All for Jesus

All for Jesus

Encouragement Inspiration

“Return home and tell how much God has done for you.” So the man went away and told all over town how much Jesus had done for him. ~Luke 8:39

We recently moved. Moving is not always easy, but often surprising.

One thing we have found difficult, is finding a new church to call home. In this case, it is because of a wonderful problem. The city we landed in seems to be overflowing with great church families! We just need to find our place in the midst of so many options. Isn’t that a wonderful “problem”? So many good churches to choose from? I wish I had more problems like this*.

But the reason I bring this up, is because of one associate pastor. I don’t know him, and I’ve only heard him speak twice. But when he speaks, it’s like his whole life is saying all for Jesus.

Well, let me back up. Start at the beginning. The first time we visited this church, the associate pastor got up front and shared with the congregation that he had his colonoscopy, and the doctors had found cancer. I felt hearts in the congregation breaking around me. It was a very sad moment for that church body. As my husband and I talked after the service, we were amazed how the associate pastor had shared the news. He asked for prayer, especially for his family. He was honest and upfront about the situation. But he had hope. Not false hope, but genuine hope that comes from knowing Christ. He said, “Even in the worse case scenario, I still win. I still go home to be with Jesus.”

On Easter Sunday, we visited this church again. They had a small drama, where kids (teenagers) were asking this same pastor tough questions about faith and science. One of the kids mentioned that Easter probably wasn’t the best time to question faith. But this associate pastor lovingly said, that questions are good. They are ok, and you should feel free to ask them at any time. Then he used his heart and brain to argue his case for Christ. And he even brought his stage 4 cancer into the debate. And my heart hurt to know that diagnosis, even as it soared. Because I heard it again- all for Jesus.

Given some of the worst news ever, he still pointed to God’s trustworthiness and goodness. I loved that he was addressing the hard questions to teenagers. I loved that he was in front of everyone giving God glory in the midst of something so personal, painful, sad…

But he wasn’t any of those things. Instead he was secure in his knowledge that Jesus has already won. And he was using his testimony to glorify God.

They triumphed over him
    by the blood of the Lamb
    and by the word of their testimony;
they did not love their lives so much
    as to shrink from death.
~Revelation 12:11

Grandma Mabel
Grandma Mabel

I’m not belittling the pain that anyone has ever faced. I know how awful cancer in the family can be. Trust me, I know. This story is not about pretending like everything is okay, when it most clearly is not. This story is about trusting God in all circumstances. And I don’t know this man, but I am sure he has had plenty of emotions to contend with. When my grandmother was diagnosed with cancer we went through the gauntlet of anger, fear, sadness, brief periods of hope, crushing moments of heartbreak….

But her last words, always give me hope: “Beautiful, beautiful…”

Hope is a beautiful thing.**

Lord, thank you for the testimonies of others that draw us nearer to you. Thank you that you are so holy, that you can use even the worst circumstances for good. Thank you that wherever we are and whatever is happening in our lives, there is always hope because of what your son did on the cross. Thank you that the tomb was empty, and that we now have hope in Christ. Lord, please increase our hope. Please help us to tell our own testimonies when needed. May we glorify You. In Jesus name, Amen.

~Lindsay

*Other problems I would like to have: too much cheesecake in the house, too many coffee shops in town, and a roll of toilet paper that never ran out. (I suppose that last one is not really a problem at all… but as long as I am dreaming.)

**But Christ is faithful as the Son over God’s house. And we are His house, if indeed we hold firmly to our confidence and the hope in which we glory. ~Hebrews 3:6

Legacy: Part 3

Legacy: Part 3

Inspiration Our Story

They ought always to pray and not lose heart. Luke 18:1

Grandma and her cousins with their dolls. Grandma is the tallest.
Grandma and her cousins with their dolls. Grandma is the tallest.

The ‘Legacy’ series I am writing about refers to the legacy my grandmother left me. She passed away when I was eleven years old, but made a lasting and meaningful impact on my life.

Today, I want to talk about my friends (who, trust me, have something to do with my grandma). All of my life, in every season, I have always had at least one stalwart friend. I don’t know that I ever had a plethora of close friends, but there was always that ‘one friend’ who would get me through any situation I faced. Like a bulwark surrounding my life, this ‘one friend’ would protect me against anything and everything from loneliness, to peer pressure, to getting run over by a car*. I don’t mean I’ve had just one friend my entire life (I’m not that much of a hermit!). But that as one friend would flow out of my life (moving away, or going to a new school, or as I grew up and left home), a new friend would come swimming into the arena of my life and take up residence as ‘the one I could lean on.’ Of course, as a child I never noticed this. And as an adult, I tended to take it for granted. It was more recently that a friend of mine pointed out to me the lack of that one ‘bosom buddy’ (Anne of Green Gables fans unite!) in her own life, which highlighted to me the blessing of friends in my life.

I am not someone who meets people easily, has social graces, stays-in-touch, or puts forth much effort in communicating. So having these friends… well it’s a miracle, really. So I asked God, how in the world was it possible that I (of all people!) could have been so blessed with friendships. And almost immediately I was convinced it was a prayer my grandmother had said for me. I may be fanciful from time to time, but I am just so certain of this one thing. And what an amazing prayer! It afforded me protection, joy, and the ability to be who I am because there was always one person to stand with me. I never had to face the hard things alone. What a gift!

And so I want to encourage you- pray! Pray without ceasing, pray with all your strength, and with all your heart! Pray for your children, your marriages, your friends, your family. Pray for your country, your pastors, and your leaders. And pray that your children will have friends! That God will bring people into their lives that know Him, and love Him. That your child will not have to stand alone, or pretend to be someone they are not. Your prayers are powerful, and they accomplish more than you know.

Grandma showing us how the overall fashion trend started!
Grandma showing us how the overall fashion trend started!

My grandmother never got to see the fruit of her prayers for her grandchildren. But this is a lesson I can take from her and pass on to the next generation. I can pray for them, teach them to pray, and pray that they will love prayer.

Prayer is powerful! (My mother always says that ‘when you pray you’d better put on a helmet, because you never know what is going to happen!’) But I can tell you this, something will happen! Not always in your time-frame, not always quite what you had in mind, but God hears our prayers, and He is faithful to answer!

So a quick review of one afternoon’s worth of reflection: my grandmother left a great legacy for me. She had faith in God, she loved whenever she could, and she prayed for us.

God bless you to be filled with faith, strong in prayer, and mighty in love! Amen

~Lindsay

*Yes, even getting run over by a car! I was in middle school, and so concerned about what I was saying, that I stepped off the curb and straight into traffic! My good friend, grabbed the neck of my shirt and pulled me right back again. Then after the car had passed, she gave me a gentle shove, and we crossed the street. All the while, I kept right on talking. It wasn’t until we were a few blocks away, and I’d finished my story that I realized what had happened! Startled, I asked, “Uhm… did you just save my life back there?” And she just smiled her sweet smile at me, but said nothing.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)

Grandma with her daughters.
Grandma with her daughters.

So, in case you didn’t read the last post (or if you’re like me and you forgot what it was about), I’ve been reflecting on my grandmother. It has struck me how important she was in my young life. And she continues to influence me to this day, even though she passed away when I was eleven-years-old. As I was reflecting, I wondered how she would be remembered in another generation or two. Then I started thinking about whether I would be remembered in another generation or three.

And not that it’s important to make a name for ourselves, but I was having some deep thoughts (which seems to happen while driving children from one activity to the next). And at first I was sad that, in just a few more generations, no one will know much about my grandmother. They will know her name, birth date, and day of her passing- if they look into genealogies. But they won’t know how soft her cheeks were, or how she always bought the mini boxes of cereal for us when we visited. Genealogies don’t tell us things like that.

But then I realized that her faith has been passed on from one generation to the next. She believed, she taught her children, they taught their’s… and so she has left a legacy of faith for generations to come.

And a legacy of love.

I believe that not one bit of love can be removed from the world. For everyone we love, carries that love with them, and it grows and they pass it on. Love is God’s commodity. He trades in it, deals with it, and manages it. And it is not a commodity that runs out, grows old, or loses its value.

A quick example: when our second child was born, I was (a little hormonal) worried. I thought I would have to divide my love in half between my two children. I cried about this and told my husband. I was sad for my first child who I thought would be getting less love than before. And I was sad for our second child, that would only get half the amount of love from the start. And my husband, who is always wisest when I am at my most ridiculous, said, “It’s funny how love works. The more you give away, the more you have to give.”

Picture me in a hospital bed, clutching a new born, tears on my cheeks, but completely dumbfounded.

And he was right! The more I loved, the more love I had to give away!!

God’s kingdom is backwards and upside down from this world. And being part of God’s kingdom is something so beyond our experience, because it is eternal. And the good we are doing now, especially the love, is like a seed we are planting for future generations. I know my grandma planted many seeds in her lifetime, and the security I had in her love is still there to this day. And it is something that I continue to pass on to my children.

‘Love never dies’ (1 Cor 13:8) is not about romantic passions, but about God. His love, and the good He does is eternal. This love cannot be taken away from us or altered. It is a gift. One we can share with future generations as we work love out in our own lives.

God bless you to love more today, and the next day, and the next day- more than you ever thought possible! Amen.

~Lindsay

 

Legacy: Part 1

Legacy: Part 1

Our Story

My son, keep your father’s commandment, and forsake not your mother’s teaching. Bind them on your heart always; tie them around your neck. When you walk, they will lead you; when you lie down, they will watch over you; and when you awake, they will walk with you.      Proverbs 6:20-21 (ESV)

I have a ring I wear almost every day. Not my wedding ring (which I wear every day), but my grandmother’s ring. She passed away when I was eleven. I cried uncontrollably at her wake. I am the oldest of all my cousins, and I remember the younger cousins being confused, as little ones are at these moments. One cousin, and my little brother, seeing my distress decided to play along. They took Kleenex and pretended to cry too.

My grandmother was pretty amazing. She was the kind of grandma you read about in books. With fresh baked treats, warm hugs, a soft voice and a kind smile. Recently, I was trying to tell my children about her. I’ve tried telling my younger cousins about her too. You see, many of them were born after she passed away, and they never met her. Yet, she lives on in our memories, and in the stories we share.

The soft cheeked Grandma I remember (with Grandpa)
The soft cheeked Grandma I remember (with Grandpa)

I look at her ring on my right hand and think how precious this ring is to me. Will it be as precious to my daughter? Or her daughter? What will they remember about grandma? A few stories? Her name? I think about what I know about my great-grandparents. Or any ancestors before that. There was a great-grandpa who was adamant I should have been named Diana or something. There was a great-grandmother who I knew pretty well. There were some stories rattling around in my brain… but not much.

So I started thinking about legacies. Which is an odd sort of thing for me to think about. I’m usually not very deep. But in a few generations, what will anyone say of me? Will anyone remember me? Will I fade away with time? Will my grandma?

I know, I sound pretty morose- even to my own ears!

But then something pretty amazing occurred to me! Someone, somewhere in our family history made a daring step. A new choice. Someone chose Jesus! I was born into a family of believers. What a gift! And it was because of some unknown ancestor of mine. A Norwegian farmer, or a German peasant, an Irishman, or that one random Swede …. And not only that, but there were probably multiple converts. Multiple ancestors of mine who heard the Good News, and said, “Yes! This is what I’ve been looking for!” And they believed, and they passed on their belief to their children, who passed it on to their children…

Maybe I’m the only one who finds this fascinating. I want to know who this person was. How did they hear the Gospel for the first time? What made them so sure? Who were they?

And while I suppose I will not have any of those answers in this lifetime, I do know one thing. Whether or not my children know who my Grandma is, or if my name fades into obscurity with time, I can pass on this legacy of faith to my children. I cannot make them believe, but I can point them in the right direction. Just like my grandma did for my mother. Just like my mother did for me. And hopefully somewhere along the line, my children will do for their children.

Whoever your ancestors were, Names are not so important. There is only one Name that saves. One Name worth knowing. One Name to proclaim. Jesus.

~Lindsay

 

‘I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.’ Phillipians 3:14 (ESV)

We are working on the web site, soon (hopefully) publishing children’s books, and in the midst of all this- blogging. This is hilarious because I’m a math major, and also the Queen of Run-On-Sentences. Perhaps you’ve heard of me? … No?

But all this to say, we want to share our story and our children’s storybooks. I hope our blog will be encouraging. I hope you won’t take me too seriously. And I hope you will forgive my grammar. In the midst of my week I am thinking about you, thinking about this blog, and thinking about how I need to get to the store and buy more toilet paper. But hopefully you will find a new post every Tuesday and enjoy it.

I am realizing that if I only post about the books themselves, all our posts will be summed up as follows: ‘Still working on it, expect more soon.’ This book team is all detail people. Agonizingly focused on every detail. If we weren’t so alike, we might consider one another obnoxious. As it is, we like to tell ourselves that we will have all our ducks in a row, and that will make things easier in the long run.

But what to blog about?

Grandma Mabes
Grandma Mabes

Over the next few weeks, I’d like to share stories about someone who was very important to this writing team. My grandmother, Mabel. She liked to be called Mabes, and had an amazing impact on her family. She would have loved things like cell phones, and seeing her children and grandchildren working together. I thought that these next few blogs might give you a peek into what kind of a family this writing team is (though we are far from perfect- although you’ll have to take my word on that, because I’m only blogging on the positive stuff). There are things we value. We may not have obtained them, but we are reaching for them.

And with any luck it will be more interesting than ‘still working on it, expect more soon.’ Well, of course it will be… But that wasn’t quite what I was getting at.

Until next week then!

Many blessings to you, and God keep you!

~Lindsay