Intersecting Life and Faith

Category: Lose Your Life (Page 2 of 14)

Friends and relatives who have chosen to give their lives away to the benefit of someone else

The Dash

Not the one hundred meter dash,  dash of salt, or a mad dash to get in out of the rain.

But the dash found in a cemetery.

Three months ago, walking down a grassy hill I found myself looking at headstones in the cemetery as a great friend, gone too soon, was laid to rest. The stones tell the name, year born and the year the loved one entered eternity. What isn’t mentioned is the life lived. But the small sign used to begin and end numbers, is the most important mark on that headstone.

Why does a small mark on a piece of stone give me pause? If the blank had to be filled between the year of my birth and death, what would the words be?

Strangely, I think about this everyday. Not in a morbid, fearful way, but a thoughtful, careful way, remembering that each day, each breath, each activity is an opportunity to love God and my neighbor. I confess I am not always successful in what I say, how I have used my time by having a productive day or wasting my time on social media or if I have thought of others, acting on those thoughts rather than ignoring what God was asking me to do today.

The dash is a daily gift to look beyond my world and comfort zone and be in tune to what the Lord has for each day He gives.

What are you doing with your dash?

Shifting Sand?

Today’s post is a follow-up to That Time of The Year .  Cheryl, a long time friend, ended her comment with this;

After they are gone I don’t know what I’ll do with myself…..

Cheryl is a mom of two, who has given 110% to raising her children and in a few short years, they will be on their own. My first thought when I read her comment was ‘how could she say that?’ My sneaking suspicion and  judgemental thought was ‘how could she not have anything to do after her kids are gone? Was her entire life her kids?

But truth be told, she is me. I’ve had the very same thoughts and voiced some of my fears to some of you. You can check my categories posts to find me talking about some of those fears. Yes, our kids leave a void, sometimes a cavern so gaping we don’t know how it can it be filled.  Again, we can fill in the blank about what we fill our lives with and then that thing, person or how we live is stripped away. It’s not just mothers who ask, ‘now what?’

Friends, we don’t have to be mothers to have the feelings of life turned upside down. Life is ever-changing, daily joys and sorrows are proof of that as my husband gives me a daily dispatch on the community he pastors.

The cavern of 

  • A spouse passing away
  • Retirement bringing the same question of ‘what’s next’?
  • Cancer report brings us to the end of ourselves.
  • The ongoing bad news around our nation and world floods the evening news.

You fill in the blank. There is nothing new under the sun, but when it happens to you or me, it is new. Unexpected, devastation, depression, and fears are just some of the raw emotions we can face. But the good news is…

There is the gospel of good news. There is a Savior we can know who will fill the cavern, our hearts, giving us joy and peace that cannot be explained. 

I took the timely advice of Elizabeth Elliott, which I heard many years ago. 

Just do the next thing.

Focus on what is before, not focusing on the future.

  • Prepare for the future today by saturating our hearts and minds in the living Word of God.
  • Pursue spending time getting to know a loving Heavenly Father.
  • Point your focus on Jesus every single day.
  • Practice loving God and our neighbor every day.

Today is the day to do the next thing, gaze on our Lord and glance at the shifting sand of daily life circumstances. Because, like the sand that is easily blown about, so our days come with changes and challenges.  May we find our foundation not in the shifting sand but in Jesus, who never changes. 

How firm a foundation, ye saints of the Lord,
Is laid for your faith in His excellent Word!
What more can He say than to you He hath said,
You, who unto Jesus for refuge have fled? (How Firm A Foundation~~John Rippon)

That Time of Year

Late last night, my eyes were burning and  my legs were sore from exercise I had done with a friend who had said, ‘how about a fourth loop?’ We were walking at the local park…each loop is almost a mile!!!

As I laid in bed, trying to sleep, my favorite group of people came to mind; moms. I almost got up to write this post, but knew if I put myself in front of the glaring computer screen late at night, I would regret it.

It’s that time of year again, when children of all ages leave the nest…and Jody gets back to writing.

School has begun for some of you and Lauren will head off to begin her junior year next week. Two years from now I will be sitting at my desk and she will not be in her bed in the next room, but in a college classroom…that’s the goal!

Early this summer I saw a frazzled mom walk across a parking lot. It was apparent she had just come from work. With a teenager in tow,  who was doing her best to help her mom carry loads of dirty clothes into the laundromat, but dropping towels all over the pavement. I recognized ‘the look’ mom was giving daughter. I wanted to jump out of my car and give her hand, but I might be considered a crazy lady. (Yep, this post began a long time ago.) This mom could have been me many years ago as I wanted to be the best mom to four children and do it all. Because that is what we do isn’t it? We pour our lives 110% into the children God has given us and then they leave. But that’s the goal too, isn’t it? Unless you want them to live in your basement!!

Some of my favorite moms will put their children on yellow school buses, some will send them off to high school driving for the first time and some have driven their college age kids many miles away from home and left them there. It’s never easy to let them go. But as Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 tells us, there is a time for everything. I’ve also learned more times than I like to admit, that Justin, Hannah, Kelsey and Lauren are not mine. When they were only a few months old, we stood before our congregations and dedicated them to the Lord to do whatever He wants with them. They weren’t mine then and they are not mine now. I surrender them to my loving Heavenly Father on a daily basis. I am reminded of the verse God gave me out of no where during my college days. God knew I would need this not so gentle reminder even thirty years down the road because of the four children He knew I would have, and the conflict I would have at times to keep Christ as my primary love.

The person who loves father or mother more than Me is not worthy of Me; the person who loves son our daughter more than Me is not worthy of Me. And whoever doesn’t take up his cross and follow Me is not worthy of Me. Anyone finding his life will lose it, and anyone losing his life because of me will find it. Matthew 10:37-39

I think of two other mothers who have done the leaving this summer. Leaving family and children at home, they went to Africa to get to know children who do not have moms. They went to love on the least of these, orphans. I am struck by the fact their hearts and lives are big enough for children who need love. I know it wasn’t easy to leave six children with their father or for one to leave a mom who wasn’t feeling well. But they also knew God had called them to this task and they followed their Savior this summer very far from anything familiar.

Sometimes children do the leaving, sometimes the moms do the leaving. But will I follow Him not matter what?(Matthew 4:19)

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