Holding hands & flipping eggs

If I could only write in the shower.

It all started before I could even write, using my finger to do “cursive” on the bathtub walls. I advanced to teaching as I grew older – doing commercials extolling the virtues of my shampoo while I played in the tub.

My best sermons come in the shower and I would be quite prolific if I penned everything that comes to mind in there.

You see, if someone would invent a way to write in the shower, it wouldn’t have been an embarrassing amount of months since I’ve written anything. (There is an exciting forthcoming Bible study I’m a part of but more on that later!)

So tonight, I’m sitting down with wet hair to share.

Sometimes life comes to a screeching halt, does a U-turn and the road takes you to places you’ve never been before. That happened last September. My healthy, active 87-year-old mother went to the hospital because of pain. She left a couple of days later on hospice with a diagnosis of ovarian cancer.

My mom.

Cancer.

Hospice.

My mother raised five kids as a poor preacher’s wife, helped my dad start a mission board, met up with and married her high school sweetheart at age 81 after my father’s death. She’s tiny, active, and will tell anyone sitting on a park bench about Jesus. (Chances are they will walk away with a certainty of heaven and knowing Him as Savior.)

After a 45-minute telephone conversation with the doctor, it was apparent that we needed to move from Dallas, Texas to Verona, Virginia, population 4200. It says something about my husband that he didn’t bat an eye at putting everything in storage and moving into my mother’s basement apartment.

So here we are. It’s seven months later and she has obviously beaten the doctor’s diagnosis of “a couple of months if all goes well.”

People seem to think I’m doing something special, staying here with my mother and her husband. It is special.

For me.

I get to hear the stories that I never heard as the youngest child. I get to spend time with family that there wasn’t time for before.family Collage

There won’t be any “if onlys” or “I should have saids.” We know she won’t be here much longer and we enjoy every minute. We hug every night. We enjoy every game of dominoes. We say thank you over and over. I watch her read, talk on the phone, laugh, hold hands with her husband and I treasure it. I absorb her strength, watch her courteousness, and hope to copy her graciousness. She is the true embodiment of Proverbs 18:24 “A man who has friends must himself be friendly.” Cards, phone calls and visits from all over the world – greetings, love and prayer from lives she has touched.

I was making her bed one day (Poor Mom, I did not inherit her tidiness) and it hit me. There is amazing peace in all of this – meals, beds, meds, laundry, etc. Because while I may not understand the why, I know the Who.

Two things are emphasized to me over and over.

When we serve, we do not do it on our own.

I know how to get along and live humbly [in difficult times], and I also know how to enjoy abundance and live in prosperity. In any and every circumstance I have learned the secret [of facing life], whether well-fed or going hungry, whether having an abundance or being in need.

I can do all things [which He has called me to do] through Him who strengthens and empowers me [to fulfill His purpose—I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency; I am ready for anything and equal to anything through Him who infuses me with inner strength and confident peace.] (Philippians 4:12-13 AMP)

I love the emphasis in the Amplified version.

I know how to get along and live humbly and how to enjoy abundance. I can do all things He has called me to do. I am self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency.

Read that over again every morning before you throw a load of dirty kids’ clothes in the washer or do a task at work waayy below your pay grade.

All things He has called me to do.

Think that through when you are so ticked off at your spouse that you could scream.

Self-sufficient in Christ’s sufficiency.

Say that out loud when given a Herculean task like leading a small group, decorating for a retreat, or sharing Jesus over coffee.

If He called you to do it, He will make you capable.

And think about this:

When we serve, we serve Jesus.

Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink? When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You? Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’ And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’ (Matthew 25:37-40)

One morning I counted – breakfast was six very different smoothies; two eggs over hard, yokes broken, two sausage patties, no toast; one egg over-medium, two sausage patties, toast; two eggs over easy, toast; one egg over very light with very crunchy toast.

Would you believe that was fun? It was. And I didn’t burn a thing! To you large family mamas that’s nothing but I only have one kid. Short-order breakfasts aren’t something in my repertoire.

I’m not great at this. I get upset and feel kinda snarky sometimes. I don’t balance upstairs living and downstairs living very well at all. But here’s the thing: Every egg I flip, every rug I vacuum, every bed I make, every brow I wipe – I do it in the name of Jesus.

What a privilege.

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Faithful in…

Ephesians_RegimensWithGraceSunday night was on its way and I was supposed to teach on Ephesians. I was thrilled at the chance and rather daunted as well. We have a class full of “meat” Christians and I felt a tremendous responsibility to see that they walked away fed.

So I read and prayed. Researched and prayed. And prayed some more. I read over notes I had jotted in my Bible, phrases I had underlined, and God allowed a few leaves to fall from the tree I was shaking.

Jotted in the margins of my Bible, I have all of the times in Ephesians 1 that we see who we are or what we have in Christ. So I dug deeper and He stopped me at the first verse.

“To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus:”

Why faithful in and not faithful to?

That wording seemed a little odd to me. I don’t say I’m faithful in my husband.

So I looked it up.cropped-o-WOMAN-PRAYING-HANDS-facebook.jpg

The Greek word as used here means believing, confiding, trusting; one who trusts in God’s promises; relating to the person in whom faith or trust is reposed. And, believing the faith God imparts.

So in this verse, it isn’t about being loyal, where the responsibility rests on us, it is simply about confiding and trusting in Jesus.

Wow.

It isn’t about my effort or trying hard to stay loyal. It is about trusting in Jesus. And I don’t even have to do that on my own. That is the kind of faith that only God can give!

“He indeed was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you who through Him believe in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory,so that your faith and hope are in God.” 1 Peter 1:20-21

That word believe is the same word as the one used for faithful in Ephesians 1:1.

And the word faith?

This is really cool. The Greek word for that is pistis. Again, it is the kind only God can give. In my searches of Strong’s and HELPS, I found that in secular antiquity, the word referred to a guarantee or warranty.

Do you see how all of this ties together? All we have to do is fully place our confidence and our trust in Jesus. He gives us our faith. We are given a guarantee.

I don’t have to struggle to “have faith.” I do have to remember to let go and trust.

Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints who are in Ephesus
(and Dallas, and Dehli, and Denver, and Detroit!)
and
faithful in Christ Jesus..
.

 

Oh thank you God, that when we let go of control and provide the trust, that You provide the faith.

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