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Monthly Archives: December 2012

Enjoy!

ImageThe perspectives of my children routinely amaze me. Not just because they’re insightful – but because they force me to realize I’ve become [gulp] an adult. When did that happen? When did I begin viewing life more through grown-up eyes than with childlike wonder?

Earlier this week, Andy (now 7 years) grabbed the copy of “Discover Magazine” lying out and began reading. He then explained – in great detail – how the sun is at its hottest right now and is shooting out vast streams of hot plasma. In the course of the conversation, he asked how the sun causes our day and night. As I told him about the earth turning on its axis, about the moon reflecting the sun’s light so that we have some light even at night, and all the wonders of how our 24-hour cycle works, I said, “Isn’t that smart of God? He gave us light – just enough light – so we could see to work and then he turns the light off so we can rest.”

Then, as happens so often I should expect it by now, Andy burst forth with a bit of brilliance.

“Or enjoy it.”

“What?” I was pretty happily congratulating myself for explaining a scientific concept while incorporating our faith, so I missed his meaning.

“You said God gave us light so we can see to work. Maybe he gave us light just to enjoy it. Just to have fun with all the stuff He put on the planet.”

That thud, dear reader, was me coming back to earth.

Enjoyment. Pleasure. Fun. These aren’t evil. Allowing them to become a god is evil, of course. But a life of faith can also be a life of fun. I’d forgotten.

As the God of Fate would have it, the iPod switched to a new song just after my conversation with Andy. “The Great Adventure” by Steven Curtis Chapman. Funny, God. Very funny. 

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Posted by on December 21, 2012 in The Misc Bucket

 

Final Lesson of a Friend

ImageDr. Jack Acree, my pastor for several years and a dear, brilliant friend, went Home to the Lord last Saturday. Brother Jack and I shared an enormous love of books. He forgave me my fiction predilection, I ceased attempting to understand his nonfiction obsession. True or non, though, we both loved good stories and I think he’d get a kick out of the one I could tell today, having just arrived home from attending his funeral service.

Arriving at the church with my husband and son brought its own swirl of memories. Next door was the church where I’d been honored with incredible support from Brother Jack in 2007 as a group of ladies and I worked diligently to create a women’s ministry in the face of opposition from those who liked things just as they were. It was also the church where the deacons forced Brother Jack’s resignation, a story on its own that serves as a stark example of what happens when a leader of deacons desires power and control more than exhibiting the kindness and humility our Savior practiced. Brother Jack, though, taught me how to love and pray for enemies by his walk through that particular fire.

I tried to set those memories aside as we entered the church and saw familiar faces from those days. Walking down the aisle with my seven-year-old son, I began to answer his questions of why Brother Jack was in that box and to assure him that, yes, Brother Jack’s soul was now in Heaven with Jesus. We hugged the family, said our Until That Days, and circled back around to find seats for the service.

That’s when I ran into Dr. Don McCulley – my pastor from elementary school and junior high. I babysat his daughter waaayyy back in the day and had just been surprised by a friend request from her on Facebook yesterday. We hugged, said it was good to see each other, then went on our way. I didn’t have much time to reflect on the strangeness of seeing him in this place…two towns and two decades removed from the last place I knew him…before the service. With confusion, I watched him file onto the stage and take a seat alongside our pastor, our worship minister, and two other men. Hmm.

After two speakers shared their memories and reminded us all why we loved Brother Jack, Dr. McCulley stood up. He, too, began sharing memories of this friend he’d known since seminary days. He talked about visiting Brother Jack, about talking on the phone in those last days, about their days on the golf course discussing theology.

And, despite the tears over how much I’ll miss Brother Jack this side of Heaven, I realized a smile rested on my lips. Here stood the embodiment of a characteristic both Brother Jack and I so love about the God we serve: His infinite storywriting. Brother Jack knew me as a married woman, as a mother, as a ministry leader, as a member of his flock. I knew Dr. McCulley as a student, a daughter, an adolescent, an employee, and a member of his flock.

Here, in this place, I learned that two men separated in my life by two decades and two towns had known each other for years. They no doubt shared lots of laughter and words along the way.

It’s like discovering a prequel to a favorite novel. How incredible, how brilliant, our God must be to weave our lives in ways we may never even see until we see Him face to face. How much fun it’s going to be, to see each other again one day and realize how we all fit together! We don’t know how our relationships this side of eternity play into our existence there, but it’s awfully fun to think about running into Brother Jack, telling him I want to introduce him to my friend Dr. McCulley, and having both of them exclaim, “Hey, I remember you!”

As a writer, I often share the lament with my author clients about keeping characters straight – especially when writing a series where relationships get entangled and untangled. What a God, that He not only keeps us all straight, but is working with every single one of us individually toward His ultimate purpose: everyone experiencing his love and forgiveness.

One last flash of insight into the God we adore from my friend and pastor who spent a life loving Him: Brother Jack.

 
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Posted by on December 11, 2012 in Life Lessons

 

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