Tuesday, February 23, 2010

A Dead Rat

A few days ago while on my morning jog, I saw a huge rat in the middle of the street. It was lying on it's side twitching, jumping, convulsing--I wondered if it had been hit by a car. I know it's a RAT but my heart felt compassion towards this little creature and I wished there was something I could do to put it out of it's misery. I didn't know what to do, so I did nothing, just simply finished my run. But not without this little experience leaving an impression on me.

Watching that creature die reminded me how imminent death is! And strangely, watching it writhe in pain reminded me of my mom's suffering. And I wondered--couldn't everyone just die peacefully, painlessly in their sleep? Why the suffering? And to be honest, I'm not sure I have a great answer. But I do know one thing, the pain, suffering, and fallenness of this world make me long for heaven with more zeal, passion, and urgency than I ever have before. Maybe that's the point.

If God knows when a bird or a sparrow falls, He certainly knows when a rat does too. Nothing is beyond His knowledge and control, and nothing is out of His loving hands. I needn't fear the future. One day I will be face-to-face with death like that rat...it will be my moment. God knows that exact moment and has ordained it. His ways are higher than mine and beyond my understanding. Proverbs says for a lesson in life to look to the ant. I looked to a rat. It's just like God to use a rat to speak to me!

"A god who does not rule all things absolutely is no God at all--but only a weak, frustrated, defeated idol, carved from one of the trees in the dark forest of man’s depraved imagination!" -Don Fortner

I know that the LORD is great, that our Lord is greater than all gods. The LORD does whatever pleases Him, in the heavens and on the earth, in the seas and all their depths! -Psalm 135:5-6

All the peoples of the earth are regarded as nothing. He does as He pleases with the powers of heaven and the peoples of the earth. No one can hold back his hand or say to him: "What have You done?" -Daniel 4:35

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Pay For A Stranger's Starbucks

The other day I ordered from a drive-through Starbucks. The perfect opportunity to anonymously pay for the person behind me! So I ceased the opportunity to accomplish another birthday resolution.

At the window I asked the cashier, "Can I please pay for the car behind me?" She said, "Sure, do you know them?" And I answered her honestly and said, "No, I don't know them." She looked kind of surprised and said, "What should I tell them?" And I said, "You can tell them that I serve a generous God and so I wanted to do something generous for someone."

The lady smiled and said, "Maybe they will pay it forward." I said, "Maybe." And I smiled back, paid for the strangers grande mocha caramel frappaccino, and drove away.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

A Year Later

Yesterday was exactly one year since my mom passed away, went to heaven, died...however you want to say it. The point is, she's gone.

I'll never see her smile again, or the twinkle in her bright blue eyes. I'll never again sit at the dinner table with her or ask her to do me a favor. I'll never go to another play with her or bake another batch of apricot cookies with her. We'll never watch another episode of Dancing With the Stars together or critique the American Idol contestants together. I'll never again call her to chat on the way home from work, ask her for advice, or sing a song with her. No one will ever be as honest with me when I ask for criticism, no one will be as hard on me when I need to be pushed, and no one will love me like my mom did.

But I do know this...

My mom is happier than she has ever been. My mom is at total peace and total rest. My mom is with her Savior. My mom is whole and complete. She is without sin. My mom would not come back if she could. And I wouldn't want her to.

I know this...
One day I will see my mom again and I will sing with her again. But this time no sin and no flesh will get in the way of singing praises to God. And I know that God is good and everything He does is good, and is for my good. Those aren't just words...it's TRUTH.

I told my friend the other day, cancer did not take my mom's life. God, in His infinite love, wisdom, and mercy, called my mom home on February 10, 2009. God is the giver and sustainer of life. He gives and He takes away. And I will bless His name.

My very talented friend wrote a poem many years ago after her father died and she shared it with me yesterday. Here's a short piece of it that really resonated with me and encouraged my heart:

"Having given, the Father,
Having been given, the Son,
Being now given, the Spirit,
Triune know, oh they know, and
Are one in comfort,
And as our tears flow,
So theirs;
They know.
They know.
They more than know.
The Lord does not just provide;
He is our provision; and there is nothing lacking.
Yes, tears still come, bewilderment and sorrow recur;
He doesn’t just say, stiffen that upper lip;
He says “Come to Me. . . and I will give you rest.”
And He does, oh yes, He does."

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Contact My Long Lost Uncle

I haven't spoken to my uncle in probably 20 years! He's been estranged from the family I guess you could say. I decided--now that I'm an adult I should try to reach out to him. I was nervous and felt stupid, but I swallowed my fear and sent my uncle a letter and a CD of my mom's memorial service along with my contact information.

I was surprised to receive a brief by very nice email in response right away! WOW. So I emailed my uncle a picture of our family and more details about our lives these days. I don't know where this communication will lead but I'm thankful the Lord opened this door. And I want to be faithful wherever it may go from here.

"Don't be afraid to step out of your comfort zone and take big risks for the glory of God." -Tim Pickard (my first HS staff Bible study shepherd)