Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Final Chapter

You show that you are a letter from Christ...written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God... 2 Corinthians 3:3 NIV
Bent over two bowls of soup, we share lunch on the hospital tray. He doesn't say much, for what's there to say when you traverse between the bed and a wheelchair day after day? We'd all hoped for a better outcome - one that found restoration either this side of heaven or the other. Instead, I share soup across the table from the shadow of a man I call "Dad." 
He sips and labors over every bite like he's plowing through a banquet-sized meal and I sense his frustration - how little pleasures like eating aren't pleasures anymore, but rather, struggles that steal his breath and I know what he's thinking - "Why go on living?"
My spirit cries within me, "Take him home, Jesus. Take him home!" But Jesus answers, "I'm not finished writing his story just yet. Keep reading." 

I read between the lines through the silence - flashback to a time when I would have wished him gone - not to relieve his pain, but my own - to suffer the same pain his abandonment caused me - wished he'd simply disappear. But he came back. 

And now.
Now, I stand at the bathroom sink scrubbing his dirty dentures and bend over the laundry basket folding his shirts wondering from where in his story this love comes? What makes me want to do these things for him? It's no love I conjured up on my own for this dying man; nothing I ever wrote down or plotted.
This is all part of God's story written between us. The story where forgiveness dissolves diseases like anger and resentment and where Love rewrites the ending, not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God.
And, where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom to love as He loves; to see others as He sees them; to restore all the time and circumstances once stolen. This Spirit breathes warmth and light and new life into our cold, cold hearts, our deepest, darkest thoughts and our shattered families and redeems all things through Christ.
While it's difficult watching Dad slowly whittle away, I pray for patience to watch and wait for God's perfect ending to this final chapter. 

Abba, Father,
While we watch and wait for the end - whether in our own lives or a loved one's life - help us to always look for your story you're writing in the midst of all the suffering. Fill us with your Spirit that helps us see others through your eyes and love as you love. Grant us the patience and understanding during these most difficult times and where forgiveness needs granting, humble us to offer it as it has been freely given to us through your Son, Jesus. Amen

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Spinning Free

"Now the Lord is Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom." 2 Corinthians 3:17

Her supple, young hand clasped mine as we wound our way through the back streets to the wooded neighborhood park. We marveled at the sunshine and painted autumn leaves that crunched underneath our feet and agreed, spring was still our favorite season. We claimed our own swing and flew higher than this middle-aged body could stand. So I spun instead; spun on that swing 'til the chains twisted together and my feet rose higher and higher off the ground.

And then, I let go.

(Spin over to Christian Children's Authors Blog for the rest of the story, won't you?)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Cast Out All Fear

"There is no fear in love. But
perfect love drives out fear..."
1 John 4:18a

The shadows rise tall above her bed in the purple room as the night light bleeds shadows across the ceiling. Blessed with an active imagination, monster pictures squelch sleep from her eyes.
She braves the shadows and tries to shut them out, but soon her tiny feet pad across the carpet and into my bedroom next door.
"Grams? I'm scared," she whispers.
(Psssst! Tip toe across the blogosphere with me and read the rest of the story at refresh, won't you? Click here.)

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Does God Play Favorites?

"Keep me as the apple of your eye; hide me in the shadow of your wings..." Psalm 17:8

Let's be honest, we all have our favorites - we like one thing better than another. We prefer blue over green, corn over cauliflower, summer over spring, bugs over baby dolls, and.... well, you get the idea.
When it comes to our kids, however, we simply cannot choose one over the other. How can we when they're part of us - a mini me or a mini him - created in our image? Wouldn't that be rejecting ourselves? But, it is possible to make each child the apple of our eye - to know they are precious in our sight - because that's how God treats us.
Yes, God plays favorites:
"For the Lord's portion is his people, Jacob his alotted inheritance...
He shielded him and cared for him;
he guarded him as the apple of his eye,
like an eagle that stirs up its nest
and hovers over its young,
that spreads its wings to catch them
and carries them aloft
." Deuteronomy 32:9-11
(Pssst! Meet me over at the Christian Children's Authors blog with many more of God's favored ones, won't you?)