27 October, 2010

Hello Son

"When he was still a long way off, his father saw him. His heart pounding, he ran out, embraced him, and kissed him.” Luke 15:20

And from a long way off, he saw him. He leapt off the porch and ran to greet him. His lost son was making his way home. What a glorious sight, he was coming home. This is how God feels about you and me. Whether we wander by choice or by circumstance, He waits, looking and searching for our presence on the road home.

Our son was born on September 7, 1989. It was 6 a.m. What a day! How glorious was God’s blessing. In some ways it seems that our son had been running away since his birth date. Of course, we didn’t know or recognize that he was running. We had a wonderful, blessed life with this son that included the normal ups and downs of child rearing. It is after all not for the weak of heart! So he grew and grew and ran and ran.

Days went by, even years, and before we knew it this son of ours was 20 years old. And yes, he was still running. Relationships were existing but damaged, painful, shallow and remote.

Then the miracle, we see him coming home from a long way off. He’s beaten, bedraggled, wounded, in pain, caught, and scared…..just like his dad, his sister and me. Could it be? Could it be our boy we see coming home?

This boy is different. His eyes are alive. His spirit seems full of hope. It’s as though he is a stranger to us. We talk, we laugh, we use words of love and encouragement, we share life stories, and we work through difficult decisions. He smiles a lot now. He shares his heart, his dreams, his pain, and his journey.

After 21 years, he’s home. It’s almost more than my heart can take…Hello son, it’s so nice to meet you.

19 October, 2010

Eyes to See

High School Graduate. College Graduate. Graduate School attendee. PR Director. Field Director. Coordinator of Giving. Associate Director of Development. Director of Development. Executive Director of Development. These are all places and titles of where I've been in my life. Some of these labels I liked more that others. However, they all provided an answer to the question, "What do you do"? I liked being able to answer with a job title. Yes, I work. Yes, I contribute to society. Yes, I do something in the workplace. Yes, I have value.

For the last seven years, I have not worked. So this societal question, "what do you do," is not as easily answered for me. I'm not a career woman anymore. I'm not in the workplace. I've realized over the years that even in jobs I didn't particularly enjoy they gave me a sense of worth in the world.
This is a place where I struggle. My own self-image is damaged so I enjoyed the shield of protection a job title gave me- a title hid me. It gave me an 'I belong' or an 'I'm OK' stamp of approval. For a girl like me who has self-image issues this was critical. What would I become without it? Meet Bartimaeus. He had no title. He had nothing but yet He found his worth.

He was a blind beggar sitting by the road. An unimportant man, sitting in an unimportant place. He merely heard the crowd approaching and heard the name Jesus being spoken. Jesus was covered up with people, crowding around him, walking with him. His escorts, his followers, curious people, all sorts of movers and shakers, I bet. Yet, Jesus heard Bartimaeus cry out for Him even as others tried to shut him up. You know the story, Jesus stopped and called Bartimaeus to Him. And the Bible then says,

"And casting aside his cloak, he jumped up and came to Jesus." And....Jesus said, "What do you want Me to do for you?". He answered, I want to regain my sight."

The worth in Bartimaeus was not in his job title, his authority, his position in life. It was Jesus who saw, recognized and gave him his worth. Isn't this our truth too? Our ONLY worth is in Christ.
I want to become the blind beggar, Bartimaeus,
By Calling out to to Jesus;
By Continuously calling out to Him even while the world tries to hush me;
By Throwing aside my cloak. The cloak of worldly possessions - of how I look, how I dress, my family's good and bad, my successes and failures, job security, needs, wants...;
By Jumping into the day I've been given;
By Answering His question with 'I want to regain my sight'. I want to see again. I want to see Him. I want to see others in need. I want to see His will in my life. I want to see His guidance.
By Going....going into the world and sharing His blessing of worth.

Oh Lord, give us eyes to see...

06 October, 2010

The Who's of Whoville

Go and make disciples of all nations…Matthew 28:19

Today, I’m sitting in a Starbuck’s in Birmingham, Alabama. It’s 7 a.m. and all around me is quiet. It’s just my latte and me this morning. It’s so quiet that the still small voice is easily heard. Actually, there are two voices this morning and the conversation is going like this:

Voice 1: So, here you sit. You fulfilled the American dream. College educated, happily married, nice 25-year professional career, 2 grown children, 1 old golden retriever, nice home, multiple friends. All good.

Voice 2: Did you make a difference? Did that fulfill you? Now what will you do? Will you go?

Voice 1: You can sit back, relax, read good books, go on trips, and enjoy the blessed life you’ve been given.

Voice 2: There is much to do. Many are calling out. Is your life fulfilling?

Voice 1: What can I do? I don’t know where to begin! I have family obligations…a husband to support, children to love, and a mom who needs me. And actually I don’t know how to find people in need. OK, if I get a phone call to volunteer, I’ll do it! I promise!

How does one GO into the world anyway? Are you asking me to leave this city, this county, this country? Is it to leave my back door and serve my neighbor? What are you saying, Lord?

This is a conversation I’ve had with myself a lot lately. Words I’ve heard and ignored most of life are now before me again in the book, Radical by David Platt.

Go. Into. World.

He’s certainly called me and …you. And I’m finding out that that there is nothing in my life as fulfilling as acting on the command Go. Nothing else even comes close. The few times that I’ve experienced the blessing of “going” are times when I suddenly knew who I was created to be and what I was created to do with my life.

Months ago, I was having lunch with two Chinese brothers. Our conversation had moved to serious matters and one of these friends began talking about his family in China. He explained their level of poverty, the family dynamics, the lack of education, the sour economy and their lack of understanding about Jesus. He then said these words, “Who will tell my people of this Good news? Who will go? Who will tell people on this campus?”

We are blessed to be ‘the who’ in this question from my friend. The Who’s from Whoville!!

Let’s add these words to the conversation: Where? How? What?

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