"There is a mystery to all love. Why does this one man so move me? Why does this small corner of our planet make me feel that I am home?" - Two-Part Invention by Madeleine L'Engle
Love for people truly is a mystery. Why did I fall in love with Chuck? How is it I love my children, and grandchildren, more than anyone else’s children? What is this connection to my brothers? How do I explain this love for my parents? Or the special bond I’ve had with a very few dear friends? And the cousins!!
More mysterious than that is God’s love for us. I could make a long list of attributes I love and admire about all the people I mentioned. But, what attributes do I have that would make God love me? The only good in me is what He’s put there.
But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. – Romans 5:8
“The minor characters in your life will step into the foreground and shine.” – Sheryl Sandberg
There have been some women who have stepped into the foreground for me. They are not minor characters, but they have been in the background of my life for a while.
Like Lee, my sorority Big Sister in college, who I had not seen for over 40 years. She stepped right back into my life by coming to Chuck’s funeral, all the way from Georgia. We’ve met for lunch and spent the day together catching up on all the years gone by.
Like Jeannie, who I also met over 40 years ago when Chuck and I were dating. She has been so very kind to me, meeting for lunch and giving me books and gifts to show her love and sympathy.
Like Judy, who calls and writes and lets me know I am always in her prayers. Our friendship doesn’t go back so far, but she is a Christian sister who cares. She doesn’t just post “praying” on social media, but when she says she’s praying I know she really is.
Like Crystal, another newer friend, who writes nice chatty letters to let me know all the big and little things going on with her family. She shares her life with me and shows her concern for me.
Like Peggy, who lives in Auburndale but stays connected and checks on me. She sometimes brings along her husband, Tom, who is also a dear friend. They were great friends to Chuck and I and I’m so thankful for them still.
Like Debbie, who was in my Brownie troop when we were in 2nd/3rd grades. We went to church together through our teens and were in each others weddings. Then, time and miles kept us apart. But, we have reconnected, from Ohio to Florida, and had supper after 20 years and fell right into our friendship again.
Like Darla, who I bonded with when we taught school together. She has made it a point to keep in touch. Her life is full to the brim with grandchildren, but she has made time for me.
That’s the thing – time. It’s not always easy or convenient, but it’s important to make time for the ones we love. For the ones who need our love.
“First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for you all, that your faith is spoken of throughout the whole world.” – Romans 1:8
Extravagant Grace is a book written by Barbara Duguid. She uses John Newton’s teaching on sanctification to explain God’s sovereignty over sin. Duguid is the wife of a Presbyterian pastor in Pennsylvania and the mother of six.
In a section titled Lessons from Barbie, Duguid talks about the ‘perfection’ of a Barbie doll: She has beautiful facial features, is multi-talented, her figure has perfect proportions, and she has great hair (at least until a three year old plays with her). But…..
“She has one fatal weakness: her deformed feet! She cannot stand up on her own, but must be held or propped up at all time.”
I never thought about this before. Now I can say I’m like Barbie! No… not the perfect figure and all that. But the fact that I need to be propped up. I don’t stand alone, but I stand in the confidence of the LORD. I stand by His grace.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ,through whom also we have access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. And not only that, but we also glory in tribulations, knowing that tribulation produces perseverance; Romans 5:1-3
And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are the called according to His purpose.
I have been reading Captured by Grace by David Jeremiah and it has brought home to me once again that I must rest in Him. Today I am reminded of the last part that says this promise is for those who love God. This verse is often misquoted by people who have no idea what it really means. I’m not saying I am smarter, I’m just thankful that God has taught, and is still teaching me, that I am His and I need to rest in Him. It’s not because of anything I’ve ever done.
I can sing these words from Derek Webb’s song “Nobody Loves Me”:
I can always tell a liar
And I always know a thief
I know them like my family
Because brother I’m the chief
I know God has used hard times in my life to draw me to Himself. But, I’m saddened with myself that it often takes hard times to draw me closer. Sometimes, in the good times, we often forget to praise Him. In the little daily sweetness of a baby’s kiss or an unexpected breeze on a hot day or beauty of a newly mown lawn, we should praise Him. I challenge you and I challenge myself, to praise Him today in all things.