waste their life and continue to serve the Lord. I have many white haired relatives and friends who don't sit still very long spending countless hours serving the Lord they love at church, in soup kitchens, working with kids in AWANA or keeping a full schedule speaking about Jesus and marriage. My parents were and are examples of how to live daily reaching out to others. My mom keeps a busier schedule than I do and if you know my age, you can guess hers, cuz I'm not telling!! Day in and day out I see many keeping up with those who are 20 years younger. I struggle to find a word that honors them, but they certainly are my role model.
Recently I asked Jani Ortlund
how to navigate living far away from loved ones, especially adult children and grandchildren. She was gracious to respond with ways to keep in touch, ways to spend time and especially how to pray for our far-flung families. What struck me the most was the fact she and her pastor/husband will retire in four years from the pastorate and work full-time with Renewal Ministries at 70 years old.
This is the birthday I made a decision of who I want to be when I grow up.
Well, my faithful reading friends, I hate to make my first 2016 appearance about this post, but it is timely in that 8 eight years today my Dad died. The ripped edges of my heart have healed into a dad sized scar and I miss him. The tears have subsided but that will never minimize the fact I miss him, but so many precious memories remain.
Happy Tuesday and hopes for a brighter post in the coming days...I promise!
I'm not sure where to even begin this post because it is about funerals and death. Because this post that has been ruminating for a long time, I may ramble. But you will follow along in my rambles won't you??!!!
In the line of work I am in along with my pastor/husband, I see death far too often. Since early December we have had three people from our Church pass into eternity. Shortly after the very sudden and shock filled death of a 60 year old man in mid-January, I asked my resident "theologian"(my pastor/husband) why every.single. time. I am shocked when I hear of death. He simply said death is our very last enemy. I also think of the world I live in, which includes the recent killing of Christians by ISIS. Death should not come as a surprise but it does. It has reminded me to live for today, to take in each moment and yes, make the most of the day.
Death usually leads to funerals where the loved one that has passed away is remembered. A practice done in our Church by our pastors is the opening up to the group a time of remembrance where anyone can speak about the person that has passed away, any words of encouragement to the family or a memory to be shared. I find this time a highlight of a funeral, if there is a highlight, because you hear how the person lived, how much they were loved and how they lived their life.
The question eating at my heart is why do we wait until someone has died to say out loud what they meant to us? Why do we not love wildly, throwing caution to the wind letting that person know how they have inspired us? Why do we wait until they can't hear it to say it? Maybe I'm making assumptions here and I have asked these questions over the past few months. Do those who mean the most to me know how I love them? Have I told them how they have inspired me? Do I live today like I may not have tomorrow? (Matthew 6:34)
When I go home to be with Jesus, I want it to be said of me I loved God, family and my neighbor. Not because I said I wanted to live that way but because those I loved so much knew it because I told them in word and actions. And may they say she loved God with all her heart, mind and soul which was displayed to not just those she loved the most on this earth, but to anyone who came across her path. A simple smile, a small gesture, a hi, how are you? will change a stranger's day.I do not know what tomorrow holds, but I know who holds my tomorrows how ever many they will be. Today, I am choosing to live life joyfully and finding who I can love lavishly!!