Sometimes it is good to just BE right where you are. To stop and look around, to SEE and BEHOLD the beauty of what GOD has done in your life.
I’ve been doing a little of that today and thought I would invite you along…on my stroll that is looking backward with hope that it helps you to look forward this day.
This past weekend, we gathered with all our children and dear friends, who are family to us, to go camping and hiking. At 50, camping in a tent has some challenges, but I was able to do it. And I hiked farther than I have hiked in about 7 years. I soaked up the time and found myself listening more and speaking less. It is a reminder that passing the baton on to the next generation is a good thing, beautiful even. As the youngers talked about their lives and struggles, I found myself remembering how very hard it is to be their age. They are facing so much with daunting challenges and fears and weariness of heart. And in this age and time, I believe for them, it is harder than it was for me. Or perhaps I was not introspective enough to notice. But if I have one phrase for them this weekend, it would be this: BE Present.
BE Present and notice those, who are around you. Live in a way that spills out laughter and hope and joy. Make memories and do not shelter yourself away or hide. For you are very much needed in this day. Show up and BE Present.
Last week, a dear mother in the faith to me passed on to GLORY. Jean Pilcher was a gift to me as a young 22 year old, who needed guidance and very much needed someone to believe in me, believe in what God was shaping me to be. As a young wife, who longed for children and who longed to become an excellent wife and mother, Jean saw me. And she met me there, but she also challenged me to be more. As she stamped her foot, leading us in choir, I smile remembering her teachings and the fun times together on Wednesday evenings. I smile thinking of her challenge for us to memorize Psalm 100. I can hear her saying it and see her stamping that foot again at the word KNOW. Know. Oh to be known. Oh to be seen. On the difficult days and on the really wonderful ones, I hope to always SEE others as Jean did. Not only did she see, but she very much wanted us to KNOW that God is able and He is with us, every day. Live and SEE like Jean did. Believe in others. Hand out Hope. Teach them excellence. And how do we grow in KNOWing God? Well, we spend time with Him. We listen. We notice. We then begin to SEE.
Two weeks ago we spent time with my Dad and my Mom. His health has been steadily declining. And in many ways, he has surrendered to it. It is hard to watch. But as I turn over my old leaf today, I want you to BEHOLD with me what God has done. So much water has gone under this bridge I am standing on. Some of it is quite painful. Some of it is beautiful. Some of it is hopeful! And all of it is healing. As I finished a book this morning (The Island of Sea Women by Lisa See), I wrote down a quote that spoke to me: “You are not being punished for your anger. You are being punished by your anger.” So I say, BEHOLD — take notice of the good God has done. And let go of those things that are bringing your soul harm — resentments, anger, injustices and all the evils of this world. As I typed e-v-i-l, I almost typed v-e-i-l. Same letters–just transpose the first two. Let the VEIL fall from your eyes. Let the scales fall away — BEHOLD and see that God, who is able and with us, is doing a NEW thing. Do you not perceive it? (Isaiah 43:19)
Then perhaps, you too, need to turn over an old leaf today. Take notice. Take Hope. Let God WIN your heart and renew your mind this fall season. For what He creates? It is everlasting and beautiful and good. That is why I do not lose heart for the future. The hope of Heaven through Jesus Christ sustains me in these very hard days. And all this I write in hopes and anticipation that you will come WITH me there.