Ultimately though, be like Jesus Christ. These amazing men (Bob Goff/Bob Affeldt/Rod Janzen/Doc Fuder) mentioned in the title are strong examples of living in a such a way to give God the glory, to share the love of Christ to whomever the Lord places in their path in an authentic, organic, and winsome way. I am pretty sure their attitudes and lifestyles did not happen overnight, they are human after all. I am guessing that as they got older and deeper into their walk with Christ, things slowly began to change for them. Hearts softened. Desires changed. They learned as they went how to love others in a more Christ-like way as the years went by. I, too, am learning this. I hope. By God’s grace I am learning to ask more questions, be curious, not engage in arguments for arguments sake; that does no one any good! Listen more than speak. Be present; this I am learning from my dad. His dementia has progressed to the point of not being able to converse about current events or anything of substance. So, I have learned that just sitting outside with him watching the birds and the people come and go from the nearby parking lot is fulfilling for him. And, it is for me too. I cherish these times. Presence…patience…. silence…. just being there for someone shows them love. Time is our most precious commodity these days isn’t it?! I have also learned of late that my “agenda” for the day might not be God’s agenda. He may have other plans, and I need to be ok with that! We are in the process of moving and my list is loooong! Much to do, very little time in which to do it. However, just last week I was delayed twice in one day by two instances that were (annoying at first, lets be honest here) and then once I realized my purpose/God’s plan, I was completely at peace and truly filled with joy! The interactions with the people in those instances ended up being much more fulfilling than checking line items #8 and #9 off my “to-do” list.
What prompted this blog was a recent Ann Voskamp blog (highly recommend reading the guest post by Bob Goff) that I read which prompted me to begin reading Bob Goff’s two books: Love Does, and Everybody Always. Both inspiring books filled with stories of how we can love others well. We are commanded to do this by the way, to love God wholeheartedly and to love our neighbors as ourselves (Matt. 22:37-39) Bob Goff explains how we do this in a simple, engaging, sometimes humorous way. Simple, yet, difficult. Simple, yet sometimes messy. Simple, yet, potentially life-changing for both you and whomever you are showing love to.
I mentioned above that we will be moving soon. I have already been pondering who our new neighbors might be and how we might connect with them. Here is an excerpt from Bob Goff’s newest book:
Everybody Always that stood out to me. He was explaining how in his cul-de-sac neighborhood, they put on a New Year’s Day parade to celebrate their neighbors. From Bob: “Here’s why we do it: we can’t love people we don’t know. You can’t either. Saying we love our neighbors is simple. But guess what? Doing it is too. Just throw them a parade. We don’t think Jesus’ command to “love your neighbor” is a metaphor for something else. We think it means we’re supposed to actually love our neighbors. Engage them. Delight in them. Throw a party for them. When joy is a habit, love is a reflex.”
Now, that my friends…is gold. Please read Bob’s two books and let’s all commit to be the hands and feet of Jesus Christ to whomever the Lord places in our paths.
Side Note: We will truly miss our neighbors on Harbinger Street. The Lord certainly blessed us with amazing, loving, trustworthy and helpful neighbors. And, even though we did not engage with them as much as we should have, we will miss these lovely people. (Nancy, Bob and Gina, Paul and Deanna, Greg and Amy, Beth and Robert, Frank/Ying/Young/Alice, Rick and Taran, Jay and Janna, Michael and Shannon, thank you all for showing us love.)
Side/Side Note: These were the first men who popped into my head as I was reading the Ann Voskamp blog/ Bob Goff limo story There are several other women and men who come to mind as I continue to read Bob Goff’s inspiring books. Did I mention that everyone should be reading these books??!!
Would you agree that there are some things in life that we choose and some things we do not? Things we would never choose, for instance Covid or Cancer or any other seemingly awful disease or situation. However, the Lord in his omniscience sometimes chooses to allow these seasons in our lives, for His purposes, ultimately.
Every response from us, however, is a choice. We can choose to accept the situation or not. We can choose to fight back, or not. We can choose to praise Him above all, or not. We can choose to heed His promptings, or not.
If you think about it, everything from the moment our feet hit the floor each morning till our head hits the pillow each evening, everything we say, think, and do are choices. We can choose to love people each day, we can choose how we respond to others, and on it goes. Every minute of our lives involves a choice in how we respond.
All this to say, we can choose to be obedient to the Lord’s calling, prompting, and commandments, or not. There have been two specific times (many more actually) but for this blog I am choosing to focus on two specific instances the Lord has called me to thus far in my life.
Another trip around the sun. A friend gifted me custom pints of ice cream and one of the labels displayed this saying: “Another year sweeter” Super cute, however I don’t know about that. 😉 As I look forward to my birthday each year, this one is hitting me a bit differently than previous years.
As I gazed over at the side table in our kitchen that holds several b-day cards received this week, some touching, some funny, all of them thoughtful, and looked at the material gifts that I had received each day this week as the Lord so graciously ordained. My thoughts turned to my dad (and the fact that he is now gone from this earth as of Jan 6th this year) and the thought that the absolute best gift I could receive (from the Lord) was seeing a bluebird on my birthday. I wept at the thought. As, I have yet to see one since dad’s death.
As I woke up this morning (quite melancholy, knowing that this day will not be unlike most others unfortunately) after a restless night of sleep and continued my day as always, feeding the pups, reading devotionals and praying, making coffee, walking the pups etc.…It does hit me that even though my dad, Lou did not recall that Oct 7th was my b-day for many years preceding his death, which was super hurtful the first year that happened, it hit me that no one loves you quite like your parents. And, when they are gone, nothing will ever be quite the same. There is a deep void in our heart and soul that realizes, no one will love you in the same way your parents did. That is my experience now (in this moment) and I realize that will not be everyone’s experience. I was blessed to have parents that loved me despite my flaws, which were truly my biggest cheerleaders in this temporary life on earth. And, when they are both gone from this earth, it changes things, and that truly did not hit me until this week leading up to my b-day.
We entered 2021 excited for what was to come. Things were looking up! We had a goal, a vision, and a purpose that gave us great joy. We had it all planned out. Our amazing graphic designer, Preston, had created the artwork. I had sourced just the right garments. Our trusty local printer printed onto the amazing garments. We had created giftable items for folks who might be looking for something more than apparel. We spent several months curating, sourcing, and working towards our goal of launching THE most amazing thing ever. We had a plan; (we have learned over 5 years to plan far ahead of the seasons.) We even had a pop-up planned at a trendy store. We were super excited to launch this powerful, hopefully life-giving movement. Everything was on target.
Then…during a benign Monday night in early January, we got a phone call. For anyone who has ever been a caregiver, you know that when you see the facility name and number pop up on your screen, your heart drops a little bit.