If someone would have told me this time February of last year that we would have celebrated 42 birthdays, delivered over 1,000 meals, mowed lawns, cleaned gutters, colored countless pictures, helped when sick and just been a friend to people who were total strangers this time last year, I would have told them they were crazy. And if they would have told me, all it took was giving out our phone number, perhaps I would have thought they had lost their minds.
But now, I can't imagine it any other way and it's better than I could have ever imagined.
Perhaps it’s because when I walk away from each door, I learn a little bit more about myself, my heart swells and I breath deep.
I walk away and they sit and watch me go. They sit.
I imagine my life, now. Busy running, driving, preparing school work, worried if I’m doing anything right in life. I sit and read books with my children each day, discovering new wonders. I sit while my husband and I talk with the children about the joys and failures of our days over a warm meal, lit by candlelight at our table each night. We have people in our home often and love to gather with friends. But it’s Thursday that changes me most.
I see now, why faith without deeds is dead. We can read about love and grace all day long in Gods word, we can be taught by Him, our spirit can be refueled by stillness with Him; but being Jesus to people not only shows them His love in a real way but teaches us as well.
Oh, we can never show them the fullness of Christ, we are so broken. But perhaps that is what draws people to Him, our brokenness? Knowing even though we read every day and discover, we struggle through math problems and attitude issues; both the kids and I. The children tattle and I get upset, I’m broken. Even though husband and wife gather at the dinner table to talk about our day and enjoy our meal by candlelight, someone always spills something and things get a little crazy at this table of seven. Even though we deliver meals, take care of them when they have nobody to call, sit and chat a bit each week on the phone, there are still long trips to the store to get all the supplies, and lots of prayers for the financial ability to take care of them all the while taking care of ourselves.
But here is where it matters most, here is where I learn.
They watch me walk away.
All you have to do is ask about a picture and a million memories flood into their mind and they love to tell you all about it.
“Married at 14 I was,” Mrs. Libby says, “Mom and Dad didn’t like that!” she laughs a silly laugh, and continues, “But, I suppose I picked right, we were married for 70 years." she smiles big and then sadness fills her eyes, "I miss him so much, there’s nothing worse than loosing the love of your life.”
The grocery lists, the trips to the store, the bills, the spilled milk, the wall that didn’t get painted in time, the dog that tracked mud into the house, the stuffy nose that wouldn’t leave, the toddler that wouldn’t potty train as fast as the other, the financial hardship that came their way, the Christmas presents they couldn’t buy, the car they couldn’t buy or the house they couldn’t afford… none of that fills their memories. Its the people who fill their memories. Oh, they may have stories about those things, I’m sure they do, but that’s not what they sit and wait to share with someone. They sit and wait to talk about the people that changed their lives.
Oh friends, it makes me think. It makes me think long and hard. It makes me think about all the wasted time. The reality show we don’t want to miss while someone next door is lonely and can’t even see the TV. Or the trip to the store you’re making for the fifth time this week but the friend you have who can’t afford even one trip. What are we doing? What.are.we.really.doing? What does it all matter?
It makes me wonder this:
What one thing could someone tell you and I today about our lives that would be different this time next year? What one thing would make you think they’re crazy?
Don’t underestimate the abilities and strengths God has given you. Don't wait until you have it all together, don't wait until you have it all planned, don't wait until you have all the money, until your children are grown. You could be a story in someone's life, today.
You. You will be someone they can tell others about when they’re sitting alone sixty years from now all alone thinking of that one person who cared. Not your pastor, not your wife, not your missionary friend, YOU. You can be the one person who helped with that addiction, who talked about Jesus, who bought the sack of groceries, who cared enough to see a need and love enough to take care of it. They might have waited all this time for someone and nobody ever came until you.
You could change their story.
Isn't it amazing? We get to stumble along the footsteps of the One who did it best.
What an honor my friends.
Always stumbling along side you,