New life

The only words I can say about this are “thank you.
God does keep his promises.

20120407-231130.jpg

Advertisements

In Christ Alone

All day yesterday I was listening to the song In Christ Alone, which rocks me pretty much every time I hear it. I can hardly listen to the whole thing without joyful tears streaming down my face at some point. With every line of lyrics I seemed to have a reel of commentary playing through my mind in a sort of beautiful disbelief.

In Christ alone my hope is found, I don’t need anything else to hope in! Not my own abilities, not the promise of bigger or better anything…just Christ

He is my light, my strength, my song; When I do anything without him, it’s a failure. I stumble all over the place like I’m in the dark. Anything I do well comes from the strength he gives

this Cornerstone, this solid Ground,

firm through the fiercest drought and storm. There’s nothing I have been through where he has failed me. He’s brought me through some of the most stressful situations, and although I seem to flail all over the place when I’m faced with the littlest bump in the road, he never moves. He is never, ever shaken by my circumstances

What heights of love, what depths of peace,

when fears are stilled, when strivings cease! I have never felt so loved and so at peace, even when everything around me seems to be madness. Even when I am scared about my son’s future, or when I feel like I can’t do anything right, he gives me peace about it. I don’t have to fix everything or anything!

My Comforter, my All in All,

here in the love of Christ I stand. Even though I have many people in my life who love me and offer me encouragement through everything, he is ultimately the one who gives me everything. If I were to be without anyone else, he would be there with me
In Christ alone! who took on flesh

Fulness of God in helpless babe! God became one of us when he allowed his son to be limited in human form. It’s the mystery of Jesus being fully divine and fully human at the same time

This gift of love and righteousness

Scorned by the ones he came to save: I wonder how I would have responded to Jesus had I lived at the time he walked the earth. Would I have been one of those people who thought he was a heretic or a madman? Would I have spit on him, thrown things at him, joined in mocking him?

Till on that cross as Jesus died,

The wrath of God was satisfied – This is the place where God’s justice and mercy come together perfectly. His holiness required justice and His love required mercy. He was the only  one who could provide a solution to both parts of that puzzle

For every sin on Him was laid;

Here in the death of Christ I live. Everything I ever did, am doing, and will do that is an offense to God’s holiness has already been paid for because of what Jesus did for me. Because of Christ taking on my debt, I no longer owe anything. I can live

There in the ground His body lay

Light of the world by darkness slain:

Then bursting forth in glorious Day

Up from the grave he rose again! Some people say they believe that Jesus was God’s son and that he died on the cross, but not that he was resurrected. What good is it for God to have a son he sends to earth if he’s just like any of us? What good is any of this if the resurrection was not true? What good is someone claiming to be the messiah if they died like everyone else? That would just prove Jesus to be the liar that many believed him to be. But he did not stay dead…he was alive again and now he lives inside each of us who follow him

And as He stands in victory

Sin’s curse has lost its grip on me, Because of his resurrection, I no longer have to live as the same person I once was. The sins in my life no longer define me. I am a new creation. The old things have gone and the new things have come

For I am His and He is mine –

Bought with the precious blood of Christ. This one is maybe the hardest to believe. When I think about how God loves the world and all the people in it, it is easy to believe because I am speaking in general terms. But when I think of God trading his son’s life for mine so he could purchase me back from my slavery… to think that I was that important to him and he loved me that much…that’s so much harder for me to grasp. He loves ME that much. He loves YOU that much
No guilt in life, no fear in death,

This is the power of Christ in me;

From life’s first cry to final breath.

Jesus commands my destiny. I do not have to feel guilty or condemn myself any longer for the poor choices I have made. I give them to him and he creates something good and lovely from that mess I had made. He works it together for good. I do not have to fear death, no matter how or when it comes, because he is on the other side of it. He is what awaits me at the end of my life, so either way I win. He commands my time here on earth and the end of it.

No power of hell, no scheme of man,

Can ever pluck me from His hand;

Till He returns or calls me home,

Here in the power of Christ I’ll stand. There is no scheme or trick that anyone or anything can use against me to try to tell me that I do not belong to God. There is nothing in this world that will become more important to me, no matter how many people tell me that it is. Nothing I even do to mess up will keep me from the love of Christ. It is so wide and deep and high that I am covered no matter what. He holds tight to me even when I loosen my grip on him. He has lavished such a love upon me that I am called his daughter and that cannot be taken away, even by me.

Even when my focus gets blurry, I know where my hope is and always will be found.

 

Life, death, and in between

Today is the day. I am finishing a pedicure and Todd is making his famous pancakes for breakfast. We’ve had this trip planned for more than 6 months, and now here we are…getting ready to leave for India. It still doesn’t even seem real somehow, even though our bags are packed and we’re getting picked up in a couple of hours, I’m still asking myself…are we really doing this?

About a month ago, our pastor sent us a list of scriptures. With his experience visiting India many times and the objectives of the trip, he suggested they may be good ones to meditate on before we leave. I looked them over and recognized many of them as familiar text, so I decided to go online and print them off in a couple of different translations in the hopes that I could get a fresh perspective on the message the words carried.

I had read the verses that follow a million times from Matthew 8 and was always surprised by the harshness of them. Different people who were wannabe followers of Jesus were coming up to him and proclaiming their loyalty. Immediately he questioned their commitment.

When Jesus saw the crowd around him, he gave orders to cross to the other side of the lake. 19Then a teacher of the law came to him and said, “Teacher, I will follow you wherever you go.”

20Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”

21Another disciple said to him, “Lord, first let me go and bury my father.”

22 But Jesus told him, “Follow me, and let the dead bury their own dead.”

Jesus, what’s up with that second dude? I can see you rebuking the teacher of the law because he was used to staying in fancy joints and you knew he couldn’t handle the way you roll. But that second guy just wanted to lay his parent to rest. Wasn’t that a little much? But then I read the same words in the Message translation, and it stood out to me like a bright light among all the other verses that had been recommended.

When Jesus saw that a curious crowd was growing by the minute, he told his disciples to get him out of there to the other side of the lake. As they left, a religion scholar asked if he could go along. “I’ll go with you, wherever,” he said.

20Jesus was curt: “Are you ready to rough it? We’re not staying in the best inns, you know.”

21Another follower said, “Master, excuse me for a couple of days, please. I have my father’s funeral to take care of.”

22Jesus refused. “First things first. Your business is life, not death. Follow me. Pursue life.”

Wow. That last section kicked me in the stomach for some reason, although I wouldn’t know for a long time what it might really mean to me. First things first. Your business is life, not death. Follow me. Pursue life. That’s Jesus talking…and you don’t really ignore Him.

So I started thinking what that could mean for me in my everyday life. What does life and death look like when you’re not necessarily dealing in matters of life-and-death? I started thinking in terms of death-by-a-thousand-cuts over a lifetime. Like how you can look at a middle-aged person who is broken and messed up and hates the world and has zero joy, and you just know that a million little things have happened to them over the long period of their life to make them that way. I started looking at my students, just 7 and 8 years old, who already have scars from some of their thousand cuts. I started thinking…that’s how I bring life instead of death…I try not to be one of those cuts. So I really began paying attention to how I was speaking to them and to others…thinking…is what I’m saying right now bringing life or bringing a little bit of death? You know just what I mean…the way you say something can bring death. Like when you give a backhanded compliment. Death. Or when you say something in a certain way only because you know it will force someone to have to give you a pathetic compliment. Death. When someone is talking to you but you’re not really listening..and for one split second they notice your eyes glazing over. You just made them feel unimportant. Death. Or when you walk by someone and you could look them in the eye, smile, and say hello. But you choose not to. Death.

So not knowing at all what else those verses would mean, I simply went along trying to be about the business of life, not death. Pursuing Jesus and the things He represents are pure life. Anything else is death. Not bad, right?

Then a few weeks ago my son overdosed on a combination of drugs. He was in the hospital for nearly 2 weeks. No one knew if he would recover or if he would be normal again after he did. Arguments ensued over the outcome of his care. Lies were told. Commitments were broken. False accusations flew. Death, death, death. Every little thing started to go awry in our world, from the big and important to the smallest detail. Confusion, dissension, anger, brokenness. Death, death, death.

Then, death really came along. On December 22nd I got a call that my mom was being taken to the hospital after collapsing at home. I was on my way there to be with her and figure out what was happening when I got the second call that her heart had stopped and she was gone. GONE. Death.

Your business is life, not death.

It was my momma’s 76th birthday, and she died suddenly. A few days before Christmas, a few days before we were to leave for India. How would we get all the arrangements made before I had to leave the country? Would I actually miss my own mom’s funeral? Or should I try to rearrange my trip to stay here?? None of the options seemed good. Death. Right in the midst of planning her funeral, we found out that Todd’s mom was also now in the hospital and may need surgery. No, Lord, not more death…please.

It took me a day or so to get it, but eventually I could really see what Jesus meant by saying that my business was life, not death. Even in the middle of everything going on around me, including a thousand other things I haven’t even mentioned, I was still somehow concentrating on trying to bring life to the thing. And it definitely wasn’t because of my well-grounded abilities… God was keeping my focus for me. How else does someone’s family go through so much in such a short period of time and still come out halfway sane? Life. Prayers were answered (and continue to be) in ways I never would have imagined before. Life. Every little detail of my mom’s funeral was taken care of with relative ease, all in time for us to hold the service yesterday… Before we were to leave for India today. We put her to rest in a funny and perfect way that matches her personality. Thank you, God. I prayed for healing of my ear, which the doctor told me held so much fluid that it would likely burst if I flew. It has improved dramatically and I am no longer congested, but breathing normally. Life. My son has recovered and not only is out of the hospital, but he asked to come home and stay with us…. Words we’ve hoped to hear for a long, long time. Life. He has given his life to Jesus, and I’m already seeing the new creation God is making him in to. Life!! There is peace in our home and all around us even with some things still up in the air. There is peace all around us. Life, life, life.

I can’t wait to look into the beautiful brown faces of the little girls at the children’s home in India, and smile and show them life. I cant wait to hug the 300+ lovely people who live at the leper colony, praying they can understand that they, too are made in the image of God. I can’t wait to pray for healing and rest and peace for our friends and soon-to-be-friends on the other side of this world we share. And with all I hope we’ll accomplish there, I have a feeling that I will receive much, much more life than I could ever possibly dream of giving out.

“First things first. Your business is life, not death. Follow me. Pursue life.” -Jesus.

verbing

This week has been a lesson on verbs. You remember those things that you learned about in 2nd grade? (at least you would have if you had been in my class.) Verbs are action words… the parts of speech that show motion, action, being, doing. They never just describe other things. They never just sit there and add to something else that’s going on around them. They’re never idle, and they’re not accidental. They are purposeful. They do.  

Seems that I’ve been verbing an awful lot this week. crying. seeking. asking. loving. hating. understanding. reaching. begging. yelling. punching. breaking.  retreating. battling. compromising. convincing. praying. honoring. wondering. worrying. losing. giving. giving up. overcoming. defeating. forgetting. forgiving. reminding. agreeing. resting.

Some of these actions were a lot easier than others. Many were very, very difficult. But no matter what verb I’m putting into practice, I can’t forget that God is constantly being and doing more than I could ever see or imagine on my behalf. The truth is that I don’t understand what the heck is going on around me right now. Injustice is rearing its ugly head around every corner. Fairness and decency have apparently jumped out the window. Cooperation and doing what’s best have become foreign terms these days. Love is being touted as a feeling rather than as an action that is chosen. I wonder when all the drama will be over.

But in all this, I was reminded today that no matter what, God is always doing on my behalf. I listened to the song Sing Over Me by Bethany Dillon  today, which in many ways has become my “go to” song when things are rough. (If you haven’t heard it, do yourself a favor and check it out on iTunes or the link to YouTube) I remember one time, a couple of years back,  sitting in a waiting room after being told that I would need to have a mammogram to double check a strange lump that I’d spoken to my doctor about earlier that week. He’d assured me it was probably nothing but referred me just to be safe. Now the specialists weren’t as sure. So there I was, 32 and sitting in the waiting room of the clinic, wrapped in a hideous robe and singing softly to myself over and over:…Whatever should come against me…teach me to be still…This week has been a little like that waiting room….wondering what would happen, being frustrated at the helplessness I’ve felt, unable to correct a situation that could change everything. My control-freaky-ness was working overtime. But in everything, I remembered where to turn…what to ask for. Sing over me, God, quiet me with Your love. Draw me close so I can rest, teach me to be still no matter what’s happening around me or to me.

The weirdest part? I am calm now. I am resting. It doesn’t even make sense. I should be freaking out and worrying and wondering some more…but now that I’ve remembered where to go and what to ask, I’m actually hearing that song He’s singing over me.  The Lord is my refuge and my strength. Of whom shall I be afraid? He will be with me wherever I go. He is the way, the truth, the life. He knows the plans He has for me. What has been meant for evil, He will turn into good. GOOD. He is mighty…He will save.

I live in the wonder of Your love
You rise like the sun in my heart
Even when the night draws near to me
There You are

I will wade in the water of mercy
I will walk in the light of Your will
Whatever should come against me
Teach me to be still 

As you sing over me
Draw me close to rest in Your peace
Sing over me
Oh, sing

Sing of Your unending faithfulness
That knows no doubt or fear
In the face of all that I don’t know yet
Remind me of who You are

You are mighty
You will save
Rejoice over me with singing
You will quiet
By Your love
Glory over me with singing

Zephaniah 3:17

Good advice

I’m always amazed at how incredibly gracious God is to us messed up ragamuffins, especially to me. . You poor folks who actually read this thing…I didn’t mean to worry you too much. I know how squirmy you people who love me can get when I have a little huge freak-out and start writing posts like this and I’m not my perky self. I understand how you worry about me because my moods swing from one end of crazy to the other, and with serious quickness. It’s really happened too many times this year. I’m chalking it up to my terribly short memory. You know, the one that always seems to forget somehow that God is completely in control of my everything and that usually when I’m freaked out it’s because I haven’t spent enough time with Him and my eyes are looking in another direction. Yeah, that short memory.

I want to thank you for your prayers…many of you mentioned that you had been praying for me, and I certainly did need it. Several of you sent me messages with encouraging words, telling me what you have experienced in times similar to this, when everything just seemed too…well, too everything. Like things were spinning out of control and you felt imbalanced and unsure of the next step. Thank you for all of that encouragement. What did I ever do to deserve friends like the ones I have? *sigh*

So as you know, all this craziness has been brought on by my workaholic personality. I’ve known about it for a long time, but in the last couple of years I’ve really been thinking about how to make it better. I haven’t exactly figured out the root cause, but it seems as if it is likely several things all together. God’s still showing me all that. But this week, Todd asked me to read a part of a book he’s reading (The Christian Atheist-I read the first few chapters then he hijacked it and I hadn’t finished yet!) because he said that it reminded him of me and my current situation. The author relates his own struggle with being a workaholic, and the process he went through to change. But this part was at the beginning of his real journey, about him basically telling his counselor, after much probing and prodding,  that he didn’t feel like he would change because this was just who he was. The counselor leaned over to him and said something like “So, basically, you’re saying that our God isn’t big enough to change you?”

THAT was his turning point. When he admitted that he really was telling God “You can’t handle this job,” that made a world of difference for him. I mean, who says that to God? Who ever could? Obviously He can handle anything.

Okay, that’s great…but I didn’t think that really related to me specifically because I wasn’t telling God that I couldn’t change. I have been telling Him for a long time that I needed Him to show me what the deal was so I could figure out how to fix it. Right there was my first hint,  but I didn’t really get it until later in the weekend.

Fast-forward to Saturday morning. I woke up, so happy that I could just reach over and grab a book and read in bed for a while before ever having to get up to do anything. I grabbed a couple of books (nerd alert!) and my bible.  I started praying and thanking God for an awesome morning, and asking Him to speak to me. I did that thing that I do sometimes where I ask God to speak to me through His word and I just let my bible fall open, then I read whatever catches my eye on that page. It’s not rocket science, I know. Maybe you have a better way, but I know He has been faithful to speak to me many times like that. I may be random, but He isn’t.

This time, it fell open to Psalm 107, which starts out: Shout praises to the LORD!   He is good to us, and his love never fails. Everyone the LORD has rescued  from trouble should praise him… Alright. Check. Moving on…

Then it starts explaining all these different types of people and the situations they’ve gotten themselves into, and how when they finally cried out to Him, he rescued them from their circumstances and restored them back to an even better place than when they’d started out. It talked about people who were homeless wanderers, hungry and thirsty, depressed, imprisoned, distressed, foolish, rebellious, enslaved, sinful, physically ill, sailing on high seas, discouraged, etc… Do you see yourself yet? I didn’t. Not until I read the verses again, and in 10-16, I saw my face:

Some of you were prisoners  suffering in deepest darkness  and bound by chains,

    because you had rebelled  against God Most High  and refused his advice.

    You were worn out  from working like slaves,  and no one came to help.

    You were in serious trouble,  but you prayed to the LORD,  and he rescued you.

    He brought you out  of the deepest darkness  and broke your chains.

    You should praise the LORD  for his love  and for the wonderful things  he does for all of us.

    He breaks down bronze gates  and shatters iron locks.

Whoa… that’s me. I’ve been worn out from working like a slave. No one was helping me, or even able to. I was bound by my own self-made chains, suffering  with self-scorn and spiraling into a funky depression. So…all I had to do was pray to God? Well that’s weird because that’s what I have been doing and nothing is getting better.  But then my eyes fell back on to that part about refusing His advice. Then the part about calling on Him and He would rescue me.

You see it?? All this time, here I was thinking that I had called on God, but all I had really been doing was talking at Him. Remember what I said? I had been telling Him to show ME what the problem was so I could figure out how to fix it. Never once had I called on Him to fix it all for me…to swoop in and rescue me from this latest ridiculousness that I’d created for myself. Never once had I just turned it over to Him and said God, unless you come through for me on this and fix it for me, I’m not gonna make it.

So there it is, all back to trust and obedience. I saw Him just sitting back and shaking His head, with a grin on His face that said finally, you’re hearing Me. That was the key all along…not thinking that I was going to figure out a way to fix all this junk, not that I ever could have, but trusting Him to fix it for me, and to become a little more like His Son along the way somehow.

The coolest part was later when I was meditating on these verses and I couldn’t stop thinking about that word advice. That was the part that I was stuck on…okay, God, what specifically is this advice of yours that I haven’t heeded? I really sensed Him tell me that I’d find out soon enough. So I went about my morning, getting ready to just enjoy an entire day doing nothing related to work, but just loving the beautiful weather (this is my favorite time of year!) and visiting with family and spending time with the delicious man that He made for me. I was nearly giddy just thinking about it. While I was brushing my teeth, I decided to go check the Bible Gateway verse of the day on my phone, which I frequently do as a way to kick-off my day. It said simply:

Do as God does. After all, you are his dear children -Ephesians 5:1

Thank you, Abba. That’s good advice. I AM your child. I don’t need to worry about anything else.

Those who trust in the Lord will find new strength.

ALL joy, ALL the time

I started my read-along of the book of James today. I’ve read this book several times and there’s always something fresh to be seen. One thing that never changes is that I’m always appalled by one of its opening verses, one that will be very familiar to you if you’ve read this book before, or even have been around church for a while. You probably know it…. Count it all joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of every kind.

Or maybe you’ve heard it and a few other verses like this:

Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance. 4 Perseverance must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.

WHAT!? Joy? When I face trials? Like when life is unfair and bad things happen to good people (even if I think that’s me) and when I lose a bunch of money in the stock-market and when my friend’s daughter gets cancer and when my job demands too much of me, and when a relationship gets broken and when people say things about me that are hurtful and untrue (or true) and when I just can’t take another minute of it all? That’s when I’m supposed to count all those things up and claim that their sum is still joy?

I like how The Message translation puts it:

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides. You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows its true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do its work so you become mature and well-developed, not deficient in any way.

So, not only am I to consider my trials a joy whenever they come at me, but as they come at me from all sides. And furthermore, it’s going to be trials of all kinds! And that really is what it feels like sometimes, isn’t it, friends? Everything’s coming at you from all sides at all times.

Consider it pure joy, a sheer GIFT, even, that you GET to go through this junk. I love that next line, because it’s really true: We all know that under pressure, our faith-life really does get forced out into the open and its true colors are shown. In fact they spill right out into the open, where everyone who was already watching and those who hadn’t before noticed get to see who this Jesus really is to you and if He can actually withstand a bit of shaken ground, or even a full-blown earthquake.

What does James tell us to show?? Joy. That joy can still be found right in the midst of those crazy life-happenings. That moment (or 50) that is just about to be the very last straw…we can rest in real joy. And doesn’t that have something to do with peace that transcends all understanding? Well that may be for another time…

Many more thoughts on this book and believe me, there’s much more application for me to do. Right now I’m sleeping and I have a lot more processing to do before I post on my next thought from chapter 1 of James.  

Sweet, joyous dreams to you, fellow readers.

 

Obedience: I’m in love, again.

I met a new friend today. His name is Danny. I’m in love.

It’s okay, you can tell my husband. I plan to.

It started when I saw him this afternoon, while I was out and about going several different places across the city in a [failed] attempt to buy some new clothes. Not because I’m running around threadbare or naked. Not even close. (You’re welcome.) I just like to buy a couple of new things each year when school starts. You know, new school clothes.

So in all my driving around I was downtown near the arena district when I spotted my new love. There he was, in the afternoon sun, wearing what appeared to be the same clothes he’d worn for days. His scraggly beard was fairly long. He was missing several teeth (which I could tell from quite far away) and he was at least 5 inches shorter than me.

PERFECT.

However, it was not exactly love at first sight. It was more like love at first nudge. I was in my car, coming up to a red light and in the middle lane. He was standing on the sidewalk to my right, slowly walking. His sign said “Homeless and very needy. Please help.” I watched him from the corner of my eye for just a couple of seconds. I could see the disappointment and a little speck of disdain on his face as every driver and passenger kept their eyes starkly facing forward as he walked by, refusing to acknowledge what they’d surely already seen.

A person. A man. A man in need of something. In need of something so badly that he resorted to begging anyone –everyone– to help.

That’s when I heard our love song. Cranking in my car at that exact moment was:

Your love, Your love/ the only thing that matters is/ Your love, Your love/it’s all I have to give

Your love/ is enough/ to light up the darkness/ It’s Your love, Your love/ All I ever needed is Your love

I knew then that I was his answer, at least for that day. God wanted to use me to deliver some love and maybe even provide him with the means to eat that day. So I started to reach for my purse, to get some money out. The light turned green. All the cars around me started to move and I needed to get over. No one was even thinking about acquiescing to my turn signal. I was starting to create a line of angry drivers who were behind me since I was inconveniencing them by making a last-minute decision to change lanes. It was annoying, I admit. So I hit the gas pedal and moved forward onto the freeway ramp I was right in line for. I had a moment, just a moment, where I thought well, it wasn’t meant to be since I wasn’t able to get to him quickly enough. I’ll pray for him. Then…

Why worry about someone’s soul but don’t bother to give them a basic need when you know you can?

FAITH WITHOUT WORKS IS DEAD. (James Ch.2, the kinda-ghetto Krysten version)

I thought about all the other songs I’d listened to that day while I was out and about doing my thing. The lyrics shot through me light lightning bolts, one right after another.

I want more of you, God…

        I’ve found a love greater than life itself….

                     No place I’d rather be/ than here in Your love…

                                         Nothing can tear us from/ the grip of His mighty love…

                                                            He lavishes His love upon us/ He calls us now his sons and daughters…

                                                                        We’ve only glimpsed/ His vast affection/ heard whispers of/His heart and passion…

So I DID pray, but not for the man. I prayed that he would still be there so I could go do what I knew God was asking of me.  (So I guess I was praying for myself?) I got off at the next exit. I turned around. I got back on the freeway. I spotted my man and found a place to park. I walked toward him and was keenly aware of all the confused and frightened scares of the people in the cars when they realized I was talking right up to him.

I tapped him on the shoulder and told him how happy I was that he was still there. (again, was this for me?)

He smiled his toothless smile and hugged me.

I told him I saw him a little earlier but couldn’t get to him, but that I’d turned my car around and came back so I could come give him some money to help him through the day.(Why did I tell him that? What did I expect, a medal!?)

And you know what he said?

He said: “Well, you didn’t have to do that! All you had to do was love me!”

ALL YOU HAD TO DO WAS LOVE ME.

He told me his name was Danny. We talked for a while about how the weather was nice even though it was hot, and how his back hurt and how he just sleeps any place he can find, and how he knows the people who owned the building he was standing near but they don’t have anywhere for him to stay in there. He hugged me three times and introduced himself twice in the span of 5 minutes.  He’d been on the streets for 25 years. YEARS.

I told him I would look for him again, and I will. I told him I would be praying for him to stay safe and for his back to heal. And I will. He was so thankful to hear that, of all things.

The whole experience took less than 15 minutes, surely. But he will last forever whether I see him again or not. I’d been wondering lately if I’ve been obedient to God, I mean anytime recently. I’d seen such beautiful pictures painted in several lives around me, of just pure obedience and the lovely results that follow. I couldn’t remember the last time I was obedient to a nudge from the Spirit. I’d asked Him to bring something to mind so I could remember it, but  God was gracious enough to do me one better…. He gave me a new opportunity to be obedient to his voice. It’s almost romantic.

All I had to do was love him, he said.

Done.