Thursday, March 22, 2012

Seventy-Two Hours Before She Died

For the past seven weeks our congregation at Calvary Christian Center has been reading a devotional book called “Follow” (Learning To Follow Jesus) written by Daniel McNaughton and Bryan Koch.

During my reading this week Daniel shares an entry from his sister’s journal. Maralyn’s entry was written seventy-two hours before she died.

I want to share her entry with you.

Water is essential to life, and even though food will no longer propel down my throat, I’m still drinking. Amazingly, I don’t feel hungry ... but I am thirsty, and I’m drinking as much as I possibly can. Without divine intervention, I will get to heaven some time within the month.

These 18 months since my ALS diagnosis have been the worst and best of my life. Worst because of my deteriorating body ... best because of my relationship with Christ.

And I’m beginning to see my friendship with Jesus like water when I’m thirsty ... so essential to life. He is the real “living water” referred to in John 4:1-26.

I have many lovely friends, but I’ve never before known a Friend SO close. Everyday we have smiled, laughed, and cried together. And He has comforted me. I’ve asked His opinion, and He has nodded one way or the other. His close friendship has given me many new perspectives on this earthly life that I had never considered before. He’s been closer than my skin...

The only thing that makes me sad is realizing that this intimate friendship with Him has been available to me all throughout my life, and I never chose it until now. I missed it ... big-time! I guess I was always so busy with my lists, projects, plans and events that I was too occupied to be open to such an idea. Oh, I did my devotions, but so often because I knew I “should.” That’s a different thing. Now I long to be with Him, to feel His hug, to hear His voice, to see His smile. It’s so different.

Here’s a piece of motherly advice: Don’t wait until you have a terminal illness to seek a true friendship with Jesus. He’s ready! It takes setting aside some less important things. It takes listening. It takes openness. But it’s so worth it! I hop you become literally thirsty for Jesus.

Soon I’ll be in heaven, and it will be great to see the scenery, gardens and mansions. It will be great to hear the singing and see what’s on the banquet tables. BUT! I can tell you, the thing I’m most looking forward to is meeting my Best Friend face-to-face for the very first time. I’m trying to imagine the thrill...

Maralyn passed away on January 4, 2009. She had Lou Gehrig’s disease.

Maralyn’s journal entry was full of HOPE because she knew what awaited her on the other side of this life.

My heart was challenged as I read that day. For it’s easy to busy one’s self with list, projects, plans and events and miss it big-time.

I pray for you today and leave you with Maralyn’s motherly advice: “Don’t wait until you have a terminal illness to seek a true friendship with Jesus. He’s ready! It takes setting aside some less important things. It takes listening. It takes openness. But it’s so worth it! I hop you become literally thirsty for Jesus.”

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Choose Your Battles

As our boys were growing up we, like all parents, faced challenges during the teen years. By the time our youngest son became a teenager I had learned to choose my battles. Getting stressed out over green hair just wasn’t worth it. People would ask me a lot, “Doesn’t it bother you that his hair looks like that?” I would smile and say, “It’s just hair and I know next week will be a different color.” And it was.

Everyday can be a fight for something or with someone if we choose. We can learn to choose our battles wisely, and fight for the things worth fighting for.

The truth is there are some things and some people we will never be able to change.  God has given each person a free will, the ability to choose between what is right and wrong. I am reminded of another situation our family was facing several years ago. I did everything I knew to do to try to fix the problem. No matter what I did it only got worse. There came a day that I reached the end of my rope and realized their was nothing I could do that would change the situation. It was at that moment I was reminded of a verse in the Bible.

“For our struggle is not against flesh and blood...” Ephesians 6:12

Slowly, I began to give this situation to God in prayer. Things didn’t change over night, but change did come over time. Not only in the situation but I changed in the process.  Because I knew this was a battle I wasn’t going to win on my own.

It doesn’t matter what you are facing today. God is able to bring peace to your heart in the midst of it. Ask Him to help you to choose your battles and to give you strength as you walk your journey. Remember, it takes a long time to turn a battleship around but in time it will eventually be going in a new direction.

My prayer for you today:

Father God, I ask that You would help each person who reads this blog. Help us all to understand as we face life’s challenges that there is an unseen spiritual war going on and that our real battles are not with people but against the enemy of our souls. Send your Holy Spirit to give us the wisdom to know what issues are worth fighting for; help us to walk away from meaningless battles; and remind us that the best way to win the battles in our life is on our knees in prayer. Help us Father, to surrender all to You today and choose to put our hope in You. In Jesus Name, Amen.