As I think back to the sweet season when I gave my life to Christ and was on fire to share, grow, and learn the Bible, I recall a vivid memory of being lovingly corrected by our oh-so-wise Bible study leader, Terry. Please allow me to brag a bit on this amazing woman who so graciously gave much of her time to leading women’s discipleship courses (each one 36 weeks!), back-to-back. When there were no more “formal” studies at the church to teach, she graciously opened her lovely home weekly to continue to teach us the truths of God’s Word.
Terry is steadfast, warm, quick-witted, intelligent, hilarious and fun, I could go on and on. Anyway, I was young in the faith and had immersed myself so deeply in the Bible, I thought I had a pretty good handle on at least the basics of the faith. I can only imagine how many times I may had jubilantly exclaimed, “Everyone is a child of God!” I don’t know, maybe it did only happen once, even though I recall deeply believing this to be true. Maybe I heard a pastor preach it along the way, or learned it from another well-meaning Christ-follower, I cannot recall.
What I will never forget though, is how I was stopped (lovingly) in my tracks when I exclaimed this during one of our lessons at Terry’s home. You know that feeling when your stomach drops after hearing or learning something you thought to be true, or hearing something so shocking? Yep, that is what happened to me, even though she was so kind about it, it was such a deep-seated truth to me and it rocked my world. “Sweetie, everyone is not a child of God. We were all created in the image of God (Genesis 1:27), however, only the people who have given their life to Jesus Christ have the right to be called “children of God”. In John 1:12-13, God's Word says, “Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God”
It took me a short while to come to grips with this Truth. However, it does make sense and, if He said it, I believe it!
Every human being is created in the image of God, so, we need to keep that in mind as we go about our day, and pray that we have eyes and hearts that look upon all human beings as having worth and value.
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves. ~ Philippians 2:3
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.
In mid-March, Kansas declared that schools would close for the rest of the school year. Other states soon made the same determination.
Very quickly we started hearing terms like “Shelter at Home” and “Social distancing.” “Quarantine” was a word seldom heard these days…until now when we hear it daily.
The words “Pandemic” and “Plague,” although foreign and strange to the younger generation, engender memories giving rise to fear in the minds and hearts of the oldest among us.
Businesses and churches closed,
The economy faltered,
Violence at home is increasing,
and Deaths from the virus are reported daily.
Many of us have only seen times like these in movies or read about them in books.
and Discouragement is on the rise, exacerbated by the news reports and accompanied by weather fluctuations from cold and wintry to mild and spring-like and back to wintry again.
And we are all wondering, "How long???"
Nothing is certain except that nothing is certain.
I always love it when I read those words “But God” in my Bible. Often they follow bad circumstances or evil, offering hope to a situation that would otherwise seem hopeless.