A flood of images washed over me: of wives whose husbands would never come home again. Firefighters, police officers, emergency crews, medical technicians, and many brave, good men who weren’t trained to be heroes but who stepped up to the job. There were mothers who would give anything to have their sons or daughters arrive late or infrequently, just to have them walk through their doors again, and daughters and sons who wondered why daddy hadn’t come home, who would miss out on memories that my children were able to make.
My words for you this day, while I think of so many of you putting your foot forward for your next step on that tightrope, are prayers for joy in the soaring moments and the gut-wrenching struggles; for confidence in what’s true about your sure foundation in Christ regardless of insecurities that swarm around decisions about math books or DVDs or ability to keep your children healthy and growing in wisdom; for strength for the long days and rest for the sleepless nights; for union with Christ, wherein we find our only rest and from whom flows our only strength.
In short, I pray for perseverance.
Fellowship and communion cannot happen where everyone arrives as rulers of their own little kingdoms. There is no glory in winning the argument over the best way to do a potluck.
I can only be sufficiently satisfied in my own heart when I stop looking outside my heart for contentment—and that is only through the grace of Christ.
How things have changed—and yet, they’ve stayed the same! Time never seems to act the way we want it to. I find it incomprehensible that I am in my 50s, that more than half of an average woman’s lifetime has elapsed—until I look in the mirror and see that my mind’s eye has tricked me and aging’s truth serum reveals the brutal reality that so many years have sped by.
But, on the other hand, I seem to spend so much energy marking time wherein there seems to be no evidence that my prayers are heard or regarded in the heavens.
Despite the growing societal disdain for “evangelicals” as a loosely identified political class in America, evangelism (which, by default, is practiced by evangelicals) is a thing. A believer embraces the evangel, the good news, the gospel. To the one who believes, it is the power of God for salvation (Romans 1:16), by which we are saved, if we hold fast to it (1 Corinthians 15:2), a truth embedded in the Scriptures which gives eternal life to those who come in truth (John 5:39-40).
Properly approached, resolutions can provide a checkpoint for a family to engage in spiritual self-examination and an opportunity for the members to encourage one another in Christian living.
A life in 4 sentences. Eighty-four years summed up in about 90 words: lineage, marriage, widowhood, temple service—and an encounter with the Messiah, the redemption of Jerusalem. With just these verses, we are given only a glimpse into her life.
It is the essence of Christian love to care for the orphans and the widows, the poor in spirit and the impoverished in heart, the sick in soul, and the discouraged (James 1:27). Now is the time they need to be remembered, now when the ache is most pronounced, when the holes seem to echo. You might say it’s a holey season for them, during these weeks, when Christmas memories are triggered by smells and sights and sounds at every corner, when every occasion seems to highlight the invitations not sent, never received, because mail doesn’t get delivered into the next life.
The blessing of going into love blind was like a concrete foundation of faithfulness and devotion that no passage of time could erode. The long-term consequences have been the greatest gift of all: I never have to worry about not being enough. Despite what my father had hinted, the most important decision in my life could be made without regard to the acceptability of my appearance. Looks fade; shared interests in fads and fancies wane. Love built on companionship, sealed by Christian integrity, and sprinkled with like-mindedness withstands the battering of discontentment, selfishness, and distrust. (A repost of an original blog post at Servants of Grace)